A word is worth a thousand pictures-Jude B

Film

Chinese Otaku in OUR SHINING DAYS

from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018

Delicate, your voice is my music.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Chen Jing (Xu Lu) pauses by the dreaded door of dorm room 502 and sees the sign: HUMANS STAY OUT. She knocks on the door and introduces herself, no one answers. A string curtain made of pink stars and plastic beads rattle to announce her presence. On a top bunk bed, someone whose face is hidden under a blue hoodie glares at her and immediately texts on her smartphone “Don’t speak to me!” and shows the screen. Chen tries to explain why she’s there. Just then she sees two girls hunched over two laptops playing a game. One has blonde hair the other blue. One of them says, “That’s Sakura, she doesn’t speak. I’m Bei bei and this is Tata.” Chen tries to explain her need to form a band. A hand from a dark curtain grabs Chen’s flyer and a threatening voice, “Do you want to exit through the door or the window?”

Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle); Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

You can watch OUR SHINING DAYS and many other award winning Chinese films for free on a first come first served basis. OUR SHINING DAYS is part of the Spring Film Festival organized by the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies from February 13-18, 2018 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Apart from the film festival there are a number of activities celebrating Chinese New Year that are open to the public and are free (also on a first come first served basis). This year the Chinese Painting Exhibit is at the Grand Atrium. On February 25, the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation will hold an exciting and elaborate lion dance exhibition in the same venue. The Oodles of Noodles food fest will run from February 16 – 28, featuring special noodle dishes with special discounts from participating restaurants.

from right: FDCP Festival Dev. Lead Officer Jo Andrew Torlao, Dr. Rosita Leong, Ricardo Dy Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Shangri La Plaza EVP & Gen Mgr Lala Fojas Ricardo Leong Center Board Member Myrna Yao and Flexo Manufacturing Director Pet Bautista. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

OUR SHINING DAYS celebrates Chinese traditional music injected with young cosplay inventiveness. Lesser-known aspects of ancient Chinese history, culture and traditional music are highlighted, while the struggles of this generation are dealt with. This gives viewers the best of both worlds. It’s for anyone or any group who has felt the need for acceptance.

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

PRINCESS JELLYFISH influence

OUR SHINING DAYS is an unlikely combination of the Japanese hit movie PRINCESS JELLYFISH and AMERCAN PIE, PITCH PERFECT with shades of GLEE. PRINCESS JELLYFISH is a successful Japanese manga (comic serial) that was so popular it was turned into an animated series that was then turned into a feature film. Its about a group of reclusive women trying to save the house they live in. They fall into a broad category called Otaku roughly translated to nerd or geek. What used to be a derogatory term is now more acceptable.

In China, at least according to this movie, they use the acronym ACG: Anime, Comics and games. These are some of the interests that are related to Otaku, but can be wider, interests can be photography, cars, hence the term, movie geek etc. The movie itself is live action and is combined with animated portions just like PRINCESS JELLYFISH. The connection with AMERICAN PIE is the term ‘band geek’ while the competitive side of music is from PITCH PERFECT or GLEE.

3rd and 4th from left: Shang Plaza Mall GM & EVP Lala Fojas and Ricardo Leong Center Spring Film Festival Director Jubilee Ong with Chinese Opera – Kaoka performers from Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students during the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee

The main character here is Chen Jing played by Xu Lu. She looks like a nerdy version of Filipina actress Kim Chiu on a consistently bad hair day (at least for this role). There are a number of Filipino actors of Chinese descent like Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee who are very popular. I’ve compared a number of Chinese mainland actresses to Kim Chiu because she has those almond eyes, soft jawline, dainty lips that are attractive Asian features.

Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee are popular Filipino Stars of Chinese descent. Photos from: https://www.facebook.com/KimChiufnpage/ and https://www.facebook.com/DeeEnchong/

The Goal

Chen Jing falls for Wang Wen (Luo Mingjie) a classical piano prodigy, the star of the Zhong Xian Music Academy who already draws fans through concerts as a junior. Chen Jing excitedly volunteered as his page-turner (one who turns the pages for the sheet music during performance).

from right: Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

After the concert was over she tells him how she truly feels. “I like you. I play the Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer).” A visibly irritated Wang Wen replies, “I have no time for anything else other than my music. The Yang-qin, what is that??? Is that even a real instrument?”

Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

So Chen Jing together with best pal, the klutzy, Li You (Peng Yuchang), set out to show her prowess in the instrument Wang knows nothing about. The goal is to make him fall in love with her through her music. To do this they need a band of several traditional Chinese instruments to back her up. The problem is their genré is no longer as popular. The only remaining students left to recruit are a group of reclusive freshmen who are into ACG and are considered Otaku.

from left: Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges), Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute),
Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums), Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute) and Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Instruments

The musical instruments are part and parcel of who they are and why they play them.   The leader of the newly formed traditional Chinese music band called 2.5 Dimension is Xiao Mai acted by Liu Yongxi who is tall, cropped hair, wearing dark robes.

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Her instrument: the Gu Zheng, is the Chinese zither with movable bridges, and is plucked using fingers. The Gu Zheng has also figured prominently in KUNG FU HUSTLE. It was used by one of the assassins to fire invisible blades and needles while he played it.

A Lucky Pagoda was constructed at the ground floor of Shang Plaza Mall, where you can read your Chinese Horoscope prospects in this year of the Dog at the foot of the tower. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lead star Xu Lu as Chen Jing uses the Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer), which is also a stringed instrument but is struck with two sticks made of bamboo. The sound is in between a piano and a harp.

Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Indication of changing times

The storyline of the movie is also a good indication of how things are changing in China. For the longest time there has always been a strong anti-Japanese sentiment there because of atrocities committed during the Second World War. As late as 2005 when Hollywood produced MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA with Chinese superstar Zhang Zhi Yi, it was met with an uproar of protests and criticism. The public then didn’t want to see a Chinese actress portray a Japanese geisha.

from left: ADMU VP for Univ.& Global Relations Fr. Joey Cruz, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Ricardo Dy Leong, Dr. Rosita Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Xavier School Pres. Fr. Aristotle Dy. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

These days there’s a strong following for Japanese animation, comics and games or Otaku culture among the Chinese youth. The freshmen attended an ACG Convention showing their popularity.

Legitimacy

The theme of legitimacy and acceptance is one that keeps cropping up. The norm in their school is to gain high enough grades and proficiency in their instrument that they qualify for scholarships abroad like Juliard and so on. This works for classical instruments like the piano, violin, cello etc.

While those in the program strictly concentrating on Chinese traditional instruments don’t have that ‘future’ or possibility of progressing abroad. So the classical music majors look down on students like Chen. That’s why there’s this ongoing war between the students of the two programs. In a way traditional Chinese music is fighting for its own legitimacy, as a dying art. (If the story of the movie is to be believed)

from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute) and Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

The ACG freshmen on the other hand are into cosplay and are reclusive group who have their own need for acceptance. As students they walk around with weird hair and costumes. People around them pressure them to conform. This is the overall theme of the movie that just because something is different or doesn’t conform, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be accepted.

from left: Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges) and Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

History and Culture

They are rejected because of the way they look and their devotion to this lost ancient art of music. But for them the mastery of the instruments is not an end in itself. They immerse themselves in ancient history together with poetry and literature along with the music. For example, “The Chinese Zither or guqin often referred to as the instrument of sages for the purpose of enriching the heart and elevating human spirit. Confucius (around 600 BC) was a master of this instrument.” From: http://www.philmultic.com/home/instruments/

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Maybe in the real world, the youth of today will see how invaluable history and culture is not just in China but in all nations.

Flowers blossom on Mount Nanshan. Moss grows on the fence.

Flowers blossom across the mountains every spring.

The grass on the faraway plains, catkins dance in the wind.

The grass grows on the path every year.

I’ve finally waited for spring to arrive when the grass are green.

I’ve finally waited for the red flower to blossom.

With the flowering of your beauty the river of years flow past.

—From the Chinese traditional song: The Grassy Path, adapted from

“Romantic Dream In A Garden” in Peony Pavilion.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Painting by Pablo Ong Jr on Fan entitled Flowers In Bloom. A Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium of Shang Plaza Mall will run from Feb 13-18, 2018. Organized by the Ateneo Confucius Institute, the exhibit will culminate with a free Chinese Painting Workshop – Specifically on Jeans (Feb 18).

