28 August, 2008

"My Sassy Girl" Film Review

I really liked the film. It was a fresh kind of romantic comedy. There were barely any outrageously cheesy moments. Jesse Bradford even made me swoon.

My Sassy Girl is an American remake of the 2001 Korean film of the same title. The film is directed by Yann Samuel, and stars Jesse Bradford and Elisha Cuthbert. The film went straight to DVD in the US, but it premiered in theaters in other countries, e.g. Philippines.

My Sassy Girl is about a sweet guy from the Midwest named Charlie Bellow (Bradford), and his confusing and life-changing relationship with the demanding, complicated, and beautiful Jordan Roark (Cuthbert). Charlie unexpectedly meets Jordan while waiting for his ride in the subway, and after saving her life while she was drunk and taking care of her, Jordan repays Charlie by sabotaging his mundane life.

I’ve heard that the people who have seen the Korean version say that the American one sucks.

Well I’ve never seen the Korean version, but I’ve got to say that this is an incredibly sweet romantic film. But not too sweet, there were enough rough and tumble parts to keep the audience interested. Jesse Bradford and Elisha Cuthbert’s performance were great, extra kudos to Cuthbert for her outstanding screen presence. My Sassy Girl isn’t like all the other romantic comedies, it’s not a one dimensional film where the hero/heroine suddenly changes their “player” ways because they’ve fallen oh-so in love with either the “geek” or the “best friend.” And no one “suddenly realizes” that they’re in love with the person sitting in front of them the whole damn time. What I really like about the film is that there’s no tangible flaw in the characters, they’re perfectly imperfect humans. This takes the film to a fairly more genuine level of character development than most movies in the romantic comedy genre.

My Sassy Girl is ultimately a story about making the choice to follow the destiny presented to you. Although it’s pretty obvious where the plot is going, especially if you’re the type to look for it, the film still gives the audience a crazy, lovely, sassy ride throughout.

Watching Watchmen

Watchmen is a limited comic book series by Alan Moore and David Gibbons. The premise of Watchmen is about an alternate version of US history where the country is on the cusp of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and where superheroes exist. The story starts when one of the superheroes is mysteriously murdered.

What is so compelling about the Watchmen series is that most of the superheroes aren't really "super" in the traditional sense. Some of them are just ordinary people who become extraordinary through pure will and determination, and most, if not all, have their own neurotic quirks, and personal or ethical issues. Watchmen's take on the humanity and madness of superheroes, coupled with its symbolism, creative cinematic adaptations, and fascinating characters, truly makes it one of the best comic book series of all time.

And the best part?

A film is being made.

...Actually it has already been made.

The Watchmen film is directed by Zach Snyder, director of box office hit 300, ahoo! The screenplay is written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Alex Tse, and David Hayter. The film stars Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, and Matthew Goode.

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, the film is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the "Doomsday Clock" -- which charts the USA's tension with the Soviet Union -- is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion -- a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers -- Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity...but who is watching the Watchmen?

How intensely cool does that sound?

Unfortunately, the film’s development isn’t all smooth sailing.

The problem now is whether or not the film will be released.

Apparently, Fox is suing Warner Bros because producer Lawrence Gordon failed to pay them for the picture rights of Watchmen. A judge recently denied Warner Bros' proposition to have a portion of the film's gross to go to Fox. Fox's aim is to probably block the release of the film entirely.

Studios have been trying to make a Watchmen film since the 80’s, when the comic book series was first published, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger originally wanted to be a part of the film.

For those who don’t know just how awesome Watchmen is, and how awesome the film could be, here’s the awesome trailer:

The Watchmen film should be released on March 6, 2009.

Some Pattinson with a Push of Potter

Due to numerous requests, here are a few photos of Robert Pattinson. For the oblivious few who don't know, Robert Pattinson played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. He's recently reached a high level of fame thanks to his role as Edward Cullen in the upcoming vampire flick, Twilight.

At the San Diego Comic Con

with Kristen Stewart on the set of Twilight

as Edward Cullen in Twilight

By the way, for those big Twilight fans, I've got some good news for you, the Twilight film release date has been rescheduled to be released three weeks earlier than planned.

You can catch the film on November 21.

Now, onto less pleasant news, the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince release date has been pushed back to July 19, 2009.

To make things clear, the Twilight and Harry Potter's rescheduling of their release dates have no relation to each other whatsoever, Stephanie Meyer herself said so on her official website.

Alan Horn, the president of Warner Bros, said that the main reason for the release delay is because of the writer's strike.

"Like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films-changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of," he said. "We agreed the best strategy was to move Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer."

All I can say is:


Our Trail of the Month (August 2008)

Some new trailers for some upcoming movies.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
It's the sixth installment in the Harry Potter series, and we get more wizardry goodness, and evilness of course.

