September 10 To 16
Special Feature: What Have We Learned From Hollywood Blockbusters?
Videos: Thor, X-Men First Class, Pirates of the Caribbean Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows 2,
Peter Jennings’ interview with Rudy Giuliani during 9/11, Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center,
Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost
Artists of the Week: King, Men Oppose, Shakatak
What Have We Learned From Hollywood Blockbusters?
This story originally appeared in August 21,2011, in Philippine Panorama, the Sunday magazine of the Manila Bulletin
I celebrate Filipino pop culture in my blog 2Rivers, where you can watch streaming videos of OPM MTVs and all the films of Cinemalaya and Cinema One Originals. I love movies, all kinds. Allow me to share some insights on some Hollywood films we have seen, enjoyed and learned from.
Disappointment Can Build Your Character. Thor is the son of the king and chief deity Odin and heir to the throne of Asgard. He is the master of Mjolnir, the hammer of the gods forged from a star, the power of which defies imagination. Stuff like that can get into your head. When he disobeyed his father and attacked the lair of the satanic Ice Giants, he was exiled.
On earth, he had to endure unimaginative mortals to get back Mjolnir, and he was shocked to high heavens when his hammer wouldn’t budge. Even gods gets disappointed, not the most reassuring thing to hear, but at least they know how it is to be…human.
Thor’s story mirrors the Parable of the Prodigal Son, complete with a jealous brother, Loki. Thor went to earth and was transformed into a better man – and he has proven worthy to reclaim his rightful place. Thor is now home, where he belongs, because those who cross rainbow bridges, who have been purged and purified, and who drink but don’t get drunk, all go to heaven.
See the full story in What It Takes To Be Worthy
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Different. Charles Xavier woke up in the middle of the night. The 13-year old telepath can sense there was a stranger downstairs and that’s how he met Raven the shape shifter. Meanwhile, 14-year old Erik Lensherr saw his mother dragged away to a concentration camp. He struggled with the Nazi guards, then the metal gates started to sway outward, as if magnetized by his hand.
Witness to this uncanny scene was Klaus Schmidt, aka Sebastian Shaw, a high-ranking Nazi officer with a mysterious past and an even more mysterious power – the ability to absorb and manipulate energy in any form, making him virtually invincible.
Facing a formidable enemy, Charles and Erik sought other mutants to foil Shaw’s ultimate objective of triggering a nuclear holocaust and creating a new world order in the aftermath. That was Charles Xavier’s first class: a group of young people with amazing capabilities, who need someone to teach them to accept who they are, harness their powers and use them for the greater good.
See the full story in Can You Embrace The Unknown?
Living An Adventure Is Better Than Living Forever. Jack Sparrow hunted down the man who was pretending to be him. The impostor, who was recruiting a crew to find the fabled Fountain of Youth, was actually his ex-girlfriend Angelica – who turns out to be the long-lost daughter of the legendary pirate Blackbeard. Jack has the map, but it has been stolen by his friend Gibbs who was forced by the British to act as guide for the competing expedition led by their mutual friend Barbossa.
They arrived at the island sailors fear, White Cap Bay, and set trap for the mermaids, whose tears are crucial to make the ritual of immortality work – but the mermaids attacked them
The Fountain shall test your character, counseled Jack’s dad Edward Teague who vanished while they were in the Captain’s Daughter tavern. Jack let go of the chance to become an immortal to save lives, saying it’s better to feel your entire being fully alive at the promises of what life has to offer, to the possibilities of whatever happens next.
See the full story in Jack Sparrow Will Live Forever
Master Your Fear If You Want To Be A Superhero. The Green Lantern Corps has been the protector of the universe since the dawn of time. The immortal Elders who created the galaxies harnessed the green-colored power of the Will emanating from all living beings. That Will-power is concentrated in the rings worn by the Lantern Corps, the power of which is infinite.
The greatest of all the Green Lanterns, Abensur, was mortally wounded by the vapor-like specter known as Parallax, an elder who was lured by the Dark Side – the yellow-colored power of Fear – and grows stronger as he absorbs the life force of those who succumb to his terrifying presence.
Abensur commands his ring to find the one worthy to wear it. The chosen one was a maverick jet fighter pilot, Hal “Highball” Jordan, who is struggling with his own demons. Hal soon gave up and walked away from the Corps, besieged by self-doubt.
But the ring never lies and never makes a mistake. When Parallax invades earth, hal was able to tap into his dormant but incredible reservoir of courage – which the ring unerringly saw.
“In brightest day, in darkest night…” Parallax, who feeds on fear, “no evil shall escape my sight…” was defeated. “Let those who worship evil’s might…” Destroyed by the man who had conquered his own. “Beware my power – Green Lantern’s light!”
The True Test of Character Is To Face Your Destiny. I have followed the Harry Potter saga since Day One. When I saw the conclusion of this one-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, I was even more in awe of JK Rowling’s genius. I know she’s one-in-a-million, but I was staggered by how the labyrinthine twists kept clicking into one shocking revelation after another.
The story was working on many thought-provoking levels, such as life after death, like when Harry met Lily, his mother who died protecting him from You-Know-Who. “Why are you here?” he asked. His mother answered lovingly, “Because we never left.” Like James and Lily Potter, my parents died when I was a baby, and I will never, ever forget that scene.
There is, as well, the agony of unrequited love. Severus Snapes still loves Lily after all those years, even if she had chosen James. One of the most poignant film scenes I ever saw was when Snapes was about to die, and he looks up to Harry and whispered, “You have your mother’s eyes…”
We see wicked witches, spellbinding sorcery, and the raw, visceral courage to embrace your destiny, when Harry potter went into the woods to sacrifice himself to save Hogwarts – by dying in the hands of the evil Lord Voldemort
I have grown to cherish the characters, just like most people around muggle world, and I feel a certain sadness that the adventures of our favorite boy wizard has come to a close – at the same time believing that the magic will never end.
The 10 Secrets of Outstanding Careers (Excerpt)
This story originally appeared in the CareerGuide section of the Philippine Star. See the FULL STORY
Everything we do or fail to do comes back to us. Rudy Giuliani earned his place in history by his heroic leadership during 9/11. "I was the mayor of New York City," he told Reader's Digest in 2002. "My whole appraoch as mayor was to be there and to be in charge."
Good Day Sunshine: How To Be A Positive Thinker (Excerpt)
This story originally appeared in Dec. 16, 2007 in Philippine Panorama. See the FULL STORY
Oliver Stone has been dismissed as “tainted goods,” the Hollywood term for a pariah because his masterpiece Alexander was a box-office flop – but the indomitable Oscar-winning filmmaker returned with the highly-visceral, gut-wrenching and deeply inspiring World Trade Center. Recalls Will Jimeno, the Port Authority police officer who was trapped under the rubble of Ground Zero and was portrayed by Michael Peña: “I gave Oliver a big hug and kiss and I said, ‘You kept to your word, You told the story as accurate and as true as you could.’ The main thing is when you leave the theater, you leave with a sense off hope and love.”
What’s on my mind is Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, the theme from Ghost with Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze. “God speed your love...”
Artists of The Week
OPM English: King
OPM Tagalog: Men Oppose