Archive for the graphic novel/comics to film Category

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!

Advertisements

Isang bagsak: hagalpak, ligwak, wapak!

Posted in bioflick, book to film, comedy film, flashbacking, graphic novel/comics to film, Hollywood dream factory, Philippine Cinema on October 21, 2010 by leaflens

Or in short, here are a few movies I’ve seen in recent weeks. All in one go. Isang bagsak! May funny, may hindi, may ayos lang, merong swak. Pero all in all, iisa lang ang silbi nila sa akin — movies always save my life. In a manner of speaking. Ah basta!

Unahin natin ang may tatak-Academy Award, shall we? Well, at least the actor in the lead.

EAT PRAY LOVE

d. Ryan Murphy

story based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert

c. Julia Roberts

Pitch: New York writer gets fed up with romantic relationships and separates herself from the New World to go eat pasta and pizza in the Old World, meditate with one of the oldest  civilizations/religions of the world, and hies off to expat isle. Wala bitterocampo lang ang synopsis-writing ko kasi I haven’t been to Bali and Italy. India yes pero not to pray though nagpa-ayurvedic massage ako. Authentic!

Catch: Well, who do you see? I see Julia, not Elizabeth. Aye, there’s the rub.

If you will re-imagine this film to fit any of the other Julia movies, it might be an interesting mash-up.

Roll cam, shall we?

Seq. 1. Ext. By a beach in Bali. Sunset.

Julia stands in front of Javier Bardem who’s still ruggedly handsome even if he looks unkempt. Julia smiles her Julia-smile and speaks.

JULIA

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to take me out to an island which an expat can buy but the locals can’t afford.

JAVIER

Ah mierda. Sorry, I thought you were Vicky. Or Cristina. Woody, what’s the next scene? I don’t like bitches. I mean beaches.

Seq. 2.   Ext. Streets of Italy. Morning.

Julia wanders around the narrow cobblestone streets on her first day in Italy, a few people scattered doing their businesses of the day. A dark-haired lean-looking Italian man in a scooter passes by and whistles at her.

ITALIAN MAN

Bella donna! (whistles) Kees meeh! Mwaaah!

Since Julia is still learning Italian, she frowns. She spots a huge-eyed blond woman also wandering around the streets following another woman, and stops her to ask.

JULIA

Uh, excuse me. You look like you’re American, so… W-what did that guy say to me, the one that whistled?

WOMAN

Oh, bella donna. Pretty woman. Kiss me. That’s what he said.

JULIA

Okay thanks. (to man) Not on the mouth! I don’t kiss on the mouth!

WOMAN

Hmp. Cinderfuckinrella.

JULIA

Excuse me, did you say something?

WOMAN

Nothing. I’m following that girl. Those that write letters. They seem to be sticking it to some wall of some building… addressed to someone named Juliet.

JULIA

Juliet? You mean Julia! I am Julia!

WOMAN

No, Juliet. Like Romeo and Juliet, duh.

JULIA

Wait, what set is this? We’re shooting Eat Pray Love, honey.

WOMAN

Excuse me, my name ain’t honey, it’s Amanda. We’re shooting Letters to Juliet here.

JULIA

Oh shut up and get your own street of Italy somewhere else, you tourist!

WOMAN

Oh shut up and do something else! This American-in-Italy shtick was already done, and in a better way, by Frances Mayes in Under The Tuscan Sun!

JULIA

Oh yeah? Well, I’m going to India!

Seq. 3. Int. Meditation place in India. Afternoon.

The hot afternoon wakes up Julia, who fell asleep during the group meditation. Richard from Texas who looks like James Taylor walks near her and nudges her.

JULIA

I… think I fell asleep.

RICHARD

Ya don’t say. Good thing you’re still neatly seated on that cushion on the floor despite dozing off. How’d you manage not to fall or tip over? Like ya got some sort of body balance thing or somethin’.

JULIA

They’re called boobs, Ed. I mean Richard from Texas who looks like James Taylor.

Okay iyan lang kaya ng powers ko hehe. Don’t let me go on. Aabot tayo hanggang MYSTIC PIZZA sige ka hehehe. At isasama ko ang STEEL MAGNOLIAS nakita mo.

And for local distributors, may suggestion ako. You could actually subtitle this as —

“Eat Pray Love”

Or, ano ba ang nais mo sa buhay, teh?

