Boyhood (2014): Richard Linklater knows me

I love Richard Linklater’s Boyhood much because it somehow reflects my life so far. Not really that much, because I am more like a bore than anything and I am 21 in third-world Philippines; but there really are just segments in Mason’s (lead character’s) life that I can relate and fantasize of.

Technically spanning 12 years (from 2002 to 2014) in concept and production, this movie is indeed a major feat. It moved me well as I can relate to lots of references. There’s Britney Spears’ Oops I Did It Again, lots of Harry Potter references, emo kids, songs, and all other small stuff referential to my growing-up years. We Filipino kids are basically American-like as we are basically fed off of the echoes of what media feed the American kids.

Then a huge part of Boyhood tackled the dynamics of parents and kids in broken marriages, and some part on domestic violence. I myself came from a broken home because some guy was being an ass (but we’re all good now), so I can totally relate to the movie’s premise. I feel so much for Mason’s mother that I now feel more respect and love for my mother now, reflecting on how tough she had been dealing with our own situation years ago.

Then there’s Mason who we see literally grow up from a boy to a young man. It’s like Radcliffe in a montage of the eight Harry Potter movies. I haven’t had relationships or anything because I am totally a dork of sort, so that part I couldn’t relate but whatever; I too am a sucker for adolescent love of sort.

So there. I love the movie and that’s it.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): The Ultimate Soundtrack Placements!

It is amazing that presumably a lot of people take a great deal of interest on how the songs in the TFIOS soundtrack album are placed in the film. My stats have gone high since I released this post on the The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack placements so I am grateful to all those who visited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkqVm5aiC28

I am editing to make this post clearer and straight-forward. You may also view my previous TFIOS related posts – one in which I review and predict how the songs in the soundtrack shall be used, and another in which I do a recap and review of The Fault in Our Stars movie.

As I am not involved in any of the business activities related to The Fault In Our Stars venture, my integrity as somebody to source-out facts from may be questionable. However, as a Nerdfighter and an Accountancy student studying Auditing, I am familiar with fact-checking techniques both qualitative and quantitative in nature; therefore I provide reasonable assurance as to the fair presentation of The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack placements. (Also, special shout-outs to commenters such as Derick who pointed out a booboo in this post prior to this editing; and to friends who viewed the film and helped confirm facts in this post.)

So, here goes how each song in the soundtrack is placed in the movie:

  1. All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran: First song in the credits.
  2. Simple as This by Jake Bugg: in which Hazel waits for a call or text from Augustus. It appears that Augustus keeps his word that he shall not communicate with Hazel until he finishes An Imperial Affliction.
  3. Let Me In by Grouplove: in which Hazel, Augustus and Hazel’s mother are in the airport awaiting their flight to Amsterdam.
  4. Tee Shirt by Birdy: second song in the credits.
  5. All I Want by Kodaline: in which Isaac, Augustus and Hazel throw eggs at Monica’s residence.
  6. Long Way Down by Tom Odell: in which Hazel is out of the hospital and tries to keep her distance from Gus. She sits in front of the swing and slide set at their backyard.
  7. Boom Clap by Charli XCX: in which Hazel, Augustus and Hazel’s mother arrive at an airport in Amsterdam.
  8. While I’m Alive by STRFKR: in which Hazel and Gus share a car ride together for the first time with Gus driving.
  9. Oblivion by Indians: in which Hazel and Gus share a boat ride along the canals of Amsterdam.
  10. Strange Things Will Happen by The Radio Dept.: in whichHazel and Gus ride a bus and walk en route to Van Houten’s residence.
  11. Bom Falle Ralla by Afasi and Filthy: in which Van Houten plays the song for a reason only intelligible to himself, to the annoyance of Gus and Hazel.
  12. Without Words by Ray LaMontagne: in which they ride an airplane back to Indianapolis.
  13. Not About Angels by Birdy: in which Hazel feels melancholic after Gus’ funeral and Van Houten slips in the car
  14. No One Ever Loved by Lykke Li: third song in the credits.
  15. Wait by M83: in which (1) Hazel and Augustus share their experience with Van Houten to Hazel’s mother over cups of tea, setting aside the matter of them having sex; and (2) Hazel reads a letter written by Gus to her.

I have noticed the search queries posted that led visitors to my site so I shall address some of those that are recurring:

  1. “the fault in our stars sex scene track”: A non-lyrical/instrumental score, the title of which undetermined as of this writing, and not included in the soundtrack album.
  2. “songs per scene in the fault in our stars”: Here it is.
  3. “what scen is in tfios is while im alive playing”: The car ride. For more, read above.
  4. “song in the scene of the fault in our stars when they are egging the car”: All I Want by Kodaline.
  5. “tfios song when hazel drives away from gus’ funeral”: Not About Angels by Birdy.
  6. “what song is playing when gus and hazel walk through amsterdam”: Technically, there are several. That would involve Oblivion by Indians, Let Me In by Grouplove, Strange This Will Happen by The Radio Dept., and Boom Clap by Charli XCX, among others.
  7. “what song plays after the egging scene in tfios”: All I Want by Kodaline, but technically, a non-lyrical score.
  8. “what song plays in the boat scene in the fault in our stars”: Oblivion by Indians.
  9. “tfios dutch song”: Bom Falle Ralla by Afasi and Filthy.
  10. “hazel grace waiting for call”: Simple As This by Jake Bugg.
  11. “the fault in ours stars soundtrack predication”: You are in the right post.
  12. “soundtrack in the faults in our stars when they are throwing eggs at the car”: All I Want by Kodaline.
  13. “tfios soundtrack with scenes that were played”: You have found the right post.
  14. “soundtracks that goes with specific scenes in tfios”: You are welcome.
  15. “tfios song placement”: My pleasure.
  16. “whats the song in the fault in our stars when hazel and gus have sex”: Not in the soundtrack album.
  17. “what song plays in tfios when on boat”: Oblivion by Indians.

