Taiwan Excellence’s ‘Stay-At-Home Economy’ is Heating Up!

Taiwan mounts a smart fight versus both the pandemic and boredom.

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people took precautionary measures whenever they go out. However, many opted to spend more time at home to avoid contracting the deadly virus. During times like these, home fitness and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) endeavors are two of the best forms of activities that families to do together. These activities not only help people to stay physically active and improve their immunity but also add fun and excitement to life at home.

“Taiwan is a shining example of how to successfully contain COVID-19. Such success is undoubtedly attributed to the cooperation of all citizens and industries, and the effective execution of stay-at-home self-isolation measures. We are more than happy to share how Taiwan implements stay-at-home self-isolation best practices to the rest of the world and engage in any international cooperation that can benefit other nations.” said Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Deputy Director General Guann-Jyh Lee.

In addition to home workouts even without the use of equipment, exercise equipment can also be used to increase training intensity and enjoyment. Doctors also recommend that when people exercise at home, they should pay attention to ventilation in their exercise space. Other advice includes making sure to stay warm after sweating and stay hydrated by drinking water to maintain better health and fend off disease.

During a virtual press conference with the media held recently, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) Executive Vice President Simon Wang also noted that they broke spatial limitations during the press conference. Part of the conference took place at individual brand headquarters to provide a feeling that event attendees actually visited the companies in person.

Taiwan Excellence, which represents the “best of the best” of everything made in Taiwan, has selected three award-winning companies – Strength Master, Victory, and the AROFLY – to demonstrate the latest home exercise trends in terms of cardiopulmonary, muscle strength, and intelligence benefits.

The cardiopulmonary function is fundamental to good health. Strength Master’s cycle boxer has an entire set of built-in interactive boxing games that can simultaneously train brain response and improve cardiopulmonary function. This adds more fun to boxing alone! Muscle strength training not only improves your physique but also helps increase immunity.

Victory, on the other hand, invited 2008 Olympics Weightlifting silver medal winner Ying-Chi Lu to do weight training on Victory’s shock-absorbing mat. This mat significantly reduces 37% of the vibration and 26% of the noise while lifting barbells. So, no need to worry about bothering the children or neighbors while doing weight training at home.

And what if you love cycling but cannot go out due to the lockdown in your country? The AROFLY used smart technology to move cycling into the home. Power analysis is used to display cadence, speed, and heart rate so that anyone can train on their bike smartly at home and also burn fat effectively.

To fight boredom, home fitness is not the only option. Therapeutic craftwork and parent-child interaction are also trending upwards. According to domestic e-commerce vendors, the global pandemic has increased the sales of home living products by about 20%.

Doing DIY activities together can bring parents and kids closer to each other as well as making the home a happier and brighter place. and Taiwan Excellence has many companies fit for this purpose. For example, suction cup hooks in colorful macaroon colors from FECA, a patented vacuum technology made in Taiwan, can safely and easily change the look of the kitchen or bathroom, even moods, without the use of drills or nails. Also, teach children the importance of storage by using the VAGO vacuum compressor to minimize the size of all winter clothing. During the weekends, CSPS’s multi-function adjustable height roasting oven offers great help for home BBQ events, a great way to celebrate Taiwan’s zero new coronavirus cases!

Taiwan Excellence is collaborating with these six major brands to showcase to the world the growing “stay-at-home economy” by using intelligence and creativity. Taiwan’s products have demonstrated their cutting-edge qualities in this global fight against the pandemic and have helped people create a better home life even in trying and difficult circumstances. Let Taiwan Excellence be the best teammate one can have in smart home disease prevention and the fight against boredom!

GMA Network unveils ‘GMA Affordabox’ on its 70th anniversary

For its 70th anniversary celebration, the country’s leading and largest broadcast firm GMA Network, Inc. wholeheartedly offers its own high-quality and affordable Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receiver ‘GMA Affordabox’.

As the Network aspires to enable every Filipino home to enjoy digital TV viewing experience, GMA Network Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon proudly shared that GMA Affordabox was specifically developed to be made accessible to millions of Filipino households.

