King of Comedy (1999)

There’s a stitched together quality to Stephen Chow’s and Lee Lik-chi’s King of Comedy. It’s a bit episodic in how Sin-Tau (Chow) goes through boom and bust cycles trying to land an acting job while frequenting a movie set where a production crew is shooting an action film starring Hong Kong superstar Cucko (Karen Mok). That said, King of Comedy is also terribly funny, full of hilarious stuff. The scene where Sin-Tau finally gets to audition for the male lead opposite Cucko, is hands down one of the funniest gag ever. The third act, which seems to come out of nowhere, where Chow goes undercover posing as a lunchbox delivery man to infiltrate a triad, is both tense and swift. Tense like Leonardo di Caprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed (which, by the way, is a remake of Hong Kong triad movie Infernal Affairs) and swift like Tony Leung in a movie by John Woo, whose over-the-top gunfights, this movie spoofed in one of its movie set sequence where Sin-Tau plays a background character — church shootouts, Mexican stand-offs, doves, heroine with arms outstretched firing two handguns, you name it. Some say this might be Stephen Chow’s most heartfelt film. Probably the most grounded too—no high flying soccer players, no mermaids, no kung fu masters. Just Chow playing a bit player trying to make it big in the movies, and Cecilia Cheung, whose hooker with a heart of gold actually transcends the hooker with a heart of gold types. If you like Chow’s other movies like God of Cookery and Kung Fu Hustle, you’d like this one for sure.

Breeder’s Digest

I remember waiting inside a bus listening to the news. The DJ was talking about the attacks. Twin towers. World Trade Center. I probably never heard of them until that specific time. At the time, we had no TV at home (we had one but it was broken). Few minutes later, a friend boarded the same bus while the DJ was still talking about the attacks. My friend couldn’t believe it, and asked if it wasn’t just some elaborate prank or a movie plot. It was morning then. In the US, it was the evening after the attacks.

I don’t remember much of what transpired after but I’m sure I bought a newspaper later that day. Because that’s what I usually do at the time. Read newspaper, mainly to get the latest on upcoming movies — Hollywood, art house, or otherwise. I seldom read the news though, or the editorials. Internet? Well, internet back then was really slow. And costs money. A single broadsheet would probably give you more reading material than the 30 minutes spent in the internet shop while waiting for the webpage to load. Newspaper was also cheaper. Sure, I probably read less than 50% of what’s in it, but at least I can re-read the articles and reuse them papers for other purpose. And the minutes you lost in the internet shop, you wouldn’t be able to get back.

Of course, there are stuff like, y’know, this tech savvy guy showing you naked photos of Alicia Silverstone. And there were also chat rooms, which some of my friends were so into at the time, asking for ASL, reacting to every reply like their balls were being tickled. Honestly, I don’t really know what sort of things they’d usually talk about. Do they meet up or eyeball? Does it usually end in casual sex like in that Orange & Lemons song? I don’t know. And I also don’t know why Alicia Silverstone was so popular back then. Like seeing a naked picture of her was the equivalent of seeing the Holy Grail. I’ve never seen Clueless (though I probably should) or any of her movies actually. And those photos are fake, by the way. Those were somebody else’s boobs and vagina. And you can tell it easily by the difference in the skin tone. Like it was some kind of Frankenstein monster, assembled in the computer. By the way, that’s like two movies in one, Frankenhooker meets Weird Science. I haven’t seen both, so, I might be wrong.

Few years later, I met the same friend in an internet cafe. Can’t remember what but maybe I went to the shop to create my first Yahoo email, as per the suggestion of another friend. I also don’t remember what for. Then, this friend (whom I met in the shop), he was raving about Green Day’s then-new album. He said it was different from the old Green Day. American Idiot. I don’t know if he sang and air guitar the first line to me (Don’t wanna be an American Idiot), but as far as I remember, he said it was really good. Well, he wasn’t wrong. I liked that album. And “Wake Me Up When September Ends” is really great. Its anti-war music video, probably one of my all-time favorites.

