Sunday, July 20, 2014

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

[I'd forgotten about this post until I re-visited my 2013 movie list to see how many I hit. That was early this year. I'm now in the process of finishing my 2013 movie reviews (for a movie about zombies, World War Z isn't exactly easy to write), and then I have to get started on my 2014 ones. Aside from The Lego Movie, I'm adhering to my watch list pretty well.]

The Rock (or, the Batu--Malay for 'rock'--, as my mom and I affectionately call him) seems to be in a LOT of franchises these days.

From the generally-unwatched Walking Tall (previously Kevin Sorbo), to the Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (previously Brendan Fraser), the Batu has now ousted Channing Tatum. I'd like to think that he also tried taking over the Fast and Furious franchise, but how can you go up against a dude named Diesel in a movie about cars?

Anyway, over-exposed or no, I still like him, charm and mega-watt smile and all. I’m just surprised he doesn’t have first billing in the end credits.

The sequel does away with the nanomites and almost all its characters from the first movie, except for the really cool ones and the President decoy. Duke bites the dust within 10 minutes of the film, and the Rock takes over as the franchise’s new hero and leads the remaining few Joes left (after the fake President declares them traitors and exterminates the lot) to save the world from total annihilation.

Considering how much footage they give Lee Byunghyun, they should’ve called this movie The Rise of Storm Shadow. The scene in the trailers where ninjas hang off mountains? It is as awesome as it looks. That is just about the most impressive part of the movie. Interestingly, Storm is exonerated from the murder of his and Snake Eyes’ master, and Storm becomes a kind of anti-hero that doesn’t want to play with Cobra any more.

Kinda makes you wonder what they are going to do with the third movie. Storm and Snake’s feud is just about the most interesting aspect of the film.

Having Bruce Willis as the first ever Joe was gimmicky, but it worked. He’s in a million things these days, so much so I’m getting the feeling he’s phoning it in (Stallone giving him shade regarding the third Expendables movie didn’t help), but he was pretty okay in this film.

In general, this movie is a step up from the first film, though reboots seem to be something very, very convenient these days because I don’t see the reason why everyone but the Korean and the silent one got axed.

Oh well, that’s Hollywood machinery for ya.

P.S. I wasn't really in the mood for a Joe sequel (even though I enjoyed the first movie), but watched it anyway because of the awesome music from the trailer. It's the Glitch Mob remix of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army. Check out the live version here!

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Not again.

First, a plane disappears in the oddest and most unsettling way imaginable, with developments and red herrings like something out of the movies. It's still missing, and no one's the wiser about the 'why' of it.

Now, this. Flight MH17 crashing in the Ukraine, presumably (though most likely) shot down by a ground-to-air missile.

I mean, come on! 'Wrong place, wrong time' aside, it's uncanny how Malaysia (specifically our national carrier) keeps hitting global headlines for all the wrong reasons.

[And in Visit Malaysia Year, too.]

And of all the military accidents to happen (yes, I believe it was an accident), it had to happen to a plane full of civilians and not a drone.

Rest in peace, MH17. Our prayers and thoughts are with you, and with your family and friends through this difficult time.

[I still can't wrap my head around this. A missile? Of all things, a freaking MISSILE?! And shot down while flying over a country formerly of the Soviet Union, and is currently having secession problems with Moscow! Cold War, anyone?]

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Not I! Especially if he comes bearing books!

For (most probably, I'unno) the first time ever, the Big Bad Wolf book sale was in Penang, and I was totally excited as book sales in Penang generally mean "buy 1 get second one at 10%" or "members only" (which is 20%).

Which is still quite disappointing because I'm never a member of anything.

[And I would be disappointed as well if I were a member.]

So I made time out of work to attend the sale, and it was like the warehouse book sales of old.

Books laden everywhere, all (yes, all!) costing RM8, and I managed to buy three! Only, but it's more than my usual numbers, which are either one or zero.

Because one of those books was A Memory Of Light, retail price RM110! Yes, I (well, my mom) found the hardcover, and I totally bought it for 8 friggin' bucks!!!


I'd also bought Hilary Mantel's Bringing Up The Bodies (couldn't find Wolf Hall) and Robert Ludlum's The Prometheus Deception, and am working my slowly through Mantel. Her writing style takes a bit getting used to.

