Sunday, June 13, 2010

DESCOVRIR'S PICK: THE KARATE KID




It was a positive movie.

And the laugh trip it was among moviegoers earlier.

And I felt good after watching it.

The Karate Kid (1984, 1986, 1989) is the movie of my youth, along with the songs that became popular with it like "The Moment of Truth," "You're the Best," and Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love." It's a movie you kept watching over and over for the feel good effect, that's why I looked forward to that same element, and the 2010 remake didn't disappoint.

The film, starring Jaden Smith (Ralph Macchio before) and Jackie Chan (Pat Morita then), borrowed from the Karate Kid I, considering the plot (Smith being bullied at school and found a mentor in Chan); the scenes (Chan trying to catch a fly with his chopsticks), the unconventional ways Chan teaches Smith (jacket on, jacket off, put it up, put it down - with an attitude).

From the Karate Kid II, the setting was Asian - when it was in Okinawa, Japan before for its setting (when Morita's character had to return to his hometown because of his ailing father and to face his old enemy), this remake makes China for the location.

Also, it has explored more the underdog and minority themes - with Smith being a black kid in a foreign, and hostile "home" (considering how he was bullied). And the subliminal plot of how China enforces how a power they could be - like how they raise kids to be "perfect" (Mei Ying, the girl Smith has a crush on, was pressured to be very good in violin), the bully kid, Cheng, was taught to show no pain, no mercy. But it was also funny to see how Mei Ying succumbed to the Lady Gaga fever, dancing better than Smith.

Also, I find this more "Asian" than the Karate Kid' franchise - it was set in China; the kung fu or the martial arts theme of this film was more alive (the scene where Smith entered a kung fu school and children being taught such discipline at a very young age, it was captivating).

Although, I looked forward to more scenes of Chan and Smith, like how Macchio was taught by Morita technique by technique (wax on, wax off, hand up, hand down, left hand small wooden plank, right hand big wooden plank, etc.) - here in this remake, it was a fast montage, only a music accompanying the scenes where Chan was teaching Smith, could have been more convincing if such have had dialogue in them, and the serene backdrop, were just that, backdrop.

I cried when after Chan smashed the car, Smith pulled him out of it with the bamboo sticks being pulled by them, Smith leading the way for Chan. Every movement was captured through their shadows and such was impressive.

Unexpectedly, it was Smith who delivered the most laughs. From the first time he met Cheng (where he stood up despite teary-eyed), to mimicking Chan to put up the jacket with a flick of the hands and an "attitude," to how the playback during tournament, when he was captured with such fighitng stance - and face with an attitude; and how he tries his hardest to do the cobra style, and was able to use it and won. Chan also had his funny moments (like how he panted after he tame the bully kids).

I found it disconcerting though that for the 12-year-old lead, only to reach puberty, he kissed Mei Ying, and toward the end of the film, he went to her house and told the father, in Chinese, he'd be the best friend his daughter would ever have - so, tween romance or what? I didn't like it also Chan sporting a funny walk, maybe to emphasize he is old - even Morita who was way older than Chan was walking straight.

The original's ending was lacking - Macchio walked away with the trophy and that was it. This remake, I found it more satisfying (see for yourself).

But like I wrote, it didn't disappoint. The soundtrack was nicely collated also - and I got a surprise when I was singing along the closing song, "Never Say Never," only to find in the credits that it was Justin Bieber singing!

I don't like Bieber himself, but for this song, I have to admit, it kicked up my optimism a notch higher. As the movie delivered, when life puts you down, there's no way to go but up, and yes, never say never.

And now, Justin Bieber is playing on my head ....

Sunday, June 06, 2010

DESCOVRIR'S PICK: SEX AND THE CITY 2



The interactive trailer


I was supposed to go to the supermarket.

But I thought what the heck, it's Saturday, and I deserved some time off - not to mention - "girl power," so even if it was to start at 6:30PM, I watched Sex and the City 2.

I didn't expect anything great in this movie. Earlier reviews say it's dragging and running on thin plot. For me, I watched it to feast my eyes on those gorgeous dresses, skirts, scarves, shoes, jewelry - stuff I'm not exactly into, especially if they're priced (with some hard-to-pronounce names) as Brian Atwood, Manolo Blahnik, Roberto Cavalli, Christian Dior, Halston, Christian Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.

