Everything is awesome with Lego

Last Monday my sister and I went to the premiere of The Lego Movie. The tickets were a prize that I won from 99.5 Play FM the week before. Inka, the DJ of the program I was listening to at the time, asked a question about what were our hidden talents. This was my answer that won me the tickets.

TwitterWin

Because I really am quite good at looking for things.

There are so many reasons why The Lego Movie is a must watch for me. It’s not just a brand or a toy. It’s a big representation of my childhood, and it being on the big screen now is a huge deal. Many fans around the world have made movies using Lego Minifigures and sets. Lego has crossed so many different borders, with games, apparel, home supplies, other kinds of toys, video games and more. When anything or anyone has been depicted as an official Lego figure or set, consider that as immortality. Still hoping for an official Doctor Who set though.

The story is pretty simple enough. Emmett is your average, everyday guy trying his best to fit in among his colleagues and peers. He knows everyone, but apparently, no one really knows him because he fits in so well. One day, he stumbles upon an ancient relic, starting the beginning of the prophecy foretold in the beginning of the movie, making him Special in no way that anyone could’ve imagined.

The rest is just pure shenanigans. Personally, I found the story simple and pretty much predictable. What didn’t count on was… wait, spoilers.
Continue reading Everything is awesome with Lego

Weekend fun with friends, food and Iron Man 3

Unwittingly ate mostly Japanese food and Max’s over the weekend. Had a blast, even though my wallet’s pretty much empty for now.

Just the Girls
Friday night I met up with Shabby and Joiz for an event with Max’s. usually we get invites if they have a new product or promo, but to our surprise it was just a simple get-together (because some folks apparently were clamoring for one. I guess they missed the freebies? /sarcasm). As it is when I’m with these girls we got a few minutes of attention when we arrived an hour late and they had to set a special table for us. Then next they called me and Jo up on front because we had our birthdays a few weeks ago. We got cake!

Surprise cake from Max's!

Saturday I met with Shabby and Drew and may sister joined us. We were heading out to watch Iron Man and to shop. The lines for Iron Man was crazy, but thanks to Shabby we got to use the express lane. Unfortunately, the cinemas were all but filled, and the ones with seats only had them in separate rows. We ended up getting them anyway, and Drew had to back out because he’d already seen it and there were only three seats left for the screening we wanted. Boo.

Galit-galit on IRON MAN THREE #iPhone
Photo by Shabby

Japanese Spaghetti
That aside, we went ahead for a late lunch at Yomenya Goemon. My sister and I shared an order of Half and Half, and everyone split the cost on an order of Devil’s Pizza. Food was filling and flavorful, though it was sad that they no longer had the complimentary house tea like they had the last time we were there.

Retail Therapy
On with our shopping. First stop was Cotton On. Shabby wanted to find white tops for work, while my sister wanted to get a dress she can wear on her oathtaking ceremonies. I wasn’t expecting to get anything, but I found a nice shirt dress that was half the price of the one I wanted in Mango (which I still want).

We weren’t long in the shop. At most we probably spent less than an hour there, which included the fitting and the photobooth session. Drew had to deal with it, and I must say he was rather patient about it. Reward: cotton candy.

Iron Man 3
It was a hilarious way to watch a movie. I sat on the front row, while Shabby and my sis sat in different seats. The funny thing was the people who purchased the seat next to me never showed up, so my companions could’ve moved to those seats at any time. Oh well.

Not to risk spoilers, but I enjoyed Iron Man 3. My sister said it was ok to watch even if you haven’t seen the first two, as it’s pretty much independent (storywise) from the previous ones. There’s the trademark humor of RDJ (it’s not really much of Tony, as it’s also present in his Sherlock Holmes movies), and kick-ass special effects and of course, all those Iron Man suits. I had tears in my eyes during that part.

Must watch? Yes. Rewatch? Definitely!

Sunday was another fun day, but I’ll have to make a separate post for that.

The Dark Knight Rises

I wasn’t planning on watching “The Dark Knight Rises”, but as I was given free passes, I thought it would be too good an opportunity to pass up. The weird thing was, I wasn’t excited to see it, but since I had seen the first two, I thought it would be just fitting to finish the last. So, off to the cinemas with Shabby and Joiz, a packet of popcorn and some drinks.

Just some thoughts while watching the movie. Warning: SPOILERS. Continue reading The Dark Knight Rises

The Adventures of Tintin in 3D: Mixed Feelings

I’ve been a lifelong Tintin fan. My uncle is only a few years older than me, and he’s had the collection for as long as I can remember. I was browsing through the comics long before I could read, and by the time I was seven years old, I knew the stories by heart.

