Archive for August, 2008

Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Monday, August 25th, 2008

George Lucas let us down a few years ago (blocked Phantom Menace your memory, dinya ?). He did it again this year (Indiana Yawns 4, anyone ?), but he reallllllly blew it with this animated feature.
Just neatly fitting it between Episode II and III, it really is of no consequence. Let alone, we already know the outcome. Then we have the simple animation, where textures feature no more than 256 colors. Talk about taking hyperjump shortcuts.
Missing original voices is really bad, but with this lousy script, it’s understandable and acceptable. I don’t even think the story will appeal to kids, simply going from mission to mission (with the usual “wait for reinforcement” plot device to stretch for time, before looping into another same mission).
Motion capture seems to be reaching too far from the budget, as the once graceful saber fight are replaced with wooden moves that makes stop-motion look more smoothly.
Just consider Star Wars a closed chapter, and ignore the existence of this franchise (trying to spin off a TV series).4-.

Review: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Now that Guillermo del Toro made name for himself with the independent and critically acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth, a Hellboy sequel seems to be the right choice to make (according to Universal, buying the rights from Sony because they deemed the Hellboy franchise not profitable).
Well, you have a superhero movie with a lot of fantasy elements, but it’s really nothing more than that. Character depth is not to be found and story hobbles along with no real danger looming over us (or none apparent, at least). Action is just okay, but no eye-openers anywhere in sight.
With no wow-factors, it kind of feels like a let down (especially compared to the low budget sweet movie that Pan’s Labyrinth was).6½.

Review: Mongol

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Subtitled “The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan”, it’s a personal and long dragged out journey full of pain and misery for just one character. Showing the younger years of mr. Khan, with a running time of 2 hours, is a long happening. Mostly the hardships are shown, over and over again. While he voice-overs his own journey, it doesn’t provide any character depth, because all dialogue lack any emotion, reasoning or motivation. Some things are even shown the be mythical (or maybe just illusions of the mind), adding to the confusion of what this movie is trying to tell us.
Luckily, there are some big battle scenes, but as an Oscar nominee (2007 – Foreign film category), I don’t see how it got this nomination.
Except for rooting for the underdog part, there’s no real emotional resonance, and the story is a bit barren, like a desert lacking green plants.7-.

Review: Get Smart

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Looks like a generic spoof (Naked Gun) flick, but turns out the be just generic fun. Starring Steve Carrell as an high tech secret agent operative, it provides a full 90 minutes of mild entertainment. Steve has enough charisma and comedic juice to carry the role, while the other characters are tagging along just finely (Anne Hatheway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin).
Screenplay has enough exciting scenery to film, but the story takes a back-seat in both smartness and uniqueness. So overall, it levels around average fun.7+.

Review: You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Yeah, don’t mess with him. Just ignore him. Totally.
Adam Sandler basically has a whole range of characters, mostly divided by the really dumb group (Waterboy, Little Nicky), and the more serious types (The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates). Not surprisingly, it’s the latter group that makes the more entertaining movies, and this Zohan character is a bit inbetween those two extremes. While it doesn’t make this movie ultra dull, it also doesn’t makes this movie that enticing (even with the loads of dirty jokes).
The script lacks anything special, but I could’ve seen that from the trailer. I just expected at least some fun inbetween all those misfires, but you really have to look for them. Skip with ease (unless you like easy sex and racial jokes).4+.

Sweet confusion

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Submitted through AH Klantenservice (

