Viewing: movies

Date night: Post partum edition

How was your weekend? After getting way too jealous about all the fun happening at The Hive, I tore myself away from Twitter and Instagram for a Date Night with my husband. Just him and me, for the first time in 11 months. No baby bump, no baby!

We left Tala at home with a babysitter, although Marlon is pulling a Tala face here because I said I missed her on the tram ride to the cinema. Yes, I’ve turned into a cliche. I consider it an achievement that I didn’t check up on her once, trusting the babysitter would contact me if something went wrong.

Date night The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is officially the most expensive movie we have ever seen, babysitting fees included. Hiring a babysitter is expensive! I love our life here, but this was one of those times I really felt the impact of living away from home. Back home, we wouldn’t have had a second thought about leaving Tala with my mom for Date Night. Being thousands of miles away from family, we don’t have that luxury.

It took a few conversations before we made the decision to hire a babysitter. I tried to forget that the cost of a babysitter for one evening can cover half a month’s pay for a full-time, live-in nanny in Manila. Instead, I tried to see it as an investment—literally, with a measurable monetary value—in our marriage. We’ve spent money investing in things. Why not in our relationship?

So, Marlon and I were determined to make the most of our four baby-free hours. We enjoyed the loud music and cramped cozy interiors of Los Pilones, the best Mexican restaurant in town and a personal favorite, definitely a place we couldn’t have gone with our baby. We enjoyed a long conversation over dinner, even though we talked about Tala half the time.

Mojito y margarita

And I enjoyed my first post-pregnancy mojito and margarita! Eleven months is a long time to wait for a margarita, and the ones at Los Pilones are worth it. Not only are they big, but they also come with a little refill jug for margarita-hungry mamas like me.

At the end of the evening, we came home to Tala feeling refreshed and lighthearted, knowing that we had made the right decision. We might even make Date Night a monthly affair, unless it’s one of those months when we’re crawling to payday (admit it, you’ve been there).

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Date Night? And, on a more serious note: I’m still thinking about the idea of making “investments” in a relationship. Any thoughts or advice?

Eye Film Institute

Today I’m sharing some unpublished pictures that I found in my laptop. Last summer, Marlon and I went to see a movie at the recently built Eye Film Institute, which opened in April this year. It’s a gorgeous new piece of architecture along the IJ, just a five-minute free ferry ride from Centraal Station.

Eye Film Institute

Ladies and gentlemen, a warm summer evening in Amsterdam. Not kidding. This was back in August, when Little Mango was but a blob in my still (relatively) flat tummy. I think the Clockwork Orange guy was trying to warn me of the imminent disappearance of my waist.

Movie outfit

After the Art Deco splendor of the Tuschinski, the bright and shiny Eye is my new favorite place to watch a movie. The ferry ride makes it feel like an excursion, being on the other side of the IJ gives you a different view of the city, and inside it’s all clean whites, dynamic lines and modern geometry.

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i watched quantum of solace with the entire office on thursday. watching the kick-ass opening titles by mk12 with a bunch of graphic designers was fun. everyone would go “WAH!” (our company’s main intercultural expression of amazement) all at the same moments throughout the sequence. for some reason, i almost fell asleep during the movie. not the greatest reaction to get for a bond flick, although my eyes could not have been wider during daniel craig’s sole shirtless scene.

then i saw it again with marlon on saturday. the second viewing gave me a full understanding of the plot — again, not the greatest reaction considering bond flicks are not supposed to be rocket science. my dislike for olga whats-her-name intensified (so robotic! what’s up with the standing with legs apart, fists closed all the fricking time? and that huddling in the corner drama! tumakbo ka na kaya?), as did my awareness of the utter lack of fancy secret agent gizmos.

on sunday, marlon and i decided to re-watch casino royale at home. whereupon i confirmed my impression that this is by far the better, sexier, funnier, more compelling, more memorable and more classic bond flick of the two.

even the aforementioned shirtless scene in quantum solace, as gratuitous as it was, just induced a wee tickle in comparison to the earth-shaking girlgasm i got re-watching daniel craig’s rising-from-the- sea, skimpy-shorts glory in casino royale.

we had also planned to watch the invasion, but were too bangag to sit in front of the tv for a couple more hours. i just realized this also features daniel craig. soooo… if we watch this tonight it will be a full four days of hawtness.

the craig-a-thon shall continue!

