Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Mandatory Review: Transformers (2007)

I just got out of the very earliest screening of Transformers on opening day. The US wont be able to see this movie until July 4th and we here in Manila got to see it before they did.

I had been waiting for this movie to opoen since I first learned about it in 2004 (yes, that long ago). This movie carries a lot of weight from very large expectations from fans all over the world to its studio, who expects it to be the biggest moneymaker of the year.

The early word on this movie is that it is pee-in-your-pants awesome. From the early screenings it looks like it's going to indeed be the biggest blockbuster of the year.

I always make it a habit to let a movie simmer in my mind for a while before I make a review about it. This lets me analyze the story and everything I see in the film and determine how I really feel about it. But I make an exception since the validityu of this review depends on its freshness. Im going to keep it short. It will have spoilers.

The earth is under threat from an ancient alien force. These lifeforms have come to earth to look for the allspark. A powerful cube with the power to create life from machines. A US military base in Qatar is attacked by a mysterious machine-like life form looking for information that will lead it to the allspark, this sparks a national emergency that awakens a controversial covert agency called Sector 7.

Sam Witwicky (Spike in the cartoon)(Shia LeBouf)just wants a new car and get the girl. He gets both, but it turns out to be one of these machine aliens and acts as a herald to his group, the Autobots. Once the Autobots reach earth, the battle of these two machine factions begins and we end up being collateral damage.

I will state the obvious qualities of this movie first. The CG work is flawless. Everytime a robot transforms is gold. You can't wait for the next action sequence. The cvomplicated transforming sequences obviously took a lot of time and thought to execute and is definitely the biggest quality of the movie.

First off. The comedy is great. You get a lot of the signature Michael Bay quick cuts and ambush quips. Shia Lebouf delivers excellenty as the dorky heroic Sam. Megan Fox is a sight to behold. Although at times she looks a bit odd and looks kind of grimy, even in the non-action scenes she looks like she just changed your oil (and I mean that in a non-sexual way).

I have to mention John Voight's cool take on the Rumsfeld-like Secretary of Defense. John Turturro also shines as a perfect Bay-esque antagonist. Sinister, yet goofy. Tyrese was tolerable. Josh Duhamel was almost insignificant. Anthony Anderson was more noticeable as his usual self in the light comedic scenes.

Now as cool and realistic as the robots were, there is just something odd about how the Autobots were acting in some of the scenes. Jazz jive talking, Prime being a klutz in Sam's front yard, and going,in the deep commanding voice of Frank Welker, "My bad!" , et al. It kind of turned me off. I understand that it was a take to kind of give these large clunky robots some humor, but they really didn't need it. Them crowding around Sam's house to retrieve the glasses to me was just stupid. I don't know, maybe it's the fan in me. In the Decepticons side, Starscream was definitely the coolest of the bunch. Though he was badly underused, all of his scenes were among the action highlights of the entire movie.

As amazing the final battle scene was between Prime and Megatron, there was just something really lacking in the way it was executed, the allspark being kind of what the Matrix was in the cartoon movie.

I might change my mind with some of the things I said here, but I most likely wont. My mind is just too close to the movie and I would need to take a few paces backward and look back at the movie with fresh eyes.

For a summer movie, its good enough. For a Bay movie, its probably the best I've seen. It has it's flaws, but I think they are reserving some of the good stuff for the sequel.

Rocketboy's Rating: **** (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First Indiana Jones 4 Pic.

Here is a shot of old Harrison Ford acting really old and sitting down like an old man with arthritis as old Indiana Jones.

BTW. The photo was taken by Steven Speilberg himself.

Props to

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Batman "The Dark Knight" Pics...With The BatPod

Some of the images below have been floating around the web as of late. I am already feeling that Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight is being set up to be the best Batman movie yet. Nolan has hit the right nerve with the franchise and the fan reaction to the Batman Begins is a testament of that. Check out some of the stuff that Christian Bale will be playign with in the Bat sequel. Click on the images to enlarge.

The new costume is a bit more tapered than last. Also, you can observe that the neck region of the mask is completely moveable! Unlike the old fixed helmets that were used in the last few movies, this one actually allows Batman to move his neck and turn around in case somebody tries to stab him from behind. A heightened sense of things is good, but nothing beats peripheral vision!

The now famous BatPod. Batman's new toy. I really dont know what features this baby has yet, but I want one.

