Da Couch Tomato

An attempt at a new layout, with horrible glitches, and very minimal knowledge of HTML.

Men in Black III


After a 10-year absence, the men in black finally make a comeback. This is the third installment in the MIB franchise, and I sure hope as hell it won't be the last.

Men in Black now ranks as my second favorite alien franchise, next only to Doctor Who. Some people might be asking, "Wait, I thought you liked Star Wars?" Yes, I do love Star Wars. But you have to understand first that when I say "alien", I don't mean "sci-fi". There's a difference.

"There is?"

Star Wars is sci-fi. Dune is sci-fi. Star Trek is alien. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is alien. Get the difference?

When I say "alien", I mean something that still involves human Earthlings and the planet Earth. Do you have the planet Earth in the Star Wars universe? No, you don't. Is Han Solo a human Earthling? No, he isn't (he's a human Corellian).

Anyway, 10 years is a long time, and a lot of changes have taken place in MIB headquarters. First, Zed's dead (nice rhyme). Second, the new director (I assume that's what the highest MIB officer is called) is O (Emma Thompson), and she gives a hilarious eulogy to her predecessor.

"Is it funnier because of my British accent?"


Game of Thrones. Season 2, Episode 9: "Blackwater"

What makes this episode different from all the others? That is, aside from the fact that we see nothing of Jon Snow, crows, wildlings, Winterfell, Harrenhal, Robb Stark, or the Kingslayer?

Don't worry. We'll still get to see some breasts.


21 Reasons to Watch 21 Jump Street


For those of you who are too young to remember, 21 Jump Street was a television show in the 80s. It was mostly my mother and my aunt who watched it; children love their cartoons, and are not interested in anything adults like.

Anyway, this here is the movie version. Hollywood showed us that making movie versions of old TV shows is quite lucrative, and since they've basically cleared the 70s with Charlie's Angels and Starsky and Hutch, they now move on to the 80s.

Anyway, here are 21 reasons to watch this. Thank heavens the street address wasn't in triple digits. If it were called 101 Jump Street, I'd have to write 101 reasons to watch this.

1. Channing Tatum's first attempt at comedy

I mean, look at him.

2. A lean, mean, Jonah Hill



Mad Men Season 1 Review, or The Best Use of Effective Realism on Television


Welcome to Madison Avenue, home of the Ad Men, or Mad Men, as they like to call themselves. (See, that's a play on the words "advertising", and "Madison"─Mad. Get it?)

I've heard about this show before, but I never got a chance to watch it, because when this show started, I was extremely biased towards HBO productions and tended to ignore all the other shows on TV.

It was only when I became a copywriter that I decided to check the show out. I needed some inspiration, because I just realized that I suck at writing copy. And inspire me it did. Everyone in a line of work involving creativity will definitely learn a lot here, from the first episode's Lucky Strike campaign (It's Toasted!) up to the season ender's brilliant, sentimentally tear-jerking pitch of the Kodak carousel slide projector.

"I'm crying because of the sheer brilliance of this scene!"

Mad Men is set in 1960s America, sometime during the Nixon-Kennedy election showdown. And the show does indeed look convincingly like the 60s. The hair, the costumes, the production design, the cinematography, the soundtrack─everything is swingin' sixties, baby. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the best use of effective realism I have ever seen on television.

The entire visual look is so effective, it looks like those 60s Coca-Cola ads brought to life.

Like this, basically.


The Cabin in the Woods Review, or If Joss Whedon Were Born On the Other Side of the Atlantic...


I wasn't a Joss Whedon fan. Everything I know about Joss Whedon, I learned from The Avengers. Before that, everything I knew about Joss Whedon, I learned from my co-writer Claire and Tumblr. And before that, I knew nothing about Joss Whedon.

Yes, I was aware that there was a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But after the film Cruel Intentions, I thought Sarah Michelle Gellar was too slutty for my taste. Also, I thought Buffy was a show for girls, like Charmed, so I never checked it out anymore.

Anyway, after watching The Avengers, I decided that Joss Whedon is a huge geek and one brilliant storyteller, and is definitely worth my time. So I decided to watch The Cabin in the Woods. And although it had the feel of a B-movie, I wasn't disappointed.