Max Payne
Max Payne is a film based on the popular video game. Some (actually, a lot) may argue that Mark Wahlberg doesn't look anything like Max Payne, and I kinda agree. But I will say though that this character suits Wahlberg way, way, waaay better than that whiney school teacher he played in The Happening.

The Day the Earth Stood Still
This is a remake of the 1951 film. I'll probably post a little something about film remakes later, but for now, enjoy the pretty trailer with the pretty cast and the pretty graphics in a pretty frickin cool sci-fi movie.

The Quantum of Solace
It's the sequel to Casino Royale, and James Bond is back for more suave action. I've been hearing complaints that the trailer doesn't really give any oomph factor, and that it isn't exciting enough. But if they give all the good parts away in the trailer, I bet people would be complaining that there aren't any surprises left, and that the trailer ruined the movie. I'm just happy that I get to take a peek at the new Bond film.

The Princess and the Frog
How cute is this? How frickin cute is this? I'm so glad to see Disney go back to its roots and give us some classic 2D mush. And the best part? It's being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, directors of Little Mermaid and Aladdin, my favorite Disney classics, and it has music from musical guru Randy Newman. I am so watching this.

The House Bunny
I know, it's a cliched chick flick comedy, complete with geeky girls in fashion montages. But it's written by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, writers of Legally Blonde. It's produced by Happy Madison. And Anna Faris is one of the few actresses who can get me to really laugh. And yes, your eyes are not mistaken, American Idol season 5 runner up Katharine McPhee is in it. And Rumer Willis too (daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, for those of you who don't know). So yeah, I'm watching it.

Rachel Getting Married
Seeing Anne Hathaway in this kind of role threw me for a loop. But I think it's pretty cool that she's stepping aside from the good girl routine.

A new trailer for those avid Twilight fans. And a second look for those who aren't.

Vote for Most Memorable TV Moment

The 60th Primtime Emmy awards are letting TV fans vote for their favorite moment on television on the Emmy Awards official website. There are two categories, comedy and drama. Each category has over 15 memorable moments from different tv shows that were chosen by a panel of judges. Don't worry though, I don't think Simon Cowell was one of them.

Although if he was, it would explain why American Idol was chosen as a finalist in the comedy category. It was Kelly Clarkson's winning moment, and it was a great moment for her, but it was hardly laugh out loud funny. Not even Justin Guarini's hair is worthy of being a "memorable comedy moment."

I was a litte disappointed by the choices, but then again to be fair, I'm still kinda young and I guess I'm just not familiar with most of the tv show moments chosen.

I'm voting for Friends in the comedy category by the way.

As for the drama category, I only recognized about 5 shows in there. And as a Joss Whedon follower, of course I'm voting for the Buffy moment. I'll admit, Buffy's jump off the tower wasn't my most favorite moment, for obvious reasons (i.e. my hero just died), but I love almost every bit of that show (I say almost, because I hate every bit of the Spike character). I think all the episodes of Buffy are memorable moments.

But I digress, I'll continue my ode to all things Whedon some other time.

The point is, if you care about any of these shows, then vote.

"The Dark Knight" Film Review

The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film based on DC Comics’ character, Batman. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan also co-wrote it with his acclaimed author brother, Jonathan Nolan. The film stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman.

I finally saw The Dark Knight just last night, it was a whopping 152 minutes long, but each minute was compelling enough that there weren’t any lagging scenes that made you want to get up and stretch. You can just imagine that tortuous, electric feeling you get when your lower bodily parts get numb for a long period of time. But it was well damn worth it.

Seeing Heath Ledger’s (already) legendary performance as The Joker was incredible. He brought a beautifully psychotic performance to his character that had the audiences laughing, wincing, and getting massively disturbed all in the span of five seconds. He stole every scene he was in. Ledger’s Joker is infinitely darker than Jack Nicholson’s. I won’t say better, because Nolan’s Batman films are on a completely different level from the previous Batman installments. All of the actors brought their A-game, they were all amazing. Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent was great, his breakdown and transformation into Two-Face in the hospital was heartbreaking. Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne was understandably understated. For all intents and purposes, Bruce Wayne wasn’t supposed to be the hero in the film. The action was superb. And we can see a more detective-like side to Batman that we didn’t really see in Batman Begins.

By the way, I love Tiny Lister’s cameo as the convict who threw the detonator out. One of my favorite moments in the film, even though it was absolutely cheesy.

Most Hated Character: the mousy guy who wanted to blackmail Bruce Wayne.

And, could someone get Batman some cough syrup? That weird, angry, gurgling, whisper-growl he’s got going on can’t be good for his vocal chords.

The Dark Knight is a gripping tale about heroism, sacrifice, and crossing the lines between madness and genius to make a difference in the world. Definitely one of, if not the best film of the year.

Watch it if you haven’t already.

