A World of Pure Imagination

February 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM | Posted in Art, Lifestyle | Leave a comment
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paintings-from-galerie-stephanie

Paintings from Galerie Stephanie

Art Fair Philippines just ended its annual run this week, and I’m glad that I was able to go this year. I missed the Art Fair last year and it’s a good thing that my friend Jess alerted me of the fair this year or otherwise I would’ve likely missed it again. Jess and I decided to check out the Art Fair this weekend.

weena-art-fair-2017

As expected, there were long lines again at the entrance to the fair. The venue was the same every year; it’s at The Link beside The Landmark mall in Makati. The art galleries were located at three different floors and Jess and I made our way through the enthusiastic crowd.

"The Oneiric Time Piece" by Marc Aran Reyes

“The Oneiric Time Piece” by Marc Aran Reyes

I was a bit annoyed that some of the galleries at the fair were just advertising displays from major sponsors of the event. To me they were like in-your-face ad campaigns and kind of ruined the artsy atmosphere at the fair.

jess-weena-at-art-fair-phils-2017

But compensating for that were a massive set of galleries teeming with works of art from Filipino contemporary artists and a few from foreign artists. There were just so much beauty and creativity at the fair that Jess and I were simply awed by the amazing pieces. From classic canvas paintings, surreal sculptures to pop art and quirky art installations, there was something for every one at the fair.

"Rise to Heaven, Fall the Sky, or Hover in Between" by Geraldine Javier

“Rise to Heaven, Fall the Sky, or Hover in Between” by Geraldine Javier

weena-at-art-fair-phils-2017

As always, I’m attracted to paintings so I lingered on those pieces that I found particularly interesting. I was intent on admiring some of the pieces that there were times that Jess and I would wander apart from each other and we would be lost in the crowd. But we managed to find each other after a while.

"Humani Machina" by Daniel dela Cruz

“Humani Machina” by Daniel dela Cruz

"Blood Angel" by Suzann Victor

“Blood Angel” by Suzann Victor

It’s a great feeling to go to the Art Fair with someone who shares the same enthusiasm in art as I do. It was my second time to the fair but it was Jess’ first and we both enjoyed our time there.

"Balance of Humanity" by Anton del Castillo

“Balance of Humanity” by Anton del Castillo

Zen

January 28, 2017 at 9:26 PM | Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Musings | Leave a comment

In this day and age, people have become accustomed to multitasking. This especially holds true in the corporate world where there is a misconception that it is better to multitask to be more efficient at work. I myself have become a victim of this unhealthy practice. I was a workaholic before and I got used to multitasking because in a fast-paced corporate world, that’s what was expected from everyone.

But over time, I came to experience the side effects of overworking and multitasking. I suffered from creative burnout and my brain wasn’t as sharp anymore as it used to be. My energy levels dropped and I felt mentally exhausted most of the time. I even tried taking vitamins to keep my energy levels up. But it wasn’t as effective as I had hoped.

It’s been years since I had a long relaxing vacation. I’ve been missing out on so many things. And last year, my life was so toxic that I had to cleanse my mind from all the negativity and bad vibes. One day I gave myself a break. I went to the park and allowed myself to relax and enjoy my surroundings. But I know I need more than that.

zen-philosophy-quote

Photo credit: beliefnet.com

Lately, I’m thinking of starting to live a balanced lifestyle. I plan to give more time for myself and enjoy life. I always believe in living in the moment and taking time to appreciate the simple things in life and be one with nature. But certain obligations and limitations prevented me from doing just that.

This year, I am hoping that I will have time for that, and that it will be the start of a long-term balanced lifestyle.

Most Memorable & Surprising TV Moments of 2016

December 30, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s that time of the year again when most entertainment news sites round up the best and worst shows on TV this year. As a self-confessed TV addict myself, I watch a lot of shows every year. And while I don’t watch some of the most popular and well-loved shows out there (yes, I have my own unique taste), I have compiled a list of TV series I regularly watch that made an impact on my viewing experience this year. Some made it on the list for the shocking, did-not-see-that-coming twists in the story while a few were notable for their delightful surprise.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the latest episodes of any of these shows and don’t want to be spoiled, I suggest you look away now.

  1. Mr. Robot

While I have read a few fan theories about the second season of Mr. Robot, I was still surprised to find out that Elliot Alderson was in prison all along and not living with his mother. This was the first big reveal in season 2. I always suspected that he was in a mental institution because of his rigid daily routine but surprisingly, that was not the case. After watching the “h4ndshake” episode, it now made a lot of sense.

elliot-in-prison

Photo credit: seriouslyawesome.tv

The second big reveal came at the end of season 2 where viewers found out that Tyrell was alive after all and not a figment of Elliot’s imagination. It was a pretty intense season 2 finale as Elliot came to learn that his alter ego Mr. Robot and Tyrell were in cahoots with the Dark Army and planning something big. I cannot wait for season 3 to find out what happens next.

