Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Things you should know before watching Les Miserables

Victor Hugo is one of Europe’s most well-known writers in history.  Two of his highly regarded works were The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Miserables (The Miserables/ The Victims) which both have been adapted into films by major Hollywood productions. Between the two masterpieces, the later which the French genius released in 1862 is considered to have been more endeared  by millions of fans worldwide.

To this date, the novel has had theatre productions from Paris to West End and Broadway since 1980, and already have 10 film versions in its resume.  

In 1983, British producer Sir Cameron Anthony Mackintosh weaved wonderful music to the classic tale about a French peasant and his quest for redemption after serving years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for starving relatives.  Mckintosh’s gave a perfect soundtrack to every journey of Jean Valjean who decided to break his parole and started his life anew despite being relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade. The stage production of the novel harvested a number of Tony Awards during its decades of successful runs.

Who can escape the moving lyrics of “I Dreamed a Dream” and “On My Own” sang by female protagonists Fantine and Eponine?  Incidentally, our very own Le Salonga played both roles when the play was staged in Broadway in 1996.

Talking about the film adaptations, the first one was produced in 1913 staring French actor Henry Krauss as Valjean. The latest version starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood today conquered this year’s Golden Globe Awards as the film won best musical/comedy movie, while Australian actor Hugh Jackman (Valjean) won best actor for his all-singing role, and co-star Anne Hathaway (Fantine) won best supporting actress. Here’s another trivia: Did you know that Hathaway’s mother also played the role of Fantine on Broadway before she quit acting and devoted herself to parenting? This might also explain where Hathaway got her inspiration for her marvellous take on the character.

Prior to the 2012 Les Miserables, the last major film production based on the book was in 1998 with fine actors Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush as Valjean and Javert, respectively.  The film was not well-received by Hugo’s fans because of the number of differences from the novel it presented. Most evident was the conclusion of the film where Valjean walked away smiling from the place where Javert committed suicide. Of course, we all know that he too died in the story.

But with the way Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) handled the movie, infused the much-discussed live action singing and casted excellent talents led by Jackman, Hathaway, and other award-winning actors like Russell Crowe (Javert), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier) and Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier), even those not devotes of musical theatre will find themselves emotionally manipulated  by the latest Les Mis.

Even the heart of stone will be softened. Even the firmest wall will be moved from its placed.  If you plan to watch the movie, just a little advise:  Bring a hankie because you might wept  with Fantine, have more patience with your seatmate who might sing along with Cossette or laugh hard with Thenardier’s antics, and most importantly, stop be a miserable film critic for a while. There are some flaws but who cares.  Enjoy and stump your feet if you feel like marching with the spirited mob because this film is a cinematic victory on an epic scale. 

Thanks to SM Cinema for the invitation to the red carpet premiere of Les Miserables which is shown nationwide today.  Movie enthusiasts and fans of the widely acclaimed Broadway musical can expect nothing less but the best movie experience in full digital quality at their favorite SM Cinema. If you want to avoid the expected long lines at the ticket booth, I suggest that you get an SM Cinema e-PLUS card. Check the details HERE on how to get one.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Useless Bossy Facts

After the long holiday break, most of us are either raring or inert to go back to work because of different reasons: backlogs, unfinished year-end report, pending projects and your first meeting with your boss for the year.

To some, their first encounter with the company’s head honcho at the start of a year is a make or break thing. Well it all depends on one’s performance in the previous 12 months. Whether he smiles at you or wears a blank face every time you meet him in the hallway, your boss is someone you’ll be working with all year round, or for as long you intend to stay in his group.    

So before you go to his office anytime soon, why not read some bossy facts that you might want to share to him during your meeting. These will not guarantee a salary raise but they can sure help start a good conversation.      

