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Les Aventures de Tintin (The Adventures of Tintin) by Hergé

In excited anticipation of the Spielberg movie (which will be coming out tomorrow), I have decided to review the entire Tintin collection.

In retrospect, I find it amazing how I stumbled upon Tintin, given the fact that Tintin is not that popular in America, and thus not that popular here. I consider myself lucky to have read the Tintin adventures, and I thank Roy (the brother of my mom’s friend Rita) for introducing me to Tintin, handing me a tattered copy of The Crab with the Golden Claws, with the promise that I would enjoy it. And I did.

If you were to ask me who my favorite character is, I’d have to say it’s definitely not Tintin. Tintin by himself is actually boring; it’s the other characters surrounding him that make his adventures worth reading. Personally, I’d say it’s a tie between Captain Haddock and the Thom(p)son twins. But I suggest you read the adventures yourself, and decide who your favorite character is. Because there are actually a lot of them. It’s not called a Tintin universe for nothing.

This review only tackles the modern colored versions. The first ever Tintin story, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, was originally in black and white, and was never redrawn in color, and I could not find a copy of it. The second book, Tintin in the Congo, up to The Crab with the Golden Claws were also originally in black and white, but were redrawn by Hergé in color. Unfortunately, I could not find a copy of Tintin in the Congo, which is why this review starts with...

Tintin in America

Tintin barely manages to survive here, and every single time he has Lady Luck on his side. There have been several attempts on his life, yet every single time he manages to get lucky and survive. Tintin surviving on pure luck alone does not really sit well with me. He's known for his resourcefulness, after all. But we have none of that here.

Not Boardwalk Empire.


The Help

I thought this would be a boring drama, and I told myself I’d stop watching if I wasn’t entertained by the first ten minutes. Surprisingly, I never stopped. When I first heard about this movie, I asked what it was about, and learned it was about negroe househelp, and that it starred Emma Stone. At first I thought it would be a period film, set in the same period as Amistad, with Emma Stone as the white mistress over black slaves.

Then I discovered that it was a fairly modern movie, set during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Of course it had to be modern, because the word used was “help” and not “slave”.

Also, fried chicken.

But then, after watching the film, how much has the treatment of African-Americans changed since the slave trade all the way to the death of Dr. Martin Luther King? Practically no difference at all.

Good redemption for Jessia Chastain, who needed a career boost after starring in the ultra-boring The Tree of Life. This film has been receiving a lot of Oscar buzz, and rightly so. The Academy loves movies like this. And it actually brought tears to my eyes, although I didn’t sob like a sissy (but I was secretly hoping I would). Anyway, I’m placing my bets on Oscar nominations for Octavia Spencer, who plays Minny, the baker of the best pies in Jackson, Mississippi,

"Y'all gonna give me that nomination, bitches."

and for Bryce Dallas Howard, for eating the best pie in Jackson, Mississippi (and also for being a total bitch).

Bryce Dallas Howard's Oscar clip.

The Help. USA. 2011.

Rating: Eight point two out of ten.

*some info from IMDb
GIFs from VLC


Boardwalk Empire. Season 2, Episode 9: "Battle of the Century"

And now, we feel the real effects of James Darmody’s takeover. He’s the king now. The King of Atlantic City. Or rather, the Emperor of the Boardwalk, since this show is called Boardwalk Empire. In other news, Nucky Thompson is in Belfast,

Testing the machine gun that bears his name.

and the negroe kitchen crew have started a revolt.

Also known as the Great Negroe Food Fight.

It would be interesting to note, however, that the action can be summed up by the two telegrams Nucky gets before boarding the ship back to America: First, from his lawyer: “Forget Dempsey. Judge set trial date. August 23rd. Let the real battle begin.” Second, from Mrs. Schroeder: “Come home. Emily has polio.”

*some info from IMDb
GIFs from VLC


Terra Nova. Episode 8: "Vs."

Since it's Thanksgiving in the States, that doesn't automatically mean that it's also Thanksgiving in Terra Nova, right? Wrong. They do have Thanksgiving in Terra Nova. But instead of the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, they celebrate Colonel Taylor's crossing into the portal.

