Archive for April, 2005

Review: Kojak 101 – 104

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

The last few years have all been about revivals, and this is the latest one. Airing on the USA network, it’s Kojak, in the form of Ving Rhames. Besides the obvious lollypop sucking and the tough, yet soft in the inside attitude, there’s nothing that special to mention about this show. The show is written in a way that it doesn’t require a lot of acting skills for Ving. Too bad. Besides the change of color, the jazzy background vibe, there’s nothing that sets this apart from any other cop show (very unlike USA’s other offerings, like Monk and The Dead Zone). Hopefully the next few episodes will give me a reason to stick around, otherwise, I’m bailing out.

Review: The Interpreter

Friday, April 15th, 2005

After seeing a boring movie featuring Nicole Kidman, it’s clear there was definitely no blame on her acting skills. Right from the start you’ll see a totally new character, and she even produces a believable accent. Opposite her, we have Sean Penn playing another poor tormented soul, just the way we like to see it. Quite a match up, and with the heavy and deep dialogue, it probably wouldn’t have worked out otherwise. Directing them is Sydney Pollack, after a few so-so movies (Sabrina, Random Hearts), he’s definitely back on the roll, reminiscence of the solid thriller that The Firm was.
A simple plot gets worked out through character exploration and uncovered political agenda’s, all the while building on the suspense. A good score from James Newton Howard finishes off a the first balanced suspense thriller of this year.8½.

Review: Birth

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

When you see the names Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall, your interest bar raises a bit. Then you see it’s a Fine Line produced independent picture with what might be an interesting outline, and the interest bar goes through the roof.
Then you sit, and you’re served a long sequence with no meaning. I don’t need to see a guy running in the snow for 5 minutes. I want to see a movie. What follows are more slow moving scenes, with no particular meaning. The script is not of high quality either, filled with character with, you guess it, no particular meaning. The only drama comes from Nicole Kidman, while the rest just drop in to say their uninteresting lines. The kid might have a big role, with emotional depth, but in essence, he’s delivering his lines with an expression-less stare the whole movie. That’s what I call lazy casting.
Pairing this boredom with a combination of an overly happy orchestral suite and an irritatingly nervous rhythmic bass line is the final mistake, and I wouldn’t look surprised if you’d walk out after a mere 30 minutes.4.

How Messy is it at my Work Today ?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Rate 1 (sucks) to 5 (cool). Only rate the latest pictures, otherwise I can’t keep track of the average.

Total: 721 out of 223 votes > Average is: 3.233

work pic
Breakfast at work, yay !

Review: White Noise

Monday, April 11th, 2005

After a succesful string of horror flicks last year, most producers see this as an opportunity. These movies following each other quickly, drawing big bucks on tight budgets (hence its popularity. See last months alone, The Grudge, Hide and Seek, The Ring 2, Cursed, Boogeyman, and the list goes on and on). So too does this movie fall under the same banner, and still the ticket paying audience doesn’t mind the harsh reviews.
Michael Keaton plays the obsessed husband taping and listening to audio tapes for messages, and later on watches the white snow on the TV trying to find his late wife. Besides the beginning and the end, that’s pretty much all you get. The Sony brand flashing on the tapes, the TV’s, and all the other equipment doesn’t add much depth either, and as the character starts to rewind the tape for the zillionst time, your urge to fast forward the movie gets stronger and stronger.
It’s just another piece of proof this genre has basically nothing to offer.4½.

Review: Blind Justice 101 – 105

Monday, April 11th, 2005

This is ABC’s midseason replacement for the cancelled NYPD Blue, from the same hands that lead it for 12 years (while being on the TV job for more than 40). This time Steven Bochco teams with John Badham, more familiar in the movie director/producer business.
Premise is not hard to guess, a cop goes blind, and we follow his hardships at work and at home. This dramatic role is on Ron Eldard’s shoulders, no stranger to drama, whose film career lifted off after an extended guest spot on E.R. (Sleepers, Deep Impact, Black Hawk Down, House of Sand and Fog). And it’s not there where the problem lies. Till now, the cases aren’t really surprising or interesting. Writing seems a bit tiresome, with no direction really getting off the ground. With this whole low key feeling, I’m afraid it will die a slow death soon.
That being said, the jury is still out though, as we try to get a better view (no pun intended) on how this will play out.

US Box Office

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

The first action-adventure this year surprisingly ends up on the top. Last year’s National Treasure was a box office hit, but the sandy desert-ish Hidalgo and Flight of the Phoenix bombed. Sahara must be something inbetween, taking in $18.5 million.
Second place is last week’s topper, Sin City takes in $14.1 million.
At three, Fever Pitch, starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, opens with $13 million. Rounding off the top five is Guess Who and Beauty Shop, tied with $7.1 million.

