Da Couch Tomato

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

Why Twilight Is Better than The Maze Runner

How come K-Stew is in both films?

This is a quick post about shit lit vampire series Twilight, and shit lit dystopic series The Maze Runner. Both bestsellers were turned into box office hits, and I apologize to mankind on their behalf. We should have fought this problem at its root. I think it's too late now to save ourselves from them.

Also, warning: spoilers. I'll be discussing some crucial plot points ahead. If you don't want your enjoyment of these stories spoiled, THEN DON'T FUCKING READ / WATCH THESE STORIES IN THE FIRST PLACE. You are better off reading something from Wattpad, or watching the New Breed Category of Cinemalaya, which to me are the same thing, and are much better use of one's time than watching Twilight and The Maze Runner

Anyway, disclaimer. When I talk about Twilight and The Maze Runner in this particular post, I refer not just to their source text (which is to say, the novel) nor just to the adapted text (the movies), but to the text created when the narrative exists on different media (books and movies). That concept in itself will take a lot of epistemological explaining to do, so just fucking roll with me here.

Ok, so.

The Maze Runner opens interestingly enough in media res. A boy wakes up with no memories in an elevator speeding up a shaft. The door over his head opens, and he finds himself surrounded by other boys living in what they have been calling THE GLADE.  Sounds like a good premise so far.

Unfortunately, it only goes downhill from there. As we soon find out, The Glade is a part of a ridiculously elaborate plan by the government (or what remains of it) to either a.) find a cure for an infection threatening mankind, or b.) a screening process to see who deserves the cure.

What starts out as a very intriguing premise turns out to have an unbelievable, and unconvincing explanation. It just doesn't make any sense.

a.) It doesn't make sense to spend time and resources on an elaborate process that involves sophisticated machinery and logistics to develop a cure. It's something a 12-year old psychotic spoiled kid would have thought of, had he been in charge of the world. I'm assuming adults are still in control of the world at that time, so I find it hard to believe that all the theatrics (people pretending to be dead, people scaring the test subjects with their drama, etc) are part of a scientific, logical process to determine a cure.

b.) It is an insult to the world of science to think all these playacting tactics can help determine the cure. Cures are developed through biology, and chemistry. Not through an elaborate plan that involves constructing a maze designed to hold a CODE that will help the test subjects escape.

c.) You have the technology to wipe people's memories away, and this is how you used it?

d.) All the "Gladers" / test subjects came to the Glade with their memories wiped away. Tabula rasa. Clean slate. What's their motivation to escape, then? Why would they want to escape when they can't remember a damn thing? They don't have a longing for anyone's presence (i.e. an absent family member) or the need to return to a lifestyle that they have lost (i.e. getting stranded on an island after a plane crash). They LITERALLY HAVE NO REASON. Let me state again the basic premise of this story: THEY CAME TO THE GLADE AS BLANK SLATES. This is like me telling you "Dude, we need to escape this place and go to Kagago Nation, because all the reasons we have for living are there." You will probably say: "What's Kagago nation? I don't think that exists." EXACTLY. The Gladers have no idea about life outside of the Glade, so why do they keep trying to escape? It's not like Thomas came to the Glade bringing them artifacts of their old life to remind them how living was like outside of the Glade, but nope, no, didn't happen.

At least Twilight had these things going for it:

a.) Bella Swan was a typical teenager. She was despicably obsessed with her 90-year old volatile boyfriend, and she thinks everything is a matter of death. But that's how teenagers are. OMG, have you seen one? They literally think they have no reason for living after a break-up. They literally want to kill themselves because the persons they're "in a relationship" with had other plans for themselves. They will LITERALLY throw away their potentials and opportunities because of─you guessed it─LOVE. As the single-minded driving force behind the series Twilight, it makes sense. It wouldn't make sense if Twilight is about a fully-formed adult with a fully-formed life obsessing about Edward Cullen; it would be sad and pathetic. But this is Bella Swan. She hasn't had enough life experiences to let her know better.

b.) Bella Swan's motivation was clear from the get-go: she wants to be with Edward Cullen. That's it. It's simple and neat, and you can throw LITERALLY anything at her, and she would still want to be with Edward Cullen. All of her subsequent actions after realizing that goal are in accordance with accomplishing that goal. You can throw an ancient clan of murderous vampires between her and Edward Cullen, and she will find a way go through them. Hell, you can throw her in the fucking Glade, and she'll fucking solve that Maze just to have Edward's fangs on her pussy. On the other hand: there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING convincing that's motivating the Gladers from leaving their lives behind.

