THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

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"I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918 to the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man's life can be. Directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond, Benjamin Button is a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.

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  • The film is overly long (close to three hours) that i almost fell asleep.
  • Tends to be boring at times.
  • Good casting. (Although Brad/Benjamin speaks like Gollum) In particular, I liked the portrayal of Taraji Henson (adoptive mom of Benjamin) of someone with compassion and a big heart for people in need.
  • Perfect cinematography. Beautiful setting. Great angles taken by the camera.
  • Superb make up. They were able to make Brad look old and young (he looked so bagets when he returned to Daisy & Caroline)
  • Heartwarming. Love can make you do everything for the one you love.
  • Inspiring. You will never know what lies ahead if you won't take risks. Live life to the fullest. It's okay to fail, so long as you were able to try. As what Daisy did when she loved Benjamin despite his strange attributes and the situation that he is in. Also, I have high regard for Benjamin who, despite his condition (and age) came out of his comfort zone and face the world with courage.

I have nothing more to say. I think all I wanted to say is that: it may be a slow moving film but in general it's truly moving (but he's so scary he looks like Gollum)

PS: I am not a Brad Pitt fan.

 

LOVE ME AGAIN (LAND DOWN UNDER)

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Love me again is about young lovers, Arah (Angel Locsin) and Migo (Piolo Pascual) who are both natives of Bukidnon. They have once parted ways when Migo left Bukidnon to study elsewhere and wandered around the world. When Migo came back to the province, they rekindled their romance while planning to run his family's ranch. However, Arah was forced to go to Australia (thus, the title Land Down Under) to work in a ranch when her father encountered an accident and lost the physical capability to work for his family. Migo, on the other hand, stayed in Bukidnon to pursue his dreams of establishing his own ranch. In Australia, Arah worked hard to provide for her family’s needs in Bukidnon. On the other hand, when Migo failed in his ranch, he went to Australia to work for the man that Arah was about to marry, the man who owns the ranch. It was then that Migo tried to win Arah back… then their love story went on…

I would have to say that I didn't find something extraordinary about this film. Even the sight of Piolo’s abs isn't unusual anymore. It's everywhere.

On a serious note, the story is very common and predictable. A story of a Filipina who works abroad to fulfill her dreams for her family. But since it is ordinary, it is very realistic and tells the story of a lot of Filipinos abroad.
 


The good things about this movie:

(1) Perfect cinematography. They got the best views of Bukidnon. My favorite part is the kissing scene on top of the lush green mountains of Bukidnon to the delight of the horses around them. The scene was super romantic it made me shiver. Bukidnon is so beautiful, it instantly became one of my dream destinations here in the Philippines.

(2) Angel is a revelation. Her acting has fairly matured (as in better than her Let The Love Begin days), although there were some scenes wherein she unintentionally let her teenybopper gestures show (the way she snubs Piolo during the “ligaw moments”). To be fair with her, she improved her craft in making viewers cry, I really shed some tears when she was pleading for Piolo’s consideration to let her go to Australia for her family. Also, she rides the horses like a pro. Another scene that moved me was her hard times in Australia where she barely gets some rest and works hard like a male. Sabay maririnig mo yung linya na “Hindi ito ang buhay na inakala ko dito.. hindi ito..”

One of the best scenes for me was when Arah was at the stable in the middle of the night when Migo came in..

Arah: Huwag. (Pause). Akala ko okay na ako. Pero bigla kang dumating. Pinaramdam mo sa akin kung paano lumaban, paano maging masaya. Kahit anong pilit ko, hindi kita maalis sa isip ko eh... (I cried a river.. swear)

(3) Soundtrack. The songs broke my heart, at the same time made me wanna fall in love again.

(4) It doesn’t just talk about love, it shows Filipino values; one of which is the love for family. Even if it is a love story, the relationship between Arah & Migo is not the typical pa-tweetums. It shows that true love comes with understanding, support and compassion.

(5) It has a lot of positive vibes. No villains and most characters have optimistic views in life. It’s not the typical Pinoy film wherein the story is being controlled solely by the villain.


What I didn’t like about the film:

(1) I know the love scene is the most sought after in this film because there were a lot of reports that it’s very passionate and artistic but when I saw it I remembered Claudine Barretto & Aga Muhlach’s love scene in Kailangan Kita, another Rory Quintos/Star Cinema Film in 2002. The settings were also the same: at the stable (or was it a bodega in Kailangan Kita?). Nothing new for Direk Rory.

(2) Piolo’s signature acting: he’s always trying to soften his strong features through his “paamo ng mukha” acting but it doesn’t work. He can’t do anything about his strong features that sometimes he becomes too stiff on camera; even more when he’s talking softly and pigil na pigil to burst his emotions.

