20 Perfect Cinematic Moments – A Fistful of Moments BLOGATHON

AFistfulOfMomentsI LOVE this idea of blogging about our favorite scenes, so I’m glad Andrew from A Fistful of Films Blog turned this into a blogathon! Here’s what he has in mind as to the kinds of scenes he’s referring to:

We all have them in the back of our minds; those moments that make us think “man, this is what the movies are all about”. We relive those moments in our mind’s eye, remembering them and dissecting them and adoring them. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all types of films, and yet they all share one very important aspect; they define why we love the movies. It could be the way that the moment is cut; the way it’s edited together. It could be the way the moment uses it’s actors to evoke a powerful emotion from us. It could be the way that music floods the scene and draws us even closer to the moment in question. It could be a grand climax, a breathtaking introduction or a simple interchange. It could be any and all things, because for every film lover, the list is different.

Before I get to my – and Ted’s – list, I thought I’d mention about this two-part post I did back in 2009 (click on each image below to see the full list w/ youtube clips). Essentially those 20 scenes are perfect cinematic moments to me, that’s why I LOVE watching them over and over.

Top 20 movie scenes I could watch over and over again – Part 1 Top 20 movie scenes I could watch over and over again – Part 2

It’s interesting how some scenes still resonate with us so much and that you’ll treasure them forever. But for this blogathon, I will not pick scenes I have included in those two lists, but I might still pick a scene from the same film.


Glad to have Ted joining in on the fun, so let’s start with his list!

TED’s PICKS

1. Bond standing on top of MI6 building in SKYFALL

SkyfallRooftop

Skyfall is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite Bond films and this scene near the end is just breathtaking. After failing to save M’s life, Bond looking over the city of London and realizes that he’s meant to be a secret agent to not only saves his city from the bad buys but also accepting the fact this is he’s meant to be for the rest of his career. Casino Royale was about rebooting the franchise and Skyfall was about rebooting James Bond himself. It’s not just a great Bond film but also a great action/adventure film of all time.

2. Opening sequence of Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Instead of a photo, this sequence can only be appreciated when you see the actual scene.  When I first saw this film I was very young and this opening scene gave the creeps. The music starts, we see the credits and Malcolm McDowell’s Alex is staring straight at the camera and Kubrick then slowly zooms the camera out showing Alex and his gang. You know you’re going to see one messed up film with that opening. Alex is one of the most villainous characters in film history, reportedly Heath Ledger model his Joker after Alex.

3. The wedding dance sequence in ‘The Godfather’

WeddingDanceTheGodfather

I don’t know why I love this sequence at the beginning of the film so much but I can’t get enough of it. I love how Coppola shot this scene; especially Brando was dancing with his daughter. The Godfather is one of my all time favorite films and I love so many scenes in it but this one’s probably my absolute favorite.

4. The Joker shows his face in the opening scene of ‘The Dark Knight’

TDK_JokerBankRobberyScene

The opening bank robbery scene of The Dark Knight was one of best opening sequences of all time in my opinion. The Joker unveil himself after killing all of his henchmen and stole $64 mil of the mob’s money to start his chaotic plans of destroying Gotham and toying with Batman. Nolan shot this entire sequence with IMAX cameras, the first in film history and when I saw the Joker’s scarred face on the giant screen, it’s kind of frightening.

5. Clint Eastwood’s William Munny shoots a bunch of people in a bar in ‘Unforgiven’

Eastwood’s Unforgiven is one of the best westerns and one of my all time top 10 favorite films. I love this climatic shootout scene, especially the scene where he raised the shotgun and shot the unarmed bar owner. There are so many beautifully shot scenes in this film but I love this one.


RUTH’s PICKS

1. Her – Theodore and Samantha singing together

I saw this film in a practically empty cinema, which is nice so I don’t have to worry about balling my eyes out watching this film. Her was one of the most emotional film-watching experience and this is such a sweet moment in the unlikely bond that form between human + machine.

