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Win tickets to see Urbandub, Bamboo, Pedicab and other top bands at CinemaJam on Nov 29

November 21, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Movies, Music, Sponsored 7 Comments →

URBANDUB-CinemaJam-2014
Catch Urbandub and other great acts at CinemaJam 2014.

Bamboo, Franco, Pedicab, Itchyworms, Urbandub and other top bands will perform at CinemaJam on Saturday, November 29 at the Greenfields District Central Park in Mandaluyong.

The concert will cap a full day of activities, art installations, and open-air screenings of Now You See Me and Letters to Juliet. The gate opens at 10am.

Tickets to CinemaJam are now available at Ticketworld. Call 891 9999, or go to www.ticketworld.com.ph. Part of the proceeds will go to World Vision.

You and a friend can go to CinemaJam for free by joining our raffle. Just post your name in Comments. The winner gets two tickets to CinemaJam 2014. The Winner will be announced tomorrow.

CinemaJam is a project of Crizal Transitions, which has partnered with Essilor to develop Crizal Transitions Signature lenses, which provide more natural vision and true color perception in a variety of light conditions.

Every movie we see #118: Jake Gyllenhaal is an absolutely compelling Nightcrawler

November 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

nightcrawler
*Not to be confused with one of the mutants in The X-Men.

No one was free to watch Nightcrawler with us, and we didn’t think it would run for a second week, so we watched it alone. Excellent decision.

Dan Gilroy’s film, shot by the great Robert Elswit, follows a freelance videographer who prowls Los Angeles in the dead of night, shooting footage of urban crime scenes, grisly accidents and high-casualty fires, which he sells to a TV news program. Jake Gyllenhaal, so thin his eyes are popping out of his face, is absolutely compelling as a man in whom the rhetoric of self-help and the motivational industry takes the place of a self. Basically he’s a slithering, bottom-feeding insect in human form. This is what happens when the will to succeed is unhampered by a moral compass.

With Rene Russo as the TV news producer who becomes his enabler, and Riz Ahmed as his hapless “intern”.

Watch it any way you can.

Update: Aha since the new Hunger Games doesn’t open till tomorrow, Nightcrawler has been held over an extra day. Go!

Every movie we see # 117: The Drop is dark and exhilarating.

November 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies No Comments →

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This is a great week for the movies, and we haven’t even seen Nightcrawler or Esprit de Corps at the Cinema One festival (or Esoterika Manila, which we wrote but is totally an Elwood Perez movie).

The Drop is terrific. Tough, unsentimental, uncomplicated, brilliantly-acted, excellent use of the pooch. It’s directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael Roskam and based on the Dennis Lehane short story, Animal Rescue. We’ve never seen a Dennis Lehane adaptation we didn’t like—Mystic River, Gone, Baby Gone, Shutter Island. This time Lehane adapts his own story.

If you choosing between The Drop and Interstellar, here’s a comparison you may find useful.

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The Hero
Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey with a space ship
The Drop: Tom Hardy with a puppy. They had us at “woof, woof.”

The Female Lead
Interstellar: Anne Hathaway, who can’t help but make us like her.
The Drop: Noomi Rapace, who doesn’t care what we think.

The Blonde
Interstellar: Jessica Chastain
The Drop: Matthias Schoenaerts. Did you see him in Rust and Bone?

The Ghost who sends messages across space and time
Interstellar: The ghost who moves the books
The Drop: James Gandolfini. We still choke up.

The Setting
Interstellar: The universe.
The Drop: Brooklyn.

The Threat
Interstellar: Desertification, famine, food riots
The Drop: Chechen mobsters with slicked back hair. Aiiieeeeee!

The Hole
Interstellar: The black hole near the planets they plan to colonize.
The Drop: The drop, the slot where bookies place bets.

Spectacle
Interstellar: Wow.
The Drop: Tom Hardy doing something we haven’t seen him do before.

The Emotion
Interstellar: Excitement, wonder, filial love.
The Drop: Dread.

The Future
Interstellar: Bleak.
The Drop: What future? And yet it is strangely uplifting.

Man Vs The Universe
Interstellar: We may not be alone in the universe.
The Drop: We are definitely alone in the universe.

Movies and music at the bigger, better CinemaJam, Nov 29 in Greenfield, Mandaluyong

November 16, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music, Sponsored No Comments →

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Following the success of the first-ever movie and music festival in the country, Crizal Transitions promises an even more spectacular CinemaJam this year. A full line-up of outdoor movie screenings, fun activities (zipline, bungee, wall-climbing), art installations, and performances by today’s most exciting bands await festival-goers on November 29, Saturday, at the Greenfield District Central Park in Mandaluyong City. Gates open at 10am, with the action building to the concert at midnight.

Featured bands include Pedicab, Franco, Bamboo, Imago, Itchyworms, and Urbandub. On the double-bill on the giant LED TV are the romantic drama Letters to Juliet starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave, and the box-office hit thriller Now You See Me starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

CinemaJam will also see the unveiling of Crizal Transitions Signature Green. Essilor, the world’s leading manufacturer of optical lenses, and Transitions Optical have partnered to develop the new Crizal Transitions Signature lenses in graphite green, which provide more natural vision and true color perception in a variety of light conditions. Free eyesight consultations will be offered in the Optical Village booth manned by eyecare experts and showcasing the latest innovations from Crizal Transitions.

Tickets to CinemaJam are now available at Ticketworld. Call 891 9999, or go to www.ticketworld.com.ph. Part of the proceeds will go to World Vision, a humanitarian organization focused on building a better world for children.

