SpringFlingSPRING FLING is a musical night in Calgary with complimentary dinner, dancing, and karaoke singing performances in Hindi and Punjabi. Young and vibrant singers Harry Singh, Naazneen Pirbhai and Sandeep Sahota say they have complied music tracks to keep your feet tapping all night long at the Nirvana Restaurant (5075 Falconridge Blvd. NE.) on Saturdary, March 29 starting around 7:30 pm. Tickets are $35 per person. Cash bar available and please don’t drink and drive.

For tickets & info, please call Lata Patal at: 403-462-5474; Beena at: 403-701-4660; Neelum: 403-470-1078 or

Are you Ready to party?

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Starting Over AgainProduced & Directed by Olivia M. Lamasan
Written by Carmi Raymundo
Starring Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, Iza Calzado
130 min., Philippines, 2014 ~ In Tagalog with English Subtitles

URL: http://starcinema.abs-cbn.com/movies/starting-over-again

“Ten years ago, Ginny (Toni Gonzaga), an Architecture student, and Marco (Piolo Pascual), a History professor, began a one-of-a-kind and unpredictable love story. In the five years that they were together, they brought out the best in each other, which included Marco’s unrealized dream of becoming a chef. Together, they worked towards their dream of opening up a restaurant, but when Ginny realized her own pursuits were different from his, she rejected his wedding proposal and left the country for a Masters degree in Architecture. At present, Ginny co-owns a one-stop Architecture and Interior Design firm specializing in Restoration. She receives an email from Marco, which was written and sent after their break-up, meant to be read four years later. It makes her feel even more regretful of leaving the love of her life. When their firm receives an offer to restore an old house into a restaurant, she is ecstatic to learn that Marco will be co-owning the restaurant. She takes this as a sign that this will be their second chance they need, but finds out that Marco wants the restaurant ready for his wedding proposal to his US-based girlfriend, Patty De Guia (Iza Calzado). This doesn’t stop Ginny from accepting the project in the hopes of winning back Marco, now very different from the man he used to be. When he learns her motives, he plays along to push her regrets and show that he is much better now. But their actions take a toll on them when they talk about the past, feelings start to get involved, and Patty begins to get suspicions about the two. Can mistakes and wrong decisions be undone to give way to a second chance? Will Ginny get her happy ending with Marco, or is she four years too later?” (Source: Star Cinema)

STARTING OVER AGAIN is more than meets the eyes. I thought this rom-com lift itself well above the regular Filipino commercial love stories. Although cliche ridden throughout the film, the chemistry and nuanced interactions between actress Toni Gonzaga and actor Piolo Pascual were precise and naturalistic. They are very funny together, and at times, was very sensual as well. The tripe formula script by Carmi Raymundo may be like an over-sweetened mixed bowl of half eaten Halo-Halo dessert, but the crisp and sharp dialog were actually quite moving and emotional most of the time. Director / producer Olivia M. Lamasan kept the movie pace at a brisk pace. By the end, we cared a lot for the two star-crossed opposites. As it life, people with diverse pursuits and demands do attract.

For me, the title soundtrack song STARTING OVER AGAIN by Lani Misalucha could have been more upbeat and less melodramatic. It sounded just like any other ABS/CBN track from their nightly television serial programs. Here’s a sample of the song with lyrics. ~~ http://youtu.be/c1hyfMRobuI

I must admit, Pinoywood can produce better than expected commercial celluloid fares for the world to experience!

Starting Over Again Piolo-Toni

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Cast: Jean Reno (LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL; RONIN; LES VISITEURS), Michael Youn, Raphaëlle Agogué, ,

Screenwriter & Director:  Daniel Cohen (LES DEUX MONDES; UNE VIE DE PRINCE)

France, 84 min., 2011. In French with English subtitles.

Unemployed Jacky Bonnot (Michael Youn) is a stubbornly-minded aficionado of French fine dinning. Bonnot is in dire need for employment to support his pregnant girlfriend Béatrice  (Raphaëlle Agogué). He also knows all the recipes published by renowned star chef Alexandre Lagarde (Jean Reno). Lagarde cooks at the Cargo Lagarde Restaurant. Its new CEO Stanislas Matter (Julien Boisselier) plots to replace Lagarde with a younger chef who specializes in modern molecular gastronomy cooking. Matter begins to lay off the restaurant’s trusted kitchen team one by one. Alexandre Lagarde is also having a writer’s block to complete his upcoming Spring menu. Local food critics will judge his new creations at the restaurant soon. He hires Jacky Bonnot as the assistant. However, they seem to butt heads against each others’ cooking techniques. It’s a race for time to save each other.

