Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast (the animated Disney classic) is one of those movies that bring back memories of the good old days... in grade school. Yes, the cartoon was shown in 1991. So when I heard that Disney was making a live-action version of this beloved classic, I put the premiere date in my calendar and waited (im)patiently until the day arrived.

However, due to circumstances that I couldn't avoid (aka statistical analyses and physical exercise), I ended up watching the movie the week after it opened in San Pablo City, Laguna. It was a much-awaited showing, indeed, because the cinema was packed with parents (who relived their first time seeing the cartoon) and their children (who were seeing this version for the first time).

And so the "tale as old as time" began. Emma Watson (who I first saw as Hermione in the Harry Potter series), waltzed into the screen as Belle, the female protagonist. And I can say that she definitely is not Paige O'Hara when it comes to her singing. I guess my expectation was upped because Luke Evans sang really well as Gaston. I was absolutely blown away! Vocally, Emma Watson's Belle was no match to Luke Evans' Gaston. However, her persona does fit the character of Belle, so I thought that it was okay. And then there's Emma Thompson, taking over Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Potts; and I can say that Emma Thompson's performance actually made me forget that I was listening to Mrs. Potts 2.0. Lumière was voiced by Ewan McGregor whose French accent sounded like he once again took on the role of Christian in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge. I'm not sure if I liked it. Ian McKellen, of course, was unrecognisable as Cogsworth; I couldn't find traces of Magneto nor of Gandalf... not even of Leigh Teabing in his performance as the mantel clock; such a chameleon!

The movie itself had no surprises that could throw the fans off. Yes, there were additional songs and the much hyped added dimension to LeFou, but there was nothing that made people think that this was an attempt to bring additional insights into the character. Belle was shown teaching a young girl how to read, quite empowering; but she developed a "washing machine" drawn by a donkey so she could sit down and read her book. That didn't come across too well; if I weren't listening, I'd think she's created the washing machine so she has time to laze around. Tsk. Gaston and LeFou were still two-dimensional; it was difficult to tolerate Gaston's narcissism... how could LeFou stand it? how could the women continue to fawn over the guy?!? Anyway, people writing "spoilers" for the live-action movie would be hard-pressed to do so because the 2017 movie is very loyal to the 1991 cartoon... even to the big reveal of the prince.

Honestly, I was a bit let down. I think I got so used to the prince's grizzly appearance that when he became human, it was meh

But still, it's such a feel-good movie. Already looking forward the the more modern take on Mulan.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Boards UP

The first time I entered an establishment where I had to pay for lunch but can play all board games that I want was in Ludo Café in Makati. I went there after French class with my classmates. Little did I know that this concept was about to pick up a storm in Los Baños in the form of Boards UP.

Krishna, Jojie, Erin, and I tried it out one cold evening in which we needed to relax and eating dinner just didn't fit the ticket. While waiting for our meals, we picked (of all games) UNO Stacko. I thought that it was a good idea because there were no plates; the pieces weren't in any danger, at that point, of plopping into our food.


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As the evening progressed, we also played Cards Against Humanity (never tried it before; totally hilarious!) and Machi Koro, coincidentally a game I was playing with Ate Maddie, JP, and Daddy during my vacation in the Calaveras area. Because we had so much fun, we kind of lost track of time and ended a bit later than we normally do when we eat out.

Nevertheless, Boards UP is a place I am interested of visiting again. Perhaps in a few months.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Swan Lake

A classic piece of ballet.
A big finale for a fiery season of Ballet Philippines, that started with Firebirds and Other Ballets.
Too bad I was only available to watch the performances on the season's opening and on its closing.

Swan Lake. One of the first ballets I have seen at the CCP. I think I first saw it as a pre-schooler; my memory is quite hazy about those days but I clearly remember that I liked the music back then.So it was quite a treat when I learned that Swan Lake was going to be performed by Ballet Philippines as this season's ender.

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And the nice thing was that the CCP was adorned with photos and memorabilia from the several times it had performed Swan Lake. Based on these mementos, I can hazard to guess that I saw this ballet for the first time in 1985. 

The ballet was superbly performed by the dancers. The difference though was that this time, I could actually understand the plot; back in 1985, I was awed by the novelty of the theatre, the music, and the lights. Also, computer effects have been incorporated in this year's performance, though never distracting from it. 

Now looking forward to the next season of Ballet Philippines!!