Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Last Airbender: another animated-feature-into-film flop

the Poster:

the Trailer:

the Plot:
Fourteen-year-old Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her fifteen-year-old brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), are near a river at the South Pole, in the Southern Water Tribe, the small village. While hunting, they discover an iceberg that shoots a beam of light into the sky. Inside of the iceberg is a boy named Aang (Noah Ringer) and a giant flying bison named Appa. Unknown to them, Aang is the long lost Avatar — the only person on the planet able to "bend" all four elements. One hundred years have passed since the Fire Nation has declared war on the other three nations of Air, Water and Earth in their attempt to conquer the world.

Zuko (Dev Patel), is an exiled prince of the Fire Nation, is on a quest to find the Avatar and bring him as prisoner to his father, Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis), so he can return back home. Seeing the light that appeared from Aang's release, Zuko and some Fire Nation soldiers arrive at the Southern Water Tribe to demand the villagers hand over the Avatar. Aang reveals himself as he surrenders himself to Zuko on the condition that he agrees to leave the village alone.

On the ship, Aang is tested by Zuko's Uncle Iroh (Shaun Toub) to confirm him to be the Avatar. After being informed that he is to be their prisoner for passing the test, Aang escapes using his glider and flies to his flying bison brought by Katara and Sokka.

Aang and his new friends visit the Southern Air Temple and he learns that he was in the ice for a whole century and that the Fire Nation wiped out all of the Air Nomads, including his guardian, Monk Gyatso. In despair, he enters the Avatar state and finds himself in the spirit world where he encounters a dragon spirit that tells him that he only knows the Power of Air, and that he also needs to learn Power of Water, the Power of Earth and the Power of Fire to be a true fully realized Avatar. The dragon spirit tells him that he should learn the Power of Water first, and the best teacher is in the Northern Water Tribe.

To seek shelter, Aang's group arrive at the little Earth Kingdom village controlled by the Fire Nation, and they are arrested because Katara tries to help a young boy escape from a Fire nation patrol soldiers. They incite a rebellion by reminding the disgruntled Earthbenders that earth was given to them. Katara is given a Waterbending scroll that she uses to greatly strengthen and hone her Waterbending and help Aang learn as they make their way to the Northern Water Tribe and liberate and secure more Earth Kingdom villages in the process, weakening the Fire Nation's food and water supplies.

During a side track to the Northern Air Temple on his own, Aang is betrayed by a peasant and captured by a group of Fire Nation archers, led by Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi), a Fire Nation Admiral appointed by the Fire Lord. However, a masked marauder, the "Blue Spirit", helps Aang escape from his imprisonment. Zuko is the masked vigilante, and Zhao realizes this. He arranges to kill the prince. Zuko survives the attempt on his life with Iroh's help. He sneaks aboard Zhao's lead ship as his fleet departs for the Northern Water Tribe, which is a heavy fotress, to capture the Avatar. Upon arriving, Aang's group is welcomed warmly by the citizens of the Northern Water Tribe.

Immediately, Sokka befriends the Northern Water Tribe princess, Yue (Seychelle Gabriel). After a few agreements, a Waterbending master, Pakku (Francis Guinan), teaches Aang Waterbending.

Soon, the Fire Nation arrives and Zhao begins his attack while Zuko begins his search for the Avatar on his own, capturing Aang as he enters the spirit world to find the dragon spirit to give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation. Returning to his body, Aang battles Zuko before Katara freezes him. As the battle escalates, Iroh watches Zhao capture the moon spirit Tui, with which its water spirit counterpart had assumed the form of a fish. Despite Iroh's pleas, Zhao kills Tui to strip the Waterbenders of their powers and abilities to Waterbend.

Yue explains to everyone that the moon spirit gave her life, willing to give it back as she dies in the process. With the tables turned, Zhao is drowned by Waterbenders after Zuko and Iroh leave him to his fate. With his Waterbending powers, Aang raises the ocean into a gigantic wall in order to drive the armada back.

Aang now fully embraces his destiny as the Avatar as he, Katara and Sokka prepare to continue their journey to the Earth Kingdom to find an Earthbending teacher for Aang. The Fire Lord learns of the defeat, and angry about the betrayal of his son eldest Zuko, he tasks his youngest daughter Azula (Summer Bishil) to stop the Avatar from mastering Earth and Fire before the arrival of Sozin's Comet.

the Riviu:

this movie is an adaptation of a popular Nickelodeon animated tv series. the director, M. Night Shyamalan was interested in filming this movie due to his childrens' love of the series. i admit, i am a fan of the animated series too, it was funny, and full of zeal. Aang was youngish, fun and interesting. so is Katara and Sokka, they provide comic relief and act their age.

which the film fails to portray. Aang was made to be melancholic and devoid of emotion. when the dragon accused that Aang was full of grief and anger over the death of the monks, i was like, hello? mana ade! he was mute of any emotion whatsoever, angry or not.

