Thursday, November 22, 2007
It was the first night of the movie HITMAN in the Philippines. I've seen it in trailers when I watched 30 days of Night and it was fairly interesting. Although, the action, blood-savvy genre movies are not my cup of tea, but the trailer was good enough to entice me to watch.
Hence my not so movie-buff-especially-on-the weekdays-boyfriend, got ecstatic and immediately made plans to watch it, which was a great surprise for me. This movie must mean something to him. And after my usual probing, I found out he played the HITMAN game on PC in his younger years. Ever since then he just became a fan and wished that someday, someone would think of making a movie version of it.
Amidst the movie rosters in Greenbelt, Hitman shows alongside Beowulf and Disney's Enchanted...I think it is the only movie close to reality.
The showing is at 8:55 and we went 15 minutes prior the start and surprisingly we saw couples everywhere. We hardly see any groups. They were all couples. Interesting I'd say. I think most of the ladies there wer clueless to what they were about to watch, just like me.
So We sat, drank my coffee and silently prayed it's not a wham bang action movie that blood already overclouds the story, making people more jaded, trigger happy and cranky for a money ill-spent.
The opening credits I would have to say are swift, clean and unpretentious. There's not much cinematic acts here. As shots of young boys in the facility are being shown, bald, tattooed and being trained massively, as the sound goes classical. It tells the main character's history in brief, and it sets the sad, emotionless mood of the movie.
As the story progressed, we are faced with Ageny 47, a very powerful, handsome, intelligent and efficient assassin who just carries out day to day assignments with ease and perfection. It was implied here that by far he is the best assassin there is, tasked to kill the top people, not just people but Presidents of countries seem be to included in his assignments. As the story unfolds of a conspiracy against him, the chase continues. We are even surprised of the additional characters like inspector "T-Bag" (in prison break) plays (He plays a bad Russian by the way).
I would have to say that there are some pretty horrid scenes of killing with guns (duh). Blood splatter and brutal, emotionless killing are the theme, but it is by far already subdued compared to the real game and nature of the movie. I would say women could bear a little blood and gun here and there. It's not overly gross, but screams violence.
And of course the girl, who again somehow reigns the whole story (which Mitch disapproves), is played by Olga Kurylenko as Nika, the witty whore that Agent 47 have come to protect in the end. As always, it is all about the girl. (But of course! We add spice to any story! too much gun shots, masculinity and asses are bad for this world, show a little shake, a boob, butt peek and woman sensuality, then there's balance!)
All in all the movie was a treat! It was an entertainment success. It didn't bore me one bit. The story is fast, yet easy to grip. According to the Hitman fans I've interviewed, the movie did justice to the game. It reminded them of that character they yielded in PCs.
The movie is a passable date movie, a very better choice than any other mediocre chic flicks out there. And there are funny moments in the movie too, funny in an adult context. (You'll get to see the Self Control of Code 47)! Hehe!
So in short, we enjoyed the movie! It was a worthy theater buy, and it's worth getting our asses wet as we ran to the car and driving home past 12 in the morning.
So I would definitely recommend it especially to those who are presently harboring low attention span and happen to like pure kickass entertainment.
*pix from hitman.dk
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I applaud the genius and creative ingenuity of the game Designer Will Wright, and later on published by Maxis and distributed by EA Games (Electronic Arts). It was first released on February 4 of 2000 which sold 16 million copies, making it the Best Selling PC game in history. Including expansion packs, the franchise has sold over 70 millions units worldwide as of Jan 2007. (www.wikipedia.com
SIMS is not merely just a plane doll house game, it's a life-simulation game that involves strategy and creativeness. I wonder, if this is being used scientifically, you know dealing with patients who are psychotic or who are psychologically traumatized? I think this could be pretty useful for the analysts or doctors. Come to think of it, it's a role playing situation the patient can exhibit using SIMS.
Anyway for more information, I suggest you visit SIMS' Official site: "PLUGGING HERE" hehe
Enjoy, and please buy original CD's otherwise the graphics would be blotchy.
