Archive for the ‘tv & movies’ Category
A Good Year happens if the climate was consistent throughout, warm, offering the ripening grapes little surprises. If I understood Kathy’s explanations correctly, this plus good soil, careful supervision, and tender loving care were almost always sufficient for a good harvest. And the wine will flow.
During the Flips Flipping Pages book discussion last September 18, the wine did flow: red wine, light and exuberant; white wine, well balanced, crisp with the flavors of citrus and spicy ginger. Uncomplicated wine enjoyed with a variety of foods, from cold cuts to Gege’s divine cheesy churvas.
The reason for meeting was Peter Mayle’s bestselling novel, A Good Year. Published in 2004, it was adapted into a movie starring Russell Crowe in 2006.
The story follows Max Skinner, a London stockbroker, who loses his job before finding out that he inherited a vineyard in France from his late uncle Henry. In Provence he falls in love with wine, the people, and the simple life. Through the book readers get a glimpse of the highly competitive wine business.
The movie deviated on a few but very emphatic points in the story. It stressed romance and comedy, chose to combine feisty and alluring into one love interest instead of sticking to the lesbian lawyer and flirty café owner of the book, and completely did away with the fumbling Hardy Boy attempts of Max and company.
The uncle-nephew relationship was also prioritized, presented through flashbacks and wistful reminiscences. Said many of the Flippers during the discussion, they preferred movie over book–a rare event among booklovers. The book had exuberance but the movie had direction.
With Gege (IslandHopper) moderating, the book discussion transformed into another amazing eat, talk, eat, swap, and learn gathering. Sheila (aka Shy) had arranged to hold it at the Cyrano Wine Shop on Palanca St of Legaspi Village, Makati. Cyrano owner, Alex Sawit, presided over the bar, demonstrating at one point the Cyrano cut, kung fu technique of opening a wine bottle (Flippers, don’t try this at home).
Gege and Sheila (with Jeeve’s help) had invited Miss Katherine Yao Santos to give some pointers on wine appreciation. Kathy is the marketing director for Happy Living Philippines, importer of the Beringer wine from Napa Valley in California. She grew up loving wine, she said. As a child she learned how to tell good wine from bad, how to properly store wine, and how wine was produced. To enter the wine business, one must be passionate about wine or else the business will not prosper.
In the book, Max’s friend Charlie demonstrated the ritual of wine tasting. To truly appreciate wine, I feared one has to have en extensive vocabulary of flowery words. Kathy’s lesson in wine appreciation killed that fear–and initiated my palate to the wonders of wine!
White Zinfandel, very friendly, eased the Flippers into the first sip. Said Kathy, the blush wine is good for those just learning to appreciate wine. It has a bit of sweetness, an attractive clarity, and nice with different food. “Bagay sa tapsilog,” she agreed.
Hold the wine glass at the stem (to avoid warming the wine with our hand), check the clarity (reject wine if there are particles), swirl (to make the wine come alive), breathe in the bouquet (dip the nose into the glass), and sip (don’t swallow right away, let the wine coat all your taste buds, savor the lingering taste).
“You want wine to still be there, so you get the combination of wine with food,” said Kathy. Wine primes the tongue for food. For Filipino food with lots of sauce, lighter wine is better. Color coding can even be applied: white wine for white sauce; red for red sauce. Heavier wine is good for heavier food like steak.
Kathy discussed other important points about wine, summarized below:
Glass and stemware are very important. Shape and thickness of glass affect wine appreciation. Use thin glass for wine.
Alex helped explain the mechanics of using the right glass for wine. With tapering glass, the wine hits the sweet center of the tongue first. For fruity wine, wider glass is better so the sweetness is diffused.
If not stored properly, wine will oxidize. If exposed to heat, wine starts cooking. Best use a wine chiller or store where temperature is stable.
Bottle-opening involves the right gadget and technique. In proper society, we’re not supposed to pop the cork, Kathy said (so Hollywood is not proper society?).
