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No Strings Attached

Hooray for a slutty Natalie Portman. Fresh from her Oscar win, and she gives a great performance here. Oh, wait. She was in Thor. But she's got better acting here.

"Ooh, look at my dick!"
-actual line

See, the thing with Portman's acting is, it's slutty, but not too slutty. It's just right. She plays a young doctor who's afraid of commitments. So she just sleeps around, with no intention of falling in love. But she does so in the end. That wasn't a spoiler, by the way. This is a rom-com. And you know how all rom-coms end.

Most of the time with a romantic kiss.

Ashton Kutcher was surprisingly good. He plays a nice guy here. Well, he's the nice one, and Natalie Portman's the bitch.

This is fake, by the way. Those are two lesbians.

Kutcher's sidekicks, played by Jake Johnson and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, were okay. Johnson was better. Ludacris wasn't even that funny.

"Well, I was funny in Fast 5."

Plus, Johnson actually has a great relationship in this picture. Not a fuck buddy relationship. An actual, meaningful, boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.

Plus his girl's kind of cute.

The one who stole the show was actually Kevin Kline, who plays Ashton Kutcher's father, a former actor who loves to steal his son's girlfriends.

The funniest guy in this movie.

There's also a cameo from director Ivan Reitman, who also plays the director of the show Kutcher works on. And also a cameo from Cary Elwes, the guy who played Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

A bit older and fatter.

All in all, good flick. Especially for those who are no strangers to fuck buddies, friends with benefits, and open relationships. Because you all should know by now that it's not really possible to have a relationship based on sex alone. Sooner or later, one of you will fall for the other. Sometimes it's a happy ending, sometimes it's not. But don't worry, this movie does have a happy ending. It's a rom-com after all. And we all know how rom-coms end.

Like this, most of the time.

No Strings Attached. USA. 2011.

Rating: Six point eight out of ten.

*some info from IMDb
pics from VLC


BECK (2010)

I had always thought I had gotten over my pretty Japanese boy-phase─and then comes the BECK live-action, which has me in a fangirl-frenzy.

Mizushima Hiro and Mukai Osamu. Mmmmm, boy. ♥
[photos from www.dailyotaku.com and tamfeels.blogspot.com]

BECK is about these five guys─Chiba (Vocals), Koyuki (Vocals, Guitars), Ryusuke (Lead Guitars), Taira (Bass) and Saku (Drums)─who form this band and are trying to make it big in the Japanese music scene.

Huh, there's not a lot I can add to that to describe the plot. It's mostly character-driven, focusing on the band members' relationships with one another.

This is the first anime live-action adaptation I've watched where the actors are just as, if not more, attractive than their animated counterparts.

Case in point.

The movie was a pretty good adaptation of the series. Of course, since it's pressed for time, there wasn't a lot of character growth, and the relationships between the characters weren't fleshed out as well as the animated series, if they were fleshed out at all.

The American characters looked very cartoonish and bordered on stereotype, and I thought they mis-cast Maho. The actress (Kutsuna Shiori) was pretty, but she lacked the badass vibe animated/manga Maho had. The guy who played Chiba (Kiritani Kenta) was awesome, though. He got all of Chiba's quirks without it looking forced.

BECK was a fun watch. I now feel like I have to rewatch the anime since it's been years. I also feel the need to sing in a band again. I only wish they used some of the music in the anime because it was so iconic of the show, so I leave you with the anime's opening theme.

This review originally appears in Teluete's blog, Gab Can Fly. Check it out.


Nikita. Episode 17: "Covenants"

This episode takes place in Russia. At that place where Nikita had her first mission with Michael.

Michael five years ago. Notice the pouty lips.

And finally, the truth is revealed about Kasim Tariq. He's Division. Or was Division. But he defected to Al-Qaeda after learning the truth about Percy.

"How the hell did you get that perfect facial hair?"

Percy is a double-crosser, a totally despicable character. And that can only mean that Xander Berkeley is a fantastic actor. And I've already said that before.

So watch out, Percy. Michael knows. And he's now behind Nikita. They're taking you down, bitch.


