Tuesday, May 27, 2008
No, You Don't
Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 00:51:00 05/27/2008
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Bayani Fernando’s answer to criticisms about his posters and billboards teeming on the EDSA highway has been, well, typical Bayani Fernando. Last month, when the criticism grew plentiful and strident, he denied he was campaigning at all. You could see, he said, that in those posters and billboards he looked perfectly serious, even strict. Wait till you saw him smiling, he said. Then you’d know he was campaigning.
I’ve seen those posters and billboards and wondered what in hell they were doing across the length of EDSA. Those are the ones that look not unlike the ad of that movie, “Kung Fu Hustle,” where the “bida” [hero] has his arms crossed, one hand clasping an ax. Fernando has his arms folded across his chest, his face set in a slight frown, while slogans below proclaim that order or discipline (“kaayusan”) is the key to nationhood and progress.
But upping the ante or pushing his luck, he has come out with new posters and billboards that show him to be smiling at the world. Or so a TV news report reports. I haven’t seen them. They have apparently sprouted in Caloocan City, and so far have been confined there. But it’s not hard to imagine how pretty soon they’ll be overrunning Metro Manila, particularly the favorite street of both the angry and the ambitious, which is EDSA.
Fernando probably just thinks he’s cute. Well, it’s time we told him: No, you’re not.
What’s wrong with those posters and billboards?
Does that question have to be asked at all? Whether they show him to be frowning or smiling is neither here nor there. He has no business making them, much less putting them up.
At the very least, that’s so because only last year he was locked in a battle with commercial advertisers and their billboards. At that time, he claimed the billboards were a hazard to motorists and passersby. He tried to tear them down but was halted in his tracks by the courts who issued a preventive suspension on it. Unfazed, he resorted to guerrilla tactics, having his men smear the posters and billboards with black paint. We know that because he himself boasted about it in a TV show, as the lawyers of the aggrieved parties pointed out. Fernando brought his case all the way to the Supreme Court, to no avail.
The shoe is now on the other foot. And the obvious question is why the self-styled scourge of billboards should be given leave to perpetrate the very scourge he professes to rid this world of. That’s not just unethical, that’s hypocritical. The commercial advertisers were at least just advertising products, Fernando is advertising himself. The commercial advertisers were at least just spending their own money to advertise their products; Fernando is spending our money to advertise himself. The commercial advertisers were at least just cooking us in cooking oil, Fernando is cooking us in our own fat.
That brings me to what pisses me off even more about Fernando’s posters and billboards, whether he is smiling or scowling in them. No way can they be excused as public service since their very existence controverts their message. How can you expect the public to observe discipline when you cannot discipline yourself? How can you make public observe order when you goad them to riot just by looking at your face? You want to do public service, put out the message while confining your picture to your wall at home. Indeed, you want to do public service, use the not very minor fortune being lavished on those things to provide bicycle and motorcycle lanes—and so prevent those accidents-waiting-to-happen in Metro Manila’s roads.
Fernando in fact himself controverts his own excuse of public service. He has not been coy about saying he wants to run for president in 2010, saying even now he is the most capable candidate there is. Of course he says as well he will abide by his party’s decision, but clearly he is not the type to let an opportunity pass to swing his party’s decision his way. Hence the posters and billboards. They’re there to make him “presidentiable.” That violates the Penal Code in every respect. The least of it is flouting the ban on campaigning this early. The most of it is using taxpayers’ money to aggrandize himself.
Of course Fernando can always argue that he did not invent this atrocity, others have gone boldly where he dares to tread now. Not the least of them his boss in Malacañang whose PhilHealth cards, courtesy of the current health secretary, who became so as his reward for it, also carried her picture and were distributed right before the 2004 elections. And who to this day continues to flaunt her face at the world in posters and billboards advertising her virtues, which succeeds only in raising the incidence of stress-related diseases in this country from the very sight of it.
Fernando can always say that, but it won’t make him right, it will only make the others just as wrong. That’s like saying when you’re accused of corruption or cheating in elections that other people have stolen before or cheated in elections. If that’s so, then the point is not to find you both innocent, it is to find you both guilty. If Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has all sorts of posters and billboards announcing her good works, then the point is not to allow Fernando to have his own too, the point is to tear Arroyo’s down too. They have no business being there. The money can be put to better use. And you’ll have less heart disease.
