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 Amazing Spider-man 2 (2014): Spider-man, Gwen, Electrode, Green Goblin and Rhino!

SPOILER ALERT.

So I watched The Amazing Spider-man 2 yesterday and liked it.

I know how it got average ratings, and “lukewarm” attention from American audiences, but it sure is kind of a big hit in the Asian market. For someone like me – Asian, lives in Asia and does not speak and hear English that much, the story comes across quite well. The language was simple and clear, and most importantly I got some good laughs.

I do understand why some American viewers feel cold over ASM2. The story is a bit off in some places, although I think this one has better plotting than the first one.

Let me put it this way: the first movie had more coming-of-age archs than sci-fi fantasy. So that was like 60% Peter Parker as an orphan, a troubled teenager and a lover, and 40% Spider-man who takes revenge to those who killed his uncle and finishes off an Oscorp scientist-slash-lizard. This one, ASM2, is 30% Peter Parker who searches for the truth about his parents, a former friend to a villain, and a lover to Gwen, and 70% Spider-man who fights against Electrode, Green Goblin and Rhino.

In the first movie of this franchise, the coming-of-age archs were wonderful. I believe the director Mark Webber does these archs too well as what he had shown with his first movie 500 Days of Summer. However, the lizard plot was I believe not nice at all – a bit boring really. So with the first movie on hand, I was expecting more Peter-Gwen screen-time for the sequel. Although, yeah, it may not look as much of a Spiderman movie as it should.

This second movie though has less Peter-Gwen screen-time yet has more villains. Yeah, the Spider-man movie as it should be. This movie featured three direct ones, and opened for more. I believe the CGI improved a whole lot, and I must say I had a blast. Electrode emits blue light too much which I really like.

The ending was just quite sad as Gwen dies. I like Emma Stone as Gwen. She is charming and all. When Gwen dropped off the clock tower and was hanging off inches from the floor by Spider-man’s web, I thought she may have survived. But nope, she did not, and I was sad. Now Mary Jane, played by Shailene Woodley in some deleted scenes, is set to join in the third movie. But in an interview, she stated she may opt not to join this time. If I was somebody like Woodley already a figure, got casted, shot scenes, marketed the movie, yet my scenes were deleted, I may have had ill feelings for the production too. But I really hope it goes out well – I want to see her in the third one. She joining the movie would relive the coming-of-age archs that Spider-man movies do well at.

And also, I think this franchise needs more one liners or quotes. I miss the great clichés of the past franchise. People should always be reminded of their humanity! We need clichés! Yeah!

In all, I think I had a great time and it was money well spent!

Life of Pi (3D) puts the seas and the heavens right before your eyes.

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Life of Pi is the first 3D movie I liked.

Not that I’ve watched much 3D movies in theatres; I may have just watched two 3D Shreks and some other stuff. But Life of Pi, among all others, makes the whole 3D experience worth every penny.

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Life of Pi excels much on its animation and post-production. I don’t exactly know anything about those but I could see true hardwork to make this movie work.

I swear if you could have been with us at the theatre when we watched it, you’d never want to get identified ever in your life.

A mate and I were like those early audiences of cinema in the 1800s – so afraid of the silent running train before their very eyes.

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As for us, we were kind of scared Richard Parker would eat us alive, or that we’d drown in the Pacific, or that we’d soak wet in the roaring tides of the storm, or that we’d get lost with the stars in space, or that we’d get stuck in the carnivorous island, or that we’d get a bite from the hyena, or that we’d be Moby Dick-ing or something with a whale in the ocean.

Life of Pi has very powerful visuals. Watching it on theater was an experience!

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As for the story, I do respect religious beliefs but I am at a point where I get quite critical with materials using religious drivels.

As much as I appreciate how the story is interpreted visually, I think the writing was quite formulaic.

The premise of One God and religious traditions was rather interesting, yet I think it needs to be more sublime as I find it quite expository-preachy, needs more kick (which I really don’t know how it could be done), and not just rely on making the whole gimmick cute (what with a child having multiple religions).

This means that I don’t buy the premise that one’s multiplicity in religious beliefs is by sheer simple choice or some metaphysical perspective of sort.

There must be a deeper reason – like introspective conflicts, big break-ups, or some Eat, Pray and Love drama of sort.

And so, if this movie has some problems in it, I think it’s in its attempt to take on big subjects as religion and trying to attack them with simple cute premises.

I know it was a minor part of the story but it kind of drove or set the tone of the whole thing. I would have wanted some street bad-ass Tarantino-esque harshness to cut the subtlety and the Ocean Park Adventure of this.  (Or maybe I’m just feeling a bit bitter as a gourd lately that’s why.)

Nonetheless, Life of Pi is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve watched on theatre. Kind of made me miss dipping by the seashore. Never with a tiger though.

Bildungsroman: Coming-of-age stories keep me going.

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There’s always something both cute and sympathetic about troubled young people. The genre Coming-of-age is made popular by the late J.D. Salinger with his unapologetic characterization of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye. If Holden gets to read this paragraph I know he’d puke coz this is sheer phoniness. But that’s all the interest in the genre comes from – the genre is a reminder of bad deeds youth brings, or having lived a good humble life and you somehow hoped you’ve fucked up some time ago because you think it’s cool yet you’re feeling quite better coz you think somebody else’s life’s more fucked up than what is yours now. It all boils down to a schadenfreude moment – feeling good about others’ mishap. Yet a success in this genre still depends on how the author juices and shapes the character with internal conflicts which include either or a combination of drug abuse, premarital sex, insecurities, peer pressure, hormonal weirdness, introversion. And also, it helps that the character is particularly excellent at something – like magic for Harry, writing for Holden and Calvin of Ruby Sparks, and Charlie of Perks.

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I think it’s one of the reasons why I started blogging again – my love for the Coming-of-age stories. I love to think I’m a dork myself. I’m more of an extrovert but there are times I just want to shut myself alone in my room while I’m having extroverted moments at school or the mall. It’s as if there’s a limit as to the number of people I should get to see at eyesight. In coming-of-age stories, people of these traits, like me are the coolest of sorts. We’re the heroes. Bad people are out there, we couldn’t sort ourselves through them sometimes, but at the end, we’re still the heroes. Why? Because we’re troubled people, wasted minds but with lots of character.

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