Archive for September, 2009

New free stuff from Microsoft !

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

It’s antivirus, it’s free, it’s from Microsoft !!! Get it here (but only if your Windows version is genuine !)

But… says “Microsoft says that Security Essentials is designed to run quietly in the background (no constant UAC alerts) and that it doesn’t hog CPU or memory usage.”
And says “Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.”

Then why do products like ESET/NOD32 and AVG (also free) only need around 50 to 70 MB of free hard disk space and this MS product no less than a whopping 140 MB !!!

Ah well, trying on some test machines tomorrow then.

Review: The Other Man

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Small supposedly thriller-ish movie that has the atmosphere of a British movie. Direction isn’t the best, and the story drags on a bit too long. Even after the twist that turns out to be a major anti-climax, it goes on and on. Eventually, the point is lost, and the overly dramatic acting of Liam Neeson (which was good for his previous movie, Taken) is also lost as well. Don’t get dragged along by the misleading trailer.5½.

Review: TV Season Fall 2009

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A bit early, I know. I just finished with my backlog of Lost, Heroes and 24, finishing just in time for a bit of summer TV (Weeds, Monk, Psych, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), which usually overlaps the season or series openers for this fall. And I didn’t see that many new shows yet, but because I tend to forget stuff a lot, I might as well start now (starting with some summer releases).

Better Off Ted (ABC) – A sit-com, what can I say. Haven’t like sit-com since forever, but this one had its funny moments, but couldn’t really pull me back to having a favorite again (like the times of Friends and Mad About You). I wouldn’t let one tear out if this show got canceled.

Kings (NBC) – A nicely serialized show that didn’t get enough attention (including a bad Saturday time slot) and hence was soon-after canceled. Creator Michael Green (Heroes) prepared a full season story arch that took as on a religious trip that’s both engaging and thought provoking. It had clear characters that stood out, but each had still had some surprises up their sleeves. On NBC, their most surprising shows don’t live that long, with none upcoming as well, as Jay Leno takes 5 spots away already.

Dark Blue (aired on TNT, from the big shot, Jerry Bruckheimer) – A darker even more episodic undercover cop show, starring Dylan McDermott (The Practice) and a few newbies. Doesn’t get into the characters that much, and the reset button is almost a deal breaker here. Drama seems okay, but you need to leave your disbelief at the door steps, as every week shows another undercover job (with another agent deep inside the bad guys’ organization, which in normal time would’ve taken a few months at least). Mildly enjoyable during the summer low season, but it wouldn’t hold up during the Fall sweeps.

Defying Gravity (ABC) – Full blown sci-fi (with space scenes !) that makes you pretty nostalgic (set in the future, so both making you remember one of the best sci-fi show ever, Star Trek:TNG, while still it grounded enough to keep it well within budget, as in normal buildings, clothing and keeping smaller sets, etc). Drama was there, the pretty faces were there (Laura Harris:smile:), and even a mystery arch. Too bad horrible timing and an evenly horrible timeslot shot this one straight out of the air without ever entering orbit.

Hung (HBO) – A topic that would only find a home on HBO, it’s about a school teacher/coach, who needs to be a man-whore to earn enough money to get by in life. It was many funny and dramatic aspects, and Thomas Jane performs quite adequately (who would’ve thought, after his silent performance as The Punisher).

The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien (NBC) – With the new launch, I actually went back to a regular schedule (previously watching Conan and Jay only to kill time or if there was an interesting guest on) missing almost no show. Conan is as sharp as ever, even in a toned down version of his Late Night show. Skits are between hysterically funny to cheesy, but Conan himself is always there to spice things up if it gets too boring. His quick quips keeps this show alive, and his self-mockery during the monologue and guest interviews keeps everything fresh and everyone on their toes. While not a solid ratings winner (while having the demographics, David Letterman still wins on total viewers), this is clearly the talk show to keep watching.

The Jay Leno Show (NBC) – Bringing his previous Tonight Show into the prime-time grid is clearly just a cost-cutting measure, the show itself looks almost exactly the same. It feels a bit old and stale, so stick to Conan if you know what daily comedy is good for ya.