Every movie we see # 116: Interpellating Interstellar

November 14, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Science 1 Comment →

interstellar-trailer

108. The Other Woman. We saw it on the plane while drifting in and out of consciousness, which is the best way to see it.

109. Pulp Fiction. On the plane, for the 10,000th time.

110. Magic In The Moonlight. We love it. Critics only saw the ick factor: the age difference between Colin Firth and Emma Stone. “What do you expect, it’s a Woody Allen movie, etc.” But Colin Firth being sarcastic is hot at any age. Late period Woody has come up with a lovely movie about how the world may not have a smidgin of meaning, but it’s not entirely without magic.

111. Celebrity. The only Woody Allen movie we hadn’t seen, and we saw it on YouTube, thank you. Kenneth Branagh’s impression of Woody Allen was universally vilified, but this 16-year-old movie, made when the inventors of Facebook and Twitter were in high school, was prescient about today’s celebrity culture. You have to have met enough self-important idiot celebrities to know how spot-on it is.

112. Rebecca. Re-watched for Halloween. It’s not scary, but we’re very fond of it.

113. Boyhood. Richard Linklater’s project, shot with the same cast over 12 years so you can see how the characters age and evolve. Amazing and deeply moving.

114. Jersey Boys. We kept expecting Joe Pesci to show up…and he did!

115. The Italian Job. The original starring Michael Caine, the subject of all those Steve Coogan impressions.

* * * * *

interstellar_a
We would probably like Christopher Nolan’s movies more if his fans didn’t expect everyone to bow down and cross ourselves every time a new one came out. We like Interstellar, though.

Interstellar is set in the near future, on a ruined earth. Ex-NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey, who discovered a shining new career by losing the cuteness) is recruited to lead a mission to find other habitable planets. The crew members include Wes Bentley (too handsome), Anne Hathaway (whom we kept expecting to break out into “Cabaret” or “L-I-Z-A Liza”), and TARS, a robot who resembles a large chocolate bar or the monolith from 2001. Cooper leaves behind a son, Tom, and a daughter, Murph, who cannot forgive him for abandoning her.

A space travel movie! There should be more of those, if only to remind people to look beyond this speck of cosmic rubble we live on. Those of us who were kids during the 1970s are probably the last generation to take it for granted that we would go to space. What are we still doing here?

There are plot holes, but nothing big enough to swallow the movie. (Don’t ask the question about the advanced civilization using Morse Code.) We had an M. Night Shyamalan moment (like “He’s dead!” five minutes into in The Sixth Sense) early on, when we figured out who the ghost was, but even that couldn’t spoil it for us. Nolan does a good job conveying the sense of wonder, and as the vessel does its Kubrickian ballet in total silence we had goosebumps. We especially like the physical representation of time.

Nolan would probably prefer to be compared to Stanley Kubrick (The scene where the schoolteacher says the Apollo landings were fake refers directly to Kubrick, who is supposed to have directed the moonwalk for TV), but the movie Interstellar reminds us of is Contact, the Robert Zemeckis film based on Carl Sagan’s novel and co-starring McConaughey. The father-daughter bond bridging time and space…cue tears, cue Hans Zimmer score, no, no, cut that blasted score. Something like this calls for silence.

There’s a genuine emotional wallop when Cooper is confronted with the reality of time dilation in years and years of bitter messages from his children (grown into Casey Affleck, the one who can act, and Jessica Chastain, who has the ability to look like a pre-Raphaelite angel and still ground the proceedings in reality).

The movie asks questions like, Do we do things for humanity, or for the people we love? What about those of us who like humanity as a concept but don’t like people very much? And what is the role of human relationships in survival and evolution? We could have a long discussion as to whether we should leave this planet we have trashed so badly, but that would be laying too heavy a burden on what is, after all, an entertainment.

Kubrick wanted to know what comes after humanity. Nolan brings us back to the comforts of our species. Enjoy the spectacle.

In the cemetery where Truffaut lies buried

October 30, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Cats, History, Movies, Places, Traveling 3 Comments →

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There’s a Francois Truffaut exposition and retrospective at the Cinematheque Francaise. Like the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Patrick Modiano (whose books are in every bookshop window, taunting us), it exists to make people who don’t speak French feel bad. “But we’ve seen The 400 Blows lots of times, we already know the plot, so we can watch it anyway,” we consoled ourself. But The 400 Blows and the Antoine Doinel movies aren’t showing this week. Noooo!

In the meantime we visited Truffaut’s grave at the Montmartre Cemetery. We’re staying at our friend’s apartment, which is within spitting distance of Sacre Coeur, but only if you’re on the hill or if you’re an Olympic-level projectile spitter.

van gogh

On the way to the cemetery, we stopped at the house where Vincent Van Gogh lived with his brother, Theo. (There’s a plaque on the side of the building.) Sad story. In your lifetime your devoted brother, an art dealer, can’t sell any of your work, and then after your death your paintings go for zillions.

Still, the letters the brothers wrote to each other are wonderful. Read them. Vincent not only had the eye, he had the ear as well. One of them.

map

The map at the cemetery entrance lists the famous dead on the premises: Theophile Gautier, Edgar Degas, Hector Berlioz, Edmond Goncourt and so on. Even if we have no sense of direction, we couldn’t miss Truffaut’s grave.

truffaut

Visitors leave their metro tickets on it. The Last Metro, get it? Granted, it is easier than leaving 400 Blows or a piano player with a bullet through him.

cemetery

We like cemeteries, they’re quiet. A fat stray cat walked in front of us, but refused to be photographed.

* * * * *

prince
Cat of the Day: Prince, of the Del Fierro-Bouyers.Tried to eat our cake because it had lots of butter.