The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

First of all, why are all the posters for this so ugly? This is the most decent-looking poster released for this film.

Doctor Parnasus, leader of a travelling performance troupe, is a centuries old mystic who has the ability to enter minds via a magic mirror that allows you to escape into your imagination and to live out your fantasies. Once in the mirror, you make a choice: to side with stories & imagination (Parnassus) or with addiction & desire (the devil). He’s made several bets with the devil over the years. –immortality by winning one, losing his daughter, Valentina, on her 16th birthday by losing another. The devil makes him another deal — First to five souls gets Valentina.

The visuals in this film are stunning with such attention to detail. The wardrobe and costumes especially were gorgeous. I LOVED Christopher Plummer as Parnassus. His performance was both heartfelt and heart breaking and I lost count of the times I just wanted to walk up to the screen and give him a hug.

When Heath Ledger died mid-production, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farell were cast to play Heath’s character, Tony, while inside the Imaginarium. I think it helped that I didn’t know they were replacing Heath before watching, because the transitions from Heath to the other actors didn’t seem too jarring to me. The storytelling, however, I found a little disjointed. The plot had great potential, but it seemed to me like a bunch of smaller stories put together to make one big one without a resolution. It took me a while to tie everything together.

Also on an insensitive note, as a final film I thought this was anti-climactic for Heath Ledger. His performance in the Dark Knight left a much stronger impression on me than his performance here.

Negatives aside, it’s a wonderful film with rich, gorgeous imagery that fucks with your brain.

Fangirling: Part Deux

I’ve always found it harder to write about the things I like than the things I don’t. It’s so easy to be snarky and witty with the former, with the latter all I can seem to do is squee and flail my arms aimlessly.

Which brings me to someone I squee and flail at regularly these days– China Miéville.

heehee~♥

What started it all was a copy of Perdido Street Station that Mike gave me a couple of Christmases ago. Friends have commented on the how labourious it is to read –which I’ve also noticed in The Scar— but I think it’s essential in immersing you in his Bas-Lag universe. It’s overwhelming at first, but you don’t really notice it later on and it starts to play out in your head like a richly detailed movie.

King Rat and Un Lun Dun are a lighter read. Not just because Un Lun Dun is a YA novel, but because they’re mostly set in London, you don’t need to dwell so much on the setting.

His work is an acquired taste but if you’re interested in a great mix of fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk, you should definitely check his books out.

DC Animated Movie Week

Okay, I lie. I didn’t actually watch all of these this past week, but I couldn’t think of a title.

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1. Wonder Woman

The reason I wasn’t so into Wonder Woman as a kid was because of the incredibly cheesy Linda Carter TV series. I only started to like the character when I started watching Justice League and borrowing my cousin’s JLA graphic novels.

This re-hashed Wonder Woman origin movie is epic. Great dialogue and story, the animation and action scenes were fluid.  AND it’s produced by Bruce Timm, who I love, love, love for his work on Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League.

It’s also got a pretty heavy voice cast with Keri Russell as Diana, Alfred Molina  as Ares, Rosario Dawson as Artemis, and Marg Helgenberger as Hera.

And yes, the incredible, invisible flying jet’s in there too.

superman-batman-public-enemies-bluray2. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
I haven’t read the comic books yet so I can’t make a comparison, but I enjoyed it. Of course, that could just be the Batman fangirl in me talking.

Not too fond of the art but maybe that’s because I prefer Bruce Timm’s pin-up-art-deco style.

There’s a lot of Bats-Supes bromance in here. A lot. Like, bordering-on-lovers-bromance. But Power Girl’s in it, so rejoice! Her ample boobage makes up for the bromance, if you’re not into that sort of thing.

Watch out for the, “You killed my best friend” line. It killed me. Hahahaha.

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Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

3. Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Bruce Wayne + Ice-blue eyes = not working for me.

Alfred, as always, was awesome.

Wasn’t bad, nothing spectacular either.

The animation was a bit messy.

For the love of all that is holy, will someone explain to me how Batwoman’s mask works because I spent half the movie being bothered by it.

