Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Favorite TV Series

I love watching movies and my TV watching is very selective as I am very particular with the kind of shows I watch on the boob tube. I don't want to fill my head with nonsense, which means trash TV is out of the picture and shows that are creatively/artistically driven and very educational are high on my priorities. Cable TV series from HBO, AMC, CBS, Showtime, ABC, NBC and Fox have changed the paced and face of television. They are very enjoyable, well-made and the closest you can get to watching a full-length film. I will not be including any of my old time favorites from the pre-DVD and social networking years, so do not expect to see Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Alex Mack, Dawson's Creek, and my fave The West Wing and Sex and the City (although it pains me not to include them here).

Here are my faves in descending order.

15. In Treatment (HBO)
      Developed by Rodrigo Garcia
      Based on the Israeli series BeTipul

14. Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
      Created by Shonda Rhimes

13. Damages (FX / DirecTV)
    Created by Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler and Todd A. Kessler

12. Breaking Bad (AMC)
     Created by Vince Gilligan

11. Prison Break (FOX)
    Created by Paul Scheuring

10.Glee (FOX)
      Created by Ryan Murphy

9. Modern Family (ABC)
    Created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan

8. The Mentalist (CBS)
    Created by Bruno Heller

7. 30 Rock (NBC)
    Created by Tina Fey

6. The Tudors (Showtime)
    Created by Michael Hirst

5. The Killing (AMC)
    Developed by Veena Sud
    Based on the Danish TV series with the same title

4. The Borgias (Showtime)
    Created by Neil Jordan

3. Fringe (FOX)
    Created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

2. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
Based on the novels of George R. R. Martin

1. Mad Men (AMC)
   Created by Matthew Weiner

Lakbayan Series: Cavite to Batangas Pt 1

Travel is one my favorite things to do, though I haven't had the chance to do it more often due to time constraints and lack of budget. When I take photos of my local sojourns (well I've never been out of the country), I named my photo albums as "Lakbayan."

Lakbay, is the Tagalog word for travel, and bayan is the Tagalog word for town, city, motherland or nation. Infused them together and we have Lakbayan. Since I already have my camcorder, I've decided to use it as springboard for my dreams of becoming a videographer and film editor. Since I've just begun with this whole experience, I can assure you that my skills are still developing and not yet to be considered as a professional. But well, at least I've tried. 

Engagement & Wedding

The wedding of my cousin last August 21st was the highlight of my year. Probably because it made me live up to my potential as a person -- capable of handling crucial responsibilities. I was assigned to be her co-wedding coordinator, along with the Special Events by the Planner team. But overall, I was the one in-charged of practically...everything. Except of course with the decisions regarding her choice of photographers, florist and couturier. The scheduling for her engagement pictorial, the seating arrangement and the supplier for her souvenirs and etc were all up to me. Not to brag too much any more, I've did this video collage of her engagement photos that was taken outside the Caleruega retreat house in Nasugbu, Batangas (and some snippets of her wedding).

The gorgeous and effortless photographies were shot by Digital Picman. I said effortless because the photos looks so easy on print, but behind the scenes everything was so gruesome, even the preparations prior to the photo shoot. The weather in Nasugbu that time was totally cold and wet, but we were very thankful that the rain fell after the shoot or else it would be a real disaster for every one.

Music Maidens

My best friend Abbie Juano and I had a chance to meet, hang-out and play music together last October. After a year of not seeing each other the day became a real fun fest and we did lot of a catching up. I even cooked her one of my favorite pasta recipe (will post about that culinary entry...soon). We've been out of practice for quite a while so I, per se, was having difficulty singing, but nonetheless, the sessions turn out fantastic and fun. Since I'm still learning and getting used to with my camcorder the quality of the vid is still very amateurish, but I promise to improve in the next days to come (now that I have all the time in the world). Without further ado here are the two video clips from our session.


P.S. do not forget to like us on YouTube. Thanks!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Film Roundup: October to November 2011

I've been away from my blog for some time and haven't had posted any film roundups. Glad to share some of the films that I've viewed from late October to November 2011. There were some surprises and disappointments, but a long the way -- watching movies has always been a joyous ride that I would never get tired of again and again.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)
Directed by Troy Nixey
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins
Grade B

What's Your Number? (2011)
Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden
Grade C+

Beginners (2010)
Written and Directed by Mike Mills

My remarks:
"Christopher Plummer in a career defining and entertaining performance worthy of acting accolades."

