Archive for May, 2005

Review: Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

With any conclusion of a prequel, expectations rise exponentially, and goals get hard to meet (even single movies have a hard time, think of disasters like Blair Witch Project, Twin Peaks, The Exorcist, and in lesser extent Hannibal). George Lucas however, nails this one, finishing his life work almost flawlessly (especially if you forget Episode I).
Right from the start we drop into the story with the same fast pace we’ve grown accustomed to with all the previous SW movies. More obvious is how much looser all the characters are and acted, giving them more heart and soul. Around them are more grand and spectacular special effects than your eyes can feast on for countless re-views to come. Difference with the overabundant special effects from the first (and slightly regarding the second) episode is, it’s more realistic and fluid. It also doesn’t serve as the main attraction, but it’s more a backdrop for the main story to develop, hence a greater effectiveness.
Then there’s the story, which might not come as a surprise if you’ve seen the old movies, but it still has enough surprises left, while tying the knots to Episode IV: A New Hope. Packed in nicely compacted chapters, as before, the 140 minutes actually feels too short. But that’s probably because you can’t keep track of the time between the oooh’s and aaah’s that comes with the excellent scenery on-screen, the ferocious light-sabre fights and the agony and tragedy that comes along with the descent to the Dark Side.
So, what has George accomplished with all this ? Well, the excellent conclusion of this tri-quel, which fits like a glove, is a feat that’s hard to beat for decades, if not centuries, to come. The Force is very strong in this movie. Trust me.9.

Review: Mariah Carey – The Emancipation of MiMi

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Rob Thomas entered the Billboard album chart at the top spot last week, as the only solo artist ever coming from a band to pull that feat off. But what was he competing against anyway ? Well, Mariah held the number one spot till then, so I had to hear if it was a worthy adversary or not.
After her failure with Glitter (the movie, the biggest bomb of 2001, just in case you forgot) and an accompanying nervous breakdown, she pretty much disappeared from the Earth’s surface. Her first single was of the same R&B crop that’s currently polluting the airwaves, nothing special there. Mariah though, said in interviews the album would be a vocal explosion, stretching it to the limit. So at least I had something to look forward to. She already earns extra points putting forth 14 songs instead of the industry’s standard 12.
First thing, she is correct about the vocal part of the album. The dynamic strong voice draws your attention now and then. The songs themselves though, are another cup of tea. A handful of duets (Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Dupri, etc) is the same as those songs you hear on the radio everyday. Nothing new there. The other hand seems to be filled with Destiny’s Child’s left-overs, and the slower less melodious ones at that.
In the end, it’s not a total disaster, but it’s not that exciting either.6-.

Review: Enterprise 418 – 422

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

And so comes an end to a series with four not so remarkable years. While I let the bigger part of this season go by me, I decided to drop back in for the last few steps. And again, quality-wise, I was not impressed. The only episode where my finger was twitching above the fast forward button was the last episode, with a personal touch by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, giving it a TNG feeling and quality. Who knows, if they’d done it more often, the series might not have died (hahah, who am I kidding). While there are a few years coming with no Star Trek on screen (which hasn’t ever happened from 1987 till now), the end of this show doesn’t leave me crying out with tears. When they muster enough creative power to make a show as cutting edge as TNG or DS9 was, I’m more than willing to pick it up again. For now, finally let the recycle bin be a trash bin.

US Box Office

Monday, May 16th, 2005

Jane Fonda’s return to the big screen was enough to push J. Lo’s ass up to the top spot, as Monster-in-Law takes in $24 million. Second place was another comedy, starring Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall, Kicking & Screaming takes in $20.9 million.
At three, not a really big opening for Jet Li starrer Unleashed. All his previous movies (Hero, Cradle 2 the Grave, The One, Kiss of the Dragon, Romeo Must Die) have opened better.
At 4, we have something that might be a Kingdom of Financial disaster, as the second week for this Heaven takes in only $9.6 million. Rounding off the top 5 is Crash with $7.2 million.

How Messy is my Desk Today ?