Quite simply, Fernando’s posters and billboards break the law. He should be punished with the same resoluteness, or ruthlessness, with which he has punished jaywalkers and illegal vendors for doing so. Those posters and billboards are not cute, they’re criminal.
It’s time we truly had order and discipline. Fernando likes to jaywalk in politics, fence him in too—preferably in the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa.
Friday, May 23, 2008
In the 90s, Racks was best known for its hickory-smoked grilled ribs and chicken, and had a number of branches across Metro Manila. I remember going to the Tandang Sora-Commonwealth branch with co-teachers, and feasting on exquisitely grilled pork ribs and hickory-smoked chicken. I remember getting a case of three of the bottled Racks sauces, and how our housekeeper made the mistake of marinating pork chops using the extra hot sauce.
Then, after a while, the branches started closing one by one, until all that was left was a lone restaurant in the Julio Vargas area.
Hazel and I got to sample that restaurant last year, and we were happy to discover that Racks still had one of the best ribs in Metro Manila: flavorful, juicy, and falling off the bone tenderness. Add Racks’ special extra hot barbeque sauce, and it was a filling meal bursting with flavor.
It seems that the owners of the franchise are willing to take a chance at expanding once more, and so, another branch in Greenhills opened a few months ago.
Last Saturday, Hazel and I, along with my brother, went to the Greenhills branch for lunch, and once more enjoyed a meal of grilled pork ribs, with a side order of corn on the cob and, of course, the extra hot sauce (Hazel only sampled the regular, and my brother settled for a mixture of the regular and extra hot sauce.).
It’s nice to know that some things, such as Racks ribs and chicken manage to endure.
* * *
That same Saturday, my parents decided to treat us all out to dinner, as Hazel’s brother Richard was leaving the next day to work in Qatar. After a long discussion, we decided to try out Serye in Quezon Memorial Circle.
Serye, if I’m not mistaken, is a subsidiary of Aristocrat Restaurant, and one of its specialties is Filipino-style barbeque. Most of us ordered the chicken barbeque, which was quite tender and tasty.
The only hitch to the meal was that the pork spareribs my dad ordered arrived hot on the outside, and cold on the inside. Oops. After asking that the dish be removed, my dad settled on an order of chicken barbeque.
Aside from that, Serye was okay.
* * *
On a sad note, two restaurants which I liked closed down recently.
Before Katipunan Ave. became very commercialized, S.R. Thai, located behind Shakey’s, was known for cheap and delicious Thai food. I particularly liked the bagoong rice, which was probably the only thing I’d order because I liked it so much.
However, probably due to either rentals or changes in the minimall where S.R. Thai was originally located, the restaurant was forced to move to the building after Cravings. This made it difficult for people to get to; it was a bit of a walk from Ateneo’s Gate 2, and parking was always a problem.
About two months ago, S.R. Thai finally went the way of Frankie’s and 5 Anne’s, two other cheap and delicious establishments along Katipunan, and closed shop.
Located along Quezon Avenue near Delta was Mister Kabab, which specialized in affordable Middle Eastern cuisine. I particularly liked the fact that Mister Kebab served beef liver, which was cooked in tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots, and beryani rice.
Mister Kabab was demolished a few weeks ago; I’m assuming to give way to a widening of the road. Hopefully, the owners will find a new place to relocate, and I’m hoping it won’t be too far from its original location.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
With the recent spate of bloody massacres, particularly the ones in Laguna, the Injustice Secretary, Raul Gonzalez, in his rage, apparently said something to the effect that he wouldn’t mind shoot-to-kill orders for the suspects be issued.
Once more, Gonzalez shows why he is unworthy of his post as Justice Secretary. Shouldn’t the suspects be arrested, and brought to justice? Shouldn’t they reveal how they managed the crimes they committed, especially the massacre of the RCBC bank officials and clients in Cabuyao, Laguna? Shouldn’t they reveal whether they have coddlers in the police force or the military?
Already, the Secretary’s statements have bore some fruit, as the main suspect in the Calamba massacre, where 8 people, 5 of them children were indiscriminately gunned down, was himself gunned down in a supposed firefight with arresting police officials. If I’m not mistaken, it was reported in this morning’s news that one of the suspects from the RCBC massacre was also gunned down in an alleged firefight.
