Wednesday, April 22, 2015

happy birthday, mom.

I never knew then that this would be the last time I’d be seeing this elegant woman next to me in the photo above. That is Edith Lopez Tiempo. This was in 2011, during one of the many nightly events in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop, the oldest creative writing workshop in Asia she founded with her husband Edilberto Tiempo. She was 92 then but she always seemed so strong, full of life and humor. We had a small chat and I was amazed that she could still recall my name after so many years. That is her gift among many others, and the gift she has shared to us is this deep understanding of passion in literature and, basically, life which will always be remembered. There is a reason why we call her Mom; she is not only a National Artist, not only a teacher, but also a gentle nurturer of timeless wisdom. She offered criticism but never judgment, she provided insight and never insult. She is a life changer—especially to the person writing this blog entry. In a journal I had her autographed on back in 2008, she wrote, “Jordan. How proud I am to have a writer who is biblically approved.” Well, Mom, I am also biblically thankful. Happy birthday once again.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

horrible and not horrific

I’ve watched a couple of episodes of “American Horror Story,” a series created by the same team behind “Glee” namely Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, from different seasons and my opinion hasn’t changed. It’s a show that relies on shock and heavy-handedness. The twists and craziness the show is passing off as artistic flourishes only reveal the creators having incoherent minds and too much budget on their hands (and yet the show still looks cheap). I’d watch a Koreanovela over this stunt anytime. If you guys really want a good dose of horror, try watching “Black Mirror.”

[image lifted from this site]

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

one last ride

I wanted to love “Furious 7,” the seventh installment in the Fast & Furious franchise which was directed by James Wan, the same person behind the horror blockbusters “Insidious” [2010] and “The Conjuring” [2013], but the guy just couldn’t miss a chance to stick his camera on a butt, hip or cleavage for a couple of seconds as if he’s possessed by Michael Bay. Instead of moving the visual motif of this series forward to go along with the times, he goes back to the very first installment which is basically a sexist, testosterone-fueled film. Despite this observation, the franchise has transformed into a mixed breed of sorts from a simple automobile bonanza. This seventh iteration now feels like a spy, comedy, sci-fi slash martial arts B-movie, and it still works as popcorn fare wherein you really don’t have to think while watching it. Like staring at static and white noise on television. This still couldn’t top Justin Lin’s “Fast & Furious 5” in terms of story and plot development which propel everything to a logical and solid ending. “Furious 7” though is sadly full of self-aware one-liners and insane set pieces; it is easy to say Jason Statham is waste of character. It looks like his villainous Deckard Shaw is written as someone in the league of Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” or even Darth Vader in “Star Wars,” but he didn’t really translate well. Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody, on the other hand, is an interesting character. I am very sure he is to Dom’s crew what Q or M is to James Bond when the eighth installment happens. The filmmaker did something remarkable though (the only saving grace in the film) to Paul Walker’s character that many, if not all, didn’t expect at all, especially with the knowledge that the actor died in a freak accident prior to the filming’s wrap-up. I’ll have to end this here now. You’ll just have to watch it and endure the whole ride yourself. Spoiler bomb: In this movie Iggy Azalea appears in a blink-and-you-miss moment.

[image lifted from this site]