Archive for August, 2005

Review: The Dead Zone 407 – 411

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

As expected, a lot of stand alone episodes overpower this short season. Luckily though, they managed they squeeze in a few of those magnificent arch continuing stories, with a superb season finale to boot (just in time to make way for the Network TV season to start). Again, the finale revives the hope of a strong fifth season (a lot of things answered, and equally, a lot of new things to ponder about), diving into the new characters and plot twists.

Review: Wanted 101 – 105

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

Pairing with TNT’s The Closer, is a more testosterone fueled cop show. A special task force with several different specialties, headed by Gary Cole (American Gothic, Crusade), they hunt L.A.’s Top 100 Most Wanted list. It’s a pretty straight forward show, with only Gary Cole’s character having a back story and continuing struggle as a soon to be divorced father of two. The rest will have to do with almost generic dialogue. If the characters get more depth, and the pretty hot Rashida Jones (Boston Public) could lose the ever present frown, this show will have a chance in the soon to start TV network season. Otherwise, it will have to move off my limited TV schedule soon (some 20 slots per week available).

Review: Rome 101

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

With Empire (on ABC last month) so fresh in my mind, taking anymore more of this crap is too much (usually I give a series at least a chance of 2 episodes). This time, also a 6-episode mini-series on HBO, it focuses on slightly different matters, but the outline is still the same. The power struggle to control Rome, everyone is plotting to backstab Caesar. As usual with these movies, we see a whole bunch of unknown Brit actors playing the Romans. Even the director is a Brit. But even Michael Apted can’t shake this boring thing to life. Known for cliche movies (Enough, Extreme Measures), he did bring a bit of depth and drama to the James Bond saga (The World Is Not Enough), but this script is just too much. Guess this Roman bickering will have to do without me.

Review: Mysterious Skin

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

You have those movies where you keep scratching your head all the time, wondering, “What’s the point of this all ?”. Titles come to mind like Thirteen and Requiem for a Dream. And usually, you end up with the answer, it must’ve been all for the shock value or misguided controversy. Not a satisfying answer at all, but you can’t applaud a pointless movie just because it shows graphic violence and abuse not shown anywhere else.
Focusing on two boy in a small town in Kansas, one geeky boy has is obsessed by his blackouts, and think alien abduction caused this, while the other lives carefree as a hustler, doing mostly whatever God forbids. The obsession of the one leads somehow the the other one. While a cloud of mystery conceals the truth, it’s directed in a devious way, yet it’s easy to figure out. The acting is good, but not brilliant.
In the end, the message might have been, the truth will set you free, but even that doesn’t come across. Hence, it’s a movie not to be recommended, unless creating your own depression is your cup of tea.5½.

How Messy is it at my Work Today ?

Monday, August 29th, 2005

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

Total: 761 out of 237 votes > Average is: 3.211

work pic
In my field, it’s not only in software you find bugs. In this case, it a 19″ rack mountable casing, obviously manufactured in the far East (since I positively identify this as a Chinese cockroach without looking it up either on the web or in an encyclopedia).

US Box Office

Sunday, August 28th, 2005

Virgin power at the box office, as Steve Carell’s character stays on top this week, with $16.4 million. Second was The Brothers Grimm. No fairy tale there, as it only opened with $15.1 million. Red Eye drops one place, $10.4 million. Also dropping one is Four Brothers with $7.8 million. That leaves the fifth spot for the Wedding Crashers, still crawling towards the well deserved $200 million mark, with $6.3 million.

Review: Weeds 101 – 103

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Another strange series coming from Showtime, it’s a half hour dramedy about a single mom dealing in weeds to make a decent living for her and her two sons. Set in the suburbs, it creates a nice gossipy atmosphere while everything from school to parenting problems to relationship problems pass to fill the stories. The whole thing has a weird feeling to it, mixing drama with a strange sense of comedy, but headlining the show is Mary-Louise Parker, who seems to have never had a normal “sane” role, ever (also slightly psychotic in last years the Angels in America mini-series). Of course, her being the hottest 41-year women on this earth helps a lot too (she doesn’t look a day older than thirty !). For now, it’s definitely a keeper, so let’s hope the high doesn’t wear off anytime soon.

Review: Wedding Crashers

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

The novel idea (or at least, I think it is) of crashing weddings with the sole purpose of picking up girls makes for a very decent if immoral movie. Born comedian Owen Wilson teams up with better late than never Vince Vaughn (already an established comedian, but only started doing these roles halfway through his career). The acting of the supporting characters are quite there on par.
The story is full of new and fresh ideas, and character design isn’t something forgotten either. With a quick setup and collage to get in the atmosphere of things, we delve right into the dialogue heavy crashing adventure, with a quick pace all the way to the end. Probably one of the most enjoyable comedy of this year.8.


Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Usually, most things Google makes, are instant successes. It started with the super fast lean mean search machine in 1998, growing bigger every year ever since. Taking over the Usenet database (can’t even remember what is was called) and reforming it to Google Groups was the next step. Revenue came pouring in with sponsored links, and new projects spawned over the years. For instance, Google Earth distributed faster than any nasty Windows Worm could dream of, purely on its merits and word of mouth.
But now comes Google Talk. The instant messenging everybody already knows. ICQ was the startup, even before Google was formed (1996), but with Windows Messenger’s inclusion in Windows, and other rivals (Yahoo, AOL), that market is really crowded. It also includes voice chat, but that was already a feature on MSN (which is a pain in the ass when used in a NAT-ed environment, and hence Skype is the way to chat currently). So what is really new (besides another restriction, your contacts must be fellow GMail users) ? Will you be trying it ?

US Box Office

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

Late bloomer Steve Carell opens with this week’s number one movie (starting out as a correspondent on The Daily Show, and now starring in NBC’s The Office), The 40-Year-Old Virgin was interesting enough for a $20.6 million premiere. Second is Wes Craven’s Red Eye, scaring up about $16.5 million for a second place.
Four Brothers drops two spots, with $13 million, while the Wedding Crashers held steady at four with $8.3 million, only a few weeks more to cross the $200 million mark. Rounding out the top five is The Skeleton Key, losing a bit of its voodoo powers, with $7.4 million.

Review: Lene Marlin – Lost in a Moment

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

Norway’s only notable pop export (if you don’t count A-Ha’s failed comeback) gives it another try, with her last album dating back in 2003 (and her breakthrough single “Sitting Down Here” from 2000). Even though I don’t hold this type of pop to such a high esteem as alternative or adult rock, from time to time I can handle a few songs. Over the years her voice has improved (less nasal, but still soft-spoken) and the songs can be quite soothing.
This time around, a bit of an overdose kills the excitement. Most songs are still as poppy as I can remember, others have the too perfectly times chorus cue’s programmed in, it kinda has an aggrevating effect instead of the previous soothing power. As always, longevity is also not a strong point for this genre, but still, it could be nice to listen to it if dosed correctly.6½.

Review: Over There 101 – 104

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

Steven Bochco, even though his latest attempt failed (Blind Justice, canceled on the ABC), is still a name to be reckoned with. With a history long relation with the big networks, he finally makes a move towards cable (FX) with a particularly dark and gritty drama. Taking place in Iraq, it follows a group of soldiers. The mission based episodes provide enough variety, and the drama and dilemmas are decently written. Both the missions and the personal drama, both at the war front and at home, seem to have enough breeding ground to last quite a few seasons (for now, the ratings warrants it).

Review: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

Thursday, August 18th, 2005

Sequel to Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, also written and starring Rob Schneider. This one too has a thin story, filling the gaps with vulgarity and meaningless jokes. Set mostly in Amsterdam, the jokes are predictable too (Red Light District, lenient drug policy). Also Hollywood policy is to dub over the Dutch voices with as much German accent as possible (happens a lot in other movies too), including naming the characters.
All in all, there will be a chuckle here and there, but for it to be really fun, you’d probably have to be drunk or high.6-.

Review: The Island

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

Sometimes you have those good movies that are hard to market (US Box Office won’t even get a quarter of their production money back), or maybe it’s the all-too-revealing trailer. Anyhow, this is one of them.
From director Michael Bay, who over the years turned to producer duties as well, comes another fine combination of a decent story with stunning gut-wrenching action sequences. Over the years he did prove himself quite able to continually churn out these combo’s (The Rock, Bad Boys and sequel, etc., with only Armageddon disappointingly too special effects focused), where the screen is filled with stunning visual effects and CGI effects seamlessly mixed in (thanks to good ol’ reliable ILM). The pace is also as usual quite high, and there’s no boring moment to be detected (enough Scarlett Johansson for the guys, and enough Ewan McGregor for the gals). Clocking in well over 2 hours, it’s well worth your money.8+.

Review: Faith Hill – Fireflies

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

Ever since her rise to Nashville fame more than 10 years ago, she’s walked a fine line between ol’ country and pop. Her breakthrough in 1998 (This Kiss from her second album Faith) was enough to win me over. A powerful velvety voice combined with super sweet lyrics. The hardcore country songs I always ignored, and her third album still had a lot of those. Still there were quite a few selected songs I liked. Then came Cry (2002), and like many before her (Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes) a more distinct move towards more poppy ballads (actually, they all released their albums in that year, so no one can really take the credit for making that first move). Almost all of the songs on that album I liked (usually that only happens when the sun, the moon and the north star are aligned). The country radio stations, however, complained they couldn’t play any song of the album.
Now comes a new release, and it seems she’s succumbed to the Nashville pressure as the whole album is crammed (she usually has 14 songs on a CD) with that generic hardcore country stuff combined with those boring slow ones. Quite disappointingly, the lyrics aren’t that high quality either (“Is everything A okay in the USA, in the good old USA ?” “You see rock hard bodies and bikini hotties, and everybody’s got it going on” “Hey everybody, can’t you feel the rhythm now ? Hey everybody, don’t you want to party?”), no matter how seductive her voice is. Searching out the nice ones isn’t an easy job, and is a clear indication of what the grade will be.5.