As a matter of transparency, I am keeping my previous writing of the post, as is, below.

Thank you very much and do not forget to be awesome.

 

___________________________________________________________

I love the The Fault in Our Stars movie soundtrack so much that I have been listening to the songs every day since its release. I did write a review and a petty set of song placement predictions weeks ago and I had a lot of things wrong! I guess I have to accept that I am not clairvoyant at all!

I was being very keen while watching the movie yesterday June 5 trying to scribble some ideas, and notes on screenplay arcs that I will use for my movie review/recap, and notes to “confirm” my song placement predictions.

So, I have here excerpts of my predictions from the other post and then, I will discuss the actual placement of the songs in the movie.

  1. All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran.

My Impressions – “This first track speaks spot on of the love that makes Hazel and Gus travel across Amsterdam. The song capitalizes much on the impression a person first gets upon the title ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ – a night of star-gazing and pondering. And with Ed Sheeran singing, this folk-pop song nails being charming.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe at the credits.”

Actual use in the film – First song in the credits.

So this one I got right. But I think prior to writing the previous blog, I may have watched a video on YouTube confirming that the song appears at the credits.

Verdict: I don’t give myself a point for this. Hahaha.

  1. Simple as This by Jake Bugg.

My Impressions – “This second track is the first song I’ve ever heard of from Jake Bugg, whom now I am interested of hearing more from. The title of the song is its gist – we do several things to come about with something simple.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe behind a montage introducing their town with Hazel narrating.”

Actual use in the film – a montage showing Hazel waiting for a call or text from Augustus. It appears that Augustus keeps his word that he shall not communicate with Hazel until he finishes An Imperial Affliction.

Verdict: Although I got the montage part correct, I don’t think I still get a point. Actually, almost everything that comes with a song that has lyrics in any film is a montage so I guess me guessing the montage part still does not count. Hahaha.

  1. Let Me In by Grouplove.

My Impressions – “This third track reminds me of color purple, blurring lights, and the hour immediately after sunset.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe during that first car ride Gus and Hazel shares.”

Actual use in the film – Hazel and Augustus and Hazel’s mother in the airport going to Amsterdam.

Verdict: Man, I am so wrong. No point again. I will proceed.

  1. Tee Shirt by Birdy.

My impressions – “This fourth track features Birdy’s sweet vocals on a song about a girl infatuated much to a boy on first sight.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe Hazel locked in her room, thinking of Gus, after that semi-date right after support group meeting where they meet the first time. A la Helena Bonham Carter and Edward Norton in Fight Club, yikes!”

Actual use in the film – second song in the credits.

Verdict: Okay. No point again. Okay.

  1. All I Want by Kodaline.

My impressions – “This fifth track is Coldplay-ish – manly and ethereal.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe when somebody from support group dies. Or a friend gets blind.”

Actual use in the film – the egg-throwing fit which was Augustus’ idea.

Verdict: I have no idea why this song was there. But it worked though. Of course it did. I gain no point.

  1. Long Way Down by Tom Odell.

My impressions – “This sixth track features some strong vocals over a song about a man reminiscing his moments with his girl.”

Movie use prediction: Maybe that point when Hazel gets weak and stays at the hospital.

Actual use in the film – Hazel is out of the hospital and she tries to keep a distance from Gus. She sits in front of the swing and slide set at their backyard.

Verdict: I think I deserve half a point. I got the Hazel-in-the-hospital part.

I think this song was the best song placement in the movie. It complemented the metaphor of the swing and Hazel’s life going down with the troubles of her disease and her love life.

  1. Boom Clap by Charli XCX.

My impressions – “The seventh one is quite an up-beat song of what the heart sounds like when in love. I think Demi Lovato agrees.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe while they’re playing a particular video game.”

Actual use: They arrive at the Amsterdam airport.

Verdict: I get no point. I should have thought that this song is an Amsterdam song. Ugh.

  1. While I’m Alive by STRFKR.

My impressions – “This eighth song is an upbeat song celebrating the celebrated modern philosophy YOLO.”

Movie use prediction: Maybe during a carefree car ride leading to Gus and friends’ fit of throwing stuff on an friend’s ex-girlfriend’s car.

Actual use: the song playing in the first car ride of Hazel in Gus’ car. Gus’ driving is wobbly.

Verdict: Cool placement. I get no point.

  1. Oblivion by Indians

*For some reason I do not have a copy of the ninth song Oblivion by Indians.

Actual use: the song in a boat ride at the canals of Amsterdam.

Verdict: I get no point.

10. Strange Things Will Happen by The Radio Dept.

My Impressions – “This tenth song is a duet with hints of bubbles popping, soft tunes, strings and set with very, very light cymbals constantly tinkling.”

