Archive for April, 2006

US Box Office

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

During a somewhat slow week, family comedy R.V., toplined by Robin Williams, drives its way to the top this week, with a $16.4 million opener. Second place was for the first 9/11 movie to be released, the Paul Greengrass helmed United 93. With a virtually unknown cast, it takes in $11.6 million. This summer will also see another 9/11 movie released, namely the Oliver Stone directed World Trade Center (starring Nicolas Cage).
Third place is for another new release, Stick It, a teen gymnast drama from Disney delivers $11.3 million, thanks to young girls massing together for this inspirational tale.
Rounding out the top 5 are the leftovers Silent Hill with $9.3 million, and Scary Movie 4 with $7.8 million.

Review: The Man

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Combine one of the most bad ass actor (Samuel L. Jackson) with a die-hard comedy actor (Eugene Levy) and you could have a smashing box office hit. And that’s with the emphasis on _could_. Because it’s not. On all levels, it doesn’t reach above mediocrity.
The script is pretty thin, characters stiff, standard and predictable. There’s the occasional funny scene, but even those are from the lower quality fart department.
All in all, it’s doable if you didn’t have anything else to do, but definitely not a scheduling priority.6-.

Review: Transamerica

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Typical indie movie with a road trip as the main thread of the story. The story is, while not spectacular, not boring either. It’s filled with reasonable dialogue and acting is up to par. If you like last year’s Sideways, you’ll probably like this one too, though it’s a bit milder in many ways.7+.

Review: Blue October – Foiled

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

I only picked up their dual disc live album a few months ago, and out of the 24 tracks, I was able extract 4 exceptional rock songs. So that would definitely put them on my map. With a new album out, I was definitely excited. After all, that’s what studio albums are for, better production value.
Ouch. It seems their roots lie more in the synth-pop direction. Listening back to the studio versions of the songs I picked out is an akward experience. It’s so bad, I don’t even like those versions. The new album gives me the same sour taste. While more genres are blended in, including some harder rock and techno-pop ballads, none of those songs reach above the mediocre status. No beautifully balanced guitar play, combined with rough soulful vocals.
The history of my musical taste has always been that good live performances validate the talent of the artist(s), but in this case, it’s a reverse world. Ah well, a first for everything.4.


Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Another day at work at the Beurs World Trade Centre (finishing a two day job). Wow, what a relaxed building this is. Everything is taken care of. Kitchen for the whole floor. Nice offices with designers and other people ready to decorate these modularly designed office spaces just the way you want. And for the technical people (that would be me), the floor design is excellent for cabling.
And look at the view ! Wow, if I ever get rich, keep one office on the top floor free for me !

Beurs WTC

Beurs WTC

One tip for Rotterdam downtown regulars. If you’re in dire need to take a leak, and you have nowhere to go, nor the money to spend, just go into the main lobby of the WTC, the facilities here are free (no security to check you out) and clean !

More pics of the skyline here

Photo K-uiz solution

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Well, here’s a clearer picture of the k-uiz. As you can see now, it was a picture taken from the top of a thermal bottle, which had an unfortunate drop from the table. Combined with the still hot water inside, that makes the mirrory glass shining, while the steam on the camera lens produces the halo effect.
So, the closest to the correct answer is Tienz ! First prize: *MEGA*hug !


US Box Office

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

Another easy win for a horror movie, as Silent Hill rides to the top with $20.2 million. As profitable as usual for these movies, this one will break even by next week.
Less scary is Scary Movie 4, and it has to do with runner-up spot this week, with $17 million. Another new entry at 3, thriller The Sentinel, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Michael Douglas, opens with $14.7 million.
Ice Age: The Meltdown is really feeling the heat of the newcomers, but it’s still strong at number 4 with $12.8 million. The Wild drops one spot, rounding out the top 5 with $8.1 million, keeping a lot of retention (83%) from last week, though what starts low, stays low.

Review: Tristan + Isolde

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

You know what they say about movies that collect dust for some two years. Add to that a director with a drowning career (after the Waterworld fiasco), and you have a recipe for disaster.
Still, any seasoned director, disregarding failures or successes, should know you can’t bring an old story to the screen without reinventing or adding something new. And even then, people who happen to not knowing the story, will see every single plot twist in the trailer.
More failures come in the directing style, leaving too many so-called romantic moments drive the movie, instead of a solid story or dialogue. This movie is an empty shell, and hence, tragedy is not the theme, it’s the movie itself.5.

