Thursday, October 31, 2013

Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World

While I enjoyed its predecessor, I figured that Thor: The Dark World would end up simply being just another addition to the series and another reason for me to look forward to The Avengers sequel, but this one more than held its own against the other Marvel films sequel to come out in recent years. Sure, the narrative was incredibly intricate with a lot of things going on in its story, but it never felt convoluted. The visual effects were wonderful, the pacing was good, and the acting performances were superb, especially from Tom Hiddleston. I loved the perfectly timed humor on the film, and of course, the action sequences were outstanding. The villain was a bit generic and one note, but I digress. Thor: The Dark World pulled out all the stops and delivered one heavy punch after another, staying wildly entertaining for more than two hours and restoring my faith in the quality of superhero movies - particularly for a sequel. 9

X Factor US 3: Top 16

The mediocrity of the talent on this show was laughable. Why is there such a vast difference in the level of talent between this show versus The Voice or even American Idol? X Factor USA is just the strangest thing ever. Heck, I watch X Factor UK and X Factor Australia, and all their contestants can at least sing on key.

Also, if anyone can understand what Paulina was saying, please interpret them for me. I don't know. I give up on Ms. Rubio as a judge. She has the personality of mollusk, and for the life of me, I don't even understand how she made the panel.

But I digress.

Let's get on with the rankings, shall we?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Voice 5: The Knockouts Part 2

This is more like it! Yesterday's performances were good, but this one's better! A LOT BETTER! I mean, with people like Preston Pohl, Caroline Pennel, Matthew Schuler, Will Champlin and others, where could you go wrong?

I like that this episode didn't have much train wrecks unlike yesterday and most of them delivered solid to great performances. I can't wait for the live shows!

Here we go!

The Voice 5: The Knockouts Part 1

And we're now at probably my least round of The Voice - The Knockouts! Personally, I don't understand why have them put battle against another one from their team AGAIN - they've just had the Battle Rounds only with the same song.

As I've said before - to make things fair - why not have ALL remaining contestants per team, let them all sing and choose the 5 best singers per team. That way, they'd be able to really separate the contenders from the cannon fodders. Instead, we're stuck with Nic Hawk just because his opponent was mediocre and we have to let go of Ashley Dubose because she was up against the outrageous Tessanne Chin. You see my point?

Sure, STEAL is incorporated in this round, but just like the Battle Rounds, I'm not sure if the coaches are going to use it wisely. Umm, they saved Briana Cuoco over Matt Cermanski or Timyra-Joi!

But as usual, I digress. Let's get on with the show!

Monday, October 28, 2013

X Factor Australia 5: Finale

.. and we're finally here. Wow. I honestly didn't know I'll be able to blog an entire season of the X Factor Australia. I've been following this show for a couple of seasons now and this is the first time I posted something about it.

Now, while I'm not necessarily ecstatic with this Final 3 - I wanted Third D3gree to be there instead of Jai - almost everyone delivered some fine performances. Even the winner's single showcase was better than expected.

So, how did the finalists do? Here we go, for the last time!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

X Factor UK 10: Top 11

This review's a bit late, but I digress. I thought this episode was a lot better than this season's first live show. It had a couple of more contemporary song choices, most contestants stepped up their game, and it was actually a lot more entertaining this time. I still don't know if there are frontrunners already, but we'll see.

Here we go!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Movie Review: Captain Phillips

Gripping. Intense. Brilliant. Captain Phillips was a film with plenty of tense moments, a decent amount of action and running dialogues that successfully sustained my interest for the whole duration of it. This offered quite a ride! The cinematography was solid, the story was well-written and expertly crafted, the direction was superb and the performances, particularly from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Arbi, were excellent. The quiet scenes were poignant, the action sequences were intense and the final closing minutes had an emotional depth that was outstanding. The editing was a tad frenetic though, mostly on the use of shaky-cam, that it was quite dizzying to watch in parts, but I digress. If you like an fantastic thrill ride, then Captain Phillips is for you. By far, one of the standout films of the year. 9.5