Chef1If you enjoy European haute culinary arts, quirky French movies and a taste for slapstick comedy of manners, this DVD is a delight! I really liked the zany interactions between this unlikely pairing between an ever controlling mentor and his non-traditional pupil who has a knack for adapting and expanding any given cooking recipes.

COMME UN CHEF was a surprise hit at the 2012 Berlinale International Film Festival and around the world. Both Jean Reno, one of my favourite French actors, along with Michael Youn, are hilarious and outrageous at the same time. Direction by Daniel Cohen is slick, simple, amusing and at times, at breakneck farcical speed. The film’s entire mise-en-scene is deliciously well presented. I got real hungry half way through the film just watching the many dishes created by the dueling chefs. Although COMME UN CHEF is by no mean a replacement for Ang Lee’s EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN (1994); Gabriel Axel’s BABETTE’S FEAST (1987); or Campbell Scott & Stanley Tucci’s BIG NIGHT (1996), this film stands on its own as a well preserved celluloid appetizer to the above titles.

Interestingly for me,  I also saw the film as a slight allusion to the modernization of contemporary France. Be prepare to advance the country’s culture by adapting to newcomers, their ideals and ever changing ways of life! Being uncompromising will be futile.

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So, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games is now bombarding our live television, radio, and digital air waves. How nice. Well, for me at least, I still prefer to catch a flick or two at the neighbourhood multiplexes this weekend instead. There’s nothing like experiencing a mutual celluloid gathering of the masses while everyone munches on hot buttered popcorn.

Seen all the regular middle of the road commercial movies already? Don’t despair. Here are a couple of off-the-beaten path indie films and international imports for your weekend amusement. May I recommend the following sleepers…

 

Vampire3VAMPIRE ACADEMY (http://va-movie.com)

Blood, magic and high school sucks! Based on Richelle Mead’s bestselling teen fantasy novels, VAMPIRE ACADEMY follows the exploits of Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), a rebellious teenage student who must protect her classmate & vampire princess friend Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry) against an invasion of supernatural villains. I love tales of bloodsuckers. If you’re into reading as entertainment, this book series is also a great little guilty pleasure. I’ve read the first two I can’t wait to see this movie!

 

BrideForRent3BRIDE FOR RENT (http://starcinema.abs-cbn.com/movies/bride-for-rent)

This mega blockbuster hit comedy rom-com farce BRIDE FOR RENT from the Philippines is now filling seats at the Sunridge Spectrum in the NE. It already has earned over 300 million in its native country and around the world just in its first week. Although the film is filled with cliches and stereotypical stock characters, I really loved the over-the-top banter performances & chemistry between the two attractive leads Kim Chui and Xian Lim, as well as from the rest of the cast members. Cinematography, music and fast pacing make this top notch farce a delight. Rocco Espiritu (Xian Lim) and Rocky Espiritu (Kim Chiu) are both in need of quick cash, lots and lots of them. Rocky needs to pay the rent to keep her entire family under a dry roof; Rocco needs his trust fund from grandma to dispose his estranged father’s advertising production company. The two reluctantly join forces to scam Rocco’s grandmother as a married couple. The premise is very similar to the predicaments bestowed the characters to Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s BOLLYWOOD HOLLYWOOD, but with bellyful of laughs and surprises. This hilarious comedy of manners is presented in Tagalog with English subtitles.

For showtimes, click here ~~ http://www.calgarymovies.com/movies/6177

 

Anohana4ANOHANA THE MOVIE: THE FLOWER WE SAW THAT DAY (Ano hi mita hana no namae wo bokutachi wa mada shiran)

 

Watch the American trailer in HD here ~~ http://youtu.be/aTv79pJh_dw

 

This is a new Japanese anime drama based on the popular television series about a group of estranged childhood friends who must come together once again 10 years since the death of their friend Menma. Her ghost appeals to the reclusive Jinta Yadomi to seek the help of the friends to find the key to reach Menma’s afterlife. Secret feelings, personal conflicts and bitterness hinders the group efforts. There will be selected afternoon and evening screenings only in Calgary this weekend and next week at both the Sunridge Spectrum and Scotiabank Chinook.

 

Anohana8For showtimes, visit the Calgary Movies’ URL ~~ http://www.calgarymovies.com/movies/6012

 

Happy viewing this weekend!