*pics from VLC


Nikita. Episode 16: "Echoes"

Drugged on a La-Z-Boy.

Alex is on drugs. A hallucinogen designed to cure opiate addiction. Sure love to get me some of that. Not for the opiate addiction─for the hallucinations. Birkhoff is great in this episode, as always. And finally, the cliffhanger:

"Ask me again how I got here."

Yep. That's Michael. In Nikita's place. Well, it used to belong to a guy named Whitfield. But it's Nikita's now. And yep, that's Michael. In Nikita's place. The plot thickens.

"What exactly is the plot again?"

*pics from VLC


Game of Thrones. Episode 10: "Fire and Blood"

And just to make sure that the final death in the last episode was real, here's a reminder:

Kinda looks fake.


Game of Thrones. Episode 9: "Baelor"

Firs of all, new location in the opening credits: The Twins.

Full name: The Twins Crossing

And the Lord of the Twins Crossing: Lord Walder Frey.

Also moonlights as Argus Filch, Lord of Castle Hogwarts.

And here are three secrets spilled in this episode:

1. These two are actually father and son. You should've guessed that from the name. Jeor Mormont and Jorah Mormont. Come on.

You could've also guessed it from the beards.

2. Old Maester Aemon is actually a Targaryen.

Well, he does kind of look like a dragon.

3. Tyrion Lannister used to be married.

All dwarfs have sad stories to tell.

Although the Imp does get to give a war speech. Great voice projection for such a small man.

Not too good at charging into battle, though.

Good thing they didn't show any of the war scenes, though. That would've taken up precious screen time, which could've been used to tell other stories.

Being the second to the last episode of this season, we have an injury, an almost-death, and a death.

The Injury
Floating along like that scene in Gladiator.

The Almost-Death
We must wait another week to find out if he lives or dies.

The Death
"Fuck you, Joffrey Baratheon."

For those who have been saddened by the fact that Eddard Stark, the last good man in Westeros, is now dead, here's something to cheer you up.

Sexy girl with a sexy accent.

*some info from Wikipedia
pics from VLC


Kung Fu Panda 2. 3D

I'm not too big on sequels, especially animated ones. It is my belief that unless a story was constructed as a part of a larger saga, a sequel could be only one thing and one thing only: a moneymaker.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is also a moneymaker. Just like Kung Fu Panda 3, which was hinted at by this film.

First, the 3D review.

God, not another boring, jargon-filled 3D review.


Game of Thrones. Episode 8: "The Pointy End"

As I said, the Game of Thrones has truly begun. Arya becomes the first of the female Stark children to draw human blood. By, you know, sticking them with the pointy end.

There's just a tiny problem with the editing.

The title of Most Badass, however, still belongs to Khal Drogo. He managed to kill a man without using any weapons.

And managed to rip the man's tongue out.

HBO described this series as "The Sopranos in Middle-Earth". But I think a more appropriate description would be "The Sopranos in Middle-Earth during a zombie apocalypse".

Seriously. That's a zombie.

And also my new favorite character: Tywin, son of Tytos, of the House Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, and Warden of the West.

I just might name my son Tywin.

I liked him since last episode where, while skinning a stag, he goaded his son Jaime to say something clever.

Also, I just noticed that the Iron Throne is actually made up of swords. Possibly the swords of the past kings.

Even kings love the sensation of something sharp up your arse.

And finally, the phrase "game of thrones" is not just some metaphor. There really is a board game called "Game of Thrones".

2 to 6 players. Ages 18 and up.

*pics from VLC


American Icons: Gil Scott-Heron

Before I was a performance poet, I was a rapper. Not a professional one, though. Just someone who raps in the solitude of his bathroom. Maybe the biggest crowd I've ever performed for back then was in the school bus.

When I reached college, I discovered performance poetry. Or to use the more popular term, spoken word poetry. But I prefer calling it performance poetry. Anyway, when my professor told me that my style was close to rap and hip-hop, I read through my old books on the subject, and rediscovered the works of Gil Scott-Heron.

