Man of Steel versus Superman Returns


Okay now that Man of Steel made it’s mark, I’d like to make a comparison with it’s predecessor.

Superman Returns shown in 2006 was a preview of what to come. A last glimpse and homage to the Christopher Reeve Superman. Believe me if Bryan Singer chose a different approach back then we’ll not be seeing Henry Cavill in the costume and still have Brandon Routh as Superman.

Comparing Krypton. While Man of Steel has a new feel to the planet, Superman Returns still cling to the old Richard Donner approach of an ice planet.

No geek lines like “kneel before Zod” this time around.

The flying effect was perfected in Man of Steel and was first seen in Superman Returns. We have Superman flying at supersonic speed that have not been explored in the 2006 movie.

Story: Man of Steel made perfect sense although Superman Returns tries to get rid of the humor that the old Superman films had, it still has some of it’s elements being of the same continuity as the first two Superman films.

All in all, we get a fresh look at the Man of Steel this time around without the ghost of Christopher Reeve lingering about.

Good day to all.


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Man of Steel


Whoo hoo!! Finally saw Man of Steel today. What a movie. As my friend said, “the best interpretation of Superman” to date.

It explored a different Krypton from the one we all knew, not an ice and cold planet but harsh and very alive, shades of John Byrne’s version from way back when in my opinion.

We have Clark as a loner but not a dork. We have a world with the natural reaction of fear for the unknown as seen in reality that people won’t really trust someone alien to save them.

Oh and warner finally doing a conscious attempt to have a merge DC movie universe is a welcome development.

And we have Lois Lane as a brilliant investigative report as befitting a pulitzer price winner.

All in all, the best movie I’ve seen this season.



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Under Renovation

sorry people but i’m renovating my blog….will post as soon as able….

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Extremism, and Venom

Written by Cocoy Opinion, The View from Watchtower Aug 14, 2011

Most Filipinos probably think of extremism in terms of Muslim bandits down south. What with kidnap for ransom, and beheadings and violence in past few decades, and with terrorism taking center stage in the past decade or so, who wouldn’t? We sometimes forget that extremism isn’t limited to a particular brand of religion, or absence thereof. Norway recently served a violent reminder of that. The Tea Party branch of the Republican Party is another. In the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Church is sometimes associated with it. The association isn’t a new one, after all, Irish Catholics in recent memory have had a history of violence as well. And, we would be remiss not to remember, history itself filled with Crusades, and witch hunts.

In the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Church sees itself under attack. To its point of view, it is an attack by a “culture of death”. The CBCP prides itself as holding one of the last bastion of Christianity in the world. The power and influence of the Church has had strong and deep political ties in the country, and the last three decades alone is a testament to that.

And many activist atheists are quick to join in on the fight.

The latest being the issue that seem to have turned into a battle ground is the one about Mideo Cruz’s Kulo. Both sides are at each other’s throats. One side believes it is blasphemy. One side believes the issue is about censorship of freedom.

This isn’t about Kulo being blasphemous or not.

What’s surprising— or rather unsurprising given we live in a society where everyone seems gung-ho to give their own opinion and take on matters is— how few of these people— whether Catholic or Atheist— have seen the actual exhibit to begin with. It has taken a life of its own, and now an entire nation misses the point.

At the heart of it too, is a fundamental failing of media— old and new alike. In an age where everyone can tweet, or post a status message on Facebook, or send a BBM or text, we are never lacking on opinion, and commentary. If the recent history of the Internet with its forums and boards, and its comment threads have something to show us, is that humans will never be lacking on opinion.

What seems to me is where we are lacking right now is the absence of cold, hard facts. It is that now elusive piece of media called, “News”. Facts. Simply presented whose only angle is to present a story. To report on a story.

During D8, Kara Swisher asked Steve Jobs a question, “What does the iPad mean for the publishing industry? Is it the savior that some are touting it as?

Mr. Jobs replied, “One of my beliefs very strongly is that any democracy depends on a free, healthy press, and so when I think of the most important journalistic endeavors in this country, I think of things like the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and publications like that. And we all know what’s happened to the economics of those businesses. I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. Anything that we can do to help the news-gathering organizations find new ways of expression so that they can afford to keep their news-gathering and editorial operations intact, I’m all for.”

