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Pop Culture Resolutions for 2013

Pop Culture Resolutions for 2013

A few weeks too late for the start of the year, but a few days early for when my actual New Year starts. No, I don’t mean the Chinese New Year, but…long story. Anyhooo…

  • Read at least 50 books this year. And more than half of those should be from my current book collection. I will not buy any new books until I’ve finished at least two from my bookshelf. Maybe ūüėõ (and by the way, I’ve already finished two so yey!)
  • Watch a movie in the theater at least once every two weeks. I realized I’m not a big fan of watching in the theater because basically I hate the noisy, stupid, cellphone reading people I always have the misfortune of sitting near to. But, I have to go out of my comfort zone every once in a while.
  • Discover a new music genre. Last year’s “experiment” worked well. I now love country music, mostly because of Nashville (the TV series), and a lot of folk-country cross-over artists. This year, I’ll give hiphop another chance to worm its way into my eardrums.
  • Get rid of the physical pop culture clutter in my room. What can be scanned, will be painfully scanned. What can be thrown in the trash, will be thrown. What can be given away, will be shared, if anyone cares to add them to their own clutter. List to come up soon
  • Finally get to teach that Pop Culture subject I’ve been dreaming of. All this knowledge and insight I gain from consuming all this should be put to use. As early as now, I’m already begging our department head to give me that subject by June. Let’s see if I finally get it.
  • Less TV series (gulp) and more reading. That will be one of the most difficult things I have to do. Or it may just become easier coz a lot of the series I follow are ending and being cancelled left and right. Gah.
  • Try to consume a bit more Pinoy pop culture. This might be a bit difficult given that a lot of them are not to my taste, but hey, maybe I can discover more undiscovered good stuff out there and then I can tell more people about it.
  • Top my “concert haul” from last year (which was 6) and hopefully, one of those concerts will be outside the country.
  • Redesign the blog. Blog more. Blog more coherently. Blog deeply. So yes, this will be the year of the blog. Hopefully

What are your pop culture resolutions this year?

 

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Pop Goes the Culture

 

An Old Classic, A Groundbreaking Documentary and an Epic-Serye

I did something I hadn’t done since my college days, during our Broadcast Communication 101 days: do a studio tour of a local network. I kept expecting Kenneth from 30 Rock to pop up anytime and give one of his weird diatribes. Fortunately (and maybe unfortunately) he didn’t show up and it was just a normal but fun of all the new studios of GMA Network. They invited bloggers to come up to the studios, most like me, for the first time, and to explore all the tv and radio studios that we only see on our screens all gussied up for the different programs. This time we got to see the bare studios, witness their state-of-the-art lighting systems at work and got to pose for pictures on the set (them, not me. haha)

Some random facts that interested me during the tour

  • the sculpture in the Timog Area was made by the famous monument-builder Ed Castrillo, who I had the pleasure of interviewing before
  • DWLS (now Barangay LS) was named after Loreto Stewart, the wife of Uncle Bob Stewart (the former owner of GMA back in the day)
  • Studio 1, where all the old GMA shows were shot, with the concrete bleachers and all, is now just a chroma studio, since they have bigger and more modern studios (a nostalgic piece of trivia for me)
But the main purpose for the bloggers’ briefing was for them to introduce their newest programs for May. As part of my birthday resolution this year, I promised myself that I would watch more local shows, and so 3 shows got me excited
Chatting it up with THE Wilma Galvante
Amaya
You’ve probably seen the short previews for this first ever epic-serye starring Marian Rivera (I’m not her biggest fan, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one). While it is not based on any particular historical character, the show boasts of a well-researched cultural storyline and of course amazing visual effects and production design. It is their most expensive teleserye to date.¬†
This interests me because I’ve always believed that our history and culture is rich enough to spawn epic stories like these and we don’t need to “borrow” Western storylines to create interesting and stunning shows or movies.
Amaya is set to premiere this May 30. Click here for an interview with the star talking about her biggest project to date.

