Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Review: Megamind (3D Movie, 2D Characters...)

Saw Megamind. Liked it. It’s a movie of superhero what-ifs. Simple as that. Someone took the basic foundations of the Superman lore and twisted things a bit. So taking the veiled analogues off and we get:

• A Lex Luthor one wants to root for
• An insufferable Superman who finally wants to retire and finds a way to do so
• Lois Lane ending up with Lex Luthor
• Jimmy Olsen finally showing people how he really feels about Supes (and Lois)
• And finally, we get Brainiac as an adorable alien puffer fish.

Funky little tidbit is that the Jimmy Olsen character is called “Hal Stewart.” Most likely a nod to the two alter-egos of Green Lantern, Hal Jordan and John Stewart. Another solid tidbit is that Bob Downey, Jr. was supposed to have signed up to voice Megamind, but the role went to Ferrell due to Bob’s schedule conflicts. Bob was mostly likely busy shooting “Due Date,” which i also saw.

Ooh, and there’s a Donkey Kong tribute in there for geekazoids like yours truly. Comic book geek me loved the movie, by the way.

Main characters voiced by Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Ben Stiller and the geeksexy Tina Fey.

‘catch you later.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pilipinas Kay Ganda... sana.

Last week saw almost the entire online community in a righteous uproar about Secretary of Tourism Bertie Lim’s relaunch of the country’s international tourism campaign which (as of this writing) was called “Pilipinas Kay Ganda.”

I don’t think i can say anything that hasn’t been said about the campaign’s very shaky beginnings. But on a related note, i did post a comment on Anton Diaz’s popular blog, “Our Awesome Planet.” And just for the heck of it, here’s that post:

“Greetings, Anton!
i think the new tourism campaign does nothing more than act like a poor, watered down sequel to the rather successful "wow philippines" campaign.
i wasnt there at the launch. But offhand, as a patron of local tourism spots, i believe the government should reduce expenses in marketing at the onset and redirect funds in improving facilities and security in already world-renowned tourism spots (too many to mention).
While we have many, many privately-owned resorts, the respective local governments of these provinces should be given more support to manage aspects like waste disposal and management, environmental conservation, heavier sanctions on pollution level violators, and so on.
Tourism campaigns launched by our government seldom say anything new about us. People who hop around our islands (locals included) always share the same sentiments whichever of the 7,000 islands we visit: 'ang ganda, sayang at di inaalagaan...'['so beautiful, such a waste we don't take care of it...'].
The new campaign is another blatant display of the government not putting money where it is really needed.”


Hope someone who can do something about this runs into this little rant.
‘catch you later.

Concert Review: The Gin Blossoms in Manila (My "Real" Review... Pieces of that Night)

Yes.

Okay, so it wasn’t “yes.” It was more like “YES!!!!!”

The Gin Blossoms were going to make like Santa Claus and coming to town. This town. Manila. And where a fire made me miss the TOTO concert back in 2007 and changed the course of my life entirely, and scheduling conflicts made me miss Chicago and Tears for Fears by making me stuck in another city, this one was NOT getting past me.

To repeat what i told the band during the “Meet & Greet” a couple of days ago at the Robinson’s Galleria: “I’ve been waiting for you guys for seventeen years!” And though it may be arguable that TOTO, Chicago and Tears for Fears have been invading my eardrums for far longer than the Gins, i must state the fact that unlike them, the Gins have never (NEVER) left my regular playlist. MP3 mix cd’s were incomplete without a Gin Blossoms folderful of songs.
* * * * * * * *

Almost an hour and half’s worth of opening acts in the form of local band 6cycle Mind (with a number featuring Cookie Chua), and Aussie band Fahrenheit43 (who the...?!), and the Gins were in!

So, my voice is fucking hoarse from all the cheering, screaming and singing along, and here’s the setlist (in order) of that night’s show:

