Movie Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

So, how many of you likes spy films? You know, like 007. Well, our feature for the day is a recently released spy movie that starred Charlize Theron and was entitled ‘Atomic Blonde’ based on the novel, ‘The Coldest City’.

Did know about this?? Okay, it’s understandable. Besides, it barely made a week in cinemas on this part of the world. Why? Let’s first check this out..

While the reviews were generally good, guess many somehow finds the film not interesting. Really. Just from the trailer alone. So, how could movie goers be enticed to see this film when they find it, what, sinister?? Like, Charlize seems to be always in the ‘dark’ — and talks like she’s constantly scheming.

Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) and David Percival (James McAvoy)

Of course, it’s a spy film! That’s why. But ‘said’ good guys don’t really scheme. They just react in the moment. Anyway, the movie is a low budget one yet it has already doubled its box office — thanks to Charlize. Yes. Though she was using a ‘bedroom’ voice in an action film, she in fact did well in her portrayal. In fact, most of the actors did. Especially James McAvoy who played David Percival, a ‘double agent’ stationed in Berlin.

However, there are more explanations that needs to be done here by its creators. Like, since Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is not an alien or something, there should be some hints on her unusual strength. Just listen to the sound effects! Her punches and those she took. Well, unless you’re Ronda Rousey, that’s pretty rare in females.

Sure, she also had her bruises but not until so many fights which makes it quite surreal! See, being a top notch spy is not enough an explanation to be super strong — as those who have come to know spy films, most females are stereotyped on the sensual side of the story — save for a few like Michelle Yeoh on her role in the 007 film Tomorrow Never Dies.

Another question would be the use of inappropriate music for some scenes. Like, when Delphine (Sofia Boutella) got killed, why play ’99 Luftballons’? Yes, it was mellow but that’s not enough. Somebody died. And we know the tune of the song to be hyper, so even if you mellow the tune, the lyrics would just make you recall its beat. They could have just removed the lyrics and played it softly if they really wanted that song. Makes sense?

Charlize Theron with Sofia Boutella (a.k.a. Delphine Lasalle)

Then we also have the ‘lesbian’ love scene between Lorraine and Delphine. While Hollywood may be trying to incorporate ‘openmindedness’ into films, guess many parts of the world are not ready for this. Spirituality and culture should always be considered. See, the scene was just sort of wild. The lesbian subplot was not even in the original book!

Lastly, the narrative just had a lot of twists. Mystery in movies should watch their step and not try to outdo other films of its genre by making people keep scratching their heads. Like the enigma of Satchel for one. Hey, Charlize was a ‘triple’ agent — like, an American agent feigning to be a British agent for MI6 with the intent of getting the Russians’ trust and so, act like a double agent for them. In the end, she was actually just manipulating everybody. Hmm.

Some labyrinth.

2017 FIVB World Grand Prix: Brazilians are Champs and the Final Standings

One of the biggest stages in women’s volleyball has come to an exciting conclusion last night with Brazil prevailing over Italy in their Gold medal match, 3-2. And lo, know that this is already the 12th time that the Brazilians have won this prestigious tournament!

Nonetheless, though the championship match reached the deciding set, the game was somehow beyond reach come technical timeout with Brazil leading 8-3. Key to this match? More than the strong blocking of Brazil, Italy’s most promising spiker Paola Egonu just really looked like a neophyte as she simply couldn’t seem to angle her bombs away from the Brazilians at the net. I mean, why did she just keep forcing it to go straight and through those long and strong Brazilian limbs instead of hitting them on angles?

Anyway, as good as the Brazilians were, we were actually not that impressed with their championship as they actually needed a Chinese win in the semis over the Netherlands to make the Gold medal match. Talk of luck. More so, the Brazilians in fact got swept by several teams in this tournament, and among them were against: Serbia (July 8), Thailand (July 15), and China (August 2). See? Last year, they only got swept by world number 1 China.