Except by the dirt on the characters's faces.

The film started out like an ordinary college movie, where you get the typical archetypes: the hunk (a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), the slut (Anna Hutchison), the virgin (Kristen Connolly), and the pothead (Fran Kranz). Then as the film became weirder and weirder, I said to myself, "Hold on! This looks strangely familiar..."

"When you say 'familiar', you don't mean us, right?
Because we're basically Whedon staples."

And then it hit me. Doctor Who.

For those of you unfamiliar with Doctor Who, you need to explore things from other English-speaking countries, not just the USA. Why not explore stuff from the birthplace of English itself? If everything you know about the British Isles you learned from Harry Potter and the Beatles, then shame on you.

"How about the Spice Girls?"

All throughout the film, I kept thinking how much Joss Whedon's style is so much similar to the styles of Doctor Who head writers Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies, the latter being the driving force that brought the Doctor back in 2005 after a television hiatus of more than a decade. I even went so far as tweeting that if Joss Whedon were only born under the Union Jack, he would surely be the head writer for DW.

Same level of creepiness. Satisfied?

And I thank Claire for coming to the rescue, when she said that Russell T. Davies was actually inspired by the works of Joss Whedon. And that's not just fangirl ramblings (Claire is both a Whedon-whore as well as a Whovian).

“[Buffy the Vampire Slayer] showed the whole world, and an entire sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the world isn’t hack-work, it can challenge the best. Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writer—not just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us.”─Russell T. Davies

It is, actually, quite obvious, or else I wouldn't have noticed it. It's the perfect balance between single character conflicts, group dynamics, aliens, monsters, the mythological, and the supernatural. And another thing: is Joss Whedon a pothead? Because in this film, the only survivors are the pothead and the virgin. Brilliant, right?

"That's 'cause his name is really Joss Weed-don. Get it?"

Like I said earlier, I wasn't a fan of Joss Whedon. But I am now.

The Cabin in the Woods. USA. 2012.

Rating: Seven point eight out of ten.


Music Icons: Robin Gibb

Ye olde bigge hair.

This is a sad time for disco music. After the death of Donna Summer, another disco legend bites the dust dance floor. I'm talking about Robin Gibb, whose death has left his older brother Barry as the last survivor of the Bee Gees.

Although the Bee Gees were big in the 70s, they still made hits in the 80s, so if you grew up in the 80s, you'll surely have heard them on the radio (since the Philippines in the 80s was basically America in the 70s).

As I was growing up, I encountered Bee Gees references in pop culture. There was one in the comic strip Pugad Baboy, about how the Bee Gees always sounded like they just ate really spicy food. Then there was another one from A Goofy Movie, where Bigfoot danced to "Stayin' Alive".

Then when I was in high school, the Bee Gees made a comeback, with this video constantly playing on music channels, competing for the same airtime as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and the Smashing Pumpkins.

It was then that I noticed, "Hey, that other Bee Gee looks really cool, like an old artist-type guy." And yes, he's the one who doesn't look like a lion. Then I learned that cool artist-type guy was Robin Gibb, who sang "Boys Do Fall in Love", a song everyone in the 80s should have heard at least once.

And that is the story of how Robin Gibb became my favorite Bee Gee ever.

Robin Hugh Gibb. 22 December 1949─20 May 2012.


Music Icons: Donna Summer

Wicklow News

Let us pause for a moment to honor the memory of one of the legends of disco─Ms. Donna Summer.

I'm not that familiar with Donna Summer as a person. But I do know her name, as it is a bit synonymous with "disco". And I do know her songs. I'm sure most of you do, too, without realizing it.

Here's something to help you remember:

Here's another one:

I'd give you another video, but Donna Summer wouldn't like that. She doesn't like people who are too lazy to google her.

LaDonna Adrian Gaines. 31 December 1948─17 May 2012.


Game of Thrones. Season 2, Episode 8: "The Prince of Winterfell"

What do you get when you bring in the show's creators to write this episode?