  1. Penny Dreadful

I have a bone to pick when it comes to Penny Dreadful. For me, this show pulled the most shocking reveal this year. This was one of my favorite shows to date and I had high expectations of its third season. Unfortunately, the show abruptly ended its run when it revealed after the season 3 finale that the show was over – as in, it will never come back for a fourth season. It has been cancelled. My initial reaction to this revelation was utter confusion. Surely, they could not end the show like that. There was no prior announcement of the show’s cancellation. There was no warning at all. The story arc of the third season felt like there was going to be another season. And yet, they pulled the plug. And all because the show creator John Logan wanted it that way.

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Photo credit: yahoo.com/tv

There was a lot of backlash after Penny Dreadful got cancelled. Many fans were outraged and felt betrayed as I was. In fact, I wrote an article about the series finale on this site where I expressed my utter disappointment with the show. To this day, I cannot bear to rewatch old episodes of the show because I still could not shake my disbelief of its cancellation. We were blindsided big time.

  1. 12 Monkeys

The second season of 12 Monkeys also pulled some surprising twists. For the most part of season 2, viewers were curious to know the real identity of The Witness. The Witness has always been a mysterious figure that wears a mask and a dark robe. Cole, Cassie and Ramse want to kill him because he, along with the Army of the 12 Monkeys, is hell-bent in destroying time.

In the season 2 finale, it was finally revealed that The Witness was the unborn child of Cole and Cassie. Apparently, he was conceived when Cole and Cassie were stuck in 1959. After this cliffhanger, I’m really curious to see what Cole and Cassie will do about this revelation. Will they attempt to travel back in time again to prevent his conception?

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Photo credit: syfy.com

I’m also hoping that Madeleine Stowe will return as a guest character for the third season. It’s a delight to see her play another character in the show contrary to the role she played in the original movie. I also wish to see Brad Pitt make an appearance in the show in the future.

  1. Orphan Black

One of the things I liked about season 4 of Orphan Black was the fact that it finally showed the back story of the last days of Beth Childs. It was gut-wrenching to see her struggles with work and her personal life, especially her deteriorating relationship with Paul. But one of the most memorable scenes for me was in “The Scandal of Altruism” episode when Evie Cho told Cosima that Delphine was dead. Tatiana Maslany, who plays the different clones in the show, was so fantastic as Cosima in this scene. You can just see and feel the pain and devastation on her face when she found out about Delphine. She displayed such raw emotions. And I’m just glad that Tatiana finally won an Emmy award this year for her performance in the show.

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Photo credit: themarysue.com

Of course, Tatiana’s performance as Krystal was also one the best this season. Her scenes with Donnie at the fertility clinic and at Sarah and Felix’s hideout in the comic book store were really hilarious. The season had the perfect balance of drama and comedy which not many shows could effectively deliver.

  1. Stranger Things

This was the breakout show of 2016. Stranger Things came out of nowhere and it became so big and popular by word of mouth. It was because of the major buzz it made and through the recommendation of a friend of mine that I decided to check out this show. And it instantly became my favorite.

Photo credit: screencapped.net

Photo credit: screencapped.net

There were so many memorable scenes in season 1. But perhaps one of the many that stood out for me was when Eleven disguised herself in a pink dress and a blond wig and went along with Mike, Dustin and Lucas to their school to help them locate Will. Another memorable moment for me was when Joyce Byers hung that now-famous Christmas lights on the wall of her living room and scrawled it with big letters of the alphabet in an attempt to communicate with her missing son Will. The scene where Nancy and Jonathan set up a trap for the monster was pretty intense, too.

  1. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

The last four words spoken in the final scene was the most surprising moment in the Gilmore Girls revival. Those words sort of summed up what became of Rory Gilmore’s life after college. Her poor choices when it comes to her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend as well as her career were surprising for me, not to mention disappointing.

Photo credit: fansided.com

Photo credit: fansided.com

But I think most fans including myself were also surprised at how Emily Gilmore turned out in this revival. It was indeed a delightful surprise to see the softer and vulnerable side of Emily. She became more likeable in this revival.

  1. The X-Files

The mytharc episodes in The X-Files revival were a big disappointment for me. It’s a shame really since I’ve always wanted to see the return of Mulder and Scully for a long time and I was expecting so much in the revival. But show creator Chris Carter has lost his spark when it comes to writing gripping mytharc story lines.