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Eason Chan as Inspection Director; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute) and Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute), Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges), Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums)Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Li Nuo as Sakura instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges) and Han Zhongyu as Tata instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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center: Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums); Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14686025@N00/

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14686025@N00/

http://judebautista.tumblr.com/

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Millennial China in Intriguing Musical

Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Amoré, she reminds me of you.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

“She is mysterious and beautiful. That’s why I’ll believe her.” For some inexplicable reason Lee Xiao (Wang Ziyi) was drawn to Kat (Lang Yueting). Maybe it was her looks but more than that she seemed to have a depth of character, intelligence, sophistication and deliberate modesty that was rare. So Lee could not help but fall for her.

Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

In a place where everyone has his or her own agenda, believing her is a declaration of love. Theirs is a budding office romance that can be considered innocent compared to long-standing and scandalous affairs of their bosses and coworkers.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

You can watch Chow Yun Fat in THE OFFICE and many other award winning Chinese films for free on a first come first served basis. THE OFFICE is part of the Spring Film Festival organized by the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies from February 13-18, 2018 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Ricardo Dy Leong and Dr. Rosita Leong, co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Apart from the film festival there are a host of activities celebrating Chinese New Year that are open to the public and are free (also on a first come first served basis). This year the Chinese Painting Exhibit (opening on Feb 13) at the Grand Atrium will also have a painting workshop on jeans (Feb 18). For the schedule, details and other activities scroll down to the end of this article, below.

from right: Dr. Rosita Leong, Ricardo Dy Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Shangri La Plaza EVP & Gen Mgr Lala Fojas and Flexo Manufacturing Director Pet Bautista. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Despite having the same title, THE OFFICE (Chinese film) has nothing to do with the successful TV comedy from the U.K. created and starred in by Ricky Gervais and subsequent U.S. version with Steve Carell. It couldn’t be more different.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

This intriguing movie is the complete anti-thesis of how people perceive China’s economic landscape. Vicious, inner corporate politics, insider trading, financial manipulation, sexual intrigue it all sounds like a Wall Street storyline but that’s what THE OFFICE is about. Even if it is set in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the seemingly unfettered, free market where a large corporation’s greed and power is unregulated can be shocking coming from what is still supposed to be under the auspices of China’s Socialist (some say Communist) state.

The story redefines what we think of as a ‘Chinese movie’. Fascinating doesn’t begin to describe it. The futuristic sets, lighting can give BLADE RUNNER 2 a run for its money.

Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Based On

As if the story isn’t unique enough, coming from a supposed Socialist state in China, it is of all things, a musical. Based on a stage show written by Sylvia Chang, entitled DESIGN FOR LIVING. The musical approach is a novelty in Chinese cinema and is actually a worthwhile effort. They achieved the right balance between spoken dialogue interspersed with only the occasional musical portion. Some of them though are spectacular complete with elaborate dance sequences, reminiscent of the success in LA LA LAND.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

What sets this apart, however, is the story and production design along with the performances. 2 Best Art Direction trophies to William Chau and Alfred Yau validated this from the 52nd Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. The unique musicality was also recognized with Best Original Film Score for Lo Tayu and Keith Chan Fai-young from the Hong Kong Film Awards.—according to official wikiwand page.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Cut Out Walls and Trains

Hundreds of strip lights are suspended on a ceiling of a wide impressive lobby that leads to elevators of the palatial Jones & Sunn Headquarters. Rooms, even apartments can sometimes be sliced right in the middle as if the walls were cut out. In other instances the walls are made of glass.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

This is a style most often used in theater, so live audiences can witness performances within those rooms built on stage. Here it also seems to be a statement that private conversations or affairs will all be revealed or known. Taking it further, even trains are given this cut out or see through treatment, while functioning on rails. The technical achievement for production design is mind-boggling.

They constructed a functioning see through MTR. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

In the center of the CEO’s and other top execs offices is a giant clock that shows its gears, moving and the whole thing rotates. It may be another physical metaphor of the organization as it inevitably reveals its inner workings.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Filipino Brand Makes It

For a smaller detail, in the bar scene where the employees relax, the beer of choice in China these days is San Miguel Beer Light specifically. As the world is flooded by cheap Chinese imports its nice to see at least one Filipino brand making it into this prominent film. Perhaps in the next blockbuster it could be Tanduay Rhum, which took home BRAND OF THE YEAR honors 3 years in a row for the Philippines.

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Who Really Wears The Pants

Chow Yun Fat as tycoon Ho Chung Ping is the most recognizable name in the cast, internationally that is. His character is chairman of the trading company, but it was his wife’s family who built it. Ho married into his fortune. While he attends to his wife in the hospital, he leaves the operations to CEO Winnie Chang played by Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia. She adapted her stage script for the screen while director Johnnie To helmed the movie version.

from left: Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Director Johnnie To. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Sylvia is the long time actress, screenwriter and filmmaker who initially produced and starred in DESIGN FOR LIVING on which THE OFFICE is based on. The play became a huge hit when it first ran in 2009 and was able to expand its tour from the originally planned Beijing and Shanghai to all across China— according to New York Times article: A Filmmaker Finds Her Play Is the Thing.

Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Notable Performances

Almost tailor made for this movie is Canto pop superstar Eason Chan. His role as David Wang is a successful executive who uses his charms to seduce women to get ahead. Eason also appears in the movie OUR SHINING DAYS in Spring Film fest which you can also watch for free. OUR SHINIG DAYS is about Otaku culture, animation and comics in China.

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Original intent

It was also Sylvia’s vision to change THE OFFICE into a musical once set to screen. She has directed over 10 movies and written and starred in many more. As an actress she has the record for most nominations for Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards and won twice. Her performance here is that of a powerful woman willing to do anything to succeed. She wasn’t however, able to impart as much of the traditional Chinese values that was her original intent for the play.

from right: Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang), Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

New Face of China

For me what was more apparent was the ‘greed is good’ mantra made famous by Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film WALLSTREET. As an outsider looking in seeing this portrayal of a Chinese company can be shocking. There is always the perception that large Chinese corporations were if not controlled by the government closely worked with them. This is a complete and utter departure from that. In both movies, they fall victim to the stock market as well in the case of THE OFFICE – the banking crisis following the fall of the Lehman Brothers. What Sylvia Chang was able to show here, instead more accurately, is the new face of China for the millennium.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Scheduled activities for Chinese New Year:

Also starting on February 13, is the Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium, which features outstanding works by students and masters of the Ateneo Confucius Institute. The exhibition runs until February 18, culminating with a Chinese Painting Workshop (Paint Your Jeans) on February 18, 2 pm at the Grand Atrium open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Painting by Pablo Ong Jr on Fan entitled Mother and Child. A Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium of Shang Plaza Mall will run from Feb 13-18, 2018. Organized by the Ateneo Confucius Institute, the exhibit will culminate with a free Chinese Painting Workshop – Specifically on Jeans (Feb 18).

On New Year’s Day, February 16, a special mall-wide Chinese Dragon and Lion Mall Walkthrough takes place at 12 noon. On February 17, 2 pm at the Grand Atrium, visitors of the Shang will be treated to a Chinese Music Concert by the Ateneo Ricardo Leong Center that showcases different aspects of authentic Chinese culture, with a lineup that includes a performance by the Philippine York Lin School Chorale, an Er Hu exhibition, a musical performance by a local Chinese orchestra, a wushu exhibition by the Philippine York Lin School Wushu Group and an inspiring musical performance by Mr. Albert Cedric Tan, a talented pianist who has flourished despite being born blind and struggling with ADHD and autism.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Another special cultural show, the Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition will be held on February 25 at 2 pm by the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation, an organization founded in 1956 dedicated to Chinese martial arts, as well as the traditional lion and dragon dance. Young members of the group will be showcasing their talents in a medley of dance, wushu, and drum performances at the Grand Atrium.

(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

More exciting events will be happening throughout the month in celebration of Chinese New Year, Shang will light up the sky with a fireworks display on February 15, 9 pm at the Streetscape, the Flavors of China market on from February 8 to 18 at the Food Forum, consultations for a lucky year with Master Charlie Chao on February 16 and 17, 4 PM to 8 PM at Luxury Lane and Mysterium Manila on February 16 to 18 at the Level 4, Open Café. The Oodles of Noodles food fest will run from February 16 – 28, featuring special noodle dishes with special discounts from participating restaurants.