 

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BenGodFortuneRedEnvelope恭喜發財!   龍馬精神!

GONG HEY FAT CHOY and a HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR OF THE WOODEN HORSE (Jan. 30, 2014 – Feb. 18, 2015)!

The new year celebration is also known as the Chinese Spring Festival.

May I take this time to wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and successful new year. Be vigilant, resilient, compassionate and mindful for the rest of your family, neighbours, friends and colleagues as well.

HorsesBlanketSo what’s in store for the next 365 days or so, starting this past January 31st? According to traditional divination and the 12 Chinese Zodiac animal horoscope predictions, this coming new lunar year will bring luck to people who are born as a horse symbol (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014).

However, this year is also the year filled with a firestorm of conflicts and turbulent restlessness. It’s not a great year for health or recovery if you don’t practice proper prevention or medical follow ups. Properties and real estates are not as ideal throughout the months. Business associates will not barter or negotiate toward your betterment. It’s not a good time to start up a new endeavour. Be watchful of money and spending. Romance will also be uncompromising for lovers. So, it may be best to cancel your wedding engagement and nuptial until 2015.

In other word, 2014 is best to seek self improvement, further education, and/or to attend personal matters and advancements instead of instant gratifications.

Momo1On New Year’s Eve, family gather around a round table to eat a reunion supper. It’s very similar to our western Thanksgiving dinner, minus the turkey and bread.

Food that are commonly associated with the Chinese New Year / Spring Festival include plenty of rice, all parts of pork, Chicken, beef, duck, sausages, fresh fish & seafood, green vegetables, vegan dishes, salty & sweet dumplings, cakes made of sugar, taro & turnip, and lots and lots of candies, fruits and sweet desserts.

During this 15 days long holiday, the family may also gather around the television set or cramped the local cinema to enjoy a star studded new family oriented commercial movie that offer romance, martial arts and laughs.

Here is the link for you to watch the complete Chinese Lunar New Year fireworks display at the Hong Kong Victoria Harbour on Feb. 1st, 2014. Enjoy! ~~ http://youtu.be/6nvCvzBSEsc

 

 

 

 

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DorianAlexXmas1Calgary-based creative director and team leader Dorian R. Kominek is really excited about her upcoming media project titled DISSOLVING THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATION. Kominek’s husband Alex will helm the editing process.

As a jewellery designer herself, Dorian is also excited to be designing some of  the official merch items to tie in with the documentary. She will be creating a pendant written in sanskrit thats says तथास्तु (tathastu), meaning “so be it”. Kominek’s award-winning documentary film team will begin to produce right here in Calgary starting April 2014!

Previously, after creating the original award winning documentary film,  WHAT IF? THE MOVIE, director James A. Sinclair was compelled to explore the film’s concepts further by continuing with this follow-up sequel.

You can also view the entire documentary for free here ~~ http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/7724/What-If–The-Movie

WhatIfPrayDISSOLVING THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATION is an upcoming powerful and emotionally moving story that follows an empowering journey of several individuals while travelling through several countries and continents. A Journey where everyone discover the premise: “How to be the Unlimited Self you’ve always dreamed of being”.

To learn more, or even JOIN the production team, visit their Indiegogo campaign interactive site at ~~ http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dissolving-the-illusion-of-separation

You can even become an honorary producer: Check out the Indiegogo campaign above!

WhatIf

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BenBreakfastFruitsYumNot all fruits are good for you! Please try and remember that certain individual fruits may help or hinder your health issues.

Eating fruits as part of your complete healthy meal plan may reduce the risk of selected chronic diseases like diabetes or overweight problems. They also provide nutrients to both your body, and mind. However, not all fruits are the same. Some may even provide too much glycemic sugar content. There is a vast discrepancy amongst the diverse fruit groups.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, some fruits may affect your personal diet needs if taken too much in one meal sitting. For better or worst, here is the list of fruits based upon their sugar contents.

 

Fruits with the least amount of sugar

  • Lemon and Lime
  • Rhubarb
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries

 

Fruits with medium amount of sugar

  • Cantaloupes
  • Honeydew Melons
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruits
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Casaba Melon
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupes
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Guavas

 

Fruits with the highest amount of sugar

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Figs
  • Pineapple
  • Tangerines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates

 

Fruits that are your worst enemy

  • dried & processed raisins
  • dried & processed apricots
  • dried & processed prunes
  • dried & processed dates

 

If necessary, eat more dehydrated or freezer-dried berries, melons, peaches, nectarines and apricots as your alternative fruit sources.

