Sunday, September 28, 2008

iLasik Technology

iLasik Technology
It is important for people with high risk jobs to have perfect vision. The U.S military through the Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA have undertaken an important mission to correct the eye problems of its personnel. These two agencies have adopted the reliable LASIK technology to improve the vision of their highly trained personnel.

“The DOD and NASA have validated the fact that today’s LASIK exceeds all established standards of safety and effectiveness,” said Steven Schallhorn, M.D., a retired U.S. Navy captain. A pioneer in clinical research who has studied LASIK information for the DOD about the use of LASIK.

The iLASIK Procedure also known as Modern LASIK uses 2 lasers instead of just one. The first stage of iLASIK consists of analysing the characteristics of the person's eye with the use of wave-front technology. An ultra fast, computer-guided laser creates a corneal flap. This procedure replaces the handheld microkeratome blade used in former forms of LASIK. After the flap is created, the wave-front mapping data guides a second laser for vision correction. Together these two laser technologies ensures a safe procedure which guarantees reliable visual results.

So far the results have proven that 95% of the 100 military personnel who underwent modern LASIK are now rewarded with 20/20 vision. Dr. Schallhorn further states “technologically speaking, there is no better time than now to join the over 12 million Americans who have benefited from LASIK."

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pelikula: 7th Spanish Film Festival

Pelikula: 7th Spanish Film Festival




Since 2002, the Instituto Cervantes in Manila has been organizing PELIKULA, the annual Spanish and Latin American Film Festival.

The Seventh Edition will be celebrated from October 1 to 12, 2008, in the cinemas of the Greenbelt theatre complex in Makati City, one of the most popular and prominent screening venues in the Philippines.

The Festival, which has screened 21 films the last year, has become the most important and most celebrated Spanish-language film festival in Southeast Asia.

*Press release from Instituto Cervantes*


Click here for the film schedule at the Greenbelt cinemas.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jokes Galore

Jokes Galore
My husband likes to tell a lot of jokes and/or funny anecdotes. Now there is a website I can visit to read jokes and probably share some with him. Lotsofjokes.com has been collecting and posting jokes online for many years.

They have an extensive range of jokes, funny pictures , comics and alot more. Their selection includes among others blond jokes, dirty jokes, Redneck jokes, computer jokes and many more.

They also have specified sections like Rules For Women, Signs Of Insanity, Self Evaluation, Horror Movie Survival, Bathroom Wisdom which are guaranteed to make you laugh like crazy.

You can find more jokes at its sister sites 101FunJokes.com and JackAssJokes.com where there are jokes on many common topics.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UN FRANCO, 14 PESETAS

UN FRANCO, 14 PESETAS
(Spain)


Carlos Iglesias, Isabel Blanco, Javier Gutierrez,
Nieve de Medina, Eloisa Vargas


CineEuropa
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex



I'm still too busy to come up with a review so in the meantime, read this article I got from the Internet on Eye for Film website.



Un Franco, 14 Pesetas
Reviewed By: Amber Wilkinson

Based on the real life story of writer/director and star Carlos Iglesias, Un Franco, 14 Pesetas lifts the lid on migrant workers, fleeing Franco's Spain for a better life in Switzerland in the 1960s, which has a resonance in the Europe of today.

Iglesias plays Martin a downtrodden Madrilleno, whose marriage to Pilar (Nieve de Medina) is solid but grim as they, along with their son Pablo (Ivan Martin) eke out an existence in a basement room at his parents'. Pilar is a feisty femme and, in a bid to escape the inlaws, saves up enough cash to put a deposit down on a house, only to lose the lot when Martin loses his job.


Martin, like many of his countrymen decides the only answer is to head north to Switzerland, where, though the streets aren't paved with gold, they are pretty close to it, in that a franc is equal to 14 pesetas. He and his pal Marcos (Javier Guitterez) are soon on the train, ready to pose as tourists to enter Switzerland, since they don't have work visas.

Once in, the film takes proceeds with a gentle charm as the emphasis falls on 'strangers in a strange land' comedy, which sees scruffy wideboy Marcos and dapper gent Martin find a room at an inn in a picture postcard village and work at the local factory. The inn's proprieter is, naturally, a buxom blonde - Hannah (Isabel Blanco) - but just as liaisons between she and he look as though they may become dangerous, Pilar and Pablo turn up.

This sounds like an awful lot of plot but, in fact, there's plenty more to come as the family try to adapt to their new life. Cleverly the German-speaking Swiss aren't subtitled initially, leading to us sharing the migrants' perspective and confusion.

