Friday, May 27

K.I.A. : Killer Interview Accessible


Kai speaks her mind.

Writers Pepe Diokno and James Gabrillo risk life and limb to interview the Unkillable Agent K! See the whole article in tomorrow's (May 28) Saturday edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in the trendy Super! section.

But if you can't be bothered to rush to the newsstand to get a paper, you can just click this link for the whole story. Fun stuff!

As again, K.I.A. - Kai: Indomitable Assassin is available at all Comic Quest branches for only Php195. That's 160 pages of sexy action from some of the best names in local comics. Get your copy now!
Movie Meme

Passed to me by Vin.

Total number of films I own on DVD/Video:

About a shelf-full of dvds, mixing both bootlegs and some choice, prized originals such as the entire Lord of the Rings Extended DVD Sets. A cabinet more of crappy VCDs and a couple of boxes worth of VHS anime (a holdout from the early 90s).

The Last Film I Bought:

VCDs of Raiders of the Lost Ark (a steal for P75!) and Doll Master (SUCKS).

Films that I watch or mean a LOT to me:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
What can I say? The perfect adaptation of one of the best fantasy sagas of our time. I've always said in my youth, I've never seen a film that really captures the images that I myself see in my head when I imagine high fantasy. That was before I saw Peter Jackson's interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien's visions on the screen. Magnificent.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
The perfect action-adventure film. Nuff said.

Battle Royale
This film just blew me away the first time I saw it. Still does today. I love this for the courage, the starkness and the sheer Japanese-y balls that made it happen. Which is probably why I can't bring myself to watch the watered-down sequel.

Kung Fu Hustle
Stephen Chow's martial arts opus is just a riot. Dancing gangsters? Death by Harp? Hidden warriors? Martial arts magic up the wazoo? Sold. The film that proved that not all Asian kung fu epics have to be serious Wuxia dramas.

The Fifth Element
A live action anime if I ever saw one. Good-natured adventure and fun with incredible visuals, a cool story and Milla Jovovich in nothing but bandages. Yum.

Twister
Guilty pleasure fun. Mindless action with lots of gravy (literally, too). Just turn off brain. Watch.

Ninja Scroll
THE anime movie to watch in the 90s stilll holds up excellently today. Incredible action and animation that should convert anyone who thinks that cartoons are just for kids. Bloody incredible and still unequalled in many ways today even by the latest anime features.

Sneakers
Lovely, funny and cool caper movie and one of my old faves back in my college days. Really cool music too.

Dungeons and Dragons
I keep a copy to remind me how NOT to do a fantasy film. Watching LOTR afterwards is even more pleasurable.

The Princess Bride
Understated classic. Perfect casting, nice laughs, great dialogue and action, and perhaps one of the coolest lines in film. "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Silence of the Lambs
The first film that introduced us to Hannibal Lecter is still the best despite a couple of sequel/prequels. Fascinating, scary and gripping from beginning to end. The perfect thriller.

Who would I pass this to? Well, most of them have already answered this meme. Anyway, I guess I could pass it to Jeremy and Budjette. Ah, movies. What's next after Episode 3? Well, Sin City and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, both out this June.
Little Pleasures


Got it.

Yesterday, right on the dot I left the office at quitting time and hied off to Park Square to get my own O2 XDA II Mini pocket pc phone. I went in a rush, not wanting to stay for long with a wad of cash in my pockets. When I finally unloaded and got my new mobile, it was a mix of relief and tech-glee. It's been a bit of a trick to decide how, where and when to get my new toy- the device is HOT right now, so it's pretty pricey at just beneath 39K. But then, chances are I would be staying with this device for the long run (Yes, Damn it) so I sprang for a brand-new model with warranty and all the trimmings. You can't really take chances with something like this- a used one may save me a couple of thousand pisetas, but if it has a messy OS or some unknown glitch or defect, I have little defense.

Anyway, got it and rushed off home. Spent the night with the Mini plugged in for the initial 8-hour battery charge. Along the way I started customizing it, loading some themes and wallpapers, loading several games and my fave app Pocket TV. I'll add more as I weigh the capacity of the somewhat lesser RAM and ROM (half that of the XDA II).

What can I say? It's GORGEOUS. The thing is also freaking tiny. How tiny? See for yourself...


Comparing the XDA II with the Mini and a Nokia 7610.

The Mini isn't light as a feather- it's substantially weighty, but not overly so. The size is amazing, and it just fits so well in the hand (granted I have a big hand). The 2.8" screen is lovely- just perfect for looking at photos or watching vids. And wallpapers as well, so it was a treat to just select what wallpaper I would use for the moment.

