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What's in between my ears

Pop culture junkie

Month

June 2011

Insidious: Yep, it’s not the house alright…

I rarely watch horror films mainly because they can really scare the sh*t out of me especially once they’re over and I’m alone in my room (read: I get scared easily, you can laugh now). I’m only terrified with those that deal with the supernatural or paranormal. Though I still don’t believe in them, I mean the ones that are portrayed in the media and telltales, your imagination can really get the best of you. Insidious delivers moments that can make you go: “oh my god!” or “what the hell!”, I sure did. I cringed and dreaded every time I sense something will pop out the screen but I do think it’s just a matter of sound effects, timing and the element of surprise. The movie is based on the concept of Astral projection or quite literally an out-of-body experience towards a parallel spirit realm. In the story, the family moved into a new house and immediately after one of the sons fell into an unexplainable coma. You know the drill: other strange things started happening and before you know it they moved out and in to a new home thinking that the house is haunted. But they soon found out different and asked for help. The parents played by Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne discovered that their son is lost in The Further which means he wandered too far off and now these entities and one particular demon wants to take over his body. The twist was that the same thing happened to the dad when he was a kid and that he passed the “ability” to his son. So he went to The Further himself to rescue his son and end up meeting the entity that wanted to possess him as a kid. Of course it had to end badly – no horror movie doesn’t. His son got back to his body but he didn’t. The End.

I can’t judge if it’s THAT frightening coz as I’ve said I don’t have a lot to compare it with but I can level it to Paranormal Activity with the latter having a slight edge just cause there’s something more horrifying with the unseen. Remember, we never saw the demonic entity haunting the couple. But if you want a good scare and got money to spend, why not? In my case, it was free so I got persuaded into watching (haha).

Meet the eclectic contenders of The Glee Project

L-R: Damian, Bryce, Samuel, Alex, Emily, Lindsay, Hannah, Cameron, McKynleigh, Ellis, Matheus & Marissa

This is a great way to keep Gleeks everywhere updated during the hiatus of Glee. The new reality competition called The Glee Project somehow makes the audience feel like they’re part of the process of selecting a new character for the series. Whether or not it will be a major role, this is a big deal since Ryan Murphy will decide the winner alongside the mentors namely: Robert Ulrich (Glee casting director), Zach Woodlee (Glee choreographer) and Nikki Anders (Glee vocalist/songwriter).

The first episode has just premiered and the theme was Individuality with Darren Criss as the guest mentor. The group performed Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours in the challenge and Matheus made a great impression. He actually looks like a real-life gleek if you know what I mean. I love the Firework music video they did too; every single one of them has something different to offer. But the ones that stood out for me are Hannah (the full-figured redhead), Cameron (the ‘musician’), Ellis (the adorable hippie girl), Samuel (the rocker) and Damian (the Irish cutie). In the end, Bryce failed to shine and was eliminated. I’m ecstatic about episode 2 since the theme will be Theatricality and of course there will be a Gaga number and Idina Menzel will be guest mentor. I have a new TV addiction yey! 🙂

Hangover 2 Brought The Crazy All The Way To Bangkok

If the producers wanted to make the first movie look tamed then they definitely succeeded. My eyes haven’t recovered yet from all things I saw in there. And if you have watched both movies then you’d know it literally is like déjà vu which is both good and bad. Good, since it’s hilarious how the wolf pack (somehow the name stuck) never learn their lesson and how you can connect the things that happened in Vegas to this time in Bangkok. It’s bad for me since you cannot expect more from it other than that, ya its crazier in a whole new level but somehow I still think the first one is more funny and authentic.

Alan (Zach Galifianakis) really is the root of all the mayhem and he delivered most of the funny moments. Stu (Ed Helms) is comical mainly because of all the predicament he gets into and its nasty I tell ya. Phil (Bradley Cooper is just insanely hot), though not as amusing, is necessary to lead the pack in figuring out what happened to Stu’s missing would be brother-in-law, Teddy played by Mason Lee who is just adorable. Now Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is just LMFAO outrageous in this! Without doubt, he stole some of the spotlight. I just wish that Doug (Justin Bartha) got on in the action as well which means more screen time. Fans of the first one will not be disappointed but don’t expect too much.

