The Force Awakens Review: The Force is storng in JJ Abrams

star-wars-7-trailer

It’s been 10 years since the last Star Wars movie (Revenge of the Sith), not counting the animated Clone Wars movie that came out in 2008, Sith is the last film in the Star Wars franchise. Knowing that Sith might be the last movie in the Star Wars franchise, fans, including myself, had to be content on reading books, comics, playing the video games and watching the Clone Wars TV series. But when Disney/Lucasfilms announced Episode 7, we couldn’t contain our excitement, speculations where thrown left and right and yes we were excited to know that the original cast would be part of it. The thought of Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia back with the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Imperial Star Destroyers, and for a time the Sun Crusher (it was rumored that they’ll be doing or adapting Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy) would make an appearance in the big screen is something to get excited about.

Years and months have passed and rumors have changed, trailers were shown and we still got excited with X-Wings flying over raging waters, lasers, the Falcon avoiding the TIE Fighters, Han telling Chewie that they’re home, a Sith Lord who I thought was Exar Kun unleashing a bad ass saber, a glimpse of Luke and Leia hugging Han. Boy we were ready, I was ready, I even declared that 2015 is the year of Star Wars, doesn’t matter if movies such as Avengers 2, Ant Man, Mission Impossible, Spectre, Heneral Luna, Mad Max Fury Road to mention a few were box office hits.

Anticipation mounted as months became weeks and weeks became days and days became hours eventually I find myself buying advance movie tickets and taking an unpaid off because I want to be one of the first few (and privileged) to watch this film. A day after I bought the tickets I find myself contemplating whether this might end up being another Episode I, another half cooked effort (yet still has a tickle of excitement) or would it have the magic of A New Hope or Return of the Jedi. Short reviews on Facebook by friends who watched it on Tuesday however suggested that it’s good, giving me a bit of a sigh of relief. Indeed the world is buzzing, as critics haven’t posted their reviews, JJ Abrams and company did an awesome job keeping it away from the public, except for the sick kid who is a big Star Wars fan who had the honor of watching it first.

It was raining a bit when I arrived at SM Fairview, the show starts at 8PM so we were allowed to come inside the theater at around 7:15 or 7:30 PM. The crowd is thin making the viewing a bit intimate. They show trailers from movies both foreign and crappy Filipino ones (yeah that rushed AlDub movie is gonna suck). I even waited for a possible Star Wars Rouge One trailer, but alas it seems that the project is also a secret, trailer after trailer makes my anticipation grow even stronger. Then darkness. The pitch black moment was replaced when the Lucasfilms logo showed up and the famous “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away” text showed up. Then the Star Wars logo and the text crawl begins. Episode VII The Force Unleashed it says, can’t contain my excitement.

Star Wars

The fading before the text crawl

 

 

The Force Awakens

The text crawl itself, for obvious reasons I didn’t bother taking a picture of it paragraph by paragraph so you won’t be spoiled. .

 

*MINOR SPOILERS*

The movie itself brings us back to how the original trilogy works. Solid storytelling, characters that are relatable (the new characters are lovable), even returning characters such as Leia, Han, Chewie et. al. (yes there are some returns here, if you’re a true fan you can easily point out who they are). The humor from the original trilogy was there as well, and the old and lovable characters still have the charm that made us fall in love with this film series, even added layers on how the Force works, and reminds us that the Force isn’t about the midi-cholorians. The battles are a breath of fresh air (minor spoilers), space battles have been replaced with mid-air dog fights and the feel of A New Hope at the final dog fight is there.

The chase scene between the Falcon and the TIE fighter proves that even though the Falcon is becoming a bucket full of threads and screw it can still make the Kessel run in 14 or should I say 12 parsecs :D.

Then we go to the Sith Lord who has that bad ass saber named Kylo Ren. Kylo is such an interesting character, no offense to Finn and Rey but Kylo is perhaps the strongest character in this film, (*MINOR SPOILER*) his development in the upcoming Episodes is key with tutelage of the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. The emotion of the characters is felt, the frustration of certain characters after seeing one of the main protagonists dying in the hands of…. is well crafted. Other than one over-the-top moment, the acting in this film seems to be on point, which was lacking in the monotone-filled banter from the prequel trilogy.

All in all my salute to JJ Abrams, the cast and the crew for making Episode VII magical, can’t wait for Episode VIII, after that ending, damn, I want more.

