Monday, July 29, 2013

Movie "Killing Season": De Niro-Travolta Film, a First in the Motion Picture History


De Niro-Travolta Film, a First in the Motion Picture History

Appearing in the big screen together for the first time is Academy Award winning actor, Robert De Niro and two-time Oscar nominee, John Travolta, as they star in the action-packed Hollywood movie, Killing Season.
Back-dropped against the dangerous landscape of the remote Appalachian mountain, Killing Season follows the story of two Bosnian War veterans- former American military Benjamin Ford (Robert De Niro) and former Serbian soldier (John Travolta)- as they settle an old score and engage themselves in the tense, fierce and purest form of battle: one-on-one.

Killing Season director Mark Steven Johnson, who also directed Daredevil and Ghost Rider, explains how thrilling it was to work with two of the most iconic actors who have never been in the same film together, “You grow up your whole life wanting to work with Robert De Niro and John Travolta … it’s a bit like you’re pinching yourself under the table. But that goes away very quickly when you realize that both of them are just sincerely the two most incredible gentlemen: professional, funny, outgoing and generous.”

“Killing Season” is released  and distributed by Captive Cinema Distribution, Inc. Showing on August 07, 2013 in theatres nationwide.


Hit Girl and Red Mist Returns in Kick-Ass 2


Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010’s irreverent global hit: Kick-Ass 2. After Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol.

When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) — reborn as The Mother F%&*^r — only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation. When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy.

Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire—leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there’s only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.

 "Kick-Ass 2" is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corporation.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lena Headey Stars as Mary Sandin in Universal’s The Purge

Genre: Horror, Thriller



Lena Headey stars as Mary Sandin in Universal’s The Purge

Considering it’s not quite the path she had envisaged, British actress Lena Headey is quite the action hero, and following on from roles in the likes of 300 and Dredd, she has another chance to show us what she’s made of, in The Purge features Lena as Mary Sandin, who alongside her husband James (Ethan Hawke) and two kids, find themselves in severe danger in their own home, on a night where any crime can be committed without consequence. Headey tells us what it’s like being an action hero, her own aspirations as a filmmaker and she responds to Hawke’s kind compliments about her talent.

Can you tell us a little bit abut your character Mary?

Mary is stuck, I guess it’s one of those things in life when you want more money and you want more of this or that, but when you get it you realize it’s a bit of a trap, so we kind of meet them when Ethan’s character is successful and they’ve all just sort of died a bit in the comfort and  started taking things for granted, and it takes this night to go wrong for them to all realize what they’ve been living I guess… The concept for this movie is really brave, it touches on a really uncomfortable subject and it puts it in cinematic form and I like that it’s all a bit suburban and a bit surreal in the beginning and then it turns on its head, and this family have to wake up, their conscience is kicked back into being and it hadn’t been there for a while. That’s what attracted me to it, plus James DeMonaco is a really smart guy and he made the film he wanted to make.

Ethan Hawke said that he has “never worked with anyone better” than yourself. Were you aware that you’d had such an impact?

No, not at all, that is so funny and very lovely. I’m quite shocked! Ethan is highly contagious because he is really passionate about what’s going on. He is just very present and very unaware of himself when he’s acting which is lovely, because you can be together in your work and there is no barrier. I enjoy his company a lot, he is just really good fun and very clever and yeah we got on very well.

Given the hypothetical scenario The Purge poses, I was wondering what crime you would commit if you knew you could get away with it?

I would like to go and steal loads of shoes. That’s what I’d do.

Ethan said he’d be an environmental terrorist…

Yeah his is slightly less selfish.

You’re a real action hero at the moment, I was just wondering if that was something you always dreamt of being when you were younger, or if that’s just how things have turned out for you?

It’s not how I dreamt things at all [laughs] I’m still learning, it’s a constant life schooling for me, but I started on little indies and British dramas and all that stuff and I miss that. I love what I do and it’s an adventure, it’s not fucking rocket science let’s be honest, but you’ve got to enjoy the journey of it all. But no I didn’t think I would end up with machine guns and knives fighting terminators and things like that, but like I say, it’s all part of my journey, and I get to do something like The Purge which was a tiny budget, and we shot for 19 days so it had that lovely energy that those movies do, because they require it to keep it going.

At the heart of The Purge is the story of a family uniting, and as a mother of a young child, is that something that also attracted you to the role?