2. Moulin Rouge! – Tango scene

Sooo many wonderful scenes to choose from this superb musical, but if I had to pick just one, it had to be this one. The dark, sultry atmosphere of the tango scene, meshed together with the scene of Satine being kept captive by the Duke is simply intoxicating. Ewan McGregor’s Christian never looked so appealing and his voice laden with anger and desperation.

3. The Dark Knight – Interrogation scene

Christopher Nolan’s Batman films formed one of cinema’s BEST trilogy ever and though I have a special fondness for Batman Begins, which is a superb origin story, The Dark Knight is arguably the best of the three. THIS scene in particular, was mind-blowing when I first saw it… and still riveting with each rewatch. I’ve featured it in this post a while back, and not surprisingly, it’s also Nolan’s favorite scene from the film.

4. Bourne Supremacy – car chase with Krill

There have been tons and tons of car chase scenes in movies and though a lot of them have been entertaining, none is as memorable and riveting as this one. Matt Damon’s Bourne met his match in the equally relentless Krill (Karl Urban, lethal but oh-so-gorgeous!). Paul Greengrass infused the action with such kinetic energy, everything from the camera angle, the music, and the brief eye contact between the two actors made for one electrifying scene. My muscles literally felt a bit sore after watching this from all that tension!

5. Sense & Sensibility – Marianne thanking Col Brandon after she’s ‘out of danger’

SenseSensibilityThanksBrandon1SenseSensibilityThanksBrandon2SenseSensibilityThanksBrandon3SenseSensibilityThanksBrandon4I have included the scene when Brandon first beheld Marianne in  this list, so I thought I’d include my second favorite. Brandon’s love for Marianne is so vast and pure, altruistic in its nature that he’d have been content that she was out of danger and she’s reunited with his mother. So this acknowledgment from her must’ve meant the world to him. Even Eleanor recognized the significance of this moment and I love how the camera somehow captured that moment as Brandon quietly left the room. All the emotion is palpably written on his face… such a subtle facial gesture but it hit me like a ton of bricks that I never ever NOT cry watching this scene. Is it any wonder I LOVE Alan Rickman?

6.  Spider-Man 2 – train sequence

Truly one of the best and most memorable moments out of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The pure adrenaline rush of the train-stopping action is followed by an emotional rush of seeing the people help their savior who’s identity’s been revealed. One Subway rider remarked, “He’s just a kid…” as they all gathered around his unconscious body. Hard not to get choked up watching this scene…

7. The Passion of the Christ – resurrection

I’m not including this scene just because it’s Easter Sunday this weekend. I saw this film on the big screen and it was perhaps one of the most emotionally-rattling experience that my body was physically shaken by the end of it. As a Christ-follower, the story deeply resonated with me. There are numerous depictions of Christ’s suffering but it’s the resurrection scene that’s rarely depicted more memorably. John Debney’s score is such a crucial element in this particular scene, as far as cinematic moment goes, few is as perfect to me as this one.

8. Jurassic Park – Welcome to Jurassic Park!

I was watching the Jurassic World trailer on IMAX just before Furious 7 the other night and while I really want to see the new movie, it made me think of how the first Jurassic Park movie affected me. THIS scene is what started it all… how awestruck the two Dino-obsessed scientists Alan and Ellie were the moment they saw Brachiosaurus for the first time. For a few moments, we don’t see just what made them so thunderstruck, but we know from their expression that it was something special. Of course we’re oooh-aahing like they did when we finally saw them with our own eyes… and John Hammond’s welcoming words ‘Welcome… to Jurassic Park!’ still gives me goose bumps!

9. Pride & Prejudice – Darcy helped Elizabeth to her carriage

The best period dramas are full of subtle gestures that made a huge impact. Darcy and Lizzie tried their best to convince themselves they’re so wrong for each other, but failing miserably. I believe it’s THIS fleeting moment that each of them knew they realize that, try as they might, they simply couldn’t deny the attraction. Joe Wright captured this unexpectedly romantic moment so beautifully… especially the close up of Darcy’s hand as he walked away from the carriage. The expression of both actors are simply perfect… this is the moment that made me adore this Austen adaptation the more time I watch it.