Choose quality wine. Price is a good indication. Wine priced at below 400 pesos are usually mass produced. Wine is expensive because of the extreme care given to the growing of grapes, making sure all the right conditions are met. Note the well manicured vineyards that produce good wine, said Kathy.
When ordering wine at restaurants, inspect the cork. “If you see wine stains on side of cork, the wine was leaking and not properly stored. Reject wine as the flavor might have been compromised.”
In wine tasting, spitting after tasting is the norm. This is done so the wine doesn’t get to you explained Kathy. Focus is important. To evaluate quality, tasting is enough.
Alex shed light on the heavy vs light bottle debate. Apparently, many people think that heavy bottles are better for wine. “Lighter is environment friendly. But consumer perception for red wine is for heavy bottles.” Heavy or light probably does not make a difference to the quality of wine.
Given all the elements of wine–taste, texture, clarity, fragrance, body, etc. appreciating wine can be a tricky business. But Kathy reassured the Flippers: Never let anyone dictate your wine. We enjoy wine differently.
No shame then if you enjoy Strawberry wine or some other very fruity wine. As long as you can appreciate it.
Said Gege, “I usually drink wine for the buzz.” So Kathy’s wine appreciation talk was an eye-opener.
Time was short after the wine appreciation session: another red and a white, the Beringer California Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc, were also appreciated. The Flippers had been so engrossed that they almost forgot to discuss the book! Gege routed everyone and asked several to describe Peter Mayle’s A Good Year in wine terms.
Welski wrote a very good recap of this part of the discussion. The book swap followed. Wine flowed some more. The grapes, cheesy churvas, pizza, cold cuts, pasta, and chips disappeared from the plates. Flippers brought home laminated coasters and glass-shaped bookmarks Gege made. The message, [name of Flipper] is having a good year, was repeated all over the place.
Of course the Flippers are having a good year. But maybe the Flippers needed the positive reinforcement. Unlike with wine, hot and cold, wet and dry, rocky and sandy help make the Flippers. What is a year without surprises? Boring? Clueless? Flat?
Unlike wine, Flippers mature well with all sorts of challenges. The book discussion proves it.
Sick for three days and counting, I dusted off my collection of DVD movies and TV series. Anxious to meet my TBR challenge over my self-imposed toxic work sked, blogging backlog, and various family errands (and issues), my body gave out and demanded a break. I conceded by planting myself in front of the TV and turning into a zombie.
- Taking Chance – Made for HBO starring Keving Bacon. Based on true story. A marine now on desk duty volunteers to escort the body of a young Marine killed in Iraq. Very moving. A journey of healing. But I bet the stories from the other side would be as heart-wrenching, or more so.
- The Accidental Husband – A fireman (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) gets back at Radio Love guru (Uma Thurman) with a computer glitch. Colin Firth is the pastry-gobbling fiancé and publisher. Fun and fluffy.
- Twilight - Bella and Edward. Must be the best comedy film of the decade. The smelling scenes are truly priceless! Now if can just get my girly-girl me to stop interrupting my intellectual ruminations over the film…
- The Day the Earth Stood Still – According to the critics, much of the moral and story were changed, making this 2008 remake a dumbed-down version. But it has got Jennifer Connelly so how can it be totally bad?
- Drag me to Hell – A old gypsy woman curses pretty loans office with the Lamia, a demon who drags victims to hell after three days of torment. The girl learns to get some after the first day or so. But when she killed the kitty, I stopped sympathizing.
- The Thaw – The real horror from global warming is not the melting ice but what is frozen. Val Kilmer is like dry ice in this movie. Why bother making a movie if he’s too lazy to act?
- Star Trek: The Future Begins – I’ve forgotten much of the Star Trek mythos. But the Kirk in this prequel seems consistent with how the young Kirk would be: irreverent and a maverick. Seeing the young versions of the original Star Trek characters was also quite fun.
- Eden Log - A man wakes up with no memory of how he came to be in the bowels of an underground scientific facility. The roots of a giant tree seem to be eating people up. That’s it. I have no idea what this movie was about.