I don’t consider myself an addicted pc or play station gamer. I appreciate it as it plainly serves me entertainment, but there are just selected games in my mind right now that I think have rendered me sleepless nights. Usually when the story ends, or you’ve killed whatever you have to, the games end with it.
Also as a child, I admit I had my own collection of Barbie Dolls. Every time my father would go out of the country, I would always advise him to get the latest doll in the market. I’ve been through the role playing thing like I was the director and my dolls are my actors. I even bought Ken to make the love triangle complete. I’ve roughly collected more than 20 Classic Barbies at that time, but I grew out on it.
It seems these typical gaming devices or instruments just come and go according to time, present interests and fad but there is one that I would consider riding at the top of my list, probably for all time. You might have heard of it. You might have already played it. I’m talking none other than the SIMS.
I was introduced to this game on PC when I was in college. It was introduced to me by my gaming comrade and college bud Vanessa. I remember it was on a Friday night, being a really introvert as I am on Friday nights, I was at home thinking on how I’d spend it. It ended up installing the game and playing it.
At first, I was amazed at the challenge it imposed, like making a virtual house from scratch. It took time getting used to the tools and commands, but it was bearable. I was more excited to create people, or the characters in the game, not exactly on my likeness, but graphically enhanced replica of people including choosing different skin color and different wardrobes. Suddenly the idea of creating a virtual or 3D community is very appealing, and certainly diverse from other RPG and war games.
I’ve ended up making them stay alive by letting them cook, perform normal human day to day activities and much more increase their skills in different areas such as cooking, logic, creativity and the like. These characters, depends how you mold them, have different personalities and either could be successful in their respective occupations. A character you groom to be good in cooking can never get promoted to a medicine career, or vice versa. IN terms of personality and decisions, the game presents it all, which is the amazing part. Although they incorporate human emotions of getting nasty there are some ethical programming rules they are limited to like committing suicide and the like.
As the game evolved, and as I evolved as an adult, I’m still happy to admit that I still enjoy playing it. It’s not a simple game to me anymore; actually the game doesn’t have any fixed goal. It’s more of a therapy to me, an adult doll-house as they would say. After work without control over deadlines or having a gloomy day, SIMS might be able to melt it all away because there you have the proper venue to regain control and to become GOD. J I don’t know if it’s a bad thing or a positive thing, but so far it has done me wonders.
It is also quite logical that male gamers do not adhere to this stuff pretty much. For some male friends I’ve surveyed, they find it boring and lacking in excitement. It’s all about people, interactions and relationships. There is nothing exciting on a pc game on instructing your character how to increase his/her logic by playing chess. But by reception it is widely accepted and followed by female pc gamers, who are the inferior market in terms of sexes when it comes to visual games. In fact, female gamers (me included) account for 50% of sales (Wiki).
As SIMS expand to more game situations, whether it may be on dating, university or outdoor life, I just feel that this game is a great opportunity and educational tool for others to improve their patience, graphical skills, interactive skills and decision making skills. Now this is a game that everyone could enjoy minus the gore, the extreme fantasy and the violence most games offer.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Okay, I admit as the opening credits appeared, I had prejudices about this movie. I know for a fact that it is a movie against vampires, the fantastical creatures that set to look pale and kill people for a feast in warm iron-tasting blood. I also made room to expect that it could be very gory, and maybe just gory without the element of a good and gripping storytelling. That indeed would make me really really cranky.
But despite the prejudices of just a gory vampire-human chase and attacks, I still have faith on this movie based on an actual graphic comic by Steve Niles. I reckon that it ensued lots of followers, and if it's a comic series, then the story must've been really revolutionary, gripping and quite sensible to be put into the screen. The only weight goes to the movie directors and producers on how they would transcend a fairly popular comic series into screen.
So, i gulped my cold strawberry lemonade, shut my brains out, and focused on the large screen in front of me.
The first few scenes introduced the environment they have in a very isolated village of Barrow, Alaska. The lighting and the scenes made this village very provincial, cold and isolated. As a viewer, I already had lists of disadvantageous aspects that this village has in terms of a crisis, which in this story includes the attack of Vampires.
