I will try my best to make this spoiler-free, but just in case: ***SPOILER ALERT***
10 Things I Learned From The Korean Zombie Movie ‘Train To Busan’:
1. A zombie apocalypse won’t stop people from taking video footage and uploading it to social media before they die/become zombies themselves. Expect Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat posts with hashtag #zombies #brainssss and the like.
2. A zombie apocalypse won’s stop Koreans from searching it on Daum/Naver and complaining about it on internet bulletin boards.
3. Koreans never watch zombie movies (because apparently, Train to Busan is the first ever Korean zombie movie), so they don’t know what the heck to do in the event that a zombie apocalypse happens.
4. Helicopters and trains can work in Korea even if they’re not manned by a pilot/driver.
5. Korean zombies can see and hear, but cannot smell. Therefore, even if you’re reeking of kimchi and/or soju, you’re good as long as you hide yourself and be very, very quiet.
6. As in all Korean dramas, Koreans can outrun moving vehicles. Including KoRail trains.
7. It doesn’t matter if they’re human or a zombie: an asshole is an asshole, no matter what state they’re in.
8. It is possible to hate on a child and wish she becomes zombie chow. (Sorry. I tried not to hate. I couldn’t stop myself.)
9. Always carry a coat or jacket. It might become handy in case zombies come-a-crashin’.
10. Learn a hula song. Who knows, Pearly Shells may end up saving your life.
Random comments, in bullets:
1. Gong Yoo never seems to get old.
2. Out of all the zombie movies I’ve seen, this movie has got to have the coolest zombie swarm scenes, ever.
3. If you’re into zombie films for the gore, you might be disappointed. But since I’m perfectly fine not being grossed out, I’m ok with it.
4. I won’t tell you exactly how it ends. But prepare to be heartbroken.
I don’t need to put a **SPOILER ALERT** on this, right? Since I think I’m the only one on my side of the fandom who hasn’t seen DoTS until now?
Thanks to the four-day weekend and the fact that I’ve finished all my reports, I finally found the time to watch Descendants of the Sun in its entirety. I’ve seen it here and there when my niece watched it, but this is the only time I managed to sit down and watch it religiously.
Since everyone has seen it and I’m very late, I’ll just do my usual bulleted list of random comments.
1. The production values are definitely top-notch. They didn’t scrimp on the budget for this, and it showed. The cinematography, production design, even the camera angles were well-thought out.
2. The story is actually quite simple if you remove the disaster/military conflict aspects of it. It’s just couples bickering here and there, as normal couples would. The fact that the characters involved have complicated jobs allowed the story to move to 16 episodes. Having said that, I think the simplicity of the plot and its execution are the ones that lured the audience hook, line and sinker. The script was very relatable; they spoke like they’re normal people, just like the rest of us.
3. Song Hye Kyo has definitely cemented her mark as a prolific actress on this drama. I love that the Kang Mo Yeon character has a strong personality. She’s not a damsel in distress. SHK has truly moved on from her old characters where she’s always weak and helpless. All of her roles since Full House are that of a strong woman, and she definitely has the chops to pull them off.
Some of my favorite scenes in the drama are those of Dr. Kang trying to control her emotions because she is in the middle of a situation where she cannot afford to break down. There’s this one scene during the earthquake rescue where all her facial muscles moved as she was on the brink of tears but she tried to control them. It’s very raw and natural, as if she really was in distress. And then that other scene when she finally broke down after she finished attending to all those patients. Hye Kyo was able to convey the grief that she kept all along in the most heart-wrenching way.
4. I know you’re all waiting for me to comment on Song Joong Ki. First of all, I get it. I get that his charm was like, level 100000000 on this drama, reminiscent of Full House‘s Lee Young Jae. I still think he’s too pretty, though, so I didn’t fancy him that much. I fancied Jin Goo more.
I must commend him for his delivery of English lines. It’s not perfect, particularly on the delivery (it could’ve been more natural), but at least we didn’t need subtitles and he didn’t sound like Donald Duck. I didn’t cringe at all. He’s not a native speaker, but I’m not surprised that he has that skill because I am aware that SJK is one of those Korean actors who not only has high IQ scores but is also street smart. His Running Man stint showed me that.
