Reasons Why I Think the New Spider-Man is Amazing and Not

Before entering Festival Mall’s Cinema 8 last night, I made Lance promise me one thing. “Try to watch the film without any prejudices.” I said it in Tagalog, of course. He brushed me off by saying, “Alright, alright!” in Tagalog again, of course. He’s a big Spider-Man fan having watched the animated TV series to the frequent use of the character in his God-knows-how-many computer/video games up to the Sam Raimi movie franchise. I, on the other hand, have only seen a few episodes of the TV series and I can’t even remember them! But I do remember having seen the X-Men in one of the episodes. Most of my Spider-Man experience and knowledge primarily relied on the movie franchise, so expect my findings to be limited to the extent of Sam Raimi’s version.

When I heard they will be doing a reboot of the franchise, I was one of those people who cried “Too soon!” and I was a bit sad that Tobey, Kirsten, and Sam won’t be back in each other’s arms making Spider-Man 4. And then I heard about the new cast…

Amazing Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Two years ago, the news broke out that Andrew Garfield is the new Peter Parker. I haven’t seen The Social Network yet; so, no, I’m not going to say that’s where I drooled over him. He had me in the unfortunately underrated movies, Never Let Me Go and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus first before he became the on-screen Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin. I think he did great as the new Spider-Man. At first, I was a bit doubtful he could pull it off. A bit unconvinced he could be Tobey. And man, did he pull it off! He didn’t become Tobey’s Peter Parker. He became his own Peter Parker. I actually think he acted more geeky than Tobey. Tobey looks geeky but when he becomes Spider-Man, his posture sort of changed or something unlike Garfield’s Peter who slouched at all times.

And Spider-Man with a backpack? What a sight!

Peter Parker: Ahem, you know, if you’re going to steal cars, don’t   dress like a car thief.
Car Thief: You a cop?
Peter Parker: You seriously think I’m a cop in a skintight red and blue suit?

I love how he talks so much while web-swinging or shutting up a thief with his webs. That’s Spider-Man! That part where he pulled a “coward” stunt kneeling in front of the car thief saying his greatest fear is that of small knives cracked me up. Yeah, yeah, I’m so easy to please.

Amazing Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

I have always been a vocal fan of Emma Stone having first seen her in Easy A. I started tracking her movies backwards and I couldn’t believe she was one of the ghosts from that McConaughey sucky rom-com. She’s like the only funny thing there! Anyway, I adore her portrayal and the writers characterization of Gwen Stacy here. The Peter Parker-Gwen Stacy arc may be a bit different from the animated series and comic books, but damn, do I prefer the film version better! Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is not the damsel in distress Mary Jane Watson have been the whole time in Raimi’s version. The love story was something that I was not expecting. I was like, “Please, Emma Stone, don’t do anything MJ-ish!” Actually, I was quite confident she wouldn’t, considering her choice of movie roles in the past, but I was a bit skeptical knowing it is after all, Hollywood. I think it’s great that her character played a major role in saving the people from the Lizard’s ominous threat to create a reptilean New York and that she was always aware of what was happening around her. She wasn’t melodramatic and when I was so sure that she was about to be when she came up to Peter’s house after the funeral scene, she composed herself and realized the truth behind Peter’s actions.

Amazing Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy

Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker in the hallway scene

Also, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield’s chemistry is just insane! (Yes, I’ll say that again). The last time I was tickled by an on-screen pair’s chemisty was during the romantic scenes of Zachary Levi’s Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski’s Sarah Walker in the TV series, Chuck — mostly in seasons 1 through 3. Alright, I’ll single out one scene from season 4 during Chuck’s attempt to propose to Sarah. Argh, enough about Chuck! Sorry, I’ve just finished the series finale last night. Not over it yet. Anyway, back to Spider-Man. I like the love story. It’s not corny for me, the lines are funny especially that part in the hallway when Peter was trying to ask her out. They were talking nonsense, but they were able to comprehend each other amidst the filler words and awkward laughs. Yeah, I found that really funny or maybe I’m just a sucker for romance; so, sue me.

Rhys Ifans as Lizard

Amazing Rhys Ifans as The Lizard

The Lizard character is very similar to Spider-Man 2’s Doc Ock, but I think the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde conflict was more evident in Rhys’ portrayal. He was good then he was bad, but you always know that he was simply fighting for what he thought was right. He thought he was helping people. I enjoyed looking at him especially because I can’t believe he was that eccentric almost naked man posing for the paparazzi in Notting Hill.