When we talk of literature, Twilight is at the bottom of the cesspool. Not because it's particularly bad, but because it's ridiculously successful while being ridiculously bad. Its success makes us realize that for all of our intentions of writing good stories, the readers have a totally different idea about what to read. It scares us of even trying to write good because now we know it's bad writing that will get the readers reading. But for all of that, The Maze Runner manages to accomplish something. It manages to be an even worse crap than Twilight.


Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1

"You're looking more like Thor now. That's great."

First of all, I need a show of hands: Who’s totally fed up with splitting a book into two movie adaptations? I know I am not alone.

I’m glad that director Francis Lawrence stayed on to direct the Mockingjay films, as the Catching Fire movie was really, really great. It’s probably the best book-to-movie adaptation that really captured my own experience when reading the book. Mockingjay Part 1 maintains the tone, the edginess—just about everything you loved from the second movie is still there, and that’s great.

It’s super—and I mean super-super—that Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) is in the film, because I read the book and Effie didn’t have a big part in the third book. Banks, together with the rest of the awesome supporting actors Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, and Philip Seymour Hoffman (I miss him already! Rest in peace.) played their part as expected. I secretly wish they had more screen time. Even the new supporting cast (Hey, Natalie Dormer of Game of Thrones!) is good, but they had even less screen time.

"All hail Katniss Everdeen, for surviving The Fappening!"

It’s also not a surprise that Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss Everdeen) and Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta Mellark) have totally embraced their parts. This movie, though, does not give us enough scenes of them together (because plot), and it leaves me wanting. Also, Liam Hemsworth (as Gale Hawthorne) is looking a lot more like his brother Chris (Thor in The Avengers and People’s 2014 Sexiest Man Alive), but he still needs to step up as Gale. I loved Gale in the book, and I haven’t really met that Gale on the big screen. The “kiss” scenes both in the second and third movies were merely just glimpses.

But really, watching Mockingjay Part 1 is... bitin. I have no other words for it. It’s great and all, but since the book is split into two movies, the pace of the book was somewhat lost. I know the buzz and momentum will increase once again when the Part 2 trailers, teasers and shiz start showing up, but the whole experience of the whole book is now out the window. Then again, I understand while some books need to be split (because details, I know!), it’s a real toss-up. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that it’s not just because of the money.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 just a 7 for me. Suzanne Collins’ dystopian world and everything in it (the tension, the emotions, the rage, etc.) is all there, but it will leave you wanting for more.

P.S. I still have “The Hanging Tree” song in my head.

Why does it look like the Lord of the Rings font?

Sue Denim still has issues with online anonymity.

Follow Da Couch Tomato on Twitter and Google+.


Short Film Review: Feast

What a waste of food.

Following the tradition of Pixar shorts preceding a feature presentation, Disney comes out with Feast. It's a story about a carnivorous man and his carnivorous dog─a win-win situation for both of them. That is until a herbivorous (okay, vegetarian) woman enters their lives, The dog doesn't like it, of course, and when the couple break up, master and mutt go back to their binging. The dog is more than happy to resume an all-meat diet, but the master is not, returning to meat more out of depression than dependence. And he finds out how far his dog will go for him, proving that a dog is indeed a man's best friend.

Feast is the accompanying short to Disney's Big Hero 6. Like its predecessors from Pixar, there is also no dialogue, which I think is the standard for animated shorts for both companies. This allows the animators to practise animating body movements and facial expressions instead of worrying how the mouth and lips should open when speaking a certain sentence. And they'll be needing all the practise they can get, as these shorts are the training ground for future directors of full-length features.

