Monthly Archives:March 2012

Wrath of the Titans

29 Mar , 2012,
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Wrath of the Titans - Poster Art.

I was practically cringing when Sam Worthington played Perseus in the 2010 Clash of the Titans, but after his recent outing in the surprisingly good Man on a Ledge, I was half-expecting a decent showing.

Sadly, Wrath of the Titans, which plays fast and loose with Greek mythology, proved utterly disappointing thanks to Jonathan Liebesman’s treatment, a garbled script, and visual effects overkill.

Wrath picks up 10 years after Clash, with Perseus living an innocuous fisherman’s life in a remote village with his son Helius.

Of course, as all Hellenic myths (or in this case, a far-fetched one) goes, Perseus is visited by Zeus (Liam Neeson, though I’ll always remember him as Qui-Gon Jin),  who discloses that the walls of Tartarus are shaking because the gods’ powers are on the wane, and that a catastrophe is coming.

The hero, naturally, refuses the call to action, and only seriously gets off his ass when a monster plonks itself right smack in the center of his backyard and starts nomming on his neighbors.

What follows is a formulaic tale that’s incredibly insipid, though it’s got it’s humorous bits thanks to Toby Kebbell’s performance as the roguish Agenor.

Of course, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the folks behind the scenes had played a bit too much World of Warcraft. I mean come on. Major evil imprisoned deep beneath the earth, a world shattering disaster, and a manifestation that’s spouting fire and oozing lava? Sounds a lot like Cataclysm, ain’t it?

Don’t get me wrong. The visuals aren’t bad, and they must have spent a fortune on getting the 3-D to work the way it did (which was better than the previous film).

Yet ultimately, there’s very little going on beyond the visuals. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes’ (who plays Hades) were the two biggest names on the set, and they practically carried the show. Bill Nighy (he was Viktor in Underworld, and Davy Jones in POTC) was exceptional too, but he had all of 15 minutes of screen time. The rest of the cast pretty much played second fiddle, with Worthington’s performance being the least impressive of the lot.

Now that I’ve stepped out of the cinema and ditched my 3-D glasses, I’m wondering if this film should be renamed Wrath of the Critics. It’s a miracle the film’s passed muster at all.

Watch ONLY if you must.

The Hunger Games

23 Mar , 2012,
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The Hunger Games - Poster Art.

Many films promise a veritable buffet for movie lovers – cool visuals, competent acting, a watertight plot – and many films fall short. The Hunger Games, a big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s dystopic science-fiction novel, is no exception.

The film paints an image of a bleak future ruled by decadent corporate bigwigs in The Capitol, where the underclass toils in outlying, slum-like districts. As punishment for an insurrection, each district must offer up a pair of teenagers each year in tribute, to participate in a televised death match called The Hunger Games.

It all begins on the cusp of the 74th Hunger Games, with the protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteering as tribute in her sister’s place. Also chosen is Peeta Mellark, a baker’s boy who’s long held a torch for the spunky Katniss.

What follows is a tale that bears striking similarities to Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, with a liberal smattering of Man vs. Wild thrown into the mix and it’s pretty much repetitive after awhile.

Katniss climbs trees, skulks in bushes, slings arrows a la Rambo, and somehow or the other, gets out of hairy situations because she’s the girl of destiny. ’nuff said. There’s a romance subplot between Katniss and Peeta, but the chemistry’s lukewarm at best, and while the film attempts to include something of a political metaplot, it gets muddled and lost in the woods really quickly.

Somehow, The Hunger Games feels like a step back for Gary Ross, whose directing credits include Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. Sure, he’s managed to cobble something of a movie together,  but this one sure isn’t going to win him any awards. It’s got a long, plodding setup (which takes up at least a good half of it’s 142 minute runtime), a premise that might as well be thrown to the wolves, and while Battle Royale elevated schoolyard violence to an art form, The Hunger Games  just drops it in the gutter.

It’s apparent as well that it was Jennifer Lawrence who carried the show. Her performance as the tough-as-nails Katniss was reasonably good, though Josh Hutcherson, by comparison, was pretty much an accessory on screen. It was also a shame that the other Tributes didn’t get a whole lot of screen time, and frankly, I would have enjoyed more of Woody Harrelson’s kookiness as mentor Haymitch.

Watch if you’re curious, but I’d suggest sticking with the novel instead.

Angelus's Helmet Base Tutorial

13 Mar , 2012,
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It’s a brand new year, and we’re taking our cosplay tutorials in a new direction.

Rather than focusing on specific craft projects, we’re going back to basics with a series of simple guides that will arm you with the knowledge to create foam armor forms and patterns you can adapt to your cosplay needs.

And since we’re taking it from the top, we’ll start with a simple, circular helmet base design brought to you by our part-time warrior Angelus herself.

This tutorial will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Stuff you’ll need:

1. Some EVA foam

2. Contact Glue

3. Scissors

4. Wig stand

5. White glue or putty

You’ll also need a pair of compasses and either chalk or a soft pencil.

Step 1:

Measure the relative circumferance of your head around your temples. Next, use the pair of  compasses to draw a large circle on the EVA foam roll that’s approximately 2-inches wider than the circumferance of your head.

Draw out the base circle.

Step 2:

Next, cut out the foam circle using a pair of sharp scissors, and make several scour lines on the foam piece. Using more scour lines will create a more pronounced curve in your helmet, resulting in a rounder shape. Typically, six to eight lines should be sufficient.

Scour lines like so.

Step 3:

Cut up the circular foam piece along the scour lines. You’ll eventually end up with an oval shape and several crescent pieces.

You'll eventually get pieces like so.

Step 4:

Next, join the pieces together with contact glue, using the wig stand as base.

Make sure the entire surface is coated with contact glue...

... then join the pieces together surface to surface.

You'll eventually end up with something like this.

Step 5:

Cut a triangular wedge into the helmet base, then join the ends of the wedge together to create a round shape.

This groove wil give the helmet base it's shape when you join it together.

Step 6:

Using a piece of scrap foam, create the back piece of the helmet, join it to the base shape using contact glue, and you’re almost done!

Use another piece of spare foam to create the back piece of the helmet, and you're essentially done!

Finally, brush a thin layer of either white glue or putty over the join lines, and it’s ready for customizing!

Cybertron Con

12 Mar , 2012,
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It’s been hyped about for months, and just yesterday, Cybertron Con kicked off to a rousing start with fans thronging the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Center to catch a glimpse of toys and products from the Transformers franchise.

A "welcoming" Megatron at the ticketing area.

A quick look at the con interior.

Organized by Hasbro, the event featured convention exclusive swag, panel discussions and workshops by special guests from America and Japan, and for an ’80s kid at least, proved to be a bit of a trip down memory lane thanks to the toys on display. The Transformers Re-Imagined showcase was also a real pleaser, and the team was especially impressed by the fan interpretations of popular characters like Optimus and Bumblebee in diorama style.

The fluorescent lighting was a bit of a bother though, and that, coupled with the milling crowds made the con a bit of a letdown.

It was also a bit of a shame that we didn’t get to see any of the old Transformers comics by Marvel, Dreamwave or IDW on display, or any Transformers literature on sale.

We’ve only managed to take a couple pictures this time, and here’s a glimpse of them.

Unicron - the planet devourer from the classic Transformers movie.

Mickey Mouse x Transformers.

Something a little more practical - Transformers flash disks.

The centerpiece of Cybertron Con - a 22-ft tall Optimus Prime statue.

Exclusive con swag - a limited edition Optimus figurine.

One of the many customized pieces in the Transformers Re-Imagined showcase.

If you’d like to explore Cybertron Con, it’s held from now till 14th March and tickets are $12 at the door.

We’ve also got wind that some Transformers cosplayers might be making an appearance on Wednesday, so if  you’d like to catch a photo op, then the con’s the place to be for sure.

For ticketing information and more details, check out the official Cybertron Con website at

J-Obsession: Where cosplay and J-music collides

10 Mar , 2012,
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Cosplayers at J-Obsession, hamming it up for the cameras.

Song & dance proved to be the flavor of the day when cosplayers took to the stage at Japanese music & culture fest J-Obsession at The Cathay today.

Into it’s third consecutive year, the event saw some 17 entries crooning the tunes, rocking to the beat, hip-hopping, and even doing impersonations in a bid to wow the judges and walk away with some $5,000 worth in prizes and vouchers.

The competitors portrayed characters from Japanese pop culture that ranged the gamut, including Visual Kei singers Hizaki and Kamijo, Dracule & Shanks from One Piece, software mascots for the Vocaloid range such as Hatsune Miku and Megurine Luka, as well as one of Tiger & Bunny‘s titular characters.

Sabrina, performing as Vocaloid Luka on stage.

Red Hair Shanks and Dracule from One Piece, being all manly and pirate-y.

Skye, who cosplayed Lacus Clyne from Gundam SEED, sallied on despite glitches with the sound system to perform a capella, clinching her the grand prize.