"Prom Night" Film Review

Prom Night is a slasher horror film directed by Nelson McCormick and written by J.S. Cardone. The film stars Brittany Snow, Jonathon Schaech, Scott Porter, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie, Jessalyn Gilsig, and Idris Elba.

(Major Spoilers)

The basic story of the whole film?

Guy loves girl
Girl hates guy
Guy kills girl’s family (while girl does nothing and hides under the bed)
Girl escapes and lives happily ever after-NOT
Guy kill girl’s friends
Guy almost kills girl
But girl is saved by police after everyone else has already died

Prom Night is a pretty, straightforward slasher film. In every sense. It’s deliciously predictable, if not boringly so. The title: Prom Night has no bearing on the story whatsoever other than the fact that the whole killing spree happened on prom night. I actually liked the fact that Richard Fenton (Jonathon Scaech) only used a knife. The killing scenes are repetitive, in that Fenton used a knife to stab his victims multiple times, but each scene was no less disturbing and mortifying. However, the protagonists and victims didn’t really muster much sympathy from me.

The good parts of the film:

- Jonathon Schaech’s performance

- Editing. The lighting fluctuations added to Richard Fenton’s creepiness, and it accentuated the parts when he was stabbing his victims.

Ugly parts:

- Lisa’s (Dana Davis) dying scene. I understand that when a murdering psycopath is after you, a person can get quite hysterical. But really, who in the world would frantically run backwards on their way to an exit? Only people begging to be slashed from the back, that's who.

- The overall ‘dont-go-there-scream-dammit-scream-why-you-so-stupid’ feeling you get for Brittany Snow’s character.

Some important advice for the people of the world?

When the fire alarm is going off at the hotel you’re staying in, please DON’T go back up to your room, using the frickin elevator no less, to get a stupid ass shawl. I mean come on. Would anyone really risk burning alive for a frickin shawl? If it was studded with millions worth of diamonds I’d understand, but it wasn’t even that pretty!

Another oh-so important advice? If pretty people being brutally killed by a ruggedly handsome creepy, psycho with a knife is not your cup of frappuccino, then Prom Night ain’t worth it.

Why James McAvoy is so Wanted

James McAvoy seems to be one of the fastest rising stars these past few years. Many mainly recognize him as the regular-schmo-turned-bullet-curving-assassin in Wanted. However, even I was surprised to realize that our friendly neighborhood assassin from The Fraternity is also actually our friendly Narnian Fawn, Mr. Tumnus.

This is proof that McAvoy can be both a badass-action-hero, and be a supportive manimal to the Pevensie siblings.

(McAvoy as Wesley Gibson in Wanted)

(McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus in Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe)

What else can he do?

Well, for one thing, he can sweep Keira Knightley off her feet, and get a BAFTA and Golden Globe nomination at the same time in “Atonement”…

He can turn pig snouted (yes, I invented that word) Christina Ricci into the beautiful girl she is in “Penelope”…

He can inspire Anne Hathaway to write brilliant novels in “Becoming Jane”…

And he can survive a scuffle with dictator Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scontland,” with a performance that was also nominated by BAFTA…

Before McAvoy’s rise in films, he has captivated audiences with his compelling stage presence in theater, he has starred in a number of plays such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “West Side Story,” “The Reel of the Hanged Man,” “Out in the Open,” “Lovers,” “Privates on Paradise,” and “Breathing Corpses.”

McAvoy has proven time and time again that he can deliver brilliant performances in almost any genre. Audiences will surely want him around for a long time to come.

"Metal Gear 4: Guns of the Patriots" Video Game Review

I recently finished Metal Gear 4: Guns of the Patriots, and it surpassed everything I expected from a metal gear game. Admittedly, I wasn’t fond of playing an aging war veteran, but still, it was a worthwhile game nonetheless.

Meta Gear 4: Guns of the Patriots, is a tactical espionage action game published by Konami. It is directed by Hideo Kojima, Yoji Shinkawa, and Shuyo Murata. Guns of the Patriots was exclusively developed by Kojima Productions. It is the 7th (and supposedly last) installment in the Metal Gear series.

I’m not going explain the plot of the game because it is just far too complicated for non-metal gear fans. I will say though, that nanomachines are pretty terrifying. Forget the fact that it can help synchronize team members, or balance human biological functions, it pretty much makes humans, inhuman. A scary concept, especially since its main aim is to improve people’s skills in war.

I’ve been a fan since the first game in the first playstation. Metal Gear 4 gives its fans some pretty cool throwbacks and memory flashes to the previous games, and it was just frickin awesome to see Shadow Moses Island in high definition graphics.

