Archive for October, 2005

How Messy is my Desk Today ?

Sunday, October 30th, 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: 1300 out of 423 votes > Average is: 3.073

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Review: Pringles Thai Sweet Chilli

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Normal chilli I know, Thai Sweet Chilli I probably don’t. There’s a slight chili flavor, but there’s a distinct ginger overtone. This makes you eat away this can much more slowly than you would another flavor, and addiction danger is hence a bit lower than usual. Still, having a new flavor to try out is always an adventure.7-.

Review: The Legend of Zorro

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

After just two movies, and I’m at the conclusion that it’s time for retirement for the man in the black mask. With this sequel, I can assure you that you’re not missing out if you happened to miss this so-called legend.
The story is simply put, not very interesting. Yeah yeah, home town in danger blablabla. The dialogue isn’t much better, and most punchlines are close to just being corny. Following the predictable story, we get into a few action sequences, but that’s just not enough. As a total, it’s just a standard hero movie. Nothing extra to make it stand out. The first one at least had Anthony Hopkins, teaching the newbie Antonio Banderas. Hence, this one feels pretty empty. While it’s not totally boring, there are a few times it was closely bordering it.6½.

Review: The Colbert Report

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Literally a Daily Show spin-off (airing right behind it on the Comedy Central, and also produced by Jon Stewart), it’s Stephen Colbert on his own. While a bit in the background on the Daily Show, he made an impression (for instance, This Week in God segments), and a new half-hour show is just what he needs to fill his ego.
While Jon Stewart on the Daily Show can crack a smile on a regular basis, Colbert is downright hilarious. Following a bit on the same line with following current news stories and meshing in a bit of politics, Colbert’s fast paced own opinions and comments keeps it fresh and crackling with energy.
Interviews, just like the Daily Show don’t revolve around Hollywood actors, but lean more towards journalists and writers. And again, with the sharp tongue that he has, the interviews are never what you expect it to be.
With new segments being invented every day, and the quality it has proven over the week, this is one to watch daily, even more so than the more traditional shows like Jay, David and Conan.

US Box Office

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Another slow week at the box office despite a whole slate of new releases. First up, makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention to trailers. The most horrible one this year is Doom (especially the continuous use of the PC game’s First Person perspective. Come on, if I wanted to see that, I’d play the game). Still it ends up at the top spot, albeit at a lowly $$15.4 million (with only a slight chance to regain its $70 million budget).
At two, families flocked to see Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story. Starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, it earned $9.3 million.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit slips to the third place with $8.7 million, while The Fog is on the way to clear up, at number 4 with $7.3 million.
Rounding out the top five is Charlize Theron starrer North Country. Supposedly another Oscar contender, it earns only $6.5 million (still more than Monster’s weekend grosses in 2003).

Review: Crash

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

For Paul Haggis, the future looks bright. With this one, he definitely has another Oscar contender after writing Million Dollar Baby (technically, Million Dollar Baby got off the ground after Crash was already finished filming). Going behind the camera also, he has total control over this special pet project. There’s a certain unique story telling that makes quite a few things happen. First of all, we have actors flocking in, happily doing it without pay (pretty much keeping production costs at a measly $6.5 million). Not only that, it also brings the best out of them. When you think some of them slumbered into mediocrity because fame got to their heads (for instance Sandra Bullock, Ryan Phillipe), their performances here validates their job as actor/actress for another few years. Then there’s the character writing. With so many characters around, Haggis is still capable of bringing psychologic twists to it with a minimum of screen time. The story itself is very racially charged, but he is still able to infuse other certain elements in it, so it functions as a breeding ground for other social issues. And while the drama keeps pressuring your mood, after this grim outlook on things, he keeps a few rays of light shining through, subtly suggesting there’s still a bit of hope and faith left.
All this combined, makes this crash resonate far beyond the movie theatre, making you ponder over it for some time to come.8½.

Review: Comedy Hour

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

Or rather, half an hour, as the new comedies I’m reviewing here are. They will be ordered according to quality (first one is the highest).

My Name is Earl (NBC): The freshest comedy of the new bunch. Starring Jason Lee as a recent karma believer, trying to do good with the rest of his life (with a $100.000 lottery winning backing him up). Following a (long) list he made of all the wrongs he wants to undo, it’s fast paced, with usually one mission per episode. This of course provides a fresh new episode every week, and that makes it a keeper for now.

Everybody Hates Chris (UPN): Superb opening on the somewhat limited UPN network, and the pilot deserved it (including record numbers for the network). Starring Tyler Williams as young Chris Rock, we get to see what his life was about during his high school years. Narrated by Chris Rock himself, the first episode was witty and sometimes sharp. Following episodes were a bit milder though (and a bit more predictable). The setting (usually at home or at school) offers little variation, so the future looks a bit grim. We’ll have to wait and see how they’ll keep the stories interesting and funny.

Kitchen Confidential (Fox): As the title suggests, mostly kitchen stuff. Headed by Bradley Cooper, who has a convincing track record in drama (Alias and Jack & Bobby). Comedy isn’t a feat he can’t handle convincingly either, having proven to be able to play characters convincingly and differently without breaking a sweat. There might be a slight chance the restaurant business might be a limiting factor, but for now, the acting and character development is enough to keep it served warm.

And now it goes downhill. Here we have the typical sit-coms with studio filming and live audience with a laugh track as added bonus.

Freddie (ABC): Geared towards the youngsters, it’s about Freddie (Prinze Jr.) and his friend (Brian Austin Green) living pretty much an easy life (with money pouring in from the shower or something, considering it looks like they don’t work), and being single, the main subject will be hunting women. Not very original, but since it just started, I’ll give it a few more tries.