"I'm a young girl playing a bearded man."

By the way, is Taylor really a bad guy or a good guy? I really don't know, but we have three episodes remaining, because I've just gotten word that Terra Nova will not be renewed for a second season─because of crappy CGI. Too bad for all the Naomi Scott fans out there.

"Here's what I think of your crappy CGI, Spielberg!"

*some info from Wikipedia and IMDb
GIFs from VLC


Modern Family. Season 3, Episode 9: "Punkin Chunkin"

For a Thanksgiving special, this one lacks the kick and the LOL moments that I've come to love (and expect) from Modern Family. The only funny thing in this episode was the man-shake. And maybe some of Phil's antics. And Gloria's. Okay, just forget everything I said earlier. This was a decent episode, but I was expecting more from a Thanksgiving episode. As if we have Thanksgiving here in the Philippines.

Just a fraction of the long ritual known as the "man-shake".

*some info from Wikipedia
GIFs from VLC


Green Lantern

Green Lantern FAQs:

Q: Who is the Green Lantern?

A: Not “who is”, but rather “who are” the Green Lanterns.

Q: Okay, who are the Green Lanterns?

A: Their full name is the Green Lantern Corps. They are the intergalactic peacekeepers. Kind of like the Jedi, but colored green.

Q: You mean like Yoda?

A: Uh... no.

Q: Why green?

A: Green, according to the story, is the color of will. As in will power. And this, they say, is the strongest energy source in the universe.

Q: So all the Green Lanterns wear some kind of ring. Is that ring the lantern?

A: No, that ring is a ring. It gets its power from a device that looks like a lantern.

" Yeah, I guess it looks like a lantern."

Q: How many Green Lanterns are there?

A: According to the story, one Lantern for each of the 3,600 sectors in the galaxy.

Even the Jedi don't have jellyfish-like beings.

Q: So that’s how many Lanterns?

A: Can you not count?

Q: Never mind. Who’s that chick that plays the girlfriend of Ryan Reynolds? Is she also a Green Lantern?

A: That’s Blake Lively. She’s not a Green Lantern. But she turns my mind green.

"Oh, no."

Q: What?

A: Nothing.

Q: Who’s the red-faced guy with the neat moustache?

A: That’s Senestro.

Q: No, I mean what’s the name of the actor who plays him?

A: Oh, that’s Mark Strong.


Q: No kidding! He doesn’t look like Mark Strong. Anyway, what power does the ring have?

A: It can create anything that the wearer’s mind can think of.

Q: Really? Anything?

A: The only limit is the imagination.

Q: So if I were Ryan Reynolds, and I had the ring, I could create a green Blake Lively and have sex with her?

A: Wait, what? If you were Ryan Reynolds, why would you want a green Blake Lively when you already have the real one?

Q: Uh, threesome?

A: Whatever. Next question, please.

Q: That geek friend of Hal Jordan... is that the curly-haired guy from The Big Bang Theory?

A: What? You mean the guy who played Tom? That’s not Johnny Galecki. His name is Taika Waititi.

"Seriously, do I look like Leonard Hofstadter?"

Q: Oh... okay... (snickers)

A: What? What’s so funny?

Q: You said “titi”.

A: Seriously? Come on, next question.

Q: Okay, who’s that guy who plays Tim Robbins’s son?

A: That’s Peter Sarsgaard.

Q: Oh, Swedish?

A: No, he’s American. He was in An Education with Carey Mulligan.

Q: Isn’t he Swedish? I thought he was related to Stellan Skarsgård.

A: No, he’s Peter Sarsgaard, not Skarsgård. He doesn’t have that “A” with the circle on top.

"You look nothing like Stellan Skarsgård."

Q: So how do you do that "A" with the circle on top?

A: Seriously? It's Alt+134. Okay, this question and answer’s over.

Green Lantern. USA. 2011.

Rating: Six out of ten.

*some info from IMDb
GIFs from VLC


The Tree of Life

There’s Brad Pitt. And there’s Sean Penn. And there’s... wait, what’s that? A dinosaur? Seriously?

Not Terra Nova.