Review: The Machinist

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

Big sacrifices usually lead to big results. Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone gained weight, while for this film, Christian Bale does the opposite. He dropped whopping 30 kilos to a mere 50 kilos to facilitate the believable performance as an insomniac, and it shows. The shock value is the same as going into hibernation in the eighties and waking up in this year, seeing Michael Jackson’s deformed face on trial. I never liked Bale’s movies (the alternative American Psycho was plain boring, and actioner Reign of Fire wasn’t that fierce either), acting a bit with the same stiffness, but after this movie, I’d say, let Batman indeed begin, by all means.
A solid performance makes this dark psycho drama work on all levels. Consistent mood and an overture score while the story line keeps you guessing and wondering.7½.

Review: 11:14

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

Hanging around very long in limited releases, as is usual for independent movies, for this one actually I actually scratched my head a few times. While the storytelling is alternative, it’s not truly special, and neither is the story line. Seemingly dramatic events taking place around 11:14pm are a bit twisted by strange humor, and hence, doesn’t lend to well to steller acting performances, hanging around good and acceptable.
This makes this movie a good one, but has not enough to carry a must-see stamp. I’d even recommened you to see the similar Go (from 1999, which had a wider release anyways, making it easier to find in the rental shop) first, as this one DOES carry the coveted must-see label.7.


Sunday, April 10th, 2005

What have I learned this week ?

– Well, the pope was a sporty guy, according to Schwarzenneger. And it goes beyond my imagined finger exercises. He did daily push-up and sit-ups, and was good in soccer and skiing. How looks can be deceiving !
– Michael Jackson had more damaging testimonies lined up than Star Wars fan are lining up at the movie theatres in sleeping bags. And that’s pretty pretty much a very lot, I tell ya. Testimonies included fondling and sucking of at least 3 different children over the past 15 (give or take a few) years, including a cook seeing inappropiate behaviour towards Macauly Culkin.
– German is the second language of the world. Stunned to find it was the second language to be released for the Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, I also noticed they had almost a 9% share in the Counter-Strike: Source community, also a second place.
– Cappucinno is 1/3 coffee, 1/3 milk, 1/3 milky foam.

Review: Mean Creek

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

This could be seen as a break-out indie hit for newcoming writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes, who puts together an ensemble cast movie. It works very well, much in the same way Stand By Me worked well, but with darker tones and deeper subtleties. Being both writer and director, he has greater control over the better worked out characters, while he highlights facets of his script with seemingly effortless simplicity. He does this in a very minimalistic sense, with a tight budget, mostly close up shots, and even the music takes a backseat, which actually enhances the drama.
The superb cast is a tool used to the maximum capabilities, and after the movie, there are still quite some things to mull over, as any good movie usually does.8-.

Review: Be Cool

Monday, April 4th, 2005

Another movie suffering from the trailer syndrome (where the trailer is actually more fun than the movie itself), it’s stuffed with big time actors and even more cameos, but the story is non-existent, and the laughs are dispersed far and away. There are no real laugh out loud moments, and the story plays out as a predictable chess game. As the title says, John Travolta is the cool guy again, and seeing Uma Thurman in a movie isn’t such a bad thing. But as a movie, it’s not quite good. Worse still, even for a rental, it wouldn’t be satisfying.5.

US Box Office

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

This week, people were more interested in a very dark place than the opening of a new hair salon.
Sin City, with Robert Rodriguez behind the camera, drags in $28.1 million. Again, he pulls double duty as writer, producer, editor and composer.
Beauty Shop has a grand opening with $13.5 million. Queen Latifah does slightly worse compared to Ice Cube’s Barbershop ($21 million in 2002, $24 for the sequel last year). Guess Who drops to number 3, with $13 million, while Robots take the fourth spot with $10 million.
Rounding off the top 5 is Miss Congeniality 2 with $8.4 million.

How Messy is my Desk Today ?

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Rate 1 (FR#^&% MESS !) to 5 (how very tidy !). Only rate the latest picture, otherwise I can’t keep track of the average.

Total: 1253 out of 405 votes > Average is: 3.094

desk pic

What’s in a name ?

Friday, April 1st, 2005

If you needed Windows, and you went to the store, and saw two versions lying there called Windows XP Professional Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition N, which would you buy ?

Before you start scratching off too much skin from your head, the name with the added N is the European Commission’s name for the upcoming Windows XP version without the oh so dreaded monopoly smelling Media Player. Microsoft’s own suggestion, Windows XP Reduced Media Edition, which is much clearer, was rejected by the commision.

Then again, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT ? The versions will be priced the same, as the commission’s ruling did not include anything about that, so do you think the stores will even supply this nonsense ?