Contemplating Christian

it’s friday evening and i’ve been zonked out the whole day. having a zonked-out, sick husband at home the whole day gives me an excuse to do this.

i had two interviews scheduled this week and i’m tamad to blog about them. they were both really interesting, to say the least, and i just don’t have the mental stamina at the moment.

all i am capable of doing now is contemplating a christian bale-a-thon.

the thought was born a few days ago when marlon and i were discussing our celebrity crushes. (brief digression: i actually have a married friend who is shocked that i “allow” marlon to have crushes on other people, and that he and i are so open about each other’s celebrity crushes. heller. we’re married but not dead.) i named all of his correctly: anne hathaway, natalie portman, keira knightley and scarlett johanssen. he asked me to name mine, for the record: jamie oliver, dingdong dantes, brad pitt only in meet joe black, jude law only in enemy at the gates, and (what a motley crew!) christian bale.

then i realized i have seen a sh*itload, if not all, of christian bale’s movies. yes, even newsies. inulit-ulit ko pa yan. so i decided to look up his filmography and check out which ones (at least within a 10-year cutoff, oa na yung mga prince of jutland era) i haven’t seen. i realized that with the exception of american psycho and i’m not there (which is coming to town next week as part of the singapore international film fest), watching all the movies on this list will be a major test of the limits of my love for christian bale.

  • american psycho — the ever-elusive holy grail of christian bale dvds. where does one find a copy of this in asia??? i am almost tempted to buy this off amazon!
  • i’m not there — heath ledger (RIP) as bob dylan is a major, major plus. must see next week!
  • 3:10 to yuma — a western? errrr…
  • rescue dawn
  • the new world
  • harsh times
  • equilibrium — though this looked like a cheaply produced movie from the trailers, muntik ko nang patulan when it first came out.
  • laurel canyon — sounds cheesy. sounds like a girly movie.
  • shaft – okay, at least i can get marlon to watch this with me.
  • all the little animalsano kaya ito?
  • velvet goldmine

in fairness what an extensive filmography ha. he played jesus christ in a tv movie. interesting.

oh my god wait! he’s going to play john connor in terminator 4? *squeals* that’s going to be soooo hot. casting coup ito! if there’s anyone who can revive the terminator franchise after that last red-leather-jacketed monstrosity and claire danes killed it, it’s definitely christian bale.

hmmm. i wonder if the local dvd rental has any of these movies. and i wonder when we’ll finally have the spare cash for a dvd player!

Scary successes

the previous post made me think about what makes a good scary movie for me.

i find that the horror movies that i consider really, really good are those that sear one cinematic moment into your mind. as i mentioned in the previous post, shutter and the ring really did that for me. as did emily rose (the fear of 3am), omen II (the three little numbers on damien’s scalp, plus his grey-eyed scowl), the exorcist (two words: spider walk), the others (nicole kidman and the children staring stoically into a window), to name a few.

i even remember one scary shot from early childhood, though i was too young to remember the movie: a white-faced, dark-haired girl trapped in the depths of a well, looking up in terror. (can anyone ID this scene?)

those that didn’t pull off this brain-branding were pretty unsuccessful with me, and thus became largely forgettable: dark water, the reaping, the blair witch project, stigmata, gothika.

oddly enough, it must be an image; while i will forever remember the creaky-burpy sound the ghost made in the grudge (“aaa-aa-a-a-a-a-a-aaaa”), i thought that film was a complete waste of my time and money. i have no idea why hollywood picked it up for a remake.

the orphanage seems to be, so far, the only exception to this rule.

what are your success criteria for a scary movie? and what scary moments are stuck in your head, possibly for a lifetime?

p.s. if you’re wondering why i didn’t link to any of the movies i mentioned here, googling the first few and seeing their movie posters really creeped me out. time to go call marlon.

