Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and Mars Attack?

A newspaper's review of the movie reminded me to forget about logic as I watch this. With most of the recent films attempting to be as real as possible, even as they tackle out of the world concept, I must admit I almost forgot about movies that try to be just fun.
An Indiana Jones movie has always been about fun and going to watch the latest installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I had hope to again capture the feeling and excitement I got from the earlier films.
The movie begins with the Russians forcing Indy to help them steal a mysterious item from a US military facility in Area 51. That location itself is enough to tell us the direction that this movie is heading. Indy escaped but without stopping the Russian from making away with the mysterious cargo. Then a young man appeared, asking Indy to help rescue his kidnaped mother and foster father and the real adventure begins.
As with Rocky Balboa, the film did not try to hide the fact that the main character has aged much since the last outing but age hasn't slowed Indy down much though. Except for the occasion whining about how things used to be easier, he still made some unbelievable escape. He isn't any clumsier than he used to be but if he can take on a younger Russian commander, I guess he is still pretty strong.
Unfortunately, despite all their attempt, I just don't feel like this is an Indiana Jones movie. The chase scene in the jungle is the only entertaining part of the movie but I keeps thinking Pirates of the Carribean as I watched that. Don't know why. Some peole may think the man-eating ants are a bit far-fetched but I thought it was totally cool. Hey, it's an Indiana Jones movie. I will never forget the 'monk' in Temple of Doom who can retrieve a man's beating heart right from his chest.
Well, that was about it. The rest of the movie was rather dull for this franchise. Even the famous theme music is very much toned down. And after 19 years of choosing the right script, they can't even get that right. I don't expect the script to be flawless but there is just too many missing ingredients. I am all for exaggeration but certain recipes just doesn't mixed right. You will understand what I mean after you seen the film.
It's not a bad movie, but it is a lousy Indiana Jones movie.

Re-United We Stand

The reunion on 23th went better than I expected as everyone is enthusiastic to meet up again. While I admittedly wasn't too optimistic in the beginning, I now begin to wonder if we really can make this a monthly itinenary. Though Thomas could not make it this round, we have Parama and Wei Cheong with us. Being the one who brought everyone back together for the last 2 gatherings, I was appointed the unofficial organiser. On top of that, as we are expecting an even bigger group next time, Duncan also asked me to bring my camera, making me the unofficial photographer as well.
On a personal note, it was weird that when I met up with my FedEx friends, the girls only obliged very casually for a photograph while my guy friends in 5SK were so excited about taking photos. Hmm..
Wait a minute, with my work schedule, is it possible for me to carry out my duty as a organiser? I don't know but I can't let my friends down now can I?
We will be meeting again June 20th at the Curve for dinner followed "The Incredible Hulk" movie. Yes, everyone is very tame but we are all also excited about planning a trip soon, perhaps to Bali or Pattaya.
Ah.. it's good to be among old friends again.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Man in Red Iron Armor

The cool thing about a hero in armor is the special effect. Obviously, a man in armor is easier to rendered than a man in flesh. We only have to look at Ironman, currently showing in cinema and the upcoming The Incredible Hulk to make a comparison.Shiny metal armor in gold and red - Easy.
Facial expression, accurate anatomy and skin complexion - Not so easy.
In the same context, it is also easier to translates the characters into action figure, making some really cool merchandises. I would choose the Stormtroopers figures over any of the leading characters in the Starwars saga anytime. Strangely though, I don't see any Ironman toys offered with any fastfood kiddie meal combo.
Let's make another quick comparison.
The original Ironman in the comic book is Tony Stark, genius inventor of his own weapons manufacturing Stark Enterprise. Wounded while he was in Vietnam, he must dons the suit of Ironman which ironically he considered his greatest failure, to continue living. And because the suit has a device that keep his heart beating, he must never remove it.
The movie Ironman is still Tony Stark, genius inventor of his own weapons manufacturing Stark Enterprise. Wounded while in Afghanistan, he was fitted with a electromagnet in his chest by the enemies' doctor, to prevented sharpnels he received in an explosion from slowly reaching his heart and killing him. Unfortunately, this electromagnet is powered by a bulky battery very much like the one that starts our car. He too turned to his greatest failure, a energy generator that was both bulky and cost-inefficient (since that project was started only as a publicity stunts) to create a small and powerful generator to power the magnet. Hence taking his first steps to becoming Ironman.
Heck.. they have to update the character. The original Ironman used to carry his armors in a briefcase. Would you have believe that?
The villains were updated too. I didn't read the Ironman comic books but I do know that the Mandarin and Titanium Man count amongt his enemies.

