Category Archives: Film

[Film Review] The Avengers

When Marvel announced The Avengers movie back in 2008, I had my doubts that the film would work. A movie about a team of superheroes was just too big even for the silver screen. I was afraid that the characters will be underdeveloped or the story will be too convoluted. But, I was wrong. After I saw The Avengers last night, Joss Whedon and Marvel achieved what I thought was almost impossible.

The Avengers is a superhero team whose members includes Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor. So, my main concern was that these four big superheroes wouldn’t fit in one movie. But thanks to Marvel’s “The Road to The Avengers” campaign, in which they tied five of their superhero movies (Iron Man 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger), and lay the groundwork for the big film, they were able to skip telling the characters’ origins and dive right into a new story.

For a title as big as The Avengers, I was expecting a lot from it. But Whedon handled it pretty well, met those expectations, and then some. There was never a dull moment in the movie. The action scenes, which ranges from no holds barred melee to aerial dogfights, were superb. There’s also a surprising amount of humor in the film. While delivered in small doses, their timing and placement were excellent –meaning it happens when and where you least expect it.

Whedon also balanced the character moments stupendously. All the characters, well, the heroes at least, got equal face time in the movie. No head stood taller than the rest (figuratively speaking, of course). The acting was also superb, as expected from a group talented cast. Robert Downey Jr. has grown quite comfortable in playing Tony Stark. The same goes to rest of the cast. But Mark Rufallo shone the brightest. He really gave character to Bruce Banner as a nerd who is silently angry.

The Avengers movie is kind of a big deal. To me, at least. A superhero team movie this big, graceful and good is not only an accomplishment but also a testament that films like this can be done. So, I’m really hoping that DC and Warner Bros. are taking down some notes. Because I really hope to see a JLA movie, a good JLA movie, one day. But that could take years. Now, I’m just looking forward to see Th***s getting beat up by The Hulk in The Avengers 2.

Score: A

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2012, Entertain Me

It’s hard to predict what 2012 will bring (unless you’re a Mayan, of course). I don’t know if it will be better than last year, or worse. But there are some things –like movies, games, music and comics– that I’m pretty sure will not disappoint me this year. Here are those things, the 12 things that I’m looking forward to in 2012 (not in order of awesomeness).

Movies

1. The Hobbit
Here’s a secret: I didn’t like The Hobbit when I read it back when I was an eleven year old kid. I haven’t read it ever since. 6 years later, when I turned 16, I became a big fan of its epic sequel, The Lord of the Rings. So, why am I excited about this movie? Well, it has been a decade since The Fellowship of the Rings came out, and I miss pure Tolkienian fantasy and Peter Jackson’s magic.

2. The Avengers
Marvel announced four years ago that there will be an Avengers movie, and then teased us with “The Road to Avengers” –hints, cameos and ending scenes that were injected in Avengers related films. Now, it’s here. So, if you liked Iron Man, Thor and Captain America this film is for you. Joss Whedon is going to make this epic.

3. The Dark Knight Rises
The final installment of Christopher Nolan’s excellent adaptation of Batman. Honestly, besides Bane and Catwoman being on it, I really have no idea what’s the plot going to be about in this flick, and I like it to stay that way. But I’m confident that Nolan will deliver.

Games

4. Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur
Ken Rolston, the lead designer of Morrowind and Oblivion, is this game’s executive designer. So, its open-world gameplay is going to be a bit similar to an Elder Scrolls game. But it’s not gonna be a bit like an Elder Scrolls game because: (a) R.A. Salvatore, famous fantasy author (who is responsible for my favorite Dark Elf Trilogy), wrote the story; and (b) Todd McFarlane, comic book artist, toy maker and creator of Spawn, worked on its art. So, big names in this game.

5. Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect was okay. Mass Effect 2 was epic. So, I’m pretty certain that BioWare is doing whatever they can to give us an epic ending to the Mass Effect Trilogy that started back in 2007. I can’t wait to set foot on Earth and kill me some Reavers.

