Review: Up in the Air

January 18th, 2010
movie logo

George Clooney hits another dramedy, as a character flying 250+ days per year his job. It’s a journey into what makes him tick and he gets female counterweight in the form of relatively unknowns Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick (both doing a good job). Dialogue heavy, yet still easy to digest, it’s a charming little movie.7+.

curl

Review: The Men Who Stare At Goats

January 18th, 2010
movie logo

Wild assumptions are made, in this seemingly interesting fact based movie. Based on real secret research, the results is where the creative license starts kicking in, and that really dampens the whole feeling. Here and there it’s mildly amusing, but overall, you’re trying to figure out where the facts stop and the story begins (which is quite easy). If you like to watch caricatures (again, sipping away believability), this could be something for you. If you want to be astounded by real facts, it’s not.6½.

curl

Review: Sherlock Holmes

January 18th, 2010
movie logo

A nice modernizing reboot (while still taking place in the early 1900) of the Sherlock franchise. Guy Ritchie puts in a great story with good pace, awesome style (old London in all its grey/brownish glory). While this younger Sherlock isn’t really that Sherlocky anymore (uttering famous lines along the way at inappropiate timings), the story has all the ingredients. Mystery vs. logic works well as the main theme, and it has adversaries to match.
Even though Arthur Conan Doyle might be twisting and turning in his grave for this gay-ish Sherlock Holmes/dr. Watson duo (played resp. by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), I wouldn’t care less, because this movie kicks major elementary ass. Introducing lesser known facts from the books (substance abuse and martial arts) makes it even more interesting.8+.

curl

Review: Law Abiding Citizen

January 18th, 2010
movie logo

Great unexpected thriller thingy, combined with great acting (Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler have great chemistry going head to head). The story turns and twists are great, yet slightly believable, though the character change in Gerard Butlers character is a few steps beyond going too far.8.

curl

Review: Hachi

January 17th, 2010
movie logo

As charming as Richard Gere is, in this one the dog (based on a real dog) takes the screen. It’s still a really basic story, but somehow, however sad it is, it doesn’t feel that way, because we don’t get to know the characters that well. Also, there’s not that much happening. So, only slightly entertaining.6½.

curl

Review: Brothers

January 16th, 2010
movie logo

Drama pitching Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal (ironically, these two were going head to head for the Spider-man role) together as brothers, with Natalie Portman inbetween.
There’s only one dilemma though, so the movie feels a bit thin. Acting is all good though (good subtle character shifts), so feels a bit short and not as rewarding as you’d expect.7-.

curl

Review: Precious

January 16th, 2010
movie logo

Tragic drama, carrying the Oprah stamp. It marks a remarkable debut for lead actress Gabourey Sidibe, and the drama is intense. The script, the editing and directing however, doesn’t quite fit. Stylised flashbacks scenes tend to detract the core emotional journey, instead of enhancing it. The script also lacks detail, and the open-endedness didn’t really help the overall score either. Besided showing there are horrible people on this world, it doesn’t do much more than that.6+.

curl

Review: Ninja Assassin

January 16th, 2010
movie logo

The “V for Vendetta” team (Joel Silver and Wachowski brothers producing, James McTeigue directing) is back together, but now a more plain actioner.
Korean star Rain headlines and does a good job on acting and martial arts. The rest is just high paced action, though it’s a bit thin on the story. Overall, still entertaining if you don’t mind slashed off limbs and (digitally rendered) buckets of blood.7½.

curl

TV Review part 2

December 1st, 2009
tv logo

Mercy – NBC’s take on the current nurse’s point of view type medical show, and it turns out to be quite boring. Cases are boring, the characters too. Definitely dropping this one after one episode.

Trauma – Another medical drama from NBC, following The Third Watch’s footsteps. Don’t see that much difference. Isn’t that special anyway, also dropping this one.

Three Rivers – Well, what do you know, ANOTHER medical drama. This one from CBS, following the 3 points concerning organ transplantation (donor, patient, doctor). Sounds good, but like most CBS shows, it chooses style over substance. The plot is predictable too, with the cliche topics and choppy dialogue trying to connect the special effects into something quite boring. This one is DOA too (dried on arrival, title pun!).