5. Truthfully, the one couple that I liked most on DoTS were the old doctor and the nurse. They’re so cute.
6. Is it just me, or Kim Ji Won has a strong resemblance to the-princess-that-must-not-be-named?
7. To sum up, I understood why this drama is a hit. I’m not sure, though, if it will warrant a repeat-viewing from me. It did suffer the K-Drama Fatigue on me because everyone has demanded that I see it, so I kinda expected a little bit too much. To be fair, it’s one of those dramas where I can actually recite scenes and dialog even if I’ve only seen it once. It’s like a pop song that will stick to your ear whether you like it or not.
8. PS: I know people will bomb me for saying this. Nope, I didn’t feel any electricity between the leads. They’re more like best buds to me. Yep, feel free to throw stones at me now.
I can’t sleep last night because I slept the whole day yesterday, so I decided to finally watch Rain’s “The Squall World Tour in Hong Kong” which is available on Rain’s official YouTube channel. I haven’t been in touch with anything Rain lately; I only saw glimpses of his The Squall concerts on my social media streams and I never watched the fancams (basically because the fancams are mostly of him doing that Nan number again for the gazillionth time), so I saw this clip with practically no idea on how it goes.
Some random thoughts, because it’s past 4:00am and I have to go to work in a few hours:
1. Rain seems to be environment-friendly since Legend of Rainism. His theme has been ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ since then. Unless he’s going for the nostalgia feel, which is… still not fine. Shinhwa has been chucking out concerts with their same old songs, but it still comes out fresh because they try to come up with new arrangements and re-invent themselves. And Shinhwa is older than Rain.
2. The only part that’s fresh in this show are the Rain Effect songs. Which were still performed in the same manner as how he performed it when he was promoting the album.
3. To be fair, there were two instances which I really liked because I didn’t see it coming. First: Rain singing his cutesy songs Instead of Saying Goodbye, With U and Fresh Woman clad in a tuxedo. Brilliant, I must say.
Second was the Latin mix of La Song during the encore. Finally, a song with a different mix.
4. Whoever was in-charge of Rain’s make-up must be advised that foundation – or BB cream, whatever – should be applied not just on the face but on the neck, as well.
5. Hip Song still has the same effect on me as it did 6 years ago. It still makes me want to get up and dance. This song seems to be one of those numbers that Rain loves to perform until now.
6. On the other hand… I Do has a different feel now. I don’t know if it’s just me, but he performed it mechanically. The song lost its old charm because he was just going through the motions as if he didn’t want to sing that song anymore but he has no choice as it is one of his biggest hits.
7. Why does the mere mention of Full House on his concert made me tear up?
8. Rain looked gaunt at this concert. He’s too thin, and he didn’t have that sparkle in his eyes anymore even when he’s being cute. But I must admit, he still has that ‘IT’ factor as a concert performer. I think his dancing even improved over the years. He just needs fresh new material to work on.
9. What the heck happened to his choice of female dancers? When they were doing that couple dance for One and my reaction was, “Alden and Maine can do a sexy dance much better than Rain and this dancer”, it’s either there is something really wrong with the way they were dancing, or there is something really wrong with my eyes. I’d like to believe it was the former.
10. And speaking of Rain and Alden:
I was watching this, and I suddenly blurted out:
“Wait. Those are Alden’s steps.”
Yep, I really need to lay off on Alden Richards once in a while. I see him on everything, including instances of Rain wearing skinny jeans.
A photo posted by Paulette Agent P (@agent_pau) on
This is going to be a super-lame recap, because it’s photo-less. Why? Because some @($%)#_%_!!!!! out there stole Blackie Lou, my trusty Canon camera, as we were going out of Cinema 10 after the movie. I mean, who would’ve thought that there’ll be a thief amidst a cinema full of celebrities, fans and industry people? I actually don’t feel bad that I lost that cam, because I can always replace it. #oomaypambiliakobakitba It’s the memories that come along with that camera that made me sad. We conquered many SPS episodes and AlDub/MaiChard events together. Also, I browsed through it before the movie started and I know I took quite a number of really good ones last night, despite the, uhm, challenges. (Will rant about that later. Oh yes, I will rant. Ngayon pang mainit ang ulo ko?) And now they’re gone. Pero pag bigla kong nakitang naka-upload sa kung kaninong IG o Twitter ang mga pics na ‘yan, #alamna. Sana ikasikat mo yan, ha?
Anyway… in the spirit of trying to keep everything spoiler-free, I will just post my review/recap of the night and the movie in random bullets. Just like how I always do it when I’m lazy or I don’t have much time to blog. (It’s past 3:00am and I have work tomorrow, er, later.)
