Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
It's a Sony.
I was really intrigued with the premise of The Prestige ever since I first saw the trailer almost a month ago. The story between dueling magicians at the turn of the century England is doubly fascinating not only because I rarely turn down the opportunity to watch a good period film but also the promise of the story elevating the fight into supernatural levels is fascinating. I thought that probably one of them finally sold his soul to the dark side so he could trump the other. The truth of the matter after watching this movie is closer to this and just as dark as what I thought it would be. The story is laid out in flashbacks, interspersed with scenes from the present, slowly unfolding everything like how a magician does his trick until the end when the deception is revealed: Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) were good friends at the start, a slight competition between the two could be felt, being apprentices of a stage magician. Cutter (Michael Caine) is their trainer and agent who looks after them, although he sees a greater potential in Angier owing to his being teachable compared to Borden who can sometimes be a bit bull-headed. Then tragedy struck, Angier's wife Julia (Piper Perabo) drowned in an accident when during one of the tricks on stage goes awry (if they only knew how to perform CPR at that time). Angier blamed Borden for her death since it was Borden who deviated from the usual knot used during the performance, thereby that preventing her from activating a trick lock that would have allowed her to escape.
Both of them go their separate ways, but no matter what they do they couldn't seem to get their pride out of the way. They each spied on the performances of the other wanting to see how they could top the tricks of the other. In this game of one-upmanship, Angier was doing well on his own, better, in fact, than Borden did. With Cutter's help he was able to book shows and pack theaters with a few tricks of his own, most of them were his mentor's idea but the thing that always bothered Angier was the fact that his former friend managed to settle down and raise a family, something he felt was stolen from him by rival. When Borden eventually managed to come up with something new and unheard of, "The Transported Man." The trick involves two huge boxes on either side of the stage, Borden would bounce a small rubber ball, go in one box and catch the ball by coming out the other box in a matter of seconds. This catches Angier's ire and demands that they duplicate the same trick. Cutter tells him that there is no other way to do it other than a double, which his new assistant, Olivia Wenscombe (Scarlett Johansson) procured for him. This was totally unacceptable to Borden and once again humiliated Angier which resulted in him being permanently crippled. Angier travels to Colorado to meet with inventor Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) and his assistant, Alley (Andy Serkis) after Borden clues him on Tesla's work on electricity as the secret behind his performance. This was, of course, revealed only after Borden received a grave threat from Angier. When Angier returns from his trip the war between the two dives deeper as the each one's obsession for revenge got darker and not one of them will ever stop until the other and those they hold dear are destroyed.
Fresh from another magic and mystery box-themed movie that was also located in England, Ms. Johanssen and Mr. Jackman (who plays another aristocratic character) turn in exceptional performances under the capable hands of the Nolan brothers. The whole thing was dark. Not "whimsical dark" as in the way Tim Burton does his movies but really dark as in "serious black" (pun intended) . Other than the previously mentioned movie I haven't seen any of Mr. Nolan's previous movies, which I heard were as equally brilliant as this one. The twist in the end was pure genius. As the title of the film suggests that although a trick is involved the solution to it is so simple it's been offered all throughout the course of the movie without the audience realizing it. What's also fascinating about the whole thing is that despite the presence of big stars in this movie, Director Christopher Nolan manages to tone their presence down and make it work in a way that you'd only see the characters and not the actors (with the slight exception of Mr. Bowie whom I couldn't see in the beginning as Tesla). That said I'd like to commend Mr. Jackman for coming up with the most exceptional performance yet I've seen from him. It's not so much his role as an obsessed magician but rather his role as the drunk double. He's got me doubting it was he playing the other character even though you know without a doubt that indeed it is him. There's not much else to say about this movie without revealing too much about the plot (check out a more detailed review from "Hollywood Jesus" in the small link below), suffice to say go watch this on the big screen and watch it again to figure out the obvious clues you've missed the first time around.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
This another favorite piece from one of my favorite artists that I bookmarked in deviantART. Funny and nasty at the same time.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Having nothing better to do (or watch) we decided to try our luck with the movie, Employee of the Month. We've seen the trailer once before and the plot was so-so the others didn't even remember how it went. But what Writer/Director Greg Coolidge came up with had us laughing almost all throughout the movie even though the plot was as thin as they come. The story's simple enough to figure out where it's going and how it'll end even before you get into the fourth of the movie. It's set in a Costco-type called Super Club, Vince (Dax Shepard) lords it over the others by being consecutively voted by the bosses as "Employee of the Month" for the 17th time, one more vote and he's set to win a brand new car and a slot in the company's hall of fame. On the other end of the spectrum, on the lowest rung of the ladder, lies a bunch of slackers: the almost-blind optometrist, Lon (Andy Dick); the guy who takes a lot of absences due to family matters, Iqbal (Brian George); and, I don't know what he does, Russell (Harland Williams). They hang around a lot in their makeshift club house inside one of the huge shelves playing cards with their fourth member, who looks to be the unspoken leader of their group, the boxboy, Zack (Dane Cook). They're a contented bunch happily floating in the sea of life, gambling for product rejects during their card games, and maintaining their status-quo among the other employees by playing their cards right. Everything would have remained the same if it were not for the beautiful blonde, Amy (Jessica Simpson) coming on board. She's also an employee of Super Club in another state whose asked to be transferred after running in some trouble in the romance department of her previous employment. Although Zack saw her first, Vince stole his thunder and began dazzling her with his charms. After sneaking out some 411 on her files, the boys learn that she's got a thing for the "Employee of the Month," that she only dates them and no one else. This strenghtens Zack's resolve to not only win what he knows to be the only girl for him but also get back at his nemesis as well by vying for the top spot. The results of the competition between Zack and Vince provide much of the laughs and tears for most of the movie.
