The Reaping

 

Okay, so right now I can’t seem to say my thoughts on the subject. Not yet, anyway. I’ve watched this for about five times already. But, no, no words yet.

I just want to post it up so I would remember to combine a few words in the nearest possible future.

THG fans, I hope you enjoy watching. :>

Did Everything Really End?

Well, I guess the answer is and will always be “No.”

Finally, I’ve found the courage to search for the videos of the thank you speeches of four of the most wonderful people in the world of film and literature: JK Rowling, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe.

Daniel Radcliffe, JK Rowling, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint (photo from cooltowear.com)

These are the speeches they’ve made in front of the rowdy crowd at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

Now, given all of these thank you’s, I think I’m now ready to say my own.

To Dan:

Emma’s right. You were, are, and will always be the perfect Harry. You’ve no idea how we have all been thankful that you looked exactly the way Harry is described in the books. You have grown into a fantastic man who’s not afraid to say he microwaves his food. Thank you for showing us the best portrayal of being that boy with a lightning scar, that brave, brave man who has the biggest heart that enables sacrifices for so many people.

To Rupert:

Such a laid-back attitude that gets all of us mostly swooning. You have made gingers look so amazing. The loyalty that your character Ron has seems not to emanate from a book description but from within your own heart. Thank you for being such a down-to-earth man. You have so much truth within you that we all cannot help but simply be glad that you have become a part of the journey of our most favorite character.

To Emma:

You are such an inspiration to all of those girls who work so hard to improve themselves. We have seen you grow out of that bushy brown hair and mature with so much wisdom. Thank you for being very open with your thoughts and feelings, for having such intelligence that not even the spotlights can outshine. You have always known what you wanted in life and we have seen that not only in your interviews as Emma but also in your portrayal of Hermione. Just like your co-stars, you have perfected your role so much that we cannot find nor imagine someone else do it.

Lastly, to Jo:

For the most amazing writer, the only one who have bound together several nations with her fantastic talent, the woman who has not only created a magical world but a place where everybody else is encouraged to simply be their best, thank you is not enough. We have loved your creation. We have waited for our owls on the day of our eleventh birthday. And like I’ve always said, you are our Dumbledore–who have sent us again and again invitations to come to Hogwarts and be mystified by that wonderful world.

You are the kind of writer we all want to be like. You are the kind of mother whose passion so shines in her works that your love for your children is not something to be doubted. And you are the kind of woman everyone else needs to embody–honest, brave, and talented.

It’s been four months since the last film, ten years since the first movie, and a childhood’s worth of time since I’ve first set my eyes on that fateful copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Until now, I find it difficult to say goodbye.

Which may mean that it has all ended but as everybody else has predicted, we will always, always be back.

It’s the Usual Thing, I Guess

This is a typical story, actually. Two people from some different points in one continent meet, they become friends, they spend time together, they fall in love with each other, something goes amiss, they reconcile, and then the happy ending comes in.

But wait, Friends with Benefits is not just that. We may have seen the film’s plot from other friends-with-benefits movies (with of course different titles). Somehow though, Friends . . .  has come up with something delectable enough that at one point after the opening credits, you would already feel like you’re having a really good time (which may not always be caused by Justin’s topless stunts).

The Story

A movie by Will Gluck, Friends with Benefits is a story that tells of how a love story can actually be born from a friendship with what may seem as side, unemotional, benefits. Jamie, a headhunter, and Dylan meets when the former lures the latter into coming and moving to New York to take on the job as GQ’s new art director.

After a grueling tour around New York’s high points, Jamie manages to convince Dylan. Knowing no one in the crowded city, Dylan then turns Jamie into his best friend.

Now, they are of course two people who are single and free and, erm, with lots of energy and drive. Which means they have bodily needs that they want satisfied. However, they want those needs satisfied without the hassle of an emotional attachment.

Seeing that they’re a great pair of pretty people who may not be so bad in bed together, the two decides to embark on a friendly bed journey without the promise of a heartbreak.

But of course, the story is not that smooth. As we all know, this is the kind of set up that means at some point, one or both of them would feel something more than physical hotness. And this is just what happens, which is made stronger by the fact that they cannot seem to find other people who would be as compatible with them as each other is.

In the end, there is only the realization that maybe they can not only be friends benefiting physically from each other but two people who may have compatible hearts.

The Characters

Mila Kunis as Jamie

An uber open smile and smoking deep eyes made liking Mila Kunis effortless. That’s not to mention her husky tones, too. She is a perfect choice for the film–young, energetic, promising, optimistic, and a total emotional wreck. I loved her sensibility that was so apparently charming you couldn’t really doubt she was a great headhunter. It didn’t hurt as well that she was a stunning however average-looking New Yorker.

