Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gliding ‘Guardians’

Stunningly animated, Zack Snyder’s fantasy epic “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” follows the heroic evolution of Sorun (voiced by Jim Sturgess), who must find the fabled Guardians to thwart the schemes of the predatory Pure Ones. Its cast of characters mostly consisting of nocturnal birds, the movie has very basic hero-versus-villain themes and conflicts.

As with previous undertakings like “Watchmen” and “300,” Snyder’s take on the Owls is grand and captivating. “Guardians” is straightforward enough for kids but technically sturdy enough to win over grownups. Storywise, Sorun’s journey is reminiscent of other hero archetypes’ transformative quests. It could have benefited from a more detailed history of the warring owl clans. Old encounters are only briefly mentioned and some elaboration could’ve given dimension to the somewhat personality-devoid warring factions. But Sorun’s ragtag band makes up for it, despite having requisite dispositions.

The owl characters are very expressive, and the attention to detail is astounding. From gliding through contrasting elements to swooping into intense battles, the deftly designed birds are often dynamic and kinetic.

“Legend of the Guardians” is currently in Metro Manila cinemas.

War of the Marvel Gods

Chaos War looks big. It’s the event written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak, scribes of the always-entertaining Incredible Hercules. It looks promising; different pantheons of the Marvel U will be appearing, as well as deceased Alpha Flight and Avengers members. Must get it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Elmo Sees Cleavage

Katy Perry’s music video with giggly puppet Elmo has been pulled out by Sesame Street producers after parents complained about the singer’s outfit. Eh, what? That’s just baffling. What’s wrong with it? And it looks like she’s wearing a body stocking around her chest area. She’s been seen in similar outfits by kids who watch her videos. Oh well.

Anyway, she sang a kiddified version of “Hot ‘N’ Cold” with Elmo. It’s weird that the song has been retooled a second time for kids (the first, I think, was the Chippettes’ version in that Chipmunks movie), since originally, the song mentioned PMS-ing “like a bitch.” Well, it’s a cute video, and it’s posted on YouTube for kids and, yeah, erstwhile Sesame Street viewers to enjoy.

Scaling the ‘Wall’ anew

Oliver Stone’s sequel to his acclaimed 1987 drama is the complex “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” a timely and relevant dissection of economic chaos and the more intimate bonds caught in it. Young trader Jacob Moore (Shia LaBouf) contacts greed guru Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) against the wishes of his fiancee, Gordon’s estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan). As usual, Stone’s storytelling is adventurous; his visual gimmicks can be challenging and the compositions forced, but his vision is distinct and unapologetic. The occasionally inaccessible jargon, however, can be dizzying. Still, while not always precise, “Wall Street” is by turns, powerful, perceptive, and personal.

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” opens September 29 in Metro Manila.

Tourist Mode, 1996

Me, 14 years ago.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Spidey Suit

On the cover of Amazing Spider-Man # 650, Spidey’s wearing a new costume. Hmm. Not bad, but not great. Looks a little Spidey 2099-ish, with glow-in-the-dark, Tron-like effects.

After Peter returns to his original duds, some other character will probably wear the costume, a la the Scarlet Spiders, who were given the Tony Stark-designed Iron Spider-Man uniforms. Maybe.

‘Silver Agent,’ pre-martyrdom

Finally expounding on the tragic hero’s missing adventures during the lengthy Dark Age saga, the two-issue Astro City: Silver Agent is typically self-contained and worth picking up, but less affecting than previous character spotlights. Throwaway ideas become distracting at certain points, but the Silver Agent is fleshed out admirably. The martyred crimefighter is humanized, and one of Astro City’s long-shrouded secrets is satisfactorily uncovered.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear Homophobe

Yes, stop overthinking it. There’s no deep, dark secret behind it.

Gandalf and his shirt rock. Got the image from Kurt Busiek’s Facebook fan page.