In the movie, the Mandarin goes by the moniker Ten Rings. We made the connection right away because the original Mandarain wears a ring on each of his finger. It wasn't vanity. Each ring is a weapon on its own. Ten Rings is a leader of a band of terrorists in Afghanistan that kidnapped Stark in the begining of the movie. Their attempt to force Stark to build powerful weapon for them led to the creation of Ironman which Stark used to escaped from his captivity. Without those rings weapons that the original Mandarin wore, Ten Rings is unable to reach the level of threat that his comic counterpart is able to do.
Titanium Man was supposed to be the Soviet equivalent to Ironman back during the Cold War. though not as advanced as the Ironman armor, it does boosts greater firepower and being built with titanium, is tougher than Ironman. In the movie, Titanium Man's other name, the Iron Monger was used instead. Here he is an upgraded model of the first armor Stark built in Afghanistan to make his escape. Here Monger overwhelm Ironman in both sheer brute force and Firepower. Afdterall, there is only so many weapons you can fit into a suit of armor. Monger is more than that as it was not worn but controlled electronically from within, making him a freaking robot. Ironically, it was Ironman which was built with gold titanium in the movie and that edge Stark used to defeat the Iron Monger. Not just titanium here.. it's gold titanium. Cool.
Everyone may wants to be in a superhero movie now but when you got a stellar cast the likes of Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, you know there got to be something solid about the script. The film paced along very well, from the time Stark was kidnapped to his daring escape, from the creation of the clumsy first Ironman prototype to the final sleeks aerodynamic gold and red model and the personal development of Stark's character and the other supporting casts. Maybe not all of us will love Stark but we definitely respect his genius and resolute to set right what he has done wrong. A good script is one that can make the audiences feels what the movie requires them to feel toward its characters.
Personally, I always liked to have the main villain to appeared early in the film so we can see the kind of dangers he really posed. The iron Moner only appeared toward the end of the film but as a pilot movie, sometimes it is more vital to develop the hero first, as was done in "Batman Begins". As suggested from the trailer to its sequel titled "The Dark Knight", we will see Batman's archnemesis appearing fairly early and wreaking much havocs. I expect the same for Ironman but with two of his greatest enemies already out of the picture, who else can he fights?
Well.. I guess there is always the Hulk.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Meeting or Two, of Old Friends

It was almost serendipitous. I was out for a yam cha session when I noticed a man literally staring with sinister smile on his face. I was not too pleased with the way he looked at me until I realised he was my friend and former classmate from secondary year. After I recognised him as Thomas, his smile doesn't seems so sinister after all.
I called Duncan and tell him about it and we decided to meet up. Then I called Voon Fatt and surprise surprise. He also just found Ben Mah. Ben's wife is Voon Fatt's client and he was just verifying some information when he realise who her husband is. The reunion seems inevitable now. We attempted to get a few more to join us but the notice was admittedly short. Parama was so enthusiastic he forgotten he got an important date that night. Jason was tied up with works, Azrul was in Sarawak and Kam Fatt, I really got to apologise to as I forgot to tell him till the day itself. Needless to say, he can't make it.From left: Ben Mah, me, Voon Fatt, Thomas with Duncan sitting down.
Soo Wei Kang (standing in middle) from 5SM also joined us despite not knowing us so well. We had a simple dinner in Restoran Peranakan in 1U. It was a good catch up session with another planned for 23th May probably at Wendy's in Sunway Pyramid. Ben Mah and Thomas are married, Voon Fatt probably will in the near future. Only Duncan and I are still single. Sigh.
Looking at some of my younger friends now, I do get a bit envious. Keeping in touch is not a problem nowaday with their mobile phone and various internet networking site like Friendster and Facebook. We have none of that during our days. I don't even know how to use a computer then. Was I talking about computer? Heck, my family don't even have a telephone. I remembered going to the payphone to call them up but most of them were too excited about their new college (something my family was too poor to afford for me) lives to really meet up. In the end, I gradually lost all their numbers. Still, we are beginning to find each others and hopefully, we will not lose contact this time around.

