3 things you didn’t know about Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Four years ago, the team-up movie of DC Comics’ superheroes premiered in theaters.

But there’s more the story of these super-powered heroes than what was originally shown on-screen.

With the highly anticipated premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures and DC’s four-hour HBO Max Original feature film “Zack Synder’s Justice League” HBO GO on Thursday, March 18, the full story, faithful to the director’s artistic vision, can finally unfold.

Determined to ensure that Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.

With a screenplay by Chris Terrio, story by Chris Terrio & Zack Snyder and Will Beall, “Zack Synder’s Justice League” is based on characters from DC, Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film’s producers are Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, with executive producers Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Wesley Coller, Jim Rowe, Curtis Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.

While we wait with baited breath to witness Zack Snyder’s vision come to life, we can tide ourselves over with some little-known tidbits of information from the production notes recently released by HBO.

1. It delves deeper into the superheroes’ backstories.

We get to meet characters integral to the superheroes’ backgrounds such as Victor Stone’s mother, Elinore, and Barry Allen’s potential love interest, Iris West. We also get to see more of Lois Lane’s emotional arc, deepening her connection to Superman and his eventual resurrection while Vulko, the vizier of Atlantis, provides to context to Aquaman’s story.

“Justice League is a story of a group of misfits,” relates Snyder in a recent Q&A. “They’re superheroes but they’re all kind of wayward, and each of them has certain skill sets needed to save the world. It’s the story of the coming together of those lost souls into a family.”

Never-before-seen existing footage featuring Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello), Calvin Swanwick/Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix), and Ryan Choi (Zheng Kai) will round out the mythology.

2. It entailed an additional shoot… featuring the Clown Prince of Crime.

While Snyder mostly mined existing footage from his original movie, an entirely new scene was shot: a scene between Batman and his old nemesis, Jared Leto’s Joker.

“After I realized there would be no more Zack Snyder DC movies, my biggest regret was that there was no Batman/Joker confrontation scene,” explains the director. “It’s the key relationship for both of them. They both went through a series of films and never ran into each other. It didn’t make sense to me.”

3. It was made and completed in the midst of the pandemic.

You would think that putting a film together while everyone is in quarantine will be near-impossible, but Snyder and his crew were able to pull it off.

For some, it was a much-needed culmination of their artistry. Others, struggling from a lack of work due to the pandemic, could put their available time and resources to good use.

From a technical standpoint, a lot of elements that require in-person collaboration (like shooting the movie) were already finished. Most of the visual effects vendors are international, so they work remotely anyway. Snyder was able to work from his home office via an AVID that his editor could control remotely. And when something absolutely needed to be done in person, all safety precautions were taken.

The movie’s score is probably the only element that had to be completely recreated from scratch. So, Zack called Dutch composer Junkie XL, aka Thomas Holkenborg, who had written the score for the movie’s 2017 iteration — and gave him a blank slate.

“Individually, these characters have one thing in common – a tormented past. A lot of darkness and pain and melancholy and sorrow are speaking through their music and I have to find all these different approaches to establish that with each character,” Junkie says.

With the release of the Snyder cut, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a sense of closure that we are able to view the director’s oeuvre the way he wants it to be seen.

“The movie itself is one of those few times I wasn’t making it for anyone, I was just making it,” Snyder shares. “Whether it’s superfans or the uninitiated or whoever watching it. It has nothing to do with it. It’s more like reading someone’s journal than it is reading someone’s novel. I think that’s part of the unique experience of the film. I’ll be honest. It’s kind of the way I work anyway. I’ve always been slightly embattled throughout my career. I think it makes for good rewatching.”

“Zack Synder’s Justice League” will premiere exclusively on HBO GO. This video streaming service is available to SKYcable subscribers for as low as Php 99/month.

Click here to know more about HBO GO.

Justice League superfans will also get a chance to win movie snackboxes and HBO GO merchandise for five from SKY by joining this promo.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Enjoy a funtabulous February on HBO and HBO GO

February may have less days than the other months of the year but it certainly won’t lack for movie magic.

Whether on your large-screen TV via HBO (ch 54 SD | 168 HD on SKYcable) or your handy mobile device via HBO GO, you can enjoy blockbuster movies as soon as they have their TV premiere.

Enjoy a fantabulous February when you catch these new movies on HBO and HBO GO.

Unpregnant
Premieres Saturday, 6 February at 9pm

Seventeen-year-old Veronica never thought she’d want to fail a test—that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with a blue plus. With a promising college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make. This never-taken-lightly decision leads her on a 1000-mile hilarious road trip to New Mexico over three days with her ex-best friend, Bailey where they discover sometimes the most important choice you’ll make in life is who your friends are.

This HBO Max original film adapted from the young adult HarperCollins novel by authors Jenni Hendriks (How I Met Your Mother) and Ted Caplan (music editor for The Hate U Give, The Greatest Showman) offers a mix of humor and grounded human emotion as it tackles complicated friendships and the difficult road to adulthood, all while in a stolen Trans-Am. Stars Haley Lu Richardson, Ramona Young and Sugar Lyn Beard.

Birds Of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Premieres Saturday, 13 February at 9pm

Harley Quinn is back for more freaky fun and malevolent mayhem, as she dumps the Joker and teams up with Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from Gotham City crime czar Roman Sionis. Stars Margot Robbie, Mary Winstead and Ewan McGregor.

Dolittle
Premieres Friday, 12 February at 9pm

After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr.John Dolittle, famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures. Stars Robert Downey Junior, Tom Holland and Emma Thompson.

Midway
Premieres Sunday, 14 February at 9pm

This epic war picture chronicles the ferocious battle that occurred from June 4-7, 1942. Six months after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy and a squad of intrepid fighter pilots take part in one of the most vital fights of World War II: the Battle of Midway. Stars Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson and Woody Harrelson.

Allen vs. Farrow
Premieres Monday, 22 February at 10am on HBO GO with a same-day encore at 10pm on HBO

From award-winning investigative filmmakers Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy comes this four-part documentary series that goes behind decades of sensational headlines to reveal the private story of one of Hollywood’s most notorious and public scandals: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then seven-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed. Once celebrated for their on and off-screen partnership, Farrow and Allen’s lives were irrevocably fractured and their sprawling family torn apart with the public disclosure of the abuse allegations and the vitriolic disputes that followed.

This gripping series interweaves new investigative work – meticulously pieced together via intimate home movie footage, court documents, police evidence, revelatory videotape and never-before-heard audio tapes – with exclusive, in-depth interviews on the subject with Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, Ronan Farrow, family friend Carly Simon, prosecutor Frank Maco, relatives, investigators, experts and other first-hand eyewitnesses – many of them speaking publicly about the events for the first time. The series also includes prominent cultural voices exploring Allen’s body of work in a broader context and reflecting on how public revelations about the personal lives of artists can lead to re-evaluations of their work.

Allen v. Farrow includes an intimate look at Farrow and Allen’s charmed courtship and emergence as one of Hollywood’s power couples, making thirteen influential films together over a decade. Over time, Allen becoming a father figure to Farrow’s children as well as their shared children. Yet, threaded throughout all of their professional success and personal achievements, there were dark undercurrents at play.

Allen v. Farrow examines the shattering effects of trauma on a family and is a haunting depiction of the skepticism and backlash that can result from an accusation

The Invisible Man
Premieres Saturday, 27 February at 9pm

In a terrifying modern tale of obsession inspired by the classic monster character, Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss stars as a young woman who escapes her abusive relationship with an optics engineer only to have him fake his death and return as the titular terror –who makes it his sole mission to terrorize her. Stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge and Oliver J Cohen.

HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming to SKYcable subscribers on HBO GO for as low as Php99/month. To subscribe to SKY services, fill up this form.

Show details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Come home to these great movies on SKYcable this December

Cherish the holiday break this Christmas as the whole family is home for the holidays and enjoy SKY’s movie marathon treat with a diverse and fresh selection this December.

Welcome back “Joy” and “Ethan” into your homes as they bring you a story of personal struggle and romance with the phenomenal box-office hit “Hello, Love, Goodbye” on SKY Movies Pay-Per-View available from until January 12 for only P99.