I welcomed the news of a 3D movie with a mixture of excitement and doubt. The cartoon adaptations were one thing, but I’ve seen how Hollywood treats adaptations, and while there are some which are good, there are those that make me wish they’ve just been left alone. The names Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson should have alleviated my fears, but even so, it wasn’t a guarantee that it would be a great movie.

I watched in on IMAX and I enjoyed the entire movie. I loved the opening sequence, the little references to other Tintin stories and how it showed the viewers how a typical Tintin adventure would go. The first scene at the market was quite faithful to the comic, and you can’t help but be captivated by the spectacular animation. Technology has so become advanced that while the characters were identifiable as Tintin, or the Captain, or Thompson and Thomson, they were realistic enough to be considered not so cartoony.

The story… ah. Here, my feelings are very much mixed. Like I said, I enjoyed the movie, but because I knew the story nearly by heart, I was a little bothered by the changes in the storyline. While I acknowledge the need for Spielberg, Jackson and their creative team to practice some liberties to fit the story for the big screen (after all, Red Rackham’s Treasure was nothing more than an account of Tintin’s group’s misadventures as they search for the treasure), it was rather weird to see certain parts of other Tintin stories included in what was supposed to be “The Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure”.

I shouldn’t really care, but dammit, I do. I suppose I’m giving off a mixed signal here. Yes, I liked the movie but… it’s a big “but” that I somehow can’t expound on.

However, I do recommend you see it. It is a fun watch, fast-paced with plenty of funny moments. If anything, Spielberg and Jackson got the personalities of the characters right, and Snowy was just awesome.

[—SPOILERS—]
If you care to, I’ve listed down the differences that I’ve spotted. It contains plenty of spoilers, so proceed with caution.
Continue reading The Adventures of Tintin in 3D: Mixed Feelings

Avalon.ph Giveaway: Star Wars Moleskine Journal

The first time I heard about Star Wars was sometime in the mid-80s. One of my dad’s cousins was young enough to consider me as his playmate, and he had plenty of Star Wars memorabilia at home. I was too young to understand the movie (I couldn’t sit still for that long), but he regaled me with stories of brave and adventurous Jedi, of the wise Yoda and the funny antics of R2D2 and C3PO. I found this all amusing, and quite frankly, liked Star Wars for these bits and pieces, and not as a whole.

The wonderful thing about Star Wars is that it is timeless. My parents and their siblings watched it. My siblings and I watched it. My cousins watched it, and when the family gets together and the discussion eventually flows to Star Wars, it is as if there is no age gap among us. Some of us love it for the simple good vs. evil storyline. Others (like myself) like it for the details of a galaxy that is different yet similar to ours. Others find its story very political, while some just appreciate the technology used to create it back then. Admittedly, I’m a fan of the merchandise that popped up, particularly the Lego Star Wars and the special edition Star Wars Moleskine journals.

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Get a chance to explore your Star Wars love by joining Avalon.ph’s latest giveaway. The Moleskine Star Wars Large Plain Notebook is a limited edition notebook dedicated to the greatest space epic ever told. It combines the classic Moleskine features with exclusive artwork from the original 1977 film.

The Moleskine Star Wars Large Plain Notebook is presented in a black hard cover with silk screen printed and debossed Star Wars graphics, quotes, logo and a paper band with a fleet of X-Wings. The inner pages are decorated with material from the Lucas film archive and include bespoke Star Wars paper inserts or stickers and full-colour end papers.

Features 240 pages of acid-free plain paper, pocket, ribbon and elastic closure.

For the full mechanics, please visit Avalon.ph.

And to wish you luck, I leave you with something from Rex Navarette: “May the Force be with you, and also with you. Lift up your sabers, we lift them up to the Force!”

Disclaimer: This is my entry to the contest. I am not an employee of Avalon.ph, nor am I getting anything out of this. I’m just hopeful that I win. 🙂 Photo courtesy of Avalon.ph

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Endings (Not a review)

For some people I know, the Harry Potter series ended with the release of the last book. After all, that’s where it all started, it seemed right to consider it as the end.

However — and you can correct me if I’m wrong — there has never been a book to movie adaptation that’s as massive or influential as Harry Potter. Sure there are other movie series and other adaptations that can be considered epic. I already said my piece about this when the first of Deathly Hallows came out, and I stand by it.

