Bad Haiku for a Great Movie: Begin Again (2014)

“Adam got famous;

Keira was there to support—

But Adam was ass.”

Can other recently brokenhearted British girls pull an Adele – as in write an album based on a past relationship?

Can Keira Knightley be more awesome? And Hailee Steinfeld?

With emphasis on the music video of Animals and his abominable character in this movie, can I still like Adam Levine?

Bad Haiku for a Great Movie: A Teacher (2013)

“He asks, I answer–

Says yes to all that he wants–

But he wants no more.”

How does a teacher afford to secretly keep a sexual relationship with a current student?

What happens to the teacher when she keeps all the blame after the relationship is botched?

What happens to the student when the relationship is botched?

After seeing the teacher break down, what exactly happens to her?

Bad Haiku for a Great Movie: A Single Man (2009)

“Deep in the cold sea

He floats and goes with the tides–

Joins him at sunrise.”

What is left to a person when somebody to whom he has offered his life unceremoniously dies?

When everything else is provided other than love, will life still be as its worth?

Will to find another person compensate the pain of losing, compensate the want for death?

How does death come?

How does Colin Firth manage the role of a middle-aged gay man subtly?

Frozen (2013): Songs from the Movie Soundtrack We are Crazy About!

You love Frozen, and so do I!

I remember watching Frozen for the first time in November last year with some friends from school. I slept. I SLEPT. I was so tired and full as we just had some great dinner before going in. I was around Love is an Open Door when I dozed off, and got my eyes open again around Let It Go. I think it may have been because of the whiteness of the snow. The screen looked so calm. So maybe I did not sleep that much after all. And of course the songs, the great songs!

I will run through my most favorite songs from the soundtrack album!

1. Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Of course this is my favorite. I am from the tropics, and I am a poor brown tropical guy who cannot afford a ride to temperate regions. I have never had a touch of snow! EVER!

So I remember the first time hearing this which happened prior to dozing off. I liked this so much that until now that I have watched and heard the songs a million times, I still love it.

2. Let It Go.

Because Elsa is super fierce. She learned a thing or two from Queen Bey.

3. In Summer.

Because I get Olaf. Sometimes, even you have a bit of a hint in yourself that something is never going to happen, you still do it. Because you want to do it; because you can do it.
So Olaf went for it – and see! – he got a personal cloud snow maker from Elsa!

So Olaf is my mentor. In life, as long as it is good-natured, you just do it. Everything else will follow.

4. For the First Time in Forever.

I totally get Anna. She just want some people around – party and be merry and all.
If I ever live to be so rich in a castle with all such effects, then every day is a party. Nah, I’m a bit a recluse.

But damn, Elsa is such a prude. No wonder Anna just got so fed up, hence this song.

5. Reindeers Are Better Than People.

I agree. People are obnoxious. If reindeers could just talk, I sure would talk with Sven. I think Sven is a great companion.

So that’s it! We love Frozen!

Begin Again (2014): Favorite Songs from the Movie Soundtrack!

I admit it – I love Begin Again. It felt like seeing New York through Instagram. There was a mix of hipsters, musicians, normal people and corporate robots. And of course what kept the movie together was the great music and the fantastic cast – especially Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffallo, Hailee Steinfeld and Adam Levine.

I would have to cross out Adam though. I kind of hated him and his character for being cross over Keira’s character. I’m not good with not being attached, you know.

Anyway, here are my most favorite songs from the movie soundtrack:

  1. Lost Stars. Vocals by Keira Knightley.

Yes, you are seeing that right. I loved Keira Knightley’s version!

In the movie, there’s this argument about how Adam’s character made it very commercial that it somehow lost Keira the creator’s intent.

The song was written as a gift and originally arranged with simplicity.

But because Adam’s character was a complete sell-out, he used the gift song in his new album, trying to get Keira’s character back as a girlfriend.

Wrong move brother, you displeased Keira’s character. You shouldn’t have touched it. It was GRAND as it was.

  1. Like A Fool. Vocals by Keira Knightley.

There was a moment in the movie where Keira’s character records this song as a voicemail to Adam’s character. Why? Because he was such an ass.

