Friday, September 30, 2005

Me and my friend caught the second to the last showing of The Transporter 2 earlier this evening at the Greenbelt 3 cinema. Well it was either that or The Cave. I don't like horror movies that much and the latter seems like a B-movie of sorts anyway. I dodn't get to catch the first movie so this is a whole new experience for me. I just thought the car chase in the movie's trailer was too good to pass up. I did like it though my friend was polite all throughout the time we were together.

What I did notice about it is that it's a lot like eating Sushi. It's an acquired taste but it's not hard to like Frank Martin's (Jason Statham) character. He doesn't talk much but punctuates his actions with the most creative, testosterone laden punch I've ever seen. Compared to him James Bond looks a like a sissy-boy. I might get a copy of this movie in DVD, just to have something on hand.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Coincidence? Haha! Probably not.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New storyline for October (but I'm starting early). I'm incorporating some of our experiences getting sponsors for the upcoming komiks convention but I'm gonna tell the story from the sponsor's point of view. Or something like it.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

No loud barfing noises please.

Would you believe me if I told the movie, Red Eye is I think the first Wes Craven flick I've watched in all my life? It's true and I liked it! The trailer first led us to believe that this was one of those romantic movies where girl meets boy in a busy airport, then it goes on to say that it's about this silent hostage situation involving the girl, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) a Miami hotel concierge and her seatmate, the creepy and icy hitman, Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy). The trailer doesn't give much information as to what prompted this situation and before you knew it the two leads has already started reeling you in slowly into their world like a silent witness helpless to do anything else.

If you must know, the situation was politically prompted and it has something to do with the United States' current war on terror and Director Wes Craven cleverly wittled it down to a personal level. You think that war doesn't have anything to do with you? Guess again. It was the last thing Lisa expected on the way home to her dad in Texas. She's a bubbly, kind hearted woman who refuses to be sucked in the world's system of looking out for number one. On the way to the airport she even manages to assist a nervous new comer to the hotel business, Cynthia (Jayma Mays) navigate her way out of a sticky situation. And while lining up to the ticket counter she courageously faced up to an irate passenger before Jack stepped up to help her. The introduce each other and engaged in the usual small talk. There was a budding attraction between or what seems like it until the airplane took off and Jack's mask followed suit. He threatened Lisa to cooperate by doing everything he asked her or else suffer the consequences of having her dad, Joe Reisert (Brian Cox) die a violent death in the hands of a cold blooded killer. Lisa tries to keep her wits about her in the midst of her shock and grief. All throughout the journey she tried every single thing she could to buy time till she could get help, prevent a high profile assassination, and assure her dad's survival.

A lot of things going for this movie made me go for this movie but I'll sum it up into three: the action is great, the three lead actors were really great, and the awesome directing job Director Wes Craven did for this movie. There isn't a dull moment in the whole movie. Every scene kept me on the edge like I was feeling for Lisa's predicament, seeing the situation from Jack's cold stare, and nearly shouting at the screen for Joe Reiser to get the heck out of the house. All three kept my mind from wandering elsewhere. Well I was probably biased and wouldn't really feel and think anything else if they got different actors for the roles. Also the scenes involving Cynthia (Lisa's nervous assistant) not only provided the all-important break from the heart stopping hostage and chase scenes she was also an important secondary character fundamental to defeating the plans of the enemy. There are talks of making a sequel but I don't think having another one is necessary. The movie can stand on its own and it would be a grave mistake if they pushed through with making a sequel. So I suggest let's leave this story well enough alone. Okie?

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I saw this last night on the way out of the theater. It's nothing really unusual but maybe it is. Everything was swathe in white plastic giving the wide corridor a surreal feel.

The painters were giving the ceiling a facelift with layers of white paint. It was a really spectacular sight. Can you imagine being bombarded by a weird dark movie for a couple of hours and coming out to a quiet mall wrapped in white plastic? These were taken using the camera feature on my phone.

Monday, September 26, 2005

You talking to me?

