Category Archives: Movie Reviews

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.

 

 

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Lessons I Learned From The Godfather

The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” What day of the week is it? (insert Sicilian accent) “Mo-nday, Tu-esday, Thur-sday, We-dnesday.”

Though the movie was a masterpiece, the book provides better detail, strength and ferocity only Mario Puzo can pen. The Godfather is the best. Below is a compilation of all my favorite quotes.Enjoy!

On family: “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” – Don Corleone

On love: “You can’t hide the thunderbolt. When it hits you, everybody can see it. Christ, man, don’t be ashamed of it, some men pray for the thunderbolt. You’re a very lucky fellow.” – Calo

On profession: “Lawyers can steal more money with a briefcase than a thousand men with guns and masks.” –Don Vito Corleone

On friendship: “Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.”- Don Corleone

On gratitude: “Time erodes gratitude more quickly than it does beauty!”

On decision-making: “Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”

On society: “I don’t trust society to protect us, I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them.”

On Godfathers:Italians have a little joke, that the world is so hard a man must have two fathers to look after him, and that’s why they have godfathers.”

On business: “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That’s what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes? Right? And you know something? Accidents don’t happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult.” – Michael Corleone

Comfort Food for the Hungry Soul

March 15-16 2013 – For the past two days, I have been out with some girlfriends drinking up the sights and sounds of Makati City.

For day 1, I went out to grab some grub at Mercato and watch a film called Movie 43.

My over-all experience when it comes to Mercato is always fun. Not only is there a lot of food choices but it is unpretentious and very laid-back (we had a little picnic, too!).

With the exceptions of balot and penoy, I absolutely love street food (but please don’t tell my doctor any of that, haha).

Before heading out, I brought with me a pint of bottled water because I knew I was going to need it ;-). Because of the lack of light, I was unable to get a good picture of my meal which was Garlic Chicken and Tinapa Rice.

And for dessert?  What better way to gorge down a sumptuous meal but brownies!

A big batch of brownies...What more can a girl ask for?
A big batch of brownies…What more can a girl ask for?

Oh my goodness… comfort food, indeed!

My Mercato food adventure = A++

(However, I wish I could say the same about my movie experience.)

Movie Review:

Film: Movie 43

Despite the star studded cast, the movie was disgusting. A girl friend of mine said they pushed the envelope to the extreme, exaggerating some issues on race, parenting, sex, etc.

There was a lot of toilet humor used (which, I think for some, is an acquired taste).

Will I watch it again? No way. This was an epic fail for me.

Day 2, on the other hand, was nice. My recent food choices have been excellent so far ;-).

Restaurant Reviews:

Lorenzo’s Way

Dish I had: Lengua Estufado

Lengua Estufado by Lorenzo's... Super comfort food... oooh  my gulay...
Lengua Estufado by Lorenzo’s… Super comfort food… oooh my gulay…
The girl loves her pasta. Here with my dinner date, Ces ;-)
The girl loves her pasta. Here with my dinner date, Ces 😉

Ambience: Very homey and warm, gorgeous interiors.

Service: Excellent

Will I go there again? Definitely!  I loved it!

This was taken after we practically cleared our table of grub at Lorenzo's.
This was taken after we practically cleared our table of grub at Lorenzo’s.

Final verdict: The perfect place if you want to try really good Filipino food. My meal was well done and tender. Plus the service was excellent, along with its cozy interiors.

 

 

People’s Palace

Dish I had: Squid calamari

Ambience: Chic, club-like interiors.

Service: warm and friendly

Will I go there again? Yes. But I will most probably like to try other places as well.

Final verdict: It was okay. The place you go to if you want to grab a few drinks with a friend.

Taken at Peoples Palace. Hope you all had a "filling" and great weekend as I did. Talk to you soon :-)
Taken at Peoples Palace. Hope you all had a “filling” and great weekend as I did. Talk to you soon 🙂

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