Category Archives: Television/Movies

Time to Salvage the Franchise

It’s only February, but blockbuster fever has set in. I was just at New York Comic Con, part out of interest, and part out of work. You’ll get to see photos in a later post, but but towards the end of my 4-hour wade through the thousands of people, I found myself staring at a 42-inch plasma screen. It was showing the trailer for this May’s Terminator Salvation.

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Filed under New York City, Television/Movies

Security or Surveillance

It's not paranoia if they're really after you

It's not paranoia if they're really after you

Slightly more than 10 years ago, a moderately-received Will Smith movie came to cinema screens. “Enemy of the State” was set in the real world — our world — about whether the government should cross the lines of civil rights and ethics when it comes to national security.

After you’ve watched the movie, it’s clear that its creators leaned towards being the ‘good guys.’ After all, Will Smith’s character survives in the end. But perhaps no one, not even the conservatives or the civil rights activists could predict that three years after the movie aired, national security (or the lack of it) came into intense question with the events of 9/11.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Turns on the Magic

Alphonse and Edward Elric. If you're wondering why Al is a hunk of armor, you'll have to watch the first two episdoes.

Take an age-old mythical science, supply it with an infinite quest for personal redemption, and the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist is your product conjured out of nothing. Except ‘out of nothing’ doesn’t really apply to the series, because ‘equivalent trade’ (think karma) is a fundamental principle of their world of alchemy.”To gain something, you must present something of equal value.”

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Our Lives To Live

Wiesler, the Stasi spy

Wiesler, the Stasi spy

In just one sitting, The Lives Of Others has joined my notable list of all-time favorite movies. Like all the other movies on this vaunted list — Star Wars, Shawshank Redemption, Remember the Titans — the Lives of Others adds its own wisdom block to the continuously-growing tower of life. For the goal of being a better person.

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Filed under Emo, Television/Movies

The Starry Future

Totally unrealism = 100% entertainment

Totally unrealism = 100% entertainment

Before anyone starts flogging me for even daring to dedicate an entire post to this ‘let-down’ of a sci-fi movie, my only defense is I was 13 when the movie came out. It was the age when I had yet to hold a gun in my hands, and the whole man-vs-bug theme exonerated by a little game called Starcraft was still in every geekboy’s pre-puberty-sized head.

Today I found Starship Troopers hidden in the ‘free movies’ section of Comcast‘s On Demand channel. Since I was waiting for my stomach to grumble for lunch, why not? Firstly, I couldn’t believe the last time I watched this gung-ho, kill-them-all action flick was close to 10 years ago. More importantly, I realized I understood the film better after multiple helpings, as well as its underlying themes.

Only the blind would not notice the gory violence in this film, as the bugs shred humans in all ways possible. Forget the Normandy scene in Saving Private Ryan; use this as ‘scare-ware‘ if you want to frighten out the wits of someone into going to war, or to simply demonstrate the consequences of it. And yet, as subtly brought across in the movie, sometimes war is necessary, when we have to defend that we believe to be worth our very lives. Merely primal instinct — man or bug.

But the biggest blow that struck me after two hours was how easily lives are extinguished in the fiery of war. Whole lives, built over decades, snuffed out in a split second. In the film, characters come and go; just as you’re building a relationship with them, someone gets killed and you wonder ‘what’s the point?’ Maybe that’s the whole message of the movie, and it galvanizes you to treasure those who are dearest. For a moment you’re emotionally charged with adrenaline for an intergalactic war, the next you’re plopped on your sofa in a safe world, slapped back to reality. Even if that reality is boring, at least it gives me irreplaceable time with loved ones.

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Darker Than Black

Hei in Darker Than Black

Hei in Darker Than Black

When it comes to the big ‘A’ — Anime — I can be as picky as your mom’s annoying insistence to eat your greens. My consumption of anime is unlike the phalanxes of American comics I once devoured, instead it’s more like not wanting to turn back to canned peanuts after you’ve tasted the caviar. So I only watch what I’ve heard to be the best among countless hours of worthless animation.

If you’ve been following my exploits since this blog’s inception, then maybe you’ll recall the occasional wide-eyed exclamation of a great work of art. Because the age I came into Michigan was also roughly the time I discarded most prejudice against Anime and let it impress in all fairness. Forget Bleach or Naruto (unfortunately not all prejudices dissipate immediately), I’m referring to acclaimed series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Honey & Clover (this link alludes to its conclusion).

Since Guolu‘s quite an ‘A’ fan herself, we pounced on another highly rated series, titled “Darker Than Black.” Being only 25 episodes long, it immediately disqualifies itself as a lame show trying to drag its dead leg long after being shot. The mood is tense, and invariably grim, though I’m sure you must have guessed that already. Our main guy Hei (黑) is a ‘contractor’ who exhibits a unique and definitely-dangerous power. He’s not alone, as there is a whole legion of these ‘contractors’ who walk the earth; they came to exist after unexplained anomaly ‘gates’ appeared in South America and Japan.

Already spooked? We were too, after the first episode. The show arms itself with flashbacks to slowly reveal answers, but at the same time leaves enough suspense in the present to develop Hei‘s character as well as his supporting cast. Sure there’s plenty of talking and scientific jargon to weed through, but when the action hits (and boy does it whip!), you’ll be breathing hard by the time it ends. The last five episodes tie in as one sweeping, final arc that will tie everything together. Don’t expect a fairy-tale ending, and if your heart is set to be awed, then you’ll be just as shocked with its conclusion as I was.

Think X-Men and X-files under the same roof, like Moulder and Scully having mutant powers. If you like both, then this is an ‘A’ ride you don’t want to miss.

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Wanted & Unbelievable

I don’t believe it — Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman are starring in Wanted (originally a limited comic series filled with lots of steamy sex and brutal violence)!

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