“Follow You Down” - I was actually expecting this since it made sense to open the show with this song. It’s a big hit off their successful sophomore album, starts the show loud and proud with a lot of familiarity, while letting them save the “bigger” hits for later in the show.
“Don’t Change for Me” – first song from the new album that they played tonight.
“’Til I Hear It From You,” – a good song, but not among my super favourites. But a very popular one nonetheless.
“Found Out About You” – a personal favourite. Take time out to check out the lyrics to this, and be amazed.
“Miss Disarray” – this song is just okay for me. Wouldn’t have been my personal choice for a kick-off single though.
“As Long As It Matters” – another personal favourite since i sand this a lot along with Vergil dela Cruz and his literal band of brothers.
“Lost Horizons” – a relatively obscure song for mainstreamers, but another trademark Gins pieces for fans like me.
“Long Time Gone” – among what i consider “lesser” tunes off their catalogue. Taken from “Major Lodge Victory.” They should have done “Come On Hard” instead of this one, in my humble opinion.
“Go Crybaby” – from the new album.
“Learning the Hard Way” – the lead track on “Major Lodge Victory.”
“Until I Fall Away” – sadly enough, this melodic, suicidal dirge is a wonderful example of what musical magic Robin (Wilson) and Jesse (Valenzuela) can create together that stands toe to toe with the so-called Hopkins-penned Gins classics.
“Dead or Alive on the 405” – one of the catchier tunes on “No Chocolate Cake”
“Allison Road” – one of Robin’s personal best, i believe.
“I’m Ready” – from the new album.

Yep, Robin was pointing at me in this
shot after i called him out like a
weed-high adolescent groupie.
“Pieces of the Night” – introduced by Robin as a “special Gin Blossoms song,” this is considered by many diehard Gins fans as Doug Hopkins’ Gins opus. For one, it isn’t about a girl like most Gins songs are. It’s about Hopkins’ seeming struggle with the pressures of fame, working with a major label, and of course, bring drunk.
I love “Pieces” for its fantastic lyricism, and how bare Hopkins laid his soul in this one. The performance was also a personal highlight since Robin pointed me out in the crowd mid-way through the song. Heh heh...
For better or worse, it isn’t a very popular song. In fact, among the crowds packing the front of the stage that night, only one other guy was singing along to this. And he was shouting out a request for “Whitewash,” so yeah, he was a fan like me. Catching me singing along to “Pieces,” the guy and i gave each other an approving nod and a high five.
Then they suddenly slid down to “Hey Jealousy,” which had the whole house screaming. “Jealousy” is after all, considered their signature song.
“Wave Bye Bye” – many people who have heard “No Chocolate Cake” seem to be in a consensus about liking this song a lot. And yes, the title itself is a dead give-away for a finale song. My personal favourite off NCC.

Encore:
“Goin’ to California”
“Now” of the Plimsouls
“Hands are Tied”

video
Without losing any love for the Gins, i must state on record that the entire three-song encore was honestly a “what the...?” moment for me. Of course, hearing the Gins play ANY song is a great event for me, but there were so many other songs they could have played: the aforementioned “Whitewash,” “Come On Hard,” “29,” “Mrs. Rita,” or even “Cheatin’.” It’s a damn long list of songs for me... i’d better stop right here.

P.S. I had videos for many of the songs. And yes, the band sounded great. But while i thought i could post them here... i changed my mind after reviewing them and noticing that my singing/shouting along drowned out the band and at times I screamed like a deep-voiced fag in heat.

* * * * * * * *
Robin gamely engaged the audience and did his trademark thing of singing into the cellphones of lucky concert-goers. The band played comfortably together on-stage with Jesse Valenzuela leading the way, while Bill Leen, Scott Johnson and new drummer John Richardson filled the Coliseum with the trademark Gin Blossoms sound.

All in all though, the oddly unsurprising thing tonight was how almost the entire catalogue of the Gins played randomly from any of their albums all flowed seemlessly to one another. Testament to the quality of the "Gin Blossoms sound" people know and secretly love. Never mind if Robin's voice sounded just a little bit thinner and more aged than back in "Major Lodge Victory," it still hadn't lost that yearning melancholy that gave earnest life to the songs that were invariably about being broken and trying to pick one's self back up.

And I suppose that that in no small degree will make the Gins' music immortal. At the end of the day, almost all of the songs they've become known for are love songs that pinch down in that most savage level where people with hearts simply get hurt and bleed. The songs may have been written in late 80's and the 90's, but those songs sing about things that will keep happening again and again, and sound great while doing it.

'catch you later.
Here's that cheesy fanboy band shot
again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Concert Review: Gin Blossoms in Manila (Music Still Worth Drinking To... My "Short" Concert Review)

The Gin Blossoms played a solid 20-song setlist for a warmly receptive and cooperative Manila concert crowd at the Araneta Coliseum last November 18, 2010.

