Gab, Currently V

My trip last month made me lose all momentum in blogging semi-regularly again. Even my posts on the trip and the con feel very forced. Here’s hoping I can can get back into it, because it’s been therapeutic.

Angst-ing:

I haven’t really painted, or drawn anything in a while. I just haven’t had the heart for it, for reasons I’d rather not talk about publicly. Suffice it to say, I’m salty as fuck.

via weirdfluffyunicornpig.tumblr.com
via weirdfluffyunicornpig.tumblr.com

I bought this blank Unicorno that was I was super excited to work on but it’s now in art project limbo.

.

I figure I’d take a little break from, “art”, and when I finally start missing it is when I’ll go back to it.

Reading:

Or read, rather. Because I finished it in two days. I want to love it, but Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer was just okay.  The main problem I have is that Magnus sounds almost exactly like Percy so it doesn’t feel like you’re reading a new series. It feels like a new Olympians book with different names. Of course, I understand I’m a good 15 – 20 years older than his target audience, but he managed to differentiate his character POV voice in the Kane Chronicles (as contrived as Sadie’s British accent was), so why couldn’t he do that here?

I’d still read the next books though haha!

Wonderful Treasure Find:

Totally the stealing the term from EatYourKimchi, but how else can I describe this shirt I found in a bazaar:

IMG_1807

Such a dapper goat. If anything, it’s just a pity I can’t wear it with high-waisted pants because it’ll hide his very dapper outfit. 😛

#Adulting:

At thirty years old, I am finally a registered voter. Or I will be, since apparently I’ve only submitted my registration to vote, which will go through a hearing in a few months, after which I will officially be a registered voter.

 

What a bureaucratic nightmare.

I made an appointment online for 8am. Got there at 7:30am (just in case) and was asked to fall in line with everyone else regardless of whether I have an appointment or not. At 9:30, a guy went around to herd us online appointments to the priority queue, where it took another hour for me to get my biometrics taken. I was out of the office just a little before 11am. Good lord.

At first I was all, yeah, I’m from UP, I know how to queue. But fuck, if I wanted to give up just 30 minutes into the wait.

So yeah. Civic duty and all that. Now I actually have to pay attention to current events instead of actively avoiding it.

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

percy_jackson_sea_of_monsters_ver7

Let’s get two things out of the way first: I am a huge fan of the books, and no, I don’t expect movie adaptations to be 100% faithful.

That being said, this movie was terrible.

I don’t understand how you can fuck this up. You’ve got great source material and a great cast (Nathan  Fillion, Stanley Tucci, that guy who played Giles in Buffy, and the voice of Ron Perlman), so how?

The CG was just okay, the script was crap and its delivery stiff, and whatever chemistry the cast had in the first movie seems to have disappeared.

There’s this attempt to be the next Harry Potter, which I never felt reading the books. The scene where they’re on the Grey Sisters’ cab was made too similarly to the Knight Bus scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Also, there were scenes that were supposed to take place on a cruise ship that took place on a yacht which I found hilarious. Did they run out of money? Underwhelming doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I really thought they couldn’t do any worse than the first film (which wasn’t completely terrible, just terribly shallow), OH, BUT WAIT THEY CAN.

There were four things I liked about it:

  1. Stanley Tucci’s quip on water and wine.
  2.  Nathan Fillion subtle reference to Firefly.
  3. The design of the Hippocampus and the Clothis Bull.
  4. Charybdis’s first appearance.
I have to admit, this scene was pretty cool.

Wait for Sea of Monsters to come out cable, don’t bother watching it in the cinemas. In the meantime, read the books if you haven’t, they’re a fun and fresh take on the Greek Mythology genre (Can I call it a genre? Sub-genre?). If you already have, then a re-read is in order to cleanse your palate and to keep you occupied until House of Hades comes out next month. If I’m too late, and you’ve actually spent money to watch this movie, here’s a recipe for blue chocolate chip cookies to cheer yourself up.

Varekai!

Grand Chapiteau

Circuses have always held a dear place in my heart. Probably the product of watching Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland and Dumbo just a little too often growing up. My parents took me to my first circus in Nepal in 1993, but my first encounter with Cirque du Soleil wasn’t until Popular Mechanics for Kids featured Dralion in one of their episodes. So when they announced that Cirque was going to stage Varekai in Manila, I didn’t need to hear anything else. I was going to watch it by any means necessary.

And Varekai was, in a word, breathtaking.

It’s a lot more thrilling to watch a Cirque show live. On DVD, obviously you know nothing wrong’s going to happen, but watching it live, wow. There were times when I would hold my breath when the performers were doing a particularly complicated routine. It’s funny how it took some otherworldy costumes to remind me of what great beauty there is in the human form. I’m inspired to re-do and finish my old circus-themed painting series.

The music is played live, which was awesome. And the costumes. Oh, the costumes.  ♥  It really is too bad that photography isn’t allowed inside the tent because some of the costumes that I really loved (one in particular had a very Alexander McQueen feel to it) were not in the souvenir program.

My favourite acts: The Flight of Icarus, the Aerial Straps and the Russian Swings. Photos from cirquedusoleil.com

The great thing about Cirque is there’s a wonderful and sophisticated theatricality in their shows –and in these three acts in particular — that set them apart from other productions. The Russian Swings made such a grand finale. You really leave the show on a high.

Future run-away-with-the-circus-ers: Pallon, myself, Myka and Noelle! ♥

If you haven’t watched or are still on the fence about seeing it, it was worth every single centavo. My only complaint is that 2 hours is not enough!

Varekai will run in Manila until July 24. You can book tickets at the Cirque du Soleil website.

Gotham City Sirens #20 – Hell Hath No Fury Part One

I don’t know what Ivy and Catwoman are doing on the cover, but they weren’t in this issue at all. Stunning cover art by Guillem March as usual though.

So issue #19 ends with Harley finally snapping and deciding to go after the Joker for everything she’s had to put up with during the course of their relationship.

The thing about Harley Quinn is, it’s so easy to just picture her as the token fun-loving, ditzy blonde of the group. What we tend to forget is that before she fell in love with the Joker and went loony, she was Arkham Asylum psychologist, Dr. Harleen Quinzel.

The Harley Quinn  in this issue is cunning, strategic, a tad bit cruel and written with a depth that I’ve never read or watched before. Here, we  see Harley as a psychiatrist and how she uses that to her tactical advantage.

Now, I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten frustrated and sworn off Gotham City Sirens only to pick up the next issue when it comes out, but #20 makes me glad I haven’t completely given up on it.

Here’s hoping the rest of this story arc doesn’t disappoint.

Young Justice

I don’t think I was alone in slightly recoiling in horror when it was revealed that the Robin and Kid Flash in Young Justice were going to be Dick Grayson (former Robin, former Nightwing & currently one of of two Batmans) and Wally West (former Kid Flash, currently one of two Flash-es), but like most things I’m initially skeptic of, I was wrong and this arrangement actually worked. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Young Justice is the latest DC animated series for Cartoon Network focusing on the teenage counterparts of Justice League members. The pilot opens with Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy and Aqualad finally gaining access to the Justice League headquarters as step one in their eventual initiation into the league. When the headquarters turns out to just be a glorified façade for a teleporter to the actual League HQ, Speedy goes all John Hughes angst and quits. In an effort to prove their worth, the remaining three decide to take on a Justice League mission without their mentors’ knowledge.

The pilot centers on Superboy’s origin, as well as a short appearance by Miss Martian. As of Episode 3, Artemis has yet to make an appearance.

This had me sold in the first 10 minutes of the pilot. Of course, there have only been three episodes aired but I am hooked. I understand now why the producers opted for Dick and Wally over their successors. They’ve both got a really great sense of humor that works well in a series like this.

The writing and the animation are top notch and this is the best scene ever:

via fuckyeahdickgrayson.tumblr.com

Character design is okay. I’m not particularly fond of it, but I’m a Timmverse fangirl, don’t listen to me. I do like the way Robin’s costume was redesigned, with his computer in his gloves and shit.

With the exception of Superboy channeling Christian Bale in the Dark Knight, the voice acting is pretty good. Although, once you realise Jesse McCartney is voicing Robin, it kind of ruins the moment. At least he voice acts better than he sings.

So far the only thing I really dislike about it is how Miss Martian keeps going, “He-llo, Megan!” It’s really annoying and makes her look like a complete ditz. I’m hoping Artemis will balance out the annoying once she joins the team.

With all the fuckery that’s going on in the Batman universe right now, (Bruce dead, Bruce alive. I still haven’t gotten over Final crisis) Young Justice is refreshing. I am sufficiently whelmed.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

My DS basically exists for two things: the Ace Attourney series and the Professor Layton series. So in between those game releases, my DS doesn’t get a lot of use. When I got my copy, I tried to really take my time and to make it last as long as I could but I just could not put it down.

The Unwound Future is the 3rd of the 5 Layton games, but is the last in the series’ fictional chronology.  So yes, I might have cried a little at the ending.

Just a little.

DON’T JUDGE ME.

Production this time around was an improvement, adding more voice overs and more animated sequences which, like always were exquisitely done. The main reason I was so drawn to this series in the beginning was its art, which is reminiscent of Miyazaki but with a little more steampunk and an earthier palette.

The game starts off with a time machine experiment gone terribly wrong and a letter 10 years from the future. With much of the plot involving time travel into the future, there is a huge emphasis on Layton’s past which has never been tackled before.

I do have one nitpick. Like its predecessors, the plot has a twist in the end but unlike the previous games, I found this twist a little contrived and predictable. There is a huge heart-wrenching moment near the end that more than makes up for  the weak plot twist. So yes, I might have cried a little.

Just a little.

STOP JUDGING ME.

Next up for an English release is Professor Layton and the Specter’s Flute which is rumoured to be released sometime next year. Until then, I’m going to finish up the puzzles I didn’t find or get to solve during the game itself.

How To Train Your Dragon 3D

When I saw the dragon in the trailer, I knew I had to watch this. I was expecting a lot of cute and not a lot of plot but I was wrong and I’m glad because it was wonderful. ♥

I thought it was a bit odd for Vikings to have Scottish accents, but they reminded me so much of characters from Asterix & Obelix that I didn’t really care. I thought the dragon designs were awesome. The Gronckle, in particular, had me in stitches every time it flew.

And of course there was TOOTHLESS!

He has got to be the single most adorable character ever animated. He is so cute, I just  want smoosh his face! ♥♥♥

How To Tame A Dragon was the best way to pop my 3D cinema cherry. The flying scenes in particular were nothing less than magical.

I want a Toothless of my very own. ; A ;

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.