Archive for July, 2005

Germany here I come…

Friday, July 29th, 2005

President Kennedy uttered the words “Ich bin ein Berliner” (twice in one speech, I think), for whatever crowd pleasing reasons (he was after all, standing in front of 120.000 Germans). Guess I’ll find out how it feels to be a Berliner pretty soon.
Here’s another CNN Weather update.
Hope they have the cardboard boxes ready for us, because in some smart move from a certain frnd, he chose a hotel with 0 out of the possible 5. Yups, you didn’t misread, it clearly says ZERO out of FIVE stars, coz that’s whud ya get for 30 bucks a night.
But most importantly, how will I survive 5 days without Counter-Strike ???

Review: Kung Fu Hustle

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Stephen Chow has already earned his feathers big time in the niche Hong Kong cinema. From cameos to small starring roles in the early eighties to more prominent roles later in the decade. Then came writing and directing later on. His King of Comedy (1999) might have been his turning point towards stardom (that’s as far as I have tracked him down, at least), and the title is nothing short of fitting. His movies have always had a wonderful sense of humor, always written in an unconventional way.
And again, after the worldwide success of Shoalin Soccer, he ups the ante with this one. Superlatives over superlatives, and hence the special effects gets used more and more (while it was only subtly used in Shoalin Soccer). But also again, is the strange but fun way the story unfolds, where you can’t guess where it’s going, and hence being more enjoyable. Tied to that, characters get the same treatment, with no heroic stereotypes around to spoil the fun.
While I have to admit his two previous movies had a more focused storyline, this one is still a hustle you don’t want to miss.8+.

Hold the thief !!!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

When I moved into this house in Feb 2002, I bought everything I needed from IKEA. So too the utensils, the bubbly blue style range (a set of 6 each). Now, 3½ years later, I’m shocked to see I have only ONE FORK LEFT ! (The one you see in the picture below)
And it’s even the damaged one (a bit is melted because I left it too long in the pan).
Pleez, if you see someone walking away from my house, with his hand suspiciously inside his jacket, possible hiding a fork, apprehend him and call the police. This is no way to live.

How Messy is my Desk Today ?

Wednesday, July 27th, 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: 1285 out of 418 votes > Average is: 3.074

desk pic

Wirewhud ?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

In a landmark ruling, a UK court has fined a man £500 for logging onto a domestic Wi-Fi network without permission.
Hmm, should I start worrying now ? Naah. What’s Wi-Fi anywayz, I have no idea how that works. You say whud ? There’s a Wi-Fi card built into my notebook ? Naah, must be an accident.

What’s in a name ?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

New names appearing this week.

– First we have Vista. Say whud ? Windows Vista, to be exact. That will be the XP follow-up, previously named Longhorn. The old name at least had a tough edge too it, but Vista sounds pretty weak. Then again, it had been delayed and delayed and delayed again. Then they even remove the planned features (namely, WinFS), so all we’re left with is XP with some superficial touch-ups. And while they, again, say it’s designed from the ground up, just like Windows Server 2003, we know most of the current patches released for Windows 2000 and XP means you also have to apply the patch on your Windows Server 2003 machine, as the very same vulnerability exists there.

-Then we have Apocalypto. Say whud ? Apocalypto, you know. It sounds like a children’s game or something, but it’s far from that. It’s the new utterly violent and blood spattering movie penned and produced and distributed by Mel Gibson. In the same manner he did Passion (invested $25 million of his own money, got some $600 million back), he will just direct this one, aiming for a summer 2006 release. He will also film it in some ancient Mayan language. Hopefully, the subtitles will be there again (which he reluctantly did for Passion), otherwise he can kiss his cash goodbye. C’moooon, who here can speak Aramaic or Mayan, raise your hands.


Monday, July 25th, 2005

Off to Berlin this Friday (till Tuesday, conveniently sandwiching the weekend in between, as I always do), so let’s see what I can look forward too. This is CNN’s Weather Forecast:

Review: The Dead Zone 401 – 406

Monday, July 25th, 2005

Season 3 ended with a bang, leaving season 4 a hard one to follow. This show has always proven to be a rich character and story driven show, so the season opener came somewhat as a surprise. The following episodes proved the slam in the face was a real one.
I have no idea what the Piller family is thinking, but it feels like a cheap way out. With one episode, they cut all the storylines short. The new episodes are, while still well written, back to the “normal” episodic formula. No hightened tension because of an intense background story, no continuing character development, but just another good series. It clearly lost its edge, so let’s hope the Pillers regain their sanity and start writing with their brains again soon.

US Box Office

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

No tooth decay to be seen with all the sweetness going on at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with $28.3 million easily retaining it’s lead. Number two is also the same, Wedding Crashers with $26.2 million drops only a 19% !!
At three, also the same, is Fantastic Four with $12.3 million. At four, possibly the biggest disappointment this year, is The Island, lonely and deserted, bringing in only $12.1 million. Rounding off the top five is a remake, Bad News Bears starring Billy Bob Thornton growls together some $11.5 million.

