Archive for June, 2006

Review: Slither

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Finally, an unpretentious lighthearted funny horror flick. Haven’t seeing those in years, it feels like a soft breeze. No Gremlins fun though, it needs a bit of time to get things going, and there’s no real intelligent storytelling around, but at least it’s midly entertaining (whereas most of the “serious” ones will have your toes cringing within minutes). For that alone, it’s probably why there will only be two names under the horror year-in review section at the end of the year (sharing honors with Saw II).6½.

Review: Ilse DeLange – The Great Escape

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

The great escape in this case, is the gateway to full-blown contemporary pop, leaving behind her Nashville influences that combined so nicely with her hoarse yet soothingly soft voice.
This album has a highly experimental sound to it, with many different styles and also stretching her voice differently for each song. With this style going on, I somehow can extremely easily pick out the ones I like, and the conclusion is not a nice one. This album suffers from the title song syndrome, where in the end, you’re left enjoying only the already released single (which usually is the title song, and in this case is so), which resembles her earlier schtick the most.4.

Review: Dashboard Confessional – Dusk And Summer

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Already Dashboard Confessional’s 5th album, I had to work my way backwards into their discography (their song Vindicated from the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack, to A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar and MTV Unplugged 2.0). With this all, it’s clear they had their genre pegged between tougher acoustic rock songs and sweeping soft-rock almost bordering emo. Some are quite similar (especially in the acoustic unplugged environment), but more than a handful of clear hits are easily filtered, and from the rest even more will grow on you over time. With their Unplugged outing, as the first band without a major hit to be invited, which was a good call on the MTV’s side to say the least, has produced moderate success for Dashboard afterwards.
They must’ve thought it’s time to join powers with a big name producer (Daniel Lanois, with credits for U2 and Bob Dylan albums). Well, that didn’t work out quite well. Gone are the songs with long verses that flow into each other, never needing a chorus to make it shine. While Vindicated stands out as a different Dashboard song, now they’re trying to make a whole series of it. The one word choruses don’t ring well with me, and without the subtlety of earlier songs, there’s no way it will grow on me.
Of course, it’s not all screaching electric guitars with wild stumping on the wah wah pedals, there’s still time for the ballad style songs. Singer Chris Carrabba is still capable of giving it the most emotional twist possible (credits also to guest vocalist Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz on So Long, So Long), still the song doesn’t hit a home-run. To make it worse, while I already marked it “almost emo”, he goes a bit too far, and literally breaks out in a girly scream-ish tantrum (Heaven Here). With so many remarks on just a 10 song album, I can’t say I’m thrilled at all.5.

Review: The Wreckers – Stand Still, Look Pretty

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Debut album of The Wreckers, the duo formation consisting of Michelle Branch and her backup singer Jessica Harp, trying to mix Branch’s pop-rock with Harp’s southern twang influences. Too bad though, I always liked Michelle Branch’s work, but with the marital status (musical-wise), it’s leaning a bit too much to the country side (a mix that Jewel had better under control). The best song (The Good Kind) isn’t even a new song (already released one and a half years ago). The are of course other songs that almost remind me to Branch’s earlier solo work, and those are quite listenable, but as a whole album, I can’t really recommend it.5.

US Box Office

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Adam Sandler topliner Click zaps its way to the first place, opening with $40 million. Co-star Kate Beckinsale’s starpower notwithstanding, it’s Adam Sandler who’s proven to be as bankable as ever for the past decade, landing $40+ million in the opening week with most of his movies.
Runner up spot is for Cars, with $22.5 million. With just a 33% drop, it proves to run a very energy efficient engine. At number 3, Nacho Libre has to suffer a bigger drop, with 57% it takes in $12.1 million.
Urban actioner Waist Deep opens with $9.4 million at number 4. And rounding out the top 5 is The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, where the braking mechanism seems to be working quite well, making up for a 66% drop. Tough with $9.2 million this week, and a cume of $42.6 million, it will probably at least be close to break even at the end of the run.

Review: Smallville 511 – 522

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Pretty much a tradition by now, while some major things have happened during the season, they save the best for last, and of course, the beginning. In a sense, if you’ve already figured this out, it lived up to its expectation. This somehow creates an artificial and contrived atmosphere (especially during those low days in the middle of the season), where you’re almost apathetic to most events, only suddenly waking up from a slumber when the b-story, the story arch which is the reason you actually tuned in for, continues, although with certain amount of stuttering.
With the WB combing powers with UPN next season, let’s hope they can manage to up the quaility of the whole season instead of only the few strategically placed episodes.