Catch “Dumbo,” one of the childhood classic novels’ live-action reimagining as it premieres on Fox Movies this December 21 at 9:00 P.M. Collin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva green, and Alan Arkin join force in this film adaptation of the story of struggling circus owner Max Medici (DeVito) who engage Holt (Farrell) and his two children to take care of Dumbo. See what obstacles they encounter in the circus and how they manage to bring the circus back to life again.

Another live action revival awaits cartoon lovers this coming Dec.25 at 8:00 P.M. as “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” airs on Fox Family. In Paul Tibbitt’s directorial debut, Spongebob helps Mr. Krabbs in finding Burger Bread who stole the top secret recipe of Krabby Patties.

‘90s babies now have the chance to catch “The Brady Bunch Movie” on Paramount on December 31 at 2:15 P.M. Parents Mike (Gary Cole) and Carol (Shelley Long) are having problems as their home is in danger of being taken away by Larry (Michael Mckean), the house’s developer. As soon as their six Brady kids know of the problem, they decide to enter a talent contest to help the family.

Sports fans can learn from “Gold,” a fictionalized retelling of the first Olympic gold win by hockey team, Independent India in 1948, on Zee Sine. In this historical sports drama, which airs Dec.21 at 8:30 P.M.,, check how assistant manager Tapas (Akshay Kumar) was instrumental in bringing India its first Olympic Gold as a free nation.

Also don’t miss Vice Ganda’s “Fantastica” on C1 this December 31 at 9:00 P.M., where he plays a struggling carnival owner thinking of ways to make his family’s business become lively again.

From Hollywood box office films to local films, you can come home to SKYcable for great flicks. Take your pick now and arrange a date with the entire family. Existing SKYcable subscribers can choose to add movie channels to their lineup for as low as P20/month. Sign up at mysky.com.ph/addchannels.

Not yet on SKYcable? Fill up this form or call your local SKY office to see which cable plan is right for you.

Show details and image provided  in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Zee Sine brings the best of Bollywood to SKY

Did you know that Bollywood is actually the world’s largest film industry in terms of number of feature films produced?

Bollywood is the more commonly applied term to the Indian Hindi-language film industry. It is also one of the largest centers of film production in the world, with an annual output of 1,986 films in 2017. It also outstrips Hollywood in ticket sales with a reported 3.6 billion tickets sold worldwide in 2001 compared to Hollywood’s 2.6 billion tickets sold.

This industry has produced many onscreen luminaries over the years, with a lot of its current top stars also becoming globally recognized actors and actresses. These include Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Hritik Roshan, Kareen Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and even former beauty queens Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai.

Today, Filipinos can view many of their outstanding feature films dubbed in Tagalog on Zee Sine.

Developed with the tastes and likes of the Filipino audience in mind, Zee Sine has a wide range of content – from drama, comedy, romance, action, thriller and musical – all carefully selected based on stories relatable to the Pinoy audience.

In Zee Sine, the localization process goes as far as creating movie themes such as Unli Tawa Monday for comedies, Hari ng Aksyon Thursday for action flicks, Kilig Monday for romances, Pinoy Bollywood Box Office for blockbusters, Star of the Month which focuses on a key Bollywood actor and Bollywood Divas which give tribute to the gorgeous ladies in the industry.

Zee Sine viewers can also expect three original movies and three original drama series that feature the latest love teams from India on weekdays. On weekends, they can look forward to five original movies, three movie premieres every month.

In a recent media launch event held at Restaurant 9501, representatives of local press as well as lifestyle and entertainment bloggers got a sneak peek of the myriad of movie choices that Zee Sine has to offer.

The attendees were also treated to the bold flavors of Indian dishes prepared by 9501’s Chef Richard Aranas especially for this occasion which included Hummus di Tahini with Chapatti bread, Vegetable Samosas, Aloo Gobi (Potatoes and Cauliflower sauteed in spices), Chicken Tandoori, Beef Vindaloo and the coconut rice pudding dessert Kheer.

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

According to Harish Goyal, CEO of Zee International Asia Pacific and Africa, Pinoys share the love of color and music in cinema with their Indian counterparts. They can catch these and more in Bollywood movies which feature musical numbers every thirty minutes.

