Movie review: “Crazy Rich Asians”

Some background before my movie review for Crazy Rich Asians:

I LOVE the Crazy Rich Asians series. I went to both signings that Fully Booked organized for Kevin Kwan: the first one in 2015 to promote China Rich Girlfriend, and the second one in 2017 for Rich People Problems.

So yes. Because of this:

  1. I’m heavily invested in this series.
  2. There will be SPOILERS in this movie review.
  3. There will be comparisons to the books.

All set? Everyone ready? Let’s do this!

Continue reading “Movie review: “Crazy Rich Asians””

The Force Awakened and everything was awesome

I’m a Star Wars geek. That’s probably one of the first things that people find out after they meet me for the first time. I’ve been a fan since I was twelve years old and it’s such a big part of my life that I’ll still be a fan when I’m a hundred and twelve.

What’s life like as a Star Wars fan? I’ve lost count of Star Wars books and comics I have on my shelves (OT: I love the Expanded Universe. Well, most of it. But Timothy Zahn will forever get a pass from me because he created my two favorite characters: Mara Jade and Jaina Solo.). I have costumes! And a lightsaber! And a few toys that I really like (I’m not much for toys but I make exceptions every now and then). I’ve made a lot of great friends over the years because of Star Wars. I also met my future husband because of Star Wars. That’s pretty huge ๐Ÿ™‚

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released last December 17 in the Philippines (and December 18 in the US). I’m not going to discuss the movie here – you can do that in countless other sites. (Btw, half of my prediction about Kylo Ren and Rey came true.) I’m going to talk about ALL THE FUN I HAD in the days leading up to TFA <3

I got to sit in the cockpit of a life-sized X-Wing. I repeat: I GOT TO SIT IN THE COCKPIT OF AN X-WING. 01a me in xwing4_oneal

Photo by Oneal Rosero

See that happy smile? That’s the smile of someone who’s read all the X-Wing novels and comics and whose dreams finally came true.

01b me in xwing8 - by mikko miciano

Photo by Mikko Miciano

That photo was part of a bigger photo session with the rest of the Rebel Legion: Bagong Pag-asa Outpost and the Philippine Garrison of the 501st Legion. We looked pretty awesome.
03 TFA3 - RL and 501st by Lawrence Aliwalas and Milchy Pe

Photo by Lawrence Aliwalas and Milchy Pe

02 rebels2 - by robbie ramos

Photo by Robbie Ramos

Speaking of awesome, I officially joined the Rebel Legion with my Jaina Solo costume! I have my previous Padme pastel lake dress (made in 2005 for Revenge of the Sith) and the Padme light blue Tatooine dress (made in 2006-07 but never worn because I never developedย the abs to pull it off) but they didn’t pass muster for the RL. Jaina Solo is my favorite EU character so going Jedi for her felt great.

04 RL member card

Ignore my character card design. I don’t have an action pose because I don’t have a purple lightsaber (YET) and I couldn’t use my existing Anakin Skywalker Master Replica Force FX Lightsaber because it isn’t canon (or is it?).

This is Rej and me as Rey and Jaina Solo, respectively. Oh look! Jaina’s carrying Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber! Just saying.

05 TFA1 - rey and jaina solo -by Aids

Photo by Adrian Arcega

I was supposed to attend the gala premiere on December 15 but I couldn’t because of an office event (curses!) and Adrian couldn’t attend either, so our first screening was during an advanced screening on December 16. Just a day late. No biggie. And we also had friends with us so that was pretty awesome also.

07 advanced screening

These are the faces of Star Wars fans who’ve waited years to see Episode VII.