Bij het kiezen van suiker (voor de koffie en thee, etc) ben ik deze keer op een keuzeprobleem gestuit. Dit komt omdat ik in plaats van mijn standaard willekeurig grijpen naar klontjes of zakjes met suiker, deze keer eens het hele assortiment nauwkeurig heb onderzocht. Zo viel mijn oog op een groene AH verpakking met de opschrijft Biologisch suiker (750 gram). Tot zover zeer aantrekkelijk om te proberen. Helaas is het onderschrift “Half-wit” wat mij in de verwarring brengt. Normaal kijk ik dan naar de inhoud dan wel ingredienten, maar bij deze verpakking ontbreekt deze in het geheel.
Nu is het dus gokken of het hier gaat om positieve discriminatie (suikers gewonnen uit riet dan wel biet), maar zelfs dan kan ik me de inhoud niet voorstellen. Is elk kristal voor de helft (horizontaal dan wel diagonaal) bruin en wit ? Is het lichtbruin ? Is de rest aanvulling van dat chemisch nep-suiker (aspartaam, sorbitol, iets wat een echte man dient te vermijden, laat dat spul maar aan de vrouwen over)?
Al zeg ik het zelf, ik ben een gedegen Googler, maar ik kan hier echt niets over terugvinden, dus ontvang ik graag opheldering in deze zaak.

Geachte heer,

Naar aanleiding van uw vraag over AH Biologisch Rietsuiker kunnen wij u het
volgende laten weten. Het gaat hier om 100% rietsuiker. Gewone witte
kristalsuiker, zowel riet als biet, is zo wit omdat de suikerkristallen
gebleekt worden met sulfiet. Deze AH biologische rietsuiker is niet
gebleekt, daarom is de suiker niet helemaal wit van kleur en staat er op de
verpakking halfwit. De term ‘halfwit’ kan inderdaad verwarrend zijn, onze
excuses hiervoor.

Wij hopen u hiermee voldoende te hebben geïnformeerd.

Met vriendelijke groet,
Albert Heijn Klantenservice

As you can see in the comment, mr. Geert had it correct again, what a know-it-all.

Up next …

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Here’s a chance to benefit from my keen scheduling abilities. Chosen with care, scheduled with love. You don’t ever have to look up what you’re going to see next again ! Therefore, this will be the only moving blog entry:

11 sept Wanted
11 sept Deception
25 sept Babylon AD
25 sept The Bank Job
25 sept Tropic Thunder
2 oct Death Race
9 oct Eagle Eye

Subject to change (depends on Jac Goderie’s mood).

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

The last movie is already buried in my memory, not able to remember if there was any alien involvement or government conspiracy burials. The TV show, with all the cult followers, I didn’t get also. The Mulder-Scully bickering got to be too generic anyway, always going to same way.
This time, at least their relationship is taken to another level, but it seems it’s the only fresh thing to be found in here. There’s nothing too special in the story, with such a mundane topic, it’s almost embarrassingly typical thriller-y style, I think it might offend about 99.9% of the X-Filers out there.
For me, seeing this objectively as a movie, it fails. It lacks too much to be called a movie. Even for a TV special it would lack too much. Maybe an extended episode then, but even then it wouldn’t rank that high among fan favorites.
So, Chris Carter wants to believe he’s still got it, but to me, he never had anything to begin with anyway.6-.

Review: WALL-E

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Another wondeful Pixar production (not to mention the short unrelated pre-movie, as usual). It’s as original a 3-D animation could be, and as sweet as family movie can be. In its own quiet way, it builds, and the story unfolds in various stages, including lots of different locations and atmospheres, keeping the whole movie fresh.
Script is overall fun and even has a hidden message. Characters design doesn’t go too deep, but it’s just enough to give it that little extra something.
Among the Pixar hits (Ratatouille, Toy Story) and the mediocres (Cars, The Incredibles), this one ranks all the way up there.8½.

Birthday trip

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

I’ve never done it, but having a girlfriend with bright ideas is really a virtue. So I took 2 days off, and before I’ve even finished uploading pictures from Taiwan, I’m off somewhere shooting new ones. For now, I’ll keep it a surprise, because I still need to finish the other batch.

Also, last time, the pictures you saw were resized. I re-uploaded them off-site, for bandwidth and speed purposes. Thanks to mr. Kreleger, who now goes under the dubious name of Sidnii (some kinda tax evasion scheme eh ?).
Still, be patient, per page you’re downloading some 30 MB in one go. Click on it for a larger scaled version, and again for full resolution. Have another go through this link.