Liza Ginting, country head of Zee Entertainment in the Philippines, cited the similarities of Hindi and Pinoy cultures, such as the supremacy of the mother in the household, which will anchor the appeal of Bollywood movies to local audiences.

SKY’s integrated marketing head Gidgette Faustino, on the other hand, lauds the Pinoy’s openness to global content and sense of adventure when it comes to foreign shows. These will drive SKY to continue bringing more shows and content through its pay TV and broadband platforms.

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine Media Launch

Zee Sine is part of Zee Entertainment which is available in 173 countries worldwide and entertains over 1.3 billion viewers everyday. Today, Zee Entertainment has three channels targeted towards local audiences in Southeast Asia and ten in other countries across the globe.

To enjoy the Bollywood movies and series on Zee Sine, SKYcable subscribers can add the channel to their lineup via SKYcable Select for only Php20 per month. SKYcable Select allows subscribers to add channel individually or in packs to their basic cable subscription for a customized TV viewing experience.

Zee Sine may be viewed on SKYcable channel 112 in Metro Manila and channel 424 in Cebu, Davao, Bacolod and Iloilo.

For more details on Zee Sine and other SKY products and services, visit mysky.com.ph or visit your nearest SKYzone.

Channel details provided by SKY and Zee Sine in a press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Bring out the popcorn for these international movies on CinemaWorld this June

Rainy days are upon us!

With the onslaught of the wet season, going out to watch a movie might be more of a hassle than a treat.

Why not stay inside, and get your movie fix right at home?

With CinemaWorld’s releases this June, curling up in your comfy sofa with a tub of popcorn is a great movie date!

Mondays need not be manic with these highly entertaining rom-coms.

A SONG FOR MIA

(June 3, Mon, 9pm)

In this German film, Sebastian’s life of wanton indulgence comes to an abrupt stop when he gets blinded by an accident. Mia, a nurse unlike his usual women, enters his life and shows him the beauty of a life he can attain if he follows his true passions.

ROMANCING THE JUNGLE

(Jun 24, Mon, 9pm)

Romancing the Jungle

While doing an investigative piece on sea piracy in Thailand, rookie journalist Eva is kidnapped for real by pirates. She bands together with hunky smuggler Nik, and together, they fight for their survival in this German movie.

Explore the world while curled up in bed on weekends with these top movie picks from CinemaWorld:

THE FATHER AND THE FOREIGNER

(Jun 15, Sat, 9pm)

The Father and the Foreigner

In this Italian-language flick, Diego forms an unlikely friendship with Arab businessman, Walid. When Walid and his son go missing and the secret service enters the picture, Diego embarks on a dangerous search for them.

DEAR LEMON LIMA

(Jun 30, Sun, 9pm)

Dear Lemon Lima

In this coming-of-age comedy described by Variety as “Juno meets Napolean Dynamite”, 13-year-old Vanessa discovers her Eskimo heritage. She bands together with her misfit friends to compete in the school’s notorious winter competition to impress her crush.

CinemaWorld is a 24-hour, movie channel that premieres the world’s best and award-winning movies, box-office successes, critics’ favorites from all around the world. These films are aired in their original language with English substitles.

In the Philippines, SKYcable subscribers can add it to their channel line-up for only Php150/month. To subscribe to CinemaWorld, click here.

Until June 7, watch CinemaWorld’s movies for free along with other channels with a deluge of shows as SKYcable opens up its HD and standard definition channels to its subscribers. For more details, visit mysky.com.ph/allaccess.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my previous posts on CinemaWorld:

Header photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Notable character developments leading to the Avengers: Endgame

Seven years after Earth’s mightiest heroes assembled in one epic movie in Avengers, band together again against another global threat in Avengers: Age of Ultron and were then left to face the aftermath of The Decimation at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, many of the team’s character arcs may be considered completed by the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame.

With this, I thought a review of characters’ initial appearances and growth over the course of the franchise quite fitting.

Warning: This post may contain spoilers on previous MCU movies, but no spoilers about Endgame. I promise.