There is something wrong with Philippine media. It isn’t just about mainstream, but this whole Social Media as well. Our national discourse continues to descended into rowdy behavior. For a bunch of people covering the news, reading the news, watching the news, our collective behavior points to the lack of intelligent coherence in discussing the news.

The sad part of all this is simply the issue will run out of steam, and be replaced in the “news” cycle. The Church will never backdown in its position. If the entire history of Roman Catholicism is any indication, it is set in its ways. The atheists and other so called believers in Freedom of Speech and anti-censorship too will fail to grasp such obvious fact. It is never about “attacking” such institution as the Church. Such extremism and venom never got anyone anywhere. Raise the discourse. Give better ideas, and not this long running recursive trite that only serves to add to the boil, but never really changes how Filipinos think, or improve how Filipinos think. Don’t let your hatred blind you. Don’t just pander to your crowd that by default is hellbent to oppose Faith. Raise the bar on the lowest common denominator.

Filipinos will not get to a truly secular state, with such extremism, and such venom in our society. There is a need for a truly secular state that makes religion– or the absence of— a private affair. How then to begin building one?

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Journalism as barbarism

Written by Jay Salazar Arts and Culture, Cottonmouth, Opinion Aug 14, 2011

The furor that continues to rage around the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) exhibition “Kulô”, and specifically Mideo Cruz’s installation Poleteismo, one of the works featured in said exhibition, has taken the form of a battle between blasphemy and censorship—an unfortunate development, in my view, as both positions seem predicated on a clear-cut, straightforward duality between how the public has responded to the work and how it ought to respond to the work. Whether the situation will shape-shift into something more capable of accommodating a greater, more complex range of possibilities remains to be seen, but that it has been reduced to such crude terms can be attributed in part to the manner that the mass media thoroughly maltreated the relevant issues.

It is highly likely that this ruckus would not have swelled to its current proportions—might never have happened in the first place—had Pinky Webb, host of the ABS-CBN current affairs show “XXX”, refrained from framing Poleteismo, diminished to its details, as a commentary on the contentious RH Bill. (The sense of the verb “frame” as pertaining to false incrimination is useful here.) As someone who has seen Poleteismo for himself, I find that interpretation completely untenable: the only element of the work that could be said to have a connection to the bill would be the condoms, and I saw no compelling reason to draw that connection—not least because the proposed measure is concerned with more than just prophylactics.

But the burden of the blame for the frenzied character of the dispute is not only for Webb, “XXX”, or ABS-CBN to bear. Understanding, no doubt, that anything related to the controversial piece of legislation would serve as a reliable magnet for rapid, even rabid, reactions, which would then translate into increased ratings, several prominent members of the fourth estate wasted no time jumping into the fray in order to whip the public into a state of hysteria.

Granted that these journalists might have been offended by the installation themselves, and were thus less motivated by profit than by piousness, their personal feelings do not excuse or exempt them from their responsibilities as gatekeepers of information. What could have been a teachable moment—that art can be unbeautiful and demanding; that any work has to be experienced in its entirety before being judged; that approval of a thing is not a necessary prerequisite for engaging or understanding it; that the production of transgressive images has a long (art) history; that the CCP has mounted similarly challenging exhibitions before; that the male genitalia in cultures past and present are emblematic of the divine; or that “Kulô” had 31 other, perhaps richer, offerings—was instead exploited for its explosive potential.

Surely there is a world of difference between calling public attention to alleged offense and sensationalizing said alleged offense to the point of extremism. Yet instead of sounding a call to careful contemplation and sober reflection, broadcasters and columnists, with monstrous insouciance and bestial impunity, presumed to think, speak, and act on behalf of their readers, listeners, and viewers. In the process, they did not only betray—as well as encourage in their audience—a false sense of entitlement to spew opinions, no matter how baseless, but also they fueled and inflamed various fears that served as barriers to dialogue, including, among others, iconophobia, homophobia, and phallophobia. (The last could be an especially interesting area of investigation for sociologists and anthropologists, considering that at least half of the outraged commentators are male and presumably have penises of their own.)

