Thursday, May 29, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Movie Review

Indy Indy Indy. You might think this is a movie for old bags, since the last one was on the end of the 80's. But I should really make it clear that not only this movie is a great tribute the old 3 movies, but this one actually does some parts better. Suffice to say, it's still money well spent.

The gyst is this, its 1957 and Indy gets kidnapped by Nazi's (Again, the theme doesn't run from there.). The Nazi's are very determined to get their hands on the crystal skull to harness the power of mind controlling and thingamajigs. When Indy found out, he knew that the skull has to be returned to its rightful place. Now, I won't spoil the story anymore but suffice to say its a get-to-the-finish-line-asap kind of movie.

The characters are great. Indy is still Indy. Still the same old scared-of-snakes-man. Haha. Shia Le Bouf did good as Mutt Williams, a greaser who somehow has a fond knowledge of archeology, something you don't see when a man loves his bike more than him running around scavenging. And then there's Cate Blanchett, who I really thought was a Russian chick, but that impression didn't last really long actually. She looks a bit weak in this movie, compared to Elizabeth though. But nonetheless, she's not bad in this one.

Now as I said earlier, this movie is more of a good tribute to the older ones. Why? There are really great references that can be had to the older movies, but that only happens in the earlier parts. Later on, you'd get shocked on a few more surprises, which should be something that the older guys would remember. hehe.

In all of the Indy movies, this one couldn't compare to how fun The Last Crusade was, but it stands a bit higher than the other 2. Though I'm a bit biased that I favored The Temple of Doom more due to more humor and a witty kid, I'd say this one is better anyways. This movie is somehow, a bit far off from the things that I thought. The ending would make you feel a bit surprised if you've been following Indy's past expedites. But at least, this is much much better than telling yourself to watch National Treasure: Book Of Secrets.

So go ahead and have a blast of watching an older man with his fedora hat, and, the whip. You'd definitely be surprised what a part time "teacher" does with his life. :D

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom: Movie Review

Ok, in all honesty, just like a lot of people, I had really high hopes for this movie. Of course, 2 legends of Kung Fu, and what should you get? Great action and story for it. Apparently... Both doesn't apply. Well, not at all completely.

The movie shows about the journeys of 4 people on a mission to free the Monkey King, Sun Wu Kong. After being imprisoned, the Monkey King's staff got lost, and somehow, with no knowledge, transported to America, guarded by an old Chinese. The part that the kid, Jason (Michael Angarano) gets entangled in the journey is when robbers came in the store that housed the staff trying to steal money, ends up on his hand and gets transported to Old China. Heck, no one even knew how he ended there, and the people around said he somehow fell into the river unconscious. Interestingly, Jason managed to bring US Dollars over there. And he had a change of clothes. Along the way, he meets Lu Yan/ Old Man (Jackie Chan), Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei) and the Silent Monk (Jet Li) and the journey moves forward.

So that's pretty much the synopsis of the whole thing. Probably that's enough of what you need to know already. Because if you try to figure out what's going on, trust me that you will have a headache. We have no idea how in the world the folks there talk English, because they could still talk Chinese among each other, and Jason wouldn't know. So, whats up with that? And then, the scenes are, well, somehow copying from other Chinese movies, of the past of course. So, I really hope you don't tell yourself to watch the movie to see how successful it is in the end. I can even spoil for you in the end if you want.

But if there are some worthy parts, well, little only should be had here. I think you'll love some of the Kung Fu scenes, but if you ask me, I prefer it better if Jackie had choreographed it instead. Yuen Wo Ping doesn't really live up to my standards. The fight scene between Jackie and Jet is great, with a little humor in the end. The amazing display I felt for, and this may sound a little biased, is that Jackie displayed Drunken Fist, after so many years. Other common and known styles of Kung Fu were shown here also. But for me, the only thing I find best is that fight scene between 2 great legends. That's probably it.

So, if you still want to watch it, sleep through most of it, and then just watched the fight scenes. That's the only thing that does justice to the whole movie. And I must say, I really feel its not worth it for this to be on DVD or Blu Ray. It's a big shame on how this movie turned out, despite the high hopes. Well, you've been warned.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A How-To Guide on Buying a Next Gen Console

I wanted to make this blog to be informational to all. Regardless of what they like and they might not like, so I decided that in the recent times, besides reviews of movies and games, you'll be seeing other informational things that might help you out. So, here it goes.