10. Pacific Rim – Introducing Gypsy Danger

I have no qualms admitting I LOVE this movie! My hubby and I have seen it half a dozen times since and we actually saw it twice on the big screen, one of them at IMAX. We bought the 3D Blu-ray, too, but haven’t got around to watching it. I remember how thrilling it was seeing the two pilots operating a Jaeger called Gypsy Danger and to see it in action during a stormy night. Ramin Djawadi’s awesome music gets the heart pumping as we see the giant robotic weapon goes out to sea.

11. Mansfield Park – I’ve missed you… 

MansfieldParkHoldingHandsI couldn’t find the exact scene, but it’s part of this fan video between 1:33 – 1:44. Fanny’s loved Edmund all her life and by this moment he’s engaged to someone else. Yet there’s this tender moment between them in the carriage as he takes her back to Mansfield Park. Edmund: “I’ve missed you…” Fanny: “And I you.” Fanny placed her hand next to his and he promptly took it and held it firmly. Fanny’s expression in this moment always gets me every time. Who hasn’t love someone and desperately wants that person to love you back?

12.  Gravity – final scene

It’s been over two years since I saw Gravity but I still remember how THIS finale hit me with such an emotional rush when I saw it on the big screen. After having spent 90-min in space, cooped up in the dark, cold and desperate realm with Sandra Bullock’s character… seeing earth was such a welcome sight. The immersive experience made me feel as if I was right there with Dr. Ryan Stone… breathing oxygen, feeling the sun and wind against the skin, the kind of stuff that we take for granted every day suddenly seem like such an amazing privilege. Steven Price’s score adds so much to the whole cinematic experience, making this astounding finale all the more powerful.

13. How To Train Your Dragon – unlikely friendship blossoming

Animated films have the emotional power as any live action film and so I was contemplating of doing a list of just from the animation genre. I always said I prefer Pixar to any other animation studio, that is until Dreamworks came up with THIS movie. I fell in love with the lead characters Hiccup and Night Fury dragon Toothless, and the moment they became unlikely friends is such a memorably heartfelt one. I always tear up right at the scene when Toothless puts his head on Hiccup’s hand.

14. Belle – meeting John in the garden

Belle_GardenEncounter

I knew I wanted to see Belle when I first saw the still photo above. There’s something that stops me in my tracks about the way they looked at each other, and I didn’t even know who they were yet. So when the scene finally appeared on screen, I was left breathless. The lighting in the garden, the classical music playing in the background, and the way the camera captures each detail of this encounter … it’s got everything I want in a romantic scene. I love the passionate chemistry between Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid. The sexual tension is so thick you could cut with a knife, but it’s also deeply soulful.

15. The Machine – dance scene

If only I had seen this small-budget indie sci-fi on the big screen. It’s one of the most visually-arresting films I’ve ever seen and this dance scene is one of the highlights. The lighting and special effects worked wonderfully to create this magical scene and the atmospheric soundtrack complements is perfectly. The scene above cuts off the part when The Machine walks over to Vincent, her creator who’s been watching her dancing, and embraces him. Superb performance by Toby Stephens and Caity Lotz here, it’s become one of my all time fave scenes of man & machine. The film is not flawless but this scene truly is.

TheMachineDanceScene


Well, those are our picks of 20 perfect cinematic moments. Thoughts on any of these scenes? 

Easter Special – ‘God is in the Movies’ Blogathon

GodIsInTheMovies

Today is Maundy Thursday, a few days before Easter Sunday. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for such a blogathon. Well, Andrew has planned this since mid March but he was gracious enough to extend the deadline, bless his heart!

I was actually planning to do a similar post for Easter anyway so I just had to participate!

