Wednesday, January 27, 2010

20 years later

The other day I was looking at some old photos in a friend's Facebook account. It seems that more and more people are posting old there. These photos were taken 20 years ago and consisted of snapshots taken at various places such as pubs, beaches. It was so strange looking at those photos. I looked at each, trying to figure out where they have been taken and trying to remember the names of people. Funny how time erases so many names from our memory. We recall the faces, but the names fade away.

Looking at them, I also tried to remember how I was and how I felt during those days two decades ago. And that is even harder. Have I changed? Does anybody really change? Tough questions and ones that are impossible to answer.

Of course, when one gets involved in this type of nostalgic trip, there is always one photo that makes one want to stop and look at it again and again. This time around for me, it was a photo of a woman that used to work with me all that time ago. I remembered her name. I forgot her last name. She was incredibly beautiful. Sexy. And she was funny and intelligent. Everyone at the office was in love with her. Of course, I was too. People would tell me to ask her out. That she would say yes. And yet I did not do it. And quite honestly I can't recall why I didn't. Maybe I thought she was too hot for me (my self esteem was in the dumps back then). Maybe that she would turn me down and I would be crushed. Yes, that was it. I was avoiding being crushed.

Funny thing how life is though. Because looking at her photo again, 20 years after my decision not to ask her out, I felt a bit nostalgic, a bit sad and a bit crushed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lady Chatterley's Lover

The other day, I woke up early and found the Just Jaeckin-Sylvia Kristel version of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" on a premium cable tv channel. And I decided to have breakfast while watching this rarity. This movie was made in 1981 by the notorious Cannon Group, a movie studio from way back headed by the hack team of Golan and Globus. They were heavily into exploitation movies such as the "Death Wish" sequels. And once in a while they would try to come up with a prestige movie that ended up being worse than their cheap, violence filled movies.

But maybe "Lady Chatterley's Lover" is not that bad, as compared to other versions of the novel. They all have that "this is serious literature" attitude. But the fact is that the novel, which is a serious study of human sexuality, involves a lot of the character's thoughts and feelings. And movies are not so great doing that, so invariably movies based on this novel end up being "Woman is married to impotent cripple. Woman fucks gardener." The wonderful DH Lawrence prose is gone.

Anyway, I enjoyed it, I must admit. Shane Bryant is pretty good as Clifford and Sylvia Kristel is actually not so bad as Lady Chatterley. Her nude scenes, especially remind one, that she was a true beauty. No implants or surgery.

So, if you wake up early one of these days, give it a shot. Or Take advantage of your DVR and record it.
By the way, a piece I wrote on Sylvia Kristel two years ago is the most visited page in my blog. So it will be interesting to see how this piece does.

these days

In a few days, a friend is coming over for the last time. I really can't write too much about it. But that is a fact. I will still see her, but I will have to visit her in New York or talk to her on the phone, something I do quite frequently. So i'ts no big deal.

But still, I will miss the times when she was over here. The Saturday morning talks at Starbucks. And the nighttime talks drinking a bit of wine. I will miss her wilder, freer perspective about life. I tend to go the safer route on most subjects, so her more liberal views are refreshing. They remind me that there is that other side. The one where feeling dominates over thought. Where craziness is ok. It's not always the most advisable route, but one that she reminds me, we have to visit once in a while.

We will have our last Puerto Rico wine talk next Friday. We will be having red wine while watching the ocean. I can't wait.

Monday, January 18, 2010


For a while the words "science fiction" and "intelligence" have not been together, at least in regards to movies. All sci-fi movies have been basically about aliens, blood and guts. I admit some of them were fun. But I was missing the spirit of movies like "Silent Running" and "2001" that touched upon the human aspect of space travel. Well, amazingly enough here is a new movie that is inspired by those two movies I just mentioned. It is called "Moon". It stars San Rockwell as the sole worker in a moon project. He is to stay there for three years. And well, after a while, one can lose it in those lonely circumstances. Or maybe not. I really can't say much more about the movie without giving away key plot points. What I can say is that Sam Rockwell is amazing carrying the movie alone. And that the robot with him is the most memorable since HAL. This is an interesting movie that dares to be different, that doesn't go where one expects it too. Yes, it does get kind of slow sometimes, but then again that is the whole idea behind the movie. I can't believe this movie was able to get made in this Avatar age. But it did. I just hope it makes some money on DVD or else it will be the last of its kind.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eric Rohmer dies

It is interesting that in the day that a big, dumb movie became the 7th highest grossing film in history, the director of small, intelligent movies passes away. Eric Rohmer, the director of such wonderful little movies such as "Claire's Knee", "Pauline at the Beach", "The Green Ray" and "Boyfriends and Girlfriends" died during the weekend.

I discovered his movies years ago, when a small VHS video store near my home started renting his movies, perhaps thinking that they were sexy comedies. Anyway, I fell in love with his type of low key moviemaking right away. I love his ability to create interest based on the smallest, most mundane situations. A man in love with a woman's knee. A woman trying to find happiness while vacationing. Two couples who decide that maybe they should switch partners and find happiness.

