Monday, August 31, 2015


Press release

The summit of Mount Everest, the mightiest mountain on Earth, is more than five miles above sea level, close to the cruising altitude of a 747 jumbo jet. Its fearsome and unforgiving peak has hosted thousands of daring climbers who have felt compelled to rise to the greatest challenge in mountaineering.
Photo courtesy of UIP.

The tragic events in May 1996 represented, at that time, the deadliest climb in the mountain’s history, and dramatized in Universal Pictures’ upcoming epic adventure “Everest.” The world’s media were transfixed by this story of human endurance, which became the subject of best-selling books and documentaries, often with contradicting accounts of the events.

Producer Tim Bevan first became interested in the story when he read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” soon after it was published in 1997. Krakauer, a journalist who had been part of Rob Hall’s Adventure Consultants team on the mountain that May, had first documented the events for an article in Outside magazine. Bevan’s producing partner, Eric Fellner, shared his enthusiasm for the project; they discovered that Universal Pictures, with which Working Title has a long-term distribution agreement, coincidentally owned other properties relating to the events.

These included Beck Weathers’ “Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest,” from which the film draws inspiration, as well as the transcript of the final satellite phone conversation between Rob Hall and his wife, Jan Arnold. While the families of the climbers involved had remained mostly quiet about the tragic events over the years, they maintained an ongoing dialogue with the filmmakers, working toward an appropriate time for a feature-film reimagining of the events to be made.

It wasn’t until 2011 that the elements finally started to come together to bring this story to the big screen. Blockbuster film screenwriters William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy worked to deliver a deeply moving and powerful script, while advances in visual effects meant it would be possible to capture the jaw-dropping conditions that day without putting the cast or crew at risk.

Director Baltasar Kormákur admits that the opportunity to direct “Everest” appealed to him on a profound level: “I wanted to make it in the most authentic way possible. To take people on a journey up Everest and show them the mountain in a way that hasn’t been possible until now…and at the same time create intimacy between the characters that is all too rare in big studio films.” He pauses, believing this story is both one of achievement and a cautionary tale. “Everest is a metaphor for any kind of ambition, and anyone who has ambition needs to balance that with his or her family life. There’s the mountain and there’s home, and the distance between the two is immense, pulling in two opposite directions.”

Kormákur immersed himself in discovering what happened that day on the world’s highest mountain, recognizing the immense challenges of the project, both emotionally and physically. “The story is so well-known and well-documented,” says Kormákur. “But there are many different versions, and they often contradict each other.”

As he worked with his fellow producers and with the writers, Kormákur insisted that they shape the film’s story in a way that respected all concerned. It was of paramount importance that they honor those eight people whose lives were lost on the mountain that May, and to tell a balanced story without looking to justify or criticize any of the decisions made before or after the ascent and descent.

Kormákur’s research and preparation for what he describes as “the hardest thing I’ve done in my life” began in earnest with his reading every book and document about the events that he could get his hands on. He had countless conversations with people who had climbed Everest, trying to understand the mind-set of a climber. He took a trip to Everest early in preproduction, then traveled to New Zealand to meet the families of those involved.

Kormákur reflects on what he learned: “I was incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be on Everest, to get to travel, to get to be in a part of the world, which I honestly never thought I would. I always dreamt of Everest, but it wasn’t part of my journey.”

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Before We Go movie review

What if you someone you just suddenly meet is one for you but is already taken. Chris Evans shows us what it's like in his directorial movie debut "Before We Go". This movie is unlike any romance movie that you can watch but you cannot help compare it to Before Sunrise because it draws inspiration from there.
Photo courtesy of RADIUS

Just like Before Sunrise, it is also not the type of movie Hollywood makes. It is also similar to independent movie productions. The movie was done like it was shot on one take straight. There are minimal songs used but it was well picked.

There are only few supporting characters that's even less than handful because it only rotates on two main characters. I always knew Chris Evans is good in romantic comedies but this is the first time I saw he was paired with Alice Eve. Both of them have respective background in pop culture. Chris Evans is Captain America in Marvel movies and Alice Eve is Carol Marcus in Star Trek: Into Darkness but I first saw her in romantic comedy She's Out Of My League and a guest character for Sex & The City as Charlotte's Irish nanny, and young Agent O in MIB 3. What I enjoyed in the movie was that they have chemistry onscreen and they have adventures in the city and been all over New York for the whole movie.

