An Appeal To My Filipino Readers

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since I posted about suicide prevention, but last night, a video has been going around showing a person who fell from the third floor of a building.

When asked, the person who posted the video said that she will not take it down because she had every right to post it, and that it’s making rounds in the media anyway. She even LAUGHED at the person who tried to kill himself.

I appeal to you — if you’re here, you know that suicide is a big deal, not a laughing matter. If you’re here, you know that this is against all that we stand for as warriors who are trying to fight against suicide — so please, please, please if you come across the video, please don’t watch it, don’t react, don’t comment.

JUST REPORT IT ON FACEBOOK AND ASK THEM TO TAKE IT DOWN.

Please.

Hopeline, Philippines’ Suicide Prevention Hotline, may be reached at (02) 804-4637; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers

La La Land

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La La Land | © Summit Entertainment

This musical about a passionate jazz musician and an aspiring actress chronicled in the events of the year they meet and fall in love in Los Angeles, at a time when they are chasing the dreams they have been struggling to reach. The film won seven staggering awards at the Golden Globes, and was marked as one of the most notable films in 2016.

STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JK Simmons, John Legend
DIRECTED BY: Damien Chazelle
WRITTEN BY: Damien Chazelle
MUSIC BY: Justin Hurwitz
RELEASED BY: Summit Entertainment

PLOT: 4/5 face value, 2.5/5 if my inner nerd kicks in

Aspiring actress and jazz musician meet and fall in love in a nostalgic version of LA, complete with stories of struggle, and charming musical numbers.

Face value, it was a great movie. It made me cry, mostly because I have my own version of knowing how it feels to not be able to end up with my soulmate. (Part of the reason I was crying during the movie was the fact that I just knew so-so would have loved to watch it too). It’s sad, it’s nostalgic, it’s endearing. It made you hope, it made you wish, it made you believe in a better world with considerably less traffic and less talk of kale.

Mostly, it appeals to the people who wear their hearts on their sleeves and who look at the world through-rose colored glasses.

BUT

It is also a white-washed version of Hollywood with amazing lack of diversity. Considering how jazz originated from Blacks, it is sad to note that the only black person in the cast was a washed-up musician who sold out.

Also, LA is one of the most expensive cities to live, there is no way an aspiring actress who is a barista by day could afford that amazing apartment at the beginning of the film AND a Prius. Seriously.

CAST: 3.5/5

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling look good together. They are beautifully awkward and endearing, and despite not being actual singers, they made it work in a musical (just, you know, don’t expect five-octave ranges or anything of that sort). However, lost points due to previously mentioned lack of diversity. LA is one hell of a melting pot and it didn’t show. Also, it needed more JK Simmons.

SOUNDTRACK: 3

I grew up listening to jazz on Sunday mornings and on road trips (hi, dad!) so I pretty much got an ear for it, although I’m not one to research on the names of musicians and song titles (believe me I can’t name the albums and song titles and musicians in my favorite bands!). While I love the jazzy parts of it, my biggest disappointment is the fact that Sebastian’s (Gosling) song is…well, not actually jazz as he defined and fought for in the movie.

Still great for easy listening, though.

*CINEMATOGRAPHY: 4.5/5
*COSTUMES: 4/5

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER:

*I don’t usually add them in the reviews, but cinematography is brilliant and costumes are lovely in their brightness and essence: they had been remarkable for this film, so kudos to that, too.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1

I binged-watched “A Series of Unfortunate Events” this weekend, because obviously.

Hold up. First and Foremost, ASOUE is on my top three list of favorite book series of all-time, coming in second only to Harry Potter. Unfortunately, I know fewer ASOUE fans than Harry Potter fans, because well, most people really assume the series to be for kids — although it is actually a very fun read even for adults. Its dark story line, I think also discourages parents to buy them for their children, I mean, they generally don’t think titles like “The Bad Beginning,” “The Miserable Mill” or “The Vile Village” are apt titles for kids.

However, I love the literary references, the many alliterations, and the lyrical prose of the cynical series, which is why I got really excited that Netflix is bringing it to the small screen. I was very disappointed that producers never followed up on the movie in 2004, so it’s like I’m going back to my childhood.