(3) Angel’s effortless portrayal of a poor & uneducated woman.. I was laughing everytime she tries to speak in English carabao. (e.g. "My mother is sick. She die. I stop.") :D

This film is so-so. It’s not so good, it's not so bad. It's just fine. However, it’s unjust to compare this with A Very Special Love (I’ve heard/read a lot of comparison between the two) since they are of different genre and target audience. A Very Special Love is super date movie that’s full of kilig moments; Love Me Again is a serious film for mature audience. For this kind of film, I think Milan & Dubai are way way better than Love Me Again.

FOR ONE MORE DAY

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For One More Day tells the story of a mother and his child. A mother who knows nothing but to stand by her children. And a son who opted to be a "daddy's boy."

We are all given the chance to choose what kind of life we would like to pursue. When Charley opted to track his father's dream for him to become a professional baseball player, that's the time he gradually ignored the values that his mother imparted on him.

Years later, Charley is a failure. He lost everything and everybody around him.. from his job, his wife, up to his daughter who no longer looks up to him as a father. That's when he decided to kill himself. When he woke up he went back to his family's old house and surprised when he saw his mother who died 8 years ago.. alive.

As the day went by he realized he was in a world between life and death where he had the chance to spend one more day with his mother who passed away when he was not by her side, one thing that he still blames himself of not doing. That single day brought back the memories of the old times. It made him realize how many times his mother sacrificed for him and how badly he ignored everything.

I love this because this is about a family and such kind of story truly touches my heart. It is a story of love, committing mistakes and learning how to see the brighter sides of life, of regarding those mistakes as lessons. Something that can help you fix your broken life and start all over again.

Mitch Albom never fails to inspire me through his novels. After reading this I learned to appreciate and love my mom more. It strengthened my belief that a mother will do everything for her children (I think I can understand this more when I become a mother).

CHOCO MINT BROWNIES!

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Eto ang nagagawa ng stuck at home on a weekend. Experiment in the kitchen and foodtrip to the nth power! So kumusta naman ang mga flabs.. :D

I so so love cooking & baking! (Mariel mode :D )

Sa awa ng Diyos naubos naman sya maski nasobrahan sa oven kakainternet ko.. haha! :P

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THE 3 STATIONS IN OUR LIFE

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This morning one of our big bosses sat down with my team to have a chitchat. I like talking to this man because apart from being mischievous (which lightens the atmosphere) most of the time, he is really a good talker.. a good listener as well. It's very rare that a good talker is a good listener at the same time. Though I initially thought of him as happy-go-lucky, I found out that there's so much that would make me admire him. He achieved a lot, most of which were never attained by most people in his generation. He was the former CEO of multinational companies; a well-known brand of apparel, one of the most sought after food chains in the country, an established & famous lifestyle & fitness company, an export company, and so much more. One of the most amazing facts that he shared with me is his experience with the royal family of UK where he was able to introduce our own products and the Filipinos' creativity.

His ultimate achievement? -- Enriching people's lives through his teachings and benevolence to those who are financially incapable of improving their lives. As the saying goes, teach people to fish -- not just giving them something to eat.

Today, I learned something new from him. Though it's a bit mundane, I know that it's real. And I just realized it a while ago.

There are three stations in our life: BIRTH, STRUGGLE, DEATH.

We were born. We struggle. We die.

Of course there is happiness. But most of our time is spent struggling with failure. Coping with pain. Working hard to achieve our goals in life. Perhaps this is the reason why when we experience even a little bit of bliss.. we feel like floating... then we would become the happiest man on earth. It's a great reward because the way to happiness is hard to track. When problems arise we  tend to go back to struggling.. it's a cycle anyway. Struggle-happiness-struggle-happiness.. and so on, and so forth..

And what will happen if we can no longer compete with all of the destructive elements in our life? We die.

The most important thing here is if we are able to fight for what will make us happy & complete.. until the last drop of strength to struggle. Then we can say that we lived a fruitful life. :)

ONCE MORE

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"Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

What if you got it back?"

- For One More Day (Mitch Albom)


For me, it would be my great grandmother. I would say sorry for the days that I wasn't by her side when she was going through the last few battles of her life.

If fortunate enough that those days will be back, I will travel to the province and make her final days extra special. We will play Super Mario Pow by Nintendo (that's her favorite video game), I'll buy her a new set of Brick Game or Game Boy, I'll bring her favorite Danish cookies. We will bake our favorite cookies & pastries, I will comb her curly white hair, we will talk about the books that we both read... and we will spend the days lounging at the garden.. enjoying the breeze and the fresh air while sharing my life with her, and making her feel proud that I have achieved what she has always dreamt for me. :)

But if only she will be here for ONE MORE DAY.. I will just say SORRY.. for not making her my priority at the time.. and I love her.. for being my greatest inspiration. :)

 
 
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