Soar

*This is one of my favorite musicals of all time. I’ve seen it thrice, cried thrice. I think it’s relevant in a time wherein others try to villainize people who are different, and victimize them in doing so. But I’m no victim. Here’s to the things and people trying to bring me down:

Don’t be afraid

I’m not
It’s the Wizard who should be afraid
Of me

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap

It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me

Tell them how I am defying gravity
I’m flying high, defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down

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AIDEE HD DB_0909

Here’s the second edition of Aidee’s High Definition (Movie) Database. These are just half of the movies I caught over the month of August. Fortunately, I was able to watch a lot a lot of movies, so much that I’m going to have to make a separate post for the rest. It was a great way to kick back.

Featured image: Strand by hyperrealist artist © Davis Cone (1994)


sweeney

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
★★★★☆
care for a shave?

Tim Burton’s on screen adaptation of urban legend and beloved Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd, tells the tale of a barber who was banished for 15 years. Back to avenge the loss of his wife and daughter to the cunning Judge Turpin, as he waits for his vip customer, his victims’ throats are slashed as they fall into a trapdoor that leads into a basement. Where their corpse are ground into the fillings for his landlady Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop where business has never been better.

I used to know all the words to the songs and my dad and I would watch this over chicken curry pies and lose our appetites while watching. It’s dark and it’s got Burton written all over it, but I’m particularly sympathetic to the story and I really do like the set and all the performances. 

mightyducks

The Mighty Ducks (1992)
★★★☆☆
quack quack quack quack quack quack

After a DUI sentence, Gordon Bombay was sentenced to community service—coaching District 5’s hockey team of perennial losers. They later find out that Gordon used to play for the Hawks but quit after an embarrassing loss. He christens the team, now the Ducks; and with a new set of gear and reborn team spirit, he leads them into the finals where they face the Hawks and his old coach, out to prove and play, “the ducks way”, clean, fair, and fun.

I grew up watching this with my brothers, and I especially loved D3 on VHS. I think my first impression of skating on ice was hockey and not figure skating thanks to these movies. I haven’t played hockey though, so that’s definitely on my bucket list. I also want a hockey jersey just because. 

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
★★★★☆
can’t find peanut butter in Normandy

In an interview with a reporter, Louis de Pointe du Lac (Louis) claims to be a vampire in modern day San Francisco. He sets his story in late 18th century Spanish Louisiana where Lestat de Lioncourt had just taken the life of his wife and child. Louis begs to live and Lestat willingly gives him the curse. While Lestat attempts to bestow on him the ways of the vampire—feeding on human blood—set in his morals, Louis stubbornly lives off the blood of animals. Until one starved night in New Orleans, he stumbles into a plague-ridden village, where he feeds on a sick child. Lestat later transforms her into their vampire daughter to latch on to Louis. Claudia, on the other hand, had no difficulty picking up the sadistic ways of the cursed thanks to Lestat’s teachings but as thirty years pass, Claudia, always a child on the outside but aging within, begins to realize that she will never grow old and threatens to leave. She and Louis spend years running away from Louis and sail the world in search of others of their kind.

This came before the time of Vampire Diaries and Twilight, when Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were the sadistically handsome looking vampires on screen and well they really did look like how you’d imagine 17th century vampires would look like. This interested me way more than your hunky boy next door-lab partner-vampire that glows under sunlight and wears leather jackets, which series are built around nowadays. Well other than being extremely lucky to star alongside these guys, I thought young Kirsten Dunst’s performance was wise beyond her years. You can also find a very long haired Antonio Banderas here. I think overall it’s an entertaining movie. I also think the reasons for our fascinations with vampires is linked to the pangs of humanity that crack between their long long long lives. Vampires are capable of love but are bound to watch their loved ones die. Vampires are attached to one another too or spend years searching for more of their kind because they’re not solitary creatures. I guess hunting at night when the world’s asleep gets pretty lonely. Food for thought. 

