Weekend movie marathon: Jacky Chan’s The Myth and The Mummy 1 & 2

themythLast week’s Halloween long weekend afforded me some free time which I promptly wasted on some passive entertainment.

Saturday Night (Oct 31), I was looking forward to watching the last of the 6-part series, Apocalypse: World War 2, on The National Geographic channel to be followed by whatever would catch my fancy on HBO, Star Movie or Cinemax. But alas, Typhoon Santi spoiled my plan. I was itching to watch TV after the 12+ hours power interruption only to find out that Sky Cable was down.

Good thing my ex-girlfriend chanced upon and bought Jacky Chan’s epic movie, The Myth, on VCD about two weekends ago. Read more

High-Adrenaline Chase Scene

I’VE LONG OUTGROWN my addiction to martial arts flicks with the exception, of course, of Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies and some pleasant surprises from unknown martial artists every once in a seldom while.

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This video clip I chanced upon on You Tube appears to have been taken from one of those low-budget, made-in-HK gangster-cum-martial-arts movies. †The video quality is quite grainy and I couldn’t make out who the lead action star is, but he sure is one hell of a great “scape artist.”

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I immensely enjoyed this fast-paced, high-altitude chase and I thought it is quite a fitting video to watch as I get started with a really busy week ahead.

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When the earth wouldn’t stand still, go for Thai food on a twilight

daytheearthstoodstillposterDECEMBER 9, a day after my ex-girlfriend and I commemorated the day she became my ex, we finally had time alone together and decided to celebrate by watching “The Day the Earth Stood Still” at IMAX in SM Mall of Asia — only to find out that it is yet to be shown the following day. †(I should have checked before going. † Stupid, stupid, stupid.)

We were determined not to allow the evening to be spoiled so we went to the regular movie theaters of SM MOA, hoping to find a movie that we would both want to see. †Alas, there was none. †My ex-girlfriend suggested we settle for “Twilight.” †My facial expression was sufficient for her to drop the subject. †At that point the evening was officially spoiled.

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If there’s anything that can fix a spoiled evening for us that would be food. †So we went around looking for a place to eat. †As usual we wanted to try something new, on a place we haven’t tried before. †So we walked, and walked, and walked, until our toes started to ache.

We were going around on circles unable to decide where to eat. †And then we realized we were back in front of †IMAX, with the gigantic poster of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” staring us in the face, as if taunting us.

That’s when we saw Jatujak at the 2nd level of SM MOA.

I have eaten in Jatujak-SM Megamall before and I have even written a blog post about it. †My ex-girlfriend and I happen to both like Thai food. †It is one of those we consider “can’t go wrong” food options. †It wasn’t really the first time we were in such a situation — having difficulty choosing a place to eat, that is — in many of those times we ended up in a Thai restaurant somewhere.

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For appetizers we ordered Pomelo and Prawn Salad. †It was very good, albeit my ex-girlfriend thinks that Zao‘s version is better. †I couldn’t recall enough of Zao‘s version to make a comparison so I took her word for it.

For our drinks we both ordered Lemongrass Tea with Mint, bottomless. †Lemongrass Tea is a good choice. †Bottomless, isn’t. †As is usual when we order bottomless drinks we ended up taking in too much forgetting that our bellies are not exactly bottomless. †We were to suffer the consequences long into the evening.

We ordered Tom Yum for our soup of course, choosing mixed sea food instead of all shrimps. †I think this is not a very good choice. †I remembered that we ordered Tom Yum with all shrimps when I first ate in a Jatujak resto in SM Megamall and I can recall that it was much better. †Also I find the Tom Yum of Jatujak in SM MOA to be too sour. †I thought the waiter was referring to spiciness when he asked whether we want it medium or mild so we chose medium. †Now I think he must be referring to its sourness.

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For our main course we ordered†Bagoong Rice,†Tod Mung Goong†(Shrimp Cake, this is actually found under Appetizers in the menu), and†Moo Grob†(Crispy Pork with Cilantro Relish, with chicharon-baboy). †All good. †My only complaint is the shredded mango in the Bagoong Rice. †Again it is too sour. †Obviously, they used some local variety of green mango, not the authentic thai variety which is never sour. †It’s a negative point for consistency.

No amount of bottomless Lemongrass Tea can stop my ex-girlfriend from ordering dessert, and we tried†Kao Niew Mamuang (Sticky Rice with Mango) which is reminiscent of a local kakain in my home tome in Isabela, and†Ruamit†(Thai Halu-halo). †Frankly, at that point I was no longer in any condition to make a judgment on whether Jatujak’s desserts are great or not. †But I made a mental note of Ruamit’s ingredients, if only to compare with our local Halu-halo: †buko strips, sweet yellow corn, langka, nata de coco, sago, and coconut milk. †Now what do you think of that?

