Category Archives: Movies

St. Paul University QC to hold movie gala premiere

The St. Paul University Quezon City, in partnership with Optimus Minds Training and Development Center, will have a gala premiere screening the movie, Ang Kamanghangmanghang Bakasyon ni Juan on December 12, 2014 Friday at SM North EDSA.

The film is produced by Sinehan Advocacy Media Projects, Inc. and is directed by Crisaldo Pablo.

The movie tackles environmental issues and attempts to offer simple solutions to preserve the environment. It also features environment-friendly products as a safer alternative to the otherwise harmful products we use in our everyday life. The movie also emphasizes nature-appreciation and saving ecologically valuable natural areas. Through this movie, SPUQC hopes to educate the youth by conveying this message: The Preservation of the Planet is the Responsibility of Every Individual.

The Ang Kamanghangmanghang Bakasyon ni Juan was filmed and shot entirely on the campus of St. Paul University-QC. The university’s high school students are its main cast with cameo appearances by some of its teachers. Local film actors, like Maey Bautista of GMA Network, are also in this movie.

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You may reach St. Paul University at their website: http://www.spuqc.edu.ph. They are also on Twitter [ twitter.com/spuqc1946 ] and Facebook [ facebook.com/spuqc.alumni ]

Reference:
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Learning. December 9 2014

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Laughing Your Way To the Cinema: 13th Israeli Film Festival in Manila

In partnership with the FDCP’s (Film Development Council of the Philippines) Film Cultural Exchange Program, Ayala Malls and Greenbelt Cinema, the 13th Israeli Film Festival will be held at Greenbelt Cinema 3, Makati City from November 5-6 2014. The film festival will feature eight (8) films of heart warming comedy.

Admission is FREE.

Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau quips “Humor is one of the strongest trademarks of the Israeli society and the Jewish World. Humor is the best universal language that we all understand. The film festival is an opportunity for all of us, Israelis and Filipinos, to laugh together”.

Movie Highlights include:

Hunting Elephants - Starring British actor Patrick Stewart, the 2013 film revolves around the adventures and misadventures behind a bank robbery for revenge. 
Hunting Elephants – Starring British actor Patrick Stewart, the 2013 film revolves around the adventures and misadventures behind a bank robbery for revenge.
Up the Wrong Tree – By Israeli Filmmaker Gur Bentwich, the film centers on a personal and social protest to bring back a man's lost love and his dog.
Up the Wrong Tree – By Israeli Filmmaker Gur Bentwich, the film centers on a personal and social protest to bring back a man’s lost love and his dog.
The Matchmaker – a 2010 film attempts to unravel the tricky trade of matchmaking and the thrill of first love.
The Matchmaker – a 2010 film unravels the tricky trade of matchmaking and the thrill of first love.

Other Movies include:

Alex is Lovesick
Total Love
The Big Dig
Pick a Card
A Matter of Size

For more information, please visit the Israel Embassy’s Facebook page (Israel in the Philippines) and their Twitter account (@IsraelinPH). Make sure to secure your seats at http://www.sureseats.com.

I hope to see you there! Enjoy the rest of the show folks!

Humanizing Noah

Have you watched the movie “Noah”? I strongly suggest you do. Though I do have my reservations about the accuracy of the characters called the “Watchers”, over all, the film was well done. Personally, the most outstanding performance in the film was Logan Lerman. As young as he is, Logan brought so much grit and authenticity to his tortured character. He is definitely someone to watch out for in future films. Given a saner schedule, I would definitely watch this movie again.

I requested a friend to do a review of the film, and she has done a fantastic job! I do hope that the film blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Favorite Quotes:
Methuselah: He speaks to you. You must trust that He speaks in a way that you only can understand.

Tubal Cain: You stand alone and defy me?

Noah: I’m not alone.