DSCF9550.RAF

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
★★★☆☆
her smile is rather winning

Set in the 1920s where magic shows and tarot readings have peaked around the world, Stanley Crawford is the acclaimed Chinese conjurer, Wei Ling Soo on stage. However, in reality, Stanley despises and criticizes spiritualists that claim to perform real magic. In a mission to debunk another medium and clairvoyant, Sophie, he spends time in the Côte d’Azur villa of the Catledge where she contacts Aunt Grace’s dead husband. After witnessing these ‘magical’ events and as a romance buds between the two opposites, the skeptic Stanley is forced to almost step down his high horse and give up practicality and logic. 

This is a Woody Allen movie and although charming and witty, perhaps I got a little too excited and my expectations flew off the roof. I was a bit bored. 

bringing down the house

Bringing Down the House (2003)
★★★☆☆
mm mm mama is masa gonna sell us to-mo-rrow

After a recent divorce, extremely dedicated lawyer Peter Sanderson, signs up for a date from an online dating site and instead of meeting his soul mate, he meets a soul sister. escape convict Charlene who seeks his help to prove her innocence. As they try to work on her case around the clock, she ends up staying in their house, bonding with his children, and reminding him of the things that truly matter in life.

Like most Steve Martin family-oriented comedies, it’s a fun and light watch. I think the Queen Latifah and Steve Martin tandem works well too. My favorite scene was the dinner she had to pretend to be a maid and listen to all the racist remarks of their neighbor. 

withoutapaddle

Without A Paddle (2004) 
★★☆☆☆
yes we really wanna hurt youuuu

Three friends go on a camping trip after the death of Billy, their friend to honor his memory. Billy always believed that the campsite was where a famous airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper had buried money or treasure which they set out to find. Along the way, the city boys in the unfamiliar wild, encounter a series of antics, obstacles, naked women, and some crazy corrupt hillbillies.

Also another movie I remember watching with my brothers. Before there was Hangover and Grown Ups, there were movies like these and they’re pretty fun.

getaway

Getaway (2013)
☆☆☆☆☆
Selena Gomez is pretty even in a car chase 

This movie is so terrible that I refuse to spend time writing up a summary for it. This is by far one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. If you wanna waste your time, please check it out. I pray HBO stops running it and gives me something else to watch on a Friday night in. Although I don’t always agree with Rotten Tomatoes ratings cause to each his own, they gave this one a whopping 2%! Makes sense to me. 

madeline

Madeline (1998) 
★★★☆☆
we love our bread, we love our butter

This is the live adaptation of the beloved children’s book from 1939 about a stubborn little orphan girl who’s very good at getting into trouble among the class of Ms. Clavell who gets her daily dose of mini heart attacks from Madeline. They live in a boarding house in the heart of Paris and although she may be small, she goes on big adventures thanks to her big heart.

If you grew up watching the animation, then you’ll enjoy the movie because it’s like watching all the characters you’ve come to know come to life. Also reminds me of growing back in an all-girls school which I miss every now and then. 

water horse

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)
★★☆☆☆
lochs are lakes

Ever heard of the Loch Ness monster? But there’s no monster, or at least Crusoe never used to be one. When Agnus was a little boy in the brink of the Second World War, he lived in a manor by the shores of Loch Ness. He finds a rather unusually large egg and when it hatches, something like a water horse, he had only heard about in local myth, lay within. He tries to keep Crusoe, his pet and new friend, away from his mother, with the help of Lewis, their handyman. As each day passes, Crusoe grows incredibly large, so large that he has to be kept in the Lake. Although they’ve become inseparable, Agnus learns he has to let go of Crusoe to keep him safe from the Air Force and civilians that want to destroy the monster.

I enjoyed this mostly because it was set in Scotland.

magicinthewater

Magic in the Water (1995)
★★☆☆☆
so much Oreos 

Ashley goes on a vacation by a lake in British Columbia with her workaholic father and older brother Josh. Although always dismissed and called delusional by her family, Ashley befriends a sea monster by the dock and names him Orky whom she would share Oreos with. This sea monster is the fuss of the town, some even trying to capture phony photographs of the monster, while others believing its sacredness. With the help of an elderly Native American next door, the kids try to save Orky from the illegal wasted being dumped in the lake.