The concept is simple. I want you to rack your brains for the film that, to you, defines how the Bible (and all of its facets) should be presented in film. Do you like your scripture presented in a grand, sweeping epic like 1956’s The Ten Commandments? Do you like your scriptures tampered with, as in Scorsese’s polarizing The Last Temptation of Christ? Do you want to see an artistic approach to God’s book, like with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?  Or, do you prefer your faith handled in a more provocative and less direct way, as in the many works by Ingmar Bergman?

So Andrew’s assignment is to pick a movie (or style) and write a post explaining WHY it is your preferred dip into the Bible.

It’s a simple question but I’m going to expand on that topic a bit. as I was planning to do a post on that before I saw Andrew’s blogathon, I’m including my commentary about how Biblical movies as well as Christ’ portrayal in the movies.

I was actually re-watching Ben-Hur (1959) as I started this post… and I always rewound the Jesus scene as the enslaved Judah was bound and chained en route to the Roman galleys. He was dying of thirst when he fell to the ground and whispered, ‘God, help me…’ Almost instantly, someone came to him and gave him water.

BenHur_JesusWaterScene2

That scene alone is wonderful, but the BEST part is when one of the Roman soldiers scolds the stranger for giving Judah water and is about to whip him. The man stands up and simply looks at him.

BenHur_JesusWaterScene

The soldier’s thunderstruck expression is priceless. It’s as if he knew that the stranger could see through his entire being, and that makes him uneasy. He then starts backing away. Later Judah too looks up at the stranger and is rendered speechless. The end of the scene shows Judah looking so revitalized and full of hope that he barely noticed being whipped. He can’t take his eyes off his Savior as he’s led away, still in chains but somehow free.

So by mentioning that scene, I guess you could say that is my preferred way of God being depicted in Hollywood movies. It’s subtle but powerful and undoubtedly moving. I’d think that people who have no idea about God nor Christianity would be intrigued by the long-haired man in ragged clothing and why people react to him the way they did. Even without his face being shown, his presence is certainly felt and that’s truly one of the most memorable scenes in the entire 4-hour film. In fact, Ben-Hur is my Easter film of choice, yes even over Charlton Heston’s equally epic adventure The Ten Commandments. 

Truth be told, I felt that even with the sparse appearance of Christ in Ben-Hur, I was far more moved by those scenes than the entire film of Son of God. Now, as a Christ-follower, obviously I love films that glorify God and speak of His love for humanity. But even with the best intention of bringing the story to Jesus to mass audiences, the acting and dialog of the Mark Burnett’s film leave much to be desired and overall it just wasn’t as emotionally engaging as I had hoped. Cut from the TV-miniseries version of The Bible, the film was more of a Cliff-Notes chronicle of Jesus’ life. It also lacks any sense of mystique and grandeur, barely scratching the surface of His life on earth as uniquely extraordinary figure who’s both man AND divine. One of the main issue I had is with the portrayal of Jesus himself, which brings me to …

Christ Portrayal on Film

When we’re talking about how Christ is being depicted on film, it seems that Hollywood always subscribes to THIS classic drawing of Jesus that I often saw growing up in a Catholic household. Having seen Jesus of Nazareth and The Greatest Story Ever Told as a kid, Christ was always portrayed as tall and blue-eyed European figure. Slowly though, seems like Hollywood’s starting to concern themselves with authenticity, at least how the studio honchos see as authentic anyway. The latter portrayals of Christ is starting to look more Jewish, even Jim Caviezel wore prosthetic nose in The Passion of the Christ and had to wear brown contact lenses for the role.