Monrak Transistor (2001)

Monrak Transistor (Transistor Love Story) reminds me of the stories we used to get from TV soaps. The setting, the characters, and mainly, for the amount of “bad luck” that befell the characters. But was it really bad luck? Wasn’t it just the choices they made? Maybe both. Pan gets drafted into the army and has to leave Sadaw, his wife, pregnant with their first child. Sadaw is left with a transistor radio, Pan’s gift to her on their wedding day. Pan writes to her every day and sings “Mai Leum” (“Never Forget”) for her, amidst a military training montage. Until one day he stops. Because he doesn’t know how to tell her that he went AWOL, and joined a pop music group in the city. If only his love for her was bigger than his dream to become a singing star. From there, the movie seamlessly transitions from bucolic rom-com, to a musical melodrama, an action movie, and tragic crime thriller. Like in that Belle & Sebastian song, Pan thought “there was love in everything and everyone.” Unlike the story in the song though, Pan didn’t succeed — not with a winning smile, not with his naivety. After years of mopping floors and toiling in prison, finally, it brings him back to where it started. Back to Sadaw. Except they aren’t the same persons anymore, not the same enamored couple we meet earlier in the movie. When they see each other again near the end, you can’t help but feel the weight of the years they spent apart, the hardships that they went through. It’s a wonderfully bittersweet ending. And like the boy in that Belle & Sebastian song — not trying to make excuses here — oh boy, do I always cry at endings.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)

This is multitasking at its best. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier tackles racism, US war vets treatment, refugees, extremism, the next black Captain America, The Blip, among other things. Too bad Bucky got the short shrift of it, despite his name in the show’s title. His quest for internal peace and atonement was just kind of there, easily resolved in the end and barely mattered to the bigger story.

Same goes for Sam’s family’s financial trouble, symbolized by an old family boat, which eventually got fixed thru the help of other people — not in the name of solidarity, not because they’re grateful Sam helped save the world from Thanos, but because Sam’s folks were such a really nice couple and these people haven’t forgotten their kindness. Um, okay… That also makes sense but, anyway.

Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo turns out to be the most watchable character in the series, upstaging both Sam and Bucky in their scenes together. Wyatt Russell’s John Walker, the most interesting. TFATWS has some interesting stories to tell, valid points to say (i.e., Falcon’s speech tells more truth than any of the previous Captain America movies). But the show punches way above its weight, bites more than it can chew, tells multiple narrative threads more than the show could fully develop, much less tell and resolve in compelling and entertaining manner. The show clearly wants to do a lot of things, just like the last Captain America movie.

In the end, we learn a few things about Sam, about Bucky, but not much. We probably learned more about Zemo. There’s a pervading drabness to it all. The buddy comedy isn’t really funny, there’s barely any character drama, and the action, just standard MCU fare–mediocre. We’re supposed to expect more from a 6-hour mini-series/movie. Multitasking is OK, if you want to tackle multiple characters/issues on surface level. As the famous saying goes, “Why fuck up a single thing when you can fuck up several things together?”

Breeder’s Digest

I’ve had two cups of coffee already. And I’m still not awake. Working from Sundays through Saturdays is such a soul-sucking whatever, as you probably already knew.

I’m still not awake. Where did I get that from? Had to Google it and found a song from some Rory Gallagher. Never heard of him; not the song I was looking for. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t from John Lennon’s “I’m Only Sleeping,” but had to Google it anyway just to be sure. And I ended up singing the chorus in my head. Please, don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away… Wonderful song to listen to in bed. But I’m not in bed. I’m sitting in front of my workstation and I’m supposed to be working.

Then it came to me. That line is from Ciudad’s “Friday Noon.” Now it’s a true blue Friday noon and I’m still not awake. Perfectly encapsulates. How I’m feeling right now. But today isn’t Friday. Nor is this song really about work. Nor does it say something about how work has become under late capitalism.

No, I don’t think the guy who also wrote “Due Dates” would have any thing insightful to say about work. Them with their posh condos with all the things privilege can afford, I don’t think so. So let’s not get into that. The song encapsulates the feeling, that’s all.