And what’s this? A floating girl? I don’t get it.

Anyway, this film doesn’t seem to have any straight-up narrative in the traditional sense. It looks like a montage of various scenes, put together in a stream of consciousness fashion. It’s actually beautiful to look at, especially with the handheld camera movement giving it a documentary feel. But two hours of this? I’m not really sure.

The film starts out by showing us that something happened to Brad Pitt’s son. He has three sons, and I don’t know which one we’re talking about. I'm thinking the eldest. We don’t even know if the son died or what. Maybe he went to prison. But if one of them died, it’s definitely not Sean Penn, because he grows up to be an adult. The thing is, you really want to know what happened, and that’s why you’ll endure this for a little over two hours.

And in the end, we really don’t know what happened. I’m guessing he died. But how? We don’t know. Writer-director Terrence Malick never tells us. What he does is bore the audience for nothing.

"Come on, slap me, this film is so boring I'm getting sleepy."

Also, you do not put Sean Penn in a movie where he doesn’t talk much. You’d be wasting his acting talents that way. Unless you got him to do it for free.

"Whatever, man."

This film has some redeeming qualities, though. These are the National Geographic shots, and the cinematography, which I’m guessing might be nominated for an Oscar. Nice work, Emmanuel Lubezki.

What the hell is that?

The Tree of Life. USA. 2011.

Original rating: Six out of ten.
Cinematography: Plus half a point.
Final rating: Six and a half out of ten.

*GIFs from VLC


Doctor Who. Series 6

I admit I am not a proper Whovian. That's what they call Doctor Who fans. The only reason I watched this show was because I have this big crush on Karen Gillan. Like by watching it, she'd somehow step out of the telly (see, I call it the telly now) and flash her gorgeous legs right in my face. Okay, wait. Enough daydreaming.

"Dream on."

Anyway, my first Doctor was Matt Smith. I have never seen David Tennant's Doctor, nor Christopher Eccleston's. Though I have heard some great reviews about Tom Baker's Doctor. But I do not regret starting with the Eleventh Doctor. Matt Smith is great. A straight-up weirdo.

The first series with Matt Smith (by the way, in America they call it a "season"; in England they call it a "series"), which is Series 5, was already reviewed by Claire. One noticeable thing with that series is that the opening credits show only two names, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. This series now has three names in the opening credits, the new name being Arthur Darvill (who plays Rory "the Roman"). So now the Doctor has two companions. Instead of one really hot one.


30:Minutes or Less

This is a Ben Stiller production, so you can be sure that it’s entertaining. Not totally funny, but entertaining. Well, it’s funny in some parts. Laugh out loud-funny, even.

The thing with Jesse Eisenberg, though, is that he always talks in a fast manner, which was his same acting style in The Social Network. So unless he plays a character who’s a slow-talking nitwit, he will always be Mark Zuckerberg to me.

Basically, his career’s fucked.

The topic’s pretty heavy, though. There’s murder, and bombs, and explosions,


and bank robbing, and car crashes galore.

This has to be CGI.

But all this is balanced by the great comedic performances of the whole cast, especially Danny McBride, who manages to make his character both despicable and funny at the same time.

It’s also balanced by Dilshad Vadsaria’s cleavage.

And my new favorite comic actor: Aziz Ansari. His face, his whiny voice, and his delivery just crack me up.

He’s the funniest Indian in Hollywood right now.

One last point: Can anyone tell me how they did this shot:

and this one:

My best guess is that the background is fake. So it's either that, or they have a rig mounted on another moving vehicle travelling at the exact same speed as the car on camera. Whatever.

30:Minutes or Less. USA. 2011.

Original rating: Seven out of ten.
Contra “up, up, down, down” reference: Plus point twenty-five.
Dilshad Vadsaria’s presence: Plus point twenty-five.
Final rating: Seven and a half out of ten.

*GIFs from VLC


Modern Family. Season 3, Episode 8: "After the Fire"

Phil’s hilarious and fairly accurate impression of the Tube Dude.

