Thursday, January 10, 2008

Missing out on the "Oscar" movies

With all honesty, I wasn't really very motivated to watch all of the so-called "Oscar-baiting" movies of 2006, thus giving the Oscars 2007 a miss after many years of not missing the live telecast of the Academy Awards. But being a self-proclaimed Big Movie Freak, I guess I'm a little obligated to at least check them out, see what the fuss is about (what could be more entertaining than Shoot 'Em Up?) and perhaps recommend or warn you about what to expect (e.g. will they bore the hell out of you, etc.?).

Unfortunately, at this point I've missed at least half a dozen of 2007's movies vying for 2008's Oscars, but it's not entirely my fault. The problem with these "artistic" movies is that most people (likely you) are not always interested in watching them, thus the shows are relegated to just a handful of cinemas, and they're often always the ones around central Singapore. That's not a problem if you're working in the city, but guess what? The Big Movie Freak doesn't work in the city! Making matters worse, they always, always slot these movies into the 6.30pm schedules on weekdays, giving me less than an hour to get there after work (5.30pm) from my workplace at the other end of the island. It takes 15 minutes to get to the MRT, and then another 45 minutes to the nearest cinema showing these movies; you do the math. Would it hurt so much to just schedule it just 15 or 30 minutes later?

Sure, there are weekend movies, though that gives me three problems: 1) price - weekday shows cost me $6 per ticket (I get discounts on my HSBC credit card), weekends cost me $8.50 (remember, the Big Movie Freak is on a budget), 2) Saturday is my quality time with the wife and sometimes with my pals; I do my creative shit on Sundays, and 3) I still need to haul my ass down 45 minutes worth of train ride to watch something that's potentially boring for all I know, even though there's a freakin' cinema right in front of my freakin' apartment already!

So, to the people responsible for Michael Clayton, Eastern Promises, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Lust, Caution (R, not NC16), my apologies for not catching your movies; blame the loss of my $6 ticket on your distributors. American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma, hold on, I may still be able to catch you guys. The Darjeeling Limited; well, Wes, I've seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but man, wtf? I don't feel so stoked about you, The Savages and Atonement. No Country For Old Men, not even Singapore? And will there be blood here?

On second thought, there's a strike going on in Hollywood, which has affected the awards shows, to the point that the Golden Globes had to be reduced from a three-hour glitzy event to a one-hour press conference. The Oscars might end up in a similar predicament, who knows? Then perhaps I won't feel so guilty not watching them now, hehe.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Spoovans' edited FF2 review!

Recently, the Car Freak a.k.a. Spoovans posted a rather bizarre review of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Bad writing or insane genius? You be the judge! I've uploaded an edited version of his review here. It might give you an understanding of how this movie freak thinks, or it might only give you a headache! Best of all, he managed to squeeze one short automobile-related comment near the end! Click on this link, if you dare!

New Transformers cartoon

Back to haunt every parent's wallet - the new Transformers Animated! Haven't seen a single episode yet, but based on the artwork on its site, the style is just not right in conveying the metallic giant robots' mass and weight. Looks more rubbery and plasticky, just like the toys, but maybe that's the intention. Anyway, I was quite skeptical about the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars series' use of Powerpuff Girls' art-style, but the cartoon made me eat my own words by having Jedi battle scenes that are far, far more awesome than any of the live-action movies'. Maybe this Transformers will be another Clone Wars-type of awesome. Who knows?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

An (unedited) review on I am Legend-comparison between old and new

HI Guys,

Before I proceed to the review, I do admit that living in solitude with all the cool stuffs in the world is rather cool.
This movie is based on based on the 1954 novel "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson. The first silver screen adaption of this book was the 1971's 'OMEGA MAN', with Charles Heston (a.k.a the NRA Taiko in USA) as Richard Neville. In this version, Richard Neville,the doctor,due to an experimental vaccine, is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves "The Family". The plague has caused them to become sensitive to light, as well as homicidally psychotic. In this version, Richard Neville is trying to get out of the city and find a human colony. In terms of execution, the movie is somewhat similar to sic-fi movies of its time, esp. Planet of the Apes etc.

Fast forward to 2007, in latest adaption of the novel, the producers decided to name the movie as the novel title, I AM LEGEND, and I do have to admit, it is definitely an improvement in comparison to its predessor. In this version, The movie begins with a newspaper interview with Dr. Kripper (Emma Thompson) who is speaking about the her scientific breakthrough. She has taken the Measles virus and altered it at a genetic level so that it attacks only cancerous cells. The treatment has proven 100% effective in over 10,109 clinical trials. The film then cuts to three years later and we see that New York is deserted. Grass is breaking through the concrete, cars are rusting in the streets, and entire buildings are covered in titanic sheets of plastic with Biohazard signs plastered all over them. Our Hero, Richard Neville (Will Smith), comes blazing in his Mustang GT500, hunting deers in downtown, run down NY (In Omega man, Charles Heston breaks into a deserted dealership and drives out the Mustang from the store window).
As in the earlier version, Neville is the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and maybe the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague -- 'The Infected' -- lurk in the shadows

In a nutshell, the special effects of this movie is ok, not that it is bad or anything, but after watching Beuwolf, playing countless gory video games such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill etc; 'The Infected' looks nothing more that 100% CG characters, fresh from the PC. I really wished the Director paid more attention on this. As for the storyline and cinematography, the pace was good and there were times I was on the edge of my seat, especially when Neville was entering an Infected hideout trying to get his dog back. The other character are Alicia Braga (Anna) andCharlie Tahan (Ethan), though their contribution didn't matter to the to the movie plot, they were in the movie till the end.

The movie centered on Neville's coping with his solitude life, that is constantly in battling to stay away from 'The Infected'. And by potraying the effects in embarking in risky genetic biotechnology projects with inadequate safety protocols, I believe the movie highlights the state of our modern hightech biotechnology industry, where company rush to produce cures for major ailments from the most unlikely sources, in order to claim novel discoveries and patents, in order to attain instant fame, glory and monetary rewards that comes with it.

In short, I would say that this is one cool movie, and I am definitely getting a DVD copy of this movie.