Justin Timberlake as Dylan

Maybe it’s high time we all accepted Justin Timberlake as more than a beloved boy band member turned soloist. He was fun to watch, being exceptionally artistic and preppy without losing the character. He had the charm that was not exactly boy-next-door material. Justin may still hold all those 90’s memoirs brought forth by a couple of singing lines, but you couldn’t deny he’s gotten more complex as an actor.

Patricia Clarkson as Lorna

Portraying Jamie’s equally emotionally-wrecked mother, Patricia Clarkson gave the role a great twist. Her being youthful was both amusing and bewildering, especially as you very well knew she was supposedly a mother.

Richard Jenkins as Mr Harper

Richard Jenkins was a fine addition to the cast, providing wisdom where all the vibrancy of the youth failed. He gave in a really good contribution though he was characterized as frail and old and with deteriorating memory.

Jenna Elfman as Annie

With a somehow smaller part than the rest, Jenna Elfman managed to make a mark as the ever supporting and wacky sister of Dylan. She was introduced on top of a calm sea for a setting and she emanated the same soothing effect.

Woody Harrelson as Tommy

Hey there, soon to be Haymitch Abernathy. I found Woody Harrelson’s performance as edgy, with the eccentricity and openness that was brilliantly shown. He was not at all hampered by the character’s being openly gay–the machismo still stood out complete with perky but honest opinions.

What I Liked About the Movie

Well, let’s say it was pretty nice to watch something that was laid-back enough for you to simply enjoy. You very well knew what could be the ending but still, you would not be bored with the plot. In some ways, the story dealt more with internal and people vs. people conflicts that were intriguing and very much mirrored the very society we lived in.

It was also easy to admit that one of the film’s pluses was the fact that its leads looked perfectly good together.

Somehow, these two ended up being paired and the result had more that meets the eye.

Another positive addition were the flash mob scenes. They added a flare to the whole story. At the beginning, the flash mob was simply to show NYC’s colorful life:

But when the finale was also graced with the same art, you could just tell that it was something noteworthy. That flash mob complete with what could be one of the best confessions ever to be written was totally amazing.

What I Didn’t Like

Okay, let us admit it was difficult to look for something to scrutinize with this kind of movie more because of the very fact that it was not supposed to be perfect. It had to make you feel good but it did not really aim to satisfy so much of the technicalities of creating a film. In fact, it did not exert too much effort to make sure people engaged into deep thinking while watching.

So . . . let’s pass up on this part. * wink *

On the whole, Friends with Benefits was one of those that you would keep for the sake of having a readily-available movie to spend late nights and friendly gatherings with.

And above all, to remind us that however wretched love stories may be, there would always come that time when we could simply enjoy the feeling.

Photos from Rotten Tomatoes and all over Google Images

Pixie Dusts and Neverland: The Peter Pan Musical Experience

I was not at all a die-hard Peter Pan fan when I was a kid. I preferred Alice and the Philippines’ Princess Sarah. But thanks to Disney and a lot of other adaptations, I became quite acquainted with Peter and Wendy’s foray into the wide world of Neverland.

But still, that was not enough reason for me to actually agree to go with my friends and catch the second to the last week showing of Repertory Philippines and Stages Productions’ Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure last October 22.

Up to now, and especially after the riotous MRT ride that I went through that Saturday night, I couldn’t fathom why I chose Peter Pan for my first ever (you read that right) theater experience.

What I do know was that after the show, I was more than glad to have seen it.

Peter Pan was a story about a boy who did not want to ever grow up. He had come across London Town where the Darling siblings lived. With his enthusiastic tales about Neverland, he managed to convince Wendy, John, and Michael to come and fly with him to the magical world. Even more, Peter got to make them fly through a sprinkling of pixie dust!

In Neverland, Peter Pan’s brothers–the so-called Lost Boys–were eagerly on their toes avoiding the pirates led by the cunning Captain Hook. They were made happier when they saw Wendy flying toward them.

In the course of the whole story, it was made clear that Peter brought Wendy to Neverland so they could play house with him as the father to his and Wendy’s children: the Lost Boys and John and Michael. Unfortunately, things were made more complicated by the ever hateful Hook and his gang of pirates. It also did not help that Tiger Lily’s tribe was always on the loose. Worse, Peter did not seem that well-versed with the definition of responsibility.

The play was a spectacular series of songs and storytelling that eventually ended with a surprise and yet ultimately sad twist.

At the finale, viewers could not help but feel sorry for the boy who never grew up and who lost all the good chances that the world could offer him–including forming a loving family.

