Movies – June 2008

This has been a good month for movies. I saw the following in cinemas:

Kung Fu Panda – complete AWESOMENESS. I drank the Kool-Aid all the way on this one.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – classic Indy goodness.

Incredible Hulk – Edward Norton is cast brilliantly here, a choice on the same level as Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. And they addressed the issue of Hulk’s stretchy pants!

Wanted – The story is decent, although the Loom of Fate weirded me out a bit. But let’s face it, you’re really here for the kickass gun battles, and the movie pretty much delivers. Remember back when bullet time from the Matrix was a big deal? The gun battles here are like a generation up from that. I love the gunfight through the factory, and the train battle was pretty much insane. The ending was meh, but at least it wasn’t some generic “good guy wins and gets the girl” (er, spoiler much?)

Since I now have a laptop, I’ve also been able to watch more movies on DVD as well:

21 – it’s undeniably a geek movie. If you want to watch it, you need a geek with you to explain how card counting in Blackjack works. It’s pretty good, and also doesn’t have any predictable “hero wins it all” ending. Based on a true story, but I think the win rate may be highly exaggerated.

The Kingdom – we actually just needed something to watch. Something with guns and explosions. This movie did the job. Jamie Fox and Jennifer Gardner are FBI agents who went into Saudi Arabia to hunt down a terrorist. The nice thing is that they don’t portray the Arabian police as incompetent and are instead useful allies, i.e. the Americans don’t hog all the work.

I’ve also managed to watch a few random crap movies as background noise (Monster in Law, Norbit – god, HBO seems to be showing this stupid movie all the time!)

Upcoming movies I’m looking forward to: Dark Knight, obv. Although Hancock seems interesting as well.

Indiana Jones: Raiders vs Crystal Skull

So I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last Friday. Two days later I also watched for the first time Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Instead of doing a lame movie review, here’s a double header feature!

(Warning: Spoilers for both movies follow)

Continue reading “Indiana Jones: Raiders vs Crystal Skull”

Transformers

As a big Transformers fan back in the day, I have to say: the movie is okay. Action-packed and a fun popcorn flick. The story’s nothing to win an oscar over, but everything looks SO COOL!

Some questionable things though:


Spoilers!

  • Why does the all-spark only create violent, gun-toting robots? Where the hell did the Autobots come from?
  • I don’t recall seeing the Decepticon symbol anywhere, was it there?
  • How come Soundwave can survive getting his head chopped off, but Jazz can’t take being split in half?

Hell of a movie.

Spider-man 3

Pretty good movie, as expected. The story is what you’d expect from a comic-book movie, but the mid-air fight scenes are really great.

The whole Sandman thing is basically fluff, the movie could have been done without him. He was like a cheap pop to make the whole “dark side” thing easier to start off, but then they had trouble resolving his story. It’s not like he’s a major Spidey villain anyway. Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Venom…that would have been good enough for a trilogy of Spidey movies, all the major bad guys covered.

J. Jonah Jameson is funny as always. It’s hard to take Topher Grace seriously when I keep thinking of him as Eric Foreman. Some of the drama parts are a bit over the top, but The funny bits of the movie are pretty good. The ending is a bit lame though.

I don’t think I made any spoilers. Unless you didn’t already know Sandman and Venom would be there.

TMNT

if you’ve ever lived in the Philippines during the summer months, you’re well aware of the sweltering heat. Not being in the mood to feel like french toast during this Sunday noontime, my brothers and I decided to troop to the nearby mall and catch a movie – in this case the return of those childhood stalwarts the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen.

Now, as my youngest brother asked, what were we doing there? TMNT is a kids’ movie right? Yeah, more or less I suppose, but all of us brothers saw the first 3 live-action Turtles movies, played the NES game with the annoying dam sequence and watched not just a few episodes of the cartoon series. Thankfully, none of us had any Turtles jammies.

Anyway, yeah we saw the movie. Before I saw the trailer about a month back I actually thought it was gonna be another live-action thing. The animation is ok, the turtles look less brutish than before and it’s action-packed as expected. As expected, Leo tries hard to be a leader, Mikey provides the comedy, Raph is the serious brooding one, and Donatello provides the tech support (literally). It’s no high art, but it’s entertaining enough, but it’s pretty much the equivalent of watching a multi-part episode of the TV series. The turtles have a spat, they kick some ass, extradimensional monsters appear, the turtles kick some more ass, etc.

I hear that the movie is selling quite well in the States. Not so much here though, as the theater was maybe 50% full at best, and on a Sunday afternoon at that.

300

Mostly due to my antisocial nature and my laziness, I haven’t actually seen a movie in a theater since…forever. I broke that fast mostly because of the hype surround 300, the movie based on Frank Miller’s comic book retelling of the Battle at Thermopylae.

Everyone who’s seen the movie has the same thing to say: it’s really good. So I went to see it with a brother of mine. And it was good. Really good. The highlights of the movie are the very impressive battle scenes (which is like 90% of the movie), with awesome usage of slow-motion to enhance the battle drama. It feels like a video game!

Unfortunately, I think the movie was hyped a bit too much for me. It’s good, but not OMGWTFThat’sAwesome!!!111 good for me. History lessons told me how that battle ended, and some of the lines in the movie sound like trash-talk from WWE shows.

Still enjoyable though, despite the high theater prices nowadays. It’s just that I went in expecting my socks to get knocked off; they rolled up a bit, but they stayed on my feet.

DaVinci Code

I’m not sure what some Church leaders are thinking. Calling for an outright ban on The DaVinci Code movie just makes it more popular. At the very least, it’s insulting to the intelligence of their flock – are they saying Catholics don’t have the ability to distinguish fact from fiction by themselves? But then again, this is a nation of Catholics who tend to elect action stars to high office because of all the goody-goody roles they portray in the movies, so maybe the priests have some sort of point.

The best view of this affair has to be from the street vendors who plan to hawk the pirated copies of the movie: If the movie is banned, all the people who would have watched the movie would be buying from them instead! Good times!

As for me, I’m not much into going to the theatre nowadays. I’ll probably watch it someday, probably in the comfort of home. But I’ve read the book, and the movie is said to be a generally faithful adaptation, so I’m not too psyched into seeing it.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do during this hiatus was to watch more movies — we’ve got a ton of DVDs downstairs I haven’t seen yet. Since I had just finished the fifth book of Stephen King’s western fantasy, I started this task with Sergio Leone’s western opus, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I haven’t watched many westerns before. This is probably the first one I completed. And you know what it reminds me of? Dragonball. Ages of staring at each other, hands hovering over your guns, ending in two seconds of gunfire. I know they’re a lot more speak-y in Dragonball, but it gave me the same feeling…the anticipative build-up and the big, explosive finish.

God, that was a long movie. I think it clocked in at 2:45 or so. It was mistake to watch this movie in late afternoon, as I started getting drowsy towards the end.

I’ve never seen Clint Eastwood this young before! But he reminds me of how I usually visualize Roland of Gilead. And the impossibly good shooting in the movie seems characteristic of Roland’s gunslingers as well.

Good movie, though longish.