Our bill: †Php 1,363.00.

And that’s how I came to write the chaotic title for this blog post.

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Hairspray Movie-Musical is entertainment galore

WE SELDOM†watch movies on HBO†anymore but we had a lucky break two Sundays ago (Nov 30, about 9:00 o’clock PM). †While aimlessly switching channels on Sky Cable my ex-girlfriend and I chanced upon Hairspray the movie-musical that featured a singing and dancing John Travolta reminiscent of Grease 1 and 2. † But there’s an added twist to John Travolta’s role in Hairspray. †She… I mean he played the role of a woman, and an oversized woman at that.

The movie is hilarious. †The retro costumes and set are nicely done. †And the songs are great, too.

Aside from John Travolta, Hairspray is graced by several other big-name stars including Michelle Pfeiffer (oh yes, she sings and dances too), Queen Latifah, Zac Efron (of HSM fame), Amanda Bynes and Christopher Walken. †The lead star, Nikki Blonsky, is relatively unknown but she did pull her weight (pun intended) side by side with the stellar cast.

The movie was supposed to have been released last year but if you (like us, until recently) haven’t seen it yet then catch it on HBO. †I am sure it is still showing. #

O Kitchen of Solace

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WE WENT to see Quantum of Solace, my ex-girlfriend and I, on its first day of showing last week at Greenbelt 3.

I will not write a movie review about the latest James Bond thriller.† Suffice it to say that it is a superb and extremely entertaining movie.† Daniel Craig is doing a great job in reinventing James Bond.† Two thumbs up.† Go watch it if you havenít yet.

It was about 8:30 PM when we arrived at the box office counters of Greenbelt 3.† We bought tickets for a 10:00 PM screening. †I was famished so went to look for a place to eat.

Unknown to me, my ex-girlfriend already has her agenda all laid down as far as our dinner is concerned.† She wanted to check out a relatively new dining place right at the ground floor of Greenbelt 3.† Itís called O Kitchen.

She was curious, and I got curious too, since we know of a place also called ìO Kitchenî somewhere in Libis (very near Eastwood City) QC.† It was one of our favorite lunch places when we were still working at the IBM Plaza up until 2001 (we are not sure if it is still there).† It was also one of the few dining places my ex-girlfriend hasnít tried yet in the whole GB1-5 complex!

As soon as weíve entered the joint and opened the menu we agreed that it was nothing like the ìO Kitchenî in Libis that we used to go to.† The concept is different, the menu selections are different, the ambiance is different…† The only things that seem to be somehow similar, but not the same, are the spoons and forks.† Or should I say the trowels and gardening forks (they are huge!)?

Their menu is very interesting ñ entertaining even.† From their appetizers to entrees, to dessert, and to drinks they came up with really catchy names (mostly word plays of some popular or commonly used phrases).

For our appetizers, for instance, we ordered ìCatty Remarksî (deep fried cat fish rings).† I strongly recommend this to go with San Mig Light.† Quite good.† Very crunchy, you can chew and eat even the catfish bones.

For our main course we opted for ìToo Good It’s So Trueî (pan fried salmon belly with bistek tagalog sauce) for me and ìRibbitî (fried pork spare ribs) for her.† I find the bistek tagalog sauce too salty and the fried spare ribs too oily (must be the fat). Read more

“dividi dividi” (a Movie Marathon)


‘BEEN DOING SOME CATCHING UP
on our growing pile of DVDs at home in the past six to eight weeks. ‘Just thought of making a short note for each movie I’ve seen before some of them disappear in my consciousness forever.

21 – Good plot. Very entertaining. Kevin Spacey is just awesome.

88 Minutes (Al Pacino) – great plot, spellbinding suspense, kept me guessing to the very end.

American Gangsters – another great period movie. Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe are a powerhouse tandem.

A Mighty Heart – heart-breaking.† But a must-see movie.

Bucket List – Depressing at first but it turned out to be a great movie. Movie is quite emotionally charged.

Deception (Ewan MacGregor and Hugh Jackman) – Shrewed plot but pace is rather slow and boring. Forgettable.

Flood – Good natural calamity movie. That it is set in London instead of the usual Manhattan (or even Japan) is a welcome relief.† The effects are great though they are not as dramatic as the movie’s trailer wove it to be. The plot focused on the relationship dynamics among the lead roles which I find to be another welcome change from the typical disaster movies.