Review: Firewall

Friday, April 21st, 2006

One of those movies where the excitement doesn’t exceed that one created by the trailer, which is always a shame. Most obviously, the writing is far below par. Combine the most generic thriller elements with a nerdy title, and it’s bound to fail. The nerds won’t see any bit of action (Harrison Ford utters he hacked into someone’s account in the trailer, while he definitely did no such thing), and other people won’t even go to see it, afraid they’ll be put off with all those technical terms (only one line is technical, and I’m not even sure it was accurate). To top it off (and kinda violating my non-spoiler policy, but since I’m not recommending this movie, what the heck), it’s not even about a firewall, since any observant viewer knows the firewall was breached from the beginning.
With writing this bad and contrived, I wonder why anyone would sign on for this project.5-.

Review: Lucky Number Slevin

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Sometimes, a trailer can send out a wrong signal. This one for instance, makes it out to be a light comedy. But in fact, while it is light in the beginning, it goes much deeper and darker, driven by an unfolding story. And luckily, the story is pretty solid. And so is the acting. The script however, has everyone saying these darn sharp smart lines, and it’s a bit too coincidental to have every single person that eloquent.
When you’re inside the movie, the pace seems to be constantly at the right speed, but somehow from the outside, it’s a bit too slow. But as I said, the story is the main attraction here, that makes up for a lot.7½.

Photo K-uiz

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

How about another photo K-uiz eh ?

Question is simple, what is this exactly ? (And believe it or not, there have been NO post-processing done on the picture, this is as pure as it gets)


Review: Huff 201 – 203

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Huff kinda grows on you (probably the reason it got renewed for a second season, even before the first episode aired). Things just seem to work pretty after while, even the extremes of comedy and drama this show mixes together. Then the characters do the same thing. How I loathed the obnoxious character played by Oliver Platt, but how you feel he’s definitely part of the show. The whole ensemble cast gets a piece of the action, while guest stars have their moments too. Sharon Stone has a stellar run that made me forgive her for Basic Instinct 2, and I can tell you, that really means something.
Even though the (abominable) Nielsen ratings will make any Showtime executive shudder in fear, hats off for leaving this quality show on their schedule.

Review: Nestle Extreme Mini

Monday, April 17th, 2006

It just turned spring, but for ice cream companies, it must be a sign to start marketing their new line-up. So first up is Nestle, with another batch of mini’s, for €3,49 you get 12 tiny scones (20ml each). Unlike the Gold version I reviewed last year, these are based on standard biscuit scones, and the flavor is divided in 6 x Creme Brulee and 6 x Chocolate. The last one leaves nothing to the imagination, it’s pretty straight forward. Chocolate ice cream with a chocolaty and nutty topping. It actually takes only 16.3 seconds to gobble these tiny ones away. Next up is the Creme Brulee, which by any restaurant standard, should be something exquisite. Well, in this case, it’s not. It’s normal vanille ice cream with some creamy sugary sprinklings. That’s it ? Yeah, that’s it. And again, timing the disappearance act from sealed package to digestive form in the stomach, 15.2 seconds. Nice treat for the kids, but adults actually need 2 full boxes.7-.

Well, here it is, the requested 1.9 MB XViD video of how fast two cones (€0.58) can disappear. Actually most of the time is the unpacking. I can’t believe you actually wanted proof. Is my word alone not enough ?

One-sentence review

Monday, April 17th, 2006

Bee Season: Seemingly ordinary drama strangely morphs into a psychological and spiritual frenzy, making it an uncomfortable head-scratcher.6-.
Transporter 2: Mindless actioner, with typical direct-to-DVD behaviour.5+.
March of the Penguins: Quite an intriguing documentary, though it relies a bit too much on visuals over long periods than on really new amazing facts.7+.
18 Fingers of Death: It’s so bad, I don’t even want to spend half a sentence on it (oops I guess I already did).1-.

US Box Office

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

No surprise to see Scary Movie 4 rake up $41.0 million this Easter weekend, making it the topper of the box office. Meanwhile Ice Age: The Meltdown stays strong at number 2 with no less than $20 million, making up for a strong $147 million cume. The Benchwarmers drops one spot, now at number 3 with $10 million.
At 4, The Wild opens with a mediocre $9.6 million, which might point out the obvious reason, as being to similar to last year’s rival Madagascar. Rounding out the top 5 is Antonia Banderas dancing his movie, Take the Lead, two spots down, with $6.7 million.