Born This Way: Lady Gaga gets deep and personal

We’re past the days of disco sticks and leather studded kisses in the sand. Technically her 3rd album, if you count the re-release of The Fame (Monster) as 2nd, this marks her growth as an artist. You can tell by the tracks that she dug deep into her soul to write this album. Here she sang of social acceptance, family, true love, friendship and even spirituality. The overall ‘feel’ of the album confirms the direction she was going for with FM which is electro pop/rock. Though the album seems serious it’s still pop right to the core. My only hesitation is that the word Jesus gets thrown a lot in the entire thing; a bit off for my liking. But I have to say, this is the most relevant pop record in recent years and not just something to fill your ears.

Off the 17 tracks here are my favourites:

Born This Way – the ultimate anthem of acceptance, I will never get tired of this song! This sealed my love for her

Hair – A song about freedom and being yourself; everyone can relate to this one

Bad Kids – I just love the sentiment especially the line that says: “don’t be insecure if your heart is pure, you’re still good to me if you’re a bad kid baby”

Yoü And I – is the track that is currently on repeat in my iPod. I’m in love with this song… 🙂 I can’t believe I hated it when Hailey Reinhart sang it on AI

Marry The Night – a great first track and really gives you an idea of what to expect for the album

The Edge Of Glory – which is about falling in love and that moment when you’re on the edge with someone ready to fall

Fashion Of His Love – a song about Alexander McQueen and how they were really meant to be

Government Hooker – Very techno-driven sound and I just enjoy singing it!

Scheiße – I like the part with the german lyrics though I don’t know what it means (hehe), they say it’s a curse word

As for the artwork, I wasn’t that excited when I first saw the cover and inside it’s just okay but I love that the first page says: THIS ALBUM IS FOR Ü. (aawwww) And thank goodness for the lyrics! This album is a must-have for a pop fan and of course for her ‘little monsters’.

X-Men First Class is really X-Men Origins: Magneto

Not that I have a problem with the Master of magnetism, he’s my favorite nemesis or even as a character in general. It’s just that the title connotes that the movie is about the X-men themselves but that’s not what I saw. Putting that aside, it’s great that the friendship between Charles and Eric was made the central plot and both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender portrayed their larger-than-life characters with conviction and I believed them in every scene. I also like how they incorporated actual history in the story. Who knew the Cuban Missile Crisis was caused by mutants? I can give the writers a thumbs-up for that. And although I’m tired of Wolverine, his cameo was a pleasant surprise even Rebecca Romijn’s.

Here go my qualms: the movie felt weird for me. There was something off and yet I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t hate it but I wasn’t impressed with it either. When I look back on it, I think here’s why: the visual effects weren’t extraordinary to a point that it sometimes looks cheap (e.g. Mystique’s appearance and that scene where Havok first showed his powers). The only convincing part was when Magneto controls the missiles during the climax. I guess you have to take in consideration the fact that the movie is set in the 1960s but still I think they could’ve done better. Even the rest of the characters are underwhelming. I mean that fly girl Angel? Or whoever the black guy was. I’m pretty sure they were not part of the original members. I’m just happy with the eye candy I got from Havok (Lucas Till) and the non-blue Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Even the villains; I’ve read of Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost/White Queen and the Hellfire Club in the comics but not that wind guy whose called Riptide I just found out and that red Nightcrawler wannabe. Sorry I don’t know everything about the X-Men but I’m a huge fan and there are plenty of characters to choose from, why them? Moving on, I’m just waiting on the time when the movies will tackle other villains like Mister Sinister or Apocalypse.

The Last Stand is still the best X-Men movie for me; that was epic! And the best storyline is X-Men United. First Class takes the third place – not bad.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is also awesome if not awesome-r

After being chosen as the Dragon Warrior, Po is pretty much the same: funny and fat (hehe). But being a master of kung fu himself, he’s got no problem protecting the Valley of Peace alongside the Furious Five and they’ve got great teamwork especially with their special moves. Trouble came in the person peacock of Lord Shen in Gongmen City with his wolf warriors as he threatens to conquer the world and destroy kung fu with the art of using fireworks as weapon. Master Shifu, who sadly has less screen time, ordered the gang to help but Po is a bit distracted because he wants to discover who he really is since Mr. Ping, the goose if I may add, might not be his real father after all (hilarious right?). So there’s a bit of focus with Po’s background and we get to know more about him. If the first movie’s moral lesson is “the secret ingredient”, this time it’s about finding inner peace.