Props to

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Rocketboy at Toycon (The 6th Phillipine Toys Hobbies and Collectibles Convention 2007)

I was so sleepy I could not appreciate the beauty of my surroundings.

I wish I was more rested when I dropped by for the 45 minutes I was there. Undeniably, it was the largest gathering of geeks and nerds in the country. A lot of people in costumes and of course toys. Iwas of two minds on whether I should get the new Ironhide toy (the coolest of the new Transformers toys) but I was too spaced out to realized that I forgot to withdraw cash. Bummer.

What I found really funny was these two guys walking around dressed as Leader 1 and Cy-Kill from The Gobots, one of them holding out a sign that said, "Give Gobots a Chance!" LOL!

Here I am, all groggy and spaced out from my nightshift duty. I could have just easily went home to sleep, but how could I miss a big geek reunion.

Here's what we oldskoolers call The Superfriends or what you young snots call the "Justice League" (lame!) lining up for the P500 buffet. Superman was first in line as always, but what he doesnt know is that the Flash is back for seconds already! Batman didnt really want to eat but he heard that the gambas were awesome.

Revisiting Millenium

"I see what the killers see. I put myself in his head. I become the thing we fear the most. I become capable of it, I become the horror what we know we can become only in our heart of darkness. It's my gift, it's my curse" - Frank Black, Millenium Pilot Episode

If you were an avid follower of the old Chris Carter psychological drama Millenium back in the late '90's, you're someone I'd like to have a long conversation with over what, in many respects was my favorite TV show, ever. And I mean it.

I was a fan of The X-Files during it's earlier run. Creator Chris Carter, then riding on the success of his alien conspiracy drama serial, developed a series that focused on the the inner workings of the criminal mind set in the context of the grim outlook of a degenerating present on it's way to a doomed future, seen through the eyes of Frank Black, a retired FBI agent with a gift of seeing what "a killer sees".

The show aired for a short while over RPN 9 from 1996 to 97. It never really caught on with the mainstream audience in the States, which is why it only lasted 3 short seasons. Moreso here, where the second season was short-lived and the show had to be cancelled midway. It's sad because, for a time it was the most intelligenty written TV drama during it's time.

I many ways it was ahead of it's time. Being all about criminal psychological profiling and forensics, it would be the precursor to today's CSI franchise, Bones and even my favorite currently running TV drama, House. Also it was about the supernatural occurences associated with the Apocalypse and involved a protagonist that had a 'gift' of seeing crime through the eyes of the perperators. very much a precursor to the undeservingly popular Profiler, the more recent Ghost Whisperer and Criminal Minds.

The main guy Frank Black, expertly played by veteran character actor Lance Henriksen was a very unlikely, unorthodox hero. A middle-aged FBI retiree with a young family trying to escape the violence and darkness of his FBI agent days by moving in to his hometown and buying a nice yellow house, very much like the leading man in a good intelligent novel rather than a primetime TV show.

The reason I wrote this entry is because I for the longest time was longing for a DVD copy of the entire series. I looked far and wide into the corridoors of Arlegui in Quiapo but to no avail. At one time, I actually saw a box-set! Season two! But at that time I had already forgotten what the story was like in season I and I really needed to see it all again to refresh. I still don't know why I never came back and bought that boxed set!

A month ago I in the web I come upon the and bookmarkd it right away. Here I got to watch advanced episodes of Heroes, House, Weeds, The Tudors and other shows I was into at the time. Sure enough it was a matter of time before I spent out all the seasons, left with nothing new to watch I browsed the older shows. To my surprise, Millenium was there. All three seasons! I started with the pilot. It was 1996 all over again.

I am almost done with Season one, again. And i cant wait to get into the episodes I never got to see. One more surprise I got was that, even though the show was cancelled permanently after Season three, the writers still wrote "virtual episodes", probably material that they did not want to go to waste. And they were all in the web. the materials go all the way to season five.

They dont write shows like Millenium anymore. Real grounded stories with no stupid dialogue, no cheesy character setups, no 'beautiful people', even. If you haven't seen the show, here are some links to some free episodes. I recommend you give it a look.

Seasons One Two and Three

The Virtual Fourth Season

The virtual Fifth Season

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Newsload For The Week

Well, here we are again in the middle of a week post-Independence Day. I hope all's well with you and your pet chinchilla. Here are some of the things I got to find out during the week.

A Tale Of Two Sisters Remake a Go.

