Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year Folks!

Something different for a change. For my last blog entry for the year, I thought a personal entry might be fitting since I talk about movies too much here.We climbed Maruring Pass (in the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo on the Mabalacat side) last Dec 19 and all I got were these pictures and a lousy rash. I'm not complaining though. It was good, no, GREAT to finally be outdoors again and not have to define my life with a series of blogs. It's just sad that my body wasn't as nimble and agile as it used to be. I blame it on all those quarter pounders!

The first half was a breeze they even have this cool hanging bridge rigged with chickenwire that stretched for about 300 to 500 meters. By the time the people at the head of the trail reach the middle of the bridge, the whole bridge shakes like Vhong Navarro. Not for the squeamish or weak-stomached (I meant Vhong Navarro).

We got to chill with some of the Aetas in their pad. They wuz like homies just chillin in their crib, y'all.. They got the craziest 'fros and they keep 'em well groomed for people who don't go to the clubs that often. There was this one kid who I call "The Pimp" who was playing with some plastic balls he got from one of my friends.
The best part was the final stretch that led to the falls. It's not much but it looks fun if all you see is plastic partitions behind your desk and watch DVDs everyday.
The trek upstream was filled with jagged rocks biting into the soles of your naked feet and slippery rocks to hatch on on a particularly fun part of the hike where you actually have to scale a rock wall.

All in all I enjoyed the fact that I just got out, even for just a day and got into my element..even if I came home with a rash!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pop Quiz, Hotshot!!!

You think you got the chops to win a set of DVDs? Here is a really challenging year ender "Pop Movie Quiz by Guardian Unlimited Film". If you get as good as a 20 on your score, "you'll get the chance to win 10 each of the best books, DVDs and CDs of the year, as chosen by Word magazine". I got a 13, which isn't good enough. Good thing. Otherwise I'd be marked for life as a movie nerd (as if that hasn't happened already).

Props to

Jet Li Missing in Maldives--Found?

For some movie news eerily related to the latest global tragedy, our favorite Wushu champion/white guy-buttkicker Jet Li was reported missing in the weekend because he was vacationing with his family in the Maldives (talk about being in the wrong place in the wrong time.) His manager was trying to access him through cellular phone but couldn't contact him.
According to his manager has finally made contact and that they are safe...depending on how you understand the translation of the website release cuz the freakin thing was translated through babelfish!
Lets pray for real confirmation regarding this rumor... We can't afford to lose another asian martial arts hero.
In the meantime his newest action flick Danny the Dog (aka. Unleashed) will be released in europe early January and will hopefully get a local release before the US theaters open. I've seen the trailer early this month and it DOES look awesome.

Check out the official site here.

Props to Twitch for the Jet Li info.

Without Warning

The Death Toll on the Dec 26 Tsunami that ravaged South Asia including Sri Lanka,Thailand, Indonesia and the Maldives, has reached more than 22,000.
Our prayers and thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all the deceased and displaced. Kinda makes you think how lucky we, in the Philippines, still are despite all the corruption, crime and natural disasters we face in our own lives. We have lots to be thankful for and as with any tragedy we face, have to move on and not look back. This was an ugly tragedy that no one could have stopped. There were no illegal loggers, no unmade bridges, just nature's fury in its most devastating, most powerful form.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My 2004 Top Ten Best Movies!!

Well, 2004 was a pretty interesting year, don't you think? I mean money-wise it wasn't as good to me as last year, but there were some really neat things that kept me going and got me occupied for the past year (Not having a girlfriend sucks).

Anyways what have you been watching? I can say that this past year has been a milestone in my movie watching activities. I have never been so exposed to different kinds of cinema in my life! I have developed a taste for foreign language films and it shows in my blogs what has been playing in my DVD box. (Geek! Geek! pointing finger.)

Anyways, its the season for giving, now I offer you, possible the biggest blog I have ever made. This should make for good reading during your midnight Christmas post Noche Buena get togethers when your Grampa starts to tell stories about how he fought in the war or when your auntie starts to make a scene because she had too much Sangria and tells everybody that your Tito is having an affair because they weren't the same 'wavelength' anymore and that she caught them one time in... Ok I, better shut up now.