Movie Review: Don Jon

Was I entertained? Yes, but I'd be lying if I say that Don Jon is a film for everyone, because it's not. I guess, your like or dislike for this film may very well depend on how well you respond - despite the annoying cuts from MTRCB - to the vulgarity, humor and content of the film. That's not to say though that this was terrible as I genuinely felt like it had a fantastic story to tell. I thought that it had a solid balance between art and entertainment, it was relatively funny, and I appreciated how it managed to touch on a sensitive topic without being preachy. It was also visually exceptional and well-acted especially from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore, who added depth to the story, and Scarlett Johansson, who was deliciously despicable. The storytelling was bit weak though as it was lacking on a good build up or climax, and the ending was a bit of a letdown. Other than that, Don Jon was an interesting film - realistic and fearless. 7.5

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Voice 5: Battle Rounds Part 4

It was that fast? For some weird reason, the battle rounds this season felt short. I mean, it was seriously dreadful in previous seasons. HAHA. Also, it's pretty interesting to note that NO BLAKE battles were featured tonight. In fact, a lot of TEAM BLAKE got montaged this season. Hmm. I wonder why. Enough of the conspiracy theories though.

Let's who how the contestants did.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Voice 5: Battle Rounds Part 3

Again, another good episode with a couple of spectacular battles. This is turning out to be a pretty good season. Of course, other than the fact that I hated how these coaches are stealing cannon fodders.

I mean, how the hell are the good ones NOT getting saved and the mediocre people get to live another day? Wasn't the whole point of a STEAL is to save someone who didn't deserve to get eliminated in this round? What's the point of stealing someone who's doomed for a Knockout finish? Ugh.

But as usual, I digress..

Monday, October 21, 2013

X Factor Australia 5: Top 4

One more week before the Finale and it's pretty obvious who will be the Final 3 this season - although, I disagree. But it's futile at this point. I just hope the voting public will be wise enough to vote the best acts and not just on pure "cuteness". Gawd.

Here we go!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

X Factor UK 10: Top 12

Not sure if it was the theme - why the hell did they choose 80's week as an opener to the live shows? - or the actual set of talent this season, but this was pretty underwhelming. Where's the Ella Henderson? The James Arthur? The Little Mix? or even The Cher Lloyd? Some people sounded good, but most of them delivered so-so performances with incredibly lame wardrobe styling. Please tell me there was no stylist! Haha.

Anyway, here we go!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Movie Review: Carrie

I haven't seen the original film, but on the remake's own merit, Carrie had a certain classic offbeat horror-melodrama atmosphere that was quite palpable. The premise was simple yet slightly unsettling without being a full-fledged slasher movie, the visuals and editing were good, and the score despite being overbearing in spots was decent. The pacing was a bit uneven as it took time to flesh out the characters, but I liked how it quickly turned into something much more intense and wickedly entertaining - thanks mostly to the solid and sensitive performances of both Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. The supporting cast weren't as strong as the two leads, but I digress. Carrie was a decently executed film. In terms of substance, it offered more than just your average horror flick as it did reflect real life horrors of bullying, which could nicely explain the ground for a remake, but other than that it was a fine remake. 7

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Voice 5: Battle Rounds Part 2

After such a high from yesterday, The Voice served us lightweight performances and a couple of annoying montages. There were still some good ones, but overall, a little underwhelming episode. Oh, and I don't get these coaches. They managed to steal mediocre ones from yesterday and not steal the obviously good ones. What gives?

Anyway, let's get on with the Battle Round!

DAM NATION: October 2013 Playlist

That soon? Haha. It felt like yesterday since I last posted a playlist and here I am again compiling a new one. Anyway, here's a list of 15 songs that I (personally) fancy, that are already doing good on it's own and maybe some new singles from different artists that will probably - or maybe not - be hits in the next coming weeks in whatever format.

So, there! Enjoy!