 

Noah Movie Poster
Noah Movie Poster

(MAJOR SPOILER ALERT)

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

Everybody knows the biblical story of Noah and his ark: After the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, the land increasingly became barren along with man’s wickedness. God wants to erase everything He has made – mankind and all the animals—and make a new earth. Good thing Noah found favour in God. So God gives him the task of making an ark and saving a pair of each animal on earth, together with his family. After a hundred years of endlessly working on the ark, the flood comes and everything is swept away. Noah starts mankind’s history anew.
Darren Aronofsky, the director of Noah¸ has successfully shown this in a highly-animated film and more. Russell Crowe (The Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) plays the rough and persevering Noah. In a land where food is scarce and one has to constantly guard against scavengers, he is still able to come across as a warm father-figure who is brave enough to fight in a hand-to-hand combat to save his family. Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond, Hulk) brilliantly portrays Noah’s wife Naameh, who resiliently stands by her husband whatever the cost of his decisions. Ray Winstone (The Departed, Hugo) is terrifying as Tubal-cain, the self-proclaimed king of man who stops at nothing just to get into Noah’s boat and be saved. Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) is also in this film, though a little bit unrecognizable, and surprisingly charming in the lovable character of Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather. One of the highlights of the film is Emma Watson (Harry Potter series), who, despite living in a wasted land, still looks pretty and dainty as ever, playing Ila, the wife of Noah’s first son, Shem.


Brilliant Casting

Russell Crow depicted a very human portrayal of Noah. He is tough because he is hardened by living in an empty and dangerous land. But despite all the cruelty of the world, he is still able to appreciate the beauty that is left: a flower blooming should be left where it is because it is its place; a wounded animal should be treated and not be feasted on; and respect for man even if they are wicked inside and out. But high acting praises for this film goes to Jennifer Connelly, who is deeply moving as Noah’s wife. She understands that she has to be submissive to her husband, but she knows how and when to speak her mind. (Spoiler alert) When she learns that Noah has to kill Ila’s child, she spoke against it and confesses to Noah that it is her who asked for the children. “It was me, Noah! I asked for this!” she cries. She then proceeds to give Noah an ultimatum—she will leave Noah, regardless of whether the child is a boy or a girl. Her intensity truly radiates beyond the screen.


An Impressive Ark

This film undoubtedly uses a number of special effects: from the cartoonish way of telling the Adam and Eve story to the physical manifestations of Noah’s dreams. This approach is very effective in getting the message across, though somewhat a little bit base for a serious movie-goer. Setting all the animated effects aside, the rest of the technicalities of the film are amazing. The land is as inhospitable as how one would imagine the ends of the earth. The ark, shaped like a chest (because it’s Latin origin literally means “chest), is the most realistic ark ever. It is humongous and built only for two functions: to save the family and animals, and… to float.

 

Unbiblical storytelling

Some audience are showing concern that the film is “very unbiblical”. This could be discussed because some points of the film indeed are not mentioned in the bible. One of these is the fallen angels or The Watchers. According to Aronofsky, the Watchers’ design is inspired by three images: six-winged Seraphim angels, a seagull trapped in oil, and ballet dancers with blocks attached to their feet. Afronofsky continues on to say that “these are angelic forms captured, malformed, imprisoned by the earth; winged creatures who got encased and had to use their wings as arms and legs.” Source: (IMDB) There is no verse in the bible indicating that the angels had helped Noah build the ark. Perhaps, if angels did help, it wouldn’t have taken Noah 100 years to finish it?

A friend also raised the fact that since Ila had twin daughters and Noah’s two youngest sons are still unmarried, it could be speculated that these two couples might end up together to start the new generation of mankind. The friend expressed disapproval for this scenario and described it as “icky”. Well, if you think about it, mankind did start with Adam and Eve. Of course, mankind had to continue on from their children, and their children… and their children. Do you get the drift?

 

Christian Issues

Noah is certainly not a religious movie—with all the added elements of The Watchers and Ila’s twin girls—but it is a Christian film. This is to say that the film heaved a number of Christian issues taught in services and sermons today. Here are some of the issues raised:

1. God will speak to you in ways you will understand. When Noah seek the counsel of Methuselah regarding his visions, the old man assured his grandson that the Creator only speaks to them in ways they will understand. Pastors often advise Christians to ask God to speak to them—and He does. Of course, God will make sure that He gets the message across. “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)