It’s one of those movies I just happen to catch on Fox Family Movies and while it’s not great, it’s not so bad either. 

contagion

Contagion (2011)
★★★★★
disease is the war of the 21st century 

Somewhere in the jungle, the wrong bat and the wrong pig got together. Beth returns from a business trip to Hong Kong and brings along a virus that kills her within two days. In the days to follow, others around Minnesota begin to exhibit the same simple symptoms of a burning fever and a painful throat, then the death toll rises. There follows the rapid outbreak of a lethal airborne virus that explodes into a global pandemic explodes. Lives are altered until the World Health Organization comes up with a vaccine. 

If you’re afraid of AH1N1, the bird flu, SARS, and the idea of losing your loved ones in a matter of days or losing your own life from just an exchange on the street, a simple handshake, or someone coughing in an elevator, then this movie is the stuff of real life nightmares. My favorite part though is when Matt Damon tries to give his daughter the prom she wants but couldn’t attend in his living room and they play U2’s All I Want Is You on an iPod in the background. It added the subtle brink of hope the movie needed. We all need. 

theprincessandthefrog

The Princess and the Frog (2009)
★★★☆☆
two frogs in a pod

In this animation, Tiana is no princess, but a hardworking waiter dreaming of opening her own restaurant in New Orleans. But a prince is in town. Prince Navine is a spoiled heir who had just been cut off from his parents’ support and in attempt to relieve his financial situation, he plans on marrying a rich southern belle, Tiana’s best friend, Charlotte. However, Naveen and his valet run into the infamous voo doo man and while he promises to make their dreams come true, Naveen is then transformed into a frog and his valet is disguised in Naveen’s body. Hoping to be turned back into himself once again, he mistakes a dressed up Tiana for a Princess and asks for a kiss, thus turning her into another frog as well. They meet an alligator named Louis and a cajun firefly named Ray who agree to take them to Mama Odie in the Bayou who can help undo the curse.

I think it’s cool that Disney decided to set this in the colorful world of New Orleans in the 1920s. I’m really creeped out by voo doo things too so it was pretty cool seeing it all animated and Disney-fied. 

3daystokill

3 Days to Kill (2014)
★★★★☆
but it’s purple

As he lives out the last months of a terminal disease, international spy Ethan hopes to rebuild his relationship with his estranged wife and teenage daughter. He left years before in order to keep them away from danger, and now that he’s returned to mend bonds, he promises to give up his lifestyle. However, he’s been blackmailed to assassinate a terrorist within three days in exchange for a potential antidote that may give him another shot at life. As he carries out his mission, he struggles to keep the peace and calm, also trying to remember that his pubescent daughter is no longer eight years old.

Kevin Costner as a dad is always a treat because there’s something so masculine and he’s always come off as a sort of protective father figure, haha. I think it’s more of a comedy than it is a thriller or anything. It’s also set in Paris which is pretty cool and the father-teenage daughter interaction is touching to me. There’s one scene wherein they argue and he remarks, “what kinda kid doesn’t know how to ride a bike?” And she replies, “the kind that never had a father to teach her” really broke my heart. I’m especially thankful my dad taught me and I recall it was something he was really determined to teach me as early as four. 

The Da Vinci Code (2006)
★★★★☆
maybe I’ll do better with the wine 

Following the murder of one of the world’s oldest and most secret societies’ leaders, are a trail of cryptic clues and puzzles left behind across Paris to be solved by his grand daughter and the acclaimed symbolist, Professor Robert Langdon. The two strive to solve the mystery and secret thousands have died trying to reveal and protect, the secret that could shake the faith of billions.

I never read the books so I wasn’t disappointed unlike Dan Brown followers. I also never truly understood what all the fuss was because I recall there being an outburst of negativity from all over the world especially of course from the Church. Is it controversial because of the claims and the ideas in the story? But if you listen to Tom Hanks’ final lines closely, you’ll see there’s nothing all to terrible about any of it. It doesn’t preach horrible things. I think it’s beautiful because the story was built on years of research and facts, and a whole lot of creativity. The genre is alternate history which is always cool. Four stars just because I have the sequel to compare it with, and that one’s my favorite. 

harrypotter1

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
★★★★★
it’s not leveee-ohhhhhh-sah; it’s levi-o-sah

