Saturday, November 29, 2008

Movie Reviews: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa /Bolt (Cartoon Overload)


This past week and a half found me and the wifey catching two animated movies. Passed up Brad and George’s “Burn After Reading” for totally lighter fare by taking on the sequel to “Madagascar.” Then went back a few days after to find “Burn” already pulled out, and settled for the “Truman”-esque cartoon pooch “Bolt” voiced by John Travolta.

So in order of viewing…

The events in “Madagascar, Escape 2 Africa” almost immediately follow the first movie, and our zany zoo animals are immediately found preparing to board a patched up plane hooked up to “the biggest slingshot they’ve ever seen.”

And the “plane” was put together and crewed by the four animal stars of the movie, and I don’t mean the lion, giraffe, hippo and zebra. I’m talking about the bad-ass penguins. The Tom McGrath-voiced Skipper-led posse of penguins easily steal the show and provide the no-holds barred humor, while the others pretend to build a story the audience has seen before in another cartoon about a lion and his father, produced by a studio represented by a mouse…

Without being burdened with having to carry the movie, the penguins spit out one-liners faster than those crazy Indians with machine guns running around Mumbai. Those critters easily provide the funniest moments of the movie.

But that’s not saying the others didn’t do a good job. But one can’t help but notice that the supposed stars are merely playing to type. Ben Stiller as Alex is again the lovable delusionary who wins in the end. David Schwimmer as Melmar is the love-sick puppy (or rather, giraffe) who can’t get his balls together to face the girl, but gets her in the end. Chris Rock is again trying to show the world he’s worth something and is somebody. For Better or worse, Jada Pinket Smith, while a big enough celebrity in her own right, doesn’t have any typecasts to fill. Otherwise, I’m sure the writers would’ve used that as well.

The late Bernie Mac does a good job, while I feel that Alec Baldwin wasn’t really given enough opportunities to show his comic chops. Sasha Baron Cohen is also playing something to type. That of the clueless oddball...

So Alex gets accepted by the pride after a traitorous coup attempt by Baldwin’s character, and takes his rightful place by his father’s side (voiced by Bernie Mac), Melman and Gloria hook up, Marty finds his “identity,” and the penguins are still cool.

And yes, they all lived happily ever after… (cue “Circle of Life…”)

The movie just left me wanting more penguins…


****************************************

We saw “Bolt” the night prior to my usual Baguio trip. Indulged the wifey to a “date” before I went off. Was drowsy as hell, even to the point of having napping spells in some parts of the movie. But hey, it’s a movie with a mutt for a star. The wifey and I love dogs, so there…

Like the titular character, “Bolt” was as fluffy a movie as anything the Mouse House would make. Not particularly funny, save for the obsessed fan represented by the hamster in the plastic ball bouncing all over the place. Of course, the stars here are John Travolta voicing the main four-legged protagonist, alongside a little girl voiced by Miley Cyrus, better known to some as Hannah Montana. But hey, hamster steals the show…

But the premise to “Bolt” is actually interesting. See, Bolt is an actor dog in a TV show about a superpowered dog. He’s been trained to react in certain ways to do his job in the show. And through careful stagings by the crew, Bolt has been made to believe that he really does have superpowers. Otherwise, he’d get scared and run away from the “villains” like regular dogs. So the main character is in a TV show but he doesn’t know it. “The Truman Show,” anyone?

And yes, he gets out in the “real world.” How it happened, I don’t know. Must be the part where I dozed off… but when I came to, he was already out there, lost, and desperately trying to find his way back to Penny, his little girl co-star voiced by Miley Cyrus. All throughout his search, he makes friends with a cat and a hamster. But what kept this from turning into “Homeward Bound, the Incredible Journey” is that until almost the last part, Bolt sincerely believes he has powers. Neutralized temporarily by Styrofoam, which he believed to be his kryptonite…

His realization and how he overcame it was done quite well. John Travolta communicates the transition between overconfident superhero to anxious would-be powerless hero excellently. Miley Cyrus is… Miley Cyrus… Didn’t do so bad, but no big deal for me.

