Archive for the Asians in Hollywood Category

War of the Woulds

Posted in adventure film, Asians in Hollywood, fantasy-mythical, film sequels, sci-fi film, Star Wars saga with tags on December 21, 2017 by leaflens

A.K.A. ang pagbabalik ng Manyunyugi ng Pelikulang Panget, or in short, should I come back with this comeback? Or would I survive reviewing this revival-ish of a film? Ma at pa, beh. Ma at pa. So sige, keber lang.

I’m back, bichezzz!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (2017)

d., s. Rian Johnson

p. Lucasfilm/Disney chuva

c. Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong’o, and others (sila lang mahalaga sa akin bakit ba lol) 

Pitch: EPISODE VIII na siya beh, and hallelujah praise the lawd at ang epic space opera saga chenelyn na ito ay marami nang kick-ass na babae sa lead, 40 years later! Where General Leia leads what’s left of the Resistance to safety, with the help of other women in the periphery, in the middle of men with angst lol.

Catch: Saga wearing thin in plot/characterization, not sure if kayang itahi ang last gen sa next gen beh. May the force make hibla.

Lakas maka-flashback itong Star Wars saga ever oo, down memory lane of your life as you watch it.

So 4 years old pa lang pala ako nung unang lumabas ito sa sinehan pala. And 40 years later, we see the Star Wars saga still at it — matapos nilang patayin (!!!) si Han Solo, at matapos mamatay ni Carrie Fisher (huhubelles). Of course we all grew up watching the first 3 movies — or episode 4, 5, 6 sa utak ni pareng George Lucas — and yes, it’s still amazing to see and re-watch from time to time, because the storytelling uses techniques that entertain you, like a good classical Hollywood narrative does. There’s the witty or pa-witty dialogue, lalo na ‘yung banter ni Han Solo and whoever ang ka-banter niya, the obvious longing for something eklavu ni Luke na naging sanhi ng yabang laterz nang na-discover niya ang “The Force,” and the film language that would entertain any geek/film major/cineaste out there (like ooh black si Darth Vader kasi bad, white si Luke kasi good etc. or ‘yung binaligtad na halaaa naka-black na sa huli si Luke kasi hinahalina ni Darth sa dark side pero deep inside nakaputi pa siya so okay good pa rin kami yey).

I was honestly trying to look for such elements again last night when I watched this,  lalo na the witty dialogue. Or kahit mga classic one-liners lang ng mga characters (e.g. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Like that.) But sadly, even if the dialogue ain’t as freakin’ bad as Justice League’s (I AIN’T TOUCHING THAT ONE), it’s still not as good nor as memorable.

Haha that’s a classic. Miss ya Princess!

 

And I’m thinking if it’s the characters or the scriptwriter who’s “at fault” here. Ideologically, that is. Like, as happy as I am about their racial and gender diversity, I’m not sure if these newer characters have enough of a personality to begin with, to start acting with motivation, speaking with wit, or merely existing with conviction. And speaking as a scriptwriter, it’s an awful challenge to write dialogues for such characters, I tell ya. Kaya parang sakit sa bangs siyang panoorin teh.

Like for the life of me, I’m still trying to find out what the ex-stormtrooper’s role is in this whole scheme of things. So natauhan ka at ayaw mo nang maging foot soldier lang ng evil empire, so??? And that one particular pilot who’s such a misogynist arsehole in this second sequel film that I’m missing what happened to him in the first film (i.e. sana sumabog na lang ulit siya kunwari, at sa huli na lang lumitaw leche). Like what’s so special about you, pilot with the BB8 droid, at sa iyo naka-focus ang naratibong ito? Eh ang yabang mo lang kaya kainis, and no, hindi ka plot device na kinailangan lang ng Admiral character ni Laura Dern laterz para umigting siya/sila. Kakaloka ang existence niyo, sa totoo lang.

And then of course we have si ati Rey, na we’re still guessing kung sino siya or ano ang heritage nila. Like hallerrrrrrrr natapos na ang second film at lahat, nganga pa rin sa info na ‘yun??? Eh sa original na second film, we get it agad sa huli na “Luke, I am your fatherrrrr.” “Noooo!” Tapos ang heritage mystery. Ito, huhubelles nakaka-dalawang popcorn bucket na ko, wala pa ring reveal na malaman!!! Puro pahaging lang mula kay Kylo Ren tapos bomb drop na walang kwentang plotline ang peyrents ni Rey, cryola lang si bakla nang narinig ang katotohanan, tapos end! Wala pa ring clue-labelles whatsoever sa pagkatao niya, kahit ilang beses siyang tanungin ni Lolo Luke ng “Who are you?” Kaloka. Konti na lang kakanta na ko ng CSI theme song dito eh leche. Whoooooo are you? Who who who who. Cheret.

Paternity Strikes Back. Tapos ang kaso!

 

And then of course the “conflicted” Kylo Ren, a.k.a. Ben Solo, junakis ni General Leia at Han. Dami niyang hanash teh! Kesyo conflicted sa pagchugi sa sariling pudraks o sa pagbomba sa sariling mudraks, tapos the ego duel chenes with Tito Luke. Saka bakit ba kating-kati kang maging dark side ambassador pare? Two films in, and I still can’t find a clue. Dahil lolo mo si Darth, ganern? Ibalik ang dark glory days, ganern? Paano ka ba pinalaki ng peyrents mo, at ang tanong ko anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan tininininin-tininininin… And the back story na in-attempt nila ever for you naman eh hilaw din. Dahil lang fail ang lessons niyo ni Tito Mentor, dark ka na? Conflicted conflicted… Nubeh boi, dami hanash sa life, hanash na wala akong makitang pinaghuhugutan mo. His well of loneliness is arid, my dear. By this time, dapat nilamanan na ‘yan ng meatier back story, but no. [Also, HAN SOLO and LEIA nagkaanak??? Anyare? Paanosinoanokailan? Insert back story here!!! dapat.]

Taragis ka, Ben Solo!!! Di pa kita pinapatawad dito!!!

 

And that is, I think now, that problem of this film: THERE’S NO BACK STORY whatsoever, be it the situation or the characters. They’re like running on fumes of the past films, and decided to surf those fumes na lang and see where this goes wheeeeeeeee lightspeed! Gawa ng new worlds here and there, insert cutesy creatures na tatalo sa Ewoks, and then boom! Lagay natin sila and see where this karambola ends or begins or ends or begins. Kajirits.

And don’t even tell me na “Ay, nasa extended universe ‘yan, nasa comics ‘yan, nasa blah blah blah related pop icon product ‘yan dapat basahin mo blah blah blah para ma-gets mo.” Taragis. We’re not doing a compare-and-contrast of mediums here, okay? Whatever is in a medium, we analyze it as is, where it is, in all its full formalistic glory. So kung may hindi sila nilagay dito, then that’s that, and that maims it, so luz. Wala akong time to make subaybay everything in their merchandise line k, kaya dapat alalahanin nila kung para kanino ba nila ginagawa ang film na ito.

Eat my popcorn fuckers. The cheese and butter didn’t cut it both, kahit may large sarsi in the middle. Note to self: bring jabee next time.

And I think that’s another folly of it. I think the film is trying to please the newer generations in one part, lalo na sa simula, and then the latter half they try to please the Star Wars kiddos of yore, like moi, by putting forth Luke and Leia and that cheap trick of a hologram nga ni R2D2 hahahaha hilarious ‘yun. But that latter half felt more like a eulogy for what will not come again next time around: the sensible saga story. Dahil sa kakaulit ni Hanash Junior na kailangan nang mamatay ang old blah at sila nang new blah ang gagawa ng New Republic or New Order or whatevs (I swear I heard him say New Order, na naisip ko, ay, new waver si koya? Cheret!), feel kong total new slate kemeru ang gagawin nila sa next films, lalo na’t may patikim pa ng new kid characters wearing the new hope rebellion ring chenes. Kumbaga, lulutuin pa nila, para maayos. Kalerks.

You know, no matter who your audience is, we actually don’t care, so long as you make one cohesive narrative that rules them all trilogy films! Yeah, take a cue from other films na marami ring sequels, telling a definitive narrative na may pupuntahan, para mas malaman ang aabangan namin at mas kapaki-pakinabang ang mga karakter owkei??? Hindi ‘yung bubuntot lang si ati kay Luke para maging mentor tas may konek-konek sila ni Hanash Junior tapos si Hanash ang conflict niya ay parang lip service lang — kasi sa labi lang nakikitang lumalabas, hindi nafi-feel sa looban niya, at lalong hindi nakikita sa labas niya! Acting workshop pa more! Cheret.

Hay naku kalerks.

Pero yeah, props to putting an Asian character out there, sa wakas. I loved that Rose character there, and I will love her more pa sana kung hindi naganap ‘yung kiss sa pilot plane crash scene nila ni ex-stormtrooper boi. KAKALOKA KELANGAN MAY KISS TALAGA. Oo ganyan ako kainis. Take a cue sana from Rogue One na wala ‘yan, tumayo ang pelikula nang labanan lang and yeah, good storyline. Hmp.

Heniweys sige bahala na si Batman sa susunod na leg nito. I’ll still be there to see Rey’s journey. Panindigan ang buns na ‘yan sa susunod, k. Let’s see.

LOL pahiram intarwebz. This cracked me up the first time I saw this during the time of The Force Awakens lol.

Next!

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and an Asian saves the U.S. caucasian’s ass!

Posted in Asians in Hollywood, graphic novel/comics to film, Hollywood dream factory, superhero films on January 20, 2011 by leaflens

…or in short, here’s my review of the first movie I saw for the year. And yes, sometimes I watch films accidentally, meaning I saw how horrendous the traffic was going home so I thought of killing time in a cool place and letting myself willingly suspend my disbelief for two hours or so in another time, place and dimension… aaah whatever. I’m blabbering. Just read my damn review. Chos. 😛

You missed this, didn’t you? Yeah I know you did. Admit it. Hahaha joke lang! 😛

GREEN HORNET

d. Michel Gondry

s. based on the radio serials eons ago when radio was da bomb, plus perhaps a whole lotta comics stuff and of course the TV series where *the* Bruce Lee played Kato

c. Seth Green, Jay Chou and some great actors who should headline more films with meatier roles but were wasted here like Edward Furlong, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson and Edward James Olmos

Pitch: happy go lucky son of newspaper mogul inherits real-world responsibilities and then turns into a bungling superhero that smartens up in the end (what else is fucking new???) but is always saved by the Asian dude who can do kung fu and other brainy tech things!!!! hay naku…

Catch: Michel Gondry! What were you thinking directing such crappola of a superhero film???????? You can do better than this! Write the damn script next time!

Okay please resuscitate Michel Gondry and make him make better films, films we were so used to, and we liked a lot because of their brilliance and their heart! Not familiar? Think ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and this super-funny “small” film BE KIND, REWIND which was so freaking hilarious even Jack Black was tempered here in order to fit the film. Read my review of that film in a previous incarnation.

And why do we need to slap Gondry here? Because this is the worst superhero film I’ve seen in my life!!! And he is such a freaking cool filmmaker. And that says a lot because I love watching superhero-themed films because I always like to see how they will treat the hero-ness of the “hero” and how they will explore his/her demons and travails and such before becoming a hero. (Plus I also like to escape to that comics-inspired visually appealing world of having extraordinary powers — another ball of discourse altogether; some other time. :P) But of course, that all depends on how the filmmakers handle the material as well, especially the story, like how Christopher Nolan just handled THE DARK KNIGHT with such sheer freaking genius, with the help of the late great Heath Ledger of course, goddess bless his beautiful tormented soul. Or how Joel Schumacher just treated the George Clooney starrer BATMAN AND ROBIN so fucking queerly heheh. But I digress.

First off, I never could really remember the Green Hornet character Brett Reid as this happy-go-lucky super-konyo rich kid who was just wasting his precious time on earth with things that don’t matter to the world, like getting laid, partying all night with booze and not contributing anything substantial to the world. And then he gets thrust with the super-responsibility of being mature?????? Hay, characterization fail! Sorry but I grew up watching bits and pieces of the Green Hornet TV series reruns of the ’60s (replayed in the ’80s) where our coolest Asian idol of all time, one inch punch kung fu master Bruce Lee, starred as the caucasian superhero’s sidekick. Funny that I don’t remember much about the Green Hornet’s antics but I remember most of the Bruce Lee antics, especially the fight scenes. Well maybe it’s because growing up, I was such a martial arts fan (and trying hard practitioner, my asthma notwithstanding/hurdling) and I grew up watching many Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan martial arts-laden films, so I remember these things more than the other aspects.

But still, I don’t remember the Green Hornet being this stupidly crazy and bungling like how Seth characterized him. I actually remember him as some sort of simple yet somewhat Bruce Wayne-like-ish dapper dude. It was a huge disappointment for me. And this film reeks of a lot of uber-problematic discourses that I don’t even know where to begin! But okay, since there is an Asian in the cast, let’s start with the issue of race.

This Kato character, obviously having a huge deference to the Bruce Lee character, was thrice referenced with the Bruce Lee homage, where first, he was characterized as an artist who drew sketches of his tech designs and innovations while at the same time making figure drawings of humans like Bruce Lee.  Second reference was seen when he was seen “practicing” kung fu moves a la Bruce Lee in the Black Beauty car while his stupid American caucasian boss was busy making a fool of himself outside. Third reference was the actual one-inch punch Bruce Lee was identified with and he actually did that during the rising action-to-climax scene where he met up with the thugs at the restaurant scene outside. For non-Bruce Lee fans, the one-inch punch is where one would make a fist and hit an opponent from one inch distance yet the punch is soooooo fucking powerful that even with just a one-inch distance, the opponent hit would freaking fly in orbit when hit! Yes, Bruce Lee could really do that and that was a big “secret” of his. But obviously, for this film, the one-inch punch was shot with state-of-the-art filmaking technology–meaning shot not in close-up and using wire harnesses to have the opponents fly to the air when punched. Sorry, I’m in on your special visual effects secrets, Hollywood! Been there, done that!

