Thursday, January 19, 2017

'La La Land' Is a Well-Crafted Musical Film, but Didn't Overwhelm Me as Expected

La La Land is a romantic comedy musical about a barista dreaming of becoming a Hollywood actress named Mia (Emma Stone) and a jazz pianist dreaming of having his own club named Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) who fell in love with each other while struggling for their respective dreams.

When I wrote my list for top 20 movies of 2016, La La Land was one of the movies I mentioned which I thought will make the list if I got the chance of watching during the year.  Well, after finally seeing it, it would indeed make the list – at number 20 (knocking The Shallows out).  But, since I would have given the second spot to Arrival, then La La Land would be essentially removed from the list, demoting it to the “Honorable Mentions” part.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Seriously, 'Sherlock', That's It?

The much anticipated season four of Sherlock draws to a close with “The Final Problem.”  There’s no definite announcement yet of whether the show will return for another season or it’s finally goodbye.  The episode ends in a manner in which if it’s indeed the series’ finale, it attempted to provide a sense of “wrap up.”  Personally, I wish it’s still not the last season.  Not only because I tremendously love this show since it came to be in 2010, and I want more of it, but because “The Final Problem” is, in my opinion, the least of Sherlock’s episodes.  If it had been a gratifyingly terrific episode, I might have not minded (much) if it’s indeed the end.  But I’m truly not satisfied with “The Final Problem” serving as its very last episode.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t intend to imply that “The Final Problem” is a terrible episode.  It’s not.  By itself, it’s a solid, immersive watch.  But with the quality of the other episodes prior it and of the show as a whole as benchmarks, “The Final Problem” doesn’t quite reflect the excellence that Sherlock is known for, in my humble opinion.

In 'Surfs Up 2: WaveMania', WWE Superstars Play Penguin Versions of Themselves

The direct-to-video computer-animated comedy film Surfs Up 2: WaveMania is the sequel to Surfs Up, a 2007 animated mockumentary film about surfing penguins.  It’s probably the unlikeliest animated film sequel I’ve ever seen.  While it’s not the first time for a theatrical movie to get a direct-to-video sequel, as well as it’s not the first time WWE ridiculously teamed up with an animated franchise, it is the first time I encountered a direct sequel of an animated movie be WWE-ized.

In this movie, Vince McMahon, Triple H, Paige, the Undertaker, and John Cena play fictionalized, penguin versions of themselves (except Mr. McMahon, who is an otter), collectively known as “The Hang 5”, an elite group of daredevil surfers.  Meanwhile, Michael Cole is a seagull reporter/announcer accompanying them.

Monday, January 16, 2017

'Arrival' Blew Me Away

If I had seen it last year, Arrival would have taken the number two spot of my list for best 2016 movies (bumping Saving Sally down to number three).  Heck, it might have even become the number one when given the time to marinate.

Arrival tells the story of twelve alien ships which mysteriously land in different locations around the world one day.  Linguistic professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is recruited by the U.S. Army to attempt communication with the extraterrestrials – which the humans have named “heptapods” – in the ship that landed in Montana.  Teaming up with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), Louise has to figure out what’s really the purpose of the heptapods’ visit before miscommunication and fear-induced aggressiveness incite a global war.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Top 10 Memorable Comic Book Moments of 2016


Did one for movies.  Did one for TV shows.  Now, I will be listing my picks for “memorable moments” in 2016 comics.

Honorable mentions: New 52 Superman dies, pre-New 52 Superman replaces him; the Marvel Universe is rebuilt after Secret Wars, and Reed Richards and First Family begin rebuilding the multiverse; Batman teams up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to fight Shredder and the Foot Clan and Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins; New 52 Lois Lane dies, after being hyped as the new Superwoman, which actually ended up being Lana Lang; how (adult) Cyclops died is finally revealed

10.) Ben Reilly returns, and is the new Jackal. (Clone Conspiracy #3)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top 10 Memorable TV Moments of 2016


After doing a list for big screen moments of 2016, it’s now the small screen’s turn.  As it was with my list for memorable movie moments, a featured moment in this list could be either positive or negative, joyful or heartbreaking, gratifying or infuriating, as long as it left a striking, “easy-to-recall” impression on me.

Honorable mentions: Battle of the Bastards (Game of Thrones); Karasuno beat Shiratorizawa for the Miyagi Prefecture Championship (Haikyuu!!); Leonad Snart a.k.a. Captain Cold’s ultimate sacrifice (Legends of Tomorrow); Dr. Stein sings “Edelweiss” (Legends of Tomorrow); Saw reference in Venture Bros.; Ash lost in the Pokemon League… AGAIN! (Pokemon)

10.)
Here’s the thing.  I didn’t enjoy the second season of Mr. Robot as much as I did its first (that’s why it didn’t make my top 20 list for 2016 TV shows, when it was the ninth placer of my 2015 list).  Season two started to feel a tad pretentious, and seemed to be delivering plot twists just for the sake of having them.  But I really liked how the episode “Man in the Trunk” started off as if it was an 80’s sitcom centered on Elliot and his family (Alf even had a cameo).  Later, it was revealed that this was simply another defense mechanism brought by Elliot’s psychosis, to detach himself from the pain of getting beaten up. Definitely more clever than “Elliot is in prison all along” twist.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Top 10 Memorable Movie Moments of 2016


These are ten moments that I will remember the most from 2016 movies.   This doesn’t mean that this list is made up entirely of good moments or just my favorite moments.  Bad or hilariously ridiculous moments can be as much effectively memorable as the positive ones (though the word “memorable” often refers to something positive).

