Thursday, April 22


Ron Perlman stars as the devilish hero with the Hand of Doom.

I needed a break. After feeling a headache and feeling dizzy at the office the whole day, I went out at quitting time and found myself making a beeline for Glorietta 4's cinemas. I had dinner at World Chicken and had myself the delicious grilled chicken with tuna pasta, mashed potatoes and garlic rice- an old favorite several years ago when I was in another agency. Sated and refreshed, I entered the theater for my first movie in many, many weeks.

Spoiler Warning!

Hellboy is based on the comic by Mike Mignola, a comic that I have known about for years but have never really read. The movie stars Ron Perlman (Vincent in the Beauty and the Beast TV series) as Hellboy, a young demon adopted by the brilliant and kind Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm (John Hurt) during World War II and now serving as a protector of mankind against supernatural dangers.
The movie shows (in a somewhat overlong sequence) Hellboy's origin and the beginning of the main threat- the plot of mystic Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) to free some tentacled, Lovecraftian demon gods from another dimension.

Fast forward to present day; Rasputin returns thanks to the efforts of his cronies: cold, immortal Aryan beauty Ilsa (Bridget Hodson) and the deadly clockwork blade-swinging zombie assassin Kroenen (Ladislav Beran). Naturally, they start setting their delayed plan into motion once again.

Meanwhile, Hellboy's a bit older now- 60 years older in human years but only a teenager in demon time. He's the primary agent of the B.P.R.D., the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, an MIB-like agency that battles things that "go bump in the night." Along with H.B. are Abe Sapien(voiced by David Hyde-Pierce), a telepathic amphibian creature, and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), a young woman with pyrokinetic abilities. Joined by John Myers (Rupert Evans), a recently-transferred FBI agent, the freaks for freedom battle tentacled monsters from destroying the world.

Hellboy has a lot of good things going for it; perfect casting for the titular character (Ron Perlman IS Hellboy!), cool SFX and CG all around, lots of opportunities for body-slamming, wall-smashing action, creepy monsters and dastardly villains, and in the middle of it all, a hero with filed-off horns, a big stone hand and the heart and angst of a teenager.

However, the film lets down a bit with a somewhat dragging pace that had me just wishing that the movie would just hurry to the good parts I knew were there even though it was my first time to see it. Most of the action and fight scenes, while showing off cool effects, don't have the oomph I was expecting- this was especially apparent in scenes showing off the ultra-cool Kroenen. Hellboy's answer to Darth Maul dazzles with the expected martial-artsy swordplay, but the climactic fight with H.B. just seemed to lack impact. In fact, the whole endgame was kinda... blah. Not boring. Hell, no. Just... not as great as I thought it would be.

This is pretty much how it is with the whole movie; the support characters are interesting but don't register as much as Hellboy himself- support characters like Abe and Liz don't see too much action, and neither do lead villains Grigori or Ilsa- they just seem to drift in and out with little depth and purpose. The BPRD isn't too formidable as an agency- all the agents seem to be as perishable as your garden variety Star Trek 'red shirts'. So the movie seems to be really heavy with Hellboy versus tentacled demon action, and little else of much consequence. H.B. may have a Big Frickin' Gun and the Hand of Doom, but a better-paced script would have caused more impact.

In the end, I liked Hellboy, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would- perhaps I should have lowered my expectations. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement in a sequel, which is almost certain given the film's success at the box office. Anyway, maybe this latest comics-to-movie will grow on me; I'll most probably catch it again with the gang this weekend.

Wednesday, April 21

New Art

The variety of art styles used in the upcoming K.I.A special is truly a sight to see. The latest submissions show off this range excellently

Karen 'Katch' Cheung hasn't had as much exposure as others in the lineup, but her potential and talent are obvious to see with her unique, distinct style and strong lines. I wrote 'Freedom' to be a pivotal story in the anthology, and I think it's done great justice with the finished pages. I can't wait to see this in the final book.

'Freedom', written by yours truly, art by Karen 'Katch' Cheung.

'Under the Influence', written by Nikki Alfar, art by Andrew Drilon.

Andrew Drilon is one of the most promising young writers and artists in the gang today, showing off his depth and talent in indie publications and the recently-released Siglo: Freedom. Now, we get to see him do sexy action! Nikki Alfar wanted her story to have a unique look this time around and that's exactly what she's getting. I'm pretty happy with the first batch of pages Andrew's given, and can't wait for the rest.

More as this develops. This is fun. Heh.

Tuesday, April 20

Ghosts Revisited

This morning, I came to the seminar early in anticipation of the day's work. I met up with my office's administrator and chatted with her about the supernatural occurences at our present digs. As I've posted before, there have been some eerie stuff going on at our office. There have been some rumors of sightings of spirits, something not unexpected since the building is the site of several terrible fatal accidents.
Our administrator lady told me the first eerie encounter with the scariest apparition; The Bloody Man. It happened some months ago, when she was doing an ocular inspection of the floor. As she was standing near the hallway leading to an empty office space opposite our own area, she saw a man dressed in the customary garb of carpenters/laborers. She then sensed something unnatural, and (as would always happen, as she says) she couldn't look away. She described that the man was turning around in place, though his legs and feet weren't visibly moving- it was as if he was sliding around in an eerie, sliding motion.


Anyway, she described the man as being bloodied, with torn skin and a gory appearance. After seeing this terrifying sight, she immediately left the area.

Now, weeks and weeks later, we're occupying half of the floor. The area where the Bloody Man was sighted is a stone's throw away from our area, and along the way to the Comfort Rooms. During late night overtime sessions, my officemates have often taken to going in groups or pairs to the CRs. The Men's Room is continually breaking down, with leaking pipes that constantly flood the floors with urine and worse, stinky shit. Faulty plumbing, low-quality materials or a curse from beyond, asking to be seen and heard?

These days, a new office is being built into one of the areas opposite our office, though the place nearest to the Men's CR, the haunt of the Bloody Man and other spirits, is still unoccupied.

The saga continues...

I've spent the last couple of days in a hotel boardroom, learning how to do a better presentation and improve my speaking skills from international lecturer Wayne Lotherington, whom I dubbed 'Lord of the Ringtones'. Heh. He was a pretty cool speaker with lots of great insights, a killer memory and an eye for detail and an eerie resemblance to Hollywood actor Leland Orser (a guy who usually plays deranged or unbalanced characters). Despite my reservations initially, it actually turned out to be fun and I even got into making our final presentation as best as I could, and I was able to use my trusty 6600 and laptop combo to great effect. Bluetooth and Mac CD burners RULE! Heh.
Anyway, I wish these sort of things don't come too often- I love the scrumptious buffet lunches, but having to do these special projects and exerting extra effort on top of regular work can just wear a guy out so fast.

Sunday, April 18

Stratos 4

Just saw a couple of episodes of Stratos 4 on Animax. This 13-episode anime is about a quartet of girls who are training to become Comet Blasters, an elite squadron of space pilots whose duty it is to defend the earth from the threat of asteroids and other dangers from space. Along the way they bond together as anime girls do- with some girl-on-girl risque moments and the predictable hot springs scene- and eventually reach the enviable position to save the earth from impending cosmic doom.
I pretty much ignored this series every time it was shown on Animax; it's just too clean and generic and didn't seem to appeal to me. However, it DOES have quite a lot of fan service, so that's a plus. It's still just your run of the mill, standard anime though- really clean and decent animation, but little uniqueness in character or personality to make it anything more than a passing diversion.
Well, at the very least Vandread fans can have fun in seeing Meia Gisborn and Dita Liebely in a cameo. Heh.

Hey, I've seen these two somewhere else before...