Caviezel_Cusick_Morgado_Jesus
Jim Caviezel, Henry Ian Cusick, Diogo Morgado

But to me, it’s not just about what Christ look like that matters. There’s a delicate sensitivity combined with screen charisma required of any actor portraying Jesus. Out the three most recent feature film about Jesus: The Passion of the Christ, The Gospel of John and Son of God, Jim Caviezel‘s portrayal is my favorite. He has the right mix of otherworldly compassion, eternal wisdom and commanding gravitas as a leader. I often wish we got to see more of his portrayal in an extended look into Christ’ ministry instead of just the last 12 hours of his life. The brutal violence made it tough for me to revisit that film again, I was literally in agony watching it, it shook me to the core. But that was the point, Mel Gibson wanted to illustrate the extreme passion that Christ had for humanity, the length He went through to atone for the world’s sin, which was in line with what the Bible said about how Christ became horribly disfigured that he was barely recognizable as a human being.

GospelOfJohnDVDcoverAs for Henry Ian Cusick in The Gospel of John, I was skeptical about his casting at first as he seems too tough for the role. But he’s certainly got the charisma and screen presence, and portrays a more virile but also more relatable and approachable version of Christ. The adaptation itself was unique in that the dialog follows the Good News Bible, word for word, in sequential order from beginning to end. The excellent production quality + Cusick’s engaging portrayal made The Gospel of John my favorite Jesus feature film biopic so far.

In Son of God, we got a former Portuguese model Diogo Morgado, who despite his best effort is the least convincing of the three. He may look the part and has a serene and kind look about him but to me he lacks the gravitas and that effortless magnetism to make me believe he could inspire so many people to drop everything and follow him. His beatific smile seems more superficial and proved to be distracting rather than inviting.

So to answer Andrew’s question of

What movie/style is your preferred dip into the Bible?

I’ve already partly answered my question with Ben-Hur and the reason is the subtle way Christ is depicted actually made a greater impact as we saw how an encounter with Him changed a person life. At the start of the film, Judah Ben-Hur was not a believer and he became consumed with hate for Mesala after what he did to him and his family. Here we have a flawed man, just like the rest of us, being touched by God in the most unexpected way. Through a direct act of kindness (Jesus giving him water in his desperate hour), as well as seeing Him set an example of practicing what He preaches (forgiveness and loving one’s enemy) as Judah witness him being crucified, Judah’s heart is softened.

Judah Ben-Hur: Almost at the moment He died, I heard Him say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Esther: Even then.

Judah Ben-Hur: Even then. And I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand.

We later see his mother and sister were also miraculously healed the day Jesus died on the cross. But even before that, Judah has already let go of his hatred, which is a miracle in itself. The film never overtly displays Judah’s conversion but his transformed heart is palpable and that is deeply inspiring. We’ve all struggled with faith at one point or another, and that to me makes Judah so relatable and his story made a lasting impression to me.

Bale_Moses_ExodusI think more than the style of how God is being depicted is the intent or the essence of the film in question. It’s not just about Christianity, it applies to other Deity being depicted on screen. I feel that a filmmaker ought to at least treat a story about God or faith with care even if they don’t believe in that viewpoint. That’s why I choose NOT to watch films that I feel is deliberately blasphemous (The Last Temptation of Christ, The Da Vinci Code) or show obvious contempt for the subject matter (Religulous).

So naturally I have mixed feelings about Biblical movies that are on the rise again in Hollywood. Creative license being taken is one thing, but taking something from the source material and turn it into something else entirely (i.e. Noah) is another matter. Just in time for Christmas, we’ll have Ridley Scott’s retelling of Moses leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt in Exodus: Gods & King. Well, according to this article, [Scott] has chosen an unconventional depiction of God in the film,” and in Total Film April issue, it’s said that Christian Bale as Noah is more Maximus type warrior than the Charlton Heston’s deliver in The Ten Commandments. So it seems God is to be overlooked once again in His own story [sigh]

So pardon the elaborate essay, but some of these topics have been on my mind for some time. So back to the burning question, my favorite depiction of God in cinema is the kind that presents Him in a respectful and authentic way. I don’t think the [borrowing Josh’ statement here] ‘hit me over the head with your belief’ approach appeals to me and I don’t think it rarely inspire people anyway. Subtlety paired with firm conviction can work wonders and as with the case of Ben-Hur, it proves to be quite powerful. The genre itself doesn’t really matter to me, whether it’s a grand, sweeping epic or a small indie about someone struggling with their faith, what I’d like to see is a stimulating and thought-provoking story of how God relates to man that makes me pause and reflect on our own belief, whatever that may be.


