Monthly Archives: September 2012

Hugh Jackman is a collection of muscle, veins and adamantium

Just in case you were confused about the target demographic of the new Wolverine movie, they’ve released a new picture of Hugh Jackman as the titular mutant.

I could write about how I think those veins have got to be photoshopped or how I think this will turn out for the story, but this is one of those times when a meme sums it up best. So check it out:

“Hi girls, have you seen my shirt anywhere?”

The Wolverine is due out sometime in 2013.

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Quickie Reviews: Ruby Sparks and Premium Rush

Ruby Sparks

Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written by: Zoe Kazan
Watch out for: Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano

Pitch: A lonely novelist writes about his fantasy woman and she mysteriously comes to life.

I went into this movie with pretty high expectations as the concept seemed pretty original and would appeal to anyone who likes to write and create characters. And you what? It actually surpassed my expectations by taking the clever concept and going places with it that makes the movie more than just a generic rom-com with a good premise.

At one point, the film starts to shed the “puppies and ice-cream” vibe and gets a bit darker, and it’s because of this that the film is really able to make full use of its premise to delve into the chaos that exists in a writer’s mind. I mean, if you had the power to write things into reality, where do you draw the line?

As a lead, Paul Dano fills the role well. He’s not the most likable guy in the world, but you can definitely sympathize with him and understand his loneliness. When left to his own devices, he does tend to get pretty dull though.

That’s where Zoe Kazan comes in. As the titular character, she brings with her an unconventional cuteness that makes Ruby Sparks such a perfect girl-next-door type. As Dano’s character starts to tweak Ruby to his liking, Kazan is able to carry off the transitions without making Ruby too much of a caricature.

There’s also a great supporting cast, including Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas, to populate the quirky world they live in.

Last thoughts: Ruby Sparks is a great date movie, so go watch it!


Premium Rush

Directed by: David Koepp
Written by: David Koepp, John Kamps
Watch out for: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon

Pitch: A bicycle messenger picks up a mysterious package and is chased around Manhattan by a corrupt cop.

Cycling seems to be gaining in popularity lately, as a ton of my friends now spend a lot of their time and money on their new bikes and associated gear. Thus, it’s not inconceivable that Hollywood would want to make a movie that capitalizes on this new trend, by stringing along a whole bunch of cycling scenes together into a plot. And that’s what this movie is.

I’m sure nobody expected the plot to be anything stellar, but honestly they spend too much time on their bikes for the plot to really develop. You know how tacky dance movies are like 70% dance scenes and 30% “acting” scenes? This movie has a ratio that’s more like 80/20.

They did try to make things more interesting with a non-linear progression of the story, but it wasn’t really necessary or successful and the movie remains a generic trend-whore movie.

When not peddling his ass off, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as the main character, but his talent is completely wasted as he spends most of his screen-time riding a bicycle. They could’ve replaced him with a professional cyclist like Matt Hoffman, and the film wouldn’t have been any weaker.

David Koepp must’ve understood this, he concentrated on stitching as many cycling scenes together as he could. But often, the scenes seem a bit forced and it does hurt the movie a bit when there’s a race scene between two cyclists, and you know it’s there just because they really wanted to include such a scene.

I mean, you’re being chased by a corrupt cop that would probably kill you if he could, and instead of explaining that to your douchebag ultra-competitive friend, you guys decide it’s okay to race through Central Park? Doesn’t that just completely dumb down the gravity and urgency of the situation?

There’s also a scene where he does bike stunts around an impound lot to elude cops. It’s so by-the-numbers it’s not funny.

To be fair, the cycling scenes are pretty fun with a huge sense of speed and some very clever visual effects sequences, but they overstay their welcome after a while.

And Michael Shannon is a bit on-off as the villain. There are times when he can be quite intense and scary, but most of the time his silly eccentric quips make him sound more incompetent than scary.

Last thoughts: This year’s version of Gleaming the Cube.