This episode starts out about Rand-Aid, where they help their neighbors the Rands recover from a fire. But it soon turns out to be not about Rand-Aid at all (by the way, I just love saying “Rand-Aid”). It actually becomes about guy-on-guy massages, and about gays driving heavy machinery.

And about Alex Dunphy’s hair-twirling beauty.

*some info from Wikipedia
GIFs from VLC


Super 8 ─ Review by Sting Lacson (Siege Malvar Remix)

[NOTE: The original review was written by Sting Lacson. Siege Malvar remixed it as an attempt to create a dialogue of reviews, in blog form.]

STING: Super 8 is the new Goonies. And it's not just because of the kids. The entire movie has the same Goonies feel. The entire film is actually an homage to Steven Spielberg's eighties flicks, specifically Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goonies.

That yellow jacket on the fat guy is definitely a Goonies nod.

When I saw this, I had no idea what it was about. Well, I had some idea.

SIEGE: Super 8 is the new Goonies, and the new Lost.. And the new E.T. And the new Jaws. When I heard Spielberg is doing a movie with J.J. Abrams, I expected nothing less. Predictably, the movie reeks of the two auteurs' influence and style. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Super 8 feels like a signature film born of the two powerful storytellers that are Spielberg and Abrams. A collaborative dialogue that is indistinguishably neither Spielberg nor Abrams, but, like a mestizo Pinoy Big Brother hopeful from Olongapo, a beautiful bastard of both.

1. It was directed by J. J. Abrams.

STING: Not just directed. Written and directed. I've never seen an episode of Fringe. But I have seen Star Trek, and I liked it. But after watching Super 8, Abrams now joins my list of "Directors I Would Watch With No Questions Asked". Yes, Abrams might be guilty of excessive use of lens flares, but you'll get used to it. It doesn't diminish the beauty of his images in any way. Just try to think of it as Abram's own personal watermark. Lens flares are his signature move, anyway.


SIEGE: I, on the other lensflared hand, am a big fan of Abrams LOST, and could definitely parse out the movie in various J. J. Abrams trophes:

  • Blonde dude v. Dark haired dude. Totally Sawyer v. Jack, all throughout the movie.
  • The Monster Reveal. Abrams used the same cocktease technique in developing Smokey from Lost, and that giant alien from Cloverfield. It's like that Five Blind Pilgrim tale. We get parts and pieces of the monster, we hear it coming, we hear it groaning (in anger? in pain?), we see an arm grabbing one of the characters and shaking him all over the place like a rag doll. The intent is to create a horrible monster in our head in the spaces formed  between the parts and pieces: Is it a giant bug? Is it Cthulhu? Is it reptilian or robotic? We create the monster we're most afraid of, and that's what makes Abrams's brand of horror effective.
  • Composite Technology. Whereas Lost's Smokey is dark flecks of matter (that can either be self-aware nanobots or a swarm of possessed black bugs native to The Island), Super 8's Monster uses a similar composite technology that plays a pivotal point in the plot.
  • Scoring. Definitely a director's trademark here. Every highlight of the movie is punctuated by Michael Giacchino.
  • MUCH more. If you're a dedicated Lostie, you'll definitely want to watch this one. It's like Abrams is doing fan service.

2. There was a train crash.
STING: Yes, the train crash was the sort of centerpiece of the story. Everything revolved around it. The explosions might have been a bit excessive. But then again, I've never seen a train crash in my life.

SIEGE: J.J. Abrams is a big fan of EXPLOSIONS. As evident in the opening sequence of Lost (see here), and this M:I:3 sequence (see here). And as you can see, Abrams uses his explosions to propel the drama forward. More than spectacles of firepower, Abrams uses big bangs as opportunities to test his characters: What would you do when the train/plane/bridge you're on explodes?

STING: And these were the things I did not know about:

1. It had a love story. 

STING: Yes, that's right. A love story. One that had me giggling like a schoolboy. Elle Fanning is pretty. And for the record, she looks nothing like her sister Dakota.

I still don't know who's prettier, though.

SIEGE: It doesn't simply have a love story; it is the story about love: how the boy grieves for the mother he has lost, and what letting go means. It's about a father's love for his child (son and daughter). There is that romantic triangulation between the three kids, true. Still another Abrams trademark.