“In celebration of this milestone of reaching seven colorful decades in the industry, we are more than grateful for the Filipinos’ continued trust in GMA Network as we reaffirm our commitment to deliver excellence in news and entertainment. Kaya naman, kasabay ng ika-70 anibersaryo ng inyong Kapuso Network, buong puso naming inihahandog sa inyo ang high-quality at abot-kayang digital TV receiver na Para Sa Pilipino—ang GMA Affordabox.”

GMA Affordabox is a plug-and-play device that can easily be connected to an analog TV in order to receive digital television broadcast. Users can watch GMA, GMA News TV, and the most-awaited Heart of Asia in digital display, as well as all other free-to-air digital TV channels available in their area.

“GMA Affordabox stays true to its name as we make it available in the market at an affordable price, without compromising quality. GMA Network has teamed up with the best product developers and engineers to give you a device built with additional features and high-quality materials at an accessible price. Now, more Filipino homes can start enjoying digital TV viewing,” GMA Network President and COO Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr. stated.

With a sleek black metal casing that is set to endure years of TV viewing, GMA Affordabox provides superior digital reception as well as additional features that will take the users’ entertainment experience to a whole new level. It comes with a built-in multimedia player that makes it an all-around digital file access device allowing users to play compatible video files, view photos, and even listen to music using a USB drive.

“Aside from providing superior digital reception, we also wanted Filipino homes to enjoy additional features that are built to suit their lifestyle,” said GMA Network Chief Risk Officer and First Vice President for Corporate Strategic Planning and Concurrent Head for Program Support Regie C. Bautista.

Another advanced function of the GMA Affordabox is its personal video recorder that allows viewers to record GMA, GMA News TV, and Heart of Asia programs so they never have to miss any of their favourite Kapuso shows. GMA Affordabox users can watch and re-watch highlights of the shows by instant or scheduled recording.

In addition to the one-of-a-kind features exclusively available for GMA channels, the device also has a nationwide Emergency Warning Broadcast System (EWBS) that receives alerts from the NDRRMC about any calamity warnings in their area. It will automatically set off an alarm during emergencies with its functional auto-on alert feature for every household’s safety and preparedness.

For just a one-time purchase of P888 and no monthly fees, each GMA Affordabox unit promises to deliver a clearer and more vibrant TV viewing experience along with other bonus features. 

It is now for sale online and in stores for the following areas where GMA’s digital signal is already available: Metro Manila, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao del Norte.

For more details, visit www.GMAaffordabox.com and its official social media accounts via the handle @GMAaffordabox. For inquiries, contact the hotline (02) 8857-4627 within Metro Manila from 8AM to 10PM or 0961-252-9393 for outside Metro Manila, or e-mail support@GMAaffordabox.com.

Jollibee launches TikTok channel, #KwentongJollibee challenge

Keeping the #KwentongJollibee fever more alive than ever, Jollibee brings Filipinos a brand-new outlet where they can showcase their flair for singing, dancing, and acting, to be shared to a wider audience. Aspiring artists and content creators can share their creativity and talents as Jollibee launches its new channel on one of today’s fastest growing and widely-used social media platforms, TikTok, which has garnered over 1.5 billion downloads.

The #KwentongJollibee TikTok challenge, which encourages users to duet or lip sync the juicy bits of their favorite episode, has swiftly gained 12.7 million views shorty after it was launched. Done in partnership with BBH Singapore, this is the first time that Jollibee utilizes this platform to engage with avid fans of its hit Valentine series.

TikTok users who got caught up in “#CoupleGoals”, which has gained over 25 million views, can lip sync to the taxi showdown scene and pretend they are Matt and Lisa arguing. They can also do a duet as Myles together with the dreamy Ron from the best-performing episode “Apart”, which was streamed 34 million times over, and act as if they are a couple sharing a sweet kilig moment. Lastly, TikTok users can re-enact a funny scene from “Space”, with almost 30 million views, and pretend they are Mae, whom the lovestruck Dan is trying to patch things up with.

“Together with Jollibee, we believe TikTok has unlocked an incredible creative energy in the Philippines. Since the launch of this challenge, 19,000 videos have already been submitted. It’s warming to see people share the simple joy of doing something together,” said Sascha Kuntze, Chief Creative Officer of BBH.