Here it is My Top Ten Movies for the Year 2004!! Drumroll!

Joshua Hess and Jerusha Hess were virtually unknown when they came out with this quirky tale of a teenager named Napoleon Dynamite and his continuing fight to feel good about being different. Possibly derived from the true life experiences of the Hess brothers (I know this american guy who has a girlfriend who is a cousin of Joshua Hess, ha ha, name dropper) who were deviants themselves, they take us along with Napoleon into their world of quirky weirdness until we get so accustomed to it, the normal people start to look weird.
The fact thet these kids, along with lead actor John Heder, are Mormons makes me extra proud of this phenomenal accomplishment of a hip movie with no sex ( or even sexy clothes for that matter ) drugs or cussing. Just steaks, tots and Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat"!

Kang JegYu is Korea's Speilberg or James Cameron. Whoever he is being compared to, he makes that everybody, even the most jaded film critics want to watch. His first big breakthrough Shiri back in 2000 changed the face of Korean film history from it's dying state to the new phenomenon known as the 'Korean Wave'.
The story of two brothers drafted into the korean war devastates their mother and the only way for the younger brother, in the eyes of the older one is to request for the younger one to be sent back. To do this he has to do several heroic feats in the war campaign to win a medal of honor to make his request valid. The process brings about changes in the boys. The younger becoming braver and more headstrong with his determination to continue fighting the war, while the older one slowly descending into the depths of moral ambiguity, turning him into a heartless killing machine. The consequences and, of course the virtual outcome and climax are devastating.

Animation is always fun to watch. Dreamworks has come up with an even funnier follow up to the already funny Shrek. Shrek gets into more funny situations as he gets himself into a scenario where a lot of hilarious stuff can get to happen..meeting Fiona's human parents. We get to meet a more sinister Fairy Godmother who controls everyone like Vito Corleone. We also get to see Eddie Murphy , always the scene stealer, as a sexy stallion and Shrek as a human being. My favorite part is the "Cops" parody "Knights". Oh, and we also get to See Antonio Banderas as the Puss in Boots lick his crotch.

Jason Bourne still cant remember who he is. His mother must be very worried .
He gets to escape his spy/assasin profile this time and drag his girlfriend all the way to India where they are tracked down by counter spies out to frame him and kill his identity. We get so see lots of car and hand to hand combat ( or is it knife vs. magazine) action and a lot of intelligent spy dialogue. The shaky cam technique was a bit of a distraction in some parts but relatively delivered the needed adrenaline rush in some key scenes. We get to know his real name in the end, too. Which is , of course, another story....

Pixar 's most ambitious and creative project to date is also their most critically acclaimed with a line of 9 rating at, this CG animated work of cartoon genius Brad Bird has managed to mix the appeal of the monotonous suburban family life a la "American Beauty"of the Parr family and their swashbuckling high adventures as the Incredibles. Real issues, real problems and comic book-style superpowers blend in this more-for-adults childrens cartoon.

This was a good year for sequels. Very rarely is a sequel done better than the original. Shrek 2 and Before Sunset are examples such sequels that not only lived up to their predecessors but surpassed them in many ways. It's amazing that two sequels can pull up the same success in the same year, but none have surpassed the success of the destiny/superhero neoclassic that was Spiderman 2.
Spiderman gets another headache with his Spider Senses in the form of Doc Ock. the bespectacled, be-tentacled former nuclear physics scientist gone mad. A series of events lead Spidey's alter ego Peter Parker to give up his super hero-ing for the love of his beloved MJ. But things aren't so simple as that MJ is engaged. Boiling in the background is Doc Ock 's sinister plan to create a new energy source that is self preserving and indestructible..of course, at the expense of everyone else.
Yes you will most likely see Spiderman 2 in the malls' appliance centers in the DVD and flatscreen displays and yes , eventually we will all get a Spiderman asphyxiation once the DVD comes out. But , hasn't it already happened? Weren't we all bitten by the bug when we saw it? I won't lie. I am a mere movie goer and am not immune to corporate marketing. I'm actually looking forward to the next Batman. I'm looking forward to sitting in the front row for Spiderman 3 with all the noisy kids asking their mom for popcorn or to go to the bathroom. Movies were meant to dazzle and amaze. Such is the destiny of the Amazing Spiderman.