- Castle - Art meets real world. Mystery writer dogs NYPD cop for inspiration. In a fantastic tie-in, a novel which is the novel the Castle character is writing in TVworld is published in real world. Want proof? http://is.gd/dmwew
- Battlestar Galactica season 4 – Frakking best SF-drama series ever! “The Cylons were created by man… And then the day came when The Cylons decided to kill their masters.” About 50,000 humans survived the nuclear holocaust. Will they find their way back to fabled Earth?
- Kyle XY season 2 – Curently watching. Family drama meets the SF dilemmas from cloning and creation of superhumans. The first season totally worked and was utterly charming. Will the second season live up to my expectations? Can’t tell yet.
Also in my box of discs are seasons 1 & 2 of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 1 & 2 of The Big Bang Theory, 2 & 3 of Kyle XY; and movies Inkheart, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Quantum of Solace, Race to Witch Mountain, Angel & Demons, and New Moon.
I also have 20 anime series in that box.
Do I have enough sick-time to watch all these? Ah, well, I still have a day and a half as a zombie before it’s back to the grind.
For the past month, I’ve been high on everything Labyrinth. I saw the movie when I was a teenager, was captivated by it, watched it again and again until I grew up too well to remain stuck up on a girl’s quest to rescue her baby brother from the big, bad goblin king.
Or so I thought.
This strange fascination all started again when I found an inexpensive manga copy of Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth, volume 1 at BookSale. Though the manga centered on Toby, the baby brother Sarah run the Labyrinth and fought the Goblin King for, it made me remember how much I loved the movie.
Deciding to do some review, to remind me of characters and story details, I researched Labyrinth online… and discovered an entire universe heartsick over Sarah and Jareth, a universe that expanded on the Labyrinth mythology and psychology of Sarah’s adventure and confrontation with the Goblin King.
Apparently, fans recognized an immense romantic possibility between girl and menacing king, writing their own versions of what else could have been, posting thousands of fan fiction online, to assuage their heartsick souls and appease the raging creative beast within them.
They were ahead of me, as I only realized how powerful this attraction is until.. well, just, now. I was a kid when I saw the movie, one of those who wished to remain a child longer than most people—so for the longest time I only really saw the adventure and dismissed the hints of darker play… which there were plenty of.
With which all these fan fiction writers crafted ficlets upon ficlets, one-shots and drabbles, fluff together with imagined sequels on. I have been reading them; some I roll my eyes up at—too high on hormones, too out-of-character characters, too painfully clear as personal yearnings instead of serious attempts at fiction-writing; others I am in awe of, full of vivid sequences, lovely visions, terrible what might-have-beens or sad, sad impossibilities.
Here are samples, my select few out of thousands…
LABYRINTH II The Lands Beyond – Judith Agrethea
Novel-length, one of the first Labyrinth fan fiction I read, it centers on Jareth and Sarah. Though riddled with grammatical errors and guilty of melodramatic expressions, it is the most ambitious fan fiction of Sarah’s return to the Underground I’ve encountered. The author was able to recreate much of the fun, adventure, absurd humor in the movie. I just wish she didn’t dissect Jareth too well (I liked it that he was enigmatic) and over-explain motivations. I also have trouble with the ending. Still, this work, by a teenager writing at 13 up to she turned 16, is an amazing feat!
The author has written two more sequels since then. The third book was finished in 2004.
Two of my favorites are decidedly dark. The first features a truly scary and obsessed Goblin King; the second portrays him as a perilous and seductive lord of the fae.
These two are so good they should be adapted into a movie or anime. The first story has Sarah as detective trying to solve a spate of killings in the Underground. In the second, Jareth is still playing for keeps, trying to get Sarah through Toby.
The following three stories are also VERY interesting. Very Grimms Brother; dark fairy tales. I rather like the dream sequences. Dreams, nightmares… for me, they seem to embody the Goblin King’s power, and stories that feature them capture what he is, someone who belongs in dreams—or nightmares. The Goblin King whose purview is the Underground or humanity’s collective subconscious hopes and fears.