Okay end of review. Hehe.

Hay naku, ligwak. Wala, wala talaga akong napulot sa pelikulang ito. Siguro maganda ‘yung librong pinagbasehan. Makahanap nga sa Booksale.

Pero kebs dahil ito pa rin ang rerebyuhin namin bukas ng Biyernes sa aming CINE CHICHIRYA radio show. Listen to us. Live kami, via AM radio or streaming sa internet. Click here!

Buti pa sa isang pelikulang di ko inaakalang magugustuhan ko. May napulot akong isang golden nugget kahit di ko inaasahan.

WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS

d. Oliver Stone

c. Michael Douglas, Shia Labeouf, Carey Mulligan

Pitch: Young dude who works in the stock exchange chorva gets his baptism of fire by interacting with his fiancee’s dad, the erstwhile Wall Street old dude. Oh man don’t talk to me about stock exchange and other economics/business/financial-related thingie because my eyes just glaze over, like I was zapped by a raygun. Pramis. Hence this synopsis.

Catch: I still don’t like that Labeouf dude. He can act better than Keanu pero ewan, may kulang e. Di ko shia bet.

Oliver still has that directorial touch. Imagine making me interested in a topic that usually makes my eyes glaze over.

Since this has been in the trailers rounds for like the longest time, I felt I had to watch it, just because. And since there was no good release the week I watched this, well, no choice.

But I’m glad I did. It was interesting. When I was in New York last March, the thought of stopping at the subway station marked “Wall Street” didn’t interest me as much as stopping at the subway station marked “Christopher Street” so I never really saw all those buildings and stuff, the subject and location of the old movie version of the same title but with Charlie Sheen in the lead with Douglas. And oh yeah, Sheen makes a cameo here. So did Oliver. Kakaiba ang mga boylet na ito, ‘no?

I still think this Shia guy is not all that, since he seems to be taking over a lot of good second-lead roles in Hollywood lately. My first protest was his being in the latest version of Spielberg’s classic INDIANA JONES line, where he seems to be channeling the coolness of an earlier second-lead young actor in an earlier Indiana Jones film named River Phoenix. He doesn’t compare. Hay, I miss River and his films during the ’80s tuloy. Now that’s real talent.

Siya, ilang saglit ng katahimikan. Magbigay-pugay sa maagang namatay…

That’s me in front of Johnny Depp’s club where River dropped dead from a drug overdose years ago.  (April 2010, along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Photo taken by my friend Hazel)

So imagine the agony in this film. But fresh out of AN EDUCATION is Carey Mulligan, who sports this really trendy bob cut, and don’t be surprised if my hair looks like that like tomorrow, okay? She just looks nice here. And yes, it was her character’s nagkaroon-ng-lamat relasyon with Shia’s character that produced that golden nugget I was telling you about. It just blew me away when, habang mega-crayola siya sa harap ng jowa, she said:

CAREY

We’re supposed to make each other feel safe. If not, what’s the point?

Sabay alis at hiwalay na sila ng jowa.

Can you say WAPAK!!!

Kill me now!!!!! *saksak sa puso* Hanep, right? But that illuminated the whole month of September for me, something EAT PRAY LOVE didn’t do. Hmp.

Wala, ‘yan lang ang review hehe.

Tawa naman diyan.

PETRANG KABAYO

d. Wenn Deramas

p. Viva Films

c. Vice Ganda

Pitch: Isang baklitang batang inampon ng hacienderang may kabayuhan ang lumaki bilang malditang baklita kaya pinarusahan siya ng diyosa ng mga kabayo para turuan ng leksiyon sa paggalang sa kapwa at pagmamahal nang tunay. Echos.

Catch: Kung wala si Vice Ganda dito, bagsak ito!

Vice Ganda, the host/judge of the near-noontime show Showtime on ABS-CBN, brings his stand-up comedy bar-sharpened wit and punchlines to make this sorry excuse of a remake of a very funny ’80s film come to life. If not, dead on arrival na ito sa first day-last day moda sa takilya.

