Blunt Force Trauma

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Call For the Seven Kingdoms

Can anyone help me find a copy of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire? I've read A Game of Thrones on my PC but I no longer want to read any books on a computer monitor. I finally found copies of books 3 & 4 in National but I don't want to purchase them without the first two.

National Bookstore! Restock this epic series now damn you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Summer Schmummer...

It's so cold tonight. Just plain cold. If it gets any colder, I'm afraid my balls will fall off. I've always been partial to sunny weather though the cold doesn't bother me all that much. But this time, it's really chilly. I'm wearing my trusty jog pants (which is only worn in temperatures like this because I don't really jog...) and a shirt. I probably should be wearing thicker threads but it's too much of a hassle changing. heh heh. My annually scheduled flu is making itself felt. I've felt like I will be catching a cold for a couple of days already. Right now it's not an actual cold but I'm sniffling. I'm surprised it hasn't turned into a full on influenza. Are the germs being hesitant? heh. I never had that great of a resistance against the common cold. My bro El has already succumbed. He's lost his voice to his cough but he's still up and about.

I hope it won't get worse. Who likes getting sick? Nobody, especially not me. I'm drinking more water than I normally do, but I don't normally drink that much in a day so I don't think it will make a difference. I hope the weather gets better. Everybody says that's it's summer already but a day like this can make that hard to believe. I don't care what kind of authority you have or if you're from PHIVOLCS, summer should not feel this cold. Assholes. xD

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Brainstorming Raiders and Bullitt

Came across a very interesting article today. Before making Raiders of the Lost Ark, George Lucas (fresh from the success of Star Wars) and Steven Spielberg (fresh from the success of Jaws), sat down with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan for a brain-storming session about the film. They discussed everything about the movie from the fleshing out of the characters to the structure of the plot to the conceptualization of set pieces. The transcript for that meeting has been leaked recently and it's a fantastic read.

I've always been interested in the goings on behind the scenes of my favorite movies. This transcript is a treasure trove of information about Raiders. It actually shows that it is in fact Lucas who is the biggest creative force behind this project. This leaves little question that the Indiana Jones character is his. He's the idea man and at the that time, his story telling instinct was at it's peak.

I just finished watching a movie. I didn't really intend to see the whole film, I just wanted to try if it plays fine on the player. The first note of Lalo Schifrin's score and the elegant titles sequence by Pablo Ferro just pulled me in, hooked me up, and didn't let go.

The movie is titled Bullitt, made in 1968, starring Steve McQueen, and directed by Peter Yates. I've seen McQueen in The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven, but both of them are ensemble pictures. He had to share screen time with Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, some of the biggest badasses in the history of cinema. This was my first time to see him carry a movie all by himself, and man did he carry it. I no longer wonder why he was such a revered actor. He projects such a cool demeanor on screen that is so rare these days. His is a dying breed. They flocked the Earthy during the olden days, along with Humphrey Bogart, Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and the ones that I've already mentioned. Clint is so old now, and when he retires, there will be no one left. The only one I can think of who is worthy of carrying their banner is Daniel Craig, no one else.

The movie is a straight up police procedural, with McQueen starring as Frank Bullit, the title character. Bullitt is a good cop who gets a rep as a media darling. That is why Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) a politician handpicks him to guard an important witness to a case that would catapult him to the public eye. As expected, the assignment goes south. The witness gets shot and lies in critical condition. Chalmers threatens to ruin Bullitt's career if the case is destroyed. The witness dies which leaves our lead to solve the mystery before Chalmers makes good his threat.

This movie sits beside The French Connection as one of the best police procedural movies ever made. It's gritty and realistic. There are no big set pieces or elaborate gun play. Bullitt is definitely not that type of action film. It takes its time, choosing to hike up the tension by letting scenes play out instead of punctuating every sequence with a gunshot. As I've mentioned, gun play is almost nonexistent. Frank always his gun in its holster and he only pulled it out in the last 10 minutes of the movie, firing it only twice. Unlike the PNP, Bullitt is not a trigger-happy psycho itching to bleed his culprit. He only shoots when he absolutely has to.

