The Karate Kid (film remake) starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith

You know the story. Underdog kid travels to a foreign land where he's bullied and has a hard time fitting in. In steps the mentor, a morose Jackie Chan who is finally given an actual acting role in a North American movie as opposed to the dismal comedis kung-fu straight-man roles he's been getting. Lil' Smith displays some impressive acrobatic and martial arts moves, he goes into tournament, faces his black moment, then triumphs. All pretty routine, but what made this movie fun to watch was 1) Lil' Smith, who got the best of both worlds--his mom's looks (and ears!) and his father's phenomenal acting ability and charisma; 2) the debunking of China as a land of mystery. Sweeping landscapes mixed with authentic real cityscapes, people and culture, it was nice to see my homeland treated with a keen eye for realism.
Oh, and in case people are wondering why it's called the Karate Kid instead of the original working title, which was supposed to be The Kung-Fu Kid: apparently, there was a joke that was cut out of the original where one kid taunts Lil' Smith by saying "Your kung-fu's so bad it's karate." Something tells me karate practitioners didn't take that well.

Toy Story 3 (film) by Pixar
There really isn't much I can say about this except that you should go see it. It's a beautiful and fitting end (I hope/think) to the natural cycle of toy ownership, and as someone who loves toys, it was heartbreaking and nostalgic to watch.
Pixar never fails to make me cry and root for the heroes and die a little at every mortifying moment. They are masters of storytelling and never cease to amaze me.

Invincible Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 (graphic novel) by Kirkman, Walker, Ottley, Crabtree, et al.
Having heard I was a giant comic book nerd, a friend lent this to me sometime ago, and I just finished it. Mark is the son of one the world's greatest superheroes. He lives a pretty typical high schooler's life until the day he develops powers of his own. Actually, life doesn't change that much. He goes through his usual routine of school, girls, saving the world without much fanfare as the superhero Invincible. For most of the book, actually, it seems there isn't a thing he can't handle. Until his father reveals a secret that's about to tear his whole life apart.
I found the story a little slow for the first three-quarters. Establishing the "regular world" for Mark, though, is key to the whole series. Too often, superhero comic books spend way too much time in battle sequences, so this was a refreshing turn away from the traditional Marvel or DC caped crusader fare. In Invincible, the conflict lies not in the battles against villains and baddies, but in the domestic lives of the super-powered. It's nowhere near as dark as Watchmen (though there are allusions to the seminal piece of graphic novel literature) but the book has its own take on the lives of the superhero population. The bright, primary palette with its more washed out shades of brown and gray definitely give the work a tone of its own. Overall, worth a read if you want something a little different.

One thought on “Reviews!

  1. M.

    Toy Story 2 was my eldest child's first movie seen in the theatre, and Toy Story 3 will be his baby sister's first. It says something about the quality of this franchise that my 13 y.o. is looking forward to TS3 as much as the 9 y.o. (who's bringing his much beloved and falling apart Buzz Lightyear and the 3 y.o.

    Now, what about Prince of Persia? No one I know has seen it so far


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