Man Of Mars (August 8, 2003 – December 31, 2007)

July 1, 2006

July 2006

Filed under: events,films,tennis — drei @ 12:00 am

Superman Returns
Sun, 02 Jul 2006 11:05:00 GMT

Superman Returns (2006, Bryan Singer). Nostalgia was the overpowering emotion after watching the fifth Superman film. I may not remember the full details of the first four Superman movies, but I remembered watching all of them as a kid, and enjoying them immensely. Later after reading articles and reviews only did I realize that the latter sequels sucked, but in my early years I absolutely had no idea about movie plots and story lines. All I cared about then were the existence of Lex Luthor, the villains moving between glasses, the flying electricity guy, and that Superman beat the hell out of them. As unintentional efforts of preparing myself to the overdue sequel, I recently caught a few Season 5 episodes of Smallville (which helped me remind of the green kryptonite), and watched an episode of the tagalized version of Lois and Clark last weekend (which is nowhere close to the English version because of the distasteful translation). Access to these just shows that Superman is truly one of the biggest franchise in pop culture history, and one of the most celebrated comic character.

Superman Returns

Some notes on the film:

  • If not for Smallville, Superman Returns wouldn’t have been as effective in giving a nostalgic impression, so I guess credit could be given to the Tom Welling series. And let’s face it, the series made us ask during those years if Superman is indeed coming back to the widescreen. And this year, Bryan Singer gives us the answer.
  • I’m just very glad the Superman project years ago supposedly directed by Tim Burton (gothic Superman?!?) and starred by Nicolas Cage (bald Clark?!?) never pushed through. That same team could do an updated Planet of the Apes though, and maybe a primate Cage can redeem the disastrous remake made up of terrible looking fake masks and obviously artificial studio sets.
  • Like all Singer films, the actors were very well chosen in the movie. Brandon Routh was perfect as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman. I can’t very much remember the transition of the character in the early films, but now I realized that when Superman wears his cape, he doesn’t only transform to the Man of Steel, but also becomes a man of few words. Superman’s silence did not however stopped Routh in showing his acting skills, not to mention that his portrayal of Clark is funny and adorable. Christopher Reeve would have been proud watching his successor fly.
  • Bryan Singer is now known as the director who did miracles to Kevin Spacey. Spacey was fantastic and unforgettable in The Usual Suspects, and now he’s commendable as the wig-dependent nemesis of Superman.
  • Parker Posey, the bimbo version of Hillary Swank, was perfect as the bimbo ally of Lex. I first saw this funny actress in Scream 3 and instantly enjoyed her portrayal as a bimbo actress. She was also a bimbo wife in Laws of Attraction, and a bimbo bitch in Josie and the Pussycats. She should soon team up with Paris Hilton, who really seemed natural in playing a sexy bimbo in House of Wax. Hehe!
  • James Marsden, who I once thought would play a good Superman (along with Eric Bana), starred as Lois Lane’s husband. It’s really a good thing he got to appear in another superhero movie after his negligible presence in the last X-Men.
  • Kate Bosworth’s portrayal of Lois Lane however was a bit off. She looked young for the character, and she’s not as assertive as I expected. (or maybe Teri Hatcher’s transition from Lois Lane to the desperate housewife has some influence on my expectations)
  • The effects of the film were superb. The opening sequence alone was sensational, with scenes of planets and asteroids in galaxies from a speeding perspective. The digital effects of the film were extremely neat, from the bullet nearing Superman’s eye to the catastrophic tremors in the metropolis.
  • The action sequences were a little simplistic, and at some point non-climactic. It’s understandable since Bryan Singer is not known for clever suspense. When he made the first X-Men, I was anticipating a grand action sequence when Rogue was using Magneto’s power to activate the mutant-transforming machine affecting a big chunk of New York, but didn’t happen. In Superman Returns, I was anticipating the destruction sequence of North America in real world proportions, but sadly all I got was Luthor’s preview of the miniature trains and landscape.
  • Story-wise, I honestly felt a lot of details were missed. Not much explanation was given to Lane’s Pulitzer winning article, or to the realization of Superman in his missing years. This is disappointing since I consider Bryan Singer more of a storyteller than an action film director. The over all theme of the story is not exactly that different from the plot we are all familiar of, that of Lex’s evil schemes and his never ending plot to kill Superman, and that of Lois and Superman’s love affair. There wasn’t even much dilemma in the protagonist’s decision to return as Superman. (I’d have to say the hero’s dilemma in Spiderman 2 had a better treatment, though less complicated) The only added story line, was the minor twist on Lois Lane’s son. Despite the un-extraordinary feel of the plot, the script and acting were well done and consistent.
  • The love angle between Lois and Superman was very reminiscent to the first Superman movie. Lane’s marriage added spice to the subject, and the film’s execution proves more that Superman is not just responsible to one of the greatest superhero stories but also to one of the most memorable love stories in comic history.
  • One of my favorite scenes was Superman’s defeat in the hands of Lex Luthor. Luthor’s allies beating Superman, and Lex striking him with a sharp Kryptonite was just pure classic, and Posey’s tears in that scene were downright sincere. One scene I never expected to see in any Superman movie, was Superman rushed in a hospital emergency room. It seemed funny, but then it also gave Superman a bit of human touch.