Katara and Sokka, they were played by a much older actor/actress, who failed to deliver a convincing interpretation of their characters. Katara was too melancholic and old-ish , Sokka so bland instead of effervescent. the so-called romance between Sokka and Princess Yue was non-existent and tepid. i'd rather watch Zuko almost half of the movie, he was that ok as compared to other characters.

the film was criticised for whitewashing the supposedly Asian characters into a Westernised bunch. the Fire Nations were represented by Indian-descents whilst Aang, Katara and Sokka were Caucasians.

apart from that, it tried to focus on so many characters, and lost the main pull of the story, the transformation of Aang the fun-loving Child monk to the serious Avatar, the hero who fought for justice and peace.

i don't know how to express my entire feelings watching this flop of a movie. as i am a fan of the great animation series, i was left with a stale taste in my mouth when i watch this movie, and dollops of disappointment, the same feeling i felt watching Dragonball Evolution. Perhaps Hollywood better leaves us cult anime fan alone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Scariest scary movies

I'm a chicken when it comes to a scary movie, be it a slasher movie or a simple peekaboo ghost story.

here's a list of scariest scary movies that i wish i could dare to watch, some of of them, again.

  • Ju-On aka the Grudge
  • Identity
  • Session 9
  • the Exorcist
  • 4bia
  • the Hills have Eyes
  • Eden Lake

What's yours?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: MM charms the diamonds off you :)

The Poster:

MM in the famous pink dress :)

The Trailer:

The Plot:
Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) are showgirls and best friends.

Lorelei is engaged to Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan), who is willing to do anything and buy anything for her. But his father does not approve of her, thinking she is just after his son's money. Lorelei and Gus are planning to sail to France and get married, but Esmond Sr. stops his son from going. Lorelei is discouraged since Gus isn't going, but goes anyway with Dorothy. Gus warns Lorelei that she has to behave because if his father hears of bad behavior, they will never be allowed to marry.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Esmond Sr. has hired a private detective, Ernie Malone (Elliott Reid), to spy on Lorelei.

While checking up on Lorelei, he incidentally falls in love with Dorothy. Lorelei meets Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman (Charles Coburn) who owns a diamond mine, which attracts her deeply. She uses her intense charm to entice him, annoying his wife.

Lorelei invites him over to the ship cabin she occupies with Dorothy, and Piggy tells Lorelei about his travels to Africa. Unknown to them, Malone is spying through the window and takes pictures of them flirting. Dorothy, going to her cabin to get dried off, sees Malone walking away nonchalantly after taking pictures of Lorelei and Piggy.

She tells Lorelei, who is frightened that Gus and his father will find out and call off the marriage, and they then come up with a scheme to get the film.

They invite him to their cabin for drinks and turn the heat up (which would make him take off his coat, where they would be able to get the film if it were in that). Lorelei mixes him a strong drink and puts sleeping pills in it, which makes him even warmer and lightheaded. Taking off his coat and finding nothing, they proceed to take off his trousers as the film must be there - which it is, and Lorelei promptly prints the negatives to hide away. Piggy is relieved that his wife won't see the pictures, worried about her jealousy.

Lorelei, feeling a little let-down that she doesn't get a reward, persuades Piggy to give her his wife's diamond tiara as a thank-you present. While they get the tiara, Malone enters the cabin revealing that he had been audiotaping them. Dorothy enters the cabin, scolding Malone for his actions. Lorelei comes back with the tiara, and is told by Dorothy that she is falling in love with Malone, although she doesn't like him a bit.

They dock in France and leave promptly in a taxi. While in Paris, the women spend all the money they have shopping for clothes.

When they arrive at the hotel, they find out that Lady Beekman (Norma Varden) didn't give up the tiara willingly, and doesn't know anything about it. Considering Lorelei a thief, Gus has stopped her line of credit.

Without money or a place to live, Lorelei and Dorothy get jobs as nightclub singers. Piggy somehow steals back the tiara, hoping to rid himself of everything from the past. When the police come after Lorelei, she is persuaded by Dorothy to return the tiara, but finds it missing from her jewelry box. Gus has come to see the show and Dorothy tells Lorelei that she has to get the money for the tiara from him. In the meantime, she allows the police to arrest her saying that she is Lorelei, cleverly disguised with a wig and fake beauty mark.

