Travel: The Charms of Half a Day in London

It’s London, bitch. The Old Smoke. LDN. With a fella looking dapper and he’s sittin’ with a slapper. Then I see it’s a pimp and his crack whore… Well, not really. Anyway, London is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is also confirmed by its status as a world cultural capital. That means that a visit to the city that’s only half a day long won’t ever be enough to witness its full glory. But that doesn’t mean that said half day and its charms – be them the traditional museum everyone visits or that park that’s never mentioned in tourist guides – must go wasted. Given that, here are a few, mostly free, charming things to see in the city that fill that time span: Continue reading

Travel: Brighton and the (Not-So) Accidental Tourist Experience

DAY 1:

Well, there I was. In Brighton. To be 100% honest, I never thought Brighton was ever going to be one of the towns of the beautiful island that is England that I would’ve liked to visit. Actually, I knew it wasn’t. The sea just really isn’t for me, and Brighton really never felt like it was really for me. But hey, it happened to be the destination, so… Why not? So, there I was. In Brighton, the Queen of Watering Places.

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(Awards season) At the Movies: Revisiting recent Oscar snubs

Let’s gear up, it’s awards season! Though I’ve never been that fervently interested in the race – but always checked the nominees and winners out of curiosity – and its perks and valleys, I like awards season a lot. It’s that one period of the year where I know for sure many quality pictures will be released because most of the film industry is oh-so preoccupied with winning prestigious awards. That means there will be a good number of interesting movies for me to see. Sure, sometimes Oscar bait backfires (2004’s All the King’s Men, anyone?), but this remains a cool period to go to the movies nonetheless. And it’s also nice that it happens during one of the best periods of the year itself (Christmas/New Year’s celebrations, anyone?).

May the be ever in your Oscar campaign favor!

Obviously, the crown jewel of film awards is the Academy Award. It’s that one thing that everyone wants. While I’d never really bet my money on which film is going to win Best Picture, there have actually been times I felt fairly struck by the absence of certain films/performances among the nominees. Especially if certain films/performances had been snubbed in favor of less charming ones. This year, the Academy Awards have also been subjected to scrutiny and controversy due to the lack of nominations for the director and the star – Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo, two of the most appealing up-and-comers around these days – of one of the most critically acclaimed films of the past year, Selma, as well as the omission of the similarly acclaimed Wild from the Best Picture category.

So, given it’s awards season, let’s revisit twelve egregious recent Oscar snubs:

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(Take Me to the Premieres) On TV: (Thoughts on) Gotham – “Pilot”

So, where does Batman live?

gotham-title-card-season-2

Bruno Heller’s new series, Gotham, which is based on the mythology and characters of DC Comics’ Batman, premiered on September 22, 2014 on FOX. And it was about time I checked it out. Gotham focuses on Detective James Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) early years at the Gotham Police Department, as well as the origin stories of several villains and the formative years of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz, who will grow into Adam West/Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney/Christian Bale/Ben Affleck; yes, I’m giving the Batfleck the chance to prove himself).

For the record, McKenzie wants you to know he can pull off a mustache (Note: Just watch Junebug (2005). It’s a great film…). Pretty, but not nearly as alluring as Gary Oldman. Now that I’m thinking about it, McKenzie’s Junebug co-star Amy Adams (pictured; right) played Lois Lane in Man of Steel (2013) and a villain of the week on Smallville’s first season, and auditioned for Superman Returns (2005). Quite a coincidence, uh?

While I’m not a hardcore devotee of comic books, I totally dig Batman. I definitely have a soft spot for the Caped Crusader and all the other fascinating characters that populate Gotham City. So, seeing a new, well-written adaptation of their stories seemed attractive. So, here are the thoughts that flew through my mind while watching the pilot, just for fun:

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On TV: Revisting Reign’s first season and the horrors of “historical fanfiction”, ahem

Dear CW,

CANCEL REIGN NOW! Okay, seriously. I know it is highly improbable that someone with the power of canceling Reign would come across this article or take advice from me, but hey, it’d be just better if it got canceled and its budget went to a more deserving series. Even though I wouldn’t wrap my head around it too much since it seems like the type that gets canceled early (but we’ll see about that). Anyways, for the uninitiated, Reign is an American television series that focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots’ (Adelaide Kane) early life. And not only it is underwhelming in its very own self-designed guilty pleasure way, it is also plainly historically inaccurate.

This fits with the CW’s problem with adaptations, since it is adapted from HISTORY itself. Historical fiction is by no means always bad, but it’s definitely better if it retains at least a certain amount of factual history. But in true CW tradition, Reign throws factual history out the window and lets loose with all kinds of implausibilities worthy of the teen-geared CW brand.

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On TV: Everything wrong with the CW’s teen-oriented programming

Sometimes, when I’m working on my laptop, or cleaning my bedroom, or other stuff, my eye falls on the TV. And sometimes, ahem, it falls on the CW’s teen-oriented programming. The CW is characterized by its hot-color-looking, ultra-smooth moving series that try to look cinematic, very much like soap operas. And that says something already. It also has a penchant for objectifying and sexualising all of its characters, regardless of their gender, to the bone, often depriving them of any function other than “eye candy”. Even though now it is trying to work out a more varied schedule also in order to reach out to a broader audience, for many years it was dominated by television series aimed at adolescents which suffer(ed) from varying degrees of quality (mostly low quality, actually). While there are storytelling issues also with some of the network’s recent series targeted at adults (I’m looking at you, Hart of Dixie, starring that girl formerly known as James!), the past and present teen-centric programming comes off as particularly heinous for a number of reasons, and here they are:

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