Saturday, May 7

Traces of Sin

Hooray! I finally saw a large poster of Sin City at the Megamall cinemas. It says "Coming Soon", so at least while we Pinoys had to wait several weeks, we can look forward to some monochromatic sex and violence, graphic novel style, in the near future. Yay!
Solar Power

Solar USA is fast becoming my favorite channel these days. Not only has it returned the crass class of the WWE to my life, the recent additions of its new Jack TV block have given reality gag shows aplenty, raunchy and action-packed cartoons and finally... FINALLY... some tech and videogame programs. Today, I caught Cheat and Filter in the afternoon, both shows apparently from G4 TechTV (which presently has my lost favorite Extended Play/X-Play in it's lineup. And while I still miss Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler, the new shows show off quite a lot of game footage, strategies AND techie goodies up the wazoo. This is a GREAT leap over having to watch the same THREE episodes of Evolver over and over and over again. I just hope that these showings are the start of a regular program instead of just flukes.

Aside from Solar, my other fave channels these days are ETC, though not for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or those raunchy dating shows. Nope, ETC gives me my daily fix of Hollywood, through The Late Show and Conan O' Brien, and with Entertainment Tonight (though it's so tabloid-y... is that a word?).
Then there are my eternal staples: AXN, Discovery Channel and Animax (despite the latter having some ho-hum series lately).

With so much to watch, it's no wonder that I haven't been to any DVD stalls lately. Or to the anime shop. But then, that should change. I gotta keep my otaku and criminal sides healthy too, to keep myself well-rounded. Heheh.

Friday, May 6

Incontinent Jones

There's a fourth Indiana Jones film coming, according to various websites, including IGN and Ain't It Cool. At the very least, a script has been finalized and director Steven Spielberg has committed to filming it next year. Perhaps even George Lucas himself will take a hand in it seeing as how Star Wars is over and done.

Which leads me to thinking about what this extension of the classic pulp-action adventure series will be about? For one thing, Indy cannot be played by any other actor other than Harrison Ford. It just simply won't be Indy without him. Well, the former space scoundrel and whip-cracking hero is now a bit on the senior side, playing older characters in films like Six Days, Seven Nights and a very mature Jack Ryan in the earlier Tom Clancy adaptation films. Heck, he even played the US President in Air Force One. So how's an older Indy going to figure in the next one?

Will Indy 4 have a retired, aging Indy get called back out into action? Will he be married (hopefully to his first and best flame, Marion Ravenwood played by Nancy Allen) and have any kids? Perhaps the movie will involve a son or daughter also into archaeology- a great way to reverse the storyline from Last Crusade.

Will he still be fighting Nazis? Certainly, Jones doesn't need to be always fighting evil Germans to make a good film- he fought Thugees after all in Temple of Doom. But it may be kinda weird to have Indy fighting Al Qaeda.

As for the quest itself, what could it be? How do you top the Lost Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and the Sankara Stones? Perhaps the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Longinus Lance? The Cross of Christ? Hey... I'm waxing Evangelion here. Who knows, Indy may be fighting UFOs. Or maybe even clones. Yikes.

Well, all I can say is that I'm all for it. It'll be cool to have Indy have at it one last time. And maybe even to bequeath the old felt hat onto another adventurer's head- a great way to continue the series. I just hope they don't kill him off like Kirk in Star Trek Generations. That just stank. Perhaps the best way for Indy to end is to eventually die of old age and then end up in a museum. Heh. Well, whatever... the wait is gonna be a long one. Let's just all wait and see.
Phone Lust Rising...

I still want one.

It's been at least five months since I last switched phones/communicators. It's a boon to my wallet that my graduation to a Pocket PC Phone in my XDA II has pretty much limited me to lusting for that very particular range of devices. Yeah, despite some rather nice models from Nokia and Sony Ericsson, they are pretty much beneath my notice. Once you see the loveliness of PPC software, apps and games, there's no going back to Symbian. And yes, once you get used to watching your movies in Windows Media Player, or even better, Pocket TV, even the once-perfect Smartmovie now comes off as pale and inferior when you compare the AVIs to real WMVs and MPEGs.

And so, the only logical step for me to ever upgrade is with the O2 XDA II Mini AKA the I-Mate JAM AKA the HTC Magician. I've been telling myself that I really don't NEED the upgrade, but dagnab it... I WANT it. The form factor just rocks and the smaller size will make it less visible under my shirt (my current XDA II stands out like a brick unless I wear black tees). The supposedly better battery life will be cool (the XDA II lasts only a day at best with normal use)... I'll be happy with two full days with normal use. On the minus side, the 1.3 megapixel camera of the Mini is supposedly not up to par with equivalent facilities on other cameraphones, but it will surely be better than VGA. However, that's really not important for me.
Lastly, the screen. I'll miss the huge screen of the XDA II, but with the same resolution, I should get used to it fast. Anyway, I lasted for quite a while with far smaller screens in all my past smartphones and the P910i.

