Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of John Wick

If there’s one line to describe John Wick, it is this; John Wick is a kick-ass action movie.

That’s it. Those of you looking for Oscar winning performances or tear-jerking dramas, go someplace else but if you are looking for a slick polish action movie, then this Keanu Reeves film is one you need to watch.

Reeves stars as John Wick, a man who just lost his wife Helen to cancer. Knowing she was dying, his wife posthumously send a gift to him in the form of a puppy named Daisy, hoping the puppy would help Wick cope with his grief. Wick and Daisy connects but their relationship is cut short when a Russian gang member named Iosef (Alfie Allen) broke into Wick’s home, killed Daisy and stole Wick’s car.

After that, Iosef bought the car to a chop-shop but the shop owner Aureilo (John Leguizamo) refused to have anything to do with the car and even punched Iosef for bringing the vehicle into his shop. Iosef immediately reports the incident to his father Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the head of a major Russian crime syndicate in New York. Aureilo explained to Viggo what happened and Viggo beat and berate his son. He then explained to Iosef and his second-in-command Avi (Dean Winters) who John Wick was; one of the best assassin in the world, nicknamed the "Boogeyman".

From there, it’s one straight line of a vengeance movie as Wick faced off against Viggo, who in an effort to protect his son, put a $2 million bounty on Wick’s head.

As I said earlier, John Wick is an action movie and a very good one. The fights are stylish and the way Keanu Reeves handle the action scenes is something to behold. This is a welcome return to form for Reeves who has been threading water for the past couple years ever since the Matrix trilogy ended.

Also the way the movie expanded John Wick’s world was very well done. The revelation that Wick was part of an old assassin society based around an unassuming hotel named the Continental was marvellous. Although they weren’t in the movie much, directors by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski clearly show that the society has its own rules and code of conduct and anyone who runs afoul of them will have to suffer the consequences.

I also liked the performances of the actors in the movie. Reeves was great and so were the supporting actors. When Viggo first learned of what happened, all he said was, “Oh” and Nyqvist nailed the scene. Nyqvist with that one word managed to convey Viggo’s shock, surprise and rage. Never had so much been said on such a simple word.

However, not everyone was great. I know Adrianne Palicki has managed to gain a reputation as an action actress but I thought she was terrible as Ms. Perkins. She just didn’t seem comfortable at all as the movie femme fatale. I can’t help but think that another actress would have done a much better job at it.

I also thought the ending was poor. After all the kinetic shootouts and fights, the ending was kind of passé. A fist fight in the rain at the docks? I seem that a thousand times before and I didn’t need to see another one.

However on the whole, I thought John Wick was an excellent action movie. The action was cool and while the story was simple, it got the job done. Bring on the sequel! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Comics this week

Earth 2: World’s End #4- After getting the conflict between Earth and Apokolips into gear, the writers of this weekly series decide to have a setup issue. Mr. Miracle and the World Government came to a deal while Batman’s team descent into the Fire Pits. Also Aquawoman unleash Atlantis’ super weapons after losing the city to Death, one of the Furies. So I won’t say the issue is useless, a lot does happen, just surprising as I thought the fight was just kicking into gear. Also if they are going to set things up, why don't they show what happened to Constantine who showed up last issue? A good issue, but not perfect.

Sinestro #6- After so many crossover, I am going to drop all my Green Lantern books. They are great and going strong, but there are just too many crossovers for my liking. Sinestro #6 is an example. I missed a lot as the issue starts with the aftermath of an attack by a New God on the Corps and Sinestro seemingly intrigued by the attacker. The end of the issue was great, an example why I like this series so much, just too bad about all the crossovers. 

TOTO vs 4D

How difficult is the new TOTO? From what I see; very very difficult!

Earlier this month, Singaporepools changed the TOTO system. There are now 49 numbers to choose from instead of 45 and you will win something if you match 3 numbers instead of 4. Also, the total winnings of the lottery increased.

However from what I see, the extra 4 numbers on offer has made winning the TOTO very difficult. In the latest TOTO draw, not only did no one won the Group 1 prize; no one even won the Group 2 prize!

No one even won the Group 2? In all the time I have play TOTO, I have never seen that before. I have always thought that TOTO was better than 4D but after this change, I have to change my mind.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's The Problem?

