Archive for October, 2009

Book Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Posted in Random on October 23, 2009 by otakujade

I know that this review is long overdue but I very good friend requested that I don’t do this soon after I finish reading the book and I complied, although I think by now I have given him a good enough time to be able to read the book himself so I’m going ahead with my personal review of the book.

Well, I have always prided myself with having my own opinions about thing but this time around I think I would have to agree with the rest of the critiques on the book. I hate to say it but there was nothing extra-ordinary about the third Robert Langdon book by Dan Brown. I want to state here that I have become a fan of the Langdon series I love the thrill of the hunt and the fast phase of Angels and Demons; and I love the intrigue of The Da Vinci Code. Sadly, none of those things are present in this book.

For one thing, The Lost Symbol was not the first book that used the secrets of the Masons as a basis for the mysteries; Dan Brown himself used them in his first two Langdon books. And it’s alright, but he should have given this new book a brand new twist, something to keep the readers entertained and thirsting for more. The “national security threat” issue which started appearing after only a few chapters was dragged out far too long to my opinion and then it didn’t justify the hype that was built up for it.

The same goes for the “lost word” which was supposed to have so much power and bring order from chaos. I don’t know but after all the build up that went on through out the book, one would think that this would be a powerful word and something unique and unusual; something arcane and able to unlock a great secret…well, it’s nothing like that at all. I mean, considering all the things that they went through and all the effort the culprit exerted to gain this “lost word” it was disappointing to finally find out what it was all about in the end. All in all the book was anti-climatic, and not in a memorable way. Unless… you want to remember it because you’re disappointed with it.

If you’re embarking on your way to a trip to Washington, DC anytime soon this book would be a great companion; it would be quite fun to go find the symbols and clues that were mentioned in the book. But if you’re looking for something to read that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat, I recommend you just wait for the paper back issue.

In my personal opinion, the book could have ended with half the chapters but it was stretched far too much that it get boring as you go further. Sadly, with all the hype that was created before the book came out…it turned out to be nothing but an ordinary read.

Movie Review: The Taking of Pelham 123

Posted in Movies on October 22, 2009 by otakujade

Synopsis:

In the movie Denzel Washington plays a NYC subway dispatcher Walter Garber who was assigned to the Rail Control Center, due to an ongoing investigation that he took a bribe to recommend a Japanese car manufacturer for the next subway car contract.  Unknown to him, this day was about to turn into complete chaos with him right in the middle of it all. Four heavily armed men, led by Bernard Ryder (John Travolta), board the New York City subway 6 train departed from Pelham Bay Park Station at 1:23 p.m., and proceed to take control of it. The group then uncoupled the front car from the rest of the train and held the passengers in this front car hostage. Ryder and a former MTA train operator named Ramos settle down in the front of the car, while the other hijackers watch the hostages in the back. They demand $10 million in ransom money to be paid within an hour or they start killing the hostages. Garber and Ryder exchange conversations through the microphone, while his men set up a wi-fi booster apparatus to enable Ryder to access his laptop in the tunnel to watch the stock market plunge nearly 1,000 points during the next hour.

Unknown to him, one of the male passengers has an active laptop with a webcam, that was casually knocked to the floor, facing the car’s interior previously when they took their hostages, which simultaneously reconnects using that same wi–fi link; reestablishing the feed to his girlfriend’s desktop with whom he was videochatting; when she returns to her PC, she sees the hostage situation through her webcam and provides the live feed to a local television station. Here I started to get real irritated with the girlfriend, she keeps talking to her boyfriend demanding him to tell her he loves her when…well…he’s pre-occupied trying to stay alive! At one point in the movie one of the hijackers saw the laptop on the floor and when made the effort to scare the girlfriend but it puzzled me that he didn’t even make a move to punish the boyfriend or so much as destroy the laptop..weird!

The Mayor (James Gandolfini) agreed to pay the ransom while waiting for the money to be collected, Ryder talks to Garber. Through his internet connection he googled Garber’s name and found that about the alleged bribery and forces him to confess by holding the boy with the laptop at gunpoint, saying the reason for taking the money was to pay for his kids college education but that the Japanese company was his first choice anyway. While the police stand down in the tunnel, a rat on the roadbed crawls up an officer’s leg, causing him to discharge his sniper rifle, killing Ramos, who was sitting in the motorman’s position and aggravating the situation even further.  Ryder demands Garber to personally deliver it within 7 minutes. Garber calls his wife to inform her about his new responsibility, in order to save the hostages, but she cares only for his own safety. She makes him promise to pick up some milk on the way home, because he must come home safely.