A Lucky Pagoda was constructed at the ground floor of Shang Plaza Mall, where you can read your Chinese Horoscope prospects in this year of the Dog at the foot of the tower. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Center: Shang Plaza Mall GM & EVP Lala Fojas with Chinese Opera – Kaoka performers from Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students during the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Tien Hsin (Karling); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Eason Chan (David Wang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Epic Sendoff in STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI

Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Written by

Jude Bautista

Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa): Forget it Poe! Get your squad back so we can get out of this place. Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron): No General we can do this! We have the chance to take out a Dreadnaught! These things are real killers, we can’t let them get away! Leia: Disengage now commander, THAT is an ORDER! Take that look off your face 3-P0. Anthony Daniels (C3P0): I certainly can’t general. Poe: Let’s go BB-8 its now or never…

Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI has fulfilled every fan’s dream. There are epic battles upon epic battles. Just when you think they’re done another action packed sequence comes at you. In a lot of ways this is better than FORCE AWAKENS, which introduced characters in the vein of A NEW HOPE.

the AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas

This latest release STAR WARS Episode 8, reminds one of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK with even more action, battles in different environments sometimes happening at the same time. For hardcore fans they’d recognize the older vehicles, Dreadnaughts and the land based AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport), which also figured prominently in EMPIRE only with the clashes taken several notches higher.

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From the dialogue above there’s the X-Wing and Tie fighter dog fights in orbit/space. There are more spacecraft from both the rebellion and the First Order. Newer androids, BB-8 has an evil twin in all black. One thing that distinguishes this movie from the previous versions is the injection of humor straight from the opening sequence. This was noted by screenwriter, filmmaker, actor and life long fan Kevin Smith in his youtube review.

from left: Benicio del Toro (DJ), John Boyega (Finn), Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo), Disney CEO Bob Iger, Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) and Daisy Ridley (Rey). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas

MG-100 Star Fortress SF-17 also known as the B/SF-17 heavy bomber, or simply as the Resistance Bomber. Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

According to Scott Mendelson of Forbes.com, “the Rian Johnson sci-fi sequel has sold more tickets than any other December release aside from Beverly Hills Cop ($234m in 1984/$599m today), The Force Awakens, Titanic and Avatar. 3D bumps notwithstanding, The Last Jedi is way ahead of the inflation-adjusted totals for all of the Lord of the Rings movies.” It’s currently projected for $630 million for U.S. and has already breeched $1.2 billion worldwide.

Writer/Director Rian Johnson; Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Lovable android BB8; Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

The numbers in my mind seem to suggest that the torch has again been successfully passed from the older generation to the millennials. This is no mean feat especially for the young stars in Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren). This definitely bodes well for upcoming STAR WARS films such as Ewan McGregor’s return in KENOBI set for 2019 and of course STAR WARS Episode 9.

KENOBI: A Star Wars Story – First Look Trailer (2019) Ewan McGregor Star Wars Solo Movie Concept

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Modern Trailer

John Williams’ Milestone

Its not just all about ticket sales but awards too. Reported by VARIETY, legendary composer, musical director John Williams may break the record for most number of Oscar nominations for two of his movies in the running THE POST and THE LAST JEDI. THE POST is directed by Steven Spielberg who has worked with Williams in all of his movies. Williams has also scored 8 of the STAR WARS films.

From left: Producer Ram Bergman, America’s Composer John Williams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy at the LAST JEDI Premiere – The Shrine Auditorium December 9, 2017, L.A. California.

If he is nominated for both it would be the 51st and 52nd respectively. His five Oscar wins include: for Best Musical Score SCHINDLER’S LIST (1994), ET THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1983), STAR WARS A NEW HOPE (1978), JAWS (1976) and Best Scoring adaptation and Original Song Score for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1972). Oscar nominees will be announced February 5, 2018.

Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Carrie Fisher’s Farewell

The confrontations and action takes place on multiple fronts but there is an even more important reason for a lot of fans to go to cinemas especially in the U.S.. Carrie Fisher who played Leia Organa in the STAR WARS series, has her last living performance in THE LAST JEDI. Fisher passed away December 27, 2016 after suffering from sleep apnea on a commercial flight from London to Los Angeles. Although, traces of cocaine, heroin, were found in her system, they were not conclusively determined as the direct cause of her death. Soon after Carrie, her mother (and Hollywood legend) Debbie Reynolds also passed away from a stroke about a day later while planning funeral arrangements.

Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix) and Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Carrie’s daughter Billie Lourd referring to her mother said, “She battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life [and] ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases… I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles.”

Stigma on Mental Illness and Drug Addiction

Among the cast she is the one who evolved the most creatively. She skyrocketed to fame in 1977 with STAR WARS A NEW HOPE. Apart from being an actress she became a successful novelist, screenwriter, script doctor and playwright. She used her own struggles with mental illness (she was diagnosed as bi-polar) and drug use as material for her best selling novels: POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE and THE BEST AWFUL THERE IS and one woman play she performed WISHFUL DRINKING. Her openness with her own struggles was a means for her to shed light on the stigma of those diseases.

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (“Star Wars” Moments)

Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa) and Writer/Director Rian Johnson. Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas

Writer / director Rian Johnson, shared that he worked in the lines that Carrie Fisher pitched during rehearsals and ended up being the funniest moments in the movie. Her humorous touch may be her lasting legacy here in this installment. In a January 2014 interview, Fisher confirmed her involvement and those of the original cast in the upcoming sequels by saying “as for the next Star Wars film, myself, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill are expected to report to work in March or April. I’d like to wear my old cinnamon buns hairstyle again but with white hair. I think that would be funny.”

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In 2016, Harvard College gave Fisher its Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, noting that “her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness, and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy.” From https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Carrie_Fisher#/2000s

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..L to R: Director Rian Johnson with Carrie Fisher (Leia) on set. ..Photo: David James..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

In STAR WARS Episode IX, Fisher was supposed to play an even bigger role in the story. Producers have had to change the script since her death. THE LAST JEDI has become her farewell performance on screen.

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

What Carrie Fisher fought for concerning mental illness and drug use is particularly relevant for us Filipinos. There are those of us here who believe Carrie should have been killed as an incurable drug addict early in her career. If that happened we, the world would have lost so much, not just her performances but mostly her writings. Whether its her novel, screenplays or one woman act plays which drew a lot of the humor and insights from her experiences with addiction.

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Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker’s character played by Mark Hamill has truly come full circle in this movie. In NEW HOPE and original trilogy he had the brash aggressiveness of his youth, at this point and realistically he is the older, more reluctant, even cowardly hero. Which only seems more believable, that’s why fans were able to relate with his character from the beginning. We understand how and why he’d feel as a mere mortal. At the same time we’ve seen that evolution in him.

PNB You First with DongYan and JaDine

My own favorite scene from the STAR WARS franchise is in the climax of RETURN OF THE JEDI, (maligned by critics when it first came out). Luke was about to be executed by Jabba the Hutt walking the plank, about to fall to his death into the mouth of a gigantic monster called the Sarlacc in the Great Pit of Carkoon. In what seemed like the most desperate clutches, he was still able to extricate himself through his use of the force. Without ruining too much THE LAST JEDI has its moments in that vein, I think that’s why the loyal fans of the franchise appreciates that from writer / director Rian Johnson.

Sarlacc Pit Battle

John Boyega (Finn) and Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Rectifying Past Mistakes

Knowing what worked in the past, like the scene above, writers were also conscious of what didn’t work. PHANTOM MENACE was largely criticized for its racist overtones. They had an alien race, Neimoidians that had an Asian accent combined with inordinately large eyes. Jar Jar binks on the other hand had a Jamaican sounding accent. Since ROGUE ONE, that perception has been rectified with the casting of Donnie Yen as a blind Jedi monk Chirrut Îmwe and Wen Jiang as Baze.

Fly the Way You Deserve with PAL

Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

LAST JEDI has put the spotlight on a new Asian character in Rose Tico played by Kelly Marie Tran. But the story also goes beyond rectifying old mistakes by exposing current problems in the world. The plight of modern day slavery is also dealt with here. Rose herself was a victim of it and attempts to damage the gambling haven of Canto Bight that exploits them.

Benicio del Toro (DJ); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern

There are more cool characters introduced in THE LAST JEDI. Among them code breaker and bounty hunter DJ played by no less than Benicio Del Toro. He has had a lot of critically acclaimed performances. He was a vengeful prosecutor turned vigilante in SICARIO which has a much anticipated sequel called SOLDADO set for release in June 2018. Benicio gives all of his characters that dark, morally ambiguous feel, that gives this film even more texture.