Yeah, when you have a kid you give birth to many other things besides them and you explore that, so when there is a mother, especially a mother whose children are in danger, then yes, I think there is some sub-conscious attraction there for me, it’s definitely  part of it.

“THE PURGE” is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.



Critically Acclaimed Movie ‘Metro Manila’ Hits Theaters Soon

Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime, Drama


Released Date: 9 October 2013


Critically Acclaimed Movie ‘Metro Manila’ Hits Theaters Soon

Seeking a better life, Oscar Ramirez (Jake Macapagal) and his family decide to move from the poverty stricken rice fields of the Northern Philippine mountain ranges, and journey towards the capital mega city of Metro Manila. Upon arriving in the big city, Oscar and his family fall foul to various city inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival.

Oscar manages to land a job as a driver for an armored truck company and is befriended by Ong, his senior officer. Before long, it becomes apparent that Ong, has been planning the arrival of someone just like Oscar for some time.

Starring Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla and Althea Vega. Directed by Sean Ellis

Released and distributed by Captive Cinema.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The New American Dream in The Purge


The  New American Dream in The Purge

If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do?
In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—becomes legal. The police can’t be called. Hospitals suspend help. It’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment.

On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.

“The Purge” is released and distributed by Universal Pictures and United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.

Credits: Photos and press release provided by Solar Entertainment Corporation


Monday, July 15, 2013

A Delightful Weekend Break-fast Experience at Cafe 1771

Last July 6, 2013, I was invited by a blogger friend Anton of for breakfast at Cafe 1771 for a restaurant review.  Excited, I woke up early in spite of having late night because of watching live MMA matches. I arrived at the cafe around 7:05 a.m. ahead of our 8:00 am appointment.


I was impressed by the exterior of the building primarily it is juxtaposed to the tall buildings of Ortigas Centeral Business District (CBD) and it look quite an idyllic escape from the concrete jungle of the CBD.

Cafe 1771 Exteriors
View from ADB Avenue

Cafe 1771 Exteriors
Flags and Architecture

Cafe 1771 Entrance
The Entrance at the side


Impressed by the exteriors and having a glimpse of the what is inside from the windows, my heartbeat was increasing in excitement of what was to unfold in my sight as I enter the restaurant. The ambiance of the place delights the senses.

Cafe 1771 - Interiors

Cafe 1771 - Interiors

Cafe 1771 - Interiors

Here is a walk-through video of the interiors so you can see what I'm raving about:

Walk-through of the Interiors

Now after talking about the venue, let's get into the star of the show, the FOOD!


Filipino Corner

For those who loves a hearty traditional Filipino breakfast meal of rice, the Adobe Flakes Fried Rice is a sure winner.  It is garlic fried rice mixed with flakes of chicken and pork adobo, spring onions, topped with fried egg.  The vinegary taste of the in-between crispy and tender meat flakes couple with the garlicky (you even find a clove of garlic) fried rice is a match made in heaven. Highly recommended!

Cafe 1771 Adobo Flakes Fried Rice
Adobo Flakes Fried Rice (Php 250)

Another Pinoy (Filipino) dish I tried was the Baguio Longganisa na Sabog. It's longganisa (filipino sausages) version of Baguio with more of the garlicky taste rather than the sweet Pampaga versions. The longganisa was cut down to pieces to make it more crunchy and well done. I favor the sweeter versions of longganisa so this did not impressed me much but if you are into the Vigan type of longganisas, this will appeal to your palette.

Cafe 1771 Baguio Longanisa na Sabog
Baguio Longganisa na Sabog (Php 350)

From the childhood days of my relatives from abroad sending cans of Carnenorte (Corned Beef), to my stay in the Middle East buying corned beef products from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, I just love corned beef. At Cafe 1771, their Holed in One Corned Beef, their corned beef hash and fried egg ranks very high in my list of best corned beef I ever tasted.  It is so YUMMY! It can served with a choice of wheat bread or plain rice.

Cafe 1771 - Holed in One Corned Beef
Holed in One Corned Beef (Php 350)

Organic Egg Station

If you want a break from the rice based Filipino breakfast, I highly recommend that you try out Cafe 1771's alternative breakfast.

