Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Not That Complicated -- ang babasahin para sa mga Alien! ~ by: Uel Ceballos

Kung ihahalintulad sa isang pagkain ang akdang ito ni Eros Atalia, ang akdang sumunod sa naunang sulating "Ligo na U, Lapit Na Me", ang "Its Not That Complicated" ay isang malinamnam na putaheng kumpleto sa mga rekado at siksik sa sustansya. Pagpapawisan ka sa paghigop ng mainit nitong sabaw na bahagyang pinalapot upang maging masarsa at mag-iwan ng kakaibang lasa sa iyong dila na hinding-hindi mo malilimutan. Pihadong mapapasabak ka sa walang humpay na paglantak sa hain nitong napakamalamang sangkap hanggang sa tumirik ang mga mata mo at maghabol-hininga ka sa rurok ng iyong kabusugan.

Muling pakikibutin ni Intoy ang natutulog niyong puso, pakikislutin ang nanlalamig niyong mga ugat, paaagusin ang nagsesebo niyong dugo at pasasakitin ang nanahimik niyong puson sa muling pagtatagpo nila ni Jen na ngayo’y may kasama pang Tina.

Sila Jen at Tina ang mga alien na sumugod at nanggulo sa buhay ni Intoy hindi upang manakop kundi upang makihati ng saglit sa mumunting mundo ng binata at magbaon ng kapiraso nito sa kanilang pag-alis. Ang kapirasong iyon ng mundo ni Intoy ang gagamitin nila Jen at Tina upang lumikha ng panibagong mundong kanilang pagyayamanin.

Higit pa sa akdang pang-romansa ang It’s Not That Complicated dahil bukod sa likas na pangingiliti nitong taglay ay may hatid din itong nanunundot na paksang magpapasilab sa iyong kaalamang panlipunan. Kumbaga’y hindi lamang nito pauusukin ang tenga’t ilong mo, kundi puputungan ka pa ng bombilyang nagniningas ang liwanag.

Nakakatawa man ang mga linya ni Eros, may angkin namang itong talim na nakalilikha ng malalim na hiwa. Malaya nitong paaagusin ang dugong namuo na sa sobrang tagal nang hindi pagdaloy. 

Nababagay ang prosang ito sa mga alien sa sariling bansa ng sa gayon nama’y makilala na nila ang Pilipinas sa totoo nitong kulay at kalagayan. Baka sakaling magkainteres ang mga Pilipinong alien na ito na magkaisang agawin ang pamumuno sa mga mapagpanggap na nilalang (na silang totoong mga alien). Kapag nangyari iyon tuluyan na nilang masasakop ang Pilipinas at mapagyayamang muli hindi na bilang mga alien kundi mga totoong Pilipinong inangkin na rin sa wakas ang sariling pagkakakilanlan.  

KUBRADOR : MAKE YOUR BET ~ by: Uel Ceballos

The Pinoy Indie movie Kubrador was the embodiment of a crudely conspicuous film that was both courageous and shamelessly frank on its portrayal of the Jueteng issue in the country. Extremely firm on its conviction, Kubrador had brazenly explored the anomalies of those persons in rank positions who should be helping out to eradicate the illegal betting but were taking part instead in the entire scheme. 

The film covered all the aspects of the social and economic borders that were reached by this gambling activity. The movie showed as well the impoverished condition in the country that was pushing the majority of the poor to rely their luck on making a bet to the illegal number games while the rich people were even more lured to bet on the game for the promised of greater and quicker gain of riches.

Kubrador centered to the story of Amy, an old woman (Gina Pareño) who provided for her family from the small earnings that she was getting as bet collector. Her life was set in a monotonous reality – roaming around their place from early morn to late evening encouraging her neighbors to place their bet – until certain events came up (concerning her livelihood as bet collector and the unforeseen experiences which involved the mystical presence of her late son’s spirit) that eventually transformed her life.

The authority then had become stricter in their operation to get rid of the illegal number games due to the jueteng issue involved by the two consecutive Philippine presidents. The first one was on the year 2000, wherein President Estrada was impeached after being proven guilty of receiving millions on illegal pay offs. The next one was President Macapagal wherein there were allegations that her relatives were receiving payouts from the jueteng operators.

Kubrador had clearly depicted how the crippled society had fallen to the pit of Jueteng world just to survive their daily needs. The setting in the film was all too crystal-clear, showing the poverty-stricken squatter that actually defined the Philippine society in a larger picture. As Amy was shown walking around the area, all the details that characterized the destitute state of the poor were given away in this film – slum, unemployment, overpopulation, subsistence living, barely making ends meet – Kubrador had also shown here some ways of the Filipinos to escape poverty such as finding a foreigner husband and working overseas for a greater source of income.