“Movie use prediction: It sounds quite Euro-pop to me so maybe during a walk on the streets of Amsterdam.”

Actual use: Hazel and Gus are en route to Van Houten’s residence.

Verdict: I get half a point! That’s because I know it’s an Amsterdam song, but have no idea that it’s the premonition-y song to the horrors of meeting Peter Van Houten.

11. Bom Falle Ralla by Afasi and Filthy.

My impressions – “This is a Dutch hip-hop song.”

“Movie use prediction: This is a no-brainer. Van Houten will ramble about the philosophical leanings of this song to Gus and Hazel.”

Actual use: Van Houten, the ass that he is, plays this song for no sane reason to the annoyance of Gus and Hazel.

Verdict: I so, so, so, so get a FULL POINT. One point. Total points is two!

12. Without Words by Ray LaMontagne.

My impressions – “This song is comforting. It talks positively about life despite its crossroads.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe when Gus tries to comfort Hazel from being so disappointed of meeting Van Houten.”

Actual use: in the plane ride back to USA.

Verdict: I think I don’t deserve a point. This was a good song placement too. Comes second to Long Way Down.

13. Not About Angels by Birdy.

My impressions – “This song features Birdy in soulful vocals singing to a lover not to give up.”

“Movie use prediction: Sounds quite ambiguous to me. I have three: Maybe when you-know-who is in the brink of you-know-what; or maybe during that trip to the Anne Frank House; or that ‘dance’ at the hotel.”

Actual use: after the funeral and Hazel is in the car melancholic and Van Houten slips in.

Verdict: I don’t think I deserve a point.

14. No One Ever Loved by Lykke Li.

My impressions – “This fourteenth song sounds warm and steamy.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe while Hazel looks into a sleeping Gus after they did it.”

Actual use: third song in the credits.

Verdict: Certainly do not get a point.

15. Wait by M83.

My impressions – “The fifteenth song is another manly, ethereal number.”

“Movie use prediction: Maybe at you-know-who’s you-know-what.”

Actual use: Hazel and Augustus share their experience with Van Houten to Hazel’s mother over cups of tea, setting aside the matter of them having sex.

Verdict: No point.

 

So by far, I get two points in all. That’s two points out of fifteen! I failed…miserably! Hahaha! But I did enjoy the movie, the soundtrack album, and the whole guessing game!

Thanks and DFTBA.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): My Ultimate Movie Review (sort of just a recap actually)!

There is so much I could tell about this whole TFIOS movie experience! I may look unlikely of the targeted demographic (read: teenage girls) the studios want for the movie, I still so wanted to watch it because: (1) the book is my second favorite John Green book; (2) I love the book; (3) I intend to watch all Shailene Woodley movies post-The-Descendants; and (4) I just got carried away by the whole marketing mechanism the studios did for this movie. (Yeah, I know, I sound Van Houten cynical on that last bit.) But yes, the point is I loved waiting and waiting and waiting for months to watch the movie, so here I am now – writing a blog about the movie! – just after a ride home from the theatre!

 

PLOT! PLOT! PLOT! SPOILER ALERT!

 

I intend to write this thing via stream of consciousness so I am not Googling any detail I’m going to write nor will I edit things out later. For more reliable telling of the plot and everything, I will let the studios and other bloggers do it, but I assure you I am pretty much reliable.

 

I will tell my piece; here it goes:

 

###

 

Hazel is depressed, or so says her doctor, and she is advised to attend support group. On the kitchen countertop, she argues with her parents that if she wants them to experience life, why don’t she be granted of a fake ID so she could purchase liquor, and take pot, instead of attending support group. She accepts defeat by faking a stab on her torso with an imaginary dagger.

 

Hazel attends her support group meeting for the first time and dislikes it. She appeals for her parents to reconsider her quitting attendance; but once again, in defeat, she goes to the support group meeting the second time around.

 

She arrives at the church, goes to the comfort room, and exits from it clumsily. At the door, she bumps into someone – a tall boy in a green leather jacket, jeans and a pair of Nike high-cut sneakers reminiscent of Justin Bieber circa 2009.

 

She goes to the support group meeting area where she sees the boy again. They are in the middle of a room, sit in a circle with a carpet in the middle signifying the Heart of Jesus, facing each other, with a guy named Patrick facilitating. Patrick speaks, sings songs, and let his participants speak.

 

Isaac, a young man with a cancer related to the eyes, speaks up. He shares about his cancer, a bit of his life, his girlfriend Monica, and his friend Augustus. All the time Isaac is speaking, Augustus and Hazel engage in a staring duel. Hazel won.

 

As asked by Patrick, Augustus then speaks to them. He notes that he is an amputee.

 

“What are your fears Augustus,” asked Patrick.

 

“Oblivion” was Augustus’ response. He goes to explain why it is so. Patrick asks who wants to add something. Hazel speaks up.

 

Hazel’s second support group meeting ends; and she stands by the door outside the church. Augustus sees her. They watch Isaac and Monica share a hormone fest composed of kissing and groping.

 

“What’s with ‘Always’?” asked Hazel in reference to what she hears from Isaac and Monica. Augustus tells her that it is somewhat about their promise of forever to each other. A girl from support group greets Augustus passingly; Hazel pretends to be disconcerted. Augustus then flips a cigarette out of his jacket.