Well, basically, that is the plot of the story. The rest of the film is best seen and not read.

Review:

Watching this movie reiterates to me why I love John Travolta and why I adore Denzel Washington movies; then to have the two of them in film..it was awesome! I mean the story wasn’t all that great, it has none of the depth you would unconsciously expect from a film which stars Denzel Washington, though is has all the drama, suspense-filled feel of a John Travolta movie. The plot needs a lot more to be desired but the acting of the two stars certainly made up for it, and even made the movie worth watching. The suspense was simply something you would definitely expect from Tony Scott. Rotten Tomato rated this as 52% fresh…well, anyways very few action movies are ever rated high by this review site. Though, I must say the movie was anti-climatic…after watching it you get the feel that something’s missing or you go something like “that’s it?!”

It’s Christmas!!!!

Posted in Random on October 22, 2009 by otakujade

Well, in the Philippines they say the start of the Christmas season always comes with the first day of the ‘ber’ months. But lately, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas at all – what with the typhoons and all the calamity that befell the country lately it just felt like a callous thing to be thinking of Christmas and all the delicious and extravagant and jolly things that came with the season’s celebration.

And yet this morning, I woke up to the cold, fragrant Christmas air. It was the very first time that happened this year, and it just brought to mind that no matter what we do or how pitiful or hard everything is – we could never stop Christmas from coming.

Suddenly there’s something different in the air…it’s colder and it smells different. There’s something uniquely Christmas in the way the cool air touches your face, the smell that permeates the air and the general feeling of something’s coming. I don’t know if anyone else feels the same as I do but somehow, it’s the gifts or the bonuses nor the festivities that make Christmas so different from all other occasions but it’s that feeling of excitement or anticipation…that’s what makes Christmas special.

So maybe we won’t have as many gifts under the Christmas tree this Christmas, some of us may not have a decent Christmas celebration but Christmas is still Christmas and it will come whether we like it or not. And thank the Lord for that; Christmas means hope, and with that hope it is also fitting that the New Year comes after that – for that means a new beginning. A lot of our countrymen are starting a new this time around, they have lost so much and have to start from scratch.

For this Christmas before anything else, please try to remember our brothers and sisters who will be spending their Christmas at the relocation sites and at the evacuation centers and please spare a prayer for them. This is a humbling experience for us Filipinos but as always the Filipinos are resilient and we will carry this through and make it through.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

When Mother Nature Strikes Back….

Posted in Random on October 12, 2009 by otakujade

If there was one thing I realized this last few weeks….it is that when nature decides she’s had enough of our man-handling she strikes back and she does so with a vengence. And in the end we humans, turn out to be the losers in this game…

We had barely recovered from Ondoy’s wrath when earthquake struck the Southern part of the country; then Pepeng came along and while this typhoon didn’t hit Metro Manila head on it brought devastation in Northern and Central Luzon and in fact affected the country in a much larger scale as it damaged crops, especially rice which is a staple food in the country.

I guess it’s really about time we stop and think what we’re doing to our natural resources. We Filipinos seem to think we’re immune from it all. While the rest of the world had been making efforts to ‘go green’ we just brush it off, shrug our shoulders and think that tragedy will never get to us. But it did, and it was a good wake up call too before it was too late.

It is true that Ondoy brought so much rain; it is true that Pepeng took three landfalls…but would all the landslide happen if we took better care of our mountains? would it have flooded so much if we didn’t clog the drainages with trash? would there we so much flooding in Baguio if the trees were there? I mean just look at the area of PMA, it was almost untouched by the typhoon. And why? Because the trees and the mountains in that area was protected and so the trees provided them protection.

I am saddened by all that we have lost – people, properties…but I believe it’s also about time we realized that all these things are also due to our neglect and carelessness.

If there was one good thing that all these devastation brought forth, it was that we saw the country united once again. This time around people came together to help…why can’t we be more like this everyday? Why do we always wait for a calamity to happen before we turn to lend a helping hand to our neighbors? Why?