It was really great to see some of my favorite characters return and contribute in helping Snake, rather than have Snake save everybody, again. Raiden was still way too dramatic and exaggerated, but I have to admit that he’s become absolutely badass. Meryl was pretty cool too, and I loved her interactions with her Rat Patrol team, especially with Akiba. Nice to see her grow up and take charge. Mei Ling was way too young and cute to be seriously taken as a captain, but it was really great to see her. Her antics were hilarious. Campbell was pretty much the same, but he was a little more emotional.

Otacon is the real hero in this story. Without him, Snake would’ve already bitten the dust countless times. I didn’t like the fact that he was still a crybaby, and that all his female counterparts always died in one form or another, and that even without his eyeglasses he still looked awkward, but he’s got immense kudos for inventing the Mark II and III. Those were cute little things.

There have been talks about a possible Metal Gear 5, and I would love, love another Metal Gear. It may not have our beloved Snake in it anymore, but there’s still tons of possibilities for the other characters, namely, Otacon, Raiden, Meryl and Akiba, and of course, Sunny.

The Metal Gear 4 gameplay didn’t really change much from Metal Gear 3: Naked Snake. There’s a few additions in the crawl/roll (X) button, and you can’t interrogate soldiers anymore. But you do however, have Octocamo, which is an automatic camouflage suit that adapts to any surface. You can also now customize your weapons.

The thing I hated the most about Metal Gear 4 is the frequent loading time. Not to mention, the exasperating installation of every single Act. And even though the story was fascinating, some parts were still confusing, and it seemed that it was meant to confuse the audience just so that it can throw more twists after another.

Overall, Metal Gear 4: Guns of the Patriots is a brilliantly made game with a story that die hard fans would absolutely love.

For non-metal gear fans, well, thank Kojima for the skip button.

Twilight Phenomenon

Everyone seems to be all gung-ho with the Twilight fever. Many are saying that Stephanie Meyer is the next J.K. Rowling. I haven’t read the Twilight books, I’m still waiting to be convinced by the movie on whether the whole story is worth knowing. I’m a general fan of vampires (love Buffy, Angel, Underworld, Blade, Anne Rice etc.), but I’m not as enamored by the whole tortured love thing that Edward and Bella seem to be wrapped in as others. Having said all that, I really can’t wait for the movie. It’s one thing to give up 2 or 3 hours everyday of your week to read a book about teenage-vampire-love-angst, and another to watch a full length film with gripping action and heart pounding sounds.

So yes, definitely can’t wait for the film.

I’m expecting Kristen Stewart to deliver another profound performance, as she’s always done in all of her films. She’s one of the best actresses of her generation, in my book.

Robert Pattinson’s performance is a little harder to gauge, after all, all I’ve seen him in so far is in Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire.

If you visit the official site of the Twilight film, you can watch a minute-long clip from the movie that shows a good amount of action. All of the Twilight footage I’ve seen reminds me of a Covenant-esque feel to the film. The main difference being that there are vampires instead of warlocks. That’s actually not a bad thing, I really like The Covenant. Still, The Covenant lacked plot substance and character development, and the film didn’t live up to all the hype it created.

I hope Twilight won’t make the same mistake.

Here’s a little behind the scenes preview from ET.

(from edwardandbella.net)

Twilight will premiere on December 12, 2008.

"Wanted" Film Review

Wanted is a film by Timur Bekmambetov loosely based on Mark Millar’s miniseries comics of the same name. Wanted stars James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Kretschmann, Konstantin Khabensky, and David O’Hara.

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), is a boring account manager with a bullying boss, and a girlfriend who’s cheating on him with his best friend. His life, in his opinion, is simply insignificant. That is until he finds out that his father, (whom he thought walked out on him a week after he was born), was one of the greatest assassins that ever lived, and was recently killed by his arch nemesis, Cross. Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), is a rogue assassin who left The Fraternity. The Fraternity is a thousand year old group of assassins that “kill one to save a thousand,” the group is led by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Fox (Angelina Jolie), is the gorgeous assassin sent by Sloan to save Gibson from Cross, and trains him to become an assassin himself so that he can follow in his father’s footsteps.



(Major Spoilers Ahead)



I liked this film, the action was brilliant, brutal, and unapologetic. However, story-wise, I wasn’t necessarily convinced. Some parts lacked originality, you could practically smell the big twist a mile away. I get the intent of the story, but it asks a lot of questions, and kinda gives the wrong answers.

Following your destiny is great and all, but is it still so great when you’re destiny is to kill people? This is only the tip of the iceberg.

The main idea of Wanted, in my humble opinion, is about fate, faith, and the courage to deal with both. The Fraternity is a group of people who rely on The Loom of Fate for guidance, this can easily be a representation of a number of concepts in our society, namely, religion. Sloan’s character was appointed the leader of the group, but he directly disobeyed The Loom of Fate in order to save himself and earn money. Sloan was, simply put, a priest that went bad. What was so damaging about his evilness is that his followers did not know that he was evil, so they killed whomever Sloan told them to kill. He asked a very important question during his standoff with Gibson and the other assassins, (not verbatim) would you rather save what you believe in, or save your life? The only person who had the courage to completely surrender to what they believed in, was Fox. Of course, that whole idea is just moot because there is nothing good or positive about killing other people before committing suicide so that you can prove a point, no matter how frickin cool you did it.

