Archive for April, 2007

Pre-Spidey jitters

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Isn’t it fun to have a Nintendo Wii ? (Still hard to get, outselling the Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation by a factor 2)
Isn’t it more fun to know Spider-Man 3 on the Wii is going to be WAY COOLER than the PC/XBOX360/PS3 ? First of all, the Wii game was in development way ahead of the other platforms. More time to incorporate the Wii-mote will mean it’s gonna be more fun, but that’s not all. The game itself will be bigger, involving exclusive additional dialogue (from the movie stars) and storylines.
Watch the hilarious trailer here.

Weather Report

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

I just had a private call with God, and of course, the subject weather came up. Let me assure you, it’s only temporary. Something about a glitch in the Weather Machine. Faulty memory module or something. Still, even after it has been replaced, the schedule for the coming months looks like this: Summer till at least late June. July, winter starts. But behold, summer starts again in October. After that, the normal schedule will merge slowly, with a full schedule restoration by January 2008.
This is probably very depressive news for the doomsday thinkers, because it IS NOT global warming at work !

Review: Pan’s Labyrinth

Friday, April 27th, 2007

I fear foreign films more than Supez dreads kryptonite. Be it Italian, German or French. It doesn’t matter, I’m always afraid of the outcome. But I had to beat that fear, since this movie was unanimously praised by critics and viewers alike (resp. a Metacritic score of 98(!!!) and 84).
And I must say, I’m pleasantly surprised. Most kudos go to the story, a sweeping drama, with subtly fantasy elements. Second, kudos to the eleven year old child star (Ivana Baquero) who plays the most pivotal role in this ensemble drama. All integrated well by director Guillermo del Toro (who previously made the forgettable Hellboy and Mimic), makes this strange (in a good way) movie well worth remembering for quite a while.8.

Review: Next

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

This movie snuck up quite quietly, and even had my small country listed as the sole world premiere venue for a while. That can’t be a good sign ? Previous cases have proven direct-to-video-or-DVD stuff. But it had prominent names headlining it (Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel), so it’s all been straightened out the last minute (tiny European and US day-to-date opening), but I could shake off that bad gut feeling.
With a typical action director (Lee Tamahori, xXx and Die Another Day) helming a movie, you can always hope for a really special break-out hit (like Michael Bay’s The Rock from 1996), but my gut-feeling proved to be quite correct. Where Lee could have shine (inventive action sequences), he let us down by using third-grade CGI special effects (trees, anyone ?).
Furthermore. the story has more holes in it than our most famous cheeses, and there’s no real humor or characters to liven things up. Acting is just about acceptable for the main actors, but all the others have B-movie potential, with the bad guys no better than direct-to-Betamax quality.
Then the ending, which is an attempt to make it look like it’s smart, is more of a slap in the face.
All in all, it’s not boring per se, it’s just that hopes were set too high, despite that gut feeling warning me beforehand.6-.

How Messy is my Desk Today ?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

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

Total: 1339 out of 439 votes > Average is: 3.050

desk pic
Did you know this set of speakers (subwoofer on the floor, DVD main unit in the cabinet, combined called Kef KIT100) is actually more expensive than my 32″ LCD-TV ?

Review: Avril Lavigne – The Best Damn Thing

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

She went from super-poppy (Let Go, 2002) to ultra-easy-listening pop-rocky (Under My Skin, 2007) to what is the trend now. Tough-girl semi-rapping/shouting (following the way Fergie and Gwen Stefani are boring the airwaves) while a heavy punky guitar riff distorts the background noise. While the previous incarnations looked like it was moving to more adult contemporary stuff, the opening single Girlfriend is clearly for the younger teens to pre-teens (as evidenced by the playful video clip and popularity on YouTube (close to 16 million views)). Even worse, it’s quite representative for the album as a whole. This is clearly not the best damn thing for me.4-.

Review: Mid-season replacements

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Mid-season replacements came as a bunch, and on all channels, they were all a bit late (in previous years, the right time was around January). Another thing they had in common, none proved to be really successful, and most already got the big CANCELED stamp on their ultra short resumes. Here’s what I caught from the batch:

Wedding Bells 101 – 102:
David E. Kelley ventures in a little of a “normal” drama in this 3 sisters owning a wedding planner company setup. Nothing really whacky going on a la Boston Legal/Ally McBeal. Drama is also a bit on the light side, also very unlike The Practice/Chicago Hope. All in all, quite acceptable, were it not for my over scheduled TV list, and the lack of MUST-SEE elements.

Raines 101 – 102:
Here we have Jeff Goldblum playing a cop with a psychic twist. Talking the imaginary people (all dead victims of a case), he’ll try talking his way through the evidence, reasoning with methods and motives through dialogue in his own mind. While this is new (as in, no sudden clues from ghost or magic creatures), this process is slow and not that interesting. While Jeff can set a character, frankly, we already have enough over at the USA Network (Monk & Psych).

The Black Donnellys 101 – 106:
A series from Paul Haggis and partner Robert Moresco (both did the movies Crash and Million Dollar Baby), should prove promising. And it did on a lot of levels. Having 4 Irish brothers could be interesting, but they’re all into the mafia crime thing. Those storylines tend to blunt the effect of this series, mostly involving a kill, or extortion or money laundring schemes. But the positives things are the nice narrative style, the brotherly interaction and the bizarre dry humor.