So here’s what the original Avengers have gone through so far:

Clint Barton aka Hawkeye

Played by Jeremy Renner

During his first appearance in Thor, he was a wise-cracking deadshot agent of SHIELD. In his later appearances, we learned that he was the one who decided against eliminating Black Widow and recruited her as a fellow SHIELD agent instead. Their shared adventures and strong bond outside the Avengers include the “Budapest Incident” and Nat’s familiarity with Clint’s wife and children.

Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow

Played by Scarlett Johanson

Nat has certainly come a long way from her first outing as Black Widow in Iron Man 2 as a SHIELD operative under cover as Pepper Potts’ stunningly gorgeous assistant. Her kick-ass fighting ability was apparent from the get-go, but we got glimpses of her dark past such as her training as an assassin in the Red Room, her loyalty to Nick Fury and Steve Rogers as they revealed Hydra’s infiltration of SHIELD, as well as her budding romance with Bruce Banner which was cut short when Hulk decided against returning to the fold after the events of Age of Ultron.

Bruce Banner aka The Hulk

Played by Mark Ruffalo

The Hulk’s origin stories were told in teo movies that came prior to the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played on-screen by Eric Bana and Edward Norton, respectively. Throughout the movie franchise, Banner’s disdain for his alter-ego is apparent, referring to the Hulk as “the other guy,” and always seeking ways to suppress him. After serving as a gladiator in Sakaar, helping in the Battle of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, he was soundly defeated by Thanos at the start of Infinity War, owing to Thanos’ possession of the Power Stone. The Hulk has since then refused to join the fray in succeeding battles, explained by the Russo brothers as stemming from his resentment of Bruce Banner, and how he is disdained despite always being called upon the save the day.

Thor

Played by Chris Hemsworth

The favored son of the Norse god Odin Allfather, Thor has experienced epic losses in the course of the films such as the death of his mother in Thor: The Dark World, the death of his father and the destruction of his home Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, and the death of his adoptive brother Loki at the start of Infinity War. Throughout the franchise, he has displayed his earnestness and tenacity; despite being left for dead by Thanos, he pursued the forging of a weapon capable of defeating the Mad Titan.

Steve Rogers aka Captain America

Played by Chris Evans

Considered the First Avenger, Steve is the “man out of time.” Woken up from decades of cryostasis into modern times, his struggle is to find his place in today’s world after losing most of the people from his past.

Tony Stark aka Iron Man

Played by Robert Downey, Jr.

The man who started the MCU, Tony Stark dealt with his father’s death and legacy, the consequences of his billion-dollar empire built on weapons manufacturing and his self-assumed responsibility to protect the Earth from all possible threats.

I’ve just gotten home from watching the movie and I can say that it ended well. To avoid spoiling it for those who haven’t watched it yet, I won’t write about how these character arcs played out in Endgame. Instead, I’ll update this post after a week, which will also give me some time to digest the experience.

For over a decade, the Avengers have been a part of my life, taking me along on their adventures and letting me peek into their family. For me, the Avengers saga is not just superhero movies: it is comprised of stories about love, family, friendship, sacrifice and hope.

Avengers Endgame

I’m happy to be alive at a time when a movie based on comic books can have such an impact, not just on pop culture, but on me personally as well.

Relive the adventures of the Avengers by streaming the MCU movies on your mobile device. Join Amazon Prime, to have unlimited access to shows and movies which include:

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Infinity War

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Four things I like about Captain Marvel

The first solo female-led film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (since Black Widow is part of an ensemble in Avengers and the Wasp co-headlined Ant-Man and the Wasp), Captain Marvel carries with it a lot of expectations.

The movie is centered on Carol Danvers (played by Oscar winner Brie Larson), a US Air Force pilot who was given superhuman powers when she absorbed the energy from an explosion.

Being an MCU geek, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see it on its first day of theatrical release. While I’ve been seeing mixed reactions about the movie on the web, let me share four reasons why I think it’s awesome.

I will try to minimize spoilers in this blog post but there will be some references to scenes in the movie or other MCU releases so be warned…

Here be spoilers.

One: It passes the Bechdel test.

Why would I start my review with the movie’s most academic aspect?

Well, much has been hyped about Captain Marvel being the first female-led MCU outing, and I’m glad to see, with its depiction of the abiding friendship between Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau (played by Lashana Lynch), that it passes the one of the most basic of standards for female representation in fiction.