Try Eggs Florentine in a Boat. It is poached organic eggs and creamed spinach over delectable puff pastries with hollandaise sauce served with salad and you have a choice of :
  • Homemade Ham (Php 380)
  • Smoked Salmon (Php 440)
Eggs Florentine in a Boat with Homemade Ham
Eggs Florentine in a Boat with Home-made Ham (Php 380)
Eggs Florentine is a variation of the Americans' Eggs Benedict (which is also served in the Cafe). In culinary parlance, ala Florentine signifies that it has spinach.  Another clever variation is instead of English muffins for the base, they used puff pastry which I love for savory treats.

Eggs Florentine in a Boat with Homemade Ham
Close-up Eggs Florentine in a Boat with Home-made Ham
I tried the home-made ham variety. The combination of the puff pastry with  ham and healthy poached egg complimented by the creamy spinach tickles the taste buds with it varied texture and taste. Two thumbs up for this breakfast treat!

French Corner

Bonjour! Want to try some European breakfast?

Try Cafe 1771's Croque Madame. With tasty baked layers of ham, gruyere cheese, whipped with creamy bechamel sauce over a slice of English bread and topped with sunny side up egg. I definitely fell in love with this combination of ham, cheese and bread fused to a culinary breakfast treat to start your day. With the egg topping, it's another welcome additional layer of delight to this already delicious dish.

Cafe 1771 - Corque Madame
Croque Madame (Php 370)

 Without the sunny side up egg, it's called Croque Monsieur (Php 350).


One of their best sellers is their Sour Cream Pancakes. I tried their Sour Cream Pancakes with Caramelized Banana and Candied Walnuts. It's a treat for a sweet tooth like me. Aside from the delectable toppings, the syrup is quite unique as well for pancakes. Rather than the typical maple syrup, they use something similar to the caramel sauce you find in the traditional "leche plan". The pancakes have sour cream as well that makes the pancakes fluffier and tastier.

Cafe 1771-Sour Cream Pancakes with Caramelized Banana and Candied Walnuts
Sour Cream Pancakes with Caramelized Banana and Candied Walnuts (Php 350)
Other options for the pancake are:
  • Plain (Php 200)
  • With Crispy Bacon (Php 390)
  • With Sausage Hungarian/Cervelat or Schublig (Php 390)
  • With Crispy Bacon & Eggs (Php 450)


I thought that after the sweet pancakes, the sweet trip has ended.  We were served also with a selection of desserts that makes me want to go back to Cafe 1771 to satisfy my sweet cravings.

Cafe 1771 - Selection of Cakes and Desserts
Selection of Cakes and Desserts
Here are some of the ones we tried:

Gianduja Truffle Mousse Cake
Tempting layers of gianduja truffle mousse using a white and dark Valrhona chocolate with home-made marshmallow and brownie fudge.

Cafe 1771-Gianduja Truffle Mousse Cake
Gianduja Truffle Mousse Cake (Php 250)

Sugar-Free Passionfruit Cake
A combination of coconut dacquoise, passion fruit bavaroise and caramelized pioneapple using a natural sweetener. Delightful but not sinful!

Cafe 1771 - Sugar Free Passionfruit Cake
Sugar-Free Passionfruit Cake (Php 230)

Cafe 1771 - Sugar Free Passionfruit Cake
Sugar-Free Passionfruit Cake (Php 230)

Milk chocolate mousse in between layers of orange creme brulee and caramelized apricot and almond dacquioise. This is my favorite among the 3 that was served. The orangy taste that accents the milk chocolate mousse. Highly recommended!

Cafe 1771 - Amandelle
Amandelle (Php 300)

Breads and Pastries

The cafe has also selections of breads and pastries that you can enjoy dine-in or as take away "pasalubong" for your love ones.

Menu board for pastries and cakes

Selection of breads and pastries

Tea Anyone?

If you are into tea, you can also try their selections of teas to compliment your bread or pastry.

Cafe 1771 Selection of Teas
Selection of Tea


It was a great week-end breakfast experience for me at Cafe 1771. Not only it met my expectations when it comes to their culinary offerings but it exceeded my standards for an ideal breakfast venue for my valuable week-end indulgence escapades!

The food quality and the presentation are at par with 5 star hotels. That's already enough reason to go there. Furthermore, the ambiance of the place makes it a worthy option for your week-end (or weekdays) breakfast destination.

Highly recommended! The price is not for your everyday place to eat but it's value for your precious time for you  to spend your well deserved week-end break to enjoy not only a hearty breakfast but a relaxing time alone or with friends or family.

