Joy

White blouse and long pants. Like a high-wire walker, Joy balances femininity and professionalism, family and business, logic and love.

As an advocate for equal pay, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence truly embraced her character as an unexpected but steadfast matriarch of a crazy family. To name a few, she has to deal with an ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) who lives in their basement, a father (Robert de Niro) who was returned by his second wife, a mother (Virginia Madsen) obsessed with watching soap operas and the only saving grace, a grandmother (Diane Ladd) who fiercely instilled ambition in her.

The film has tantalizing visuals, clever use of dreams and TV scenes and inspiring musical scores. The story is scattered with flashbacks and fast-forwards, chaotic in nature, like mixing business with family. As messy as business can be, the trials and tribulations create an opportunity for Joy. It gives a reason to pursue her dream or rather, demands her to go back to the one thing where she felt most herself – creating through her hands.

Time passes and challenges become victories when she take matters to her own hands, her ingenious idea materialized into a product that becomes a business and this business becomes an empire. Through her innate creativity and incessant stubbornness, Joy shows  anyone can rise from the depths of the earth with grace even when it’s muddy down there.

 

 

 

Suffragette

Stellar performances, sublime cinematography and an important cause – this historical drama is quite close to perfection. Almost, because there are questions on whether this film represented ‘white feminism’ and completely ignored ‘intersectional feminism’.

The intensity of emotions was magnificently captured and the music complemented the tone in every scene, whether a small triumph or unspeakable sorrow.

Carey Mulligan was electrifying in her role as Maud Watts, a suffragette whose life represented countless women that devoted their lives to the cause at grass-roots level. She participated in acts of defiance and serves time at prison during which force feeding was allowed. In the same vein, Helena Bonham Carter shined as Edith Ellyn, a more senior suffragette whose heart illness did not interfere with her relentless pursuit for justice.

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Surrealism Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria  (Photo by: Julia Velez)

Even with only a few minutes of screen time, Meryl Streep did not disappoint. Her eloquence, conviction and passion for the cause reflected that of the real Emmeline Pankhurst, an iconic British figure of the early 20th century suffrage movement.

These real women of courage were beautifully portrayed by these actresses. However there was an apparent lack of characters portraying women of colour, which has been termed “erasure” by critics. This is the cause of accusations on being racially insensitive on the part of modern day film makers. Historically accurate or not, the decision to exclude cultural diversity in the film was in my eyes, questionable.

Whilst bearing this issue in mind, this film remains powerful and heart-wrenching, visually captivating and emotionally raw. It delves into gender inequality, the daily challenges of ordinary women at the time when strength of human character was tested but never faltered.

After Earth

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Source: G4TV

Visuals are commendable as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller yet even Will Smith’s convincing portrayal cannot save the general dryness of a cliché-filled drama set in a futuristic world.

Inhabitants of a once people-friendly Earth have evolved to kill humans as they hunt them down through their ability to literally sense fear. Sailing through the ebb and flow of a father-son relationship, Cypher (Will Smith) navigates his son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) through an illusive forest with a silence brimming of menace. A frustrated cadet whose only aim is to be promoted as ranger, Kitai is eager to prove himself to the prime commander – his father.

As Kitai faces each predator, he is re-acquainted with a fear more potent than terror of the wilderness. Will Smith cast a spell once again because it’s difficult to see a sunny goody two shoes actor play an estranged father. However, the robotic personality in this film showed Smith’s versatility and grace.

One of the rare highlights comes in a central theme explored throughout the film. It questions the conventional notion of fear and unravels its true nature as a conscious choice taken every second of the day much like picking an apple from an orange; fear is an illusion we succumb to if we let it.

Director M. Night Shyamalan seemed to have taken no risks for the film has a predictable plot and forgettable music mashed up with a script that is melodramatic at best and tawdry at worst. Visually sumptuous on occasion and a dash of humour here and there keeps the viewer awake but just barely.

“You don’t have to know you’re going to die before you start living.”

You can either sit in the basement and wait. OR you can get out there and do some crazy stuff.

It’s really simple. Life is about making people happy. Sometimes you have to learn it the hard way.

I want to be remembered as the kid who went down fighting. And didn’t really lose.

Try and see what happens…

People being people.
People being people.

“Instead of putting others down, try improving yourself
instead. The only person you have a right to compete with is
you. In the meantime, treat others how you’d like to be
treated. One trait that some of the best (communicators) share
is empathy. A couple of kind words can not only make a
person’s day, but earn you a friend and supporter for life.
For the rest of the week, whenever you see someone you want to
judge negatively, pay them a compliment instead. See what
happens.”

— Neil Strauss

The Truth Is…?

First, watch this clip. Less than a minute of your time, I promise it’s worth it!

Well here is the truth… at least my opinion, anyway.

Even though he wasn’t wearing a sleeveless shirt, his arms and that abs – to die for.

Oh who am I kidding? He’s perfect.

Hamish MacDonald’s crystal blue eyes and a smile revealing his perfect pearly white teeth is just as disarming as his earnest opinion on journalism. Ah, not to mention his lovely British-Australian English accent. I can listen to him speak until the world ends… I digress.

I had a chance to ask him a question after his presentation in The Hall at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Me: What do you think is the biggest challenge in journalism today?

I think it’s what to do next. Your generation is shaping the everchanging media landscape and who knows what jobs will be available once you’re done here – maybe you’ll get a job that isn’t even invented yet. The challenge has always been to make something informative and appealing. But it’s always changing and you guys are in a unique position because you are organic users of technology and social media.

– Hamish MacDonald, Journalist and Host of “The Truth is…?”

His upcoming TV show on Channel 10 (Australia) is investigative journalism at its rawest form. It’s a bold take on controversial and bizarre issues that promises to make jaw-dropping revelations in an attempt to challenge the public’s perception of what is… the truth. (Whatever they think it is. Whatever you think it is)

Watch it on Monday nights at 8:30 pm.

Three things Filipinos would ask…

Every time there’s a gathering, mostly birthday parties, in which people go crazy by cooking sumptuous Filipino cuisine, it’s always a grand banquet, a big feast.

There’s three main qualities of the Filipino culture. Here’s what every adult would ask a typical young woman in her teenage years:

1. Tumangkad ka. Ilang taon ka na nga? (You grew taller, how old are you now?)

A question from the older people. We like tall people, I’m not quite sure why! This is usually followed by some speech along the lines of: “You’re growing up fast and almost a lady, soon enough you’ll have your own family.” Family-oriented, close family ties, you name it.

2. Kumain ka na? (Have you eaten?)

If you say no, they would insist that you eat; if you say yes, they would politely ask you to eat more and more and more… Gosh, we’re really generous.

3. May boyfriend ka na? (Do you have a boyfriend now?)

Talk about no privacy. Even to the point of inquiring about our love life. Everyone wants to know… well I think being innately inquisitive is a good and bad thing 😀

Gotta love Filipinos though. We care too much 😉