Now with one minor negative thing, I find it odd that this force-sensitive character was able to beat a former Jedi apprentice and now Sith follower in a lightsaber duel, maybe the Sith in this story is a puss but I just find it odd, on Episode IV Luke used the Force to lead the proton torpedoes in the exhaust port of the Death Star but this one is a saber battle with an experienced wielder, but yeah *maybe* the Sith training is not yet complete but come on, he already had a damn saber built, at least he’s capable of maiming someone who doesn’t have formal training, but then again, the Force moves in mysterious ways.

My verdict, I told a friend that I will only review bad films, but I guess I have to break that in the meantime. Star Wars Episode 7 brings us back to the old formula, how it works, the very reason why it works and why it’s loved. Episode 7 brought the child back in me, the magic, the excitement and the drama was recreated as I watched episodes IV, V and VI on the telly. You shouldn’t miss this one. 5/5 stars.

TRANSFORMERS: Age of Extinction. Why Michael Bay why?

Promotioal Poster for Transformers Age of Extinction

Promotioal Poster for Transformers Age of Extinction

Oh Michael Bay where do I begin? I know you produced a lot of Hollywood blockbusters but most of them are shit loads of monkey crap like Pearl Harbor and just about every f*ckin movie you made. You have the uncanny ability to turn my fondest childhood memories like the Autobots and Decepticons fighting instead you presented us (or me) a lot of stereotypes like what Emmerich does in some of his movies.

I remember back in 2007 when you were announced as director of the upcoming Transformers franchise, I looked back at Bad Boys and the Rock and I hoped that you can match whatever cinematic genius you pulled there to make those movie work. The Transformers hit the theaters back in 2007, I went out happy, despite the constant nagging of my cousin anticipating that I know every move or every dialogue that the character will say. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen came out and boy it was a disappointment, it was nothing more than an eye candy, the Prime(s) being here on Earth defies everything Transformers (then again this is an adaptation), I even got in a debate that he insisted I was “tanga” for saying the first one is better than Revenge, I just smiled and said nothing, rather than insulting his preference I just thought different taste, different preferences. Then Transformers Dark of the Moon came out and boy it was a dud, the acting was bad, the direction, pacing, everything was a disaster not to mention logically this can be the 2nd Transformers movie plot wise just because Sentinel Prime’s desire to enslave humanity and make a new Cybertron out of it and while Revenge on the other hand the Fallen wanted the world destroyed, despite the fact that Megatron is waiting for Sentinel’s arrival for eons.