2. It was produced by Steven Spielberg. 

STING: And I'm not sure if the Goonies tribute was an ass-kissing move by Abrams as a thank-you to Spielberg for producing this film. But I think Steven's hand in the production is a sign that this guy Abrams is a great storyteller. Oh, wait. Spielberg also produced all the Transformers flicks. And I don't think it's because he thinks Michael Bay is a great storyteller.

"My multi-million dollar bank account says otherwise."

SIEGE: Yes, Spielberg's influence is strong on this one. The theme, the treatment. The director's trademark of tiny simultaneous details happening. The parent-child dramatic tension. The low height tracking shot. You know how Jaws scares you with the scoring even before you see the actual shark? They did the same thing with the Monster here.

3. This is the best movie I've seen this year. So far.

STING: I pride myself in having good cinematic taste, and I can say with conviction that Super 8 is one of the best original movies to come out of 2011. But the year isn't over yet, so we shall have to wait and find out. And maybe, if it weren't too sci-fi and alien-y, this should get a nod for a Best Picture Academy Award.

SIEGE: The amazing thing about this movie is its heart. It's a big, bad-ass movie about a giant monster from outer space, but it's not about that. It's about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and how the human spirit would persevere in those situations.

As supplementary viewing, I'm requiring you guys to watch this TED TALK by J. J. Abrams where he talks about "investment in character".

Super 8. USA. 2011.

Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
Feeling like a schoolboy with a crush: Eight out of ten.

Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
Feeling like a fanboy watching his two idols having a dialogue: Ten out of Ten.

You may also want to read the Super 8 review by Sting Lacson.


Terra Nova. Episode 7: "Proof"

Josh does something really stupid. Imagine stealing from your own mother. But really, how many of us are actually guilty of that at one point in our lives, right? Or maybe it's just me. Anyway, as long as it's done in the name of love, history will absolve you.

That's gotta hurt.

Maddy, on the other hand, becomes obsessed with her idol, Ken Horton. Horton hears a "who" coming from Maddy and Dr. Wallace, when they start to doubt if Horton is who he says he is. And yes, I just had to force that Dr. Seuss reference.

Oh, Naomi Scott. You look so pretty in a ponytail.

*some info from Wikipedia
GIFs from VLC


Coming Soon: Brave

Trust Pixar to push the envelope once more, by coming out with a film set in Scotland, and using actual Scottish voice actors (except for Emma Thompson, who is still technically from the U.K.), and using actual (not so thick) Scottish accents.

You should love this movie if you're a fan of animation, action, and adventure, or if you're a fan of red-headed Scottish women.

I just had to put that in.

*DISCLAIMER*: Karen Gillan is NOT in this film.

*some info from IMDb
video from YouTube
pic from Tumblr


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn─Part 1

If red chess pieces mean nothing more to you than that, then stop reading.

I’m writing this from the point of view of someone who has read the books (it was part of my “wallow in misery” agenda at that time), has watched the previous movies, but is not a huge fan.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn─Part 1 is not bad, but there's still room for improvement. Twihards would probably adore it. Non-fans’s level of appreciation for this movie would be congruent (what?) to the amount of background they know about the story. Like the previous films, so much is implied in several scenes it’s easy for one who knows naught (again, what?) of the story to get lost.

Book cover photo for How To Not Look Pretty When You're Expecting 

As a result of the split, the movie feels a little prolonged—and the second one will probably have the same feel to it, too. Where the already-too-plotted Breaking Dawn is split for the two movies is just right. The obvious climax is clearly the childbirth—not the bed scene, as some would argue. And it’s a pretty convincing climax.

Book cover photo for Teen Wolf Drama King

Because a chunk of the first half of the final book is written in Jacob’s points of view, the convenient “Edward can read minds” helped filter and translate thoughts into dialogue. But still, there’s a lot of unnecessary silence or pauses in between. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner are, well, still Bella, Edward, and Jacob like before—part awkward, part sweet. The rest of the cast is just so-so, trying their best to play their roles with just short phrases or background music.