The Forgotten – ABC tries another procedural in the form of a group of volunteers trying to find missing persons (a highly unlikely synopsis). With no authority, this group tries to be creative in ways of finding what they want, but in the end, it’s still not that interesting.

Community – Half hour comedy starring Chevy Chase in a co-starring capacity and with Joel McHale headlining. You’d think it would be outrageously funny, but it’s just mildly entertaining. In essence, it’s still a letdown. As this group of adult try to finish their GED in community college, the stuff that happens there isn’t particularly interesting.

Modern Family – Another half hour comedy, trying to simulate a reality show style(including shaking camera etc), quickly paced, and stories are sometimes a bit contrived. Only slightly entertaining. First Ed O’Neill role (normal father figure) that doesn’t irritate the hell out of me.

V (2009) – A reboot of the old series, revealing the whole concept in its pilot episode already. With aliens among us and the arrival of several spaceships, they’re obviously up to no good (no ambiguity built in this series). While seemingly serialised, it still follows simple episodic story telling techniques, clearly never reaching top quality television here (unlike it’s ABC siblings Lost and FlashForward). From this batch though, it’s the best entry.

curl

Review: Capitalism: A Love Story

December 1st, 2009
movie logo

Another fine Michael Moore docu, revealing some interesting facts. It’s a documentary that informs you, enrages you, but also inspires and shows hope for the future. It covers a wide spectrum, so it never gets boring as it clocks in 2 hours.7½.

curl

Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon

December 1st, 2009
movie logo

Adding a superlative pre-title seemed to help this fortune, making young girls flock to the movie theater on the first day, breaking records. But from an objective point of view, I can tell you, a saga it is not. Let’s say the nightly scuffles of the street cats outside my apartment is more of a saga then this vampire/werewolf love triangle. With both principal actors doing their usual breath-stuttering acting (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson), trying to emote their love struggle, it’s repetitive and isn’t really working at all.
The story is also just too simple to even explain here, and with boredom setting in fast, they only use the stretching strategy to fill the time. Avoid at all cost if you want to see something more meaningful (even if it’s wreaking havoc at the box office).4-.

curl

Amen

November 27th, 2009
k logo

Is it blasphemy if I win this match ?
Hawaii shirt or not, I somehow recognize this dude!

J.C.

curl

Review: Couples Retreat

November 27th, 2009
movie logo

Seemed like a fun group comedy, and it started out okay. But the last 2/3rd of the movie winds down to a predictive contrived long slouch. Suffering the typical “the trailer is more fun than the movie itself” syndrome. Would have expected more from Jon Favreau (the Iron Man director wrote this script, and also stars in it).5-.

curl

Prickly…

November 26th, 2009
k logo

Why is it so hard these days, even for the bigger brands, to make comfortable clothing ? Today I had to remove not one, not two, but three prickly labels from a Levi’s shirt.

Levi shirt

If wasn’t for my newly razor-sharp reordered Victorinox knife and my surgical skills, I might have damaged the shirt. Is it really that hard to make soft fabric labels ?

curl

Light2

November 22nd, 2009
k logo

Another lighting issue has come my way, browsing through a Hong Kong based hardware webshop which ships in US$ and with no shipping cost. I just browsed and bought some stuff with good luck and high hopes for those cheap junk.

Imagine my second surprise this week regarding LED lighting.

See here the usual pocket LED light, which by now always had the same level of quality from everywhere I’ve looked. It does well in extreme darkness, but that’s about it.

normal pocket LED

See here the one I chose from that store. I actually chose it for the penlite battery function (easier, since I want to use rechargeables), and the holster could’ve been handy.
But now the comparing picture.

Cree LED

Now, this is the only pocket light that’s worthy of the name torch, I tell ya. The company brand is Cree, and they call this UltraFire, which I say is quite fitting. Unluckily, I have to wait another month for the next order to ship, since my sister decided she was the rightful owner of this one somehow.
For a mere 7.50 euro, it’s really no question if I should by more.

A misfire though, is this pocket knife from the same webshop.

pocket knife

It’s only sufficient for light duty though, until I replace my missing previous beloved Victorinox. But hey, it’s a mere 2.70 euro (about 1/10th the price of the Victorinox)!

curl