My Guide on How to Buy a Next Gen Console.

If you've followed the trails on buying a console, or the old PS2 is starting to lose its strength, then maybe this place would be the best stop for you to get a peek on what you should consider on. We have 3 heavy weights, the PS3 (Successor of PS2), the Xbox 360, (Successor of Xbox), and the Nintendo Wii (Successor of the Gamecube). Lets get all of that into detail.

The PS3

In long, its called the Playstation 3. This is Sony's premier console and sports the most expensive of prices in the world. Well, you have 2 models for this currently in production. The 40 GB version, includes a 40GB hard disk drive (HDD) to save up on your game saves, or to download more games from the internet. It has 2 USB ports, and is not backwards compatible (BC). BC would mean that it can't play old PS2 games, but PSX/PS1 games are just fine. It has a built-in Blu Ray Player to play all the Blu Ray goodness that you want, and not to mention great games for it too. The 80 GB has a few extras on the BC side, where it plays PS2 games, but depending on the region of the console (meaning, only US consoles can play US PS2 games, and not Japanese games. This one, can't be unlocked.), the HDD is 80 GB and 4 USB Ports from my knowledge. Both have Wifi built and an HDMI Port to link up to attain higher definition of picture quality.

The Xbox 360

Microsoft wanted a piece of the gaming world, and this is their answer. It has a few versions, coming from the Acrade, the Premium, and the Elite pack. The Arcade is by far the cheapest, having included a few arcade games from Xbox Live Arcade and no hard drive. Even controllers not wireless. While the other two have HDD's of 20 gb and 120gb. The Elite version separates itself best with a HDMI port, that allows for higher definition gaming.

The Nintendo Wii

This was a shocked. First announced to be Revolution, it has its name changed later in the process of building the console. People have been criticizing its name for hilarious purposes, but who's laughing now when it is actually the hottest console to fly off the market? The Wii has only 1 color, built in 512mb storage, utilizes a remote and nunchunk that responds to movements (Or motion control), and really it is fun. the cheapest among the three consoles (But not in Europe where the Xbox 360 Arcade is cheaper by 20 Euros if not mistaken).

There's your brief, now comes the deciding factors.


What is a console without games? For Sony, its a Blu Ray Movie player. For Wii, its a MP3 player, slideshow and so many small little things that I can't really remember. And Xbox 360, I am not sure at all. But in respect with games, each and every one of the consoles are bound to have an exclusive. Lets put them in respect.

-Sony PS3-
Hurm, this boils down to a few only. In truth, I can only note some games that are actually very very worthy of play and collect. Such titles are Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Warhawk, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Future Destruction, GT 5 Prologue and Resistance: Fall of Man. These titles, well, GT5 is beautiful, Uncharted is 2007's game of the year for PS3 and Warhawk was quite good utilising the six axis. Basically, that's it. Ignoring DLC games for the PS3, that's basically just it for the PS3 gamers to feel happy about their exclusive. In fact, even Haze is a disappointment.

-Xbox 360-
Ah, this is something where the 360 excels on. They have some of the best games, and graphics are great too. Playing Gears of War was beautiful, Mass Effect was a great RPG, Ninja Gaiden 2 is beautifully awesome, and so many more exclusive. definitely one of the best platforms of 2007 to have great games for the hardcore gamer crowd.

-Nintendo Wii-
Hurm, this platform on its own, hosted the game of the year for 2007. No doubt Super Mario Galaxy has made its name on to the hall of fame, but lets not forget Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Brothers, and also Wii Fit. If you've noticed, i've only talked about Nintendo's First party titles. While the 3rd party ones, erh, you've No More Heroes (stunningly satisfying), Rayman Raving Rabbids. that's how much I can remember. Honestly.

Despite all 3 platforms have exclusives, lets not forget the factors of multi platform games. GTA 4, Call of Duty 4, Rock Band, and others have made the platforms more like comparisons on which one gets the better edge. For Malaysians, investing on a console on its own is already tough enough. So those kind of comparisons make it much harder for us to look into, truth be told.