Happy fruity diet, everyone!

 

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ShawBrotherLogoHong Kong billionaire, entertainment mogul and philanthropist Sir Run Run Shaw died peacefully at the old age of 107 on January 7, 2014. He founded the world renowned Far East dream factory SHAW BROTHERS MOVIE STUDIO and produced almost 1,000 celluloid productions. He was nicknamed the godfather of spectacular Mandarin Chinese language blockbusters, operas, melodramas, modern musicals and martial arts / swordplay thrillers. In 1967, he also launched the flagship commercial TVB television station.

190px-Five_Shaolin_Masters_VideoCoverWhen I was a little tot growing up in bustling Hong Kong during the 1960′s, my family was too poor to buy a television set. So, we would try and catch the latest Shaw Brothers’ drama or martial arts blockbusters at the nearby 1,700 seats FEDERAL THEATRE (1968-1977) in Kowloon. Sadly, it has been closed and renovated into a community shopping centre nowadays. I was first to experience Shaw’s many old school classics like HONG KONG RHAPSODY; THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN, RETURN OF THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN, KING DRUMMER, and the likes. Since we immigrated to Calgary during the early 1970′s, I have also watched numerous other original Shaw Brother flicks on celluloid at the local University of Calgary Science Theatre, SAIT Orpheus Theatre, the Towne Cinema, and various locales around downtown’s Chinatown. I watched all genre kinds from FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH; 36 CHAMBERS OF SHAOLIN; THE DEADLY FIVE VENOMS; THE BRAVE ARCHER;THE FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS; THE SENTIMENTAL SWORDSMAN; to costume drama, erotica, horror, melodramas like THE BLUE AND THE BLACK, SORROW OF THE GENTRY; and even Huangmei opera musicals like THE DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER, and THE LADY GENERAL HUA MULAN. It was such a cinema era before the advent of Beta video tapes, VHS, laser discs and the inferior VCDs.

220px-Clan_of_the_White_Lotus_FilmPosterSir Run Run Shaw will forever remembered for launching the careers of such Chinese movie stars as Jimmy Wang Yu (ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN), Gordon Liu (36 CHAMBERS OF SHAOLIN; KILL BILL), Lo Lieh (FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH), Chang Pei Pei (COME DRINK WITH ME; CROUCHING TIGER , David Chang (LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES), Ti Lung, Lin Dai, Lily Ho, Ivy Ling Po, Li Ching, and many others.

His art also inspired Hollywood directors like Quentin Tarantino, RZA and the Wachowski Brothers, as well as casting crossover talents like Harrison Ford (BLADE RUNNER), Peter Cushing (THE LEGEND OF 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES) and Evelyne Kraft (THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN).

TVBlogoBorn in Shanghai, Run Run Shaw and his brothers operated cinemas across Southeast Asia in the late 1930′s and 1940′s. After WWII, and the chaotic invasion by the Chinese communist government, Shaw reorganized his operations to Hong Kong permanently during the late 1950s to develop the huge Shaw Brothers Movie Town Studio real estate near Clear Water Bay in Kowloon. Seeing a broadcasting opportunity in the mid 1960′s, he also added the Cantonese & English languages TVB television studio to his expanding empire. One thing he may have regret about was failing to sign the emerging San Francisco born kung fu young star Bruce Lee as a contract actor. Shaw’s main rival and former employee Raymond Chow from the Golden Harvest Movie Studio managed to attracted the new talent instead. In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II honoured him the title Sir Run Run Shaw. In his later years, he became a well respected philanthropist and founder of the Shaw Prizes which pays homage to scientific achievements in the Asian Pacific region.

ShawBrotherGroupPhotoRunRunLearn more about Sir Run Run Shaw from World Breaking News on YouTube ~~ http://youtu.be/-7Y7EEo3r6A

Condolences and 3 kwotows to one of my all time greatest movie mogul of Asia. Much respects and reverences to the entire Shaw Brothers family and empire. May your next journey grace the million stars along our celestial milky way!