 

“Oh my God, you just ruined it!” exclaims Hazel, annoyed that Augustus seemed not to care about the condition of her lungs, the severity of cigarette smoking to human health per se, and their seeming attraction with each other.

 

“You see, this is a metaphor.” Augustus then goes on to tell Hazel that he does not light the cigarette – that he will not let the thing that kills kill.

 

Augustus proposes that they watch a movie. Hazel is reluctant as it is her first time meeting him, and that he may act in bad faith anytime soon. Augustus argues adversely.

 

Hazel’s mother drives by the doorway of the church and asks Hazel to leap in. Hazel refuses; she goes with Augustus instead.

 

Hazel endures a recklessly driven ride courtesy of Augustus. On the way she tells him her cancer story.

 

Augustus’ home is clad with things that have encouraging sayings. His parents are at the kitchen preparing enchaladas. He leads Hazel down to his room.

 

Augustus’ room is spacious and has a nook for his basketball trophies. They sit by the couch where they discuss Hazel’s favorite book An Imperial Infliction by Peter Van Houten. Augustus agrees not to speak with her until he finishes the book as long as she too reads the book A Hound of Insurgents, which is a book adaptation of his favorite videogame.

 

For several days Hazel awaits for Augustus’ call. One day she receives a text message from him asking if An Imperial Affliction has some pages missing. She gets herself excused from the dinner table and calls him.

 

Over the phone she hears howling. It appears that Augustus was in his room with Isaac. Hazel then comes over. Isaac is in despair because Monica broke up with him as she finds the thought of him losing the sense of sight unbearable. He then starts to break physical objects apart. Augustus lets him break his basketball trophies. The Augustus and Hazel flirting ensues.

 

Seemingly Augustus finds himself a notch higher in Hazel’s books as he successfully communicates with Peter Van Houten’s assistant. And until one day, after several correspondences, Hazel gets “an invitation” from Van Houten to come to Amsterdam. By that stage, the prospect does not go well though as the Lancasters’ are unlikely to finance for overseas trips.

 

One day, Augustus, clad in a basketball jersey and hands with a bouquet of tulips, is by the Lancasters’ doorsteps. He proposes that he and Hazel go to have a picnic by a concrete sculpture of a skeleton in a park.

 

Augustus then takes out their food – cheese and tomato sandwiches. He then asks Augustus how his preparations are all connected. His jersey was by an NBA player of Dutch origin. The sculpture was by a Dutch artist. Tulips are very Dutch things to give, and so are Cheese and Tomato sandwiches to eat. Augustus then spills to Hazel that he gets a wish from the Genies – an organization helping cancer patients on wishes of leisure – that they go to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten.

 

Everything seems to go well until Hazel’s cancer spikes up. For several days she is at the hospital, much to the worry of her parents and Augustus. This lessens the probability of their travel abroad.

 

Yet one day, Hazel sees an email from the Genies confirming their travel. Hazel’s mother happily confirms this to her.

 

Hazel, her mother and Augustus travel to Amsterdam. They ride a limousine on the way to the airport. As it is Augustus’ first time to fly, he finds the takeoff very scary and got reprimanded of “the metaphor” in his mouth.

 

On the night of their arrival, Hazel and Augustus got a reservation for a meal in a fancy restaurant. Hazel wears a beautiful blue dress – a gift from her mother. Augustus wears a dandy navy blue suit.

 

They sit inside the restaurant. The concierge regards them as Mr. and Mrs. Waters. They are given a glass of champagne by a chatty waiter – the champagne preferably the very first glass of their lives. Augustus chose for them the chef’s special entrée.

 

Their first dish was a risotto. Augustus remarks that if the risotto was a person, he would want to marry it at Las Vegas. The evening ensues with a wonderful conversation. “I’m in love with you Hazel Grace,” remarks Augustus.

 

In the morning the next day, Hazel and Augustus are to meet Peter Van Houten at his house. Hazel wears a tight shirt with a drawing of pipe and a passage written in Dutch. This intrigues her mother which Hazel wittily explains to her.

 

Hazel and Augustus arrives at Van Houten’s house. The entryway is full of unread fan-mail. Lidewij, Van Houten’s assistant, leads them in.

 

Van Houten is cold and snobbish towards them. He wants them out. He asks Lidewij for scotch. As it happens, Lidewij is the one who arranged the matters of Hazel and Augustus’ visit in an attempt to help Van Houten change his ways.

 

Van Houten asks Lidewij to turn the speakers on with a Dutch hiphop song. This angers Augustus. Hazel then tries to calm him down and just gets on to her point to Van Houten: for Van Houten to tell of what happens to the characters in An Imperial Affliction. He refuses to answer and ultimately wards them out.

 

Lidewij then goes after Hazel and Augustus. She treats them to a tour at the Anne Frank House.

 

Hazel, still feeling distraught, is struggling with the many stairs and ladders at the Anne Frank House. At the topmost room of the site, Hazel seems to have been very overwhelmed of her feelings, she kisses Augustus.

 

They go back to the hotel. They conclude the day on a wonderful note – a first time they share with each other.

 

The next day, Augustus and Hazel have some tea with Hazel’s mother. They tell her of their awful experience with Van Houten, missing out the bit they did at the end of the day.