Two particularly appalling examples of the foregoing come to mind. The first is “‘Artist’ daw, binaboy si Kristo” a piece in Abante where entertainment reporter Marc Logan passive-aggressively suggests the different ways that a lynch mob of ostensibly devout Catholics could deal with Cruz—by beating him up, stabbing him, hanging him, throwing him into a creek, forcing him to drink muriatic acid, or shooting him—and warns the artist against seeking assistance from the media. The second is “Art as terrorism” a Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial that, though exponentially more intelligent than Logan’s article, contains a tacit apologia for the vandalism undertaken against Poleteismo—not to mention a nearby, unrelated painting, Love to Move by Lindslee—and, by virtue of its title, performs the callous and insensitive rhetorical maneuver of trivializing the indescribable shock and trauma with which any experience of terrorism is bound up, while at the same time implying that Cruz’s installation requires a radical riposte.

Given that both articles clearly intend to stage a defense of the Catholic faith and faithful, is the appropriate, ethical response to Cruz’s supposed symbolic violence the incitement of further violence? Will Abante, Philippine Daily Inquirer, or any other media outfit hold itself accountable should any of the threats that have been made against the CCP, its officers, and Cruz—threats apparently grave enough to warrant the closure of “Kulô”—be carried out?

The media community should take its cue from the arts and culture sector: this is as good a time as any for its denizens to begin the task of taking stock, of questioning themselves and their practices, and of upholding the emancipatory values on which such practices are founded. “The practice of journalism,” as the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) declares, “involves the use of power: the power to influence the way people look at themselves, their societies, and the world; the power to help shape the attitudes and values of others; and the power to help liberate men and women from the shackles of ignorance so they may exercise their sovereign human right to decide their destinies.” This power should not be used to perpetrate and perpetuate barbarism.

*This article was slightly modified on 15 August 2011, 4:50 AM (GMT +8).

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written by Manuel Buencamino ‘Yun Lang, Opinion Aug 15, 2011

The controversy regarding those artworks that offended Catholics got me thinking about christian iconography.

I wonder what Catholics and christians would be doing if Christ died in another manner.

What would icons and blessings look like if Christ was hanged or burned in the electric chair instead of crucified?

Can you imagine images of Christ, a man with a noose around his neck hanging above an altar or down a priest’s chest? Imagine Christ in an electric chair, where will they attach the chain?

And what would replace the sign of the cross?

A priest will have to bless you with one hand above his head tugging an imaginary rope instead of making that T-sign in the air. He will end Mass with, “Go in peace, the Mass is ended. Aarrgghh!”

Or what if Christ died in an electric chair. Would the priest bless you by going into convulsions?

What if the Romans killed Christ by drowning Him in a boiling vat of oil? I guess we would have the image of a man sitting in a jacuzzi.

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Remembering why and how our country has lost its way

Written by Cocoy Opinion, The View from Watchtower Aug 9, 2011

There is much introspection going around. Conrad de Quiros and John Nery asked similar questions.

Conrad de Quiros asked, “what’s wrong with us?”

“Look at Erap, whom the impeachment trial turned from reel hero to real-life jerk. The rewriting began the very day he was ousted, as a barge slipped into the Pasig to the glare of media, a barge that drifted slowly in the rain reeking of gloom and doom, taking him and his family from Malacañang to San Juan, from glory to misery. It went on with his imprisonment, which he himself depicted, not unsuccessfully as persecution from those who profited undeservedly from his fall, which the media in turn turned into a circus, depicting a man once used to creature comforts—and what comforts, a veritable harem among them!—reduced to being utterly alone and bereft. Kawawa naman si Erap.

The awa has restored his house completely. If P-Noy hadn’t been there, he would be our president again today.

Same question: What the hell is wrong with us?

Has the culture of awa so addled our brains there’s no room for justice in it?”

Nery on the other hand talked about why Juan Miguel Zubiri’s resignation is an apt reminder of how our country has lost its way. John Nery wrote, what’s wrong about our country,

“That Zubiri is the first senator to resign because of an election protest tells us more about the nature of politics as practiced in the Philippines, than about Zubiri himself. That is why an old hand like Enrile was visibly upset; this is not the way things are done. The ordinary rules, which apply to ordinary citizens like you and me, do not really apply to the powers that be. And that is what is wrong with our country.”

At the heart of both, is a jab at how feudal Philippine society is. The sheep gets “awa”, when the Lord is the downtrodden. It is why for some, Zubiri is a “hero”, when at the crux of the matter he is doing pre-emptive damage control.

What’s particularly hopeful as we’ve seen with the Zubiri resignation is how things are changing. The old rules are slowly being cast aside. What applies to us, applies to our leaders as well. This is how we don’t our country doesn’t lose its way.

Photo credit: Juan Miguel Zubiri website.

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