At the court, Dorothy tries to stall for time so Lorelei and Gus can come with a new tiara, and claim that it is the one that Piggy had taken from his wife. Dorothy puts on a show in the middle of the courtroom, annoying the judge.

Malone and Esmond Sr. arrive at the airport and see Piggy, who instructs Malone to tell Lorelei that he is sorry for what he did. Malone agrees to tell her, then leaves. They arrive at the court to testify against Lorelei, but Dorothy (still in disguise as Lorelei) is on the stand and tells Malone that she is in love with him but will never forgive him if he does anything to hurt Lorelei. Malone refuses to testify against her, withdrawing his case. He realizes who has the tiara and tracks it down to Piggy who is still at the airport. Malone brings the tiara to the court where it is "legally" returned to its rightful owner, Sir Francis.

Meanwhile, back at the nightclub, Lorelei tells the elder Esmond, on her behalf, "I don't want to marry your son for his money, I want to marry him for your money - don't you know, a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl for being pretty, but doesn't it help?" She also explains to him that if he had a daughter, he would want the best for her, and that it is only fair for her to want the same. Once he is convinced that Lorelei isn't "stupid" and "conceited," he gives his blessing for her to marry his son.

The two girls proceed to have a double wedding, singing to themselves "Two Little Girls from Little Rock" as they walk down the aisle.

the OST:

my fave :)

the Riviu:
it's my first MM movie review. it's pleasant and crass somewhat. but i love to pick a tip or two watching Miss Lee exuding her charms. her pouts, sighs and placating requests surely are charming.

as for Miss Shaw, she's to me, a somewhat tiger lady who still manages to get her man :) her oneliners are on the mark and her grunts and whatnots perhaps portraying the feminine power as opposed to Miss Lee's over girliness.

the girls' camaraderie and fond feelings for each are apparent. the comic genius, the on-the-mark timing was profound. clearly MM knows how to guile and provide comic release in the same breath :)

my fave would have been the one where she first encountered the use of tiara. sungguh comel !

anyway, here's hoping for more MM movie reviews (^^,)v

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

being hit!

wah.. it surprised me to note that this blog has been hit for 500 times :)

keep it up guys. i might find in my heart the determination to do a piece on "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". yup Miss Monroe's piece :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grown Ups: aptly titled :)

the Poster:

the Trailer:

the Plot:
In 1978, five childhood friends won their junior high basketball championship. During the celebration at a rented lake house, their coach "Buzzer" (Blake Clark) encourages them to live their lives in a similar way to how they played the game.

Thirty years later, the five friends, who had remained close companions up until their graduation, have since separated.

Lenny "Hollywood" Feder (Adam Sandler) is a high-powered Hollywood talent agent who is married to Roxanne Chase (Salma Hayek), a fashion designer, and has three children. His two sons, Greg and Keithie (Jake Goldberg and Cameron Boyce) have become very spoiled, much to his annoyance. His daughter, Becky (Alexys Nycole Sanchez) on the other hand is a sweet angel.

Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) claims he is now a co-owner of a lawn furniture company, is married to Sally (Maria Bello) and has two children, Donna (Ada-Nicole Sanger) and Bean (Frank and Morgan Gingerich).

Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock) is a stay-at-home father who is married to Deanne (Maya Rudolph), the primary breadwinner of the family and has two kids. Deanne is pregnant with another child and her mother (Ebony Jo-Ann) also lives with the family.

Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) has been divorced three times and has three daughters Jasmine, Amber, and Bridget (Madison Riley, Jamie Chung, and Ashley Loren) from those marriages. His wife, Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), is 30 years older than him.

Marcus Higgins (David Spade) is a lazy womanizer/bum and unmarried.

All five of them regularly harass each other in comedic fashion throughout the film: Lenny for being rich, Eric for being overweight, Kurt for being skinny and not being more useful, Rob for his way of saying "Hey!" and for having a much older wife, and Marcus for being a slacker.

During a 4th of July weekend, they reconvened to the lake house and spent some times reconnecting along with their families and meeting some old adversaries.

the Riviu:
i really enjoyed this movie. it was maturely written, superb casting and laden-filled with good family values :) Give it a spin and you'll fall in love with Adam Sandler's Feder (^^,)v

5 friends enjoying the lake house

the ladies

the kids

Rob's daughters

the guys in action

Monday, April 9, 2012

Alice in Wonderland: enjoy the ride :)

the Poster:

the Trailer:

the Plot:
Mia Wasikowska plays the now nineteen-year-old Alice who, 13 years after her previous visit, returns for the first time as a young woman. She is told that she is the only one who can slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon-like creature controlled by Iracebeth of Crims, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) who terrorizes Underland's inhabitants.