Don’t know what I’m saying here. I better go back to work. Cigarette break’s over. Let me mine some more Helium.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

James Gunn’s return to the big screen marks the long awaited return of your favorite anti-heroes, A-holes, criminals. The Guardians of the Ga… Oh, wait, it’s from the other universe. They’re called Suicide Squad. No, THE Suicide Squad. And it’s the best comic-book/superhero movie (if you ask me) since Deadpool 2. Assembled from a group of dangerous supervillains, the US government sent The Suicide Squad to Corto Maltese, an island-country in South America, where the new government (“virulently anti-American”) is “suspected” to be in possession of alien technology equivalent to “weapons of mass destruction.” The movie’s full of zip from the get-go. From one character drowning, to one getting shot like Boltie (Super), to the squad unknowingly killing those who were part of the resistance—what fun would this be if there isn’t a series of fuck-ups, right? This has perhaps the best in-movie appearance of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. And John Cena was somehow able to inject some Chris Hemsworth-like ‘complexity’ into his butt-end-of-the-joke version of Captain America. The extended and massive third act may be lacking a little more tension, but it didn’t run out of energy. While it is another one of those final battles with massive destruction and collateral damages, props to Gunn for making it one bizarre colorful mix of blood and viscera. Only Gunn would’ve come up with this brightly colored Lovecraftian kaiju, this side of Godzilla. Bloodsport’s and Ratcatcher II’s father-daughter pairing doesn’t quite reach GotG-levels, but I really like how the movie is about “American supersoldiers in foreign soil,” in a very un-MCU kind of way. The movie addresses the issue in ways the MCU just won’t.

Daredevil Season 1, The Suicide Squad, and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (is one long boring title)

Took a full day off today. Still nursing a mild headache, probably from getting slightly more sleep than the usual, and took paracetamol for wrist joint pain that awoke me last night. It’s probably gout (Shit! We’re getting old). And it’s probably due to eating too much meat because we don’t have much Continue reading “Daredevil Season 1, The Suicide Squad, and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (is one long boring title)”

Breeder’s Digest

Shall I give a rundown of the last movies I’ve seen? Sure, why not? Well, tracking the movies I’ve watched is easier now since I started logging them on Letterboxd. And I’m also slowly transferring some of my movie ‘reviews’ in this blog to Letterboxd for whatever it’s worth. One thing I don’t like Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest”

Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow is pretty much like the majority of MCU movies: fairly entertaining, CGI-bloated, middling action scenes, doesn’t pack much emotions, and somewhat forgettable especially for those who aren’t really too invested in its characters. Florence Pugh is great. Scarlett Johansson, well, she seems Continue reading “Black Widow (2021)”

Breeder’s Digest

Last movies I’ve watched and liked? Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam (2020), and it seems to be getting “review-bombed” on Letterboxd. But it’s a fairly good movie, especially the acting — props to both Kim Molina and Gerald Napoles. Daryll Yap’s movies seems to get a lot of hate/dislike online Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest”

Breeder’s Digest

Sleep's The Sciences

Spacing Out

Alam mo ‘yung pumupungay ‘yung mata mo kahit ‘di ka naman naka-chongki. ‘Yung napapa-headbang ka kahit wala namang tugtog. Hindi yata ‘spacing out’ o ‘zoning out’ ang eksaktong katumbas nito, pero sa amin ang tawag dito ay nagtutukake. Nagtukake ako kanina. Habang nasa harap Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest”

Terminator Genisys (2015)

terminator-genisys-2015-003-trio-pointing-guns.jpg

Was finally able to see this. What took me so long? Well, one, there’s the generally mixed to negative reviews. And two, life gets in the way. Work, too. Well, I don’t really care about Rotten Tomatoes. So, it’s really just the last two. And probably the endless and countless streams of choices we have Continue reading “Terminator Genisys (2015)”

Crawl (2019)/ Piranha 3D (2010)/ Horns (2013)

Crawl (2019)
In the middle of a Category 5 hurricane, in their old house by the lake, Haley and her father find themselves trapped in the flooded crawl space. And they must fight for their lives against some hungry predators. The tension never lets up in Alexandre Aja’s claustrophobic horror movie. The suspense slowly builds up as the floodwater rises from the crawl space to the attic. The alligator attacks are scary, fucking scary. The building tension and the many close calls will make you hold on to your seat. And there’s one ingenious sequence where an alligator ends up being trapped in bathroom. It helps that Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swimmer, and her relationship with her estranged father (Barry Pepper) is hinged on this. He was her coach when she was young, and used to encourage her with this ‘apex predator’ shit, which gets a life-affirming callback, when Kaya declares “Apex predator all day, baby!” later in the final third. I’ll give this a five out of five awesome alligator clips.