As usual, the characters are based on the story originated by legendary comics writer Pablo S. Gomez, so you know it’s good. Well, at least the origins siguro. Or maybe it was the way this film was directed. The film really didn’t have clear-cut direction and it again harks back to the old days of ’80s pastiche and kitsch, sans the good storyline aided by the presence of Roderick Paulate. Na-miss ko naman bigla ang Tonight with Dick and Carmi days anubeh.

Pero winner lang ang lines ni Petra aka Vice. Puma-punchline, all the time.

Ama: Anak, patawarin mo ako.

Petra: Tawad? Sa palengke na lang uso ang tawad!

*

Julalay: Ser, ipapasok ko na ho ba itong mga papeles sa loob?

Petra: Hindi, ipapasok mo sila sa labas! Kaya nga ipapasok e, o, sa loob kasi. Sige nga, lumabas ka, at subukan mong ipasok sa labas!

*

Secretary: Sir, gusto niyo ng coffee?

Petra: Sige…

Secretary: Black coffee po?

Petra: Blue, kaya mo? Sige nga!

Actually marami pa ‘yan hehe. I don’t know why pero benta siya sa akin hahaha! Kasi siguro bakla rin akong may caustic wit. May ganung factor.

I’m mostly paraphrasing some but you get the drift hehe. Makes me think that the scriptwriter actually just wrote the lines of the other actors and then Vice’s dialogue lines are left blank para makapagsaksak siya ng sarili niyang brand ng witty but sarcastic retorts. Hm interactive scriptwriting kung ganun! Puwedeh!

Well other than that, I like the animation inserts of the comedic horse. And then I don’t like the way the discussion of Petra’s father hurting him because of his homosexuality was just dropped during the latter half of the film. Walang closure ang mga plot points at cause and effect chains here. Wala, deus ex machina lang karamihan. Na naitatawid ng punchlines nga. What did you expect?

Oh well. Siya sige, isa na lang.

For the tanderrifics!

RED

d.Robert Schwentke

story based on the DC Comics graphic novels

c. Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman

Pitch: Retired extremely dangerous (hence RED) kinda oldish agents get roused from their quiet retirement when they become the targets of their seemingly old company (the CIA) under the covert bidding of a high government official.

Catch: Wala, cute siya. You know what to expect and it’s delivered to you, neatly packed in a sealed container.

It’s nice that they’re tapping more graphic novels and turning them into films. Even the not-so-popular titles I’ve picked up over the years in some book sales have good stories naman. E siyempre pina-sosyal lang naman na komiks ang graphic novels. Kinda like the old days of komiks in the Philippines during the ’80s where we all grew up reading them and, for some of the more imaginative and enthusiastic of us, devouring them. Ayus.

Dito, I like the way my favorite actors seem to gather together in a cool project that is reachable to audiences of today, whether young or old alike. Imagine Helen Mirren firing high-powered weapons while elegantly wearing a white dress. Sankapa!

Lavet, lola!

That made my night. Or John Malkovich in a rather one-dimensional but funny portrayal pa rin of a kinda-neurotic ex-agent, in contrast with the dapper gentleman agent of Morgan Freeman. Panalo ang casting. At hindi kailangan ng extra doses of testosterone to pull it off. Ahem, cough cough, EXPENDABLES ba kamo? Cough cough. But I digress.

And then there’s Mary-Louise Parker, a fixture of films of my youth since, discreetly, the films she has been in were touching upon–if not glossing over–some sapphic themes.

Like haller FRIED GREEN TOMATOES? Talagang nawala ang lesbianic subplot sa movie version ng book noh.

Or BOYS ON THE SIDE na siya pala ang kras ng tibamchi character ni Whoopi Goldberg. O devah sumubplot talaga ang ateh sa review na ito hehe. Wala lang. She’s just hovering over Hollywood, in TV and films, and I’m glad she’s surviving. Para lang may nag-iba sa fez ng lola mo now. Di ko mawari. Nose job? Pa-banat? Parang di nag-age, e. Oh well, good for her.

Maganda rin naman ang role niya dito. A necessary plot device to get the film going, which is typical of any male-female conflict-driven plot. The not-so-complicated espionage story was handled with a breeze by the director, who also directed THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE pala, and Jodie Foster my love’s FLIGHT PLAN. Puwedeh.

*

O siya, hanggang diyan na lang muna at magandang gabi. Hanggang sa susunod na sine. Kapag kaya na ulit ng powers.

%d bloggers like this: