Thursday, August 28, 2008


Let me just say that I am a fan of Don Cheadle. I like the roles he chooses to play, from the moving and emotionally driven ‘Hotel Rowanda’ to the smart-ass funny DJ in ‘Talk To Me.’ He is an actor that takes chances and they usually pay off. However, this turn as the lead in an action-thriller isn’t as successful.

The story is simple, if you read a lot of Robert Ludlum. Former US Special Operations Officer Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) has an incredible intelligence and even more incredible connections to the terrorist world. After a deal gets busted in Yemen, Horn, a devout Muslim-American caught selling goods to terrorists, is thrown in jail. It is here that he meets Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) who is spearheading an investigation into an international conspiracy. Clayton attempts to get Horn back over to the American side, only to be refused time and time again. After time spent in the Yemen prison, Horn is befriended by Omar (Said Taghmaoui). Omar and Horn begin a friendship that leads Horn into the hands of a dangerous terrorist organization, and into a web of terrorist activities, with FBI and CIA in tow.

Sure the premise sounds promising and the trailer was cut well enough to peak interest, but honestly, the film falls a bit flat. I appreciate that they tried giving Horn a bit of a back-story that would speak to his willingness to ‘go terrorist’ while overseas, however was it enough of one? Not really. As the story progresses, the viewer is taken along this journey of terrorist acts, then given a couple twists. But one of the big twists comes a little too late, then another, a little too early-the film’s pacing lacks the breathless action and intrigue sustained by ‘Bourne Identity’, ‘The Departed’, among others. I do appreciate the care the filmmakers took in presenting Muslims and Muslim Americans. The religion is such an unknown to many Americans, the way the devout are portrayed in the film help shed light on a few of their beliefs. It is by no means a college level class on religion, but you paid $10 for a movie, did you expect a dissertation on the meaning of Allah?

So here it is. If you read a lot of these espionage books and stop crunching your popcorn during certain integral scenes, the film’s textbook moves are given away. The dialogue and action doesn’t foreshadow anything, it just tells you what’s to be expected in 1-5 minutes. Yeah. You can time a bathroom break in that time, people.

And as much as I love being exposed to actors of color I had not been aware of before, especially such lovelies as Archie Panjabi (plays Horn’s love interest Chandra), honestly just drop dead gorgeous!, I felt like almost all the actors were phoning in their roles. If I were as good looking as Archie, I wouldn't be blogging, I'd be dating! lol! Not even my love for Guy Pearce earned solely from ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ and ‘Memento’ could make me say he made some strong and different choices playing a cop this time. Sometimes I think Hollywood says, ‘We need a strong jawed dude to play a straight-laced cop. Call Guy Pearce.’ Oy.

Not enough action, pretty predictable story, and lukewarm acting make this a ‘rent it’ if you want to see a conspiracy-thriller movie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Closing ceremonies of the Olympics

I have been obsessed with the Olympics from a young age. It could be the fact that my dad played professional basketball in Vietnam, and was a hardcore ping pong player. And did I mention my mom was a helluva hackeysack player as well? And what happens? The pair conceive 3 of the most unathletic children you could imagine. Obviously someone wronged the gods powerful hard! :) Anyhow, the Olympics is one of my all time favorite things to watch, because it is the finest example of athletes who are competing for the love of it. There is no purse, yet the entire world joins in with their finest. It is a true love of games and sportsmanship. (Never mind the millions of endorsement dollars on the line!) Ok so the reason why I posted this pic is because during the closing ceremonies, the large screen next to the screen showing the performers has chinese text, and being a karaoke lover, I assume they are the lyrics to what they are singing! Haha! Even at the olympics, they show their love of karaoke! I love my Chinese brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


A movie about a fake movie with a white guy playing a black guy in a fake war really doesn’t seem like it would have basis for anything but failure. Surprise. TROPIC THUNDER is a movie that delivers laughs and a good story in a spoof that speaks to a larger audience than I ever expected.

