Everybody’s Chattin’ & Music Break: ‘Pacific Rim’ by Ramin Djawadi

HAPPY FRIDAY!! It’s been a sweltering Summer the past week, so I’m gonna cool off tonight watching … you guessed it, Pacific Rim once again at the IMAX, wahoo! I was gonna do a Music Break in honor of Guillermo del Toro’s movie, but since I’ve been so sporadic with posting my regular series, I thought I’d combine it with Everybody’s Chattin’. I’m sure y’all don’t mind? 😀

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So here are what blogger’s been chattin’ about this past week:

EuropaReportFilm Hipster‘s Chris reviewed one of this sci-fi movies I’ve been curious about: Europa Report. Sounds intriguing and it also stars Sharlto Copley which impressed me greatly in District 9.

Another Chris (aka Terry Malloy Pigeon Coop) makes me feel so guilty that I haven’t seen Metropolis yet. An inspired and fitting choice for his ‘What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen …’ series.

Josh and Eric recently reviewed a couple of films I haven’t even heard of yet but certainly sounds intriguing. Check out Josh’ review of What Richard Did and Eric’s write-up of Ali: Fear Eats the Soul [1974]

Sati is at it again with her Visual Parallels, this time pairing two HBO shows: Game of Thrones and ROME. Brilliant as always.

Both Mark and I appreciate Joaquin Phoenix’ acting chops and his outrageous stunts from a few years ago is perhaps one of his greatest work yet. Check out Mark’s review of I’m Still Here, which I’ve been meaning to see for some time.

Those close to me know I’m not one for horror or war films as I simply don’t have nerves of steel. But Keith‘s latest rave review of Black Hawk Down made me think if I should muster up the courage to give that a shot. Maybe, just maybe.

BallOfFireOn the Classic front, Paula made a tribute to commemorate a screen legend’s 106th birthday by doing an Unscientific Favorite Stanwyck Movie Poll Results. All of them look superb, though I’m most intrigued by Ball of Fire 😉

One of my favorite series from It Rains… You Get Wet is TMT (Theatre… a Movie… and a Time). And this latest one happens to be one of my favorite action franchise (well up to the third movie anyway): Die Hard (1988). Seems like Bruce Willis never stops playing John McClane, even in non Die Hard movies 🙂

A couple of BLOGATHONS are going on right now that are worthy of note: Cinekatz‘ Not-So-Secret Santa Review Swap and My Film Views’ The 5 Obstruction – Click each link to find out more and join in on the fun!

Trailer-wise, there are quite a few great ones released this week. I’m most excited to see 12 Years A Slave and The Fifth Estate. It so happens that both films have birthday boy Benedict Cumberbatch in it!

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In The Fifth Estate he plays the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, check out the trailer:

For more trailers, head out to Terrence’s Triple T, that is Trailer Time Thursday!


Now time for some awesome music!

One of my favorite sites The Art of the Title is currently featuring Pacific Rim‘s gorgeous opening and end credits titles, done by Imaginary Forces Creative Studio. Combined with composer Ramin Djawadi‘s rousing score, it just might be one of my favorite credit sequences of all time!

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I love this score so much I’ve been humming it constantly the past couple of weeks. It’s a GREAT soundtrack for working out as well. It gives me an extra boost at the elliptical machine… but no, I’m not trying to walk like a Jaeger, ahah.

A softer version of the theme I like is the Cancelin’ the Apocalypse track:


Well have a great Friday, everyone! What are you gonna see this weekend?

Question of the Week: What movie(s) surprises you most this year?

Happy Friday everyone! Hope your week’s been going well. It’s been a slow week for me blogging-wise as well as my workload at the office. I hope it’s just a Summer thing as people being out on vacation and what not. As you probably know, June was kind of an eventful month that kept me from watching some screenings and other movies I’ve set out to see. I saw that people have started listing their favorite movies of the first half of the year, which I hope to do sometime next week.

