Tags: indie film, Zoom
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Donna Paulsen, Suits, Suits season 6
I have previously said my piece about Donna Paulsen – my favorite character on Suits – and how I think she is being treated in season 6. While I’ve put out a list of the top questions I have about Donna that I think the show’s writers need to address one way or the other, I couldn’t help but wonder more about her.
Donna has made a lasting impression on me and the fans over the years. And the more I think about it, the more I have questions about her character and her background story. So I have made another list here in addition to the previous one which I think would tie up with all the burning questions I have about her and her story.
- How did Donna come up with her personal rule of not dating men she work with?
Season 3 of Suits saw Donna telling Harvey in a flashback episode that she doesn’t date men she is working with. How did this rule come about? Has it always been that way with her even before she started working at the NYC DA’s Office? Or does this apply only when she started working for Harvey Specter?
And since she admitted that she’s in love with Harvey, would she have broken her rule if Harvey had been more open about his feelings for her?
- Does she secretly still want to pursue an acting career?
Fans of the show know that Donna always has a love for theater and that she previously wanted to become an actress but gave it up. But in season 4, she seemed to be starting her acting career again when she did Shakespeare in an episode. Considering that she seemed to be insecure about her position as Harvey’s secretary, is she thinking of pursuing an acting career again? Does her position at the firm leave her wanting more?
- Is Donna still allowing Harvey to pony up her salary?
When Donna found out that Harvey has been augmenting her salary for years without telling her, she got mad at him. Now I really find it hard to believe that Donna of all people didn’t know about this. She should have known years ago that Harvey was doing it. I mean, if I were to check my income tax returns and found any discrepancies in it, I would get suspicious. But I digress.
Anyway, when Donna went back to working for Harvey again, is she still allowing Harvey to do this? How does she feel about it?
- Where did she work before her job at the NYC DA’s Office?
Before working at Pearson Specter Litt, Donna worked at the NYC DA’s Office where she met and eventually worked for Harvey. But I’m curious if she ever had a job before that. When she wanted to become an actress, did she try working at any theater company or film studio? How many auditions she went to before finally giving up her acting career?
- Does she have any siblings?
I would imagine Donna having siblings. Her caring personality, especially towards Mike and Rachel seemed like she has taken care of a younger brother or sister. Sarah Rafferty, who plays Donna, mentioned in an interview before that she thinks Donna might have a brother. I would really like to think that too. I think it would greatly explain why she is sort of a mother hen towards Mike and Rachel, and even Louis.
- When and where did she meet Mitchell?
After Donna’s heartbreak with Harvey, she started dating Mitchell – a guy whom Suitors haven’t even seen yet. I’m curious to know when and where Donna met him. Is he the guy she was supposed to have a date with in season 4? Donna was supposed to have a date with an unnamed guy in season 4 but she cancelled it because Harvey had problems with Louis about Forstman and he needed her. Is Mitchell that same guy or is he a new one whom Donna met?
If he’s a new guy, when did she meet him and where? I would imagine Donna having a social life of her own and maybe she went out with friends after her confrontation with Harvey (you know, the confrontation about how Harvey couldn’t tell her how he loved her) and that’s where she met this guy. But I don’t know. The show’s writers haven’t given any details about this.
These are just my thoughts on Donna and I just think that there is more to her character than what Suits has been showing to the fans. I really hate to think that her character would stay undeveloped this season and in season 7. Every character should have growth and given more depth. While I’m glad that the show has let Harvey and Rachel grow as characters, it should also be the same for Donna.
Tags: Donna Paulsen, Suits, Suits season 6
I’ve been a big fan of Suits since its early days. I religiously tuned in to every episode since its first season. While Harvey Specter used to be my favorite character on the show, it has since then been replaced with Donna Paulsen. I’m always drawn to strong female characters on TV and I think Donna is one of those who can hold on her own and get people’s attention despite the fact that she’s not the main character on the show.
She has become my favorite character on the show not only because of her sassiness and witty dialogues but also because she is smart, confident, funny, and can go toe-to-toe with alpha males like Harvey Specter. Heck, she even got the balls to slap Daniel Hardman! That was really gutsy on her part. My love for Donna has grown over the seasons so much so that it has already eclipsed my love for Harvey.
