> New yeaR and resoLutionS

Personally, I try not to get too excited about the New Year. The only thing that changes is the last number on the date. Still, there is a general acceptance that the New Year is the best time to make resolutions for the future. I don’t think so.

I asked H before about his thoughts on New Year, Astrology and the likes. He took it seriously and provided me these answers : Astrology is based upon planetary cycles. Our ancient ancestors celebrated the New Year with the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox. Spring is the season of new growth and it’s marked by the Sun’s entrance into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. We have only been celebrating the January 1 New Year for about 400 years.

Nosebleed! I ended up laughing so hard. Can you dumb it down Beb? You’re losing me.

Nevertheless, many of us made lists of resolutions and once again set ourselves up for failure. How many New Year’s Resolutions are actually made and kept? Every New Moon is an astrologically sound time to restate and renew our resolutions, but the days following the New Moon are the most crucial. It is during these days that we need to maintain conscious focus and keep our actions in line with our intentions.

So, how many of you made New Year’s Resolutions? And what are you going to do about manifesting them? And how’s it going so far?

I don’t have one of my own. I have the “New Moon” of the Twilight Saga though. Yipee!

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> Happy New Year! : QA Department

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> Holiday DVD Marathon 2 : twiLight

H invited me to comeover and bring my Twilight DVD the other day. I have been maintaining “good friendship” with him despite everything that happened. We met for dinner first and discussed in detail our thoughts on the books. He was teasing me because I have read all the books except “New Moon”. I was on cloud nine, no kidding [I don’t know if it’s because I sooo love Twilight or because I still sooo love him].  Someone in the flesh to discuss Twilight and all those wonderful, magical characters with! My only complaint is that the evening went by too fast. Before we knew it, it was time to head over to their place. My ardour for everything Twilight had settled somewhat, which is a good thing [because it’s exhausting being obsessed with something all the time]. Yes Twilight and Edward and Jacob are still some of my very favorite things, but daydreaming about them had become secondary to…living! [pun intended]

As tempted as I am to pick up Twilight and start rereading the saga, I will refrain. Because after seeing the movie again, I feel myself getting pulled right back into the obsession. And if I allow myself to get Twilight out and read it, there will be no looking back. I’ll succumb to the magical draw of Forks, Bella, Jacob… and Edward. Ah, Edward!

H and I went into the Nth viewing of Twilight with different perspectives. He had seen it the first time with no prior knowledge of the story [more or less]. He hadn’t read the saga. I think that would’ve been a cool thing, to have seen the movie before reading the books. I had of course read them [a few times] but they weren’t extremely fresh in my mind. That was on purpose, I tried to remove myself from the story so I could have a fresh perspective. It was hard to do the first time I saw the movie. I couldn’t make my mind focus on the actual movie. Instead I just noticed what was different from the book, what was the same, and especially how the movie felt like a “cliff notes” version of the book. The scenes seemed choppy to me.

That night however, it had been even longer since I’d read the book and I’d already seen the movie so it was a lot easier for me to just go and focus on enjoying the movie itself. I loved it even more the Nth time! I did not get the sense of a choppy cliff notes version again. The movie flowed and the story seemed consistent and smooth. I’m not exaggerating! The excitement of being with him and the midnight viewing was gone as well. That was great and totally added to the experience the first time but had been maybe a little distracting from really seeing and enjoying the movie itself. My heart still raced with Edward’s first grand appearance onscreen, it was all very satisfying. And the things that bothered me the first time didn’t so much this time. My only complaint remains [and was even more heightened this time] Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Bella. Hopefully she will tone down the drama and play up Bella’s “goofy in love in the face of danger” attitude for New Moon.

> Holiday DVD Marathon 1 : eagLe eyE

I trusted my friend when she told me that Eagle Eye is the perfect B-grade thriller, a fast-paced, excited and well budgeted picture with quality acting and enough chaos to satisfy my long planned DVD marathon. She somehow warned me that it is also ridiculous at times, forcing you to stretch your imagination far beyond what you expected. And that if I’ll accept that, the movie will be pretty damn entertaining.

