Archive for August, 2006

Review: The Wicker Man

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Nicolas Cage hasn’t done anything this close to thriller/horror stuff, but he always brings drama (City of Angels, Leaving Las Vegas) and a strange dose of humor (Lord of War, Adaptation) to the table. Hell, blockbuster movies is a piece of cake for him too (The Rock, Face/Off). Just leave thriller/horror out of the list. At least this one, for sure.
It starts pretty okay. Dramatic setup and all. Then some mystery gets in the mix. Then the writer/director (Neil LaBute) makes a wrong turn for the worse. Now it’s all silly. And I really mean silly, with the dramatic score still running in the background. Now THAT’s REALLY silly. Of course, you didn’t come for silly, so you’re pretty pissed in the end. And that’s the only thing that matters ultimately. Nic is a lot of men (besides The Wicker Man, he’s The Family Man, The Weather Man, and the Matchstick Man. He’s even a KaufMAN, and a MANdolin), but this one is the one you should forget about really fast.4.

Pre-emptive strike

Monday, August 28th, 2006


Onderwerp: UPC Digital
Betreft: Klacht

Via familie ben ik erachter gekomen, dat de dreiging steeds dichterbij komt. Ik had het al eerder op TV gezien, maar wist niet dat de nadering zo snel nabij zou zijn.
Het gaat natuurlijk om jullie niet werkende product UPC Digital (ja ja, even snel wat forums afgestruind, altijd lachen).
Iedereen kent wel het spreekwoord, beter voorkomen dan genezen. Ik ben helaas eerder in de clinch geweest met jullie, dus mijn versie van dat spreekwoord luidt, beter verhuizen dan in aanraking komen met UPC. Maar in dit geval, zal ik bij deze nog een laatste poging wagen, aangezien ik gelukkig nog geen bericht heb ontvangen van julie “fantastisch nieuw product” dat ongevraagd in mijn strot wordt geduwd.

Bij deze dus mijn vraag of jullie mij bij voorbaat al UIT jullie klantenbestand kunnen verwijderen, dan wel gewoon geen nieuw abonnement aansmeren of gratis producten mijn richting opsturen. (Als ik mijn analoge TV signaal verlies, het zij zo. Tranen zullen vloeien uit blijdschap.)
Ik waarschuw u in ieder geval alvast, dat ik mij ga beroepen op het burgerlijk wetboek (boek7 artikel 7, zie Vrij vertaald, mag ik het houden omdat mij niet om toestemming is gevraagd, noch heb ik om het product gevraagd. Jammer genoeg loopt het maar tot Lid 4, aangezien ik in dit geval zelfs uitdrukkelijk jullie verbiedt het mij toe te sturen. Ik zet bij deze alles in het werk om een uitbreiding tot Lid 5. Deze zou mij dan vergoeding moeten bieden voor het aankomend psychologisch letsel, en mij in staat moeten stellen tot het ritueel verbranden van de oh zo machtige Mediabox.

En zoals altijd, eindig ik met:

Hopelijk nooit meer wat van jullie te hoeven vernemen (doch, helaas nog niet uitgekomen. Sterker nog, jullie kennende, zullen jullie de informatie die verplicht is voor het invullen van dit web-formulier gebruiken voor meer duistere doeleinden. Om die redenen zullen enkele spelfouten worden toegevoegd om dit in de toekomst te kunnen bewijzen),

KaVam Ong

Geachte heer Ong,

Hartelijk dank voor uw bericht. Het spijt ons dat u in het verleden slechte ervaringen
met ons heeft gehad. Wij hebben geprobeerd uw klantgegevens te controleren. Helaas
staat er geen enkele heer of mevrouw Ong op het door u aangegeven adres bij ons
ingeschreven. Hierdoor kunnen wij op dit moment nog niet een notitie bij uw
klantgegevens maken dat u de MediaBox niet wenst te ontvangen. Wij vermoeden dat het
om een vergissing of een typfout gaat en raden u aan nog een bericht te sturen zoals u
dat nu heeft gedaan, echter dan met de juiste gegevens erop zoals die hier bij ons
bekend zijn.

Wij vertrouwen erop u hiermee voldoende te hebben geinformeerd.

Met vriendelijke groet,

UPC Nederland

/me BANGS head on ceiling

Searching on address or postal code is just too tough a job for them.

US Box Office

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Invincible, yes. But it reigns in a very weak box office, as the summer schedule is about to close. The Mark Wahlberg starrer inspired by a true NFL story hauls in $17 million. Talladega Nights holds on to the second spot with $8 million, while Litte Miss Sunshine rises to the third spot in its fifth weeking with $7.5 million. Rounding out the top 5 are two movies sharing the number 4 spot, newcomer comedy Beerfest, and second week Accepted, both brining in $6.5 million.