I prefer these stories that let Jareth be; I believe the Goblin King shouldn’t ever be dissected, or we destroy him… Too bad two stories are not yet done.
But this last one, it shatters me. It is the happiest, most cynical, and saddest of all the Labyrinth stories I’ve read. It takes a certain frame of mind to be able to appreciate fan fiction: one has to really be into the universe we’ve chosen. I was drowning, and then this…
I don’t know when I’ll be done being heartsick. My obsessions tend to last months. I guess I need to run my own Labyrinth if I hope to ever get over this.
Images taken from http://www.fanpop.com.
October 25, 2009 UPDATE- my list of favorites has since grown. Click here for more excellent Labyrinth stories.
<br>http://lyrics.stlyrics.com/lyrscroll.swf?page=http%3A//www%2Estlyrics%2Ecom/lyrics/labyrinth/astheworldfallsdown%2Ehtm<br><a href=”http://www.stlyrics.com” target=”_blank”>Lyrics</a> | <a href=http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/labyrinth/astheworldfallsdown.htm target=_blank>Bowie, David – As the World Falls Down lyrics</a>
I guess I have been fixated on the Labyrinth, the movie, the manga, the fan fiction, the essays, the art, the characters, the mythology, the symbolism…. Maybe, the movie and all these other stuff just represent something I have been looking for myself.
When I first saw the movie as a 15-year old, it was just an adventure, slightly menacing—but I didn’t know where the menace was coming from. I knew there was something… odd, especially during the Escher room scene: the Goblin King was again trying to confuse Sarah with his spells and time-bending illusions, so she will fail to rescue the baby brother he snatched from her—yet, as he was singing his deadly glamor, he looked so sad, and lonely.
I am what my friends call me, a late bloomer… very late.
Labyrinth became one of my favorites, in the same league as Neverending Story, Lady Hawke, and Terminator. Over the years, I watched it again, and again, and again, and then I forgot about it.
A couple of months ago, in one of my hunting expeditions at Booksale, I found a copy of a manga, Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth. I debated buying it; after all, I’m too grown up to be reading this stuff still. For nostalgia’s sake, as a trophy (maybe, I could trade it with a fellow bookworm), I bought it, even if at that time, I doubted I would enjoy reading it much.
I didn’t much. But I did remember the movie, so I researched it online, and discovered there were thousands upon thousands of forums, sites, and fan fiction devoted to everything Labyrinth. I was intrigued, tried to recall the scenes and dialogue in my mind, to look again at the movie in my mind’s eye.
And I realized: I’m looking at it with new, yet older eyes. The Labyrinth has taken on a darker aspect, a serious tone. Apparently, it was stuffed full of metaphors and imagery that go straight for the subconscious. The producers had more themes in mind than just a growing-up of a little girl; they injected all sorts of deep and weird ideas, on practically all convenient spots in the movie—in the crystal balls, the snake that turns into a goblin, the peach, the ballroom, the masked dancers, the bog of eternal stench, the wise man and his snickering bird-hat, and so on and so forth.
Even before I started to read the exhaustive essays and fan fiction about the Labyrinth, I figured out—or I interpreted—that the labyrinth is supposed to stand for the complexities of the subconscious, our dreams, hopes, and fears. The goblin king is the key to that mystery, yet he also stands for seduction and temptation. To surrender to him is to turn our back on duty; on all that is holy, maybe; and, definitely, life.
When Sarah rejected him, she rejected the power of her darkest urges over her. She chose to grow up, in the real world.
Much has been made about this wooing of the innocent by the wicked. A million, million fan girls have swooned from the very idea. I swoon too… just a little, mind you! But I am adult despite the adolescent still nesting in my subconscious abode (I thought I had kicked it out, darn it…), and I am more disturbed by the idea of the subconscious’s power to create and destroy… and manipulate.
If you will inspect Sarah’s room near the beginning of the movie (hit the pause button every now and then), you will recognize many of the elements characterizing the movie scattered about her room. She has stuffed toys of Sir Didymus, the fox-squirrel knight, of Ludo, the gentle beast, of the dwarf Hoggle who became her best friend. The poster on her wall is that of an Escher painting. There is a miniature labyrinth on her bookshelf. The photograph of her mom’s new boyfriend looked eerily similar to the Goblin King. On her vanity table is a music box, on which a doll twirls in a sugar-spun white ballroom gown.