2. Deciding on things without the counsel of God will always have lifelong consequences. Naameh asked Methuselah for help because she wanted her children to have their own wives and children. She did this without asking counsel from the Creator, or from Noah. Methuselah decided to touch Ila’s barren womb and made it fertile. Because of this, her babies became the bane of Noah’s mission – which is to end the course of mankind on earth. He is made to decide to kill these babies – a great consequence of Naameh’s plea to Methuselah. We must always remember to ask counsel from God for everything we do because “he who trusts in his own heart is a fool”. (Proverbs 28:26) Remember that “Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” (Proverbs 13: 10)

3. When you ask God to put His desire in your heart instead of your own, you will receive it. Noah is ready to drive the knife into the baby’s heart. He is driven by his mission from the Creator. I am sure that he has prayed about this endlessly, being a friend of God. He has already uttered the words, “It is done”—pertaining to the Creator’s mission for him. But something in him stirs. His heart is wary because his desire has changed. Though he wants to fulfil God’s mission for him, something else has replaced this in his heart. It is God’s mercy—because he has prayed about this. “I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:27) Christians must also bear in mind that “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:2-3)

Aronofsky ‘s interpretation of Noah’s narrative is riveting and dramatic. It shows the human surface of Noah – he could hear the screams of people drowning outside the ark but he knew he had to remain steadfast to what the Creator had asked him to do. You could imagine the pain in his heart for every cry for help he had to endure. His character is in pain and sometimes anxious – which makes him relatable. Good job on that, Aronofsky. Though the idea of The Watchers is still far from convincing, Jennifer Connelly’s acting could make up for that. Reactions are mixed for the movie Noah, but nevertheless, it is a movie worth taking the time for.

 

 

About the Contributor:
Jihan Estrella is brainstormer for soap programs at GMA Network, Inc. She is currently involved in the primetime shows “My Destiny” and “My BFF”. She is also a social media operations analyst for a Singaporean social media services company.

 

 

Through Heaven’s Eyes

During the Holy Week, I was able to catch the movie “Prince of Egypt” on cable.  It’s been awhile since I last saw this film, but it always brought back fond memories.  The film is a wonderful combination of creativity, music and love.

A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shine, can never see its purpose in a pattern of the grand design.

How can you see what your life is worth? Or where your value lies?

You can never see through the eyes of man.

You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

Whoah! Did you get that? A single thread in the tapestry of the pattern of the grand design. I am floored. Beautiful.

Aside from watching the movie, I also highly encourage you to see this live version of my favorite song in the film “Through Heaven’s Eyes” sung by Brian Stokes Mitchell together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

He’s absolutely lovely here, especially as he sings with the choir!

Enjoy folks…

And remember to always look at your life through heaven’s eyes 😉

Celebrating Depravity: The Wolf of Wall Street

Scorsese has done it again with this interesting take on the high-flying stock broker lifestyle as portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of real life Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort.

But what struck me as the best performance of the film was Jonah Hill’s. And true enough, Hill is finding himself to be nominated for an Academy Award!

Though paid only $60,000 for the film, no one can put a price tag on that nomination nod! Hill hustled to get the much coveted role for a few thousand dollars. Move over Belfort, Hill hustles good!

Back to the movie: The graphic sex and buffoonery would leave any self-respecting person squirming in their seats. Over all, the film had its funny moment’s however, Scorsese could have done a better job than celebrate the degenerate lifestyle. When I left the theater, I wanted to throw up.

One of the film’s best lines? “There is no nobility in poverty”.

My only problem? There was less focus on the lesson. If there was, it was not emphasized as much as the obscene parties and arrogant and smug characters of the film. Films such as this is an excellent channel for financial nuts (such as myself) on how they can excel in the industry they are in. But then again, why be the boring vehicle of ‘enlightenment’ when one can create a film that encourages depravity? 

Ambition is good. Greed, however, is another story. Obviously Scorsese chose to glorify such debauchery.

The insatiable appetite and intoxicating addiction for money, sex and power are heightened in this film.

A sexy film? Definitely! Would I recommend it? Absolutely not.

Again, maybe I should be “working at McDonald’s”… 😉

The Wolf of Wall Street celebrates the depraved lifestyle of real life stock broker and crook  Jordan Belfort.
The Wolf of Wall Street celebrates the depraved lifestyle of real life stock broker and crook Jordan Belfort.