 

Hazel and Augustus then spend time together sitting on a bench by a canal. Augustus confesses to Hazel that his cancer is peaking again.

 

They go back to their lives in Indianapolis. Isaac is now blind after his surgery. To make his friend cheer up, Augustus gets a plan done.

 

With five dollars from Hazel, they buy eggs to throw at Monica’s car. Monica’s mother catches them doing so, but goes back inside the house after hearing an illuminating explanation from Augustus.

 

On a night, Hazel gets a call from Augustus. As it happens, he is in his car by a convenience store, intending to buy a pack of cigarettes. Hazel drives to him and sees him in an emergency situation. He refuses to get some help but Hazel insists and calls 911.

 

After that night, Augustus’ cancer never got any better. His chemotherapy is discontinued as his body seems not to respond to the medication anymore.

 

Augustus arranges with Hazel and Isaac a pre-funeral at the church. He wants to hear from them their messages for his funeral.

 

On the day of the pre-funeral, Hazel gets into an argument with her parents for not eating. It then becomes clear to Hazel that her mother is getting ready for Hazel’s passing by becoming a social worker.

 

Augustus spent an afternoon at the park with Hazel. Eight days later, Augustus passed away.

 

Peter Van Houten was present at Augustus’ funeral much to Hazel’s annoyance. In the car on her drive home, Van Houten gets in and talks to her. Hazel is angered. He gives her a piece of paper which she crumples. Van Houten gets out of the car.

 

Isaac visits Hazel at her home. He says that Augustus wrote a letter to Van Houten which he must give to Hazel.

 

Hazel then retrieves the crumpled letter in her car. She reads it. It is a eulogy written by Augustus for Hazel’s funeral.

 

And the movie ends with Hazel remembering Augustus – of the love they had, they will forever have.

 

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IMPRESSIONS

 

To be quite frank, I got pretty much worried at the first ten minutes or more of the movie. Sure, those minutes had some funny and heart-wrenching times but I think those lacked something. If I am to assess the manner, I find those minutes under-musically-scored. Plus maybe a thing about editing. Those minutes had a slower pace than the rest of the movie. Maybe the intention was to build up the narrative but I think it should have had more scoring and a quicker pace.

 

The plot thickens and gets interesting as the Amsterdam arch is introduced. Everything then looks appealing in a charming Woody Allen cinematic kind of way. There’s Ansel and Shailene enjoying the beautiful views. It all looks visually satisfying.

 

I loved the boat ride sequence and the restaurant sequence. The sex sequence was all very endearing too. It felt very erotic and cutely disturbing at the same time.

 

But my favorite of all was the Anne Frank House sequence. That was one great invention that the production added. I do not remember Hazel struggling with stairs in the book. Shailene’s acting was so mesmerizing. Within the context that Shailene’s character was so distraught of meeting a monster, to physical pain from climbing several steps, to bringing her fondness to a boy to the next level, Shailene delivers her role very well.

 

And of course, Ansel Elgort was very effective as Augustus Waters. Never did I imagine Ansel to do something like he did in here. I do remember him as Caleb in the movie and my Roth readings and as Augustus in my TFIOS re-readings, but I admit his rendition of Augustus was better than I imagined.

 

To tell the truth, my first visions of Hazel and Augustus upon reading TFIOS the first time were Natalie Portman during her V for Vendetta stage and Douglas Booth sans the movie LOL.

 

Nat Wolff as Isaac was a show stealer too. His scenes howling and breaking trophies and throwing eggs were utterly hilarious!

 

The screenwriters did a wonderful job helming this movie. Yes, it may kind of have confused some time elements along the way, but I think they pulled it altogether. They did a pretty good job sifting through the best subplots, linking them together, and choosing the best lines from the book and adapting them to the movie.

 

Overall, I liked the movie very much! It lived up to my expectations! Except for the first few minutes which I found underwhelming, it was utterly great!

 

I give the movie 3.5 stars out of 5.

 

All is fair in love and war and the nerdfighteria! DFTBA.

Maleficent (2014): Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones!

SPOILER ALERT.

 
So there’s a young girl with nice hair, a pair of horns, and black great wings whom they categorize as somewhat a fairy called Maleficent. Now the moment I saw her, I said she is a Harpy. I insisted but my friends/movie pals just won’t believe me. Anyway this girl lives with other magical creatures in a very nice swamp aptly called moor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-XO4XiRop0

One day a young male human being called Stefano emerges from behind the bushes – the entrance being highly reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia. Maleficent was talking, seemingly in command of the conversation, to the magical creatures and the young male who had emerged from the bushes. I did not keep track of what they were saying. Then there’s a montage of them growing, looking like they’re in love. Then there’s a conflict that could be remedied by a true love’s kiss. When Maleficent was 16, she and Stefano kissed, but somehow it did not work out, and for some reason Stefano just did not see her anymore. (Yeah, a total dick.)

Then there’s a castle ruled by a king. Again I did not keep track of the conversation but I assume this king wants Maleficent’s land. He sends soldiers to claim the land, but they are utter nuts for not planning how to defeat magical people with wings and cheekbones; so Maleficent-1, Humans-0. I think the King died in war too. The good thing about the war though was somehow knowing what Maleficent’s weakness is – metals. (So she’s somewhat a cross between a harpy and a vampire?)