Great for kids. Lessons to be learned, and a decent sprinkling of funny parts. Mostly from the hamster…

Speaking of teen stars voicing cartoons, after an overload of “High School Musical” trailers, I must strongly suggest to the producers of any upcoming Chipmunks sequels to use Vanessa Hudgens’ talents. It’ll be a walk in the park for the sound engineers since she already sounds like a goddamn chipmunk. Pretty though… especially that beautiful preteen photo of her in the buff… if she plays a chipmunk, I wouldn’t mind her having my nuts…

*******************************

That’s all for now… catch you later…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Riding Back Home...

I had maybe five to ten minutes of battery life on this stupid machine, so I have to make this count…

Now check this out! Not even a week’s worth of reruns of Russell Peters’ racist stand-up gigs were going to prepare me for this bus ride tonight… I mean, this trip back to Manila was like a fucking United Nations convoy… I was already half-horrified by very traditional-looking (and probably traditional-smelling) Indian family sitting a row behind me, so I directed the airconditioning ventilator go full blast on my head to chill out any potential smell. Then lo and behold, I got me four sushi eaters chattering their way down the aisle.

So there I was, already marveling at the racial diversity (there were the Pinoys, naturally, and there was little old biologically Chinese me), then this Backstreet Boy church choir whitebread reject hops in with some fellow Pinoy exchange students. And I’m sure there’s a Korean somewhere… probably the trunk… those guys turn up anywhere… Wow… the only things missing from this ride were the complimentary curry rice and wasabi…

Oops… power giving out…!

Catch you later…!

Friday, November 14, 2008

RHYMES OF THE TIMES... (No.1)

Little Gloria

There’s a little girl named Gloria Arroyo,
The dirty president of the Philippine archipelago,
Who has the thickest face beyond belief,
Who uses her economic talents to become a thief.

Her government has been the country’s tragedy,
Where graft and corruption underscore every strategy,
And it seems as though her every official’s intention,
Is to indulge their lives at the cost of the nation.

From the policemen who live on every bribe,
To congressmen who’s greed no one can describe,
To generals who indulge in a luxury Russian tour,
While there’s not even enough rice to feed the poor.

We have undersecretaries who steal nine-figure sums,
Who shared it with the rich, not with the farmers and slums,
He went into hiding somewhere else and now he’s back,
But the government can’t even get the investigation on track.

There is a scandal in the government in every direction,
But they always promise to change when there’s an election,
Then they seem loud and active for a few precious days,
After which they all return to their greedy ways.

Now Gloria’s been such a pathetic sight to all,
As she tries to get Barack Obama for even a courtesy call,
And she’s been snubbed many times this past week alone,
The poor little bitch can’t see him or even get him on the phone.

Because it seems that the new president the U.S. elected,
Is a much more smarter man than we expected,
He probably knows the magnitude at which Gloria steals,
About all her corrupted ways, and her many shady deals.

We hope Gloria keeps stalking Barack, because it’ll really hurt,
For her to realize she’s being treated like nothing but dirt,
Maybe one day she’ll wake up and stop playing dumb,
And realize the joke of a president she’s already become.

vh1 agrees with me... uh... wow...

CHECK THIS OUT, PEOPLE !

I got me one of those usual vh1 email updates and i find this article:

http://www.vh1.com/movies/news/articles/1599316/20081114/story.jhtml

Now in the absence of another Gloria potshot piece (although i have a few brewing in my brain all the time), and the lack of anything I feel like plopping down to whine about, I just want to gloat...
Most bloggers (like yours truly) find our opinions pretty personnal and usually subject to so many flying eyebrows who doubt our "journalistic" credibility (i know I do...). So it feels extra sweet to find a "major" pop culture reference (e.g. vh1) spitting out lines echoing what we humble bloggers say over a handful of days after we do.

i feel so... LEGIT... bwahahahaha...!

Catch you later...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace (Bond's Back...whoopee...)

Daniel Craig’s second outing as Agent 007 shows him slowly morphing into the more familiar mould of Bond (yawn…). Where Sir Sean Connery has always embodied the “perfect” James Bond, despite being Irish and not British, everyone else found themselves a little niche in the Bond mythos by way of injecting their own little thing into the role. Roger Moore had that deadpan thing, Pierce Brosnan had wit, and Timothy Dalton was known for being the least entertaining of the lot… oh, right… there’s also George Lazy… something…

But despite the supposedly subtle differences of portrayal, Bond has always been suave, polished, and in most cases, even handsome. Now Craig broke that polished mould with Casino Royale by presenting the world with a more testosterone-y, angrier and definitely more physical Bond. With technology in its current pace, the only way to make gadgets truly interesting was to go steampunk on it. http://run-geek-run.blogspot.com/2008/10/its-supposed-to-look-not-quite-right.html So the current team on the James Bond movies wisely took the high-tech aspect of Bond and put it the background. And since Daniel Craig is still young and apparently more physically fit than Mr. Brosnan, they turn him into muscle-bound Bond, or “Muscle-Bond” for short… His very first scene as Bond in “Casino Royale” being the Parkour chase set the tone for what kind of Bond Craig was going to become. Truly, a new Bond, if not something new altogether (Jason Bourne, anyone?).