The Cast

Sam Concepcion as Peter Pan

I was superbly in awe of Sam Concepcion in his portrayal of Peter Pan. He was bubbly and grouchy when needed to be. Peter’s arrogance was shown as well as his softness. The clarity of his singing also gave the best impressions of Peter’s thoughts and emotions. The best parts of his portrayal? The flying, of course. There was that magical feeling of seeing Peter fly across the stage that for some good moments, you could wish he wouldn’t go down.

Cara Barredo as Wendy

Undoubtedly, the best compliment that could be given to Cara was the superb power of her performance. The singing was theater material alright, with perfect diction and clarity and shrillness that could actually break a mirror. Her speaking lines were delivered with as much clarity and the amazing British accent that made her altogether a delightful character to watch.

Michael Williams as Captain Hook

Have you ever hated and laughed at a pirate so much you couldn’t really pinpoint which emotion was more powerful? Well, Michael’s Captain Hook could certainly do that to you. His portrayal was flawless–cunning when mad and fondly amusing when not. I loved his voice and the way he dealt with such young adversaries. He was an actor that could blend in and stand out at the same time.

Joy Virata as the Narrator/Old Wendy

The woman who so successfully surprised me that I wanted her to have this part. She was probably one of the best narrators I got to watch. Her voice was not that booming with such intense emotions that you could hardly understand what she was saying. She was clear in most instances, as if everything was simply matter-of-factly. In the end, where she revealed who she really was, I was quite astonished and amused to see how she so easily blended with the whole picture–as if she was not just someone reading off a story book but the character herself.

The Lost Boys, John, and Michael

They were all so cool and cute. I especially liked the song and dance number of the Lost Boys whilst waiting for Peter and speculating about his journey. John and Michael also did their part as the ever-loving brothers of Wendy. I liked how they were so taken by Neverland that their childish innocence and awe seemed to me as if the best positive feedback ever to be given to the place.

The Pirates

Theirs was a group of completely hilarious villains that had the huge bodies of the bad guys but the soft hearts (or cowardice? Hmmm) so uncharacteristic of such characters. Smee was amazing with his antics as well.

Kakki Teodoro as Tiger Lily

For someone with as few scenes as Kakki, she really got to make the most of her portrayals. She was feisty as she had to be while being just as vulnerable as any female tribe leader could only be.

What I Liked

1. The Production. Props to everybody who were at the backstage as much as to the select black-clad few who were actually on stage. It was a great production of settings, props, and costumes. Since it was my first time to watch a play, I was a bit disoriented with parts wherein the crocodile was being pushed around so visibly by two people. But after a while, I just got used to it.

The finer points had to be given to the seemingly seamless transitions of scenes. It was altogether fast but not at all chaotic. The perspectives of such settings as the Lost Boys’ underground home and Hook’s ship were also commendable.

2. The Musical Score/Arrangement. Fantastic vocals, amazing lyrics, and the best of musical scenes were probably the best attribute of Peter Pan. The scenes were carried out with such majesty that came not only from the casts’ musical prowess but also from the backstage sound crew. In fact, the songs were so good I would really love to buy its OST, should one ever comes out.

3. The Plot. Since I didn’t really grow up with Peter Pan, I really appreciated how the plot of the play stuck with the basics of the tale. It was not really difficult to understand the story because you needed not to have background knowledge. I also loved the ending, which had both compromise and finality. It was sad, but the morale was there.

4. Special Parts. I’d also like to give it to the writers who had thought of including two superbly great scenes: Tinkerbell’s coming back to life; and the final scene where the cast bid the audience goodbye. For me, these two parts where really smart not just because they worked well though obviously not within the plot but also as they encouraged audience participation with so much enthusiasm.

What I Didn’t Like

Actually, in retrospect, I only could cite two things I didn’t like about my whole experience.

One, we didn’t get to start the play. Which really sucked, because we missed the first flying part. Yeah, we got in late thanks to me slowly battling out with the rudeness of the MRT people.

And the other thing I didn’t really like: the absence of Tinkerbell’s physical form. I understood from several articles that I got to read after watching the play that Tink wasn’t really supposed to be a live creature. She was, in some versions of the play abroad, just a spot of laser light hovering around and whispering. But c’mon. Did the prod team really had to do that here? I was really disappointed. Thankfully, she was portrayed with such good sound effects and a black-clad crew carrying her around that missing out on her became impossible.

On the whole, my very first theater experience was not so bad. It was cool and eclectic and definitely worthy of all the hassle and stress. So much had come out of this that I would not really forget.

In the end, it did not really matter that we missed the first scenes or that Peter Pan stayed as a boy while everybody grew up and moved on. What was important was that we got to watch a journey of a boy who had taught us so much about the importance of responsibility, bravery, and friendship.

Until your next flight, Pan!

* Photos from Write, Breathe, Live; Bum-Spot; and all over Google Images