If you can, watch this in 3D. The original wireframe animation was done with computers but then rotoscoped with traditional hand-drawn animation. The result: a 2D cartoon that pops out like 3D. Actually, I only saw the 2D version, not the 3D one. But I could tell, because I am a big fan of animation and 3D.

And food.

Follow Sting Lacson on Twitter. But follow Da Couch Tomato first.

Follow Da Couch Tomato on Google +.


Review: Big Hero 6, or 6 Reasons Why This Film Is Nothing But a Modern Animated Super Sentai

"I'm scanning you for anything that might infringe on existing superhero franchises."

As the follow-up animated feature to last year's phenomenal Frozen, Disney has made sure to give us something very different from its "fairy tale princess" template. Thus we have 2014's Big Hero 6, a colourful spectacle of a superhero flick, loosely based on the Marvel comic of the same title.

Is it an awesome film? Yes, it is, by Disney standards. Its themes reach out across all age groups, making it a film the whole family can enjoy. Is it groundbreaking? Maybe. Probably in its methods of animation. I don't know. But is it fresh? Definitely not. Because Big Hero 6 is nothing more than a modern animated version of the Japanese Super Sentai genre, as evidenced by:

1. Fusion of East and West
The Super Sentai genre originated in Japan, but it couldn't have successfully crossed over to the other side of the Pacific without retaining its predominantly Japanese core elements. In order to make it appeal more to American audiences, there inevitably had to be a fusion of East and West. Hence the portmanteau "San Fransokyo", one of the more obvious clues, as well as the character and set designs, such as the city's bridge looking like the Golden Gate with unmistakeable Japanese arches.

2. Team Roster
As demonstrated in this film, the composition of Super Sentais almost always follow a specific formula, such as

  • A five-member roster, popular examples of which are Voltes V, Bioman, Voltron, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and Captain Planet (yes, I would argue that Captain Planet qualifies as Super Sentai);
  • A group composition of three (3) males and two (2) females, popular examples of which are the ones mentioned above, with the exception of Voltes V and Voltron, which have only one hot, kick-ass female on the team.

3. Team Composition
The team members are almost always made up of:

  • 1 Cool guy - Usually the leader of the team. In this film, Fred (TJ Miller) is the cool guy, but he serves as the film's comic relief instead of the leader.
  • 1 Little guy - Usually the brainiest in the group. In this film, the little guy is Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), who serves as both the brains and the leader of the group.
  • 1 Hulk - Usually the biggest and the strongest in the group. In this film, it's Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr.).
  • 1 Tomboyish Girl - Usually the less prettier of the two girls. In this film, it's GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), though I find her more attractive than the other girl in the group. In a cartoon-y kind of way, of course.
  • 1 Ethnic Minority Girl - Usually the less dominant of the two. In this film, it's Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez). Though she may stand physically taller, it's GoGo who has the stronger character. Honey Lemon's ethnic background is emphasised by the annoying way she says "Hiro" with a Latina accent.

Not on this list: One (1) robot, who is either the team's assistant, or the team's mecha fighting machine. In this film, it's Baymax (Scott Adsit), who performs a little of both roles as the team's medic and as Hiro's flying fighter robot.

In this scenario, Captain Planet would be the robot.

4. Character Names
Despite speaking in American West Coast accents, the characters of Big Hero 6 have unmistakeable Japanese origins. The brothers Hiro and Tadashi Hamada (Daniel Henney), GoGo Tomago, and even the dreadlocked Wasabi all have Japanese-sounding names. I think even the robot Baymax was named after the Betamax, the Japanese counterpart of the West's VHS.

5. Colours... Lots of It
The Super Sentai genre makes liberal use of colours, primarily to differentiate between team members who fight in identical costumes. Although the characters in this film are distinguishable from one another even in full battle gear, the art department made sure to use an extensive palette in the character designs, because let's face it–nobody wants to see a monochromatic Super Sentai flick. Colour is encoded into the Super Sentai DNA. That's just the way it is.

6. Character Secret Identities
The fact that they fight evil as a team puts them on the same level as a superhero group. Since they live normal lives as university geeks, then that means their Super Sentai personas must be separate from their real world alter-egos. Even the villain in the kabuki mask hid his face. The whole world of Super Sentai revolves around secrecy, which necessitates the need for costumes, masks, and helmets.