What made the whole thing work were the likeability of the characters. Everyone worked as they should have and in so doing did the audience, not to mention, the producers, a whole lot of favor by saving the movie from falling into ruin. Of course there are still some things I'd rant about, like Ms. Simpson's acting which was non-existent. She looked as if the whole thing was a walk-through. She came on not playing a character you could sympathize with, she was playing herself. And although I did want to give her a chance she just couldn't let herself go, looking at it years from now you'd realize how much of a lousy actress she was in this one. Although Mr. Shepard was credible enough for you to want to hate him for being so brash and ostentatious with his take on his character, there was still something else missing with it. He's introduced as an Alpha Male, he acts like one but you don't feel it. It's as if you know that it's just a facade he's putting up to make himself bigger than he really was. Mr. Ramirez did a lot better than Shepard did and he played the sidekick. He did a solid job and didn't go overboard with his role although, as I could imagine, it was awfully tempting to do so. Mr. Cook took the lead with his subtle acting and little nuances that made you sympathize with him. Like the way Anne Hathaway's character in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, I don't get why Zack had to be ostracized by his friends for breaking out of his comfort zone and wanting to make something out of his life other than being just another regular employee. I mean, there's something to be said about completely abandoning and replacing them with an entirely new set of friends or completely losing touch with them but seeing him gaining his ambition and wanting to make up for all the times he's lost with them whenever he can I think his friends should be mature enough to handle that. It's not like he's leaving them altogether, as he says he's leading the way for them to finally enter the awesomely cool cashier's lounge after all those years in the other crappy lounge. It turns out that they're the ones who changed and not the protagonist himself, in doing so instead of seeing a sympathizing with them for being left out you'd want to strangle them for being such selfish boobs. I do wish to see Mr. Cook in future leading roles with a lot of good supporting casts, as the chemistry between him and his posse could have been more strongly felt than this one. It's a pretty decent movie all in all, some changes in the cast and a tighter direction could have done the trick, it's good for a lot of laughs but don't expect anything higher than that.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.
Friday, October 20, 2006
This is a sample of an art jam headed by deviantARTist, lastscionz, from down under (who I think is a Filipino immigrant). It's a 30-minuter with the theme suggested by him for his group of friends. I haven't been seriously involved with doing art jams online although there have been invitations sent my way. This is something we should all be be doing in our Friday Artists' Den meetings. Check out the dude's DA account for more samples of previous art jams.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Have you ever gone through a time when you've drawn something you know looks good but then another idea on how to tackle the same scene pops into your mind and you have to erase the pencils in order to do it even though it looks in your mind but you're never sure uf it will look as good on paper? Even if you wanted to you'd never be able to capture the same spontaneity as it once was in the original. Don't you wish that you could just click an "undo" button to bring it all back? That's why I bring my camera with me, then at least I'd have a souvenir shot of one of those lost moments in the process of doing a strip. By the way, the replacement looked as good and just as funny.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Or how 'bout this other word I came across, they turned the word "moron" into moran. This is definitely as worse as the recent texting trend using the terms "si me" to refer to themselves in the second person (can it get more egoistic or anything be more saccharinely-cute-to-the-point-of-puking than that?) or "u" as in "wer n u?" (aaaaawwww!).
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I've nothing yet to show for today's Thursday comic ring because of the decisions I'm making about the strips I usually post here. So in place of a comic strip of my own devising, I thought I'd post an artwork by one of my favorite quirky DA artists along with Nocturnal-Devil and bov9. It's not a comic strip, I know, but it's still a comic in the humorous sense and it's a Thursday, so there ya go! Just click the image to watch the whole thing, afterwards go check what the others in the webring have in store for us today.