Check out my review here.

Possibly the funniest movie this year. Non-stop laughter from beginning to end, quotable quotes up the yin yang, funny accents and classic Ben Stiller silliness all encapsulated in a 'true underdog story'. This time, Stiller gets to be the bad guy. The guy who has it all. The guy who looks down on our hero and mocks him and gives him a hard time.
Peter La Fleur(Vince Vaughan) is a happy-go-lucky and irresponsible owner of an obscure finess gym called " Average Joe's". The gym is under threat of foreclosure and sale to White Goodman's (Stiller) franchise Globo Gym. To stop this Peter needs to get $50,000 to save his gym, and his dignity.

(Hey, that sounded cool. You think I can write DVD blurbs of a living, or be a movie voice over guy? Huh? No.? OK , I'll shut up now...)

Make sure you have this in your DVD collection. I assure you, you will watch it over and over until the lens burns through.

You have to have seen the original Before Sunrise to get the full impact and verve of the most unexpected sequel this year.
The story of Jessie and Celine continues nine years after they meet in a train bound for Vienna and spend just one evening and early morning together in a whirlwind romance that they decided should be saved in their memories in time by not calling or writing each other after they parted ways. They dont know what to say to each other aside from some polite hi's and hello's. The whole movie, rich with writer/ director Richard Linklater 's witty, intelligent dialogue turns into a myriad of thoughts, recollections and regrets borne of years of wondering of "what could have been" between these two lovelorn protagonists. In other words. Its 80 minutes of college student talk.
One of the unique characteristics of this movie is its ability to look into the
thoughts of the couple in the past (and possibly, the director) and actualyy give a perspective on how naive and silly they were for deciding on certain things. It's as if they 'grew' with the audience.

check out my review here.

Charlie Kaufmann is either a genius or a lunatic. His previous screenplays such as Being John Malkovic and Adaptation are a window into the obsurdly interesting. Considering his previous works, "Eternal.." is very mellow, but nonethelless quirky and unapologetically intelligent. The premise of a company in the business of erasing selected memories is so intriguing that a million different scenarios can be derived from it. Jim Carrey is not his usual in your face obnoxious self in this movie for good reason. The story becomes the star in his low key portrayal of Joel. Kate Winslet 's Clementine reminds me of the charater in the Flaming Lips song :"She Don't Use Jelly" here's how the lines go:
"I know a girl who/reminds me of Cher/ she's always changing the color of her hair/ She dont use nothin that you buy at the store. She likes her hair to be real Orange/ she uses Tangerines".

From its neo-retro fashion statements to the grainy film stock and the witty dialogue (also the fantastic acting of Kirsten Dunst) oscar buzz is permeating through our ears like a flickering flourescent lamp.
It has been refered to as a "mind%@#^" and a "headtrip", all of which are very colorful accurate descriptions, but in the core, it is all about a man who can't forget his love in his heart even if his mind does.

Check out my review here.

To those who haven't seen OldBoy, the less you know about it the better.

All you need to know that it has a great lead actor (Choi Minshik), a fascinating story (based on a Japanese Manga), a charismatic antagonist (Yu JiTae), great visuals (reminiscent of Fight Club and other works by David Fincher), quotable quotes and a shocking surprise ending.

Overated?? In the asian movie message boards, yes. But in global cinema there is a reason why this was picked Cannes Grand Prix winner for this year and there is very little talk about it simply because the theme is very unpopular for the moment. Director Park Chan Wook hasn't made a bad film, (yet) and is the kind of director that would challenge the typical storytelling template. Believe me, youre in for a headtrip that transcends the screen!