Like the episode before this, which was also penned by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, this one is filled with talk and drama. Pfffttt. I don't want that. I want great storytelling, like you guys did in Season 1. Seems like you've gone soft in this episode. At least the previous episode had just a teensy hint of violence. The only sign of violence in this episode was those two guards at the gate that Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie had to pass through─and the guards were already like that when they got there.

How does Jaqen H'ghar kill? Really?


The Vampire Diaries. Season 3

Meredith has a long lifespan for a guest character, don't you think?

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 has been more like a soap opera with a fantasy twist, specifically witches, vampires, werewolves, hybrids, and ghosts. We have grown to love the ultimate villain that is Klaus that there was no real threat to our heroes this season. We had Mikael, Esther, and Vampire "Alaric" Hunter, but no one really measured up to Klaus. But our Original Hybrid is kind of busy painting and sketching.

We're always pleased by Elijah's surprise presence!

Don't get me wrong, I love that we had a glimpse of the Originals and their humanity. It's enriching to know how a villain became who he is and the reasons behind his actions. It will still be good to have Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, and Joseph Morgan (please say his body is intact, albeit burnt) around. Elijah, Rebekah, and Klaus all bring that royal, regal, and ancient yet edgy feel to the show.

These two, on the other hand, are terrific, romantic or not.

But I also want to see our vampires in action again. I'm not sure what kind of villain or threat is going to outrank Klaus and the Originals, but I have hope that with the new dynamics─Elena turning vampire and all─they'll find someone or something fearsome and worthy to hate again. It could even turn out to be Vampire Elena? Nina Dobrev could easily pull that off, but I guess that's Katherine's turf.

I'd still choose Damon anywhere, any day, any time.

The Salvatore brothers have been through a lot and this season also solidified their blood relations. It's so good to see them come together even if they still have their differences. We saw Paul Wesley take on Stefan's history; I want to see Ian Somerhalder show why Damon ended up as this bad-ass vampire we know and love. Stefan might be Elena's choice now (even though I have a feeling he's always going to be her choice), but "The Departed" is all in favor of Damon (like I said, Stefan's guilt and Elena's refreshed memory). But I hope the brothers only get stronger after an uphill climb getting over Elena's turning in the season to come.

If only we could freeze this moment... then the show is over. So we will NOT.

We say goodbye to Alaric, yes. Our resident witch going dark, maybe? Caroline and Tyler (who is actually Klaus posing as Tyler at the moment) still on the run? Will Matt's near-death experience make him not-so-normal now? Who are the ghosts Jeremy will have contact with? How the hell are they going to turn back Mystic Falls to the way it was? Our vampires can't compel each and everyone to forget.

The Vampire Diaires gets a seven out of ten, for insights on the Originals, the Salvatores, Elena, and more (specifically a stronger Bonnie, empowered humans, and villains we all hate to love or love to hate).

*photos from The CW (here and here) and by VLC


The Secret Circle. Season 1

Dear, dear Chance Harbor witches...

We're sort of back to square one. The Secret Circle ain't bound anymore, and solo powers are restored. It took you a whole season to start being interesting. I can literally tick off a handful (or maybe half) of the episodes that just confused the only storyline that mattered. Nick, the demons, and the witch hunters are vital to your ultimate plot, but the rest, really, you could do away with easily.

What The Secret Circle could have been given more spotlight: good and evil (fighting bad guys or their own internal demons), some romance and a little bit of sex (I stand by my statement that this show really lacked the hot guy for girls to fantasize; I'd settle for Jake but he's not that cute), and a lot of mystery (one too many surrounding voodoo, though), and great cool chanting spells (which we only sort of heard in the latter part of the season). Plus, I've always said the costume design needed an upgrade because it reminded me of Dawson's Creek, which was a show way too long ago.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm a little bit sad that we will no longer find out what happens next. The montage at the end of "Family" looks to shatter all that we know and love of the characters, and that can only be good to shake things up. Let me take you to the best of what's never going to come:


New Girl. Season 1

So long, guys! Good luck next season!

If you've been reading the micro reviews of each episode, you'll see that New Girl started out with promise, the adorkable Zooey Deschanel leading the gang. As the show went on, it felt like it was trying to be the Friends of this modern TV age, without really bringing anything new to formulaic comedy sitcoms. Along the way, it got confused as to where it really wanted to be at the end of the season, and that caused most of the character story arcs to become less natural. Ergo, less and less laugh-out-loud moments. I was wanting for the season to be over so I could stop watching it altogether.