Starting with its guns a blazin’, TROPIC THUNDER introduces its three main characters via their vehicle of fame. Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) promotes his "Booty Sweat" energy drink and "Bust-A-Nut" candy bar, while performing his hit song, "I Love Tha' Pussy". Then we meet action star Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) starring in his latest film failure, 'Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown'. The next trailer features comedian Jeff "Fatty" Portnoy (Jack Black), playing the entirety of "America's favorite obese family" in the highly flatulent 'The Fatties: Fart 2'. The final trailer, and my absolute favorite, 'Satan's Alley', features Australian superhunk Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) and Tobey Maguire (as himself) as two monks who begin a passionate affair. This story has got to be optioned by now.

Now that you have an idea of how ‘large’ each of these stars is, it comes as no surprise that while filming their current big-blockbuster disaster war movie, the egos begin to clash, and people lose control. To rectify the situation, the director tries a ‘guerilla style shooting’ tactic to get real emotions out of these solipsistic Hollywood A-listers. As soon as they embark on their new ‘sets’, things begin spiraling out of control and the actors playing military-trained human war weapons get thrown into a battle against a 12-year old drug lord in Cambodia. And no, it isn’t Maddox Jolie Pitt.

With a movie that has Downey playing a white dude who undergoes an experimental operation to darken his skin to play a black war hero, you know controversy will befall this film. But that isn’t where the cries for foul play arise. It actually stems from the loose usage of ‘retard’ in the film to describe a character Stiller’s character played in the film, ‘Simple Jack’. After hearing all the hubbub and reading that there was a call for an apology and removal of the word from the film, I expected the offensiveness to fly before I even got into my movie seat. But I watched, I was awake, and I laughed. To this movie lover, the word ‘retard’ was used in context and more exemplified the idiocy and stupidity of the two characters than it did reflect negatively upon the mentally challenged. I honestly don’t understand why this happened.

Anyhow, let’s get back to Downey’s character Lazarus. With a lesser actor, I think this couldn’t have been pulled off, but every single time I see Downey hit the screen, I realize how talented and fluid this actor is. From this summer’s IRON MAN to Lazarus, he tackles such a silly character with depth and humor. Stiller plays the same neurotic head case he usually does and it really works in this situation. Black plays a heroin addict pretty well. And the three leading men who usually headline movies work well as an ensemble.

The cameos are never ending in this film, and a great game can be just watching and seeing how many stars you can name when they appear onscreen. I absolutely loved the supporting role Tom Cruise has as Les Grossman, the media mogul behind all this craziness. Many publications have said this role is resurrecting his career, and it totally has. He is once again likeable to me.

In short this movie is full of laughs, silly giggles, full out knee slappers, and guffaws in disbelief. This is one of those films so rooted in intelligent stupidity you can’t help but enjoy yourself. In the beginnings you think, a movie really can’t sustain this level of dumbassness in its characters and still have them remain likeable. But the truth is, it does. With smart dialogue, a great characters, and talented actors, the story never falls flat as the insanity ensues.

I was lucky enough to attend a talk with the producer where he imparted some interesting tidbits to us about the film. One of the coolest things? 12-year old drug lord Tran, (Brandon Soo Hoo) was the second actor the producers saw and totally fell in love. Not only that, something I didn’t understand…Tran was originally supposed to speak Cantonese (in Cambodia?!) and then the part was changed to Mandarin because one of the screenwriters was fluent in Mandarin. Cool. Also, Tom Cruise, as big of a star as he was, actually talked for a long while with Stiller while the script was still being written and helped create the Grossman character he later ended up bringing to the screen. Cruise also asked for a make-up test to make sure everything looked good, something actors of his fame level usually never even agree to! And suggested he have really large hands. Plus my favorite thing? Cruise said ‘Grossman should dance’. No rhyme or reason. The character should just dance…and that dance was funny! So go, get out of the summer heat and laugh just enough to pee pee just a bit in your pants. That’s the true test of comedy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hermes space craft

You are looking at the next gen in affordable space travel. I know, you didn't even know there was a 'now gen' in affordable space travel! Anyhow, the reason why the Hermes is so impressive is because the tech inside is all off the shelf!!! Can you believe that? So anyone can walk into a store and actually buy the tech found in this shuttle. Enjoy...