The 2-Disc Special Edition DVD, however, is not. The Special Edition is not very special at all, as it contains just a few mediocre bonus features that no one really wants to see. The Alternate Ending, which is short and to-the-point, is okay – but thank God they didn’t use it in the theatrical release.  However, the series of featurettes included on the discs are dull, dull, dull.

There’s a making-of featurette, which is more promotional than anything else and only provides a few real glimpses at the actual production of the movie; another one looks at filming in Washington, D.C. That’s not very exotic at all. Yet another is about the reality of the world we live in, and how it’s not that farfetched that we can be tracked most of the time; interesting subject, but there’s just too little real content to make this worthwhile. There’s also an interview between the director and his mentor, but I lost interest early on. Ironically, this one may be the most authentic of all of the bonus features, though it was a mistake to have the two just talking in a room; instead, they should have had a moderator to help lead the men down a more interesting path.

There’s also a gag real and some deleted scenes, but both features are pretty standard.

Now about the movie…

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you should make a movie about it. The abysmal Eagle Eye attempts to take modern-day paranoia about the intrusive nature of technology and turn it into an action movie. The result is an unqualified disaster, an unbelievable, unrealistic, and simply un-enjoyable barrage of noise and increasingly ridiculous plot twists. Eagle Eye doesn’t just require suspension of disbelief on the part of its audience. It demands that all logic and believability be left at the ticket counter with your hard-earned cash. This may be Executive Producer Steven Spielberg’s least believable film ever, and that’s including E.T. and Transformers. 

As over-the-top and only-in-Hollywood as Live Free or Die Hard or similarly insane action movies [only with a completely straight face about it], Eagle Eye is hard to even recap intelligently. The film’s only accomplishment might be in that it will linger with audiences out into the lobby and beyond as viewers try to piece together the plot holes big enough to fly a B-12 Bomber through with ease. Shia LaBeouf stars as Jerry Shaw, a Stanford drop-out who now works at the Copy Cabana. He’s grown distant from his family, especially his successful twin brother Ethan. When his Air Force star sibling dies in a car accident, Jerry goes to the funeral and sort of reconnects with his family, but comes home to find his life in complete disarray. First, his bank account, which couldn’t satisfy his rent payment one day, has $750k deposited in it the next. He takes out some cash and heads home to find an apartment full of terrorist supplies that, apparently, are pretty easy to ship via DHL. As he’s examining the confidential documents and illegal weapons in his living room, his cell phone rings and he’s instructed that he has thirty seconds before the FBI will get there and arrest him on suspicion of terrorism unless he runs. 

At the same time, Rachel Holloman [the miscast Michelle Monaghan] gets a similar call. Her son is on a train to DC to play at the Kennedy Center, and the mystery woman on the other end of the phone threatens to derail the locomotive if Rachel doesn’t follow orders. Jerry doesn’t run when he’s first told to and gets nabbed by an FBI, headed by Billy Bob Thornton, and the better-at-taking-directions Rachel has to bust out her unwilling partner in crime. The idea is that Jerry and Rachel are going to be pawns in an elaborate plot that uses our increasing lack of privacy as a weapon. Imagine an enemy that could get to you through any technological device. They can hear you on any phone, see you on any camera, and even use any computer-operated device like stop lights and cranes to their will. While LeBeouf and Monaghan run, jump, and scream every time the phone rings, Michael Chiklis, Rosario Dawson, and Anthony Mackie are all wasted in small supported roles.

It’s not that horrible an idea for a thriller, but it’s the execution that’s horrific. Unwilling to do anything in moderation, the four people it took to write one of the worst screenplays of the year almost seem to be playing a game where they have to top each other with each stupid twist. There’s something in the idea that we are surrounded by ATM cameras and cell phones, but, when the computer system that’s manipulating Jerry and Rachel starts to go beyond what any could possibly do – my favorite is that, apparently, a computer can not only cause power wire to snap but also swing directly into a running person – the suspension of disbelief becomes far, far too much to bear. And the final act is a howler. If director D.J. Caruso and the rest of the team behind the film could have put their tongue even slightly in cheek, Eagle Eye might have worked, but the increasingly insane plotline is played deadly straight, which should make the laughter in the audience all the more uncomfortable.

> maniGong bagOng Taon!

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> happy hoLidays!

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