Heartbreak Kid.† Sick movie.† I didn’t find it funny at all.† Ben Stiller must start choosing his movies else his legions of fans will start to leave in droves.

Horton Hears a Who? – clean and pure entertainment. Great screenplay based on a great Dr. Seuss story. Lovable cartoon characters.

King Solomon’s Mines – this is a rather old movie we found from a VCD sale in Shopwise, starting Richard Chamberlain and guess who? Sharon Stone. It’s quite entertaining and perhaps even comparable to Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom and Raider’s of the Lost Ark, which seem like its contemporaries. Made me wonder why there weren’t any sequel to it. It’s interesting to see Sharon Stone screaming and fumbling, and still very young and fresh-looking. †She was quite a looker even way back then.

Street Kings – I expected more from Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker in this movie. Good enough story but quite forgettable.

Sex and the City – I didn’t really watch it.† I was working while my roommate was watching it (I swear!). I guess the story wasn’t that interesting for I wasn’t tempted enough to drop what I was doing to watch it.† I’ll be fair. There were a number of great dialogues, alright — oohs, aahs, moans and screams. Guys, leave this to the ladies. You’ll be better off with your “scandals.”

The Art of War, Betrayal – completely forgettable. Wesley Snipes hasn’t have a good movie for years. His tax troubles must be taking its toll.

The Bee Movie – great entertainment. Enjoyed it immensely although I was skeptical at first.

The Brave One – Jodie Foster managed to surprise me with some sexy scenes, showing some nips and quite a lot of skin. The movie itself is quite forgettable though so I wonder whether Jodie’s daring gamble may have been put to naught.

The Cleaners – Another of Samuel Jackson’s rather ordinary movies. Good thing he is such a good and versatile actor he easily recovers from†forgettable movies like this.

The Eye – Good plot. Some really creepy scenes. Nice twist. †Jessica Alba looks good even when she’s blind.

The Golden Compass – the movie has an engaging plot. Being the first of another book-based trilogy its ending is anticlimactic as expected. At the very least I was curious considering the supposed outrage it created among the highest echelon of power in the Catholic Church. I did find some somewhat disturbing notions suggested, quite subliminally, by the author. A person’s soul, for instance, is referred to as “demon,” which I suspect, is a subtle suggestion that the term “demon” is not necessarily bad.† Hollywood has a track record of successfully altering people’s perception of certain concepts. Take witches for example. A few decades ago, witches are clearly and unequivocally bad. Now tell that to the generation saturated with Sabrina, Charmed, Bewitched, and of course Harry Potter.

The Great Debaters – very good period movie. Powerful performances by Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker.

The Happening (Mark Wahlberg, John Leguizamo) – Title should have been “What Happened?” Completely forgettable. I’ll take that back. you don’t really forget stupid movies like this. M. Night Shyamalan‘s downward spiral is unstoppable.

The Road to Terabithia – Depressing. Not a movie to watch if you are looking for some relaxation.

The Simpsons Movie†– Yes I just watched the Simpsons and I enjoyed it a lot. I guess I am quite biased because Bart has always been my favorite cartoon character so let’s get other people’s opinions. Marielle, my 5-yr old sweetheart slept within 15 minutes so I guess it’s safe to say she didn’t like it. Three-year old Johan intently watched with me ’til the very end, so it’s 2-to-1 in favor of Homer and family. My ex-girlfriend didn’t like it, never liked the dysfunctional Simpsons family ever since (which sort of like she is missing the point, don’t you think?). So it’s an even score.† Apparently, boys like it, girls don’t.

Untraceable – Diane Lane still has the sex appeal she’s been always famous for. Good detective-mystery movie.

Wanted – Great effects. Great stunts. Lots of blood and gore, just the way I like it. Be forewarned though. It is not an Angelina Jolie movie as what the movie poster and trailer lead people to believe. Not even a Morgan Freeman movie.† Old Hollywood dirty trick and it works all the time, capitalizing on big-name stars even when the big stars are not in the lead role. Still Angelina is stunningly sexy even in a supporting role.

Warlords – Jet Li gave a superb acting performance in this movie. But I had a headache tying to understand the hideous English subtitle (the movie is in Chinese). Damn pirated DVDs!

You don’t mess with the Zohan – Hilarious. Vulgar. Obscene. If you are just looking for a laugh, this is it. Don’t watch with your kids, though.