I use the terms “supposed” and “alleged” because, with our police officials, it’s hard to tell whether there was a legitimate gun battle, or a vigilante-type rub out.
While I can imagine the public applauding the deaths of these people, it’s hard on our legal system, as the proper routes aren’t taken. It may inspire others to take “short cuts” as Philippine Star columnist Anna Marie Pamintuan wrote in her column yesterday. This is what makes Gonzalez's indiscriminate remarks more dangerous. It's his job as Justice Secretary to uphold the law, not circumvent it. But, then again, why should I be surprised? It's not like he's done something different from his past actions.
* * *
Once more, Senator Jamby Madrigal demonstrates why she's unfit for her elective position, as she threw a tantrum about the upcoming appointments up for approval by the Committee on Appointments (CA). She's threatened to invoke Section 20, which effectively holds up the appointment approval, on every nominee, regardless of qualification, unless her demand that her concern about the division of seats on the CA be addressed.
In this case, she may be stymied by her colleagues in the Senate. Senate President Manny Villar, according to another Senator, may schedule the CA hearing on the last day of session, where, according to Senate rules, Section 20 cannot be invoked.With her ongoing court battle to contest her aunt's will and this current tantrum, Madrigal certainly keeps the limelight trained on her, but to negative effect.
What is reprehensible is that his successors in the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) are exploiting his death by accident as a means to blame the current administration.
In the Inquirer.net yesterday, the KMU accused President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of being responsible for Ka Bel's death, because his prior incarceration in 2006-2007 led to his poor health.
It seems a stretch for the KMU to drape the mantle of martyrdom on Ka Bel, considering that he died from head injuries suffered in a fall from the roof, and not from his incarceration. Admittedly, it's almost ironic that he died in such a manner, and not from the bullets of retaliatory forces, but that's the way life is. While I'm sure Ka Bel would've liked to have gone out fighting, none of us really have a choice in the manner by which we depart. Unfortunately for Ka Bel, martyrdom wasn't to be his fate.
Friday, May 16, 2008
As the rainy season approaches, I continue to explore and discover new experiences. In previous posts, I wrote about the various restaurants I’ve sampled, and books I’ve read over the course of the summer break. Below are two additions, one restaurant and one book.
Cafe Big Oli is located on the cinema level of Trinoma; in fact, it’s located right beside cinemas 6 and 7. It’s basically an Italian fast food joint, offering various pasta and pizza choices, along with some entrees and choice desserts.
When Hazel and I went here after watching “Iron Man”, we ordered their Tour of Italy platter, which consisted of three standard pasta dishes: Bolognese, Carbonara, and lasagne. While I’m not a great fan of creamy pasta sauces, the Carbonara was decent. The Bolognese meat sauce and lasagne were also okay, nothing special, though, considering my mom bakes a mean dish of lasagne. Still, the pasta dishes were hearty, savory, filling, and reasonably priced.
Hazel also ordered a slice of quarto formaggio (not sure about the spelling), or four cheese pizza, her personal favorite. I found it a little lacking in cheesiness; it didn’t seem like there were other cheese flavors coming through. Myself, I ordered a bowl of minestrone, which is a tomato and veggie pasta soup, and one of my personal favorites. I loved the taste, although the vegetable variety was lacking; there seemed to be an inordinate number of beans. Still, it had a nice blend of herbs, and was a hearty, savory soup.
Cafe Big Oli, thanks to its proximity to the cinemas, is a fairly good and easy on the budget type of Italian restaurant, although it still has a way to go to match Sbarro’s.
Normally, I try to stay away from horror stories. With an active imagination like mine, it’s easy for me to be affected by especially well-written stories, making me jump at shadows. Such is the case when I venture into the world of the Cthulhu mythos, the creation of H.P. Lovecraft.
In a nutshell, the mythos postulate that, long before man became the dominant species on this planet, Earth was home to a race of beings known as the Great Old Ones, beings of great evil who were imprisoned in the bowels of the earth by the elder gods. From time to time, man encounters the relics and followers of these Great Old Ones, often at the cost of either their sanity or their lives.
I first encountered Lovecraft when I was playing Dungeons and Dragons, and the mythos was included in the old Deities and Demigods cyclopedia. Back then, the illustrations of Erol Otus and the descriptions of the various horrors of the Great Old Ones were enough to give me the heebie jeebies.