My attention to detail (very convincing yucky zombie makeup, too little abs exposure, too loud background music for wolf-talk, science docu-like vampire transformation, forward-flashback style imprinting, etc.) is not important.

A nice improvement from previous makeups.
They always have a change of clothes under their furs now.

Allow me, though to rave at the beautiful house for their honeymoon—love, love, love! Also, it’s a nice touch that the movie used some music from the first film. It’s the more effective nostalgic touch than having a montage of past scenes.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn─Part 1 gets a seven out of ten (really, what?), for I went to see it with minimal expectations considering the franchise’s track record (and, in all fairness, it was not bad at all). And for having to wait a whole year—as opposed to, I don’t know, maybe six months like what the other franchise did—for the last installment.

*photos from allmoviephotos.com and its Youtube trailer.

You may also want to check out Sting Lacson's review of Breaking Dawn─Part 1, or the other reviews for The Twilight Sagasuch as New Moon and Eclipse.


Boardwalk Empire. Season 2, Episode 8: "Two Boats and a Lifeguard"

Some people may find this episode boring, simply because this is one episode with no bloodshed. In fact, there is only one act of violence here, and it's when James Darmody throws Doyle over the balcony. And Doyle doesn't even die.


But to make up for the lack of violence, they did show some girl-on-girl kissing.

That's Aleksa Palladino, bitches.

*some info from IMDb
pics from VLC and GIF Ninja


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn─Part 1

First of all, not enough nudity. If you thought Edward was going to be breaking Bella's dawn (and by "dawn" I mean "hymen"), you watched the wrong movie.

"Is it broken yet?"

Thanks to OK! Philippines, Da Couch Tomato got to see Bella's baby before the rest of the world. And we also got to interview the author of the Twilight Saga herself, none other than Stephenie Meyer. Here's what she had to say:

"Hi, I'm Stephenie Meyer. That's right, I have a lot of letter E's in my name. That's one E in every syllable. That's why I named my leading man "Edward", you know, 'cause it starts with an E. Anyway, I'm sure you've read a lot of stuff on the net about Stephen King dissing my work over J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter series. Well, I'm not really trying to copy Rowling's work. God knows I have nothing against wizards hitting puberty. My book's about girls hitting puberty while having a vampire boyfriend. Anyway, Rowling's books don't have wizards getting pregnant, or childbirth even. You can suck it, Stephen King. He's just jealous because my books have made more money than all his books combined. I'm not sure about that figure, but I think it's pretty close.

Rowling's books also don't have sex scenes by a waterfall.

"I must admit, though, that I did steal one of Ms. Rowling's ideas, and that's splitting the last book of the saga into two films. I mean, she broke Deathly Hallows into two parts, right, so I thought I'd do the same with Breaking Dawn. Good thing I caught on to this "split the book into two films" bandwagon early on. Now when Peter Jackson splits The Hobbit into two films, it'll look like he ripped off the idea from me.

"My film doesn't have a 3D release, but I think it's the studio's fault. I mean, who doesn't want to see Robert Pattinson's face in 3D, right? Or Taylor Lautner's abs in 3D, I mean, who wouldn't want that?

"What about my face?"

Well anyway, I don't expect to win an Academy Award or anything, except maybe for Best Makeup for making Kristen Stewart look convincingly like a zombie (although I'd attribute it more to anorexia than makeup).

Or maybe crystal meth.

What I do expect is to break box office records and make a ton of money, so I can buy that beautiful house in Rio where we shot the sex scenes. And I also expect to make a killing in the U.K., which is the only reason I hired Michael Sheen to play one of the Volturi. God knows British audiences are much too sophisticated to watch vampires having sex with zombies."

"If you think I'm sophisticated, then you haven't met Stephen Fry."

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn─Part 1. USA. 2011.

Rating: Six point seven out of ten.
Not having enough nudity: Minus point one.
No Dakota Fanning: Minus point one.
Final rating: Six and a half out of ten.

*some info from IMDb
pics from YouTube and All Movie Photo

You may also want to check out Sue Denim's review of Breaking Dawn─Part 1, or the other reviews for The Twilight Sagasuch as New Moon and Eclipse.


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