There are some who insist that Big Hero 6 will be a standalone film, but this film ended with so much breathing room, and Disney has a habit of bleeding franchises dry (hello, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lion King) that it's quite possible that they might throw in a sequel. And if you've stayed after the entire end credits sequence, you'll know what to expect.

A sequel? Yes, please.

If given the chance, watch this film in 3D. I only got to watch the 2D version, but I'm thinking of seeing it again, if only for the preceding short Feast, which I'm pretty sure looks awesome in 3D.

Big Hero 6. USA. 2014.

Original rating: 7.5 / 10
Character design: + 0.1
Set design: + 0.1
Alan Tudyk voicing another villain: + 0.2
Aunt Cass: + 0.15
Dramatic moments: + 0.1
Final rating: 8.15 / 10

Follow Sting Lacson on Twitter. But follow Da Couch Tomato first.

Follow Da Couch Tomato on Google +.


Review: Interstellar IMAX 70 mm, or 7 Reasons to Go See It in the Cinema

Not to be outdone by Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway also gets in a spacesuit.

Ah, Interstellar. You beautiful piece of cinematic art. And because you were the only film of 2014 that I've been genuinely excited about since last year, I shall try and convince others to lose their stinginess and go spend on an IMAX ticket.

1. Christopher Nolan
Sorry, I lied. I've been genuinely excited about this film since two years ago, after The Dark Knight Rises. Why? Because it's Christopher Nolan at the helm. Other films get me excited about, well, the film itself. Like how the Pacific Rim sequel and Star Wars Episode VII excite me because the franchises excite me. But Nolan is one of the few directors whose films I'd watch in a heartbeat, even without knowing what his film is about. I'm not sure if it's his brilliantly-paced non-linear storytelling style that excites me, or the fact that he likes to tackle subject matter that no filmmaker before him has ever dared touch. Like the astronauts on board the Endurance, Nolan is an explorer, venturing into uncharted territories in visual storytelling.

Directed by Christopher Nolan? Here, take my money.

2. Original screenplay
Go watch Interstellar. Don't wait for the torrent to be available, you pirate. Go and spend for a movie ticket, because we want this film to make money at the box office. Not because we want to make the Nolan brothers Chris and Jonathan rich, but because we want Hollywood business analysts to see that investing in an original screenplay not adapted from any existing source material (and by "adapted", we don't mean "loosely based on academic papers published in reputable scientific journals") can also make big bucks at the box office. Hollywood has been struggling with a drought of stories written specifically for the cinematic medium, and it could kill its film industry like the crops in Kansas. Or Texas. Or wherever the hell Interstellar is set.

3. Minimal CGI
Like all of Nolan's previous works, this film uses computer-generated imagery very sparingly. He prefers actual sets or miniature models over CGI, and it's more than just his cinematic style–it actually creates a realism you can detect with your naked eye, and it draws out a better performance from the actors, knowing that they are not reacting to a green screen.

Also noteworthy is how long the end credits are–just around one-tenth the time of the usual Hollywood blockbuster. That's because fewer people are needed for physical effects as compared to the long list of names required for CGI special effects, with rendering requirements necessitating the need to outsource their labour.

4. Free physics lesson
If you've always been interested in space exploration and intergalactic travel but have never had the fortitude to stare at a mathematical equation for more than ten seconds without throwing up, then this film is for you. It takes the brilliant ideas of renowned theoretical and astrophysicist Kip Thorne (no relation to Rip Torn, though their names sound very much alike), and simplifies them without losing their scientific bases. The famous "twin paradox", which discusses the passage of time as seen by two observers travelling at different speeds, or the effects of gravity on an extraterrestrial scale, such as its relation to the tides and waves which we take for granted on our seas on Earth–these are touched on by the film and dumbed down for the average moviegoer to fathom. I don't think it's been dumbed down enough, though, because apparently a lot of people still exit the theatres muttering how their minds have been blown, and not in a good way.