Image credit: zap2it.com
I think there’s more to her character than just being Harvey’s secretary. That’s why it frustrates me so much to see her character being reduced this season. Suits is already in its sixth season and yet we Suitors don’t know much about Donna. Aside from her past with Harvey and a glimpse of her as a teenager, not much has been written about her background.
I am upset and disappointed that Donna has been relegated to the sidelines this season. Five episodes in and we only see Donna give advice to people at Pearson Specter Litt and help fix things at the firm. In the last episode, Donna only had three scenes. Sean Cahill, who is only a recurring character on the show, got even more screentime than her. Looking at the plot in the upcoming episodes, I’m afraid that Donna will not have much of a storyline this season.
What happened to the show’s writers? Are they running out of ideas on what to do with Donna? Donna Paulsen might not be the main character on the show but she definitely is a well-loved character among fans. And I think that she deserves a better storyline than just help Harvey, Rachel, Louis, Mike and Jessica.
There are just so many things I want to know about Donna, and there are loose ends in her story that I think the show needs to address. I’ve listed here the questions that I think should be addressed by the show and I think other Donna fans would agree with me.
1. How does Donna really feel about going back to Harvey as his secretary?
While Donna wanted to help Harvey save Mike from prison in season 5, it wasn’t exactly her idea to return to Harvey. She left him in the first place because it wasn’t healthy for her to stay working for him after he refused to explain how he loved her and after she admitted that she has feelings for him. But when Louis let her go back to Harvey, we didn’t really see how she felt about it. Is she truly over him? If she is (which I doubt), does she even realize that she’s still in danger of falling for Harvey again? How can you get over someone that quickly if you work closely with him every day?
Image credit: giphy.com
And let’s talk about the elephant in the room: When will she and Harvey talk about that “I love you” scene in season 4? Suitors are left hanging with it since that confrontation scene in Harvey’s office. They had dinner together eventually in season 5 but it seemed to me that they talked about everything but that. I really hope that the show would eventually tie this loose end.
2. How did Donna come to the conclusion that she couldn’t work for Harvey anymore?
When Harvey refused to explain in season 4 how he loved Donna, we saw her got hurt by what he said. But we actually didn’t see how she struggled with it. What did she do when she got home after that? Did she talk to someone about it? Did someone advise her to leave Harvey or was it entirely her decision? We only saw her help Louis make arrangements on Norma’s passing but never her struggle with her feelings.
Image credit: giphy.com
And we didn’t see how she dealt with it after she left him. Sure, she was visibly shaken by it as seen by Rachel but after that scene with her, we never got to see how she really felt. Harvey had panic attacks but what about Donna? Although we saw her start working for Louis and help Mike get the hotel that Rachel wanted as venue for their wedding, I suspected that it was all a front to what she was really feeling at that time. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see that.
3. Does Donna feel insecure about her position at Pearson Specter Litt?
In earlier seasons, Suitors saw Donna as a badass legal secretary that always get things done. But in season 4, we got a glimpse of her vulnerable side. In the episode where Harvey confronted her about lying on her involvement in the Liberty Rail case, she told him that she lied because she wanted to feel just as important as the lawyers. In tears, she said that Harvey and Mike keep being hotshot lawyers while she only answers the phone.
Image credit: screencapped.net
That got me into thinking and wondered whether Donna feels insecure about her work at the firm. While I’m glad Suits showed that side of her, I feel that there’s so much more to that story.
4. Why did Donna give up her dream of becoming a stage actor?
I’ve been wondering about this since that episode where she did Shakespeare. In the flashback episode “Not Just A Pretty Face,” she told Harvey that she wanted to be an actress. But what happened after that? When did she decide to stop pursuing an acting career? And most importantly, why?
Image credit: screencapped.net
I know she mentioned something to Louis before about her dad losing all the money and not wanting to go through the same thing, but that was never explored. We didn’t get to see her struggle with her acting career. What made her decide to give it up? Was it because she got too busy working for Harvey? Or was it because there’s too much competition?