Breaking the ice with “Follow You Down,” their 1996 hit off their sophomore album “Congratulations, I’m Sorry,” the Gins barely slowed down through the evening, except for an occasional sip of beer. The band performed their biggest hits and fan-favorites such as “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Found Out About You,” “As Long As It Matters,” interspersed with tunes off their brand new album, “No Chocolate Cake.”

Frontman Robin Wilson still hadn’t lost that earnest, yearning melancholy in his voice and still sang like he meant every word. Though admittedly, his voice seemed to have sounded a little thinner and more aged than back in “Major Lodge Victory.” Robin gamely engaged the audience and did his trademark thing of singing into the cellphones of lucky concert-goers. The band played comfortably together on-stage with Jesse Valenzuela leading the way, while Bill Leen, Scott Johnson and new drummer John Richardson filled the Coliseum with the trademark Gin Blossoms sound.
Me hamming it up with the band
at the meet and greet.

As the Gin Blossoms rocked the entire Araneta Coliseum that night, it was more than a tribute to the ‘90’s as a musical era, but a celebration of simply great music that will transcend genres, trends and probably even generations.

P.S. I am such an unabashed fan, that i went to see the Gins at the Robinsons Galleria the day before the concert for the meet and greet, along with some autograph signing.
The boys were totally cool and seemed genuinely nice even after i may have sounded like an absolute stalker when i said: "I've been waiting seventeen years for you guys!" This was followed by Robin suddenly looking up and smiling, half-stood, then shook my hand while asking: "What's your name?" "Jasper," I said.
"Thank you so much," replied Robin.
My friend (and occasional guest-blogger here at Broken Record) Carlo Balingit said Robin probably asked for my name so he knows what to tell their security detail. My wife thinks so, too.
 
'catch you later.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Movie Review: The Other Guys (I Got Dumber, But Laughed My Dying Brains Out)

There’s something about knowing Will Ferrell’s going to be in a movie that makes one want to switch off one’s brain to avoid any further damage.

But one would want to go see it nonetheless.

And having Marky Mark... Oops, Mark WAHLBERG, Samuel L. Jackson and the Rock... oops, I mean, DWAYNE JOHNSON, and Michael Keaton all along for the ride almost makes one just want to come jump into the boys’ party.

“The Other Guys” is set up like another stereotypical mismatched cops buddy movie, and that’s what it unabashedly is. It has no pretentions of becoming anything else other than a mindless attempt at getting you mindless. But it’s obvious that the cast is having fun, and it shines through from Ferrell’s standard-issue self-deprecation, to Wahlberg’s deadpan pseudo-seriousness.

Imagine the writing session on this one: “Boys, screw the plot, and come up with a series of ‘where the fuck did THAT come froms?’”

Yes, i loved it.

‘catch you later.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Review: The Social Network (Revenge of the Nerds: The Gazillions Sequel)

Okay... so stop me from performing another of the 25 billion most obvious forms of vindication for Mark Zuckerberg’s MONEY... i’m guessing a good chunk of the zillion people who’ve seen the Facebook movie “The Social Network” readily went home, popped their computers open, and began writing about the Facebook movie on... wait for it... FACEBOOK. They proceed to reaffirm why Mark Zuckerberg and company are making a lot of MONEY.

So, in a new millennium version of “Revenge of the Nerds Part 60-something,” the eponymous “nerds” in the movie not only get kicked around in the early part of the movie, then make idiots of the jocks (the twins), and get the girls, but they also make truckloads of MONEY. Of course, a few things here and there are twisted to make a more interesting movie from what is most likely a rather boring story about a nerd who screwed his best friend over and made MONEY. Yes, MONEY.

Entertaining movie, but i won’t take the story as gospel, and neither am i scampering to start my own internet company in the hopes of making MONEY. And i have nothing more entertainingly insulting to say, so i’ll stop right here and go back to working to somehow make a little bit of... money. (nope, not in ALL CAPS.)

‘catch you later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delayed Movie Review: EAT PRAY LOVE (PIG-OUT, THINK, FUCK)

Julia Roberts’ character finds herself in a mid-life crisis, then proceeds to travel across the world “in search of herself.” She proceeds to PIG-OUT on pasta in Italy, MEDITATE her brains to oatmeal in India, and FUCK her brains out with a guy who almost killed her in Indonesia.