Piranha 3D (2010)
When underwater earthquake is caused by a beer bottle being dropped in a lake, thousands of flesh-eating piranhas are unleashed into the water not so far from a town during spring break. Horny spring breakers, pornstars and pornographers, and fucktards who won’t make like a tree when told to stay out of the water—they’re the piranhas’ victims. Promiscuity is the cardinal sin and death-by-piranhas is the punishment. The town’s sheriff (Elisabeth Shue) and her deputies try to get everyone to safety (the operative word being “try”). While her eldest, together with his two young siblings, are trapped in a boat somewhere in the lake. Yes, like Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, this is about a family trying to survive, wading through piranhas, bloodied water, and dead bodies. And there’s probably more blood spilled here than in Saving Private Ryan‘s Omaha Beach D-Day sequence. Not to be mistaken with its reportedly awful sequel Piranha 3DD (2012), this loose remake of the Joe Dante original just have the right amount of boobs, blood, and fun. And it’s not to be missed if you’re fan of gore-filled horror comedies.

Horns (2013)
Ignatius or Ig (Daniel Radcliffe, still looking like that boy wizard only with facial hair) one day discovers horns sprouting out of his temple. Horns that give him some paranormal abilities i.e., he can force people to reveal their deepest desires and darkest secrets. Special powers which should come handy in solving movie’s central mystery: the death of his ex-girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple), for which he is the primary suspect. She was murdered the same night that she dumped him. “Are you horny?” Merrin asks Ig at one point. This movie works best when it’s darkly funny, when Ig’s horns makes people horny, do crazy stuff, or brutally honest (his father tells Ig he’s worthless). One time he goes to the doctor to get his horns amputated, he wakes up to the moans of the nurse and the surgeon banging each other on a swivel chair. But this movie’s mainly a whodunit, with psychological, supernatural, and religious elements in the mix. With a bit of Nicholas Sparks-y romance too. It doesn’t quite work as a whole, occasionally funny but tonally inconsistent. Watch this only if you’re curious how horny Hairy Potter is (or how hairy Horny Peter is) in this movie.

Ekis (1999)/ Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles (2012)/ Dos Ekis (2001)

Ekis (1999)
Erik Matti’s second film is about a group of kidnappers, in hiding and waiting for the ransom money. Tagalized Tarantino this quite isn’t, more like Peque Gallaga meets John Woo’s heroic bloodshed, with reams of dialogues from formulaic 90’s pinoy action movies finally put to good use. It’s a variation on the heist-gone-wrong type with a cast that doesn’t need to be color-coded to be memorable. Hot-headed and mutinous Roger (Raymond Bagatsing) is a hoot, especially around the usually reserved Gene (Albert Matinez), who’s seemingly torn between his criminal wrongdoings and the promise of escape to a normal life. A sense of normalcy, is what he gets it seems, every time he goes to Dolor (Sunshine Cruz) to do the “dirty work” — um, y’know, fixing pipe leaks, changing the fridge bulb, cleaning the aquarium. This may not be on par with Matti’s later works (On the Job, Honor Thy Father) but it’s occasionally funny. The look on their faces when they find two dead bodies in the trunk — priceless. For an action movie, this has, well, sex and violence. And there’s one scene clearly inspired by Polanski’s Lunes de fiel. This has the looks of a decent noir-ish thriller i.e., one can almost smell the dark dingy corners of the group’s hideout. And one thing you can count on in most of Matti’s movies, is that the sets are mostly detailed, look real, feel real — even if the plot/story sometimes doesn’t.

