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Showing posts from January, 2015

Movie Review: American Sniper (2015)

American Sniper chronicles four tours in Iraq by real-life Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (1974-2013), interspersed with his difficulties adjusting back to civilian life. The film works best as an uncomplicated war movie, especially given its powerful ending, but it misses the mark (sorry; obligatory) when it comes to exploring the consequences of nationalism/tribalism and the mindset that continues the cycle of violence worldwide.

Since this is a Clint Eastwood film, I shall pay tribute by breaking this down into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good: Pre-sniper Chris Kyle is a good guy. His dad raised him to be a "sheepdog," someone who protects the "sheep" from the "wolves." As portrayed by Bradley Cooper, Chris is very determined, very brave, and very much a product of the patriarchy: protect the women and children, and keep all the pain and doubts inside. His decision to join the military transforms him--he goes from charming Texas cowboy, to driven …

Mandatory 80's Movies for My Child

Movies! They transport us into other worlds, reveal the minds of other creatures, and expand the limits of our imaginations! My dad and I used to go to Alabang Town Center, back when their movie theaters were called Twin Cinemas (because there were only two, get it???), and that was how we bonded as father-daughter units.

The posters above represent the top four mandatory movies from the Epic Eighties for Junior:

The Dark Crystal (1982)
Plot: Two Gelflings travel to the lair of the evil Skeksis to restore balance to the world by returning the missing shard of the Dark Crystal. X Factor: Fierce animatronics. The Skeksis dinner scene is the stuff of nightmares.Values: Fwendship! Courage! Sacrifice!Best line: "You have wings?" -"Of course! I'm a girl!"Labyrinth (1986)
Plot: David Bowie's tight pants terrorize a teenager and her baby brother. X Factor: Nutty animatronics and a labyrinth that is somehow creepy and charming.Values: Determination! Cleverness! Confid…

Babies = Kitties or Puppies? An Analysis [UPDATED]

Human infants are typically known for being adorable, helpless, and a major impediment to parental slumber. Kitties are soft, playful, and make good companions. They also have an unfortunate habit of walking across freshly laundered items of clothing.

Some human adults compare babies to cats. The reasoning, I believe, goes like this: babies are small and cute, cats are small and cute, therefore babies = cats.

However, after a series of randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis, we have come to the conclusion that babies = puppies. Our findings are summarized in the Venn diagram below:


The characteristics exclusive to babies are at the top of the diagram: their hypnotic powers over grandmothers, overnight transformation from raisin-goblins into rosy-cheeked cherubs, and so on. Babies are also magnets for phrases such as, "It's so great when they're at that age," delivered in wistful tones (or frenzied tones, if the other human is currently r…

Movie Review: The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Happy New Year! In 2015, I resolve to: Enjoy!

Here at the Fragrant Household, we ushered in the future by giving our money to Peter Jackson, his cast and crew, and the Showcase Superlux.

Without further ado, here is an opinion-sprinkled recap of:


The Setup
Smaug is burning up Lake Town because he thinks they helped Thorin and Co., who in the last movie poured piping hot gold on the greedy dragon. It did not work as intended.

As the townfolk flee, the Master and his awful assistant Alfred escape with the town's treasures. Bard uses his jail bedsheet and contrivance to escape and clamber to a high tower. He fires at Smaug and runs out of arrows, but his son is there with a giant javelin!

Bard uses Penetrate Weak Spot! It's super effective! Smaug is dead! Now everyone and their mother look toward the treasures Smaug had been hoarding.

Thandruil Wants His Shiny
The king of the forest elves is first on the scene, with his army. "The heirlooms of my people are not easily abando…