Grade A+

Critics review:
"In its quiet, unostentatious way, it's one of the most sensitive films I've seen about the experience of living through and responding to the profound social changes of the past 60 years." -- Philip French (The Observer)

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
Directed by Beeban Kidron
Written by Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis, Adam Brooks
Based on the novel "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" by Helen Fielding
Grade C+

Mother of Tears (2007)
Directed by Dario Argento
Written by Jace Anderson, Dario Argento, Walter Fasano, Adam Gierasch, Simona Simonetti
Grade B+

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Directed by Ryan Murphy
Written by Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Salt
Based on the memoir "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
My remarks:
"A head scratching rendition of a picturesque  and lovely memoir. The film has transformed Gilbert's hellish divorce, rebound relationship and colorful traverse to Italy, Indonesia and India into a cheap romantic comedy travel-porn chick flick. Tsk, tsk tsk."
Grade C+
Critics review:
"It's disappointing if unsurprising to find that this odyssey of female self-determination terminates in the arms of a man." -- David Cox (The Guardian)

Zombieland (2009)
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese

My remarks:
"A game changer! The overused undead creatures in the thriller genre gets a shiny revamp with a twist of flavorful slapstick humor and witty comedic timings by the writing duo Wernick and Reese."
Grade A-

Critics review:
"Zombieland is the culmination of a lovely, bright scarlet burst of zombie movies that have leapt off the screen over the last few years." -- John Patterson (The Guardian)

The Good Night (2007)
Written and Directed by Jake Paltrow
Grade B

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Directed by Mike Newell
Written by Richard Curtis
My remarks:
"A British comedy
Grade A

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Written by Dan Fogelman
Grade A-

In Time (2011)
Written and Directed by Andrew Niccol

My remarks:
"The movie has an interesting plot, but unlike Niccol's earlier masterpiece 'Gattaca', it relied solely on a no-brainier action stuff and has failed to develop and sustain its fascinating story line."

Grade B-

Critics review:
"Timberlake does a perfectly respectable job as the lead, without ever convincing you that the movie hasn't been a waste of the commodity it foregrounds." -- Anthony Quinn (The Independent

The Fountain (2006)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Grade A-

A Dangerous Method (2011)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by Christopher Hampton
Based on "The Talking Cure" by Christopher Hampton

My remarks:
"Acting-wise, kudos must be rewarded to Keira Knightley for her stupendous performance as the curious and bewildered Sabina Spielrein. But overall, even the slapping (between Jung and Spielrein) can not save this film from its eventual boredom."

Grade B

Critics review:
"The problem is that little of this chatter is compelling. Though Cronenberg spices things up with scenes of Jung and Sabina at full gallop or involved in spanking sessions, the give-and-take between Jung and his wife and Jung and Freud are dry and dull, less dialogue than lecture - too much like the Christopher Hampton play from which it was adapted." -- Marshall Fine (Huffington Post)

Whip It (2009)
Directed by Drew Barrymore
Written by Shauna Cross
Based on the novel "Derby Girl" by Shauna Cross

My remarks:
"A surprisingly smashing directorial debut by Tinseltown's flower girl. Watch this film and be your own hero. Recommended viewing for all ages."

Grade A

Legion (2009)
Directed by Scott Stewart
Written by Peter Schink and Scott Stewart

My remarks:

"Do not watch this film for your own risk."

Grade C

The Red Shoes (1948)
Written & directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Original Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen
Additional dialogue by Keith Winter

My remarks:
"A true cinematic masterpiece by Powell and Pressburger with its overwhelming production, bravura performances and dance sequences. If you love the arts, then do not miss this film"
Grade A+

The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
Written and Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

My remarks:
"Too sappy and bland, not my cup of tea. Survived only and made promising by the presence and performance of the late-great Humphrey Bogart."
Grade B-

You Again (2010)
Directed by Andy Fickman
Written by Moe Jelline
Grade B

 Double Indemnity (1944)
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler
Based on "Double Indemnity" by James M. Cain

My remarks:
"A must-see film for film noir beginners and a must-have for all Cinephiles."
Grade A+

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