Thursday, June 27, 2013


The 2013 Japanese Film Festival kicks off with an invitational screening to the film "About Her Brother" ("Otouto") on July 3 at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 2 in Mandaluyong City.

The Film Festival will run from July 4 to 14, 2013 at Cinema 2 of the Shang Cineplex.

The other films include the complete edition of "Always - Sunset on Third Street" ("Always Sancho-me no Yuhi") Part 1 to 3,  "Confessions" ("Kokuhaku"), "Kamui" ("Kamui Gaiden"), "Rinco’s Restaurant" ("Shokudo Katatsumuri"),  "Mai Mai Miracle" ("Mai Mai Shinko to sennen no maho"), "Castle Under Fiery Skies" ("Katen no Shiro"), "Japan, Our Homeland" ("Furusato - Japan"), "Parade and Dear Doctor".

All films will be shown with English subtitles. 

For screening schedule click here or consult the Japan Foundation Manila website.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt

"A Comedy about doing the Right Thing
with the Wrong Person"

There are only 3 characters in this Indie (independent film) tale about relationships and all its complexities. Iris (Emily Blunt) offers her best friend Tom (Mark Duplass) to stay at her family's cabin in the mountains.  He needs to mourn his brother's death.  

While there, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) who is Iris's half sister shows up.  She just ended a 7 year relationship and needs some alone time to mend her broken heart.  Soon enough, Iris also joins them for the weekend.   It doesn't turn into a menage a trois (threesome) ... it isn't that kind of movie, mind you.

With no TV nor Internet connection to keep themselves occupied, they go on long walks and commune with nature.  The vast outdoors reflective of serene surroundings with a wide lake and densely forested trees is a good setting to turn inward and ponder about one's existence.   

Intimate conversations with siblings and friends is a pivotal point as secrets and hidden dreams are revealed. It is mostly dialogue driven until a simple twist is thrown in to complicate matters.

The underacting of the cast uplifts an otherwise mediocre film with great cinematographic scenes of the rustic setting.  Although the blurb states 'a comedy' I didn't find anything funny in it nor about it.  In fact, it was quite thought provoking especially the inconclusive ending of the film.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann,
Albert Brooks, Megan Fox
Jason Segel, John Lithgow

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are back in a full length movie where they reprise their roles as Pete and Debbie, the husband and wife (friends of Katherine Heigl) from the film "Knocked Up."   

Also directed by Judd Apatow, this film explores the travails of Pete and Debbie as they both turn 40 and go through a mid life crisis.   Struggling with debt, a teenaged daughter, aging parents and health woes, somehow their seemingly happy existence is slowing going down the drain, so to speak.

The cast led by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Judd Apatow's wife in real life) delivered fine performances. Their comedic timing were up to par.  The plot itself was amusing and entertaining but certain scenes could have used some editing.

"This is 40" is a witty and well written comedy which presented real life situations that a couple their age face on a daily basis.  It had extremely funny moments. Scenes where I totally laughed out loud which was fun because it has been a while since I've done that watching a film.  

It also included some crude humor and dialogue for mature audiences but were treated appropriately and were not offensive nor insulting.  Well I wasn't offended but that's just me, I just laugh everything off!

Monday, June 10, 2013


Jude Law, Rooney Mara, 
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum

"One Pill can Change your Life"

SM Cinemas

Deceit is the recurring theme in this latest thriller from Steven Soderbergh. The provocative film focuses on the life of Emily (Rooney Mara) and Martin (Channing Tatum), a married couple who try to get their lives back on track after suffering a few setbacks.  Emily is having a harder time coping so her psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Jude Law)  prescribes a powerful pill that will help combat her depression. 

Naturally a powerful pill will have drastic side effects which will only further aggravate Emily's vulnerable state.  Or does it?  That's for you to find out as I won't be revealing any spoilers.

As a firm believer that medicines cannot really solve your mental well being, I cringed every time she had to pop such a strong toxic pill.  Yet on the other hand, I also know that depression is a serious illness that needs to be properly addressed and supervised by medical professionals.

This film further validated my belief that we lived in an overmedicated society. That medical experts as well as pharmaceutical firms make millions of profits each year. They trick us in believing that a pill can solve all our health woes.

"Side Effects" with its well acted cast and complex story line was thought provoking. I recognize its brave effort in making a solid statement. A stand on the greediness of pharmaceutical firms as well as the unscrupulous doctors who benefit from the avarice at the unhealthy expense of vulnerable patients.  

It may be fictional and not presented in a Michael Moore type of documentary but it successfully proved its point.  We certainly got the message even though it did leave a bitter after taste in our mouth.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


18th French Film Festival
Greenbelt 3 Cinemas

A famous TV star Gauthier Valence sets off to an island in the south of France with a mission.  He wants to hire the reclusive actor Serge Tanneur in his production of a famous Moliere stage play entitled "The Misanthrope".   Serge has been living a hermit like existence for 3 years after he 'walked' off from the entertainment industry.   So he certainly won't budge at the drop of a hat to return to the limelight.  Soon enough, a planned overnight stay for Gauthier turns into a week as he needs more time to convince Serge.  