In terms of features and apps, the Mini seems to accept most of the programs I used for the XDA II... though a message would pop up warning of possible incompatibility. The interface and general handling is almost the same- though I have to get used to a plethora of little tweaks and some new elements, such as a more complex playlist system for the embedded Windows Media 10 Player, and the ability to switch to landscape mode at the touch of a button (great for looking at text and webpages, I hear).

One gripe I guess is the Megapixel camera- which, in low lighting, suddenly breaks out with irritating snow. It's not as much of a problem in well-lit places or outdoors, but in The Sanctum, with just the ceiling light, things were flaked with white dots. Not nice, but a little tweak of the camera settings is supposed to remedy this problem a bit. Otherwise though, the camera is nice and a step up from the VGA cam of the XDA II.
Oh well. It's actually not that much of a thrill as it is a pleasurable reunion since I'm pretty familiar with most of the features and interface. Still, it's great to be able to have my mobile multimedia back. Next step is to get a decent belt holster with loop and a charge-sync cable. Things are just peachy. Hoho!

Thursday, May 26

I am an Aga Muhlach-soundalike.


"Chickenjoy..."

I've had a third person tell me this. Only talked to this person twice, and she commented it a while ago. The first person who told me this is one of my officemates who once worked with the actor on a shoot, and met him in person.

I guess I probably DO sound like Mr. Muhlach.

Maybe I can charge for fees as a radio or voice talent stand-in for him? Maybe someday I'll end up with a girl who sounds just like Charlene. Hoho!

Wednesday, May 25

Distraction



While I'm waiting to get my next mobile, it's natural that I could be vulnerable to some... detours. Just the other day I found myself ogling and enamoured in the O2 Xphone II. While I've been through a lot of 'smart' phones using the Symbian platform, I was actually quite surprised by the concept of a Windows-based smartphone. These are phones that have PDA/PIM functions, but lack the touchscreen and basic apps of true Pocket PCs. I actually found myself considering getting an Xphone II.
I went to a local forum/website and the Filipino smartphoners are going all wild over the Xphone II, which is apparently coming into the country very shortly. Their enthusiasm for the device was contagious, and I found myself lusting for the device.
The PROs are: It is very small and handy and is a real phone device, with a numeric keypad to make texting easy. The Windows OS gives me apps that I like, including games and a version of Pocket TV. The battery life is very good, at about three days of normal use (supposedly). And darn, the phone looks slick. All that for about 20K, almost half what I would spend for an XDA2 Mini.

But then, I finally realized stuff. There are the CONs. Big glaring CONS. No touchscreen. Far smaller screen (176 x 220) means tiny videos which I haven't suffered through since owning a 7610. No Pocket Word or Notes to easily scribble down stuff. Requires third-party apps to be able to send or receive files though Bluetooth. Worse of all, the Xphone II only uses mini-SD cards for memory expansion, limiting extra storage space to just 512 MB. I need my Gig of space!!!

I realized that the Xphone II was just a shortcut... a stopgap... an inferior substitute for what I really wanted.

And so, no deal. I was distracted for a bit, but no. It's the Mini or nothing.

Well, in the end it was just a little wavering in the faith. It was a harmless distraction, and looking on the bright side it was a good way to occupy my interest for a bit. I could not have gotten the Xphone II now even if I wanted to, since the phone hasn't arrived here yet. So, it's back to lusting and pining for my lovely, future O2 XDA2 Mini.

I'll be having my new toy soon enough. Stay tuned. Heh.

Tuesday, May 24

Because Vinnie Asked...

... I will cite that one scene both of us liked in Episode III was the scene where Mace Windu (Samuel Jackson) meets his fate. I never really liked Windu in the previous prequels- he was just too distant, always just standing back and rubbing his chin. It took that appearance in the Clone Wars cartoons (where he basically beats up an entire droid army by himself) to make me kinda like him. His part in ROTS made me like him even more- not only because he was able to kick Palpatine's butt, but he was actually the turning point of the entire conflict. If ONLY Anakin stayed true to him- earned his trust and obeyed that simple order to stay put- the Sith Lord would be dead and the galaxy saved. Maybe.

Anyway, I'd like to think that maybe Master Windu survived his getting blasted by evil electricity and thrown off into the wild blue yonder. Yep... crippled but alive, he slinks off to retire in exile, and have a son... named Lando (who changes his last name to Calrissian since Lando Windu just sounds wrong). Heh.

Monday, May 23

Strike Three


Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) cackles his way to power in Revenge of the Sith.

I really wanted this, the final Star Wars prequel, to be great. No, not even great. I just wanted it to be at least good. I mean, I’ve always maintained that the first two Episodes were misses that left the SW fan in me wanting. Surely, the finale, the crescendo, the climax of this saga of tragic destiny would at the very least be the best of this controversial trilogy. Was it?