Gibson’s journey throughout the whole film was much too self-centered than it ought to be, after all, his destiny is supposedly affecting thousands of people, but all I saw was him killing lots of people because he’s angry he got played. He was all about revenge, taking control of his life, and following in his father’s footsteps. Pretty clichéd if you ask me.

The parts that I loved about Wanted?

- Mainly the action scenes, major kudos to McAvoy for not being conscious about his mouth flapping all over the place.

_ Cross' character, heartwarming dad in the midst of his cold, murdering reputation.

- Rats and peanut butter being used as bombs. Frickin hilarious.

- Bending bullets. Frickin wicked.

Parts that I hated?

- The fact that the real hero in the story had to commit suicide in order to preserve fate’s orders. And all everyone focused on was how the leading character finally grew some ba- found the guts to live his own life and not take any crap from other people.

- The fact that their superpowers were given silly explanations, super-fast adrenaline? Come on, you can should do better than that.

- Don't even get me started on the mighty Loom of Fate.

- And, what is up with all the CGI scenes? If you can’t flip a car on a bus in real life, then you can’t flip a car on a bus, period.

Overall, Wanted is a fun, crude film with a talented cast. It’s a fast-paced, knuckle-whitening, thrill ride that is sure to get your heart pounding. It’s a grade-A action film. No more, no less.

Now, I’ll leave you with the words of the man himself, Wesley Gibson:

“This is me, taking control of my life.
*cue badass glare*
What the fuck have you done lately?”

A Little Thought About The Power Of Films

"Movie Magic"

Around 128 years ago, the whole world was bewitched by the development of the motion picture camera which created the so-called “moving picture shows.” About 40 years after that, music and sound were synchronized with the action on the screen, and thus the “talking pictures” were born. Nowadays, motion pictures have taken on whole new level of technology. Computer Graphics and animation conquer technological advancement, all while charming us with the unforgettable forgetfulness of Dory in “Finding Nemo,” fascinating us with the arguably heroic tale of “Beowulf,” and making us stare in wide-eyed wonder at the unbelievably believable monster that is “King Kong.” Movies like these, no matter how incredible or not so incredible, will be forever ingrained in our subconscious. And even though movies are mainly for entertainment, we have to admit that one or two have influenced or changed some part of us in one way or another. That is why we have to realize just how important the movies we see are.

(Dory in Andrew Stanton's "Finding Nemo")

(Peter Jackson's "King Kong")

The power of influence is a major component of films and movies, what else would they be for if not to make someone think about something? Whether the audience realizes or allows it or not, films are insidiously planting seeds of whatever propaganda, whether well-meant or simply malicious, into their minds. Documentaries like “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Sicko,” and “An Inconvenient Truth” have unabashedly alluded that they’re against the current American government, all while trying to inform or stimulate the audience about their respective topics.

(Michael "Moore's Sicko")

Classics like “The Godfather,” and contemporary favorites like “Pulp Fiction” are certainly good movies, but shamelessly doing crimes like murder and theft are certainly not good morals. Violent movies probably don’t wish to encourage the audience to turn to violence, but it doesn’t help that heroes always get away with murder, and find a good looking love interest while doing so.

(Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction")

However, films are also a massive source of good influence, movies like “The North Country,” which is about women’s rights and power, and “Hotel Rwanda,” which is about an ordinary man doing something extraordinarily good, are stories that can change someone’s perception of personal strength and goodness. These stories help instill emotional growth and awareness to its audiences.

(Niki Caro's "North Country")

Movies enrich our lives with characters we may empathize with, experiences we may never experience in reality, and magical worlds that we can explore with our imagination. They inspire their audience, give them a hundred different vicarious lives, and entertain them with people they admire. Movies are influential moguls, and we should always remember that whatever story we choose to know and learn, are stories that will always be a part of us.

This was my speech for an English exam. Honestly, I think it's a little too cheesy, but apparently it's good enough to get a 98 ; p

"The Incredible Hulk" Film Review

“The Incredible Hulk” is a superhero movie based on the comic book character “The Hulk” from Marvel Comics. The film is directed by Louis Leterrier and is written by Zak Penn and Edward Norton (uncredited). It stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner / The Hulk, William Hurt as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky.