Let me go straight to the point here and point out the bad things about the movie and believe me there’s a lot of crap of from this movie that you’d rather watch it, make fun of it, continuity, acting, plot, and “science” so bad it even defies Transformers science, heck even Star Trek science about time travel has more sense than the “science” from AoE (Age of Extinction). I like explosions, heck I love watching shit blow up, there was a lot of unnecessary explosions in this film that will put all Rambo films, all Terminator films, Commando, Chuck Norris’ morning jog and The Expendables to shame. One scene in particular where in Optimus was getting his ass handed to him by a being called Lockdown (Wahlberg was helping Optimus in the scene), the 2 other pointless movie characters (with Bumblebee) decided to rescue/help Wahlberg and Optimus and damn the whole scene gets jumble, a lot of shit going on, a lot of shooting going on, then boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom (get used to it) and yes that was one Autobot (Bee) and one laser gun (Wahlberg is holding one) while Optimus is down and pinned (literally). Another thing I need to point out is the damn science of everything, I know it’s a movie and science should be at least bended or be exaggerated, but at least try to make some sense into it, like Back to the Future, Star Wars, Star Trek etc. Here the sci-fi side of Transformers was replaced by some dumb ass science even a sharp 4 year old will notice. For one back in the first 3 movies whenever an Autobot or a Decepticon shoot at someone it blows up or gets destroyed (go see it again), walls, cars, even the ground explodes, tanks etc. In defiance to the laws of science and I guess combat, where in a Transformers shoots a wall then we only see black spots, a Transformer shoots a grassland you only see flames not the soil getting blown up or a leg of a person (maybe) getting torn apart, another mad or should I say the science from this movie features a scene wherein Tucci (more on him later) plays a big time inventor and Billionaire Joshua Joyce asked his employees to build “another Optimus Prime” using……. using……. oh my God……. ok….. using the essence of MEGATRON! WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!? Come on, would you clone Marlon Brando using Al Pacino’s or Christopher Reeves’ blood just because he played both Vito Corleone and Jo-El (Pacino is Michael Corleone and Reeves is Kal-El – Superman) in Godfather and Superman? Of course not! The damn little robot’s explanation when the film is in near climax explained it better than the logic behind everything Tucci and his crew have been doing. Another thing is that yes, the Autobots’ appearance MAY brought war and nearly destroyed half of Chicago (whatever happened to Soldier Field, Wrigley, where the White Sox plays and the United Center) as the Decepticons continue to troll them and conquer the Earth, yet countless of times the World was saved thanks to the efforts of Prime and his crew yet they ended up haunting them for bringing pain and suffering, using their “essence” to build Transformers for the US government, it would make better sense if they asked the Autobots to rebuild Chicago, leave and ask sample from their “skin” or metal and the essence of their comrades transferred to a super computer, or even those who still live to combat what could be the remnants of some straggling Decepticons and other threats in the future. Why don’t they just build them a rocket where they can actually leave the World in peace, where the hell did that CIA head meet Lockdown? I know the story was motivated by greed and avarice, but come on the White House’s hand was tied all the time and cannot give the CIA a logical explanation not to hunt down the Autobots because indeed they saved the world countless of times, and the least they could have done is a proper send off. I’m going to tell you how bad some effects are but believe me some of them already jumped the shark. The acting and the script was generic as well, you could still feel that Shia, Megan, Turo Turo, and that chick from Victoria’s Secret was still present, stereotyping was there, Wahlberg’s daughter was horrible, I’m not going to tell you how Wahlberg met his daughter’s boyfriend because it’s stupid and it’s the epitome of lazy acting or perhaps directing. Well to be fair Wahlberg and Tucci stood out as the best part of the movie. Wahlberg (Cade Yeager – wow did they use the Action Star name generator to find a name like this) played a down on his luck inventor trying to make ends meet, it may not be superb but he did a decent job acting in a very bad movie. Tucci was also good, eventhough I felt he was the token John Turo Turo he was funny, witty and can play an asshole (then good guy) really well. Another good part of this movie is the DINOBOTS!!!!!!

Overall AoE was horrible, it may have it’s moments but none of them can save this atrocity, if you like it then good for you, if you’re going to hate me for seeing it as a bad movie then whatever, liking this movie doesn’t make you smarter, hating this movie doesn’t make me intelligent to each his own. But try pondering the science, the plot holes and everything, including the incoherent sequencing, being subtle (yes there was one scene where Optimus arrived and an Autobot started shooting in the air as if telling the CIA, hey I’m here shoot me). The movie defies logic, yes a lot of it does, it defies Science, yes a lot of movies does that, but at least the writers of let say Star Trek, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, Tron 1 made an effort on how to put logic in all the silliness and everything. I wish someone pry’s the Transformers out of Bay’s hands and give it to someone who will take it seriously, obviously he buttfucked every damn Autobots and Decepticons, every childhood memory of you watching this cartoon in Channel 9 or 13. Thank you Michael Bay for ruining our childhood. Now go count the money you milked destroying this great franchise. Final Grade 2/10..

SOMEBODY GIVE THIS TO J.J. Abrams.

Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier; A Review and A Tribute to the Ultimate Warrior

 

 

 

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Hello! Sorry I should have posted something about Joakim Noah but for some reason I wasn’t in the mood to post it, instead we get a back to back to back movie review from yours truly.

On the side note WrestleMania XXX just concluded last Monday morning and we saw Daniel Bryan FINALLY won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Corporate poster boys Randy Orton and Batista, we also saw Undertaker’s 21-0 streak ended at the hands of Brock Lesnar, Antonio Cesaro launched as perhaps WWE’s next star and Triple H’s shovel not in full effect. WrestleMania XXX also features the Hall of Fame induction ceremony or should I say “presentation” in front of the raucous pro wrestling crowd, the class included Amy Dumas (Lita), Mr. T, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Carlos Colon, Scott Hall, manager Paul Bearer and the recently departed Ultimate Warrior. Later in this writing I will post my homage to the Warrior.

Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier is part of the so called phase 2 of Marvel’s build up to the Avengers 2 (and you still won’t see Spiderman in it so enough with the memes), while Iron Man 3 sucked, Thor 2: The Dark World was good (which I reviewed as well), this one will blow you away, how? Remember watching the Dark Knight in 2008? Well at some degree it kinda blew me away like that depending if you like the Dark Knight or just simply don’t get Batman. Anyway that’s another topic I guess. The story was straight forward, simple yet elegantly written (not as elegant as Hugo but it’s still good), the premise was great, the action scenes of course are over the top and typical of what you get from Marvel films whether produced by Marvel Studios or Fox/Sony. Robert Redford is still epic as he played the two-faced antagonist known as Sec. Alexander Pierce, after not seeing Redford in what seems like forever, he brought enough to the screen that even those who knew his character in the source material would probably have thought that he was part of S.H.I.E.L.D. that would like to take H.Y.D.R.A. from within, until his subsequent turn in the control room of SHIELD. Then we have Frank Grillo who played Brck Rumlow or Crossbow, I always thought he was a fine actor after seeing him in 2011’s Warrior where he played Joel Edgerton’s friend and MMA trainer. and last certainly not the least Sebastian Stan reprises his role as James Buchanan (Bucky) Barnes or the bad ass that is The Winter Soldier, what actually worked for the Winter Soldier is that he rarely talks, except for the last few minutes of the movie, but the guy doesn’t talk, which add to the mystique of the character (especially to those who don’t know who the Winter Soldier is). Though I knew the fact that Bucky would eventually become the super spy and assassin Winter Soldier, the big reveal was still good enough to make me say, oooh that was good. Oh on the sidenote, I was cheering for GSP to beat up Cap.

 

Overall the film was memorable, story wise it was better than the Avengers, Winter Soldier will give you enough thrills, enough brain cells to use, enough plotholes and stupid circumstances (like the SHIELD transport van having bulletproof windows while the fighter planes or transports doesn’t have one or Falcon’s jump from the 41st to the 21st floor (dumb but awesome), in my opinion what actually worked in this adaptation of Jack Kirby’s character is the writers kept the story simple, there not enough sci fi or nerdy mumbo jumbo to complicate things, just have something being compromised, a harbinger of death after you, and save the day type, what Captain America 2 did unlike 2 previous Marvel Phase 2 films is what I call “less is more”. With that I give this film a 9.25/10, and moves 3rd in my Superhero movie list behind Superman 1 10/10 and The Dark Knight 9.5/10.

Oh useless trivia, the costume that cap wore in the first few hours of the movie is taken from his “Head of SHIELD” days when he was going to the field even if he was the chief of SHIELD. Proof? Here it goes.

Heroir Age Captain America with the gun and no shield.. Just leave a comment or PM me at facebook who's the Captain America in the background.

Heroic Age Captain America with the gun and no shield.. Just leave a comment or PM me at facebook who’s the Captain America in the background.

That was a horrible costume and thank God the studio did fan service by going back to the old WW2 movie costume of his. The Winter Soldier on the other hand, wow almost as similar as the comics.

James Buchanan Barnes a.k.a. the Winter Soldier, thought to be dead after WWII after falling off a plane became Russia's assassin and spy. He had many battles with Captain America before turning into a good guy years later.

James Buchanan Barnes a.k.a. the Winter Soldier, thought to be dead after WWII after falling off a plane became Russia’s assassin and spy. He had many battles with Captain America before turning into a good guy years later.

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THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR, Wrestler, Champion, Hall of Fame, Legend

Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI

Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI

Ultimate Warrior or James Brian Hellwig in real life (then legally changed his name to Warrior in real life) died 8th of April a few days after his appearance on WWE’s flagship show Monay Night Raw, his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday (Sunday morning in the Philippines) and his final WrestleMania appearance (actually his first since WrestleMania 12), he was 54. I fondly remember watching him to television on Wednesday nights on IBC 13, him running through the ring, shaking the ropes, “absorbing” the power of his Warriors, in tune with a generic heavy metal musicand eventually having a short match. His impact in the sport (regardless of the wrong he has done to the WWE, WCW and his colleagues) were good enough to have a lasting impact in the Pro Wrestling business. His matches with Hulk Hogan (whom he had a falling out), Randy Savage, and Ravashing Rick Rude where legendary and to this day, I always believe that is match with Hogan at WrestleMania 6 is the greatest main event not only in WrestleMania history but also in WWE History. Eventhough there are memories that I’d rather forget like his return bout with Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1998 or him being a douche to others I will always remember Warrior for being on of the most electrifying man to enter the squared circle, his record time watch with the Honky Tonk Man in the 88 SummerSlam, the match that made me cry when I was a kid which is WrestleMania VI wherein Warrior beat Hogan for the WWF/WWE Championship, his matches with Randy “Macho Man” Savage and of course those incoherent ramblings that is called a promo or interview in wrestling. Thank you Jim, Warrior or the Ultimate Warrior.