5. When will she put herself first for once?
She went back to working for Harvey in the later part of season 5 because she knew he needed her at that time. But after their attempts of saving Mike failed, she stayed on. Why? So she can keep helping Harvey and Mike? I really want to see Donna put herself first for once. I want to see her life outside work. She’s always been there to help Harvey, Mike, Louis, Rachel and Jessica when they needed her. She’s the linchpin that ties the main characters together during times of trouble. But she deserves to live her own life, and yes even apart from Harvey.
Image credit: giphy.com
As much as I want Donna and Harvey to be together, I want her to be her own person. Since Harvey is too coward to express his real feelings for Donna and needs to man up, she deserves to be happy. For once, I want to see her being taken care of instead of the other way around. I don’t want to see her becoming like Rachel who, up until this season, was known only as Mike’s girlfriend.
6. Does she still play the piano?
We’ve seen Donna in a flashback episode as a teenager and an aspiring pianist. And when her dad told her that she couldn’t keep the piano because it wouldn’t fit in their new apartment, she was heartbroken. I’m really curious to know if she ever attempted to play the piano again after that or if she lost interest eventually and turned to acting.
Image credit: screencapped.net
In season 3, we saw her sit at a piano while Stephen Huntley played the keys. Did she ever attempt to play it before him and did she tell him about her piano?
7. What’s Donna’s mother like? Is Donna close to her as she is to her dad?
Ever since that story about Harvey accidentally spitting a shrimp onto Donna’s mother’s hair during the god-awful dinner party was revealed in season 4, I’ve always wanted to know more about her. What is she like? Is she as sassy as Donna?
Image credit: chilitimes.com
Suitors have already seen most of the main characters’ family members. We’ve seen Harvey’s parents, Mike’s grammy, Rachel’s parents, Jessica’s sister and even Louis’ parents but not much of Donna’s. Sure, her dad appeared briefly in season 5 but I’m really curious about Donna’s mom. I hope the show would finally include her in one of the episodes. I’d like to see a flashback episode when that dinner party actually happened.
8. Is the can opener ritual back?
When Donna left Harvey to work for Louis, the can opener ritual between Donna and Harvey ended. But since she came back to him and Harvey went to trial to defend Mike, did they continue with the pre-trial ritual?
The can opener did not make an appearance again after Harvey returned it to Donna (indirectly, that is) when she left him. Now that Harvey is in trial again as Sutter’s lawyer, I’m wondering if the ritual is back.
Image credit: screencapped.net
At this point, I’m beginning to lose interest in Suits not only because the stories haven’t been as compelling as the first two seasons but also because of the way they are treating Donna this season. She is mostly the reason why I’m still watching the show (and the fact that I’m still waiting for Darvey to happen). But I feel that the writers are neglecting her. I know that the focus of the show has always been Harvey and Mike, but the other characters deserve their own storyline, especially the women. They are closely interconnected with each other that I don’t think the show would work if it’s only Harvey and Mike. I can’t imagine the show without Jessica. And I can’t imagine it without Donna. Otherwise, the women might as well have their own spinoff show.
While the writers are finally making good use of Rachel this season (too little, too late in my opinion) and Jessica has been given her own story arc, I feel that Donna is the one character who is still not fully fleshed out. The writers need to give her more depth because if they don’t, then she would just end up as a caricature of herself.
Considering the current circumstances, if they keep this poor treatment of Donna for the entire season, then I’m afraid I might have to dump this show and not watch season 7 anymore.
Tags: indie film, world cinema
Kapit sa patalim.
This succinctly describes Rosa’s predicament in life in the indie film, Ma’ Rosa. In a world where you have to do everything to survive, there is little choice left except to take big risks regardless of whether it’s even legal or not.
Ma’ Rosa is yet another indie film by Brillante Mendoza that tackles the social ills of Philippine society, particularly poverty and corruption. It took the local cinema by storm when it won an award at the Cannes Film Festival early this year. Its lead star, Jaclyn Jose, bagged the Best Actress award at Cannes beating out veteran Hollywood actresses such as Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard and Kristen Stewart.
