Tag Archives: flicks

A Weekend of Books and Movies

21 Sep

Aaah, two of my favorite things – books and movies! Last week was an eventful week for book lovers and film enthusiasts like me. As posted in my previous blog, we had the 33rd Manila International Book Fair at SMX that lasted 5 days offering awesome discounts, meet & greet with the writers and other fun activities. And a week earlier, from September 6 to 16, we had the 15th Cine Europa film festival at Shangrila Mall that showcased 25 independent and commercial movies from 17  different countries in Europe. And I was lucky to have attended both events on weekend.


Cine Europa 15

The film fest as mentioned was on its 15 years of sharing European culture through movies. I’ve been hearing about the festival back when I was still in college, and though I’ve been meaning to watch in the past years , it just won’t happen. Then my cousin who is a college student was tasked to write reaction papers for  at least two movies featured in the festival. So we agreed that we’ll watch together on Saturday, since I’m also into movies (I like indie films more but I also appreciate the commercials ones) and since it is also free. Yes, free admission! All you need is to show up at the cinema and watch all you want.

So we arrived at 1pm and the first movie just started. The guard told us and 3 other late comers too that we don’t know, that we there are no more seats and that we should just wait and line up for 2nd movie later. But good thing we didn’t leave yet because just minutes later, a theater attendant went out to announced that there are still 5 seats available. It was meant for us 5! 🙂


The first movie was Atmen (Breathing) from Austria. A drama flick about a rehabilitation of a teen offender who was working as a mortuary attendant – (dressing, cleaning, picking up and delivering corpses to their final resting place) while waiting for his parole decision. It is a beautiful film about how he came to terms with the “crime” he committed and his discoveries of his unhappy past.

When the first movie was about to end, I heard the person sitting next to me say that the line outside for the next movie is already long, so I told my cousin that we go out soon. Outside, there were already a crowd of people waiting patiently to get in for the next flick. Wow! I didn’t expect people would actually show up to watch movies unfamiliar to the usually hollywood-lover Pinoys. Oh well it’s free!

Si Puo Fare

The next flick we saw was an Italian comedy that now joins the roster of my favorite movies of all time. Si Puo Fare, which roughly translates to “We Can Do That” is about the 12 mental patients who were released by an Italian psychiatric hospital and now working in a cooperative.  Nello, the new manager at the cooperative encouraged them to work together as a team and helped them do “normal jobs” ( parquet flooring installation) that earns well. It was a fun movie that had the entire theater bursting into laughter in almost every scene. There are parts that gripped our hearts too but mostly, we died in laughter. 🙂 The story is just fantastic, it’s fresh, it’s new, it’s clever. I love every bits of it. It was one of the funniest I’ve seen so far. A must watch I have to say. I love all of the characters, especially Mr. President. 🙂

Coincidentally, just a week or two ago, I also watched the 1975 Jack Nicholson’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest movie which are quite similar to Si Puo Fare as it was also about mental patients, but it’s more of a drama.

Poll Diaries

After the comical flick, we lined up again for the 3rd movie of the day, Poll – a german drama set during the World War I that follows the story of a young teenage girl named Oda, who moved from Berlin to a place somewhere in Estonia to join his doctor father, step mom and siblings when her mom died. The Russian who are stationed in the area and who are friends with her dad, would sell the bodies of the Estonian anarchists they killed and captured to her father to be studied and later jarred as part of his increasing obsession with experimentation. As Oda struggled with the loneliness and lack of connection with the people around her, she met a wounded Estonian anarchist hiding in the area. She nursed and hid him in the attic at his father’s laboratory without anyone knowing. I have to say, it is one great movie too!

Since there was a long queue already outside the theater, my cousin decided to go out when she thought the movie was just seconds away from ending, so she can line up for the last free movie that night. But what she thought was already finished, wasn’t, as there was still some scene shown. So I just told her the ending when I went out. 🙂


The fourth and last movie we saw was from the UK, titled Senna, a documentary about the famous F1 driver in the 80s and 90s, Ayrton Senna. It was a nice docu film but we weren’t able to finish it as it was already late and we thought we might miss the last train, plus we haven’t eaten dinner yet as the 4 movies only have 30-minute intervals in between and you still have to fall in line. So imagine, from 1pm to 1030pm -a movie marathon indeed!