When Yahoo! News reported that Singapore pastor, Joseph Prince, has a reported net worth of $6.3 million and an annual salary of $700,000 (here), many Singaporeans raised their eyebrows at the figures. Many asked if it was right that a pastor be paid so much and if he should be so rich?

I agree with the questions. Personally, I am very uncomfortable with a pastor earning over half a million dollars a year but I shall also say this; Pastor Joseph Prince has done nothing wrong or illegal.

Pastor Joseph Prince is the head of his own megachurch, New Creation Church has over 30,000 members, and the pastor has to my knowledge been above board in his financial dealings. He didn’t try to hide his wealth or salary. The fact that his salary do not come from New Creation Church itself is another plus in my view.

Basically it comes down to this; I am uncomfortable with a pastor being so rich but if the members of his own church has no issue with it and he isn’t doing anything illegally, who the hell am I to say anything? I’m not even a Christian! If there's no foul, well...what's the problem?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Comics this week

Amazing Spiderman #8- The last stop before Spiderverse, this issue had us looking at the team-up between Peter Parker and Kamala Khan and tried to get fans excited with the new Silk series. It failed on both counts. However the issue was saved by the backup where Mayday Parker, Spider-girl, becomes the latest Spider to be hunted by Morlun’s family. I must say I was surprised by the dark turn of the story but after what they did with the Spider-friends, I guess I shouldn’t be. It’ll be fun to see how Mayday stacked up alongside Assassin Spider and Superior Spider-Man as the death squad of the Spiders. Bring on the Spider-Verse!

Earth 2: World’s End #3- 3 issues in and things got moving as the conflict went into high gear. Apokolips makes its move as the 4 Furies engaged Earth’s heroes while the planet itself steadily moved into the solar system. The stakes are high and I have to congratulate the multiple writers and artists who worked on this issue on getting that right. I mean you know things are bad when Khan, Dodds and Sloan are all working towards a common goal and you could literally feel the tension as the heroes had to decide between several bad options before making the “least bad” one. Add that to the sudden appearance of Constantine and you got one hell of a potent mix of a comic book.   

The Multiversity: The Just #1- The big knock again Multiversity has been that the issues don’t seem to have too much connection with each other. If you are one of those readers, you might want to skip The Multiversity: The Just #1 because writer Grant Morrison is continuing in the same vine. You know what…I dig it! The Just is wonderful as Morrison turned the teen heroes of today into the adult heroes of tomorrow as The Just shows a world where most of the heroes of today has passed on and their “titles” of heroes were inherited by their children. It can be a little confusing at first but as I read on, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by this world. Artist Ben Oliver may have a lot to do with it but I can clearly see how interesting this world is and DC may have a goldmine here. If they have a “The Just” series like Earth 2…who knows?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Simple Solution

When Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA's executive committee in 2010, I said then it was a bad idea. Two years later, FIFA is still trying to make the bid works.

Faced with the prospect of playing in the summer heat of the Middle East, FIFA has been trying to think of all kind of ways of making it possible to hold the tournament in Qatar. Ideas ranged from moving the Qatar World Cup to late 2022 in winter, to moving it slightly earlier in early May, to starting games at 1am to avoid the worst of the heat.

I have a better idea. Just move the whole tournament to another country! That solves everything right? Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing

That’s what I thought when I read that Warner Bros. will be releasing more than 10 movies based on DC superheroes. With the successful Marvel had these past few years, it’s little wonder why Warner Bros. would want in on the act but 10 of them?

The 10 DC movies named are as follows:

• "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)
• "Suicide Squad", David Ayer (2016)
• "Wonder Woman" (2017)
• "Justice League Part One" (2017)
• "The Flash" (2018)
• "Aquaman" (2018)
• "Shazam" (2019)
• "Justice League Part Two" (2019)
• "Cyborg" (2020)
• "Green Lantern" (2020)

Now as a long-time fan of superhero comics, I love the fact that there are movies in the pipeline but 10 movies in 6 years? Good god, that’s overkill even if you don’t count the Marvel movies.

I hope between them, Marvel and Warner Bros., the two rival studios do not kill the genre. Give us fans some room to breathe guys.