Me in blue shirt with friends
For reservations, you can call Cafe 1771 at 631-7340.  The cafe is located at El Pueblo Real de Manila near the corner of ADB Avenue and Julia Vargas, behind SM Megamall.

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Tiger Chen goes from stuntman to leading man in Keanu Reeve's directorial debut in 'Man of Tai-Chi"


Tiger Chen goes from stuntman to leading man in Keanu Reeve's directorial debut in 'Man of Tai-Chi"

Keanu Reeves says that he was motivated to direct his first film "Man of Tai-Chi" because the story was close to his heart and vision.

"The origins of the story date back nearly fifteen years, to when martial artist Tiger Chen Hu met Keanu Reeves while working as part of the stunt team for The Matrix.  Their friendship developed over the course of the trilogy of films, with Tiger eventually assuming more prominent stunt roles, impressing Reeves with his work ethic and imagination.  “I had to do Kung Fu training with Tiger, and he would tell me stories about his Tai Chi master and his unusual training methods,” Reeves recalls today.  “That lead to a lot of deeper conversations about the Tao of life, Chi, martial arts, everything.”  It was from these initial conversations that the two eventually decided to collaborate on a screen play that would not just feature Tai Chi as a device or excuse for high-octane fight and action sequences, but actually reflect the martial art’s philosophical values within the story.

We decided to work together. And over the years we developed a story that eventually came so close to my heart and my vision that I wanna to direct it. It became a story that I want to tell."

Tiger Chen Hu believes that the character Tiger’s struggle is something that most audience will be able to relate to, even if they have no experience with martial arts or the underlying philosophy of taiji.  “It’s easy to get trapped by the idea of money and power,” says Chen Hu.  “Young people like money, smoking, drinking, but all that stuff is excess in the world.  But you can’t just say, oh, I’m forbidden to know so I will just stay in my temple of purity.  If you want to be completely Taoist, you have to go taste that.  You have to go through the journey, to see it through, otherwise you aren’t really part of the full life.”

In addition to borrowing his own nickname for the character and collaborating with Reeves and screenwriter Michael G. Cooney on the script, Chen Hu also was happy to lend his own perspective and experience to help flesh out the story.  “Tiger is about eighty percent me, my experiences, my personality, I think,” he says today.  “Keanu said we don’t have to make another person, we’ll just put you into the story.  So it was easy for him to ask me questions like ‘what would you feel like in this situation,’ and I could answer.”  These conversations were often held across oceans and continents via video chat, leading to some unusual hours for Tiger to contemplate the fate of his character:  “It would be the middle of the night when I would start these calls, and Keanu and Michael would be talking about the story.  They’d ask me through the computer, ‘how would you feel’ and I’d answer, and they’d go back to talking and I’d fall asleep on the call.  Then, a half hour later, they’d shout ‘Tiger!’ and ask me another question.”

Like his film’s namesake, Chen Hu trained in Tai Chi as a youth before moving on to other forms of martial arts in order to develop himself as a stunt artist and film professional.  “Two years before we started filming, I went to another Tai Chi master to specifically train for the role of Tiger,” he recalls.  “Tai Chi is a very unique martial art with a different philosophy:  you are always trying to use the opponent’s power; you have to wait for the opponent to punch, kick, whatever, to throw power at you, so you can give the power back – you never attack first.”

Because of the complexity of Tai Chi as a martial art, Chen Hu, Reeves, and master fight coordinator Yuen Wo Ping (another Matrix veteran and a legendary fight choreographer and film director) had to ask themselves unusual questions when creating the fight sequences for MAN OF TAI CHI.  “I think it’s the first time you have MMA [Mixed Martial Arts] style versus Tai Chi,” says Chen-Hu.  “And, of course, we have to make all of the fights different from one another, so it’s not just the same moves over and over.  Finally, you also have to tell the story, to live the journey through Tiger.”  This would lead Reeves to ask Hu-Chen questions that are unfamiliar to most fighters used to basic stunt fighting:  “Keanu would ask me ‘why do you have to kick?’  That’s a hard question to answer….why do you have to throw the punch or the kick now, at this moment.”  “The fighting scenes had to express that journey,” adds Reeves.  “Where Tiger is emotionally, and that got into the specifics of where you are in your head, what style of martial arts are you fighting, what are you feeling during the fight, and how do you change as a result of this fight?  Every scene had to have change and development of the character going into the fight sequences.”