Technically, this movie is terrific. It was perfectly shot. The car chase (which it is most famous for), was excellently executed. The editing is great, scenes play out the way they should. But beyond the technical aspects of this movie, which gets excellent mark, it won't be the same without Steve McQueen. He just oozes cool and charm and his all business attitude makes him badass. Bullitt is always in control, he knows what he is doing every time. He's the perfect cop, I guess. His girlfriend doesn't understand the world he belongs to, the ugliness that he sees every day very much a part of his life. Being good at what he does has cost him greatly.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I've Watched the Watchmen

I found it to be good. I probably need to see it a second time to really be able to absorb the movie, and the fact that I didn't like the way I saw it two nights ago makes a second viewing a necessity. But right now, I find Watchmen to be a dense film, and I like the way it kicked my ass multiple times in its almost 3 hours of running time.

I read the comic a couple of years ago. The the 12 issue comic book was everything I ever heard it was; seminal, enduring, dark, dense, mind-blowing. It was definitely one of the best experiences I've had in reading. When I finally finished it, I spent days pondering the implications of the ending, questioning my preconceptions of villains and heroes, and evaluating the characters. Until that time, I've never read a comic that had as well fleshed out characters. Watchmen the comic is amazing.

The story is about an alternative 1985 where super-heroes, or masked vigilantes to be more precise since only one of them has actual superpowers, exist. So this is what our world would look like if actual heroes exist. The story begins with the killing of The Comedian, a retired superhero. Rorschach, the only masked vigilante remaining active after the Keene Act was passed, investigates his murder and seeks the help of his other colleagues. Together, the uncover a horrible conspiracy that would change their world as they know it.

Given that there will always be something lost in the translation or adaptation of books into film, I was surprised how much of the book remained intact, especially the character work.

Rorshcach is the same nut job in the comic book. He is the same bad-ass who sees things in black and white, no shade of gray in between. He sees only the dirt and grime of society, of humanity. From the very first time he's on screen, he expresses his disgust of the humans he's trying to protect. It makes one wonder why he keeps on doing what he does. His origin sequence is especially memorable and is one of my favorite parts of the movie. I have to say that Jackie Earle Haley who portrays him did a bang-up job, despite the fact that he has to act with a mask on most of the time. But his scenes without his mask were fantastic. He was able to show a Rorschach who was crazy, but at the same time giving him just enough of a humanity to ground him. Just enough that I didn't lose touch. Rorschach's final scene was especially affecting.

Another character that needs mention is Dr. Manhattan, the man god. How they were able to make a fully cgi character believable is beyond me, but I'm sure credit should be given to Billy Crudup's performance behind those pixels. His voice is disconnected to show how severed he is from humanity because in fact, he is no longer human. Because of a freak science lab accident, he gains the power to manipulate particles in an atomic level. He also sees time differently. The past, present, and future, makes no difference to him. He is the only one who has the power to save mankind. He is practically a god.

The Comedian is definitely one of the most despicable characters ever created in fiction, and certainly one of the most fascinating. He does so many horrible things that makes the character repulsive. But at the same time, his character begs for deeper understanding. As I see him, he is certainly the most enlightened out of all the characters in the story. He sees the world so clearly and it has caused him so much anguish, and the only way he can preserve his sanity is for him to look at everything as one big joke. He sees the world's evil but he admits that he has no power to change it. So he does what he can, take part on it. He is cynical about everything and he has no hope for change. He is a man who has given up on humanity because he believes that there is nothing that can be done to turn things around.

Patrick Wilson's Dan Dreiberg is the exact copy of the book. Definitely a great casting choice. He basically balances the absurdity of the other characters. He's not as obviously crazy as Rorschach. He's the normal guy in this crazy world.