Sunday, May 15th, 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: 1271 out of 412 votes > Average is: 3.085

desk pic

Review: Lays Stax

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Jumping in on Pringles’ success as of lately, Lays tries to copy almost all the details with slight modifications. First is of course, the chip itself. Having the same rounded curve so they stack up nicely. Then there’s the flavour, nothing special there either (regular, paprika, cheese-onion). The design of the can is probably for extra convenience (curved outward), as if to hold the chips when you slightly tilt the can. That might be handy indeed, but the plastic used for this new design is thin, and won’t protect the potato chips under pressure.
Finally, the texture is the first thing you really notice. While it is crispy, it’s much more dense than Pringles, making it harder to chew on. For this alone, I can assure you it won’t be as addictive as Pringles (maybe a good thing, for the weight watchers among you). Pringles have this magical crispy and light texture where it seems it’s almost melting inside your mouth, and it seems this is a mystery not uncovered yet by their competitors.
In the end, it’s not bad, but it ain’t perfect either.7½.

Review: Jack and Bobby 109 – 122

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

It’s May, time for shows to end. First one up is Jack and Bobby. After a few dips after the winter hiatus, it did get back to the highest level of writing, making this one of the few pilot seasons to make a mark in history like this. And maybe because the big word on a next season is still out there, the last few episodes were fast-tracked to an admirable series ender, but still leaving a lot of interesting stuff open for a possible second season. Now it’s waiting for the big bosses to decide if ratings (continuous last (6th) place on the Wednesday nights) are more important than a specialty show no network can compete with.

US Box Office

Monday, May 9th, 2005

A Kingdom of Heaven could not prevent a further slump at the box office, taunting it for several weeks already. With $20 million though, it does end up at the top spot, but on a $150+ million budget, it’s just not on par.
Second place is House of Wax, also doing worse than the previous horror flicks opening this year. The happy prospect of seeing Paris Hilton slashed into a bloody mash still couldn’t lift it above $12.2 million (I for one, would definitely pay double for that).
A tie at three for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Crash, a new drama from Million Dollar Baby writer Paul Haggis, with $9.1 million.
Rounding off the top five, is third week-er The Interpreter, with $7.5 million.

Review: Kingdom of Heaven

Friday, May 6th, 2005

The first of the big budget summer movie lineup, it’s supposed to be a Kingdom of Heaven, a kingdom of conscience. That may all be so, but it’s certainly not a kingdom of excitement. From the same director that gave us a pretty glorious Gladiator, this movie seems a bit unfocused. Ridley Scott himself called it finding a balance, but in the end, I missed depth, character, drama, exciting battles and all the other things that made Troy a good movie. We only get glimpses of those facets, and that’s just not enough.
There’s another problem with this movie, as most movie-goers probably can’t really relate to the Holy Wars, Jerusalem, the crusades, counsels of barons and all. You’ll get the bigger picture, of course, but you still can’t figure out what makes these people tick.
While not a total disaster (in quality, it’s between Alexander and Troy), I certainly hope the rest of the summer lineup will do a better job at live up to the expectations.7+.

Review: Bruce Springsteen – Devils & Dust

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

After an extensive world tour with the E Street Band, he’s back with a solo album. The band was probably not the only thing he left at home, as the minimalist musical setup suggest only a handful of acoustic instruments was used. I usually don’t have a problem with that, but with the direction Bruce is taking, leaves me with a pale impression.
He’s always been known for his story-telling qualities in his songs (think, the River), and this album is full of it. The style though, is much slower, more like a trip to Nashville. Less than a handful of songs remind me (too much) of his older materials, but sadly these are still the only songs I can bear. The majority are actually more fitting on an audiobook then on a music CD. This album is definitely not continuous replay worthy. And for the psychologically less stable people, I’d like to warn you before you slip slowly into a full-blown depression era.5½.

How Messy is it at my Work Today ?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

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

Total: 735 out of 227 votes > Average is: 3.238

work pic
See sumding new ?

US Box Office

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

People didn’t need a guide to the movie theatre, but they still wanted to learn something. Hence The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ends up on top, with $21.7 million.
Second was last week’s number 1, The Interpreter, with $14.2 million. At three, people were not that interested in Ice Cube as the new xXx, as xXx: State of the Union opened with a mere $13.7 million, about a third of Vin Diesel’s opening.
Rounding out the top five were left-overs, The Amityville Horror with $8.1 million and Sahara $6.0 million.