5. Grand space opera
Who doesn't love space operas? The word "opera" here doesn't mean something where a fat lady sings, but something like a soap opera set in space. That means melodrama and cheesiness played out to extremes, with Oscar-winning actors Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway at the acting helm. And Michael Caine? Don't mind him, he's always in Christopher Nolan movies.

This black hole is more interesting than ten Michael Caines.

6. (Possibly) the last IMAX film
Although not entirely shot in IMAX, there are a lot of scenes that are, and these are the scenes that matter. The swirling dust storms of a dying Earth, the vastness of the stars, the complexity of a wormhole, and the immensity of a black hole's event horizon–these are all best viewed in the glory of 70 mm celluloid. For cinephiles who enjoy the grainy look of actual film stock, or for those who just want the bragging rights of having seen what could possibly be the last IMAX movie shown on an analog projector, see it at the SM Mall of Asia, not only because it has the largest IMAX screen dimensions, but because all the other IMAX theatres will be showing it in digital format.

7. The fifth dimension
The idea of a fifth dimension is very hard for a normal person to comprehend. Only a chosen few have ever had a glimpse of it; these are mostly the shamans and sorcerers, and those who have overdosed on psychedelic substances. The human race is only in its infancy in its understanding of the four dimensions, let alone five, so don't worry if you didn't get the film's premise and left the theatre scratching your heads. Five dimensions isn't going to go mainstream anytime soon, in the near future, or in your grandchildren's lifetime. The least you should've taken home with you is an understanding about love's ability to transcend dimensions, a newfound respect for mankind's indomitable spirit in the face of the unknown, and a mind-boggling fascination with everything about TARS the robot.

What is this? I don't even...

Interstellar. USA. 2014.

Original rating: 8.5 / 10
TARS the robot: + 0.3
Douchebaggery of Matt Damon's character: - 0.1
Seeing what a black hole and a wormhole could actually look like: + 0.2
Nolan non-linear storytelling: + 0.1
Nolan plot twists starting to feel more and more Shyamalan-y: - 0.05
Jessica Chastain: undecided
Final rating: 9.05 / 10

Follow Sting Lacson on Twitter. But follow Da Couch Tomato first.

Follow Da Couch Tomato on Google +.


(Not Really a) Review: Gone Girl, or Required Viewing for Engaged Couples

Hell hath no fury like Amazing Amy.

This is a multiple choice quiz about the film Gone Girl, written by Gillian Flynn and directed by David Fincher.

1. The word "Gone" in the title Gone Girl refers to
  1. a. the disappearance of Nick Dunne's wife.
  2. b. the kidnapping of Nick's wife.
  3. c. the suspected murder of Nick's wife;
  4. d. the suspected suicide of Nick's wife.
  5. e. the insanity of Nick's wife (as in "She's far gone, her mind's all messed up.")
  6. f. all of the above.
  7. g. none of the above.

2. The word "Girl" in the title Gone Girl refers to
  1. a. Nick's wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike.
  2. b. Amazing Amy, Nick's wife's alter-ego.
  3. c. Nick's twin sister Margo Dunne, who looks nothing like him.
  4. d. Amy's mother Marybeth Elliot, who has already set up a website to find her missing daughter just one day gone.
  5. e. Detective Rhonda Boney, the lead investigator in Amy's disappearance.
  6. f. Nick's mistress Andie, played by Emily Ratajkowski a.k.a. that girl from the "Blurred Lines" video.
  7. g. Both a and b.
  8. h. all of the above.
  9. i. none of the above.

3. The music of this film is amazing because
  1. a. one of the scorers was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
  2. b. it was scored by the duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for 2010's The Social Network.
  3. c. it was scored by the duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media in 2013 for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which came out in 2011.
  4. d. the score is unnoticeable but leaves a haunting and disturbing feeling, which greatly enhances the film's exploration of psychosis and psychotic behaviour.
  5. e. all of the above.
  6. f. none of the above.

