Category Archives: Movies

What’s in the Box?

Take a look at this wicked first-person shooter-like video my friend Jaime found on YouTube. I did some digging around and it’s not from Valve but from an independent studio that should definitely get hired by Valve to make a Half-Life movie (if ever). The amount of suspense that this film brings is crazy. I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers have in store for us. The whole set is based in an unknown city in The Netherlands.

For anyone that’s curious, the dramatic song/track that plays in the background while the character picks up the “Computer Brain Interface” device is called “Monsters Are Such Interesting People” by Michael Giacchino from the Lost television show soundtrack. It really adds some awesome suspense to the film.

Here’s the video in all its glory. High Definition also available here.

Taken (2008) Film Review

When I first heard about this movie, it was mentioned by two of my friends who happened to come across a bootleg copy of it several months ago. Taken hasn’t been released in North America yet (coming out January 30th) but I managed to watch a Blu-ray copy for this review this week, as it has been released in Europe first ages ago. Before I continue, I want to summarize the movie in a few words as quoted by my good friend: “It starts with Liam Neeson’s daughter getting kidnapped. For the remaining 1 hour of the movie, the screen is filled with the father going around stomping balls and kicking ass from left to right, non-stop.” I’ll do my best not to spoil this movie.

Taken starts off slow, but that’s the beauty of it as we must first introduce the characters and give a bit of background to the hero of the story. Bryan Mills (the father) is an ex-CIA agent who was divorced due to his job (lack of time spent with family I guess). His hot daughter Kim now lives with Bryan’s ex-wife, Lenore (who’s also hot) and the new husband, Stuart, who’s apparently loaded judging from the house and the horse he buys for Kim’s birthday. Seriously, who buys a horse as a birthday present? That is definitely something a wealthy person would do. Regardless, Bryan only cares for his daughter and wants to make up for the lost time he didn’t spend with her while overseas working.

To make some extra cash on the side, Bryan partakes in a small job of safeguarding a famous singer with his buddies from the CIA. We get a small glimpse of Bryan laying down the law on an assailant with a knife. Now we know that he’s not an old goof-ball but rather an ass-kicking machine that can use his hands and get dirty. While I’m not sure what the attacker wanted to do in the first place, it seems that he should have brought a gun instead of a butter-knife.

The assailant with a knife
In the background is Bryan and the hot singer he's taking to safety. In the foreground is the guy who's ass is about to get handed to him.

Fast forward a bit, it seems that Kim and her best friend Amanda want to go to Europe to follow U2 around like a bunch of groupies. I would have much rather preferred they followed Pantera around instead, but I then realized that they don’t play anymore and that the drummer was shot a few years ago, which totally sucks. Anyway, the two hot chicks get captured by an Albanian criminal organization who drug girls into prostitution & slaves and then sell them off around the globe to various wealthy clients. So far, we’ve got a nice list of ingredients to make this movie worthwhile: ex-CIA father, hot daughter, hand-to-hand combat, city of Paris, knives, Liam Neeson, Albanian human traffickers, Audi automobiles, kidnapping, drugs, prostitutes and vengeance. Also, this hot Swiss chick makes an appearance.

Hot Swiss Girl
Switzerland has the best girls and cheese.

Throughout the course of the movie, Bryan manages to track down the criminals clue by clue, since he’s a former CIA agent after all. He’s got all the tools and skills necessary to accomplish such a feat. This movie reinforces the fact that you should never fuck with government agents. God forbid you accidentally rear-end their car, forget to water their plants while they’re on vacation or you don’t have their favourite breakfast cereal in stock at your grocery store they shop at: these agents will use whatever they can to find you, and they will kill you.

Liam Neeson delivers justice with charley horses.
Liam Neeson delivers justice with Charley horses.

Taken does not disappoint when it comes to action: Liam Neeson does a terrific job portraying a paranoid father and an ass-kicking expert who manages to take down groups of terrorists down in a single sitting. Every step he takes results in the death of a mobster. Slowly, he creeps into the whole organization’s efforts to traffic humans worldwide by visiting every base they have and taking them down several bullets at a time. The body-count of this movie must total over fifty if I’m not mistaken. While it’s not a lot (compared to Commando, for example) every shot he takes and necks he breaks quenches the thirst of violence a viewer may have. The way Neeson works is smart, as in he takes cover when appropriate and does not just fire random shots into the air.

Bryan with the Albanians
Bryan having some coffee with the Albanians before he busts some colons.

The sound effects in this movie are well done. Every shot fired, grunt and scream is well placed and executed to add onto the already gritty feeling of the movie. One scene has Bryan taking out an entire base of Albanians, and the shots fired are pleasant to the ear; they had this loud thud noise that had an amazing impact. The music was also pretty good, with the last scene of the movie having a nice fast-paced electronic beat to get the blood going.

Bryan weilding a gun
Each time a shot is fired, someone definitely dies at the mercy of Bryan.

Every action movie out there has to have a memorable moment for the viewer to walk away remembering. This results in the viewer then re-watching the movie at a future point or buying the DVD when it comes out because of a certain scene that stuck in their head. For example, a popular action movie is Rambo 2, and the one scene that stands out is when Stallone takes out the entire army base through covert means (the waterfall camouflage comes to mind for me). Taken has several of these scenes which are all memorable, and in my opinion an action movie should be this way: memorable scenes one right after the other to please the senses non-stop. The worst action movies are the ones where a hero must chase the enemy through a series of mazes in the dark, in hopes of catching him in time before he’s gone forever. This movie does away with all that crap and puts Neeson into the hot seat of a Formula 1 vehicle, with the car’s bumper replaced with knives & weapons and the accelerator glued to the floor.

Bryan holding nails
Bryan and nails. You will not forget this scene.