Troubled by a strange recurring dream and mourning the loss of her beloved father, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh attends a garden party at Lord Ascot's estate, where she is confronted by an unwanted marriage proposal and the stifling expectations of the society in which she lives.

Unsure of how to reply, and increasingly confused, she runs away to chase after a rabbit in a blue waistcoat, and accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole.

She is transported to a world called Underland, where she is greeted by the White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen), Mallymkun the Dormouse (voiced by Barbara Windsor), the Dodo, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee (both played by Matt Lucas). They argue over her identity as "the right Alice", who it is foretold will slay the Red Queen's Jabberwocky on the Frabjous Day and restore Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to power.

They consult Absolem the Caterpillar (voiced by Alan Rickman) but he only vaguely answer their question.

The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by Ilosovic Stayne,the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover). Alice escapes and flees into the woods.

The Knave informs the Red Queen that Alice has returned to Underland to threaten her reign on the Frabjous Day. Incensed, the Red Queen ordered the soldiers to find Alice immediately.

Meanwhile, the wandering Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat (voiced by Stephen Fry), who takes her to meet Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare (voiced by Paul Whitehouse) and the Hatter (Johnny Depp).

On the way to the White Queen's castle, Hatter relates the terror of the Red Queen's reign, and comments that Alice is not the same as she once was. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead.

Later, Alice is found by Bayard the Bloodhound (voiced by Timothy Spall), who wishes to take her to the White Queen, but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter, so they go to the Red Queen's castle.

The Red Queen is unaware of Alice's true identity and therefore welcomes her as a guest. Alice learns that the Vorpal Sword (the only weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky) is locked away in a case inside the Bandersnatch's den. The Knave crudely attempts to seduce Alice, but she rebuffs him. She later manages to retrieve the sword and befriend the Bandersnatch. The Knave finds her with the sword and attempts to arrest her. Alice escapes on the back of the Bandersnatch and delivers the sword to the White Queen.

The Cheshire Cat saves the Hatter from execution, and the Hatter calls for rebellion against the Red Queen. The rebellion is quickly put down by the Jubjub bird.

The resistance flees to the White Queen's castle, and both armies prepare for battle. Alice remains unsure about the expectation for her to champion the White Queen, and meets with Absolem the Caterpillar. He reminds Alice of her past visit to Underland (which she mistakenly called "Wonderland" at the time) thirteen years earlier, and helps give her the courage to fight the Jabberwocky and accomplish "What she must to do", while he becomes a pupa.

When the Frabjous Day arrives, both the White and Red Queens gather their armies on a chessboard-like battlefield and send forth their chosen champions (armor-clad Alice and the Jabberwocky respectively) to decide the fate of Wonderland. Encouraging herself with the words of her late father, Alice manages to kill the Jabberwocky.

The White Queen then banishes the Red Queen and the Knave to the Outlands, and gives Alice a vial of the Jabberwocky’s blood, which will take her home. The Hatter suggests that she could stay in Underland, but she decides that she must go back and promises that she will return.

Alice returns home, where she stands up to her family and pledges to live life on her own terms. Impressed, Lord Ascot takes her in as his apprentice, with the idea of establishing oceanic trade routes to China. As the story closes, Alice prepares to set off on a trading ship. Absolem, now a butterfly, lands on her shoulder. Alice recognizes him and greets him before he flutters away.

the Riviu:
a clever adaptation of both Lewis Carroll's 1865 fantasy novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass. we were to understood that Alice had come to Underland once when she was little but as she grew up, she lost her muchness and forget about the visit. i love the way how the story unravels and simply enjoy the ride to the finish. the plot was A-class.

as for the characters, they are very eccentric, Tim Burton-ish style. but you couldn't help but liking them in their eccentricity. my fave would have been the Queen White. she was demure and a tad bit psycho-ish.

as this story does not invoke any emotional attachment nor strong emotion, i got to suka-hati-i-lah give it a 4.5 star.

oh wait, the rating was revised to 5 star as the OST was really great!

here's one, Kerli's Tea Party:

and another one, Motion City Soundtrack's Always Running Out of Time:

and last but not least, my favourite, Shinedown's Her Name is Alice!