1. 3000 Miles Emblem3
2. Let Her Go Passenger
3. How Long Will I Love You About Time Soundtrack
4. Waiting For Superman Daughtry
5. Lay Me Down Avicii (ft. Adam Lambert)
6. Move Little Mix
7. Heartbreaker Justin Bieber
8. 23 Mike Will Made-It (ft. Miley Cyrus)
9. Fix You Myk Perez
10. Talk Dirty Jason Derulo (ft. 2 Chainz)
11. You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You James Arthur
12. The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) Ylvis
13. Team Lorde
14. Dark Horse Katy Perry (ft. Juicy J)
15. Make You Feel My Love Lea Michele

Password: The Voice Philippines Wrap-Up, what song ranked 5th?
(Case Sensitive)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Voice 5: Battle Rounds Part 1

Dear Simon Cowell, this is what finalists are supposed to sound like! I'm not usually a fan of the Battle Rounds as this was just the show's way of eliminating fodders and contestant's they don't like regardless of how they perform. But, minus maybe two middling performances, this episode was jam packed with strong duets that it was pretty surprising. Sure, there were a couple of weird decisions in terms of who they saved, but I digress.

Let's get on with the Battle Round!

Monday, October 14, 2013

X Factor Australia 5: Top 5

This was an odd week. With only 5 people left, I'm not really sure how they stack up. I mean, we have the obvious frontrunners, the middling people, and a kid. Haha. But then again, what do I know? I'm just hoping for a good competition come finals night. Yes?

Anyway, who did the best?

X Factor Australia 5: Top 6

GREAT SHOW! I literally enjoyed every performance! I honestly believe that this Top 6 is evenly matched with respect to talent - well, I don't know, but whatever - so somehow it really does come down to personal preference. Besides, everyone's level was raised this week. Good job!

Who did the best?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Glee Season 5: The Quarterback Episode Review

The Quarterback
Season 5, Episode 3

How can you grieve so much for someone you've never met?

I know. I know. I stopped watching (and covering) Glee in Season 3 just because I didn't enjoy the show anymore, but I'd make a special episode review as this somehow brought closure to Finn's character and Cory Monteith as a person. Of course, there will always be a void in there, especially for fans of the show since Season 1, but it's time to say farewell to our beloved Quarterback, Finn Hudson.

This episode transcended the Glee storyline. It was cathartic, which felt like something jammed its fist into my heart and ripped the lid off a well of old pain. If a tribute was supposed to make you "let it all out", then Congratulations Glee. You officially became the only comedy show that has this innate ability to send a grown man to tears.


- Let me say it right off the bat, this tribute episode was perfectly well written and tastefully executed. I could not have been happier at how the show and writers handled this terribly hard situation - managing to capture both grief and positivity in one episode.

- I was also in awe that the whole cast was able to harness their own grief to give the audience this chance to say goodbye. Thank you.

- Kurt's voice over at the top of the episode was spot on. "Everyone wants to talk about how he did, but who cares? That's one moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived." I appreciated how they simply wanted to show the legacy of the character and not dwell on how he actually died.

- Carole's speech with Burt and Kurt felt so raw and powerful, I completely lost it. "How parents go on when they lose a child? How do they wake up everyday? How do they breathe? You don't get to stop waking up. You have to keep being a parent even though you don't get to have a child anymore". This scene alone was beautifully written and acted from everyone involved. It felt very real.

- I liked how this episode highlighted how different people grieve and I got Santana's storyline. She and Finn had a troubled relationship, but Santana genuinely thought that he was a nice person despite the "outing" debacle in Season 3 and she's grieving over the fact that he died not knowing that. It's moving, especially how she and Sue Sylvester had the same sentiments.

- That locker room scene with Puck and Beiste was pretty intense and emotional. I felt like Puck was more afraid than angry as he no longer has his Quarterback in life to guide him. But what Beiste told him made sense, "It's time for you to be your own Quarterback".

- Sue Sylvester's moment was poignant! She was still pretty feisty and straightforward, but what she said got me thinking, "There's no lesson here. There's no happy ending. There's just nothing. He's just gone. It's just pointless. All that potential.."

- Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) was outstanding and I have a new level of respect for her. I went to the ugly cry during her scenes.

- Memorial plaque was brilliant and the quote "The show must go.. all over the place.. or something" was what he said right before competing against Vocal Adrenaline and New Directions had no songs to perform. It was classic and I felt sad remembering that.

- The final scene with Mr. Schue holding Finn's Letterman jacket crying was absolutely heartbreaking. I'm no fan of Will Schuester, but I felt his pain and sadness. Those kids have always been his heart and I thought it was hard to see him be in such pain. Sad.