Meanwhile, the Bronze medal match between the Chinese and the Serbians was an interestingly hard fought game with Serbia taking 3rd place in a tight 3-1 win. Oops, don’t let that 3-1 gap deceive you for it went 25-22, 20-25, 25-23 and 25-21 before Serbia finally clinched the victory. Guess, the Chinese preliminary round was indicative of what their campaign here would bring. Imagine just a 5-4 card? So.

Incidentally, we were also wondering why the US actually fielded a team without their top spiker Foluke Akinradewo? Was she still injured?? Foluke’s presence could have catapulted their team onto the medal round. Instead, we found the Final Rankings sort of messed up. Like, the Netherlands and the US tied for 5th spot? Hey, the Dutch lost their 2 ‘Final Six’ games on a 2-3 fashion which should earn them 2 points — while the Americans lost their 2 games, 2-3 against Serbia and 1-3 against Italy which should just be equivalent to 1 point. So, the Dutch should be 5th while the US is 6th for this year’s WGP.

Final Rankings: World Grand Prix 2017 Top 20

Hopefully, some ranking corrections. Till next time!

Movie Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Do you like movies of world war settings? That’s because our feature for today is obviously during the period of Hitler, Lebrun and Churchill — entitled Dunkirk.

The Synopsis. In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

Okay, though it’s got a war setting, it’s not actually a war movie; thus, no real bloodshed but just — all running. The creators of the movie says they want it to be suspenseful or something like that. Then again, while most critics liked the film, there were those who were left scratching their heads after getting out of cinemas. Yep, not all movie-goers really enjoyed it — like, it was more of a ‘drama’ film per se than a suspense-thriller sort of thing.

In short, it was kind of boring. 

Not that people loves bloodshed, it’s just that the movie’s intent of exciting us simply didn’t get us to the edge of our seats. The dialogues were just too little. And the supposedly engaging scenarios, just nada. A waste of a musical score.

Could the main actors have something to do with this aura? Partly. They just lacked that ‘cinema effect’, if you know what we mean. And while the concept was there — save for a throng of extras along the shores like just ‘waiting to be bombed’, or those caught in fire at sea — there’s simply not much drama in the movie! Even the gunning down of a plane or the burning of one in the end, it just wasn’t emotionally moving for that matter.

Not to mention some questions on the film’s historical accuracy — like, the yellow paint on the noses of German planes which wasn’t done until after Dunkirk, or the granting of a salute without wearing a military beret; well, these are just little things that we could let go. But, but. If British officers really refused to evacuate French soldiers due to some ‘conflicts’, that’s something else. You don’t do that to allies particularly in times of war!

At the end of the day, think the plot of saving without much bloodshed has a lot to do with its dullness. You know, transferring from boat to boat to avoid attacks and stuff just doesn’t excite many. It just looks tedious. This is just an example of a production that simply failed to bring the audience ‘inside the movie’. And even looking at its box office so far, guess it’s just the hype that made people go to theatres. That’s it.

2017 FIVB World Grand Prix (Week 3)

Week 3 has just come to a close for the World Grand Prix — and that is the Intercontinental Round played by all 3 groups of 32 teams the world over. Oh yes, as you know we are particularly monitoring Thailand and Japan..

And now after 9 games each, you could see the standings below. By the way, in case you were wondering what those highlights mean — light green means qualified for Group 1 final round, light blue means qualified as hosts and lastly, pink means relegated position.

Intercontinental Round Standings

Meanwhile, the point system goes like this — a 3-0 or 3-1 win is equivalent to 3 points; 3-2 nets you 2 points while the loser gets 1 point for taking 2 sets in the game. At any rate, both the Japanese and the Thais are already done for this tournament as they failed to qualify for the Top 6 of their group with the Japanese slotted at number 7 (since China took number 6 as hosts) while the Thais took the tenth spot.

