Movie Preview: Arthur Christmas

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 , 0 Comments

Christmas is probably the day most children look forward to in an entire year aside from their birthday. For them, Christmas day not only means presents but it is marked by a holiday season that is almost considered magical. It may seem magical indeed because it is the only time of the year when most everyone succumbs to the spirit of giving and the holiday season won’t be complete without the yearly holiday movie.

Arthur Christmas is a movie which will show us the inner-workings of the North Pole while Santa and his crew prepares for their busiest season. Arthur is Santa’s son. While he belongs to the Claus family, he seems to be the least-equipped member for Christmas. Due to this he was assigned to the mailroom where he reads every Christmas letter sent for Santa. When he learns that one kid wasn’t receiving his present, he sets out on a quest to make things right.

Looks like Arthur Christmas is gonna be one fun holiday ride. Arthur will be voiced by James McAvoy while Hugh Laurie voices Steve, another member of the Claus family. Arthur Christmas opens on December 8 in theaters across the Philippines.

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Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 , 0 Comments

The Adventures of Tintin movie is the collaboration of the directive genius of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson which is based on the two comic books written by Herge entitled The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. Although the movie is slightly altered from the original, it still retained major plot points and twists. I didn’t mind that since I’ve already read the comics and I already knew how the story went, because of the minor changes there will still some welcomed surprise scenes.

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The Adventures of Tintin started when Tintin, a junior reporter, bought a model ship of the famed Unicorn. His curiosity was piqued when two men immediately started haggling to buy the model from him. Further research eventually informed him that the Unicorn might be the key to a secret family legacy and treasure. Here’s when he met Captain Haddock, one of the foremost character in the series and a serious companion to his adventures.

The computer animation movie is very action-packed. This is understandable because it was the merging of two books and I think this is the reason that it might also feel crammed into a limited time frame. The 3d rendering was very well done and I can attest to this because I’ve done some 3ds myself. It was in fact almost life-like at some scenes. They stayed very true to how the characters were depicted in the comic books, down to their very expressions and personalities. This gave it a very authentic feel and Herge would have been very proud.

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All in all, this is a great family movie to bond over. Fans of the comic book series will surely love it (I know I did) and newly acquainted ones will get their first taste on how the Tintin stories are like. It will not be surprising if sales of the comic books go up or if they’ll be re-printing new versions. The overly serious tone of the movie is properly balanced by subtle hints at humor and oh be prepared to be charmed by Snowy, who I really think Tintin won’t be able to live without.

The Adventures of Tintin movie is now showing in theaters nationwide, available in 2d, 3d and IMAX theaters.

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Having no Internet Makes me Cranky

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 0 Comments

Yes that’s how much being connected to the internet is so much a part of my life is now. So you can just imagine my frustration when I came home last Saturday, opened my browser and found this familiar and hated splash page from PLDT DSL, my internet service provider. It said that my internet service has been disconnected due to a missed payment. So I asked my mom about it, she said that we didn’t receive a bill from them again.

Curses of all curses! This was the second time it happened. From the first incident I’ve enrolled for an online payment service which was available 24/7. So I was able to pay right away but unfortunately, PLDT’s call center was already closed at 8pm. I had to wait in the morning to call.

Come morning, my first call involved informing the agent that I’ve already paid, gave them the bank tracking number and etc. etc. She then informed me that there’s a 24 hour waiting period for the payment to be posted so until then, the re-connection process can’t be started. It must’ve been the fact that I hadn’t had my breakfast at that time because I just said okay. After talking to D however, he suggested I give them a call again and be a little more forceful this time. So I did.

I was lucky to have gotten a supervisor for the second call. I explained my predicament that I have already paid but the reason we got disconnected was because we received no bill. She said they release bills at the start of every month and upon checking their records, a guy named “Leonardo Cabula” received ours. I heatedly pointed out to her that no one by that name lives at my house and that I even enrolled for their free online bills program so that I can receive the bill via email but I didn’t receive anything there also. I was put on hold. After a few minutes, she insisted that there’s a waiting period for my payment to be posted.

By that time, my frustration was already evident in my voice and I know that its volume level has risen while I was talking to her. I told her how it was causing such unnecessary hassle to me which in fact was their fault in the first place. She told me that I should have reported that I didn’t receive any bill. I told her that how in the heck will I know when they send out the bills in the first place. Was it such common knowledge? Then I proceeded on a lengthy argument that we should have been given notice that we were about to be disconnected and I demanded that they reconnect my service immediately. For the second time I was put on hold. I could tell that she could sense the anger in my voice because hers became meek and she was extremely apologetic.