- I understand that Tina's coping mechanism was her grieving onto something trivial, but what did she do to deserve such writing? Ryan Murphy must really hate her.

- Or maybe Ryan Murphy hated Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) more that he didn't even invite her to appear on the episode. Next to Rachel, Quinn had such a long history with Finn and her absence was just SO obvious.


SEASONS OF LOVE. Perfect song to open the show as this sounded more like a prayer than anything else. I liked that the performance opened with the sophomores and then the seniors and the graduates. The solos were great, but when Mercedes started hollering, the whole thing brought this to something more fantastic, especially when they turned around with Finn's picture at the wall.

I'LL STAND BY YOU. Oh My God. Even before Mercedes started singing, I was already bawling. I remember Finn singing this song and I liked how Mercedes took the song and just went all out as if singing her frustrations and pain because of Finn's death. Powerful.

FIRE & RAIN. This was quite lovely. Loved how Sam sounded, which complemented Artie's voice. Very nice.

IF I DIE YOUNG. The a capella intro was sublime, and how she interpreted this song was a thing of beauty. Also, was it just me or was her scream at the end felt real?

NO SURRENDER. We made a promise / We swore we'd always remember/ No retreat / Baby, no surrender. The song got to me even more because of the lyrics.

MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE. This song seriously changed the entire tone for me. I was able to separate the characters from the actors up until this moment. I somehow felt like the casts' reaction during this performance was how they felt exactly during that moment. It's them crying for Cory and not anymore to Finn the character. Rachel's voice was beautifully raw and I admired her for having the courage to even do this. Thank you!

Movie Review: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2

Pleasant, albeit not entirely remarkable. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 was an entertaining sequel and children will probably find the characters appealing, but the film in itself wasn't memorable enough to stand out as a big achievement in film making. It was just that - a fun, enjoyable animated film. I thought the metaphors disguised with wild antics and much mayhem was still present, and I actually liked that the film still didn't take itself too seriously. The animation was still very bright and flashy, and the mood remained quirky and light-hearted. Sure, the storyline was a tad thin, but at least it was easily understandable, and the voice acting was actually pretty good. Not sure if Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 was better than its predecessor, but it's charming and cute enough to be seen. 7

Friday, October 11, 2013

X Factor US 3: 4 Chair Challenge (Groups)

This was A LOT better than yesterday's atrocity! I thought most of the groups delivered mediocre to good performances - so that's saying a lot no? And I can see potential in Simon's category to be honest. I doubted his power last year with Fifth Harmony and Emblem3 and looked at how they've come now. So we'll see.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

X Factor US 3: 4 Chair Challenge (Boys)

Oh. Gawd. The boys category was so horrible, I was actually hoping Paulina would say NO to everyone. This wasn't just disappointing, but it got to a point where it was beyond embarrassing. Yikes! Oh, and Paulina Rubio was just as lame as a judge. I don't know.

Let's take a look at how bad these boys were. Shall we?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Glee Music 5: The Quarterback

Look, this maybe my last post about Glee - unless, something comes up again - so savor this moment.

Here's The Quarterback soundtrack, which will be part of Glee's farewell/tribute episode to one of its lead, Finn played by the late Cory Monteith. This episode airs this Thursday, October 10, 2013. Now, the songs are pretty emotional, but the clear stand outs are Santana's If I Die You, the whole casts' Season of Love, and lastly, Rachel's heart wrenching take on Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love.

The last one particular sounds like Lea Michele was having a hard time singing the song considering the fact that she's usually so masterful in her vocal control. Her version was raw that I seriously felt sad for her. Sad.

1. Season of Love
2. I'll Stand By You
3. Fire And Rain
4. If I Die Young
5. No Surrender
6. Make You Feel My Love

The Voice 5: Blind Auditions Part 5

Today is the last day of this season's Blind Auditions and I specifically noticed two things: 1. There was a premium of guitars on this episode! 2. Cee Lo's arms are sooo short! Haha. Ok, I'm being silly, but with something as bland as this episode, I just wasn't excited with this bunch despite having a couple of good ones. But, as always, I digress.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Voice Philippines Wrap-Up: 20 Best Performances

Not since Jesus turned water into wine has there been as miraculous an upgrade as what we saw when The Voice Philippines premiered a couple of months ago. What once was an exercise in frustration during X Factor Philippines (Thanks Kedebon!) became something that was equal parts thrilling and satisfying, despite having some momentary annoyance (Thanks Mitoy!). Haha.

