Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

I'm not often updated with movies but I happen to know a pretty good one now. It's Matthew Quick's novel-turned-film, Silver Linings Playbook

"The only way to beat my crazy was
doing something even crazier."
The story features Pat, a recently diagnosed bipolar patient who comes to live with his parents after his discharge from a mental facility. Upon returning in the outside world, he is determined to get back on his feet and mend his relationship with his wife, Nikki. Along the way he meets Tiffany, a girl with her own share of inner demons, and they help each other out. 
"If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." -Pat
I like the simplicity of the movie even though it tackles some complex issues. The dark and raw humor subdues the intensity of their situations. The powerhouse cast comprises Robert De Niro as Pat Sr., Bradley Cooper as Pat Jr., and Jennifer Lawrence who won an Oscar with her role as Tiffany. All gave great performances but I was particularly impressed with Cooper's (More so than Lawrence's). His manic, hypomanic, and depressive states are very believable. He doesn't overdo it. He remains true to his character, making Pat a likeable hero.

It's no wonder their ensemble garnered many nominations and awards. This is a crazy, entertaining rom-com minus the usual whim and fantasy. Nevertheless, it is bright enough to give hope to many. A ray of light passing through a patch of clouds. A real silver lining.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Flowers For Algernon

This novel was written by Daniel Keyes and published in 1966. The story is told through a series of progress reports made by Charlie Gordon. Charlie, a man with below average IQ, was chosen to be a test subject for an intelligence-boosting brain surgery. With a lab mouse named Algernon, who successfully underwent the same operation, Charlie tried to navigate the mazes of life.

After the procedure, Charlie's IQ increased threefolds. He began to see the world with new eyes. The things that gave him simple pleasures before seem ridiculous and stupid now. He realized the jokes he once shared with friends were actually mockings of his intelligence. He also developed a thirst for knowledge and learned everything he can. He became so mentally superior he belittled and disregarded the opinion of others. The story continued to show that the more Charlie knew (about the world and himself) the more he became depressed and aggressive.

"I don't know what's worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you've always wanted to be, and feel alone." -Charlie Gordon

The first time I read this book was when I was still in school, I thought it was poignantly written. Although it's categorized as science fiction, the story of Charlie illustrates our struggles as human beings. It deals with a person's triumphs and failures, hopes and dreams, the reality of our situations and how we deal with them.

Charlie and Algernon will intellectually stimulate and move you to tears at the same time. Happy reading!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Love Story Told in Reverse

Kids, this is the story of How I Met Your Mother.

This also happens to be Ted Mosby's line in year 2030 when he tells his children the looong story of how he found 'The One'. Ironically, his story begins with him falling in love with a different girl named Robin. His adventure begins there along with his crazy friends, Barney, Lily, and Marshall.

With New York as its setting, this TV sitcom is urban and charming. The cast breathe life into their characters, each being hilarious in their own unique ways. Ted is the hopeless romantic architect, Lily is an ex-goth turned artist/kindergarten teacher, Marshall is a gigantic, soft-hearted environmental lawyer, Robin is the sassy, Canadian-born news reporter, and Barney is a suit-clad, challenge-accepting playboy who works as a... Seriously, what is Barney's job?!

The writers are creative and witty, utilizing imagination, flashbacks, foreshadowing, and the likes. They brilliantly weave the story by connecting past events to extreme futures and vice versa. They also innovate various funny yet relateable theories and terms, which are brought forth by the characters' situations. Often times, the episodes have lessons and wisdom to live by.

HIMYM is without a doubt exceptional. That's why it's running on its eighth season. They've announced that there will be a ninth, also being their last one... Finally! I mean Ted is bound to find the Mother soon, surely? I adore the show but I don't want it to be stretched and ruined especially with Ted's on and off dilemma with Robin-- Enough with that already guys!

I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that they choose the best Mother to play the role and that her and Ted's cute meet will live up to everyone's expectations. By the way the plot is always well thought-of though, the show creators probably have planned the big moment from the get-go. Thus, I have faith that when that much-awaited finale comes, it is going to be legen...wait for it...dary! ;)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Little Manhattan

I can't believe it's now February, and the 14th at that! As my friend Jen says, 'Love is in the air'. So for us singles, let's love the air. ;)

Trying to hold hands for the first time :)
Ehem... Moving on, why don't I share this cute story of two sixth graders who found love for the first time? Gabe, played by Josh Hutcherson, has always been afraid of girl's 'cooties'. After being fight-partners in a Karate class, he suddenly saw his long time classmate, Rosemary (Charlie Ray), in a new light. As they spend more time together, he realized he was falling in love. This 2005 rom-com movie is funny and wittily written and directed by husband and wife tandem, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin. Set in the Upper West Side, Manhattan, the young lovebirds experience what love is all about.

"Never had I been so keenly aware of the ability of palm to manufacture sweat, but I was determined to hold that girl's hand for every single second." -Gabe Burton

So, if you want to watch a movie with a different kind of take on what it's like to be in love, go and see Little Manhattan.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Meet Penelope

Penelope is kind, smart, fun, well-bred, and young.

Despite all these beautiful traits, no one seems to want to marry her. Why?

Because she has a pig-face disorder.

I assume a lot of 'Whaaaat?' on your side of the screen. Let me explain.

It has been legend that once upon a time, a vengeful witch has cursed the Wilhern family that the next daughter to be born will have the face of a pig and only when one of her own learns to love her will she be freed from the spell. Hence, five generations after, when a baby girl is born, they are revolted to find the curse true. Penelope Wilhern is born with a snout and pig ears.

Her overprotective parents are then forced to keep her from prying eyes and cruel tongues by confining her inside their mansion. And when she reached womanhood, they began searching for men of noble birth everywhere in hopes of one of them falling in love with her and finally breaking the curse.

"Once the Queen is dead, the King is useless."
I'm surprised that this 2006 film is not known to many. I feel it's under-rated especially since the story is very appealing, both to young and adult audience. It is witty, enchanting, romantic, and inspiring. I love everything about it! Also, one cannot ignore their stellar cast. Christina Ricci plays the title role well with her expressive eyes, delivering a magical performance. Catherine O'Hara is perfect as Penelope's overbearing mother who is funny and empathy-winning. James McAvoy is charming and believable as Max. Reese Witherspoon pleasantly plays a small role in the film (She's also one of the producers!). I also commend Peter Dinklage for being hilarious.

Unlike most fairy tales, the movies' color palette is slightly darkno usual whimsical pinks and powder blueand it is set in real, modern times. Despite these, its positive message is more empowering than any of its kind. I like how the story unfolds with Penelope narrating her story and the moral lessons that ensue. I want to watch it again...and again. It's become a favorite of mine. Meet Penelope. You'll like her, too. :)