Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Rocketboy works his last day.

Today will be my last day working for my company. It was a good 5 years while it lasted, but I needed to make some adjustments to make my life less complicated and give myself some personal space. Plus, like Christian Siriano, I needed a 'vay-cay'.

Now, what does this mean for The Rocketboy Chronicles? Given that I started this blog out of boredom because I had full internet access at work and have had so for the past 5 years which will end in the next 6 hours, I could say that I might have less posts,or more, now that I have more time for posting, since work gets in the way so much, hahah. But definitely, The Rocketboy Chronicles will go on. And even if I may post less frequently (oh come on, I post at least once a month anyway),you can enjoy more meaningful, more well written, well edited posts, since I will have more time to concentrate on research and grammar and less time making money.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Marvel has really been stepping things up lately. With the recent success of Iron Man, our Marvel friends now give us the re-do of The Incredible Hulk. Now the first one in 2005 (I think) wasn't actually that bad, but it failed to generate excitement and completely disappointed the loyal comic book fans with its light, cartoony portrayal of the green giant. The new script written by Zakk Penn with embellishments by Edward Norton himself and with the high octane action directing of Louis Letterier (Transporter 1 and 2) is akin to the old Hulk series back in the '70's with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno (who has a cameo in the movie as a security guard), with Bruce Banner as a lonely wanderer escaping the military's grasp instead of a short tempered genetics prof with daddy issues.

The story begins swiftly where Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is already changed by the gamma rays that tun him into the Hulk. He is on the ruin from the army and is posing as a humble factory worker in Brazil. His free time is consumed by his search for the cure that will ultimately rid him of his condition. Not much later he is discovered by General Ross(William Hurt) the Draconian military leader responsible for the experimentations that led to Banner's predicament, so begins a wild goose chase for Banner's cure and his reunion with Ross' scientist daughter Betty (Liv Tyler).
Meanwhile, Ross is still playing god with his biological weapons and testing them on Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) who is hellbent on destroying Banner. His desire to stop The Hulk turns into obsession as he seeks to become more powerful using every chemical means necessary.

This version of The Hulk is miles better than the previous one. The human story is more accessible and the emotional transfer was more believable. Thanks to Norton's additional writing, The Hulk and Banner become more than just comic book characters come to life, they become key elements that drive the story.
There is more action in this movie than pretty much any Marvel comic book movie that has come before it. In the ending fight sequences, you can almost feel the fatigue of all the punching and pulling between the two large behemoths, The Hulk and The Abomination, as they slug and slam each other out to a pulp.

I don't want to give too much out because I highly recommend you see this. Now it looks like the gates are open for an Avengers movie now that Tony Stark has decided to join and the invitations are open.

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

Movie Review: The Happening (2008)

M Night Shyamalan wrote and directed the phenomenal The Sixth Sense, which is in a lot of people’s best movies list. He also wrote and directs Unbreakable, which is on MY best movies list. After these movies he came up with Signs with mixed reviews, then The Village, then things started going down…

Just a few years ago M Night was revered as one of the best new filmmakers, now with all the press attention he’s getting about being misunderstood and the steadily depreciating quality of his movies, he’s slowly turning into Hollywood’s greatest hack, not even he saw this twist ending coming.

The Happening is MNS’s sixth film. This movie is his first R rated movie (due to graphic violence and intense scenes) and was supposed to be his redemption from the box office shortcomings of his two efforts. It starts with an occurrence in New York’s Central Park, people suddenly stopping in their tracks and then killing themselves. The government and the media immediately call it a terrorist attack. Panic ensues. We follow Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) a Pennsylvania schoolteacher and his wife Alma(Zooey Deschanel). As they go with the torrential flow of people trying to evacuate the perimeter of ‘attack’ they see themselves dodge the presence of corpses in the street, watch their group-mates execute themselves and knock into a couple of houses. No explanation or clues are offered as to what may be causing the strange phenomena, but don’t worry M. Knight is going to dazzle us with his expert storytelling and show us how all of this is going to come full circle…


Here’s the thing, you come into an MNS movie with expectations. Okay, lets say I ‘lessened’ my expectations due to the fact that his last 2 movies have been disappointing. At least I expected an explanaition as to what was happening through the whole freaking movie. He sets up the entire movie on this wind that when hit by it, you go crazy and hit yourself. People offer theories. Plants? Terrorism? Nuclear power plants? Fear? I came up with theories myself. But in the end, the explanation is… “There are things that occur in nature that just cannot be explained!” WOW! Why didn’t I think of that! Looks like we got a winner here M. Night! Nobody saw that coming!

I once wrote a script myself, I was 7. It was 2 pages long. I thought it was better than this crap.

Aside from the asinine plot, the acting was terrible. Everybody acted like they were in a community play. WTF? Mark Wahlberg? You were nominated for an Academy Award! What happened?

I have officially lost faith in M Night.

Rocketboy Rating: No stars (yes you heard it right!)

Movie Review: Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008)

Stoner flicks are a genre of their own nowadays. From Cheech and Chong to Judd Apatow, movies where tokin' weed has had its highs and lows. This season happens to be a high (man all these puns, where do I get them?) Harold and Kumar are their own franchise now just like C&C and Jay & Silent Bob (like Jedi, the come in twos). We last saw them getting back to their apartment after a night of eating like 80 White Castle burgers and deciding to follow Harold's crush and next door neighbor Maria to Amsterdam...

