Monthly Archives: April 2015

10 things I love about Avengers: Age of Ultron

I caught a screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron on the second day. As if I had a choice. Every theater in the mall was screening it. Anyway, in lieu of a real review, here are 10 things that I loved about watching the movie. In no particular order:

  • JAMES SPADER as Ultron. James Spader’s voice is the kind that turns weight-bearing joints into pools of jelly.  His Ultron channels two of his iconic TV characters, both funny (Alan Shore from “The Practice”/ “Boston Legal”) and unsavory (Raymond Reddington from “The Blacklist”). In his remarkable vocal performance, we have an Ultron who is hyper-logical yet kind of naive, well-meaning but ultimately sinister, and self-aware yet undeniably delusional. Great casting call right there.
  • PAUL BETTANY has a body, finally. Well, sort of. It was nice to behold Paul’s face after so many films of just hearing his wonderful voice. He also got to deliver one of my favorites in this movie. Towards the end of the movie, locked in a one-on-one battle with Ultron, he disdainfully told Vision: “You’re incredibly (or some other adverb) naive!” To which Vision replied, “Well, I was born yesterday” before clobbering Ultron.
  • SNARK WENT DARK. Over-all, this film was darker than its predecessor, which was fine by me. But what I liked more was that the banter, while still very tongue-in-cheek, became darker as well. As if the tongue in question grew spikes. It felt like watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer before Dawn was introduced. In short , it was awesome!
  • THE TWINS brought loads of fun. Never mind the inconsistent accents, which at times reminded me of Angelina Jolie in “Alexander”. Scarlet Witch can kick serious ass in her goth robes and spells. As for Quicksilver, well, he is definitely cuter than the other Quicksilver but I wish I’d seen more of his tricks the way I did with the other Quicksilver. But altogether, this pair swiftly transitioned from being pesky and annoying villains to liked and adored heroes. Too bad of them died.
  • Is there a more AWKWARD PAIR OF LOVEBIRDS than Black Widow and Bruce Banner? Watching these two made me think of my own awkward attempts at pairing up in high school. Of course, my exchanges didn’t really touch on themes like a non-existent future and certain death but you get my drift. Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo have a genuine chemistry it’s hard not to imagine them in a romantic comedy, something like a “When Natasha Met Bruce”. What about it, Marvel Studios?

Poster_Avengers Age of Ultron

  • Is it me or is THOR BECOMING SCRUFFIER  with each movie? I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering how this connects to the third Thor movie. If you asked me a year ago to put Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man side by side to form a continuum from vanilla to kinky, Captain America would definitely be the on the vanilla front and Iron Man on the other end of the spectrum while Thor would be somewhere in the middle. But looking at him in this film, he might be closing in on Mr. Stark in terms of kinkiness flags.
  • Who doesn’t love GREAT CAMEOS in movies like this? In this case, I was happy to see beloved characters from past Marvel films like Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Idris Elba (Heimdall), and Stellan Skarsgaard (Erik Selvig). Although I must admit, I would’ve been happier if I also saw Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) and Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson). But the best cameo so far in any Marvel movie belongs to Stan Lee himself. That was hilarious!
  • The end of the movie turned a bit sad because of the ambiguous fates of many of our main heroes but the final scene excited me to see the potential NEW AVENGERS. The Scarlet Witch, Vision, The Falcon, and War Machine are a cool site to behold. Seeing them made me look forward to the next Avengers movie even if there’s a change in screenwriter and director (more on this down the line).
  • HURRAY FOR HAWKEYE! Thanks for showing that backstory about Hawkeye, which showed me why there might not be a stand-alone film about Hawkeye. And it’s fine, seeing that he is probably the only member of the Avengers who has the semblance of a normal life. Makes you realize that in spite of whatever we might think, being a super-hero should just be a job instead of a life. Otherwise, you’d go crazy, as in bats-in-your-belfry crazy. Get it?
  • I still believe that JOSS WHEDON is the best thing that happened to the Avengers movie. I think without his clever writing and deft direction, the two Avengers films would have sucked big time. So it makes to sad to say that as of this writing, Joss Whedon has officially removed himself from directing and writing duties to the next 2 Avengers movies.  He’s upfront enough to say he’s tapped out so let’s just hope he recharges soon enough and come charging back into the superhero universe. Even if it’s not the Marvel superhero universe.

Suffice it to say, I enjoyed watching this 142-minute film and will watch it again if I get another chance. I also heard that Joss Whedon’s first cut of this film clocked in at 210 minutes. It makes me wonder if we’re getting an extended-cut DVD later on a la LOTR Trilogy. Goosies!

Friday Photo 88

A couple of weeks ago, Becky my cat–who was almost 19 years old–died. She left behind a litter of kittens who are now being nursed by her daughter Roni. I plan to keep two and give away the other two for adoption. They were born in a patch of Pandan plants and I had to scoot down low from afar to get this shot of one of them. It’s worth it. friday-pic-88

Friday Photo 87

This is Theary, the trustworthy driver who, during my 1-month stay in Cambodia, brought me home from the office everyday, had been my ‘high-speed’ companion in my field work in the provinces, and had brought me to the airport on my return trip to Manila. Also, wherever we were, he was always dressed neatly, if not impeccably. He reminded me of my father back when he drove truckloads of rice for a living. fridaypic_087

Friday Photo 86

Last Friday I traveled back to the Philippines after spending 4 weeks in Cambodia. Yesterday I didn’t feel like doing anything so I stayed away from the computer and spent time with my small family. Hence this Friday Photo two days later. This was taken inside Suvarnabhumi International Airport, just beside the boarding gate of my Bangkok-Manila flight. I like how they treat blank spaces with installations like this.

friday-pic-86

Dune is 50 years old

And because of this, The Folio Society is releasing a 50th anniversary edition, which is lavishly illustrated by Sam Weber. The cover (below) alone is drool-worthy. More so the gorgeous slipcase.

Cover_Dune50

Inside, there are 11 breath-taking full-color illustrations and many black & white spot illustrations. Below is Paul summoning The Great Maker.

Dune2a

Here is Alia with her Gom Jabar.

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Read the whole story HERE.