Evans admit that he never got studied directing but it turned out well in my opinion. This movie is something anyone can relate to especially if you just got off a relationship or into complicated one because I surely can see myself in this movie. I even like how it ended. If you are looking for a date movie, then this is for you but it is only exclusive at Ayala Cinemas. For more movie reviews, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Press release

Universal Pictures’ epic adventure “Everest,” directed by Baltasar Kormákur, has been selected as the opening film, out of competition, of the 72nd Venice Film Festival (September 2nd – 12th 2015).
Photo courtesy of UIP.

The world premiere of “Everest” will be screened on September 2 in the Sala Grande theatre (Palazzo del Cinema) at the Lido. Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, “Everest” documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival.

“Opening the Venice film festival has proven to be good luck for the awards race, with the last two openers, `Gravity' and `Birdman,' netting a slew of nominations and some major wins,” says UK newspaper The Guardian. “Baltasar Kormakur’s survival thriller `Everest' will be keen to follow,“ adds The Guardian's review, predicting the film might pick up nominations for best picture, director and supporting actor.

“Everest” is a Working Title Films production starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal, produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Baltasar Kormákur, Nicky Kentish Barnes, Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson. Universal Pictures and Walden Media’s presentation of “Everest”—in association with Cross Creek Pictures—is adapted for the screen by William Nicholson (“Gladiator”) and Oscar® winner Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”).

The film was shot on location in Nepal on the foothills of Everest, the Italian Alps and at Cinecittà Studios in Rome and Pinewood Studios in the U.K.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Plastic movie review

Some of the good movies are not getting the publicity that it deserves. Example is the new movie Plastic locally distributed by Solar Pictures. Plastic is a movie about the scam artists who uses credit card theft to scheme their victims' money.

This is not new. Since there is the threat of credit card fraud that is currently happening. This is the movie that you should watch to have an idea how they do it. And this movie is based on a real event that happened some years ago.

The choice of actors are quite sufficient since some of them already have a name for themselves in their respective projects. For their characters, you may find the protagonists not the type you can consider noble but there are twists as it climaxed.

The story is not what you call mainstream movie but there are sequences that can be compared to one even though the production seems limited. For my taste, it can be worth spending in the cinema. The action are also sufficient.

For a movie I haven't seen in any commercial plug, it is worth watching even though it was Emma Rigby that made me watch it. Plastic opens today in cinemas and on a scale to 1 to 5, I gave it 3 'plastic cards'. For more movie reviews, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Press release

Meryl Streep takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in TriStar Pictures' “Ricki and the Flash.”
Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family.
We all have to live with our mistakes,” says Streep. “I think she wishes that her kids liked her more, understood her – I think that is a regret – but she’s pretty clear-eyed about it. Ricki lives in the moment – she acts on the impulse that feels imperative to her. It’s a relief to play someone who doesn’t act how everybody thinks she should be. She’s saying, ‘I can’t help being the way I am.’”

Though Streep was the first, best, and only choice to play the role, she would have to learn to play guitar to bring Ricki to life. Demme’s vision for the film, from the very beginning, was to make the band real. “With this kind of character-driven film, we have to make people feel like it’s real,” he says. “It never occurred to me to do anything other than make the band real. The customary thing is that the band pretends to play, and you overlay a previously-recorded, perfect track, but I didn’t want to do that – I wanted this great band, with Meryl at the center, to really get out there and play.

Streep, already a talented singer, trained for months to play the guitar, including several weeks with guitarist Larry Saltzman and several more with legendary Los Angeles session player Neil Citron. “To begin with, I started learning on an acoustic guitar with a teacher in New York and then moved to the electric guitar about a month later,” Streep explains. “Then I worked pretty much every day with Neil Citron, who is this genius guitar teacher. He put the telecaster in my hands and taught me a lot of little tricks that rock ‘n’ rollers use, bar chords, quick changes and stuff like that.”

She says that she found the electric guitar easier to play, “but your mistakes are much louder. With an acoustic, you get away with it. With an electric, you have to be really committed to that bad note because it’s ringing through the hall! It was such a lot of fun.”