The Bechdel Test asks whether there are at least two women in the movie who talk to each other about anything other than a man.

Danvers’ reunion with Maria after a long separation empowers and reaffirms her without needing to include a male in their conversations.

Two: The absence of a love interest.

Nope, Captain Marvel doesn’t need a love interest to inspire her or stir her to action. Her notable interactions were with her Kree mentor Yon-Rogg (played by Jude Law), her friend Maria Rambeau, and a young, quippy Nick Fury (played by CGI-de-aged Samuel L. Jackson), not with a potential boyfriend.

Oh, and the fact that the movie didn’t have the need to explain why there’s no father-figure in the Rambeau household is remarkable.

Three: Younger and work-in-progress Fury.

Since Iron Man 2 to Avengers: Infinity War, Nick Fury has always shown up as nothing less than the BAMF director of SHIELD.

Here, he is still a desk jockey, starting to navigate his way through the realization that a bigger universe exists other than the one he’s known. His banters and quips with Carol Danvers are light and breezy, an indication of the friendship and respect between them that will carry over to when Captain Marvel makes her appearance in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.

Oh, and we see a young Phil Coulson (played by a similarly CGI-de-aged Clark Gregg) in the movie as well, just when I was despairing of ever seeing him again in an MCU movie after his demise in Avengers (and subsequent resurrection in the TV series Agents of SHIELD).

Four: The nods to the 90s

Being a child of the 90s myself, I found myself excited to see the various references to the decade, from Captain Marvel’s crash landing into a Blockbuster Video store, the boxy computers with the slow loading icon and the on-point musical accompaniment to key scenes (No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” for instance).

For me, Captain Marvel does an admirable job in introducing a new addition to MCU’s superhero roster, and tying her story to the rest of the films (guess where Fury got the idea to name his brainchild project the Avengers Initiative).

To some, it may be another cog in the machine that is the MCU, but really, what do cogs do? They keep the machine going.

What do you think of the movie? Share your thoughts in the comments.

A lesson on friendship from “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

Six years after the game Sugar Rush and its denizens from Turbo, video game bad guy Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is pretty satisfied with his life. He and best friend Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman), who is growing bored with the predictability of her game, hangs out every night after their day’s work at the arcade.

After a mishap that resulted in the arcade owner Mr. Litwak unplugging Sugar Rush leaving its denizens homeless, Ralph and Vanellope decide to leave the confines of the arcade and venture to the vast, uncharted world of the internet to save the game.

In the course of their adventures, they meet Yesss (voiced by Taraji P. Henson), the head algorithm of the trend-making site “BuzzTube” and Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot), the tough-as-nails driver from gritty online auto-racing game Slaughter Race.

Noting Vanellope’s desire for the excitement and unpredictability of the online racing game, and admiration for Shank, Ralph worries that he may lose the only friend he’s ever had.

Central to the story is Ralph’s growing insecurity in his position as Vanellope’s best friend. His growing clinginess and selfish possessiveness land them, and the entire internet, into more trouble.

While the first movie was focused on the growing bond of friendship between Ralph and Vanellope, the sequel posits that the bond is strong enough to survive them being apart.

It took me many years to learn this lesson myself: that the true test of friendship is that you don’t have to cling to each other for the relationship to stay strong. If the bond is strong enough, and the people involved are whole enough unto themselves, letting go of each other allows the relationship to be enhanced by their exposure to different people, viewpoints and experiences.

Pretty soon, I might face the same situation as my kids become their own persons and grow into adulthood.

But for the meantime, I’ll enjoy my time with them.

This block screening of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a joint project of SKY and the Disney Channel (SKYcable ch 47 SD and ch 250 HD). Through its SKYlife events such as this, SKY rewards loyal subscribers with exclusive privileges and experiences.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

CinemaWorld brings Russian movie “Mortal Affair” for free on SKY On Demand

In Mortal Affair, stunning female photographer Sasha finds her artist lover murdered.  She goes on the run from the criminals who wants to leave no witnesses alive and the authorities who view her as the prime suspect.  While struggling to keep herself alive, she unravels the mystery of his death.