#Throwback: Tanduay Select Yacht Party 2017

Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo is no stranger to a lot of sci-fi fans as she has figured prominently in JURASSIC PARK (1 through 3). Her scenes with the late Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) are among the most memorable and dramatic in this movie. Most fans will identify Dern as Renata Klein in BIG LITTLE LIES that recently won a lot of awards at the Golden Globes.

Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Game of Thrones actors

GOT fans have given FORCE AWAKENS a thumbs up with Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. Her character is given even more screen time in this installment. Gwendoline is the tall warrior/ knight who won our hearts as Lady Brienn or with the ironic name of Brienne The Beauty.

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Since then she was not the only GOT actor to be given a prominent role in THE LAST JEDI. Not a lot of GOT fans may remember Ralph Ineson because he only played a minor role in Dagmer Cleftjaw and similarly here as a Senior First Order officer. But Ineson has actually worked in several Hollywood blockbusters: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY1, KINGSMAN1 and HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS.

Kate Dickie was famous as Lysa Arryn in GOT, here she’s Hux’s First Order Monitor. Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Kate Dickie who played Lysa Arryn was almost unrecognizable as Hux’s First Order Monitor. She had a cap and black uniform on annotating / reporting to First Order General Hux played by another prominent British actor Domhnall Gleeson.

Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Apart from lead star Daisy Ridley as Jedi in training Rey, the British influence is certainly felt. Prince William and Harry’s cameo roles were not cut out along with Tom Hardy, Garry Barlow. Other big Hollywood names include director Edgar Wright and Joseph Gordon Levitt as Storm troopers.

from left: Producer Ram Bergman, Daisy Ridley (Rey), Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Big Screen Goodbye

What writer /director Rian Johnson has done is to give long time fans of STAR WARS what they want with more battle scenes, more action, more intergalactic beasts that are both familiar and strange. The Fathiers are bigger, hairier, faster more powerful versions of racehorses in a galactic casino city. Apart from the epic battle scenes are the individual Jedi vs dark side duels, which may be the best ever. Whether a long time admirer OR NOT it’s the best two and a half hours you can spend in a movie theater.

Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Besides, how else can you say goodbye to a Princess known in the whole galaxy? She made us love her even more admitting her weaknesses with drugs, medication and alcohol through her humor, wit, words and memorable performances. Farewell Leia, ‘May the Force be with you.’

Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) smooches Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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the Porg; Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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from left: Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas

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the Fathier is one of many new beasts; Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

from left: Sara Heller (Arashel Sar), Temirlan Blaev (Temiri Blagg) and Josiah Oniha (Oniho Zaya). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

The old Millennium Falcon still works. Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

from left: Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas

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Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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Crystal Fox is one of many new beasts; Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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John Boyega (Finn) and Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

John Boyega (Finn) and Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Crystal Fox is one of many new beasts; Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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from left: Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa), BB8, Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn) and Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas

Benicio del Toro (DJ); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix) and Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa). Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.

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Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker); Catch STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall and RWM Cinemas.


SIARGAO, LARAWAN Dominate MMFF Awards

SIARGAO team from left: Social Media Mgr Patti Lapus, Screenwriter Anjeli Pessumal, Suzette Ranillo (Diego’s Mom), Director / Producer Paul Soriano, Jasmine Curits Smith (Abi) and Producer/ Editor Mark Victor. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Jericho Rosales, Erich Gonzales, Jasmine Curtis starrer about a rock star escaping his conflicts by going to his hometown of SIARGAO and a movie musical with a combination of the roaring 20’s and operettas about pre war Manila in ANG LARAWAN with Joanna Ampil, Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi reaped a majority of the awards in the Metro Manila Film Festival’s Gabi Ng Parangal at the KIA Theater last December 27, 2017.

LARAWAN cast from left: Exec. Producer Girlie Rodis, Dulce (Doña Upeng), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Joanna Ampil (Candida), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

SIARGAO had a total of 8 while ANG LARAWAN had 5 awards. Both ALL OF YOU and ANG PANDAY had 4 awards, followed by DEADMA WALKING with 2.

SIARGAO with 8 Awards – 2nd Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Jasmine Curtis Smith), Best Director (Paul Soriano), Best Cinematography (Odyssey Flores and team), Best Sound (Jason Conanan, Mark Locsin, Mikko Quizon, Kathrine Ariane Salinas), Best Editor (Mark Victor), Best Looking Couple of the Night (Erich Gonzales) and Best Original Theme Song (ALON by Hale)

Best Looking Couple of the Night: Erich Gonzales (SIARGAO) and Derek Ramsay (ALL OF YOU). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

ANG LARAWAN with 5 awards – Best Actress (Joanna Ampil), Best Picture, Special Jury Prize to Nick Joaquin for Portrait of a Filipino, Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award, Best Production Design (Gino Gonzales)

ALL OF YOU with 4 awards – Best Actor (Derek Ramsay), 3rd Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Dan Villegas, Paul Sta. Ana, Carl Chavez and Melissa Mae Chua), Best Looking Couple of the Night (Derek Ramsay)

standing from left: Win Gonzales (Short Film People’s Choice – NOEL), SIARGAO Team: Screenwriter Anjeli Pessumal, Supervising Prod RC Delos Reyes, Suzette Ranillo, Paul Soriano (Best Director), Jasmine Curtis Smith (Best Supporting Actress), Derek Ramsay (Best Actor- ALL OF YOU), LARAWAN Team: Dulce, Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, Joanna Ampil (Best Actress), Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, ?, LARAWAN Exec Prod. Girlie Rodis and Producer Alemberg Ang. Bottom Row from left: SIARGAO’s Patti Lapus, ALL OF YOU Screenwriter Carl Chavez (Best Screenplay), Dan Vilegas (3rd Best Film) and Edgar Allan Cruz (Best Supporting Actor- DEADMA WALKING). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

ANG PANDAY with 4 awards – Children’s Choice, Best Visual Effects (John David Hukom, Blackburst Team), Special Jury Award- Rodel Nacianceno a.k.a Coco Martin and Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award

DEADMA WALKING with 2 awards – Best Supporting Actor (Edgar Allan Guzman) and Best Float.

Gaga for LARAWAN from left: Aicelle Santos (Violet), Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), Publicist Toots Tolentino and Cris Villonco (Susan). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

This year there was a very clear delineation between more popular commercial films and more creative material. This is a marked improvement unlike previous years when even the box office top grossers were the ones given the awards with their earnings as basis. So there didn’t seem to be space for themes and movies that enlighten and educate the movie going public’s palate.

Organizers MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, MMDA GM & MMFF Exec Committee Chairman Tim Orbos made the right decision by putting National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera as head of the screening committee for the MMFF entries. Lumbera is very well respected in the realm of Filipino film criticism as one of the founding members of the Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

from right: National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim and MMDA GM & MMFF Exec Committee Chairman Tim Orbos The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lumbera was given an award of recognition in the middle of the ceremonies. And in his speech he essentially admonished the movie going public to patronize the award winning films and not just the more popular commercial comedies, action flicks that Filipinos flock to.

LARAWAN Cast Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier) and Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

The irony is that a film like LARAWAN is actually incredibly entertaining; the award for Musical Direction – Ryan Cayabyab is testament to this. More popularly known as Ryan C, who is probably one of the most celebrated composers, musical directors of our time. In Japan where LARAWAN premiered in the Tokyo International Film Festival, they garnered the audience choice award.

LARAWAN Cast from left: Best Musical Director winner Ryan Cayabyab, Nanette Inventor (Doña Irene), Director Loy Arceñas and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes. The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

IF only our kababayan would open their hearts and minds to the creative triumph that is LARAWAN, they will realize how rich our own Filipino culture and history while being moved and yes entertained. From the trailer Zsa Zsa Padilla, Nanette Inventor and Dulce are all in a hilarious mambo line, which should definitely be enough of a draw.

Jasmine Curtis Smith of SIARGAO earned Best Supporting Actress nod. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

SIARGAO on the other hand is a movie that highlights the scenic beauty of what is considered to be the surfing capital of the Philippines. There’s a chance at a new relationship for both Diego (Jericho Rosales) and Laura (Erich Gonzales) who meet on the plane. While an old flame in Abi (Jasmine Curtis Smith) still has feelings for Diego. We see a lot of the local culture, at the same time young characters who show a lot of their lives on line.

Nowhere is the gap between quality of films and quantity of audiences more apparent than in SIARGAO director Paul Soriano’s speech. He gave a glowing endorsement to their competitor, which is practically unheard of in the MMFF.

