Posts filed under ‘Reviews’

Movie Review: Breach

Breach is a very good spy-movie. That’s about it, actually, but you’ll probably want me to elaborate a bit? Well, ok… First of, it is well acted. Ryan Phillippe is starting to become a really good actor, but the real master here is the awesome Chris Cooper who really steals the show. This is Oscar material performance, if there ever was one. If it is possible to get an Oscar for playing one of the worst traitors to America, ever, and making him kind of likable. What makes this movie so good, however, is that it is slow, but still tight. It doesn’t concern itself (mostly) with actions and guns, but rather on the development relationships, and the depth of personalities. And it does this really good, in contrast to, for instance, the rather poor The Good Shepherd, that aimed for pretty much the same feeling, but failed so miserably by being boring. This movie, however, is far from boring, especially since one knows it is based on actual events.

Verdict: Must See

June 3, 2007 at 23:03 Leave a comment

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is a strange movie. Action-packed, ridiculously violent (although there’s not a single drop of blood, all to please the people setting the age limits. Disney have a strange way of making kid movies filled with violence). The story is quite simple, but still leads to an amazingly complicated end battle. Yes, it is a fun flick, and well worth seeing, but it is a far cry from the first movie. It is a bit too much over the top for my taste, and at 2 hours 40 minutes I kind of doubt that the kids can keep their attention up.

Oh, and yes, it is interesting that the movie so obviously likes pirates, and claims that they are the heroes (although they kind of live by killing and pillaging) by claiming that they fight for freedom… While at the same time the studios are battling so fiercely against piracy (of movies and music) by trying to limit the freedom om customers (by DRM). Perhaps we’ll see a movie in 200 years detailing the struggles of the movie pirates against the evil cooperations that want to enslave them? Perhaps, but probably not done by Disney…

Verdict: See

June 1, 2007 at 11:32 1 comment

Review: LaptopCooler

Suddenly I find myself enjoying the pleasure of working with a laptop in my lap. In fact, I prefer it even to working at my desktop, at home or at work. Yeah, it suits me to have this nice, lazy, style of work. Ergonomically, I actually think that it might be preferable to the desktop, but who knows, really? I have a very small laptop, and IBM x40, which is a really nice machine, even if the hard disk is painfully slow. The size is just right for working at, even for extended periods of time.

The major problem with having a laptop in your lap is that it is probably going to put some heat to your groin area. A lot of heat. There are scientist claiming potential reproductive problems, but I am doubtful. What stands clear, however, is that there is a lot of discomfort in having a hot laptop in your lap for long periods of time.

As I do not like noisy fan-based solutions, I decided to try something else. A high-tech tray with some built-in cooling materials (Phase Change Material), that acts like ice, that is, slowly liquefying in order to keep your laptop cooler, and your lap cooler to.  The materials have been developed by Climator. The product costs 400 Swedish crowns, roughly $55 usd.

The LaptopCooler is a little bigger than my laptop, but that is to be expected as my laptop is really small. It sits comfortably in my lap, and does in fact keep the heat down. After using it for about four to five hours, the effect start to fade, and once again I feel the (non-dirty) heat starting to develop in my groin area. The LaptopCooler should return to its ordinary state after a couple of hours in room temperature, or even less in a cooler environment, such as the fridge.

So, what do I think about the product? I don’t know. It makes the experience of laptop burns less noticeable, but it is kind of expensive. It adds bulk to the laptop, it weights close to a kilo, and therefore probably is not something you would like to carry around. If you work a lot with a laptop in your office, as I do, it is probably something you should take a look at. If you are planning to use it for more than say four hours straight, you are going to need two of them, or a good freezer nearby, further adding to the complications.

I like the concept. I find it a little too expensive, and a little too heavy if I’m going to recommend it to everyone, but if you have the same kind of situation as me, then by all means, try it. Just be prepared for a less than optimal solution.

May 10, 2007 at 14:53 Leave a comment

Movie Review: Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 is supposedly one of the most expensive films ever. And it shows. So, it is impossible to not recommend seeing it, if nothing else just to see what kind of movie you get for unlimited funding. You do get an impressive movie. But not necessarily a good movie. The qualities of SM3 are obvious. It looks and sounds great. There are a lot of awesome action scenes. Bruce Campell has a small part. Yay for Bruce! Venom is in the movie! Spider-Man wears his black suite/parasite. So it should be just amazing, right? Wrong. Where the first two movies, and especially the second, managed to capture the dilemma of being spider-man, the hopelessness and the problems, this movie focuses too much of Parkers love for MJ, mechanically played by snaggle-tooth herself, Kirsten Dunst. The addition of Gwen Stacy does not really upset the balance either, and Bryce Dallas Howard doesn’t manage to capture the allure of Gwen anyhow. She just doesn’t fit the part. Topher Grace plays the bad guy much like McDonalds make gourmet food; it is hard to forget where they come from. Topher barely works in a sit-com, but not here. Tobey goes on auto pilot, and manages to do a decent spider-man. The fact that he looks like a complete fool when trying to be cool is certainly a well thought out plan.