A lady who finds herself broke blows off what’s left of her money by travelling around the globe and reminding the movie-going public why the rest of the world sees white people as too indulgent. I mean, flying to Italy for a taste of dolce vita is all good, but is India the only place where one finds God? Does God hate deodorant or something? And just because Indonesia is overpopulated (just like most other Southeast Asian countries), doesn’t necessarily mean people there are hornier. Word of advice for people who want to "find themselves," is for them to look in a mirror.

Not really a REALLY bad movie, save for the occasional heavy-handedness. And the male co-stars at every turn in Roberts’ globe-spanning do a good job of playing off the almost-neurotic character played by Roberts. And so the book’s movie potential really lies in the perfect formula of female introspection, exotic locales, and getting Julia Roberts to play the lead character.

Of course, the ultimate indecisive psychosis of the biographical Elizabeth Gilbert character can really be fixed by another set of three words: PSYCHO ANALYTIC THERAPY

'catch you later.

Monday, November 08, 2010

TV Review: $#*! My Dad Says (Shat should stop this $#*!)

For those of you out there who love quality TV (an oxymoron), you may not have stumbled upon this little new show with a Milky Way-sized star in the person of William Shatner. The show's called "$#*! MY DAD SAYS," and it's based on one guy's Twitter posts (and eventually book) of his old man's quotables.  http://twitter.com/#!/shitmydadsays

Heard about the show via my built-in Star Trek Radar and immediately went about downloading and watching it since i am a devoted Shatnerite. Man... Somebody bring "Boston Legal" back... please. Or take this show out of censored network television and into uncensored cable where it will truly belong.

My dear friend Scott Kelly from Minnesota mentioned the show to me via a Facebook message, and i replied with this:

"I've seen a couple of episodes, bro... honestly disappointed... i found it a bit sleepy... and sadly, without the profanity of the twitter posts, the lines don't have the same impact.
Shatner may be able to save the universe, my friend... but i don't think he'll save this show.
How did you like it? "
 
Sorry, Shat.  'Nuff said.
'catch you later.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

What’s the big deal about the dying of NU107?

So, tomorrow will be the last day NU107 hits the airwaves. And i am not affected. Not really. But i am sad. Let me tell you why by way of a story...

Sometime back (waaaaay back), i told myself that i would always like what wasn’t necessarily popular or “cool.” I would define “cool” for myself until it became cool simply because it was there for far too long to not be.

This led to my willingness to expose my sucker-ness for all things mushy. Strongly manifested by what was then called “the Mellow Touch.” It was 94.7 on FM radio. It played old, country music and mushy, corny love songs. Something most “boys” wouldn’t be caught dead listening to. But i didn’t mind. It set me apart, and the music really is nice.

And then there were the old people who tuned in to 104-point-something for old piano music and geriatric stuff... there was “cooler” stuff out in 99.5RT (there still is), RJ’s retro station, the jazz stations, and then there was the rock station NU107. Back when radios had rotary dials for station tuning (with higher-end sets even boasting an extra “fine-tune” knob, it was amusing how colourful and varied the stations one squeeked through were. So many different personalities and voices, both literally and figuratively.

The mid to late 90’s saw the proliferation of jazz/r&b/new age stations. Cool (there’s that word again) music to chill out and have a drink to. There were unapologetically pop stations with a bit of talk-show thrown in like Monster RX93 and the now-legendary circa Little David (a.k.a. Adel Gabot) 103.5 K-Lite. Most others have reformatted, but through all that, there was NU107. And though i never listened to it, i knew it was there, and it stood as somewhat physical proof of the existence of people who were not like me, but somehow were in that they refused to change.

But NU107 signs off tomorrow. So now what?

I wish i could say “i don’t know,” because that would mean that radio would still surprise me and through the sea of now-generic MOR music, there was still going to be a fun little monkey-wrench playing something crazy and different at the end of dial. (oh, i forget... there are no more dials) But no, i won’t pretentiously miss NU107 like its honest-to-goodness fanatics just to seem “cool” (dammit, there’s that word AGAIN!). Hell, i don’t tune into 107. But i wish i could say i couldn’t care less.

Thing is, i hate conformity.  Now, almost everything on radio is going to sound like my old iPod. And one last thing... One strong memory i have of NU107 was when i hitched with my best friend over 15 years ago, and heard my first strains of Cake’s version of “I Will Survive,” which i promptly turned into the party anthem of DQA (Duane Quintal Associates) back in 1995. So yeah, thanks for that one song at least, NU.

‘catch you later.