With the popularity of TikTok, it’s not hard to find short-form videos one after another — and with Jollibee launching its new channel, Filipinos can share even more joy as they showcase their talents in crafting creative content that will spark the interest of generations across.

Get your vocals, dancing, and acting moves ready and share your own creative take of the #KwentongJollibee Valentine’s episodes! Join the fun by downloading the TikTok app, and post your #KwentongJollibee challenge at Jollibee’s official Tiktok page (www.tiktok.com/@jollibee).

Go back to Day One in new featurette for ‘A Quiet Place Part 2’

Go back to Day One with Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy and John Krasinski as A Quiet Place Part II unleashes its new `What You Need To Know’ featurette.

Check out the video below and watch A Quiet Place Part II in Philippine cinemas March 18.

Paramount Pictures presents in association with Michael Bay, a Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night production, a John Krasinski film “A Quiet Place Part II.”  Based on characters created by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck, written and directed by John Krasinski.

A Quiet Place Part II stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Djimon Hounsou.

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

A Quiet Place Part II is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Connect with #AQuietPlace

Eddie Garcia: In memoriam

The entertainment industry of the Philippines has an obsession with giving titles to its most bankable stars: titles that have become synonymous with the actors or actresses themselves. Superstar. Star for All Seasons. Megastar. Diamond Star. King of Comedy. The King. Earlier generations may also recall The Great Profile. But in an industry filled with kings, queens and stars, Eddie Garcia took a humble title—taken from his character’s name from a movie—and made it a legend bigger than himself: Manoy.

And today, the entertainment industry has lost its biggest brother, an actor and director who lent his name and talent to over 600 films in the span of 70 years, all of which are testaments to his longevity. A passionate artist with a strong, disciplined work ethic that built his reputation as the most prolific actor on the silver screen, whose appeal has endured for generations. (A Reddit thread from October 2018, about his photo on the cover of Esquire Philippines, ended up being more of a tribute page about him than about the photo itself.)

He was a long-time student of his craft, having been cast into Siete Infantes de Lara (his first film, in 1950) without any acting experience. And through the years, he strived to become a better performer, for any role he accepted is, in his words, “the best recommendation for your next film.” And Garcia never permitted himself to be typecast as an action star: he has taken roles in comedy and drama films as well, including Lino Brocka’s Tubog sa Ginto, which he said was his favorite performance (as a closeted gay man). He also immersed himself behind the scenes, shadowing directors, cinematographers and editors, before going on to direct over 30 films himself. For both his work in front and behind the camera, he has won numerous awards, even receiving an Urian for Best Actor before he died.

He himself was long considered a contender for being the next National Artist. Whether this honor will be given to him remains to be seen. But whether or not he earns that honor, he can rest contented that he has worked with and learned from six of the eight National Artists for Cinema, the exceptions being Lamberto Avellana and Kidlat Tahimik.

READ MORE: Eddie Garcia on his third Cinemalaya film ML (Martial Law)

More than his artistry, he has also been known for having a strong, focused work ethic, an attribute that younger generations can learn from regardless of their industry. His punctuality is the stuff of legends, almost always being the first person to report for duty on set; hence, the famous quip “you do not make Eddie Garcia wait”. (We at Cinema Bravo have been a witness to his punctuality. At the press conference for “Rainbow’s Sunset”, we arrived at the venue an hour earlier. To our surprise, Eddie Garcia also arrived just a few minutes after. The press con itself started one hour late, but Manoy was gracious throughout, gamely answering questions and posing for photographs.)

He also avoided complaining or critiquing his workmates, preferring instead to follow his directors’ instructions and doing his very best, however small the role is. As a director, he refrained from reprimanding his cast and crew, and instead focused on getting everyone’s job done, and done right. Perhaps more than the awards he has received, his fellow film workers now remember him more for his grace, his chivalry and his humility. It is not surprising then that in an industry rife with rivalry and politicking, Eddie Garcia has virtually no critics or enemies.

