Lex Petros: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Public Enemies

This is actually a chick flick, so says Gregory Ling anyway... Apart from how to handle a Thompson machine gun and how to rob banks with them in the 1930s during the Great Depression, this was really a love story... and after watching, I have to agree with him... I will come to that later.

Needless to say, the movie was set on jailbreaks, guns, robberies, fast cars and women and getaways... for you gangster movie aficionados, this flick is worth every penny!

and Nams had the pleasure of our company (thanks girls! and looked smashing that night...) Siva had canceled on short notice and I managed to convince Greg (with little effort) to come along.

America's first declaration of war against crime. We all know what happened (for those of us who bother a little about American history). The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) and his administration were up against one of history's most notorious criminals. Of course, the Feds had tactics and forensic wit to track these men down, but not without losing a few agents in the process. Just like cannon fodder ala 'red shirt guys' on Star Trek.

The Feds' main man is Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). As Hoover's man for the job, he led the manhunt that tracked down Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Needless to say, his ultimate target was Dillinger. I thought Bale did a very good New York accent and the relentless agent on a mission. The neatly pressed suit and the immaculate stature was so F.B.I.-ish. Just the man to do the job! Classic manhunt persona.

Coming back to the chick flick theory. Dillinger had his "goil", Evelyn "Billie" Frechette (Marion Cotillard) a singer, waitress and (not surprisingly) a convict. I couldn't help myself laughing having to Dillinger's response to Billie's retort that she didn't know anything about Dillinger:

"I was raised on a farm in Morrisville, Indiana. My mama ran out on us when I was three, my daddy beat the hell out of me cause he didn't know no better way to raise me. I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, whiskey, and you... what else you need to know? "

Long story short, Dillinger's acquaintance gave him away. He was a theater when the Feds homed in on him. He walks out, got ambushed by the Feds, agents opened fired and he was shot in the back of the head. According to records, he died instantly, but true to silver screen drama, Charles Winstead, the agent who delivered the fatal bullet put his ear next to Dillinger's mouth as he was dying and got up. Purvis asked Winstead what Dillinger said and Winstead said he couldn't hear him. The final scene was Winstead visiting Billie in jail...

Billie: They say you're the man who shot him.
Winstead: That's right. One of 'em.
Billie: So why are you coming to see me? To see the damage you done?
Winstead: No. I came here because he asked me to. When he went down, he said somethin'. I put my ear next to his mouth, and what I think he said was this. He said, 'Tell Billie for me: Bye bye, Blackbird.'

Then Billie starts crying...

Nice ending. Poetic.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mattel SDCC Hot Wheels Exclusive "USS Enterprise NCC 1701 under construction in spacedock"

(Click on the pic above)

My offer of USD60.00 for this exclusive SDCC collectible was accepted!
My first Comic Con special!
The replica is placed on a "space dock" case.

The space dock opens and becomes a stand!

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The Taking of Pelham 123

(Click on the poster for the official website)

A remake of the 1974 Morton Freedgood aka John Godey's "Taking of Pelham One Two Three". Plot is simple: hijacker takes out the train driver and commandeer a subway train, demanding a hefty ransom (in 1974, a million dollars was the benchmark) with threats to kill passengers one by one if the city fails to comply. Of course, several passengers will die in the process or else the suspense element would be absent and in the end, the good guy kills the bad guy. Nothing original or remarkably novel about the storyline. Just retold in contemporary settings. Directed by Tony Scott, Ridley's younger brother, this remake takes place in modern NY.

One would have thought putting Denzel Washington (Walter Garber) and John Trovolta (Bernard Ryder aka Dennis Ford) against each other would have made the movie more palatable, but yours truly thought the use of these two Oscar winners were a waste of talent. No doubt, their acting proved the test of time, but the immaculate duo deserved a much better script. Half-way through the movie, you'd have guess how the movie was going to end, even if you hadn't watch the original version. Trovolta played an excellent villain in Broken Arrow and Swordfish, where he was always a suave and conniving baddie. In this one, he looks more like an average trigger-happy thug.

I'd say this movie rates a 6/10 on my rating standards. It's really optional to watch this on the silver screen. A DVD movie night would be good enough.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

The problems with books preceding movie adaptations of the novelizations, in my view are two-fold: firstly, readers have expectations of sorts of the movie and secondly the reader knows the conclusion way before the screening. If the movie lacks a good directorial touch, who in the mind of the readers something which is assumed most of time, then the movie can be a real disappointment. Not to mention that many readers and fans are forced to watch the movie for the sake of completing the ritual, notwithstanding the books may have presented a far better narrative for their consumption. To this extent, I think, this phenomenon befuddles us when it comes to the Harry Potter sequels!

The latest movie adaption, the Half-Blood Prince was dark and serious. The blokey British humour and the brighter side of Hogwarts was rarely seen in this sequel. Understandably, the Dark Lord has returned to destroy all and sundry. Only mere mention of him by his minions. There was hardly any screen time for Voldermort. Only mere flashbacks. This movie is a tale of one boy (the chosen one at that) taking on insurmountable odds with less of any respite in the dire circumstances. Must be a superkid of some sort. Having many friends and loved ones killed in the process seem not to deter this young wizard. I did enjoy the Dumbledore-Potter interplay akin to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. I'm a sucker for master and apprentice duality in movies.