The story also started during the last day of the 'Sun' as the village is gearing up for winter, which is funny because they've been technically in winter everyday). And that winter is no ordinary winter, because they would have to endure 30 days without the sun.
That is such a perfect invitation to our antagonists as the lead role started to materialize in the character of Eben and Stella, the estranged husband and wife, who are one of the few authorities in the town. To cut the long story short, the movie at first showed preparations of the vampire's coming. As the people were oblivious, certain incidents seem to occur. Sleigh dogs were ruthlessly killed, people assigned in main town's communication hubs are killed, and slowly individuals in isolated places in town were slowly being dragged and eaten.
As their presence already seem known, their strengths and their distinct VAMPIRE-qualities are exposed. I know that we have been exposed to vampires that normal have pale, aristocratic and aqualine features, but somehow these type of vampires seem to add a little depth to it. These vampires have black empty eyes, really stretched faces...as if they had a bad and excessive face lift, and their teeth are numerous, jagged and sharp like piranhas and not the clean and suave fangs that we've been exposed to. If you tend to observe sharply, they go throughout the movie without closing their mouths, as if they breathe through them. And the suave bites of our common vampires is quite opposite to their method of sucking. The vampires in this movie have poor 'sucking-manners' it's disgusting.
Anyways, the chase began. Villagers are attacked, and there was a magnificent areal scene that took my breath away. In that scene you see vampires slowly attacking every home and blood tainting the purity of the snow. You see the chaos and you see the helplessness of the people. But of course Ebun and his small team tried to stick together, hid in shacks, shadows and corners just to survive 30 days of night.
As strong as these creatures were, they also have weaknesses. They are weak to detect humans in the cold, which is of the advantage of the people when blizzard occurs. They are also weak to intensive light. So as the chase progressed we have come to the inevitable and the leader of the team took a very twisted decision to save his loved ones and at the end killed it's leader at the dawn of the last 30 days without sun.
But despite the victory, it was not at all a happy ending for Eben was transformed as a vampire. So together with Stella, they watched the sunrise in a hill, in tears and longing. It's a scene depicting sadness as you feel them trying to hold on the last moments they have together. As the sun rises, Eben hugged Stella and started to shake. There was this specific shot, and BRAVO to the director, wherein Eben (still hugging Stella) faced the sunrise, with complete emotion of sadness and frustration as his slowly turned into ashes. And it was done so beautifully that it showed Eben's human side despite his macho-like exterior. Yes, I admit it made me teary-eyed for the love of God! IT was that good!! The scene was so brilliantly conceptualized the transformation of flesh to ashes is so magnificent that you almost feel their pain and sadness. I tell you, at that time you feel your worth as a human. And most especially if you have grievances with your significant other, then this is a perfect scene for you to be able to patch things up.
All in the all the movie was a treat. It might have its bloody moments, but that was not the focus of scare. The scare was the chase, the shadow-lurking, and the psychological abandonment of sense if one is put in that position. Although, there were lots of scenes omitted there, but one wouldn't see it as a weakness. The movie is a question of survival more than anything else, and I think the director did a pretty good job at gripping people till it's over because material like this, with limited storyline and setting is not very easy to stretch. It might either bore you or grip you. This movie may not be perfect, or top at your horror movie list, but certainly not a waste of your money, although not being able to read the comic book, I still have questions not answered in the movie.
But if you're planning an entertaining, equally thrilling movie to watch, I guess I would have to recommend this to you and also maybe get teary eyed in the end.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Our family, hailing from Cebu and Roxas, never get to 'normally' spend Halloween like others do. Our dead relatives are in Cebu and Roxas and usually we just result to cooking more food that we can consume, displaying it for the souls as justification. (Logic? Don't ask) It's been like that ever since I could remember and the entree's never fail. (Crispy Pata, paella, roasted chicken and Bico) Halloween in our place, minus the trick and treats is a feast and a party!
