Archive | April, 2009


23 Apr

earth dayWhat is Earth Day?
Here is a bit of background on Earth Day from Wikipedia: “Earth Day, celebrated in the US on April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year. This date is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, which is often March 20, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969.”

But What does it all mean?
the_human_footprintToday many people around the world observed this day as an important date to raise awareness and take active roles in how to care and defend our mother earth from the destructive hands of our own kind!
Participating in this worldwide event is an important civic duty that all of us need to be a part of, and furthermore the actions we have taken today should not be exclusive to a date, but rather repeated every day of the year to make a bigger and more lasting impact in our efforts to become effective stewards of our planet earth.

What can we do?
every dayHere are three of the most important ways in which we can all make Earth Day more impactful:
1. Our governments and big corporations must invest more on carbon-free renewable energy that will end our common dependency on fossil fuels, including coal and petroleum.
2. An individual’s commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption.
3. Creation of a new green economy that lifts people out of poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and transforms the global education system into a green one.

And How Can ICINE FANS help…Have you ever heard of “Spring Cleaning” and lending a hand?
image_plant_a_treeThere are many things that you can do today and any other time of the year to do something meaningful for mother earth. You can begin by donating your time to non-profit organizations and help a good charitable cause, whether is helping someone or planting a tree, cleaning your own backyard or your closet and then donating some of those goodies to those less fortunate, join a group to clean the local beaches or highways…by doing some of these things you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and contribution!
All one has to do is just watch “Planet Earth” for a minute or simply go outside to realize how enormously beautiful our blue planet is and how important it is that we help conserve its beauty for many generations to come…So, let’s do our part and show HOW MUCH WE REALLY CARE!!!


SIN NOMBRE tells the trials and tribulations of Immigrant Life, which has NO NAME to describe!

12 Apr

Sin Nombre
2009 recipient of Best Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Sin Nombre is a brutal and honest picture that portrays what many Latin American immigrants must go through to make it to El Norte, searching for a better life and re-unification with their familes.
Californa Bay Area Cary Fukunaga manages to bring us a vivid portrait of the lives of many Central American immigrants and infuses a frustratingly painful culture of violence that exists in border towns of Central America and Mexico and the lives that it claims of its path. The “Mara Salvatrucha” linked gangs is just an example of the type of life some of these immigrants are trying to escape from, as well as their country’s economic decay and internal violence, most of which is a residue of their pre-existing internal wars and life in poverty.
Newcomer’s Edgar Flores portrayal of a gang member living in the southern Guatemalan/Mexican border of Tapachula is one of rare beauty, as he manages to be hard with his piercing sad eyes and body covered with scars, but still showing some hope when following his heart. Similarly, Paulina Gaitan’s performance is one of true hope and innocence that brings some much needed balance to the raw images of brutality and poverty in Fukunaga’s realistic cinematic portrait.
Sin Nombre
Genre: Drama
MPAA rating: R for violence, language and sexual content
Running time: 01:36
Release date: 2009
Rating: ***
Cast:Tenoch Huerta Mejía; Edgar Flores; Héctor Jiménez; Kristyan Ferrer; Paulina Gaitan; Diana García; Guillermo Villegas; Damayanti Quintanar
Directed by:Cary Joji Fukunaga

For more on this well made film go here:

Eureka, Eureka, a GOOD FILM at Last!!!

7 Apr

Tokyo Sonata PosterIt is a shame that we are already into the second quarter of 2009 and there hasn’t been a worthwhile film release that has managed to capture anyone’s attention!

The other day I was one of those lucky days in which a rare film was released and even brought to my local theater, so I found myself rushing to my local art house venue to go see it before it was too late and it was taken away.  Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s—no relation to the great legendary filmmaker Akira Kurasawa—film called: Tokyo Sonata was indeed a marvel that didn’t falter at any time and traveled well beyond my expectations!

The film was a lyrical study of today’s Tokyo and its inhabitants. It immersed itself into the lives of an urban family going through the trials and tribulations of life in the 21st century.  It covered universal issues like the current economic crisis to which Tokyo is not susceptible to, a dysfunctional family who suffered from the lack of an essential ingredient, communication, war conflicts and local vandalism that leads to an eye-opening event that put one of the primary characters into full play.  The picture was painted very clear: it’s a shame to lose once job, so it’s important for the men not to be vulnerable and lose control at any time, particularly at home.  But with that picture comes the repercussions and this family’s central character brings scaring results that impact all.

The themes of family and the economy take a duel role that is hard to ignore. As Reyhan Harmanci, from the San Fracisco Chronicle writes: “Tokyo Sonata” tells the story of a troubled family. Ryuhei (played by Teruyuki Kagawa, who is also in the current release “Tokyo!” [and not nearly as good!]) is an administrator who gets downsized at the film’s start and cannot find a way to tell his wife, Megumi (in a lovely turn by Kyoko Koizumi). Their two sons, an 18-year-old named Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) and middle-school-age Kenji (Kai Inowaki), have their own, parallel struggles going on – Takashi is struggling to find a future as an adult, and Kenji starts sneaking piano lessons that his father, unaccountably, won’t support.

When Ryuhei runs into a high school friend who goes to extreme lengths to hide his unemployment (like setting his cell phone to ring several times an hour), he finds himself getting deeper and deeper in deception, increasing the distance between him and his wife. Kurosawa is fond of repeating scenes and mirroring his characters’ plights, as they all have much more in common than they realize. It comes to a head one night, as Ryuhei, too alienated from himself to even see the irony, violently punishes Kenji for sneaking around and using his lunch money for music classes (Friday, March 27, 2009).

Is Kenji’s mere innocence and hunger for learning something new and exciting what counter acts all of this family dysfunction and economic dilemma!  The power of the film’s final act is what makes it an incomparable experience that manages to take the audience to another level.  The language of music comes into play and completely takes over as a radiant ray of light piercing through the clouds showing us all that there is still hope in the world. Tokyo Sonata really plays its notes well and succeeds its message of forgiveness, discovery, hope and happiness.  I promise you, by the film’s end you will found yourself deeply moved!

The film is a true gem, so I urge you to rush to go see it the same way I did before it’s too late!

For a reason Tokyo Sonata has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it was highly regarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 winning the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize!

Full SF Chronicle Review: