Movies and TV

Train To Busan: Run as fast as you could

A rainy weekend afternoon makes you feel like you wanna stay at home. Happy to make a choice of going to the mall and check which movies are showing. Good thing I was able to catch the movie Train to Busan, a Korean movie created by Next Entertainment World, which is about Sok-woo and his daughter Soo-ahn who are boarding the KTX train bound to Busan when an unknown disease strikes to one of the passengers, and threatening to infect the rest of the boarders. So if you’re one of the many who’s into zombie inspired plots, then this is a must-watch-movie. (R-13)

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Noah, Her and Transcendence

I decided to make quick reviews on the last 3 movies I recently saw. These are great movies I would recommend watching. So without further adieu, let’s get started:

Her (Spike Jonze)

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 “Her” is a story created by Spike Jonze, it is about Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), who is struggling on his relationship with his wife, and found connection to a highly intelligent platform/operating system, which he calls it Samantha. (voice of Scarlett Johansson) She is smart, organized, inquisitive and curious to know about humans, and unexpectedly, it started a romantic relationship between the two. The idea that you can be yourself with “someone” (or something in that movie), can be with her anytime and simply listen to you without any judgement, is what make Theodore fell in love with Samantha. When he accepted the fact that he is falling for a machine, it liberates him, because he knows that it is for real.

This is a pretty straight forward movie, no special effects or the complexity is not extremely difficult, but why Spike Jonze is so great in creating this movie? Pretty simple, he was able to establish the character of Theodore as the main lead, and people are able to relate with him. No fancy acting just very real performance. Besides who does not want to hear the voice of Scarlett on this movie? It also stars Catherine (Rooner Mara) as the ex wife, Paul as Theodore’s Boss (Chris Patt) and Amy, Theodore’s bestfriend (Amy Adams).

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Enemy: A movie review

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If you are looking for a thrilling psychological movie, with a very intriguing ending, then watching Enemy that stars Jake Gyllenhaal would definitely be a good fit for you.

While others inaccurately conclude that giant  spiders would take over the world, here are my conclusions:

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Would you like to see Harvey’s counterpart on Suits Season 3?

Happy to complete the first two seasons of Suits tv show in just 2 days. I guess our internet upgrade timing is appropriate. And just as you have guessed, I did a marathon on it. 🙂

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I completed watching up to Season 2 finale (Episode 16, War) and what I like about this show is the distinguishing characters of the main cast, they are believable, like I almost thought they are practicing law. Of course no matter how technical or legal they are, the romance will always be there. Notice that Mike, Harvey, Jessica, Rachel and even Louis have their own share of relationship episodes. Donna plays a great supporting character, she has this keen eye to details and shows great loyalty to Harvey. We have seen from time to time how Mike Ross, the lead associate screws up, well at least we are not watching a superficial show. Harvey is one heck of a boss, but I like it when he bowed to Jessica. It would have been better if Hardman’s character was played by another actor, someone who has the looks &  swag like Gabriel Macht. Coming this season 3, Max Beesley from Hotel Babylon will play Stephen Huntley, Darby’s right hand man and yes Harvey’s counterpart, who will be a big blow following the merger. So I look forward for their dynamics at the Pearson-Darby law firm. Something to look forward to is Rachel’s romantic relationship with Mike Ross, will that change even after she discovered of Mike’s secret, being a non-Harvard graduate? Another thing that seem progressing is Louis loyalty to Pearson, will that stay while Harvey is battling for the Darby-Pearson merger?

Let us all wait for the Season 3 Episode 1 which will be aired some time in July 2013.

The Walking Dead Season 3 finale: peaceful ending, not exciting?

Vampires out, zombies in! That’s the trending for this year’s horror movies, wherein adults and even kids almost wish that zombies are for real so they get to test their survival skills. And yes I will learn to shoot walkers at their foreheads. This is why The Walking Dead tv show is one of the most top rated shows in US/Canada, actually all over the world. Season 1 and 2 keep us all hooked, but with the beginning of Season 3, story progressions become smaller, and a bit dragging.

Twas only last night that I get to see the season 3 finale. And as an avid fan, I’m a little disappointed with the finale because of the following reasons:

1. The Governor is surely to be present in Season 4. Rick vs. the Governor for finale is all pure hype.

2. The finale is not that exciting considering that the next season is 5 months from now. It could be forgettable for a season-ender. It can make people feel disconnected from the show, because it does not feel that chilling or scared effect compared with the two seasons.

3. The beginning part of S4 is going to be in prison still. (though got reports that there will be a change of location, perhaps midway of the next season)

4. Though the story is becoming realistic, where enemies are not just walkers but also the living, people want more action combat with these walkers. After all, that’s why most people get hooked because of the wonderful zombie prosthetic.