When she came back on the line, she told me that they’re going to waive the waiting period and that she’s going to issue out a report about my situation to have my internet reconnected within the day or early the next morning. So okay, it only took for me to get really angry for that order to come through. I was already pissed.

At D’s suggestion again, he told me to continually call them until my service is restored. So I did. I got mixed responses after that. I couldn’t keep the annoyance from my voice anymore and usually, I’m polite with call center agents but this whole situation really frustrated the hell out of me. By early that evening, my internet was finally back. I’m thankful but I still wish I didn’t have to go through the hassle of being troubled to continually call them and get mad at each conversation.

Lesson learned?

  • If at the middle of the month there’s still no bill from PLDT, give them a call and inform them. By doing so, they’ll be able to prevent the automatic block in your internet service by the 25th of the month.
  • If it’s hell trying to connect to their call center, text PLDT HELP to 77177 and follow the prompts from the automated replies. After a certain point, they’ll ask for your number and they’ll be the one to call you back.
  • Don’t hesitate with arguing about your predicament if you know you’re right. Like me, it wasn’t my fault that their carrier didn’t do his job or fibbed at it. I stayed on the line with the supervisor until I got the action that I wanted.
  • Follow up diligently. I was originally hesitant about harassing the agents with re-connecting my service but when it was pointed out to me that I was the one being subjected to something really unfair, I had to step up.

Hopefully, nothing like this will happen again and I hope that if PLDT was sincere with their promise of more efficient service, instances like this will be accounted for and be prevented in the future, not just for me but for other subscribers as well.

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The Many Uses of Colourlovers.com

Sunday, November 27, 2011 , 0 Comments

I’ve been a fan of the site Colourlovers.com ever since I accidentally discovered it many years ago while looking for some color scheme inspirations that I needed for a freelance project. Since then, it’s been permanent in my feed reader and I’ve enjoyed it for quite some time. I can’t say just how much I’ve found out how useful this site is but here are some of the things that I love about it.

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It’s great for color schemes.

I’ve already mentioned that I’ve used this for my interior projects but it’s also useful for blog template designs and graphic design layouts for business cards, invitations and brochures. I love that you get to see how the colors are side-by-side. When you click on a palette, you get to see the breakdown of colors and the color codes so that you can generate them easily in a software program. You can even save the color schemes for reference later.

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The site is a great source of inspiration.

Colourlovers.com also has a great blog section which provides very interesting information on pop culture, history, nature and other relevant social media events and sites. All of the entries explain the important role of color and I find that very creative.

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There’s a great database of patterns.

Sometimes I do get obsessed with configuring my blog template and this site is my go-to source for very unique patterns. The database is searchable by color and you can also download the pattern in different resolutions. I’ve found this very useful as 3d materials for fabrics and wallpapers as well.

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They have great contests.

While I always swear to enter one of them, I always end up not having enough time. What I love about their contests are the creative mechanics, the great prizes and how artists can give criticisms on each other’s works.

They encourage you to be creative.

The best thing about Colourlovers.com is that most of the database for colors and patterns are user-generated. You can also make your own too and upload them on the site. Not only is this a great creative output, it also lets you try your hand at coming up with hundreds of schemes that you can name freely. All you need is to register for a free account on the site.

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So thank you to the folks behind Colourlovers.com. I owe you the many bouts of creative works and inspirations. Keep it up.

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Movie Review: Skyline

Sunday, November 27, 2011 , 0 Comments

I don’t really get to watch that much television anymore at home, pretty much I watch all the shows that I want in my laptop. One of the rare moments that I turned on the television was when I had some waiting time while I was installing a new game. When I checked the online schedule at the Star movies site, one of the featured movies was Skyline and at that time it was exactly 9pm, perfect timing if I wanted to catch the start of the movie.

Before you get your hopes up like I did, I want to tell you guys firsthand that this movie sucked. Yep it sucked big time. It was a complete waste of my hour. Well, I was multi-tasking at that time too so I guess it wasn’t a total waste. Don’t click on the back button just yet, let me tell you why this movie was bad. You’ll enjoy the read I promise.

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The lead actor, Eric Balfour looked a bit like Alex Pettyfer and every bit as cocky. There was also that bald guy from Clueless and Scrubs, Donald Faison. Brittany Daniel was surprisingly there too, I first knew of her when she appeared as one of the Wakefield twins in the Sweet Valley High TV series. Alien invasion was the main highlight of the film but they made a meager attempt to establish some sort of conflict with the plot through the relationships of the characters but they weren’t followed up on during the entire movie.