4. Rosamund Pike's performance was exceptional because
  1. a. she is really pretty and nice to look at even though she is psychotic.
  2. b. she portrayed her character so effectively that it made engaged couples think twice about tying the knot.
  3. c. she achieved different physical appearances for her different states of mind.
  4. d. she screams and moans rather loudly when having sex.
  5. e. she might receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress this year.
  6. f. all of the above.
  7. g. b and c only.
  8. h. b, c, and e only.
  9. i. none of the above.

5. Neil Patrick Harris's performance was disappointing because
  1. a. his face looked really old in this film and I don't like it.
  2. b. I am so used to seeing him in comedic roles that I half-expect him to break into a smile and say something funny.
  3. c. his sex scene with Rosamund Pike was weird since we all know he's gay.
  4. d. I covered my eyes when his throat was slit with a box cutter, which prevented me from seeing him act out his death scene.
  5. e. all of the above.
  6. f. none of the above.

BONUS: On a scale of 1 to Amazing Amy, how psychotic is your partner?

Psychotic? But she's adorable!

Gone Girl. USA. 2014.

Original rating: 8 / 10
Nail-biting suspense: + 0.1
Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt: + 0.1
Neil Patrick Harris's death: - 0.1
The adorable reporter from Almost Famous as a grown-up and judgmental cop: + 0.1
Final rating: 8.3 / 10

Follow Sting Lacson on Twitter. But follow Da Couch Tomato first.

Follow Da Couch Tomato on Google +.


Film Icons: Richard Attenborough

Hollywood A to Z


Film Icons: Robin Williams

Disney Times

The younger kids today might not know who Robin Williams is. He made his debut as the alien Mork in Mork and Mindy, but it was his title role in 1978's Popeye that made him Hollywood's hottest comic commodity.


Review: Lucy, or Know Your Directors: Luc Besson

Hybrid Stars

At first, I thought Lucy was Luc Besson's first directorial gig in a long time. But IMDb has proven me wrong. He had one last year, in fact, and it was a Hollywood film, which means I should have at least heard of it. But I have not. This could only mean either 1) it wasn't really a Hollywood film but a French film with a Hollywood cast; or 2) it did so poorly at the US box office that they chose not to distribute it here.

It was, in fact, the second one. It scored 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is around the average score for a Luc Besson film. So does that mean he sucks? No. Maybe. I don't really care.

The Golden Rule of Moviegoing is this: Never let critics dictate your cinematic taste. That rhymes, so dibs.

Luc Besson is one of my favourite film directors. I don't care what others think. I watched this film because it was directed by Luc Besson, and not because of the promise of seeing a Scarlett Johansson butt close-up. Now let's use this time to discuss Luc Besson's directing style in relation to his latest film, Lucy.

Why would anyone cover his eyes with ScarJo right in front of him?


Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2 3D, or How to Do a Proper Sequel


As I mentioned in a previous review, sequels are the bane of Hollywood. This is especially true of animated films, because children cannot discern good movies from bad ones, and will most likely drag their parents to watch anything with their favourite characters in it.

Or anything with wingsuit flying.

This, however, is not true for How to Train Your Dragon 2.

See? How can you go wrong with lots of warships?


Team USA's Exit From the Round of 16, Told Through Tweets


The United States' Men's Soccer Team made history in their game against Belgium, resulting in their elimination from the Round of 16 of the World Cup. They ended the 90th minute with no goals scored for both sides. But football is known for its unpredictability, and true to form, all goals were scored in added time.

The second half of added time showed the world the best football ever played by the Americans. All thanks to their coach, Jürgen Klinsmann.

And then I read the tweets about him. And the tweets about US Soccer. Which made for a great morning read yesterday.


Review: Noah, or How the Hollywood Style of Adaptation Was Applied to Biblical Narratives


The art of adaptation has many forms (I am of course talking of adaptation in its literary sense). Adaptation is the process by which a work is transposed from one medium to another. For example, a novel can be adapted from a stage play, or a poem can be adapted into a short story. And movies can be adapted from almost any medium under the sun.

The film Noah from director Darren Aronofsky is one such example, coming out as the second of at least three films this year adapted from biblical sources. Understandably, viewers would tend to compare Noah with other biblical films such as The Passion of the Christ, The Last Temptation of Christ, and The Prince of Egypt.