Online Capability
This is actually one of the showstoppers for the 3 platforms. This one truly breaks it, and so lets talk about them in specific one by one.

It should be noted that the PS3 is just in. And the online functionality, is not bad really. Go to the new sleek store, and download demos, games at cheap prices, movie trailers at 720p and so on. This portal is good, but somehow, it lacks the edge that the 360 has. This interface really feels common, and basically, that's pretty much it for the store. Online matching, well, it feels tough and rough for this part, as some users have been having trouble having friends to link up to and play with. But still, its good.

-Xbox 360-
Hands down, the best online service. Hardest part, is that you have to subscribe to it. To people, it may look cheap, but when you compare with the PS3, it's definitely better to just stick to the PS3 either way. But, if you really insist on paying for it, you'll be rewarded with some of the best functionalities. Differ who you want to play with, choose the list, and make it very simple that playing with friends has never felt better before. I should say, that it is really annoying to suddenly see who's online on the upper middle part of the screen. Couldn't they have done something like Yahoo on the bottom right side instead?

-Nintendo Wii-
This is a bit tedious. Ok, you have codes when you play games. Fine. But how about codes for all the games that you own. Makes it tough for you to remember ey? Furthermore, you have to remember the codes that your friends has. Why can't we just check with the online service if the guy has the game or not?

Ah, this should be worth mentioning. Serious. From revolutionary to plain old copying, the fun never stops when it comes with a controller.

-Nintendo Wii-
Hands down for this one, this true revolution. Ever held a TV remote before? yeah play the Wii with that. It's almost similar and I admire how all the buttons seem to be at the right places. It never fails to amuse me how wireless technology has already been utilized for a new way of playing games. Slash people with the Wii Remote, shoot with it, do motions with it, its definitely a whole new way to play. Owh, and didn't I say Rumble is also included?

-Xbox 360-
I think this one shows what improvements are made of. Where do we find the fact that we can have our thumbs rest normally, compared to a Sony controller? This controller is nice, with a huge home button for in game media bar access. But this control sheme doesn't really suit the Japanese I believe. Its a break from the old conventional D Pad style of playing and controlling the game. Rumble is there, but I heard the battery depletes out quite fast? At least its not using AA batteries.

Huh? Honestly, nothing has changed. First it was the banana controller, then it was the same old design. The Six Axis didn't have rumble on it, but the Dual Shock 3 does, and its a blessing for Sony players all over. But, if you know Sony, they unveiled motion sensing technology when the final build was almost imminent to launch. Honestly, nothing change from the old. Hey, why fix something when it's not broken?

So, based on all that, do we have a final verdict?

Final Verdict

I would like to say that you shouldn't actually feel any wrong having any of the 3 consoles. They have their strengths, and they have their weaknesses. Say if you have like enough money to only buy yourself one console in your lifetime (though I don't suggest you do so), I will list down here what are the consoles that you might like. (Judging will be done based on features and games along with all other considered factors)

Nintendo Wii
Imagine the fact that until now, the unit is very hard and remains so badly seen to be obtained. I am not kidding. This is really 1 tough console to buy in the US alone. People wait in lines, and now, since its almost 2 years already the console is available, people still can't secure one and just pick it up from shelves. Its cheap, games are fun, really fun. The console now suits more to the casual players. Casual meaning those who aren't hardcore gamers that kill and slash people or whatever shooting stuff. These people do puzzles, enjoy moving their body while playing sports, and making sure lots of sweat come out from your body. The games are diverse, but the library feels lacking towards the hardcore gamers.

Wow, who wouldb've thought the console would be so expensive? That's the problem. Coming out at 600 USD was a total pain. Hardly the games show any promise, but some are still awesome as hell. So, cheap Blu Ray player and game machine? yeah, why not. Its basically the cheapest Blu Ray player in Malaysia, so its a great buy to begin with. Metal Gear Solid 4 has just been released, so I do think we should look at how awesome the game is (Considering the fact that a whole lot of people have found it to be awesome also.) But looking at future prospects, I really hope PS3 stands tall.

