Friday, August 24, 2007


It is a story about a young man who traverses the other side of the wall of London to capture the star for the girl he loves.

Stardust is a classic made by a modern day novelist Neil Gaiman. Simulating C. S. Lewis' "Narnia" and Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" makes this movie admirable. It transcends fantasy that appeals to children to the world of spiritual symbols for the adults to ponder deeply. The screenplay then becomes seamless and believable; its effects stunning. Much more, the characters make this film human and entertaining.

Stardust speaks of a spiritual truth of "Someone out there looking down on us like the stars in the sky." How true it is when we question who's looking at whom, us looking at the stars or vice versa? When we look at things from the point of view of stars we begin the understand the greater picture of what life means and what love is all about. Even the stars become lonely when they see wars and conflicts envelop the earth. The star points to God and our desire to reach Him.

Rating: 5 / 5

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Malu Fernandez tragedy: Hurray to Pinoy Bloggers!

Ever since Malu Fernandez wrote the infamous article in People Asia Magazine deriding OFWs, Boracay, and the Philippines itself as Third World, Filipino bloggers and internet users have banded as one in demanding that Manila Standard / People Asia Magazine either compel Malu to apologize to the public or to fire her for her irresponsible, unprofessional, and even unskilled writing abilities that produced nothing except junk, anger, and prejudice against fellow Filipinos.

To date, neither Manila Standard hasn't done any of these nor Malu Fernandez apologized. Instead, she defended herself in her article entitled “Am I a diva? Or do you lack common sense?”

They only enhanced traditional media's "one-way" downward approach of bringing its news and issues. But they only continue to lend deaf ears to thousands of readers who are very irate by now because of their insensitivity to OFWs, including families and friends. They may have a list of email addresses or a "feedback section" by which readers could air their grievances, but we still see the trapo mentality of "those who have the money have the only authority to give the message to the readers".

This inadequacy of traditional media just solidified the ground for an alternative, more promising and relevant mass-based form of public expression - blogging. Search anything about "Malu Fernandez" on google or yahoogroups and you'd see thousands of bloggers condemning her prejudicial outlook against hard-working Filipinos who by far are the ones saving our country from financial disaster. This may also signal the end of traditional media and the blossoming of real media which represents more concretely the sentiments of the masses who have very limited access in a highly-valued page of a newspaper.

The blog can be an arena for the sharing of ideas of many instead of just a small number of people who think that they are the only ones who have the authority to write. The concept of chosen editorial writers are now a thing of the past simply because the convention of representing a common sentiment simply doesn't hold water.

Pinoy blogging also brings out the developing identity of the Pinoy which Ms. Fernandez totally overlooked because of her narrow-minded view of the Filipino psyche. The real Filipino is not just a passive receptor or a victim of those who have power or riches. Now, the majority of the Filipinos start to speak out their displeasure of things and people. They openly condemn any form of discrimination against fellow Filipinos, and don't give a damn whether they are rich or poor, have or have-not. For them, it's time to break the barriers set up by people like Malu Fernandez. Now, we are certain that there is a Filipino identity that treats everyone else EQUAL with no conditions whatsoever.

Though Ms. Fernandez explained that her article is intended only for an "elite" few, don't believe every word she says. The moment an article goes into the press, it begins to be a public property and is subject to feedback, whether criticism or praise. That's why it's called mass media. She is not writing her personal diary and locked up in her dark room. Otherwise, such writer might not have any "common sense", or a sense of the "common."

Finally, media institutions should humble themselves and open their eyes to the reality that they don't have the monopoly of information, but only a speck or a fragment of it. They should stop using mass media for profit by putting on some cheap stunt. Otherwise, let them warn the readers by putting up a warning sign, "The articles presented here do not represent the sentiment of the company; rather, they are figments of writer's own imagination." The ordinary person's article on a blog is as relevant as what is written in major dailies or magazines.

The readers should also be aware of this new reality before they buy a newspaper. If the newspaper doesn't resonate with their sentiments, let them boycott them altogether. Unless Malu Fernandez and / or Manila Standard make just retribution to the Filipinos, in particular to the OFWs and their families, they will only fall on the verge of oblivion and irrelevance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rush Hour III

A Chinese inspector and an American policeman meet again to search the Chinese Ambassador's assassin. All clues lead to Paris.

Rush Hour III is purely about entertainment, zany lines, and Jacky Chan's amazing stunts. But the investigative wonders fall sharply backwards as compared with the more complicated crime stories of the Ocean's Thirteen and Bourne Ultimatum. What results then is slapstick comedy with amazing lines from Chris Tucker.

Beyond the entertainment value is the issue of friendship and brotherhood. As time goes by, relationships do become sweeter and stronger.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons just hit the big screen, with Homer "doing it again!" and causing havoc to the environment. It jeopardizes the health of the whole town that President Schwarzenegger decides to seal Springfield with a big plastic dome.

Though the Simpons are noted for being campy, creating endless surprises and amazement among the audience, it didn't quite reach the "campiness" level it deserves. It may have chosen an appropriate and a timely theme, but it didn't tackle it that effectively. It fell back to the level of an ordinary cartoon situation failing to rise above its expected depth and style.

One would show the using Simpson conventions of undoing every problem they have done. Beyond that, Ned Flanders may be the man of the show, as he would provide what Bart sorely needs - a caring father. It's true that Homer is hilarious and ridiculous. But he may have been a bit too much for the audience to handle.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bourne Ultimatum

It's Matt Damon's third part of the Bourne film titled "Bourne Ulitmatum", a story of Jason Bourne dodging new, superior assassins as he searches for his unknown past while a government agent tries to track him down.

It's so consistent with the first two parts and ties the whole trilogy seamlessly. Though there may be a lot of impossibilities with this fiction movie, it can effectively get the audiences' approval. Matt fits the role consistently as he did in the past.

Intended for adult audiences because of its violent scenes, it would even be advisable for them to be more critical about the film. It did succeed in portraying violence in a Hollywood style, action-packed way, but still, violence is violence, especially when it comes to getting away from the law. The film dwells on sensitive issues as brainwashing, retaliation, and violence. No amount of reasoning can justify a violent act. Sooner or later, the film has to opt for a way to end the cycle of violence. In a way, "Bourne Ultimatum" showed that.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Kudos to Leah Salonga

I've been priviledged to watch Leah Salonga perform the role of Fantine in the Broadway musical Les Miserable two weeks ago.

She definitely exceeded the other artists in her quality of voice and her rendition of the role of a poor woman who had to sell even herself to support her child.

Watching her perform on stage made me feel proud especially when she sang "I Dream a Dream".

To Leah, congratulations!