First of all, I stand by what I previously said, this is NOT a direct sequel to the 2003 film “Hulk” by Ang Lee. After the Ang Lee version, Marvel reacquired the rights to the Hulk character and Zak Penn wrote a very loose sequel that caters more to the comic book and television series character. Edward Norton rewrote the script after he was cast on to star in the film, then he cut all ties with the first film and retold the origin of the whole story through flashback moments in the opening scene. The film, for all intents and purposes, is considered a “reboot.” Director Louis Leterrier aimed to make the monsters look scarier and more realistic. Blonsky’s monster form (called Abomination in the comics), was redesigned from a reptilian-human-like monster, into a mutated human with harsh bony protrusions.


(Spoilers Ahead!)


Compared to the first version, this Hulk film is infinitely better. Although the first cast (Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, etc.) may have been a better suit for the characters (i.e. physical characteristics-wise), the pacing, theme, and overall coolness definitely goes to Leterrier’s version. Way, way better action, there’s even macho monster battle yells such as “Hulk! Smash!” And unlike in the last film, Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner is cool enough to slip in some comedic moments and make fun of himself and his big, green problem. Kudos to Tim Roth by the way, for all his kick ass action scenes. Liv Tyler was sweet yet strong as Betty Ross, and William Hurt was great as General Ross, even though I really hated his character. I’m not an avid fan of the comic books nor the television series, so I don’t really know exactly what should or shouldn’t have been in the movie. Having said that, I’m pretty sure that many Hulk fans and action fans will be quite happy with this film.

Leterrier’s “Incredible Hulk” is, as I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion, a better version than Ang Lee’s “Hulk.” However, are there really any significant changes in the main story?


Not really.

Bruce became green and angry because of a radiation accident.
He’s in love with the general’s daughter.
More drama.
The general wants him.
He fights the army.
More action.
He saves the world from a mutated monster.
He leaves.

Is this all there is with the Hulk’s story? I hope not. Somewhere down the line the fans will crave (if they don’t already) some form of resolution.

Fortunately, we might not have to wait as long as we initially expected.

If he is who I think he is supposed to be, then the audiences were given a brief glimpse of The Hulk’s enemy, The Leader. Comic fans would know what I’m talking about.

Tony Stark’s proposition to General Ross at the end of the film is also more than enough of a clue that we will be seeing more of our favorite Marvel superheroes pretty soon. Not to mention, more than enough incentive to keep watching whatever Marvel comes up with next.

Which superheroes exactly?

Well, we’ll all just have to wait and find out.

I for one, can’t frickin wait.

"Iron Man" Film Review

Iron Man is possibly the best comic-based superhero movie to date. (Emphasis on the “to date” part because The Dark Knight isn’t showing yet. Hah!)

Tony Stark is my new favorite movie superhero.

And here are some reasons why:

- He’s a cool nerd, not a broody, wimpy, totally girl-clueless nerd (yes, I’m referring to you Peter Parker.)

- Nor is his nerdy-ness plainly fake and pathetic, i.e. Clark Kent.

- He does not have a disturbing fascination for flying rodents, nor does his suit have nipples.

- And he doesn’t turn into a big green monster when he gets angry.

Other than that, his sarcastic puns own every-frickin-time. And yes, I am a huge fan of sarcasm, especially when it’s delivered with the smooth snark that Tony Stark does.

Now, on to the review.

Iron Man is a film based on the Marvel comics of the same name. The film is directed by Jon Favreau (who also plays Happy Hogan, Stark’s chauffer), produced by Avi Arad and Kevin Feige, and stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, and Shaun Toub.

(Potential Spoilers)

Anthony “Tony” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a genius inventor and an engineering prodigy, who is also the heir of Stark Industries, an industrial mogul company that is famous for its state of the art weapon design. He goes on a business trip to Afghanistan to present a new cluster missile called “Jericho.” During his trip he is kidnapped by a terrorist group called Ten Rings, who wants him to make a Jericho Cluster Missile for them. Stark also finds out that the Ten Rings are being illegally supplied with weapons from his own company. Instead, during his captivity, with the help of fellow prisoner Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub), he designs and creates an armor suit powered by a smaller version of an “arc reactor”, a power source that he invented. Using the armor suit, Stark escapes the terrorists and goes back home to find out who is illegally supplying his companies’ weapons to terrorists.

