It's Still The Milage - A Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

01 June 2008 | Hisham | | Movie Review

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull shows that Henry Jones, Junior has been busy for the last 19 years as it's now 1957. Has it been almost 20 years since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Man, I feel old.

Apart from giving a straight review, this movie requires a bit of dissecting and we shall now dissect in SPOILER territory.

SPOILERS! Avert your eyes, like this Russian chap below! Indy's helping him avert his eyes, even.

This seems to be an unfinished FX shot

Some Good Saucer Men News

20 May 2008 | Hisham | | Movie Review, Trawling The Net

Take that, commie reviewer bastards!This summer will see a whole lot of nerd rage with wave after wave of nerds complaining to the tune of George Lucas screwed the pooch with the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Why?

Because, yet to be released are The Incredible Hulk, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, X-Files: I Want To Believe, Punisher War Zone, The Dark Knight, Star Wars Clone Wars (Yes! There's a Star Wars movie coming out in theatres this summer and it's not being overly marketed by a juggernaut on steroid, thank you very much! A heartfelt hurrah!) and of course next week's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Yes, a lot of nerd rage has been directed towards Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because of... well, nerd reasons. (And Speed Racer will probably tank badly because of horrible marketing strategy and bad word of mouth from people who haven't seen it.) However, there's been somewhat of a good news from Cannes, of all places, for Professor Henry Jones, Junior.

According to Yahoo News:

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull has proved a huge hit at the Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday - receiving a standing ovation from critics at its world premiere.

The fourth installment of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' famous adventure franchise was one of the most eagerly awaited screenings at the French event, attracting a huge amount of hype and publicity.

But weeks of speculation threatened to tarnish the premiere after rumours suggested the film had been panned by movie bosses at an exclusive initial screening in Los Angeles last month.

However, the film - which sees 65-year-old Harrison Ford return to the role of Indiana Jones after a 19 year gap - was praised by the world's media, reportedly garnering a three and a half minute standing ovation by the select few who were invited to watch it, according to American industry publication Variety.

Before the screening, manic crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the movie's returning star Ford, who told awaiting reporters he didn't care if the movie received bad reviews, as long as moviegoers enjoyed the action.

He said, "I expect to have the whip turned on me. I'm not really worried about it. I work for the people who pay to get in. They are my customers and my focus is on providing the best experience I can for those people."

And although legendary moviemaker Lucas admitted last month he had hatched plans to revive the action hero for a fifth film, he kept tight-lipped about the plans at the Cannes premiere. He told reporters, "Harrison, Steven and I haven't talked about it. We can't do it unless I can come up with a good idea, which I haven't."

The original trilogy - the last being 1989's Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade - was one of the highest-earning franchises in film history, grossing over GBP500 million at the global box office.

I'm just going to go watch it and enjoy it for what it is: an action pulp serial made into a big budget movie of the 21st century.


Nonja-busting Action - A Speed Racer Review

16 May 2008 | Hisham | | Movie Review

Mach 5 vs the Shooting StarI never saw a lot of the Speed Racer toon (Japanese title: Mach! Go! Go! Go!) on TV while growing up, but I did promise Irfan to take him to watch the new movie adaptation, directed by the Wachowski brothers.

I saw the trailer weeks earlier and went in with Irfan and Ain expected a dumb storyline with epilepsy-inducing special effects. I mean, how can you make a meaningful story with the protagonist's younger brother who was always climbing into the trunk of his car (with a monkey for a best friend) and getting into screwball adventures, as his elder brother races in dangerous car races.

And "Speed Racer" was his actual name, not just his job?

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a solid, entertaining storyline with twists embedded satisfactorily within the movie, with just the right amount of drama and humour.

Yep! I loved Speed Racer!


Wait! WHO Wears Ten Rings? - An Iron Man Review

01 May 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Movie Review

I don't monitor Iron Man as close as say Spider-Man or the X-Men growing up. However, I do know what he's all about. I've checked Armor Wars out of Perth Library (again, that's Scotland and not Australia) and read it entirely.

Two of the most iconic Iron Man cover for me is the "Demon in the Bottle" cover and the one where "Stark" in the Stark Enterprises logo is replaced with "Stane".