Long ‘Distance’ crawl

“Going the Distance” is a factory-processed romantic comedy, cloyingly cute in some parts and requisitely sensitive in others. But Drew Barrymore’s nth rom-com role is a bit different, in that newspaper intern Erin’s a video game geek, an ambitious but realistic career woman, and an uninhibited girl when she hits it off with someone she likes.

And that guy is Garrett (Justin Long), whose very recent breakup is quickly forgotten when he and Erin effortlessly hook up. Things get serious in no time; it’s just too bad that they live and work in opposite coasts. One is already comfortable in New York, while the other sees important career opportunities in San Francisco.

The obligatory sidekicks (Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) provide over-the-top shenanigans to offset the more “realistic” Garrett character. The more awkward moments, specifically sex jokes and not-quite-intimate lovemaking scenes, are more consistently funny. Barrymore’s independent, f-bomb-dropping character is actually likeable, but the long distance relationship drama is pretty normal and too cleanly resolved. When it’s not crawling, this predictable romance still sends its sappy messages adequately.

‘Robo Rock’: Geek-friendly radio show

(Published Sept. 14, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Fantasy TV shows and movies, among other things, are discussed in the geek-friendly “Robo Rock Radio” talk show, a weekly program on FM station UR 105.9.

From “Voltes V”-era robots to present-day cartoons and movie adaptations, the topics discussed by the hosts are diverse. It focuses on a specific theme or genre each week; beloved ‘80s cartoons may be the subject of one episode, while the next may focus on live-action spy shows.

On air for several months now, “Robo Rock Radio’s” enthusiastic hosts cram in as much as they can into every hour-long episode. They talk in detail about old and new pop culture obsessions, as well as their personal favorites. Phone callers and Facebook contacts are also encouraged to share something about the chosen topic. Music from soundtracks and rare versions of songs from discussed shows are also played.

Keeping the show lively are hosts of the local TV show “Front Act.” The ones with the most to say about topics of the week are LC “Robo Reklamo” De Leon and Benedict “Benom” Bartolome. They never run out of things to talk about.

Bartolome has the “Ben’s Ten” contest, where listeners creatively answer the weekly questions on the show’s Facebook page. Others contribute nicely to the topic at hand; in one episode, occasional co-host Mike “Mike Rider” Unson shared interesting information about the James Bond books and movies.

As with most free-flowing discussions, topics can get a little derailed, deviating into other territories from time to time. But things are currently more organized; the hosts now analyze and share trivia without getting interrupted.

In the early weeks, they’d scramble to answer the phone, stopping their exchange whenever it rings. Thankfully, it’s on mute now.

Whichever escapist medium one may prefer—cartoons, comic books, video games, movies, toys, and music—the topics are endless. The oft-nostalgic “Robo Rock Radio” knowledgeably recollects with fans of fantasy escapism transcending different generations, and keeps them informed of new or undiscovered modern mythologies to enjoy.

“Robo Rock Radio” airs on UR 105.9 and Thursdays at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Team-Ups and Tangled Tresses

Noble knights and fun hair.

GIANT ROBOTS. Some of my childhood faves. Omega Supreme, Voltes V, UFO Grendizer, Raydeen

MARSH MEN. Swamp Thing and Man-Thing, bogeymen brothers.

BAT FAMILY. Batman, Robin, Huntress, Batwoman, Oracle, Batgirl (Stephanie Brown), Red Robin, Red Hood, Nightwing, Batgirl (Cassandra Cain).

MEDUSA VS. SPIDER-GIRL. Tussling tresses! Locking locks! Medusalith Amaquelin of the Inhumans versus Sussa Paka of the Legion of Super-Villains.

Cloud 9 on Cloud Nine

Spoiler-ish! Three years ago, Abigail Boylen a.k.a. Cloud 9 only wanted to fly, but was recruited into the Initiative. She registered, was trained in super-combat, and became a sniper. Dan Slott gives the character some closure after the dissolution of the Superhuman Registration Act. This is part of the one-page story that appeared in the recent Age of Heroes miniseries. Free at last!