1. As I have Tweeted earlier (which also led to my camera being stolen from my bag), throw away whatever theories you have developed based on the teaser trailers that were released. The trailer did not reveal much of the real plot and story. It’s full of surprises. Very pleasant surprises. It’s a simple story that was executed well. It’s something that you won’t hesitate to recommend to other people who are not part of the fandom. At least, I won’t hesitate to recommend it.
Siguro, ito lang yung masasabi kong accurate talaga sa lahat ng teasers na inilabas nila: Totoo yung KIT = Kilig Iyak Tawa.
2. The movie will cater to all sorts of “Teams” within the AlDub fandom. Yes, including #TeamAlembong, na parang ako lang ang naka-relate kasi… basta. Abangan n’yo lang.
3. Como was pictured beautifully in the movie. As in. Sooooobrang ganda. The cinematography was excellent, especially in all the Italy scenes.
4. Corollary to that, Alden Richards also registered well on screen in the entire movie. Oh wait. ‘Registered well’ is an understatement. I lost count of how many times I heard the phrase, “ang guwapo ni Alden, shet!” in the entire duration of watching the film, and not all of them came from me. Ultimo batok at likod n’ya rito, guwapo. Kainis.
5. Nearly everyone who has seen the movie has said this, and I will join them in saying: kailangan may kasama kayong mahahampas pag pinanood n’yo ang pelikulang ito. This movie is the one that should have the tagline #KiligPaMore. It’s the first time that I saw a movie in theaters na bigla na lang may lumipad na mga kung ano-ano tulad ng tarp at lightboard dahil naihagis at naihampas sa sobrang kilig. That’s all I’m gonna say.
6. All of the supporting characters play a key element in the movie. Wala ritong random na maisali lang sa cast pero pwedeng alisin at aandar pa rin ang istorya. Even the cameos have something to offer to the story kahit pampagulat lang. Side comment: naaliw lang ako kasi there were two instances where Cai Cortez wore clothes that I happen to own, as well.
7. Now let’s talk about Alden and Maine’s acting.
Alden… what can I say. BRAVO, young man. I’ve always known you have it in you but in this movie? My gol-ly. Pati ang pag-iyak mong mala-Nora Aunor, wala akong masabi.
Alden’s acting has so much depth. Direk Mike has mentioned on the primer that he purposely gave him something a little bit more challenging owing to his acting experience. Andrew is really quite a complex character and I believe Alden truly delivered, and so much more.
As for Maine… she excelled in the light and funny parts. For someone who’s new in this, she truly has shown so much talent especially in the field of comedy. Napaka-natural niya mag-deliver ng linya. However, and this is just my opinion so please don’t bash me, she’s still struggling a bit in the dramatic parts. Medyo mababaw pa ang hugot sa ilang mga eksena at hirap talaga siyang umiyak, although aminado naman s’ya dun. Still a vast improvement than what she showed in God Gave Me You, though. But she has shown so much potential and I think, with just a few more workshops and acting experiences, she can become a truly prolific actress in the future. There is one scene here where she managed to tug my tear ducts because the emotions she showed looked and felt so real. Parang kusang tumulo ang luha n’ya dun eh. I really wonder what her motivation was when they filmed that scene.
8. The ending… is something that I won’t reveal, of course. But it made me think. I wonder if others had a similar theory/opinion. We’ll find out later, when spoilers are already allowed.
To end this recap/mini-review, I would just like to post this little rant because… seriously? Way to ruin the experience, guys.
Look. Lightboards are created so that your idol can see your banner even from afar. I really don’t know what is the point of placing yourselves right there in front, literally in the face of the artists, and effectively covering everyone behind you? Lahat po ng nagpunta doon ay gustong makita sina Alden at Maine, hindi yung likuran ng mga lightboards ninyo. At sigurado po ako na gusto rin makita nina Alden at Maine ang lahat ng pumunta doon, hindi yung mga lightboards n’yo lang. Bakit kailangang lumagay sa harapan at takpan sila?
Sana… SANA. Sa lahat ng tinamaan sa sinabi ko sa itaas: Matuto naman po tayong magbigay kahit katiting na pagkakataon sa iba dahil lahat naman tayo nagmamahal kina Alden at Maine. Salamat po.
On one hand, I was ecstatic. The dream that I’ve had since I was a teenager finally came true: I got to see my all-time favorite musical Les Misérables in the flesh.
