Tuesday, February 01, 2005

visiting billy: the haul

I spent my lunch hour at the Metrowalk Mall along Meralco Avenue, which on certain nights is the new hangout of choice by the twentysomethings because of its resto and bar mix, but is also the new home of the DVD pirates of vanished Virra Mall in Greenhills. Billy, my Muslim relation, set up his store there, along with every other pirate that Metrowalk could accomodate.

The rest of the pirates scattered across the city like stray bullets. Some ended up in Cubao where they are the lowest man on the totem pole, subject to frequent raids since their power is not yet consolidated. Others have it worse, being able only to ply their illegal wares outside the streets near Star Mall and Edsa Central along Shaw Boulevard at night, having no space in either mall. Some landed even further in all directions. But Billy is okay, so I'm okay (let's leave the entire argument about the "evils" of piracy and my grey stance for a later date).

Billy greeted me with a big smile when I arrived, and proceeded to tempt me with a deadly combination of art films, Oscar contenders, commercial hits and -ahem- films for gentlemanly pleasure. Since I had exhausted my previous horde (which had a good mix of films like "What Alice Found" and "Saved"), I more than happily sorted through the piles of movies, got the ones that appealed to me, texted my business partner, and got him what he wanted. I usually purchase around 4 or 5 films, but this time bought several more - our cable TV is on the fritz which means, yes, no American Idol or any of the reality TV shows or comedies or even Discovery. Sigh.

While I do not have a film-viewing schedule set in stone, I do end up watching movies during late evening or at the wee morning hours when insomnia or fatigue set in, or when I need to take a break from creative writing.

I am happy with my haul for this week:

Lies by Jang Suu Woo - A film from 1999 that Time said was "a sado-masochistic romance between a married sculptor and a high-school girl half his age, a class-act film that fashioned poetry from pornography and high-fived the current zeitgeist, though it is banned in Korea."

Battle Royale Special Edition by Fukasaku Kinji - From the time I first saw it during its cinema run in Hong Kong in 2000, I loved it immediately, making it one of my top 10 favorite films of all time.

Grand Ecole by Robert Salis - 2004's adaptation of Jean-Marie Besset's play (by himself) attracted the playwright in me. A big plus is the promise of much flesh. Hence, the purchase.

Romance by Catherine Breillat - I've read many good things about French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, and this 1999 films that explores sexuality from the female point of view is something I've been meaning to get. Hmmm... So far it seems I like sex and violence, yes?

La Finestra di fronte by Ferzan Ozpetek - Released as "Facing Windows" in the US, this Italian film about love, marriage and discovery swept the Italian equivalent of the Oscars in 2003.

Mean Creek by Jacob Aaron Estes - Generally generating favorable critical reviews last year, this film about playful revenge gone wrong intrigued me. Let's see if it's good.

Head in the Clouds by John Duigan - I became a reluctant Charlize Theron fan after seeing her Oscar-winning turn in Monster. It's said that she dominates this film because of her bathtub scene, which, in my usual prurient manner, is good enough reason to see it. LOL

Modigliani by Mick Davis - This is the story of Amedeo Modigliani's bitter rivalry with Pablo Picasso, and his tragic romance with Jeanne Hebuterne. It has Andy Garcia, whose early work I enjoyed.

I also got The Aviator (Martin Scorsese), Ray (Taylor Hackerford), Closer (Mike Nichols), Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood), Merchant of Venice (Michael Radford) - for my Oscar fix; plus the odd When Will I Be Loved (James Toback), and two Disney films for Sage: The Lion King and the classic Peter Pan.

Oh, and my "gentlemanly films". Of course.

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