(End of Potential Spoilers)

robert downey jr. as tony stark

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark

I admit, at first I was really doubtful of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance, I almost didn’t even want to see the film. Still, I’m really glad that I did because Iron Man is definitely a very entertaining movie. Downey’s performance is perfectly in tune with Tony Stark’s character. Jon Favreau has also stated that Downey gave a big contribution to much of Tony Starks’s humor. Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), is Tony Stark’s loyal, if not exasperated, personal secretary. Paltrow’s chemistry with Downey is undeniably cute and sweet. From what I know in the comics, Pepper and Happy Hogan (played in the film by director Jon Favreau) get married. Hm. Not really fond of that idea transitioning into the future films. Fortunately there seems to be no hint of that happening whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong though, I’d like to see Tony Stark work for Pepper’s affection, and Favreau has even mentioned the possibility that Pepper may have a fleeting love something or other with someone other than Stark. This of course, I’m pretty sure (I hope), is only so that Stark would get up off his ass and tell Pepper about his crazy-for-you-undying-love-devotion. Or something along those lines I guess. Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard) is Stark’s pilot friend, and the liaison between the Military and Stark Industries. As usual, Howard delivered a great performance as Stark’s infinitely exasperated friend. Can’t wait to see him as War Machine in the sequel. Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) is Stark Industries’ second-in-command. I almost didn’t recognize Bridges with his bald head and Santa Claus beard, up until I heard his voice. Usually I really don’t like his voice because it sounds a little drunk and condescending, but since he plays a seemingly doting father figure, his voice just makes his performance that much more chilling. Which is a good thing.

The film has its flaws, as do all films. I was particularly disappointed by the last battle scene because it didn’t really explore Iron Man’s other abilities, he just rolled around the road with cars and a big robot. And I’ve had enough of that from Transformers. The desert scene however, when he fought the tanks, terrorists, and jets, that was amazing. And it is also the scene where we clearly see what makes Tony Stark darker than most clichéd superheroes. He didn’t kill the last terrorist, but left him to the people to do whatever they wanted with him (obviously not anything good), I definitely can’t imagine good boy Peter Parker ever doing that. Another thing that separates him from most is that he fight humans. Not mutated, possessed, brainwashed, or alien type humans, but ordinary people. Who happen to be on the bad side and are evil. This is one of the many things that Iron Man shares with Batman. They’re both rich, both womanizers, both have dead admirable parents, they both have their respective sidekicks (Pepper and Rhodes, Alfred and Robin), and they both don’t have real superpowers, but are smart enough, quick enough, and strong enough to fight on without them anyway. The main difference between them, is that Tony Stark doesn’t apologize for his vices. And also, he’s way funnier.

Another thing I loved about the Iron Man film is its music, it complements the scenes perfectly, especially when Iron Man is bringing his A-game, frickin wicked music. The main soundtrack is composed by Ramin Djawadi. This film should not be watched without an adequate surround-sound system. Seriously, if you do, you will be missing the potency of the incredible sound effects and music.

All in all, Iron Man gives you everything you’re looking for in a good superhero movie (and more). A tortured hero, a pretty love interest, an evil villain, a sidekick, and loads of awesome action. Still, Iron Man delivers something new to the superhero film genre, a hero that truly knows exactly what he’s capable of.

Can't wait for the sequels.

"Mad Money" Film Reviews

mad money

Mad Money is a comedy film by Callie Khouri, which stars Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes.

Mad Money is about three seemingly ordinary women from different walks of life who come together for a common goal, money. These three women decide to rob the bank they are working for. Their heists go unnoticed for a long period of time because the money they steal are bills that are being destroyed. The group was initiated by Bridget Cardigan (Diane Keaton), who is considered as the criminal mastermind. She lived a fortunate lifestyle with her husband Don Cardigan (Ted Danson) until they became recently bankrupt. Desperate for any monetary income, she applied for a janitorial job at the Federal Reserve Bank. Nina Brewster (Queen Latifah), is a single mother of two and is the main voice of reason of the group. Jackie Truman (Katie Holmes) is the youngest of the group and has possibly the least motivation. Although they all have very different reasons for agreeing to steal money, they form a group camaraderie that helps them survive the troubles ahead of them.

Mad Money was entertaining enough, but it lacked substance in practically all aspects. The cast was admittedly stellar, Keaton and Latifah had contrasting personalities that kept things interesting, and Katie Holmes in particular was a pleasant scene stealer for me. Many critics may have differing opinions about her acting skills, but in this film her main job was to act cute, and I thought she did so quite well.

The thing about this film is that it really could have been better. The overall pacing didn’t achieve anything above average, and the comedy was good enough, but it wasn’t laugh out loud funny. The story didn’t really give any thought-provoking lessons or conclusions, and the other characters were at times, simply annoying and a little too over the top stereotypical. Mad Money’s best asset truly is its main cast, and it’s only because of them that this film can be called interesting.

"Enchanted" Film Review


Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun watching this.

Enchanted is a film that combines fairy tales and contemporary romantic comedy in a way that people of all ages may appreciate. By the end of this movie, your cheeks will probably hurt because you’ve been smiling non-stop. Still, minor injuries not withstanding, Enchanted is an avant garde spoof of classic Disney style stories.