This will be my next 'project'. It will be sometime till the next comic- be it Angel Ace: Heaven's Punishment or K.I.A. 2. I think I deserve to be a phone whore again.

This post to be continued in a couple of months, when I have my mini in my hands.
Lip Service

Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) sets her sights in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

I absolutely love Angelina Jolie. If there was one actress who can pull of sexy and tough, it's her. Perhaps it's that natural swagger. Those killer eyes. Those original pouty lips. That killer physique. Darn this lady is one classy femme fatale (darn, I'd kill to have her in an Agent K outfit). I've loved her since I first saw her in Hackers, years and years ago. I loved her in Tomb Raider, despite how horrid that movie turned out to be. And I still love her now. I wish it was her instead of Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux, but then, I guess Miss Jolie can't take ALL the action roles, right?

It's great though that despite starring in a string of flops (Sky Captain, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life), she's still the hottest female lead in Hollywood. Well, hopefully her next film outing, the sexy action thriller Mr. and Mrs. Smith (with Brad Pitt) will be a hit (pun intended). The movie, about two married assassins gunning for each other, comes out this June.

Thursday, May 5


The sun sets for Lee, AKA the Fallen Angel.

Last night I got a couple of comics, one being the 4th issue of Shanna the She-Devil. The other was Fallen Angel 20, which is sadly the last issue of the title's run. I really love the character, the look and feel of the book, which is why I am really hoping that writer Peter David somehow pushes through with his plans to continue the series with another publisher. For now though, at least I have the satisfaction of having the entire 20-issue run completed (and the TPB as well). Once I have the time I'll just sit down with the lot and have a good, long read.

Fallen Angel was about the adventures of Lee, a shadowy, mysterious femme fatale and vigilante, sometimes fighting against, sometimes fighting for, the many dangerous factions and individuals in the dark, crime-infested city of Bete Noir. Written by Peter David, with art by David Lopez and Fernando Blanco.

I had lunch at home today, in celebration of my parents' 43rd Wedding Anniversary. Yep, 43 years together and still going strong. And hopefully, they'll stay that way for a few more decades to come. Heh. Anyway, work beckoned afterwards, so I was off on the MRT right after the meal. The good thing was I finally had a chance to go through Cubao's Gateway Mall and walk through the now-open bridgeway connecting the Aurora MRT to the EDSA train. It was pretty neat- getting down at the station, walking through the classy and lovely mall and to Farmer's Plaza without ever reaching open sky. Unfortunately, the mall and the walkway aren't open when it's most important for me- during early rush hour. Oh well, I guess I can make do to enjoy the more accessible Gateway in the afternoon or evening, during the off-chance I don't spend my after-work hours at Megamall and The Blood Bank.

Thanks to the recent developments, Cubao- Araneta Center in particular- is spectacular. The only reservations are, of course, security seeing how some depressed areas are still just right outside the lighted mall areas and al fresco restos. But we may just find ourselves (the gang) having dinner sometime under the Cubao Night Sky. As long as we take care and avoid the areas that smell of piss, I think we should do fine. Heh.

Wednesday, May 4

English Duds

Months and months after, I'm still gritting my teeth in agony whenever I watch one of Animax's crappy english dubs. The worst for me so far is Stratos 4, with their Bwookwyn and gangster-accented voices and retarded deliveries and dead air. Then there's the horrible job they did on Chobits which pretty much killed the cuteness of the main character, Chii. It's irritating as well to hear the same voices on various shows- it's weird to hear the voice of wise Detective Dan from Detective School Q coming from the evil Emperor of the Zaibach Empire in Vision of Escaflowne, or young sleuth Kyu's voice also coming from the lips of the maniacal Dulandau. It's pretty tiresome to have every old man sound the same, every young girl sound the same and so on. The english dubs as well seem to degrade the quality of the series they infest... and it seems that Animax may be sensing this. Take for example Saiyuki Reload, which started off in english. They've since abruptly returned the show to the Japanese dub for some reason. Well, I'm not complaining.

My question is, how did Filipino voice acting (the accents are unmistakeable) suddenly get on Animax, via the Digimon series? Is it because Digimon is being promoted locally? Or are we going to see more and more shows being dubbed by the local Dragonball dubbers?

Oh God NO. A thousands times NO.

The day that tagalog-sounding dubbers start infesting the Animax series is the day I start a petition. BAH.