The movie definitely features more action and awesome sequences which the kids can enjoy and there are still plenty of laughs. Its funny all throughout and also shows a very warm, heartfelt moment in the end (almost cried). The Kung Fu Panda series is one of the better Dreamworks animation ever. I still prefer the first one though because there are more remarkable parts especially with Po being the awkward, kung fu fanatic panda. But I don’t wanna take away from this film since it’s also good, clean fun. 🙂

Dingdong Dantes: With facial hair or without?

I was at a mall the other day and I saw the latest Men’s Health issue for June in the magazine stands with Dingdong Dantes on the cover:

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I was like: (gasps) “Oh my Dingdong…” 🙂 I’m not a fan mind you, I don’t even find him hot before! Maybe its those biceps; its obvious he’s hunkier than his last cover:

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Or maybe its the facial hair. He seems more manly that way, hehe. I definitely think he should keep it. What do you think, you like him clean shaved or kinda unkempt and scruffy? 😉

On Stranger Tides: Same old formula but hey, it works!

Already the 4th offering from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, you would think that Captain Jack Sparrow and his antics may get old but apparently he still has it or Johnny Depp for that matter. And the public agreed since it became the 3rd biggest weekend opening worldwide and now the biggest film of 2011 so far. On Stranger Tides still captures the humor of the first 3; I should know since I found it funny though I’m not a huge follower of the series. I can’t even remember their complete titles but in the end I saw why the film is such a hit. The producers have made it a point to always maintain a GP theme, that way kids also enjoy it and frankly this movie started the idea that Pirates are not all scary but rather amusing. And although it has been the same tried and tested formula since the first one, as long as they keep the audiences laughing and entertained then a 5th one wouldn’t hurt one bit.

I was disappointed that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley didn’t make it this sequel but new eye-candies were cast (sorry I’m not a Depp fanatic) in the persons of Penelope Cruz (Angelica) and Sam Claflin (Philip). Angelica is introduced as Sparrow’s ex and turns out to be Blackbeard’s daughter who’s in search for the Fountain of Youth to counter a prophecy that predicts his mortal fate. For the water from the fountain to work they would need a mermaid’s tear to use in 1 of the 2 cups to drink from, that being the one that extends the life of the person who drinks it, the other giving the opposite. Enter the freaky mermaids who after alluring their prey turns vicious and does a Spider-man move – go figure haha. Philip, a missionary held captive by Blackbeard, falls in love with the mermaid and creates a pleasant diversion from all the insanity caused by this fountain. To wrap this up, Blackbeard got tricked into drinking from the wrong cup meanwhile Angelica will not die soon, I’m sure.

I didn’t get why the movie was titled On Stranger Tides but I found out it is a book where they based the movie from. And I didn’t know there was a post-credits scene! Shucks! Oh well, have to see that one for myself. Johnny Depp is the main reason the movies are such huge blockbusters, he’s the bond that holds everything together.

The Lost Symbol: Dan Brown is a master thriller

I don’t know where to begin. The Lost Symbol is by far the most exhilarating thing I’ve read. I don’t necessarily agree to everything it implies but it adds to its whole appeal; it’s still fiction in the end. This book is just packed with adrenaline and filled with information in every chapter and I mean every, you can’t throw anything at all. Sometimes my mouth just drops and I stop and process what I’m reading (no exaggeration). I remember by the time I was on chapter 6, I can barely cope with all the facts thrown at me. I now marvel with the history of Washington and of history in general. It spiced up what I formerly consider as an uninteresting subject. The idea that our ancestors have already uncovered what man’s true potential is and was eventually forgotten which we today are still yet to discover, is mind-boggling. Lightning-paced and never boring, it grips you till the end.

This is my first Dan Brown novel; I used to think he was overrated but when I caught the Angels & Demons movie I was impressed. This is his 3rd novel (the other being The Da Vinci Code) that involves his famous character Robert Langdon and is also based with the concept of Freemasonry. The story follows Peter Solomon, a powerful Mason and Langdon’s mentor, and this Masonic Pyramid that apparently points to a secret location that holds The Ancient Mysteries which will reveal man’s god-like qualities. Aiming to possess the ‘power’ it holds, the antagonist named Mal’akh devoted his life in acquiring this ancient secret. He demands Langdon to decipher the code in exchange for Solomon’s life. His true identity was kept until the end and it will catch you off-guard. The situation gets complicated as it becomes an issue of national security thus the CIA gets involved. The chase was one thrilling and riveting ride as one by one clues are discovered and the characters got closer and closer towards the ‘truth’.

I give The Lost Symbol a two thumbs up. A recommended read.

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