Although, occasionally resorting to stereotypes and cliche to find a laugh, by and large Iglesias script is intelligent and witty. He isn't afraid of the downbeat - and has a very serious point to make about the nature of migration and life in Spain in the Sixties, which has implications today. The Spain of today is a far cry from the Franco era and is now on the receiving end of migrant workers from elsewhere. This tale that shows the difficult choices these workers face and invites us to understand and respect them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

AND WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER?

AND WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER?
(United Kingdom)


Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson, Matthew Beard


"Between every father and his son there is a story to be told."


Cine Europa
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex




This poignant tale is based on the autobiographical novel by Blake Morrison. It recounts his conflicted relationship with his father. Blake is portrayed by the Colin Firth. While Jim Broadbent plays his father, Arthur who is stricken with cancer. When I first read the synopsis about the film on the CineEuropa pamphlet, I immediately thought of Mitch Alboom's Tuesdays with Morrie.

The film skips from scenes with Blake's childhood to scenes of him visiting his ailing father. It spans through 30 years of their lives. It deals with the typical complex relationship between a father and his son. A father who always teases his son for his shortcomings. A son who grows to resent his overbearing father for interfering with his life's choices.

The film progresses at a slow pace, taking its time to really develop the characters. The treatment of certain issues involving the characters lives was a bit cautious. The director or should I say the scriptwriter didn't want to reveal too much details. He left it to the audience to ponder about what really happened. It was neatly edited and well polished. Not too sentimentally sickening nor too sanitized either. The two lead actors were perfect for the roles. Colin Firth with his forlorn gaze gave a solid performance. Jim Broadbent was consistently good. His portrayal of the sometimes annoying to the point of being obnoxious father was fascinating to watch. He had a wide range of expressions to depict Arthur's different moods.

The question in the title isn't literal. It begs to ask you the question when was the last time you really saw your father? Not for what he stands for but who he really is. A complex human being at his most vulnerable self exposed to the pitfalls of life. A person who isn't perfect yet continues to love you unconditionally despite your own imperfections.

So I conclude by asking you "and when did you last see your father?"

I CENTO PASSI

I CENTO PASSI
ONE HUNDRED STEPS
(Italy)


Luigo Lo Cascio, Tony Sperandeo, Luigi Maria Burruano


CineEuropa
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex




One hundred steps was the distance between the Impastatos' house and the house of Tano Badalamenti, the local Mafia boss, in the small Sicilian town of Cinisi.

This Italian movie is the true story of Peppino Impastato, a young left-wing activist in the late 70s who repeatedly denounced Badalamenti for his crimes and the whole Mafia system using a small local radio station. At the age of 30 he was killed in a gruesome manner. His body (or what remained of it) was found tied to the railways after it was torn apart by explosives. The police deemed the case as suicide and an accident. A few sentences at the end of the film reveal that 20 years after Peppino's death, the case was re-opened and Gaetano Badalamenti was convicted for the crime. He was also convicted on charges of drug traffic in the US.

The film was well developed. It also focused on personal relationships, friendships and the progressive development of a small town in Italy. Although the film expounds on the feisty Peppino lambasting the local mob boss to high heavens through his radio show, we the audience are not privy to the actual machinations of the so called Mafiosi. We are never shown instances of violence or the actual commitment of a criminal act. It is all merely implied in Peppino's daily ramblings against Tano. In the same manner during that period in Sicily's rich history, the Mafia word was taboo to mention in public. People knew of their existence, yet merely accepted it as part of the cultural setting in the milieu of small towns. It took a brave young lad like Peppino to bring forth to his listeners the true nature of the Mafia system. It was a bit ironic since his own father, Luigi (a distant relative of Tano) was involved in some ways with the system.

This is a powerful contemporary history film which depicted the life of a young man who wanted to make a difference in this world. Yet sadly he had to pay for it with his life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

LES CHANSONS D'AMOUR

LES CHANSONS D'AMOUR
LOVE SONGS

(France)


Louie Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni,
Yannick Renier, Clotilde Hesme


CineEuropa
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex




If you are not into films where the characters suddenly burst into song then I suggest you find something else to watch. This French movie tells the story of of 3 young people in Paris who are involved in a complex relationship -a menage a trois.

The characters are endearingly flawed and complicated. Each of them with their own anguished angst to decipher. The songs (all of them in French, of course!) are not intrusive at all. After a while you forget they are actually singing instead of merely talking their lines.