It's been a whirlwind of work in The Salt Mines since Monday, which I recall was apparently declared a non-working holiday. Well, no matter that most of the working population was relaxing at home or enjoying their prolonged weekend... me and the crew at the office were working on a pitch which had us cooped up literally until the wee hours of the Tuesday morning.

Unfortunately, even after that, the day before me boded little rest. I had to attend a shoot for a pseudo-TV commercial. Now, shoots are usually cool things to attend, since agency people are usually treated like royalty. However, this shoot had rude and irritatingly self-serving crewmembers who hogged every seat and made it exceedingly hard to even get a good view of the monitor. Someone even stole my sandwich. SOMEONE STOLE MY FRICKIN' SANDWICH! Tama ba 'yon???!

GAH. Well, the only good thing was that the tail end of the shoot was held relatively near my homestead, so I didn't have any problem getting home in time to watch some primetime TV (instead of getting much-needed rest), particularly Encantadia, the new GMA7 Fantaserye (fantasy drama series) which I, amazingly enough, find quite enjoyable. Yes, despite some pedestrian acting and painful swordfighting choreography, Encantadia impresses with great (if derivative) costumes and sets, nice CG effects and best of all, a good pace to the precedings which so far has succeeded in keeping the show interesting and never dragging. What can I say? Encantadia rocks!

Also got to watch the newest shows on Channel 17 (USA Network), particularly the new shows on their Jack TV block. This includes a gaggle of reality gag shows and hidden camera skits, and some new cartoons like South Park and the raunchy Stripperella (voiced by Pamela Sue Anderson). Lots of interesting stuff- glad to see the channel has more than just WWE shows. Heh.

Well, the rest of the week doesn't look like it's going to let up... still got quite a bit more to go. But then, these things pay the bills and that's never bad. I'll also be paying off the balance for K.I.A. soon so that's behind me at least. Darn.

Can't wait for the weekend.

Monday, May 2

K.I.A. Review

'K.I.A.' pride
Posted 09:21pm (Mla time) May 01, 2005 By Ruel S. de Vera / Inquirer News Service Editor's
Note: Published on page D2 of the May 2, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

"K.I.A. Vol. I, Kai: Indomitable Assassin"
Created by Marco Dimaano 2005, 160 pages

EVEN when Marco Dimaano introduced her as the preeminent rival to the titular begoggled super-heroine in his "Angel Ace" comic book, the raven-haired, flinty-eyed assassin Kai Mishima (a.k.a. Agent K) always stood out from her introduction very early in the series.

Unlike the cookie-cutter, super-powered protagonist, Kai had a darker, edgier side to her, as Agent K had lost her memory and was all business all the time. Dimaano portrayed her as a rather thoughtful, intelligent and ultimately tragic figure, one that seemingly met her doom near the end of the last arc, "Angel Ace Next."

Now Agent K steps into the limelight, obviously alive and very much kicking (and stabbing and chopping, among other deadly movements). The self-published "K.I.A. Vol. I, Kai: Indomitable Assassin" features 13 short stories plus pinups in an affordable, black-and-white manga-sized anthology.

Dimaano writes most of the stories and illustrates three of them. Meanwhile, he has assembled a talented roster of other writers and artists to join in what is effectively an assassin's jam: Gerry Alanguilan, Dean Alfar, Nikki Alfar, Jeremy Arambulo, Arnold Arre, Michael Banting, Chad Cabrera, Karen Cheung, Joel Chua, Andrew Drilon, Honoel Ibardolaza, Jon Mallari, Marvin del Mundo, Elbert Or, Jennyson Rosero, Michael Seludo, Edgar Tadeo, Taga-ilog, Wilson Tortosa and Anthony Yap, indeed a murderer's row of Filipino comic talent.

"K.I.A." effectively provides not only the further adventures of Agent K and a satisfying explanation of her otherwise surprising survival following her apparent death. In "K.I.A.," we see Agent K at her busiest, doing the one thing she knows: killing.

From ingenious new ways of getting to the target to having to dispose of entire gangs of opponents, "K.I.A." gives what amounts to a workaday view of Kai as the consummate professional. We will doubtlessly see more of these elements in the anthology's future installments as Dimaano uncovers more of Kai's back story.

Strong art

Dimaano's clean, strong art combines western comic book influences and a more obvious manga effect: the resulting product really is something else altogether. It is funny and sardonic at times, and grimly action-oriented at other times. Indeed, "K.I.A." is a survey of the hitperson at work, so it is fiercely, unapologetically violent with much bloodshed and graphic blade work.