08 happy faces

How was the movie? After seeing it three times (Dolby Atmos, regular 2D, and IMAX 3D), my overall score is 8.5 out of 10. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac (*eeeeeee <3*) are all capable and charismatic actors and are fine additions to the cast. FYI I’m shipping Poe/Rey right about now. Seeing Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher again as Han and Leia gave me both joy and heartbreak. But as a whole,ย The Force Awakens is essentially an Original Trilogy Greatest Hits. Whether you find that a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. Part of me liked seeing the same themes because let’s face it, history repeats itself. At its core, Star Wars is about the Skywalker family. But now that J.J. Abrams is done with his nostalgia trip, here’s hoping that Star Wars breaks new ground in Episodes VIII and IX.

Movie review: “The Dark Knight Rises” (no spoilers!)

First off, let me just say THANK YOU to Ms. Sionee over at Warner Bros. Philippines for the ticket to the The Dark Knight Rises premiere yesterday at the IMAX Theater in SM Mall of Asia. Hooray for the Philippine premiere taking place two days before the US release date! I had a great time dressing up as Catwoman (despite the non-stop arguments with the costume-maker that shall not be posted here). The official synopsis:

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.

But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.

In an overused-but-absolutely-appropriate word? EPIC. It was a fitting, spectacular, and fantastic end to Christopher Nolan’s Batman universe. Yes it was a long movie – you feel the 2 hours 45 minutes running time, especially near the big battle at the end – but each second served a purpose and I appreciated that. Just make sure to go to the toilet before the movie ๐Ÿ˜›

Christian Bale is Batman. There are no other words for it. Despite growing up with Michael Keaton’s take, Christian Bale is my Batman. If/When (?) they do reboot the franchise, I hope they’ll wait a good 10-15 years.

Michael Caine as Alfred personifies the loyalty and pain associated with being Bruce Wayne’s closest confidant. He only wants what’s best for Bruce, even if that means Bruce giving up the cowl. I was disappointed that he wasn’t in the movie more but I understand why he wasn’t.

Gary Oldman also does a great job as world-weary Commissioner Gordon. He hates that he had to set up Batman as the villain but accepts that he had to do it for the greater good. He desperately wants to tell the people of Gotham the truth but he knows that they aren’t ready yet. He’s sidelined for part of the movie but bounces back to lead the charge against Bane.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt fits into the cast with ease. John Blake is a rookie cop who joins the GCPD after being inspired by Batman. Blake starts out as a beat cop but Gordon reassigns him to take over the Bane investigation after he’s sidelined. JGL keeps on giving me reasons to love him. I loved his portrayal of John Blake. He’s an idealistic cop who wants to clean up Gotham’s streets for good and doesn’t believe the lies surrounding that fateful night with Dent.

Nothing’s changed much in Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Lucius Fox but then again, nothing much has changed for Fox since TDK. Wayne Enterprises has gone down somewhat in recent years because Bruce mothballed an energy project but he’s still the CEO.

Tom Hardy was perfect as Bane. The raw physicality, the intelligence, and cunning were all there. This isn’t the brainless lackey of the Schumacher film. Definitely appreciated the weight he gained for this role and with his boots, he stands as tall as Bale. My only complaints are 1) I didn’t get to see Tom’s handsome face :P, and 2) the mask doesn’t help the voice at all. I had some problems understanding what he was saying.

Ah yes, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Note that they never refer to her as “Catwoman” in the movie – it’s always “Selina” or the “cat burglar”. All the haters can finally STFU now because Hathaway turned in a magnificent performance as Selina. I loved her fluid grace, her slinky way of speaking, and her badassery during the fight scenes. I wonder how many times she fell on her ass after doing those high kicks in her ridiculous stiletto heels. There were no campy purrs, meows, or obvious favoritism for cats.

Marion Cotilliard also turns in a great performance as Miranda Tate. Let me just confirm that those previous rumors and spoilers surrounding her character are true. That’s all I’m going to say.

Extra notes:
Yes, the scenes near the end (I can’t describe them any better than that for fear of spoilers) really are long, but they underscore Bruce’s desperation. We also get a lot of back story too so that should keep people satisfied.