This film is set in a very picturesque part of France where life seems to pass by slowly. A perfect setting for Serge who has certainly turned into a misanthrope, himself.  The sequences mostly unfold between the two actors inside the rustic albeit dilapidated house of Serge where they rehearse their parts on a daily basis.  An occasional bike ride around the tiny town serves as a buffer between rehearsals.

The lengthy exchange between two thespians with huge egos was worth watching. Even though I had no essence on the plot of the play, it seemed like a rather complicated dialogue driven comedy of errors much like Shakespeare's tragedies.  A certain way of delivering the dialogue is essential and the rehearsal turns into a heated discussion as each actor deems he knows best how to convey Moliere's words.

As they painstakingly rehearse, they also discover more insights into the personal lives of each other.  Thus making it less boring as the film isn't confined to merely reciting lines from a Moliere play.  

Although the conclusion was pretty much predictable judging from the rigid nature of Serge, the gorgeous cinematography and the fine acting from the two lead actors is worth one's time.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


18th French Film Festival
Greenbelt 3 Cinemas

This French film adapted from a play unfolds in a single setting. The cozy apartment of Sorbonne Professor, Pierre and his schoolteacher wife, Elizabeth.  A dinner of Moroccan fare is painstakingly prepared by Elizabeth and their guests include her brother Vincent a smoothly suave yet quite successful realtor and Claude, a long time family friend.  

After a witty montage of the history behind some famous Parisian streets narrated by a voiceover (which apparently belonged to Vincent), the film starts rolling as they converse over appetizers while waiting for Anna, Vincent's pregnant partner to arrive from her meeting.

The conversation veers towards a 'game' that Vincent initiates for them to guess what he intends to name his unborn son.  The discussion takes on a heated tone as soon as the politically incorrect name is revealed.  In a household with intellectual minds, a clash of opposing views and opinions is bound to be very intense.  The bickering continues and culminates with shocking revelations that shake each of them to the core.

That it was adapted from a play is quite evident in this dialogue driven film. The ensemble cast is brilliant as they essay out their characters strong points as well as their shortcomings with ease.   4 of the 5 cast members are the original members in the staged play which received many awards.

The film version also succeeds on two points - the talented cast and the cleverly crafted dialogue which certainly was thought provoking to say the least.

Friday, June 7, 2013


18th French Film Festival
Greenbelt 3 Cinemas

I've heard so many rave reviews about this film that I was excited to watch it. Considering that the story line had gritty realism written all over it, I expected it to be a tearjerker. But I was pleasantly surprised that not only did I not shed any tears, I actually liked the film. 

Veering away from the standard nice girl meets nice boy and live happily ever after fare, "Rust and Bone" brings together two completely opposite main characters who meet at the most crucial moment in their lives.

Ali is an ex boxer and single father of a five year old son who moves in with his sister and her husband in a coastal town in France.   While working as a bouncer at a night club, he meets Stephanie, an Orca trainer working at a Marine theme park.  He may look like a tough guy but he has a good heart and being a good Samaritan he volunteers to drive her home (in her car) after she is too drunk to walk let alone drive.  

Months go back before they meet again but this time under very different circumstances. Stephanie has lost both her legs after a horrific accident in her work place.  Wounded both physically and emotionally, she reaches out to Ali and they form a bond that has no 'labels'.   They seem to connect well with each other yet when she asks him what she was to him, he simply shrugs and keeps his emotions clearly hidden.  She supports him as he earns from his 'sideline' as a fighter in an underground fight club while he helps her find her joie de vivre by taking her to the beach where she is her natural self.

The cinematography has a bleak tone almost sepia like but not quite vintage-y.  Set in a coastal town, outdoor scenes are prevalent along with typical blue collar town setting.   Certain scenes were too violent (the fight scenes), some could have been edited out while the rest moves at a slow yet steady pace.

Marion Cotillard is quite a revelation as Stephanie.  Bereft of any make up or any tinge of glamor, her nuanced portrayal is visceral, raw and quite poignant. While the guy who portrays Ali was good in his performance of a tough guy who likes to keep his feelings hidden but has a good heart and is basically a nice guy.

"Rust and Bone" is a complex love story between two flawed characters who deserve each other in more ways than one.  A film about struggled trials and the small steps needed to accomplish triumphant redemption.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The 18th edition of the French Film Festival kicks off on June 6 with an invitation only event.  At 9pm, they will be screening the film "Le Prenom" ("What's in a Name?") at the Greenbelt 3 Cinema 3.

Entry is free of charge from June 7 to 9, 2012 at Greenbelt 3.   

A total of 5 films will be screened during the Film Festival.  The line-up includes "Alceste à Bicyclette" ("Cycling with Moliere"), "De Rouille et d’os" ("Rust and Bone"), "Du Vent dans mes Mollets" ("The Dandelions"), and "Camille Redouble" ("Camille Rewinds").

Screening Schedules:

June 7, 2013
4:00pm - The Dandelions
6:30pm - Rust and Bone
9:00pm - Camille Rewinds

June 8, 2013
4:00pm - What's In A Name
6:30pm - Cycling with Moliere
9:00pm - Rust and Bone

June 9, 2013
4:00pm - Camille Rewinds
6:30pm - The Dandelions
9:00pm - Cycling with Moliere

Contact Details:

For inquiries, please call (63 915) 805-3860 or e-mail at

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