But before I say goodbye to New Girl as a show, I want to commend Max Greenfield for owning his character Schmidt. I still miss Damon Wayan, Jr. as Coach from the pilot. I think it would have been more interesting if he stayed (not that I hate Winston). Nick really needs to grow up. Lastly, Zooey would always be the girl in 500 Days of Summer to me more than Jessica Day.

New Girl gets a five out of ten, for the adorkable moments, creepy facial expressions, weird scenarios, and its most remarkable contribution: The Douchebag Jar.

You will always be remembered.

*photo from Fox.com, and this blog.


The Vampire Diaries. Season 3. Episode 22: "The Departed"

At least her eyes weren't red, nor her skin suspiciously white.

I know it's a week late, but I watched it again to write this, and it still felt the same. There were so many things going on in such a fast pace, and with so many feelings involved. I wasn't surprised with Elena's fate; it was only a matter of time (it happened much earlier in the books). And I think it's just about the right time that Elena has chosen who she wants to be with, now that she's lost every parental adult she's had.

Let's take a moment to bid Alaric au revoir. See you soon.

Of course, she's going to turn. That's why next season is going to take us back to square one... well, not exactly, I hope. Stefan's guilt will probably play into the situation, and so will Damon's "I told you so" sermon. But both brothers will kind of breath a sigh of relief that Elena is not that fragile and not a target anymore. The advantages of her being a vampire─also with their respective relationships, of course─will sink in.

I'd say that body  is salvageable. Alaric closed the coffin too early.

And we haven't seen the last of Klaus yet. (It's genius, but I hate it that he's in Tyler's body. Caroline better watch it.) Nor have we seen the last of the other Originals (more Elijah and Rebekah, please, I loved their sibling moment in this episode). And if Bonnie is going rogue or bad, next season is really going to be interesting.

*screencaps by VLC


The Secret Circle. Episode 22: "Family"

These back magic sisters need a ginger. Seriously.

So, it comes down to family, and yet it was all it took to kill Blackwell. I especially love the part where Cassie "activated" Diana's dark magic. That, and the somewhat orgasmic effect of touching the crystal skull. The circle is bound no more and their identities as witches are out. Individual power is restored, as well as a new-found one for Dawn. Charles sacrifice is appreciated; Eben is dead. So why didn't they tell the elders that the crystal was whole again? After all, witches got to stick together, right?

*screencap by VLC


New Girl. Episode 24: "See Ya"

Do you think just the three of them can pull it off?

When I said that Nick moving out is a good story angle, I meant that if he really did move out. But of course, he didn't. All that time in the desert was just sort of just fun. There's trouble in Cece and Schmidt land and I think their story is the only one progressing logically. Winston's character badly needs a makeover.

*screencap by VLC


Into the Badlands

This TV movie has great actors like Bruce Dern, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt, and Dylan McDermott. It's also a trilogy based on Western horror stories.

However, this movie will leave you with a lot of questions about what really happened, and it's not necessary. Not in the Satoshi Kon sense.

What will get you through this movie is Bruce Dern's haunting narration. There's also some gore. You might also like this movie if you enjoy folk music, or Bon Iver and Joanna Newsom, or that new Taylor Swift song for the The Hunger Games.

Other than that, this Sam Pillsbury-directed TV movie might only be good for when a professor of American history or literature gets a hangover and needs the class to "do something." Or maybe if one were a nerd and bored.

Photo from IMDB


Ring Kings

This should've been due more than a week ago. Let's just go ahead with the festivities, shall we?

Deandre Latimore VS Carlos Quintana

A new schooler versus an old school former world champ. I expected Quintana to put on the clamps on Latimore, even if the latter trains at the Mayweather gym in Michigan.

Just because you own the gym doesn't mean you win, bitch!

Quintana did a li'l more in-and-out movements in the first, but Latimore also let some fly, too.

I say split this round!