The lyrics were spot-on EFF YOU. Girl got some balls!

  1. Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home. Vocals by Keira Knightley, Lead Guitar by Hailee Steinfeld.

The plot featured this song as the last one recorded in Keira’s character’s album.

Because the lyrics are great and the guitar at the end was amazing, we sure dig this.

  1. A Higher Place. Vocals by Adam Levine.

This is the song that made Keira’s character realize that Adam was cheating.

Actually, I felt it was a bit – nay, corny – how the song was used in the movie in a pivotal scene. But yeah, this song is good. It’s groovy and all.

  1. Horny. Vocals by Cee-Lo Green.

Cee-Lo nailed this song. Great, great vocals.

So these are my favorite songs from the soundtrack. What’s yours?

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

I grew up with a difficult family situation – financial problems, marriage breaking up – so I understand how things work among the kids.

In this movie The Squid and the Whale (2005), two kids experience unlikeable times as they cope up with their parent’s separation, the joint custody, their parents’ antics, and the perils of growing up. The older kid has his first breakup, attraction with his father’s girlfriend, a case on plagiarism and the realization that his dad is a phony.  The younger kid has problems with masturbation and drinking. The mother gets successful with career yet has a thing for relationships with other men. The father is unsuccessful with his career yet is constantly in denial, and brags about his pseudo intellectualism of sorts.

If there is one thing that this movie greatly does, it is mixing up the traits of seemingly unlikeable characters, and successfully showing something delightful.

My most favorite thing about the movie is the fact that the older kid (Jesse Eisenberg) realizes that his dad is a phony at the end – having looked up to him all his life, revered him for all his achievements – yet still does not dismiss respect for him. He realizes that despite his mother’s affairs, it was she who gave him a memory of true happiness – the moment of her and him at the museum looking at a sculpture of The Squid and the Whale.

Movies Seen 5: This is the End, Winter’s Bone, The Hours, Whip It

This is the End, Winter’s Bone, The Hours, Whip It.

This is the End, Winter’s Bone, The Hours, Whip It.

*Images used are properties of their respective owners – the movies’ production companies and distributors.

This is the End (2013). A fantasy comedy movie directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg about a bunch of celebrities stuck together after a house party is interrupted by the end of the world. It stars James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill as caricatures of themselves, and several cameos by Rihanna, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mindy Kaling, Paul Rudd, and others.

This was good. Leads and cameos were used well. This movie has enough star power to end the world.

Winter’s Bone (2010). A drama film about a teenage girl becoming the family’s bread winner and her search for her father’s body.

Jennifer Lawrence earned an Academy nomination for Best Actress for her performance.

She was so good in this. This performance surely did earn her the lead for the Hunger Games series – bold, smart, responsible, and a knack for firearms.

The Hours (2002). A drama film that fictionalizes intertwined events of the lives of Virginia Woolf, a woman in the 1960s, and a woman in the 2000’s, connected by Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway.

It stars Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore.

This is by far my most favorite performance by Nicole Kidman. I almost did not recognize her. Her look, the nuances in acting, the aura – she was so perfect for the role. She sure did earn her Oscar here.

Whip It (2009). Drew Barrymore’s coming-of-age comedy film about a teenage girl transition to being a derby player.

The film stars Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, and others.

I was shocked to have known Drew Barrymore did this. The woman had a vision. Coming-of-age films do not work easily, and she managed to pull this off. The story was hectic and charming. It was both romantic and lively.

Drew should make more movies.

Movies Seen 4: School of Rock, Psycho, The Double, The First Time

School of Rock, Psycho, The Double, The First Time

School of Rock, Psycho, The Double, The First Time

*Images used are properties of their respective owners – the movies’ production companies and distributors.

School of Rock (2003). Richard Linklater’s comedy film about a rock band member who impersonated his friend and built a rock band of fifth-grade kids at an elementary school.

Jack Black was so intense. The kids (now adults) were so fine.

Psycho (1960). Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller about a psychopathic innkeeper.