JAPAN

Still, though the Japanese squad bowed out, we can not help but be amazed by the resiliency they showed in week 3. For those who have not seen their games, after losing to host China 1-3 — they won their next two games on come from behind victories against world #3 Serbia and #5 Russia, 3-2.

Down 0-2 in each of those games, the ‘rag-tag’ Japanese squad relied on grit and determination to send those matches to a fifth set and beat them both.

This is what we’re saying, if the Japanese only had their other top players like middle blocker Erika Araki and spikers Miyu Nagaoka, Yukiko Ebata, and the high-flying wing spiker Saori Sakoda nicknamed “Air Rio” — they would not only win squeakers but make it to the Top 6!

THAILAND

And the Thais? After winning just 1 game (yes, 3-0 against world #4 Brazil!) in the first two weeks, they topped their own pool with two 3-0 sweeps against world #8 Italy and #12 Turkey. Not to mention, they also just lost a tight game against world number #9 Dominican Republic, 3-2.

Indeed, it helps to be in your home floor. With the crowd cheering the whole time in week 3, the Thais made their world class opponents look ‘ordinary’.

Yet just like the Japanese, the Thai squad were also missing some key players especially power-spiker Onuma and middle blocker Thatdao. Okay, while they already look good with up-and-comers Pimpichaya and Chatchu-on — and of course, led by Thailand’s best spiker in Ajcharaporn, middle blocker Pleumjit and ace setter Nootsara, it would certainly help their future campaigns if they could also enhance their floor defense.

For now, let’s just enjoy the Final round!

Movie Review: Cars 3 (2017)

The third installment of Cars has already been in movie houses for some days now, well in case those of you who have been following this delightful 3D franchise — about car racing, perseverance, ambition and relationships — were not aware of.

The Synopsis. Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast cars, the legendary Lightning McQueen finds himself pushed out of the sport that he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he turns to Cruz Ramirez, an eager young technician who has her own plans for winning. With inspiration from the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns, No. 95 prepares to compete on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage.

Most everybody who have seen this series would not have any problem appreciating its graphics — it’s just cool — and cute, too! Especially with Owen Wilson doing the dubbing of Lightning McQueen, it just makes the character more comical and yes, believable.

Still, there are a few things we have noticed in Cars 3.

One. Doesn’t the presentation of Storm remind us of Rocky 4? Yeah, the boxing film of Sly Stallone. You know, all those machines and ‘analytical’ data that were used to showcase Ivan Drago. And Lightning even trained at the beach — just like Rocky Balboa did!

Lightning’s beach training with Cruz Ramirez

Well, the only solace to the sort of copying here would be at least this one is a 3D film. Otherwise, the beach training should have been expounded.

Two. Yes, we do love that ‘sneak through the window’ tactic as well as the throwing of those bale of hay for Lightning to avoid — these are undeniably good and ‘realistic’ strategies. So indeed, while advanced technology is like athleticism — what can really beat athleticism is wisdom.

Jackson Storm and Lightning McQueen going head-to-head

Three. Wouldn’t it have been better if Lightning finished the race instead of having Cruz complete it? Though the ‘passing of the torch’ was cool, it’s like taking away the spotlight from Lightning. More so, what happened to his training then? Like, we never really saw the fruits of Lightning’s hard work.

Then again, since these are machines — as in we’re talking about cars here — perhaps the only way Lightning could beat Storm is to make him hit the wall.

Many times, a ‘big event’ is the sign of one’s turning point in life

Four. Two quotes that we could use in our lives: ‘do not be afraid of failure but be afraid of not having the chance’ and ‘just focus on what you are here to do.’

In the end, provided your emotions are in place — an aim in life is the one thing that makes life worth living. Just live right.

Food Review: Classic South Burger (21 South Burger)

Have you tried going around your neighborhood recently? Hey, there might be some nice stores that have opened up like restaurants or something like that especially along the road. You know, foot traffic and stuff.