Ultimately, Reeves was very impressed with Chen Hu’s ability to render Tiger not only in terms of martial artistry, but also in terms of emotional vulnerability.  “Tiger is a very talented actor,” Reeves avers, noting that even as a stuntman on The Matrix films, he was able to immediately understand the need for playing a character and not just executing the physical moves.  “I saw him do some work with Laurence Fishburne, and I could tell that he knew what it took to shoot a scene, to be on a movie set.  So acting wasn’t unfamiliar to him; and in terms of the character work, he was so open and committed, and he completely understood the role.”  Reeves cites one fight sequence where Hu-Chen’s performance during the shooting forced Reeves to reconsider the way the scene would be shot:  “The way he looked at his opponent, I had to change the way we filmed the fight…that came from Tiger’s understanding of the character and the situation, and being alive as an actor.  I look forward to see what he’s going to do with his acting in the future.”
For Reeves, it wasn’t simply a matter of guiding Chen Hu, a stunt man largely unused to the demands of a leading man who must carry the emotional weight of the film.  He also had to supervise an international crew, most of whom who spoke an unfamiliar language, as well as bring weight and meaning to the role of Donaka Mark, the film’s shadowy antagonist.    “One of my feelings about acting and directing at the same time is that as a director, you are really looking outward.  You have something internal, an idea, a feeling, and you look outward and you collaborate.  As an actor, you have a perspective of the outside but you’re looking at your place in it from this internal perspective.  So it’s almost like having two sets of eyes.  It was a new world for me, but it was a really great world to explore.”
“Man Of Tai Chi” is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.

Showing nationwide starting July 17, 2013.

Credits: Photos and press release provided by Solar Entertainment Corporation


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Get Ready for the RUSH!


Get Ready for the RUSH!

The epic action-drama stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) as the charismatic Englishman James Hunt and Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) as the disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda, whose clashes on the Grand Prix racetrack epitomized the contrast between these two extraordinary characters, a distinction reflected in their private lives.

Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing, Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed—handsome English playboy Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda. Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die.

Two-time Academy Award® winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon), teams once again with fellow two-time Academy Award® nominee, writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), on Rush, a spectacular big-screen re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

“RUSH” released and distributed by Captive Cinema.

Hits theaters soon….Nationwide!

Credits: Press release and photo provided by Captive Cinema.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Filipinos Crazy Over the Minions! Despicable Me 2 Movie a Box Office Hit in the Philippines

Banana ..... Potato ..... Filipinos are crazy over the Minions of Despicable Me movie franchise. Crowds flocking to the movie theaters to watch the movie, McDos Happy Meal minion toys out of stock, even Snack Time's minions tumbler were sold out!

United International Pictures and Solar Entertainment Corporation. “Despicable Me 2” blasted onto Philippine screens simultaneously releasing with the U.S. and  kickstarting 2013 with the year’s all-time highest single day box office sales for an animation last Saturday.

'Despicable Me 2’s biggest opening weekend release for an animated movie of all time with over P100M Php120M box office sales and dominated the market on over 190 screens nationwide from Luzon to Mindanao!

Weekend Top 10 screens (in rounded figures):

 1. Php6,600,000 (SM North EDSA)
 2. Php5,380,000 (SM Mall of Asia)
 3. Php4,990,000 (SM Megamall)
 4. Php3,750,000 (Glorietta 4)
 5. Php3,640,000 (TriNoma)
 6. Php3,630,000 (Powerplant)
 7. Php3,440,000 (SM Cebu)
 8. Php3,020,000 (SM Southmall)
 9. Php2,970,000 (Gateway)
10. Php2,870,000 (Eastwood)         

Despicable Me 2 is the sequel to the 2010 animated blockbuster about a villain named Gru who turns into a crime buster and loving father to three young girls. It features the voice of comedian Steve Carell.  The family blockbuster movie is showing nationwide in Imax, 3D and 2D versions.

“Despicable Me 2” is released and distributed by United Intl. Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.

Still showing and counting!

Related Posts:

Despicable Me 2: Movie Review and Coverage of the Philippine Premiere at IMAX Theater - SM Aura Premier

Credits: Photos and press release provided by Solar Entertainment Corp.