I didn’t keep track of the conversation again, but I assume the people were pissed. They were undermanned, so the few remaining soldiers made a pact or something that whoever catches Maleficent becomes king. (I’m not sure of this though.)

So Stefano, the treacherous Stefano, went to Maleficent’s land. He said something like getting away, or a precaution, or wrong attack information from the Humans. Now Maleficent, the-ever-loving-never-moved-on Maleficent, somehow chose to trust Stefano, stayed with him for the night cuddling, and drinking from his flask containing some sort of sleeping potion. While Maleficent was asleep he tried to kill her with a dagger, but he got scared, so he opted to take out her wings. And somehow, she lied low and lived miserably. You can feel her misery through a Jolie-patented howl not seen since Girl, Interrupted (only it was better in Girl, Interrupted.) She then tried to live like Voldemort post-Hogwarts – strengthening her powers and getting an ally called Theodore whom she morphs into different kinds of creatures, more prominently being a crow.

So Stefano the Prick became a king, got a wife and had a daughter. The king’s daughter was named Aurora. Upon knowing this truth, Maleficent obviously got mad, so she set up a revenge.

On a special ceremony for the king’s daughter, three fairies came to the kingdom to give their gifts. Imelda Staunton, formerly Professor Dolores Umbridge of the Harry Potter series, now a pink fairy, gave Aurora beauty. The second fairy gave Aurora charm. The third fairy was about to give her a gift when thunder struck, wind blew hard and Maleficent came in. Guess what, she gave her Aurora a curse.

So there. The king got mad, entrusted Aurora to the goofy fairies until her 16th birthday. All through Aurora’s life, Maleficent was there ensuring she keeps being alive until the curse ensues. But for some reason she grows affection for the child. Aurora becomes 15, and days before her 16th birthday Maleficent takes her. Aurora sees her as her fairy godmother. Maleficent has ultimately put Aurora in her good book, and tries to renounce the curse but failed. Aurora meets a guy, whom Maleficent thought would be the one for her.

One day Aurora thought she liked Maleficent so much already that she went to the fairies to ask their permission to live with Maleficent. Then Aurora knew of the whole truth. She confronted Maleficent and ran away to the kingdom. The king got Aurora locked up in her room, but the curse took its toll. She fell for an indefinite sleep.

Maleficent then got Aurora’s guy. He kissed her, but as far as Disney’s new stance for romantic kisses goes, there is no such a thing as true love, so the guy’s kiss does not work. But then, Disney advocates their new stance on kisses as an act of true love (sisterly love in Frozen, foster motherhood in Maleficent) so Aurora lives with Maleficent’s kiss.

Aurora lives but the king is not content without revenge so he tries to kill Maleficent. First he had a metal trap. Then Maleficent makes Theodore a dragon so she escapes. Then the king becomes a knight clad in metal. Then they fight. Aurora takes Maleficent’s wings out of a glass case. Then Maleficent has wings. Then Maleficent and the king goes straight out of the castle through the stained glass windows, like Severus Snape flying out in Deathly Hallows after McGonagall dueled with him. Then Maleficent and the king swerves down the tall tower, like Harry and Voldemort’s last fight. The king dies; Aurora builds a relationship with her guy; Maleficent makes Aurora queen in a merger between humans and the magical creatures. All is well; the end!

Things I like about the movie:
1. Maleficent’s cheeks!
2. Maleficent’s cheekbones!
3. Maleficent’s horns!
4. Maleficent’s lips!
5. Maleficent’s wings!
6. Maleficent’s body suit!
7. Maleficent calling Aurora “Beastie”!
8. Imelda Staunton as a pink fairy!
9. Theodore!
10. The cute Disney trolls!
11. The moor!

Things I don’t like about the movie:

1. The story.
2. The king!
3. Maleficent being not recognized as a harpy!
4. Everything Harry-Potter-like!

  • 4.1. The castle looking like Hogwarts!
  • 4.2. Flying out of the stained glass windows! (That was a patented Severus Snape move!)
  • 4.3. Enemies swerving down a tower! (That was a patented Harry-Voldemort move!)
  • 4.4. The king falling off! (That was a patented Dumbledore move!)

5. Everything Narnia-like!

  • 5.1. The knights!
  • 5.2. The humans fraternizing with magical creatures!

6. Everything LOTR/The Hobbit-like!

  • 6.1. The magical trees!
  • 6.2. The goofy acting!
  • 6.3. Smaug-like dragon!

 

FINAL VERDICT: Before writing this, I was resolved on not loving it. So I will have to stay with I DID NOT LOVE IT. But thinking about it again, I think I LIKE IT. For me, it’s 2 of 5. It’s a grower for me I guess. Tomorrow it’s going to be 3 of 5!

Shame (2011)

This is a story of a New York executive with a secret addiction to sex. He goes on with life until things change after his sister moves in with him, intending to stay indefinitely.

Michael Fassbender – as in Magneto, and the tyrant to Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Eijofor in 12 Years a Slave – was so fascinating. He was charming, scary and vulnerable. He should have gotten an Oscar nomination for this.

Carrey Mulligan was classy, zany and vulnerable. Her rendition of the song “New York, New York” speaks much of the mood for the film. New York is depicted as this sad, straight-forward yet secretive place.