For me, the only memorable episode in the revival that I truly loved was “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” which was written by Darin Morgan. This was a stand-alone, monster-of-the-week episode that was littered with Easter eggs for the hardcore X-philes. The dialogues were just witty and humorous. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were great in this episode as well with their usual banter and comedic timing, which was reminiscent of the old funny episodes of the show.

Photo credit: theworkprint.com

Photo credit: theworkprint.com

If ever there would be season 11, I hope the mytharc episodes would improve. It’s also time to introduce new villains in the show. While fans love to hate the Cigarette Smoking Man, I think it’s time for him to be killed off for good.

  1. Suits

Most of season 6 of Suits was forgettable. The show’s writers stretched the prison story arc for too long that I got bored quickly. It was also a waste of time watching guest characters got more screen time instead of the six main characters, especially Donna (read my season 6 review here).

What saved the season for me was the midseason finale where it was more about Jessica and her back story, and of course that Donna and Harvey scene at the end. It was a major surprise to see Jessica leave the firm. But fans of the show came to learn after the midseason finale that Jessica was intentionally written off because Gina Torres who played the character wanted to leave the show. Jessica’s farewell scene was a truly touching moment.

SUITS -- "P.S.L." Episode 610 -- Pictured: (l-r) -- (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

SUITS — “P.S.L.” Episode 610 — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

The scene at the end between Harvey and Donna was also memorable for me. After seeing Harvey as a tough, uber confident and emotionally unavailable guy in previous seasons, it’s so good to see that he’s finally breaking down his walls. He’s finally willing to be open and show his vulnerability. And he showed that when he told Donna that he doesn’t want to be alone at that time when he realized that Jessica is gone and left the firm in his hands.

When Donna reached for his hand and he held her hand and they stood wordlessly by the window, it was a pivotal moment for Harvey and in their relationship. It’s a sign that their relationship might finally progress towards a romantic one. And it’s about time that they do.

Was It Worth Bringing Back Gilmore Girls?

November 29, 2016 at 9:00 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This post contains major spoilers of the Gilmore Girls revival, including the last four words. If you don’t want to know about the last four words or anything that happened in the revival, stop reading now.

When I first learned that Netflix would be rebooting Gilmore Girls, I was skeptical.  In fact, my initial reaction was that there’s no need to revive the series. Don’t get me wrong but I’m a big fan of Gilmore Girls. I watched the show until the very end. But for me, season 7 delivered the proper ending to the series. I was satisfied with it and did not wish for a continuation.

But as the build-up for the revival became bigger and the Netflix premiere loomed closer, I got caught in the fans’ excitement and decided to check it out after all. While some fans were eager to see more of the romance between Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes, I was more interested to see the rapport again between Lorelai and her daughter Rory. After all, the main premise of the show is about the relationship between these two characters.

I just love the mother-and-daughter tandem of Lorelai and Rory and their humor. Add to that are their witty and pop culture-ridden dialogues that make for so much fun and entertainment.

So last weekend, I binge-watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life to see if it would deliver and justify its revival. What I got from the revival was mostly a tribute to Edward Herrmann, the actor who played the patriarch Richard Gilmore in the show who died in 2014, and sheer nostalgia.

Three Generations of Gilmore: Where They Are Now

And it is indeed a beautiful and fitting tribute to the late actor because it is woven into the story seamlessly across the four episodes. Each of the three Gilmore women – Lorelai, Rory and Emily – deals with Richard’s death in their own way.

From left: Emily, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

From left: Emily, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Photo credit: bustle.com)

The revival picks up nine years after season 7 ended. In the revival, it has been a few months since Richard Gilmore passed away. His widow, Emily, is devastated with her loss. She’s bereft with grief and sadness and coping with the loss by de-cluttering and redecorating her Hartford, Connecticut home.

We also see Lorelai still together and living with Luke. They may be together but they’re not married. Luke still has his diner where he now gives his WiFi password easily to customers. Lorelai still manages the Dragonfly Inn with Michel but without Sookie.

Rory, on the other hand, made a career of herself working as a freelance journalist. She had notable articles published on several noteworthy publications. She just left her Brooklyn apartment and is sort of living a vagabond life, staying from place to place. She goes back to Stars Hollow in Connecticut where her mother lives.