I mean, I can't be alone in scratching my head that when contenders like Taw Muhammed were eliminated early on, especially when the pedestrian singers like Isa Fabregas somehow hit the reality singing competition lottery and got a second chance on the show. The format was obviously faulty, but hey, when the talent level was as high as it was deep, do I still need to complain?

So yes, the first ever season of The Voice Philippines was a success - despite having a shouter as the winner - and with that, let me end my "writing season" of The Voice Philippines, with my usual wrap-up post of the best performances all season.

So, without further ado..

Here are the TOP 20 Best Live Performances of The Voice Philippines Season 1:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Glee Season 5: The Quarterback Promo

When was the last time I posted about Glee? Yes, that's when Cory Monteith, playing the male lead Finn, died last July. So, here's another Glee post all about the upcoming episode of The Quarterback, which is basically a tribute to Cory Monteith's character Finn. 

I seriously don't know if I'm emotionally stable to watch this episode as I'm too young to drown on my own tears. Haha. I remember watching the pilot way back in the summer of 2009 and instantly loving the show, which prompted me to add Glee on this blog next to American Idol. So watching this 30-second promo is hard. Plus, just listening to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) covering Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love was painfully beautiful. Sigh. Ready your 50 box of Kleenex for next week's episode.

Movie Review: Gravity

Glorious and marvelous! No other movie this year has perplexed me, made me reflect and think, and swept me away with its lush, visual imagery, chock full of metaphor, and raw emotion. Yes, the story was pretty basic, but Gravity went far beyond just a simple narrative; it was a cinematic experience! Technical excellence was very evident here from the stunning cinematography - the opening shot alone was exceptional - to the smart editing and accurate sound mixing to the brilliant direction. I was incredibly surprised that in moments of horror, the film didn't shy away from the silence of space and we were just left in the quiet. Oh, and Sandra Bullock was simply outstanding and this just became her finest work to date. Gravity wasn't perfect by any means, but this film leaped beyond the satisfactory and beyond the splendid. 9.5

Friday, October 4, 2013

X Factor US 3: 4 Chair Challenge (Girls)

I want to see some teen girl meltdowns like Rachel Crow and Beatrice Miller! Haha. Plus, begging and crying to be in Demi's Top 4! Haha. Of course, I'm kidding, but with this new format, it's almost inevitable! Also, did they edit out all of Paulina's incomprehensible comments? I thought that was pretty funny when I almost forgot that there was actually a fourth judge. Haha.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

X Factor US 3: 4 Chair Challenge (Over 25)

Not going to lie, but seriously LOVED the new format. I never liked the Boot Camp rounds and I actually enjoyed the fact that these contestants were back in front of a live audience. This gimmick would have been better though if these acts weren't outright bad or mediocre. One thing I didn't like about it though was the constant begging from the contestants. It's tacky!

Oh, as for Kelly Rowland's choices, I thought she picked mostly the right people, and she's probably one of my best judges on any reality singing competition ever. She's honest without being mean, and she's just fun to watch!

The Voice 5: Blind Auditions Part 4

How will I ever be emotionally attached with any of them, when there's just way too much contestants to think about? I mean, yes, the talent this season are mostly good, but I don't remember the contestants from the first three episodes because there are just too many of them.

But again, that's beside the point, I guess. As I've said, I shouldn't complain when these contestants are mostly good - I'd rather have that than something like X Factor US, with a few standouts and nothing else. I digress.

How did the contestants do?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Voice 5: Blind Auditions Part 3

Another solid episode. I thought I saw a couple of good singers in this batch that could actually match up the awesomeness of the people before them. I just wonder though if these judges have an idea of who's singing prior to the actual blind audition. I mean, Haley Cuoco's sister was mediocre, but some coaches turned for her. Oh well.

Let's get on with the contestants!
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