Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Movies’

Deficits are not limits: The defective heroes of Guardians of the Galaxy

August 11, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies 1 Comment →


Leagues and legions of superheroes are usually effective as a direct result of the union of each member’s unique abilities, whether they include super-human strength, lightning-speed, telepathy, or other powers that individually define each of them as a deserved hero and collectively create an unstoppable force.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, we’re introduced to a band of outlaws, outsiders and outcasts. With the exception of some sweet dance moves and decent marksmanship, we don’t immediately get the traditional introduction to the colorful rainbow of superpowers we’re accustomed to with superhero teams. There’s no amazing, no fantastic, no spectacular. The Guardians themselves refer to themselves as “losers” and the “biggest idiots” in the galaxy. They underperform or fall below normative expectations. In fact, these space misfits offer something rarely seen in superhero films: the Guardians show emotional, neurological, developmental and communication deficits that 1) are not expected to be resolved or cured at the end of the film and 2) do not make them ineffective as heroes.

The following is a conceptualization of each character’s below-average functioning across some psychological dimensions and why these deficits do not create significant limits for them.

Read We Are Groot: Guardians of the Galaxy Celebrates Heroes With Authentic Psychological Deficits by Andrea Letamendi at Comics Alliance.

Cinemalaya X reviews: K’na the Dreamweaver, #Y and the triumph of the milieu

August 09, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 3 Comments →


K’na the Dreamweaver. “You must see the big picture,” the old dreamweaver tells her granddaughter, and the filmmakers follow her advice in this beautiful movie that makes us want to book a ticket to Lake Sebu right now.


#Y. “Having no right to be unhappy is not the same as being happy,” says Miles (Elmo Magalona) in this intriguing, unsettling film about privileged millennials that makes us happy we never had children.

And that completes our Cinemalaya viewing for the year. We will review all the Cinemalaya X New Breed movies in full.

Cinemalaya X reviews: Mariquina, Sundalong Kanin

August 08, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →


Mariquina – A shoemaker commits suicide, and as his daughter looks back on his sad life we wonder why he didn’t kill himself sooner. A good movie with fine performances, we just weren’t in the mood.


Sundalong Kanin – An epic subject treated like an amateur theatrical: one character delivers a speech, the others look on without moving.

Cinemalaya X review: Super Nova

August 08, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Childhood, Movies 1 Comment →


When we were kids, we tuned in every week to a TV show called Chicks to Chicks. The very title marks it as an artifact from the early days of women’s liberation, when attractive women were routinely referred to as young chickens. It was the martial law era, so any discussion of politics or unpleasant realities that did not fit the Marcos-approved image of the New Society was suppressed. Sex, however, was all over TV and the movies. Chicks to Chicks starred Nova Villa and Freddie Webb as a feisty housewife and her hunky husband who ran a modeling agency. Inexplicably, the models (Carmi Martin, the late Maria Teresa Carlson) lived in their house and went around in their underwear. Each week the wife would suspect her husband of cheating on her, but everything would turn out to be her lecherous brother Chito Arceo’s fault, and the couple would make up and take a shower together. This show ran throughout our childhood.

Read our review at

Cinemalaya X reviews: 1st ko si 3rd, Dagitab, Separados, The Janitor

August 07, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

1st Ko Si 3rd. Nova Villa is adorable. We want to see her onscreen regularly. The movie is stretched thin, but pleasant enough.

Dagitab thinks it’s a French movie. We have no problem with that. Also, the house of the UP professors looks like every UP professor’s house we’ve ever seen. Authentic.

Separados. We suspect this is a ringer from Star Cinema. The relentless score. The explanatory dialogue. Every scene is a moment. Noel says its title should be Divorce, Actually.

The Janitor. Not bad for a crime thriller, but the main reason to watch this is Dennis Trillo. Dennis Trillo is so fetching, he makes fetch happen. We would buy the DVD if it contains an extra 30 minutes of his workout. Highest concentration of hot guys in a Cinemalaya movie: Trillo, Derek Ramsay, Alex Medina, Raymond Bagatsing.

Cinemalaya X review: Children’s Show is tough, funny and strangely life-affirming

August 06, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

children's show poster

Last Sunday at Cinemalaya, our menu was one of unrelenting grimness. First there was Bwaya, in which parents search for the body of their child who had been attacked by a crocodile. Then there was Ronda, in which a policewoman drives through the mean streets of Manila as she looks for her runaway son. Finally there was Children’s Show, in which children beat each other to death.

This would’ve been reason enough to watch nothing but romantic comedies for the next three months, except that at its harshest and most unforgiving, Children’s Show lifted our spirits. In Roderick Cabrido’s film, life beats people to the ground, but they refuse to be broken. On the surface the film appears to follow the miserablist social realism template of “serious” Filipino indie cinema (i.e. poverty porn), but then it turns around and offers, if not hope exactly, then the possibility of it.

Read our review at

children's show still