Anyone who has seen Kim Jee Woo's A Tale of Two Sisters knows what a solid slow burn movie it was, and that it was so good, it stands along with The Ring as the foremost Asian Horror movies. The Hollywood re-hash is to be directed by brothers Thomas and Charles Guard. And get this... it looks like they have acquired the services of Hollywood "it" girl Elizabeth Banks (40 Year Old Virgin, Slither). I'm thinking she's going to be the mom, because she can NOT be one of the sisters.

The Lovely Bones Gets Rachel Weisz

We all know Peter Jackson has achieved acclaim so great that only a few directors in their lifetime will ever get. He is now up there with Speilberg and Cameron as the best blockbuster filmmakers of our time. After two big franchises (LoTR and King Kong) he had decided to lay it low and dabble on some arthouse filmmaking, a respectable move considering all the stress and investment he had poured onto the past movies he'd made. The Lovely Bones is a novel about a young girl's story as told posthumously by the main character after she had been raped and killed. The kind of arthouse you would normally see Todd Field or Paul Haggis sink their teeth into. Jackson has a cquired the rights and the services of Rachel Weisz in the cast. No more word as th when it will be released. Stay tuned.

Thundercats Movie To Be Animated

After Transformers, very many people would be quik to point out that the next Saturday-morning cartoon to be made a live action flick would be Thundercats. I would not be one of those people, but what the hey. It would be cool to see Lion-O in the flesh. But wait, not a lot of people think it's a good idea to flesh out the characters. Hence, the decision was made to make it an animated feature.

Do I think it's cool? Maybe. Will it sell? Fo shizzle! Will I watch it? I'm going to sleep now.

Props to themovieblog and aintitcool.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Movie Review: Ocean's Thirteen (2007)

It's been a while since I went back into the theater. I missed it. Too much work has made rocketboy a dull boy. I was waiting for a good movie to return to the theater to. Pirates of the Carribean was such a big hit at the ofice that I didn't bother to make a review. I haven't seen it yet, but Im sure it was good. Ocean's Thirteen was perfect. No frills, but completely Hollywood. Plus George Clooney is like the coolest guy in planet earth.

Danny Ocean (George Clooney)is once again doing what he does best. Stealing for the sake of stealing. Together with Rusty (Brad Pitt) his band of experts (I'm sorry, I'm too lazy to write all their names), he arranges a job to get casino mogul Will Banks (Al Pacino) on the opening night of his new casino in Las Vegas. This job is different, though. Will cheated their friend Reuben (Elliot Gould)on a deal on his casino and caused Reuben's heart attack.
The job was to get Banks' money on opening night to teach him a lesson, Ocean style.

One can't help but notice the absence of the ladyloves of our two protagonists. We aren't given much information on the absence of Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones in this sequel. We just learn that they are not in the job because "this isn't their fight". Okay we forgive you.

The pacing and flavor of Ocean's Thirteen is basically the same. In terms of visual styling like split screening and 70's style motifs in editing are abundant in the film as well. The explainations of plots and subplots and heist procedures and what not are just as complicated as in the previous movies. But for some reason, they are more understandable. maybe it's because I was really in it and I really paid attention to the dialogue this time, or maybe Soderbergh toned the dialogue a bit lower. It sure wasn't "dumbed down", because you reaaly had to listen to get it. One particular piece of equipment I found amusing was the "Gilroy", you'll see what I mean.

A lot of websites had criticized Pacino's performance here as mediocre or unnecessary of Pacino's screen presence, but I beg to differ. Sure, it was a toned down Pacino, not an in your face "your out of order, this whole courtroom is out of order, Hooowah!" Pacino. He made a good antagonist in this movie in my book. Seeing him together with Andy Garcia kinda gave me the Godfather fuzzies all over again. Ellen Barkin was mediocre in this pic, I wish they could have gotten a more bankable sexy actress "of a certain age" like Demi Moore or Sharon Stone.

When it comes to the main characters, this time it's like how they were in Ocean's 11. Everyone had a part and there was a plan. It wasn't a scattered mess like Ocean's 12 where they were reacting to a situation. This kind of made the acting more relaxed and prepared. Ocean's 12 looked like a bunch of Hollywood A list friends coming together with cameras and shooting a movie of themselves fooling around and sending it to the producers who put it straight to the can.

All in all, I liked Ocean's Thirteen liked I liked the first one, and way more than the second one. Sometimes, third time really is the charm! Place your bets! My money's on 13.

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