Archive for October, 2006

US Box Office

Monday, October 30th, 2006

By now a Halloween tradition, Saw III reigns the box office, with a healthy $34.3 million, topping both Saw and Saw II, each a year apart. While still low budget and highly profitable, it’s nowhere near the $1.2 million budget of the original.
Not departing just yet, The Departed stayed strong at number two with $9.8 million. The Prestige loses a bit of magic, now at three with $9.6 million.
Flags of our Fathers doesn’t seem to catch on, dropping to number 4 with $6.4 million. With the current cume at $19.9 million, it will be a tough road to break even ($90 million budget). Rounding out the top 5 is left-over Open Season with $6.1 million.


Monday, October 30th, 2006

While getting a YouTube account, and during the subsequent upload of a movie for a friend (why waste bandwidth at home when it’s free elsewhere), I started browsing through some videos. Then I came across this one, and it made my day. If you can change a horrendous song like Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback to something this hilarious (mainly the lyrics will floor you), you’re a genius in my book. Hell, you didn’t even have to pay (for say, a Weird Al album) to get this laugh. And the key is, you can watch this video over and over again, and still not get enough of it.

Review: Ugly Betty 101 – 105

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

The last new show coming from ABC that I’ll review. As the title might suggest, it’s (like more ABC series) a bit geared towards the female audience.
People who’s seen this years breakout hit movie, The Devil Wears Prada, and liked it, will probably like this show too. Though the first few episodes will have a lot in common with the movie, story wise. People will mistake this as a movie rip-off, but this show is a remake from a Mexican series (which precedes both the Prada book and subsequent movie).
So, anything special besides that familiar story (strange duck struggling at work, in and ex-company rivalry) ? Not really. There’s a light drama to be found next to the self-deprecating wit, and there’s a strong female lead character that’s doesn’t fit your everyday heroine mold. Also, there’s a mystery unfolding as a dark B-story. But all in all, it’s not enough to make it must-see TV.

Review: The Nine 101 – 104

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

I started with it, so let’s finish the new line-up from ABC. The Nine is much like the earlier reviewed show, Six Degrees, but in a reconfingured and inverted way. With nine people experiencing the same tragic event, and the aftermath that ensues, certainly makes for a more intense drama. How the characters bump into each other later on, is also less contrived. But the synopsis makes you wonder how long you can stretch it, but so far, the flashbacks combined with current day events, work out pretty well. In what seems like a strategy to keep the pace going, minor gaps are visible here and there, much like how E.R. introduced the hectic atmosphere (and mindfully forgets to pick up story lines now and then), but at least it means you won’t fast forward that easily (or in Six Degrees’ case, axe it totally). Short of the flashbacks becoming overbearing (rehashing, instead of delevering new information), I’m definitely looking forward to this as a whole season.

Review: Children of Men

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

One of the few bigger British productions (besides their James Bond series), and most of the budget is probably in the post-apocalyptic building scenes. About 80% though, it’s pretty low budget cinema, like the odd abandoned train station or the hidden house in the woods.
Does it mean you’re not getting your worth of money seeing this movie ? Actually, that’s exactly what I mean, even though the first half was a bit promising. Story setup went well, and direction was acceptable. It goes down the drain during the second half, as it doesn’t add anything new or significant to the story. And the end, will leave you pretty much disappointed.6½.

Review: Little Miss Sunshine

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Typical indie drama, with a family road trip touch. Only scratches the characters’ surface, and the story has its quirks here and there, but in the end, it’s all feel-good sweetness. And it’s nice to see Steve Carell in a mostly non-comedic role, finally breaking away from the more or less psychotic characters he’s been playing all along.7+.

Review: Lionel Richie – Coming Home

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Two years ago, his new album in quite while wasn’t really memorable. Between the countless Best of… compilations, 2 years later, he finishes another fully new album. But again, I’m not really impressed. Hell, the first single makes you think he has been listening to this year’s hit for Ne-Yo (So Sick) too much. After research, I found out it’s just that I Call it Love is written by the very same team. The rest of the bunch are more collaborations with a handful of other producers that are currently hot (Jerry Duplessis, Sean Garrett, Jermaine Dupri, etc.), milking out the same R&B, swing beat and soul style we hear too often already. By now, you can say it’s just the Lionel Richie way to work like this, but I don’t really like it at all.5.

TV Fall Schedule, almost final

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Yupz, I’ve finally almost figured it out. Let’s start with some more axe swinging first though. It’s goodbye to:

20 Good Years (I’m in no need for another comedy with John Lithgow hypering around)
30 Rock (bad non-funny half hour version of strong NBC debut Studio 60 on Sunset Strip)
Runaway (Mild Prison Break rip-off, geared towards the CW teen demo target)
Smith (can’t say I haven’t seen it all before, even this year, like NBC’s Heist and FX’s Thief).

So on to my list:

Old Toppppperrrs:
South Park
Battlestar Galactica
Prison Break
Boston Legal
Grey’s Anatomy
My Name Is Earl

New Topppperrs:
Brothers & Sisters
The Nine
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Everybody Hates Chris
Criminal Minds

Backup list:
Ugly Betty
The Class

So, still a solid 18 hours of TV. But I’ll manage, don’t worry.