Then again, I don’t think there’s a series that went on for as long, had nearly all the cast same from the get go and had the book author deeply involved with the movie’s creation and production as J.K. Rowling was. Not to mention how intense the fans are. Take the Starkids for one: they made a fan musical, wrote songs and made Darren Criss (in)famous long before he joined Glee all for the love of Harry Potter. Wizard rock became a new genre, and there are several conventions all over the world celebrating everything Potter. But I digress, I’m supposed to be talking about what I think of the movie.

I didn’t rush to the cinemas during the first day to watch it, even though I wanted to. Oddly enough, very few of my friends watched it on the first day, so my social networks weren’t jammed with HP feeds (something which I was grateful for). Of course, one of my co-workers had seen it and knowing that I was a fan too, chatted with me about it.

Like many fans, I felt that this was the real end to Harry Potter. The movies have become so much a part of it for me. While I can easily visualize a different Harry, Ron, and Hermionie when I read the book, it was also very easy for me to imagine Dan, Emma, Rupert and everyone else as the characters they effectively portray.

From this point on, I shall be yapping about the movie and my thoughts, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want spoilers, do not continue.

Continue reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Endings (Not a review)

Where I find Harry Potter memorabilia and my MOO cards arrive

On my way to Dell’s for lunch, I passed by this display of sorts in the middle of Eastwood Mall. My eyes immediately zoned in on the Gryffindor Quidditch robe (from the back pa yun ha) and immediately did the giddy dance in my head. I resolved to pass by it before going home.

Since my parents were picking me up, I only had a few minutes to browse. Most of the pictures are a bit sloppy. The items were inside glass cases, with reflections and all. I hope they’re still there next week so I can take a better look. I want the wands!

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I’m really excited for July 15. I’m sad that the series is really ending though. Anyone up for a marathon from the first movie before the final one will be shown? 🙂

P.S. I also got my free Moo cards. They’re wonderfully printed and are of excellent quality. The cost for a real order looks worth it!

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The Adventures of Tin Tin

One of the first comic books I’ve ever read was Hergé’s “The Adventures of Tin-Tin” series. My uncle, who is merely six years older than I, had a collection of Tin-Tin comics. These books were among the ones that I read when we’d visit them in San Andres. My tito was my playmate, Tin-Tin was one of the things we bonded over.

In the years that passed, Tin-Tin became a family favorite. My younger siblings would read them too, and we also were able to get our hands on another Hergé work, “Mr. Pump’s Legacy”. The stories of Tin-Tin, Jo and Zetté were fun and adventurous. It fueled our imaginations and we’d pretend that we were treasure hunters too.

Flash forward to today. After the comics and the cartoon series, there is now a movie. I never really wondered if there would be a Tin-Tin movie because the animated series in itself was good enough thanks to the action packed, fast paced episodes. But after hearing the news that Steven Spielberg was making one… well, why not?

And the fun part? It’s my favorite story arc: The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. I can’t wait for December. 🙂

Bookish

In the past few weeks I’ve been going around various bookshops looking for food writing books. I was looking for “Will Write for Food” by Dianne Jacob, some Ruth Reichl books and Doreen Fernandez’s “Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture”. No success for Dianne’s book or for Ms. Doreen’s, but I did find Ruth Reichl’s. Sadly, my budget could not accommodate any of these books, so I had to pass them up and pray that I can purchase them the next time I come by.

Why food books? Particularly, the ones that deal with food writing and not about cooking? Well, one of the things I like to write about is food. My family loves to eat, and while I’d probably never end up writing a memoir or review of every place I go to, I want to be able to write more than “It’s delicious” or “It’s so good” or “Must try!” when I do get the urge to say something about my latest eat. I mean, while we do get what the author wants to say, we do want to hear something more exciting right?

Right. So much like when I consulted a book as I was learning to write a script (which got me a nice 1.0 whoohoo), I wanted to read about writers who write about food. But like I said, many books are quite beyond my budget so I have to pass up many an opportunity to buy them.

Today, I decided to pass by one of the Booksale branches I always visit when I’m in the Cubao/Araneta area. I wasn’t planning to buy anything, but I can never really pass up the chance to get something, especially when I know it’s a really good book.

I do love Booksale, however. I mean, I did write a whole post about it, and a good chunk of my great finds are Booksale rescues. However, finding a food writing related book was difficult, but if there’s one thing I learned when browsing in these secondhand book shops, it’s to always be prepared.

Perfect example. Today, I got Julie Powell’s “Julie and Julia”, Ruth Reichl’s “Comfort Me with Apples” and Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” (Mama’s “must read” book since a few years ago). Those weren’t the only ones that I wanted though, but in consideration for the amount of money I had in my wallet, I had to stop with those three. Still, I was very happy with my picks and cannot wait to start reading.