* I changed the image because for some reason DA took down the flash animation gallery down. Twas good while it lasted.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
What you see here is a placeholder, a temporary strip I've assembled because the one I submitted to the paper, although the idea's funny, either bombed because of the poor build up leading to the punchline or you'd never get it at all. I'll be redrawing half of this strip and since I haven't gotten to doing it you're all left with this one. The bottom part is what I work with initially (notice the smaller ID compared to the one above). The colors are sparse and it isn't looking as detailed as the ones I usually post online because I find it saves a lot of time this way instead of finishing it all the way which only results in a lot of unnecessary pressure on my part. Not worth it at all.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
"There does seem to be a mistaken belief out there that I am sexually available somehow — which is not to say that I'm not open-minded about sex," she continues. "Yet I wouldn't say I'm a serial monogamist, either. I mean, I went through periods of time when I was, ah, single. But when I'm in a relationship, I'm in a relationship."This is really, really disturbing to me. Are they saying that we have permission to do anything we want with reckless abandon because we're animals (or descended from them)? Have you ever noticed how quickly life loses its value because of this self-perpetuating lie that erodes our self esteem? If we prefer to subscribe to that line of thinking instead of seeing ourselves as God's workmanship, as someone, in all creation, God would take time to personally create or fashion instead of being spoken into existence, as someone who He personally thinks was the "feather in His cap," as someone who was made lower than God himself, as someone who God cares for more than He should have, as someone whose future is secure as far as God is concerned, as someone who was made to reflect His nature and be master over all we survey, we go ahead and lower ourselves into thinking that we're lower than the animals we were supposed to lord over then indeed we're such a sorry bunch of losers.
But Johansson, whose films include "Lost in Translation" and "Match Point," still acknowledges monogamy might not be natural.
"I do think on some basic level we are animals, and by instinct we kind of breed accordingly," she says. "But as much as I believe that, I work really hard when I'm in a relationship to make it work in a monogamous way." ~ Scarlett Johansson
"I don't know, monogamy is a weird thing for me," the Pittsburgh-provoking starlet understates to Rolling Stone. "It's an overrated virtue, because, let's face it, we're [bleeping] animals." ~ Sienna Miller
Makes you think twice, doesn't it?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I've been watching a lot of Scrubs episodes for the past week and a half courtesy of my sister who bought her copy in Metrowalk. I forgot how much I liked that show after neglecting it for quite some time. One character that stands out from the rest in terms of complete obnoxiousness is Dr. Perry Cox (played by John C. McGinley). He's the one person you'd really love to hate and hate to love at the same time because of his drawn out but well thought of sarcasm that he constantly dishes towards those that stand in his way. I thought that would a great character to emulate and study when it comes to fleshing out more of BJ's character. In this case I think I overdid it.
* West Side is published weekly in Philippine News.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
"I fall asleep talking to God almost every night, and I used to wake up every morning and first thing I'd do is apologize to God for falling asleep! I would feel so guilty! I was talking to my Dad and I told him about that, and he said that I shouldn't feel guilty, that God is the one that gives my mind the peace to go to sleep. Kind of like I'm falling asleep in the arms of my father... there's no better place to be to feel secure, at least for me!" ~ Dana67Speaking for myself, I did fall asleep while I was still in the middle of our "discussion" (things slowed down to a slur, I think, before I stopped altogether). I probably snored too. I'd like to think that then he leans over, tucks me in and gives me a good night kiss before sitting down beside the bed to watch over me. I think I'll do this again tonight.
"...I wake up periodically in the middle of the night (I have NEVER slept through the night that I can remember) I am always apologizing and trying to find where I left off talking to Him. I'm glad that it's not a bad thing, though." ~ LoveMyCats
"This post immedately made me think of intimacy with the father. It's kinda like when my husband and I lay in bed watching tv and talking at night and relaxing. Total trust in each other, an absolute feeling of acceptance. Not once have I ever been upset when he starts to gently snore and I turn off the t.v. and let him sleep. I know he knows how much I love him and how much he trust me to love him. Isn't that what marriage is all about?
I don't think God even minds if I start snorring either" ~ quietshyjane
"I almost always lay in bed "talking" to God at the end of the day also, it's when we have our best discussions I think...going over what happened that day...thanking Him for helping me do something good...apologizing and asking for His help for something I did bad. I usually end up falling asleep in the middle of these conversations with Him...just kind of feel like He walks over to my bed, "tucks" me in and kisses me good night on the cheek as I'm laying there sleeping. That tucking in part is the best part of my day...what can be better than that? :)" ~ Marquez
Monday, October 02, 2006
We're nearly there. Mr. Steve Gan won't be able to make it though, he sent me a text message earlier apologizing that his animation group is going to Palawan on the 19th and they're planning to stay there for about a week. Oh, well. We'll still have fun, won't we? Yes we'll do. Yes we'll do!