Blogger's note: Sale was two months ago, so this, as usual, is late-posted. Off-topic, early Happy Star Wars Day!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


Just one or two days after I published my post on MH370, the government had announced the plane ended its journey in the middle of the Indian Ocean, nowhere near any islands or other even-smaller form of land mass.

I find it a bit premature for Malaysia to release a statement like this, given that absolutely no debris (related debris, at any rate) has been found so far and all analysis and the resulting conclusion are merely conjecture. I don't get why that statement projected an air of finality about it when absolutely nothing concrete was found yet.

With so many red herrings thrown up so far, understandably an announcement like this made the already-pissed Chinese even more pissed.

But what I don't get is all the conspiracy theory-ing: that Malaysia has somehow whisked these people away (for reasons unknown).

I get China's anger and frustration. What I can't understand even more is that people actually believe that we are capable of such a thing. And by "capable", I mean they're giving us way too much credit.

I even scoffed when I first heard that they were even looking into the Straits of Malacca. Like, hello, the plane was going to Beijing, it was heading away from the Straits...

But my heart sank when they announced that the plane turned west right before it was supposed to fly into Vietnam airspace.

Mind you, when news of the initial Straits search was announced, we all still thought the plane was somewhere en-route to Beijing. It was supposed to not be complicated.

The fact that many nationalities were on board that plane meant that our littlest-but-for-Singapore-and/or-Brunei country was thrust into the global spotlight. For those of us familiar with our state of affairs, I believe we got stage-fright and a case of the jitters at the time we're not supposed to. Our obviously-obvious lack of experience in this area led to missteps even when things were still relatively straightforward (bomoh aside).

But what everyone else seems to be forgetting is that we also have our own people on-board, and it was a plane bound from Malaysia, and it was our national carrier. We stand to lose a lot more than 'people', and at this point, I'm not sure it's an understatement when I say we have lost quite a bit...

Malaysia has said it would not give up until the plane is found. But we lack the technology to continue, and we are relying on the kindnesses of others, and they have no obligation to not call it a day after we do.

The last update we have on this is that China found a ping in the ocean, and I sincerely hope this ping doesn't go the way of all the debris we've found so far.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


I hope the plane and its passengers are found soon. I pray that they are unharmed and well.

And if there are/were malicious hands at work, I hope that they get theirs and I pray such a thing won't happen ever again.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

Year of the Horse, here we are! May the year bring you lots of joy, happiness and prosperity!

[Simple post because I'm slightly brain-dead right now. Off to eat mandarins!]

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy 30th (plus one week, give or take) anniversary, Apple!!

[This post is one week-plus late.]

I stumbled onto the Apple website last Saturday, and it took me down memory lane.

This was technically my first ever computer, because even though my dad bought it, I used it 95% of the time. He bought it in 1993 (I can’t recall the year myself, but the wall postings – don’t ask – say 12-3-93).

What I do remember is my dad borrowing his brother’s VCDs (in its advent) and one such VCD was Army of Darkness. How I re-discovered this movie in my teens is a story for another time.

Lil’ ol’ Malaysia. People used to get this blank look on their faces when I told them I used a Mac. When they asked me what it was, I told them, “Not PC.”

I always thought it was us tiny Mac users against the PC world. After a few years, ‘PC’ became ‘Windows’ and after that came ‘DOS’, which had the coolest-looking (in context) games that I couldn’t play on account of my having a Mac. ‘PC’ now stands for ‘personal computer’, generally referring to computers (or even laptops, I think) that aren’t business-owned or something, I’unno. I never bothered with the term.

My dad bought, and I read, a ton of MacFormat (and it’s still around!! Whooo!!) more for its games and 'edutainment' content than anything else, and playing a ton of game demos. I remember wanting Living Books (any Living Books, really), but only had to settle for demos where you can only play the first page. My childhood was mostly made up of demos.

Aside from MacFormat, I also read other mixed platform magazines, which had mostly PC/DOS games and nary a cross-platform one.

How time flies. And I’m really glad I was there for 21 of those years.

Happy 30th, Apple. Here’s to another 30 years of innovation, creativity, and awesomeness.

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