felix felicis

felix felicis: April 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Asian Movie Fest (Reviews)

Miracle in Cell Number 7 (Chilbeonbangui Seonmul) 2013
Directed by: Lee Hwan-kyung | Fine Works CL Entertainment
Ryu Seung-ryong, Kal So-won and Park Shin-hye

Because we’ve got nothing to do that day, I asked my younger sister if she has movies we can watch and kill time with. She recommended this South Korean family drama which we watched via Youtube. Miracle in Cell Number 7 is simple and heartwarming. People with disabilities are often the subject of ridicule and injustice for evildoers, and this is very much true with the movie’s main character Lee Yong-gu. He has the intelligence of a six-year old and because he cannot explain the circumstances that led to his imprisonment, he was unable to defend himself. But while his mental disability led him to jail, this did not stop him from extending kindness to other people—he saved the Chief Jail Warden from the fire and was able to befriend the more ruthless criminals in his prison cell. In return, his jail mates did everything for Lee Yong-gu to see his daughter, Ye Sung. The scenes which show the various schemes they did to fulfill Lee Yong-gu’s wish were funny.

Miracle reminds me of Green Mile. Just like Stephen King’s touching tale of a mentally disabled man wrongfully accused of rape and murder, Miracle delivers enough heartwarming father-and-daughter encounters that will not fail to tug a few tears. I loved how the movie still ended on a positive note—something I have expected and was satisfied as to how it was executed. It showed us that injustice will still be overcome by something good. It may or may not be better in our own judgment but who knows what will be. At the very least, justice was served and both Lee Yong-gu and Ye Sung and their prison friends got the dose of happiness they deserve.

5 out of 5.

Top Secret: The Billionaire (Top Secret: Wai Roon Pan Lan) 2011
Directed by: Songyos Sugmakanan | GMM Tai Hub
Pachara Chirathivat, Somboonsuk Niyomsiri (aka Piak Poster) and Walanlak Kumsuwan

After submitting all the school requirements for the past semester, I treated myself to a late-night movieKiki’s Delivery Service and just scanned it. The same happened to Detective Conan series. Siblings resolved to go sleep after hearing KathNiel’s PINASmile (ABS-CBN’s Summer Station ID) and I was left scouring the vast webspace for something to watch. With eyes still wide awake, I relied on Google for recommendations and ta-daaa: a Thai film! Great. A good way to cap another sem at the Asian Center. Char.
marathon. Ok, not really a marathon because we opened

The Billionaire stars one of Thailand’s promising young stars, Pachara Chirathivat or Peach for short. After his good performance as twins in another GTH teenage drama Suckseed (2011) and before his more mature roles in TV series Hormones (2013) and suspense drama Countdown (2012), Peach portrays the real life story of young Thai (baht) billionaire Itthipat Kulapongvanich. The movie shows how Itthipat began his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur—he started with selling weapons to fellow computer gamers, then ventured into selling nuts and finally launching his own packaged dried seaweed company. Of course, the road towards his billionaire success was rough and filled with tough challenges—he disappointed his parents, dropped out of university and broke up his relationship with his long-time girlfriend in pursuit of his dream. He’ll also learn that his parents are ridden with too much debt; a responsibility which he will assume later.

This is the real Itthipat and his famous crispy seaweed. :)
As with rags-to-riches/ success stories, The Billionaire followed the usual movie formula. It has its share of funny anecdotes and teary-eyed scenes. What made it better than others in the genre is its sincerity and the fact that the story was about a young, ambitious teenager. It actually reminded me of a good friend who is determined to become rich and successful too. The movie reinforced the need to find our passion, hold on to our goals and do everything it takes to make things happen (of course, the more legal and ethical way hehe). It is both a message and a challenge. More often than not, we’re hindered by the previous setbacks we experienced or even the personal circumstances that currently mire us—I’m too poor, too weak, quite stupid, lack the talent, etc. Maybe we just have to get across that and stick to our stronger life weapons. To be honest, I’m often hindered by my own bottlenecks and the heartbreaks that come along it. But Pink was right, “The passion and the pain, are gonna keep us alive someday.” These hurdles are placed so we can overcome them, and in the process of overcoming these, we’re molded into stronger stuff. Wow, this is long.

Anyway, the movie’s end was something of a denouement. A good denouement: because after all the roller coaster rides, we’ll just be happy to see that all is well. Sometimes teary-eyed that we finished the job or achieved our target, just like Itthipat. Bonus pag with flying colors. J

5 out of 5.

My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari No Totoro) 1998
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki | Studio Ghibli; Walt Disney Pictures (2006)

One of classic Japanese animated films, My Neighbor Totoro never failed to amaze my childlike side. Hahaha. There’s so much color and beauty in the film that I ended feeling “bitin.” I wished there was more Totoro stories. Haha!