I didn't think much of anything prior to watching The Brothers Grimm. Blame it on the one trailer they've been showing over and over in cinemas around these parts. Anyway, I didn't read much reviews or any critique prior to watching it too so I came in to the cinema expecting to be entertained. Thankfully I got all that and more.

Being a big fan of the Grimm Brothers' works ever since I was a kid (they had a way of creating stories that are a lot more gripping than Mr. Andersen's) I wanted to see how everything fell into place as a friend explained how every fairy tale they've written had its roots in their adventures. Simply put the story revolves around the two brothers who make their far-from-decent living by fooling innocent townspeople of the late 18th Century Germany into thinking they're sort of "Ghostbusters" (of course it's all set up in advance). But the occupying French army wound up of their scam and threatened them with death unless they successfully investigate the case of the missing children in a small hamlet whose daughters where disappearing in the nearby enchanted forest. They reluctantly agreed with Wilhelm Grimm (Matt Damon) leading the way. Loud and full of braggadocio he assures the townspeople that they will save their land from evil enchantments. Backing him is the quiet and timid Jacob Grimm (Heath Ledger) who diligently records everything in his notebook, while the townspeople nominate Angelika (Lena Headey) to go with them to take a look. Things aren't what it appears to be and an old tale involving a beautiful but vain queen* (Monica Bellucci) turns out to be real and she's ready to wreak havoc once again. Will is blown out of his mind by all the supernatural things they've witnessed and being the left-brained one he nearly collapsed from the weight of his world pressing hard down on him. Jacob, who grew up studying these things soared like never before, he stepped up to the plate and showed that like his brother he's very much capable of saving the day.

Not everyone agrees with me that this is a good film. A lot of people think they've wasted a huge chunk of their money and time over this movie. I beg to differ. Just like a lot of people didn't like the movie, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow while me and a lot of my friends had a blast watching it, I think not everyone appreciated the subtleties of this movie. Although the movie had to have a requisite villain in the person of an evil queen/witch (never mind the French guys which, I agree, were really irritating) I saw the focus on the relationship between Will and Jacob as the highlight of the whole movie.

Will obviously took it upon himself to look after his brother after they were orphaned. This was later implied as both a blessing and a curse. Will loves his younger brother and would do anything to protect him from any harm. But Jacob wants to follow what he wants and would try to rebel from his brother's hold. To prevent this from ever happening Will reminds him time and again about the "magic beans" that contributed their sister's untimely death. He would shame Jacob till he turns into a cowering guilt-ridden mess. Will prides himself to be the strong one but when they were faced with an unusual case in a small village it was Jacob who figured what was really going on. He knows the stories, he keeps a record of everything, he observes and listens to everyone and everything around them, and most of all he's a really compassionate fellow. The way I see it, Will represents the man who relies a lot on his own strength and his knowledge of the material world. He's rigid and content with who he is and thinks he doesn't need anything else to succeed in this world. Jacob represents the man who humbly walks in awe and fear of the invisible world. He's flexible and always on the lookout for things he needs to learn to make it in life and what he has cannot always not be measured according to the standards of this world. Both actors Matt Damon and Heath Ledger did a very great job with the characters they played (although they were originally assigned the opposite roles before they petitioned to be switched). I for one am glad they did this bringing the brothers to the fore not just writers of great stories but unforgettable heroes of a story all their own.

* The character of the Mirror Queen was obviously based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1640) who needed the blood of young (peasant) women to make her stay young.
** Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to what I personally think is a great movie.

Friday, September 23, 2005

This one's from circa 1992 or '93.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fever Pitch (they changed the title to Perfect Catch around here) is one of those movies that seems to have the makings of a typical romantic comedy that blends into the background. It could have worked that way if not for the two leads that made the whole viewing experience a blast. Simply put it's a love story between a work-driven, goal oriented, gorgeous woman (the "Ayala Avenue" type in local parlance) and an ordinary looking math teacher by day, baseball geek by night kind of guy (a geek is a geek is a geek). They met one day when Ben (Jimmy Fallon) took a group of his grade A students on a tour of a corporate office where Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore) works. Ben is the typical geek who's not really as aggressive as most guys (like the character, Albert from another great film) and only went to impress the girl and ask her for a date upon the "prodding" of his students.