·         There is such a thing as National Boss Day created in 1958 by Patricia Haroski, a secretary at State Farm Insurance Company. It was said to have started to pay tribute to managers in the company. Its official date (October 16) is Patricia’s father’s birthday.
  • There are 6.7 million managers in the US (5% of the US workforce) and 1.6 million managers in Canada (10% of the Canadian workforce)
  • “Boss” is the #3714 most common last name in the U.S. with an estimated 7500 persons using it.
  • The word “boss” is from the Dutch word “baas” (meaning "a master"), a standard title for a ship’s captain. It was in 1625 that the word was used in English. The popularity of “boss” in American English may be an egalitarian avoidance of master
  • In the dictionaries, “boss” was defined as (1) Slang - in the 50’s, ‘boss’ meant great, first-rate or topnotch; (2) Barnyard - 'boss' is another name for a cow or calf; and (3) Medicine - a ‘boss’ is a name for a rounded swelling, protuberance or humpback … so, this sentence is technically feasible: Your boss did a boss job healing the boss’s itchy boss.
  • Other boss facts: Bossiest town: Boss, Missouri (population 609); Boss Nicknames: 'The Boss’ – Bruce Springsteen, singer / songwriter; ‘Boss Tweed’ - William Marcy Tweed, infamous corrupt New York politician and ‘The Big Bossman – American pro wrestler; Boss Songs: Big Boss Man (Elvis Priestly) ; I Love My Boss (Moxy Fruvous).

Friday, January 11, 2013

FReSH: The Perfume Store for Perfume Addicts

This is something I have to admit... I always smell!

Err, what I mean is that I love smelling things, I like fragrant stuff and I am a fan of anything inviting to the nostrils. 

Sometimes, I don't notice it but I kinda sniff first my cup of coffee or plate of freshly baked pies before my mouth feast on them. Or I would take a number of deep breath when I am beside someone who just took a bath (or looked like she just came out of the shower) and savor the sweet scent. Of course, I'll stop after I realize that all eyes is on my nose.

Do I love perfumes? It's like asking if I breath air to live. I am a perfume addict and proud of it.

I'm sure that there's a million out there who share the same addiction to the Dunhills to the Cliniques, to the CKs and the Guccis. The good news is, there is a store that we can depend on for such addiction. 

Screenshot from the FReSH FB fan page

FReSH Fragrance Bar is now making a name as the “Perfume Store for Perfume Addicts” as it opens different stores around the country.  What can FReSH offer better than the other shops? Here's a rundown of their great offers for me and you:

Fragrance consultants. Aside from the store’s vibrant and hip design, what makes people come back to the store is their friendly fragrance consultants who makes shopping for a perfume leisurely and fun. They not only give you sensible advices, they also offer you great savings.

Retail favorites. Think of a perfume that you've always wanted to buy and more than likely, FReSH has it in their catalog. As an authorized retailer, FReSH has an extensive selection of premium imported scents and luxury designer brands. They also have the latest from sports, fashion, and entertainment superstars.

exciting promotions. FReSH offers reasonable prices compared to department stores, flexible payment schemes, perpetual promotions, and loyalty programs so you can easily afford the bottle you’ve been eyeing. All with the assurance that what you’re buying is the real deal.

Simple payment plans. The store has put together creative payment terms to make your dream perfume collection come true. How to you buy a P5,000 perfume for only P800? Visit a store now and start building your sweet-smelling bottles with their pocket-friendly payment schemes.

Happy addiction. Each one of us has a unique sense of taste or in this case, smell. One of the consultants of FreSH shared,“Choosing your scent shouldn’t be rushed especially when you’re young, you should take your time and experiment to find out which perfume works best for you." This is an assurance that their staff assists customers to find the right fragrance and don't just push specific brands just to make a sale. One's addiction will be handled with proper care.

Fresh currently has five retail stores in Eastwood Mall, Alabang Town Center, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Marquee Mall Pampanga, Abreeza Mall Davao and several more to come. For further information, you can visit  their Facebook page:

It is operated by Scent and Beaute Concepts Inc., a sister company of Charlie Ken Marketing Corporation and Midas Brand Management and also owns luxury fragrance store Art of Scent in Newport Mall. Trusted names in the industry means quality products, right?

Now, tell me. Isn't this news a breeze of fresh air?