The ending killed me. That’s all I can say. I was totally satisfied with the ending for everyone involved. I wanted to shout out “YES!!!” in the middle of an IMAX theater. The rumors surrounding JGL’s character are also true. Maybe we can all discuss it after the first week of showing.

The big question: is The Dark Knight Rises better than The Dark Knight? For me, it depends on what you’re after. I think TDK slightly edges out TDKR as the superior movie largely due to Heath Ledger’s Joker, who is still the most interesting and complicated villain we’ve had to date. However, the ending of TDKR made the movie for me so even though it’s not quite as good as TDK, TDKR is my favorite of the three Nolan films.

One suggestion: see The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. Yes it’s more expensive but it’s absolutely worth the experience. The IMAX theater at SM Mall of Asia will show The Dark Knight Rises 24-hours a day for opening weekend until 3am on Monday (July 23). Yahoo!

 

After the movie, a very happy camper.

 

 

Movie review: “The Avengers” (2012)

Oh my god, there aren’t enough adjectives to describe how awesome this movie is. I specifically scheduled my days off so that I’d be able to see it on opening day and IT WAS SO WORTH IT. (Do I thank the movie pirates for forcing Marvel to release the movie in the Philippines ahead of North America?) I also got to watch it with 30 other geeky friends so that added to the enjoyment methinks, PLUS I got to see it again last night in 3D with Aids ๐Ÿ˜€

You know Joss Whedon directed and/or wrote the script because of:

  1. badass female character kicking everyone else’s ass
  2. the copious use of snarky one-liners. Iron Man doesn’t have a monopoly on them anymore.

I’m all for #1 but #2 is somewhat 70/30. The one-liners are great and in-character when they’re coming from Iron Man but they were a bit off coming from someone like Thor or the Cap.

Why I love this movie: Continue reading “Movie review: “The Avengers” (2012)”

Book and movie review: “I am Number Four” by Pittacus Lore

I’ve wanted to read I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore ever since the movie came out (starring Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron) but never had the chance to because of a lack of time. Finally read the book while doing work in the lab that needed lots of downtime between runs ๐Ÿ˜›

Synopsis:

Number Four AKA John Smith is a member of the Garde from the planet Lorien, sent to Earth (with eight other children) to hide from the Mogadorians, the evil species that attacked Lorien and decimated it. The nine children were supposed to grow up, discover their powers (called Legacies), train with the help of their Cepan guardians, and eventually fight the Mogadorians and save Lorien. Unfortunately, the Mogs found them first and started killing them off. The children are protected by a Loric charm so that they can only be killed in order. The first three are dead. Now they’re hunting Number Four.

John and Henri (his Cepan) move from Florida to Paradise, Ohio after Number Three is killed. John meets Sarah Hart, his love interest for the rest of the book. There’s also Sam Goode, a dorky kid who believes that his dad was abducted by extra-terrestrials. Mark James is Sarah’s asshole quarterback ex-boyfriend, who picks on John starting Day 1. Bernie Kosar is Four’s adopted beagle.

The review (spoilers ahead!):

Continue reading “Book and movie review: “I am Number Four” by Pittacus Lore”

Movies and music

The tickets

Aids and I were lucky enough to snag tickets to the opening night of Rakenrol in the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo in CCP last July 23. In fairness, Rakenrol merited a showing in the Main Theater ๐Ÿ˜€

Official description:

Odie and his best friend Irene are two outsiders who find a second home in the Philippine underground music scene. The two decide to form a band and put together an unlikely crew that consists of the school bully, an ex-punk-turned-barista, and a former-childstar-turned-band-manager. The film follows their misadventures as they face satanic S&M bands, samurai swindlers, narcissistic rockstars, the pretentious Philippine art community, and the freakiest music video auteur ever. Co-written by Diego Castillo, the guitarist of one of the Philippines’ biggest rock bands SANDWICH, and directed by multi-awarded music video director Quark Henares, “Rakenrol” is a heartfelt ode to the underground scene both filmmakers spent their formative years in. Continue reading “Movies and music”