Until the very end, he believed that he should never retire, preferring to work for as long as his health permitted. We lost him, yes, while doing what he loved best, in an accident that he did not deserve. Who knows how many more films and TV shows he could have done. How many more awards he could have won. How many more audiences would have looked forward to his formidable performances and Instagrammable one-liners.

And in his passing, we have lost an even bigger star than the film industry’s kings and queens. A true legend in his own right whose body of work has transcended three or four generations of movie audiences.

Because however the kings and queens of cinema come and go, there can only be one Manoy.

‘Captain Marvel’: A spoiler-free character guide

For casual moviegoers, we can’t blame you if you have little or no idea on what’s going on with Captain Marvel. After all, this first female-led Marvel film initially caught buzz during the post credits scene of Infinity War, where everyone just assumed that the said heroine is the solution to beating Thanos. Anyway, it never hurts to have a little background. Here’s a spoiler-free breakdown of the characters appearing in Captain Marvel.


The Kree are a scientifically and technologically advanced race of mostly blue-skinned “noble warrior heroes” from the planet Hala.


Portrayed by Brie Larson

A Kree-human hybrid, Carol is a member of an elite military unit called ‘Starforce’ and her abilities include superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight. In the film, she returns to Earth to rediscover her ordinary human past of being an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. According to Marvel chief executive Kevin Feige, she is “the most powerful superhero in MCU.”


Portrayed by Lee Pace

Last seen as the main villain in Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan is a ferocious and radical member of the Kree who attempted to obliterate planet Xandar by forging an alliance with Thanos. The Guardians may have successfully defeated and killed him, but since the events of Captain Marvel occur before the aforementioned timeline, we can expect the character crossing paths with Starforce.


Portrayed by Jude Law

Yon-Rogg is Kree’s Starforce lead commander who trained Carol to use her powers. According to Law, his character is “almost a devout warrior — unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational.”


Portrayed by Djimon Hounsou

Another familiar face from GOTG, Korath is last seen as Ronan’s cybernatically enhanced warrior who gets slain by Drax the Destroyer during the Battle of Xandar. Before that happens, Korath here is the second-in-command of Starforce.


Portrayed by Gemma Chan

Minn-Erva is Starforce’s efficient and standout sniper who feels slightly threatened by the talented Danvers joining the team.


Portrayed by Annette Bening

The Supreme Intelligence is a god-like entity/artificial intelligence that consists the greatest intellects of the Kree people for the last million years. Each member of the Starforce has a particular relationship with the Supreme Intelligence.



Portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson

Set in 1990s, the ‘would-be’ director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and founder of Avengers Initiative, is a younger, greener and less jaded low-level bureaucrat. Jackson describes his character as a “desk jockey” whose first encounter with a super-powered being (Carol Danvers) transforms his cynical perspective towards bureaucracy. This marks the first time where Marvel digitally de-ages a character by 25 years, for the entire film’s run time.


Portrayed by Clark Gregg

Before he’s killed by Loki in The Avengers, and subsequently brought back to life in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson is a rookie agent who works closely with Fury. Likewise Jackson, Gregg is digitally de-aged by 25 years throughout the film.


Portrayed by Lashana Lynch

As Danvers’ best friend in her past human life, Captain Maria Rambeau is a resilient single mother/U.S. Air Force pilot who plays a huge role in helping Carol to regain her past. Larson describes Danvers and Rambeau’s friendship as equal, with “a playful competitiveness and a mutual respect.”



Portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn

As the film’s main antagonist, Talos is a shape-shifting Skrull commander who leads his race’s invasion to Earth by posing as a S.H.I.E.L.D. director. In the comics, the Skrulls have been at war with the Krees for centuries. Mendelsohn described Talos’s human persona as “buttoned up” compared to his “more laid back” Skrull persona.


Portrayed by Reggie, Archie, Gonzo and Rizzo

Named after a Top Gun character, Goose is Carol Danvers’s pet and travel companion. In the comics, he’s originally named as Chewie (after Star Wars‘ Chewbacca) and if the film will be faithful to its source material, there’s a strong reason to believe that the house cat is actually an alien of the Flerken race with hidden special powers.