Rating it would give you the following, in that order: The Black Donnellys, Wedding Bells and finishing last, Raines. But fate would have it, only Raines is still on the air. Ah well, I don’t mind, my TV schedule needs to go on a diet anyways.

US Box Office

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Despite 2 new thrillery invasion, Disturbia remained to top spier, still leading with $13.5 million. Second was Anthony Hopkins/Ryan Gosling starrer Fracture, with $11.2 million. Still in need of the zamboni machine, Blades of Glory is at the third place with $7.8 million, now passing the $100 million total mark after 4 weeks.
Second new entry is Kate Beckinsale/Luke Wilson starrer Vacancy at number 4, with $7.6 million. Rounding out the top 5 is Meet the Robinsons with $7.1 million.

Review: Sunshine

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Unconventional director Danny Boyle has now really made a name for himself. Many movies he can make interesting for just a dime and a nickle, for this one he has a moderate budget (still his personal highest now though, $50 million). Many big name directors squander $100+ million to a shitty movie, but mr. Boyle does it quite differently.
With only a handful of actors, lavish special effects (sun up close and personal and all), and a gritty thrillery sci-fi back drop, he makes the most of it. The actors are pushed to a performance that’ll give you a sunstroke. How about an incredible performance by Chris Evans ? Quite a long shot from his frolicking around in Fantastic Four, I can tell ya. Same goes for everone else, including lesser knons like Troy Garity (Barbershop 1 & 2).
Then there’s the story which has the same intense qualities as the first Alien movie. Edge of your seat is where you’re heading. Even though it’s not a character piece, the moral dillemmas will keep you quite occupied.
From the trailer, you might think it’s some kinda Armageddon ripoff, but this is exactly the opposite of that.8-.

Review: Hertog – Appeltaartijs

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

It seems we sailed through winter quite nicely, with barely any frost and snow. And then summer popped up early, so what better time to introduce a new flavor from this innovative ice cream company ?
With an impressive track record (I like about 80% of their whole ice cream line-up) already, I can tell you they’ve added another instant winner. While it’s not really apple cake, it is a nice approximation. Fresh apple sauce with only the tiniest hint of cinnamon, with roasted almonds as the finishing touch. All this combines to a distinct flavor, but the balance is the magic word here. While here-in also lies the danger (addiction alert !!!), the balance causes you to continuously enjoy this ice cream, without ever getting that saturated feeling (both in your taste buds and in your stomach). And that’s rare in even the best ice creams.9.

Review: Wild Hogs

Monday, April 16th, 2007

The trailer made it look like it was gonna be silly (and not in a good way), and this time, it’s true to its word. Most of the dialogue is silly at best, and the simplistic story matches it perfectly. And that makes it, even though it’s about for past-middle-aged men on a bike road trip, feels like a kiddy picture. It uses only the most simplest form of humor, and the only saving grace is the pace, so even though it’s not that entertaining, at least you won’t fall asleep.5-.

US Box Office

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Teen thriller Disturbia managed to wipe the two ice skaters off the field, taking over the top spot. The Shia Labeouf starrer managed to sneak in $23 million.
At two, Ferrell and Heder aren’t taking off their skating blades though. With another $14 million, it takes them only one or two more weeks before the cross the $100 million total mark. At three, also falling one place, is Meet the Robinsons, taking in $12.1 million.
At four, Perfect Stranger fails to impress (and rightly so), and stays out of sight with an $11.5 million premiere. Rounding the top 5 is Are We Done Yet?, with $9.2 million in its second week.

Review: Goya’s Ghosts

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Nice attempt at a costume drama, but in the end fails to deliver, mainly because of the disjointed story and direction. Also, the acting of some might be strong, but set in this movie, it doesn’t mean anything. Can’t really recommend this one, even if it has Natalie Portman in it.6-.

Review: Perfect Stranger

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Perfect Stranger ? Deceptively, it’s a not so perfect movie. It has everything against it. It’s not really thrillery. And there’s no real build-up to speak of. The story has it’s twists and turns, but it just falls flat on its face. The script and dialogue seems like a ridiculous copy & paste job, with no real cinematic feel to it. Like most of the time, no-name directors and writers (ever heard of James Foley and Todd Komarnicki ?) just deliver no-thing.5+.

US Box Office

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Great retention at the box office, most holding on around 30% of last week’s admissions. That means the top 2 stays the same, resp. Blades of Glory (with $23 million) and Meet the Robinsons (with $17 million).
The first new entry is at number three, Are We Done Yet?, the sequel to Are We There Yet?, again starring and produced by Ice Cube, is at least done for thise week for $15 million.
Superhyped double-bill movie, doesn’t pack a punch, even with 2 major directors behind the cameras (Robert Rodriguez and Quention Tarantino). Grindhouse, which is over 3 hours of scary movie, only reels in $11.6 million. These directors usually do $20+ million openings on their own (i.e. Sin City, and Kill Bill).
Rounding out the top 5 is The Reaping, where it didn’t scare a lot of people, as they left it sideways with only $10 million, despite Hilary Swank starring (usually having a better choice of script).