If the Labyrinth is Sarah’s subconscious, and all the creatures there patterned after her imaginings, what is the Goblin King then? A villain for her sake? So she could be the hero and save the day?
You’ve run so long… You’ve run so far
Your eyes can be so cruel… Just as I can be so cruel…
Though I do believe in you… Yes I do
Live without the sunlight… Love without your heartbeat
I, I can’t live within you
When I watched the movie again, I had this odd thought: Sarah Williams, the innocent little girl, is maybe the true villain, the most cruel puppeteer that ever lived, for she made her puppet love her, and hurt her…. then she rejected him.
Gahd, this is all too much. Maybe, I should try to look at the Labyrinth the way a very opinionated cubicle-dweller friend does: when she watched the movie, all she saw was a man in drag wearing heavier make-up than the girl, prancing around in tights. She fell off her chair, laughing.
Labyrinth was produced by George Lucas, directed by Jim Henson, and co-written by children’s author Dennis Lee and Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones in 1998. The movie stars Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie.
<br><object width=”330″ height=”200″><embed src=”http://lyrics.stlyrics.com/lyrscroll.swf?page=http%3A//www%2Estlyrics%2Ecom/lyrics/labyrinth/withinyou%2Ehtm” bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” width=”330″ height=”200″ name=”lyrscroll” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowScriptAccess=”never” allownetworking=”all” /></object><br><a href=”http://www.stlyrics.com” target=”_blank”>Lyrics</a> | <a href=http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/labyrinth/withinyou.htm target=_blank>Bowie, David – Within You lyrics</a>
sabihin nyo nang baduy ako… corny… mababaw. pero kahit ano pang panglalait ang tanggapin ko, sasabihin ko pa rin ang totoo:
natawa ako sa My Monster Mom na yan! vanity movie man o hindi.
hindi marunong mag-akting si anabelle pero nakakatawa ang mga hirit niya. at si rufa, kahit di na siya mag-akting, ok lang… dahil obvious na exasperated naman siya talaga sa mommy niya in real life.
at grabe. lahat ng sinusuot niya, gusto kong hanapin sa malls para maging akin din.
“ay, namatay sa disney? pinatay siya ni mickey mouse?” – esme (anabelle’s character), upon learning of her brother’s death in america
its premise is thin ice. sloppy, clumsy, and incoherent, it quickly falls through and sinks to the bottom. i’m sure that as no doctor would ever be responsible for it no doctor would wish to revive it–never mind its unrest.
fascinating… not the movie but at the mentality that finds horrible mutilation beautiful. there’s a japanese coffee table that puts badly disfigured and burnt women in provocative poses, isn’t there? this movie is something like that. here, lindsay’s fingers detaches from her hand while she dances and men are turned on. missing a right leg and hand, she seduces a boy. buried alive, her beautiful face looks out through a wedding veil. buried in romanticized amputations, we are weirded out.
enter. never come out. are you in or are you out? fine, don’t cross that threshold. you’ll always be safe and you’ll never have to escape a nightmare by dying… and waking up, realizing you’re dead–and it’s still a nightmare. king is king here.
a dragon who wants to fly so badly he will kill and create an army of evil creatures to get his wish… if only they focused the movie on this character, they wouldn’t have produced such a confusing mix of fantasy and action. the nobility and romantic heroism in korea’s small village weren’t able to reincarnate, unfortunately.
they say that the worst fear is fear of the unknown.
I say otherwise. I say that more fearful is when you are given a glimpse of the unknown, and you realize to the depths of your soul the unending abyss of that place. And I say the worst fear is the knowledge that, soon, you are to be part of it…
Such is the nature of this fear that only rarely are people unlucky enough to experience it. But such is the nature of movies that only rarely are moviegoers lucky enough to experience it.
With Ring, we were both.