But what really made this film aggressively daring was its presentation of the corrupted system which in one way or another had quite illustrated the involvement of political, military and police branches. The film had also showed the Church’s connection on this Jueteng matter though it was demonstrated here in a subdued manner.  

The effect of the film to me was quiet heartbreaking to the sense that it was trying to
impress the hopelessness of the Philippine system due to the despoiled persons who are in the positions. And what extremely highlighted to the movie were the sad facts that while the poor keep on struggling in their lives to the point that they are involving their selves to illegal jobs, the rich ones also keep on gaining benefits from the schemes where the poors were set in the frontiers like the pawns in a board game.  

Many subordinate issues also were presented in this film, all chained from the main header of the subject – poverty. I noticed that there were several times that Amy was shown buying a bottled mineral water from a sari-sari store and there was an instance where she expressed her dismay over the expensiveness of the distilled water. It dawned on me then how the poor are so deprived of clean water to drink, which in turn, causing them several water-related diseases and other sorts of malady.

However, the presence of unnatural element here had somehow balanced the movie between the desperate conditions and the optimism that each new day brings. The spirit of Amy’s late son Eric, was seen at numerous parts of the film watching and guarding his mother. There were highlighted parts that emphasized the significance of Eric’s spirit, subtly pacifying the mood and bringing lights not only to Amy and her family but to the audiences as well.

Technicality-wise, there were lacks of lighting in the movie which gave it the most appropriate effect – the dimness of setting and the rawness of shots were next to the perfect depiction of the lower class society. The texture was so perfect that its effects will really include and immerse you to the film’s setting and depressing situation.

For this Pinoy Indie that received numbers of awards and nominations from both local and abroad, I will give it a rate of 10 Espresso Shots!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

MUSICAL FILMS LIVE FOREVER!: List of MY BEST FAVORITE musical movies ~ by: Uel Ceballos

Being a theater enthusiast (and a theater artist sometimes), I’m also a big fan of musical films wherein the treatments are all so theatrical. Emotions are translated into lyrics, interpreted through movements and highlighted through acting. Nothing could be more fantastic but the sight of these three art forms being meticulously combined into one awesome movie. It’s different of course when you see it in the Broadway show where everything’s done in live. In the movie however, it is magnificent in its own way as the three art forms are combined with another great form of creativity, which is the art of film making.

To give you some ideas of the best musical films ever produced, I’m sharing you my list of favorites. Here they are! Enjoy the trailers!


This 2012 epic romantic film adapted from the musical of the same name, of which based from Victor Hugo’s novel will surely send a chill up to your spine due to its excellent musicality and significant story. Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and all the rest of the ensemble casts have given us here a real knockout performance that the film had received eight Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture.


The real epitome of magnified classic story, The Phantom of Opera was the most unforgettable musical I’ve ever seen. The film was based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of the same name, of which based on French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. The movie was such a perfect beauty that its exuding splendor would certainly haunt you forever. 


Based on the musical of the same name, which was based from Charles Dicken’s novel, this television film was such a heartwarming movie that would reach deeply into your soul. This is the Christmas movie that I wouldn't mind watching again and again, because the story of A Christmas Carol is such a sweet reminder that the real happiness in life lies not in gold or in any material things but in the love we share with one another.


How about seeing Christ Passion in a rock musical demonstration? Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical of the same name, Jesus Christ Superstar has shown the events on Christ’s life during the week before His crucifixion. The approach used was set away from the conventional type of interpreting Christ’s life through the solemn and serious tone, but it was delivered in a modern mood means by depicting it through rock musical. 


A feel good musical and a remarkable classic that would live in your heart forever, The Sound of Music was a musical film inspired by the memoir of Maria Von Trapp. The film told the story of Maria and the Von Trapp family which started just before the World War II. Surely, you will never get rid of the song “Do-Re-Mi” and the rest of the happiest songs you will hear in this very beautiful movie!


A great classic film to cherish, you will definitely love Dorothy Gale, the sweet, young girl who was brought to Land of Oz by a hurricane. Her journey was such a meaningful one as she traveled the yellow brick road to find the Wizard. This is such a wonderful film that was based from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (click here to see review of the movie)


If you grew up with Abba music, then this musical/ romantic comedy movie is perfect for you. Mamma Mia was such a real feel good film with such an uplifting effect that it would leave you singing and dancing at the end. Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried made a perfect mother-daughter tandem here, and Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard had even added more color to the ever-vibrant scenes!