If you dare know more about this movie..well at least get a synopsis
click here.

OK, that's it for my count down! Thanks for visiting...

But wait....

Here are some movies I haven't seen yet but haven't hhad the time or are simply just not available yet. I'm recommending these just by the reviews..I'm' watching Garden State this evening...yipeeee!!!

Also check out my own personal list of great films in my own personal categories.

Garden State
The Machinist

House of Flying Daggers
The Forgotten

Napoleon Dynamite
Its All About Love

Napoleon Dynamite "Kip vs. Rex" and "Napoleon vs. Uncle Rico"
Taegukgi the whole movie
OldBoy Oh Daesu with a hammer vs. 20 dudes with knives and sticks in a narrow corridor

Dawn of the Dead
The Isle

Saw Hacksaw
Oldboy Hammer
Audition Cutting Wire
Dawn of the Dead Chainsaw

My Wife is a Gangster The peeping tom novice guy gets smacked by Eun Jin's right hand man.
Lover's Concerto Random movie viewer smacks his friend sitting behind the main characters while watching Il Postino.
Please Teach Me English Elvis's mom smacks him for making a scene while practicing his English with a mannequin.
My Sassy Girl The gangster leader in jail repeatedly smacks his minion multiple times in the ear.

OldBoy Oh Daesu's brand new duds.
Starsky and Hutch Huggy Bear's golf clothes.
Napoleon Dynamite The awesome prom suit.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Ron Burgundy's workclothes

Failan Choi MinShik and Cecillia Cheung
Garden State Zack Braff and Natalie Portman
The Human Stain Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman
2046 Tony Leung Chiu Wai and all those girls.

Oldboy Oh Daesu (Choi Minshik)
Napoleon Dynamite Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder)
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story White Goodman (Ben Stiller)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell)

Ok. Have a Happy Holi DAZE everyone!!!! Easy on the cheese!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Movie Review: "It's All About Love" (2003)

There was one thought that led me to buy this DVD.

"My mom likes Joaquin Phoenix, so I guess I'll let her watch this."

There's a whole other back story on the circumstances around my buying this movie in my other blog. However, that's not the point of today's review. Thomas Vinterberg's "It's All About Love" was never a 'talked about' movie. It was never controversial nor attention grabbing. However, do you remember watching a movie one time, without knowing what to expect, and just get pleasantly surprised by how well put together it was and couldn't wait to recommend it to friends? Well, I'm telling you right now, this is that kind of movie.

John (Joaquin Phoenix) is a young Polish man flying over to New York to have his soon to be ex-wife Elena (Clair Danes), a Polish superstar figure skater, sign their divorce papers. As he reaches the airport he is greeted by two mysterious men who ask him to follow them. Then things start to get weird. Although very polite, the two men ask very intruding questions and to add to the bizaare-ness of it all stoicly ask John to "step over" and ignore the dead man lying on the foot of an airport escalator as they were going down on it. People die on the streets everyday. It's a common thing. Soon enough at this moment we realize that we had just been sucked into a Hitchcockian nightmare. More bizzarre happenings abound this film which I am not going to spoil for you.

As you can tell, this movie is a mystery /love story with classic elements of suspense and an avant garde metaphysical concept. There is nothing special really about the way it's shot or the method of storytelling, Vinterberg manages to stay loyal to traditional filmmaking techniques, pacing and old fashioned suspense cuts. The story of a young divorcing couple finding their way back to love is not a new idea, but adding metaphysics and cosmic imbalance in a world so jaded just makes this film so fresh and new.

Well the less you know about it the better. I think this will be shown in theaters next week or January. After you do, explain to me why Ugandans can fly....

Rocketboy's Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Nicolas Cage in OldBoy?

Ok, I never saw this coming.