Review: Millions

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Another indie project from the highly praised director Danny Boyle (though I think he’s pretty standard, have seen his previous film, 28 Days Later). This time it’s a more homely script, with many fantasy elements in it. It’s set around a family, but seen from the outside. It focuses on two brothers and how they handle the money that’s miraculously thrown in their laps. There’s no way to identify with the boys, as their dialogue is written somewhat unrealistically (too bright – I for one, wasn’t that smart at that age, and I haven’t seen others being that clever either), keeping the viewer at a distance (what the fantasy element already did). That said, there are a few pretty smart things to find in the script, and the boys aren’t pushed to act in an unnatural way, so it’s very bearable. In the end, it’s not a strong drama, nor a comedy, but something in between. And again, direction was nice (though the scene transitions and musical score are too overpowering), but not deserving the level Greatness, as most people tend to make you believe.7+.

Review: Sahara

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

As with most movies situated in the desert in the past few years (Flight of the Phoenix, The Mummy Returns), they’re becoming harder and harder to swallow.
This Indiana Jones clone too, where the name is a good start to break down this movie. Dirk Pitt. Come on. The tagline follows as, Adventure has a new name. Not true, just a ridiculous one.
The movie is as exciting as the red line on the map sequence from the Indiana Jones movies, and everything fails from the beginning. Uninteresting script, uninteresting characters, uninteresting missions. There’s no chemistry going on, and boredom sets in pretty quickly, followed up by countless scenes you’ll say “yeah, right” to.
Counting all the grains of sand in the Sahara seems to be a better time killer than watching the whole movie.3.

US Box Office

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

With all the sweetness going on, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory easily pushed a certain fantastic quartet off the top spot. The high colored movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp attracted enough kids and parents for a boffo $55.4 million worth of tickets.
For the adults, there was the R rated Wedding Crashers, starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, good for a runner-up spot with $32.2 million.
A steep drop for Fantastic Four with $22.7 million, a whopping decline of 60% is just enough for the third place.
At 4 we have War of the Worlds heading for the $200 million mark (somewhere next week), with $15 million. And rounding off the top five is Batman Begins, with $5.6 million.

Review: The Closer 101 – 105

Friday, July 15th, 2005

TNT’s tagline “We know drama” has always depended on a limited number of original TV movies and mini-series, lotsa older theatrical movies, combined with re-run rights for ER, Law & Order, and a whole bunch of those. But this summer they’re really stepping up a gear, with the expensive Into the West mini-series, they have two original series slated (Wanted, scheduled to air in a few weeks), while The Closer aired with success for the past few weeks.
Focusing on the female lead (Kyra Sedgwick) who starts a new job leading a new LAPD special unit, much to everyone’s annoyance (people not liking her approach to the cases, the feeling of being overstepped). Following the cases we also get a glimps in her rather chaotic life, while the cases are mostly being solved through her own special interrogation techniques. Her character seems sufficiently fleshed out to last a few season, and a key view into that development keeps things interesting.
And while it’s _another_ procedural crime show, it’s fairly enjoyable for now, but things might change if the TV season heats up again in a few months.

Review: Fantastic Four

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Fantastic on paper, but on film, it’s just good. Then again, Good Four doesn’t sound too overwhelmingly exciting.
As with most Marvel Comics heroes, the adventure starts with an accident, after which the discovery of the amazing powers ensues. Difference with huge box office successes like X-Men and Spider-Man is that this movie is built around these powers, instead of seamless integrating it into the story. A second thing that sets this one apart is that the characters seem the least close to being human than the others. This is further exploited by making the interaction simpler, and making the dialogue less complex. Add to that the fact that the story evolves using mostly simple devices and cliches, and you have a standard pop-corn movie. With the other Marvel movies, I’d recommend everyone to see it, but for this one, I only recommend it for the comic book/action movie lovers (as you’ll still have the visual effects and the continuous bickering among the team members to keep you busy).7+.

Review: The 4400 201 – 205

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

USA Network has a pretty strong, if not the strongest, summer schedule slated, and it contains new seasons of Monk and The Dead Zone. Also started is a second season of The 4400, originally just a one time 6 episode mini series. Well written and developed as it was, it would hold up as a mini series, but expansion was another possibility. And well into season 2 it shows the producers have a lot more coming our way to make this a special series on it own. Most notable names on the production staff are of course Ira Steven Behr and Rene Echevarria, and results are well written stand alone episodes combined with story arch continuation. Mystery, drama, action, and a thought provoking view of the world makes this as unique as their previous endeavors (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). The way the bigger story unfolds, it looks like a few more years of this one of a kind show is a high probability.