The Sunbaked King

The Incredible Hulk and Wanted

Two action films, the first a repeat of a Marvel superhero flick that once tanked in the box office and got slammed by the critics, and the second an Angelina Jolie feature that promised a lot of kick-ass, gun-toting, gun-shooting scenes. The short story: both of them were terrific. Now, for the long story:

BEHIND THE LINE

The Incredible Hulk

Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth

I had my apprehensions. First of all, I don’t like The Hulk, and the first movie about it– directed by Ang Lee no less– didn’t help my perception of the not-so-gentle giant any. Second of all, it casted Edward Norton for the lead role. While I love the guy (you all must watch Primal Fear), I just didn’t see him being that huge. Sure, he’s good with fucked-up characters, but small fucked-up characters. Thin fucked-up characters. He didn’t seem like the type who could be, you know, big. I thought it was a total miscast. Add Liv Tyler to the mix, and you will have one hell of an expensive sleeping pill.

It turned out that Liv Tyler was going to be the only laughable character after the movie ended. Everything else, from Norton’s awkwardness to the Hulk’s apparent lack of appeal, amazingly worked. Now, I’m glad they casted Norton for the role. His shy smiles, his geeky excitement, and his eternally unsure gait proved to be an effective contrast to Hulk’s raging anger. 

Speaking of the big man himself, is it just me, or did they tone down the CGI this time around? That’s the only thing I remember about the first movie. Or maybe it’s because they focused on the sensitive side of The Hulk more– i.e., his human side, Bruce Banner– that they didn’t show that much of the giant. Either way, it was a good move, because green is not my favorite color, and seeing it dominant in the movie screen? Erch.

In any case, it was a good second attempt. Ang Lee, hang your head in shame! (Or not, I still think you’re brilliant.)

P.S. I still can’t pronounce H-U-L-K. Do you pronounce the L, like bulk? Or is it unmentioned, like puck? Help. Me.

Wanted

Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy

There’s always that movie that you think you’ve got pegged. Like how you’re sure that this was going to be a major action movie, complete with guns, bloodshed, and a steamy bed scene or two. Like how you’re sure that Angelina Jolie is going to kick ass, and most probably would be fighting for the side of good. Like how you’re sure that you’ll be visually satisfied, but end up feeling empty inside.

Boy, how wrong I was. How very wrong.

Confession: I got teary-eyed at certain scenes.

Confession: I began to question the things I do from day to day.

Not in a million years (exaggeration, yay!) did I expect Wanted to be an introspective film, or a film that would wring out emotion in me. But it did. Somehow, the movie made me realize that there are several facets about myself that I have not yet explored; in fact, there’s a particular facet right now that’s emerging, and, just like Wesley Gibson (McAvoy’s character), it’s exciting me and frightening me at the same time. I’m just wishing I won’t feel the pain of initiation the way he felt it, but I guess it’s inevitable. Every person who wants control over his life must take accountability for it. Every person must face the consequences of his own rebirth.

But back to the movie. 

Jolie does what she does best, and as expected, she delivered another death-dealing-assassin type performance with relative ease. McAvoy is perfect as the 8-to-5 guy with a little bit of the assassin type running through his veins. I thought the Gibson voice-over was a nice touch; I have a certain fondness for movies with a bit of voice-overs in them. It’s like using hand-held cameras to achieve a realistic effect– it brings me closer to the characters, more bound by their actions and motives.

Of course, the actions scenes were top-notch. But given all that I’ve said about the movie, I doubt that’s the only reason why you’ll be raving about it after. Now, I’ll end this review with a question, one that probably wouldn’t make sense right now, but will after you’ve watched Wanted:

What have you done lately?

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Filed under: Cinema, The Couch Potato

I Have Forgotten

I have forgotten how it is to love.

 

Does it begin with a tingling sensation?

Does it reside in silly conversations and sweet nothings?

Does it manifest itself in good morning text messages? Does it show in good night quotes?

 

Is it measured by the hours I wait for you to call? Is it lost when you’re the one who waits?

Is it gauged by how tight I hug you?

Is it defined by the way I playfully mess your hair, or gaze into your eyes before we kiss?

 

Is it bared when we laugh together? Is it exposed when we cry apart?

Does it blaze when we make love?

Is it shattered when you leave me?

 

Tell me how it is, please, I can’t remember.

Show me.

Filed under: Eros

FlapJacks

What? Breakfast Cuisine (if there is such a thing)

Where? Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati City

 

Let’s break it down:

Food. Jeland ordered Country Ham, which, according to their menu, is a “thick slick of ham steak cooked in honey butter sauce, served with griddle potatoes, 2 eggs any style, and house salad.” Jel chose to have his eggs scrambled. I, on the other hand, opted to try out the Smoked Cheese Sausage, which is a “poached sausage stuffed with chunky cheese, served with spiced potato salad, toast, and 2 eggs any style.” I chose to have my eggs cooked sunny-side up, which is the only way I’ll have them.