Blusang Itim
Okay, I will now admit it: When I was young, I used to devour Aliwan Komiks like there was no tomorrow. And one of my favorite stories ever was Blusang Itim. And yes, I was a Snooky Serna fan too, and when they adapted this into a movie, I watched it too. There was something about Ugly Duckling stories that appealed to me then.
So I am intrigued with this newest adaptation of that beloved classic, starring Robin Padilla’s daughter, Kylie in her first starring role. Apparently, she had to undergo the whole audition process before convincing the powers that be that she deserved the role. Other featured actors are from showbiz royalty too: Frank Magalona ¬†is the son of the late Francis Magalona and Winwyn Marquez ¬†is of course, the daughter of actors-turned politicians Joey Marquez and Alma Moreno.¬†
Blusang Itim will start on May 16, in GMA Dramarama sa Hapon.

I am a huge fan of GMA News and Public Affairs documentaries, and this one looks exceptional as always. Given the recent renewed interest and fear of earthquakes, Vicky Morales and the team of senior reporters including Kara David, Mariz Umali and Cesar Apolinario travel from Luzon to Mindanao to find out which cities and provinces are the more likely to experience natural disasters in the event of even more seismic shifts.
I’m a budding environmental geek so I am looking forward to seeing this as they talk about fault lines, seismic activity, epicenters and ground zeroes. Scary stuff, but fascinating all the same. Ground Zero will be shown on May 1 in the evening on GMA’s SNBO.

To find out more about the new shows that GMA is unveiling for this May, visit their webiste here. And you can also watch this video


 
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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in Pop Goes the Culture

 

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35 Movies of 2010

All of these are in no particular order

5 BEST MOVIES I WATCHED IN 2010

Inception – I’ve seen it 3 times already and it still amazes and confuses me. I haven’t seen that other Oscar frontrunner, so this is still my pick for Best Picture

Deathly Hallows – next to Prisoner of Azkaban, this is my fave of the HP franchises. It would have been more awesome in 3D and if they actually showed the rockstar Weasley aka Charlie

The Kids Are Alright – anything that has Annette Bening and Julianne Moore has my vote. But then a brilliant script just blew me away. Oh and: Mark Ruffalo. ‘Nuff said

Shutter Island – Leonardo + Scorsese = magic. Oh and Mark Ruffalo again. Sigh. But fangirling aside, brilliant script, cinematography, music

Toy Story 3 – do I even need to explain? Crying at animated characters imminent (but of course) impossible death is a winner in my book

 

5 MOVIES I SHOULD HAVE WATCHED IN A MOVIE THEATER

The Social Network – it’s getting all the Oscar buzz so I should probably see if it is indeed better than Inception

Scott Pilgrim – It’s not my fault that i didn’t get to see this because some stupid distributor thought that it wouldn’t click here in PH. Why??? Do you think we’re boring and “uncultured” people?

Despicable Me – I wanted to see the “It’s so fluffy” girl in 3D

How to Train Your Dragon – side note: the son of a former boss of mine was looking for the book in National Bookstore and the saleslady says “Ay sorry, wala po, meron lang training books for cats, dogs, etc”.

Kick-Ass – all that blood and gore on a moviescreen would have been awesome


5 MOVIES I’M GLAD I DIDN’T WATCH IN A MOVIE THEATER

The Last Airbender – how could you M Night???

Devil – and again, what the hey M Night? Saw this on the bus earlier today and I was laughing, then I realized it wasn’t a comedy

Eclipse – I barely saw the first two films and what I saw made me shudder, so why the heck would I watch this?

Percy Jackson – since I loved the book too much, if I saw this in the theater, I would have thrown something at the screen

Valentine’s Day – all those stars and you couldn’t invest in a decent script???


5 MOVIES I LOVED WHICH OTHERS DIDN’T

Alice in Wonderland – maybe it’s coz it’s my favorite childhood story or Johnny Depp is in it or Tim Burton directed it or Anne Hathaway was charming or Helena Bonham Carter was awesome, but I really dug this movie

Clash of the Titans – forget the 3D which was utterly laughable. Sam Worthington rocks

Iron Man 2 – It’s Robert Downey Jr for crying out loud!