There are some films which are considered modern-day adaptations of Biblical stories, like the obvious modern-day Christ narrative The Matrix, but in my opinion, these aren't so much adaptations as modern-day retellings. Yes, they may be similar, but they are distinct. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet is a modern-day adaptation, while Romeo Must Die is a modern-day retelling of William Shakespeare's classic play. So where does the difference lie?

"Adaptation? Retelling? I'm confused now."


Essay: "Mali"-ficent, or How Disney's Best Villain Turned from Bad to Bland

Maleficent was the Celia Rodriguez of the Disney universe. Her outfits look like she's best friends with a gay designer, and when she arrives in parties, everything stops. In fact, she doesn't need an invitation to come to parties. She is so kick-ass her grand scheme to get back at the king for not putting her on the guest list is pure genius: everyone in the kingdom will fall in love with Aurora, only to have their hearts shattered when she turns 16 and she dies of a needle prick.

That's as cruel as giving a baby AIDS by sharing a druggie's needle with her. For 16 years, people around Aurora build relationships with her knowing she will die soon if she so much as breaks her skin with a needle. It's hard to get emotionally invested with a girl like that, but Aurora is gifted with beauty and charm, so it's really a Catch-22.


Review: Edge of Tomorrow, or Everything's Been Done Before

The thing that hath beene, it is that which shall be: and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing vnder the sunne.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

You might be wondering if this is the Noah review, because of this Bible verse in fancy old English. No, it’s not. And the old English text comes from the 1611 version of the King James Bible.

What does the verse mean? In a nutshell, what it’s saying is that nothing is original anymore, because everything has been done before. Sounds like a perfect descriptor for Hollywood cinema.

The only thing that hasn't been done before is the collaboration between Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.


Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past, or The Longest-Running Non-Rebooted Movie-Comic Franchise So Far


The X-Men film franchise is now on its fifth film (2013’s The Wolverine is considered a spin-off, which would make 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine a prequel slash spinoff – or a sprinquel, if I may coin the term. What's that? No, I may not coin the term? Okay then.), and Days of Future Past (DoFP, because I love acronyms) is the second film in what we all first thought was a reboot. DoFP ends somewhere before the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, which could actually allow the filmmakers to pretend that third X-Men movie never really happened.

"Yes, I've gained weight, but only because  I actually
never thought we'd be asked to come back. ."


Review: Godzilla 2014, or The New One with Weight Problems Big Bones


Remakes and reboots are the bane of Hollywood, and could possibly cause the downfall of American cinema. This year, an American reboot of an American remake of a Japanese icon makes its way to the big screen.

This year's Godzilla audience can be divided into two camps: those who hated it, and those who loved it. Let us discuss both sides and the points they raised, whether or not they are valid.

Godzilla and MUTO chibis. Your arguments are invalid.


Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 4DX


My reaction at the end of the movie The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was to exclaim quite loudly, "Great screenplay!" And after absorbing the entire experience, filtering out the fancy 4DX gimmick (which shall be discussed in another post), I wondered what made me say it was a great screenplay. The best Marvel movie for me so far is still Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and that was a great screenplay. Some have called Spider-Man 2 a "bridge movie", defined as a second film in a franchise trilogy with no other purpose than to connect Parts I and III together.

Almost became a bridge movie were it not for Heath Ledger.


Review: Rio 2, or Why I Hate Sequels

Enable Magazine

As far as computer animation studios go, Blue Sky is probably at the back of the pack, trailing behind industry leaders Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. However, Blue Sky also seems to be making the same mistake as the other studios by attempting to capitalise on the one thing that Hollywood should avoid like the plague – sequels.

Although the babies are kind of cute.


Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. IMAX 3D


I said before that I am not really that keen on watching any more Marvel movies, with the exception of The Infinity Gauntlet. So I wasn't really excited about watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier, since Captain America wasn't really one of my favourite superheroes, anyway.

But boy, was I wrong.

"Not half as wrong as getting that rebond, eh Scarlett?"