It seems Hogan and Warrior buried the hatchet

It seems Hogan and Warrior buried the hatchet

pictures taken from Marvel Database, No DQ, IMDB, NY Post

47 Ronin, A Review, campy, goofy, enjoyable and fun

Promotional poster for 47 Ronin, originally released in December 2013 overseas

Promotional poster for 47 Ronin, originally released in December 2013 overseas

In one busy night while doing my Rarejob duties, my student and I found ourselves talking about movies and up coming films, at that time I was about to watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (an excellent film by the way), while I was excited about Peter Jackson’s opus, the student recommended me to watch 47 Ronin. I looked it up in Wikipedia and IMDB and found that it was a Hollywood film starring Keanu Reeves. The moment I saw the poster I was already intrigued on how Hollywood would give justice to both the Japanese legend/myth/history or even to the original movie and a remake back in 1994. So, I said great I will definitely watch this film, so I have to wait till January to troop to the movie theater and see this flick. It was kind of a long wait because I have to deal with the fact that the Metro Manila Film Fest movies (which usually contains 2 or 3 quality ones and the rest are absolute crap) have to get their screening come Christmas and New Year holidays. Finally when it came out today, my dad was convinced to watch the film today and finally I would see this film after over a month of waiting.

Before I continue I would like to warn my reader(s) that this might contain spoilers. To this amateurish review, let me fill you in with something from Wikipedia, here’s a brief overview of the story of the Forty Seven Ronin in Japan. (DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED or skip the quoted part)

The revenge of the Forty-seven Ronin (四十七士 Shi-jū-shichi-shi?, forty-seven samurai) took place in Japan at the start of the 18th century. One noted Japanese scholar described the tale, the most famous example of the samurai code of honor, bushidō, as the country’s “national legend.”[1]
The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (becoming ronin) after their daimyo (feudal lord) Asano Naganori was compelled to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was Kōzuke no suke. The ronin avenged their master’s honor by killing Kira, after waiting and planning for almost two years. In turn, the ronin were themselves obliged to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder. With much embellishment, this true story was popularized in Japanese culture as emblematic of the loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor that people should preserve in their daily lives. The popularity of the tale grew during the Meiji era of Japanese history, in which Japan underwent rapid modernization, and the legend became subsumed within discourses of national heritage and identity.
Fictionalized accounts of the tale of the Forty-seven Ronin are known as Chūshingura. The story was popularized in numerous plays, including bunraku and kabuki. Because of the censorship laws of the shogunate in the Genroku era, which forbade portrayal of current events, the names were changed. While the version given by the playwrights may have come to be accepted as historical fact by some, the first Chūshingura was written some 50 years after the event, and numerous historical records about the actual events that predate the Chūshingura survive.
The bakufu’s censorship laws had relaxed somewhat 75 years later in the late 18th century, when Japanologist Isaac Titsingh first recorded the story of the Forty-seven Ronin as one of the significant events of the Genroku era.[2] The story continues to be popular in Japan to this day. Each year on December 14, Sengakuji Temple holds a festival commemorating the event.

Now that we had a brief history or summary of the story out of the way, let’s go and take a look and how it was portrayed. Keanu Reeves plays the role of Kai, a mysterious “half breed” and the main protagonist of the story, Hiroyuki Sanada (the guy from Ring movies, ok he was Ryuji in those Ring films) plays Oishi (honestly I crack up everytime I hear his name, Ko Shibisaki as Mika (the film’s damsel and Kai’s love interest), Tadanobu Asano (he was Hogun in Thor) who plays the main antagonist Lord Kira, Rinko Kikuchi (from the Pacific Rim film) as the witch and Kira’s right hand woman. Jin Akanishi (voice of Speed Racer in Japanese dub and and singer) plays the role of Chikara Oishi’s son, and veteran Japanese actor Min Tanaka (from Black Dawn) as Lord Asano. Well at least those were the memorable characters, then there was the fat Japanese Ronin, a bad ass warrior and the old warrior.