In the meantime, I thought I’d pick your brain this week to find out just which movie(s) end up being a surprise to you so far. I’m talking about new releases in 2013 that you haven’t been particularly stoked to see but end up surprising you in a good way.

PacificRim_PicJust looking at the top banner above and from my review yesterday should give you a hint how much I enjoyed Pacific Rim 😉 I actually tweeted last Tuesday night that I like this movie more than Man of Steel (imagine that!). I mean, as a huge Superman fan, I’m more surprised by that than anyone, especially since I’m not even into robots or big monster movies at all. I never bothered putting the trailers on this blog as I thought they were lame. In fact, I was thisclose from bailing out from the screening altogether!

Well, I’m glad I didn’t skip it as it ends up being my favorite Summer movie so far. It remains to be seen if del Toro’s mammoth robots will conquer audiences this weekend or not, seems like all the experts are predicting a soft opening for the movie (around $30 mil according to Variety).

As far as indie movies go, my surprise pick would be The Kings of Summer. It’s another movie that wasn’t even on my radar but it’ll surely be in my top 10 list of the first half of this year.


Now your turn!

What movie(s) surprises you most in 2013 so far?

(Feel free to also list movies that surprises you in a bad way, perhaps those you’ve been anticipating that let you down in a big way)

FlixChatter Review: Pacific Rim

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I remember back in 2008 when I saw the trailers for Iron Man. My hubby was excited for it but I kept rolling my eyes when it came on and said how silly and vapid it looked, only to be bowled over when I finally got around to seeing it. It’s the same case with this one, only this time my hubby agreed with me that it looked just like another loud popcorn movie, nothing more than another Transformers movie mixed with Independence Day. Well, I guess the lesson I learned once again is ‘don’t judge a movie by its trailer(s)’ 😀

The plot (yes there IS one, in case some of you are wondering) is nothing we’ve never heard before but it’s played out quite efficiently here. The swift exposition at the beginning showed us that a war between humankind and a bunch of humongous sea creatures called Kaiju (Japanese for strange beast) have been going on for some time. The narrator, Raleigh Becket, was only five when the first attack began in San Francisco. He’s a former pilot of this man-made giant robots called Jaeger (German for the hunter) who left the force when his co-pilot brother got killed in battle. We learn that it takes two pilots to control each of those Jaegers, whose minds are locked in a neural bridge called ‘The Drift.’ Apparently, the deeper the bond between them, the better they fight.’

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Right away I was pretty absorbed by the story and the characters, and what’s at stake at the seemingly-inevitable apocalypse as these Kaijus have become stronger and more relentless with each attack. Fans of giant monsters movies like Godzilla, etc. would have an especially enjoyable time watching the fight scenes of Kaiju vs. Jaegers. The  I have to admit that though I’m not into monster movies, I too was caught up in the whole spectacle!

The fight scenes are well-staged and though it was certainly loud and bombastic, it didn’t have the dizzying effect like the battle scenes in Man of Steel. Though the battles between the steel vs organic giants are quite relentless, there’s a constant reminder that these aren’t simply mindless robots that are fighting, but there are people inside these steel beasts that get hurt with each punch. The film certainly lives by its motto ‘Go Big or Go Extinct’ as the scale is just massive, but yet it’s not bloated in terms of content. Seems like each scene has a purpose that justifies its 2 hrs 11 min run-time. The meticulous amount of details of the set pieces are also muy impressive. Each of these Jaeger have a name, and the main hero is called Gypsy Danger – the only remaining analog robot, and in one interview, del Toro said it’s meant to resemble a WWII fighter jet calling it “a mixture of deco skyscraper and John Wayne.”