So there you have it folks. I welcome any comment you may have, and feel free to give your own answer to Josh’s question on your preference of God being depicted in cinema.

2nd Blog-a-versary Special: 15 Questions Movie Meme

Anna from Defiant Success blog first came up with this movie meme back in May, I’ve been wanting to participate but haven’t got around to it. Other bloggers have since participated in this, here are a couple that I like: I Luv Cinema and My Film Views. Well, I figure it’s fitting to reveal more about my movie tastes as part of my blog-a-versary ‘celebration.’ Here goes:

1. Movie you love with a passion:


Sense & Sensibility. Yes this is an utterly predictable answer as I talk about this Ang Lee film so much on this blog. I love everything about it… the story, the direction, the acting, the score from Patrick Doyle that I often listen to in my car, and last but not least, the wonderful Jane Austen characters coming to life in the most beautiful way. As you know, I have a special fondness for Alan Rickman’s Col. Brandon, one of my all time fave period drama heroes!

2. Movie you vow to never watch:

The Last Temptation of Christ. I know a lot of movie bloggers adore Scorsese, but I’m not one of them. I appreciate The Age of Innocence but that’s the only one of his film I like. I’ve seen the trailer and read about it, but I know I won’t be entertained nor enlightened by this. Whether the director meant to do so or not, I find the whole idea utterly blasphemous.


3. Movie that literally left you speechless:



The Passion of the Christ. This isn’t the kind of film you can easily watch with a bucket-load of popcorn. I’ve mentioned it in my Easter movies post how much this movie spoke to me in a profound way. I have to admit the brutality gets to be too much, but that is the point the filmmaker was trying to make… to show the length of Christ’s sacrifice for humanity. I remember how quiet the cinema was and people didn’t move as the end credits rolled…


4. Movie you always recommend:
Return to Me. I just love this movie so much… I dare say it’s one of the most enjoyable and well-written rom-com out there but most people have never seen it! I even dedicated a post for it a couple of years ago. It really is a poignant chick flick that anyone of any gender and any age will enjoy, I love Bonnie Hunt’s writing and David Duchovny & Minnie Driver’s sweet chemistry. Give it a chance, you won’t be disappointed!

5. Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie: 

You probably expect to see Gerry Butler’s name on here, right? 😉 Well I love the guy, but there are some movies of his I still refuse to see (i.e. Gamer, and I was quite reluctant to see The Ugly Truth). But Russell Crowe is ALWAYS excellent even in terrible movies (Rough Magic, Heaven’s Burning) and always make any movie watchable for me. I’m curious to see how he fares in directing, which he reportedly is in negotiation.

6. Actor/actress you don’t get the appeal for:

Ok, perhaps it’s not fair for me to mention him as I’ve never seen Channing Tatum‘s work (other than Public Enemies but I don’t remember seeing him in it). I just zero interest in seeing his movies and every time I hear his name mentioned I just think ‘pretty boy with that stoic expression.’ Even when I saw The Eagle trailer, I kept thinking ‘why didn’t they give the lead role to Jamie Bell who’s a much better actor?!’ Who knows maybe one day he’ll change my mind, but for now I just don’t see his appeal at all.

7. Actor/actress, living or dead, you’d love to meet: 
My late mother was a fan of Audrey Hepburn, that’s why she introduced me to My Fair Lady at a young age. I’ve seen a number of Hepburn’s movies since and absolutely admire not only her beauty, but also her graceful and kind spirit. She’s involved in a lot of charitable causes in her later years, which exemplifies that true beauty is inside and out. She’s a true Hollywood icon.