Today's surprise purchases

Surpisingly, I now have a “to be read” pile. I never really had one because it has always been my habit to read my books as soon as I purchase them. I’d devour each one, often times staying up late just because I wanted to finish it. Now, I guess I’ve mellowed. I don’t automatically sit down to read them. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to start it. Sometimes it takes longer for me to finish it. Somewhat frustrating, but I’m getting used to it.

Oh, and in an unrelated vein, I saw Sucker Punch today. Visually appealing, soundtrack was good. Storywise… did I mention that I liked the soundtrack? :p

RPG: Metanoia and randomness

RPG: Metanoia is a definite must watch! I’m a skeptic when it comes to Filipino movies, more so with the animated ones, which I am quite sorry to say. I’ve tried watching them in the past and while I love how there’s a continuos effort to make our own animation better than before, I still end up feeling disappointed after watching them.

I first heard about RPG: Metanoia through Roch, who mentioned it on her Plurk and said that she did some translation work for the movie. At that time, the trailer still wasn’t up on the site so I had to make do with choppy versions in YouTube. I was rather impressed, and felt that this would far exceed my expectations.

During the 5th Toycon, Yue mentioned that she already saw the movie (during the premiere night) and she loved it. Coming from her, I think that’s a pretty big compliment. I got more excited when I saw the official trailer.

My first impression was the animation during the action scenes were rather choppy, compared to the regular “offline” scenes*. However, as the movie progressed, that was pretty much the only rather negative comment I had. I was totally taken by the whole movie. I could relate to it in some many levels. Since I’m not very good at doing reviews (I should start improving on that though), I shall list the reasons why I like it and what I can relate to.

(*Note: After much thought, I realized that it was possible that the choppiness of the sequence was to mimic online games. Nico’s computer tends to lag, and as it is when playing video games or MMORPGs. So it does make sense.)

  1. The MMORPG/gaming life in general. I’m a very casual gamer, and I never really got into the MMORPG scene, but if I find a really good game, I get so into it until it’s done. Plus, my brothers are all into MMORPGs (they’re currently playing Allods) so I’ve seen the whole stay-up-til-morning-just-to-finish-the-quest-and-find-that-elusive-item or the omg-my-pc-is-too-slow-damn-its-lagging-I-need-to-upgrade drama.
  2. The slices of Filipino life. It was quite something to see things that were normal for you on screen. It was one thing to watch foreign animations (like the Japanese slice of life) shows. It was another to see Pinoy life gloriously animated. Fristine mentioned the little things like the longanisa, and I noted things like “Bawal Umihi!” or the details in the sari sari store. Anyone notice how that building with laser bars look like a giant mosquito killer? However the part I liked best when they were outdoors playing the games I used to play as a kid.
  3. Seeing Pinoy elements in an “international MMORPG”. I love how the Philippine portal looks like an old Spanish town, and there were so many adaptations of our culture around it. The mechanical calesa was a favorite.
  4. Jejemon-isms. C’mon, don’t tell me you didn’t laugh when you saw Mark erase “Adonis” and replace it with “Ahdonis”. How about those players who needed help and had a “Pa-heal po me” sign board?
  5. The music was just AWESOME. I did wonder if they were going to make a totally new soundtrack for it, then I saw “Gerard Salonga” on the credits. Heck, if that didn’t mean some badass score, I don’t know what it would be. I loved the score, and I liked the use of APO’s “Bawat Bata” for the street games scene.
  6. I loved the costumes and character design. I like May’s avatar, I liked Bryan’s Mang Ernie and his skill/class is probably the one I’d like to have. Each character was pretty interesting on their own. Daniel was funny because he barely said anything in the whole movie except for his attack “Bato bato pick!” The designs on the players on the foreign servers were pretty cool too, and I love how their home portals aptly fits their country.

While I’m aware that the movie wasn’t perfect and still has things it can improve on, it was truly a big improvement over the other animated movies we had in the past. It was very gutsy to venture into 3D animation when the industry has barely cracked the 2D animation scene. I wasn’t too impressed with the voice of Nico/Zero, but everyone else was fan. Still, after a while you get used to the voice but his first few dialogues were rather hard to take. On the whole, the movie is really first rate and a very impressive one too. I wish it won more awards, but getting 3rd Best Picture, Best Original Theme Song and Best Sound Recording isn’t bad at all.

I’m hoping the guys behind this film would create more animated works not just for the MMFF but also for regular screening and maybe get an animated TV series. If this becomes a full fledged MMORPG, I just might sign up. Congratulations!

Randomness after the jump
Continue reading RPG: Metanoia and randomness