Captain Marvel opens in Philippine cinemas on March 6, 2018.

Sacrifice is the undercurrent theme in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (Spoiler Review)

Marvel’s latest gargantuan, Avengers: Infinity War, has already earned a whopping $1 billion within its first 11 days of release (the fastest film ever to do so), surpassing the biggest opening weekend set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (for US release) and The Fate of the Furious (for worldwide). Most impressively, Infinity War has nabbed this record (and all sorts of box office records) without the help of the world’s second biggest movie market, China. (The film opens there on May 11). Kudos to the whole crew and cast! It’s safe to say that a huge demographic of moviegoers has already seen this and we can finally go in depth with everything that happened in this epic installment.

WARNING: This is a spoiler discussion. If you want to have an untainted viewing experience, I suggest to check our spoiler-free reviews instead.


Avengers: Infinity War
“Oh, mighty Thanos, I, Loki, Prince of Asgard, Odinson, The Rightful King of Jotunheim, God of Mischief, do hereby pledge to you my undying fidelity.” – Loki, handing the Tesseract to Thanos

The purple mad titan Thanos makes an impression right of the bat by killing off two major characters from the Thor franchise – Heimdall and Loki. The Guardian of the Bifrost’s death makes sense with the destruction of Asgard and the uncertainty of future Thor sequels. Fan theorists, on the other hand, are not entirely sold on Loki’s death considering the “God of Mischief” surely has better plans than deliberately attempting to stab Thanos right in his face.  Still, we can’t ignore if Thanos’ line, “No resurrections this time” is a meta-reference that seals his fate.

Avengers: Infinity War
“Hear me and rejoice! You have had the privilege of being saved by the Great Titan.” – Ebony Maw to the dying Asgardians

We are also introduced to the short-lived, one-dimensional but nevertheless formidable Thanos’ henchmen a.k.a. The Black Order – Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian (Hulk’s counterpart) and Ebony Maw. If I have to pick a favorite, it has to be Maw and his dope telekinesis powers that allows him to effortlessly split cars in half. “Squidward” can easily obliterate most of our heroes but his skills apparently won’t stand a chance against someone like Peter Parker who “has seen more movies.” Taking up on the kid’s suggestion, Tony Stark blasts a portion of his spaceship and Maw is flushed into the vacuum of space, a reference to the film Aliens. Indeed, being a film geek has its own advantages too, especially when it comes to extinguishing intergalactic creatures.


Now, I partly discussed on my previous review why Thanos is arguably the best MCU villain to date – how his spiritual journey of collecting the infinity gems is tied up to addressing real-world problems. Let’s add a few more reasons to that.

Avengers: Infinity War
“All that for a drop of blood?” – Thanos

First, Thanos and his children forced our heroes to step up their A-game. Iron Man’s nanotechnology increases his fighting chance to a whole new level and Spider-Man gets a free upgrade as well with his spider-legs (something that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield can be jealous of). Thor earns his title of a Norse god as he forges a new warhammer, Captain America equips himself with two shields this time and even Black Widow manages to hold her own with two electric batons. Doctor Strange, however, bags the MVP award for bringing up most of the new tricks in his sleeve which I will inaccurately call as the “crimson bands of imprisonment”, “the butterfly effect” and some form of “Naruto’s Kage Bunshin no Jutsu technique” (You get what I mean). The battle in planet Titan stands out the most as the whole showdown turned into a Dragon Ball-Z affair (albeit one that doesn’t suck). Yep, Thanos just lasso-ed a moon and threw it on our heroes. Still a great effort #TeamIronMan, #TeamCap will get him on planet Earth (no they won’t).

Avengers: Infinity War
“Broke up? Like a band? Like ‘The Beatles?'” – Bruce Banner, clueless to the Avengers break-up in ‘Civil War’

Next, instead of Banner having a basic storyline of playing catch-up on Earth’s events, Thanos improved his arc by giving him a performance anxiety issue. Fear is usually not a part of the Hulk’s vocabulary, even in Thor: Ragnarok when he has shown willingness to go head-to-head against the overpowered fire demon Surtur. In this film however, Thanos puts an end to his child-play, lifts him up in the air like a professional wrestler and gives him a taste of his classic “Hulk smash!” (Now he knows what Loki felt like in Avengers 1). Down goes his esteem and Banner fails to unleash the Hulk for the rest of the film. It works as a comic relief plus we get more of Banner, so it’s a win-win. Hulk’s shattered ego will surely be explored in Avengers 4.

