Profoundly (Perfume Thoughts: Profondo Acqua di Gio, Gorgio Armani)

Profondo is a flanker to the original Acqua di Gio men’s perfume, and for those who love the original, it’s probably going to be a treat because this is supposed to be somewhat a reinvention of the original scent, but with more green notes instead of aquatic ones. For me, it smells exactly the same. Granted, I am not an expert of the original version, but I don’t detect any difference here. If for anything, I found this version to be weak – the longevity isn’t as heavy from what I remember from the original.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a hater of this scent. I actually think it is well done and of course, many have tried to imitate it. It’s just too boring for me, and if I had not received a free sample in the mail, I don’t think I would have actively searched to try this. You have smelled this before, and you have smelled it a million times already. I am just contributing to the noise. 

Where’s The Bacon (Film Thoughts: Pig)

I can say with extreme confidence that Michael Sarnoski’s ‘Pig’ isn’t the movie that you thought it would be – whatever it is that movie in your mind. I had misgivings about it before I knew anything about it, because I thought it was one of those action revenge films (akin to ‘John Wick,’ which I never saw by the way) but what we have here is a unique drama of loss, of rumination of life, and what might have been. It’s a film that is difficult to describe, and how you react to it will probably vary as well. But I bet it will move you in ways you will mot realize. It is one of those films that I frankly did not know how to fully comprehend, but the more I thought about it, the more I appreciated its many layers. There’s a lot of subtlety here – in fact, there is too much subtlety and that is where its beauty lies, and in the center is a nuanced performance by Nicolas Cage. He will break your heart.

Musical of Musicals (Series Thoughts: Schmigadoon S01 E01 E02, Apple TV+)

Apple TV’s ‘Schmigadoon’ was made for someone like me. I mean, where do I start? It’s a show about a musical, and it is itself a musical. It has musical numbers, with references to famous musicals in almost every frame. Sure, it pokes fun of them, too, but in a cute ribbing way – and you have to get the references anyway to feel any kind of sting. It’s truly wonderful.

I have seen the first two episodes and I am in love with it (I had to rewatch them right away) It is about a married couple, both doctors, who go on some kind of couples retreat to add some spice to their relationship. And wonder of all wonders, they get stuck in a place called Schmigadoon, a town stuck in the musical wonders of the 40s and 50s. Think an amalgamation of ‘Oklahoma!,’ ‘Carousel,’ and ‘The Music Man.’ It’s the kind of place where people burst into song and just burst into full-blown production numbers instantly, and you will either love it or hate it (I say you love)

The highlight for me, in the first episode anyway, is a scene reminiscent of the Carousel bench scene, with Aaron Tveit starring as Danny (think Billy Bigelow) falling madly in love with Melanie, one of the doctor visitors. It’s corny, it’s cute, and Tveit is just pure perfection. The musical numbers are all great, Christopher Gattelli’s choreography is spot on. And spotting all the references will be such a good ‘game’ to spot for a musicals nerd like me.

I am so in love with this show that this is probably never going to be renewed.

No Good (Movie Thoughts: Good on Paper)

Look, I try to give every movie a shot. But sometimes, a bad movie is just that…bad. Kimmy Gatewood’s ‘Good on paper’ maybe sounded good on, um paper, but it’s so bad it put ne in a rotten mood afterwords. It is based on the stand up routine of Iliza Shlesinger. And I have never heard of her (but then again I don’t know much about stand up comics) I was kind of attracted to the film because I thought it was at least rom com adjacent, but it’s just a stupid story of a guy tricking a girl. Nothing else to be said, I ain’t wasting any more of my time on this.

Human Chef (Film Thoughts: Roadrunner)

I know Anthony Bourdain was one of the more popular ‘celebrity chefs’ (he hated that term) but really the only think that kind of interested me about him is that he is a big fan of Jollibee and of teh halo-halo desert – so he holds a certain cache for some Filipinos (that’s probably the same reason why I ignore him) For sure, I have his CNN show in passing, but I was never really a devoted follower. But I have to say that Morgan Neville has captured his essence in his documentary about him, ‘Roadrunner’ and after watching him, I most certainly have a different appreciation for Bourdain the person. I even empathize with him.

And he is not an easy character to love. He is flawed – an addict, but he possesses a lot of charisma that made everyone love him instantly, and you felt right away that he might and could be your best friend. It’s a tragic story, of course, but the film manages to celebrate most of what makes him tick by focusing on a lot of what makes him very human.