US Box Office

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Two rival magicians ended up at the top spot, as Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige was a star powered force to be reckoned with. Batman Begin’s (Nolan’s last film) cast mates Christian Bale and Michael Caine are joined by Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman and David Bowie to conjure $14.8 million.
Second is Scorsese’s The Departed, holding strong with $13.7 million. Another new entry by another decorated director is Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2 million.
Rounding out the top 5 is fourth-weeker Open Season with $8 million and Flicka (a family drama headlined by country star Tim McGraw) with $7.7 million.

Review: Zwartboek

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Or, Black Book, as the title will be as the Dutch representative to vie for one of the five empty spots on the Oscar nomination list for Foreign Film. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I went to see it. Maybe it was just Paul Verhoeven’s name that attracted me (translates to nudity, for the film facts challenged among you). Whatever it may be, people think I’m a violent person. Whenever I go see a Dutch movie, I take a baseball bat with me. People are wrong though, as I only take the bat with me to knock myself out, or at least, knock myself senseless. After all, that’s been the overall experience I’ve had in my life.
Strangely enough, I didn’t have to touch it for the whole duration of the movie (while it ran a bit long for my taste). The acting was on a few levels quite satisfactory (though some overacting crossed the line here and there, and I still wanted to use the bat on Johnny de Mol), and the story, which wasn’t overly complicated, had a good pace. On screen, budget restraints weren’t obvious, and Paul’s Hollywood experience made action scenes look fluidly professional.
So I probably can leave my bat at home for the next movie from Paul Verhoeven (already one planned for next year), but that’s the only exception I’m willing to make for now, when it comes down to Dutch movies.7.

Review: Extras 201 – 206

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

There was a time I was hoping for another season of The Office (the original, of course, not the NBC version). Luckily Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant moved on to newer things and Extras was born. Beyond expectations, it stood on its own, and this second season proved these comedic geniuses are still on top of their game. While keeping it legendary short, it makes you only want more, but it’s still better than a longer half baked season. The story line continued to another place where different poignantly akward situations were displayed, while not relying too much on the cameos (which were still a riot nonetheless).
There is, as always, the fear that this will be the last season (just like The Office had only 2 short seasons), but at least every single episode was an instant classic.

Review: Scoop

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

I’ve learned to watch any movie involving Woody Allen with much caution, because, diverse as they are, they’re mostly too weird to describe. I wasn’t overly enthused with Match Point either, but at least the beautiful Scarlett Johansson caused enough distraction for this stiff romance with panic ending.
Luckily, this movie is one of another category, basically a very lighthearted murder mystery. Luckily, with Woody Allen’s continued confidence in Scarlett, she takes the lead again, while Woody co-stars as a, whud else, neurotic person. Doing his usual fast paced rapid fire dialogue trying to fit in a punchline or word play in every sentence isn’t really hilarious, but at least it’s a bit amusing.
The story is simple but overall solid, and there’s no real boring moment in it. So here’s two thumbs up for Woody Allen, who knows how much more of this will ever happen ?7½.

Review: Brothers & Sisters 101 – 104

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

While I certainly don’t like them all, ABC has a strong drama line-up, unlike any other channel. This seems like a limitation, but actually gives it more variety (than say, CBS’s forensic and procedural shows).
On the drama side, there hasn’t been anything quite like Party of Five (which ran on Fox from 1994 till 2000) on the air, with the same urgent familial feel to it, but Brothers & Sisters comes close. Not quite, because the situation isn’t quite as dire and in this case, they’re all adults. Still, it’s a nice try coming from the other creative half of the now ended Alias (Ken Olin writes/directs/produces, while JJ Abrams is involved with the other 3 shows currently running on ABC), and for pure family drama, it’s the strongest entry this year.

Review: Six Degrees 101 – 103

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Time to start reviewing the individual new shows for this season, and I’m actually starting with one that I’m going to drop. It’s another JJ Abrams produced series, and this will be the second one in a row from this usual genius that just didn’t make the cut (last year’s What About Brian starts its second season this fall, which I also dropped after a few episodes). You can actually compare this quite good with that show, it has it’s drama bit going, but it’s just not enough. The six degrees twist adds something, but it’s too contrived (with the same people bumping into each other every day or so). There are also a few mystery story lines unveiling, but it lingers on a bit too long. All in all, not too interesting and a bit too slow.

Review: Click

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Another victim of the trailer-disease, you’d better stick with just the trailer. Of course, you can already dream the plotline seeing it, and seeing the movie makes you think you’re a telepath or something. Nothing is further from the truth, as a slip up during the search for good kid actors might be forgiven (after all, how many really good kid actors are there nowadays ?), for this lousy script there no forgiving or forgetting. The script chews out cliche after cliche, and the sappy second half doesn’t really help the movie or the silly cheap jokes, at all. I suggest you use your remote control at home and watch some good TV instead.