pacific rim: a melodramatic summer movie

Okay, so, I don’t know where to begin. I had been anticipating this movie so much, then I watched it and I felt duped. I mean, it’s even worse than Prometheus and I hate Prometheus to the core.

Let’s begin. Oh, God. First I need to see Charlie Hunnam’s abs.

Oh yes, you can Pacific Rim me any time.

Oh yes, he can Pacific Rim me any time.

Okay. I’m fine. I’m fine.

Ron Perlman is amazing as the crazy materialistic Hannibal Chau. I mean, those goddamn shoes (did anyone stay after the end credits? Hannibal Chau just pocket-knifes his way out of the baby kaiju and screams, “Where is my goddamn shoe?” Talk about an entrance (or is it an exit? Since it’s the end credits and he’s going out of something?)).

Then when one of the kaijus grabs Gipsy Danger and spreads its wings and fly. Ah, very unexpected and so amazing.

And, that’s about it.

The thing is, Pacific Rim should stick with kaiju-jaeger actions and smooth CGIs. I don’t care at all about the characters and whatever their issues are (one has daddy issues, one lost his brother, one lost her whole family and seeks revenge, one doesn’t want his adopted daughter to fight). Why? Because of their acting. I mean, seriously. Rinko Kikuchi (Mako Mori) was stellar in Babel and had more lines in that movie than in Pacific Rim (just so you know, Rinko Kikuchi played a deaf-mute in Babel). Maybe it’s what actors do once in a while, like Hilary Swank in The Core.

Did you know that the lights inside the helmet actually have no function than to light the actor's face so the audience can see it? Yeah. It's actually not practical at all.

Did you know that the lights inside the helmet actually have no function than to light the actor’s face so the audience can see it? Yeah. It’s actually not practical at all.

There’s this really, really cheesy scene where Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) stands on top of his jaeger (fighting machine), smiling at little girl Mako Mori, with the freaking sun setting behind freaking Idris Elba and the periwinkle rays and everything. I mean, seriously, del Toro? I usually cry like nobody’s business (Artificial Intelligence and Bicentennial Man. Whooohooo. Tears, tears, tears every where and then the lights went on I scrambled for tissues), but holy shat, I thought that scene was so cheesy that I almost used it for my baked potato and broccoli (yeah, I have a weird sense of humor).

But probably I found it so annoying because of the acting of Mana Ashida, the little girl who played little girl Mako Mori, was so horrible. So, so horrible. I mean, as if she was trying to compensate for the underacting that the other actors were doing in the movie. This kid’s acting was even worse than Dakota Fanning’s in War of the Worlds.

What... What am I doing here? I shouldn't be here! I... I CAN'T EVEN ACT!

What… What am I doing here? I shouldn’t be here! I… I CAN’T EVEN ACT!

Wait, no. I take that back.

Charlie Day should get an award for overacting and therefore creating such an annoying character. The two doctors are so annoying.

Suzuka Ohgo and Zoe Weizenbaum were brilliant in Memoirs of a Geisha and so were Alakina Mann and James Bentley in The Others. I hate children, but James Bentley in The Others… Oh God that kid. So adorable!

I thought Mako Mori would have more importance. Like, she would be the female badass, but apparently not. Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) does all the work. I kept waiting and waiting, and I had high hopes when Pentecost (before sacrificing his life) said, “You can finish this, Mako!” Finish WHAT?

Also, it’s just weird that when Raleigh and Mako are mind-melded, they are still talking to each other to operate the jaeger. Well, it’s mostly Raleigh who does the talking (“Freeze the tail!” (or whatever) or “I think we’d better check for pulse!”).

And then what Pentecost said to Raleigh when they met at the Alaska-California wall project, about choosing whether to die there or in a jaeger. So original. I’m sure Dilon from Alien 3 would be proud.

Mmmhmm... It's like he was POURED into that costume.

Mmmhmm… It’s like he was POURED into that costume.

Also, can we talk about the wall? Really? A wall? Like… not even with laser beams or electricity like in Jurassic Park? Really? A WALL? Did anyone even notice the size of those kaijus?

Finally, the one thing that always irks me with giant robot and monster films (yes, ESPECIALLY Powerpuff Girls) is that the hero does more damage than the monster. Case in point: Gipsy Danger dragging a ship instead of lifting it, to fight a kaiju.

Drag, drag, drag your boat

Drag, drag, drag your boat

Well, at least it’s Gipsy Danger and not Gypsy Danger. Speaking of which, do you know why it’s spelled with an ‘i’ instead of ‘y’? No, I’m not talking about the racial slur.

Okay, here’s Charlie Hunnam again.

Oh yes, you can Pacific Rim me any time.

Mmmhmmm.

Note: I watched Pacific Rim twice in the theater because I thought watching it twice would change my mind for the better, but unfortunately not.

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even if i could

They just sat there. Empty plates and full stomachs. They just sat there. The two of them. He and his friend. His friend fumbled with the glass tea pot and poured jasmine tea into his white cup.

“Sometimes,” he said, “I wonder where it all went wrong.”