Early in the second, Latimore gave Quintana a low blow. Quintana doesn't take the five-minute optional breather, though. Both these southpaws just kept on exchanging blows, even in the clinch.

It's just like two orthodox fighters sluggin' out. 

In the next couple of rounds, we see Latimore smotherin' Quintana. But even with all the smotherin', Quintana was still givin' Latimore the ole' one-two's.

We see both guys throwin' their best combos so far in the mid-rounds. Latimore was blockin' heavy Quintana bombs, but got nailed still. Latimore had his hands full with all this Quintana trouble. He may be bothered by the cut on his left eye. Hence, his full hands. Then all of a sudden, Cotto appears.

Shouldn't you be in the locker room?

In the sixth round, Quintana just loaded up. Latimore got floored the fuck up with left hooks. He tried to stand up, but he couldn't. Quintana wins via K.O.!


Doctor Who. Series 2

After Christopher Eccleston, we now move on to the new Doctor, the Tenth. And his name is David Tennant.

The Doctor may have changed, but the companions remain the same. Same old Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Same old Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke). Same old TARDIS.

Let's talk about this regeneration thing. If this were another fictional universe, I would definitely complain about changing actors within the same franchise. I complained when Marvel changed War Machine from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle in Iron Man. I cringed a bit when DC replaced Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal for the role of Rachel Dawes in the Christopher Nolan Batman franchise. But the creators of Doctor Who had that ironed out decades ago by creating the whole regeneration thing. One of the good things about being a Time Lord is that when you die, you can regenerate with a whole new body, a whole new personality, but the same memories. So when you get problems with an actor, whether it be on- or off-camera, you can just kill him off and replace him with another. Then the series can live on forever! Brilliant!

"Children in Need Special"

That's a real working number on the screen.
International rates apply.

This is David Tennant's first adventure as the Doctor. He's so fresh he even has Christopher Eccleston's wardrobe on him. Seeing as this is just an approximately 6-minute long video, this short serves no purpose whatsoever but to provide a smooth transition for viewers. Remember, Series 1 is the Doctor's first television appearance in years, and new viewers might find the regeneration thing a bit jarring. So they had to dedicate this short just to make sure the viewers didn't lose their bearings.


Game of Thrones. Season 2, Episode 7: "A Man Without Honor"

When you have a saga with a huge universe, either of these two problems will crop up. One, you will tend to concentrate all your characterization into the lead character, then tend to ignore developing the other major characters. Or two, you tend to characterize everyone equally, making it seem like there is no single main character at all.

In the case of Game of Thrones, it's the first problem. Everyone was too busy thinking about what would be the best way to kill the bastard Joffrey Baratheon that they forgot there's an even bigger sociopath in the Seven Kingdoms─his father uncle father-uncle, Jaime Lannister.

Now he totally looks like an incestuous redneck.


Dark Shadows Review, or Is There a Team Burton?


A lot of people who wish to sound smart will comment on the fact that director Tim Burton seems to be using the same actors over and over again. Well, yes he is. But you can't blame him for that. It saves thousands of dollars per movie, money which can be redirected to the other departments such as costumes and special effects. So if you're a director, it pays to marry and be best friends with great actors.

But going back to the topicis there a Team Burton? The answer is yes, there is definitely a Team Burton, and yes, that pun was forced. And I shall show you by analyzing the last five movies of Tim Burton, this film included. And those films are, in reverse order of chronology: Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Corpse Bride, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

On the surface, the three actors common to all five films are:

Johnny Depp

Those finger extensions look fake
as well as horrendous.

Weird, oddball role: Check.
Weird, oddball acting: Check.


Literary Icons: Maurice Sendak

Yes, he does look like a grumpy old man.

Maurice Sendak is a renowned author and illustrator of children's books, often considered a revolutionary in children's literature. I do have memories of encountering his work when I was a kid, but it was only in college when I majored in literature did I fully appreciate just how great Maurice Sendak is.

Although he has written several children's books, he is best-known for writing and illustrating Where the Wild Things Are, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1964, and was also turned into a movie back in 2009. And should he go down in history for that single book, it wouldn't matter. Mr. Sendak has already left his legacy. He has touched the lives of writers, illustrators, and readers alike. One of his favorite fan mails is from an 8-year-old boy, who writes, "Dear Mr. Sendak, [h]ow much does it cost to get to where the wild things are? If it is not expensive, my sister and I would like to spend the summer there." Reading that actually made me cry.

