Sunday, March 31, 2013

G.I. Joe Retaliation: Action on and on and on...

Since my boys claim they're already too old for Easter egg hunting this year, we went for some good old fashioned violence to celebrate instead.  :P  G.I. Joe: Retaliation was our Sunday treat.  And, man, was it explosive!

I had 3 boys (husband included) in tow so you can imagine the testosterone level overflow that went down.  Miro, being a History and Weaponry enthusiast, named all the guns in the flick expertly.  Kenji, whose a big fan of anything that blows up to smitherines, was perpetually glued to the screen.  Jing, forever a tech nerd, spent the hour and a half trying to spot matting fails.  I, on the other hand, still cannot get over Snake Eyes' mountain range ninja fight scene.  I've always loved Snake Eyes. :)

Honestly, G.I. Joe doesn't really allow you to breathe.  It's an action per minute dosage all throughout.
Well, not really.  There's this quiet, backstory scene where Storm Shadow gets all emotional and goes through a change of heart to help the good guys beat the bad guys --which put Kenji to sleep.  Apparently, when you experience a sudden change in pace in a literally action-packed movie, you suffer from sudden calm and lose consciousness.  Lol!  I'm kidding!

The storyline is no great shakes.  You know, world domination yadda-yadda, using a super weapon that can level an entire city yadda yadda, the recruitment of an old retired badass to fight the good fight yadda yadda.  We've seen this formula before.  So if you're watching G.I Joe for depth, you'd be way off mark. But if you're watching G.I. Joe for nostalgia, boom, shwang, and rat-tat-tat-tat, you're in for the party of your life.  It's live-action cartoon.  And with all the self-destruct buttons that went about in that film, my cartoon analogy is so spot on.

It stars the powerhouse cast of Dwayne Johnson (Roadblock), Bruce Willis (Gen. Joe Colton), Byung-Hun Lee (Storm Shadow), Adrianne Palicki (Lady Jaye), and Ray Park (Snake Eyes).  And, Jonathan Pryce who played the funniest, coolest American president in history --specially during the climactic ala-United Nations summit scene.  So old and yet so badass.  Haha!

On that note, I'm telling you not to miss this movie.  G.I. Joe Retaliation.  Giving you that much-needed mindless adrenaline rush in cinemas today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Far from crude, The Croods

Even with the powerhouse cast of Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone, The Croods --and I'm being perfectly honest here-- didn't really catch my full attention.  Wuut?  Another dino slash loin cloth movie?  Haven't we had enough of those?
Apparently, we haven't.  And I have my boys to thank for dragging me into the cinema for it.

The Croods is no run-of-the mill prehistoric flick though.  It's all about evolution.  It's all about opening your mind and venturing outside of your comfort zone, embracing change, cooking up unheard of ideas --in order to survive.  Kinda like everyday survival in the modern world.

Another thing that sets this movie apart is its unlikely heroine.  While she does have that rebellious streak that's kinda the formula when teenage characters are involved, she is far beyond being dainty and cutesy about it.  She's tough!  And rough!  Yet, naive.  Intriguing mix, eh?

Her love interest isn't your everyday hero either.  He's the loner with the strangest ideas that catapult the movie forward.  He's creativity personified.  Why, he single-handedly transformed the barbaric Crood Brood into a somewhat enlightened group --after much pain.

Of course, where there are teenagers, there will be a dad gone wild.  But he's more than that.  He's the alpha male stepping down from his throne which makes him the film's soul.  And heart.  I think he's the best character there and how he was built up was well done.

Another thing I particularly love is the heap of imagination poured into the colorful creatures.  Breaking the mold again, these animals go against the usual leathery monsters of the past.  It's like being in a lost time of hippie parties.  Cool, dude!

In the end, everyone got to take a bath and the end of the world was postponed. 

My review:  The Croods is one hell of an unexpected fun and tearjerker of a film.  Action-packed, too!  The first 10 minutes of hunting for fast food in itself kept me at the edge of my seat while laughing popcorn out of my nose.  Wouldn't you love to experience THAT?!

The Croods!  In cinemas.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Papier Macheniacs: Working Wheels!!!

We're totally giddy about this one!
We've made lots of papier mache transportation in the past but we never went mechanical and made actual spinning wheels for them.  So when my boys played with them, they just sorta dragged the papier mache cars around.  Lol!

As a welcome to the summer break, we decided to push the creative envelope a bit and made working wheels.  And on Disneyland Haunted Mansion's horseless Ghost Carriage, too, no less!

For this project, we went on a plastic overload.  Simply because plastic is way stronger than paper.  With the wear and tear of toy cars, paper wheels would easily deform.  But plastic wheels, they're built to last!
And so, scraps that would've made it into the trash --and possibly, into the ocean-- became an extension to papier mache magic. :P  We got a Woody Pop box with a plastic window, Pringles lids, a milk can locking strip, and some juice and choco milk tetra box straws.