Avengers: Infinity War
“Let’s talk about this plan of yours. I think it’s good, except… it sucks. So let me do the plan, in that way. It might be really good.” – Star Lord on rebutting Tony Stark’s plan

Most importantly, Thanos teaches Star-Lord a valuable life lesson of putting your head above your emotions so you won’t act like a reckless kid. Peter Quill’s rage essentially costs the Avenger’s win and he indirectly condemns half of the universe in the process. To his defense, his reactions are very human (for a half-human, half-celestial being) and I’m not sure if any of his human haters won’t do the same if they find out that their significant other is killed by their demented father-in-law. Anyway, since Tony Stark went into a profound maturation after inadvertently creating Ultron in Avengers 2, we can hopefully expect some growth from this lovable man-child in the future. Oh wait, he disintegrates into ashes in the end right? Well, more of that later.

NEXT: The twisted love-hate relationship of Thanos, Gamora and Nebula

RECAP: Everything you need to know before watching ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Hey MCU fans (or casual moviegoer who has never seen any Marvel film but wants to join the hype for Infinity War anyway)! We are only a few days away from the premiere of the biggest event in the history of cinema and my guess is that you don’t have enough time to re-watch all 18 MCU films (translate to: 38 hours and 19 minutes of movie marathon, no CR breaks included). But fret not, your “friendly neighborhood” is here to give you a recap of all the MCU films, including the post-credit scenes that you might have missed. Here’s everything that you should (and might) know before watching Avengers: Infinity War. Spoilers ahead! Obvi.


  • In 2008, MCU kicks off with the introduction of the genius, billionaire, playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Iron Man. After almost dying, thanks to the weapons of destruction he created, Stark builds himself an arc reactor to keep himself alive and an iron man suit to fight off his evil business partner Obadiah Stane who plans to exploit his technology and overtake his company. The film also introduces Stark’s friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes, his personal assistant Pepper Potts and his A.I. system Jarvis. Director Nick Fury pops up in the post-credits scene to explain the “Avengers Initiative” to Stark.
  • Next up is The Incredible Hulk – this is not to be confused with the earlier adaptations starring Eric Bana and Lou Ferrigno. A nuclear physicist and biochemist Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) inadvertently exposes himself to gamma radiation which causes him to transform into an enormous green monster (the “Hulk“) when agitated. He defeats the Abomination in a massive battle and learns that there is no permanent cure for his condition but only an antidote that can suppress each of his transformation. In a post-credit scene, Tony Stark approaches General Thunderbolt Ross and informs him that he’s assembling a team.
  • Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) steps on the ring in Iron Man 2 and works as an undercover assistant for Tony Stark. Stark builds a new triangular arc reactor for his chest and together with her and Rhodey/War Machine (Don Cheadle), they defeat Whiplash, a physicist who wants to exact vengeance on the Stark family. In a post-credits scene, agent Phil Coulson reports the discovery of a large hammer at the bottom of a crater.