Anyway, My Neighbor Totoro is similar to Studio Ghibli creations—kids are lured to Hayao Miyazaki’s imagined world filled with morphed creatures, friendly monsters and entertaining ghosts. This time, sisters Satsuki and Mei and their father move into the countryside to live closer to the hospital where their mother is confined. They happened to live in a house inhabited by susuwatari—small, dust-like house spirits. They eventually moved away when they saw the family comfortable with their new home. On the next scene, the younger Mei was seen befriending a huge rabbit-like creature—Totoro, the forest spirit. Totoro becomes their friend and helper especially in less comfortable situations such as when their father was home too late or when their mother was too sick or when Mei decided to walk to the hospital to see their mother. It was a cute friendship I would want to have too. Haha!

5 out of 5.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

13-hour sojourn

6:00AM. Wide awake.

8:00AM. Our backpacks slung and all the other knick knacks we brought we're intact. We're off to the station to catch the 10:00AM bus leaving for Legazpi-Sorsogon.

10:00AM. The 'rents had already left. The bus is delayed due to heavy traffic and a few machine glitches. We were advised to wait. In the meantime, Mr. Bean entertains us.

11:00AM: The bus is here; we're leaving. Finally. 

11:04AM: Dozed off. 

12:30AM: Alabang exit. They're eating the knick knacks we brought while I befriend the Colonel, Pudge, Takumi and Alaska. 

1:38PM. The spicy hotdog bun my mother prepared for each us served as lunch. 

3:20PM: First stop over. Somewhere in Candelaria. Sisters ate adobo lunch mother prepped. Brothers slept through. Almost done with Alaska's story. 


4:00PM: Tiaong, Quezon. Done with the ebook. Ready to start a new one but phone's almost nearing a dead end.

Phone batt level: 11%

5:00PM: Phone's dead. The outlets weren't working.

6:00PM: Second or third stop over. I slept through at least one. We're already halfway through our journey; somewhere along Gumaca, Quezon.

6:05PM: I asked my sister if she remembers where The Unfortunate Event happened. It was somewhere along this highway. She said she doesn't know exactly where but she clearly remembers how the curve in the road looks like. She was seven when it happened. My other brother who was with her that fateful night was nine. My father sustained slight wounds in his forehead and my mother gave up her right leg to extend her life. That happened a decade ago. 

7:00PM: Dozed off again.

7:45PM: Welcome to Bicolandia. I half-raised my fists. Six more hours. Or maybe four if the roads are not as grueling as it was in Manila. 

8:30PM: The roads are under repair so to avoid untoward incidents, vehicles had to give way. Heavy traffic, then. Somewhere in Camarines Norte.

9:35PM: The earplug splitter is a miracle! I survived the succeeding hour listening to Ed Sheeran, Peryodiko and a few Bastille tracks. And then the iPod died too. 

10:00PM: Final stop over at Pamplona, Camarines Sur. The bus conductor told us we'll be in Legapzi by 2:30AM. Wow. Four more hours on the road. I wonder how Jack Kerouac would have created a story out of this. 

11:00PM: Naga bus terminal. We're getting closer. 

12:20AM: Daraga. One more town and we're there.

12:50AM: Finally, Legazpi. Cousin's waiting for us to accompany us home. 

1:15AM: Cousins' home. Stories. Chit chat. Before-sleep mini rituals. Rest. Yay.

3:02AM: Calling it a night even if it's almost daybreak. 

13 hours on the road. Epic. Thank you, Lord. :) 

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

We give in sometimes

Better late than never. Finally, I'm done with the required papers for this semester and I can welcome summer with open arms. I am quite confident with the first two essays I did because I was able to ask a few friends to proofread it for me before I submitted it. Just in case the papers made sense. Made sense it did! 

The last one was lackluster. I did not have enough time to think about the topic and even write the whole thing because I crammed it within a day or two. Bad student, I know. But well, [sh]it happens. I just have to deal with it. I was even close to calling it off by going for an INC. The brain's almost willing to give up, but there's this nagging voice telling me I can still make it. So, I willed the brain off and listened to ~the voice instead. Thankfully, I made it through. Of course, I was a day late.

Tonight/today marks the start of my five-month long summer vacation. Let the marathons begin. Hahaha! Speaking of which, I drew first blood tonight by finishing Top Secret: Billionaire. It’s a true story about a young entrepreneur who made it big because he did not give up on his fried seaweed business. It was great! Full review on my next post.

You may want to view the trailer here.

The never-give-up theme of the story just did it for me. Speaks volumes on the bumps I faced during the first quarter of this year. Hehehe. Nothing too serious, really. Just consider it part of the #100SabawDays. Because #100HappyDays is too cliché. Hahaha! J

Happy weekend!

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