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As for the aliens, they just showed up one day without any reason why. Even through the end of the film, the reason why they invaded still wasn’t clear.

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They lured people out by a bluish-white light which puts them into a trance. People slowly get burned when they look at the light, then in a split-second they’ll be snatched into the mouths of the alien carriers. There’s one thing that I observed though, they eat our brains for sustenance.

The movie was really bad. The story didn’t stick and the main characters were such horrible actors. There were several scenes that I got so pissed at what the lead was doing. Lead characters aren’t supposed to make you hate them, you’re supposed to be sympathetic to their troubles.

At the end of the movie there was this romantic angle that I thought didn’t really fit. It felt really forced to add substance to an otherwise bland plot. There wasn’t enough story background to put emphasis on the love story between the characters.

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So well, Skyline was good for one thing though, it prompted me to make a list on what not to-do during an alien invasion:

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  • When there’s a weird light coming through your window and there’s a humming, don’t open the window.
  • When you see that there are spaceships in the sky blasting tall towers, you shouldn’t go to the roof deck.
  • When there’s a hug alien monster attacking your building, don’t attempt to sneak out of the building right where the monster is standing.
  • Don’t interrupt Special Forces when they’re doing their jobs.
  • Just because aliens are not over any body of water, it doesn’t mean that they can’t shoot a boat from the sky. Duh!
  • If you’re in hiding, don’t turn on any lights or even the television.

That’s done, now I can put this annoyance that I have for this movie to rest. Save yourself the trouble, when it’s on cable television...change the channel.

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Game of Thrones Season 2 in Production Trailer

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 0 Comments

Having been finished on reading the second book, The Clash of Kings. I’m really excited for second season of Game of Thrones. Again it promises a new season of treachery, twisting plots and an abundance of new characters. Thankfully, to satisfy the waning interests of fans impatiently waiting for the season come-back, HBO has released the in production trailer for the series. Watch and enjoy. :)

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The Igloo Village

Sunday, November 20, 2011 0 Comments

One of the tasks still remaining on my bucket list is to see the Northern Lights and if it belongs in your list too, then you might want to keep the Igloo Village on your list. It’s an Igloo Hotel in Finland specially designed for photography enthusiasts who want to catch the best view of the northern lights. It features clear glass domes where you can see the night sky perfectly. The glass is made of special thermal glass which traps the heat in.  Check out the pictures below. Just seeing those pretty lights dotting the snowy landscape makes me see just how perfect he Igloo Village in Kakslauttanen, Finland is.

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The Igloo Village is equipped with ice sculptures, a snow restaurant which seats 50-150 people. It’s not open year-round though. The prime months that it’s open is during December to January but you can enjoy a stay until April.

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Paper Art: Meghan Stratman’s Paper Collage

Sunday, November 20, 2011 0 Comments

I once had a project in College where I made a paper collage of a tiger and I really had fun doing it. It didn’t occur to me though that I could also do pop icons with it. Besides, I don’t think my college professor would appreciate though and instead of a 1.0, she might have given me a 5.0. Well, anyway, Meghan Stratman’s paper collage is different though. I think her charming pop icon renditions are very well done. Take a look at some of her works below.

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Movie Preview: The Avengers Movie Banner has been released

Friday, November 18, 2011 , 0 Comments

The Avengers Movie is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated movies that are soon to come our way. Fans have been eating up updates ranging from cast pics, artworks and on-shoot clips. Now however, Marvel Studios has officially released the banners for the movie. The movie will feature iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble in Philippine theaters on May 2012.

Check out the banners below. [Click on the images for a bigger resolution]

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Geek mode on: Portal Cookie Cutters

Friday, November 18, 2011 , 0 Comments

I’ve been known to obsessively be involved in a computer game that it can take appearances in my dreams, take hold of desktop wallpapers and icons and even be prevalent in my wardrobe. If only I knew how to bake, I’d be baking them cookies too but sadly I don’t. It’s just delightful when video games cross-over to the baking world and feed us hungry geeks.

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[source]

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Loving these at the Moment: Winter Wonders

Friday, November 18, 2011 0 Comments

I just wandered over the Darling Clementine website and saw their paper products for the Winter Wonders line and I’m just so charmed by the whimsical art and the cool choice of colors. So far, my favorite is the owl of course, seconded by the fox.