Just like in 12 Years, Steve McQueen gives amazing visuals in Shame – clean, clear shots with lots of sepia and gray lights. My favorite shot in 12 Years has Chiwetel Eijofor – chained, writhing and shouting to get out – stuck in a small underground contraption with small rays of sunlight seeping through holes. In Shame, my favorite shot involves Michael Fassbender sleepless, breaking down early in the morning along a decrypt New York street, mortified of the thoughts in his head.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): Song-scene Predictions!

(UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE! Here’s the post to confirm the soundtrack placements in the The Fault in Our Stars movie.)

The Fault in Our Stars is my second favorite John Green novel. It is my second as I prefer Looking for Alaska more – a story of deeply troubled school kids sunk into vices and pranks; the very probable things I’m in awe of but would never want and dare to happen unto myself. Nonetheless I know The Fault in Our Stars is special. One, it features one of the most likeable romantic pairings in the Young Adult world – Hazel and Gus. Two, it chronicles with respect and fascination the journey of cancer patients. Three, Green makes metaphysics like street talk through his characters. And lastly, the novel depicts Amsterdam beautifully.

With the upcoming release of its movie adaptation in June, I am one of the thousands who did look after the soundtrack list. I believe the success of any Y.A. movie relies much to the story, the acting and the soundtrack – the soundtrack being the most accountable for its charm. Take the movie Juno for example: It was so charming because of Ellen Paige, Michael Cera, and its cute, crafty songs.

So to prepare myself in immersing fully to The Fault in Our Stars movie experience come June 5, I decided to listen intently to its songs.

All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran. This first track speaks spot on of the love that makes Hazel and Gus travel across Amsterdam. The song capitalizes much on the impression a person first gets upon the title ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ – a night of star-gazing and pondering. And with Ed Sheeran singing, this folk-pop song nails being charming.

Movie use prediction: Maybe at the credits.

Simple as This by Jake Bugg. This second track is the first song I’ve ever heard of from Jake Bugg, whom now I am interested of hearing more from. The title of the song is its gist – we do several things to come about with something simple.

Movie use prediction: Maybe behind a montage introducing their town with Hazel narrating.

Let Me In by Grouplove. This third track reminds me of color purple, blurring lights, and the hour immediately after sunset.

Movie use prediction: Maybe during that first car ride Gus and Hazel shares.

Tee Shirt by Birdy. This fourth track features Birdy’s sweet vocals on a song about a girl infatuated much to a boy on first sight.

Movie use prediction: Maybe Hazel locked in her room, thinking of Gus, after that semi-date right after support group meeting where they meet the first time. A la Helena Bonham Carter and Edward Norton in Fight Club, yikes!

All I Want by Kodaline. This fifth track is Coldplay-ish – manly and ethereal.

Movie use prediction: Maybe when somebody from support group dies. Or a friend is gets blind.

Long Way Down by Tom Odell. This sixth track features some strong vocals over a song about a man reminiscing his moments with his girl.

Movie use prediction: Maybe that point when Hazel gets weak and stays at the hospital.

Boom Clap by Charli XCX. This seventh song is quite an up-beat song of what the heart sounds like when in love. I think Demi Lovato agrees.

Movie use prediction: Maybe while they’re playing a particular video game.

While I’m Alive by STRFKR. This eight song is an upbeat song celebrating the celebrated modern philosophy YOLO.

Movie use prediction: Maybe during a carefree car ride leading to Gus and friends’ fit of throwing stuff on an friend’s ex-girlfriend’s car.

*For some reason I do not have a copy of the ninth song Oblivion by Indians.

Strange Things Will Happen by The Radio Dept. This tenth song is a duet with hints of bubbles popping, soft tunes, strings and set with very, very light cymbals constantly tinkling.

Movie use prediction: It sounds quite Euro-pop to me so maybe during a walk on the streets of Amsterdam.

Bom Falle Ralla by Afasi and Filthy. This is a Dutch hip-hop song.

Movie use prediction: This is a no-brainer. Van Houten will ramble about the philosophical leanings of this song to Gus and Hazel.

Without Words by Ray LaMontagne. This song is comforting. It talks positively about life despite its crossroads.

Movie use prediction: Maybe when Gus tries to comfort Hazel from being so disappointed of meeting Van Houten.

Not About Angels by Birdy. This song features Birdy in soulful vocals singing to a lover not to give up.

Movie use prediction: Sounds quite ambiguous to me. I have three: Maybe when you-know-who is in the brink of you-know-what; or maybe during that trip to the Anne Frank House; or that ‘dance’ at the hotel.

No One Ever Loved by Lykke Li. This fourteenth song sounds warm and steamy.

Movie use prediction: Maybe while Hazel looks into a sleeping Gus after they did it.

Wait by M83. The fifteenth song is another manly, ethereal number.

Movie use prediction: Maybe at you-know-who’s you-know-what.

So I guess a lot of those songs are pretty much ambiguous that I just can’t point at which specific part of the plot each song goes, but I’m sure of Bom Falle Ralla though. That’s all!

Divergent: The Movie (2014) and The Book (2011)

I watched Divergent weeks ago oblivious of the world YA author Veronica Roth opened. I heard some friends mention the book before yet it is only a couple of days ago that I thought I wanted to read it. And the myth quite applied to this – the book was better than the movie adaptation.