The Country Ham was superb. I think I’ll have more of that honey butter sauce on all my meats next time. The square thing you see on the left side might seem small, but it was more than enough to keep me full.

At this point you might be wondering what I’m doing eating my roommate’s dish, and you would be right: I did exchange my Smoked Cheese Sausage with his ham. While any little kid would love cheese in their hotdogs and sausages, the sausage I was served was just really difficult to digest. It was really huge, and for some reason, I got turned off by its size. Furthermore, I’m not really that fond of sausages (I prefer hotdogs myself), so it would take a really extraordinary variety to make me eat it all. Unfortunately, the FlapJacks Smoked Cheese Sausage was not that particular sausage for me.

The rest of the food was standard breakfast fare, which meant, of course, that they were delicious. Even the potatoes, despite having some kind of an onion topping, grew on me.

 4.5  out of 5

Ambiance. The place looked and felt cozy. The bright yellows and oranges on the walls and on the couches infused a bright, sunshine-y atmosphere into the restaurant, which was appropriate for the food it was serving. 

4  out of 5

Service. The servers were very attentive to our needs, although initially, we had to catch their attention before they took our orders. They looked relaxed and, dare I say it again, sunshine-y. And look! A specialized stamp for each server! It’s a nice touch, especially for people who love calling servers by their names. “Weng, do you think I can have more black pepper on this? Thanks.” One thing that bothered me about the stamp, though, just a little pet peeve of mine– what’s with the quotations marks in “SERVER” for? Ak!

4  out of 5

All in all, we had a good time in FlapJacks.

Filed under: Gastronomy

Walang Pasok!

I’m sure all of you guys remember that Nescafe commercial where all these guys come out of their dorm rooms, look at one another, and shout, “Walang pasoooook!” The image resounded deeply during those days when I was but a wee college boy in the dorm, not because we love coffee in the morning (I only drink coffee when I study), but because the idea of having no classes is such a rarity it’s almost a threatened species.

In the corporate world, having no work is an endangered species, close to the brink of extinction.

Imagine my joy when I was informed that today was Manila Day, and that employees based in Manila will not have to go to work today. It’s a weird feeling. Usually, I only experience vacations in two forms: as 1) study leaves, and 2) long weekends. Study leaves are out of the question; my mind still works full time. As for long weekends… well, ever since the government began this habit of stringing holidays onto weekends, having no work started to have less of an impact. The transition felt too smooth, if you guys can dig it.

Back in college, the bliss of having no classes came from the abrupt nature of the entire deal. You’re all set to go to class when suddenly– BAM! Walang pasok pala. The joy you feel is the joy of having been saved. Because no matter how much you love going to class, no one can resist a break. The same with work. There’s a distinct abruptness when a holiday lands in the middle of the week. There’s a clear work– BAM!– no work delineation. 

I’m reading too much into this. I have way too much time in my hands. 

Enjoy the break, my colleagues from Manila! 🙂

Filed under: ...And Others

Rejection

I tried to take my mind off it by texting some friends, and somehow they made me laugh.

I tried to take my mind off it by talking to my roommate, and he reassured me.

I tried to take my mind off it by updating my WordPress, and look! Twitter! And a blog roll!

I tried to take my mind off it by choosing new profile pictures for my Multiply site, and these made me smile.

I tried to take my mind off it by sipping Campbell’s Mushroom Soup, and it was delicious.

I tried to take my mind off it. And I’m succeeding…

 

…barely.

It’s 3:30 AM, 30 minutes past the witching hour, and the nasty thoughts are starting to creep back in. My roommate’s already asleep; I have no one to talk to but my laptop. Sadly, each tippity-tap of the keyboard brings me closer and closer to the innermost core of my mind, and right now, that is not a pleasant place to be in.

I must sleep before it takes hold of me.

Filed under: Ra

Get Smart and The Happening

There’s nothing more effective in taking away the edge of everyday living than a popcorn in hand, a Coke in another, and a huge screen in front of you. Movies transport us to another place, true, and it is in these frequent escapes that we find the most imaginative form of solitude.  

NEXT IN LINE

Get Smart

Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway

The trailer’s been showing since late last year, and it’s only this week that the movie is actually being shown in theaters. I’m quite excited by the Carell-Hathaway team-up. Carell’s humor is both infectious and witty without being over-the-top (*cough* Jim Carrey *cough*), and Hathaway is just a refreshing face to see in any movie that she does (The Devil Wears Prada, Ella Enchanted, and yes, The Princess Diaries). With a good James Bond/Johnny English-like plot to boost this awesome cast, I’m hopeful that it will be one laugh trip after another.