The Amazing Clarity of Peter Parker’s Heroic Motivation

Yes, I think it’s much clearer in this version. Peter never intended to become a hero at first. He was not even a vigilante. He was a vengeful guy who lost his Uncle Ben to a long-haired thief he could’ve stopped earlier at the convenient store, but didn’t and felt guilty about it. So, he runs around looking for that thief to finally avenge his uncle’s death. Then came the dinner with Gwen Stacy’s family when he provoked an argument with Gwen’s father, George Stacy, trying to defend Spider-Man did he realize he’s not helping anyone but himself. It was right after the dinner and his confession to Gwen when he finally recognized that his new powers goes hand in hand with greater responsibilities as well.

Peter’s Amazing Realistic and Detailed Transformation to Spider-Man

I just love the improvised web shooter in his wrist! In addition to that is the initial face mask and shades that Peter used to conceal his identity. He reminded me of Watchmen’s Rorschach without the inkblots. Director Marc Webb was able to establish in his detailed version that Peter is indeed a man of science who thinks and experiments a lot just like his father.

Amazing First Person POV Camera Shots

Making me feel like I am Spider-Man swinging through the streets of Manhattan is enough to make me enjoy this movie. I appreciated how many shots were placed strategically behind Spider-Man as if the audience were following his every move. Where he jumps, we jump. Where he swings, we swing. Haha!

Not so Amazing: Been There! Done That!

Anyway, despite enjoying this film so much (Lance included), I thought there were lots of parts that were very similar to the first two Spider-Man movies which subtracts from the amazing part. It’s like a combination of the first two actually.The bullying scene with Flash was damn too familiar and redone so many times before in other films. I thought maybe they could have shown us a new way of bullying or I don’t know. I’m such a know-it-all. The part when Uncle Ben was about to get shot was just heartbreakingly familiar.  I thought, “Oh right, Uncle Ben is going to die and Martin Sheen is sooo 80 years old! Apocalypse Now! Apocalypse now!” Then I realized, how are they supposed to make it unfamiliar, anyway. It is the story. Oh, and Sally Field… the award-winning actress who should’ve gotten more screen time and lines.

Well, you can’t blame them, though, they practically have the same material to start with. I also agree with Lance when he said many superb action scenes happened at night to which RJ, another geeky friend of mine, argued that it’s because Peter was still in high school and still an amateur. Still, it would’ve been great to see more of Spidey in the daylight doing his thing.

Not so Amazing: Marc Webb

I’m still a bit unsure about Marc Webb. Don’t get me wrong. I love his (500) Days of Summer. I think it is a very well-executed film. However, like Gary Ross who directed my dearest Hunger Games, they are brilliant with executing storylines, but doing action movies are not their forte. It’s like the late Nora Ephron directing a new Catwoman or Elektra. (Now, those two need a super mega major reboot!) I’m not saying I prefer the more CGI-based Raimi movies, but I was more attracted to them visually. But credits for Mr. Webb because I think his version has more depth than any of the other Spider-Man films.

Not so Amazing: Too Soon to Reboot

No matter how much I think the people behind this movie did a great job, I still think it’s too soon to reboot the franchise. The reason I can’t get Tobey out of my Spider-Man mind is because it has only been five years since the last film. Many haters argue that there’s no need to reboot and Hollywood is all about the money. But then again, stories are not made to be interpreted by the limited few and Hollywood is always about the money, so feel lucky when it’s the story AND the money.

It’s okay to reboot. It’s okay to remake. As long as it has something new to say. The thing about the new version is it has new great actors who undeniably did great new portrayals, but the message is sort of the same. They may have changed some plotlines to differentiate it from the original, but what I’m actually looking for is something extremely new. Something I’ve never seen before that the new version could offer. The impeccable casting and the emotional depth of the story make up for the lack of wow factor. Nonetheless, The Amazing Spider-Man is still a good film on its own despite having similarities from the first two installments (which are two great movies). I just wish the next one won’t end up like Spider-Man 3.

Now before I sign off, I think it’s important to note that I believe this has the best Stan Lee cameo appearance ever!

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My First Mutual Fund Investment at Sun Life

I did it. Finally. After a year of planning, researching, and saving up to no avail, I have finally made my first mutual fund investment at Sun Life. It’s crazy ’cause the money I have used to open an account at Sun Life came from a personal loan from Citibank. Hahaha! Yes, I loaned from my aunt’s credit card again and I haven’t even paid up my previous loan in full. But I have a sort of stable part time job now, so I thought “What the heck, can’t wait for my previous loan to end in September. I need the money badly now!” Right now, I’m not really sure if it’s the stupidest or the smartest financial decision I have ever made, but I guess only time will tell.