BrokenCircle1It’s Oscar nomination season once again. One of its potential shortlisted nominees for the 86th Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category is Belgium’s entry THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN. I’ve been waiting for this critically acclaimed European cinema gem since I first saw the sneak preview trailer on YouTube early last year.
The film was written and directed by Belgium filmmaker Felix Van Groeningen, based on the play by Johan Heldenbergh. It stars not only Heldenbergh himself, but also actresses Veerle Baetens and Nell Cattryss. The film was nominated for the European Parliament LUX Prize in 2013.

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN is a 2012 Belgian produced melodrama about the unpredictable romance between Elise (Veerle Baetens), the owner of a tattoo parlour and cowboy performer Didier (Johan Heldenbergh), the banjo player in an American bluegrass tribute band. They both enjoy American music and culture. Their relationship and family commitment unravel when an unexpected tragedy affects their newly bonded family.

The_broken_circle_breakdown2I’m also enthusiastic about the film’s soundtrack many foot-stomping American bluegrass songs. You can preview the music here on iTunes here ~~ https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/broken-circle-breakdown-original/id723777732

The downtown independent Globe Cinema opens the new Flemish movie this weekend titled THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN.
 
broken-circle-breakdownDaughterWatch the trailer here ~~ http://youtu.be/JrBgSZIQAz0

 

For the show times, visit the Globe Cinema’s official URL here ~~ http://globecinema.ca/?q=movie/broken-circle-breakdown

 

TheBrokenCircleBreakdown_HRVisit the official URL on Facebook here ~~ https://www.facebook.com/TheBrokenCircleBreakdown

 

The Broken Circle Belgien 2012 Regie: Felix Van Groeningen

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Paris8Internationally renowned heiress, socialite, model, fashion designer, author, reality television star (THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PARIS; THE SIMPLE LIFE), actress (BLING RING), singer (GOOD TIMES w/ Lil Wayne), producer, entrepreneur, and now electronic dance music DJ dropped her brand of high energy electronic dance music beats last weekend at Cowboys during their 18th annual ICED party. Over a thousand top priced tickets were sold out well in advance to her lively deejay performance early Saturday morning.

Paris Hilton’s controversial lifestyle is forever under the limelight. Born February 17, 1981 in New York City and raised in Los Angeles as Paris Whitney Hilton, she is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Hilton began a modelling career in her teens under Donald Trump’s T Management. Her hard-partying and short-lived relationships with various actors and sports celebrities led her to earn a position as a fixture in entertainment gossips.

Paris7

CTV Calgary’s news reporter Kathy Le interviewed Paris Hilton on the red carpet outside Cowboys Dance Hall.

Hilton also gained significant attention for an explicit amateur home video tape titled ONE NIGHT IN PARIS (2001) with then boyfriend Rick Solomon.

In 2003, she began shooting a hilarious self parody reality television series with co-star Nicole Richie on THE SIMPLE LIFE. It was a huge success.

In 2004, Hilton also released the autobiography book  CONFESSIONS OF AN HEIRESS: A TONGUE-IN-CHIC PEEK BEHIND THE POSE. The following year, she wrote YOUR HEIRESS DIARY: CONFESS IT ALL TO ME. She later recorded the 2006 music album PARIS, appeared in several B-movies, as well as additional spin-off reality television shows. Last year, Hilton played herself again in Sofia Coppola’s independent film THE BLING RING (2013) about obsessed teen fans, burglary and fame.

Paris3

Global TV Calgary’s news reporter Jayme Doll interviewed Paris Hilton.

Recently, Hilton also landed a coveted DJ residency at Ibiza super-club AMNESIA. Performing weekly throughout the summer of 2013, Hilton led a crowd of more than 10,000 club goers through an energetic music show and is now in high demand to DJ at venues all over the world. According to UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, Hilton has so far earned a rumoured appearance fee between $100,000 to $350,000 per hour set. 

Outside the dance hall, curious Hilton fans, casino players, media reporters and myself lined up for nearly a couple of extended hours on the red carpet to catch a glimpse of this multifaceted American artist. It was a breathtaking opportunity to meet Hilton face to face just minutes before she took  Cowboys’ centre stage by storm. Despite the many haters who whined about her eclectic lukewarm accomplishments, the revelling critics on the dance floor expressed an otherwise opposite opinion as Paris Hilton spin and drop the next 2 hour with a very spirited and entertaining deejay set.

For me, just seeing the bubbly actress grace our city’s emerging late-night club life was anything but an icy event indeed! Here are a few more photos I took of Paris Hilton at the Calgary Cowboys Dance Hall’s 18th annual ICED party event.

Paris4Paris5Paris6

Paris1 Paris2