Full of breathtaking performances and spectacular numbers, Chicago will bring you back to the Jazz Age when jazz and dance started to arise in popularity and the society stank of corruption, depression and other horrible doings. The film explored serious topics, of which concerned subject of fame, scandal and fraud. The film starred Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. 


Get inspired by this gospel-infused musical film that told the story of a small town choir that was threatened to be shut down. Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton had made a perfect chemistry here with their both strong personality, conviction,and really amazing vocal powers. Sing praises and witness this one good round of fellowship, Joyful Noise will make feel light-hearted and will give new fresh hopes to start your life with.


Based on another Charles Dicken’s novel, Oliver! was adapted from a stage musical of the same name. This film that earned six Academy awards including Best Picture and Best Director in the 41st Academy Awards in 1969 had indeed appealed to the people in all walks of life. Exciting not only for the children but for the adult as well, I bet you would enjoy the film and get fond of Dickens unforgettable characters.


Grease was such great phenomena in the history of musical cinema. Music and choreography were all too powerful that it lingered years after the movie was first shown. Join the Rydell High gangs on their life’s journey as students. Sing and groove with them as you watch this one big fun musical movie! (click here to see review of the movie)

12. RENT

Very substantial and full of issues explored and discussed, Rent is the heaviest film I’ve ever watched that blatantly reflected the darker side of the of society. It depicted the lives of several Bohemians who struggled onto their lives for survival. The film tackled several themes including sexuality, gender issue, drugs, poverty and HIV/AIDS. Heavily serious were the themes maybe, but the movie never lacks the variety, the blend of emotions, and the musicality prowess that would take your breath away due to the excellent deliverance and performance of its ensemble casts.


Witness the evolution of music from the 60’s and 70’s through the perspectives of the girl group called Dream Girls as they conquered the music industry together with their all too controlling manager played by Jamie Foxx. If you’re a great fan of R & B music, then Dream Girls is the perfect watching for you. A musical drama film that explored themes such as celebrity, love, romance, heartbreaks, and friendship.


Get rockin’ and groovin’ as Hairspray brought you back to the 1960’s era with all the hit 60’s pop dance and downtown rhythm and blues! Hairspray revolved around the plump teenager Tracy Turnblads who dreamed of dancing in The Corny Collins Show. Without doubt, you would be so fond of Tracy as she positively worked her way to the realization of her dreams. John Travolta had given us here an amusing performance as he played in drag to portray the role of Tracy’s mother.


Recall the 80’s melody as Rock of Ages delivers you the music of 1980’s rock artists. This romantic musical comedy film will definitely set you rocking and banging on your seat as you listen to the film’s stirring and thrilling musical numbers!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A WORLD WHERE CHOOSING IS MIGHT. A review about the book Divergent.

By Love Esios

Oh yeah, I just can't get enough of dystopian novels. Right after I finished the highly-recommended The Hunger Games, I started reading another young adult novel. And yes, it's the first book from Veronica Roth's first ever series, Divergent.

Photo from
The story shows a dystopian Chicago whose society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), and Dauntless (the brave). Teenagers living in this society should choose which faction they want to belong with by the time they reach the age of sixteen, and that's the dilemma Beatrice Prior, the main protagonist, has to face.

I like the concept of the novel. The idea of dividing the people into faction and forcing the teenagers to make their own decisions have caught my attention. Teens are free to choose whatever faction they like to belong to but their choices are very limited. I think Ms. Roth has clearly established the division among people; which is highly ironic if their main reason for creating factions is to maintain peace and harmony among the people.

I am not really knowledgeable in the technicalities of writing a novel but I feel that there were some scenes in this book that were not properly established. It's like it came out of the blue. As the story progressed, it just focused on the training Beatrice has to complete as a member of her chosen faction but apart from that, the highlight of the story which her being Divergent was not really explained clearly. I have expected intense fighting, more conflicts but then the author dwelled more on conversations and emotions rather than action-pack scenes.

Anyway, despite this, I still love some lines like what Four said to Beatrice in one scene: "But becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how you control your fear, and how to be free from it, that's the point."