GIF Image from: gossipgrab.com

GIF image from: gossipgrab.com

The Other Side of Rory Gilmore

Career wise, Rory is in a rut. She struggles getting freelance assignments and is in the process of bagging a book deal and getting an article published for Condé Nast. Now this is where it doesn’t make sense to me. As a writer myself who previously worked at a couple of book publishing companies, I really find it hard to believe that Rory could not hold on to a decent, stable job as journalist. I mean, seriously?! She is smart, steadfast and level headed. Given her talent and caliber as a writer, she should have at least landed a full-time job at a publication. It may not be in The New York Times or Huffington Post, but at least somewhere prestigious and established. I would have thought that at 32, she should have been professionally successful and accomplished by now.

Heck, her high school frenemy Paris Geller is even more successful than her. In the revival, Paris is now managing her own fertility clinic. Her ex Doyle now writes for Hollywood filmmakers such as Michael Bay. If they’re successful, why can’t she be?

Photo credit: pastemagazine.com

Photo credit: pastemagazine.com

Relationship wise, Rory is also in a mess. She has a boyfriend named Paul but she is also secretly sleeping with her ex-boyfriend Logan Huntzberger. Logan, on the other hand, is engaged with a French woman named Odette. Rory and Logan have a no-strings-attached relationship. She frequently visits him in London where he lives.

I just don’t understand Rory in the revival. What has happened to her? Why is she with Logan when she knows full well he could never marry her? She is not the Rory I know in the old series.

Bonded Anew

Lorelai has her own struggles to deal with. She has a communication problem with Luke. Michel is threatening to leave Dragonfly Inn and Sookie is nowhere to be found. Her relationship with her mother Emily has always been strained and the death of Richard seems to have stirred old feelings from within from both of them. The therapy scenes between Lorelai and Emily are really interesting and amusing to watch. For me, the fourth episode titled “Fall” is the best of the bunch. It brings both Lorelai and Emily front and center as they deal with their strained relationship after Richard’s death. Lauren Graham’s acting is just superb in this episode. As Lorelai, her emotional scenes with Kelly Bishop are raw and heartbreaking.

GIF image from: thevine.com

GIF image from: thevine.com.au

The same goes for Kelly Bishop who just nails her character scene after scene. The series revival is a time for her character to shine and she does so in all four episodes, from “Winter, “Spring,” to “Summer” and “Fall.” In the end, Lorelai and Emily have come to terms with their relationship and their grief for the man they both loved – as a father and as a husband.

As for Rory, how she copes with her grandfather’s death seems to have been downplayed. Rory’s story arc is more focused on her career and her relationship with her three ex-boyfriends Logan, Jess and Dean.

Which brings me to the infamous and rather controversial last four words spoken between Rory and Lorelai.

The Last Four Words

Rory: “Mom?”

Lorelai: “Yeah?”

Rory: “I’m pregnant.”

Practically the entire Gilmore Girls fandom went wild with these last four words spoken at the very end of the “Fall” episode. While some fans who ship Rory with Logan are happy with these last four words as everyone assumes Logan is the father of the baby, others are pissed that Rory doesn’t end up with Jess or Dean. I have my own misgivings on these last four words myself.

gilmoregirls_thelast4words

Photo credit: fansided.com

First of all, I don’t ship Rory with anyone on the show so these words don’t really affect me in that way. However, I would have preferred that there were no last four words at all. Like I said before, I was satisfied with the way season 7 ended. Second, I really don’t like the idea of Rory getting pregnant while her career is still unstable and her personal relationships remain messy.

I would have preferred to see Rory making it big in her career. That was what’s been hinted at the end of season 7. She was full of promise. Rory’s pregnancy in the revival, however, means that she’s following her mother footsteps. Lorelai got pregnant with her at sixteen and she had a lot of hurdles to overcome before she made it through. This means that Rory would have to put her writing career on hold to make way for the baby. Not what I envisioned for her.

For me, Gilmore Girls has always been the type of show where most of the characters live in a peachy keen world and life is viewed in rose-colored glasses. The show has quirky characters in hilarious situations and while there are some drama thrown in, most of the time, it’s light and fluffy. However, the cliffhanger at the end of the revival changed the dynamic. A lot of questions now hang for fans to figure out.

Rory and Lorelai Gilmore

Photo credit: vox.com

The Verdict

So was Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life worth it at all? Did it bring closure to fans? The answer to that would be yes and no. For me, there were good parts and there were bad parts. I liked that Lorelai’s life has been good and she patched things up with her mother. I liked that the fast dialogue and pop culture references were still there. I liked that I was able to see the vulnerable side of Emily. But I felt like Rory got nowhere at this point. It’s truly disappointing to see her that way. She may be working on her own book but that’s not a guarantee that she’ll be successful. She still has to pitch that book to agents and publishers and who knows where she’s going to end up, especially now that she’s having a baby.

