Showing posts from July, 2012

REVIEW | The Healing (2012)

In the opening credits, when the 3D text of the movie title "The Healing" appeared and positioned itself against the mountains like the HOLLYWOOD billboard sign in L.A., you know that you're in for an interesting experience.
Seth (Vilma Santos) brings her stroke victim father (Robert Arevalo) to Manang Elsa (Daria Ramirez), a faith healer in an unspecified province. The following day, Seth’s father is already miraculously up and running, making up for lost time by urgently living vicariously, taking in young girls for lovers and creating a Facebook account. News of the miracle healing has quickly spread in Seth's neighborhood, and soon her ill neighbors and close friends (Pokwang, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Cris Villanueva, Janice de Belen) are begging to be brought to Manang Elsa, including the seriously ill stepdaughter of her ex-husband Kookie (Kim Chiu). Same thing happens, they all get miraculously well. But their cure, unfortunately, did not come free after…

REVIEW | The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

When the movie trailer opened with no sound except for that sole, clear, angelic voice of the boy singing the national anthem, then transitioning into a sinister rumble, serious and ominous, the low pounding escalating into some kind of chaos...and then we catch sight of the Caped Crusader in what would be revealed as the epic conclusion of the Batman trilogy, you just know-- that the Dark Knight will rise above all the superheroes who recently graced the big screen. And so you wait with pure excitement. That kind of restless anticipation. Because you just know it's going to be so, so good just by that teaser trailer alone.

And then the day has finally come to watch. After finishing the almost 3-hour epic finale, it turns out you were right. Christopher Nolan has rewarded your very high expectations.

In this emotionally gripping and intellectually satisfying epic finale, Gotham City is at peace time, and Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) is in seclusion for eight years now; bearde…

NOLITA: the New York Style Pizza

In search for a new pizza experience in Manila?
There's actually a relatively new pizza joint found in The Fort, serving New York-style pizza: thin, and the slice so huge you'd have to fold it before you take a bite. Just like what you see in movies and TV shows set in Manhattan. 

Nolita, which opened January this year, is short for "NOrth of LIttle ITAly," the actual name of that Italian-American neighborhood in Manhattan, where the pizza was actually inspired from. Owned by Patrick Santos, the same guy who owns The Bourhough at The Podium, another NY-style comfort food restaurant, along with New York native chef, Cuit Kauffman, Nolita offers the New York pizzeria experience to Filipinos.
Six months after Nolita opened at The Bonificio High Street, I found myself sitting in one of the rustic, charming, wooden booths inside the pizza joint, ready to take my first bite of a new pizza experience —New York style—  right here in Manila.
Nolita serves 16 rotating fl…

REVIEW | Magic Mike (2012)

To Channing-lusting females, sexually frustrated housewives, gays, and closet strippers, Magic Mike could be the answer to your fantasies. You don't have to visit a male strip club—  just go to your nearest cinema for a generous sight of gyrating beefcakes, even if it's only in 2D.
Generating a ripple effect of female hysteria, Magic Mike seems to be the hottest and much-talked about movie in town, even by straight men. But if you're seeking for fun and entertainment that is beyond hot males grinding their pelvis—i.e., the story—then there's nothing in it.
Marketed as light and fun, the movie is actually more of a drama. Mike (Tatum) is an ageing superstar male stripper at Xquisite Club owned by Dallas (Mathhew McConaughey). The movie establishes early on that Tatum is a wise, responsible guy, so don't judge him! He is only using his sexy gig to save up for his real dream and ambition: furniture-making. But Mike's well-laid plains might just go wrong when he acci…

REVIEW | The Intouchables (2012)

From the producer of 2012 Oscar Best Picture The Artist comes another hit French film that broke box office records in France and across Europe, going down in history as one of the most successful French movies of all time.
The Intouchables, based on a true story, focuses on the unlikely and touching friendship of an extremely rich disabled man and his ex-con Sengalese caregiver from the ghettos. Philippe (François Cluzet), a bored tetraplegic who lives in a mini castle in Paris, hires Driss (Omar Sy), a crass and vulgar black man who has no intentions of getting the job in the first place. And so we follow how two men from entirely different worlds find joy in each other's company...and making a huge difference in each other's lives.

The story is rather simple:  a rich man and a poor man developing a genuine friendship. But what makes the movie engaging is the shining personalities of the two men and how well they click together. Philippe is stiff, reserved, and sophisticated, …

Internationally Acclaimed Candice Adea: The Perfect Ballerina

At the final show of Ballet Philippines' re-staging of Crisostomo Ibarra last June 24th, I had the great pleasure of witnessing the most recent Filipino pride, Candice Adea, first-prize winner of this year's Helsinki International Ballet Competition in Finland, perform her critically acclaimed role as Maria Clara, with her partner, Jean Marc "JM" Cordero, as Ibarra. 
It was a breathtaking experience.
Twenty-five-year old Candice brought soul and magic to her role. I thought to myself, I have never seen a ballerina like this. Never. Or a dancer. In my entire life. She has this innate power to behold you, train your eyes on her, and you'll get lost in her soulful storytelling through dance, taking your breath away. The stage was filled with ballet dancers, yet Candice stood out, her dancing perfect and incredibly effortless as if it's is as natural as breathing. And you will absolutely fall in love with her. And her chemistry with her partner—and real-life sweeth…

REVIEW | Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

The concept that the 16th American president was a vampire hunter is already a dubious entertainment material-- if not laughable. Especially when the story is delivered in a serious, historical manner. But the novel, on which this movie is based, has actually garnered positive reviews-- and followers. And with Tim Burton producing the movie version, I guess no one should underestimate the power of imagination and creativity and give this--*guffaws*--Abraham-Lincoln-with-a-secret-life-slaying-bloodsuckers a chance.

In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, America is occupied by the living and the dead. Abe (Benjamin Walker) is confronted with this fact when he found out that it was actually a vampire that killed his mother. And so he not only becomes bent on ending slavery, but also becomes determined to avenge his mother's death and kill each and every vampire that exists in his beloved country. His determination of the latter comes true when he meets the mysterious Henry (Dominic Coope…

REVIEW | The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Do you think you need to watch a Spider-Man reboot? Is it even necessary? Only five years have passed since the end of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movie trilogy and yet the Marvel superhero's story starts all over again on the big screen-- this time lanky British actor Andrew Garfield (The Social Network; Never Let Me Go) replacing Tobey Maguire as the webslinger.
In The Amazing Spider-Man, we are told an already familiar story: how Spider-Man came to be...only this time, we are provided with more details. Seventeen-year-old social outcast Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), orphaned at such a young age, grew up with his uncle (Martin Sheen) and aunt (Sally Field) in a quiet suburban neighborhood...but his past is kept a secret from him. One day, Peter discovers a clue about his father's mysterious work, leading him to Oscorp lab to meet the one-armed Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). There, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider...that will change his life forever.

Director Marc Webb …