Anyways, it was November 1st and I was subtly celebrating my anniversary with Mitch on that day, despite the fact we already did celebrate it last night. He was with his family and I was at home itching to watch a good movie. It dawned on me that there's a new list of titles to watch in cinemas, and I've always wanted to watch the movie 30 days of night ever since my good friend Tim and I talked about it.
I googled and researched the schedule in greenbelt and soon everything materialized.
You see, the thing about horror movies for me, is that unlike drama or any other film, horror films seem to allow their audience to make high expectations. Unlike Drama wherein you just have to rely on the how good the characters tell the story, horror or suspense movies rely heavily on material executions, visuals, audio and the whole production. In terms of enticing an emotion, I think the movies depicting fright and comic are hard ones to boot, but unlike comedy, horror movies also rely heavily on settings and effects.
That is mainly why I feel horror movies are the top stressful, yet fun movies to make. And that is also the reason why I do rate them in high regard. It also doesn't help to know that I love horror movies, the more the movie makes my heart race, the more satisfied and the more excited I become. And yes I was a victim of countless horror movies that are created to depict senseless gore. I do not care much about the blood and flesh. I care about the psychological part the horror movies do tweak.
Hence, I called up my friend Tim and asked him his plans for that day, silently hoping he had none. Hearing from his voice, he was actually bored, so I told him to meet me in Greenbelt for a 30 days of night experience, and he greatly obliged. So I prepared and grabbed my cousin and sister for the ride on this movie feast on November 1st.
When we arrived at Greenbelt, the place already resembled of a ghost mall. You can feel the mall's current weakness when mallrats are evidently somewhere else. We purchased the ticket, chose our seats and headed for the theater, as my expectations start to shoot up.
We were the first to get inside the theater and the effect of emptiness amidst the darkness was kind of spooky. My cousin was spooked as I was excited. We took the middle seats and wondered if any people would come in. I texted Mitch and told him of our current situation and he laughed and told me "goodluck" hardly the things to say when watching a horror movie. Hehe
So the movie started with barely 20 people in a big cinema, (20 people) who've got nothing to do on this November 1st...
Monday, November 5, 2007
There is something very unfortunate when you start work on a Monday, it's the day right after Sunday and Monday is the mother of all stress work week. The atmosphere could've been different if it was on Tuesday or Wednesday, but Monday has this added strong character of impressing you with longer worker week and a dive for your pending cases or issues.
As usual, I came here as early as 7:30 and knew that my system needs a pick-me-up, so I grabbed my wallet and went to Starbucks in our building for a quick "happy good morning" pick me up. As I headed downstairs I realized that the end of 2007 is nearing. We are soon to face another year of endless possibilities, good or bad. Suddenly, I begin to reassess what happened to me for this year, and I have to admit that it wasn't really that smashing compared to my 2006. This year has been a mixture of hopes, failures and uncertainty, but so far this year marks my most spontaneous, nerve wracking, depression prone year ever.
If you ask me if I'm happy to leave 2007, the answer would be yes and no (As my friend Tim would put it). I'm happy to leave it because I want to start all over again, probably I see this year unfortunate, but a great lesson nevertheless which I have to experience in my prime years. Probably this year had a reason in my life and wherever I am now, might be planned for greater things. I am happy to leave the heartaches and happy to start anew. The no part accounts for a heavy sigh that I need to exhale for being able to brave through this tumultuous year, that if given a chance to rearrange it I'd give it another shot, but we all know that it's not possible. Knowing that I'm a fighter and still standing at that, I'd like to give 2007 a challenge, but I guess I have to take my revenge on 2008.
Till then, as I enjoy my coffee and banana loaf, I am still aware that I am blessed with lots of things. I have a job to fend off my expenses. I have added knowledge from what I've acquired in a short but intensive stint in graduate school. I have a dysfunctional family that's still with me, although they have a funny and irritating way of showing it. I have friends whom I can rant or rave with, share stories with and bond with. I have Mitch who somehow who is there to cushion me on my bad days while loving me unconditionally. I have my sanity, interests and great room for finding passion. I am living. I am breathing and I am causing no one any problems. All in all, I am still lucky to be alive and ready to say goodbye to 2007...happily at that.