The Problem With Harvey (Series Thoughts: Catch and Kill, S01 E01 E02, HBO)

HBO’s ‘Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes’ is based on Ronan Farrow’s podcast, which is an offshoot from his book which is an offshoot from the NewYorker article that he did exposing Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault cases. I know that the whole premise sounds like it is beating an already dead horse, but there’s something about this case that is still quite interesting for me. Maybe because it has very famous personalities in it, and seeing the case in a new medium (this time, a television series) makes it even more animated. I have only watched the first two episodes of the series, and it has captivated me.

On the first episode, we get Ambra Battilana, the Filipina/American actress who finally broke the big case. The star of the episode is her audiotape. When she went to report Weinstein assaulting her, the police asked her to wire tape their next interaction. She did, only to find her case being thrown out for lack of evidence. Through her resourcefulness, she found that she has saved a copy of the tape and we get to hear parts of it on the episode. It’s fascinating.

On the second episode, Farrow interviews Rowena Chiu, a young British woman who was a junior assistant to Weinstein. She was then assaulted while attending Venice Film Festival with him. In both cases, he goes and tries every trick in the book to hide all evidence and silence the accusers by paying them and having them sign NDAs. The shows go through the process he takes to get these done.

The Visits (Film Thoughts: The Woman Who Ran)

Happy Fourth. So on this very American holiday, I am choosing to write about.. a Korean film, specifically Hong Sang-soo’s ‘The Woman Who Ran.’ This is a very interesting film, a scant one with a running time of 77 minutes. It’s a document fo a woman and her three visits to different friends. We are left to piece together something from the three episodes. What happens could be something – is she running away from a relationship? But it could also mean nothing – these can be just random scenes of a a slice of a woman’s life. What one gets from it depends on how one views life, but then again, this can be jst one pretentious masturbatory fantasy.

Inducing Fever (Perfume Thoughts: Fever, Jimmy Choo)

My first big mistake was sampling Jimmy C hoo ‘Fever’ on a hot summer day. On a scorching July morning, this is the last thing you need: it’s a heavy, jammy, amberr-y dark fragrance, and it is probably more suited on colder weather days. The plum here is dense, and it instantly gave me a headache. And the vanilla base was relentless. I hated it immensely, and wanted to throw up as soon as I sniffed it. A scrubber!

The Tweets Are Alive (Film Thoughts: Zola)

A good story is a good story, and most of the time it’s the best foundation for a good movie. The story of Janicza Bravo’s ‘Zola’ comes from a tweet, and that is also its biggest gimmick, and I have to admit I was intrigued as I am not really a big Twitterer and have no idea what it is (was) A series of tweets was posted in October 27, 2015 by A’Ziah King and she sold the rights to her tweets. (She later said she embellished parts of the story) I do think the story is pretty basic and unimpressive, but teh film is more interesting, and entertaining.

It’s because of the screenplay, written by Bravo with Jeremy O Harris (who wrote Broadway’s ‘Slave Play’) The tale comes to life vividly, and the words and dialogues have a distinct style. The story moves at a brisk place but never feels rushed, and even though there is a familiarity to the plot, you can never tell what is going to happen next. Add to the mix fantastic performances, especially by Riley Keough and Taylor Paige and what we have is a great summer road trip movie that’s edgy and sexy (if a bit too male gaze centric for my taste)

So far, this is my favorite summer movie for 2021.

The Laws Against Us (Film Thoughts: The Legend of The Underground()

For the month of June, since it is Pride month, every film I wrote about has been a gay film, or a film with some kind of gay sensibility. So I think it is just fitting that i close out the month with a film that evokes the spirit of why we should celebrate Pride. Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuorah’s ‘The Legend Of The Underground’ is about gay men in Nigeria. Nigera is still one of those countries with serious anti-gay laws. If you get caught ‘being gay’ there, you could be subject to fourteen years in jail. But, really, what does ‘being gay; constitute? In the documentary, we see, among others, stories of men who were arrested after being accused of being in a ‘gay party.’ There was a viral video with one of the accused saying, ‘what did I do? I did not get caught (sic).’ The grammatical error may have been pronounced, but the oppression is as clear. The trials of the men arrested was delayed – obviously, the prosecutors have a flimsy case – and it shows the corruption that permeates in the country,

It’s a very involving watch, and makes you realize that in some parts of the world, lives are stake just because peopel want to be themselves. You realize no one is free until everyone is free.