Honorable mentions: Deadpool’s opening sequence; “I Am Moana” scene in Moana; Batman and Batgirl’s shocking sex scene in The Killing Joke; “Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain” scene in Doctor Strange; Jackie Chan sings “Rolling in the Deep” in Skiptrace; The Bronze’s absurd, acrobatic sex scene; the raunchy culmination of Sausage Party

10.) 
Now You See Me 2’s intricate chip heist scene. Where the Four Horsemen steals a data-mining chip, doing so in full light of security guards, by hiding it in a playing card and passing it among themselves.

Photo Biography Update (01-11-17)


Some notable photos taken during the period of June 1, 2016 to January 11, 2017...

Monday, January 09, 2017

Top 20 TV Shows of 2016


For 2016, I decided to make a “top 20” list instead of just a “top 10” like the previous years. 

20.) DOCTOR WHO
Doctor Who didn’t have a full season last year, but it had a Christmas special, which saw the Doctor teaming up with a superhero called “The Ghost” against an alien invasion.  Titled “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” it wasn’t as clever and delightful as what Doctor Who usually is, nor is it as great as 2015’s Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song.”  But it was still tremendously fun, and effectively whet my appetite for season 10.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Top 20 Movies of 2016


I unfortunately have not yet watched Hacksaw Ridge, Silence, La La Land, and Arrival – 2016 movies that I’m almost certain would have made this list if I had been able to do so.  Anyway, here are my twenty most favorite movies from among those that I did see, with brief excerpts from their respective reviews.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

20.) THE SHALLOWS

“If nothing else, between its star and visuals, this movie is pleasurable in an aesthetic sense… It probably won’t be a classic like Jaws.  But it’s a legitimate runner-up for best shark film of all time.”
Click here for my full review.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Top 10 Comics of 2016


Just like every year, there are a lot of comic book titles I enjoyed in 2016.  But here are my ten most favorites.  (First, some honorable mentions: Green Valley, Detective Comics, DC Universe: RebirthWeb Warriors, Future Quest)

10.) CHAMPIONS
After the tragic events of Civil War II, the teenage Avengers became disappointed of the actions and decisions of the adult Avengers, and decided to form their own superhero team.

In 2016, I enjoyed this comic more than I did any of the Avengers titles, since it’s more energetic and upbeat.  I also like the layer brought by this new generation of heroes becoming disillusioned of their superhero predecessors, whom they looked up to for a long time, and deciding to do some back-to-basics superheroism.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

‘Saving Sally’ Is as Delightful and Groundbreaking as I Was Hoping It to Be

To be honest, there’s only one MMFF movie I was meaning to watch.  I only went see Vince & Kath & James and Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough because I thought Saving Sally wasn’t being shown yet where I live in (I only frequent one cinema, and it only had these two plus Seklusyon and Die Beautiful).  Fortunately, I discovered that it was split-screened – scheduled for two showings at night – in one of the local malls’ theater.  Boy, was I happy.

I was greatly charmed by the trailer for Saving Sally.  After watching it, I just knew that I was going to love this movie.  And indeed... I FRIGGIN' LOVE THIS MOVIE!

‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough’ Can Only Muster Two Memorable Scenes from Its Inspired Concept

After Vince & Kath & James, the second MMFF film I watched was Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough.

There’s something fresh about the premise of this comedy.  Eugene Domingo plays a fictional version of herself; in this universe, she’s like the biggest Filpino actress currently working in the industry. Her collaborators from the first movie, direk Rainer (Kean Cipriano) and Jocelyn (Cai Cortez), seek her participation for their next project: a solemn arthouse film that serves as a metaphor for Rainer’s own failing marriage.  Domingo accepts, but she starts asking for revisions to be made on the film, starting with changing the leading man from Joel Torre to Jericho Rosales.  As she continues giving “suggestions”, the intended movie essentially transforms into a thoroughly clichéd Pinoy-style rom-com, clashing with Rainer’s artistic vision and personal motivations.

I Didn’t Hate ‘Vince & Kath & James’

I decided to watch some MMFF movies.  It’s my way somewhat of supporting the Philippine film industry, which I’ve always hoped will gain momentum for a legitimate renaissance.  Besides, this year’s lineup was hyped as made up of the “cream of the crop”, as it didn’t include the kind of crowd-pleasing, commercially-successful but bankrupt-in-substance local movies that it usually features (since trashy Filipino movies were what’s exclusively shown on theaters during the Christmas break, I hated the MMFF for years).

Besides, since it’s MMFF season, there’s literally nothing else better to watch in theaters.

The first movie I went watch is Vince & Kath & James.