I didn't follow the series but I get to watch it once in a while. The appeal of the movie and the whole franchise is that every lady gets to identify with the four leads - Carrie Bradshaw Preston (Sarah Jessica Parker); Samantha (Kim Cattrall); Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon).

For me, I'm a little Samantha in the sense that I get to do things that defy the odds and reject the conventions (her flashing a pack of condoms, in her short shorts and red, sexy top in front of Arab men was a strong statement and a taboo to that country - for which critics find offensive to the Muslim community and the Islam religion - I haven't done anything like that so far);

I'm a little Charlotte that in general, I'm prude and goody-two-shoes, and at times, I thrive at the comfort of home and family (except I'm not married to a Jew and I don't have two little girls that freak me out on occasions and I would probably ask Carrie to stay in her apartment for two days for my time off);

I'm a little Miranda in the sense that many times in my career I got to rock the boat of patriarchal norm in the corporate world, for which some found me to be threatening (and instead of "sshh-ing" back and flashing the "talk-to-the-hand" sign, I instead gave the last big, cheating boss I had with stilletoe stares and said out loud how he left the elevator stink with his cigarette smoke and bodily odor, ha)

Overall, I guess, I'm more of Carrie - I write for a living (her latest book about marriage was given a negative review by the esteemed The New Yorker, which I also read from time to time - and no, I haven't written a book yet, perhaps I should consider now, something about getting dumped and winning my man back).

Unlike Carrie who had been into relationships but only loves Mr. Big (Chris Noth), I have (I believe I still have) and will always have my one-and-only Mr. Big.

Watching Noth play Mr. Big only reminded me of my own Mr. Big.

For some reason, I find them to look a bit like the same (except my own Mr. Big looks more like John Cusack);

how they suavely talk and teasingly look at you;

how, during their on-and-off relationship, he displayed his being commitment phobic but in the end ran after Carrie and married her (well he's running away for close to two months now ...);

how he asked for the weekly, two days off for some of his alone time and so for Carrie and how she realized she's hurting with it when Charlotte asked about it (yes, my own Mr. Big has his own time off with video games);

how he prefers the couch and the TV as bonding time with Carrie (although I'm not as outgoing as Carrie);

I have no ex-boyfriend Aidan that I'd kiss in a moment of passion but my own Mr. Big is still distancing himself from me; but yes, like Carrie, I keep no secrets from him, that's how I believe relationships must be;

they, I believe, decided to have a marriage without children - my own Mr. Big wanted to have little Sebastian and Tristram before; but for what he said a poisonous society he got exposed to with his current work, he decided not to have any children anymore. For someone as fond with kids, I accepted that and willing to have a married life without children - so long as I'm with my Mr. Big;

Mr. Big made himself unavailable to Carrie after her confession about Aidan; he didn't pick up Carrie from the airport; but he came home and gave her a ring with black diamond and asked Carrie to repeat after him - for Carrie not to kiss any man other than her husband, and to stop worrying that they'd be a boring, old, married couple because they will never be - I will abide by that vow.

No posh New York apartment; no black diamond; my Mr. Big not as rich as the Mr. Big in the movie - but I will love any couch and any TV in the world - and watching old, black and white movies - as long as I'm with my Mr. Big.

That was the thought that filled me until the credits rolled.

It was not about the movie or seeing the now evidently wrinkling yet still fashionable ladies, but it was about finding solace and temporary comfort in seeing parts of myself through Sex and the City 2. Yes, movies are a form of escapism.

And yes, saved by the funny and witty lines mostly from Samantha, Miranda, and on occasions Charlotte ("I don't know ..." [with matching wide-eyed awe]) Liza Minneli's Beyonce's number, and the suave and classically handsome Mr. Big, the movie was too long for more than two hours. 

That instead of bringing home food to stock for a couple of days, I missed grocery-shopping (I stepped out the movie house almost 9PM), I bought home Jollibee spaghetti and palabok instead.

I blame Sex and the City 2 for that, ha.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

COUNTDOWN

It's June already - middle of 2010, a dreading, tear-filled month for me for sure.

Middle of the month I'll be starting to work full-time again, along with my other commitments that most of them I had for years. I'm just thankful I got these "distractions" of opportunities.