Then, I came across a copy of Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” in our high school library. Reading it sent shivers through my spine. Lovecraft, you see, didn’t bother with the traditional horrors such as vampires and werewolves. Through his stories, he created an entirely new genre of horror, a weird, surreal world populated by horrific beings, made even more terrible by his evocative and detailed descriptions. Oftentimes, he would use the first person point of view, making the recollections of the narrator all the more real.
After that, I stayed away from his stories, until two weeks ago, when one of my co-teachers showed me a copy of “Shadows of Death”, a new compilation of Lovecraft’s works. And I was drawn back into the world of Cthulhu, of the time-spanning Great Race, of the doomed city of Sarnath, of the shunned house and the tomb, and the dream world of Randolph Carter
Finishing “Shadows” left me hungry for more, and, as it turned out, Fully Booked had a whole line of Lovecraft, so I snatched up “Waking Up Screaming”, “The Doom That Came to Sarnath”, and, as luck would have it, “At the Mountains of Madness”. My imagination is probably not going to thank me, but I am looking forward to the horrific journey ahead of me.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This is a slightly long list, but below are some of the new places I’ve gotten to try out over the summer break.
1. Cyma (Trinoma)
I’m actually not sure if I visited this restaurant before or during the summer break, but since I haven’t written about the experience, I’m including it here. If you’re hungry and are fond of Mediterranean fare, this is the place to go. The servings, while a little pricey, are huge, and can do for two or more people. I especially liked the grilled pork chops: juicy one-inch thick chops grilled to perfection.
The thing to see, of course, is the flaming cheese, served with flair and a unanimous “Opa!” from the waiters, and, although I didn’t find the actual taste anything special, it went great with the bread that they served with it.
2. Max Brenner (Trinoma)
Hazel and I stopped over here during one quick hit-and-run to Trinoma, and I wish I’d ordered the same thing that she did: hot Venezuelan dark chocolate, one of the best I’d ever tasted. I ordered the Whipped Granite, which tasted like most chocolate ice-chilled drinks I’ve tried, complete with the solid ice crystals at the bottom that make finishing the last bit of shake a chore.
3. Manos Greek Tavern (Tagaytay)
I’ve always wondered about this restaurant, having passed it numerous times on trips to Tagaytay. A few weeks ago, on a trip that started with breakfast at Josephine’s, I finally got to dine there.
The restaurant is a little on the unassuming side, compared to the classier joints cropping up across Tagaytay. However, the food is both easy on the budget, and very delicious. I particularly liked the cabbage rolls, stuffed with rice and meat and flavored with dill, and the rice wrapped in grape leaves, whose flavor escapes my description right now. I didn’t even get to sample my lamb gyro, which I had taken home. My sister wound up getting it, and she assured me it tasted fine. Oh, well. At least I have a reason to go back to Manos.
4. Josephine’s (Tagaytay)
Hazel had been mentioning that her office friends wanted to try having breakfast in Tagaytay, and, a few weeks ago, we managed to go. Breakfast would be paid for by one of our friends, and lunch would be covered by my brother.
It was decided along the way that we would try out the weekend breakfast buffet at Josephine’s, one of the more venerable Tagaytay restaurants.
The food was okay, nothing really special except for the fact that it was a buffet, and, for my part, it was free (Thanks, Haig.). I know I ate too much, particularly of the bread and jam, that having lunch (at Manos, above) was difficult because I was still too full.
5. Apt 1B (Makati)
Last last Friday, May 3, was my friend Lori’s blog’s 3rd birthday, and, as luck would have it, I had arranged to meet Lori for breakfast on that very day. After much discussion, we settled on meeting at Apt 1B, one of the cafes she’d written about in her blog. I was going to be in Makati to drop off some documents I’d been editing, and, we decided to meet afterwards.
I ordered the smoked bacon breakfast, which came with eggs cooked sunny side up with the yolks runny (my preferred way of cooking fried eggs), a slice of whole wheat toast, and, to my surprise, a side of salad, and spicy potatoes, which tasted very similar to the spicy potatoes I sometimes whip up at home. Lori ordered the eggs Benedict with salmon and spinach, which were served with the same sides that came with my order.