In fairness to the production, I thought they quite did a fairly good job adapting the book considering its fast and very particular elements of a dystopian post-apocalyptic world.

I thought that in the world of Divergent, I would have lived with Candor. So as a fan and person who operates with a rational mind, I would like to speak my views on how Divergent was and could have been adapted as a film.

On the big picture, I hoped Divergent was more of a well-built, character-driven, coming-of-age movie, than a sci-fi-action movie that it is.

First, since the series was thought to be made in four parts, I think it is best to establish the characters and the environment – physical, political and economic – really well in the first movie, with less of the action it so wanted. The core of the first book Divergent in the Divergent series deals with Beatrice’s changes and realizations. In short, she is the best thing about the book – her personality, relationships and reactions – and not particularly all the raucousness in the plot.

The movie started with a montage of the FIVE factions in dystopian Chicago. I’m a three year old and I did not understand until I read Wikipedia. This montage was a critical part of the movie and I though it could have improved with emphasis – like Citizen Kane opening montage emphasis.

The movie spent most of its time showing Dauntless paramilitary training yet a lot of those scenes quite missed the point. Veronica Roth placed the training segments to show the changes that happen in Tris, her friendship and hatred towards fellow initiates, her realizations towards the factions, and her looming romantic relationship with Four. There were too many visuals that lacked sense and compassion.

Second, there are gaps with characterization. There are characters from the book not (or less) featured in the film. The main characters Beatrice and Four are underdeveloped.

I believe Shailene Woodley could have delivered a Beatrice with more nuisances than this. I remember her doing her thing in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now. She sure could pull some sort of what Jennifer Lawrence does in the Hunger Games series.

Four’s affection towards Tris could have looked more obvious. I remember getting amazed at their first kiss – not because it looked a piece of art, but because I thought, “Where the hell did that come from?”

On the other hand, the movie particularly nailed establishing the characters of Tory, Jeanine, and Peter. Miles Teller as Peter was spot-on perfect for the role. Tory was an effective vengeful Dauntless. And of course, the wonderful Kate Winslet just became the sinister Jeanine Matthews.

What I particularly enjoyed with Divergent were the clothes with the exception of those from Amity and Dauntless. I super dig Abnegation’s clothes! I know they are supposed to be some monks or something but they look super cool! They dress like sci-fi Middle Eastern people which I super like! I also like Candor and Erudite outfits – I dig office clothes! Now Dauntless don’t look too military-athletic-punk to me. Which it should. I have problems looking like McDonalds so you know my feelings towards Amity.

To put my views towards Divergence more clearly through movie references, I suggest the following in order of preference: (3) Wanted (2008) – Four and Tris quite have the dynamics of James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie’s characters; (2) The Amazing Spiderman (2012) – The coming-of-age archs at the beginning were prioritized, with sci-fi fantasy themes introduced slowly towards the middle; and (1) Hunger Games (2012) – The dystopian world, characters, customs and dynamics were presented more clearly in this movie.

I am excited on how they will present Insurgent. I did not like the Insurgent book as much as Divergent. I found it too plot-driven. That’s besides the point though.

If they do continue with an action-packed approach, then it would not be a problem anymore as the dystopian world was already introduced. They could make the plot flow as they want. I am interested on how they will present Insurgent as they sure have left lots of gaps in Divergent. They missed the characters of Edward and Uriah among others.

Starting Over Again (2014)

This is a Filipino rom-com that gives emphasis to moving on.

Time changes people. Only Severus Snape has the ability to love the same person forever. Because he is from Slytherin where love is more like obsession than what it really is. Hahaha, what am I saying.

This has an interesting premise set to cheesy sequences. Iza Calzado gives a powerful performance.

In Time (2011)

In a world where time is a commodity, a poor man falls in love with a rich girl, and seeks to break this economic notion that divides them all.

Nah, what am I saying. I was floored by the underlying notion of the movie – a world where no diseases exist, aging stops at 21, and time is practically life.

La Vie En Rose (2007)

It tells the story of the French singer Edith Piaf.

It was a wonderful story of successes and downfalls played beautifully by Marion Cotillard. I have only seen Marion Cotillard once in Inception and I was floored by her. I know too that she was an endorser for Dior.

But her performance in La Vie En Rose was something. She practically embraced Edith Piaf’s persona in this movie.

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Based on a true story, a young woman always lucidly takes part in instances with her mates in a mental institution.

Winona Ryder had the lead role. She was so pale and always frantic. Angelina Jolie grabbed an Academy award for best supporting actress in this movie. Yeah, she was good. On several ocassions I had the song Que Sera Sera on replay in my mind.

50/50 (2011)

This is a story of a young man and his battle against cancer.

That one sentence description may make the movie sound corny (this sort of review totally is) but the truth is it wasn’t. It was practically cool, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivered well.

Hanna (2011)

This is a story of a girl as she finds out that she was intended to exist as a military weapon.

In 2012 I have watched Hanna, my initial impression was how “Euro country-slash-industrial” the movie is. The production design, cinematography and, most importantly, the score makes up for the vibe. I have seen several brochures from Ikea and a few copies of *Wallpaper and to me those practically make up for the experience with Hanna.