Friday, August 26, 2011

5th INTERNATIONAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL



This year's festival will run from August 26-28, 2011 at Cinema 2 of the Shang Cineplex at the Shangri-la Plaza Mall.

The 5th Silent Film Fest is organized by the Goethe-Institute Philippines, the Japan Foundation, Manila, Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Italy, together with the Embassy of Greece, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines and the Society of Filipino Archivists for Film.

It is the only Silent Film Festival in South East Asia.

The list and schedules of film to be shown:
Friday (August 26)
7:00pm – Brides of Sulu (Philippines, 1933-1937)
9:00pm – Nosferatu (Germany, 1922)

Saturday (August 27)
5:00pm – Akeyuku Sora (Japan, 1929)
7:00pm – L’Inferno (Italy, 1911)

Sunday (August 28)
5:00pm – The Greek Miracle (Greece, 1921)
7:00pm – Pilar Guerra (Spain, 1926)

Click here for the full synopsis of the featured silent movies.

Admission is free on a first come first served basis.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

THE LOVELY BONES

Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz
Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli


"The story of a Life and everything that came after ..."



Alice Sebold's widely acclaimed novel was one of the few books I read in the short span of 2 weeks. That is record time for me who can take months to finish reading an entire novel. I was totally engrossed by the way she vividly described the afterlife.

Naturally I was very curious to find out if director Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings") could accurately convey the author's haunting words on screen. Sadly, I have to say that readers of the novel will be deeply frustrated by the movie adaptation.

Newcomers to the story may wonder why what is now essentially a serial-killer thriller includes so many computer generated scenes of a heaven that looks like a replica of a brightly colored hobbit shire, a magical place of fanciful special effects.

"The Lovely Bones" movie turned into a dramatic but gentle fairy tale that cushions the real crime that was committed against 14 year old Susie Salmon. The vital component of the book - her brutal murder occurs off screen.

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the actors are being deprived of any meaty, well-developed scenes to play. There is no cohesive rapport/chemistry between the cast members. Sometimes it appeared as though, the scenes were shot separately then loosely pieced together in the editing room. Mainly, it's Wahlberg, Weisz and Sarandon who are shortchanged by the film's divided attention between earthly agony and astral accommodation. The talented actors are ok as far as things go, but that's not nearly far enough.

It is only Saoirse Ronan, with her astonishing glacier-blue eyes and reddish hair who gets to liven up the film. Her portrayal of Susie Salmon was boldly refreshing. Yet there is only so much she can do with a poorly written script. She had a far more fleshed out role in "Atonement" even though she only appeared in very few scenes.

In conclusion, "The Lovely Bones" finds a tolerable equilibrium between drama and hearty visual effects but lacks the much needed poignancy, a vital aspect to draw its audience into the fray.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

James Franco, Frieda Pinto, Andy Serkis
John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton


"Evolution becomes Revolution"


Cinema 3, Shang Cineplex





When I first saw the trailer for this 2011 version of the Planet of the Apes, I was hesitant about watching it. I had the impression that it was a scary movie where genetically altered chimps go on a rampage in San Francisco.

But they say the best way to conquer one's fear is to face it head on. Ergo, I found myself sitting in a dark theater and was fully prepared to be scared out of my wits. I was utterly disappointed or should I say really relieved that the film didn't unnerve me one single bit.

Instead, I was really entertained by a poignant story about a scientist's drive to find a cure for Alzheimer's which sadly has afflicted his father. It is also a compassionate tale about an ape named Caesar who was brought up as a 'human being'. His genetically developed intelligence does him more harm than good yet somewhere beneath all the pent up anger and the need for revenge lies a deep compassion which is hardly expected from any animal.

James Franco as Will Rodman, the scientist doesn't really do much acting wise but the story does revolve from his longing to find a vaccine/cure for his stricken dad portrayed by John Lithgow. Unfortunately, Franco's subtle acting style is severely hindered by a poorly written dialogue reminiscent of a B movie.

The real hero of the story is Caesar, naturally. A young chimp 'adopted' by Will who grows up to be a highly intelligent ape. A trait (intelligence) that is both a curse as well as a blessing for his development. Caesar is given much depth through the personification of Andy Serkis. The actor who is also credited as the one who 'portrayed' both King Kong and Gollum.

Serkis's interpretation of Caesar is full of emotions and very expressive. Even when Caesar is a fully grown ape with quite a menacing physique, one doesn't feel threathen. His rage is only provoked from his deeper understanding of the roles that primates play in the science world. They are used as specimens to test vaccines/drugs that are highly dangerous in their first stages of development. Once they have served their purpose, the hapless apes are mercilessly discarded to live in deplorable conditions.

The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes takes full advantage of the latest computer generated images devices to deliver a gripping action adventure that doesn’t skimp on heartbreaking emotion. It combines brilliant cinematography with seamless digital effects and fast paced action sequences. Plus throw in a few moral lessons about the brutal way that animals used for lab tests are treated by humans. Yet beneath the special effects, there beats a human heart, not least in the character of Caesar the ape. He is indeed the soul of this film!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Promos

Nowadays, there seems to be a big surge in the number of websites which offer good promos and discounted coupons on different types of services. A wide variety of items as well as services are offered at very competitive prices. They also intensively use the various social networking sites to promote themselves.

They offer everything from spa services, dining out coupons, custom pens to great travel/vacations packages inclusive of airfares, accommodations and guided city tours.

It is no wonder that most people nowadays prefer to use coupons to avail of special promos. This innovative way of online shopping is making quite a buzz among netizens.

I conclude by quoting Martha Stewart who says "It's a good thing".
I wholeheartedly agree!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey


"No goats. No glory."



The weird title of this film should give you enough insight to expect a really absurd and bizarre plot line. And true enough it won't disappoint you one single bit.

Based on Jon Ronson's book of the same name, The Men Who Stare At Goats is about a top secret US government program which explored the possibility of using paranormal powers against military enemies. These so called "psychic spies" of The New Earth Army tried, for example, to make goats drop dead by staring at them. They also experimented with "attack bees", trying to walk through walls, making subliminal sounds and invisibility.

The film takes off as insecure reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) follows a lead into a story told by a supposedly psychic American spy named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). This takes him right smack in Baghdad during the Iraq War.

McGregor narrates every minute of this film by often helpfully over-explaining information that is already visible onscreen. It reminded me so much of Matt Damon’s character and his annoying voice over in the "The Informant".

George Clooney, however, is sublime. Isn't he always? He plays the possibly psychic—or maybe just psychotic— "jedi warrior" with the nuanced stillness of a Zen master. It's a sly, comic version of his character in the much misunderstood "Syriana".

This satire had some funny dialogue along with effervescent bits of weirdness mostly courtesy of Clooney who desperately tries to convince the naive reporter of his psychic powers. This is probably his least important film yet certainly not the oddest movie (remember "Burn after Reading"?) in his illustrious career.

Sadly the movie doesn't truly explore nor reveal anything concrete. The ending offers some closure by letting the reporter find his true worth. A really bizarre movie that falls in between the cracks of dramedy and military satire. While it has a fine cast and some wry humor, this story of an experimental U.S. military unit with allegedly psychic powers never really gets off the ground. Like most psychic research, this film is inconclusive and unsatisfying to all but the truest of true believers.
 

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