The film's treatment of sensitive themes was dealt in a very mature and dare I say very French/European way. Although the fact that they would sing out their emotions to express themselves to the audience might give it a semblance of lightheartedness, it is still a film which caters to open minded adults. An audience who doesn't get shock easily nor would cringe at certain "taboo" matters. Nor would they seek to be politically correct all the time. The fact that almost everyone smokes in the movie is a case in point. It is just being realistic.

Another thing I noticed in French movies is that not everyone is an actor. I mean since they are shot in the streets of Paris and the area isn't cordoned off, you can see people in the background actually staring at the actors/actresses as they essay their roles.

In essence, the film succeeds in getting its point (however vague it was!)across through a series of musical sequences, realistic visuals and ok acting.

AFTER THE WEDDING

AFTER THE WEDDING
(Denmark)


Mads Mikkelsen, Rolf Lassgard, Sidse Babett Knudsen


"Champagne is poured. Secrets are spilled."


CineEuropa

Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex



This Danish film tells the story of Jacob Petersen who heads an orphanage in India. A generous benefactor wants to make a huge donation to the orphanage but his offer has some really heavy strings attached. Jacob has to return to Denmark to present his projected plans for the orphanage. Once there he suddenly finds himself embroiled in a maze involving controversial aspects from his past. Secrets are revealed, dilemmas abound and life altering decisions are fraught in this melodramatic film.

People might recognize Mads Mikkelsen who portrays the main character in this film. He was cast as the villain "Le Chiffre" in Casino Royale. That James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. Here he is brilliant as the hapless Jacob. His stoic portrayal of a man who has to reckon for his past shortcomings was fascinating to watch.

Parts of this movie was filmed in India while the rest is featured in the pristine surroundings of Copenhagen and its environs. The dialogue is a mix of English, Hindi and Danish. Complex characters with glaring flaws and deeply human emotions are well developed. I also noticed that the director had this penchant for focusing on the eyes of the characters whenever surprises were revealed. An effective technique to draw the audience into the 'moment' as it unfolded.

The story line flows effortlessly even as several conflicts are entrusted both on the characters as well as on the viewer. You can't help but be totally absorbed in their fate. But there are also light moments which can tug at your heart strings. As is the norm in most European movies, you aren't bombarded with vital information. You leave the theater wondering if certain events in the film were merely coincidental or done on purpose. Well, this film definitely didn't disappoint in that aspect.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Great American Seafood Cook off Recipe Contest

Great American Seafood Cook off Recipe Contest
We all love to eat seafood, right? Most especially if they are cooked with really fresh sea food and authentic ingredients.

Here's your chance to win a trip to New Orleans for two inclusive of air fare and hotel accommodations for a delicious dining experience. It is a place renowned all over the world for its excellent sea food cuisine served in rows of restaurant.

It is easy, you simply visit http://www.greatamericanseafoodcookoff.com. Then select one of the five finalists recipes featured in the Great American Seafood cook off and enter your vote. This will guarantee you an entry for this recipe contest.

I voted for the Texas Gulf Shrimp by Chef Mark Holley from Texas. You can imagine the flavorful blend of spices simply by looking at the picture. The authentic and fresh ingredients enhanced the delectable taste of that giant shrimp! The colorful ingredients embellished the presentation of his dish. It is a pity that some of those ingredients are not available locally. I would have taken the opportunity to cook this dish.




This year, Chef John Currence from Mississippi won the contest. His dish, the Redfish Courtboullion with Seafood Dirty Rice was voted the best. A complete meal cooked with the most unique ingredients and the freshest local seafood available in the market. The judges may have already picked their winner for this year, but you can still vote for your favorite recipe. The online contest is open for voting until November 2008.

So head on over to the website to cast your vote!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CINE EUROPA 2008

CineEuropa 2008




This year’s edition of Cine Europa kicks off on September 11, 2008 at the Shangri-la Mall Cineplex.

Cine Europa screenings in Manila will all be held at the Shangri-la Mall until Sept. 21. After that, Cine Europa movies will be shown in Ayala Center Cebu on Sept. 26-28. Then, Cine Europa will go to Cagayan de Oro for the first time, with screenings at the Liceo de Cagayan de Oro on Oct. 3-5.

Admission is free.

Click here for screening schedule at the Shangri-la Cineplex.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

BECAUSE I SAID SO

BECAUSE I SAID SO
Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham, Gabriel Macht, Tom Everett Scott, Piper Perabo, Stephen Collins


"She's just your normal, overprotective, overbearing, over the top mother"





Boy oh boy Daphne Wilder (Diane Keaton) was a really overbearing mother, indeed! Gosh. She puts an ad online seeking guys to date her youngest daughter, Milly. Because she was afraid Milly would end up just like her. Lonely and alone. Then she rejects Johnny because he is not worthy enough for her daughter. While she orchestrates a chance meeting for Jason, her choice to bump into Milly. On the other hand Milly meets a guy on her own who turns out to be Johnny, the one rejected by her mother. So she ends up dating two guys at the same time. Guys with contrasting personalities in every sense of the word. It sounds complicated but it isn't. It is just pretty lame, if you ask me.