But before they could actually go out on a date Lindsey fell violently sick. Ben good naturedly stuck around cleaning up the mess and looking after her till she got well. Aside from being naturally impressed with his actions she fell all the more in love with him as she got to know him better as they began spending time with each other. Her girlfriends were also impressed with her catch but one of them thinks Ben's being single for so long is too good to be true. She told her to try and snoop around if and when opportunity presents itself and look for some skeletons lingering in his closet (or in her ex's case, a bag of hair and nail clippings). The next day as they were enjoying each other's company in the park, Ben confessed that indeed he had some "skeletons" that she had to know: he's a total Boston Red Sox fan. In fact he's big a fan of the Sox, he's got a permanent box seat in every game! Relieved with this revelation she didn't think it to be that big a deal until their watching the Red Sox games began to interfere with her work (and her goal for that big promotion). Still she tried to work things by trying to come up with some compromises (to think that intially she didn't have a clue what goes on in those games). But in this case it was Ben who proved to be the one who wasn't willing to budge. It was all downhill from there and they tried their best to fight for the other, but is your guess their best was good enough?

I guess that's what made it work for me. Call it fairy tale of sorts, a wishful thinking on my part but a plethora of successful partnerships out there testify to this as not being as far fetched as we're wont to think. Because that's what true love is all about, making choices and sacrifices on our part to accomodate the other. In this case, Ben being the "less successful" of the two came to be who he is precisely because he had no family to begin with and as a kid he found that baseball is a good surrogate parent in ways of making him happy, that he's able to share in its lows and eventual highs, that it could bring him more than his fair share of extended family, that that's where his heart is. And for everyone close to him who's ever shared his enthusiasm (or at least has the willingness to share his happiness) for the the sport he welcomes them and shares with them his treasures. It's a good thing he found Lindsey, a smart woman who also knows what she wants, came from a a good family, driven to success but accomodates his man's enthusiasm for his hobby because that's where he's happiness lies. Not only that he's also a great teacher who never looks down on the kids (in fact in one scene, his teaching technique even encourages the students to want to learn math! Wow!). She's got no problem with his other life, she doesn't put down nor look down on his friends knowing how much support they've given him all throughout this time. She only asks that also share his life with her. To not be as selfish as to hold on to it with a "death grip" stance in fear that that's the only thing going for him. She only wants him to realize for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do them part she'll fill up those parts missing in his heart in ways that baseball games cannot. No matter how ideal it may sound, that my friend is what relationships in real life should be about.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

The comic strip now has a website that I just pieced together from one of Blogger's available templates. It's still a work in progress as I still have to tweak a few more details here and there. Future episodes of the strip will be posted there. Click the image to open another window.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

He's got one more surprise coming up but that strip won't be published in the paper next week. Stay tuned for it.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I finally caught the tail-end showing of Sky High before other movies come takes its place. The whole thing was ok although two prior local comic book related works came to mind, Batch '72 and Stricken which preempted this movie by some years. It definitely wasn't as impressive as the other Disney/Pixar collaboration, The Incredibles but it wasn't as flashy as the Fantastic Four either. It was quite a disappointment that big name actors like Jeff Bridges and Kelly Preston weren't even trying at all. Heck the whole lot of them weren't trying anything. Everything was "Disney-fied"! The villains weren't that much of a threat, the arch-villain wasn't even trying to be that bad, and the snivelling requisite evil sidekick reminded me of the American Sentai-wannabes (it couldn't get more irritating than that). But like I said it's not all that bad. There a lot of lessons to be had from the story and they also got Linda Carter on board, which is a really big to those of us who remembers her unforgettable portrayal of a certain Amazon superhero back in the days of yore.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