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles (2012)
Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is a horror story within another. It’s ‘meet the parents’ horror comedy within the bigger aswang story. Good-for-nothing boyfriend/husband and domineering matriarch, tropes maybe older than John en Marsha, are both served and subverted. And this has aswang lore that’s probably never used before in other aswang movies (i.e., an aswang turned himself into a pig and sold to the unsuspecting family). Jokes about giant wooden fork and spoon and Lipps candies are references definitely older than internet jokes about computer mouse and hard-boiled eggs. This is both fun and clumsy in the same way Gwapings: The First Adventure was. The use of pesticide sprayer and Boy Bawang blowgun is quite a hoot but the mostly CGI buntot-pagi disappoints. The movie’s shot entirely in chroma key and it looks okay considering they didn’t have Hollywood budget. Though I wish Erik Matti stuck with actors/make-up/practical effects, instead of purely CGI monsters, the same way Richard Somes did with the similarly-themed Lihim Ng San Joaquin.

Dos Ekis (2001)
Benito (Mark Anthony Fernandez) is a hardware store worker who frequents a nightclub just to see Charisse (Rica Peralejo), one of the club’s buxom dancers. An altercation between Charisse and her pimp Bunny (a pre-Heneral Luna John Arcilla) turns into a riot when Benito gets involved, and the two ends up running away with the club’s money. If the first movie has somewhat memorable characters, Dos Ekis is saddled with seemingly bored passive characters, and imposing but ultimately disposable villains. Instead of the amusing back-and-forths in the first, this has villains making lengthy monologues (John Arcilla’s pimp and Godfather figure played by Celso Ad. Castillo). But again, the set design is something to look at. Bunny’s nightclub is all lights, smoke, and mirrors. And Benito’s bedspace is located behind the silverscreen in an old theater — he can watch movies for free but the images are reversed. This doesn’t offer much in terms of story or characters. But there’s a steamy dance number in a makeshift shower that recalls both Ekis and Burlesk Queen. And there’s an extended sex on a couch while in the background, Ang Utol Kong Hoodlum II plays on the movie screen.

Minsan sa may Kalayaan

You’ve probably read the news by now. The latest Eraserheads cheese to reach your feeds. That “Minsan” wasn’t really abut ‘them’. That ‘them’ were never really ‘friends’. And people are losing their minds, on Facebook and Twitter. Never had the time nor the interest to read most of the reactions Continue reading “Minsan sa may Kalayaan”

The Night Comes For Us (2018)/ Honor Thy Father (2015)/ The Yellow Sea (2010)

The Night Comes For Us (2018)
Underneath all the carnage, this is actually about something. It’s about Ito (Joe Taslim) trying to save himself — by saving the little girl Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez). It’s about two friends who dreamt of “making it big” by joining the Triad — big brother Ito warning the younger Arian (Iko Uwais) not to make same mistakes he did. “Don’t join the Triad. Been there and it wasn’t all that great. There are chicks, booze, and stuff all around but ain’t got time for that, because all we do is traffic drugs and kill [mostly] innocent people.” Okay, he didn’t really say that. It seems that way anyway. Ito probably couldn’t even enjoy a good lay anymore, or have a guilt-free sleep at night. See, it’s not easy being one of the bad guys, with all this “guilt and conscience” stuff eating you inside. So when Ito saw a glimpse of redemption in Reina, he took a 180 degrees turn (also, literally) — killed his men, took the girl, went into hiding. And what follows is a zombie apocalypse — minus the zombies — a series of action setpieces, meticulously crafted as they are horrifyingly graphic, with all sorts of bad people trying to get their hands on Reina, Ito, and his friends. Most of the fights are pretty bonkers, with blood and violence, dialed to eleven. The two-against-one brawl between Julie, Alma and Elena is definitely one for the books. And for the movie’s final fight, well, I’d probably never look at a box cutter the same way ever again.

Honor Thy Father (2015)
Kaye and Edgar get caught in financial ruin after being involved in an investment scam. The promise of get-rich-quick suddenly becomes a living nightmare, when Kaye’s father turns up dead, the money, all gone. And their friends, co-parishioners at the Church of Yeshua, quickly turns on them, demanding their money back. But they are just small fry compared to some influential people, demanding a much bigger sum from the couple, in exchange for their daughter’s safety, and eventually, their lives. As a devoted member of the church, Kaye pleads for help. “Yeshua will provide,” said the Bishop. But he can’t help them, the money isn’t his, it’s the church’s. This leaves Edgar with only few options. Even so, he still sees to it that he goes with the lesser evil, until he’s cornered with no other option but the worst. Honor Thy Father is not something good to watch when you’re worrying about something or after stressful day at work. The movie makes little difference between scam investments and toxic religious groups. It gets a little too real sometimes, too close to home (i.e., financial troubles, sans the death threats of course). It is that good. An assuredly paced thriller that’s able to sustain its edge-of-your-seat atmosphere for long. A bleak crime drama with a little bit of The Bank Job, minus Princess Margaret’s naked pictures in a vault. It’s thrilling and despairing at the same time. And that ending, man, that ending. Really powerful stuff.