BEHIND THE LINE

The Happening

Mark Wahlberg

M. Night Shyamalan is said to be a prime example of diminishing marginal returns. He shot to the top with his first movie, The Sixth Sense, which critics say is one of the scariest movies of our recent times, and definitely one of the most unexpected. Then he followed it up with the less successful Unbreakable. From there, everything went downhill: the lukewarm reception of Signs by the movie critics did not do Shyamalan any favors; The Village was ignored, and Lady In The Water universally despised.

Given this trend, expectations were low for his new movie, The Happening. Indeed, it received generally negative reviews from movie critics. But you know what? I loved it.

In the first place, I wasn’t one of those people who witnessed Shyamalan’s “decline.” The only movie he’s made that I’ve seen in full was Signs, and I liked it and got terrified by it enough. (I watched Sixth Sense, yes, but I saw the twist first. Sucks.) In the second place, I couldn’t deny his genius. He is the master in setting mood and atmosphere. While watching The Happening, I was constantly on edge; I didn’t realize that the wind could actually be that scary.

Despite that, I could see why others didn’t like the film as much as I did. The main actors, the ones who were supposed to carry the movie, were not at all convincing. Wahlberg spoke as though reading from a phonebook. Emotions rarely registered on his face. The dead provided more of an emotional impact. 

That’s the only negative thing I could say about it, actually. Yes, the explanation for the “threat” could have used a little more polishing, but what can we do? The movie adeptly accounted for that: “We can’t account for everything.”

Filed under: Cinema, The Couch Potato

Archuleta Hair

WARNING: Vanity post ahead.

My fascination with David Archuleta’s hair lasted for all but 3 days. I actually wanted my ‘do to look like this:

Archuleta cover art taken from new-music-now.blogspot.com.

So last Sunday, I decided to have my hair cut, the Archuleta way. My exams were over, I was in a new phase in my life, and I was about to launch this site– what a better way to start, right? And this is how the haircut turned out:

Who’s cuter? Haha.

I know the hair’s going the opposite direction, but what can I do? Everyone knows I don’t have spatial skills. I don’t know how to imagine cubes out of flattened figures, and I don’t know my mirror left with my camera left with my real left. I got confused.

But anyway, the haircut was superb the first time (thanks, Dyaym, for the styling!), and yesterday, I managed to do it again, but today, everything failed. It took almost 30 minutes to fix my hair, and yet it didn’t look quite right. Perhaps mixing Vitress setting lotion with Bench Fix Clay-Doh was a wrong idea. I don’t know. But around 3 PM today, I went to the restroom and just rearranged everything. I felt better after.

So the question’s this: to Archuleta or not to Archuleta?

Filed under: Vanity

Eye of the Storm, or Rainbow after the Rain?

It’s 6:21 AM, and I feel strangely calm.

This is the first time in weeks that I don’t feel agitated; some part of me thinks that I’ve finally managed to keep my emotions in check. Not to mention the happy fact that I don’t think I’m going to be late for work for once. Everything just feels so serene.

Or is this just an illusion? Are the battles finally over, and the time of peace is at hand, or is this just a reprieve, similar to the ones Peter and Miraz had in their fight for Narnia? Am I seeing the rainbow after the storm, or am I just in the center of it?

The last few weeks have been tumultuous, both emotionally and mentally, both positively and negatively. I’ve managed to dull down the emotional side of it a little, primarily because I had to take my exam (and that was very mental, indeed), but the excitement of experiencing new things, the joy of meeting new people, and the sadness caused by certain conflicts– they were all there, just bubbling beneath the surface. And now, after my exam’s over, when I finally had the chance to face the swelling and swirling emotions trapped under folds of examination facts, the storm strengthened to a maddening scale. An inevitable fall. An unexpected rise.

But all that was as of yesterday. Today, at 6:48 AM, I feel calm.

Filed under: Ra

Breaking Ground

I’m still at the initial stages in developing my website, but I’m glad and excited by what’s up right now. WordPress is an excellent site, perhaps even better than Blogger, especially when it comes to the ease by which I publish my posts and design my site. The only unfortunate thing right now is that WordPress doesn’t allow a lot of 3rd-party HTMLs. This makes it hard impossible for me to place a cbox in the sidebar for visitors to chat on. Meebo, the IM-like alternative to chatboxes, seems to delete messages when you refresh the page. That just won’t do at all.

But despite that little obstacle, everything’s clean and fresh, just the way I like it. In the next few days, I’m going to create more Categories, more Pages for my Resto Hop, Movie, and TV show commentaries, and maybe a Blog Roll once I’ve advertised this blog enough for people to see. 

I haven’t officially broken ground yet, but it will come soon enough. Check me out.

Filed under: Helios

A New Heaven

At every new phase, a new look.

With every new look, a new high.

For every new high, a new heaven.

 

Welcome to my latest home.

Filed under: Helios