Dystopian lovers, I will just give 6 cups of latte out of 10 for this book but this is still an entertaining book to read. As a matter of fact, I have also read the second book, Insurgent and I'm preparing to read the third and last book Allegiant. So go ahead and release the Divergent in you!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Based from the novel The Great Gatsby written by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie was the fifth film adaptations of the said book since 1926. The most recent Gatsby film was casted by Leonardo Di Caprio as Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, of whom I could say, were well fitted for their roles. They both did a great portrayal here, especially Leo, who had excellently brought Jay Gatsby to life from the most dominant to the least details of him. It wasn’t a surprise at all that Leo had given us here a marvelous act, aside from the fact the he was my teenage crush, nothing could be really denied about his greatness as an actor. Like in his other movie performance, he had given his self away here in The Great Gatsby to provide room for the role he would be playing, which is the role of Jay Gatsby – who was distinguished for his peculiarity, sophistication, lavishness, and mystifying charm. Leo had justified the sometimes firm and sometimes dithering attitude, the presentation of sugar-coated personality and the bared one, the unmatched passion and effortless charm that all contained in Jay Gastby’s unpredictable nature.

The film as told in the book concerned the story of young millionaire Jay Gatsby and his undying love for Daisy Buchanan. The entire story was looked through the perspective of Daisy’s cousin, Nick Carraway who was also the narrator in the movie. By following in precise details on what were being described in the novel, the viewers would surely enjoy the extravagant sights of the gaudy and fanciful Long Island where Gastby’s mansion was located.

The developments of the characters were carefully made from the physique features to the clothing fashion and the manners that should be acted. Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker here were depicted as perfectly as they were described in the book – satiated with grace and elegance, Daisy and Jordan were the perfect epitome of the sweetest and posh ladies who belonged in the superior society of their era.

The film was created to be a complete parallel movie version of the book, delivering the story through Nick’s views. This brought both the good and limited effects though – good to the sense that the film balanced the standpoints of the audiences, who were seeing through Nick’s spectacles. Nick was the type of person who tried to reserve his judgments for as long as he could stand it – and this in turn, influenced the audiences’ notion as well. However a balanced viewpoint quiet has the tendency to spoil the emotions that are being built up along the progression of the movie. Also, the narration style limited the film on its great potential to bring the chronicle in its stunning climax, because it somewhat subdued the supposedly peak of the story. Nevertheless, that was really how the story went in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, and the filmhad just followed  it accordingly.

I have watched the movie first before I got to read the book. After I finished the novel I noticed some parts that weren’t included in the movie’s ending – appearance of Jay Gatsby’s father and the funeral scene that really made me feel so heavy at heart while I was ready it. Maybe, if they have included it in the film as well, they could have done probably a more sensible ending because the father’s appearance and statement in the novel had shown small but significant details on the other side of Jay Gatsby’s personality.

For this wonderful movie inspired by one of the most remarkable piece in the history of literature, I will give it a rate of 7 Espresso Shots!


Opening in quiet an odd style, Deconstructing Harry started with a scene of a woman coming down a cab but the frame was set in a backward and forth repetitions for several of times. It actually made me think that the movie copy was corrupted or the movie player wasn’t working well but then when the motion finally proceeded to the next scene, it occurred to me that the whole thing was just a part of the treatment.

photo courtesy of wikipedia
Deconstructing Harry was directed and starred by Wooden Allen himself. It was the story of a successful writer named Harry Block who drew inspirations from the people he knew. This would later caused Harry several effects in varying level of extremity, like for his one particular novel that was blatantly based to his real life affair with his wife’s sister Lucy. Lucy was the one seen in the beginning of the movie, confronting Harry of his works and on how did it affect her relationship with her fiancé.

There were lots of flashback series along the movie. Also, several of the significant portions on Harry’s novels were being demonstrated as Harry recalled and discussed it with his therapist or with his friend. It quiet showed the deep connection that Harry had with the stories he wrote and with the characters he developed therein. This was another sort of Woody Allen’s work, wherein you would find yourself all eyes and ears to the entire movie that was a mix of flashback and present, and a combination of real (Harry’s real world) and unreal (Harry’s fiction world) situations.

Like all other Woody Allen’s movies, Deconstructing Harry explored several themes that were associated with Jews, psychological issues, and the social influences on human behavior.

Woody Allen as Harry Block
The movie was an intellectual yet amusing demonstration of the writer’s (Harry) psychological struggles, which affected his relationships with the people around him. The film looked through Harry’s personal life, invading its privacy and revealing to the audiences that in spite of his career success, Harry was just another human with lots of flaws and shortcomings. Like everyone else, he was also suffering the consequences of his mistakes and failures in life, though he has been trying to patch things up according to his basis of the right-things-to-do.

photo clip from the movie "Deconstructing Harry"
There were also moments wherein Harry was being confronted by all the characters that he had created. This gave the impression that all the characters in a book were merely pieces of the writer’s soul who breathed the fictional life in a fictional world. The book characters, in one way or another were reflections of the writer’s subconscious self, and this statement worked not only for Harry Block but for all the writers out there.

Deconstructing Harry had the entertaining twists and turns that would set you into outburst laughing and then in all of a sudden would make you empathizing with the main character. If you have seen others of Woody Allen’s movie, you would notice as well that he had a great fondness for creating a main character with inclination to writing just like in the films Midnight in Paris and Annie Hall wherein the main characters were also writers.

Woody Allen is such a laughing deity who always impart to his audience a fair amount of laughing potion and a great share of substantial thoughts. For this movie that was nominated for Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, I will give a rate of 8 Espresso shots!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Halina't silipin ang Diary ng Panget Ni: Uel Ceballos

Kung naghahanap ka ng babasahing babasag sa iyong katinuan at magpapakiliti sa natutulog mong ka-kesohan, bakit hindi mo subukang basahin ang kwentong nangunguna ngayon sa mga tindahan ng aklat – Diary Ng Panget by HaveYouSeenThisGirl.

Sa aking pagsasaliksik sa internet, napag-alaman kong Denny pala ang pangalan nitong si HaveYouSeenThisGirl na ayaw magbigay ng buo niyang pangalan (pero willing siyang magpapicture kaya naman makikita niyo ang itsura ng batang ito sa net). Okay, hindi siya Panget katulad ng bida sa istorya na si Eya. Pero sa pagtingin ko sa larawan niya, mapapansing isang simpleng babaeng likas na masayahin itong si Denny. Hindi malayong isipin na katulad din siya ni Eya sa maraming aspeto –malamang sa paraan ng pagsasalita, sa mga kinahihiligan, sa mga expression, at sa mga pananaw sa mga bagay-bagay.

Mabalik tayo sa kwentong isinulat niya. Sa edad kong ito na 25, aaminin kong bumenta sa’kin ang teenage love story na siyang tema nitong Diary ng Panget. Bukod sa umepekto sa akin ang mga katatawanang nakapaloob dito, tinablan din ako ng kilig sa love story nila Cross at Eya, kahit pa sabihing ang istorya nila ay karaniwan mo nang mababasa sa iba pang nobela at mapapanood mo pa sa karamihan ng mga pelikulang may kahalintulad na tema.

Pero ano nga ba ang naging kaibahan ng Diary ng Panget sa iba pang kwento at humakot ito ng milyon-milyong atensyon sa watt.pad na siyang naging dahilan para mapansin ng isang publisher? Lalo pang sumikat ang kwento nila Cross at Eya nang maisalin na sa aklat ang istorya at dumami pa ngang lalo ang naging mambabasa ng kwento.

Sa aking palagay, wala naman din talagang dahilan para hindi kagiliwan ang Diary ng Panget. Hindi ko lang tiyak kung aalma dito ang mga masugid na tagasulong ng tamang paraan ng pagsusulat at masusing pagobserba sa teknikalidad ng literaturang Pilipino. Bumenta sa kabataan ang kwento ni Denny,bumenta din ito sa mga hindi na “bata”(katulad ng henerasyon namin). Ibig sabihin lang, hindi mo kailangang magpakulong sa kombensyonal na pamamaraan para lamang maipahayag ang mga bagay-bagay na nais mong maibahagi sa karamihan.

Wika nga ni Denny, simple lang naman ang kwento nila Eya at Cross, typical. Subalit sa kabila ng kasimplehan nito, siguradong magpipinta naman ito ng ngiti sa mga labi at magdudulot ng kagalakan sa kalooban ng sinumang makababasa nito.

Kalabaw nga lang daw ang tumatanda, hindi ibig sabihin na nalipasan ka na ng iyong kabataan ay hindi na nararapat na babasahin sa’yo ang Diary ng Panget. Remember, we are forever young at heart! Kaya kung icebreaker sa mga nakakaburyong na problema at trabaho ang hanap mo, hetong Diary ng Panget ang babasahing nababagay sa’yo. Basta huwag ka lang OA na pa-deep at pa-high standard kuno dahil hindi mo nga talaga kasisiyahan ang pagbabasa ng ganitong istorya na kung tutuusin ay may makabuluhang mensahe namang hatid. Try to loosen up dude,makigulo ka muna kina Cookie Monster at Cookie Bear. Naway’y kagiliwan mo ang pagbabasa nito. Enjoy!