Incredibles 2 Reviewed

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This weekend has been full on. Yesterday Nick and I saw Incredibles at the cinema; the sequel was really impressive. Then we had dinner at a resto, where my friend tried something different. Upon heading back, I watched the Socceroos … Continue reading

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Ocean’s 8 reviewed

On Friday night, my friend and I saw this all-female production at the Burwood cinemas. Another friend told me about Ocean’s, but the trailer did not impress me. I forgot about it for a few weeks, until recently, when I just had to see it. I’ve been blogging lots, so running out of ideas is expected. Big names like Bullock, Blanchett, and Hathaway headline the cast. This is the fourth Ocean movie, after the successful trilogy starring Clooney, Pitt, and Damon.

 

Assembling the gang
In this sequel, Bullock (Clooney’s on-screen sister) is released after five years in prison. She is warned not to go back to her old ways, but this is exactly what she does upon returning. She reunites with her old partner, Cate Blanchett, and assembles the gang. Her eyes are set on the $150 million dollar Cartier necklace stored underground in New York’s Metropolitan Museum.  Actor Daphne Kluger (Hathaway) would wear said necklace at the Met Gala, the glitziest, most prestigious dinner of all. Her attempts to construct her crew dominate the first half. All hands had their role to play, but 9 Ball (Rihanna) is particularly notable, since her hacking skills are paramount to the task.

The lure of a share of the millions stolen draws them. To champion equality, Debbie Ocean offers an equal share of the prize for everyone. Another drawcard: would you want to be in on the heist of the century? Along the way there are doubts, minor setbacks, and the desire for revenge. There are lots of laughs, the girls loved it. One scene involved Daphne’s Designer, Rose Weil, having a minutes-long look at the necklace. She needed this to capture the look on her high-tech glasses. There are also some French and Chinese dialogues thrown in to add some spice. I don’t usually go for chick flicks but I don’t mind them every once in a while. Aside from promoting gender equality, the film also features its share of minorities.

 

 

Similarities
There are clear similarities to the prior films in the franchise. Obviously the big crew, the easy pace, the heist theme, and yes, the flashbacks near the end to anatomise the job. Who’s in and who’s not, are some things settled in the end. When I asked my friend after the movie, he told me that ‘It was okay.’ He particularly liked the cruisy story. ‘Some movies are hard to watch, but that was smooth.’ It is winter, cold and rainy, so having a nice, breezy watch was a welcome sight. The last one we saw, Avengers, was much more demanding with repeated back-and-forths across multiple storylines.

 

Passing the torch
There are a couple of scenes where Bullock visits her brother’s tomb. I can’t help but think of the passing of the torch. At one end, there’s the trio of films that was machismo at its finest. The top-flight thespians gathered while at the height of their fame. They also had a heavyweight director who made a career out of crime thrillers. This time, it’s their female counterparts who steal the show. Whether at the start or the end, she speaks to her brother as if he were there. With a larger turnout than anticipated, Friday’s session showed that this kind of setup would work. With gay rights and #timesup leading the charge, an all-female ensemble is swell, just as guys watching a chick flick is fair enough.

Since this instalment has its eyes on number one at the box office this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull this off. With a stellar cast, a robust and easy story, and lots of fun, this one definitely exceeds expectations.

***(out of 4)

 

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Ang ‘Finals’

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This is not a post of the unfolding NBA Finals (Quick aside: Dubs in 5). There are enough articles, memes, forums, and blogs, not to mention TV analysts, dedicated to that juggernaut. Instead, I want to discuss one of the … Continue reading

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10 things in 10 years

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What did you want in 2008? If this were a bank ad, a cute little kiddo would answer, ‘A bike with pedals!’ When asked about what we really want, we’d all be stumped. No matter how much you maximise the … Continue reading

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Deadpool 2 reviewed

Upon being released in February 2016, Deadpool claimed a large following. People came to love the foul-mouthed, sword wielding anti-hero who defied the odds. A parody of action movies, cheesy romcoms, and sci-fi blockbusters, audiences adored the laughs, the outrageous language, and the fresh script. Two years later, with the sequel now showing, I saw the latest one with Nick.

 

 

Must see viewing

My friend really wanted to see the movie on opening day, which just shows that this was must see action. He’s a movie buff who knows his films, and said that the first one ‘was awesome’. I couldn’t agree more. After buying his cider, we sashayed to the cinemas. For me, the movie was okay. It was funny, and unique just like the original. Fast paced and confrontational, the picture kept you guessing. In the trailer, you may have come across a mention of the ‘x force’, as well as a superhero audition. This, and the ensuing parachute scene, was some of the funnier moments.