I was supposed to buy my Papa a new LED TV for Father’s Day, so I asked my Tita to get me a loan through her credit card. He and my mother made the request about three weeks ago and I felt obliged to fulfill their wish. The thing is it’s the first gift they have ever asked of me and most importantly, I know how much my Papa desires to have a big screen where he can watch the pirated DVDs he kept on buying from sidewalk vendors. Unfortunately, for some personal reason, they changed their mind and asked if I could lend them the cash instead. Of course, I said yes. It’s my gift to them and I’d rather present them something they need most. My other reason for getting a bank loan is I was also planning to finally have a ceiling constructed in my house, so it would stop looking like a refugee camp. Unfortunately again, ceiling construction costs more than P15,000 including labor and I just can’t allow all the money to be spent on something that can wait.

Anyway, enough about the backstory. I’ve been eyeing to start an investment at Sun Life ever since I have read a Bo Sanchez article about how his maids invest in the stock market. Yes, the title alone made me think, “If they could, why can’t I?” And then I started reading about mutual funds and stock trading online. I remember stumbling upon an article that says how there are a lot of money-making vehicles in the country to make every Filipino more financially stable, the only problem is they do not know about them and many of those who do are blinded by the fears of getting scammed. I don’t blame them. I saw the worry from my parents and friends’ eyes whenever I bring up the topic of investing in mutual funds, stocks, and insurance to them. All they can think of are the pyramid scams, the bankruptcies of insurance companies, and the risks of losing it all in the stock market. I can’t blame them and I understand where they are coming from. This is a third world country. Taking financial risks is very dangerous. That is why I’m starting with mutual funds and not stocks. Mutual funds are meant for people who are willing to take risks that they think they can handle and for people who do not have the expertise to get involved in stocks yet. In mutual fund investing, a financial advisor manages your money for you. All you have to do is add more funds to it when you can, let it grow by letting it mature for years, and pray that the market performs well by the time that you need to redeem it.

Now, why did I choose Sun Life? It wasn’t the top performer this year but my heart is in it. Probably because of Bo Sanchez and because it does belong to the top ten mutual fund companies in the country. On Monday, I will visit Philequity in Ortigas to place some of the funds I have left from my loan to their mutual funds. And yes, they are one of the more well-performing mutual fund companies. I just feel safe knowing I have two mutual fund companies and I feel assured that one will always perform well than the other if not both.

And here I go again with a long post. I’ll end it here. Wish me luck and may God bless my plans.

Thanks for reading.

The First Friday of 2012 is Awesome because I am Most Improved!

My first week of January is too awesome to be true. I can’t believe it’s the second Monday of the year already. I have got three reasons why I think the start of this year is an effective propeller for the next days to come but let me share the first one first.

Last Friday, our office held our 2nd Annual DAN-ny Awards. I’m not really sure what the addition of the -ny stuff means; so, let’s just leave it at that. However, this year the awarding was accompanied by a game of scavenger hunt and a boodle fight. Anyway, the night before was kind of a disaster for me — and for Lance, actually. The office was divided into five groups and each group were assigned two dishes to bring the next day for the anticipated boodle fight. Unfortunately, I was assigned to bring the food. And no matter how hard I fought with RJ, Cyan and Lee (my groupmates) telling them I don’t freakin’ know how to cook beef tapa, I had to resign to my fate and accept the fact that I would lose any argument I put up with them because I don’t have kids, I live alone, and I have a stove.

I don’t really hate cooking. I actually like cooking but the thing is I suck at it big time!

Man, he's actually smiling!
Please insert face --->

Okay, to cut the cooking story short, Lance and I started at 9:30 in the evening and ended up cooking the whole thing at 1 AM. Of course, as a regular Claude thing, this includes stupid moments like burning a number of beef strips, charring the two frying pans black, and almost setting the curtains on fire while trying to manually lit the defective second burner with a matchstick! How am I ever going to get married?!

Fast forward to Friday morning, I arrived at the office one and a half hour late. At 8 o’clock, the scavenger hunt began! Each group has a game master who would provide them with the first clue written on a deck of black card. The answer to the first clue leads to the place where the second deck of card is hidden and the answer to it leads to the third and so on and so forth until all 10 clues are completed. I have always loved scavenger hunts, although, I’ve never played one. I have lived vicariously on books and movies for quite a long time, I guess. Luckily, I have some really fast thinking and energetic groupmates; so, running/jumping staircases up and down the building wasn’t much of a problem.

