and because i’m back from the holidays

…I have reviews!

1. The Wrestler

I fed this to the DVD player planning to just take a peek, but after the opening scene I was too enthralled to push Stop. Wrestling is all lights and glitz and scripted fun, but wrestlers grow old, and some of them grow old broken and alone. What a beautiful, believable, heartbreaking film. I should have seen it sooner. Every element just works perfectly: the writing, the shots, the improvised scenes. Pitch-perfect acting from Mickey Rourke.

2. Kikomachine Komix 6: Venn Man

I’ve read all the Kikomachine collections, and as expected this one also caters to the humor of the UP Diliman crowd (including me) and/or teenage boys (I have two brothers, and I speak like them sometimes, so yeah, including me). Unfortunately, unlike the other collections, Manix’s latest takes longer to get to the funny as storylines are sidetracked by existential ruminations that are actually better fit for the silence of 12. And we must admit that some of the jokes are getting old. But it’s still laudable for the create-your-own-adventure series near the end, which I enjoyed a lot.

3. Philippine Genre Stories Horror issue

I am a big fan of horror, but since I read so many horror stories and I don’t scare easily (I think), I always end up disappointed. Gah. Is it too much to ask? I just need a clean narrative and a story that gets under your skin. Though I liked “Leg Man” (PSF V), Dominique Cimafranca’s “An Unusual Treatment” didn’t win me over. The narration is clunky and reads like it is just following an outline. I bet the story’s funnier if a friend told this to me in person, in his or her own digression-filled style.”Same Time Again Next Halloween” by Alex Paman could have been a decent story, but it suffers from too much adverbs (too many “seemingly”‘s, etc) and a dramatic ending that feels forced. “The Haunted Man” by Raymond Falgui also lacks that organic flow, despite the fact that it is written like an anecdote. Joey Nacino’s “The War Against the City” intrigued me (I use city imagery in my poems and stories a lot). I expected a rich source of charged imagery, but his imagery didn’t move me.

It’s not all bad. Sean Uy’s “Tech Support”, though simplistic plot-wise, is a good read, and Charles Tan’s “The Jar Collector” shows a subtlety that is often missing in Filipino horror (we just love our espasol-looking ghosts and our hysterical protagonists).

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