READ MORE: Survival odds of each hero appearing in Avengers: Infinity War

  • Of course this hammer referred to is the enchanted Mjolnir in Thor. Exiled to Earth, the titular hero/prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth) proves himself worthy to reclaim the hammer and defeats the Destroyer. Thor’s father, Odin banishes his adoptive son Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for plotting to take the throne for himself. In a post-credit scene, Nick Fury asks Dr. Selvig to study a mysterious cube-shaped object.
  • The said mysterious relic is called the “Tesseract” that actually houses the “space infinity stone” inside. In Captain America: The First Avenger, we go back to 1942 when Johann Schmidt/Red Skull and Dr. Arnim Zola intend to use the artifact as an energy source for world domination. In the same timeline, skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) enlists himself in the U.S. military, gets injected with a super-soldier serum and becomes the super-buff Captain America. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt’s Hydra organization and defeats the Red Skull. His friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) presumably dies during the mission and Rogers, piloting a jet, crashes in the Arctic. He wakes up 70 years later and Nick Fury proposes him a new mission.
  • The first crossover of the franchise, Marvel’s The Avengers pits our core six heroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo) and newcomer Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) against Loki who takes the Tesseract and opens a wormhole to allow his Chitauri army to conquer Earth. The Other gives Loki a powerful scepter with the “mind stone” attached to it allowing him to control the minds of others. After the Avengers won the battle in New York city, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes custody of the scepter while Thor returns Loki and the Tesseract to Asgard. In a mid-credits scene, it is revealed that The Other is a personal servant to Thanos.

NEXT PAGE: Phase Two

Are horror movies never scary enough?

If you’re watching a horror movie just for you to be scared, you’re watching it with your eyes half closed.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and other social media posts (mostly reviews) about how horror movies nowadays aren’t as terrifying as they used to be. Yes, these blogs are mostly by millennials, who grew up in an era where 90s slasher films are hot — Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, etc., where the killer wears a mask and chases the victim while walking incredibly slow (yes, seasoned pros). A decade later, these flicks were succeeded by even gorier, crazier ones (with more special effects — thanks, technology) like the endless Saw and Final Destination series. For a certain period of time between 2002 and 2005, people fancied remakes, too — The Ring, The Grudge, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc. Fast forward to another decade later, it was all about evil possession, where Evil Dead, The Conjuring, Annabelle, etc. came into picture — and yes, better technology, better effects, wilder story premises. Just recently, along came another wave of socially and politically relevant horror films, such as Cloverfield, Don’t Breathe, Get Out, and A Quiet Place. Just like any other genre of film, horror movies follow a distinct trend that marks a stamp in the era they were released. And just like anything else, through time, what’s once considered a breakthrough trend becomes a norm, and that norm becomes a cliché. But the question is, have scary movies really lost their spark? Are they no longer that scary anymore? Is the genre simply tiring? Are horror movies never scary enough?

Whenever people ask me whether a horror film is scary or not (as it’s most people’s basis of watching, anyway), my standard response is always: “it depends on what your definition of scary is”. Some people define scary as killers in masks, sharp editing and swift camera movements from blank-space-camera-pan-to-sudden-focus-to-killer’s-face-with-matching-oomph-music. Some people define it as slow build-ups, mundane yet guttural tensions. Some people define it as gore, blood splattering, beheading, chainsaw ripping his insides open, etc. Moreover, some people are just too cool to be scared.

Let me tell you a story: as a kid, I was scared of getting into a bathtub full of water, because I’ve always had this mindset that I was going to drown in it anytime. Years later, I got over my bathtub phobia, and was then scared of swimming pools for the same peculiar reason. Fast-forward to my teenage years, swimming pools became a piece of cake, but my fear shifted to beaches. But then, I was exposed to traveling and summer getaways with friends and all that jazz, so the beach became a walk in the park. My fear rose to something even bigger and deeper — the ocean. And yes, that deep blue image still petrifies me up until now. Throughout those years, my fear accelerated, and the ones that I used to be scared of simply became mundane. My point is — my standard on fear has just became so high, that thinking of those what I used to fear of sounds ridiculous. Same thing with horror movies: every year, as we are bombarded with many (almost too many) horror movies, our cathartic sense to be scared becomes less and less. We ultimately see ourselves longing for that goosebumps and the chill-in-the-spine that we used to feel. To narrow my point: it’s not the horror movie… it’s you.

Remember how Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was dubbed as the scariest movie of all time back in the 1960s? Watching it now, it is, and forever will be, a cinematic masterpiece, as it defined an era of movies. It was simply a breakthrough in film-making. But as a 28-year-old guy watching it in 2018, would I consider it even a tad-bit scary? Not at all. That is why Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot remake of Psycho in 1998 never worked. Not only it felt outdated, but it also seemed too cartoonish. You can never replicate an era-defining film 40 years later and expect the same scare factor from it. It’s the same way that you cannot fool the 28-year-old me by pushing me in a bath tub full of water and expect the same reaction I would have given if it were 20 years ago.