The rest of the cast actually did a good job. I'm really not that discriminating when it comes to acting, unless the acting is so totally bad. There's none of that here. No actor was distractingly bad so I won't complain.

But if there's one thing that I have to whine about, it's Zack Snyder's stylistic choice in action. The action scenes are too gory for its own good. Gore doesn't actually gross me out, I'm actually a fan of it. I love Verhoeven as a matter of fact. But in this case, I think the gore is just too much. It makes the movie R rated for all the wrong reasons. I know I'll see this movie again, but it won't be because of the action. Because of the gore, the action is over the top and cartoony and it lessened the impact of some of the scenes that should have evoked terror. I'm afraid the gore in the fight scenes decreased the rewatchability factor of this movie for me.

Other than that though, the movie worked for me. The ending was ok if not a bit rushed. I'll probably see more flaws in subsequent viewings but I'm sure it will hold up. A lot of people point out plot holes to The Dark Knight but for some reason, I'm blind to them. heh heh. To sum it up, I liked this film. Between this and The Dark Knight, I still haven't decided which one I liked better. I just hope that this movie will be a success. Because if it is, it will certainly pave the way for more films of it's kind; adult, ballsy, smart. Love or hate this movie, don't expect anything else like this coming out in theaters this year.


Thank ghad this movie came out at the time it did. It gave me something else to think about. It gave me a means of escape for a couple of hours. For 3 hours, I was transported to a place that is far different from my current reality. I never thought that I needed that, an escape. But I realized how much a good movie can change the way you are feeling at a given time.

I've been looking forward to this movie to hit cinemas for so long, almost a year. And now that it's finally over, I don't know if I still have anything to look forward to. It will be on for another couple of weeks, I'm sure, but I don't think that will be enough. heh

It will take more than excellently executed movies to get me through this. I have to find more productive preoccupations. I have to stop thinking about counter-productive things. I have to keep on going. If thinking about the future bothers me, I have to stop doing that now and live by the moment. If I have to abandon my hope on something, I still have to leave enough hope for myself. I believe that there is a future for me. I don't know what it is yet, but it is for me and for me alone. All I have is now and that is what I should live for.

Sorry if the above paragraph doesn't make any sense. It won't make sense for other people other than me. heh heh.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ummm, Beer....

I am not well. No, I'm not sick. My health is perfectly fine. Well, not really. I can stand to lose a few pounds but other than that, I'm fine. I'm just not well.

I haven't had a drink for three weeks. I don't think I'm a particularly hard drinker. In fact, I have been known among my friends as the "weakest link" when it comes to drinking. I'd be lucky to have any semblance of consciousness or hint of a capacity for rational thought after a session of unrestricted consumption of alcohol (RH for the special occasions, empe for any other time). Well, not entirely unrestricted. I exaggerate. Restricted only by the amount my barkada is willing to spend. If they happened to be loaded, then I'm fucked. I'll be liable to either talk a lot of bullshit, puke on my shoes, puke on some other unlucky bastards shoes, pass out, go home walking like an undead in a George Romero movie in the middle of the street in the unholy hours of the morning, or all of the above in no particular order. Drinking does a lot of crazy things to me. Not having anything alcoholic for three straight weeks isn't actually a bad thing in and of itself. Hell, I'm tempted to think that it's actually a good thing. But no, that's not it at all.

I never liked alcohol because of it's smell, or taste. I actually hate the thought of my alcoholically wasted self. I hate it when I'm drunk. As I said, it makes me do a lot of stupid things which in turn give me reason to loathe myself after I regain my sobriety. That is why I never learned to enjoy drinking by myself. For me, alcohol is only good when I'm with my friends.

By my lonesome: alcohol = sucks

With my friends: alcohol = manna from heaven

"What are you trying to drive at?" you ask. Well ok. I am not well, that much has been established. But not because I've not been drinking. What I was clumsily trying to get at was that I'm like this because I realize that I haven't been with any, not a single one, of my friends in the last three weeks. I've turned down invitations to go out. What the hell is wrong with me?