(left-right) Ryan, Patrick, Mr. Jundis, me, Mrs. Jundis, Syeri, and Jon

This has been quite a day, we've set up a meeting with two people from the same comic book background at Gloria Jeans, Araneta Center. The first one is a publisher who fell into hard times and is understandably skeptical about our attempts to pull off a komiks related event. He was chuckling and grinning whenever we told him that though organizing the whole Komikon event is hard sponsors have been pouring in offering support (with the help of friends, of course). Somewhat convinced of our sincerity and the effort we've been putting he offered a deal we could work out to help his group get into gear and promote our event at the same time. The second is an old writer-komiks collector who grew up in the U.S. Melch introduced him to us (this is the same guy who found my college classmate and Combatron creator, Berlin Manalaysay) and I set up the rather impromptu meeting earlier. His attitude towards the Komikon was completely different from the first guy we talked to. He was so excited about the whole thing he offered to help us with materials he gathered from attending different conventions throughout the years. He even offered to get in touch with the family of komiks great, Francisco Coching for us! That last meeting definitely buoyed our spirits up and we'll be meeting with them again hopefully in the near future so we could put a lot more details into the whole thing.

Friday, September 16, 2005

This is also another oldie from the early part of 1990.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Click to view the second strip

I'm taking a break from CLASS this week and instead post this strip that I did for Lyndon all that came out today. There's a second part to this one if you still haven't got your cornball fix of the day. I have to warn you though, the second strip could be fatal.

Let's get ready to rrrrrruuuumble!!!

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Click to access.

This is a new feature the guys of Google came up with to help narrow down the search for that elusive blog you enjoyed reading but forgot to bookmark. This one starts today.

Click to access.

This is something I discovered while clicking the links behind the Google scene. It would be so awesome to establish a group here. Like I would be the first person I know here to have one. Hehe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's been quite a while since he last dated and those turned out to be a disaster so you could understand his apprehension for this one. I used an actual model from one local parenting magazine as reference for the hot mama.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.

Click to enlarge

Fan art time! This one's based on the "Love at First Flight" episode where Otto Osworth got his very own Time Squad uniform for his birthday (he also got a family heirloom whisk from Larry and King Tut's sarcophagus from Tuddrussel prior to this). I traced the back ground in this small picture to get the one I used for this art.

Wish I could have drawn Buck Tuddrussel a lot closer to creator, Dave Wasson's original art but I'm pretty happy and content with the way it turned out.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Another anniversary of that sad, sad day four years ago. It was also about this time when I came home from work (managing the shortlived internet cafe a few blocks from our house) to find my sister and mom tuned in to CNN watching the live coverage of the first plane to hit the World Trade Center.

Things haven't been the same ever since.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I'm pretty selective about the cartoons showing these days so I haven't spending much time watching Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon as much as I do watching Fox News and Discovery Travel & Adventure. It's not brough about the compulsary decision to leave childish things behind (my love for toys, cartoons, and comics fall under the category of "art") but rather because of the bland selections available. They're hardly able to entertain and make me laugh. But there are some surprises hiding behind hard to find schedules and Craig McCracken's Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is one of the best surprises I've ever found. The problem is I keep forgetting the schedule every Saturday that's why I was only able to watch one episode so far.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this half-hour flash animation I took the liberty of copying a summary of the series from here:

In this world, imaginary friends become real the instant a kid thinks them up. Everyone can see them, everyone can talk to them -- but what happens when a kid outgrows his friend? Then that friend is welcome to Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, the adoption center, owned by old Madame Foster, that provides a home for them, until a child, in need of an imaginary friend, who can't think their own up, comes to adopt them.

One such friend there is Blooregard Q. Kazoo, the creation of 8-year-old clever, yet shy Mac, who's mother tells him he's too old for Bloo. Though Bloo felt that "adoption is not an option," Mac convinced him to stay long enough that, after a sinister plan devised by self-centered Duchess fails, Mac proves his loyalty. Moved by his loyalty and pure imagination, Madame Foster, herself, states that Bloo may stay at Foster's without ever having to worry about being adopted. In return, all Mac has to do is visit every day.