Nar Cabico sang ALL OF YOU theme with Raflesia Bravo, Phi Palmos and Joshua Cabilados. The talented performers can be seen in HIMALA THE MUSICAL this Feb 2018 with LARAWAN cast member Aicelle Santos as lead star for Sandbox Collective. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Soriano credited his cast and producer Mark Victor. But he made note of the underwater cinematography of Gaps Abuero and Max Abasolo as well as Odyssey Flores who employed drones to get picturesque aerial shots of Surigao Del Norte.

Paul Soriano of SIARGAO won Best Director; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Paul Soriano in his speech continued, “Yesterday a film touched my heart. I know what they’re going through. You guys, I watched it yesterday in a full house in Rockwell. I know what it is you’re going through. I hope you get the opportunity to see such a beautiful film; Against the World. That’s kinda what we do. It just really hit me. To the team ANG LARAWAN I share this with you guys.”

Days before Soriano caused a stir on line when he lamented publicly when cinemas decided to pull out LARAWAN and other entries early in the MMFF run.

LARAWAN’s young ladies from left: Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Cris Villonco (Susan), Cara Manglapus (Patsy) and Aicelle Santos (Violet). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

LARAWAN Producer Alemberg Ang, in an interview, clarified that there was coordination with cinema owners and management who requested to prioritize the more popular family oriented films in the opening MMFF weekend (December 23 to Christmas). This is to maximize the greater portion of the movie going public who went with kids and their families.

LARAWAN cast Best Actress Joanna Ampil (Candida) and Producer Alemberg Ang . The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

And immediately after that show titles like ANG LARAWAN, DEADMA WALKING, SIARGAO and ALL OF YOU, especially now after awards night. Alem has confirmed that LARAWAN and the others have now been released to even more theaters around the metro. Please check listings on newspapers and online to find out which cinemas are running the awardees.

Shang Cineplex is already running LARAWAN, SIARGAO and DEADMA WALKING.

Click on link for full schedule.

TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

Of the glowing endorsement from Paul Soriano in his acceptance speech Alem added, “Paul already posted on facebook and tweeted tagging all of us in twitter and fb. I’ve worked with him on TRANSIT. He’s really such a gentleman. He’s such a sincere person, such a great guy. And I guess the concept of Contra Mundum of art versus commercialism (translates to Defy the World). Which is what (MMDA Chairman) General Danilo Lim mentioned in his speech. That really blew us away. It’s our battle cry and continually we’re living it. Even all my indie films its like that. So right now we have a very good product and we’re glad people are responding.”

LARAWAN Cast standing from left: Producer Alemberg Ang, Musical Dir. Ryan Cayabyab, Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), Director Loy Arceñas, Rayver Cruz (Charlie Dacanay), Mid row seated from left: Executive Producer Girlie Rodis, Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Nanette Inventor (Doña Irene), Dulce (Doña Upeng), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Cara Manglapus (Patsy), Bottom row from left: Aicelle Santos (Violet), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier) and Cris Villonco (Susan). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Full MMFF 2017 Awards list

Best Actress

Joanna Ampil – ANG LARAWAN

Best Actress Joanna Ampil (Candida)- LARAWAN; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Actor

Derek Ramsay – ALL OF YOU

Tanduay endorser Derek Ramsay (ALL OF YOU) won Best Actor. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Picture

ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN sings acceptance speech from left: Producer Girlie Rodis, Joanna Ampil (Candida), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Dulce (Doña Upeng) and Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

2nd Best Picture

SIARGAO

SIARGAO team from right: Jericho Rosales (Diego), Director / Producer Paul Soriano, Jasmine Curits Smith (Abi), Producer/ Editor Mark Victor, Supervising Producer RC Delos Reyes and Suzette Ranillo (Diego’s Mom), The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

3rd Best Picture

ALL OF YOU

ALL OF YOU team from right: Producer Atty Joji Alonzo, director Dan Villegas; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

LARAWAN Cast from left: Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), Aicelle Santos (Violet), Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier) and Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Special Jury Prize (tie)

ANG LARAWAN posthumously to Nick Joaquin

ANG PANDAY – Rodel Nacianceno

PANDAY’s Jake Cuenca; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

People’s Choice Award

GANDARRAPIDDO: THE REVENGER SQUAD

Best Supporting Actress

Jasmine Curtis Smith – SIARGAO

Jasmine Curtis Smith of SIARGAO earned Best Supporting Actress nod. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Supporting Actor

Edgar Allan Guzman – DEADMA WALKING

Edgar Allan Cruz is Best Supporting Actor-DEADMA WALKING. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

Gatpuno Villegas Cultural Award

ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN Cast Rayver Cruz (Charlie Dacanay) and Cara Manglapus (Patsy). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Director

Paul Soriano – SIARGAO

Paul Soriano of SIARGAO won Best Director; The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Child Performer

Baeby Baste

Baeby Baste (Sebastian Benedict Granfon Arumpac) won Best Child Performer (MEANT TO BEH). He also charmed audiences by giving his acceptance speech completely in Cebuano. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Children’s Choice

ANG PANDAY

Best Screenplay

Dan Villegas, Paul Sta. Ana, Carl Chavez and Melissa Mae Chua- ALL OF YOU

ALL OF YOU team from left: Director Dan Villegas, Atty Joji Alonzo and Screenwriter Carl Chavez show their 3rd Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Dan Villegas, Paul Sta. Ana, Carl Chavez and Melissa Mae Chua) awards. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Cinematography

Odyssey Flores, Gaps Abuero and Max Abasolo– SIARGAO

Best Sound

Jason Conanan, Mark Locsin, Mikko Quizon, Kathrine Ariane Salinas – SIARGAO

Best Editor

Mark Victor – SIARGAO

Producer / Editor Mark Victor picks up Best Editing award for SIARGAO. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Looking Couple of the Night

Erich Gonzales – SIARGAO

Derek Ramsay – ALL OF YOU

Best Looking Couple of the Night: Erich Gonzales (SIARGAO) and Derek Ramsay (ALL OF YOU). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Production Design

Gino Gonzales – ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN cast from left: Dulce (Doña Upeng), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Exec. Producer Girlie Rodis, Joanna Ampil (Candida), Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Visual Effects

John David Hukom, Blackburst Team – ANG PANDAY

David Hukom and Blackburst Team took home Best Visual Effects award for PANDAY. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Original Theme Song

Alon by Hale – SIARGAO

Best Musical Score

Ryan Cayabyab – ANG LARAWAN

LARAWAN Cast from left: Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Director Loy Arceñas, Musical Director Ryan Cayabyab and Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro). The LARAWAN Press con was held at Promenade Theaters in Greenhills last December 7, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Short Film People’s Choice Award

NOEL

Short Film People’s Choice winner NOEL by Win Gonzales of Go motion productions. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Short Film Best Picture

ANONG NANGYARI KAY NICANOR DANTE?

Short Film Best Picture winner ANONG NANGYARI KAY NICANOR DANTE? by Brian Spencer Reyes of EMJEI Films and Photographs. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Best Float

DEADMA WALKING

DEADMA WALKING co stars from left: Edgar Allan Cruz and Joross Gamboa. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

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Baeby Baste (Sebastian Benedict Granfon Arumpac) won Best Child Performer (MEANT TO BEH). He also charmed audiences by giving his acceptance speech completely in Cebuano. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

LARAWAN cast from left: Best Actress Joanna Ampil (Candida), Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng) and Rachel Alejandro (Paula). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Presenters Lance Raymudo and Regine Tolentino. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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DEADMA WALKING co stars from left: Edgar Allan Cruz and Joross Gamboa. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

Nar Cabico (center) sang ALL OF YOU theme with Raflesia Bravo, Phi Palmos and Joshua Cabilados. The talented performers can be seen in HIMALA THE MUSICAL this Feb 2018 with LARAWAN cast member Aicelle Santos as lead star for Sandbox Collective. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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TANDUAY, one of the BEST and most awarded brands in the country, is also a long time supporter of the MMFF and Philippine cinema.