My point is, you can’t say that a horror movie is a “bad one” simply because you weren’t scared of it. Sweep generalizing a horror movie’s quality solely based on it’s scare-meter is juvenile. It’s not the movie. It’s you. Whenever I watch a movie and assess its quality, I usually ask myself — How good is the writing? How awesome are the effects? How great are the actors? Did it make me feel anything new? It is void to have your purge of emotions, heavily based on time and experience, to judge a film’s greatness. To single out the how-scary-it-is factor will only frustrate you, and will ultimately ruin your viewing experience. And influencing others to not watch a horror movie just because it wasn’t scary enough for you is ruining the potential viewing experience of others, too.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not preaching to people on what should they or should they not like. Of course, we are all entitled to our opinions. I’m just saying, truly watching a movie free from personal biases is one thing, and watching a movie to make yourself feel something that you are psychologically no longer capable of feeling is another.

Don’t blame the filmmakers. Blame yourself for growing.

Survival odds of each hero appearing in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

The time of reckoning has come. Opening in Philippine cinemas this April 25 is Avengers: Infinity War. The culmination of 10 years and 18 movies leads to this most gigantic and fatal crossover in the history of cinema. And what way to end this event of cosmic significance? With a big bang.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said in his interview with Vanity Fair: “If Marvel is going to survive, they have to start allowing characters to die.” Likewise, Marvel president Kevin Feige has been vocal on pushing the narrative forward. It’s not even a question at this point. Heroes WILL DIE in Infinity War. I can only imagine the trauma that it will bring to me the kids. The superheroes we’ve grown to love over the years falling into the clutches of Mad Titan Bruce Willis Thanos. And yes, there will be heavy hitters.

Let’s head on and speculate the survival odds of each hero appearing in this installment. It must be noted that Infinity War is a two-part event and these predictions are extended to both parts.

*Spoilers from previous MCU films follow*

PROBABLY SAFE: Hawkeye/Clint Barton
Fans are much disappointed with the lack of Hawkeye’s presence in the trailers released but the Russo brothers assured that he will be in it, “Hawkeye is in his own personal mission.” We haven’t seen the final infinity stone yet (a.k.a. the soul stone) – could he be searching for that?

Now leaked set photos shows actor Jeremy Renner wearing Ronin’s leg armour. Revealing him in that costume might be the reason why Marvel won’t include him in the promotional materials. Anyway, if he’s set to take this darker persona in Avengers 4, he looks pretty safe.

PROBABLY SAFE: Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
After a long-running complaint from the fans, Marvel is finally pushing a stand-alone Black Widow movie with Jac Schaeffer penning the script. There’s no confirmation yet if it will be set on the events after Infinity War or if it is a prequel (perhaps they should finally touch on the Budapest mission she and Hawkeye have been talking about), but wouldn’t it be weird to focus on Natasha’s character right after killing her? Black Widow’s solo film spares her from Thanos’ wrath.

PROBABLY SAFE: Dr. Stephen Strange
There’s no confirmation yet for a Doctor Strange sequel but it’s almost certain that it’s about to come. Being part of the new breed heroes introduced in Phase 3 gives him a guaranteed passage. He will act as the bridge for the heroes that are yet to be introduced in MCU. It should be noted he can harness the Time infinity stone’s power to turn back time (though Thanos will probably take it). That could play a factor in reversing the deaths in Infinity War.

This won’t be the master of mystic arts’ first encounter with death. Wong was already killed by Kaecilius, only to be revived by Dr. Strange. In a sea of A-list heroes, he’s in the expendable category and he may be an early casualty.

Vision is toast for sure. Attached on his forehead is the mind infinity stone – the very thing that brought him into existence! Thanos needs that and he’ll be an underwhelming villain if his full powers won’t come into fruition. Sure enough, a shot from the trailer shows Vision in crippling pain as one of Thanos’ minions pry on his forehead. But, since he is a synthetic avenger, there’s a slim chance that Tony Stark can reconfigure his life back. That is, if Tony is still around…