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The Hunger Games Movie Second Trailer is now out!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 , 0 Comments

I’m soo excited!!!! Finally we see more from this film that I’m so eager to watch. If you still haven’t read the trilogy, go and grab a copy now. I like the general dark ambiance of the movie and oh I almost didn’t recognize Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. Watch out for glimpses of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna as well. I’ve got goose bumps from watching a trailer again. Can’t wait!

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Movie Preview: Snow White and the Huntsman Posters and Trailer

Monday, November 14, 2011 0 Comments

I couldn’t resist to see what the buzz was about with this movie and after having seen the trailer just moments ago…okay I’m definitely curious now. The trailer is just fantastic. Charlize Theron gave me the goose bumps, she seems to have captured the very essence of being an evil queen/witch. This re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale is darker and more fantastical than the previous adaptations I have seen before. You might notice that not a single dwarf could be seen in the trailer and wait, is that Snow White (Kirsten Stewart) in full metal armor? Okay I’m confused and intrigued. I wonder how the battle scene plays out. In the traditional fairytale of Snow White, the hunstman (Chris Hemsworth) plays a very minor role. In this movie however, he seems to be playing a very important part. I just hope I won’t be seeing Thor everytime he strikes down with an axe. Smile with tongue out

The movie posters and banners, as well as the trailer can be seen below. Just click on the image to view them in hi-res.

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The Different Colors of the Samsung Galaxy SII

Monday, November 14, 2011 0 Comments

I’m perfectly happy with the performance of my phone, a Samsung Galaxy SII that I acquired last July. In the span of only a few months, I’ve become accustomed to why so many review sites called it the best Android phone at the time of its release. The only downside for me is the lack in choice of colors. It was only one – black. For a creative soul like me, I’m always attracted/drawn to really colorful and funky things especially when it comes to gadgets. However, with this phone, the functionality and performance won me over.

Sadly, a few months after, there came out a white Samsung Galaxy SII.  I would have gotten this one instead.

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Now, upon opening the Tech tab on my Netvibes, I saw an announcement that lucky Koreans can get their hands on a pink one. Yes, a Samsung Galaxy SII that’s geared for the feminine market. Drat. It comes out in Korea first and the rest of us follows after. Boohoo. A pink one certainly would have suited me more.

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These phones have the same specifications as the original. The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos chip, the 8.0MP camera at the back and a 2.0MP in front. This phone also comes equipped with an OS of Android 2.3.

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80 Books Down

Sunday, November 13, 2011 0 Comments

I’m giving myself a pat on the back for this one. I’ve read more books this year than I had in the past years and I think the 100 Books Challenge that I signed up for at the start of the year turned out to be a good impulse decision. Admittedly, I’m four books behind as indicated by the meter on the GoodReads site but I’m planning to catch up with my reading soon.

Since I last wrote an update about this challenge, I’ve been busy getting hooked on a number of book series and works by particular authors. I’d like to mention some of them here.

goodreads-39cluesThe 39 Clues series is a collaboration of a number of authors and although their target was the teen group of readers, the plot was so elaborate and complex. I’m surprised they haven’t turned this into a movie yet. I loved the series because the characters are well thought of and written. The story takes you into a treasure trail that teaches you about famous people and places that makes you just want to read on and on. The first set alone consists of 11 books and now I’m happy that a second set of books are currently being made. The first book is already out and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the next ones.

goodreads-everlostNeal Schusterman is one of the authors that I discovered this year. For me he’s a creative genius when it comes to the horror genre for young minds. I loved his collection of short stories. They were very original and creepy. Perhaps I made a mistake of reading them before going to sleep but I think they’re really brilliant. Of course, Neal Schusterman is really famous for his Skinjacker series. This one has a take on the afterlife in a really different sense and again, I’m just blown away about how original it is.

I loved the movie I am Number Four but I was a bit underwhelmed by the book. Since I’ve already seen the movie, reading the second book made identify faces with the characters. The Power of Six (the second book in the Lorien Legacies series) shows just how badass Six is. I wish that the entire series had her as the main character instead of Four, he seems so puny when he’s joining her in battle. The story was well-written and hopefully will also be made into a movie. I can’t wait for the remaining Loriens to re-unite for the final battle.

goodreads-challenge-pendergast-002The series I’m currently hooked on is the one by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The Pendergast series of books is one that I discovered by accident. The first two books reminded me so much of Fringe, another TV series I’m also addicted to. I like that everything is described in detail and there’s no doubt that everything is thoroughly researched. There’s just a few characters written into the series and it’s easy just to get used to reading about them in each of the novels. The authors also have no qualms in writing about how characters die in their stories, told in first-person mode.