6. BioShock Infinite
BioShock is one of my favorite games of all time. While I haven’t played its sequel (although I own it), I’m pretty sure it’s a gas too. But when I saw BioShock Infinite’s trailer, I was at awe. The art direction in this game is just way too cool. I’m sensing that this game is gonna be favorite game of 2012.

7. Torchlight 2
I enjoyed playing this Diablo-clone, so much that I’m gonna get its sequel. So, why am I going to get a Diablo-clone when I can I play Diablo III this year instead? Simple, Torchlight 2 will be so much cheaper than Diablo III.

Comics

8. Avengers Vs. The X-Men
The title says it. This is going to be a great event with lots of great fights. I’m looking forward to Bendis’ one-liner humor and Cho’s great artwork.

9. Fairest
One thing I don’t like about Fables (which still remains one of my favorite comic books) is that it has way too many characters to fit in just one book. So, following at the success of Cinderella mini-series, Willingham created Fairest, which will be starred by the female characters of Fables. So, I’m really excited to read the new adventures of my favorite fabled heroines.

Music

10. Soundgarden’s new album
So, Soundgarden reunited back in 2010 and toured. But new material from them hasn’t dropped yet. This year though, in Spring, their new album will hit the shelves. If Thayil wasn’t lying, their new album will be a bit similar to their 1996 album, Down on the Upside, which is a great album. I’m really excited to hear new stuff from these guys again.

11. Tool’s new album
I forgot when it was. But, not too long ago, Tool’s guitarist, Adam Jones, had hinted they are writing stuff. I haven’t heard anything else since then. Although I’m hoping that Tool will drop an album this year. It’s been 10,000 days since they released their last album, 10,000 Days.

12. Lollapalooza 2012
I had blast at last year’s Lollapalooza. I saw a lot of my favorite bands including Arctic Monkeys, Explosions in the Sky and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I even got inside Foo Fighters’ VIP tent. I don’t know who’ll be playing at this year’s fest yet. But, if it’s anything like Coachella 2012, it’s going to be even better.

So, that’s it. These are the things that I’m looking forward to in 2012. What about you? Do you have things that you’re looking forward to this year?

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Best Films of 2011

As a blogger, one of the best things I love about the year’s end is that I can write a definitive “Best of [insert year here]” list. So, in the next couple of days, I’ll be writing and posting my 2011 definitive list in different categories. I’ve already done my list for comics and games. Today, my list is for the best films of the year.

I was only able to watch a couple of new films in theaters this year. But, with the help of Netflix, I was able to catch up on some of the best movies of 2011. Still, compared to other movie buffs, I only have a short list to choose from.

But, anyways, here are five of my favorite films of 2011.

#5. Drive

I don’t like Ryan Gosling. Mostly out of envy. But his performance in Drive is so captivating that I can’t deny the film a spot on this list. Gosling plays as a quiet and mysterious driver in this artistic 80’s style action flick. He has no name, he just drives: whether as a stunt driver or a getaway driver. He falls in love and, in an effort to protect those he loves, becomes the target of crime bosses. This movie has it all: great characters, romance, action, and skull bashing violence and gore.

#4. Super 8

Its trailer generated a lot of hype. But I didn’t bite. Thinking that the movie will fail, I skipped Super 8 in theaters. A few months later, I saw the movie on Blu-Ray and fell in love with it. The movie is just so nostalgic. It reminded me of all the summers when I was still a kid, hanging out with friends and doing all kinds of activities –role-playing, adventuring in the woods, watching movies like E.T. and The Goonies. For what I thought, at first, as an alien encounter movie is actually a flick that made me yearn for my childhood years.

#3. Bellflower

You probably said it once, or heard it before, that love is not the end of the world. Bellflower tells you otherwise. This movie suggests that being broken-hearted is the end of the world as its main character Woodrow, a Mad Max fanboy who is preparing for the apocalypse, drives around in “The Medusa”, a muscle car that is souped up to withstand the post-apocalyptic world, and burns his cheating girlfriend’s things with a flamethrower. It’s unlikely to get nominated in the academies. But this is the best and most original indie film I’ve seen this year.