Eden’s Barnaby Brooks Jr., the first runner-up, won the judges over with his Lonely Chaser, a full sized motorcycle prop, while Sakurazaki, who cosplayed songstress Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier was second runner-up with her routine, which incorporated quick costume changes aided by guest cosplayers Jesuke and Kirisaki into her diva act.

For videos of the cosplay competition, check out our partner in event coverage, Operation P.Ani.C’s, Youtube channel.

You can also check out our full J-Obsession cosplay competition album on our Facebook page here.

John Carter (of Mars)

8 Mar , 2012,
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Disney's John Carter - Poster Art

Disney’s been pumping out big budget hits for awhile now, so it comes as no surprise that the company would fund the gloriously pulpy romp that is John Carter.

Directed by Andrew Stanton (who helmed several Pixar projects including Wall-E), this big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs turn-of-the-century interplanetary opera casts Taylor Kitsch (Gambit in the Wolverine movie) as the titular loincloth-clad Virginian cavalry man turned swordsman, whose incredible feats on the planet Barsoom earn him the title “Warlord of Mars”.

I have to admit that as a big science fiction fan, I was rather skeptical when I sat down for the screening.†After all, the series was a seminal work, and while Carter’s many adventures were the subject of multiple comic book and small screen adaptations, few had come close to capturing the grandeur of Barsoom and it’s diverse cultures, or the tone of the original.

I didn’t have high hopes for Stanton either. He had a slew of animation experience, but Carter was his first live-action film, and directing real humans and directing a bunch of pixels were two different things altogether.

But surprise, surprise! Not only did the movie not didn’t disappoint, it was spectacular and then some.

I have to compliment Stanton’s clever juxtaposition of highs and lows. The story was a little formulaic at times, but overall, the pacing was just right. The action scenes were brilliantly lurid (with copious amounts of (blue) blood, gore and explosions), and thanks to his†grasp of dynamic camera angles and creative composition, proved generally entertaining.

The attention to fine detail was remarkable, and it showed through in the creation of pieces such as Zodanga’s crawling citadel, the sky ships, the alien creatures and elaborate costumes. †It was evident Stanton put in a 110% on this one.

In terms of acting, Kitsch’s performance was less kitschy than his last outing, while Lynn Collins (who also starred in the Wolverine movie) sizzled as not-quite-damsel-in-distress Dejah Thoris. The duo looked good together, and while their on-screen chemistry was a little lacking, there was potential there and that speaks volumes. Mark Strong’s performance as unapologetic Thern mastermind Matai Shang was also impressive, and it was a shame he didn’t get all that much screen time.

An awesome movie that’s sure to get your geek on. I’m hoping for a sequel already, and knowing Disney, it’s probably already in the works.

J-obsession 2012 @ The Cathay

2 Mar , 2012,
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J-obsession 2011 - Picture provided by The Organizer. Original photo courtesy of Pop Culture Online. Used with permission.

For three days next weekend, The Cathay will be transformed into a Japanese pop-culture haven with J-Obsession 2012.

From 6.30 pm next Friday to 8 pm on Sunday, the venue will be rocked by a variety of non-stop Japanese music performances by J-pop and J-rock bands such as Balloon Wings, Ryuusei, Grover, Shiro & Friends and Resonance.

Saturday will also see a Cosplay Competition where contestants will stand to win some $5,000 worth of prizes and vouchers sponsored by The Cathay, as well as a Photography competition, where photographers who snap visitors in costume and band performances at the venue are eligible to win a prize.

In a nutshell, the following are some contest details, courtesy of the event organizers.

1. J-obsession Cosplay Competition

Contestants will be judged on Costume (accuracy, intricacy, details and quality), Performance (humour, entertainment value, talent and confidence) & X-factor.

Most Subarashii! Cosplayer! – $700 Nihon Mura voucher + $700 Ben & Jerryís voucher + SONY 3D Blu-Ray Player

2nd most Subarashii! CosPlayer! – $500 Nihon Mura voucher + $400 Ben & Jerryís voucher + Nintendo DS Lite

3rd most Subarashii! CosPlayer! – $300 Nihon Mura voucher + $200 Ben & Jerryís voucher + Nintendo DS Lite

6 Consolation Prizes – $200 Nihon Mura voucher + $100 Ben & Jerryís voucher

2. J-obsession Photographic Competition

Best Photograph of a Cosplay – $50 Nihon Mura voucher

Best Photograph of a Live band performance – $50 Nihon Mura voucher

J-obsession is an event by Cathay Organization Holdings and the Project Breakout Team for lovers of Japanese cultures to showcase their passion in performances. This is the third consecutive year that Cathay and the PBO Team have hosted this event.

Check out the official J-obsession Facebook page for additional information and updates.