Mortal Affair (aka Chistoe Iskusstvo in Russian) stars Russian actress Anna Chipovskaya as Sasha.  She is joined by Pyotr Fyodorov,  Konstantin Yushkevich and Dmitry Brauer.  The film is helmed by Renat Davletyarov.

CinemaWorld brings this 2016 Russian thriller for free on SKY On Demand this August,  allowing registered users of the video streaming service to view the movie online for one month at no additional cost.

To use SKY On Demand, register at skyondemand.com.ph. You can watch the movie and more using your computer’s browser or by downloading the SKY On Demand app on the Google Playstore or the Apple App Store.

CinemaWorld is a 24-hour, movie channel that premieres the world’s best and award-winning movies, box-office successes, critics’ favorites from all around the world. SKYcable and One SKY subscribers can add it to their channel line-up for only Php150/month.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Top 3 book-to-movie adaptations coming in 2018

Adapting books to the silver screen makes sense for movie producers. For one thing, the story is already laid out: the characters, setting and the plot have been thought out by the author. Another advantage is that successful novels, from the classics to contemporary bestsellers, already have a following, an audience that is eager to relive their favorite narratives via the big-screen.

If you’re a fan of these books, you’ll be glad to know that they’ll have their turn at the cinema. For movie lovers who don’t mind spoilers, reading the books that these films are based on prior to their theatrical release will enrich the viewing experience.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters

In post-World War II Britain, a country doctor with humble beginnings is called to visit a patient in the 18th century estate of the local gentry where more than just the past haunts him and its inhabitants.

Released in 2009, Sarah Walters’ gothic novel explores the themes of evil and social class in a society in upheaval.

The movie directed by Lenny Abrahamson stars Domnhall Gleeson (“About Time,” “Ex Machina”), Ruth Wilson (“The Affair,” “Luther”), and Will Poulter (“The Revenant,” “The Maze Runner”). It will be released in cinemas on August 31, 2018.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

In this continuation/reboot of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist match their wits against spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.

The film directed by Fede Alvarez stars Claire Foy (“The Crown,” “Season of the Witch”), Sverir Gudnasson (“Wallander,” “Gentlemen”) and Stephen Merchant (“Logan,” “The Office”). Its theatrical run starts on November 8, 2018.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

In a post-apocalyptic world, cities survive by moving around on giant wheels, attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.

Directed by Christian Rivers, longtime collaborator of producer and co-writer Peter Jackson, the film stars Hera Hilmar (“Da Vinci’s Demons,” “Life in a Fishbowl”), Robert Sheehan (“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” “Love/Hate”) and Hugo Weaving (“The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,” “The Matrix Trilogy”). It will be released on December 14, 2018.

Movie details were taken from their respective IMDB pages. Official movie trailers were embedded from Youtube.

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Film adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s novel The Garden of Evening Mists has commenced filming

In a recent media event, Malaysian film production company Astro Shaw, together with its partner HBO Asia, announced that filming has started for the movie adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s 2012 award-winning novel The Garden of Evening Mists.

The film is set in two timelines: the early 1980s wherein the protagonist Teoh Yun Ling (played by Taiwanese actress-director-producer Sylvia Chang) takes stock of her life due to the onset of aphasia; and the 1950s wherein the younger Yun Ling (played by Malaysian actress Lee Sinje) deals with survivor’s guilt after the war and enters a relationship with Japanese gardener Nakamura Aritomo (played by Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe) who helps her build a garden in memory of her sister Yun Hong (played by Serene Lim) who died while they were at an interment camp. British actors David Oakes (The White Queen, Victoria), Julian Sands (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and John Hannah (Four Weddings and A Funeral and The Mummy trilogy) also join the cast.

Najwa Abu Bakar, Head of Astro Shaw said “The film will feature a stellar international cast and crew, including Malaysian talents in key acting and production roles. Over two-thirds of the cast and crew are made up of Malaysians, signalling Astro’s commitment to nurturing local talents for international exposure. We are also privileged to work with talents of diverse backgrounds from Taiwan, Japan, India and Australia to showcase Malaysia’s unique voice through Tan Twan Eng’s award winning novel, TGOEM. The lyrical and beautiful story captivates its readers with the mesmerising beauty of Malaya after World War II, and we are confident that the vivid adaptation will resonate among Asian audiences and beyond, due to many similarities in shared culture, language and history.”

