Philippine Politics

The Cold Reality of Philippine Politics

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You’ve seen news outlets all around the globe rave about the Philippine economy. Then you see poverty rates that haven’t budged in any significant way. The thing is you can’t erase a noticeable slice of poverty even in a small nation in less than a year. It’s a grassroots movement that involves a wide variety of government sectors. Here in the Philippines the cold reality is that much of the population is still poor, and that equates to a less-than-ideal number of educated people.

Take that fact into your perspective of Philippine politics. Watch the news for a few days and you’ll see they’ve turned one of the most pivotal parts of a country’s progress and development and turned it into a circus, with a colorful cast of politicians turning in entertaining performances. It’s all about their own interests now, such as saving whatever sliver of a good image they have or reelection. It’s about gaining the public’s sympathy by manipulating the facts and making it seem like you’re the victim and not the Filipino people.

How big a slice of the population is educated? How many can translate what they see on the news into intelligent opinions? Do that many people even watch the news? The answer isn’t really that difficult. Nancy Binay won a seat in the senate with flying colors sans any kind of experience in politics. And that’s with all the negative comments on social media. Our vice president whom many trusted would go on to fulfill his duties truthfully and with vigor was actually corrupt right from the beginning.

And that’s the reality. It might be a while before people like Risa Hontiveros get the majority of votes or celebrity hopefuls are filled with second thoughts on whether they should run. It’s most apparent when you see Jejomar Binay’s high trust rating even with all the negative press on TV and the internet. There’s just a high percentage of uneducated citizens in our country and it’s something that’s out of our hands for now even if we fill Facebook and Twitter with scathing remarks on these corrupt and inexperienced politicians.

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Movies

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Movie Review

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Earlier this year the riotously entertaining Furious 7 took the Fast & Furious franchise to the next level. While Tom Cruise’s latest in the iconic spy movie franchise probably won’t do the same, it is a top-tier action movie in its own right, filled with one well-executed set-piece after the other and held together by a great cast and solid acting.

It starts off with a bang, the twist being the heart-pounding airplane scene from the trailer is actually the opening set-piece. More astonishing is the fact that nearly every other one of those in the 130-minute running time can stand toe to toe with any summer blockbuster you throw at it. It proudly takes its place among them, taking the audience along for the ride in a dose of escapism.

So as an action film, the latest Mission: Impossible succeeds through and through. This is helped by the expertly-picked cast of solid actors. You really feel the team has gone through a lot, and they gel right from the get go. The addition of Rebecca Ferguson’s character, a true female counterpart to Ethan Hunt, opens up tantalizing possibilities in the franchise’s inevitable future. And as usual, Tom Cruise is a tour de force when it comes to pure charisma. He is the ultimate action star in my opinion.

When epic action scene after epic action scene unfolds, you’d expect the last one to be the biggest of them all, but writer/director Christopher McQuarrie had other plans. Instead of ending with a scene as heart-pounding as the beginning, he chose to go out with a simple, small-scale chase with a smattering of bullets and knives, and honestly, it’s closer to a whimper. I get the intention, but could they had at least made it more interesting? More troubling is the character development; no one gets fleshed out to a satisfying degree. But thanks to the actors themselves, the film’s quality is held up, especially with the uncharacteristically imposing villain. Boy, did they choose the right actor.

Old-school action junkies will love what Mr. Cruise and company have served up this time, and families can take notice with the fact that the film earns its PG rating. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation moves at such a buttery smooth clip that you’ll barely notice the time that passed once the credits finally roll. It’s been a fun year for blockbuster movies so far, and this continues the streak that Furious 7 started.

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Movies

Ant-Man Movie Review

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Ant-Man overcomes a slow start to grow into a fast-paced, family-friendly and above all, entertaining addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It combines a smaller-scale, more focused story with humor, refreshing set-pieces and more heart than your average superhero movie. It may not be as rip-roaringly fun as this year’s Furious 7 and Jurassic World, but audiences will nonetheless get their money’s worth.

Paul Rudd is a charismatic lead and does his modern-day Robin Hood role convincingly, helping audiences relate to his rise from crook to world-saving hero. Michael Peña provides much of the comic relief to great effect. Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas round out the acting standouts as the father-daughter tension, while cliched nowadays is played off well by the two.

It’s a shame that the film struggles to find its footing during the opening act but thanks to brisk pacing and the light tone the tedium passes by quickly. The antagonist here really isn’t that interesting, coming across as bland in comparison to previous MCU villains such as Loki and Ultron. And while Peña proves to be funny, Tip Harris’ scenes are ineffective and the crew’s hacker is so forgettable probably no one will remember his name.

Ultimately it’s the overall package that matters and that’s where Ant-Man delivers. The trio of Rudd, Lilly and Douglas provide the much-needed believability and the smaller, much more personal story the relatability. Ant-Man’s abilities provide a change of pace from the brute force of today’s superheroes and an expected cameo turns out to be a bigger role that has him going toe to toe with Ant-Man himself.

Marvel seems to be doing the family-friendly thing perfectly these days and Ant-Man continues that streak. That’s what you have to take into account if you’re not decided yet; this is a far cry from DC’s work on The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel. But if you’re comfortable with kid-friendly material, then by all means prepare yourself for a worthy addition to the MCU.

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