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Mum about The Mummy

JUDE, NOW A REGULAR visitor of my blog, e-mailed me the other day asking why I still do not have a movie review of The Mummy, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in my blog. (So I am now a movie critic, huh? Am I supposed to feel flattered or what?) Haven’t I watched the movie yet, he asked, reminding me even that I said I was eagerly waiting for it in my June 2 blog entry, Indy Movie (http://awonderfulblog.com/2008/06/indy-movie/). Wow, this guy is thorough, isn’t he?

I am supposed to be ìon leaveî for a few days from blogging to give way to an important project I am wrapping up for the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. But Jude is adamant. Besides, I won’t dare disappoint one of the very few people who do read my blog. More so because I don’t even know Jude personally. I do know that he doesn’t mince words, both in his matter-of-fact comments in my blog and in his scathing e-mails. Peace, man.

I did watch The Mummy, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor last Saturday with my ex-girlfriend.

How do I find it? Well… let me put it this way: On its own merit it is a very entertaining and well produced movie. The mere presence of Jet Li and†Michelle Yeoh definitely added a lot of value to it.

But it has at least half a dozen problems:

First, just like most sequel movies it has the misfortune of having to deal with the fact that its earlier installments were certified blockbusters. Even more so that Mummy 2 is one of those rare sequels that outdid their originals. The expectations on Mummy 3 were simply too high, and it failed, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh notwithstanding.

Second, the absence of Rachel Weisz in the female lead role made Mummy 3 simply not the same The Mummy movie anymore. Maria Bello‘s performance in replacing Rachel Weisz as†Evelyn O’Connell†is unassailable. But something is amiss. The chemistry of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz as Mr. and Mrs. Rick O’Connell in the first two installments is already almost synonymous with the movie’s brand. It simply is not the same anymore without Rachel Weisz. I’m sure Jude and many others are as curious as I am why Rachel Weisz didn’t reprise her role in the movie. The best answer I got courtesy of Yahoo Answers is this: ì…sources speculate a handful of reasons for Weisz’ departure from the franchise, including her participation in as many as four other acting gigs, her recent Oscar win, and caring for her nine-month-old son.î

Third, newcomer Luke Ford as Alex O’Connell, the grown up son of Rick and Evelyn, doesn’t seem to fit the character, aggravating the lost chemistry between the senior O’Connells.

Fourth, Jet Li’s Chinese ìmummyî and his evil legion failed to give moviegoers (or at least me) ìthe creepsî as did the mummy of†the Egyptian high priest Im-ho-tep†in the first two installments. I recall one butt-raising suspenseful moment as Alex O’Connell enters the tomb, but that’s about it. I have two theories why this is so. First, after two installments viewers may have already grown too familiar with those mummy stuff and antics. Second, most people have already been exposed to the Terraccota relic. We don’t really associate the Terraccota with things that are scary, do we?

Fifth, Mummy 3 has an even bigger misfortune of having to screen just a few weeks after The Dark Knight.

Lastly… I forgot what my sixth and last reason why I think Mummy 3 is somewhat a forgettable movie… which quite sums up what I think about the movie.

And that is why, Jude, I wasn’t that motivated to blog about The Mummy, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. I am actually curious to know what YOU think about it. #

English Movies You Should Never Translate Into Tagalog

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MY FRIEND MERLE ANTONIO sent to our Google Group the following forwarded e-mail message last week. ‘Gave me a good laugh.

Some of my blog visitors may not have seen this yet so I am posting it here (translation: I have nothing interesting to blog about right now).

My apologies to the few non-Filipinos who regularly visit my blog for none of these may make any sense to you. I am†sure you’ll recognize the English titles though. :-)