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I give props to Guillermo del Toro for his unbridled passion for his $180 pet project, fusing it with digital artistry and spectacle worth raving about. He said in interviews that Pacific Rim contains all his bucket list rolled into one movie, and it shows! I’m glad that during the fight scenes, the director didn’t resort to quick cuts or blur effect so we’re still able to make out just what the heck is going on. What I appreciate most of all, is how emotionally satisfying it is. THAT ultimately, is what makes a movie so gratifying and memorable.

The last movie I saw that del Toro directed was Pan’s Labyrinth, which was excellent albeit too disturbingly violent for my taste. No doubt this movie is far more accessible and commercial than the 2006 fantasy drama, but del Toro’s deft touch and zeal for the material is palpable. He’s assembled the best of the best in the biz, working with ILM (its chief creative officer John Knoll, is the co-creator of Photoshop) on the SFX, as well as composer Ramin Djawadi on a rousing score that already becomes my personal favorite!

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Acting-wise, I think everyone is pretty well-cast. 33-year-old Brit Charlie Hunnam (of the Sons of Anarchy TV show), is pretty decent as Raleigh, and he’s got a nice narrating voice. He’s also got a nice chemistry with Rinko Kikuchi (THAT girl from Babel), and the martial arts training session is brimming with sexual tension. But to me, the real STAR is the hunky and charismatic Idris Elba. I’ve liked him since I saw him Rocknrolla years ago and he’s always been fun to watch. But man, he’s so incredibly magnetic in this movie! He’s got such a strong screen presence, plus he looks fantastic in that Jaeger pilot suit I barely noticed anyone else in that Shatterdome facility once he shows up! That ‘cancelin’ the apocalypse’ speech rates right up there with Bill Pullman’s speech in ID-4.

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Yes the speech is corny… but it works!!

The supporting cast deliver some of the funniest parts, most notably Charlie Day and Burn Gorman as the oft-bickering scientists, and del Toro’s regular Ron Perlman as a Kaiju black market honcho. I love the creative character names, too: Elba’s Stacker Pentecost, Perlman’s Hannibal Chau, Day’s Newton Geiszler.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is definitely one of the most fun I’ve had this year watching a movie! Despite the predictable plot — the ending echoes other disaster movies like again, ID-4 and Armageddon — this movie still has some fresh concepts to set this one apart. In fact, I think action directors Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay have some things to learn from del Toro, as he’s able to deliver a visual feast without falling into the ‘style over substance’ trap. Plenty of eye candy and thrilling action, but not devoid of emotion either, what’s not to like? When Geiszler shouted ‘That’s two-thousand five-hundred tons of awesome!’ I can’t say he’s exaggerating!

We saw the screening in IMAX 3D at our local theater and the picture quality is the best I’ve seen in a while. My hubby and I plan to see this again in the next couple of weeks, maybe even at the real IMAX. Depending on the box office receipt, I wager that this movie is going to revive the big-monster movie genre… for better or for worse!

P.S. Do stay for a bit after the end credits. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

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What do you think of Pacific Rim and/or monster movies in general?

Five for the Fifth: May 2013 Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the 5th Five for the Fifth of the year!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Happy Cinco de Mayo! I’ve made it a tradition of sort to feature a Mexican filmmaker/actor on the May edition of Five for the Fifth. Last year I featured director Alfonso Cuarón, but this year, I turn the spotlight on Guillermo del Toro since Pacific Rim is coming out later in July.

GuillermodelToroA short bio on the 48-year-old director: Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his own short films.

I quite enjoyed the first Hell Boy movie, though I haven’t seen the sequel, but his film that really made an impression on me was the captivating but often violent fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m still not sold on his sci-fi alien adventure Pacific Rim yet, I mean I love Idris Elba and I’m thrilled he got the lead role, but the movie looks like a combo of Independence Day and Transformers to me. As Tim outlined in his trailer review, it does look promising, but I guess it remains to be seen how captivating the movie will be.….

So what’s your thoughts on Mr. del Toro and/or Pacific Rim?