Ever since Les Miz was staged by Repertory Philippines way back in the 90s and I missed it (mainly because I was still a student at the time), I swore to myself that if ever it will be re-staged here, I wouldn’t dare miss it for the world. Or, if I get the chance to go to New York and/or London, it’s definitely going to be on top of my itinerary. But since the last option has become nearly impossible (actually, it’s possible; I just couldn’t afford it hahaha), I just had to wait for it to be done again in Manila.
Two decades plus after, here it is. And it’s not a local production.
So how was it? Well, for starters: at the last note of One Day More, I burst into tears.
Rachelle Ann Go as Fantine is AMAZING. Her voice has improved by leaps and bounds, although that certain ‘thing’ (vocal inflection) she does is still there. Her acting is solid, as well. I got goosebumps and teary eyes at Fantine’s death scene (this is not a spoiler).
Simon Gleeson as Jean Valjean definitely did not disappoint. My peg for Valjean has always been Colm Wilkinson, and my gauge is if the actor playing Valjean would be able to nail the soft parts of Bring Him Home. On that part, Gleeson nailed it.
But the REAL star of Les Miz Manila for me is Earl Carpenter as Javert. He makes me want to NOT watch the Les Miz movie again because I will cry when Russel Crowe shows up and murders Stars once again. Carpenter was just fabulous. Javert’s death scene (again, not a spoiler) got the most thunderous applause of the night apart from One Day More.
As for the disappointing parts: well, Marius and especially Cosette. Marius may have suffered in comparison because my peg for that character is Michael Ball and to quote my friend Rizza’s FB comment, Michael Ball is just too high of a peg for Marius. I tried lowering it to Eddie Redmayne, or ok… Nick Jonas. To be fair, Paul Wilkins’ take on Marius isn’t as bad as Nick Jonas’.
As for Emily Langridge as Cosette: she makes me want to watch Amanda Seyfried again. Ok, maybe not. But close.
Kerrie Anne Greenland as Eponine is vocally good, but she lacks depth in the acting department. One of my most anticipated scenes in Les Miz is A Little Fall of Rain because I cried just listening to it when I got the OST decades ago. It was so flat and hurried at this show. Then again, my ultimate peg for this number is the version by THE Michael Ball and THE Lea Salonga. Who can top that???
Mssr. and Mmme. Thenardier: Mssr. was ok – his funny parts hit the mark – but Mmme. was, again, lacking for me because I got so used to Jenny Galloway nailing that part every time. Even Helena Bonham Carter does not hold a candle in comparison to Ms. Galloway.
Special mention goes to the kids: Cosette, Eponine and especially Gavroche. I wish I had kids as talented as these three.
Performances aside, the production aspect of this show is more than enough reason for anyone not to miss it. It’s so worth your money. The set design, lighting, props, choreography… my jaw dropped more than 10x in the entire duration of the nearly 3-hour show. It’s like watching people do random magic tricks while singing and acting. It’s THAT amazing.
So yeah. Les Misérables Manila? Totally worth the six tickets I paid for. Even my sibs and the kids enjoyed it.
And now, for the ‘bitter’ part:
I bought my tickets for Les Misérables last year. Therefore, the announcement that Alden Richards’ first solo concert will be on the same date as my Les Miz night was the single most depressing news I received in a long, long time.
I’m not bitter that I wasn’t there, per se. I’m bitter because I wasn’t able to cover this momentous event in Alden’s career. Also, I’m bitter that I did not personally witness him do this:
(Original video from ALDENatics Rizal. I just re-uploaded on YouTube because Twitter media embeds do not work on my blog platform.)
According to my fellow Alden INTL members who were there, Alden acknowledged our group three times last night. I already saw two different instances on social media. Yes, it might sound too shallow (or lame, depending on who you’re talking with) because it’s just a mere mention (three times, in case you’ve missed it) but if you know how things were in the Alden fandom before Alden International was launched, you would know why we’re rejoicing over this.
Alden knows more than one fan club now. He acknowledges everyone. In fact, he acknowledges everyone that he even thanks MAINE fan clubs, too.
Actually, last night was not the first instance that it happened. Remember this “history-making” incident that I wrote on the final paragraph of my previous blog entry but I cannot elaborate until after Holy Week? I was talking about Alden recognizing more than one fan club during a milestone in his career. We’ll have to wait until Easter Sunday before we can formally post the resibo but believe me, it was such a momentous experience that we couldn’t get over it even days after.