Not a single scare wasted

marlon and i have just seen the orphanage.

i think it may just be the best ghost story i’ve ever watched in my life.

i’m still reeling.

i wanted to watch it simply because it was billed as having been produced by guillermo del toro, not to mention the really cool movie poster. marlon, who hates scary movies and only ever watches them because of me, had to be prodded with a reference to pan’s labyrinth to even consider it.

i don’t really expect much when i go to see a scary movie. maybe just three to four scares, which can range from the cheap and predictable (“turn around, it’s behind you!” or peek-under-the-bed type thrills) to the deeply disturbing (shutter‘s backbreaking shock, for example, or sadako’s big moment in ringu).

so i really did not expect layers upon delicate, poignant layers lying under every well-thought, well-played scare. i did not expect to walk out of the cinema and think about love and loss, growing up and coming home, childhood and innocence, responsibility and blame, guilt and forgiveness, seeing and believing, and what truly has the power to disturb and terrify us to our very cores.

what is the greater horror for a mother: a creaky house full of the spirits of dead children, or the inexplicable loss of her own child? are ghosts really scary only because we meet them in our world and not, in a manner of speaking, in theirs?

none of hollywood’s pointless scares or ghosts jumping out of closets here.

from a writing standpoint, the movie was extremely neat. not a single scene or reference wasted. if you played connect-the-dots with the script, you could most definitely connect one event in the first half of the film with another that would unfold in the second half. brilliant.

marlon and i raved about the movie all the way from the cinema to the mrt. on the train, he fell into a long-ish, thoughtful silence. then he gave me a sudden, tight hug.

if you want to know why, go and see the orphanage. go. just go!

i hope it comes out in manila. if not, get the dvd.

Sinful sugar Sunday

i spent most of yesterday with marlon and his two closest friends from work — shivaani and shrenik, whose wedding in kolkata we attended two years ago. i love these two friends of marlon’s and i’m happy that they’re among my first friends here in singapore.

shrenik apparently is a man after my own salt-and-sugar-crazy heart (must have them one after the other), and i saw the full extent of his fiendish powers yesterday. what was possibly more mind-boggling than the amount of sugary snacks he keeps in the house is that, well, they’re still around — if i had all my favorite snacks in the house, they would all be gone in one afternoon. (except a small jar of nutella, which would take me two.)

the amount of sugar we had in the span of eight hours was beyond belief. consider:

  • a bowl of ferrero rocher
  • a pack of pepperidge farm dark chocolate chip and pecan cookies
  • filipino tablea hot chocolate with condensed milk (our contribution)
  • a pint of ben and jerry’s cherry garcia
  • various starbucks drinks: caramel frap, chai latte, iced tea
  • coke zero
  • honey dijon kettle chips
  • magnum ice cream bars

and that was still over and beyond the indian lunch cooked by shivaani, who, bless her heart, fell promptly asleep as soon as the opening credits rolled for paprika (totally surreal japanese animated movie). i managed to hold out for the length of the dvd, but was totally zonked out for the rest of the evening. my head felt dull and heavy, and i got cranky if i had to think for too long. at home, i couldn’t even read dangerous liaisons for five minutes without my pulse pounding at my temples. who knew that this was what lay on the opposite end of the spectrum from a sugar high?

but shrenik, diyos ko, totally out-sugared us all. yes, even me! he even brought out another bag of chocolates as if we hadn’t already been methodically hustling our collective blood sugar to critical levels. he exhibited no visible delay of his motor functions, while marlon practiclally had to prop me up in the mrt station. it was truly awe-inspiring. i concede defeat.

or maybe not. i thought last night’s saccharine bacchanalia was enough to put me off the sweet stuff for at least a couple of days. whaddya know, barely 24 hour hours later here i am blogging while munching on a crunch bar.

so when was the last time you had a sugar orgy?

The day that was

before i start blogging, a sneak peek. switch on your speakers or put on your earphones — although i don’t expect anybody to know the song, it’s a gorgeous one.

on-site avp by mg digital video.

Spanish Saturday, subtitle Sunday

firefox shut down on me unexpectedly and i just lost a long, happy, impassioned post i wrote about starting spanish lessons yesterday and subtitling my portfolio today.

syet. feel na feel ko pa naman siya.

i’ll recreate it when i’m not so bummed anymore. besides gotta get back to work. (work on extracurricular projects, not work work, so don’t worry.) in the meantime i’ll post something i wrote today that’s not so long, but packs quite a punch.