Robin Hood РYes, some parts were sleepy, but for me to actually like a Russel Crowe movie is a very rare occurrence, so something about this movie must have been good

Daybreakers – five words: Ethan Hawke as a vampire


5 MOVIES THAT MOST PEOPLE LOVED BUT I HATED

Avatar (included in 2010 coz they re-released it) – 3D effects aside, be honest, did it actually have a decent story and script?

The Karate Kid – pales in comparison to Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita

Salt – not even the charms of Angelina Jolie can save this movie for me

Eat, Pray, Love – not even the charms of Julia Roberts can save this movie for me

Shrek Forever After – the franchise stopped being funny for me after the 2nd movie


5 MOVIES SHOWN IN 2010 THAT I HAVE YET TO SEE

Somewhere – Sofia Coppola hasn’t failed me yet (yes, i was one of the few who liked Marie Antoinette) and I had a huge crush on Stephen Dorff before

Never Let Me Go – Carey Mulligan. Kiera Knightley. Andrew Garfield. Directed by Mark Romanek. Based on one of my favorite books by Kazuo Ishiguro. This should be legendary

127 Hours – Although I might faint in that infamous scene, I still want to see this badly

Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky is another one of my favorite directors who hasn’t failed me yet. And Natalie Portman is apparently Oscar-worthy here

The Ghost Writer – Roman Polanski may be a fugitive but you can’t deny he’s a great director. Oh, and Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan. Swoon


5 MOVIES YOU SHOULD WATCH (BUT PROBABLY HAVEN’T YET)

Winter’s Bone – Jennifer Lawrence is my bet for Best Actress. And this is her first major film!

True Grit – the Coen Brothers do it again. I’m not a fan of Westerns, but this is just powerful for me

The Girl Who Played With Fire – see it before they show the Hollywood remake! And also see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo first or you might get confused

The Town – Ben Affleck is shaping up to be a good director. His first film Gone Baby Gone was just as awesome

Let Me In – Hollywood remake of Let The Right One In. I absolutely adored the original, and this one is almost as good

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Pop Goes the Culture, Uncategorized

 

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Pop Culture Recommendations – 3rd week of October

New Movie: The Social Network

People have been raving about it over all the social networks, so even if I haven’t seen it yet, I would highly recommend it (and maybe get to finally see it within the week). And even though some of the facts are currently being disputed in this “biopic” on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, it is still an interesting study on human greed and relative truth

Old (ish) movie: Bandslam

This is the HS Musical/Camp Rock for the hipsters. And this is where I first had a girl crush on Aly Michalka (the Hellcats law student/rocker turned cheerleader)

New album: Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon

To be handpicked by U2 as the front act for their tour is an honor that young bands only dream of. And in their 2nd album, Kings of Leon prove why they were accorded that honor. Radioactive is constantly on my playlist these days

New discovery: Matthew Perryman Jones

If you like the sound of sensitive singer/songwriters like Damien Rice, William Fitzsimmons, Matt Nathanson and Alexi Murdoch, then this guy is for you

New TV Show:  Blue Bloods

I have an automatic liking for crime procedurals and cop shows, so this was an automatic winner for me. Add to the mix excellent performances by Donnie Wahlberg (yes, even ex-NKOTB can have careers), Bridget Moynahan (the first Mrs. Big!) and Tom Selleck (he will always be Dr. Richard Burke to me) and this tale of a family of law enforcers is a must-see for me

TV Show You Should Be Watching: Cougar Town

It’s on Star World already, so why aren’t you watching? It’s the new, older Friends. Well not exactly, but it does have that feel sometimes. And it’s funny!!!

Fiction Book: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

After writing about Greek demi-gods, Rick turns to Egyptian mythology for his latest book series. Interesting, exciting and relatable for those who have annoying but smart siblings

Non-fiction Book: Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller

I think I have a writer’s crush on Donald Miller. He articulates the God-shaped hole in our hearts in ways that I never thought of before. Imagine using Romeo and Juliet as a metaphor for this! And he writes this is in such a humorous, snarky but deep and thought provoking way. Yes, I crush him

“Some would say formulas are how we interact with God, that going through motions and jumping through hoops are how a person acts out his spirituality. This method of interaction, however, seems odd to me, because if I want to hang out with my friend Tuck, I don’t stomp my foot three times, turn around, and say his name over and over like a mantra, lighting candles and getting myself in a certain mood. I just call him. In this way, formulas presuppose God is more a computer or a circus monkey than an intelligent Being. I realize that sounds harsh, but it is true.”