As always whenever I get to meet with Lori, it was an easy conversation of catching up on each other’s life, and marvelling at a friendship that began back when she was a part-time teacher at the High School almost ten years ago. Good food and good conversation with a friend, who could ask for more?
6. Clawdaddy (Bonifacio High Street)
With Mother’s Day, my siblings decided to treat the family out, and the decision boiled down to Portico’s or Clawdaddy, both located in Bonifacio High Street. Clawdaddy probably won out because of the promise of good seafood and barbeque.
I think we were lucky to have gotten a table, as, it being Mother’s Day, the whole of High Street was jampacked.
From the decor, it’s clear that there’s a strong New England flavor to the restaurant, as pennants and mementoes of the Boston Red Sox, and the New England Patriots festooned the walls. There was even a photo of the late Hall of Famer Ted Williams, one of the greatest ballplayers ever to play the game.
Dinner started off with clam chowder served in bread and an appetizer of breaded razor shells (bamboo shells), which weren’t too bad, but I’ve had better. The main course was a platter of steamed seafood (lobster, crab and shrimp), served with roasted corn and marble potatoes, and a platter of grilled stuff (chicken, beef and pork ribs, and sausage). The seafood platter wasn’t too bad, although my mom is quite capable of cooking better, but I enjoyed the grill platter more, gorging myself on the sausage and the ribs.
The dinner was slightly marred, when a woman loudly berated the manager because her reserved table was apparently given to someone else. While I can’t blame her for being irate, she acted very high-handedly, and expected that the staff would jump to her every command, whether it be procuring high chairs for her grandchildren, or bringing one of the toys Clawdaddy provides for the young ‘uns. While I was outside playing with my youngest daughter, I caught a snatch of the conversation and she was asking the manager, “Do you want me to sue you?” For what? While it would be a no-no for the manager, I think he could’ve called her bluff; this isn’t the U.S., the land of the lawsuit, and the manager was doing his best to make do. Oh, well, if she wants to ruin her day by making a mountain out of a molehill, that’s her life.
That notwithstanding, I’m not sure if I’d wander back into Clawdaddy. While the food was excellent, it also wasn’t anything special, and there are better and cheaper places to go for good food.
7. Five Cows (Trinoma)
Trinoma is shaping up to be a good venue for sampling new restaurants, as the Ayala-owned mall has enticed some of the more high-end restaurants to make their way up north.
I took Hazel here last Saturday, for our own Mother’s Day celebration. We’d eaten at Five Cows before, and liked what we sampled. The restaurant’s fare focuses on Italian and a wide range of desserts, including the cold rock style of preparing ice cream concoctions.
We had the margherita pizza, which is simply mozzarella, basil and tomato , and the gamberi (not sure now of the spelling) pasta, which was olive oil and garlic based, with shrimps. I liked the pizza, which exuded home-style baking, and the pasta was flavorful and delicious.
For dessert, we shared a sundae (once more the name escapes me) brimming with whipped cream and nuts, and, while simple, was a wonderful ending to a good meal.
During our Mother’s Day date, Hazel and I finally got to watch “Iron Man”. The reviews I’d read were all pretty positive, so I was looking forward to seeing this movie, hoping that it would go more along the lines of “Spider-Man” and “X-Men”, Marvel’s other hits, and not along the lines of “Daredevil” and “The Hulk” (the much-lamented Ang Lee version, and not the upcoming reboot).
I wasn’t disappointed. Director Jon Favreau (“Zathura”) blended heart-stopping action with humor, drama, as well as killer digital effects, and, in so doing, came up with a movie that lived up to the hype.
It helps that the cast selected to essay the various roles were masters of their craft. Gwyneth Paltrow has just the amount of flair and beauty to play the role of Pepper Potts, Stark’s ever-capable and loyal assistant. Jeff Bridges comes off fantastically as Obadiah Stane, the ruthless corporation head. Terence Howard manages to exude the right amount of frustration as James Rhodes, Stark’s military liaison. Favreau, who has acting experience (“Rudy”), has a cameo as Happy Hogan, Stark’s bodyguard.
Kudos, of course, goes to Robert Downey, Jr., who has made a successful comeback from drug problems in his portrayal of billionaire genius Tony Stark. Maybe it’s because Stark has his own addiction problems with alcohol, that helped Downey nail the role perfectly. Still, Downey is one of the actors I’ve admired because of his skill and flexibility, that playing the egotistically arrogant yet charming Stark is yet another feather in his cap.