To make the wheels actually roll, we started with a regular soda straw and strewn through it a thinner, sturdier juice straw.  This will be the axel of our wheels --so sturdy is the key word here.  Then, we got the Pringles lids and used a glue gun to fit them onto both ends of the axel.  Then, we taped the wheel contraption to the bottom of our box carriage.

The milk can's plastic locking strip is also sturdy enough to stay suspended in mid-air to create those spooky, floating Ghost Carriage's reins.  We then added a couple of choco milk bendy straws for the invisible horse's harness.

So from this.

To this.


Disneyland Haunted Mansion's Ghost Carriage --with true blue working wheels!  It's magical when we go a little mechanical.

And THAT... is how we roll.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oz 'almost' the Great and Powerful

There are a handful of reasons why I'm not jumping up and down for Oz the Great and Powerful, the prequel to the Wizard of Oz.

One, I seriously struggled with a comical James Franco as Oscar Diggs aka Oz.  Must be all those Spiderman movies. 

Two, Mila Kunis is perfect as the innocent, easy-to-fall-in-love version of the lovely witch, Theodora.  But as the quickly-transformed wicked witch, she was just a little awkward, a little strained.  It must be difficult with all that prosthetics. 

Three, there were little nods at the original Wizard of Oz with a Lion cameo in the flying monkey scene, and a Scarecrow cameo during the Emerald City attack sequence.  But where was Tin Man?  Or, were those cameos unintentional and I'm just reading too much into them?

Four, A Bug's Life reprise.  Oz using circus trickery, theatrics, and a huge-ass smoke machine to fool the witches into thinking he's really a great and powerful wizard follows the formula of a band of circus-performing insects who makes use of circus trickery, theatrics, and a huge-ass bird machine to fool the grasshoppers into thinking they're really the great and powerful heroes of the ant colony.  

Five, Glinda bored me.

There were still enough goodies though.

Rachel Weisz as Evanora was just pure brilliance.  She carries evil and class really, really well.
The flying bell hop monkey was the funniest thing ever.
The poetic justice of Oz refusing to help a crippled girl in his past life (when he was still in black and white) and then helping a China doll walk again (now, in full color) was beautifully done.
Theodora, burning her face with scalding tears when she cries --THAT was epic!

And, the visual dazzle and magical action still gave our kids pure joy.  It's a kids' movie after all.
So I guess it's still a must-see.  Plus, kids will be talking about this before school closes for the summer.  You wouldn't want your kids to be left out, would you?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pinto, Where Art Ran Away With Nature.

We've been to a whole lot of museums, but nothing has prepared us for the ethereal experience that is Pinto Art Gallery.  I have 2 words for you, Pinto --Overwhelming. Much.

Deep in the heart of Antipolo stands this unassuming structure that looks small and homey from the outside, but is a colossal wonderland from the inside.

Pinto marries art and nature.  The amount of both, brimming.

Unlike other museums that divide their galleries by walls, Pinto divides its galleries by Mexican-type stone houses.

With a sunny and fresh trek in between each.

There's even a tiny chapel that houses holy statuettes, most of which are ancient.

There were modern works, too.  This one being my favorite.

But the action really happens outside.  Just as the grounds are sprawling with greens, art sprawls along, too.  Watch...

There's so much to discover at Pinto that one trip isn't enough.  Who knows?  You might find some art piece we may have missed or even a secret art path that I'm not able to show here.
So take the whole family to Pinto Art Gallery.  Awaken your artistic mind with a breath of fresh air.

Oh, and Pinto, that outdoor queen-sized bed as a perfect rest stop for your tired art trekkers --lovely touch! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Una sa Pinto: a school art exhibit

When I look for a school, I don't just look at the curriculum.  A good school should offer things beyond books.  A good school should provide a child a variety of venues for total growth.  That's why extra-curricular activities hold a special place in my discriminating heart as well.

Early this month, my sons' school had a students' art exhibit.  You know, the kind that invites parents over to see their children's work on the walls of the school lobby?
Well, not this one.

Off we went to the country's home of artists, the Pinto Art Gallery in Antipolo!
Aside from the colorful road trip, we got to see our kids' masterpieces right next to popular Filipino sculptures and murals in an overwhelming backdrop of art and nature. 

The school made a big to-do about the event, too!

There was an artist registration table at the gate.  A purple thumb means you're brimming with creativity. :)

There was a formal ribbon cutting rite.  Wow!

There were 2 floors of an entire gallery devoted to the collated artworks of the students.  Uh-huh, my jaw dropped, too.

There was massive photo op.  (I'm a mamarazzi --is that even a surprise?  Lol!)
Feast your eyes on...

Miro's Art of Face
Kenji's Jungle Lion
Miro's The Good Gold Place
Kenji's Self-titled wall installation

Afterward, there was a potluck lunch at the Pinto's most spectacular, ultra-huge green grounds.  'Beautiful' falls short in expressing this.

The school's Una sa Pinto art exhibit obviously made every little artist feel big in the world of art.  They felt hopeful knowing that their work can make it side by side with the experts.
For a mere extra-curricular activity,  it did make our boys feel extra special.

See what I mean? :)