We just couldn’t stop talking about the films we saw and even googled them when we arrived home. I would say, it was one of the Saturdays I enjoyed a lot. As someone into arts, I like watching movies, but I don’t watch a lot from the cinema. I am not the type who would watch just because it is popular or because it the latest hollywood flick. I’d rather watch movies at home, at the most convenient time and place (my bedroom) to understand and enjoy every movie scene.


And Sunday, after church, my sister, niece and I went to the book fair despite the rainy weather. It was the last day of the fair and still there were many who showed up to take advantage of the discounts offered. I bought a few books for myself, my niece and some friends that I ought to give as birthday or christmas gifts. Yes, I already started my Christmas shopping as early as now, in fact, I started as early as June. 🙂 Also, as mentioned due to work commitments, I wasn’t able to join the bloggers challenge this year hosted by OMF Literature, but hopefully next year, I can join again.

OMF booth during 33rd Manila International Book Fair. (photo c/o OMF Literature)

So it was a weekend of fun for me. I’m glad I finally watched the European film festival. I will do it again next year. From now on, I will take advantage of the film festivals in Manila not only to satisfy the art-lover in me but to learn also more about the other cultures through flicks. 🙂


Vikas Swarup on Writing

3 Feb

“Writing is a very lonely occupation. To write you need to concentrate, to concentrate you need to lock yourself away. No distractions, you want your stream of thoughts uninterrupted. And I found that a day job gave me the opportunity of meeting people and having real conversations. The writer’s is an interior world, a world of the mind. I found that many times, even though my day job is very different from what a writer does, the spark of fiction comes from the real world. So no, I would rather be a diplomat and write on weekends.” – Vikas Swarup, author of Q &A


Q & A by Vikas Swarup

My Bollywood Fascination

29 Jan

I don’t know how it started. Okay, I know actually. I always have this fascination about Indian culture. Reason?


I have to admit it’s because of my connection with M, who happens to be my ‘love interest’ for 6 years, 2 months, 23 days, 13 hours and counting. He is Indian, thus explains my interest about their country and rich culture.

Anything that be can read and watched that has something to do with India or would mention India will really capture my attention. I’ve read some of their history on Wiki, researched about Ghandi and Hinduism (nope that ain’t his religion), used google earth or map to study their geography, watched documentary on Discovery or NatGeo and Bollywood flicks. I think I know a lot about India now (maybe) and according to an online quiz on Facebook, “How Indian are you?”, I am a DESI. I know India as good as the local. LOL. Well except that I don’t speak and understand Hindi. But I think I have to consider learning Hindi now not just for M, but also because I don’t want to read the subtitles all the time.

I haven’t seen a lot of Bollywood movies yet, but I have seen their few good flicks. The Bollywood trademark of dancing and singing is tolerable in some of them though. I don’t know what first Indian movie I saw but I will list them as I remember them. In random order:

Life In A Metro

Life in A Metro – M recommended this to me so I would understand his culture more. It sort of caused us some misunderstanding during that time (I’ve written something about this movie, read it here: “Life In A Metro”). It became one of my favorite films. Iirfan Khan was hilarious in the movie.

Jab We Met – Typical Boy Meets Girl and singing and dancing in the woods but modern version. 😛

The great actor: Amitabh Bachchan

The Last Lear – Great plot. Good acting by the famous Mr. Amitabh Bachan and Arjun Rampal.

Bride and Prejudice – Nope, I didn’t misspell it. That’s really the title. It’s their adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, fit into the Indian culture.

Bride and Prejudice

Pushpak – This is a silent movie from 1988. I am not sure if this falls under Bollywood but it’s an Indian movie anyway. It was recommended by a friend from Bangalore, not by M. He hates this film but I enjoyed it.

Kama Sutra – Ahem… The sensual movie of one of my favorite Lost actor, Sayid Jarrah or Naveen Andrews in real life.

Naveen Andrews or Sayid of Lost

Company – A gangster movie. Not a favorite but it’s okay for an action one. At least it’s not like this flick: Alluda Majaka – the one that puts Indiana Jones or our local Lito Lapid to shame. LOL. I have only seen a portion of Alluda Majaka through youtube though, courtesy of my former boss who came to know about my fascination with Indian movies. He said it’s definitely the best action film ever! And you have to know, my former boss have a good sense of humor and he can also be very sarcastic at times. LOL.(for the reader’s sake, this is the video)

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi – I don’t remember if there is any singing or dancing in this one, but I remember this having a good story – idealism, modernism, political revolution and a love story in between.

Provoked – I’m not sure if this is Bollywood but actors in the movie are mostly, if not all, from India or have Indian bloods. But I know this was released internationally so I don’t know. I’m still including this on the list.