His friend looked up.

“I wonder if I could pinpoint that very moment when I made that mistake, you know? Just to know when and with whom.”

His friend reached over the table, over the empty plates, over the glass pots and white cups of jasmine tea, to his hand.

“But even, even if I could, it wouldn’t be useful now, would it?”

His friend squeezed his hand. That was the only thing his friend could do at this moment. That was the only thing his friend could ever want at this moment, to be with him and no one else.

zenne dancer: but is it really belly dance?

I am somehow adverse to gay movies. I don’t watch Queer as Folk, I don’t watch Dante’s Cove (haha, softcore porn, anyone?), I don’t watch Milk, I don’t watch Happy Together, heck, I don’t even watch Brokeback Mountain nor Naked Boys Singing nor Cloud Atlas (although technically it’s not a gay movie) and Boys Don’t Cry bored me to tears. I also don’t watch Glee or Sex in the City and I think Will & Grace is not funny. That being said, I love The Hours and Kinky Boots. And To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. And Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. And RuPaul’s Starrbooty. 

Zenne DancerWhat can I say, I’ve always loved showbiz. And speaking of which, as a small-time belly dancer, this particular Turkish / German movie intrigued me, and ever since news of it came out last year (or in 2011?) I’d been searching for it. A few days ago I finally found it and well, here’s the review.

Zenne is based on a true story of honor killing of one Ahmet Yildiz on a summer night of 2008. The suspect is his own father who cannot accept his son’s homosexuality, and Yildiz’s father is still at large.

Aside from bad acting from Giovanni Arvaneh (who played Daniel Bert the German photographer), everyone else is stellar in this movie. And I love Demir Demirkan’s version of Erik Satie’s Gnossienne no. 1.

I’ve never been to Turkey. A few years ago, when Mom and I planned on going there, two bombs went off in Istanbul. So we visited Italy and Greece instead. Then the uprising happened (and is still happening), so good for them for being fed up with the government but I really, really want to go, so bad for me because the situation is probably unpredictable as of right now.

My point is, I don’t know what Turkey is like, but Zenne is set in Istanbul and many parts are presented in the movie. There are some chic parts of the city and there are some poorer parts. This diversity is also evident in the way different families view homosexuality. The family of Can (the dancer, played by Kerem Can) loves him to death, even the guy who’s having a relationship with Can’s aunt. Well, Can’s brother (played by the oh so sexy Tolga Tekin) is a bully, but that’s probably because he’s burnt out from the war. We’ll discuss this later. Meanwhile, Ahmet’s (played brilliantly by Erkan Avci) parents are portrayed as being unable to accept their gay son while Ahmet’s sister (also played brilliantly by Esme Madra) loves Ahmet.

L-R: Can (the dancer), Ahmet, and Daniel (the photographer).

L-R: Can (the dancer), Ahmet, and Daniel (the photographer).

Can’s father died in the war, and well, his brother has post-war stress. Can’s mother and aunt don’t want him to go to war so he has to stay indoors during day time to avoid ID checks.

Daniel the photographer meets Can at a gay club where Can dances. Daniel wants to photograph Can in costume. Ahmet is present when Daniel meets Can for the second time and then for the third time, and well, love blooms. Daniel, being German (developed country that recognizes homosexual rights) fear for Ahmet’s life and wants to take Ahmet with him to Bavaria. However, both Can and Ahmet have to go to the military post first to claim their homosexuality so they don’t have to be enlisted.

Can and Ahmet, so chic!

Can and Ahmet, so chic!

So how exactly does one claim one’s homosexuality and escape conscription? Easy! Just bring evidence (photos) of being fucked by another guy. Ahmet and Daniel go off to get busy while Can finds someone else. Can waxes Ahmet’s hairy back and dresses him up and puts makeup on him as they go to the military post and tells Ahmet to tell the examiners that he’s also a zenne (dancer). Their plan works, Can and Ahmet don’t have to enlist. 

However, Ahmet left his sex photos in his car, and the private detective paid by Ahmet’s father to stalk him discovers the photos and gives them to Ahmet’s father as proof of Ahmet’s homosexuality. Ahmet says goodbye to Can, then goes to Daniel to leave for Bavaria. Ahmet never arrives. He’s shot to death on the pavement.

Isn’t it scarily amazing how one can escape from one type of death and yet the thing that enables such escape leads one to another type of death?

The thing that really gets me is how Daniel (again, he’s from Germany, a developed nation) forces Ahmet to just tell his parents that he’s gay, repeatedly asking what can possibly go wrong, they are his parents and they love him and will accept him. Oh, Lord. Talk about ignorance. This is why I think people from countries with advanced laws concerning human rights live in glass bubble. I envy them, while at the same time I’m sorry for their ignorance.

Daniel with Ahmet.

Daniel with Ahmet.

At one time, after he’s done photography children in a poor district, Daniel says to Ahmet, “You should’ve seen those children. They’re smiling and laughing. There’s hope in their eyes.”

To which Ahmet replies, “No, they’re smiling and laughing because you give them chocolate.”