Review: Divergent, or Why It's Different From The Hunger Games

I wasn't really keen on watching Divergent. I didn't read the book by Veronica Roth. I'm not particularly a fan of any of the leads—except I find Brit gents generally and naturally more appealing. In fact, I watched this because it had an earlier screening time at the mall on my way home and I didn't want to stay up too late (yeah, I just gave away my age). But I can say it was not a complete waste of time.

I'm going to put this one sexy back out now to get it over with.


Review: Mr. Peabody & Sherman, or Learning About Time-Killers

Zeke Film

I classify animated films into two categories: 1) time-killers; or 2) works of art. This film, sadly, belongs to the first category.

Despite how awesome it may sound (like it's some villain from Doctor Who or something), time-killers do exactly what the name says: they kill time. It's the type of film you watch because there's nothing better to do while waiting for your wife as she gets her nails done.

Those Gallifreyan-like markings are probably a Doctor Who shout-out. 


Review: True Detective Season 1, or My New Favourite Show, or HBO, You Rarely Disappoint


The show True Detective seems to have come out of nowhere. There wasn’t too much hype to promote it. I think its success was due mostly to word of mouth.

And, quite possibly, this man's Academy Award nomination (now win).

Well actually, True Detective’s success can also be attributed to these five things:


Review: Dallas Buyers Club a.k.a. DBC

This Is Infamous

Every once in a while, like every few years or so, a film about HIV or AIDS comes along. I think every generation has its own AIDS movie. Probably to remind the youngsters about the dangers of unprotected sex.

Focus Features/Truth Entertainment
Wait, a priest with AIDS? 


Review: The Lego Movie, or Five Reasons Even Adults Will Enjoy This


The Lego Movie isn't really the very first Lego movie. There's Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers. There's also Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite. Those two, however, converted the cute appeal of the Lego Minifigures into computer-generated characters. Which means in those movies, the Minifigures bend, and I mean in curves.

Bendy legs: great but unrealistic.

What makes The Lego Movie different from those other Lego movies is that this one tries – and succeeds – in achieving the look of the stop-motion fan-made videos on YouTube. The characters don't bend at the knees, and everything is made of Lego pieces – from waves to smoke to clouds to flames.

Some people may prefer the streamlined look of Ninjago or Chyma, so the stiff animation style may not appeal to them. But there are still several reasons why you should go watch this flick. Here are five.

1. "Everything is Awesome"
Yes. That annoying but damn catchy theme song.

The Lonely Island: annoying but damn catchy.

2. The Schizophrenic Good Cop/Bad Cop
Of course we'll hear Liam Neeson's trademark Irish drawl. But we'll also hear him in a high-pitched goody-goody voice.

"Release the Kraken. The boy is the chosen one, you must see it."

3. Super Heroes
By which I mean "DC heroes", specifically Batman, Superman, and the Green Lantern. Three guesses why there aren't any Marvel heroes in here.

Everyone is happy in this movie. Even Gotham's Dark Knight.

4. The Wizard Vitruvius being voiced by God
By which I mean "Morgan Freeman". I also love how they just dangle him on a string to simulate being a ghost.

"My voice acting talent fee is quite expensive." -Morgan Freeman

And finally…

5. The Millenium Falcon
Yes, that's Anthony Daniels and THE Billy Dee Williams as C-3PO and Lando Calrissian.

No photo of the Millenium Falcon available, so here's Abraham Lincoln and Superman instead.

The Lego Movie. USA. 2014.

Original rating: 8.0 / 10
Chris Pratt's genuinely happy voice: + 0.05
Charlie Day's trademark scream: + 0.05
The meta-ness of the entire thing: + 0.05
Will Arnett's Batman performance: + 0.05
Channing Tatum as Superman: + 0.05
Jonah Hill as the Green Lantern: - 0.05
Live action bit at the end: - 0.05
President Business not being Will Ferrell-y enough: - 0.05
Final rating: 8.10 / 10

Follow Sting Lacson on Twitter. But follow Da Couch Tomato first.

Follow Da Couch Tomato on Google +.


Premium Blogspot Templates
Copyright © 2012 Da Couch Tomato