The Yellow Sea (2010)
Taxi driver Gu-nam is in serious debt. And he’s yet to hear from his wife, who left months ago to work in South Korea. Worse, he’s having nightmares of her being with another man. When local gangster Myun Jung-hak offers him a job to be able to settle his debt, he takes his chances. The job, go to South Korea and carry out a hit; his target, a professor named Kim Seung-hyun, later revealed to be gangster. When the hit doesn’t go as planned (turns out there’s more than one party who wanted Kim dead) Gu-nam finds himself running away from the cops, the gangsters, and eventually, from Myun, who travels to Korea to tie up the loose ends. Triple-crossed by Myun, and with no chance to return to Yanji, Gu-nam makes it his goal to find out who actually hired him (Myun was a middleman). The Yellow Sea works best when it’s a tight crime thriller, particularly in the first and second act. When it switches to gangster mode, it gets a little overbearing, especially when they bring out their axes/knives for the nth time. Whether or not it’s saying ‘this is how gun control looks like,’ this movie features, almost exclusively, knives, and the stabbiest of fights. Beneath the nihilistic bloodshed, it doesn’t seem to say much. And if there’s anything Gu-nam learns in the end, it’s probably that some men will go at great lengths, when they learn they’re being cheated on by their wives.

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)/ Mortal Kombat (2021)/ Mortal Kombat (1995)

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
DOA: Dead or Alive is one of those rare movies usually found in the bargain bins that gives you exactly what the cover says — sometimes more, depending on which DVD cover you got. It’s a video game-movie that knows fully well what it is. Story may be as flimsy as the kimono Devon Aoki wears early in the movie but the fight scenes are oftentimes sharp — like the katana that cuts the said kimono in half, in the movie’s opening sequence. Aoki plays ninja/princess, out for her missing brother, and Jaime Pressly is a pro-wrestler who wants to prove she can do better than fake-fights. And Holly Valance, well, she’s got the best introductory part, where she beats up some cops in a hotel room while putting on her panties and bra. There’s fair amount of fanservice in this movie, but it also has some ‘girl power’ vibes. The girls of DOA can definitely kick some serious ass. The fights may not be as great as Corey Yuen’s work in So Close, but competent enough for fans of the genre, and with sexy ninja babes to make up for it. There’s a swordfight in the middle of bamboo trees that’s House of Flying Daggers-worthy. And there’s also a sexy volleyball match on the beach! Some of the fights may be goofy (e.g., the final fight with Julia Robert’s brother), but there’s just enough good stuff to keep it fast, furious, and fun. DOA is a good-bad movie that’s terrible and terribly good at the same time.

Mortal Kombat (2021)
Video game franchise gets some Marvel-like upgrade in this new movie that combines CGI, superhero fights, and characters’ origin stories — most memorable of them, is of one mouthy side character who shoots beams from his eye. Yes, talking about Kano because the heroes were kind of bland. Compared with the first movie, this has better action, better fights. That the VFX and the sets are quite impressive, is pretty much a given, it’s already 2021. Still, I thought Joe Taslim (The Raid, The Night Comes For Us) was somewhat wasted in this one. The frequent cutting during the fight scenes seems to hide most of the hits, which is disappointing given that most of the cast could actually fight. Fans of the 1995 Paul (before he earned his “W.S.”) Anderson movie will find plenty things familiar. For one, it’s the same “chosen ones not quite ready to be heroes yet” all over again. Plus the odd choice of putting one new character at its center, with Deadpool 2 punchline/Shatterstar actor in the role, in a costume that seems to be a cross between Black Panther’s and Aquaman’s. Which gave me second thoughts on whether it would’ve been better if the movie focused more instead, on the game’s two most popular characters, whose origin story of sorts in the opening minutes, packs action, pathos, and blood — the combination of all three, the movie was never able to deliver for the rest of its running time.