I'm in a very strange place right now. I still haven't decided what to think of it. I have just experienced two of the most amazing yet maddening months of my life. So much has happened including the most jarring change, the most unexpected story twist that I ever came across. I feel like a little kid who's been given the best lollipop he's ever tasted, but as soon as he finished savoring his first lick, some grown up snatches the candy from his grasp and told him that he can't finish it yet. "Don't worry little kid, this candy is still yours but I have to put it away for a while. I'll give it back eventually, but only if you're a good boy."

Forget this stupid analogy. I can't vouch for it's accuracy because I have a proclivity for hyperbole. I'll say this though, It isn't hyperbole when I say that one of the last two months has been the best 30 days of my whole life. I'd be hard pressed to think of another month in my 25 years on this Planet that has been as consistently amazing. It's the truth. I miss her so.

I hate Nicholas Sparks for writing "Nights in Rodanthe". Also true.


I've never thought about the future as hard as I have been the past few weeks. I've never been so frightened either. Frightened of losing, of failing, of not being adequate. A long time ago, I decided to live life one day at a time, one failure at a time. Yep, I've lot's of failures. That is a fact, and it has never daunted me. I figured I'll get another crack at it, I'll get another chance... How foolish I have been. Hindsight is such a bitch.


I don't know what to do with myself. What am I to do with the things that bother me? What do I do with them when their so trivial. Text messages shouldn't rule my life. So what if my inbox is empty? So what if I don't hear from her? So fucking what? Am I suppose to feel insignificant? Am supposed to throw a fit? Should I throw myself of a bridge? Am I supposed to be driven mad with doubt? These are stupid questions. The answer is obviously "Ye"... er... "No, you retard! Are you a fucking idiot?!? Deal with your feelings of insecurity right this instance!"


Forgive me, I have digressed far too remotely. But give me another moment to pose one last question. What is a lonely man to do when the things that he expects to give him joy is not able to do what he expects? I don't know the right answer. But lately, I haven't been getting the amount of fun I was expecting from my movies, my music, and my books. I remember Paul Schrader's theory about loneliness and isolation. I believe he said that lonely people push other people away when in fact the very cause of their loneliness is their isolation. How fucking obvious! I guess it's time to seek out my berks, or what's left of them. Will they be able to remember me? I'll find out,but that will have to wait til tomorrow.

P.S. This song has been stuck in my head for the last three weeks. HOW CAN I MAKE IT STOPPPP?!?!?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dr. Manhattan is in the News!

Just something awesome that I've seen today. The hype is finally starting. Watchmen is one of my most anticipated movies this year. This will be coming out this March in the US, so I expect it to hit locally pretty much the same time. This movie is of course an adaptation of a super-hero comic miniseries that came out in the eighties, a deconstruction of the super-hero genre. It is set in an alternate world where costumed heroes or crime fighters exist and America is in the brink of nuclear war against the Soviet Union. Watchmen is a murder mystery in the beginning but grows into something much more complex. It is the only graphic novel listed by Time in their greatest 100 novels published from 1923 to the present.

No question that the comic book is a masterpiece. I spent days thinking about it after I finished reading. I'm unsure how it's going to play up as movie, though. But I'm still excited as hell. Out of all the superhero movies that has been released so far, Watchmen promises to be the most epic in scale. I hope it's as good as it seems, but I'm lowering my expectations a bit just in case. I'd hate to be disappointed.

Here's an awesome viral video in promotion of the film. A faux 70s newscast about Dr. Manhattan, the only super-powered character in the story. I have to say they really did a neat job on this one, looks very authentic.

The full Trailer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Manliest Manly Movie Ever! (...and why I love Action Movies)

Predator. It is the truth.