1. Black hawk down – ibong maitim sa ibaba
2. Dead man’s chest – dodo ng patay
3. I know what you did last summer – uyy… Aminin!
4. Love, actually – sa totoo lang, pag-ibig
5. Million dollar baby – 50 million pisong sanggol (it depends on the exchange rate of the country)
6. The Blair witch project – ang proyekto ng bruhang si Blair
7. Mary poppins – si mariang may putok
8. Snakes on a plane – nag-ahasan sa ere
9. The postman always rings twice – ang kartero kapag Dumutdot laging dalawang beses
10. Sum of all fears – takot MO, takot ko, takot nating lahat
11. Swordfish – talakitok
12. Pretty woman – ganda ng lola MO
13. Robin hood, men in tights – si robin hood at ang mga felix bakat
14. Four weddings and a funeral – kahit 4 na beses ka pang magpakasal, mamamatay ka rin
15. The good, the bad and the ugly – ako, ikaw, kayong lahat
16. Harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone – adik si harry, tumira ng shabu
17. Click – isang pindot ka lang
18. Brokeback mountain – may nawasak sa likod ng bundok ng tralala / bumigay sa bundok
19. The day of the dead – ayaw tumayo (ng mga patay) (Note: †I don’t actually get this. †Will somebody explain to me please?)
20. Waterworld – basang-basa
21. there’s something about Mary – may kwan sa ano ni Maria
22. Employee of the month – ang sipsip
23. Resident evil – ang biyenan
24. Kill bill – kilitiin sa bilbil
25. The grudge – lintik lang ang walang ganti
26. Nightmare before Christmas – binangungot sa noche buena
27. Never been kissed – pangit kasi
28. Gone in 60 seconds – 1 round, tulog
29. The fast and the furious – ang bitin, galit
30. Too fast, too furious – kapag sobrang bitin, sobrang galit
31. Dude, where’s my car – dong, anong level ulit tayo nag-park?
32. Beauty and the beast – ang asawa ko at ang nanay nya
33. The lord of the rings – ang alahero

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The Dark Knight rocks; Gotham City is finally getting brighter

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I WATCHED THE DARK KNIGHT last Wednesday (July 23) with my ex-girlfriend.† It was awesome!† The movie is almost 3 hours but I didn’t seem to notice. Multiple orgasms guaranteed! Oops sorry, bad language.† What I meant to say is that the movie seems to have several climaxes, so much so that for at least three times I thought it was already ending only to find out that there’s more.

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It’s one movie I would really recommend you watch.

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Let me put my shameless endorsement into context by saying that I was not a Batman fan (emphasis on ‘was’).

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I watched none of the Batman movies in the big screen before Batman Begins. Of course I eventually got to see them on HBO (or Cinemax or Star Movies). Even though I have a relatively high propensity for the out-of-the-ordinary, I still find the idea of Gotham City with all those freaky masked characters, Batman included, a little beyond me. Why does Gotham City have to be so dark, in the first place?† The big star casts and huge budget notwithstanding, those Batman movies – from Michael Keaton to Val Kilmer to George Clooney – simply weren’t sufficient to escape the caped crusader’s cartoonish origins.

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That is, until Batman Begins started it all over again.† Now everything is starting to make sense.

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And with The Dark Knight, even Joker’s character came to life – real life, that is – thanks to Heath Ledger‘s superb acting performance. Enough has been said about that in the movie reviews both in Hollywood and in the local showbiz scene so I won’t add to it.† Except perhaps to say that I wouldn’t begrudge the people behind the Academy Awards if they give Ledger a posthumous Oscar as some movie reviewers are now speculating.

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I also like the way Two Face‘s character was portrayed.† Short and sweet.† He ended up more of a hero than a villain, which is just right considering that he used to be Batman’s best friend in the original DC Comics series.

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Enough.† I’ll say more and those who are yet to see the movie would already lynch me. Go see the movie for yourself. #

Indy movie

My ex-girlfriend and I watched Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on its second screening day in MM last Friday, May 30, at Glorietta 4.

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We haven’t been visiting movie theaters for quite some time now, thanks to our 42î Philips Perfect Pixel LCD TV with Ambilight. (Or should I say thanks to Philips, my ex-girlfriend’s employer. If not for the employee-only discount we availed of we would never have afforded it.)

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We make exceptions for certain much-anticipated movies, though. One of this is this long overdue 4th installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. (The other one we are looking forward to watch on the big screen and in a THX or Dolby theater is the next installment of The Mummy, with Jet Li and Michelle Yeow in the cast, set to open in MM on July 30 or so.)

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We were not disappointed. With the new Indiana Jones movie, that is. Harrison Ford is still the best.†The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull†is as funny and as adventure-filled as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. And there’s a surprising and pleasant twist. Indy has a junior, Mutt Williams, portrayed by Shia LaBeouf, the same actor who portrayed the funny Sam Witwicky in the top grossing Transformers movie.

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At this point I would hazard a prediction. The producers and writers of Indiana Jones are now setting the stage for the next generation of Indiana Jones adventures, with Shia LaBeouf (as Mutt Williams aka Indy Jr.) taking on the iconic bullwhip and brown fedora. But there may be a couple more movies where Indy and Indy Jr. share an adventure together. After all, even at 66 (yes he was born in 1942!) Ford seems to still able to keep up with LaBeouf. Indiana Jones fans like me may want to visit the official Indiana Jones Website at http://www.indianajones.com/site/index.html. #

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