This isn't a problem, considering that Mac would rather spend his after-school time with Bloo and all the other wacky friends, than at home, with his 13-year-old stupid, bullying brother, Terrence. Every day, thanks to Bloo's crazy scheming, the gang end up in wacky adventures that involve mall hectics, toothpaste-covered stone busts, laundry chute jumping, and much, much more.
It's showing on 10 a.m. every Saturday on Cartoon Network. Hopefully next week I'd remember to forego watching a Seinfeld episode and catch this one.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This is another oldie from 1990. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

There is a second strip following this one that didn't see print in the newspaper. You haveta click the image above to see it.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

One of my friends got a good laugh about this and told me that he just learned one of his old buddies was one of the organizers of the few "speed dating" companies around the Metro. Let me know if there are any of you interested in trying this one out. But read this one below before seriously getting into it:
Speeding dating reduces rejection cost for participants.
Real speeding dating events do not allow participants to ask each other out. Only participates that express mutual interest will be given contact information from event coordinators. Also, other nonverbal communication signals such as body language can be used to see if mutual attraction exists, thus lowering rejection cost.

Does Speed Dating Really Reduce Rejection Cost?
Going to a speed dating event may help you avoid face-to-face rejection because real speed dating includes a rule that only people who mutually chose each other would be given each other's contact information from the event coordinators. However, you may end up being indirectly rejected more often than a regular night out at a bar because you would have the opportunity to ask all the possible candidates out. A chance that nobody will be interested in dating you exists. If this happens, you would leave the event feeling less attractive and worthy than before the event. So on the next speed dating event, those people who had nobody interested in them would less likely to go.
The operating words are "indirect rejection" so it may not be as painful as trying to start a conversation and being left in the air by a stranger. Me? I don't think I would be trying it.

* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
** Copied from the Social Grid site.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Another meme from my friend, Ganns:

Ten Years Ago:
1. I failed my first thesis attempt.
2. Met my college barkada in one of my back subjects.
3. Was full time getting crazy watching the PBA live.
4. I was ecstatic because Voltes V was making a comeback.
5. I was still stuck in college.

Five years ago:
1. The Artists' Den was just getting off the ground with five members (including the three founders).
2. I was still trying to make sense of the paranoia the world had the year before about the predicted Y2k computer collapse.
3. I registered at PinoyExchange.com just for fun.
4. Everybody was going gaga over internet chatting except me.
5. I resigned from the one and only office I was employed in.

One year ago:
1. Me and my younger brother were the only ones left at home with the dog because the other family members went to Russia for a little R&R.
2. I got a very rare copy of Nonoy Marcelo's Plain Folks book compilation at an antique bazaar in Greenhills for a song.
3. I finished my pages for the upcoming Siglo:Passion well beyond the set deadline.
4. Me and my mom had a grand time learning new things at the John Maxwell seminar care of my brother.
5. I received a Wacom Tablet as a belated birthday present from my generous brother.

1. Stayed home instead of going out to eat as is my wont.
2. Finished the contribution strip for a friend.
3. Was worried sick about the incident involving our teritorrial dog and a hapless potential boarder.
4. Ate a very late lunch.
5. Stayed up late again because I had a hard time getting to sleep.

Five Snacks I Enjoy:
1. Churros
2. Chocolate covered donuts
3. Cottage cheese with seedless grapes
4. Beard Papa Creampuffs
5. Walnuts

Five Songs I Know All the Words To:
1. In Between Days - The Cure
2. All Things Are Possible - Hillsongs Australia
3. More to Lose - Seona Dancing
4. Tears - The Chameleons UK
5. Sunday Morning - Bolshoi

Five Things I Would Do with 100 Million Dollars (after tithing):
1. Give an unspecified amount to my parents as a gift
2. Donate an unspecified amount to charity
3. Build my own house
4. Build a publishing cum distribution office that has a comic store in front.
5. Rent the Globe Platinum Cinema at Gateway Mall for a back-to-back-to-back showing of the LOTR Trilogy with my friends.