But before I tell you my thoughts about the movie (I'm just pretending that somebody reads this sorry ass blog. xD), I've been in love with film as a form of entertainment ever since my old man took me to an FPJ movie when I was a kid (I'm not sure how old I was exactly, but I couldn't have been more than 9 years old). That kick started my love affair with cinema. I couldn't remember most of the movies that I saw as a child, but what I do remember, I will never ever forget. They have been burned in my consciousness. Movies like Rocky V (Sly), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Arnie), Army of Darkness (Bruce Fuckin' Campbell), Lionheart (Van Damme), Sigaw ng Katarungan (FPJ), Reveng of the Ninja (Sho Kosugi), Under Siege (Seagal) will always be part of my memory. This was the formative years of my filmic taste, so to speak. Naturally, out of the spectrum of genres that a movie might be categorized, the Action genre is what I love the most. It is my drug. It gets me high. Not to say that I'm solely an action guy. I've learned to love other genres of cinema. Bottom line, I love stories and the motion picture is one of my favorite mediums of telling it. If I had my way, I'd forgo sleep and watch movies instead.

In recent years, much to my chagrin, I have looked on while my favorite genre faltered. The vaunted personalities of my youth declined. Arnie turned to politcs, Sly turned diminished from the public eye, Van Damme and Seagal became shadows of their former selves. Van Damme and Seagal didn't disappear though. They became jokes after turning in shit movie after shit movie. They still make movies, but it's been a long time since any of these got a theatrical release (just direct to video).

Over the years, I've seen other actors attempt to rejuvenate action cinema, but it just isn't the same. Most of these actors are pretty boys that couldn't hold a candle to Sly and Arnie in their hey day. These dopes are just pretenders to the throne, lacking an ingredient that the real kings possessed, pure badass quality (for lack of a better term). Their just pretty boys with their carefully styled hair and perfect teeth. They can't achieve the manly ruggedness that was so effortlessly demonstrated by Sly with Marion Cobretti in Cobra and Arnie's Det. John Kimble in the beginning of Kindergarten Cop, no matter how hard they try (for the record, the examples are two of the worst movies from each of these guys' filmography, but their presence somehow saves it from being total shitpiles, in my opinion).

I have now come to the realization that those days are over. The action films that I love most were a product of their time. I don't know what it was in the eighties that made this movies work, but work they did. These films couldn't have been made today, and even if they did, I'm unsure if they'd enjoy the same amount of success. So there's nothing else that an action fan like myself can do but look back. If I ever want to quench my cinematic blood lust, (heh) all I have to do is go back to my old faves.

Thus this long winded blog post. I saw, for the upteenth time, what has got to be the manliest manly movie ever made. The movie's mere existence is by itself a miracle, a fluke. Two of the biggest names in action, at their prime, chose to collaborate to make this masterpiece of action cinema, Predator. Arnold Schwarzenegger/ Arnie, coming of in fresh from riddling 100 mercs with bullets in Commando, is in his peak physically and his star has been on constant rise up to that point. John McTiernan, who would go on to make a big star out of Bruce Willis with Die Hard the following year, makes the second best movie of his career as director. The producer of this movie was either a genius, or a really lucky bastard.

The plot: A Black Ops team, led by Arnie's Duke,who specializes on hostage situations is employed by the CIA to retrieve an American diplomat captured by South American rebels camped in the middle of the jungle. Sounds simple enough. Dillon (Apollo Creed himself, Carl Weathers), a CIA operative and a one time friend of Duke (we know this because they arm wrestle when they shook hands) insisted on coming along. The team gets dropped in the middle of the jungle. It didn't take long before they found the first team to be sent to rescue mission, hung by their feet on the trees and apparently skinned. They blame this on the rebels but we know something fishy is going on. From the moment they landed, they are being spied on by an unknown creature. We know this because we see through it's POV and it's sort of a thermovision special effect. Everything else has a greenish hue except for the team which is has a red hue, perhaps because of the body temperature. We also know that the creature is an extra-terrestrial because the very first shot of the movie is an alien spaceship deploying a smaller pod towards Earth. That's my interpretation and I'll stand by it.

