Monday, October 7, 2013

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, both romantic and pleasantly nostalgic. by: Uel Ceballos

Photo clips taken from the movie "Midnight in Paris"
I've never been to Paris but I’ve been long dying hard to get there someday. Until I watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and it all seemed like I was already transported there mentally if not physically. This romantic comedy fantasy film was entirely shot in Paris and I just couldn’t help myself admiring the opening montage of the film, wherein breathtaking shots of Paris were being shown while sweet Jazz music was played on the background – very romantic indeed.

Rachel McAdams as Inez, Owen Wilson as Gil Pender
Photo clip taken from "Midnight in Paris" movie
Midnight in Paris in the direction and screenplay of Woody Allen was first released in 2011 but I only got to watch it this year 2013. I assumed from the title itself that it would be all about love and romance since Paris was what most of us referred to as “The City of Love”. I was not that excited at first-- maybe because I was not really a fan of Owen Wilson (I never like his Wedding Crasher though he gave me a good laugh in his old movie Bottle Rocket).
Photo clips taken from the movie "Midnight in Paris"
I never thought that there would be a fantasy play on Midnight wherein Gil Pender traveled back time to the era of 1920. But what really added more sparks to my interest were the presentations of real personalities from the past, incorporating them to the film, and getting them to meet Gil Pender, the guy who came from the modern year! I just couldn’t contain my full appreciation of Woody Allen’s creativity as he put on his movie the presence of celebrated writers and public figures like Ernest Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso!
Woody Allen is a writer and artist himself, so small wonder that meeting these famous celebrities is what he also wishes for himself even just through the making of such a well-written film like Midnight in Paris. The effect on me was quite strong that I even fantasized myself traveling back like Gil and meeting the like of Fitzgerald and Hemingway –Oh! I must have then the book of “The Great Gatsby” and “The Old Man and The Sea” for their autograph!
It was also an amusing scene to watch the character portrayals of famous writers and artists, looking more onto their being humans rather than on their being as renowned celebrities from the past. Though the things you would see on them in the movie were nothing different to the autobiographical details written about them, still the effect it had was really fantastic.
I got to like Owen Wilson here, his being naturally charming and funny fit perfectly for the character of Gil Pender. And the cinematography – I really loved it! Woody Allen has given the film a balmy texture, wherein the ambiance was sustained in a warm tone all throughout the movie and the effect it had was so perfectly pleasant and beautiful.

I will now leave the rest of the details for those who haven’t seen the movie yet. For this excellent movie made with nostalgia-modernism combination, let’s cheer for it with 8 SHOTS OF ESPRESSO! 


One of the book covers of The Hunger Games. Photo taken from Google Images.

I'm not really a fan of dystopian novels. Since I have started reading novels in high school, I have never thought I would actually get engrossed in a story that's kind of dark and gruesome and gory. It turns out The Hunger Games changed that part of me. It took one boring weekday afternoon to try and read the first few pages of the book and after that, I never stopped reading until the last book!

The Hunger Games is the first of the three books in The Hunger Games series (the others being Catching Fire and Mockingjay). The story focuses on a very unlikely competition that is meant to punish and remind the citizens in poverty-stricken Panem that rebellion against the government would have very complicated consequences. The Games was created for the kids to fight among themselves, with only one emerging as a victor. In this first book, you would be introduced to the three main characters of the series: Katniss, Peeta and Gale. You might think that this is going to be a love story set in the dark ages of mankind but no... it's more than that. It might sound like a typical story for some people who have already read young adult fiction with dsytopia in the background. But I guess, there's something on how Suzanne Collins presented the story that made me turn on every page of the book, perhaps thinking that in a few decades, our society will be as vicious and selfish as The Capitol... that the government will resort into punishing kids and teenagers for a crime that the adults have done. How surreal the situation could be? The bloodbath, the injustice...they were all captured by Collins. I found her storytelling very easy to understand, yet she used the simplicity of her narration to give the readers a strong and vivid imagery. And as a reader myself, as long as I can see the scene clearly in my head, hear the characters talking, feel the emotions in their words, then I know I am reading a good book. Truth be told, while I was reading the book, it felt like I was already there, I was also part of that dark society, and I can still see every scene in my head until now! (Okay, now that's scary... hahaha!)

The Hunger Games is a riveting story of injustice and passion set in a violent, dark and gory society that might be our own someday. And I'm telling you, once you start, you won't stop. For that, I'd give a rating of 7 cups of latte out of 10. ^_____^



Photo from Wikipedia
Since we’re just months away now from Christmas time, I suddenly feel like reading something that is Christmas-inspired, and that brings me to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. While I skim through the first pages of the book it gives me the impression that the story seems unfit for the children; because C.D has a note there calling it a Ghostly Little Book. Well, you don't think the children are fond of  ghosts until I remember Casper and how I  love him when I'm a little girl.

A Christmas Carol starts with a dimmed and gloomy atmosphere, narrating about Marley being dead. So how do I take that? A Christmas story beginning with someone’s death -- well, it almost provokes me to drop the idea of reading the rest of the book. But then out of curiosity and C.D’s popularity I just decide to proceed with my reading. At the end of the story, I’m just so grateful that I finish it. The story and its lessons are priceless; and its significance to the world is definitely timeless.

The story is perfectly fit for people of all ages, from the young ones to the old ones. A Christmas Carol is the story of bitter and fed-up Scrooge, whose encounter with the Ghosts of the Christmas from the past, present and future transform him into a much better person.

Whenever the spirit of Christmas is coming into the danger of dying away from your heart,  this book will ignite the sparks that will blaze your heart into life again! A must-read for everyone especially for those who are eventually drowning deep down the life’s depression, sadness and despair, A Christmas Carol will restore you back to that hopeful and buoyant person you're once before.

Hope you guys find time to read this classic literature and as C.D says it, may the ghosts of Christmas haunt you pleasantly!