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Pop Goes the Culture

 

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Top 10 Shows That Made Me Weep When They Ended Part 1

You know me and my TV shows: the world stops when I’ve finished downloading the latest episode or if I’m in the mood for a marathon all by myself. And I read a quote somewhere that maybe he’s really in a coma, and that his favorite TV shows were the “real world” trying to wake him up from years of unconsciousness.

I feel that way a lot of times. So when a TV show that I love ends, it really is emotionally catastrophic for me. I feel like I lost a really good friend or a family member. Weeks after the show ends, I still feel like I’m in a daze and I keep going back and watching my fave episodes, all because I’m still in a state of denial. It does get better eventually, but then another favorite TV shows and it happens all over again.

Here are 10 shows that made me weep, whether they were comedy,drama or action, when they ended. In no particular order

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

I spent 7 seasons telling people not to be turned off by the title because this is one of the best shows ever. Around 2 or 3 people believed me. But I didn’t care because I knew that they were missing a lot by not following Buffy Summers and her Scoobies. That final battle just about killed me, and when Sunnydale finally sunk into the ground, I knew that it was really over. Well, until the graphic novels came out. But vampires and slayers have never been the same for me

2. Lost

From the moment that Jack Shepard opened his eyes up to the last moment of the series when he…(okay I won’t spoil it coz some of you still haven’t watched), this series just captured my imagination and my brain cells. Before there was Inception, there was Lost to eff up our brains. But more than all the mysteries and plot twists, I really fell in love with each and every character, hero or villain, real or imagined. And until now, I still feel the loss very vividly

3. Friends

Yes, I’ve watched each episode of every season more than twice. Yes, I’ve also debated with myself whether I was a Monica, a Phoebe or a Rachel (in the end, I think I was more of a less funny Chandler). Yes, these “friends” got me through a real tough time in my life. And yes, the whole final episode, I was in tears and when they finally left the apartment for the last time, I bawled my eyes out.

4. Battlestar Galactica

I was never a Trekkie or a Babylon 5 or a Stargate girl. People are sometimes surprised, given my geeky nature. But Battlestar Galactica is the first sci-fi show that I followed religiously, so to speak. And for a show that is set in a different sphere than our reality, it had more insights into relevant world issues than the news and talk shows. The ending left a lot to be desired, but the journey towards that end was spectacular

5. Veronica Mars

Why can’t Americans keep intelligent teen shows like this on the air while trashy fare like 90210 and that reality show The Hills kept getting renewed? This is another one of those really good shows that were cancelled before it could resolve any of its long-standing plots and mysteries. Gone too soon, I tell you. And Kristen Bell deserves another shot at TV glory. She oozes talent from her very pores. She was the one good thing on Heroes that last season and they killed her off. Figures

To be continued….

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2010 in Pop Goes the Culture, Top 10 Lists

 

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Capsule Reviews of My Lonesome Movie Marathon

How did I spend my long weekend? Call it pathetic or something, but I did enjoy having a solo movie marathon. Sometimes watching movies on my own is therapeutic in its own way. So I decided to watch and re-watch a random sampling of my 300+ movie collection

Inkheart

The concept and the book was interesting enough: there are certain people in the world called “silvertongues” who have the power to bring characters from books into the real world. It would have been an idea made in heaven for bibliophiles like me. Unfortunately, the movie was anything but. I fell asleep in some parts and I only finished it to find out how it ended. Only two words made the movie bearable: Paul Bettany (and a cameo by real-life wife Jennifer Connely). Even the talented Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent were wasted in this movie

Premonition

Before Sandra made The Blind Side, she had to star in drively shlock like this movie. Fortunately it was interesting drivel. The reviews were pretty bad, but i still found myself entertained with this movie about a woman who is confused as to whether her husband is really dead or not. And any movie that puts Julian McMahon (that’s Christian Troy of Nip/Tuck and Cole of Charmed) in a shower scene deserves my interest