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2. Now, many of you likely have seen Iron Man 3 by now which I happen to enjoy quite a bit. You’ve perhaps also heard about the Chinese version of the movie, which according to this Beijing-based Kotaku site said featured four-minute added content and the Chinese character Dr. Wu had a more prominent part in the film. In the film version, Dr. Wu (played by Chinese movie star Wang Xueqi) only had a few seconds screen time, basically a blink-and-you-missed it type of cameo. I since learned that apparently those footage was NOT filmed by director Shane Black.

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Truthfully, when I first heard about the existence of this Chinese version, I shook my head in dismay. I mean, as if we didn’t need more proof that Hollywood honchos only care about the bottom line, this is yet another reason creative integrity is just thrown away by the wayside. I mean, I realize some films have multiple cuts that are released in the DVD/Blu-ray versions that feature alternate scenes and/or ending than the theatrical release. But I feel that this is an entirely different ball game that is purely motivated by profit.

Apparently the Kotaku writer Eric Jou shares my dread, “It literally offends me as an American in China and as an ethnically Chinese person that Hollywood would attempt to sell this to the Chinese audience… It undermines Chinese people’s intelligence and movie savvy.”

I’m curious to hear what you think on this matter folks, so please chime in below.

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3. Well, looks like the negotiation with Tom Hiddleston to play The Crow fell through 😦 I was so thrilled to see him possibly getting cast in that role, especially since the hot Brit seemed keen on playing the role. I really think he’d have rocked the role, though Brandon Lee would perhaps remain as my favorite Eric Draven.

Now it looks like the deal is set with Welsh actor Luke Evans (one of my picks to play 007) has nabbed the role. According to Deadline, Evans was actually director F. Javier Gutierrez’s first choice for the role but scheduling conflict made them consider other actors. But apparently “… they have decided to push the start date to early next year to accommodate his schedule in order to secure Evans.” 

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Well, I still would rather see Hiddleston but Evans is a thousand times better choice than Alexander Skarsgard, for me anyways. I think he’s got the look as the dark and lean rock star, let’s hope he can bring something fresh and perhaps even iconic in this reboot.

How do you feel about Luke Evans’ casting as The Crow?


4. Hugh Jackman is really a jack of all trades, the ultimate quadruple threat as he’s not only a ruggedly gorgeous hunk of a man, but he can sing, dance, act, and with a good business sense as he’s also the producer of the film. He’s the kind of actor who could pretty much do any kind of genre believably, you name it, drama, rom-com, comedy, action, mystery, etc. he’s done it all. But his most famous role happens to be the same one that gave him his breakthrough in Hollywood, and that is X-Men’s Wolverine.

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Check out the latest International trailer:

This is surely one of my most-anticipated movies of the Summer. The Wolverine reboot will mark his fifth time Jackman will reprise the comic-book character (not counting the cameo in X-Men: First Class). I think that’s the highest number of superhero character portrayal by a single actor to date. It’s notable just on that front alone, but also the fact that somehow Jackman has not overstay its welcome as that character. Far from it in fact, as this James Mangold-directed origin story (yes, again) set in Japan seems to present the character in a whole new light.

Thoughts on Mr. Jackman and/or his upcoming movie The Wolverine?


5. Now, last but not least, I’d like to make the fifth question be a forum for movie recommendations. I’ll limit the genres to foreign thrillers and/or dramas as I had just been impressed with the Danish thriller The Hunt. As you probably know if you read my blog regularly, it’s my pick for Movie of the Month in April (full review coming later this week), and that’s the second Danish thriller I was VERY impressed with after Headhunters. Interesting that both have the word ‘hunt’ in it though they’re two very different films. As for foreign dramas, I was delighted by Intouchables recently, which I also highly recommend.

Please share your recommendations of foreign thrillers/drama that you think everyone must see!


For those with a Reddit account, would you be so kind as to submit this post?
I’d sincerely appreciate it folks! 😀


That’s it for the May 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.