Clueless Vampires

I’ll be the first to admit that I liked Clueless. I thought it was a very clever and fun movie, even though it’s a bit gross to fall in love with your ex-step-brother.

Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter in Vamps

Well, director Amy Heckerling has made another movie starring Alicia Silverstone, and this time it’s about vampires. Krysten Ritter and Silverstone play a couple of fashionable vampires, and one of them falls in love with a Van Helsing kid or something. That’s pretty much the plot, according to the trailer.

Yeah, it just doesn’t look very interesting, does it? Oh well, we can always hope for the best though. It’s got Sigourney Weaver in it after all, as the vampire queen or something.

On the plus side, Alicia Silverstone doesn’t look like she’s aged that much since Clueless. Maybe she really is a vampire?

Alicia Silverstone… hot or not?


First Person Mario

Remember when they turned Syndicate into a first-person shooter? And then they wanted to turn XCOM into a first-person shooter as well?

Now that YouTube filmmaking genius Freddie Wong has made a video that shows what Mario would look like as a first-person shooter! Check it out, it’s just way too awesome!


This weekend’s date-movie: Ruby Sparks

So, Ruby Sparks just came out this week in Singapore, so if you’re going on a dinner/movie date this weekend, this is the movie you have to watch.

A writer somehow creates his perfect girl after he writes about her (played by real-life lovers Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan), and she continually takes on every trait that he writes for her. It’s such a kooky and original premise, and it sounds like this movie is going to be tons of fun.

Besides, how cute is Zoe Kazan!

The very cute Zoe Kazan


Wing Commander and the art of config.sys

Wing Commander was one of my favorite games when I was a kid. It was just all kinds of awesome, from the gameplay to that incredibly entertaining game manual disguised as a military magazine (that manual made me want to write game manuals when I grew up – except well, that would be a dead-end job in this day and age of tutorial levels and PDF files).

It was also a game that pushed the level of graphics at that time, with really cool looking pre-rendered sprites for enemy ships and immersive animations like sparks in your cockpit when your ship is getting shot up.

Anyway, check out this screenshot:

I still consider these graphics to be awesome!

See that hand in the cockpit, and the face of your wing-man in the right MFD? Well, these are only available if you have a certain amount of Expanded Memory.

What the hell is Expanded Memory, you might ask? Well, back then, most computers still only had 640k of RAM and anything above that was either Extended (XMS) or Expanded Memory (EMS). There’s a difference between them, but I honestly have no idea what it is.

What I do know is, that if you want to use either XMS or EMS, you needed to learn how to edit your Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files. Anyone who hasn’t used MS-DOS before will have no idea what they are, but old school gamers will be very familiar with these all-important files.

Config.sys and Autoexec.bat are files that DOS would read to know how to boot your computer up. My burning desire to play Wing Commander with all the bells and whistles switched on made me learn all the basic commands to work these files to maximize my free memory, while still loading the essentials like the soundcard driver, and it’ll look something like this:

device=c:\dos\himem.sys
device=c:\dos\emm386.exe 2048
dos=high
files=30

And then this will be followed by a whole lot of other device= commands to load up soundcard and CD-ROM drivers. I don’t even know what the files= command is for, but I just know I need at least 15 to play Wing Commander.

Pew pew pew, you stupid Jalthi!

The thing is, this isn’t a “do once and relax” ordeal, as you’d have to tinker with these files anytime you get more memory or have to load a new driver. Some games used XMS, some used EMS.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do this stuff anymore, but I dunno… I still feel like it was an important learning experience for a young gamer, like a geeky rite of passage or something. It definitely made me feel more pleased with myself once I finally got my games to work!

Any of you guys remember messing around with config.sys? Do you miss it?


New Wreck-it Ralph posters and trailer

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to watch a movie as much as I want to watch this movie. It’s as if someone at Disney reached into my skull and pulled out my idea of a perfect movie, and made it real.

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I mean it’s got cameos from Sonic, Q*Bert, the Street Fighter guys, and so many more!

It comes out in December, and I honestly cannot wait to see it.

 


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