How Messy is Smart“’s my Desk Today ? (part two)

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

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

Just in case you did not read the title, this IS NOT MY DESK, this is from native Amsterdammer Smart“ (illegally inhabiting a municipality designated location for commercial activity).
Actually, it’s not a desk either, right now it’s kinda an extension of his desk (the basement underneath it), his future office space where millions will be earned by way of intellectuel property output in the form of machine code.
Except….right now you see BIG things in there, that even can’t get out of this crawl space in one piece. Guess those millions will have to wait till transporter technology becomes available.

Total: 10 out of 3 votes > Average is: 3.333

desk pic

Review: Volver

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I try to keep my movie slate devoid of foreign import, as I kinda have a bad streak with those. But once in a while (usually less than 1 in a year) I sneak one in, and this time it’s the Spanish Volver, with only one notable name (Penelope Cruz).
It’s clear, the Spanish have a weird sense of humor, and in this one, it tries to meld it with highly dramatic issues (mostly death, and lots of it). Strangely, it creates that authentic Spanish feeling, while the story seems to be inconsistently moving from here to there. In the end, it kinda comes together, and for the first time in a long while, I didn’t feel I made a mistake. Hey, who knows, el año quizá próximo, intentaré otro.7.

TV Review Summer 2006

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Since tomorrow, the fall schedule will officially start (Season 2 of Prison Break), I think it’s about time to do an all-round summer review, roughly sorted from good to bad:

The 4400: Grown from two season, it’s really REALLY heating up. Tension is tangible, while drama is developed on a personal level. With one episode left, you know a big cliff hanger is coming up, and season 4 will not be a winding down road.

Monk: Consistently hilarious, some jokes just don’t get old. But the stories put forward keep being surprising, meaning I see some more Emmies coming this neurotic’s way.

Psych: Outline might put you off, thinking it’s a Monk copy, but early on, it proves to be able to stand on its own quite well. Pretty funny by itself, and story-wise, it’s pretty okay. A keeper, for now.

The Dead Zone: As I feared, it’s back to episodic story telling, and supporting characters are pretty much paper weights now, instead of assets, like the previous seasons. Still good enough to be on my weekly schedule though.

Weeds: Season 2 just premiered, but it looks like another promising start, for this short (only 12 eps) short (did I mention it’s only a half hour show ?) dramedy.

Last Comic Standing: As per previous seasons, quite a laughing fest, with a solid line-up and a well deserved winner.

Chappelle’s Show: With less than a handful of episodes, you can’t even call it a season. Also, you wonder why his DVD’s broke sales records. Some skits are funny indeed, but mostly, it gets old pretty fast.

The Contender: Business as usual. Train, diss your opponent, and call him out, concluded by a punching game (and a loser featurette). Testosterone filled reality tv. An excellent time filler.

The Closer: Continuing with last season’s trick, nothing much has changed. It’s an able time filler, since you’ve only got the weekly murder to rely on. Seems like nothing will grow further, but at least you know what you’re dealing with. Mildly funny, and mildly dramatic.

Brotherhood: Pretty slow character developing show, which has strength in subtle drama. Might be a bit too slow for some, but I see potential here and there.

Eureka: Nice try at a light-hearted sci-fi series, focuses mainly on the gagdet of the week and a bit of story recycling (if you’ve watched a lot of sci-fi before). Character development is not high on the check list, so it’s a time filler at best, since it doesn’t reach hilarity levels yet. Maybe the writers still have to hone their skills to adept to this small town setting, but I’m not betting any real money on it.

Nightmares & Dreamscapes: 8 seperate short stories by Stephen King. I fell asleep during story 2. Didn’t even finish them all. He might be able to write books, but the translation of his short stories to the small screen 45 minute format just isn’t something to write home about. Period.

Who Wants to be a Superhero: If this is called a reality show, then Superman eats Kryptonite for breakfast. There’s more acting involved than many badly scripted dramas combined together. It might be fun for some to laugh at freaky contestants, but in the long run, it can’t hold any real interest.

Blade – The Series: As much as the movies were brainless but entertaining, the series just isn’t able to capture anything positive from it. Low budget causes a lot of the damage, while uninteresting story lines and characters does the rest. This small screen daywalker version isn’t appealing on any level.

US Box Office

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Over the top action-thriller Snakes on a Plane got a mediocre take off, landing at the number one spot with $15.2 million. Runner up is Talladega Nights, losing it’s pole position, with $14.1 million and a total of $114.7 million. At three, World Trade Center dropped within expectation, earning $10.8 million in its second week.
A new release ends up at 4, college comedy Accepted brings in $10.1 millon. Rounding out the top 5 is Step Up, with $9.9 million

One-sentence review

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Glory Road: The usual sports, rise above the occasion, movie, with nothing really new to tell, but still does the trick it’s supposed to.7-.
Hoot: Nice attempt for a children morale story, but execution gone awry.4-.
Stay: Surreal MTV style psychological vertigo.6½.
Factotum: Not really a comedy, not really a drama, but a bit boring for sure.5-.

