The Laughing Dead

The much-anticipated movie “Coco” is a Disney and Pixar animation directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina is now showing in some countries and will be shown to most countries by the last week of November. But even at this moment, it is now making a buzz in the one specific country, the Philippines, as a number of its animators are of Filipino blood and origin.

Coco movie

From the title itself, one may easily say it could be another “Moana” Story because of the coconuts. However, the trailers revealed that it wasn’t about the Samoans but rather, the creators aim to bring its audience into the colorful side of Mexican traditions. Then again, it got its audience giggling thinking perhaps, it is a sequel from the movie “The Book of Life” directed by Jorge R. Gutiérrez.

Both movies revolve around a journey of a living person into the world of the dead in a quest for something during the day of the dead or Día de Los Muertos in Mexico. However, one can never tell how each story unfolds. Some may say there is nothing new in this story as they all come with the same concept. But no, Coco offers a new and different quest for a boy, Miguel, to follow his passion for singing and playing guitar. This passion is a skeleton in his closet because of their family’s mysterious generations ban on music. Something very strange and heartbreaking hinders Miguel from following his dreams and be well known in the music industry just like Ernesto de la Cruz, his most respected music artist.

What seems to be an unbreakable rule, Miguel tossed his fate from a family of a shoemaker to follow his passion in music by accidentally setting himself up into a series of mysterious events in a journey to the world of the dead. In the journey, Miguel together with his living dog meets Hector, a charismatic cheater who needs a living person like Miguel to visit the land of the living and they went off to journey in search of answer about the music ban of Miguel’s family history. Miguel who have a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet his great ancestors who happen to understand the reason behind the music ban.

A passion for a family decision from his great great grandfather who is a musician, choose to leave his family leaving Miguel’s great-great-grandmother Mamá  Imelda to raise his great-grandmother, Mamá  Coco, alone. The thrill doesn’t end upon unearthing the reason behind music ban as Miguel and his dog should be able to return to the land of the living before the sun rises since this marks the end of Día de Los Muertos.

Will Miguel be able to return to the land of the living or locked up in the land of the dead? Will he be able to follow his dreams or altogether be a skeleton in the closet trapped behind unsuccessful journey?

Set your calendars for your family, friends, and loved ones and enjoy the awesome and amazing world of the dead with “Coco”. For those who are wary of going to the movies though, you can always have the option to rent it out online and watch it at the comfort of your home. Stay well!

Dreaming of a Pitched Perfect Christmas?

You better watch out, you better not cry “The Barden Bellas” are coming to town to serenade!

Looking for something joyful to watch out for this Christmas? Or a performance idea to prepare for your Christmas party? Watch out for the Bellas as they never fail to give a twist to every song cover featured in Pitch Perfect sequels such as “The Sign” and “Flashlight”.Pitch PerfectThere could be nothing more fun than watching a movie in the cinema with your loved ones. This year, one of the most anticipated movies is Pitch Perfect 3 “LAST CALL PITCHES”. It will definitely brighten up your day as the first trailer was finally released in public.

The first movie trailer shows a different focus of the story that will give viewers a jolt of excitement.  Unlike Pitch Perfect 1 & 2, Bella’s mortal enemy, the Treble Maker, is still out of sight in the trailer but a glimpse of new bands that will push the Bellas to their limits is inevitable. More possible rivals are shown in the trailer that will challenge their bond as sisters and friends.

After the first trailer of Pitch Perfect 3, we see that they have not just perfectly mastered the global standard for music and humor but even in explosive action albeit not really expected from this type of movie.

Who is starring in this movie?

Starring are the following: Anna  Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Shelley Regner, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Kelley Jakle, and Chrissie Fit.  Ruby Rose from Orange is the New Black, incidentally. And of course, the pitch will never be perfect without Rebel Wilson. Also starring are John Lithgow, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks, Matt Lanter, DJ Khaled and Trinidad James. The movie is definitely a roller coaster of music sessions and action, balanced with the humorous exchanges between the characters.

Will this be the last one?

The movie, which will most likely be the Final Stand of a Trilogy, covers the life of the Barden Bellas after leaving university life and making their way to the real world. But it seems that first love never dies, so apart from striving to survive with their own individual lives, they still desired to sing with the rest of the girls.

This then brought the Bellas in a comeback reunion in an entertainment tour for the troops to be able to sing once again with each other. Their acapella is still on its awesome perfection and there are songs to watch out which could be another soundtrack hit in Holywood. The humor of Fat Amy is still undeniably effective and her fearless dive, landing face flat on the boat is totally hilarious.

The “behind the scenes” of the movie also gives us a glimpse of how emotional it is for the cast, especially during the final moments of the film. Could this be really the last for the Barden Bellas? Who knows? But one thing is for sure, this movie sequel truly gives the world a new perspective towards music in the world of acapella.

Expect another hilarious, terrific and fabulous movie experience before closing the year 2017. See you in cinemas on the 22nd of December!

 

 

Millennial Movie Marathons

A long holiday is fast approaching and perhaps you may be thinking about how you will spend your extra time during your vacation. Before, people either stay at home and watch old movies shown on television or go out and watch a movie on cinema. Now, the internet offers a vast list of movie choices you will be pleased to watch especially with companies broadcasting TV series like NetFlix. Even the word movie marathon is common to those who chose to rather stay at home and watch movies rather than going out.