I’m not saying that this Season 3 is pure crap, there are some things that Robert and the gang did alright on this one:

1. Andrea’s death. I know others would want her to be alive, but its all about the character and her impacts to the story. Well at least her death was nicely done, making it heroic in a way. Micchone is a better replacement for Andrea.

2. Rick’s people are still intact. By now we know that the story does not just revolve around Rick, but other supporting characters like Daryl, Micchone, Glenn, Maggie, plus the new people Rick adopted from the Woodbury.

3. Ruthless Carl. The finale shows how Carl has grown up and has this kill-or-be-killed attitude. Whether this change may be good for the entire group dynamics or not, is something to look forward to.

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We hope to see more zombie horde actions for the next season, less talks. With more heads now in Rick’s camp, it is starting to create a small community, and let’s see what kind of ending does the Governor get.

The Life of Pi: A Retrospect

Disclaimer: I had not read the book, I cannot compare how it is presented in writing.

I only got a time today to watch this movie, I’m aware that it has been shown last December 2012, and heard a lot of rave reviews about it. For a great movie like this, I’m thanking myself for not checking out spoiler alerts. 😉

The Life of Pi is a story about a writer who wants to bounce back from his abandoned novel & ended up meeting Pi for his life story with the promise from the beginning that it will help him believe in God. Pi started by telling the writer his family background, the religious affiliations he’s been to, up to the point of the shipwreck navigating to the Mariana Trench, along the Pacific, where the accident took place. It gives me this chuckle when Manila (Philippines) was mentioned in the movie, by the way. When the shipwreck incident took place, Pi together with the Bengal tiger, zebra, hyena and orangutan began their unbelievable journey with the twist of magical moments. Only Pi and the tiger survived towards the end. As the two Japanese insurance reps are interviewing him to find out the cause of shipwreck, they are not convinced by his story version. It is as if they almost wished for another version of truth. As per them no one would ever believe that a young boy had survived for more than 200 days. (others find the days figure debatable) Pi decided to give another representation of his animal story, only that he uses real person.

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I will not discuss here the specifics of the movie, I would encourage that you watch it and maybe find a different meaning from it. Below are my reflections, it may or may not be directly insinuated/imposed from the movie.

– It is a story of faith & hope, surviving hardships and finding the meaning of life.

– You would probably become disappointed when you expect the movie to heat up your belief in God. The movie will not turn you to a Christian convert right away. It basically depends on your perception where the movie is going.

– It deals with perception and expectations about reality. How one gets disappointed at something. (when the tiger did not even look back at Pi)

– Shows great resilience, when facing threats/disaster. And that we can improve our capacity to be resilient at any point of our lives.

– Presented the coexistence of human with animals, our roles in ecology and our connection with them.

– I thought the message of the story is simple: People will choose what to believe, may it be in religion, may it be in our daily lives or just about anything. It’s just amazing how this facile message is delivered sensibly on this movie. The ending hits me the most, when the writer was asked what story he prefers, and said the tiger story, and Pi said “so with God.”

We might have varied reviews and reflections about the movie. It kind of reminded me, like reading  choose your own kind of book, which was popular in the 90s. Actually there is no right or wrong choice whether you like the animal story or the 2nd version, but more of having that chance for self-contemplation.

Who loves Sacha?

If you wanna live longer, it is imperative that you laugh hard. Statistics shows that people who understand the concept of laughter, lives a longer life. Laughter is good for all of us, and it is used in therapy to improve quality of life, provide some pain relief, encourage relaxation, and reduce stress. Doctors called it Humor Theraphy.

And if comedian/artists are considered to be humor therapists, I will then thank Sacha Baron Cohen. He is popularly known as Borat, and now as “The Dictator.” — his last movie just made me fully charged again. ^__^

The Healing: A post review

Mom and I watched the movie, The Healing, a local Philippine horror movie created by renowned director Chito S. Roño. It stars Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu and a whole lot more. The movie is intriguing enough for me so we decided to go out on a Saturday movie fare, though its raining outside. For those who had not seen it, I’m warning you some stuff here are spoiler alert:

– What I like about the movie is its cinematography. Very creative, could be an entry for an international movie body.

– The storyline, though it kinda patterned to the likes of Final Destination, where the order or character deaths come in a series, it still managed its own plot without copying from those foreign movies.

– Story is about doppelganger where one sees a double of a person who is about to die.

– The eye effect of possessed characters can scare children away, and some adults too hehehe.

– The preview perception is different from the storyline itself, which makes it intriguing.

– I don’t like how it was ended, Kim opening-her-eyes-scene is a bit predictable.