Monday, August 18, 2008


The first CB2 furniture store (one of my favs) opens on the west coast in SF and I have been dying to get here. I'm starving with a headache so the obvious solution is to hit this furniture store. Priorities lovely, know your priorities.

My hotel room for the week

My hotel room...this is not the CB 2 store, my crackberry got a fugged-up. No, friends, this is my actual hotel room. And yes, that is a sink in the corner. Now i am currently in San Francisco, my old stomping grounds, attending the Intel Developers Forum. Fun Fun, and decided to stay close. Good idea. However, this simple room, as cute and stylish as it may be, is less than 10 x 10 without a closet and I ain't in NYC! This is crazy! plus, before you get to the room, you cross over the 'hall bath' and 'hall WC'. That means toilet. yes, there are hall baths and toilets in this hotel. I am staying in a hostel. But my room has a private bath...that means a tub and toilet, but again the sink is in my room. This tells me the bathroom doorknob is the most disgusting thing i have ever touched. Luckily i have the olympics to watch to take my mind off my own silliness. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008


Men being men; driving fast cars. Gorgeous women riding in fast cars. Weapons being used on fast cars. Oh, and did I mention fast cars?

DEATH RACE is the remake of the cult film, DEATH RACE 2000. And much like its original, DEATH RACE takes a lot of liberties when it comes to cheesy dialogue, excessive gore, and a winking eye at the state of our world. You wouldn’t think a movie starring Jason Statham driving hard and fast would do that, but hey, it was a slow day at the Multiplex for me.

Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, the movie revolves around an ex-con, Jensen Ames, played by an incredibly rock-hard and ripped Statham (even my ego got a pounding after seeing him do the iron cross in the film), who is forced by the warden of an infamous prison, played by Joan Allen, to compete in a race where the driver can win his freedom, or meet his death. *ooooohhhhhh* Sounds so serious.

Anderson, who some of my friends in the ‘industry’ like to call ‘Milla baby daddy’ goes all out when it comes to directing this crazy post-industrial view of our world. Allow me to be frank; Anderson directs some of the bloodiest, most violent stuff I’ve recently seen, like half-dead people getting up just to have their heads whacked off by another weapon. Is this necessary? When you’re dealing with a bleak world where unemployment has reached an all time high, economy sucks and these men are just ‘being men in prison,’ I don’t really expect them to be weaving baskets and growing flowers on a mountainside. But wow, the amount of violence seemed like overkill, and honestly the direction was heavy-handed. Just to be fair, I have to admit I don’t play ‘Grand Theft Auto’ on a daily basis, I don’t own THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS DVDs, and I don’t race cars on the streets of LA. Although I did have an incident where I did rev up to a Mini-van. All’s I’m gonna say is I smoked that b*tch!

Now let’s talk about casting. This is one motley crew of actors! Sure, I can understand Statham in the lead, but how did they convince Joan Allen to play the warden?! I can understand wanting to play against type and all, but this just seemed like an odd choice. She plays this manipulative, powerful, money hungry warden with as much skill as she can, but considering some of the fromage-heavy lines she had to deliver, I am not sure how she said, ‘yes! I’ve got to do this film!’. So I stepped up and asked her point blank at the press junket of DEATH RACE. I sat with Allen and asked, ‘what drew you to a movie like this? You’re usually the moral pillar in a film.’ Her answer? She really wanted to play a villain. Too bad she chose this movie to exercise that wish.