It’s amazing how our film industry evolved through time. From the time of Charlie Chaplin (the earliest in my recollection though I was not born during its eminence) until today or whatever it has become now, where awesome CG makes the films seem so real. It is truly awe-inspiring and I can say we’ve gone really far.

But one thing that strikes me, again and again, is what we know today as the K-pop. It is a Korean-based fever which includes Korean Drama Series. Korean film industry invests on technology and celebrities who generate huge impact to viewers. But seriously, what is it with the Korean movie style that makes it so popular all over the world?

Kpop and Korean Series in Rent Movie Blog

One thing that makes the Korean film famous is the quality of their cinematography. They maintain high standard quality films using high-definition video cameras and audio technologies. Apart from this, Koreans mastered different kinds of shooting techniques which of course enhance the final output by making the pictures more dramatic. The Korean movies also have unexpected twists in the story that makes it unforgettable to its viewers. Their passion to promote their country’s culture and tourism is very much evident in their movies. Famous movie scenes were promoted and become additional attractions in Korea.

Other than Korean Movies, Indie films or Independent Films also started to make a name in the society. Unlike regular movies, Indie films are usually produced by independent entertainment companies and often have lower budget compared to major studio outfits. In fact, you may not believe but maybe one of your favorite movies is actually an Indie Film. Take for example the famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which garnered $100 Million dollars in the United States in the year 1990  and considered the most successful Indie film. More successful Indie films are  Castle Rock, The Shawshank Redemption and The Mask which one may actually believe to come from a major studio.

Old Indie Films

Nowadays, animated films also capture an ample number of viewers all over the world because of the artistry and animation techniques which makes it more interesting and entertaining to watch like Kubo and the Two Strings which is from the US.

For this yuletide season, are you ready to join the marathon of watching movies? Come on, why not?

Wisdom from the Wolf of Wall Street

This 2013 movie is arguably one of the best movies about business and Wall Street success in recent times. Well,  there’s Social Network and the Pursuit of “Happyness” to contend with. But seriously, The Wolf of Wall Street does pack a punch even as we watched it recently again on a rented copy. Of course, Leonardo Caprio is definitely at his best here but then again, the story itself can be described as wild, witty and full of wisdom indeed. And it’s based on the true-to-life rags-to-riches story of Jordan Belfort.

Leonardo Di Caprio as Jordan Belfort

So who was Jordan Belfort again?

Jordan Belfort was the founder of Stratton Oakmont, best known for its boiler room operations which marketed worthless stocks and defrauded countless investors. Eventually,  the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and now the Financial Industry Regulation Authority caught up on its anomalous transactions and eventually shut it down whilst filing money laundering and securities fraud against Jordan and his cohorts.

Those were the more recent days at Stratton Oakmont. However, it can be fancily recalled that this firm used to be the biggest over-the-counter firm for trading stocks in the US during the 1980s up until the 1990s.  In fact, it led the IPO of Steve Madden, the popular shoe manufacturing company, among around 30 others.

Interestingly they were able to do this for around 7 years accumulating revenues of up to US$3 billion (source: Wikipedia) at that time and employing around 1000 stockbrokers. Equally interesting is the founder who was just an ordinary young aspiring individual before he became the high-flying limo-riding hotshot that he was.

Jordan has a degree in Biology and was originally planning to be a dentist.  He set up a meat and seafood business earlier in his life but it eventually failed as well. His unprecedented detour to becoming one of the most iconic fraudsters in the history of the United States is truly worth knowing for learning’s sake.

What can we learn from this movie?

Personally, I learned to value integrity over luxury. It’s also important to take a good, long-term view of your actions – business-related or otherwise – and its consequences. And finally, I learned how important it is to exercise due diligence and do our homework especially when making business decisions; facts and not emotions shall be our guide.

From the standpoint of the regulators, it can be learned that a scam like this can happen right under their noses. Thus, they need to be more proactive and increase their oversight and regulation on these so-called trading companies. They, too, have to clean their ranks because, most of the time, the enemy is closer than they think. Additionally, their relationship with the investor community should also be cultivated and strengthened to increase reporting and compliance checks.

Developing countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Brazil should especially guard against money laundering, financial scams and deceptive marketing. Up and coming facilities should be controlled, monitored and regularly audited especially as these investment activities are not yet mainstream for these specific nations. Perpetrators of embezzlement and defrauding activities should be penalized swiftly and harshly when proven. And finally, robust processes and policies should be put in places such as increasing awareness of anti-fraud tools and practices.

Advent of EMVs and Merchant Services

The use of EMVs, merchant processing systems, strong user encryption and proper awareness can lead to a safer business and investment environment. If we are to minimize our risks, we need to be up-to-date with technologies that address the loopholes in our business and workplaces. We should also be vigilant in reporting personal incidences of defrauding. That said, we hope to see the last of Bernard Madoff (who caused between $18 billion to 50 billion investment losses from his Ponzi scheme), Jordan Belfort and their likes.

Incidentally, Jordan turned a new leaf now. He has been actively teaching and mentoring sales and business people on motivation, ethics, sales skills, and entrepreneurship.  He often says that the greatest regret he has in life is losing people’s money.

Well, yeah right! Hey, at least, it made one heck of a good movie. Popcorn, anyone?