It's always something else when Dimaano gets to write and illustrate the adventures of his darker creation. There is a fluidity, a focused intensity, even delight to Dimaano's handling of Kai's stories in "The New Girl," "Mouse Trap" and the essential "A Shock To The System," all welcome departures from the cheerful escapism of "Angel Ace."

There's the tragic anime-flavored "Dreamkiller" and the cartoon-laced "Battery Included." The edgiest story is "Zindernuef," which refers to both Kai's inner fears and some of the unseen dynamics of the K.A.L.I. organization.

The book's depth is also derived from the fact that Kai herself is a compassionate lady liquidator-a contradiction she lives with constantly, particularly when it comes to the up-and-comers who seek her place as the top assassin. And the book's energy comes from Kai's acrobatic dance of death as her killer moves fly across the page like spinning shurikens.

Similarly, "K.I.A." also shines with the combined diversity of its cast of capable contributors, be they writers or artists. The varying styles and interpretations of Agent K maximize the power of this particular format, with something for everyone.

The revelation of "K.I.A" is artist Jennyson Rosero, whose story, "Intercept," vibrates with dynamism and elegance. A tale of Kai's escape with a purloined item from a well-guarded building, "Intercept" is the story that skews most closely to Japanese manga conventions as well as a taste of the evolution of a beloved character as portrayed by others, done to great effect.

With a few witty light moments thrown into the mix and Dimaano confidently leading the cast behind a fabulous character now deservedly on her own, "K.I.A. Vol. I" deploys solid, unabashed butt-kicking action in a world where the killer ladies have killer bodies, the battles are furious and all the roads available are forked.

Dimaano ties all the disparate stories together, weaving the tangents and the mythology into a very efficient book with different looks, much like Agent K herself, a hitwoman with all the right moves.

Available from all Comic Quest branches
Enchanted Realms

Sunshine Dizon stars as a fiery warrior in Encantadia.

Tonight I caught the tail end of the primer program for Encantadia, the newest fantaserye (fantasy drama series) from GMA 7. While I was quite skeptical from the start (and rightly so) with the much-hyped superhero crapper Darna, I am actually quite impressed with this new title.
Starring a host of lovely actresses/models as four princesses of four powerful kingdoms that make up the magical realm of Encantadia, the show boasts quite impressive visuals, in terms of costumes and sets; these are easily the equal of any Filipino fantasy movie (which is not saying much really but it's still surprisingly good). The show certainly looks pretty, but of course it all falls to the story, the performances and the characters to really show off the quality of the show.

However, the sight of armored warrior-vixens, dwarves, magical spells and some pretty nice-looking art direction has me wanting to catch the show already. I'm a sucker for both epic fantasy and local mythology, and I have enjoyed fantasy-tinged local films like Ang Panday, Once Upon A Time and even comedic clunkers like Pedro Penduko. And now, Encantadia. I have good vibes with this... Let's see how it goes. The show starts tomorrow on GMA7's primetime slot.

Sunday, May 1

Angel Ace: Tenchu

'Tenchu' is a word that anyone who plays videogames should be familiar with, thanks to the ninja stealth-action series of the same name. The word means 'Heaven's Punishment', and that sounds like a very good subtitle to this particular Angel Ace story that I am now thinking of pushing through.

We ended Angel Ace Next with the tragic, sudden death of Kai at the hands of her commander, Seta. Of course, since then we know that Kai doesn't really stay dead- in fact, she emerges stronger than ever and has her own title, to boot. However, it remains a fact that Kai was liquidated and has since gone through hell (and back). And through all this, Angel is happy and care-free in Newhaven, with a new life and new friends and a bright future.

Well, not anymore.

What would Angel do if she found out that her best friend in the world, a person closer to her than a sister, someone who trusted her even when no one else would, was murdered in cold blood? How would she react? What would she do? How far would she go?

Tenchu will no doubt surprise, if even shock, readers who have to date seen Angel only as the smiling, ever-friendly and light-hearted girl-next-door. But then, we have to remember that angels aren't just cute winged infants that shoot arrows of love. They're also Heaven's soldiers, and it is to angels that Heaven's Punishment- or Tenchu- is assigned to dispense. Here's a side of Angel that has never been portrayed yet on the page.

I am quite excited at the prospect of doing this issue. The action and fight scenes should be the most intense yet, and it'll be pushing the character to her limits and beyond. Plus, I think this is a story that has to be told- vital to the relationship of both Angel and Kai, and their two respective titles and storylines. Needless to say, this issue should also push the overall Angel Ace plot forward (Jayce will be happy) by showing a lot of the series' villains and explaining some of the background of the 'master plan' unfolding behind the scenes.

More on this as it happens. I start writing the scripts and drawing the pages soon.