LARAWAN cast from left: Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Rachel Alejandro (Paula), Joanna Ampil (Candida), Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Pepang) and Producer Alemberg Ang. The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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standing from left: Jasmine Curtis Smith (Best Supporting Actress-SIARGAO), Derek Ramsay (Best Actor- ALL OF YOU), LARAWAN Team: Dulce, Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, Joanna Ampil (Best Actress), Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, Bottom Row from left: ALL OF YOU Screenwriter Carl Chavez (Best Screenplay), Dan Vilegas (3rd Best Film) and Edgar Allan Cruz (Best Supporting Actor-DEADMA WALKING). The MMFF Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Awards Night – Gabi Ng Parangal was held at the Kia Theater December 27, 2017. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Unity in JUSTICE LEAGUE

From left: Ezra Miller (The Flash), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Written by

Jude Bautista

Ray Fisher (Cyborg): My father called it a change engine. It was found by the British during World War I. They studied it but they couldn’t even date it, it was so old. It was shelved ‘til the night Superman died. Then she lit up like Christmas. They brought it to Star Labs where my father recognized it as a perpetual energy matrix.

The Mother box and Steppenwolf allowed writers to deal with the origin of Cyborg and add the histories of both the Amazons and Atlanteans. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Ezra Miller (Flash): That sounds cool. I thought it was like a nuclear bomb. Cyborg: A mother box destroys as it creates. It’s a cycle of life a million times faster. My father thought it was the key to unlimited energy. New formulas cellular regeneration but its too volatile to control. Ben Affleck (Batman): He used it on you.

Ray Fisher (Cyborg); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Cyborg: I was in an accident. I should’ve died. My father thought he could use the mother box to rebuild the broken parts of me with a few cybernetic adjustments. Instead he built a living machine, maybe stronger than its host. Batman: Too much, too much life. Jason Momoa (Aquaman): What’s on your worried mind? Batman: Coordination basic cellular integrity. The human being can only absorb so much. The mother box was designed to reshape a planet. Aquaman: So?

Batman: What if you were stronger than a planet?

From left: Ezra Miller (The Flash), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

JUSTICE LEAGUE puts together the strongest team possible, at least in the DC Universe: Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman (Ben Affleck), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Flash (Ezra Miller).

LizQuen for New Close Up Ever Fresh TVC

Any superhero mega blockbuster movie in my mind is not only as good as the team up but the villain has to be just as compelling and awe-inspiring. The antihero here is the very reason why they’re coming together. That’s why even on the MARVEL side of things they’re already hyping up the enemy in Thanos.

From left: Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Henry Cavill (Superman),
Ezra Miller (The Flash), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg) and Ben Affleck (Batman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

DC Film Legacy

I’ve written this before in previous reviews BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, there’s greater pressure on DC because they have the added burden of pleasing the critics and award giving bodies as well as having to make a gazillion dollars to be called a ‘success’. MARVEL for the most part just has to make money.

Jeremy Irons (Alfred); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger have either been nominated or won an Oscar for the Joker role. Christian Bale, Michael Keaton have both made their mark as Batman not to forget their directors Chris Nolan and Tim Burton. And even before those Christopher Reeve & producer Alexander Salkind have also reaped critical acclaim for SUPERMAN in the 1970s. Marlon Brando was Jor-El, Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), THE GODFATHER novelist Mario Puzo co-wrote the screenplay. Their work was so memorable that a huge number of people to this day think of Christopher Reeve as THE Superman.

Stephen Curry Chooses Rexona, the World’s No.1 Deo

While JUSTICE LEAGUE may not necessarily be Oscar material, I feel it has more than lived up to the creative expectations. If you were to say ANY other film breached the half billion mark it would have been considered a huge success. But because of production costs along with global marketing and having to compare it with the competition apart from other DC AND Marvel titles specifically WONDER WOMAN, THE AVENGERS etc. it is seen as a box office disappointment.

The Mother box and Steppenwolf allowed writers to deal with the origin of Cyborg and add the histories of both the Amazons and Atlanteans. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Mother boxes Origin

So going back to the point of why I think it’s a creative success, one of the reasons is their usage of Mother boxes and Steppenwolf as the antagonist. The mother boxes help thresh out the origin of Cyborg. In cartoons Cyborg has come out in TEEN TITANS but his origin was never fully dealt with. As related in the lead dialogue above the mother boxes put an interesting twist to the human/cybernetic combination that is not a new concept.

Ray Fisher (Cyborg); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Cyborg is a lot more than just a Six Million Dollar Man or ROBOCOP. Victor Stone’s exposure to mother boxes allows him to evolve and give him a direct connection with machines, both physical and ‘mental’. For the youth of today who are constantly online, seeing someone who can surf the web with the internet coming out of his hands is a power they can relate to.

Jadine Ding Dong Marian – PNB Serving You First For The Next 100 Years

Steppenwolf

The Steppenwolf character also ties together the history of the Amazons and the Atlanteans. There’s a greater appreciation of the origin stories of two JUSTICE LEAGUE members in Wonder Woman and Aquaman. That’s why Wonder woman was the one who best explained what the mother boxes are and Steppenwolf:

Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Gal Gadot (Diana Prince): They don’t contain power, they are power. Carried from planet to planet the mother boxes combine to form the ‘unity’ an apocalyptic power that not only destroys worlds but transforms them into the primordial house gate of Steppenwolf’s birth world. We should’ve died but we formed our own unity: Amazons, Atlanteans all the tribes of man fought side by side. Warriors of legend, allies from other worlds even the gods themselves all acted as one laying down their lives to drive Steppenwolf away. Some say it drove him mad the disgrace of his first retreat. Before our alliance would crumble the darkness would cover the earth. He vowed that he would return when it did. Left behind the mother boxes were too dangerous to be kept together. One was entrusted to the Amazons, one to the Atlanteans, both sealed and guarded secure strongholds. The box of man was buried in secret so that no tribe would be tempted to use its power. Such harmony out of such horror, it was truly an age of heroes.

The Mother box and Steppenwolf allowed writers to deal with the origin of Cyborg and add the histories of both the Amazons and Atlanteans. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

In any movie I review I include either dialogue or a scene that would pique the interests of the readers. At the same time I don’t want to divulge too much that would ruin the experience of watching it. For the dialogue I have included in the lead and the explanation of Diana (alter ego of Wonder Woman), I feel having a better understanding of the mother boxes and Steppenwolf would definitely enhance the experience.

PAL – Gifts from the Heart: Noche Buena Surprise

Unity

Not included in the dialogue above are the scenes running while she related this story which included the Green Lantern race—‘allies from other worlds’ as described by Diana. It may be a teaser for a future member of JUSTICE LEAGUE, which is Green Lantern (most famous human alter ego) aka Hal Jordan.

Green Lantern race joins fight against Steppenwolf. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Using Steppenwolf as the antagonist we get a better sense of how Aquaman came to be. And how the Amazons are not just parts of Greek lore but are defenders of humanity. The use of the mother boxes also drives home a theme of unity from both sides: the boxes have to come together to form a portal for Steppenwolf and the JUSTICE LEAGUE heroes have to gel as a team.

TANDUAY – Piliin Mo Ang Bubuo Sayo

Director Zack Snyder has story credit with Chris Terrio who wrote the screenplay with Joss Whedon. Story and dialogue aren’t the first things that come to mind with superhero movies but in this case they made it work. Terrio has already won an Oscar for ARGO. He also wrote: BATMAN VS SUPERMAN and the upcoming STAR WARS Episode IX, he’s also on board for JUSTICE LEAGUE 2. Interestingly enough Whedon co wrote both AVENGERS (2012) and AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON (2015).

Ciaran Hinds as the legendary Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones. Mance Rayder quote from http://gameofquotes.blogspot.com/

Casting Choices

Connected to Steppenwolf is the actor in the role: Ciaran Hinds. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and his name is pronounced KEE-rin. For most fans they know him as Mance Rayder from Game of Thrones. Rayder was an exceedingly tough, legendary leader who united the Wildlings, North of the Wall. I think that’s part of the reason why there was some dissatisfaction with not seeing him and having a CGI character instead.

Ciaran Hinds is the voice behind Steppenwolf. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

The problem is the need to have Steppenwolf as physically imposing or threatening to the likes of Wonder Woman and Batman. If you can imagine Jason Momoa (Aquaman) who looks like a 6’3” bodybuilder, running back, Heavyweight UFC fighter. You have to have an antagonist who puts the fear in THEM. So in this age of 3D animation, the visual compromise was acceptable. Hinds vocal performance was powerful and scary, definitely a testament to his acting abilities.