Though panned by critics, I happened to find myself enjoying the film, the visuals are good, though the witch thing might have pushed the envelope a little further. The designs were great and the actions are not bad either. The story started with a young Kai being found in the forest by Oishi’s men might leave you thinking that this film might be “whitewashed”. In the end as the story progressed, Oishi’s leadership and strength made him a stronger character than Kai (despite his mythological background). Mika was kinda dull and a typical damsel but has somewhat pulled off something interesting as well, the witch can at times be goofy and her transformation(s) in the film can at times leave your head scratching. One of the cringe worthy moment in the film was how the Witch taunted Mika after the Witch ambushed our heroes(and the fact that the Witch constantly torments Mika should have been built up by adding one or two more scenes). My favorite scene has to be the scene where Kai and the Demon talked in the cave about helping men, the very men who hates them and despises, while in a separate portion of the cave Oishi had hallucinations that his men and his son are dying fighting the demon monks of the cave, there were whispers of “draw your sword Oishi, save your men”, but his spirit and will was never broken (note that after they entered the cave Kai told Oishi to never draw his sword). I would love to give a brief history of Kai in the film but I’d rather leave it to your viewing. The ending in my opinion is a fitting send off to those brave 47 Ronin and honorable men (my 2nd favorite part of the film). As far as who killed who, who killed the right hand woman and the main villain, I just find it fitting that they did that. The one big thing that is wrong with this film is that it’s not in Japanese, the Lord in heaven knows I wanted this to be in Japanese, I would have looked pass the odd, cringe moments and say what moments with Japanese subtitles. I want it to have a feel of the old 18th century Japan.

As you can see I left a lot of things in this review, because I’d rather have you guys watch it in the movies, I recommend it, just have a little suspension of disbelief, and have fun. I give this film a rating of 3.25/5. Just don’t go to the theater and expect you’re going to watch The Godfather II.

Next up, what I should have done last December: Basketball 2013, a year in perspective.

Thor 2: The Dark World Review: “Donald Blake” picked up the rubbish Tony Stark left

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Contains minor spoilers to avoid that please watch out for this structured characters: ABCDEFG HIJKLMN

Amid the praises and the adulation that Iron Man 3 has got I still think it sucks and was a big letdown for fans of the comics (well not all I guess). Iron Man 3 simply an abomination, an insult to those who were expecting something big especially when Stark is going up against his perennial nemesis The Mandarin. Overall this was a big disappointment story wise.

With that out of the way I approached Thor 2: The Dark World with caution, after all I wasted PHP 250 of my good money just to see Iron Man 3 a few months back, I’m wondering after all the things that happened in the Avengers I’m wondering if Marvel Studios already used their creative juices to build up the Avengers movie (Iron Man, Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and the Avengers). Apparently all is not lost, as I saw the promising Captain America sequel during the trailer (seeing Winter Soldier – Bucky in the Big Screen made me smile from ear to ear and I’m a Batman fan – both comics and the big screen). Anyway as the trailers roll on and the movie is about to play, there is something deep inside of me crying and begging and hoping that this movie won’t stink the joint after all this sequel is suppose to have a bigger build up in the Avengers 2.

The opened with Odin (played by the peerless Anthony Hopkins) narrating Bor’s (Odin’s dad) conquest over Malekith the Accursed, a Dark Elf. The first part of the movie already introduced us to the integral part of the film (and I won’t tell much I will try to keep it spoiler free), the Aether. Aether is a  mystical super weapon that according to my research doesn’t exist in the comic realm, whether that be the Marvel Ultimate Universe or Earth 616, with that I will let the Marvel wiki Database fill you in with Aether.

The Aether is a mysterious force that existed before the birth of the Nine Realms. It is known to be able to convert matter into dark matter, and otherwise maintains an almost lifelike existence that causes it to bond in a parasitic fashion to a living host. Once bonded, the energies of the Aether slowly consume any mortal host, and also have a volatile and deadly effect on any who come into contact with the host in a manner that the Aether perceives as threatening. Bonded with a stronger host that understands its power, the Aether can be employed as a weapon where it lashes out with a concussive force, or reaches out to convert matter.

