Wednesday, May 03, 2006

MI-3: Better Than Caffeine

I promise I won't squeal any vital spoilers here.

I was already sleepy when my soulmate and I reached Cinema 2 of Eastwood City where Tom Cruise's MI-3 had an advanced screening hours ago. It began a bit late, and there were skirmishes between usherettes and couples who got separated because of poorly-managed seat reservations. But when the lights went off and the movie began, every one got quiet and glued to their seats, their eyes fixed on the screen. Dan-dan-dan-dan-dan-dan-tananan-tananan-dan-dan-dan! If you're a true MI fan, you can probably hum the musical score by instinct...*LOL*

There was no dull moment in this movie. The opening scene is already a flashback of a main segment more than an hour from the beginning. Lots of explosions, shootings, punches, kickings, and missile fires will keep you at the edge of your seats. The presence of Lawrence Fishburne and the way Tom Cruise jumps buildings will make you wonder if this was a spoof of the Matrix trilogy and the Spiderman series. The image you see on the right, for example, reminds me of one of the final scenes of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Rather than conclude that MI-3 is nothing but a spoof of all those great action movies you saw years ago, I would say that it is an improvement. In my opinion, I think this version has a better storyline than the first and second Mission Impossible films.

The first MI was directed by Brian De Palma, and the second one was by John Woo. So, was JJ Abrams a good choice as director of this film? Was this more Alias than Lost? Oh, yes!! You can see traces of Alias here. For one, I saw Greg Grunberg here. Also, the fumbling character of Marshall from Alias, is very reflective on the character of MI-3's Benji Dunn.

Sorry if I can't help being meticulous about medical details, but how long does a person who had cardiac arrest need to be revived before he suffers from brain damage?

You tell me. Watch the movie first. Then, read this primer on cardiac arrest.

Oh, I almost forgot....Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was great. If only for him, you really have to see this movie. His role here is an exact reversal of his Oscar-winning appearance in Capote.

My sincere thanks to UIPictures and HBO Asia for the invitation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dan Brown's New Book

Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame is currently working on a new book called The Solomon Key.

A preview of what's to come and how the scenic spots and architecture of Washington will play a part can be seen here.

I can't wait.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What Happens To Spammers

ONE of Russia's most infamous spammers has been found beaten to death in his apartment, prompting thinly veiled jubilation among many of the country’s estimated 14 million internet users.

Vardan Kushnir, 35, had bombarded almost every e-mail user in the country for years with unsolicited adverts for the American Language Centre that he ran. Police, who found his body on Monday, said that he had been hit several times on the head with a heavy object and his apartment in central Moscow had been ransacked. They declined to comment on a motive for the murder.

"This was not a contract killing or revenge for spam," a detective said.

But Russian media could not resist speculating that Mr Kushnir had been killed by an irate recipient of his e-mail advertisements. "An Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem," one headline read. "The Spammer Had it Coming," read another. "Ignoble Death Becomes Russia's Top Spammer," read a third.

[ TIMES Online, Jul 27 2005 ]

Friday, July 22, 2005

If Rats Could Talk....

The ISLAND tackles the concept of discrimination and prejudice using a different angle. Set sometime in the mid-21st century, you will be taken to a period when the rich-and-famous can afford to live longer by creating clones of themselves in the hope of getting an endless supply of body organs and tissues to be used for replacement for worn-out body parts ravaged either by disease or accidents. Each clone costs around US$5 million.

In the film, two clones --- Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) discover the truth painfully when they uncovered the truth behind the lie of a false lottery reward termed "the island." Along with the other clones, both Lincoln and Jordan inhabit a huge utopian center where they live a systematic and uniform life, which can also be described as boring. The only happiness of resident clones is the promise of winning the lottery which promises to send the winner to "the island" for a vacation.

In reality, "the island" is nothing but a poor excuse to harvest the needed body organs from the clones. So, while winners exhibit undescribable happiness winning the lottery, they really don't know the horrible nightmare that awaits them.

Lincoln is an aberration to the harmony imposed in the utopian facility. He has recurrent dreams of being in a boat and escaping the facility. He also questions why they are there, why they are doing their repetitive tasks in the facility, and what awaits all residents. Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), the facility's founder and doctor, is also puzzled with Lincoln's erratic behavior. When Lincoln and Jordan escaped, Merrick hired Albert Laurent (Djimou Hounsou) to initially capture the escaped clones, but as the days passed, finally decided to have them killed.

Checking its performance and critics' reviews, I felt disappointed that it is not number 1 in the US box office and the amazing thumbs-down given by most movie critics. Most were probably disappointed with Michael Bay's fast paced setting and explosions. With me, it was perfectly fine, relevant, and typical of a Mike Bay film like his Pearl Harbor and Armageddon.

I also think that the movie whose screenplay was done by Caspian Tredwell-Owen (he also wrote the screenplay for Beyond Borders) is very relevant as it tries to address a potential future scientific and ethical problem in the future. Can we really clone humans in the hope of prolonging life? If so, how do we treat and interact with clones? Will we consider them human or plain commodities which can be disposed of when we get their organs and tissues? Perhaps, a more relevant question is: Does a clone possess a soul? If lab rats and other animal specimens could talk, will we give them the time of day to speak their mind on how they are treated?

BOTTOMLINE: Brilliant movie. Watch it with an open mind. Fast-paced as expected. Johannson is lovely and poignant at the same time.