8. Sexiest actor/actress you’ve seen. (Picture required!):



Another predictable answer, right? 😀 But seriously, I’ve been a fan of Gerry Butler for over 5 years now ever since I saw him in the form of my favorite anti-hero The Phantom of the Opera. People think I like him for his 12-pack or whatever in 300 but truthfully, I don’t care for guys THAT buff, I find it rather off-putting actually every time I see guys this ripped at the gym. Sure it fits the role in that movie but I much prefer his much leaner and rugged look with clothes ON! The 41-year-old Scot has a swagger that I find irresistible, as well as intelligence and sense of humor to complement his good looks. He seems to get better with age, too. I recently saw a photo of him at the Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards a couple of days ago, and boy doesn’t he look like a superhero in this suit!

9. Dream cast:



That would be the cast of my romantic thriller Hearts Want with Helen Mirren and Timothy Dalton as the leads, and full of British cast I adore 😀

10. Favorite actor pairing:


I have two kind of answers to this question. If it’s romantic pairing, I’ve got a top ten list of favorite movie couples. But for non-romantic pairing, the first thing that came to mind is Sean Connery & Harrison Ford as father/son duo in Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. Can’t imagine a funnier and more riotous pairing than these two! I love the scene above when they’re both tied up together by the evil nazis. This movie is so darn entertaining because of this genius casting match! On a related note, here’s my dream on-screen duos I posted last year. Feel free to add to the list!


11. Favorite movie setting: 

Italy is one of my favorite countries to visit, it’s just so beautiful and full of history. I always enjoy seeing Italian setting in movies, too, whether in the countryside or in the cities. I specifically adore Venice, the enchanting city on water… even in bad movies like The Tourist, it never fails to charm and delights. In fact, it almost always become a ‘character’ in the movie itself. I also adore Rome whether in contemporary setting (Roman Holiday) or ancient (Gladiator).

12. Favorite decade for movies:
Hmmm, this is a tough one. I assume this question is about movies released in that era (not ones that are set in that given period, which is a different thing entirely). I guess my answer would be a tie between 1990s and 2000s as I’ve enjoyed a bunch of movies from the past two decades, as you can see in this list.


13. Chick flick or action movie?
My initial reaction is ACTION all the way. Especially in the cinema, I always prefer to see an action/thriller/sci-fi over a chick flick. Though of course there are always exception to be made, i.e. I saw Jane Eyre in the theater, but generally, I’m more of an action gal 😀

14. Hero, villain or anti-hero?

I appreciate a good ‘ol valiant hero as much as the next gal, but generally, anti-heroes are just sooo much more interesting to watch. Scarlett O’Hara is a great example of an iconic anti-heroine (who says it has to always be a guy?) who uses her beauty for her own gain. Yet she is not malicious, just a deeply flawed character we love to hate.

15. Black and white or color?
I’d have to say color because I’ve become so accustomed to it. But since I prefer contemporary cinema But every now and again, I’ll see a movie in black and white and it just looks so artistic! I think today’s filmmakers should experiment with it and do it well, like what Spielberg did with Schindler’s List.


Well that’s my answers. Thoughts/comments are always welcome! 😀

Three flix picks for Easter… or any other time of the year

Just want to wish everyone a blessed Easter. This weekend I’m celebrating the resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… forever grateful for His atoning sacrifice.

Even those who aren’t believers might opt to watch some Christian-themed films this time of year, such as The Ten Commandments (should be on by now on one of the major network TV), King of Kings, Ben-Hur, The Passion of the Christ,  or the animated feature The Prince of Egypt for the whole family.

I truly respect ‘The Passion‘ despite all the drama surrounding the film and the filmmaker. Obviously the message speaks to me in a profound way, but even if we strip away the spiritual aspect of it for a minute and just see the movie from a film-making piece, it’s tremendous. I like what this guy said in his soulfoodmovies blog: “Simply take a moment to judge The Passion of the Christ on its merits as a film. Look at all the elements that come together to make it so effective–the performances of the actors; the exquisite cinematography; the realistic effects; and ultimately, the way Gibson structures this chapter in the life of Christ.”