Here’s one funny moment I can remember about the hunt:

While answering questions, filling in the boxes with them and singling out the letters inside the shaded boxes…

Groupmate whoever: F!
Groupmate whoever: R!
Groupmate whoever: I!
Groupmate whoever: Errrrmm….
Groupmate whoever: Iwan muna yan! Next!
Groupmate whoever: Ge! G-E!
Me: FRI… FRI… FRINGE! — (receives blank stares from groupmates) Anung FRINGE?
RJ: FRIDGE!!! FRIDGE!!! FRIDGE!!!
Groupmates: Fridge?! Saang fridge?!
RJ: Eh isa lang naman fridge natin eh!
OO NGA NAMAN. LOL.

This always cracks me up every time I remember it ’cause I keep seeing the look on my groupmates faces especially RJ and Joey when I shouted Fringe! Like they were confused whether to believe me or not. Hahahaha! And then there’s the overloaded elevator where our gamemaster as well as our manager, Ate Ems, was pushed out of the elevator as an unwilling sacrifice. Hahahaha! Surprisingly, we won! I relayed to my groupmates the last answer to our clue which is the English translation for the French word, gagnant; which I, of course, obtained by quick googling. As the winning team, we were awarded a REALLY BIG CHRISTMAS SOCK OF FOOD!

FOOODDDDDD!!!
The Competitive Group 3! (Photo Courtesy of Marvin Cruz)

Now, here’s the story why the awesomeness of this Friday is due to the fact that I am most improved. Literally, I was voted DAN’s Most Improved Employee (or Specialist or whatever) by the people of Dial-A-Note. Hahaha! Alright, I’m not really the model employee. I’ve got issues with tardiness, browsing of non-work related websites, and the quality of my transcription. The first one is due to my inability to discipline myself entirely; the second simply to our team’s enormous amount of free time and my love for jumping from one wiki article to another; and the last one, to my always blamed unilateral deafness. I had always told my friends in the office before that I was contented on being on a low-profile position. I didn’t have plans on moving up in the company ladder because I loved the leniency I get whenever I needed to go on vacation. No big responsibilities. No great expectations. I get to climb any weekend, file for a vacation, leave work without having to spend extended hours for admin works, and simply just work with no added pressure. Besides, I wasn’t really planning on staying here this long. I didn’t really expect to love this place more than I would allow myself to. I was expecting I would have saved enough money in a year, continue my film studies and pursue my dreams of having some passionate stalker fan write my own Wikipedia entry! That WAS my life at work until all my friends in the office, with the exception of Ainna, started submitting their applications for team lead positions about three or four months ago. Suddenly, the dream bubble I lived in exploded right before my butt and sent it hitting reality rock bottom. I realize I was so busy daydreaming about reaching my big dreams that I failed to see the formula of needing to excel first in my present job in order to excel in the future I have always dreamt to have.

So, I made a move. It took a great deal of guts and pride to ask my team leader to help me out with my transcription and proofing skills having been considered a tenured employee for more than a year. I confessed to her that I wouldn’t want to have to blame my non-functioning right ear all the time for my “unintelligibles”. Oh, and she never hesitated. I had to re-learn many things fast about transcription having been on the CRM entry side of the work process for the majority of my stay in the company. This may not be a big deal for many but it is for me. My work seldom gets proofed now. Thanks to my awesome teammates who are always willing to provide me feedbacks whenever I ask for them.

And yes, being awarded the Most Improved title encourages me to move forward, stop procrastinating, and waiting for “the dream” to happen. No matter how handmade my trophy is (which I actually find more meaningful than the usual ones made of fiber glass), its value is as priceless as the Heart of the Ocean for me. Alright, that may be a little exaggerated if I really do have the jewelry. Let’s just say one of the most wonderful experiences on earth is to be rewarded with recognition for your hard work.

THE
BOODLE
FIGHT!!!

 

Speaking of office rewards and to end this another lengthy blog entry, I always find MORE FOOD to be extremely rewarding! THE BOODLE FIGHTTT!!! We actually thought it was going to be part of the games; like the group who finishes their food set first wins and I was sooo ready to fight making sure I was extremely famished! But don’t confuse me for sounding more excited for the boodle fight rather than the awards ceremony. I mean, c’mon, me? Really?!


Starting 2012 with a BLOG!

Alright, the title says it. I’m starting this year with a BLOG! And yes, that’s supposed to be a pun for KABLAAHGG! or whatever interjection old comic books can offer with a B, L or G in it.