When I watch his movies I become as relaxed as the setting of his stories. It is the equivalent of sitting at a quiet beach and listening to people nearby go about their lives. One realizes there is nothing outstanding about them, but one is still interested in how things will turn out. They are movies that stress in a delightful, easygoing way, that the small things are the ones that matter. The word said or unsaid. The small gesture. The short, quick gaze at a young woman's beautiful knee.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Puerto Rico left out of Netflix, Amazon downloading

Today Netflix announced that they have reached an agreement with Warner to be able to get access to their back catalog pf movies so people can download them. Unfortunately because of Puerto Rico's confusing political status, Netflix considers us an international market and does not allow people in the island to download movies directly to our homes. The same thing is true with This may seem like a silly thing now, but in a couple of years, downstreaming will be the main way of getting access to movies and people in the island will be left out. I don't know what the solution will be short of becoming a state, but I wonder if our legislators and our resident commissioner in COngress can do something about it.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Secret Diary of a Call Girl" Third Season on Showtime January 25

Nobody I know watches this show. I guess they must think it's a sleazy soft-core cable series. But it's not. It's actually a funny, witty, extremely clever British made tv series about the adventures of a high class call girl in London. It explores sex in an intelligent way and at the same time it makes you laugh, it makes you realize many things about the hypocritical way people deal with their sexuality.
And the star of the show, Billie Piper, is the hottest woman in the world. I love her sense of humor and the sexy gap between her two front teeth. I love that. But that's just me.

Fuera de Carta: Another awful Fine Arts theater hit

The more a movie plays in the Hato Rey Fine Arts, the more it sucks. FIrst, it was the the horrendously corny "Elsa and Fred" playing one whole year and now it's "Fuera de Carta" a mediocre and predictable comedy from Spain. The first I couldn't even see more than 20 minutes before I turned off the tv. And last night I saw a DVD of the latter.

"Fuera de la Carta" is a comedy featuring actors from Antena 3 tv series. And this movie is just that, a feature length sitcom about a gay man suddenly faced with the appearance of two kids he had when he had married years earlier. This set up has potential for an interesting comedy, but it is played for cheap, easy gags. The acting is almost theatrical in its complete lack of subtlety. The gay man is one big cliche. And he is probably the most realistic of all of them. The rest are such caricatures that it is truly painful to watch.

But, is it funny? Well, it has two funny , sitcom style laughs. So why was it so popular here? My guess is that the Puerto RIcan people's tendency to laugh at gay stereotypes and at non-stop Spanish language cursing made it a smash hit here.

Anyway, I wonder what the next big Fines Arts hit will be. How about a movie about two gay old people who fall in love and curse all throughout the movie. Hell, I better tell that idea to a movie director I know. He may have a blockbuster with that plot.

Monday, January 04, 2010

soft spot for soft-core oldie

The other day I woke really early. So when I turned on the tv, the soft core movies from the West Coast Showtime feed were still on. Normally I don't watch them. There is something so boring about them. But a movie was on from long ago. It was "Private Lessons" a movie starring gorgeous Sylvia Kristel of "Emmanuelle" fame. I recall seeing this movie at the Regency theater in Santurce. It is still as bad and cheesy as I remembered. But something was different now. I now realize how this movie could never be made today. After all it tells the story of a woman seducing a 16 year old boy in order to implement some sort of blackmail scheme. First it couldn't be made today because of the central premise. And it is kind of amazing that they could get away with scenes like the one in which Kristel invites the boy to share her bathtub. In fact, it is cringe worthy.
But most important it could not be made today because movies like these were made independently and were released to theaters by small companies. Today, all the major studios control 100% of the screens in the US. There is no space for a movie such as "Private Lessons".
Anyway, I enjoyed the movie. It is nostalgic and well, Sylvia Kristel was truly a sexy and beautiful woman. She did not make many movies and most of them don't play on cable tv. So it was kind of cool to see her in all her glory, beauty and sexiness.


I made a promise to myself to write more this year. I used to write so much more, but then for one reason or another I stopped. And it is always interesting to do so. Mainly because it is interesting to look back at what one wrote long ago. And I did just that the other day. Around 4 years ago I had started a personal blog about my daily life and thoughts. It was a private blog, only visible to me. I wrote for around 3 months in it. I had forgotten all about it. And then the other day I remembered it and decided to read it. There were things in it that I recall, but 90 % of it was completely new to me. I did not recall the events I write about and in many ways I do not recognize myself in those words. It was a truly strange experience. An interesting one nevertheless.
It shows how all our days tend to blend into one gigantic hole, only a few days here and there standing out. It also shows that despite what we think and what writers and philosophers tell us, we do change. The changes are subtle but they are there.

cool horror movie shot in Puerto Rico

I've always been a sucker for B movies. And when I was a teenager there were plenty of them around. Not so much now though. So it was refreshing to see a brand new B movies...and filmed in Puerto Rico! It is called " A Perfect Getaway" a story about newlyweds in Hawaii (panoramic shots are shot there, the rest was shot in Puerto Rico) who find out there is a serial killer couple loose in the island. The newlyweds are, of course, doing some hiking in a place with no cellphone reception, you get the picture. The movie is fun, not gory at all, and keeps you guessing as to the identity of the serial killers. I won't say too much more because I don't want to ruin it.

The movie stars Chris Hemsworth, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn and all of them are fine doing B movie acting. I specially liked Hemsworth and Sanchez.

This movie actually received positive reviews when it played theaters. Unfortunately it was a flop. It is now available in DVD and is really worth a look.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


I normally don't make New year's resolutions, but here's one I have to make. I want to lose weight. For a long time now, I have let myself go in terms of eating. No more. I don't have a clear goal in mind, but let's say 10-15 pounds before my birthday in April.
I'm writing this so that I'm reminded of this goal.

I made a couple of other resolutions...but this one I have to keep.