Earlier tonight, we went to catch Iron Man (on opening day) at Cineleisure. I'm not going to talk about the plot of the movie. It's a basic origins movie with a battle with a bad guy. It's not high literature, but it's a great action movie with lots of fun moments throughout. The Iron Man origin in the movie is transplanted from the original comic book location of Vietnam to Afghanistan.

So, I'm just going to list out what's good and not-so-good about it. And to preemptively sum up things, it's mostly good.

The Mark III suit

Spoilers ahoy!

I ain't joking. SPOILERS!


Horror Tag

06 November 2007 | sila | | Movie Review

Since Simple American tagged me for this Horror Movie meme, here we go! Sorry for it being a few days after Halloween but my days have been pretty hectic lately!

In all honesty, I'm seriously a coward when it comes to horror movies. The supernatural just freaks me out for some reason! I mean, give me a good old blood and gore flick, and I'm totally fine, but throw in any element of the supernatural (ghosts, ghouls, ESP, whatever) and I'm outta there. I used to have nightmares when I was little, so I stopped watching horror movies. I can't even be the last person downstairs and walk upstairs turning the lights out as I am convinced "something" will jump out of the darkness and get me, or that if I look back, I will see red eyes shining right back at me. But, since Jerry wanted to know what scares the bejeebers out of me, I'll put out the list. :-)


Ten Terrifying Tales of Terror: A Tag

01 November 2007 | Hisham | | Movie Review

Thanks to Jerry of Simple America for this tag. To find ten tales of terror I've isn't quite as easy as it sounds.

I've seen very few horror movies when I was younger, and I found out in my late teens that horror doesn't really affect me as much as I thought it did. Not to say that I'm totally impervious to them. I still do flinch when gore catches me by surprise. But to determine which movie actually causes you to feel horror, to have an unsettling thought form in your mind while watching the movie and stay with you for years on end, now that is something to write about.

I've seen a lot of supposedly horror movies, but they just don't affect me because they're too focused on gory deaths or has a premise that is clearly too far detached from reality (as opposed to suggesting it, which to me works better).

I will list out each movies as a mini-review with a bit of spoilers.


No Sacrifice, No Victory - A Transformers Review

28 June 2007 | Hisham | | Movie Review, Transformers

Megatron, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime
First of all, I along with a couple of other pals, were the dudes who taped the Transformers episodes when the first aired (long before they were known as G1), to try to identify all of them. So yeah, even after more than 20 years later I can still name all 18 of the original Autobots who crashlanded on Earth on the Ark. So this movie is a big deal for me. The idea of seeing photorealistic giant robots prance on the screen, firing missiles at and beating the crap out of each other, transforming into cars and burning rubber on the highway.... is sort of a holy grail.

Walking up the hallway to the escalator in Cineleisure that will take me to the Cathay Cineplex (with Irfan in tow), Remembering the first time I heard they were going to produce the Transformers movie, I told Awie, "I've been waiting for this day for more than a year." Awie said, "I've been waiting for this for twenty years." I realise he's right.

To be honest, I really didn't want to put my expectations high for this movie. But I couldn't help myself. My expectations were higher than normal. I've already seen the trailers a million times each... not to mention the clips on TV. I must have seen tons of effects shots of the Cybertronians transforming and fighting (and crashing through buses) that I thought I've seen it all. There must be not much else to see. I thought, what the heck, let's watch the shots again but this time on the big screen with THX sound. I'd be happy to settle for just that.


Sea Turtles, Mate - At World's End Review

01 June 2007 | Hisham | | Movie Review
Jack Sparrow vs Davy Jones

Spoilers ahoy! Cast away your eyes if you haven't seen Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End.

Based on the reviews I've read thus far, this movie is something that you either enjoy or you don't.

Do you like adventures and treachery in the high seas? Do you like pirates of the olden days of sailing ships? Do you like boardings and broadsides? Do you like tall tales of swordfights, sorcery and magic of the ocean? Davy Jones' Locker? Pieces of eights? Shrunken heads? Parrots? Monkeys? Cannons? Monkeys shot out of cannons?


Villain-o-rama - A Spider-Man 3 Review

03 May 2007 | Hisham | | Movie Review
The black costume

As previously reported, we caught Spider-Man 3 at Digi IMAX theatre on opening night. But first a non-spoilery rundown of the movie based on early press releases and trailers.

Peter will be asking MJ to marry him, but before that there are a few small problem.