Dear Zachary

To call this documentary devastating is an understatement. My eyes and heart ached from crying too much while watching it and afterwards, I wanted to eat a pint of ice cream. But more than the tragedy at the center of this film, it is also about the storytelling prowess of the filmmaker which was borne out of love, not to mention the amazing strength of the human spirit in the midst of unbearable pain. This is a highly recommended docu, just don’t read up on it beforehand so you can experience the full heart of the film

Valentine’s Day

I had to watch something brainless and funny after the depression-inducing Dear Zachary. Well at least I got 1 out of 2. For a movie that had a lot of A-list actors and a good director, they could have made a far better movie. It was¬†occasionally funny and there were some sweet moments, but all in all, it was blah. If you want a good romantic ensemble movie, New York I Love You is waaay better. And thank goodness you’re a singer Taylor Swift, because as an actress, you were horrible!!!

An Education

New girl crush alert: Carey Mulligan! She is just mesmerizing in this coming of age tale set in the 1960s in England. It’s a quiet and simple story, but it’s Mulligan and the rest of the ensemble (Alfred Molina, Peter Skaarsgard, Dominic Cooper) that carry the film. “So, I went to read English books, and did my best to avoid the speccy, spotty fate that Helen had predicted for me. I probably looked as wide-eyed, fresh, and artless as any other student…But I wasn’t. One of the boys I went out with, and they really were boys, once asked me to go to Paris with him. And I told him I’d love to, I was dying to see Paris… as if I’d never been.”

Devil Wears Prada

I don’t think I can ever get tired of watching this movie, what with the fashion, Anne Hathaway’s transformation, Emily Blunt’s bitchiness, Stanley Tucci’s fairy godmother, ¬†Adrien Griener’s scruffy charm, Simon Baker’s pre-The Mentalist hotness and of course Queen Meryl!!!

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I hated the book and all it stood for (chicklit, which I hate with a passion) so I was reluctant to see the movie. But I finally gave in out of idle curiosity. And the truth is, I didn’t like ¬†the movie too. It’s saving grace is Isla Fisher, who is impossible to hate. And Hugh Dancy (Mrs Claire Danes to you) is the epitome of the word dashing. So it wasn’t a complete waste of 2 hours of my life

Almost Famous

I watched this for the nth time just to prove to myself that yes, I was born in the wrong era, and yes, my dream job is still to be a music journalist. And all throughout the movie, I kept thinking “Why isn’t Billy Crudup a big star?”. He is absolutely brilliant and charismatic in every movie. But the heart of this movie is of course, music, and set against a coming of age story (the best kind of ¬†story, in my opinion), and excellent script and direction from Cameron Crowe, it is a near perfect movie for me

Music & Lyrics

If you know me, you know that I’m averse to romantic comedies. It’s not that I’m bitter or anything (ha!), it’s just not my cup of tea. So it’s rare that I actually like one and this is one of those rare moments. And it’s mainly because of four words. Hugh Grant Dancing and Singing!!!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2010 in I See Movies, Pop Goes the Culture

 

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My Must List – week of June 7, 2010

1. Finish going through almost 15 years worth of old magazines – I don’t want to become a hoarder so I have to get rid of baggage that occupies space. And it’s fun to see old items and pictures that used to be cool, but now looks so dated and amusing

2. Carry on with scrapbooking – Have I mentioned how therapeutic it is? I have absolutely no talent in sketching or drawing so I’m relying on stickers and magazine cutouts to make my memories even more memorable

3. Watch the French Film Festival at Shangri La Mall – and the best thing about it? Il est libre! Click here for the schedule

4. Stay in a coffee shop for half a day and finish reading Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box – because I dare not read it in the confines of my room. I can’t remember the last time I got really scared over a book named after my favorite Nirvana song

5. Attend the “Music Moves Hearts” benefit concert

6. Immerse my ears in Broken Social Scene’s new album – Forgiveness Rock Record is as musically satisfying as their previous 3 albums. I might not be able to see them in concert in SG this July, but I can listen to their indie baroque pop to my heart’s content

7. Figure out what I should do next, career-wise – oh right, it will take more than this week to figure this one out

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2010 in Must List, Pop Goes the Culture

 

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