But this time around in “Quantum of Solace,” Craig is in a tuxedo once too often, if you ask me. But hey, it IS supposed to be a James Bond flick, right? But they ditched the shaken Martini in favor of something that had a very thin slice of lemon peel or something…

In “Quantum,” they continue the trend of slightly more realistic world-threatening plots. Hatched by assigned baddie Dominic Greene, played by Mathieu Amalric, the world-domination plot revolves around cornering a country’s water supply and so on… Greene is part of a conglomerate with a lot of shady deals known as the Quantum Organization. They do deals with various governments and blah blah blah… what’s new?

Jeffrey Wright as CIA spook Felix Leiter looked just a wee bit uncomfortable this time out. Probably because of the storyline, but he was definitely more enjoyable to watch in Casino Royal.

Of course they not only give the typical action flick junkie the obligatory car chase, they also present a boat chase, and a plane chase. Along with the usual helping of hot Bond girls. This particular Bond girl is to my liking. Olga Kurylenko is exotically gorgeous, and has given me someone new to obsess about for a while… or maybe it was the tan…

Since I’m trying to maintain some semblance of respectability on this blog, I can’t post the lovely photos of Miss Kurylenko here. Except maybe for my standard visual support photo… write me and perhaps I will be kind enough to share the fruits of my googling… or maybe I can just be absa-tively generous and share the link… http://www.egotastic.com/entertainment/celebrities/olga-kurylenko/olga-kurylenko-nude-pictures-003315
The above link is actually a treasure chest of man-goodies…

Over all, “Quantum” wasn’t bad at all. But it seems that although Daniel Craig started off as the Bond reboot, the character’s trajectory seems to be headed to familiar ground as Craig’s Bond becomes slightly less physical, and probably no longer as angry. The budding friendship between his Agent 007 and Dame Judi Dench’s M seems to indicate that the “loose cannon Bond” everyone’s been looking forward to seeing whenever Craig slips into the Bond tux, the Bond car, and the puts on the Bond watch will be gone by the next movie.

Still a must-see to familiarize yourself with Olga Kurylenko.

Sorry, folks... no pot shots at Gloria Macapagal Arroyo...
Catch you later...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

ONE FUCKING DAY...

ONE FUCKING DAY

That’s all it took to hold an election in a country of over three hundred million people…

ONE FUCKING DAY

To decide who will hold the highest office in the free world…

ONE FUCKING DAY

For a gracious man to stand up and concede like the officer and gentleman that he is…

ONE FUCKING DAY…

…is impossible for the Philippine government to get anything done.

But in ONE FUCKING DAY, former Agriculture Undersecretary Joc Joc Bolante and his “doctors” can conjure up a hundred and one illnesses to try and avoid facing the senate. http://newphilrevolution.blogspot.com/2008/10/bino-bola-tayo-ni-bolante-were-being.html

In ONE FUCKING DAY, St. Luke’s was transformed from a major hospital, to the Satanic sanctuary of a government pup, who served the corrupted purposes of a mole-infested demoness holding the highest office in the Philippines…

In ONE FUCKING DAY, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the rest of MalacaƱang spend 6.5 million Pesos to keep the presidential house running… http://www.istorya.net/forums/politics-and-current-events/85811-keeping-house-for-malacaa-ang-cost-taxpayers-a-cool-p2-36-billion-in-2006-coa.html

ONE FUCKING DAY won’t be enough to cheat in an election. So a country of only ninety one million people takes a grand total of FIFTY FUCKING DAYS between voting day and the declaration of the "elected" official.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Philippine_elections http://www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/issues/gloria_macapagal.htm

A lot can happen in ONE FUCKING DAY, huh?

Catch you later…