I have been posting in Pinoy Exchange recently about the new Oldboy remake. People seem to not bew interested in the new project by Universal (well, at least the very few Filipinos who have seen the original, anyway) se to be released in 2006, so the thread died a natural death. A new development has come up recently in the form of Nicholas Cage (Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas and a gazillion crappy movies) actively campaigning for the lead role that was masterfully played by Choi Min Shik. Obviously they're gonna have to change the name from Oh DaeSu to something a little more western like Donald Prescott or John Poindexter (I'm kidding people, sheeeesh).
With respect to Nic Cage (yeah, we're pretty close, Nick and I) I think someone more in the lines of Benicio Del Toro would be more suited for OldBoy, and Johhny Depp as the antagonist. Of course, a lot of you who have seen OldBoy like myself probably think that it is near impossibe to replicate a story so dark and mind boggling to fit the taste of a broader ( read; 'shallow') audience that it should just be treated as its own thing and just be labeled as 'inspired by' or 'based upon' the original.

Why remake OldBoy? Answer; "Ka-ching!!!!"

But just like Dave Davis of (where this chunk of news came from) implied, Americans DO deserve a crappy remake.

Which reminds me, my copy of OldBoy is starting to skip. I need a fresh one. Anyone who is willing to sell me theirs is more than welcome...

Props to Twitch.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Sky Blue"

Also known a Wonderful Days, this animated masterpiece being considered as the tour-de-force of the long overlooked talents of Korean animators (in case you haven't known, Animated series like The Simpsons and Futurama have long been utilizing Korean artists. Apparently, a lot of Hollywood's bigwigs think that outsourcing is cool too!) The combination of cell and 3d animation blends in perfectly in a netherworldy future where pollution is so abundant, it has become a source of energy.
I was blown away when I saw this for the first time late last year. I bought my DVD copy from a comic store in SM North for a whopping P250. I wasn't dissapointed though. The disc is worth owning just for the visuals. Some of the shots are so photorealistic, you would think that they were 'cheating' by using 'real' images.
As for the photo of Jay (the principal character)the Ecoban guard, i just can't stop looking at her. The geek in me just wins over when a pretty face and a perfect body just meld into an artist's perspective. As Jang Hyuk would confidently ask in English, "Can I have your...'handphone' number?"

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The King is Dead

Everybody is probably aware of the latest tragedy in Philippine showbiz. Come on, the guy just cant suddenly have a heart attack without being sick first! He could have been sick for the longest time, he just chose not to tell anyone or let it leak out of the press. I am doing this blog entry in respect of the King of Phillipine Cinema Fernando Poe Jr. His work was well respected, his earlier ones anyway, like "Sto. Domingo" and "Low Waist Gang". Its sad that his supposed most significant contribution in Philippine society, his bid for the Philippine Presidency, ended in failure. His final days were borne more on reclusive shame rather than quiet dignity. He refused interviews and chose to live in silent solitude. So much for his last exit.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Movie Review: "2046" (2004)

Chinese movies have a way of fooling you. Wong Kar Wai's 2046 is not an exception.
First of all, you can smack yourself upside the head if you think this is a futuristic movie. They should put up a sign on the theater doors that says that this is not a sci fi futuristic movie. Because a lot of people actually thought they were watching a Chinese version of Star Wars (getting into a movie theater to watch a foreign language movie without reading about it before hand is beyond me).
Of course, as an avid reviewer of asian films I always give a movie credit for something intended but not exactly correctly conceived. 2046 has a lot of these.
Firs let me complain that the film stock is terrible. Have you ever seen one of those old Regal Films movies where the shots look like they were taken with an instamatic camera. Some, no a lot of the scenes were like that. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t Wong Kar Wai 's intention for it to look like a Sharon movie, but the distributors sure did a bang up job with transferring the film. The sound skipped from mono to stereo in very awkward parts of the film too.
Technical flaws aside, we here, have a story of a writer Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) seeking inspiration for his new creations. He moves into a hotel and chooses the room 2046 because of its significance to him in a previous experience, another story by Wong Kar Wai called “In the Mood for Love” (having not seen it yet, I presume was the ‘better film’). The room was not ready then so he had to settle for the next room , 2047. Women from all walks of life move into the room 2046 like Lulu the entertainer (Lau Kar-ling) , Wang Ji Wen (Faye Wong) and , of course Bai Ling (Zhang Ziyi) and engage in a relationship, in one form or another with Chow. Chow then, as he writes, unconsciously incorporates these ladies into his story about a train called 2046 that people ride to recapture lost memories. I wont get into all the deep stuff as that it gives me a headache all the time.
I liked the parallelism of the actual story to the virtual world Chow created for himself with the train serving as his timeline with all his experiences, but over all, I wouldn’t consider this at all a great film. WKW was reported to have cut the movie so many times bfore its premiere that it had lost its continuity. The film does have a choppy, unsyncopated feel to it. I still can’t get over the bad film stock, too.
Unless you are a WKW fan be advised. This one will make you think hard. Yep. You’ll be thinking..”What the heck was that?”