Anyway with that explanation out of the way, let me continue my review. Thor 2 may not be line up as the greatest superhero movie of all time (Superman 1, The Dark Knight, The Avengers and Spiderman), this movie allowed you to hope that another Marvel movie can be as good as this one again. The acting in this movie may not win Academy Awards but Rene Russo’s role as Frigga or Frigg the wife of Odin was somewhat a welcome, this time she was given a far more bigger responsibility in this movie compared to the first Thor movie. The Warriors Three is not complete in this movie with the lack of appearance coming from Hogun and as usual for crying out loud where the f*ck is Balder? I was hoping that Balder finally makes an appearance because he had big roles in the past Marvel crossovers (like Siege and I think he was on the lackluster Fear Itself storyline), with that out of the way, I can’t say much how I admire Anthony Hopkins, I think he can play any role to perfection. Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth, still had that on screen chemistry that worked in the first film. To all Chuck fans out there I would like to say that Zachary Levi this time played the role of Fandral, one of the Warriors Three of Asgard, I thought it was still Joshua Dallas who is still playing the role but Levi pulled it off as if the intersect was still inside of him. Tom Hiddleston on the other hand gave us a new dimension on his acting ability and was very good throughout the story, if you find the story boring Loki’s emotions will give you that enough reasons to stay and watch until the end credits roll.

Going back to the story, if Iron Man 3 was given to a marijuana induced teenager who watches too much MTV, Thor: The Dark World this time might not be masterfully written but at least it gave the build up more dignity, the story may not be as compelling as the other “Superhero Movies” out there but this movie  showed some issues such as Thor’s reluctance to sit in the throne of Asgard (HELLO! THIS IS WHERE WE NEED BALDER ODINSON) and he is somewhat love tied between Sif (played by Jaime Alexander) and Jane Foster (Portman), the only beef that I have with this flick is that this was never addressed during the course of the film (like a verbal confrontation between the two vixens or heroines in the film, all we got is an “eye to eye contact between them” during the siege of Asgard courtesy of the Dark Elves. The story may not be as complicated as you think and can be oft times predictable especially in the end, but the fun factor was always there unlike Iron Man 3 who lost steam the moment The Mandarin introduced himself as an English actor Trevor Slattery, God that was a stinker.

Overall this movie made me look forward to another Marvel Studios movie, it may not be as good as advertised but it’s not disappointing either. I recommend watching it and have fun watching it, of course your brain cells will not be challenged during the course of the film but never the less, we all watch something stupid on TV or on film. I give this movie a 7/10 rating, I rated it this way because it lacks the unpredictability of the story, some of Thor’s issues are not addressed properly and a somewhat rushed ending in my end.

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If you find yourself reading this part of my review, I would like to invite you to say a prayer for the victims of typhoon Yolanda..

The Man of Steel: You will believe a man can fly… Again…

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It’s been 7 years since the disappointing Superman Returns hits the theater, with all the hype and excitement that’s been built up from that movie, the majority of the movie goers left distraught at the taught of what happened? Sure Bradon Routh had an OK performance as Superman, but perhaps what ruined it is the bad story telling and Superman having a kid (well blame it on Superman 2).

For seven years fans of the “Boy Scout” and the DC Universe had to live in a world where Marvel was dominating the theaters well except for the Nolanverse Batman film that was released between 2005 to 2012. Superman was put in the shelf for oh so many times before Warner and DC collectively said screw it, let’s do it anyway, so here comes The Man of Steel perhaps the 2nd step (with the Dark Knight Rises being the first) or the first step to a possible Justice League movie in 2015.

To start off, having another Superman film might be a little to “complex”  for the film makers knowing how the previous Superman films such as 2, 3 and 4 had a little comedic tone into it instead of concentrating on other things that made Superman a Kryptonian capable of human emotions (well check out Superman 1 and Superman 2: Richard Donner Cut as a good example on showing Clark/Kal-El’s humanity). Superman Returns on the other hand may have failed in showing big blue’s humanity. In Man of Steel though, the story of Superman started where it should have started “home”, in his doomed planet of Krypton. The set designs where far different from it’s predecessors design of the planet, even the Kryptonian battle armor that General Zod and Jor-El wore looks elegant, it will remind you of an old Roman battle armor only with the addition of the family symbol on it’s chest. The scene from Krypton gives you a little more taste of the planet and it’s locale, it also gave you a modern take on the iconic phantom zone. Gone are the crystal like edifice and was replaced by more of a Naboo-ish style of a planet.