Today I went for another reunion. This time with friends I made when I worked with FedEx. Everyone there loves Sow Hon so he was the key person that must be there. Unfortunately, a few were going back to their hometown this weekend, leaving only(from left) Jason, Sow Hon, Sharon, Carrie and me with a light dinner in Pizza Hut. The outing was shorter than I expected as everyone has plans further into the evening. That was unexpected as I made an impromptu visit to Wan Nee and Woan Koon barely a week ago and we talked for 3 hours or so. And we didn't even have dinner. Then again, that included a tour around the newly expanded and renovated office of my former company. Now that place really looks like a first-class multinational company. Still, I was invited to a paintball outing coming June but I think that date just might clash with the Beauty and the Beast musical I am planning to catch. Oops, I haven't even pay Jaclyn for that ticket.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sex Kills

I walked into the bathroom earlier to find three cockroaches on the wall. Two of them are being naughty. Is this cockroaches sex?
I took out my camera and quickly took a picture. Didn't bother to get a good shot as I didn't want to started them. I wasn't being polite. I just wanted to make sure they are still there when I wrapped up a roll of newspaper and smack them.
Talk about lust being one of the seven deadly sins. I only hit one cockroach of that couple but as the other tried to crawl away, it couldn't, being stuck to the dead one. If it wasn't mating when I found it, it would still be alive now, being able to scurry away before I make a second smack, then a third. I never did figure out which is the male.
I didn't just killed 3 cockroaches today. I killed a whole future generation. Damn, I hate those things.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I am TVman

I have yet wrote the full review on Ironman but I have a far more interesting experience to share than watching a film.
On Saturday 3/5/08, about a quarter to noon, I arrived at the NTV7 studio to shoot the preliminary round for Deal or No Deal. Yes.. I have been selected as a contestant and making pass this round will bring me the chance to bring home the grand prize of RM 100,000.
Naturally, I planned to blog about this but I can't believe I didn't bring my camera. Of course there are also certain rules to abide by since I did signed a confidentiality agreement. So I can't reveal anything on the date or how the shooting was carried out, or who won which preliminary round, or even if I did. Okay.. I will leak out one thing.
The questions got a little tougher.
So what is there left to write about?
I saw the host Non during the roadshow before but this is the first time I met him face to face. He was actually a very nice and down to earth man. And though I thought he appeared pretty serious onscreen, he can be very laid back offscreen. The crews absolutely love him and they are a happy bunch who laugh all the times even as they work. It's so goood to be loving your work. One of their faurite joke on Non seems to be on his oily face as they took every available ability to have him check his complexion on the camera, so they can see if he need touch up on his make up. And they will go "Quick, let's start shooting before the oils come out".
Non was very friendly with absolutely no air, spending most of the times between takes chatting with us. Nice guys.
I also almost made many new friends. I said almost because I was talking and laughing with many of them but unfortunately, when the shooting ended, everyone disappeared so quickly I didn't have a chance to get their numbers. Only Angie and Stephanie were still around taking photos with Non. I took a couple too and gave my email to Angie. Hope she remembers to email them to me.
I was in group 7 (how auspicious) together with Sam, Alan, Nicholas, Sue and Su Ling. It's too bad I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with them, especially Allan who is a business owner. Maybe a business opportunity there somewhere. Oh well.
Oh, I also had make-up on my face for the firat time in my lives. When I had my lunch, I have to be extra careful. I wasn't afraid to smear the lipstick butI just don't want to eat them. And I hadn't a clue how to wipe my mouth after my food. It's not easy being a woman. And I haven't even try the torture of wearing a high heel yet.