3 Idiots - one of my favorite movies.

3 Idiots – The most recent Indian flick that I’ve seen and one of my favorite movies of all time. The best! A must-see I have to say. Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi and R. Madhavan did superb acting in this one. They made me laugh and cry.

And of course some Hollywood movies that were either filmed entirely in India , just a part of it or just showed an Indian tradition.

Slumdog Millionaire – Who wouldn’t know this movie? Only the aliens I guess or the people who lived in the cave from their birth until 2010. And who wouldn’t love this movie? M. Yes. He didn’t like it too much, not like I did. Like the common reaction of the Indian movie goers in 2009, he thought it focused too much on poverty. He asked me why I think it’s a good film. I said because it gives me hope.

The Darjeeling Limited

The Darjeeling Limited – Jack: What did he say?
Peter: He said the train is lost.
Jack: How can a train be lost? It’s on rails.

This is one of my favorite movies. It showed a lot about India’s beautiful places and enchanting culture, has a good story and good humor too.

Eat, Pray, Love – this is not my favorite movie but I have to say I like it. The Indian scenes may be a little dragging but it was good too.

Bend It Like Beckham

Bend It Like Beckham – Feel good movie about the Indian family living in the UK. Football was a plus here.

So far, that’s my list. I’ll add the others in case I forgot some of them.  I am hoping to watch more. M recommended before one of his favorite Indian movies, ROCK ON.

Next Bollywood movie to watch.

I’ve just got the Blu-ray copy of it but it has no subtitle. It’s either I will force myself to learn Hindi for the sake of the movie or find another with subtitle and spend around 7 hours reading it. 🙂

To Write Or To Watch a Movie

5 Jan

The Town

I posted this on my FB account and my former boss replied.

“Depends on the movie.”

Then I wrote, “thinking between The Town or Blood Diamond.”

He said, “Go with “The Town”. Not as good as “Gone Baby Gone” but I like it better than “Blood Diamond”.

“Right, I’m watching The Town then. :)”, I said.

But I’m writing right now. LOL 😛

I’ve been wanting to watch The Town. I already have started the movie last month I think but I haven’t even reached half of the film yet. I just stopped and do something else,  like write. Just like today.

The movie has received good reviews so I’m intrigued to watch it, but I can’t seem to concentrate. My mind wanders. So, it is just me or the movie isn’t really that good?  Kind of dragging at the start? Maybe. But I want to watch it. Oh maybe because my mind is so occupied with a lot of things especially with the things I want to write about so I can’t focus.

Anyway, here are the things I’ve been thinking of writing about or have already started writing about and needs to be finished:

1. Managing – Things I’ve learned so far.

2.  Best Seller Books

3. Call Center Agents – After a decade.

4. Most used words or expression in 2010 as I have observed.

5. Books I’d like to buy and read this 2011.

6. Only in the Philippines.

7. Of being a writer/journalist (writing and being paid against your principle)

8. Things I look forward to this 2011

9. My Family’s Kick Off Party(Jan. 1, 2011)

10. Vacation: Baguio City

11. The Starbucks Effect in the Modern Christianity (inspired by My Starbucks Church)

12. Life of a PK

13. Travel Plans

Hopefully to finish writing about them soon so I could get back at watching movies. 🙂

Narnia, Aslan and the brilliant C.S. Lewis

30 Dec

Last night, I watched Narnia: the Voyage of the Dawn Treader from a laptop and I can just stop thinking about how wonderful the movie is and how really brilliant C.S. Lewis was. Until today, I can’t get it off my mind. I know I just have to write about it.

I love films like Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and other similar flicks, except Harry Potter though. But I especially love Narnia series not only because of its amazing story of the magical world outside ours and how the chronicled events inspires us in a lot of ways , but also because it was written by C.S. Lewis.

C.S. Lewis was just brilliant. I am just so amazed by his writing skills. Gifted indeed. Even though, I already have a few books of him, including a collection of Narnia (still need two more books though and it’s complete), I haven’t really started any of his books yet. Well I have read a few pages and I know if I won’t put it down right away, I will just be hooked. Well,  I intend read them when I get the luxury of time. I hope it would be soon.  Well, it is still my dream to complete all the books written by C.S. Lewis. (see: 1000 Things To Do Before I Die)

Anyway, I particularly like Aslan’s line at the end of the movie:

“In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason you were brought to Narnia, that knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there. “


C.S. Lewis,  hats off to you.

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