Five Places I Would Run Away To:
1. Palawan
2. Venice, Italy
3. Maine
4. Kensal Greene Cemetery
5. My room

Five Things I Would Never Wear:
1. High Heels
2. Black nail polish.
3. Leather pants.
4. Sandos while playing basketball.
5. Pink socks.

Five Favorite TV Shows:
1. Roseanne
2. Friends
3. The Simpsons
4. Arrested Development
5. Time Squad

Five bad habits:
1. Overeating.
2. Worrying.
3. Tendency to talk back out of anger and frustration
4. Tendency to be aloof towards acquaintances and casual friends I haven't seen in a long time (sorry guys).
5. Doing some things at the last minute

Five biggest joys:
1. Being with my friends.
2. Seeing the end result of a job well done.
3. Having some alone time with God
4. Reading books
5. Exploring new teritorry

Five favorite toys:
1. Digital camera
2. Wacom tablet and pen
3. CD Burner
4. 12" Justice League Maquette
5. Stuffed toy Panda I got from Taronga Zoo two years ago.

Five Fictional Characters I Would Date:
1. Cher Horowitz
2. Amelie
3. Veronica Sawyer
4. Kathleen Kelly
5. Lucy Eleanor Moderatz

Manix Abrera of Kiko Machine (the comic strip that brought the expressions "Asteeg!!!" and "Rak en Roll" back into circulation) wants in on the upcoming Komikon: 1st Philippine Komiks Convention we're organizing to sell his book compilations. This is awesome! I've been following his strips in the Inquirer ever since he started his run. I'm not sure where exactly his books are available but you can buy one at the Fully Booked store, Gateway branch.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I tried out this Gullibility Factor Test to see how much of pushover to advertisers. You'd only need to answer True or False on the spaces provided and they will instantly calculate your score to see if you're a free-thinking individual or a total mind slave. You do need to the answer all questions or your score will be artificially low.

Correct answers are also provided at the end of the test. This is what I got:
Your GF score is 67.

As a Learner, you're smart enough to know better, yet you're still not fully informed about reality. Around 15% of the population are Learners. You have the critical thinking skills to be a truly free individual, but you haven't exercised them enough yet. From time to time, you're still manipulated by the powers that be, although you frequently learn from those mistakes and refuse to be exploited again. You buy things because they are practical, not because they're cool.
If you were in The Matrix, you would have taken the red pill, but you would still be in a state of mild disbelief about the nature of reality. You are essentially unplugged, but still untrained. With more knowledge, you could become a true free thinker.

Your architects: You have always been an independent thinker. You rebelled against your parents, schoolteachers and always chose to hang out with smart friends who weren't necessarily that popular to the "in" crowd. Increasingly, you shape your own world by deciding what actions to take based on your own internal drive rather than what society tells you is right.

Action steps: Learn more. Educate yourself through alternative media and cutting-edge books. Read the answers below to get started.
Some of the results aren't accurate so it's best that you don't take the results too seriously. This test is offered for entertainment purposes only and not so much as a real gullibility gauge.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Me and a couple of friends from college went out again for a movie after attending another of our barkada's eldest kid's 1st birthday. We chose to watch some featured film's in thei year's Eiga Sai which focuses on the Kaidan genre mostly because it's free and not much else.