First, of course, is continuing the tale across the last two movies is Harry Osborn's desire for revenge against Spider-Man for his father Norman Osborn's (a.k.a. the Green Goblin) death.

Then there's Eddie Brock, a rival photographer who will stoop to nasty methods to frame Spider-Man for a position as the Daily Bugle's staff photographer. His character starts out as a nice guy but a series of unfortunate circumstances slowly strip away the guise and finally reveal himself for what he truly is.

In the midst of it, Flint Marko an escaped convict on the run who unwittingly finds himself in a particle physics experiment, after which he finds himself with the ability to turn his body and reshape it into sand. But for this movie, he's revealed as the actual killer of Peter's Uncle Ben, something that diverges from the comic book story.

Finally, a viscous black fluid follows Peter back to his apartment and bonds with his costume as he sleeps. He discovers that the new black costume gives him even more enhanced strength and agility, but unfortunately it amplifies his aggression, where it affects the previously mentioned elements of the story in unfortunate ways.

Now some spoilery thoughts on the movie.

And I mean, SPOILERS!


Sunburn Is The Least Of Your Worries: A Sunshine Review

18 April 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review
The shieldship with the bombI just saw this movie on a THX screen and it was quite a ride. I liked it very much. Absolutely no spoilers ahead.

Danny Boyle directs this movie and what he did was create an atmosphere that doesn't not really accentuate claustrophobia or xenophobia. What Sunshine has instead is a layer of despair and hopelessness which barely registers but hangs over the proceedings like a thin film. You can almost feel the despair being radiated by the characters and the situation mounting as the movie progresses.

Sunshine gets right to the point with Cilian Murphy's voiceover. It's 50 years in the future and the sun is dying, and with it the slowly-freezing Earth. The crew of the Icarus II (a shieldship right out of the pages of Dark Force Rising, heh!) has been tasked with the delivery of a Manhattan Island-massed bomb which would theoretically re-ignite the sun. Apart from the personal conflicts that arise after being cooped up on the spaceship for 16 months or so, they suddenly rediscover the Icarus I, the first ship that went on a similar mission 7 years earlier but was lost.

Then things start to go nuts.


Tron - A Look Back at a Reindeer Flotilla

20 March 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review

It's been a while since I saw Tron. I never saw it on the big screen. I believe I last saw it when it using one of the most sophisticated, technological wonder of a multimedia player (well, sight and sound) at the time known as the video cassette recorder.

So here I am more than twenty years later, and did it stand up the test of time? And more importantly... is there a Mickey Mouse out in the cyberscape field in the background under the solar sailer in one scene? Let's answer the second question first:

It's Ricky Rat!


Retro Review: Vejur Returns To Look for Dad

15 March 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review

These three Klingon ships share six apostrophes between themMy first foray into the world of Star Trek consisted of a single page ad on a comic (might have been a Gold Key comic) for Star Trek The Motion Picture, back in 1980. It had a picture of the new refitted Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D) with a photo line-up of the characters along the bottom. My first thought was (probably) how great it was to be part of this team, exploring the unknown in the 23rd century (it said 23rd century right there on the movie ad) in such a sleek starship. I don't remember when I learned that the movie was based on the TV show, or if I learnt it before or after I saw the movie ad.

Anyway some months later, I bought the novelisation of the movie, which I believe might be my first ever movie novelisation bought. Tok & Opah Irfan bought it for me at a bookstore in Taiping (named Mubarak's, IIRC - might be mistaken) along with the comic adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in digest format.

Anyway I found the novel (written by Alan Dean Foster) to be quite gripping to my 10 year old mind. It was fantastic visualising myself on the bridge of the Enterprise with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, Chapel and Rand. The threat of "Vejur" (as it was spelt in the novel, no doubt to ensure it doesn't hint to what Vejur actually is - which the more widely used spelling "V'ger" does)...

The Enterprise got quite a bit of the limelightBut I've never actually seen the movie until well into my mid-teens when TV3 aired it. I remember being very, very underwhelmed by it after visualising the narrative from the novel. Recently I saw STTMP again, the old theatrical version and Pan and Scan to boot, not the more recent Director's Cut DVD.