We begin where they left off. On the plane to Amsterdam harold and Kumar (John Cho and Kal Penn) are mistaken for terrorists, mostly because Kumar decided to bring his electric bong which looks like a terrorist assembled bomb in the plane. They are questioned, mostly by the inept FBI agent Ron Fox (Rob Corrdry) and detained in Gitmo. After a close encounter with a security guard, they escape and find themselves in a raft with immigrants, in Florida in a drug-lords pool full of 'bottomless' women and in a redneck's house with their inbred daughter, oh and sure they also get to meet and 'bond', meaning get plastered, with Dubya.

Look, these movies are meant to be shallow, crude and downright tasteless. This is the reason these movies are fun. However, sometimes, these movies try too hard. All These stoner comedies try to one up each other in terms of crudeness and complete lack of taste that in the end, sometimes, it just becomes a crap movie. The charm that the first Harold and Kumar had is gone and was drowned in a pool full of women exposed beavers and litteraly just went up in smoke (Man! I'm on a roll! "Roll", haha, another pun! Man, pot references are really useful ).

Rocketboy's Rating:(**)2 out of 5 stars

Movie Review: Made of Honor (2008)

Chick flicks aren't usually my thing. In fact, I never really set out to watch Made of Honor but just kind of got sucked into it.

We all know Patrick Dempsey became hugely popular after becoming the resident man-candy McDreamy in Grey's Anatomy. In MOH, he takes his scrubs off to be the more generic rich 'playboy' Tom Bailey with a girl named Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) for a best friend. Like any other guy/girl best friend situation, sex and sometimes, even the talk about personal feelings for each other is taboo, so they become perpetual shopping partners and restaurant and art critics. One day art-conservationist Hannah is called to Scotland and leaves poor Tom to fend for himself. Tom feels an emptiness without Hannah's latte beside his, and decides to confess his love for her when she comes back to New York. And when she does, she has a beau in tow.

The thing about MOH is that, it is the most generic romantic comedy I've seen, so far. If you ahve seen Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Best Friend's Wedding, 27 Dresses, Runaway Bride or anything with the word 'wedding' or 'friend' in it's title, you've probably seen this. I'm not saying it's a bad movie though. It's just that a lot of ths schticks used in MOH have all been done before. There's a lot of stuff in here that Gary Marshall has done a million times before and it unabashedly exploits them. Plus this is, as clear as the crystal in a champagne glass, a film made for women, girls, chicks...only. Patrick Dempsey...nuff said. The filmmakers make it a point that Tom looks as pitiful and pretty as possible to get the women to go 'aww' and want them to be his girlfriend instead. I mean there is a scene where Tom and his 'guy' friends play basketball and debate about how 'meaningful' it is to be in a relationship instead of 'playing around' and another of the guys prepping the goodie baskets for the bridal showers. I'm not saying it doesn't ever happen, but there is so much estrogen in the final cut of the scene, I was afraid I might grow boobs.

Generic as it is. It is effective to it's target audiences, women and girls who cry during weddings and love puppies and kittens. The kissing scene towards the end (you know which one it is when you see it) is one of the best I've seen so far. The buildup toward it is just consistent and it almost feels like a reward for sticking with the film for the first 50 minutes.

Rocketboy's Rating:(***)3 out of 5 stars

Movie Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Pretty much everything that Judd Apatow touches nowadays turns into gold. Judd and his crew are really busy nowadays cranking hit after hit. After 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad and Knocked Up, and the upcoming Pineapple Express, it seems like there's no stopping this buncho of used-to-be hollywood misfits. Just a couple of years ago Judd and his team were considered box-office poison for putting out brilliant, but unpopular shows like Freaks and Geeks (also with Jason Segel, Seth Rogen and James Franco) and Undeclared. Now they have practically re-inverted the R rated comedy/stoner genre and have introduced us to rauchy comedies with heart.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is about Peter Bretter(Jason Segel), a dead end musician with a steady paycheck from scoring TV shows who happens to be the boyfriend of rising TV star Sarah Marshall(Kristen Bell). one morning Sarah confronts Peter to break up with him (in one of the funniest, if not, most unsettling film breakups ever). Not able to cope with the trauma of being single after being with Sarah, peter decidesd to go on vacation in Hawaii and checks in hotel where, in a freak coincidence, Sarah and her new boyfriend Aldus Snow (Russel Brand) are staying. The hote's receptionist Rachel (Mila Kunis), haveing had a recent breakup of her own, sympathyzes with Peter and goes out of her way to make him feel better during his stay, some feelings develop and a lot of hilarity ensues.

FSM is a script that Jason Segel, the movies lead actually wrote himself. It turns out a lot of the events within the movie, especially the one where Sarah breaks up with him while he was naked from just getting out of the shower, were derived from his own experiences with breaking up with his old girlfriend. A lot of the comedy in FSM is improvised, and to good effect. this is probably the reason wy Apatow produced stuff is hilarious, because he gets good funny talent and lets them do their thing. Russell Brand is a brilliant discovery. Apparently this comedian is very popular in Britain and has developed quite a following in global audiences after his take in FSM. Director Nick Stoller obviously avoided for this comedy to be 'formula', as a lot of romantic comedies become. the comedy is low key but effective and the reactions are genuine. Although this may not be the funniest of the Apatownians, it ranks as one of the most realistic.

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