 

I know they were trying to parody Logan, but the whole idea of saving a precocious kid, was a distraction. Shame, since they spent too much time trying to build this up. Cable (Josh Brolin) is likewise impressive as the unrelenting baddie, reminiscent perhaps of Terminator? Altogether, the production attempts to merge elements from Logan and Terminator while excelling in neither. There’s also a scene where Deadpool dodges bullets like a samurai. What a novel way to evade magazines. However, my favourite role in this film was Dopinder, the taxi guy. His first scene was hilarious, where he unleashes a priceless scream after DP crashes through his cab. The character is obviously a satire of Mohinder Suresh, the former genetics professor in Heroes. Suresh is likewise a taxi driver in New York, but Dopinder takes it easy. He’s far from being the brains behind a team of superheroes.

 

 

 

Directorial mess

The film, like the first, remains r-rated due to sex and nudity, violence, and blood and gore. Having said that, this installment is not for the faint hearted. There was also a change in director between the two editions. While Tim Miller helmed the first one, David Leitch fronted 2.0. Nick asked me whether I saw Atomic Blonde or John Wick, both of which the latter also directed. Having seen John Wick, there were some slight similarities between the action scenes of that movie and this one. Call it directorial idiosyncrasies.

 

Deserving

The film does not only parody blockbusters, but also spoofs cliché 90s songs. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that this was straight out of Generation X. You could say the film has earned its certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Deadpool is good as is: a plus time filler but nothing special. I guess after seeing so many sequels, I get sequelitis; but Nick thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Deadpool? Chasing bad guys from Hong Kong to Sicily, making peace with his sworn enemies, cracking jokes along the way?

 

**1/2(out of four stars)

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The second-half storm

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Brothas and sisters, the end is near: the end of financial year, that is. This means claiming back part of your taxes, midyear sales, and shopping sprees. ‘Everything must go’ is a popular slogan at the midway point. Regardless, too … Continue reading

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‘The 100’

May 2018. This week marks post number one hundred on my site. On this month five years past, I started blogging. Once I regained my voice in August 2016, I tried my best to stick with a weekly posting schedule. What a journey it’s been! Over the last year, I wrote something in 51 out of 52 weeks, or almost without fail.

 

 Dissent

Of course, there will be detractors. Reaching the century mark wasn’t easy, a process that was years in the making. For every week that I succeeded, there were long months where I didn’t. At times, the consistent blogging endangers writer’s block. Through the silence and growing pains, I am grateful to have reached this milestone. While the accomplishment is one long overdue, the sense of fulfilment is not diminished. Crossing the hundred threshold is a true testament of my diligence over the last year and change. Well, here’s hoping I can keep up this momentum. 

 

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5K

If I were to compare this in a real world setting, this must be what it feels like to reach the PBA’s 5,000-point club. It’s hardly an exclusive group, with more added each season, but regardless, it is a show of resilience and dedication. This does not take away the magnitude of the achievement. As a Filipino cager, you would still need hundreds of games before knocking on that door. Five years, as with my case, is a reasonable timeframe for completion.

 

In the last half-decade of activity, much has changed. Australia has seen four prime ministers in that span. Instagram has taken over. The North Korean situation has growing hope. Holden cars are no longer Aussie-made. I have finished writing two books.

 

 

Endless change

It’s a cliché that ‘The only thing constant is change’. I started at WordPress then bought my own domain. However, this didn’t pan out, and in August 2016, I went back to blogging here. The rest, as they say, is history. The readership and support has ebbed and flowed, but I remain committed. Personally, I would love nothing more than barnstorming the globe, sharing my wanderlust, and discovering a new place every week. Things don’t always turn out the way we wanted though. Instead, I’ll just charm you with my vocabulary, throw in a few pics, and humour you as well.

 

Up, up, and away!

From today, my total number of posts has hit triple digits. With one flick of the wrist, double nine becomes one, zip, zip. I wish there was more to my stories, but I am a realist. Remember the UP movie? They dreamed of traversing South America (‘It’s like America but south’). They saved all they could, but they had to constantly break the piggy bank for various reasons. When Ellie passed away, Carl expected their scrapbook to be bare. He was as surprised as anybody to find all of their memories through the years to be treasured forever.

 

To more 100’s

This is not the fable of a dog with a bone staring at itself in the river. As Jason Bourne said, ‘This is real.’ 100 posts is only as bona fide as 5,000 career points. Just as ballers use their post moves and kamikaze drives for offence, I use my tools for blogging. Research, ideas, and a voice envelop my every story. Whether it’s reviews, poems, travels, my prior works, movies, books, or flashbacks, I am here to share and to gain your continued support. Together we’ll make the next few hundred just as memorable as scaling this initial plateau. Yes, we’ll roll like The Simpsons.

 

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Marrakech

 

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