I'm not here to tell you about the life of Gil Scott-Heron. You can find that out on his Wikipedia page. I'm just here to say that Gil Scott-Heron was the biggest influence in my performance poetry career (which has spanned seven years now), and I would strongly suggest that anyone who has just discovered the beauty of spoken word poetry should definitely go back to the roots, which includes Scott-Heron's works.

Rest in peace, Mr. Scott-Heron. The Revolution will not be televised. The Revolution will be streamed live in HD.

Gilbert Scott-Heron. 1 April 1949 - 27 May 2011.

*some info from Wikipedia
pic from mikeely at Wordpress
video from YouTube


X-Men: First Class. With Two Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Because this movie stars Kevin Bacon, who I haven't seen in a long time, I will be reviewing this with "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon".

But first, a short review. First Class takes us back to the sixties, when Charles Xavier had a full head of hair. As far as prequels go, this was executed quite nicely. This was directed by Matthew Vaughn, the one who helmed the film Kick-Ass. The film has a certain darkness to it, but not as dark as Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. That's a different kind of dark. Let's just say this one doesn't try to be all comic book-campy like the Spiderman flicks. I didn't even notice Stan Lee anywhere in the film. Either he was well-hidden, or he didn't make a cameo at all. Oh, and I also love how the training montage pays homage to Ang Lee's Hulk. A lot of people didn't like that. I did, though. But I am quite ashamed to admit it.

Now, let's go to Kevin Bacon. If you're unfamiliar with "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", it's a game that's really fun to play. Basically, you have to connect Kevin Bacon to any other actor by six degrees. It's kind of difficult to explain, but here's how we play it.

"Can we just get this over with?"


L.A. Noire First Impressions

I am in the middle of L.A. Noire; but here are my impressions on it so far. Considering a video game is a stretch of constant rules, this should be a pretty accurate interpolation, but I'll come up with a full review soon.
  1. The crime scene investigation sequences are sadly reduced to talking around, listening for a chime, pressing A, and seeing if it’s a clue or not. If it is, then move on. If it’s not, then move on. It gets tedious and sad. Since not all objects can be selected, it’s pretty easy to just pick everything up, sift the clues through that way.
  2. There are also obscene cases of ludo-narrative dissonance, where one thing happens in the game and another in the story. The characters “know” information that was never given, things that never happen are suddenly references, the game doesn’t accept evidence it doesn’t expect, and so on. The technical design may be incredible, but the game design, which is supposed to be the core craft of the video game medium, is only average, sometimes dipping into below-average territory, even.
  3. You never actually solve a case. You find clues mechanically by walking around waiting for your controller to jiggle, this leads you to another place, and you talk to people, and you never have to think about anything. You lose points if you miss the obvious signs and don’t act on it, but there never comes a point when you’re stumped and cannot solve the case. You just follow the obvious bread crumbs and go through the obvious motions. There is also the usual trope of the fuel-filled barrel and the two-to-dozen shootout, which is never a good sign for a video game’s intellectual health.
  4. A good story isn’t enough. Realistic faces, historical detail, and good voice acting must revolve around the fundamental core of any video game—a game. So while everything around the game in L.A. Noire is very nice, the game itself needed more attention; which just goes to show: You build a great universe to complement a great game, not to cover up a mediocre one.
  5. It’s not actually noir, and may have probably only been called (and misspelled that way), like many other aspects of this game, in a particularly violent fit of pretension.
  6. The interrogation sequences where you have to tell if the suspect or witness is lying, telling the truth, or to express doubt is pretty arbitrary. While it is easy to tell if they are contradicting evidence, it is never clear if you should express doubt or accept a statement as truth. It becomes guesswork, and the nuance that should be coming through is lost. The ambition does not translate.
  7. The protagonist is an annoying know-it-all, do-gooder, which betrays the creator’s lack of talent for storytelling. He also looks annoying. He is forgettable, sometimes morphs into a stereotype, and sometimes simply turns into this annoying goody-goody who sees the good in all people, that believes above all in justice, that is perfect beyond belief or tolerance.


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