I’ll not spoil the movie for those who haven’t watched it, but I’ll say this: there is definitely going to be a sequel, and, hopefully, Marvel producers will be able to assemble the same team to work on it.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
It’s been a busy summer for me, both in terms of activities, as well as getting a bit of culture, and quite a bit of food tripping, too, now that I think about it. I'll tackle the culture bit in this post, and follow up with the food in the next.
1. The Man Who Ate Everything – Jeffrey Steingarten
Steingarten is the white-haired, bespectacled judge on “Iron Chef America” as well as a food critic for “Vogue” magazine. The book is a collection of essays focusing on various food topics, from defending sugar, salt and fat, to his search for the perfect foods. While the book was entertaining, and often humorous, I found him a little on the pretentious side, particularly in his tastes. Or maybe I’m just a little envious that he gets to go all over the world to sample choice dishes. Maybe a little of both. Still, it’s an interesting read, and my friend Lori of Dessert Comes First assures me that, although a number of his recipes are next to impossible to recreate here in the Philippines, his recipe for chocolate chip cookies and one other that escapes my memory are both doable and top notch.
2. By the Sword – Richard Cohen
Cohen is a champion fencer, and his detailed narration of the history of the swordfight, from its origins from warfare to its inception in honorable duelling to the development of fencing as a martial art is both informative and entertaining.
3. A Gentleman’s Game – Greg Rucka
Rucka is a comic book writer who has worked on the Batman books, but he is also known for his “Queen and Country” series of spy thriller comics. “A Gentleman’s Game” is a novel which draws heavily from the graphic novel series, although it is not necessary to read the entire series to appreciate the book. Still, having done so on my part, the characters are more well-rounded, and I’m familiar with the references to various missions that the Minders (Britain’s group of highly trained operatives for out of country missions) have undergone. “A Gentleman’s Game” focuses on Tara Chace, who is now Minder One. After a mission creates international complications, Chace is forced to go rogue and undertake an even more dangerous mission in order to save her skin. I find it an entertaining read.
4. Keeper – Greg Rucka
In this book, Rucka focuses on the character of Atticus Kodiak, a professional bodyguard. Kodiak is hired to protect an abortion clinic doctor as a major dialogue between pro-life and pro-choice advocates. I didn’t enjoy this as much as “A Gentleman’s Game”, maybe because the characters in “Keeper” were not as well rounded, which, however, is not to say that they weren’t. It’s just that I prefer the world of the Minders compared to bodyguard duty, no matter how highly skilled the bodyguard might be. Maybe if I read the other Kodiak books, the series will grow on me.
5. The Real James Herriot: The Authorized Biography – James Wight
James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, who wrote the very entertaining “All Creatures Bright and Beautiful” series of novels, which focus on Wight’s experiences as a veterinary surgeon in the farmlands of Britain. Wight’s son, also named James, did the writing for the biography, and the book shares a lot of background details for the books, particularly whom Wight based his characters in the book from. I’m currently in the middle of the book, and it’s been interesting so far.
1. Meet the Spartans
The movie is a spoof of the war movie “300” in the grand tradition of “Airplane!” and “Scary Movie”, although, unlike the latter two, which spoof particular movie genres, “Spartans” only focus is on “300”. There are a lot of jokes, both visual and verbal, and if you’re looking for a light movie to laugh at, “Meet the Spartans” fits the bill.
2. The Forbidden Kingdom
My review of this movie is here.
3. Sweeney Todd
“Todd” is Gothic master Tim Burton’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s (Into the Woods, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) bloody musical. Starring Burton favorites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the musical is a tale of love and revenge. Depp was nominated for his performance as Todd, and he deserved it. His portrayal of the tortured, manic barber was spot on, and was an Oscar-worthy performance. His singing, while not polished, conjured the pain and anguish, and the madness that Todd experienced. Carter, who was pregnant with Burton’s child during the filming, also gave a chilling performance of a woman in love. Even Alan Rickman (Die Hard, Harry Potter series) surprised me by singing a solo.
I particularly liked the music so much so that I wound up hunting down online. In doing so, I found out that the role of Mrs. Lovett (Carter) was originally essayed by Angela Lansbury on Broadway. How about that?