Xbox 360
I must say, this is a shocker. I somehow grew to become a Sony fanboy, only noticing that fanboyism is nothing but a waste of time. For the hardcore gamer, this is your console. I should say that the PS3 is also giving stiff competition, because the PS3 is getting ground now. But with a great online service, packing library of games, you can't go wrong having lots of fun in this console, especially for the hardcore gamer. But does the US company know what the Japanese likes and wants? I should say lets wait for September to come. That month begins the awesome time of games fighting for ground once more as who will take crown of the biggest sales of the holiday season. For the hardcore gamer, this one is awesome for you. You won't regret playing Gears of War, Mass Effect and so many other sweet titles coming your way.

On my personal opinion, I bought the Wii first because it is a whole new way of playing. Even playing No More Heroes was so much fun, almost on par with God of War too. I'm trying my best for a PS3 next year, as my console ticket is now out of use. 1 console per year, that is the rule. But I'm really having fun now with my Wii, and hope to see Rock Band and my PS3 soon. hehe.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iron Man: Movie Review

This is Iron Man. And that is the poster for it. I liked this one better than any other poster though. Looking at the glow, it looks cool.

So lets get to the point, the movie itself. I have only a small background of watching Iron Man cartoons when I was smaller, and I must say I like the part in the cartoon where Tony wore his armor in an unrealistic way where its only half of the armor looking from the front, and it surrounds the whole body. The one Jon Favreu emphasized was more logical and practical. So, I'd say the movie was still good either way.


This was a movie without any romance seen. And you thought Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) would hit a fling, but this superhero movie escaped from that. I had actually thought, through the trailers that Marvel would do it again. Guess I got it wrong.

*End of Spoiler*

Having Robert Downey Jr. is great in this movie. Its exactly how I wanted it, but, there are some things that I might be skeptical on. I believe the Tony in the cartoons and comics, was a much more gentlemen after donning his armor. Perhaps in the beginning of this trilogy (hopefully), they show Tony as a genius, and playboy-ish time of a man. Very accurate in fact that he deserves the role. Gwyneth was great as Miss Potts, showing how loyal she is to her boss, and Jeff Bridges makes a very stunning example of how to be a nutcase bent on wanting total domination.

This movie is great, even with the changes of the real core story (The real story happened in Vietnam, but this one took its turn somewhere else near Gulmira). I had hoped for more of Iron Man being shown in the movie, but the action sticks to where it counts.

I'd say this is Marvel's one of a kind movie, that will be going head to head with a brilliant cast of movies this summer (In the US that is). I've talked Speed Racer and Indy is coming soon. Expect that review out of me later when I get the chance.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Speed Racer: A Review

I went to the movies a few hours earlier. Speed Racer just got out. So, I went mad before my finals, to just get a show on, and relax abit more.

Here's what I think. Fasten your seat belt, its going to be a wild ride. You can see drifts, jumps, and car symphony in the making. The background, while most of it is in green screen, still shows some sets that are brightly colored. To me, this is definitely a tribute to the old cartoon of the yesteryears. You won't be disappointed at all watching this.

Emile did a good job in his acting, Rain's English is impressive, and the cast really shows what Speed Racer can truly offer. Of course, the main star is actually the Mach 5, Speed's car. The tracks are awesome and the atmosphere is tremendous. It felt like I was driving the ride, jumping and spinning all over to make sure I get through the end of the race (Movie I mean).

There are some flaws though, as I don't see the need for a kung fu part in the movie. That part could've been better.

Well, that's the gripe I seem to only have. When this movie comes out in Blu Ray, pair it with a 1080p tv and you will want to watch too many times until you remember back the whole theme song of the old Speed Racer.

Suffice to say, GO SPEED RACER GO!


Welcome Back

This place used to be about rhymes and poetry. I liked to write what I liked to tell. And here's the place best for it. But I've neglected this place for a very long time now, in the wake of utilising Friendster instead.

So, I have come back. What will be of this blog? Lets say that I intend to bring this blog to higher heights. Who knows what it will bring. I hope my blog friends will link this to their page, and they'll view me once in a while.

I hope I'll be filling this up more often. Kind of need to juggle a lot of things together in this time. Especially in the wake of finals coming soon. So, here's to reopening this place once more. And lets get the party started.