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.  – Author Unknown

Pessimistic pets!

Please don’t hammer me with questions as to why I’m creating a new blog for the nth time. I know I’m a nutcase for doing so, okay? But every time I make a new one I always have this habit of promising there would be no more “too” personal stories or bitter articles or depressing poems. That’s what your journal’s for, idiot! Okay, maybe it was my way of reaching out or whatever and it’s neurotic, but I really don’t want to do that again. You see, I’ve created this URL about six months ago and I’ve been thinking about starting it by writing stories, reviews, opinions, mountain climbing or traveling. I wanted to focus on just one but as the queenbee of fickle-mindedness, I know that is never going to happen. So, thanks to my friends who are bloggers/photobloggers as well, I was encouraged to start a blog this year no matter how cliché that might sound. I’m the queen of clichés. See, I just claimed to be the queen of another thing! Talk about focus.

Going back to thanking my friends, they have either been tweeting or posting Facebook status regarding what new things they plan on starting this coming year. Well, I’m a little less prepared because the only New Year’s Resolution I have is for my attendance in the gym to be regular. My friends in the office have formed this sort of group exercise where we all train altogether. That way, we would all be motivated knowing we’ve got company. Okay, another pun. I’m getting good at this! Unless, you didn’t get it. We’ve got “company”? And I’m working with my officemates in a “compa…? Whatever. Anyway, most of my friends have plans for 2012. Lance plans on taking swimming lessons to slim down his ever bulging body; Gervic has a new blog/blog posts; Ara just recently updated hers; Mads is having this 365-day photo challenge due to the success of her October 30-day photo challenge (which included me twice. Haha cool!); Me-anne and Thina have been updating their blogs too talking about some spiritual stuff; Sab is, well, probably planning on trashing against corrupt officials or commenting on social issues much frequently this year; and Irene is out to get more physical and athletic. This leaves me with a barely furnitured house, two food-wasting mongrels, and piles of debts that forbid me to die for the next nine months. Not that I’m whining. Or maybe I’m whining a bit. But I do know how fortunate I am despite all these debts. I really just like to rant sometimes. It’s like my way of boasting what I have. Dammit, why did I just disclose that?

I don’t really have any big plans for the year. I was planning on slimming down, that’s all. That’s not really big because I’ve been having that resolution for years and everybody seems to have the same plan, anyway. I recall my last conversation with my friend, Irene, after our trip to Cartimar to find a bicycle for me and our Chuck-inspired and dream-come-true dinner at Subway. She encouraged me to run to be fit. I’m not really a fan of running especially on organized and commercial events. The only outdoor activity I am willing to pay for right now is mountain climbing. But we planned on targeting biking next as an outdoor alternative. This I can definitely do. I own a bike ever since I was five but my parents sold them when we relocated in Laguna. The roads here are just too steep for bicycle riding but every time we’re in Nayong Pilipino during trips to the airport, I would always rent one. Then I bought one again two years ago and sold it again this year to Lance’s dad because I desperately needed the money. I’ve gained most of my childhood bruises from biking. I remember how I once spent half a month partly blind on one eye because I fell off and hit my eye on the handlebar of my rented bike when I was 11. I also had bruises on my breast when I fell off again trying to avoid a coming truck. That actually hurts more than the eye injury because I was on puberty stage and my breasts were slowly growing — too slowly actually. I actually thought that accident was the reason my breasts weren’t equal in size.

Anyway, you guessed it right. I’m recalling my biking experience because today, I bought myself a bike.

Finally!
Please don't sell it, idiot!

It’s an ordinary mountain bike with aluminum frame and rim and it is already mounted with disc brakes, so I’m good with this. The last one I bought has a metal body and despite its aluminum rim, it was still one heck of a heavy junk. I’ve ridden it earlier this afternoon already and damn, did my legs hurt! It was a 20-minute ride from my parents’ house to mine and tomorrow I’m planning on exhausting myself with it early in the morning with my always eager little sister.

Okay, I think I’m writing too much. Just shows how much I talk as well. As I end this entry, I realize I still don’t have a New Year’s Resolution. But I do want to thank my friends for having plans because it encourages me to start on something too. May not be something new at all but still I’m starting something. I guess I’ll just leave this blog with three blog-ending and year-starting bullets: (Did I just write a cool play of words there? :P)

I AM

    • starting this year with a BLOG! (Yes, still retaining that)
    • starting this year with a bike.

and

    • starting this year NOW.