As a fan of horror movies, this is not a 100% totally scary movie for me, some parts gugulatin ka lang, could be a bit gorie, but worth watching. It sets the bar for future movie makers, and if I may say, that I’m hoping we can make zombie inspired movies too. Let’s put to test our creative directors. If we can watch foreign shitty movies, why not see our very own? Or are you scared enough?

How to encode your videos to H.264 MP4

Are you having a hard time viewing your videos online? Did it ever cross your mind that perhaps your videos are not properly encoded for web playback? Here’s Handbrake, a utility I’ve been using personally that will convert your MP4, MOV or M4V files to an H.264 Mp4 movie. I can assure you, this works the wonders.

You just need to download the software from the link below. Choose the correct version for your operating system. After downloading just install and run the program on your desktop.

Download Here

Before you start working on your video, make HandBrake save the output video file in MP4. Go to Tools then Options, locate Output Files and change it to MP4. Here’s the output settings tested that works well with most video hosting sites. The container is MP4 File, Web Optimized must be checked and the Video Codec is H.264 (x264)

You can also play around with the bitrate as it directly affects the video quality. The higher the value, the better it looks. Keep in mind that the video will be viewed online and higher quality eats more bandwidth thus requires faster internet connection speed on the customer side. An average bitrate of 1500 kbps should look and play fine for most computers and internet connection.

You can also use this tool for changing the video dimension and height/width cropping if needed. Settings found under the Picture tab.

The Walking Dead

You might have wondered what I’ve been up to these past few days, I’ve been watching this Fox channel TV Series hit, The Walking Dead, inspired from the comic book series created by Robert Kirkman. The story pretty much revolves around after a zombie apocalypse. We all have heard about similar movie plot, but what I found interesting in this show is the development of the characters and the speed of the storyline. Of course the zombies would be everywhere, what else should we expect? I have to applaud the creative directors for the overall makeup, costumes, and environment selection, effects are really scary enough.

After finishing the two full seasons of The Walking Dead for three consecutive days, I felt like a zombie too 😀 (smells like them, go figure!) I’m really hooked watching, actually that what makes it more interesting, you cannot really tell what to expect on each episode, one character will be dead, but you can’t fingerpoint who it will be. The characters are Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) in Season 3. When everyone expects to like Rick Grimes, I personally like Daryl transformation on this show, from a bastard to becoming a good alliance to the team. I am looking forward for Season 3, by that time, I will be damn busy watching again. 🙂

And you wanna know which among the characters are you with this personality test?

Check this out!

How long is movie marathon?

They say that the best way to start the year right is to give more time on things that you did not pay attention to, did not care the most, or things that you would not like to regret in the future. Last year, there were several movies I was deprived of, not that I don’t have time to do so, but I choose to divert my time in some other things. So this year I decided to review more movies, some sort of mental maneuver.

In Time (2011) = this is a science fiction thriller that stars Amanda Seyfried, (Sylvia) Justin Timberlake, (Will Salas) Cillian Murphy, (Raymond Leon) Matt Bommer, (Henry Hamilton) and the film was written, directed and produced by Andrew Niccol. The story revolves around the concept of aging, where people stops at 25, got a year to live. The rich people can live eternally and the poor, well they are struggling to survive. I like the idea of living by minutes, you get to value your life more than ever, and just as how fast your life minute will be taken away by people who also want to live longer. Here’s a movie line that hits me: “though your body may not be worn out, your mind is. We want, we need, to die.” 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Paranormal Activity 3 = Yes another horror movie phenomenon for 2011, now being directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, who are the makers of 2010 Catfish. 20% of the movie are a bit surprising, not totally scary for me, like the scene where Julie walks into the kitchen and sees its empty, and suddenly, all the utensils and furniture fall from the ceiling, scaring Julie out of the room. The ending does not create a thrilling experience at all, other than seeing the devil broke Dennis’ spine. Perhaps I am just not a fan of movie-setup-camera, and it does not scare me at all.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Real Steel (2011) = is based on the 1956 short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson, which does not materialize during that time, and not until June 2010 when they decided to produce the film and began shooting. This stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, Dakota Goyo as Max Kenton, Kevin Durand as Ricky, Evangeline Lilly as Bailey Tallet, Hope Davis as Debra , Karl Yune as Tak Mashido. The movie revolves around the life of Charlie, a former boxer who’s fascinated to robot boxing, and lost several of them. Together with Max, his son, they recreated Atom using Noisy Boy’s spare parts. The story unfolds lessons about boxing discipline, winning, and family relationships.

Movie tagline: If you get one shot, make it real.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

So there you have it folks, next time, if my laziness permits, I would be reviewing some more.