We were able to catch the second feature which started at 5 pm: Yotsuya Kaidan (1959) a tragedy about love, misplaced trust, and greed. Set in the middle ages it tells the story of a masterless samurai, Iemon (Shigeru Amachi) married to the beautiful and patient, Iwa (Kazuko Wakasugi) who comes from an impoverished family. By force of circumstance he met the young and beautiful but aggressively flirty daughter of the village prefect. Although Iemon remained steadfast to his convictions and warded off all her charms, the promise of a job if he agrees to marry the prefects daughter began to eat him up from the inside. Though he maintained that he was still married and cannot leave his wife, he spends a lot of his time in the girl's chambers as a means of compromise. When the girl finally proposes marriage the prefect consulted his advisers on what to do. They told him that he should either dig up dirt from the woman's past or come up with something to make Iemon decide to leave her. Iemon's close servant finally came up with a solution: poison her to make her so ugly his master wouldn't have any second thoughts on leaving her.

Then there's also this subplot about Iwa's childhood servant falling in love with her and started professing his feelings when he couldn't take anymore his master's treatment on Iwa. When Iemon's men learned about this they killed the servant and trumped up charges against the two for committing adultery. By the time Iemon came home to confront his wife about this, the poison had already taken effect. Iwa's face was disfigured and Iemon couldn't bear to look at her. Iwa accidentally fell on Iemon's sword while they were struggling with each other. This is where the horror begins when Iwa's ghost comes back to exact revenge on their unjust treatment of her. Each and everyone of those involved in her death died violent and mysterious deaths. All except Iemon of course, especially when he learned about the plot to drive him to divorce his wife. He took it upon himself to hack the others with his sword until he himself died from his wounds.

I think this one's based on a true story since Iwa's (or Oiwa) grave is a well known tourist spot in Japan. The storytelling's a bit dragging (we had two groups walking out of the cinema) and you'll need to sit through what seems at first to be a cheesy drama before the real action begins.

After having an early dinner downstairs we went back to watch the 8 pm showing of Kwaidan (1965) which features four short stories with four different treatments by the same director (I very much like the images accompanying the opening credits, very artsy). The stories were based on one of the writings of Lafcardio Hearn (1850-1904) an Irish immigrant to Japan in the late 19th century. This film I learned later, made a great deal of influence over the creation of the Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

The first story, The Black Hair (Kurokami), was about another masterless samurai who left his poor crying wife simply because he couldn't take their being poor anymore. So he went and offered his services to the prefect in the next town. He also married his vain daughter as part of those services. But life couldn't be more hellish for him as he constantly remembered his poor wife who was always patient and loving towards him, very much the opposite of his new wife. There wasn't a day (or night) when he didn't think about her, working very hard on her loom weaving for a living.

When ten years has passed he went back to his old house (at night, no less) to find it almost a total wreck. He would have turned back if he didn't see the candlelight in their old room. Rushing inside to find his wife hard at work on the loom and very much unchanged even throughout the years, each of them begged for each other's forgiveness. Then they retired for the night with made him very happy. But by morning, things have been revealed for what they really were. The room was old, the floor was caving in, his wife dead for a long time, and him slowly aging and dying himself as he remembers his pledge the night before to be with her for a long, long time.

The second story, The Woman of the Snow (Yuki-onna), is a familiar one as I've read many years ago in one the House of Mystery comic books we had lying around. This one's about a snow vampire that fell in love with a woodcutter that would have been a victim if she hadn't fallen in love with him. She spared his life for a condition that he wouldn't speak of this incident of the rest of his life. She later came to regret this decision many years later. Third story titled, Hoichi the Earless (Miminashi Houichi no hanashi), is one of the best of the bunch and I think it's best that you read the story yourself instead of me recounting it. The last one, In A Cup of Tea (Chawan no naka), is a strange tale about a theory why horror stories from the Edo period of Japan remained unfinished. It has a short story in itself which makes for a weird ending altogether. The only thing I hated about this entire movie experience was the presence of hecklers who couldn't keep their opinions to themselves. I felt bad about this all the more when I saw a couple of Japanese girls outside the theater talking about the movie. Man, I hope some of those people could have shown a lot more respect for other cultures. Sure it's free but that doesn't give one the license to laugh at those you don't understand. Anyway links are provided if you want to watch each story for free.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

This is the rough sketch of a strip that I'll be doing for Beerkada. It's part of an idea that we discussed earlier about having guest artists do one strip each the way artists in the U.S. do when they need a break or something. I came up with two actually but I'm planning to use the second strip to earn a couple of bucks in my other (much neglected) blog.