Out of Practice (CBS): Family oriented sit-com, with divorced parents (Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing) and their 3 grown up children all following in their medical footsteps (we won’t see any hospital scenes or something though). Usually at home or in the restaurant, they miraculously keep meeting each other (even though they all live on their own), all the way up to abnormality. It’s not that original (cliche story lines), and it’s pretty inconsistent (personality changes when the scripts warrants it). Delivering non-funny lines after which a roaring laugh track takes over is pretty annoying too. Stockard Channing’s facelifts make her look like a clown, and since it’s her sole expression, it looks like she’s always laughing at her own jokes (and think of how the “drama” scenes play out with that concrete smile on her face).

The War at Home (Fox): This one, I’d wouldn’t even have greenlit for production, on such a poor pilot script. Using the audience talk technique, it’s another family-based sitcom, that looks like sketches stitched together. Poor unhilarious dialogue (and again, the always present laugh track) makes your toes curl. Really makes me feel sorry for Michael Rapaport (pretty good drama actor, but funny according to a sloppy script he’s not).

Review: Invasion 101 – 104

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

And the third sci-fi invasion type series to premiere this season on ABC (along with NBC’s Surface and CBS’s Threshold), and it’s clear CBS is the winner of this round. This one is slow, slow and oh wait, very slow. Pretty much nothing happens, so you might think there’s enough time for character development or deepening the story. No such luck. Maybe the message is, when THEY finally come, they will bore us to death. Now, that’s a scary thought.

Review: Commander in Chief 101 – 103

Monday, October 17th, 2005

With NBC’s The West Wing in ratings crisis, ABC saw an opportunity for another to hit back with a female version of it. Starring Geena Davis as the President (also co-exec producer) it has all the elements you’d expect. Expectations created by her being the first female President, the dubious rising to the spot as an independent and family matters for extra complications. Nicely dividing familial drama with tough political warfare between the various factions (Democrats, Republicans, press, backstabbing Senators and Governors) while the internal workings of the White House are trying to settle to the new situation (school, security, chief of staff, press secretary). It’s definitely a crowded show, but with a keen sense of focus, it delivers fine drama and suspense.

US Box Office

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

A dip in the box office this week, with the number one only taking in $12.2 million. The Fog stars Tom Welling and Maggie Grace (the first to cash in on Lost’s tv fame) in a remake of master scarer John Carpenter.
Second was Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, dropping one spot with $11.7 million. Third up is Elizabethtown, romantic comedy starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, with $11 million.
At four, Flightplan continues at a declining trajectory, with $6.47 (and a respectable cume of $70.8 million). Rounding out the top 5 is In Her Shoes, with $6.1 million.

Review: Criminal Minds 101 – 104

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

CBS is still THE network to plant a new crime series, and this year, there’s another bunch coming in. Criminal Minds is a series focused on the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, so pretty much another Profiler like show. Compared to Fox’s offerings of lately (The Inside, Killer Instinct), this one definitely has the upper hand. Decent actors and decent storylines combined with decent psych profiles (though sometimes it’s still a bit predictable). It’s not really must-see (they’d have to improve the character design and interaction for that) and , but it’s not a bad time killer either.

Review: Four Brothers

Friday, October 14th, 2005

It seems John Singleton’s carreer has been going downhill ever since his critically acclaimed debut (Boyz’n the Hood). Shaft was pretty mediocre, and 2 Fast 2 Furious is just too dumb to even criticise it. Four Brothers falls, again, in the popcorn categorie, and hence, all logic goes out the window. Instead, we get testosterone. Spoon-fed. Lots of it. As the title and film poster suggests, it’s about four brothers, on a revenge quest. Lotsa of brotherlike homey talk, lots of goofing around. Lots of hit first, ask questions later. And even though they try to make a deeper story out of it, the low bar has been set, and there’s just no way to up the ante when you go down that road.7-.

How Messy is it at my Work Today ?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

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

Total: 771 out of 239 votes > Average is: 3.226

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Review: Ghost Whisperer 101 – 103

Monday, October 10th, 2005

It’s been done several times in the past years. First was Haunted on the UPN (axed after only a few episodes) and Tru Calling (canceled after one season) on Fox. Ghosts of dead people, whom only the star of the show. Then comes the crime solving part, followed by a confrontation of the non-believer. Then all ends well, including the proving part (telling something only the dead person would know) where the unbeliever becomes a believer.
So too does this one follow the same steps. It makes it a pretty mildly entertaining show, mostly due to the inevitable predictability. While the show doesn’t focus on crime, but more on closure, it hence has more opportunity for mushy tear jerking scenes. But with no special twists (like Tru Calling had with the time jump) and no real character development (save for some flashbacks) to be seen, it’s a whisper that might well be lost in a crowded schedule. For now, I’ll hang on (at least Jennifer Love Hewitt isn’t a pain to the eyes), since a few shows got canceled already, but come mid-season replacements, who knows.

US Box Office

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

Clay wins over flesh this week at the box office, as Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit takes the top-spot with $16.1 million. Second is Flightplan, diving to a lower altitude after spending two week at number one. With $10.8 million this week, it has cumed $60.9 million since its release.
At three we have Cameron Diaz in In Her Shoes, with $10.0 million, those shoes are probably not the running kind. At four is another new release, Two for the Money. Starring Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey in a sports/gambling drama, it appears they don’t do high stake bets, as it only books $8.4 million.
Rounding out the top 5 is The Gospel. Low budget drama has a choir worth $8.0 million.