Jessica Kam, Senior Vice President, HBO Asia Original Productions, HBO Asia said, “HBO Asia is committed to ramping up its slate of original productions which includes both TV series as well as high quality films. We are thrilled to partner with Astro Shaw to produce this extraordinary feature film with a Malaysian soul by world class film professionals, and to showcase it to our audience on our digital, linear and on-demand platforms across 23 territories in Asia and beyond.”

The movie, currently being filmed in various locations in Malaysia including the scenic landscapes of Cameron Highland’s famed tea plantations, is slated to have a theatrical world premiere in 2019.

Image and movie details provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out Tan Twan Eng’s books on Amazon.com.

Love books and reading? Try Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. Get your first month FREE.

No Kindle device? Download the Kindle App for FREE to read your favorite books anytime and anywhere.

No time to read? Listen to your favorite books instead while you drive, run, shop, and more.  Try Audible for free for 30 days and get two free audiobooks.

CinemaWorld brings French movie “A Mother’s Fight” for free on SKY On Demand

Motherhood brings with it lots of challenges, some more heartbreaking than others.

Marie Humbert, in particular, saw her son Vincent brought down by a severe road accident which left him tetraplegic – unable to use all limbs – and having lost his senses of sight, speech, smell and taste. His only means of communication is by moving his right thumb.

The tragedy has left the former fireman devoid of any desire to continue living. His post-humously published book, I Ask For the Right to Die, was written by indicating to a journalist what he wanted to say using his right thumb. In it, he said “The life I am forced to lead is a shit life. It is not a life, it is not my life. I can lead it no longer; I will lead it no longer.”

In a move that sparked controversy amd debate in France and most of Europe where euthanasia is still among the strongest taboos, Marie decided to fulfill her son’s wish.

This real-life drama is the basis of the French movie “A Mother’s Fight.” This May, CinemaWorld brings this title for free on SKY On Demand, allowing registered users of the video streaming service to view the movie online for one month at no additional cost.

To use SKY On Demand, register at skyondemand.com.ph. You can watch the movie and more using your computer’s browser or by downloading the SKY On Demand app on the Google Playstore or the Apple App Store.

CinemaWorld is a 24-hour, movie channel that premieres the world’s best and award-winning movies, box-office successes, critics’ favorites from all around the world. SKYcable and One SKY subscribers can add it to their channel line-up for only Php150/month.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Terror in the sound of silence in A Quiet Place

Imagine having to live your life in silence, not as a form of meditation or therapy, but as a matter of survival.

For the Abbotts, a family caught in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by deadly creatures who hunt by sound, silence is a way of life. They walk gingerly along paths marked by sand that muffle the sound of footfalls, or paint that indicate floorboards that won’t creak. They communicate to each other using sign language, a skill they acquired because of a deaf family member, or by changing the color of the Christmas lights that surround their home. When upset or in pain, they hold back their screams. Silence has become integral to the movie that when sounds do come in, the effect is jarring.

Still, the Abbotts have carved a thriving life despite the near-constant fear and the death of one of their own brought about by one of the creatures. Pregnant Evelyn (Emily Blunt) homeschools the children while dad Lee (John Krasinski) studies the creatures and scavenges for supplies that will help them cope. Eldest daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), though deaf, is independent and willful, capable of venturing off on her own. The surviving son Marcus (Noah Jupe) is perceptive and bright; he seeks to bridge the growing gap between Lee and Regan due to their feelings of guilt, blaming themselves for the death of youngest child Beau.

It is the tension within the family that magnifies our fear for them and the love and cohesiveness among them that makes us root for them, especially when they face the monsters in a final showdown.

Thanks to Diva for inviting me to catch the advance screening of this gripping thriller, magnificently helmed by John Krasinski.

A Quiet Place is now showing in Metro Manila cinemas. View screening schedules here.

Catch Diva on SKYcable ch 37 in Metro Manila.