Anyway, been noticing this fast food joint whenever I pass by Sabellano Street and have been intrigued by the store’s name. Sounds cool, and so..

image

I checked out the place. It’s quite small for a real resto but bigger and more comfortable than a burger stand — as it got four small tables and stools.

The Menu: 5 Burger variations

Yeah, it’s all burgers over here! And how else can we really gauge them than by ordering what its name stands for. The Classic South Burger.

Classic South Burger with Parmesan Fries

It’s 40 percent pure beef patty so what do you expect?! Beefy. But then, if you are looking for inclusions other than lettuce, onions and cheddar cheese then you might be disappointed. Also, the bun is not really the regular-sized buns you normally see in fast food chains — it’s smaller though the patty is thicker.

As for the Parmesan fries, well, I hardly tasted the grated cheese but its more of ground black pepper and salt that’s on it. So, it’s like some regular fries.

Inside the store

Anyway, their prices are quite expensive than the country’s leading fast food chains, so be ready to spend — but certainly, their burger is much tastier. And their food trays are much nicer, too.

Still, if this joint could only add a toilet, a WiFi connection and especially change their stools with wooden or classy chairs — so much the better.

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)

Super hero films seem to be popping up one after another that we are always headed to the cinemas on weekends, huh?! And this time, it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming — the sixth of its kind since 2002.

The Synopsis. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

Well, the main difference of this Spidey version is the active participation of Iron Man as in the plot was like a continuation from the time when Spider-Man guest starred with the Avengers.

Anyway, while critics rated the Homecoming quite positively, guess this was also because of having an actual teenager play the role of Spider-Man in 19-year-old Tom Holland — which, in that case, is pretty shallow. Altho Andrew Garfield does not really look like a teen more so quite cocky at times, Tobey Maguire was real youthful — just like when Michael J. Fox took the teenage role in Back To The Future. We just got to accept that some guys just don’t really age that fast, and these two really did a great job in their roles.

The Cast

The ‘revolving’ love interests on these three versions of Peter Parker is cool. Yes, from MJ to Gwen to Liz then possibly to Michelle on the next Spider-Man film is creative — like, if you would just change the Spidey actor then why not include his love interest? This is good so as not to confuse and disappoint fans of every Spider-Man ‘series’.

Nonetheless, one positive about the Homecoming is its focus on Parker’s teenage life what with getting an ordinary-looking teenager in Tom play the role — and this was also why many youngsters appreciated this film as they could relate to it. Meanwhile, there are also several niceties about Tobey’s version and to name a few: one, his being a photographer on the side explains what life really is — it’s not a bed of roses. Two, having scenes of his uncle Ben shows how Peter developed his character. Three, being bitten by a spider and consequently acquiring the arachnid’s ‘powers’ is certainly better than trying to keep making your own webs — after all, this is a fantasy film.

The Value of a Mentor: No one climbs the Ladder of Success alone

Still, after watching the Homecoming, there was something more that seems lacking here. Drama. Super hero films especially need drama to make a real impact — even a ‘kiss between sweethearts’, like when Tobey hung upside-down to be kissed by Kirsten Dunst (a.k.a. MJ Watson). And unfortunately, the only dramatic scene we noticed in the Homecoming was the elevator scene. This was when Spider-Man rushed to the Washington monument to save his friends from a free-falling elevator. That was cool.

Aside from that, not much really — not even the splitting of the Staten Island Ferry scene where Spider-Man and then Iron Man helped prevent the ferry from tearing apart. Why? That scene was just too similar to Tobey’s train-stopping scene where he overextended his limbs to slow down an out-of-control train. Remember that scene?

Zendaya (a.k.a. Michelle) could be Peter’s love interest in the next Spidey movie

Then again, the Homecoming is a success as well; so, expect more of Tom in the future — and hopefully more drama, too. Ned as the next villain? Hmm.