The story’s not meant to be a comprehensive biopic on Jesus’ life, but serves as a harrowing and poignant depiction of the extent of Christ’s suffering and His unfathomable passion for humanity. It’s not for kids or for the faint of hearts though. Never in my life have I been so shaken and moved watching a movie… it’s definitely one of the most powerful movies ever made.

While those above are all perfectly good films that are fitting for Easter, here are three other inspirational titles I’d highly recommend, not just for the holiday, but for any other time of the year:

  • Amazing Grace (2006)

    This movie’s release coincide with the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the first anti-slave trade bill, ending 400 years of slave trading. The main protagonist, William Wilberforce is a faithful British member of Parliament. Ioan Gruffud is excellent in the title role, conveying the emotional and physical struggles battling illness and one setback after another in the two decades he fought to end slave trading in England.

    Along the way, he’s encouraged by his mentor John Newton (portrayed marvelously by Albert Finney), the author of the beloved hymn of the movie’s title, a repentant former slave trader. He’s also helped by his allies, PM William Pitt, a scholarly former slave Olaudah Equiano, as well as his loving and influential wife, Barbara Spooner (the lovely Romola Garai). Though it’s heavy on the history and political aspect, but the redemptive values aren’t lost in the process. It’s one of those rare Hollywood films with a deep passion for goodness and virtue that’s entertaining as well as inspiring. The performances of mostly-British talents (Ciaran Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rufus Sewell, etc.) are top notch, but ultimately it’s the profound message and inspiring story that makes this a winning feature.

  • Bella (2006 – view trailer)

    This is an indie movie by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gomez Monteverde about an unconventional love story between a former soccer star who’ve lost everything after a tragic accident and a waitress who’s pregnant out of wedlock. The film won People’s Choice Award at TIFF in 2006. It’s not a romantic story, but definitely has plenty of heart. Beautifully acted by Mexican heartthrob Eduaro Verastequi in a personal project that reflect his new direction in life, it also boast a strong performance by Tammy Blanchard (who played Judy Garland in a TV movie Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows).

    The pro-life message and subtle message about faith is subtle and not done in a preachy way, these are two ‘broken’ people who find comfort in each other in one day, as they discuss the hardships of life and past hurts. The bond that develop between the two main characters feel natural and engaging, carrying poignant themes of family values, genuine friendship and the healing power of forgiveness.

  • The Gospel of John (2003)

    I see this film as a great feature for before or after seeing ‘The Passion’ as it chronicles Jesus’ ministry more closely in its three-hour running time. It’s a unique biopic of the life, death and resurrection of Christ in that it’s adapted precisely Word for Word from the Good News Translation Bible, unlike a lot of other adaptations that took too much liberty from the source material.

    At first I wasn’t sure how it’d sound how it would translate to the screen and whether the dialog would be awkward, but it’s actually quite effective and engaging. Told from the eyes of one of Jesus’ disciples, John — known as John the evangelist and the disciple whom Jesus loved — the film offers a very human picture of Jesus and a more intimate look of how he interacted with his disciples and people in his day.

    Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond in LOST) as Jesus is interesting casting, he’s certainly not Jewish-looking enough (but not bad compared to the blue-eyed, blond-haired Anglo-Saxon archetypal in previous Jesus’ films) and  more feisty than we’ve seen Jesus being portrayed. Yet he still conveys a compassionate man who’s personal and approachable, but yet charismatic enough to be believable that he could captivate a crowd. Narrated with Christopher Plummer’s deep, soothing voice, it also boasts beautiful cinematography of the setting in Málaga, Spain and the gorgeous music using ancient instruments to achieve the authentic sounds of the time that help takes us back in time. Whatever your belief of who Jesus is, you’d appreciate the backstory of arguably the most influential religious figure in history.


Have a wonderful Easter, everybody! Have you seen any of these titles? What do you typically watch around Easter holiday?