I never doubted for a second that Meryl wouldn’t become an excellent rhythm guitar player, because I know she’s a research beast,” says Demme. “She works as hard in the months leading up to a movie as she does when she’s shooting it.”

Learning guitar was fun, but it was a private enterprise and then all of a sudden Jonathan said, ‘We’re going to get two weeks and the band’s going to get together.’ I thought, two weeks?! Two weeks to become a band?” Streep recalls. “It didn’t seem like enough time, but those guys were so great. They were very gentle with me and forgiving in the very beginning, because I really couldn’t keep up with them. Then, around the sixth day, we hit a groove and then we couldn’t stop playing. We played and played and played and I really get why Ricki wanted never to give that up, because it’s soooooo much fun.”

The rehearsals were so intense that the band barred all outsiders – even Demme himself – from the sessions. “That was fair,” Demme laughs. “When I finally showed up, three weeks in, and I entered the little room where they were playing, they were up on the bandstand and there was Meryl Streep, right in the middle of it, looking like she’d been doing it all her life. It was thrilling – the only thing more thrilling was when we started shooting and really seeing them play in front of a live audience.”

Originally, Jonathan said, ‘Three songs, it’s going to be easy, you’re going to have two weeks of rehearsal and three songs, tops!’” says Streep. “Well, there are ten songs in the movie – ten! – and that’s hard.”

“Ricki and the Flash” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fisher Mall Cinema

I've been reviewing movies for many years now. But this is the first time I am going to review a cinema. Unlike the super malls all over the Metro, Fisher Mall cinemas is only limited to five. What got me impressed with this cinema was the lobby like you were transported in time when movies are still in classic black & white or the golden age of cinema. If you knew what the old cinemas in Avenida look like before, that is how I compare it.

For the cinema, the screen is just sufficient for the viewer that you can sit anywhere and enjoy. You won't be bothered with someone sitting in front because of the amphitheater arrangement of the seats as it elevates up to the back. The seats are not regular and it is also cozy. There is also a distance between rows. We watch the movie Disney/Pixar's Inside Out in 3D and I can say the 3D is well calibrated in the screen.

You can book online and pay admission using credit card via their online box office site  If I am nearer to this mall, I would choose to watch movies here more often. For more movie reviews, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vacation(2015) movie review

I first saw National Lampoon's Vacation(1983) when it was shown on local broadcast. There was no cable channels available for the masses yet. Even though the theme of National Lampoon is not suitable for kids, the networks cut the scenes that may show explicit content. The original Vacation also spawn sequels and spin-offs. In the new Vacation, Rusty Griswold, now grown up decides to take the family to Walley World; the same vacation he went to when he was a kid.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

National Lampoon's trademark for all their movies are always slapstick and adult humor. Chevy Chase is a very popular comedian in National Lampoon Radio when he was cast as Clark Griswold for Vacation. Since then, Chevy Chase became a comedy icon.

For the cast, it is hard to separate Chevy Chase from the Vacation franchise because it is a symbiotic. It seems like he owns the whole franchise. Ed Helms was a good choice to play Rusty Griswold, who has a family now with two sons. Helms is one of the best comedians of this generation since The Hangover trilogy. Although Rusty was originally played by Anthony Michael Hall in the original Vacation, it won't suit him because he has a different image than a comedian and he only played Rusty in the first Vacation. In the sequels, there were other actors who played the role of Rusty including The Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki which makes me wonder if he was offered this role despite his busy schedule with the series.

Expanding the Griswold clan, we now get to meet Rusty's family. Christina Applegate seems to be the frequent choice to pair up with comedians like Jason Sudeikis and now Ed Helms. Because she is one of the best female comedians of this generation.

For the new Griswold kids played by Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins, they provide a new look for the next generation Griswolds and they are both brothers while Rusty has a sister Audrey. Just like the role of Rusty, there were different Audreys in the previous movies except for the spin-off TV movie Christmas Vacation 2 where Dana Barron, the original Audrey; reprises her role. Leslie Mann plays the new Audrey who is now settling down with her husband, Stone Crandall; played by Chris Hemsworth. After watching this movie, I will never see Thor the same way again.