SPOILERS AHEAD

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) being seduced into the Dark Side of the Force by the now-revealed Sith Lord, Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Amidst the final moments of the Sith-orchestrated and manipulated Clone Wars, the Master of the Dark Side turns Anakin into his new apprentice and instrument to eradicate the Jedi Order and take control of the galaxy.
We all know the story; In his quest to save his secret wife Padme (Natalie Portman) from a premonition of death, Anakin turns to the one sympathetic ear and voice- that of Palpatine, who promises that the Dark Side holds the secret of Immortality. Once he has his new apprentice, the new Emperor enacts Order 66, a silent command ingrained in every clone trooper’s programming. Throughout the galaxy, Jedi are slaughtered by the very troops they’ve led all these years in the war. Obi Wan and Yoda, seemingly the only survivors, make one last try to stop the Sith from totally sweeping the board clean.

Of course, we all know that they inevitably fail, evil triumphs and everything goes to sith, er shit, in the end. Though there is of course hope in the form of twin infants, born to eventually become the retro-heroes of the retro future Star Wars movies.

Despite knowing all this, most of us probably still go into the theater expecting a great time, with tons of eye candy CG battles to go ga-ga over, drama to make us gasp and tragedy to make us want to stick in those original Star Wars trilogy dvds into the player to continue the saga and have a happy ever after.

Alas, I have to sadly say that watching Episode III was not all that.

What could have been the best of the three prequel chapters is marred by even more of the trilogy’s painful dialogue, a dragging middle and yet again, inadequate acting on the part of the lead and a plethora of unintentionally-funny moments. I’ve never seen a movie with so many horrible, irritating sound effects and bad selection of voices in all my life. Sure, Star Wars has always had the weird alien accents and funny droid voices- but here, it’s all horribly overdone to the point of fingers-on-blackboard excruciation.
The bad streak continues throughout the film, with wooden lines and clich├ęd dialogue spouting from almost everyone’s mouth from beginning to end. In fact, the dialogue was so bad that four of our group of six left the theater without finishing the movie!
Anyway… Vin and I were the only ones brave enough to sit through to the end, since we’re both suckers for eye candy. We had to bear through the silliness. Sigh.

Most painful spots…

Grievous showing off his four lightsabres then getting easily disarmed after a few seconds. Why is real-life Grievous nowhere near as KICK-ASS as his cartoon incarnation?

The whole drawn-out landing scene after Dooku (Christopher Lee) gets his should have just been cut entirely from the film.

Palpatine showing his true, grotesque prune face and thereafter going through what seems to be an endless amount of belching, groaning, wheezing and voice changing. Well, he overacted in Return of the Jedi…. He’s just being consistent…

Yoda using the force to throw Palpatine backward- the Sith Lord falls over his table, legs flailing so awkwardly it seemed like a scene from some amateur fan film.

Every scene between Anakin and Padme with dialogue.

Vader going “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” as the camera zooms out…

Lots more.

Were there good scenes? Well, the Jedi massacre was kinda neat, and it sort of reminded me of massacre scenes from The Godfather.

The juxtaposition of Vader’s reconstruction and the birth of the twins was a good touch.

Anakin going extra-crispy!

So… How do I find Episode III compared to the first two prequels? Phantom Menace still reeks as the absolute worst. Revenge of the Sith ends up only being slightly better than Episode II. And of course, the Clone Wars cartoons kick the asses of ALL these prequel films. Seriously.

Of course, there is still a lot of CG-enhanced action that's worth seeing- lots of cool space battles and pitched fights between Separatist Droids and Clone troops; The final Grievous-Obi Wan fight was pretty cool, and the dual-finale duels between The Emperor and Yoda/Anakin and Obi Wan were the highlights of the film. Palpatine makes a creepily cool and menacing fighter, which makes me kinda sad that he didn't take up a lightsabre in Return of the Jedi.

Of the performers, Ewan McGregor rises head and shoulders above pretty much everyone… at least I do see Alec Guiness in his performance, and that’s good. Ian McDiarmid is cackly and evil and over-the-top evil... which is fine. Christopher Lee and Jimmy Smits make the most out of their relatively tiny appearances in the film. Again, the point of controversy will be without a doubt Hayden Christensen, on whose performance much of the film's validity will revolve. For me, he probably gives it his all, but he just comes out as a mumbly frustrated brat. If that's what Lucas wanted, well, good for him.

Of course, SW geeks can freak out at the loads of in-jokes and little details... yeah, Chewbacca is in there, as is a young Grand Moff Tarkin and the Blockade Runner from the original Star Wars… these little touches are not enough to save this clunky, heavy-handed finale however. Darn, it could have been so much better. Oh well.

What an end to such a beloved franchise. On the one positive note, watching it DID make me want to break out the original trilogy films.

OH! And I was able to touch and handle an O2 XDA II Mini at the funky-smelling Globe Hub at The Podium. That was nice.

Gah.