So it’s about twenty or so books to go and I don’t know which ones I have lined up yet. I’m positive I can really finish this challenge. Wish me luck!

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Google Easter Eggs for you to try

Friday, November 11, 2011 0 Comments

Google is full of surprises sometimes. I’ve always been a fan of the ever-changing Google Doodles that change with every significant holiday, event or in recognition of the birthdays of important people. It’s also filled with Easter eggs as well. Try these out.

So here’s my basic Google start page. I’m using the custom one with a background.

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Type the following words on the search bar and watch what happens. I’ve included screenshots just to give you a sneak peek.

do a barrel roll

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what is the loneliest number

what is the loneliest number   Google Search

askew

askew   Google Search

google gravity then click “I’m feeling Lucky”

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where is chuck norris?

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Breaking Dawn Philippine Gala Premiere Night on Nov. 17

Friday, November 11, 2011 0 Comments

Be one of the first lucky few who’ll get to see the first part of the fourth installment of the Twilight saga: Breaking Dawn. The gala premiere night will be held at the SM Premiere Cinema, Mall of Asia, on Nov. 17, Thursday, 8:00pm.

BreakingDawnPoster [WEB]THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN-PART 1

Based from the fourth book, this time we’ll see Bella and Edward tie the knot. As a married couple their honeymoon ultimately bore them a child. This is the child that will test the bonds of friendship, humanity and a test of loyalty experienced not only by the trio of Bella, Edward and Jacob but also by the people around them.

Limited Tickets are now available at AstroVision / AstroPlus branches or you may contact ticket hotlines at 524-0175 or 310-2004. Expect a free imported 2012 Calendar of the movie when you avail of this premiere. Regular showing will start on Nov. 18, 2011.

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And an asteroid whooshes by

Friday, November 11, 2011 , , 0 Comments

One of the headlines that I saw on my feed reader the other day was of CNN informing us that an asteroid will safely pass us by. This happened around Tuesday. Well, I was relieved that it wasn’t on a collision course with Earth and in a split second I was also reminded of just how many Hollywood movies were made with this plot. One that stood out of course was Armageddon. *cue Aerosmith music* Admit it, you can hear Steven Tyler’s voice belting “I don’t wanna close my eyes...” right about now.

I saw Armageddon back in college with my friend Aimee. I can’t remember if we were playing hooky at that time. Yes for some people who don’t know me that well, this good girl had her share of skipping classes back in the day. Shamelessly we were both crying at that part when Aj was saying goodbye to Harry. It was also the first time that I saw Ben Affleck on the big screen. That was how that crush started. Anyway, I’ve seen Armageddon for so many times that I’ve lost count. Seriously. I can recite almost all of the dialogues by heart and I can even pinpoint the exact scene just by hearing bits of it.

That asteroid news made me think back at the scenes in Armageddon that I remember the most.

  • No Nukes! No Nukes!

This is probably my most memorable Steve Buscemi moment on film aside from his role as Garland Green on Con Air.

  • The Animal Cracker Scene

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Cheesy yes. Effective as a romance ploy, Hell yeah! This is just one of the cheesy romantic scenes in the movie, the other one was when Aj was singing to Grace.

  • That trademark astronaut strut going to the the space shuttles. Why do space movies always have this scene?

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  • We’re all astronauts.

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The scene: The guys get a night out from rigorous space training. They get into trouble at a strip club.

  • The Recuitment Phase

This is where we get to meet the other guys in Harry’s team. We get to hear about their backgrounds and what sets their personalities apart.

  • Secondary protocol

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This is that time when there’s real conflict while they were on the asteroid and where things begin to take a turn for the worse. That power struggle scene was crucial at showing everyone just who was really in charge and undoubtedly the star of the film. Oh and that big pipe cutter around Coronel Sharp’s neck had something to do with it too.

  • Your boyfriend’s back

Ultimately Aj’s return with the second armadillo actually saves the day. Sorry I couldn’t find the exact movie still for this scene. I would also like to note just how bad-ass the armadillos looked like.

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Just writing this post makes me want to watch Armageddon all over again. Yes I know it’s one of the most elaborate Hollywood action films ever made and some don’t even deem it worthy to be called epic, but hey this authors thinks otherwise.

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