Amy Adams will steal your heart every time she opens her mouth or elegantly flaps her hands, which is practically all throughout the film. Patrick Dempsey is the befuddled cynic that many McDreamy fans will swoon for. James Marsden plays the prince who is so earnestly arrogant that you cannot help but find him to be charming. I give extra kudos to Marsden for his surprisingly excellent singing skills. Susan Sarandon gives a bewitching performance as the main villain.

There are no complex plot twists, or headache inducing conflicts, Enchanted is all about spontaneous, cute lovey-doveyness. What I heart so much about this Disney tale is that it was the princess who saved the “prince” from the scary dragon-witch. Even though your tooth may ache from the continuous sweetness, Enchanted is a happy-fluffy film that can make even the most depressed cynics smile any day.

"Doomsday" Film Reviews


I saw Neil Marshall’s film “Doomsday,” last April 4. Comic fans might confuse the film to the character Doomsday from DC’s Superman, but they have nothing to do with each other whatsoever.

(Potential Spoilers)

The film Doomsday is a futuristic tale about a plague called “The Reaper” that has spread in Scotland. The government then decided to quarantine and close off the infected place from England. 25 years later, the Reaper is somehow back again and is beginning to spread in England. The main protagonist is a woman named Eden, she is an agent that was assigned to go cross the borders of the previously quarantined Scotland and find a cure, because there have been sporadic reports of survivors.

(End of potential spoilers)

I actually liked this film, despite its flaws and boring plot. It has a “Madmax” and “Escape From New York” feel to it. However, Eden is no Snake Plissken, for one thing, she is a hell of a lot prettier. Eden’s character didn’t really have any dramatic improvement, and she didn’t do much to get the audience to sympathize with her. Loads of kudos to Rhona Mitra as Eden for pulling off some tough-as-nails action scenes. Mitra’s face-off scene was a let down though, because the editing didn’t focus on or capture any of her eye-catching stunts. Still, she was a believable quasi-anti-hero.

Bob Hoskin was a treat to watch as Bill Nelson, Eden’s police chief. Neil Marshall initially wanted Sean Connery to play the scientist Kane, but wasn’t able to convince him out of retirement, however Malcolm McDowell didn’t do a bad job at all. He sort of made me respect him as a “King” and still made me want to slap him silly, which is not an easy feat, so kudos to him. Craig Conway was crazy as hell as Sol, and even though his character didn’t have any redeeming qualities (at all), he was still an enjoyable wacky villain. David O’Hara as Canaris was a scene-stealer for me, even as he was always stoic and uptight, you knew that he was still someone to watch.

Overall, Doomsday had some plot holes, for one thing, Eden’s mission could have been contrived in a much better fashion. And the uber-strong vehicle they used had surprisingly very weak glass to have been broken under human strength, for all their futuristic technologies, haven’t they ever heard of bullet-proof glass? Anyway, there was a lot of gore and blood, but not as gory as films such as George A. Romero’s “Land of the Dead,” there were decapitated heads and amputated arms being thrown all over the place, but it was really mostly a lot of blood.

Doomsday is a great film if you just want to enjoy a good, fast-paced action film. The action scenes were constantly lively and rapid, but it doesn’t wear you down with its mindlessness.

Don’t expect any profound plot twists and character developments from Doomsday, but it can definitely be an enjoyable film nonetheless.

"Election" Film Review


Loved this movie. I first watched Election when it first came out, which was about nine years ago. Clearly, I was too young to understand the brilliance of it. But now, with my oh-so cynical views, tremendous life experience, and high school diploma (what? sarcasm! where?), I’ve learned to better appreciate this movie.

Election is a 1999 film by Alexander Payne based on a novel with a same name by Tom Perrota. The film’s story focuses on a high school teacher named Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) and his frustrations with an over-zealous, over-achieving, ultra-manipulative student named Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon).

I gotta say, Reese Witherspoon was brilliant. She stole every scene she was in, and even though you just wanted to slap her silly or shake her really hard, she was still able to get you to sympathize with her. I loved, loved the scene where she was jumping up and down the hallway, and when the camera froze and panned to her face, frickin priceless moment. There were rumors that Witherspoon had a hard time getting parts after this film, because many thought that she portrayed a lot about herself as Tracy Flick. I guess she was just that good of an actor, and apparently other people thought so too because she got a Golden Globe nomination for this role.

Matthew Broderick’s character Jim McAllister was initially bland, but then I realized that he was supposed to be bland. I think that the moment when McAllister got duped by the vending machine is the epitome of what his character represents. I’m extremely glad that he eventually got his quasi-happily ever after in the end.

Chris Klein was lovable as the intellectually stupidest, yet most morally mature Paul Metzler. Jessica Campbell played Tammy Metzler, Paul’s sister. Tammy mostly just did whatever the hell she wanted, I suppose her most admirable quality is that…she did whatever the hell she wanted.

Overall, Election is a treat to watch. It’s hilarious, witty, and continuously interesting. Positively one of the greatest high school films around.