Review: Everwood 401 – 422

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

While Everwood’s quality has been at a respectable level for quite a while, it seemed it slumped a little for this season. Things didn’t move forward, and the topics we’ve seen have already been handled before. This muddling through kept going on till almost the end, where things took a wrong turn with writers knowing the pending end was now nigh. In a desperate writing spree, they didn’t even figure out how contrived it is to have three principle characters land in the hospital in one episode.
In the end, it wasn’t really cutting edge drama, but at least it was a satisfactory.

One-sentence review

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

The Hills Have Eyes: Well, the hills may or may not have eyes, but a story it certainly does not have, making this quite the brainless slasher flick.4.
The Squid and the Whale: Very reasonable indie drama, if you forgive the fact that is not really a well-rounded story.7-.

Review: Cars

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

I think this is the first Disney/Pixar flick that I actually don’t really like. But of course, there’s always a first time (for Dreamworks Animation it was Shark Tale).
Several reasons pop up. First, with cars, you kinda limit the distinctiveness of the characters. But look isn’t all that’s at fault here. It actually wouldn’t be such a big thing if they didn’t give the characters such a hollow, one dimensional and non-meaningful content. Henceforth, the resulting relationships are painful to watch, and later on, the false sentiment will feel pretentious. Layers and layers of cliche storytelling will follow, with predictibility finishing first. All that makes the superbly fluid polygon-hiding animation with splashy reflective technology on top of the already super texturing and lighting effects pretty much useless. Too bad the script couldn’t get a complete overhaul at the local garage.5.

Review: Big Love 110 – 112

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

A short season for sure, but luckily already renewed for a second season. Between the hilarious family quibbles and drama, stories continued to unfold and characters are still developing. It even ends with a smashing cliffhanger. This is definitely one to hold on to (a long wait though, probably resuming somewhere next year).

Taking an iDump

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Take a look at this link !
Isn’t this taking it a bit TOO far ? Even me, who has speakers in the kitchen and the shower, thinks it’s too much. And that’s mainly because toilets don’t have power sockets installed by default. Still, IF you ARE interested, you can always call me, I know a few tricks to get this thing installed. If you’re willing to buy that, I’m sure you won’t mind me installing it for you (for about 200 euros an hour).

Review: Alias 508 – 517

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I feared it would be a bad season for Alias, but at the exact point of my last review, it started picking up again. Of course, the looming end was in play now, and the producers had quite a treat for us (though crunching it all in such a short time does come with its flaws). But with 4 years of building up a mythical legend as big as Ramboldi, you can’t help but feel disappointed at some aspects of the big end-game. Alias ends admirably though, while maybe a few unnecessary sacrifices were made, some poetic justice has been served. Alias was truly one of a kind, so let’s hope J.J. Abrams has more up his sleeve the coming years. Until then, I’d quite happily recommend you buy this series as a DVD box.

US Box Office

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

Cars finished the finish first for another week, with $31.2 million. While admirable, with a 48% drop, it’s steeper than what happened with Finding Nemo or The Incredibles in their second week.
Second up is Jack Black starrer, Nacho Libre. With $27.5 million, this will be his best opening comedy (Upping his $19.6 premiere of School of Rock from 2003) yet.
Another opener at 3, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift races together some $24.1 million. Short of any big name star, it’s nowhere near the $50.5 opening of 2 Fast 2 Furious from 2003.
At 4, WB is counterprogramming for the females, The Lake House opens with $13.7 million. Rounding out the top 5 is left-over The Break-Up, with $9.5 in its third week (closing in on the $100 million cume).

How Messy is my Desk Today ?

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

Rate 1 (FR#^&% MESS !) to 5 (how very tidy !). Only rate the latest picture, otherwise I can’t keep track of the average.

Total: 1337 out of 438 votes > Average is: 3.053

desk pic

Guess I’ll be starting a new family.

Review: The Break-Up

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

One of the most uneventful rom-com this year. There’s not one point in this movie that’s new or untold. On top of that, the phases don’t move along at all, with the story stuck already after 10 minutes. While the acting performances are okay, the script fails them big time, with nothing really to laugh or cry about. Just stick with the trailer, I assure you, you’ve seen enough.5-.