Tyrese Gibson adds an air of hardness as ‘Machine Gun Joe,’ however with few lines, and many hardcore fistfights, you don’t really get to know Joe, or care about his and Statham’s character’s rivalry.

Ian McShane plays Coach, but lacks a mean edge that would send a man away to the worst jail in America. Oh and then there’s the oddest member of the crew, Ulrich, a corpulent, nerdy, glasses wearing number cruncher with a stutter played by Jason Clarke. Now if I’m complaining about how Coach got sent to this jail, I have no words to describe why Bill Gates Jr. would end up here as well, unless he channeled Lizzy Borden, then kicked a litter of kittens in the face, the judge’s kittens, while she was nursing them herself, from milk she collected from their ailing cat mom.

To sum it up, I found the movie loud, gory, violent for the sake of violence, and the dialogue laughable. But honestly I went to this movie with my sister, the loveliest and smartest human being I know, and she thought this movie was a really fun ride. And yes, she used those exact words. Ok, maybe she didn’t but the gist was clearly there. There you have it - An audacious race car movie where lives are as important as toe nail clippings finds a home on the silver screen. Silver’s gonna cry tonight. Unless you play lots of FPS or GTA, you can probably skip this one.

And notice, not one car pun...I'm a classy lady.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This summer has been full of comic book heroes and not so comic book, but heroes, hitting the big screen. And when I say ‘hitting the big screen’, I mean bringing it so hard to the silver screen your popcorn jumps out of your hand.

Case in point, THE DARK KNIGHT. Yes, everyone and their mother have heard that this sequel to BATMAN is something to behold. And the reasons are simple. First off, let’s talk about the late Heath Ledger’s phenomenal turn as a psychotic Joker. I know I am not making any huge leaps by saying that Ledger made some really interesting and strong choices as an actor in this role, playing the Joker as a man whose brain is as chillingly screwed up as Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. I feel like Alex and Cruella Deville got together for one night of lust and all of a sudden The Joker pops out, full grown and ready for mayhem. There has been much talk about a posthumous Oscar nod to Ledger, and in my opinion, he totally deserves it.

Now with so many acting props being given to Ledger for playing The Joker so perfectly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the rest of the cast were lackluster, but to my surprise, Christian Bale played a good mature, confidant, and almost cocky Bruce Wayne. His Batman, however, I have an issue with. Now when I first saw BATMAN RETURNS, I thought this is a definite upgrade from George Clooney. And then I heard him talk. Allow me to lay this out for you. I understand that Batman is a mysterious man who has to have a raspy voice, but this time around, the raspy is walking a fine line between acceptable and ridiculous. And honestly, with his mouth breathing and open bite talking, I could barely keep my palm from constantly smacking myself in the forehead and eye long enough to hear Bale speak in his rubber suit. And Maggie Gyllenhaal, although a GREAT improvement as Rachel Dawes when compared to Katie Holmes, really needs to stand up straight. And saying lines with a little more emotion to make me care about her would have helped, but hey, this movie is more about the man in the rubber suit, right? Yes, I am that judgmental.

I have to admit one of my favorite things about this film is that it tells an incredibly fun story with great stunts, practical stunts! I am a fan of action and love great stunt choreography, and was smiling from ear to ear during the Bat Pod sequence. Why this particular scene, you ask? Honestly, this is one of the most magnificent scenes because it isn’t CG, it’s a stunt guy, riding a motorcycle through a building, all shot extremely well. Real stunts like that inspire a certain adrenaline rush in me…when I first started watching movies, most action scenes were done for real, with stunt men. Seeing this being done in THE DARK KNIGHT was like remembering a first kiss was, or holding the hand of that guy in 7th grade I had a huge crush on. It was that good.

And the goods don’t stop there; Christopher Nolan did great jobs with the Director and Screenwriter hat. The story keeps you interested with its twists and turns, and Nolan isn’t shy about exacting the right emotion in the right location for a certain scene. Two of my favorite movies in recent years have been MEMENTO and THE PRESTIGE, so with those movies under his belt, you know to expect more than just a comic book movie for the sake of satisfying a comic book fan, you know you’re in for a full story, and no doubt this movie delivers it.