As recently as last year, 2011, Maurice Sendak was still very much in the game, with Bumble-Ardy. Here's a radio interview from September last year, where aside from his new book, he discusses his life and his legacy. And about death, all he had to say was, "I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready." In his own words, he is a happy old man, but he will be crying his way to the grave.

Here is my tribute to Maurice Sendak, with everything drawn by Sendak himself, his face taken from one of his self-portraits and composited over an illustration from his famous book. The picture shows the Wild Things giving Mr. Sendak a proper send-off along the River Styx, and as we appreciate this simple tribute, let us give a moment of silence for the loss of a literary great.

Maurice Bernard Sendak. 10 June 1928 ─ 8 May 2012.


Game of Thrones. Season 2, Episode 6: "The Old Gods and the New"

By this time, fans of the book should've already accepted that the TV series is a different ball game. Creators David Benioff and DB Weiss have done such a great job so far with the adaptation that sooner or later, the time must come when the movie parts ways with the manuscript. Book fans might be especially displeased with the changes in the names, but wasn't it Shakespeare who said, "that which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet"1? Some fans would disagree though, especially the ones who've already conditioned themselves to believe that in this series, Oona Chaplin stars as Jeyne Westerling and not as Talisa Maegyr.

If you force it, "Talisa Maegyr" is an anagram of "Jeyne Westerling".


Music Icons: Adam Yauch a.k.a. MCA

"Check. Check."

I remember my first encounter with the Beastie Boys. It was back in freshman high school, while reading an issue of Rolling Stone magazine. What I was really reading was an article about graffiti, featuring the graffiti artist JA. Then I came across an article with a picture of the Beastie Boys, with one of them sporting a cool goatee, wearing a cool windbreaker and a really cool fisherman (or bucket) hat. I thought to myself, "This guy looks really cool." So I checked the photo caption, and it said that the goateed guy with the cool hat was named Adam Yauch. After that, I decided to check out their music. Remember, this was the time before the Internet was mainstream, so it took some time between that Rolling Stone encounter and the time I heard my first Beastie Boy song.

Yes, that's right. I liked the Beastie Boys because of a cool hat. How shallow.

RIP MCA. You were the first Beastie Boy I knew by name.

Adam Nathaniel "MCA" Yauch. 5 August 1964 ─ 4 May 2012.


The Vampire Diaries. Season 3. Episode 21: "Before Sunset"

Can't kill Klaus, oh just stop his heart.

I wonder why they never thought of this ritual since Abby told Bonnie about the spell. Anyway, the big bad villain of Season 2 is finally put down, without worry if our resident vampires are from his blood line. Would Rebekah, Kol, or Elijah seek revenge for their hybrid brother? I don't think so, although it would be nice to see Elijah again. Would the gang do the same thing to put down Vampire "Alaric" Hunter? Honestly, I'm not sure this is a big step to having Klaus as a villain, but I think he would give our gang enough trouble by exposing every vampire, werewolf, or hybrid and any one connected to one.

Team Salvatore needs to get over "Who's Elena going to choose?" for now.

*screencaps by VLC


The Secret Circle. Episode 21: "Prom"

Ditching Team Cassie-Jake for Team Faye-Jake.

Apparently, Faye and Jake were supposed to go to the prom two years ago, but Faye waited for three hours and Jake never showed up. Prom this year brought some closure to that. There's closure, too, for Melissa accepting that the Nick they knew is dead and killed this sort-of-demon impostor. Another one is Diana finding out that her dad is not exactly a good guyhe killed Emilia, Cassie's mom. And one last, which  is also a build-up for the finale, is Cassie and Diana knowing the truth about Blackwell through their witchy-timey-wimey. Jake's granddad's "what John Blackwell really wanted from the circle" was spot on. And he already has the final crystal.

Let's see how our black magic sisters handle their own blood.

*screencaps by VLC


Premium Blogspot Templates
Copyright © 2012 Da Couch Tomato