I was surprised and proud as well when Jaclyn Jose won the award. And it was thrilling to see that it was Mads Mikkelsen (a.k.a TV’s Hannibal Lecter) who announced the winner. The movie wasn’t even locally released yet at that time so the moviegoing public had no idea what it was about. Thankfully, the movie is now showing in local cinemas so I had the opportunity to check it out.
Ma’ Rosa is about a family living in a poor neighborhood somewhere in Manila. Rosa Reyes (played by Jaclyn Jose) and her husband Nestor run a small convenience store adjacent to their humble home with their four kids. However, many people in their neighborhood know that the couple is also selling drugs on the side and using their store as a front. It’s not long before their home is raided by corrupt policemen who take them to the police station. The corrupt cops then demanded a large sum of money from Rosa and her husband in exchange for their freedom. Most of the movie then tackles on how the family scramble to raise the money to pay the cops.
The tone of the entire film was bleak and dreary. There was a general feeling of jadedness among its characters, perhaps highlighting the hard life that they were into. Some camera shots were intentionally shaky. Other shots zoomed in for a closer look at scenes such as Nestor crossing out the name of one of his customers on a tattered notebook, reminding local viewers that this was not your typical mainstream Tagalog movie.
Jaclyn embodied the typical woman I see on the streets with her bare face, basic outfit and street language. Her deadpan facial expressions were refreshing to see. She barely evoked emotions. Only a couple of worrying frowns betrayed the inner turmoil she was feeling. That last scene where she finally let loose and silently cry was truly touching.
Julio Diaz, who played Nestor, looked like he was high on drugs the entire time with his slurred speech and swagger. Maria Isabel Lopez, on the other hand, only had one scene in the movie but she provided some light and amusing moments to the film with her hugot-filled one-liner, “O ayan, isaksak mo ‘yan sa bunganga ng nanay mo!”
The script needed tightening, though. Some of the dialogues came out trite, thus resulting in shallow performance by the supporting characters.
Overall, the movie was okay. It was not that bad but it could have been better.
Tags: cat cafe, cats
Ever since I found out last year that there was finally a cat café in Manila, I was excited to go and visit the place with my friends. I love cats and was always curious about the famous cat cafes in Japan. It’s a good thing though that cat cafes have sprung up in Manila in recent years. Pioneering the cat café in Manila is the Miao Cat Café.
Miao Cat Café – the name of which is a pun of the word “meow” rather than an actual Chinese name – is located along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City. It took me a long time to visit the place mainly because it’s too far from where I live. And due to conflict of schedules, my friends and I kept postponing our visit to the cafe. But last Monday, my friend Jess and I finally had the time to check it out. She brought along her 8-year-old son with us.
My first impression of Maio Cat Café was that it was simple, practical and cozy. The café’s interiors are decked with pathways, ledges and scratch posts for the cats. Customers have the option to sit at tables with chairs or lounge comfortably on the carpet with throw pillows. There were a couple of loft tables too. Of course, I wasn’t really there for the decors. I was there for the cats.
There were about eight or so mixed breed cats inside the café. I spotted a couple of Persian cats and a Maine Coon but I forgot what the others were. Most of the foreign breeds were napping at the time we were there. The only cats that were wide awake and active that time were two local rescued cats and a black Persian. The café has a few policies about the cats. We weren’t supposed to pet and disturb the cats while they’re sleeping.
It was afternoon on a Monday when we visited the place so there was no crowd. In fact, we were the only customers there at that time so we had the place all to ourselves. The food at the café was delicious enough. I especially loved the pink cappuccino frappe I ordered along with the fish and fries.
I was able to pet some of the cats there. From what I could tell, the cats were properly behaved and kept a fair distance from our food. The rescued cats though kept staring at our food and came close enough to sniff at the table. One of them was really friendly that I was surprised when he suddenly plopped on my lap and made himself comfortable.
Spending the afternoon at the café was worth it. I loved the cats and would have stayed longer to pet them. I don’t have a cat at home because the admin of the condo complex where I live does not permit tenants to have pets. Thanks to Miao Cat Café, I finally had my feline fix even for just a few hours.