Dec 22, 2014

[Movies] Lucy (2014)

Luc Besson movies are unique experiences. The man has quite a flair for creating memorable visuals and he seems to have a thing for female-centric action movies. I suppose that's a natural side-effect of having been once married to Milla Jovovich, who has starred in quite a number of his movies.

Lucy is a quirkier movie that seems like it could have worked with Jovovich as the protagonist, but instead we have Scarlett Johansson. I guess Besson was impressed with her work as the Black Widow in movies like The Avengers or something.

Telling a good story is never easy, regardless of medium. Many times we just start with a small concept and then we build a larger narrative around it. When it comes to movies, I can totally understand how movies may even spring forth from a single idea for a visual or a particular shot and then you create something out of that.

That's what this movie feels like. It feels like a rather small idea that got folks excited and so they build a larger story around it. Sadly, it's not much of a story, but at least the visuals remain pretty fun.

Dec 21, 2014

[Movies] Mambo Italiano (2003)

I feel like the early 2000's will filled with quite a number of amusing or at least memorable LGBT movies, although I can't figure out why. Most of them are harldy great movies, but at least they had a lot of heart and didn't always feel overly dark all the time. I don't even go hunting for movies from this period - I just find out later on that the movie came from that time and I just chuckle to myself.

Mambo Italiano is a strange little comedy since it's all about Italian immigrants based in Canada. I'm not sure what that's supposed to imply right off the bat, but the end result certainly felt a lot more Italian than it did Canadian - but I could be totally wrong in that assessment.

The movie's core plot wasn't too bad and it certainly had it's funny moments. What it did suffer from was rather borderline acting and a lack of decent character development throughout the movie. Things just seem to happen because the plot requires they happen and not necessarily because it feels right. But more on this later in the review.

Dec 19, 2014

[Movies] The World According to Garp (1982)

The death of Robin Williams this year was indeed a tragedy. And so it seems only natural to end up looking back at his body of work. As much as he's most significantly known for his out-the-top comedic roles, we've also seen him in a variety of more serious movies that have a bit of comedy balanced with other elements. And he has demonstrated the complexity of his acting range time and time again.

The World According to Garp blipped on my radar again particularly because of the the HBO documentary Casting By. I hadn't seen the movie prior to this for one reason or another - a larger part of that probably had to do about lack of awareness, really. Why are there so many movies in the world?

It made for an interesting afternoon companion here at the Sietch, although I don't think I was necessarily ready for a full 2+ hour journey through the titular character's life. And while this is hardly my favorite movie, it was still a pretty good little movie experience.

Dec 18, 2014

[Theater] Scrooge (Repertory Philippines)

This play marks the last show in this year's Repertory Philippines line-up. When we had first booked our tickets for the season at the start of the year, we had the option to only get the straight plays or include the musicals as well. Personally I was only interested in Scrooge and Pinocchio was a side bonus at best. But since it was cheaper to get all of them bundled together instead of buying Scrooge tickets separately, we went in for the full deal.

What had most drawn us to want to see Scrooge was the fact that Miguel Faustmann was set to play the titular role. So it was a little disappointing when we found ourselves watching an alternate cast with a different actor in the leading role. And while the show was still decent, it wasn't quite as fulfilling as we had expected the show to be.

But hey, those are the risks of booking tickets so far ahead. There's little to no chance of adjusting to casting changes made during the season, and Repertory Philippines seems to have a bit of a pattern of behavior in this department in recent years. Just look at the bait and switch that happened with The Graduate.

[TV] American Horror Story: Season 3 (Coven)

American Horror Story is hardly what I'd consider to be good television or even scary to any true extent. As we've seen with each self-contained season, it's really just a place for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk to play around with stories and see how crazy they can make things. Like other Murphy-Falchuk productions, this means a lot of crazy plot twists and a lot of instances when the show seems to jump the shark as a matter of practice.

American Horror Story: Coven is the third season in the series and perhaps one of the craziest ones yet. And this is considering that the previous season already featured a strange mix of demonic possession and aliens while at a mental institution.

As the title implies, this season was all about witches, and it feels like the production team decided to make this the gayest season of AHS yet. And given the casting choices and many of the plot elements, I suppose they managed to achieve this particular "goal" with flying colors.

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