5 Favourite Movies - A Meme

16 January 2007 | Hisham | | Friends, Movie Review

Tagged by the Hijack Queen with her metahuman abilities to hijack any sort of forum thread - quite an impressive feat if I might add - I will attempt to oblige her with my top favourite movies of all time as of today.

The "as of today" statement is a proviso, cause the movies can sort themselves differently as time goes by.

If this was 20 years ago, there would probably be two hundred science fiction and fantasy movies crammed into just the five spots. Since this is the here and now I will cut it down to one movie per spot, and diversify genres somewhat.

Hey, you know what? Let's put in a mini-review for each just for the hell of it.


28 Days Later... A Review

16 September 2006 | Hisham | | Movie Review

Jim guesses he shouldn't have farted that loudly
I never fail to wince watching Danny Boyle's movies. So far I've seen a couple. I winced when watching Trainspotting. I winced watching Shallow Grave. (I've never seen Pillow Book or A Life Less Ordinary so I can't comment on those.)

And certainly there are many wince-inducing scenes in 28 Days Later.


Ruminations of Superman Returns

13 July 2006 | Hisham | | Movie Review

Superman Returns
I went in to watch Superman Returns with high expectations and I got what I deserved, I guess. It was quite a decent movie, but it isn't as epic as i thought it would be.

First the non-spoilerific thoughts:


Cyclops, Shortchanged

11 June 2006 | Hisham | | Movie Review, Rants

Last Tuesday, I finally saw X-Men The Last Stand. But I’m not going to do a full review on the movie itself. The following two paragraph will summarize what I thought about it.

Despite the misgivings of having Brett Ratner directing the third X-Men movie, and reports of behind the scene shenanigans that caused Bryan Singer to leave in the first place, I really enjoyed The Last Stand. Sure there were some plot holes and unbalanced screen time for characters, but they delivered what they promised: super-powered mutants beating the crap out of each other in creative ways onscreen. And I’m sure if the writers and director were given ample time without any studio politics involved, they would have given us something much more glorious than what we got.

In any case, I because of the amount of details in this movie: a totally spot on Beast with amazing acrobatic moves in combat; visually spectacular telekinesis an order of magnitude better than anything we've ever seen before; two Fastball Specials; Iceman icing up briefly; a great Juggernaught vs Shadowcat battle; Ian McKellen as Magneto; Multiple Man in action; even a glimpse of the Stepford Cuckoos in the background at the X-Mansion... I’ll say that the movie is at least on par with the previous two movies.

Now the spoilers begin.


V For Verisimilitude

04 April 2006 | Hisham | | Movie Review

I saw V for Vendetta on Monday. Therefore I shall write about it here.

With spoilers.

You have been warned.

I only read the comic for the first time last year, so I never really connected with the background of the millieux presented by Alan Moore in the book. I understand why there was a need to alter it in the movie, giving it a more up to date topical setting and tying it with current events.


A Skull Island Travelogue - A Kong Review

05 January 2006 | Hisham | | Movie Review
Kong is King

Last night we finally saw Peter Jackson's version of King Kong. Upon reading initial articles that said that the movie was too long and were boring during the beginning and had pointless scenes aboard the Venture part of the movie, I thought "I'll take whatever you dish out." I would enjoy what I could and get it over with.

To my surprise, the movie did not bore me to tears at all. Sure there were the trademark lingering close up shots of actors' (and one giant CG alpha male silverback's) faces that inundated Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I did not think there were any pointless and unengaging scenes in the movies. Everything added to the storyline, and the overall atmosphere of the movie.

Mini Reviews: Pulp, Supers and Lemurs

20 December 2005 | Hisham | | Movie Review

So the other day I borrowed some DVDs from Awie. Why didn't I buy them? Cause I'm a cheapskate. Here are three movies I saw over the last couple of days and some of my thoughts on it. I saw the first movie in the cinema... twice. I missed the second and the third.


Into the Wardrobe: A Narnia Review

13 December 2005 | Hisham | | Movie Review
So I saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe last Friday, right after Friday prayers at GSC 1 Utama. I wasn't disappointed. It was exactly as I expected it.

I expected the story to be somewhat thin because the book is in fact thin compared to the other fantasy series written by author C.S. Lewis's contemporary and peer (J. R. R. Tolkien if you don't know). Narnia in the entire first book wasn't quite fleshed out as Middle Earth was in the first 2 chapters of Fellowship of the Ring.