Review: Miami Vice

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Bringing the TV series, which earned Michael Mann name recognition, to the big screen in the midst of a failed hype (*YaWN* Serenity *snore* Starsky & Hutch *head thud on table* Dukes of Hazzard), is certainly risky, but ultimately proves, if you have the front man executing the job, everything will turn out just fine.
Miami Vice probably takes it to another level, more gritty and dark than your average sunshine TV episode. While not Mann’s usual deeply psychologically rooted character pieces (Collateral, The Insider, Heat), he takes a more observational stance instead. But there’s still enough drama to go around with these simply defined characters, as the acting is top notch.
Believe it or not, but this all together meshes into a heap of fun. The plain bad ass attitude of an MDPD task force, which has the combined skills of the Navy SEALS, Delta Force, Green Berets and Rangers and is in total better organised than the FBI, CIA and the DEA put together is certainly something to chuckle at (and I didn’t even mention the phenomenal budget for cool and violent hardware).
With only one point to comment negatively on (too much use of lightweight HD camera’s during finale action scenes doesn’t really create a theatrical experience), I can confidently conclude this is the best serious TV to film conversion yet (at least, that’s until we see characters from Dallas on an armed mission to Iraque to claim oil wells, or KITT serves Michael Knight fresh coke and dope).8-.


Monday, August 14th, 2006

It’s that time again. Fatal injury (since the finger in question operates both the “d” (strafe right) and “c” key (crouch) in Counter-Strike), or at least, heavily disabled (strategist will know to shoot me to my left, which is your right).
This is one of the disadvantages of having Belgian bought, Swiss made utensils. Even a thing as simple as slicing an orange in quarters can result in this weeklong disability (there’s literally a chunk of meat cut off my finger, and apparently, surgeons take weekends off. So much for that new health care system eh ?).

US Box Office

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby finishes another round at the top spot, with $23 million. A sizable drop of 51%, but it’s still able to cume $91 million since its release.
Also good business is dance flick Step Up, with $21 million, almost doubling what the previous dance movie earlier this year did (Take the Lead, starring Antonia Banderas with $12 million).
World Trade Center has to do with a third place, with $19 million. With terrosist tension heating up again (in London), this can still be called a mild success (total now standing at $26.8 million). Dropping two places is Barnyard with $10 million, while Pulse, a low budget horror flick rounds out the top 5 with $8.5 million.

Review: You, Me and Dupree

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

With 1.5 drama actor (Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon) and 1.5 funny pants (Matt Dillon and Owen Wilson), possibilities look promising. Not this time though, it’s cliche all-round. The usual feel-good romantic comedy that has nothing real to offer, but the occasional laugh you already laughed before. Always predictable, mildly charming at times, but that’s about it. The core of zest that propelled Wedding Crashers to a box office hit, is clearly absent here, making this movie only suitable for partners having difficulty choosing a movie.6-.

US Box Office

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

At the US box office pole position is Will Ferrell setting a personal opening record with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR comedy racing by with some $47 million.
Not as long a title, so they’ll have to settle with the runner up spot, is Barnyard: The Original Party Animals. CGI animation, written and directed by Steve Oedekerk, brings in $16 million.
Third place is Pirates of the Carribean, bringing in another $11 million worth of gold. It probably has enough wind behind the sails to slowly float by the $400 million mark this or next week (cume now at $379.8 million).
Rounding out the top 5 is sharp dropper Miami Vice with $9.7 million and low budget UK thriller The Descent with $8.8 million.

Review: Superman Returns

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

And return he does. And I won’t even mention the franchise possibilities. So, again, nothing but kudos for Bryan Singer, a true wizard when it comes to comic books translation to the silver screen. With almost full creative control, the story is as smooth as Superman flies through the sky, and then some. With a two and a half hour running time, you get your full worth of money, and Singer uses this time to paint the canvas with emotional colors, true comic book atmosphere and the appropiate amount of funny bits. Taking extra time to fill the emotional bagage is always a plus, and with his choice of casting, it works like a charm. I guess DC Comics will get through pretty nicely for the next few years (and hence, also WB), with a moody and dark, well, Dark Knight (as the title for the next Batman is for 2008), and a lighter but still dramatically sound Superman.8+.

Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Vitriolic. What it means ? You can find that out yourself (you might even have to do a follow-up look-up). All I can say is, use it in your apology letters. For instance, Mel Gibson’s one.