By next week, I am reminded of an occasion that last year I had an honor to spend with the celebrator - the hours of shredding the chicken; cutting Baguio beans; cutting carrots Julienne style to the actual cooking of vermicelli for that dear one's birthday was mortifying, but all sweat was worth it when it was consumed in a flash with French champagne to gulp it down. I'll be missing this opportunity to do this now, when I'm intending to experiment on Pad Thai ....

49 days now since I last saw my happiness;

37 days since the non-communication started over a technical issue that I'm not responsible of. I spent these 37 waking days crying, thinking what have I done; attempting to contact via SMS, e-mails, offline messages, but I was waiting in vain; 37 days of late nights spent on crying until tiredness lulled me to sleep;

11 days since I received that bomb of an e-mail telling me it's over - just like that: the 49 days since I last saw my happiness left me here in a more hopeful mode that 2010 will be our year; the 37 days that passed left me here questioning myself over something I had no idea of; of suspecting something's going on down there;

A day after that bomb I woke up with a throbbing headache and eyes very evident that they cried the whole night. I asked for a letter to process my going there to sort things out but no reply came. The more I cried. But I already requested permission from the boss for me to fly to Australia. I printed the forms already. Had my passport-sized photo taken for the visa application. Everything is sorted out except for that letter of invite.

Day 3 after that bomb, I met with a friend who has been comforting me since. To her I owe her my sanity. She said I should keep quiet for now, not make any contact, for the other party to think things over, to which I'm following strictly.

Day 6, the bomb sender suddenly came back online  after 37 days of absense, 37 days I'm wishing the presence was there. Either busy or away, that's always the online status. I'm tempted to drop a line but I am restraining myself. I'm spending the past days gathering strength, rationalizing things, making myself calmer, but not sure until when I can take it all.

If before I was hoping for that person to contact, now with that online presence, I am dreading what that person would ever say should that person decides to talk. My heart remains with love only for that person - and despite all this - I still love and will always love that person - but fear resides in me now. I don't know how much strength I have to absorb the truth.

But this blog post will be the start of my countdown to even things out. I'm no quitter. I believe in one true love and I believe I found that one true love in that person and that I will fight for it no matter what.

OPERATION 1 TRUE LOVE HAS NOW COMMENCED.

Day 1: attempt contact to other networks, see if they can help me with that letter which is a must.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

DESCOVRIR'S PICK: LASIK

Lately, my vision - literally and figuratively - has been confounded with so many things.

But I have to attend to pressing matters before the "second best" pressing matters - by Thursday, I should go see my opthalmologist and have my eyes checked for new glasses and fresh boxes of contact lenses.

I look forward to the time I won't be wearing and getting irritated by contact lenses or looking nerdy with my eyeglasses. Lasik (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) or the laser eye surgery that helps shaped the cornea in case of severe myopia, is indeed, a very possible option for me. And I found this site, USAEyes of the non-profit LASIK patent advocacy organization, the Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance, very informative.

USAEyes has been helping patients for over a decade to know more about LASIK and its benefits. It's Web site (Health On the Net code compliant), USAEyes.org, packed information also about why Lasik may not be right for you, and shares vision correction surgery alternatives like PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, and PIOL.

USAEyes also evaluates the Lasik results of individual doctors and certifies if they meet their exacting standards. It's also noteworthy to highlight that a US Congressional subcommittee cited USAEyes as a reliable source of Lasik information. Representatives of USAEyes have also testified before the FDA about Lasik patient advocacy.

USAEyes' CORE Patient Survey, meanwhile, reports real-world results as reported by Lasik patients. Patients use the USAEyes' Ask a Lasik Expert forum to ask and receive researched answers to their questions both before surgery and after.

USAEyes' 50 Tough Questions for Your Lasik Doctor can help anyone avoid a bad Lasik doctor, which information I find very useful.

USAEyes also received stellar recommendations from Newsweek, US News & World Report, CBS News, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fox News, Associated Press, MSNBC, and Oprah - such adds a boost to their credentials.

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With this wealth of information regarding Lasik, going to see a Lasik doctor for initial consultation would be a breeze for me, and thus, prepare me in the future to receive a clearer gift of sight.