Honestly, I do not understand the rave about this movie. I understand that at a time it was made it broke some norms as having themes as sex and violence, and have pioneered new techniques in cinema.

I liked Citizen Kane way better.

The Double (2013). Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska star in Richard Ayoade’s fantasy thriller about a man and his doppelganger.

A bit too eccentric for me.

The First Time (2012). The guy from The Maze Runner and The Internship gets to do it the first time.

Movies Seen 3: Submarine, The Book Thief, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Aviator

Submarine, The Book Thief, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Aviator

Submarine, The Book Thief, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Aviator

*Images used are properties of their respective owners – the movies’ production companies and distributors.

Submarine (2010). Richard Ayoade’s comedy-drama film about a British schoolboy, his girlfriend and his family.

I have watched this movie because it had this guy Craig Roberts in it. I have seen Craig Roberts from this movie The First Time. Geeks in movies are interesting. They get crazy plots.

This movie -– too eccentric for me.

The Book Thief (2013). A fantasy drama film about a girl during the First World War.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005). Martin Freeman stars as a man abducted by aliens as the world turns to its end. Alan Rickman is the voice of a sad robot.

The Aviator (2004). Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Howard Hughes – an obsessive-compulsive business tycoon. Cate Blanchett plays as movie star Katharine Hepburn.

Movies Seen 2: A Little Princess, Being Flynn, For Ellen, God’s Not Dead

A Little Princess, Being Flynn, For Ellen, God's Not Dead

A Little Princess, Being Flynn, For Ellen, God’s Not Dead

*Images used are properties of their respective owners – the movies’ production companies and distributors.

A Little Princess (1995). This is Alfonso Cuaron’s adaptation of the classic children’s book about a girl named Sara and her experience in a boarding school.

This movie speaks to me a lot because I grew up watching the anime version of A Little Princess.

Now I see how Director Cuaron managed to improve the landscape of the whole Harry Potter movie franchise. It was he who drove the visuals of the whole thing to a darker, whimsical tone. The Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite Harry Potter movie after all.

I see the semblance of Azkaban and Princess:

  • Hogwarts was a better version of the boarding school.
  • Hogsmeade was a better version of the market where Sara buys.
  • There were images of ginormous clocks in both films.

Indeed, Cuaron was a perfect choice for the Potter franchise.

Being Flynn (2010). Robert DeNiro stars as a homeless man in Boston and a father to Paul Dano’s character – a social worker and writer.

For Ellen (2012). Paul Dano stars as a hard rock band vocalist trying to settle matters regarding his divorce.

Paul Dano and the kid’s silent exchanges were so subtle. Seeing them moments together, perhaps for the first and the last time, was heart-breaking.

God’s Not Dead (2014). A Christian drama film of intertwined subplots commemorating to a rock concert.

There were way too many subplots.

Movies Seen 1: At Any Price, Chloe, Frank, Miracle in Cell No. 7

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*Images used are properties of their respective owners – the movies’ production companies and distributors. 

At Any Price (2012). A family drama about infidelity, business and dreams. Zac Efron stars as an aspiring race car driver, and Dennis Quaid as his father who tries to make their agricultural business work.

Chloe (2009). A psycho-thriller about a doctor conniving with her husband’s alleged mistress. Julianne Moore stars as the wife; Amanda Seyfried as a bisexual prostitute; and Liam Neeson as the husband.

Frank (2014). A comedy-drama about a pianist-songwriter’s experience joining an eccentric rock band. Michael Fassbender stars as Frank, who does not take off a cartoonish helmet; Domnhall Neeson as  the pianist-songwriter; and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Frank’s girlfriend and fellow band member.

On a personal note, at first I did not like how the movie went, especially the first hour. It was too eccentric and weird for my taste. But towards the end, there was a change in mood and tone, and sense just came through.

Sometimes we see other people’s craziness and eccentricities as going nowhere, but they somehow know better where to go than we do.

Miracle in Cell No. 7 (20133). A Korean crime family-drama about a prisoner wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he did not do.

This had a good plot and good acting, except for the corny bit towards the end.