Jason Momoa (Aquaman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Hilarious Ellen Adarna – Tanduay prank vid

Connie Nielsen

Nielsen is an unforgettable, tall almost imposing Danish beauty. She was also one of the women offered by the devil (Al Pacino) to seduce Keanu Reeves in THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. There’s something striking in her features and blonde hair that seems to denote royalty. She was notable as the emperor’s daughter in GLADIATOR. That’s why as Queen Hippolyta, Nielsen’s performance is equally memorable. One of the scenes hinted at a Lesbian relationship. Which is understandable since they are all women who cannot leave the island of Themyscira. Hippolyta’s sister and Amazon Lieutenant Menalippe played by Dutch actress Loven Kongsli also makes an appearance here. If only for those scenes, JUSTICE LEAGUE has proven its worth.

from left: Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta) and Loven Kongsli (Menalippe). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Ray Fisher (Cyborg); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Millennial Heroes

Ray Fisher, will reprise his role in a stand-alone movie CYBORG and FLASHPOINT (with The Flash) in 2020. Fisher has a solid acting background in theater and once played Mohammad Ali in FETCH CLAY MAKE MAN. He also auditioned for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, although the part went to John Boyega. Cyborg being included in JUSTICE LEAGUE is a great way to add a hero, the younger generation can relate to.

From left: Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ezra Miller (The Flash), Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Ezra Miller is the youngest and geekiest of the heroes as the Flash. He looks like a younger, Asian looking version of Jimmy Fallon. Miller’s quirky, self conscious and insecure version of the Flash, is again a character millennials can identify with. His performance however is a departure from his more serious dramatic roles that have earned him critical praise in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011) opposite Tilda Swinton and PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (2012) with Emma Watson. He earned a Chopard trophy in Cannes as a homicidal son in …KEVIN. Most fans will likely remember him as Credence Barebone in FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.

Ezra Miller (The Flash); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall

Ellen Adarna intrudes – Tanduay prank vid

J.K. Simmons (Commissioner Gordon); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Oscar Winners

Talking about awards, JUSTICE LEAGUE boasts of several Oscar winners (as actors): Jeremy Irons (Alfred), JK Simmons (Commissioner Gordon). Ben Affleck has two, as producer in ARGO (2012) and as screenwriter in GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997). The one weakness, however in the performances for this movie should be Affleck’s. We understand that the voice of the Batman with the mask is distorted. But he made the decision to make himself sound tougher when he’s not wearing the suit/mask. The result is closer to a bad impression of Clint Eastwood in DIRTY HARRY.

From left: Ben Affleck (Batman) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Once you can get over that, you can enjoy the rest of the movie especially with the gorgeous and strong Gal Gadot more than making up for it. Ever since WONDER WOMAN Gadot has raised the bar high for women in action films. JUSTICE LEAGUE not only continues that but allows her to ‘fight’ together with other members that makes the scenes even more complex and exciting at the same time.

Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Jason Momoa (Aquaman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Jason Momoa

In my opinion, casting Jason Momoa as Aquaman was Zack Snyder’s best decision. Aquaman isn’t necessarily the action laden, tough, superhero that attracts legions of fans –unlike Batman, Superman or even Wonder Woman. HBO’s ENTOURAGE in one of their episodes made a joke of it as Vince Chase (Adrien Grenier) was hesitant to take the role in a blockbuster film.

Jason Momoa (Aquaman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Enter Jason Momoa who instantly makes Aquaman, for lack of a technical term: bad ass, or bad ‘mother@#$%*!’. Momoa’s most famous role also in GAME OF THRONES is Khal Drogo. Fierce doesn’t begin to describe that role as the undefeated leader of the Dothraki. Novelist and creator George RR Martin based the Dothraki as an amalgam of real nomadic horsemen in history: the Huns, Mongols and the Apache. Unlike Affleck, Jason doesn’t have to change his voice or speech, he just looks, sounds naturally tough and intimidating. Before his breakthrough role he also played CONAN THE BARBARIAN in the 2012 remake. His look and identity is exactly what the Aquaman role needed to be taken into kick ass level and he did it.

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo the feared king of the Dothraki in Game of Thrones. Wallpaper from https://s3lwyn.deviantart.com/art/Portrait-of-Khal-Drogo-from-Game-of-Thrones-304219209

Momoa’s Haka for Mark Hunt

There’s a video on YouTube of Jason performing the Haka a Maori war dance for Mark ‘The Super Samoan’ Hunt. Jason is friends with Hunt who is a UFC heavyweight fighter, living in Sydney, Australia. Momoa was there to shoot AQUAMAN the movie set for release in 2018. In an interview with BBC he revealed that it was director Zack Snyder’s idea to use his Polynesian heritage and covering him with tattoos for his role of Aquaman.

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo the feared king of the Dothraki in Game of Thrones.

Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall. Wallpaper by Bryan Zap from https://bryanzap.deviantart.com/art/Justice-League-Wallpaper-Art-707003829

If you’re a fan…

The critics have not been kind, but if you’re a comic book fan who wants fast action, if you’re cartoon series fan, a Game of Thrones fan, a Millennial or just a kid in a grown up body (like me), you’re going to love JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Alien supermen from left: David Bowie, Henry Cavill (Superman) and Prince. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Snyder pays homage to some of the same heroes I have apart from the DC ones. In one early montage, there’s a newspaper front page with David Bowie, Superman and Prince. Recently passed Bowie and Prince certainly seem otherworldly because of their unprecedented talent as musicians and larger than life personas. All the 12 year old in me can say is: Thank you Zack. You showed that you don’t need to wear a cape to be a hero. But it can be really fun to watch people who do.

Director Zack Snyder and Ezra Miller (The Flash). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

From left: Ezra Miller (The Flash), Henry Cavill (Superman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Ben Affleck (Batman) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

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Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) drives a Mercedes Benz. Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Ray Fisher (Cyborg); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

from left: Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta) and Loven Kongsli (Menalippe). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

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From left: Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ezra Miller (The Flash) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Ezra Miller (The Flash); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall

Jason Momoa (Aquaman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

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from left: Ray Fisher (Cyborg) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Ray Fisher (Cyborg); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

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From left: Ben Affleck (Batman), Ezra Miller (The Flash), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Henry Cavill (Superman). Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall. Wallpaper by Bryan Zap from https://bryanzap.deviantart.com/art/Justice-League-Wallpaper-Art-707003829

Ezra Miller (The Flash); Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall

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Catch JUSTICE LEAGUE in Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City Mall, and Lucky Chinatown Mall. Wallpaper by Bryan Zap from https://bryanzap.deviantart.com/art/Justice-League-Wallpaper-Art-707003829

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Hungarian Film Fest at Shang Plaza Mall

Watch Oscar winner SON OF SAUL for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Contributed Article:

The Embassy of Hungary in the Philippines and Shangri-La Plaza are proud to present the first Hungarian Film Festival in Manila on 1-2 December 2017. The event will showcase four critically acclaimed films never before screened in the Philippines.

Hungarian cinema has a long tradition dating back to the first years of the 20th Century, during the past decades the inhabitants of the Central European country gave major contributions to world cinema. Many pioneers of Hungarian cinema influenced the art form from within Hungary, like directors István Szabó, Béla Tarr and Miklós Jancsó, or from abroad, like producers William Fox (founder of Fox Studios), Adolph Zukor (founder of Paramount Pictures) and Alexander Korda (a pioneer of the British film industry).

Watch movies for free for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Presenting the Academy Award Winning Son of Saul (2015) as its main feature, the festival aims to bring Hungarian culture and history closer to a new audience in the Philippines. Son of Saul is drama directed by László Nemes and is set the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and follows a day-and-a-half in the life of Saul Ausländer (played by GézaRöhrig), a Hungarian member of the Sonder kommando, a special forced labour unit made up of prisoners.

The film won the Grand Prix of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. Son of Saul was the first Hungarian film to win the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and it is the second Hungarian film to win an Oscar, the first one being István Szabó’s Mephisto in 1981.

Watch KINSCEM for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

The 2016 blockbuster Kincsem – Bet on Revenge will also be screened, a historical drama about the world’s most successful racing horse. With a more serious tone, Strangled (2016) will bring to the screen a psycho-thriller set in the 1960s oppressive Hungary, when a series of atrocious murders shock a small town. On a lighter note Paw (2015) is a family film about a world famous rescue dog and his family.