That’s right. You don’t know how it is to be stuck in a third-world country where gays are prosecuted and women have minimal rights. You come here for your project, to win prizes and money and then you go home and the people you’ve met become nothing but distant memories and you pray for them for a short while (if you still pray), and then you go on with your life.

At least Daniel wants to bring Ahmet back to Bavaria and give him a better life.

I don't think belly dancers wear this kind of costume. Well, probably some dancers at Tribal Fest do.

I don’t think belly dancers wear this kind of costume. Well, probably some dancers at Total Fuckery Tribal Fest do.

Finally, one thing that bothers me is that this story hinges on the appeal of male belly dancer. I don’t know. I’ve been a belly dance student since 2008 and I don’t think Can does belly dance. When Daniel meets Can for the first time, he says he’s interested in male belly dancer and that he wants to photograph Can in costume. So I assume that’s what people think belly dancing is?

I know, I know, who am I to say what belly dancing is or isn’t? Well, I have a belly dance blog, and I usually review belly dance movies there and there’s a reason I’m not posting my review of Zenne Dancer on my belly dance blog.

Oh and by the way, as usual: here’s a sexy image.

Cihan (Tolga Tekin) showing Ahmet what they do in the military. Mmmhmm. Sign me up!

Cihan (Tolga Tekin) showing Ahmet what they do in the military. Mmmhmm. Sign me up for the next war!

let sleeping cats lie

ImageImageImage

Taken at the same time (well, one after the other) in different parts around the house. From top to bottom: Jerry, Kenji, Chester.

My two other lazy cats are probably somewhere in the back yard, no doubt lounging about, but I’m too lazy (!!) to try to find them.

everyday haiku: move on

move on my friends say
it’s as easy as passing
giant kidney stones

 

“Everyday Haiku” is updated on random (hopefully more frequent than hardly ever) basis. For the sake of these posts, the definition of haiku is a form of poetry that has three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second one has seven, and the third one has five.

there, there, sad little bird

Someone I used to know once told me, on the fourth night of us sleeping together, that he knew why I didn’t want to write sad stories.

“Why?” I said.

“Because you’re afraid of being sad,” he said.

That just showed how much he didn’t know me, that I did (and still do) write sad stories, and that writing happy, funny stories, doesn’t mean that I can automatically be happy. At that time, however, the best response I could come up with was, “Don’t try to analyze me.”

It was a red flag for me, but I chose to ignore it. Several months later, he said I was too exhausting for him, that meeting me was unhealthy.

It was a red flag for me, but I chose to ignore it.

***

In part prompted by this Prompt.

the time has come

Now listen to me, I have thought this over. I have thought this over long and hard.

At first I was going to release a bottle into the sea. There would be a piece of paper inside the bottle, my wishes would be written on that piece of paper. It would contain everything, but cryptic enough so that no one, not even those closest to me would understand what I was trying to say. Yes, I can be that secretive. Surprise, surprise.

But then I had this great epiphany: releasing a bottle into the sea would be the same as littering. As polluting.

I thought of using glass bottle instead of plastic, but it still felt the same.

“Why don’t you just etch your wishes on a plank of wood?” he said.

That sounded like hard work. Too much work. So maybe not.

It’s difficult to be an environmentalist and drama queen. Decades ago, people released bottles filled with wishes into the sea, balloons filled with wishes into the air, without any sense of guilt. But today, oh no no. I don’t eat meat nor support the meat industry for environmental reasons. And yet I pollute the sea? Won’t someone think of the fishes!

Maybe I should end my life. For some people, life begins at thirty. For others, it’s the end. One less human to worry about. Just throw myself into the sea and let the fishes take care of me. Hey, that rhymes!

But this was what I thought: I thought, on my thirtieth birthday, I would stare at the open sea, ruminate on my life, my failures, my accomplishments, my love lost, found, lost again, heartbreaks, heartaches, those whom I’d hurt and nurtured, those who had become my friends and my foes, my allies and my enemies, the bridges I’d detonated as I watched from afar and sang and played my harp, and I would write my wishes down.

I would list my wishes down on a piece of recycled paper, or on the back of a used paper, or perhaps a shopping receipt, then I would throw it into a trash can. Why? Because wishes are trash.

Ancol Bay, photo by yours truly.

Ancol Bay, photo by yours truly.

Then I received another great epiphany. there I was, sitting on the side of the beach, the breeze from the sea kissing my face and the pale sun was hanging there, shining but not too harshly, and the tropical Jakarta air was not too moist and not too dry. There I was with my wishes and I thought how superficial they were. How shallow they were. How unworthy and pretentious.

Why? Because my life, as ruined, as destroyed, as damaged as it was at that point of time, felt absolutely perfect in the sense that I didn’t need anything else.

I realized it ought not be the end, and I have to believe in it. And I do believe I am right, because I have thought this over. I have thought this over long and hard.

* This post was supposed to be published on my birthday several days ago, but I placed it in my draft and posted a haiku instead. I felt something was missing. Then this prompt from the Daily Post came and I remembered I had the second epiphany. I put it in, and it all fell into place.