An average romantic comedy (with several not so funny moments) that doesn't quite fare well in my books. The plot was pretty daft and predictable with no major conflicts to throw you off the path.

Diane Keaton has unfortunately stumbled into motherly roles where she tends to exaggerate, over act and gets quite annoying. The rest of the cast like Lauren Graham, Stephen Collins merely acted as decorative pieces on a Christmas tree. Mandy Moore is probably miscast because I'm sure with her looks, she won't have trouble finding guys on her own.

I was quite disappointed with this film because I expected an intelligent mother daughter bonding moment flick. Instead we were subjected to Diane Keaton's pathetic antics. Now I'm thankful I didn't catch it at the cinema, I would have wasted money for a film best seen on TV. Or better yet not seen at all!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

AMERICAN GANGSTER

AMERICAN GANGSTER
Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Eijofor, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes


"There are two sides to the American dream"




This film is the biopic of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), an African American drug lord. He rose to be a powerful player in the dirty narcotics trade during a tumultuous period in time. An era marred by the Vietnam war and the chaotic volatile situation in the US fueled by anti war protests. As well as the proliferation of heroine in the streets of Harlem in New York. It is also the story of Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe), an honest cop who vowed to stop at nothing to eradicate the menace.

Ridley Scott took his sweet time establishing the background of his main characters. He took the liberty of stretching the story to depict Frank Lucas's family, his connections with his rivals as well as how he was able to export his 'wares' to the streets. His ability to become a top drug kingpin without drawing attention to his trade is what kept Lucas thriving in the business. It is also only towards the last part of the film when his manner of transporting the 'goods' is revealed. Although we are aware that they were being exported from a South East Asian country.

In the same manner, Scott also focuses on the comings and goings of Detective Roberts. His quest to remain as incorruptible as possible in his profession amidst many temptations and distractions. His custody battle with his wife over their young son further aggravates Roberts stressful job.

It is only when the path of these two characters cross that things start to pick up. A cat and mouse game begins. Then eventually with a strange twist of fate, the mouse ends up helping the cat in his quest to rid the streets of the deadly narcotics he propagated himself.

Denzel Washington, as usual gave a good performance as Frank Lucas. Never going overboard with his acting. Russell Crowe was equally good in his supporting role. The setting was authentic with its depiction of New York city in the early 70s where disco and bell bottoms reign supreme. Overall, it was an interesting biopic of a man whose story had to be told lest it fades away in the annals of oblivion.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Skype at the Cannes Film Festival

Skype at the Cannes Film Festival
The recently concluded Cannes Film Festival was a resounding success. It presented films from all over the world who participated in showcasing the art of cinema at the festival.

This year, Skype was at the forefront by making it possible for actors and directors around the world to take part in live interviews at the Cannes Film Festival via Skype video calls.

Partnering with the Festival's American Pavilion, Skype the leading company in Internet communications was able to link video calls and discussions with the rest of the world.

The Skype video call integration was the first such use of video calling technology at Cannes, a movie-industry event that attracts approximately 30,000 industry insiders and media to the French Riviera each May.

The American Pavilion used Skype video calling in its "In Conversation" and "Industry In Focus" series. An event where respected filmmakers and industry insiders offered audiences their opinions and insights, in moderated panel discussions. The discussions happened nearly daily during the 12-day Festival.

"In Conversation" and "Industry in Focus" discussion participants were linked via Skype. They saw and heard live on computer screens and speakers set up on the panels in which they are taking part. They were be able to see and hear the activity in the Pavilion - and speak to the audience and other panelists - through computers equipped with Web cams, microphones, speakers and Skype software from their locations.

Don Albert, General Manager of Skype North America said "Being part of this year's Cannes Film Festival, through our relationship with the American Pavilion, demonstrates the benefits Skype can provide the international film industry."

The American Pavilion celebrated its 20th Anniversary at the Cannes Film Festival. An annual major event in the film industry which was founded in 1939, it is famous for its star-studded red-carpet premieres and its Palme d'Or award, the highest prize given to any competing film. The 2008 Cannes Film Festival took place from May 14 to 25 at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres in Cannes, France.
 

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