Mortal Kombat (1995)
There’s hardly any exciting combat in here, much less mortal danger. Unless, you fear that Sonya Blade will get killed (in the movie, highly unlikely) or get hurt for real (which is likely), because fight Bridgette Wilson obviously can’t. Ditto with Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage, martial artist/Hollywood actor who’s so eager to prove that those fights in his movies weren’t fake, that he’s a legit martial artist. And then figures in yet another silly looking fight that’s incompetently staged — maybe an unintended self-reference, in a movie seemingly not afraid to make fun of itself. Obviously, only three (or four) characters in the movie can actually fight: Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, maybe, Reptile. The movie’s a bit of a dozy in parts. And all you can do is try not to shut your eyes and think pray hard Princess Kitana (model-actress Talisa Soto, lovely) is in every fight. By the way, when the hell did Raiden/Rayden become a white guy? Did all those years of beheading Immortals finally earned Connor MacLeod a seat with the gods? I don’t know, there isn’t really much in here. Well, at least Liu Kang gets to do his bicycle kick (I heard there isn’t a single “sonic boom” in that Street Fighter movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme), and Johhny Cage gets the funniest lines.

Bounty Killer (2013)/ Willy’s Wonderland (2021)/ Jiu Jitsu (2020)

Bounty Killer (2013)
Bounty Killer is a post-apocalyptic action comedy about celebrity assassins who hunt the yellow-tied corporate criminals responsible for the apocalypse. Celebrity assassins, bounty hunters who compete for fame, body count, and um, bounties. While also trying to put an end to the plague of corporate greed. Because it isn’t really capitalism that’s bad — as the movie seems to imply anyway — it’s greed. For a movie based on a graphic novel most likely inspired by Mad Max movies, it looks and sounds like a graphic novel comes to life. This movie looks cool, and our heroine Mary Death (Christian Pitre), is sexy, dangerous, and maybe not just a little bit objectified. Our hero, Drifter (Matthew Marsden), kind of looks like Tom Hardy in that other George Miller movie. The deaths are bloody gory and the action is well-done, sick, cool and fun. The vintage cars looks, um, vintage. And cool. Bounty Killer is high octane, sexy, mindless fun. But it struggles to be funny, as much as it struggles to generate any tension or drama, or even have an interesting plot within its simplistic view of retribution and corporate greed. Bounty Killer is a good-looking B-movie that’s just happy to sit idly within the confines of a B-movie. It’s OK-ish, I guess. If only the jokes and one-liners were memorable and funny.

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)
When his car breaks down, a quiet loner (Nic Cage) agrees to clean an abandoned family fun center in exchange for repairs. He soon finds himself waging war against possessed animatronic mascots while trapped inside Willy’s Wonderland. Willy’s Wonderland is the type of movie that possesses the deadly combination of Nicolas Cage doing Nicolas Cage-y stuff and horny/stupid teenagers diving head on to their deaths. If you can take either or both, plus the old school appeal of animatronics and practical effects, then this action horror movie might be for you. Nic Cage just cleans countertops, toilets, etc., takes a break, drinks soda, plays pinball, and then fights and kills animatronic mascots one at a time. Wash, rinse, repeat. While the stupid teens who went there to save him do nothing but die bloody gory deaths one after another. It’s kind of boring actually. It is a little fun the first few times. Then it just gets repetitive and predictable as it goes. By the way, Cage never speak a word in this movie. Probably one of the cooler thing he’s ever done in his entire career. The not speaking, not the movie.

