Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My American Idol Picks and Ramblings

My Top 3/4 picks!
1. Jason Castro
- I LOVE his tone and voice, his funny, shy guy personality, his eyes
2. David Archuleta
- The judges are right, he sings like a seasoned performer, and his personality shines through each of the songs
3. David Cook or Michael Johns
- These two are fighting this spot. Michael Johns didn't choose the right song
- Still waiting for David Cook to really rock it

1. Is it just me or is Simon Cowell extremely critical this season? I mean there are performances that are actually pretty good but he's not impressed!
2. What does Simon have against Crossword?? Sheesh, do all American Idol contestants have to follow the same mold?!
3. A guy should win this season because the guys are more unique and diverse.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Grave of the Fireflies

This Studio Ghibli piece isn't very new... Let me rephrase that: it's an old anime. It was released back in 1988. But it came highly recommended by a few so I decided to watch it last weekend.

The story is set in World War II, in the eyes of the Japanese. It focuses on a brother Seita and sister Setsuko. Already, at the very first scene, you see the bleak picture that war paints. You see people in rags, emotionally dead... physically dying from starvation. One of them is Seita, and at that very moment, I was certain that I was going to choke from emotion in several parts of this show, and I was going to be very disturbed at the end of the show.

When the show ended, I was filled with mixed emotions. The cards that Seita and Setsuko were dealt with were quite ugly. But they had hope: they had a chance to live with their aunt who provided for them. They had a roof over their head, which made them so much better than many.

Here is where the debate begins - Seita, old enough to help out in household chores, get a job to provide more for them, or help out during raids, opted to laze around and play with his little sister, Setsuko, too young to understand what was really happening. The auntie gets frustrated with him and he is too proud to carry his weight and instead, opts to live alone with Setsuko.

And that's when things got really bad. Malnutrition and Setsuko's diarrhea drove Seita to start stealing from others. And this inevitably leads to the first scene of the show.

Which leads me to this conundrum: Did Seita deserve the viewers' pity? Was it not his excessive pride and sloth that lead to his demise? Could the future have been brighter had Seita apologized to his aunt? Was it right for him to merely live a carefree life with Setsuko amidst all the bullets, air raids, and destruction?

Nevertheless, this story disturbed me tremendously. It's amazing how an old piece like this could graphically depict the bitter times so well. I find myself remembering some scenes from the show every now and then and shivering unconsciously. The people at Studio Ghibli are amazing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

American Idol Season 7 Top 24 has been chosen!

And here are my top picks from the cream of the crop!

Michael Johns

Great voice, good looks, he's not tied down to just one genre, very cool persona, Michael Johns is an ultimate package and he can definitely light the crowd's fire.

His rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody is interesting, he didn't go crazy with it, and instead made it his own:

David Archuleta

He's 16 years old but very mature, is as charming as charming can ever get, has a very interesting past (he almost lost his voice!), has that huskiness to his vocal box and good looks to boot! He's certainly going to capture a lot of hearts.

That's pretty much my top picks for now!

Another one I really liked who didn't make it was the cool guy, Josiah Leming. The way he shouts in his songs is extremely interesting, it's high-pitched, almost on the brink of breaking, but it really works! I think he can really make it big in the commercial pop/alternative/punk industry because he is the type of voice and personality that people are looking for nowadays (maybe minus the excessive crying).

Everyone will agree that Mika's songs are hard to sing, what more to make it your own? Josiah proved he has mad skills to do that. And have you ever seen Simon smile like this before??

Sadly, he didn't quite make it. The pressure of delivering was too much for him, he wasn't able to practice enough for his last performance, and he did the risky move of singing without a band which Simon misinterpreted as arrogance (I personally think Josiah did that only because he was afraid he'd mess up more if he played with a band he wasn't able to practice with).

I guess it's better luck next time for him. He still lacks the maturity that 16-year old David possesses. He has to get his act straight a bit, be a little more confident, a little less rattled so we can hopefully see more of him in the near future.

On the female side, I personally do not have any favorites. The closest I have of a favorite on the female arena is the rocker nurse. She is a very very cool contestant but I agree with Simon that she has to change it up because she runs the risk of being overly predictable. The other girls don't seem to fit the genre I'm looking for. A lot of beautiful contestants, no doubt, but they seem to be all belters / country gals and I really really hate country music. The thought of having another Carrie Underwood winner makes me shudder.

Can't wait for next week!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Wittiest Reality TV show duo yet is in Amazing Race Asia 2!

I've actually grown tired of watching race-type sports-intensive reality TV shows, like Amazing Race and Survivor. I only watched Amazing race for the bickering couple that was Colin & Christie and watched Survivor only on its second season. Personality seemed to have dissipated from the shows, replaced by stereotypes, cheesy "I will survive" types, and overly serious competitors. The formula was personally driving me nuts.

The Mark and Rovilson duo is just what the reality TV routine needs - a fresh, witty personality with good looks to boot (may I note that Mark looked especially hot this Africa episode)! They are perhaps the wittiest duo ever to grace my boob tube, as they exchange banters, give funny retorts, and do zany things on screen. And they go one step further to entertain us with their special Amazing Race customized shirts! They are the sole reason why I follow this season of Amazing Race Asia. I think shows should endeavor to have contestants as vivacious as these two, otherwise people are really going to get tired of the same thing.

I'll be posting my fave Mark and Rovilson quotes soon ;)