Now that the long wait for Superman is over, I can’t give the best praises to Superman Returns, though I wasn’t displeased. Superman Returns was able to deliver, and the nostalgic feel was enough for me to enjoy the movie. I honestly would rather that they made a more interesting story of Superman’s comeback.

(And as for Bryan Singer, I wish he didn’t pass the directorial seat in X-Men3. X3 had the perfect story, but lacked the touch of a real visionary director.)

——————

Thanks to Lye for the free tickets to the special screening by Smart Infinity.
 

Wimbledon, Hugh Jackman, and Lian Ramos
Tue, 11 Jul 2006 05:55:00 GMT
 

Amelie Mauresmo  Roger Federer

Wimbledon 2006.  The grand slam of all grand slams may have had predictable outcomes (Roger in the finals, Top 4 Women’s seeds in the semis), but tennis fans still chose to celebrate with Roger over Italy’s triumph in the World Cup.  (Zidane’s head-butting stunt was unforgivable yet totally cool hehe)

As always, I was rooting for Federer and Agassi in the Men’s singles.  I was silently raving for my man Andre, but because of his draw (only seeded #25), he had to meet World number 2 Rafa in an early round, causing his premature exit in the grass court.  He truly deserved more than a standing ovation after his last match in the history of Wimbledon.  I honestly can’t wait for the Flushing Meadows, Andre’s last open before retirement.

For Women’s I wanted Venus to defend her title, and was also cheering for Kim Clisters.  The upset of Venus ended the string of Wimbledon victory for the Williams sisters (either one of them always reaches the finals, until this year).  During the finals I was rooting for Amelie all the way, not wanting Justin to get near the trophy because of the stomach-aching operandi she pulled off in the Australian Open early this year.  (My housemate told me she pulled off the same act years ago with Serena).  It’s a great thing that this time, Amelie gets a deserving (and not a half-baked) grand slam.
 

as Tom Verde in Aronofsky's The Fountain as magician Rupert Angier in Chris Nolan's The Prestige as an aristocrat in Woody Allen's Scoop

Hugh Jackman in 2006.  After three X-Men films, 2006 is definitely a great year for Hugh Jackman, with three great films to be released by three very great directors:  Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, and Woody Allen.

First is the romantic comedy Scoop by Woody Allen (Manhattan), which Hugh co-stars with the sexiest girl in this year’s FHM Top 100, Scarlett Johansson.  The film’s about a student trying to expose a magician, but ends up falling for the subject of her scoop.  Next is The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), where Hugh stars with Rachel Weisz, in a time-travelling action epic about a brave man’s fight for the woman he loves.  Last is The Prestige by noir master Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins), a novel adaptation where Hugh and Christian Bale portray magicians whose rivalry has turned into murders.

If time-traveling is considered magic, then I guess magic would be the common theme of all three Jackman projects.  Aside from these three promising movies, Jackman also has a few voice appearances this year.  Along with Al Pacino, Dustin Huffman, and Liam Neeson, Mr. Hugh Jackman is now officially included in my all-time favorite actors.
 

Lian Ramos

Miss Universe 2006.  View Lian’s video interview here.  I believe the pageant will be televised live on the morning of July 24, but unfortunately I might miss the viewing party in Lian’s place because of a scheduled training.  As they say, career first before friends.  Hehe!

Good luck Lian!
 

Cinemalaya 2006
Fri, 14 Jul 2006 07:26:00 GMT

Cinemalaya 2006 officially starts next week with the screening of Jeturian’s award winning Kubrador.  I personally think Jeturian (Pila Balde, Tuhog) is one of the very few creative and bright directors in the country, and Kubrador just recently got the FIPRESCI prize in the Moscow International Film Festival.

I’m hoping to catch these shorts next week in Cinemalaya: Puwang by Anna Isabelle Matutina and Labada by Raz dela Torre.
 

Puwang         Labada

Congratulations and good luck to Shine and Raz!

And good luck most especially to Tanghalang Pilipino’s Skyzx (wohoo!!) for playing the lead in Labada.

Synopsis and festival schedule are available here.
 

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