The movie has various cameo appearances but what the fans look forward to was the Girl in the red Ferrari which is popularized by Christie Brinkley in the first Vacation is now played by another model. The only thing that made this movie different from the first Vacation was the absence of Cousin Eddie's family played by Randy Quaid.

I caution every viewer to be ready for the biggest laugh of your life. After you finished laughing with one scene, you might not get a chance to catch your breath with another. Chevy Chase and beverly D'Angelo reprises their roles as the Clark and Ellen Griswold which makes it seems that the elder Griswold is now passing the torch.

Vacation opens August 19 in Philippine cinemas and is released and distributed by Warner Bros. Phils. For more movie reviews, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Gift movie review

The Gift is a psycho-thriller that will give you the chills because it may happen in real life. The story is set on the couple Simon and Robyn(played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) just moved in Simon's old neighborhood.
Photo courtesy of OctoArt Films

They were welcomed by Simon's classmate Gordo during his childhood that he haven't seen. Then he sense that there is something odd about Gordo. This psycho-thriller is something anyone can relate. It shows a scenario of bullies and the bullied.

What if you meet the bully who treated gave you hell decades later and it remind you of the pain you went to. Would you get even? According to socialist educator Paulo Freire, the oppressed has a tendency to become the oppressor. After being oppressed, he/she will overthrow the oppressor/s and take their place. It may also apply to the corrupt and the corrupted.

I use this movie as a reflection since I was also bullied. I was considered an outcast because I cannot relate to my classmates because either they are an elite achiever or a trouble-maker. I am something in between because I am too kind as other people say and weakly back then. I have no one to turn to because being kind and weak is different to them. I have no one to turn to even my teachers because I am outnumbered. The odds were one against the whole student population. At least I know I was raised right.

The church is also not spared with bullies which is ironic since this institution should help uplift the people. When I was forced to join a youth group, most of my school mates are also there. So the bullying continued even on a Sunday. All because of those status quo and groupings of those who clicked. Fortunately, I was not alone since there was one person I met there that stood by my side. Since then, this comrade-in-arms became my best friend.

I kept it to myself because being bullied made me strong in later years. I only can imagine what if I was vengeful. Would I use the example Cask Of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe which I learned during my high school literature.

It all boils down to karma. Like in the Christian parable of sowing and reaping. Science teaches us that in every action, there is a reaction. For the past years thanks to social network sites, some of my classmates hook me up online and got together with them. I know they are already changed individuals when they made that move even though they didn't ask for forgiveness. But it made me decide to move on and forget. I just hope I did the right thing.

The movie concentrates on the issue of the effect of bullying in a person that may contribute molding the life of the person. It will also makes you look back that is why the movie has a slogan "the past may haunt your present". Unlike any psychological/suspense thriller, it ended differently as I would expected but it surely changed the lives of people involved.

Were you also bullied when you were a student? You can share or discuss your experience here. For more reflective movie reviews, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook. Opening in cinemas on Aug. 19

Monday, August 3, 2015



 From the makers of the “Taken” trilogy comes “Transporter 4 Refueled” – a total reboot of the franchise starring “Game of Thrones’” Ed Skrein in the titular iconic role. 

                No-brakes and an accelerated action extravaganza, “Transporter 4 Refueled” finds Frank Martin now living a less perilous life transporting classified packages for questionable people.  But the normalcy is suddenly interrupted when his father (Ray Stevenson) pays him a visit in the south of France, their father-son bonding weekend takes a turn for the worse when Frank is engaged by a cunning femme-fatale, Anna (Loan Chabanol), and her three seductive sidekicks to orchestrate the bank heist of the century.  Frank must use his covert expertise and knowledge of fast cars, fast driving and fast women to outrun a sinister Russian kingpin, worse he is thrust into a dangerous game of chess with a team of gorgeous women out for revenge.  

                Ed Skrein, an upcoming lead actor who also takes on a major role in the upcoming “Deadpool” movie, takes on a fresh and all-new personification of the iconic ‘Transporter’ role  of Frank Martin that re-launches the high-octane franchise into present day and introduces it to the next generation of thrill-seekers.   

                Non-stop drive begins when “Transporter 4 Refueled”  opens this September 2 from Pioneer Films.