Friday, September 02, 2005

This is another oldie from either 1989 or 1990. By the way, the gods of Olympus are still peeling their grapes, hence the white morsel one of them's about to plunk in.

I caught the last feature of Goethe Institut's German Silent Film Festival in Megamall last night which featured cinema great, Fritz Lang's Der Müde Tod (1921). Released as Destiny or Les 3 Lumieres (The 3 Candles in reference to the three short stories contained therein) in other parts of the world, the movie tells the story of Death paying a visit to a small German village and leasing a huge tract of land beside the cemetery for 100 years. The elders agree to his proposal without much objections since this stranger was willing and able to cover the rent for that time and besides they didn't know they were dealing with any otherworldly being. After a time the village elders paid him a visit and asked why he built a humongous wall around the lot without a door or a gate? He answered that there is a door but only he knows how to get in. Although they were confused by his statements they didn't dare ask any more questions and left him alone.

After which he walked for quite a distance outside before hitching a ride in a passing carriage along with a young couple. The newly married couple is freaked out as this new passenger did nothing but stare at them throughout their journey (disturbing what could have been their opportunity to neck). When the carriage arrived at the village the husband and wife went it to rest at the tavern and Death followed them shortly. He took the table beside theirs and continued to stare. Though positively annoyed by this the young woman excuses herself to use the bathroom (stopping on the way to pet the cats and converse with the tavern owner). When she came back the creepy stranger and her husband were gone. She went out asking everyone she met on the street if they've seen the two. Fortunately one of them recalled seeing the two going outside the village towards the huge wall outside the cemetery. Sad and exhausted she sat beside it and fell asleep, come night time she was surprised by the procession of ghosts coming down the bend on the road towards her. They were really walking towards the invisible door in front of which she's sitting.

Figuring what was up, she went to the local alchemist and asked for a potion that could lead her to near death. But before she could do so the alchemist went to the next room to make her some tea, she spied what could be the one she's looking for and drank it. She then proceeded to the invisible door at the wall to face Death and ask for her hubby. Taking pity at her plight Death gives in to her pleadings on the condition that she save at least one of three souls in place of her lover. He then tells her three stories one at a time, the first one is set in Persia, the second in Venice, and the last in China. Each story revolved around a couple whose place they take and whose circumstances were similar to their own. She fails in each one and Death being a softie gives her another chance. If she could give another life in place of her hubbie's then he would give him back. She scares the living daylights out everyone she meets by begging for their life (including a pitiful beggar who was asking for alms). Incidentally a fire broke out in one of the inns and she rushed in upon hearing that a baby was trapped inside. Death then made an appearance holding out his arms asking for the baby in return for her husband. Faced with a difficult decision, she changed her mind and slowly roped the baby down and went with Death. It was a happy ending all the same since she and her husband were reunited.

This was a lot better than last week's and quite a beautiful story. One of the unique things about this film is the ingenious use of fonts to differentiate the main story from the three sub stories and the three stroies from each other. In the main story the filmmaker used a regular font, in the Persian story he used a font native to that land, in the Venice story he used an Old English font and in the Chinese story, he used a Chinese-looking font. The special effects used for the film is also astounding considering the period. At a time when Hollywood was still crawling with their filmmaking techniques, German cinema was soaring with ideas left and right. I wish you could all have seen this movie. Don't dare miss it if you do have the opportunity to watch this.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Lots of potential gags are starting to develop around these three friends. The Migs character they're referring to is one of the two main storekeepers in the strip, Always Saturday. And the 3-16 section's the real deal during Junior high in my alma mater.

Jonas Diego
Jerald Dorado
Reno Maniquis
Edgar Tadeo

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