It didn't take long for the team to reach the rebel encampment, and they didn't wait to commence their attack. What follows is one of the most spectacular action sequences ever submitted to film. Gun fetishists will drool on the firearms on display here. Most notable is Blain's (Jesse 'The Body' Ventura) modified minigun. The same ones that can be found on the side of Apache's or Raptors. It's one huge gun. A large cylindrical multi-barreled chainsaw of a gun that rotates whilst spewing 20 bullets a second. Explosions, unlimited supply of bullets, and seemingly unlimited supply of enemies to shoot are the main ingredients of this sequence. Needless to say that Dukes team won and the Rebel Camp is decimated. They soon learned that they were tricked by the CIA. There are no hostages to capture and the real mission is to destroy the rebels. Duke got pissed. Tension in the team brews. This is when the fun begins.

The Alien stalker following them is of course the titular Predator. It's a hunter, living for the thrill of pursuit. It uses high technology to hunt it's prey. It has the ability to become invisible with his cloaking technology, and has some sort of cannon perched on top of it's shoulder. One by one, Duke's team is taken out. Naturally, they fight back, setting up traps, preparing an ambush. Needless to say that not everyone makes it alive. Most of the men's deaths are awesome though, so it was all good. All this leading to the climactic one on one confrontation between Duke and the Predator, where all Duke had to win was his physical acumen, his hand crafted weapons, and most especially, his cunning.

I wouldn't hail this as the manliest manly movie ever if it wasn't for the character flourishes though. The film-makers succeeded in making a very entertaining whilst endearing the audience to the characters. Although the team consists of 7 individuals, each were given their own time to shine. Some shone more than others though, and Ventura's Blain almost stole the show. When they were attacking the rebel hideout, Poncho noticed blood on Blain's left arm. Blain appeared to be unaffected by it though. A concerned Poncho tells Blain that he's bleeding. Blain answers "I ain't got time to bleed." Simple. Bad-Ass. It's the kind of awesomeness that won't be seen again. Ventura almost stole the whole movie for me, too bad his character had to go early.

Anyway, this is Arnie's movie. Nobody is going to take it from him. As I've said, he is in top physical form here. He actually had to decrease his muscle mass to attain a believable physique of special forces operative. And that heavy German accent of his makes every line he delivers instantly cool. When he found out that the Alien got wounded and bled neon green glow-in-the-dark blood, he uttered "If it bleeds, we can kill it" inspiring his men to become more proactive and take on an offensive stance against the beast.

The direction by McTiernan is just top-notch. That is all I can say. It was shot beautifully, and the violence, while stylized, is brutal. The pace was brisk and it didn't slow down at all. Another person that should get mentioned is Stan Winston, may he rest in peace. His make-up effects work for the Predator is ground breaking. Much like the Alien design, his creature design for this movie is just memorable. "You one ugly motherfucker!" is all Duke could say when he saw the Predator's mug for the very first time when it took off it's mask.

My only complaint though is the inclusion of the token female character. I knew it was a necessity to avoid being a total sausage fest but I wish she was given more to do, other than being in danger. She was integral to the plot to explain the Predator's motivation, that she isn't a suitable prey because the Predator only goes for armed badasses.

This 'review' has gone on to long. To sum it up, this movie is just one of the very best action movies ever made and I see myself revisiting it in the years to come. I attempted to explain why this is the manliest manly movie ever. I doubt if I succeeded but I hope I at least got you curious to see it if you haven't yet. But I know in my heart of hearts that this is what I proclaim it to be. The manliest manly movie ever made. I felt like I grew an extra testicle by watching it. For me, this movie represents everything that an action movie should be. The heroes are tough as nails, and the action is spectacular. It's a great time in the movies without feeling any guilt afterwards. Nobody is trying to fiddle with your heartstrings, and it requires minimal brain activity, but I don't feel stupid while watching it. Too bad they don't make them like they used to.