There’s only a select few movies of this caliber out there in the world, and sad to say, I can count them on one hand right now: Transporter, Dawn of the Dead, The Bourne Identity and District B13 are on the same level of quality and action. If I’m not mistaken, all of these movies except Dawn of the Dead are made by European directors and companies, and are all based in European cities. It’s time for Hollywood to stop making their shitty action movies and learn from the pros for once. Taken is a prime example that an action movie can have several scenes (car chases, gun fights, martial arts, boats, explosions, social engineering, hostage rescuing, torture, etc.) stitched together in a logical flow that add value to the overall feel of the film. I predict the movie to be a great hit when it comes out next week. Go see it!

The Dark Knight Review

I managed to get a pair of tickets to The Dark Knight premiere screening through a friend who has hookups with a local movie theater. The show was at 12:00 AM Friday morning, and there were quite a lot of people who were crazy like me to go see the Batman Begins sequel. I have been waiting for this movie to come out all summer when I first saw the preview. I’m sure it was announced well before the summer started, but I live under a rock so I’m good like that.

To get a good understanding of the continuation of the film, I watched Batman Begins with a few friends to simply refresh my memory on what had happened. Basically, Batman stopped the League of Shadows, managed to get rid of some dirty cops (although a lot still remain), made friends with the Lieutenant of the police force (then the chief of police) and succeeded in starting to turn Gotham city around for the better. As Bruce Wayne, he returned after a 7 year disappearance (his death warrant had been executed) and managed to regain control of his company, Wayne Enterprises. Finally, his mansion burned down (because of Ra’s al Ghul’s revenge on Bruce) damaging the Batcave as well (the south-east foundations). The movie ends with a new villain, calling himself the Joker, leaves a calling card for theatrical reasons. Batman promises the Lieutenant to look into it and this is where the sequel, The Dark Knight, resumes.

This movie was a lot darker than I had expected, and that’s a good thing. I always saw the Batman movies as dark, gritty films; it really adds a certain atmosphere to the entire series. Gotham City looks darker than ever in The Dark Knight. Throughout the movie, I was amazed as how they managed to pull it all off… I could even go as far as to say the movie was disturbing through certain parts. It was that evil.

Christian Bale yet again returns to give a stellar performance of him as Batman. Fact is, Bale never disappoints, as I’m a huge fan of his films (I love American Psycho; Equilibrium was superb). The Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, is a phenomenal character. Wow is all I can say. It is up to par with Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in Batman (1989 film by Tim Burton) if not better. Quite a shame we will never see the continuation of Ledger’s performance. A new face in the series, Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart from Thank You For Smoking fame) was also an amazing character to watch.

The movie definitely lived up to its hype my expections. Actually, it exceeded them. I’m going to watch The Dark Knight again sometime next week.

The American Psycho Facial Treatment

One of my favourite movies, American Psycho, portrays a serial killer who goes through a lengthy facial treatment each and every morning to revitalize himself. Upon searching Google for the list of products the main character uses, I came across an Amazon Guide that went to great detail on what exactly to purchase. I always wanted to try it out for myself to see what kind of benefits it would bring to one’s face, so I went ahead and ordered all the items on the page. After two weeks of usage, I noticed a more vibrant appearance in my facial features. My skin felt less coarse and a few girls actually noticed the change. 🙂 The non-alcoholic after-shave sure does feel good too.

Anyway, here’s the list of products for everyone’s benefit. I revised the products and added the out of stock / missing ones with the appropriate substitutes.

Patrick Bateman: I live in the American Gardens building on West 81st street. My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now.

Fire & Ice Herbal Beauty Mask
Alternative: Cold/Hot Full Face Compress

After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser, Oil Free – 7 oz
Alternatives: Clean & Clear Deep-Action Cream Cleanser 6.5 oz (184 g), Nivea Energizing Face Scrub for Men 4.4 oz.

In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser.

Neutrogena Body Wash for Clean, Clear Skin 8.5 fl oz (250 ml)
Alternatives: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash, Two- 24 oz. Washes and One 8.45 fl oz Hand Wash and Pouf

Then a honey almond body scrub.

100 Percent Pure Organic Honey Almond Body Scrub (14 oz)
Alternative: Bellvita Honey / Almond Shower & Cream Bath and Shower Gel, 17 fluid ounces.

And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub.

Nivea for Men Energizing Face Scrub, Normal Skin, 4.4 Ounces
Alternatives: Dove Gentle Exfoliating Foaming Facial Cleanser, 6.76-Ounce Tubes, Pond’s Fresh Start Daily Exfoliating Cleanser 6.7oz.

Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque 12oz. Jar

I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older.

Nivea for Men Sensitive After Shave Extra Soothing Balm, 3.3 Fluid Ounces

Then moisturizer…

American Crew After Shave Moisturizer 4.23 oz.

then an anti-aging eye balm…

Nivea Revitalizing Eye Cream Q10 0.5 oz.
Alternatives: Anthony Logistics Continuous Moisture Eye Cream (Anti-aging), Anthony Logistics for Men Eye Cream

followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

Nivea for Men Skin Essentials Protective Lotion, SPF 15, Normal to Dry Skin, 2.5 Fl Oz.
Alternatives: Gillette Complete SkinCare Protect Facial SPF 15 Moisturizer, 1.7 Ounce

There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.

Thank You For Smoking

Two days ago, I watched the movie “Thank You For Smoking” with my brother. I really digged it. The main character, Nick Naylor, reminds me of a good friend of mine who is quite the talker. What’s scary about this film is that people like Nick actually exist out there, who are very good at what they do. I refer to these types of people as “Social Engineers” as they’re very good at manipulating a scenario to their liking with ease.

After watching this film, I felt like smoking. Crap.