Jiu Jitsu (2020)
Every six years, an ancient order of jiu-jitsu fighters join forces to battle a vicious race of alien invaders. “Why?” Because said aliens brought jiu-jitsu to Earth. And they want to fight Earth’s best jiu-jitsu fighters. “What!?” Nevermind. Jiu Jitsu has Tony Jaa, Frank Grillo, and some other guys. I’m not really sure how this got made. But one thing I’m sure of, this is not “Mortal Ong-Bak”. Jiu Jitsu is probably the slightest among my recently seen action movies. It’s a martial arts-Predator rip-off that’s probably even worse than the worst Predator movie. This looks like just a series of stunts to me, with corny graphic novel chapter breaks and lazily written dialogues in between. You might be better off watching other videos online than this (e.g., parkour stuff, clips from better movies, etc). This is quite bad. Not even sword-wielding Nicolas Cage could make this worth wasting your time.

10 Popular Songs That You Hate

Remember the time when they were promoting The Click Five on TV? Like this pop-rock (boy)band with emo haircuts and play their own instruments is probably the next big thing? I don’t really remember in what year that was, but I had the impression then they we’re trying to make this band go big Continue reading “10 Popular Songs That You Hate”

The Real True Meaning of Eraserheads’ “Spoliarium”

Ely Buendia finally revealed the real true meaning of “Spoliarium”, to the dismay of fanatical fans, budding conspiracy theorists, and wannabe UP professors. And if you are one of those who used to believe that the myth wasn’t just a myth, that there’s really something behind what’s written on the wall Continue reading “The Real True Meaning of Eraserheads’ “Spoliarium””

Breeder’s Digest: MYXposed, Ely Buendia, Diane Ventura

Was watching another MYX documentary the other day about bands and gangs, and drugs, orgies and stuff. Okay. Just bands, local bands and the music scene from early 2000s onwards, featuring interviews with the members of Sandwich, Parokya, Kamikazee, Pupil, Slapshock, Hale, Cueshe, Callalily Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest: MYXposed, Ely Buendia, Diane Ventura”

Songs of the Week: Nina, Mayonnaise, Richard Hawley, Cultured Pearls

My dreams have come and gone. The world is spinning faster each day. And I am not the one my future promised I’d be. Well, Nina, what can I say? My alternate future self never made any promise to my past self. Maybe my past self never even dreamed of that alternate future self in the first place Continue reading “Songs of the Week: Nina, Mayonnaise, Richard Hawley, Cultured Pearls”

Schizo Records Reissues Eraserheads’ Pop U! on its 30th Anniversary!

Eraserheads taking a "groupie" during stickier happier times.

We all know how it started. The band peddled their garage sale demo to every known record company. And they got rejected by the record labels because they weren’t pop enough. The songs weren’t pop enough. And they weren’t pogi enough. It’s almost saying that their music Continue reading “Schizo Records Reissues Eraserheads’ Pop U! on its 30th Anniversary!”

Movies: The Lone Ranger, WandaVision, Psychokinesis

Martin Scorsese once said Marvel movies isn’t cinema. Not that I have a strong opinion on whether movies such as Avengers: Endgame is cinema or not, it’s just that, I thought it’s cool to mention Martin Scorsese in the first line. That said, maybe you could say that Zack Snyder’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League Continue reading “Movies: The Lone Ranger, WandaVision, Psychokinesis”

Breeder’s Digest: Zild, Oh Flamingo, Ely Buendia

Juan Luna’s Tampuhan

I was listening to Zild’s Homework Machine the other night, looking at the dark black sky on the window when an angel appeared to me. The angel, it looked horrifying. With multiple wings spinning like wheels, flaming swords and other indescribable things. Then, the angel spoke to me in Alan Rickman’s voice Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest: Zild, Oh Flamingo, Ely Buendia”

Songs of the Week: Radiohead, Stephen Malkmus, Angel Locsin

Nostalgia, according to Wikipedia (a type of encyclopedia which doesn’t require any kind of lifting, reaching or walking to the bookshelf), is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Nostalgia is associated with a yearning for the past, its personalities, possibilities Continue reading “Songs of the Week: Radiohead, Stephen Malkmus, Angel Locsin”

Re-watch: Spider-Man 2 (2004) / Far From Home (2019)

Recently re-watched Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Far From Home. The former is generally regarded as the best Spider-Man movie, and not only that, one of the best comic book movies, alongside Logan, The Dark Knight, and Watchmen (just kidding). And the latter, I’d say the best among recent Continue reading “Re-watch: Spider-Man 2 (2004) / Far From Home (2019)”