#2. 13 Assassins

I’m a samurai aficionado. Some of my favorite things in the world (books, movies and comics) are samurai related. But, lately, there has been a dry spell in samurai period pieces. So, when I saw this movie on Netflix, I jumped at it right away. 13 Assassins didn’t disappoint. This flick is epic. Divided into two parts, the first half of the film was a political drama that fleshed out the characters. The second half is a 40-minute bloodbath where 13 samurai turns a whole town into a death trap and kills 200 bad guys. Yes, the violence is over the top. But that’s what made this movie so fun.

#1. Hugo

Hugo took me by surprise. I went out to see this movie because I mistook it for a steampunk. Although while its setting has a lot of steampunk elements (trains and clockworks), its story is actually about the invention of movies and of the film-pioneer Georges Meilies, who produced and directed Trip to the Moon (one of the first sci-fi films that is now considered by many as steampunk). Scorsese could’ve made this film as a historical 1930’s period piece. But, instead, he saddled it with clockwork automatas and made this film about the history of film even more magical than it already is.

So, these are my best films for 2011. I hope you guys like my list. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the best books I’ve read this year.

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Christmas at the Movies

I don’t know why but movies are even more magical to me during the holidays. So, ever since I was a kid, I always celebrate Christmas at home with a movie marathon. Most of the time I’d do it with my family, sometimes with my friends, and sometimes just by myself. I’d usually start around noon and finish by midnight.

Today, however, after so many years (I’d say 16 years), I didn’t spend the Christmas the way I used to. I broke my own tradition.

Around 10 this morning, while I was getting ready to watch some of my favorite holiday movies, like Home Alone, Jingle All The Way, and The Lord of the Rings, I received a call from “the girl” asking me if I wanted to catch a flick with her. Apparently, her boyfriend went home for Christmas. Her friends and siblings are also not available for a movie date. So, as her last resort, and probably knowing that I would go with her, she called me. I said “Yes”, instantaneously.

On my commute to the theater, I started to dread the movie date. Because: (a) what we’re doing might fall into the category of cheating; and (b) what if she chose to watch Breaking Dawn? But, to my relief, she wanted to see War Horse. As for my former concern, I think I’m honorable enough not to steal another man’s girl. I also know that, even though she likes me, she still loves him. So, no cheating. Just a friendly date.

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As for War Horse, we both liked the movie. It’s an epic historical drama. A film perfect for the holidays. What I liked about the movie is that it displayed WWI in multiple viewpoints. It showcased the lives of English, German, and French, soldiers and citizens, in various episodes as Joey (aka War Horse) is passed on from owner to different owner. The film is also unbiased, it showed that there are both good and evil men in both sides of the conflict.

We got out War Horse past 2:30pm, too early to go home and less than 45 minutes before the next showing of Hugo starts. Since I wanted to watch Hugo, I asked her if she wanted to watch it with me. She did. So, I bought us tickets, another round of drinks and hot dogs, and we were off to see our second movie.

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Hugo, I loved even more. In fact, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. This film caught me by surprise. I only wanted to see it because of the steampunk elements that I’ve seen in the trailers. But its story is really about the invention of movies and also a tribute to the film-maker pioneer, Georges Meilies, who made Trip to the Moon (one of the first sci-fi films that is now considered by many as steampunk). This is probably the most, if not the only, magical historical film that I’ve seen.

It was almost 6 when we separated ways and, on the way home, I realized that this was the most unusual Christmas I’ve ever had. I was in love. I didn’t do a movie marathon at home. I spent almost 6 hours with the girl I like, and watched two great movies with her. Yeah, she’s not my girl, she might never become my girl. But, as of this moment, this is the best Christmas. Ever.

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