Rocketboy's Rating: * (1 out of 5)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

New Batman Poster

The franchise that was revived by Tim Burton back in 1989 and killed subsequently by Joel Schumacher in the late 1990's is getting a renewed treatment from Memento Director Christopher Nolan. The ultra cool Christian Bale now dons the retro black and gray costume of the caped crusader. Finally they found an actor fitting the role. I knew, even as a kid, that Michael Keaton was a crappy choice for Batman, but we, the young and clueless, had faith that it was going to be cool. (Jack Nicholson was phenomenal as Joker). Batman Returns turned out to be equally as compelling and mysterious as it's predecessor. Then it was all downhill from there.
From the T-back on his black rubber suit to the injection of Batgirl (I still love you Alicia..) the franchise just gave itself a whack upside the head with a Battarang. Anyways, new POSTER here!!!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Preview: "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance"

This probably isn't very significant for a lot of people, but hey, it's my blog...

Chan Wook Park's latest installation to his revenge trilogy is in the works as we speak. "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is the final chapter to his much acclaimed vengeance series which started with "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and was followed up by Cannes Grand Prix winner "OldBoy" (those of you who visit my blog often know how much I love this movie). Park has been very consistent with the quality of his films. His most recent film was one third of the "Three..Extremes" anthology titled "Cut". Revenge seems to be a very central theme in most of his movies which is probably why "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" director and homage-monger Quentin Tarantino praised this movie and the director so much during the 2004 Cannes FilmFest.
Here is the first, if not one of the first stills off the movie with "Lady Vengeance" lead Lee Young-ae. She was also the Female Swiss Major in Park's first blockbuster "JSA (Joint Security Area)". Asian film buffs are all over this movie and are literally eating it alive. Not much to judge, but I reckon this will be a classic in the making. Nice glasses, too.
Click here for a larger view.

Props to Twitch.

What a Mess..

Typhoon Yoyong was all over the news last night and the night before, and for good reason. Winnie was a real bad witch with a capital B!!

Compared to Winnie's jaw dropping death toll of more than 500, Yoyong looks nothing more than a glorified fart (trying to inject humor on a dark topic to lighten the mood of the situation). Still, Yoyong still had his share of inventory for the Grim Reaper (7 dead as of 7:00am today).

As usual I'm at work. For the American company I'm working for,every thing is just 'peaches'. Ahh, it's a great autumn morning! A good day for sales! Yipee.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

"The Destroyer", Suspect for Stabbing in Las Vegas

At first when I saw this link on Jowch's blog, i just thought that it could be someone with the same name as retired PBA All Star Rudy "The Destroyer" Distrito. Could it be that one of our most popular cagers in the professional baskatball circuit gone from "The Destroyer" on the basketball court to Criminal court? Judge the mugshot for yourself.
As reported by Fox5 Las Vegas:
Yesterday, a bench warrant was issued for Rudy Distrito, charging him for one count of murder with a deadly weapon.

On Wednesday night, officers say Rudy Distrito got into an argument with his ex-wife's new husband around 7:30 at the Deckow Apartments near Tropicana and Koval. When officers arrived on scene, they found a 24-year-old victim stabbed multiple times. He was taken to UMC but didn't survive his injuries.

Why Rudy, Why?

Props to Jowch of Zentanglement