Flash Forward (ABC) – Every year you have that special wow-moment when a new show wakes you up (previously, Lost, 24, Heroes, etc). For this year, it’s almost instantly clear that for this year it’s Flash Forward (created by David S. Goyer, Brannon Braga). The pilot has excellent directing (David S. Goyer himself), intense acting (Joseph Fiennes), brain spinning synopsis, a pounding rhythm, adrenaline pumping story line and a sharp story arch. Production value drops your jaw to the ground, with world wide devastation coming through in abundance on your small TV screen. While reviewers call this show promising, I say, it’s a definite winner.

Review: (500) Days of Summer

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Charming little movie, with a different take on the usual love story. Acting is just as charming, with great chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, even thought they’re opposite magnetic poles.
Direction not that bad either, with the jumping narrative causing both the feeling of lack of information, while still providing a fresh view on things.
In the end, being sad or happy, the message it carries will be remembered for quite some time. Definitely must see if you’re more into the smaller independent movies that doesn’t bore you.7½.

Review: Funny People

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Judd Apatow writes and directs another comedy, but this time without the usual outrageousness and with a lil’ dash of drama (since death is a prominent subject now).
It all works, with Adam Sandler finally back to a normal character, filled with other funny people (as the movie title suggests). Seth Rogen stands out though, not being that good in any role, the script luckily covers up a lot of those aspects through tons of dialogue, making the whole movie appear like it’s one smooth sail.
While some dark clouds loom above you, there are still a lot of funny moments (as most characters are stand-up comedians), while the movie goes through several subtle stages.
Hardcore Sandler fans will be disappointed though (as this is the movie I’ve experienced the most walk-outs yet, more than 15, beating any bad Jean-Claude van Damme flick I’ve seen in the past). So, those expecting weak jokes at rapid succession, stay at home.
For all others enjoying the more subtle comedies, definitely one to see.7½.

Review: Passengers

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

One of the most manipulative trailers released this year, and hence, the movie is a big disappointment. Not only does it absurdly rip off story items of a few great movies, it does so in a boring *zzz* (did I just doze off ?) kinda way. Great actors (Patrick Wilson, Anne Hathaway) can’t save this movie, headed by mostly TV people (director and writer). Avoid at all cost.4.

Review: Tenderness

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Movie with a reeeeeally slow thriller-ish build up, starring Russell Crowe as a practically retired cop on the lookout for a just released criminal. It’s really character driven though, but also in this department, it’s all slow and subtle. Overall though, emotions don’t run that high, but it all seems to work, especially a subtle surprising ending (if you really think about it). Still, despite all this, it doesn’t stick too well in my memory somehow. So, just a mediocre score.7-.

Review: 9

Friday, September 11th, 2009

A lowly promoted computer animation movie, set in a deserted world, starring only 9 ragdolls. Visually, it’s a fine movie, but story wise, it’s quite lacking. While there’s not a lot to explore anyway, in a barren world, it also means the story can go only one way, a predictable one. Motivation of the dolls and the culminating revelations just don’t warrant a must-see stamp on this movie.7-.

Review: My Sister’s Keeper

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Director Nick Cassavetes is no stranger helming dramas, and with this movie surrounding death, a making tear jerker is not really that hard. Finding the ultimate balance is, though. As all characters get their turn to take a narrative lead, it can mostly be seen as something positive. But in this case, it detracts from some more urgent matters, plus it still doesn’t dig deep in anyway. The broadening didn’t really deepen any character, and it gives a restless feeling, as a ballad-laden soundtrack fuels another family collage or flashback.
Sure, most tear ducts facing the screen will be fluid-tested, but in the end, it’s still a mediocre drama (though displaying Cameron Diaz as a mostly bitchy character is quite a feat).6½.

Review: The Final Destination 3D

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Of course I knew the movie wouldn’t blow my mind away (though the original was quite special), so I went purely to assess the current 3D technology. The movie is quite predictable, and follows the same mold and story points of the previous movies. Add some unknown actors, and you have a 3D movie well within a reasonable budget. Nothing to write home about.
So on to the 3D experience, quite a few scenes work really well, though sometimes it’s too chaotic, or not blended well (different object distances are too distinct), but mostly it works to give it that little bit extra. However, the darkening glasses do take away about 30-40% of the incoming light (either light filtering or polarisation, I’m not quite sure), and makes the movie darker than it should be, while also taking away contrast and lively colors. On top of that, the glasses do feel a bit heavy on the nose after while and you will see most people constantly fidgeting with it.
All in all, it has potential, but hopefully, the upcoming December tentpole (the long awaited James Cameron’ Avatar) won’t suffer the same detractions.6-.