About this take on ASOUE:

  1. They are expanding each book to two episodes instead of compressing three books in one movie. This means the first season, which covers “The Bad Beginning” to “The Miserable Mill” covers eight episodes. This move alone is a great improvement to the treatment of the story. Author Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler) noted that they are already at work for Season 2, so if this two-episodes-per-book treatment continues, fans will have three glorious seasons of the series. Which is perfect. More than that and they will have to move past the canon series.
  2. Neil Patrick Harris is always awesome. Playing the vile, villainous Count Olaf playing different people and NPH is in his element. However, as a fan of the actor, I saw some hints of Barney Stinson and Hedwig (Robinson), which is not necessarily a bad thing, but that’s just me.
  3. Expect a lot of deadpan jokes. The series is known for making lighter very real issues of abuse and neglect, so expect a few rather dark, deadpan jokes that could make you burst out laughing during some rather inappropriate times.Or sometimes, they just have random throwaways that reference pop culture or literature, which are also funny.
  4. They have beautiful aesthetics. Think “Sweeney Todd” meets “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Gloomingly dull one moment, glaringly bright the next. I dunno you guys, I really found this really endearing, and definitely apt for the series — it’s like they give you hope only to take it away, because obviously, there is no ray of sunshine for the orphans.
  5. There is a new side story and new characters! They make sensible additions though, so it should not be much of a problem. Besides, we know this is in good faith to the books, as Daniel Handler himself is executive producer of the series, and they definitely have his blessings to these additions.

That said, I will not spoil anything, but unlike Lemony Snicket, I will not dissuade anyone from watching. In fact, I would recommend it, especially if you like watching television shows about incredibly unfortunate orphans.

Series Score: 4/5 Stars

Through Someone Else’s Eyes

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Quote: Nathaniel Hawthorne, most attributed to JRR Tolkien Photo: http://bit.ly/2hxR06D

Let me tell you some things I believed in:

I believed that people who dream
are the ones who survive the world.
I believed that love is given freely,
and that it can never run out.
I believed that we all
have the ability to change lives,
so small things matter.

And then, I met you.
Let me tell you about the things you showed me:

You showed me that dreams are for sleeping,
and that it has no place in reality.
You showed me that love is currency;
you need to prove your worth to have it.
You showed me that lives can be changed,
but people forget the good and remember the bad.

And then, things are different.
Let me tell you how hard I tried to see the world through your eyes:

I saw the shattered spirits of former dreamers
who allowed the world to break them apart.
I saw the romantics who sold their souls
for people who told them they were not enough.
I saw people who are much too unhappy,
too angry, too discontent,
and who blamed the world for the bad.

We have a world full of problems.
And the problem is that this is our reality:

We have artists who stick to jobs
they can never be passionate about
because the world shatters creativity.
We have dating sites
Full of empty kisses and one night stands
for romantics who are too afraid
to get their heart broken for love.

And we have nations
shouting foul and screaming bloody murder
for things we can’t interpret as good or bad.

We are but a speck in this amazing vastness.
And we forgot the good things
we were supposed to be grateful for.
Like we forgot the bad things
We were supposed to fight against.

We forgot that dreams helped us envision,
and logic made them come true.
We forgot that love and hate
equally moved mountains
so we have to choose which way to go.

And most of all,
we forgot how small we are
against the universe,
but we have the power to hold infinity
at the palm of our hands.

So believe in dreams
But don’t let go of reality.
Give love freely
But don’t be imprisoned by it.
Lives change daily.
Inhale the good, exhale the bad.

Live.
Survive.

I have a Christmas Giveaway, you guys!

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I haven’t read a lot of books this year. I only managed to finish about 16 so far, although I’m planning on rounding it to 20. For insight, in 2014, I managed to finish 75 books.

However, I did read Jay Asher’s “What Light” and it’s vastly different from his previous book, “Thirteen Reasons Why.”

This is warm and fuzzy, and Christmassy, which is why I’m giving one away for you to read over hot coco this holiday season.

But wait.

This is basically open for Cebu mainstays (yey!)

Here are the details:

What: Christmas Giveaway!

When: December 15, 5:30 PM

Where: Fully Booked Ayala

How: I’ll pre-pay for the book. If by chance you pick it, then you get it for free (double yay!)

By the way, for the person who did get the book, please message me here (or on any of my social media accounts) to inform me if any of you got it because if not, I can get my money back or put it in the Little Free Library by the Ayala Terraces instead.

Sound cool?

Cool.

OH OH. And in case the book is out of stock on that day, I’ll change it to another Christmas-themed book that I love, instead.

Good luck, and Merry Christmas!