Anyways, aside from this, I was sooooo fucking offended as to how the white dude just treated the Asian dude with such disdain and disrespect that he was treated as just another fucking stupid non-excellent English-speaking Asian immigrant who makes up for this lack by his excellent display of sheer genius in designing technologically-advanced gadgets and stuff like the awesome car, the cool weaponry, and other awesome stuff only Asians in America could possibly think of, since Asians as a race are all lumped together in one minority category anyway and hence assigned this stereotypical Hollywood trait of being mathematically and scientifically gifted, even with their English being not so excellent. And how about that stupid pa-intellectual joke when Kato was narrating his back story as a youth growing up in Shanghai (in China!) then the stupid Brett slips that Shanghai is in Japan! What the fuck! That’s not even remotely funny! Sorry but any arrogant display of stupidity isn’t funny to me. Go back to world geography class, dude!

And by the way, why did they have to treat the Asian in a non-sexual way (again!), like he was the one whom the white chick Lenore character of Cameron was obviously interested in, but the fucking white supremacy of the Brett character just *had* to insert his way in that equation, again promoting that stereotypical sexless desire-less asexual Asian minority. Hay… like Fil-Am Jessica Hagedorn’s pioneering diaspora entitled fiction anthology echoed, Charlie Chan is Dead, you white American non-Asian immigrant loving Hollywood dudes! Get with the freaking diaspora program!

Yeah, it sucks big time that way. I should have bought more fucking popcorn!!! Sorry but this was a freaking superhero film! I wanted to be entertained! Waaah I should have just went on free wifi somewhere in Gateway Cubao and watched online porn!!! Nubeh!!!!

But as an aside, it’s also cool to note that the original origins of the Kato character is not even Chinese, or Japanese, but freaking Filipino! Okay I know it’s in wikipedia but still, the reference to Kato being of Filipino descent is fucking awesome to me!  Hm so maybe that bit about nunchucks, which is a Japanese weapon if I am not mistaken, could have been arnis altogether, which is a Filipino martial arts practice/weapon, and actually my martial arts of choice (practiced it before and will pick it up again really really soon! Excited!).

And don’t even get me started with how they wasted real talent here, like the pretty Cameron Diaz who actually had better roles than this one, and with her character being sexually taunted all the time!!! Sorry but other superhero films treated women better! Aaaahhh! And no, sorry, that “I will sue you for sexual harassment” bit towards the end doesn’t count for female empowerment of a character! She was still treated here as a freaking bimbo! I mean, where else in Hollywood fiction land would a 32-year old journalism major with a minor in criminology apply for a temp secretarial job serving a good-for-nothing dickhead!!! She should have been Lois fucking Lane by that point in her professional career!!! Anubeh! Aaaaahhh my feminist film practitioner sensibilities smart!!!!!! Where’s the fucking popcorn!!!!

And the there’s Edward Furlong, he of the TERMINATOR 2 film kid, who turned out to be such a talent in AMERICAN HISTORY X (super-genius acting sessions here with another underrated actor, Edward “The Fight Club” Norton), and even that bout of his in CSI New York as the brother of a killed bartender. Oh my freaking goodness, how could you waste a talent like that and cast him as a fucking ordinary drug dealer who owns a meth lab and then gets killed by the drug lord after like 5 minutes of screen time!!!! Injustice!!!! He should have played the Green Hornet!!!! Fiercely! Like how Heath played The Joker!!! Fiercely!!!! Hay…

Puso mo, Bayli… breathe in, breathe out… wax on… wax off…

And do I even have to point out the stupid bromance moments that turned homophobic here (i.e. many references to man-on-man “more than friends/brotherly” love which were made into punchlines that weren’t remotely hilarious to begin with, but fucking homophobic and sexist)? No. Such a fucking waste of time.  And please please please, don’t watch this on freaking 3D cinema like I did. Waste of money.

In all, you can do better without this crappola. Watch another movie. Maybe that Angeline Jolie-Johnny Depp starrer. Okay will report back when I’ve seen that one, okay?

But for now, there’s only one thing I could say about this: NEXT!

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