Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Getting Excited For 2013

So if the Mayans are to be believed, the world will come to and end this Friday. First thing when I wake on Saturday morning is to tweet "I'm still alive you Mayan suckers!!". Personally I'll be pissed if they got their prediction right as I didn't get to see Django Unchained [2012] (I'm already annoyed it's release date over here is the end of January. Early word around the Internet is it is awesome... this is Tarantino we're talking about if you need reminding). Plus that hoverboard from Back To The Future 2 [1989] which I've been saving my money on since a young age still hasn't been invented. Actually recent events in my life have made me realize the list doesn't stop there. There's still a galaxy of things to do. Here's looking forward to 2013.....

# Personal Life

Wow, its the 19th already and I've only had one post for December? Actually this is because a recent transformation I've made in my personal life has occupied a majority of my time. I've been actively trying to reignite the adventurous spirit of my youth. That spark slowly disappeared a few years ago when I entered the work-force, which meant long hours stuck behind a computer battling the constant threat of cyber-hackers (a career I'm not passionate about... it does impress people though, particularly chicks, especially when they hear my speech of: "I am the country's protector. I secure information. Information is knowledge, and knowledge is power! It is often said modern-era war is not an attack on a country's land or infrastructure but on it's information system. Bla, Bla, Bla". I also get a huge kick when I threaten to hack the email of the person who annoys me.... yeah right, like I'm anywhere that good). It was all work and no play. The only thing that increased was my waistline and weight. It didn't help that my friends lost this spirit even quicker than I did. It's like that quote from The Breakfast Club [1985]: "When you grow up, your heart dies".

So two and a half months ago I started working out again and managed to lose 14kg (30.8 pounds). I feel reinvigorated and like my competitive-soccer playing youth days. I want to do so many things now. The following might sound like a mid-life crisis, but although I'm still way too young for that (wonder if this is a very late coming-of-age instead of early mid-life crisis), I don't want to wait until I'm 40 or 50 to start crossing things off my bucket-list. The change starts now! My mind right now is conjuring-up the image of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society [1989] saying "Carpe Diem!". Oh, 2013 can't come sooner enough!

Things to do: despite my general fear of heights, I've always wanted to go bungee jumping. I'll be doing that in two weeks time. I want to go sky-diving for real now and not just simulation. Run a marathon, my first in exactly 10 years. I want to do more traveling, there's so many countries to visit (places where iconic scenes from movies were filmed would be a bonus... hey, I forgot about comic-con!). Heck, I haven't even finished exploring my own country. I want to go swimming with the sharks (anyone have any suggestions for a real cool location?). I want to go watch Man Utd play at Old Trafford (how the hell has this not yet happened? It could be my life's biggest regret). Learn new languages. Finally play the guitar. The list is endless. Oh, yeah... change careers too.

The reason for this renewed vigor and inspiration? Like all cliche good stories its a girl. It always is. Hey, if John Lennon fell in the same trap, I'm in good company. Gosh, this post so far has been so cheesy. Isn't this supposed to be a movie blog? So on a more related note....

# 3 Best Movie Trailers For 2013

 I'm fully aware that good trailers doesn't necessarily translate into entertaining movies (see Snow White And The Huntsman [2012] ), but I can't help but get pumped-up to watch these films based on the following 3 trailers:

Iron Man 3. Out May 3rd. I just know Shane Black will deliver.

Evil Dead. Out April 12th. Never a fan of remaking a classic, but this trailer is just so bad-ass!

Man Of Steel. Out June 14th. I picked the teaser trailer (preferred Russel Crowe's voice over Kevin Costner's) here instead of the full version... well, just because I liked it better.

# TV Shows

I really don't get to watch TV show regularly nowadays, but I'm just glad Suits will be returning in January! I'll make time for that. Plus, can't wait to see what happens on The Walking Dead once it returns.

# Looking Back At 2012

Here's compilation videos for the films of 2012. I always enjoy these. The first is Filmography 2012 from my regular favourite Gen I. The second is Cinemageddon 2012 by Christopher Sherwood.

# Blogging

With all these activities I've got in plan, I'm not sure how often I'll be able to blog. Its a shame too because I enjoy blogging and am currently getting around 1,000 to 2,000 daily views. I think that is decent for a blog which doesn't update regularly (3 times in a week... which doesn't happen much... is my current record) and only 16 months old. I'm going to think positively here and hopefully, if I'm having a blast in my personal life, I'll have plenty more inspiration to blog.

Anyways, that's it. Have a happy holidays people!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey [2012]

Release Date: 13 December 2012 (Malaysia), 14 December 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, JRR Tolkien
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, Andy Serkis, Manu Bennet
Duration: 169 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman) is recruited, rather unwillingly at first, by Gandalf The Grey (played by Ian McKellen) to join a quest of reclaiming the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. What was once a glorious dynasty, it has been conquered long ago by an unstoppable dragon called Smaug. Joining the two on the quest are 13 dwarfs led by the heir to Erebor's throne, Thorin son of Thrain (played by Richard Armitage).

Thumbs Up:
+ Characters and references to future events from The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy. Serves as a nice expansion of the universe
+ Battle between stone-giants
+ The elves' dietary choices. Of course they are vegetarians (or at least seem to be)
+ The familiar score from Howard Shore
Thumbs Down:
- Horrifically slow pacing, and clocking-in at 169 minutes makes it extremely tedious
- Seems to lack a bit of focus. Lot's of stories seem to be going on, but nothing really exciting really happens. Some scenes aren't necessary.
- Talking trolls. I don't care if this is how it is in the book, it just seems off to me. Trolls are supposed to be beasts. These not only speak, but they don't even have monstrous voices (even the Uruk-Hais from LOTR had meaner voices).
- Lacking the overall grandiose feeling that an epic needs

The Verdict Is In:
Chronologically, both in terms of the story being told and the date the book was published, The Hobbit proceeds that other Tolkien novel, The Lord Of The Rings. But now I know why the latter was made into a movie first... it has a much, much superior and fascinating story to be told. Granted that this film is still only the first part of a trilogy, so far it just doesn't have that same level of excitement or emotional engagement. We just haven't yet felt that wondrous and exhilarating feeling that we got from our previous journey through Middle-Earth. Niether do we share that emotional burden that Frodo had to endure. As much as I enjoyed the expanded view of this mystical universe, the most excitement I had was whenever a familiar character (Galadriel is as enchanting as ever here... are we sure Cate Blanchett isn't a real elf in disguise?) or background story to the LOTR trilogy was made (finally we know why Gimli hates Elves).

As much as I enjoyed Gandalf revealing the story of the 5 wizards that exists on Middle-Earth (apparently there are a few more color-types for wizards other than grey and white... I feel enlighten) and then actually getting to meet Radagast The Brown himself, I felt that those scenes were among the many that should have been left for the Blu-Ray extras as to prevent this film from feeling overtly bloated and long. Oh yeah, right now I'm not feeling encouraged to know they'll be another two films after this. The pacing was incredibly slow and by the time an exciting action sequence took place, it was hard for me to shift from my (mildly-) bored emotional state. Of course, maybe this is because I'm a geek who bewilderingly enjoyed the LOTR trilogy. Would anyone new to this franchise enjoy this movie? My guess is, if they did, it won't be by much. For those craving for an epic adventure, this resembles more of exploring a local park than a journey through mythical and uncharted territories.
6 out of 10
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