The way I see it, the revival is mainly fan service and closure for show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. All four episodes were jam-packed with beloved characters from the old series, including long-forgotten characters I barely remember. For fans of the show, it’s common knowledge that Sherman-Palladino left the old series before season 7 ended. So she wasn’t able to write the last four words she’s been meaning to write for the series finale. The Netflix revival gave her that opportunity.

paris-and-rory_gilmoregirls-revival

GIF image from: observer.com

Scene Stealers and Noteworthy Moments

  • Paris Geller being Paris Geller. She stole the scenes from Rory when they went to Chilton, their old high school;
  • Lorelai calling Emily on the phone and telling her about the best birthday she ever had with her father;
  • Emily Gilmore in jeans! At that point, Emily was a wreck because she’s still mourning the death of her husband;
  • Emily Gilmore with the women of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) interviewing a potential member. It was refreshing to see Emily spouting a foul word for once;
  • The return of the Life and Death Brigade. Even though those scenes were unrealistic, I still enjoyed every minute of it;
  • Lorelai and Michel at the secret bar and how the customers scrambled to hide when Taylor walked by.

emily-gilmore_gg-ayitl

The Beefs

  • The Stars Hollow musical. It was awful and I had the same expression as Lorelai’s while I was watching it;
  • Rory taking over the Stars Hollow Gazette. She took out the poem for no reason then put it back again after getting pressured from the townsfolk. What was the point of all her work in that publication anyway?
  • Rory and her article piece about people waiting in lines. That was lame. No wonder Condé Nast rejected it;
  • Sookie appeared very briefly in the fourth episode and she’s not even present at Luke and Lorelai’s wedding;
  • There were unnecessary scenes and dialogues in the episodes (e.g. Rory and Lorelai at the pool, stretched performance of Lane’s band, Kirk’s short film, etc.). The episodes would do better if they were 60 minutes long instead of 90 minutes each.

Does Size Really Matter?

September 14, 2016 at 10:45 PM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

SPOILER WARNING: This movie review contains major spoilers. Read at your own risk.

In these times where body shaming on social media has become more and more prevalent, one movie attempts to address the issue and among others with wry humor.

Zoom is a Canadian indie film about three characters who find themselves in a story written by the other. It’s generally a satire movie about body objectification and the creative process involved in writing books and making films. The movie stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Alison Pill, Jason Priestly, and Mariana Ximenes.

zoom-movie-poster

It tells the story of Emma, a young comic book artist who works at a factory that makes sex dolls. She sculpts and paints sex dolls while drawing comic book characters on the side. One day her co-worker/boyfriend Bob saw one of her drawings and points out that she could never be as voluptuous and big-breasted as the female superhero in her comics. Taking offense, Emma draws a new character named Edward in her comics – a guy possessing all the qualities of her ideal man. In her comics, Edward is a famous movie director – handsome, smart, charming and popular with the ladies.

This is where Zoom starts to get interesting. In Edward’s world, he is struggling to complete a new movie against the pressure of a major film studio. The movie script is incomplete and Edward wants to make it as an art house film. The problem is, the film studio wants a typical action-packed, Hollywood-style movie with lots of explosions – something that he really wants to avoid.

Edward’s movie is about a female model named Michelle who wants to become a writer. Her boyfriend Dale is not as supportive of her plans as she expected. So she leaves their shared apartment and goes to Brazil. It’s while she’s in Brazil where she starts writing her novel.

Eventually, Edward realizes that he’s just a character in Emma’s comics, while Emma soon learns that she’s only a fictional character in the book that Michelle is writing. Michelle, on the other hand, also realizes that she’s just a part of Edward’s movie. She doesn’t even know that she’s an actress in the movie.

Zoom splits between the real world, the comic book world, and the movie world. It’s reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction, A Scanner Darkly and Inception. It also reminds me of A-ha’s comics-inspired “Take On Me” music video back in the ’80s. It’s a shame that I don’t get to see Gael Garcia Bernal in his true form as he only appears in his comic book form in the movie.

zoom-movie-alternative-poster

Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t have enough depth and fails to explore and develop the characters. Zoom is muddled, silly, absurd and has no direction. Its attempt as an art house film is as unsuccessful as Edward’s efforts in his movie. The ending is a big question mark as the viewers are left wondering what happened to the characters.

What happens to Michelle after she wrote those words in her book? Why is Emma working in that perverted factory in the first place when she could have used her talent somewhere else? What happens to Edward and his unfinished movie? I guess we’ll never know since they are already “smeared” in the comics.

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