And although it has taken me a few weeks to post this review (do I really need to with everyone saying how good it is?) I did see it at the midnight showing, the night it opened. Yes I am one of those. I hope you don’t mind.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I know, I haven't stopped talking about this movie, but I really liked it.

And...Let's just get this out of the way. A fraternity of assassins who take a 'nobody', open up his pandora's box of killing, turning him into a 'somebody' with gore all over the place doesn't exactly send a great message to the audience, but we go to the movies to lose ourselves, not judge our psyches. Otherwise, I'd probably be institutionalized by now, and only allowed to read Judy Blume books.

'Wanted' is a movie that is bloody, action-packed and chock full of great performances by both James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. Russian director, Timur Bekmambetov, of both 'Day Watch' and 'Night Watch' fame, makes his first big budget American blockbuster exactly that, a blockbuster movie brimming with amazing special effects, seamless action sequences, a pretty solid story, and big name actors.

James McAvoy stars as your run of the mill office drone who becomes “wanted” when he hooks up with Angelina Jolie’s character, Fox - and in six weeks flat, he’s transformed from a pencil pusher into a deadly assassin - this is every guy's fantasy right? And while it might seem odd that the producers didn’t cast a 6-foot tall, barrel-chested Adonis in the lead role, the movie stays true to the original graphic novel and McAvoy does a bang up job. Watching McAvoy morph physically and mentally on-screen is fascinating. This is also the sexiest and deadliest role I’ve ever seen Angelina Jolie play. Though I could watch her read the yellow pages and be enthralled. And while the film’s plot has a number of twists and turns that make the story compelling, the real stars of the film are its special effects. With bullets bending, rippling through the air, heart-thumping choreographed car chases and fight scenes, this movie surpasses all my expectations.

MOVIE REVIEW - Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D!

Any movie that requires its viewers to wear unflattering eyewear makes me a little suspicious. Which is why I wasn’t expecting to like 'Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D' but I did. ‘Journey’ is a loose adaptation of the Jules Verne novel of the same name.

The story centers around a geologist, played by Brendan Fraser, his nephew and their mountain guide – and they all go off in search of Fraser’s missing brother. After a rockslide, they are thrust into a heart-stopping underground adventure where treacherous falls and prehistoric monsters lurk around every corner. Their only hope for escape is to use Jules Verne’s novel as their roadmap to ascend from the world of mayhem they’ve just plunged into.

No, this isn’t the most inventive storyline and a number of scenes lean towards children’s movie, but if you give it a chance it will surprise you. The acting, led by a boyishly charming Frazer, is solid. Director Eric Brevig, who served as visual effects supervisor on many action films, is a good fit for an effects heavy movie. Plus the plot twists come partnered with 3-D technology, giving this movie it's POP.

As much as I hate the cliché of saying that a movie is a thrill ride, I have to say, this movie is a thrill ride. I was on the edge of my seat and even got a little queasy during the much promoted cart sequence. And just a warning, if you’re afraid of heights, you may want to stick with the 2-D version of this flick. I speak from experience.

Now I'm not saying this film isn't cheesy, but it happily embraces it and has a lot of fun doing so. This movie is surprisingly funny, family friendly, and is an exciting ride into a dark and dangerous fantasy world for adults and kids. Bottom line: I walked out thinking it’s as good or better than any theme park ride. I say see it, especially if you can find it in 3-D. And yes, the 3-D glasses will make you look like a giant dork, but everyone else will too.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My girls

What do my girlfriends look lik? Well from this pic, if they look like ladies shotgunning a beer so we can head out to dinner, then you'd be right! This weekend has been funfilled days of girl talk, bonding, food and drink. Now we're all headed to palm springs where we will be sunning ourselves and I will blog from there!