I felt since the plot was already disclosed in the J.K Rowling's novel (although I never read it). the movie naturally didn't require any build-up. As if a plain giveaway, we all knew who the Half-Blood Prince is, almost at the beginning, even by an uninitiated person like me. Even from the outset, Severus Snape was a dubious character and shrouded in secrecy. He was a follower of the Dark Lord and it doesn't take long for one to figure out the most likely suspect. Yeah, he would betray Albus Dumbledore and kill him. (Gee! Like I never would have figured that out!)

The movie's pace was slow and steady. Mostly dark. Boring at times.

It'll be another 2-3 years before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows makes it on the movie screen, but I am waiting for the finale. I am just a sucker for final-battle-between-good-and-evil scenes! Apart from that, it would be only logical to watch the conclusion having followed the entire series of HP movies. Let's see if Harry manages to destroy Voldermort's Horcrux (like it would really surprise me when he does...see what I mean about books preceding movie adaptations?)

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Constitution Class Refit Revisited

Kenny and I were dabbling about our reignited passion for the Constitution Class Refit. Known to many as its legendary nomenclature, USS Enterprise this ship was as functional as it was beautiful. One of a kind and those guys really knew how to design starships those days (click here to get an insight of the team who brought us this magnificent work of art). Just imagine this idea was conceived nearly 30 years ago. The design, the concept, the vision of Kirk's refitted Enterprise was simply ahead of its time.

She's one of the most beautiful starships ever built. Her glistening hull, enclothed with aztec motive and many shades of white, pearl and blues and strikingly lined with red pin-stripes. Her ever so pivoted engine pylons, angled back and seem to be ready launch forward, as if an archer at the brink of releasing the arrow into the final frontier. I really marvel at the thought process, not mentioning the hours expended to create and bring to life (at least on the silver screen) this epic starship!

The Constitution Refit looks awesome from any angle. The one on top with a starbase relegated to the background is one of my favourites. Her sensual secondary hull supporting seeming a pair of frail boards, which in turn holds the indispensable warp nacelles. Her profile as she fades into the horizon is often times a moment for me to reckon with. I just can't help wonder if that is what its really like in space. On board a starship.

Functionality= a masterpiece with purpose. Notice the grid lines on the ship up close? Shield generator grids. When energized, they form an energy field which makes another "layer" just a few feet from the hull to absorb incoming fire from enemy weapons. On the bridge, the consoles are designed for task specific functions. The storage of equipment and wares is accomplished with modular recepticles. Crew quarters were designed with minimal space in mind, but have maximum function. Phaser banks are strategically placed on the hull to cover all angles and of course, her main photon torpedo systems. She might not be the most heavily armed starship, but she was still after all, Starfleet's flagship!

As true Trekkers at heart, Ken and I are eagerly awaiting Polar Lights release of the 1/1000 scale Enterprise NCC-1701 which is due to be released end of 2009. One of the more detailed kits ever in the market, PL had 2 years ago released the 1 m long 1/350 scale Enterprise NCC-1701-A, followed by a second release last year incorporating more accurate decals! This intended release is 12 inches long thereabout and would make an excellent addition to our ever growing collection. It would certainly make a nice Christmas present for yours truly. To boldly build what so many are waiting to build.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Polluted Air and the Bug!

Caught the bug again! Thanks to the wonderful air quality we have in Kuala Lumpur and coupled with nasi lemak for breakfast, I fell sick in no time this week. It's really annoying to get up with this acrid taste at the back of your throat, as if I'd just swallowed rust and sandpaper. The blanket of smog which shrouds us has caused many to fall ill. Many of my fellow lawyers have fallen ill for the past few days, so I've learnt. I bet the physicians are having a good run this month cashing in on our sniffles and coughs!

I was out of action for a couple of days and stayed put at home to recover. I was getting a tad anxious when the fever did not break the first day and seemed to be increasing. After all, the h1n1 influenza outbreak recently has left everyone on alert. Fortunately for me, the good Lord was gracious enough to spare me such predicament.

I am grateful for a certain someone special who drove me out for a quick bite and spent a few hours with me to keep me company. All my love Raz!

I got better on wednesday, only to expend my efforts to resist an application to set aside my client's judgment and to oppose a winding-up petition. The proceedings went well. Being taken on always motivates me to perform. I think I gave my opponent a run for his client's money! :)

I still have the flu. I hope to see a full recovery by the turn of the week.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Chad Vader: The 'Lighter' Dark Side of The Force

Click on the picture to view Chad Vader episodes

Ever so often, I'd chance upon a good spoof on the net. Recently, I was left in stitches after watching Chad Vader Seasons 1 & 2. For those who crave a no-brainer session of humor, this is for you!
He is the cousin of Darth Vader and has a job as a day shift manager in one of the groceries of the Empire Market.Inc grocery chain. The story starts when a less senior shift manager destroys his life,but not for long his shows and try not to fall of the chair laughing.

Slap-stick humor and crazy antics from the rest of the staff at Empire Market will keep you glued to the screen whilst holding your tummy. My favorite is Commander Wickstrom. Chad's side-kick and apprentice. A misguided trainee in the Empire Market who thinks Chad is the great Sith Lord. The closest thing to having a ''real'' son.
So, if you find yourself feeling bored out of your wits, just tune into Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager. It's Vader on the 'lighter' side of things and the only thing dark is the suit.