The Embassy of Hungary recently reopened in Manila in March 2017 and is endeavouring to provide opportunities to introduce the art, culture and history of Hungary the the Filipino audience. Join us for the first two day festival of Hungarian cinema in the Philippines on 1-2 December 2017. Screenings are free of charge, on a first come, first served basis

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Watch STRANGLED for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch movies for free for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch PAW for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch KINSCEM for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch STRANGLED for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch Oscar winner SON OF SAUL for free at the Hungarian Film Festival running from December 1-2, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

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Panama Debuts in CINE LATINO

Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

Written by

Jude Bautista

For the first time in the Philippines audiences will be able to watch a cinematic treat from Panama. There have been quite a number of international fests here even the WORLD PREMIERES film festival (instigated by former FDCP Chair Briccio Santos), which featured titles from as far as Russia, Turkey, Mongolia and so on. Panama, however, is one of those countries that have yet to debut a movie for Filipinos.

Through the very first CINE LATINO Film Festival, Pinoy cineastes will be able to watch movies from this region of the world for free from December 6 to 10, 2017 at the Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City. Shang Cineplex has established itself as the home of many international fests having just concluded the Argentinian Film Fest and Danish Fest. There is also the upcoming Hungarian film fest from December 1-2, 2017.

CINE LATINO will have a mix of drama, comedy, romance and many more. The festival is set to show films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela that are truly unforgettable.

from left: Brazilian Amb Rodrigo do Amaral Souza, Argentinian Amb Roberto Bosch, Chilean Amb Jose Miguel Capdevila, Panamanian Amb Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado, Colombian Amb Victor Hugo Echeverri, Mexican Consular Officer Gerardo Regalado—NOT IN PHOTO but will be participating is Venezuelan Amb Capaya Rodriguez Gonzalez and Mexican Amb Gerardo Lozano Arredondo. Watch free movies in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

In a recent presscon Chilean Amb Jose Miguel Capdevila made note of the reasons why storytellers from Latin America have captivated the world, “Latin America has been quite prolific, first with literature. If we remember the 70s, the so-called Latin American boom. We have authors such as Jose Donoso, Pablo Neruda and so on. There was a very important point of culture that came from Latin America and was very successful. Nowadays from 90s onwards cinema kind of took the post. Our countries started producing wonderful films. And the quality of films were of such level that if you take a look at the international festivals all over the world you’ll see that the one of the top three are Latin American films proposed for awards. That speaks for itself in terms of the quality of films we are producing.”

Watch SUBTERRA from Chile and CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

Chilean Amb. Jose Miguel Capdevila also emphasized the importance of cinema in bridging cultures, “I would say in the past 10 years we have advanced very much. The concrete and living proof is that our films have been awarded in the most important festivals all over the world. Needless to say that was one of the ideas in organizing this festival. Because we were fully aware and conscious we would like to share with you something very good about Latin America such as cinema. Cinema as literature cinema is a way of language and expression. Essentially what is expressed is ourselves, the way we are, the way we feel. Once you watch these films and books you get an impression of who we are. The more we know each other the better the ties will be. In that token this festival plays an important role in making us closer, the Philippines and Latin American countries. That is the worthwhile effect of this common activity.”

Chilean Amb Jose Miguel Capdevila; Watch free movies in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Argentinian ambassador Roberto Bosch proposed the CINE LATINO Film fest to the other Latin American countries who have embassies here namely: Brazil– Amb Rodrigo do Amaral Souza, Chile – Amb Jose Miguel Capdevila, Colombia – Amb Victor Hugo Echeverri, Mexico – Amb Gerardo Lozano Arredondo, Panama – Amb Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado and Venezuela – Capaya Rodriguez Gonzalez. The Spanish language is a point of emphasis in the shared history of the region and the Philippines.

Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

THE CHANCE

Panamanian Ambassador Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado talked about how their government has started to assist their filmmakers, “Panama has a film industry but is in the initial stages. Now we have more opportunities for filmmakers, actors in the worldwide audience. For us it’s significant to bring a movie here. The title is CHANCE, which is a hilarious comedy. It’s basically about 2 housekeepers who work for an aristocratic family. For a certain time they were mistreated in one trip of the family to Florida, the yayas have a plan of their own. They take care of the mansion in their absence. In doing so they discover intimate secrets of the family. The message is all dirty clothes have to be washed in house. It’s going to be a hilarious comedy for Filipinos.”

CHANCE trailer

OFWs, Ship Registry

Panama has strong economic ties with the Philippines, “You have Filipinos around the world. We have also in Panama Filipinos working as caregivers, nurses. Last year we deployed a lot of Filipinos, 1,000 experts who worked on mining because Panama is starting the mining process.”

from left: Panamanian Amb Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado & Colombian Amb Victor Hugo Echeverri. Watch free movies in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Ship registry according to Alvarado is still the focus, “But the main reason we have an embassy here is because of shipping. Panama is the number one ship registry (for the Panamanian flag) and Filipinos are the largest and best seafarers in the world. That’s our connection. That’s basically the main purpose. We had our national Day just two weeks ago. We were celebrating the hundred years of the ship registry. We are very well known for that. We have a whole state policy behind that. Just to give you an idea of how close our ties are, we receive a total of 150 applications per day for ship registry. We have a very good synergy between governments in that particular area. We have signed Memorandum of agreements on high level official visits.”

Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

Connected to the ship registry is another film they would like to screen by next year, “We’re also trying to bring Historias De Canal HISTORY OF THE PANAMA CANAL this is a feature film we’re going to screen in the near future most probably in the first quarter of 2018. I would also like to invite the shipping community. We are a country of mariners by nature.”

Boxing Legend Roberto Duran makes cameo appearance in THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

Duran-Pacquiao Connection

Boxing legend Roberto Duran actually makes a cameo appearance in this current film EL CHANCE screened in CINE LATINO Dec 8- 6pm and Dec 10- 1pm (Shang Cineplex). Alvarado revealed a new role for the world renowned ‘Hands Of Stone’, “Roberto Duran is appointed now as Special Envoy for Sports. He’s an icon of Panama has given a lot of glory for our country. He was recently inducted in the Boxing Hall of Fame. He’s now doing a nice job of promoting sports to young people. By the way we are very fond of Manny Pacquiao. There are quite a few people who follow the fights of Manny Pacquiao.”

Watch Hermano (BROTHER) from Venezuela for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

History with Spain and U.S.

Ambassador Alvarado also enumerated the historical similarities between the Philippines and his country, “In the case of Panama and several countries in Latin America we came from hundreds of years of Spanish rule. Panama has a twin connection with the Philippines. Apart from being a Spanish colony we also have the influence of the U.S. Americans. You have the military bases as well as us. They controlled us for 40 years until the canal was turned over to Panama. So the U.S. has influenced us, making a big impact on the economy, lifestyle. So we have that special thing. We are very Catholic basically we are in the same equator, just on the opposite side of the world.  We have the same weather, fruits and products. And we have a lot of connections between our two countries.”

Panamanian Amb Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado; Watch free movies in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Watch Mexican short films for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

CINE LATINO schedule

Time December 6 • Wed Running Time
1:00 – 2:35 Patas arriba (Venezuela) 1.35
3:30 – 4:45 Sofía y el terco (COLOMBIA) 1.15
7:30 – 9:35 El hijo de la Novia  SON OF THE BRIDE (Argentina)
opening night film
2.05
  December 7 • Thu  
1:00 – 2:55 Dois filhos de Francisco (Brasil) 1.55
3:30 – 4:50 Shortfilms (México) 1.20
5:30 – 7:10 Hermano (Venezuela) 1.40
8:00 – 10:10 Cidade de Deus (Brasil) 2.10
  December 8 • Fri  
1:00 – 2:50 El comienzo del tiempo (MEXICO) 1.50
3:30 – 5:20 Subterra (CHILE) 1.50
6:00 – 7:30 El chance (PANAMÁ) 1.30
8:00 – 10:05 El hijo de la novia  SON OF THE BRIDE (ARGENTINA) 2.05
  December 9 • Sat  
1:00 – 2:30 Esperando la carroza (Argentina) 1.30
3:00 – 4:55 Dois filhos de Francisco  (BRASIL) 1.55
5:30 – 7:20 El comienzo del tiempo (MEXICO) 1.50
8:00 – 9:15 Sofía y el terco (COLOMBIA) 1.15
  December 10 • Sun  
1:00 – 2:30 El chance (PANAMÁ) 1.30
3:00 – 5:10 Cidade de Deus (Brasil) 2.10
6:00 – 7:35 Patas arriba (Venezuela) 1.35
8:00 – 9:50 Subterra (CHILE) 1.50

Watch SUBTERRA from Chile for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

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Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

Watch THE CHANCE from Panama for free in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

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 Watch free movies in the first CINE LATINO Film Festival running from December 6-10, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza, Mandaluyong City.

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