This is the first of eight Harry Potter movies from the best selling books by J.K. Rowling and it set the stage for a world of magic. Orphaned when he was just a baby, Harry had been living under intolerable circumstances with his snotty aunt, uncle, and spoiled cousin. Much to his surprise on the night of his 11th birthday, he meets Hagrid the giant who tells him he’s the son of two powerful wizards. He is then offered a place at Hogwarts, the prestigious boarding school for wizards in a magical realm away from humans or what they called, “Muggles”. As he settles in Hogwarts, he oddly discovers that others have known more about him than he has his entire life. Harry makes friends, discovers more about the infamous scar on his forehead and his parents’ death, and learns about the magical world of wizards. And by the end of the term at Hogwarts, he’s gone on more adventures than he would have ever expected before blowing out his candles on his 11th birthday.

I’ll admit that I was scared out of my wits at the sight of that two-faced Voldemort when I watched this in theaters back during its release in 2001, but other than that, what’s not to love? Out of the eight Harry Potter movies, this is definitely up in the ranks. It’s become kind of like a classic for followers since it was the pioneer. Make or break. It definitely made a mark. It sets the stage for the whole magical world that comes to life on screen that so many have come to grow and love including myself. Weeee. And even if they’ve come up with pretty good ones after this, with better CGI and whatnot, nothing can compare. But then again, every Harry Potter movie is good. I haven’t gone on a Harry Potter marathon, but it’s definitely a plan on the bucket list. 

neighbors

Neighbors (2014)
★★★★☆
abercrombie and fitch yo

Like hundreds of couples that settle in the suburbs to raise their first born child, brand new parents Mac and Kelly hope to find peace away from the bustle of the city. To their dismay, the Delta Psi Beta fraternity moves in as their next door neighbors. After a failed and ignored attempt at being their friendly, nice, neighborly, cool bunch of next-door-neighbors, a series of harmless pranks erupt into a war involving wild nightly parties and even cops. Will president Teddy ever face the coming reality of graduation as the real world pressures him into holding on even tighter into the whole frat boy illusion? And will the trying to be cool couple ever come to terms with their fear of living boring lives as they enter parenthood?

It’s very very very entertaining. It’s funny and goofy, but all of a sudden it pokes at becoming way too real, then again it becomes really light and funny. 

princessdiaries

The Princess Diaries (2001)
★★★★★
you broke my glasses… you broke my brush 

Mia Thermopolis was nothing but an average fifteen year old living in San Francisco. She barely has a license, has a bad case of stage fright during class debates, wall climbs, and on occasion water balloon paints with her single mom. She has a crush on backstreet bad boy Josh Bryant, deals with a clone of annoying perky cheerleaders Anna-Banna-Bandana-Fontana-nana(?), has an activist of a best friend named Lilie, and a cat named Fat Louie. “This is as good as it’s gonna get,” until a grandmother she’s never really met decides to have tea with her one afternoon and spill the beans about her actually being a princess all along in a the charming little land of Genovia, off the coast of Spain. Her life is then quickly turned around, from makeovers to princess lessons. And soon after the secret is all out, Mia struggles to find her footing and is left to decide whether the life of royalty and responsibility is truly meant for her.

🎶 You showed me faith is not blind, I don’t need wings to help me fly. Miracles happen once in a while when you believe. You showed me dreams come to life, that taking a chance on us was right. All things will come, with a little time when you believe. 🎶 Oh gosh this song.. *breaks into semi-cool-looking dance with best friend*

I don’t wanna say every girl but I think almost every single girl I know (well at least my friends) has seen this a bazhillion times to the point of quoting it. This has seriously set up my crazy weird fantasies in life and though I’m no longer in high school and I haven’t had my “you’re a princess/ you’re related to Brad Pitt” moment (haha it’s not coming), I just think this movie’s the definition of a modern day fairy tale. When people ask me about my favorite Disney Princess, I always couldn’t say Mulan cause she wasn’t a princess and I never really liked the uber girly ones growing up, though now I absolutely love love love Cinderella, I always answered, “is Mia included?” Hooray for my girly-princess-confessions. The term “good vibes” isn’t really in my vocabulary but I’m gonna pull it out for this occasion just to say, The Princess Diaries is good vibes all throughout. Watching it caters to the forever awkward, dorky, and odd parts of the thirteen year old in me.