Another thing worth mentioning in the film is how you felt like watching a compressed version of Smallville in the first hour of the film, on how Clark started to develop or realize that he has powers, and how he controlled it and it also gave us a glimpse of how Clark had to deal with the kids at school and his heroic acts when he left the state of Kansas to trace his Kryptonian heritage. The story may have been dragging to some at this point, but it adds to what makes this movie the best of the franchise since Superman 1, his hesitation to show himself to the world and the choices he had to make in order to save the planet that he calls home.

The fight scenes on the other hand might have been inspired by the Injustice game, as numerous slams, throwing someone in the building, explosions and all the other stuff that added to the grit of the battle with his “final foe” in the film. The villain on the other hand is a classic well known villain from DC’s past and a fan favorite as well (though it might be a spoiler if I mentioned it), I wonder how Viggo Mortensen  would perform if he did choose to agree to play the part, though the actor who played the villain was convincing as well, well no one can top Terrence Stamp of course (ooops). Regardless of what people say Kevin Costner has been one of my favorite actors growing up, he fitted the role of a laid back, mild mannered yet strong willed Jonathan Kent, his chemistry with Henry Cavill (I’ll get to him later) captured the essence of what Jonathan and Clark would look like, Dianne Lane still looks stunning even up to this day, even with that make up. Russell Crowe, do I really have to remind ourselves that he’s already a good actor and perhaps can play anything including a rat? Lawrence Fishburne, was a more relaxed boss rather than an intense one during the Christopher Reeve films, even when he’s angry he seems relaxed, Amy Adams not only added the charm to play the part of Lois Lane she also had the wit and the charisma as a bonus. With that I end with Henry Cavill, Cavill is no Christopher Reeve and perhaps no one can top Christopher Reeve ever! But Cavill did a good job taking the Kryptonian mantle, he made us believe once again that a man can fly.

To sum it all up: The Man of Steel, brought back what is good in Superman, his humanity, and Superman’s humanity in my opinion is what makes Superman, Super..

BATMAN FOR LIFE!!!!!

A RANT ON THE PHILIPPINE FILM INDUSTRY

Back in 2005 or 2006 I had my say with how I’m disgusted with the way our film makers and the company that produces them make their movies. I went on to say that films with social issues and shows importance of how to find a solution to a recurring problem gets ignored, and now let me add that statement by saying, that the producers and the film makers would rather swim in avarice than present us something that will make us think and look at life in another perspective.

It is sad that I guess there are only a handful of us voicing out this travesty, that while films like Thy Womb who gained International Recognition outside the country gets by passed by the Filipino viewing masses, and it is also said that the Emilio Aguinaldo biopic (and a biased one at that) sucks when it comes to box office performance, while films like Sisterakas and One More Try gets recognition (won 3rd Best Picture and Best Picture respectively) while those 2 “breath of fresh air” Films where either pulled out in case of Thy Womb or is suffering because of a poor box office performance. 

It is also sad that, film producers and movie makers are continuing to make this type of movies, and trends and rack up huge money at the box office while Indie films only got limited time screening and at times screened at far fetch places. It is sad to see that a lot of mainstream directors and artists stay with the same formula over and over again (now the new trend is the 3rd party), even to the point that some of us are using it as a basis in our relationship, the woman asking the man to do this crap that Piolo Pascual has done in one of his movies. 

Gone are the days when movies meant so much to us, movies like Himala, Oro Plata Mata, Fight for Us, Gabi na Kumander, Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag, Jose Rizal, etc etc (and a whole lot of others featuring superb actors and actresses like LT, Gina Alajar, Johnny Delgado, Christopher De Leon, Jay Ilagan, Phillip Salvador, Fernando Poe Jr. etc etc) and “modern day masterpiece” such as Panaghoy sa Suba, Baler, Death Row and ohers are in my opinion considered a gem compared to the typical love stories we see everyday or every disgusting piece of shit Bong Revilla and Vic Sotto can think off, yes just like Panday 1 and 2 the Revilla era. 

With that said I will say that Philippine Cinema is still in the respirator, not because of poor box office performance but rather due to the lack of variety and stories that will captivate us and inspire us everyday.Because in MY opinion today’s movies would make the Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda turn to the Darkside of the Force, today’s Filipino movies will make Batman team up with the Joker to wreck havoc in Gotham City and it’s also bad enough to make James Bond build bombs for terrorists.

entry inspired by article written by Ilda of getrealphilippines.com 

here is her piece 

Filipino films: they don’t make us think