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BONUS!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold — Mayhem of the Music Meister

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The Brave and the Bold’s always full of lulz, but lulz set to music? YES PLZ!

Neil Patrick Harris stars as guest villain, the Music Meister, who has the power to control people by bursting into song.

I repeat: Neil Patrick Harris as singing and dancing villain. So much win in less than 30 minutes of cartoon.

Rediscovering Honey and Clover

Because rainy weekends at home + re-watching Honey and Clover = ❤

honey___clover_07

I’ve long outgrown my anime phase, but it’s hard to ignore a series that hits you so close to home. It doesn’t help either that I was also still in art school when I first discovered it.

Honey and Clover (ハチミツとクローバー Hachimitsu to Kurōbā),  revolves around a group of friends at an Art College in Tokyo. There’s nothing fancy about it. There are no giant robots, no magic powers, no divine, epic battle between good and evil.  Instead, what you have is a great story about college life, existential angst (think Peanuts, but for 20-somethings), unrequited  (and sometimes requited) love,  and artists’ block.

I particularly love the art in this series. The scenes alternate from digitally coloured to watercolour and have this great subdued colour palette that uses mostly browns and pastels. The soundtrack’s pretty awesome too. I think the most refreshing thing about it is that the protagonists aren’t high school students. Despite the show’s focus on love and relationships, there’s no bullshit about first kisses and losing their virginity and boyfriend-girlfriend drama.

But what really, really hits the closest to home is Yamada.

yamada

I have never seen a character (anime or otherwise) that I see so much of myself in than Yamada Ayumi. It’s surreal.

hac_v04_p072-073click to enlarge

This scene in particular makes me cry everytime. EVERY DAMN TIME.

I’m still waiting for the rest of the series to finish downloading and watching as I go, so I will probably be a melty puddle of emotions for the next week or so. Do not disturb. Fear my estrogen.

HP and The Half-Blood Prince

hp

Is it just me, or does the poster look like Dumbledore’s making a pass at Harry?

I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and a lot less into the books each year, or if the adaptations are getting better. I might need to read all the books and watch all the movies again soon to figure that out.

While I thoroughly enjoyed it, there are some things that tick me off. Slight spoilers after the jump. Continue reading “HP and The Half-Blood Prince”

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

transformers-revenge-of-the-fallen

I was not hyped up to see this. At all. I was hyped up about the first one. Watched it advanced screening and all, but this one was just meh.

Michael bay was a little too explosion-happy with this one. And by little, I mean a lot. Seriously, two hours of explosions and 30 minutes of plot. This film would have been a lot better if Michael Bay wasn’t showing off how many explosions he could fit into one movie.  The transformer twins and Sam’s new roommate were annoying. Megan Fox was just eye candy and played no real role in the film. On the other hand, Shia LeBouf was less annoying than in the first film, so I guess they get props for that.

I was initially excited to see Arcee, but she was on screen for about 5 minutes and was the collective name for 3 different bikes, which was weird.

Also, “The Fallen”? Seriously? Couldn’t they at least have come up with a name for him? Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen featuring new bad guy:  “The Fallen”. WTF.

Oh, and Optimus dies. Like we haven’t seen that happen before.

The only good thing in this movie was grampa Jetfire who made me ROFLMAO so hard I nearly peed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dig up my copy of the 1986 animated film to get rid of the bad taste this sequel left in my mouth.

200px-Transformers-movieposter-westYou got the touch! You got the powaaaaaaaah!

Gake no Ue no Ponyo

I seem to be the only person left on the planet Earth that hasn’t watched, “Star Trek” yet. But I have watched “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” ( 崖の上のポニョ)

Loosely based on “The Little Mermaid”, Miyazaki’s latest film centers around a fish-girl who wants to become human after being rescued by 5-year old Sosuke. Ponyo’s sea magician father is against it, being human himself once.

I can’t really remember a lot about the plot because it’s not plot driven. It plays out a lot like the way a toddler would tell you a story. Maybe that was intentional, maybe not. It focuses more on the relationships between each character.

And the visuals. Oh, the visuals.

The character designs are a throwback to some of his older work and this whole film was drawn and coloured entirely by hand. The waves morphs into whales and fish and I wouldn’t mind having an ocean in my yard.

Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delvery Service and My Neighbour Totoro will still be my top Miyazaki picks, but Ponyo is definately worth watching.

Rhythm I can has?

When Derrick suggested I try Rhythm Heaven, I was very skeptic. Unlike most people, I don’t have an internal metronome — which probably the main reason I’m so musically inept — and as I mentioned in an earlier post, no hand-eye-coordination to speak of. Now, according to Wikipedia:

Rhythm Heaven has the player tap, flick, and hold the stylus on the touch screen to make a beat to go with the background music for the level.

Hrm. Again, internal metronome = 0. Hand-eye-coordination =0. But because I’m a sucker for all things cute and rainbow-y, I played it anyway. Gameplay is fairly simple in theory. Level 1 – Built to Scale, for example, has you inserting bolts into nuts (which, really, isn’t as dirty as it sounds).


Level 1. Photo from pcworld.com

The nuts roll in time with a basic ‘do-re-mi’ scale in various tempos and the only way to get the bolt in is to flick the stylus when the scale hits ‘sol’. I now have 17 medals and have unlocked all the levels, save for the bonus ones that require a certain number of medals to unlock. Yeahhhhh. Rhythm, I has it!

So much for holiday plans…

It’ll be Easter in about 20 minutes. Which means it’s back to work on Monday.

Which means the long weekend’s over and I have:

-NOT read anything on my catch-up reading list.
-NOT drawn anything.

Good job, Gab. Instead, I spent these past few days downloading and watching, “Victorian Romance – Emma“.


I used to watch it on and off on Animax, but because I could never catch it regularly, I forgot about it.

Then Ate Cielo’s recent blog reminded me of it, hence the download frenzy.

I don’t understand why I can’t stand Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, but “Emma” has me bawling over its maid-falls-in-love-with-noble storyline.

All the makings of a harlequin romance novel, without the sex. Hahaha.

A Game of You

The boyfriend got me a Nintendo DS as a Christmas gift last year. I told him I didn’t really need one (I could just borrow his), but he got me one anyway.

Maybe he got tired of sharing.

Now, I give him a hard time looking for games I can play.

I don’t like turn-based RPGs. I don’t have the patience to figure out how to use multiple characters at the same time and I don’t like to have to explore a vast area to find things.

I don’t like fighting games because I don’t want to have to memorise up-down-left-right-arrow-A-B-Y-X sequences.

I don’t like Guitar Hero-type things because I don’t have the hand-eye coordination needed to press/tap sequences in time with music.

So yeah, I’m not a gamer. But there are a couple that I love.

1. Professor Layton and The Curious Village. (2008)


It’s a puzzle-adventure type RPG. You go around the town of St. Mystere to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple. I like brain teasers. They make me feel smart.

I love the graphics, patricularly the colour palette and the Miyazaki-ish animated sequences.

The English version for the sequel, “Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box“, finally comes out sometime this year. So I can’t wait.

2. The Ace Attourney Series:

  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001)
  • Phoenix Wright: Justice for All (2002)
  • Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations (2004)
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (2007)

This was unexpected. Playing a defense attorney for wrongfully accused murder suspects doesn’t really sound like a great way to spend your time, but it’s made of awesome.

The gameplay mostly revolves around gathering evidence and investigating the case, then pointing out contradictions in Witness testimony during the trials based on what you’ve found.

“Ace Attorney”, was great. The bonus hidden chapter at the end of the credits was the best case in the whole game. “Justice for All”, was so-so compared to the first one. “Trials and Tribulations” was the only sequel I didn’t like. The storyline was a little too soap opera-ish. “Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney”, was where it got fun again. The improved graphics was a huge plus too. And they adapted some features from the hidden chapter from the first game.

I have no idea when the English version for the 5th game, “Gyakuten Kenji” is coming out. I wish they’d hurry it up. It doesn’t even have an English title yet. I’m getting sick of playing Cooking Mama 2 and Nintendogs while waiting.