The good stuff? Thomas Haden Church is very, very good. Bruce Campbell is always entertaining. The story is kind of weak, but that is expected, this is a movie based on a comic book. There are ample betrayal, action, things flying around, honesty, bravery and romance. And an ugly moped.

So where did the movie go wrong then? I think it gave up on the characters. One of the things that attracted me to the comic books (yes, I am a comic book fan) is the variety of the stories, and the depth of the characters. And, yes, the development. Here the way the characters develops are given from the beginning, no surprises, and really just a distance to travel between the action scenes. In short: Everyone loves spider-man in this movie. His life is working well. No big problems at home, no apparent financial problems. Kind of… the opposite of the spider-man we love from the comics, and the previous films. Sad, really.

Verdict: See (obviously you should see the movie anyhow, even if it isn’t good. It is, after all, ridiculously expensive).

May 8, 2007 at 20:53 3 comments

Movie Review: Catch And Release

I like Kevin Smith. Silent Bob. That is why I ignored all reason and saw yet another “romantic comedy”. The plot of Catch And Release? “A woman struggles to accept the death of her fiance and the secrets he kept from her as she rebuilds her life.” I don’t really know how, but the movie is in fact even MORE boring than the plot outline. Yet, there is Kevin Smith. He is funny. The problem is that pretty much everything else is boring. Garner is decent, as is Sam Jaeger, but really, they should release this in a Kevin Smith edition with only his scenes.
Oh, yeah, there is an annoying kid in the movie. And it is close to two hours long. And the good guy loses. Oh, yeah, the story is perhaps as predictable as can be. But, the characters have potential. It is so sad to see it wasted on a idiotic story such as this.

Verdict: Don’t see.

May 5, 2007 at 19:58 Leave a comment

Movie Review: 300

After waiting for a long time, the local cinema finally choose to show the movie 300. Don’t really know why the wait, but for a while they were considering not showing it at all. But, we do get dozens of crappy Swedish movies, so who am I to complain?

300 is a historic movie based on a comic book. My personal favorite of all history, specifically Greek history, is the battle of Thermopylae. Not only because of the valor of the Spartans, but because of their extreme civilization. It is one of the weirdest societies I’ve ever read about, and probably one of the harshest to live in.

The movie is based on a comic book, rather than history, and the visuals show this clearly. Pretty much everything is computer animated, and it looks really good. The story is one of valor, but, the main story is action. Violence. Massive amounts. In fact, stunningly massive amounts. Among the 120 minutes the movie lasts, at least 90 of them are pure violence. Not that I’m complaining, but even I was surprised. Beneath all the violence, gore, deaths, freaks and naked breasts (yeah, they really don’t care about the American rating) it is a really good movie. I enjoyed it tremendously, and can’t wait for the DVD. This is a wonderful, non-stop, violence fest.

Some words on the political context: Yes, this movie gives a poor image of, well, pretty much anyone else than the Spartans. Especially the Persians, who mostly seem like evil freaks. And, I don’t really believe that Xerxes was a gigantic androgynous man. But, this is a MOVIE, not a documentary. Relax. And do read up on the real history behind the events. The Persian culture is fascinating too!

Verdict: Must see (as long as you like violent movies, otherwise stay away!)

April 25, 2007 at 10:34 1 comment

Movie Review: The Ex

When Scrubs is good it is really good. And Arrested Development is probably the best written show in the history of sit-coms. So, the possibilities when Zach Braff and  Jason Bateman are in the same movie, The Ex, should be awesome. And, there are some funny moments. Like… when making fun of the handicapped. But they are far between, sadly. Braff pretty much plays Dorian, the characters are really the same. Bateman is good as the bad guy, Amanda Peet is, for once, not playing the stuck-up bitch (check her previous parts, she always plays the bitch). But the movie stays far to close to the formula for its own good. Even the “I love you so much” speech in the end is there. Not that the movie is bad, far from it, but the best part is the bloopers in the end.

Verdict: See.

April 23, 2007 at 21:53 Leave a comment

Movie Review: Alpha Dog

In Alpha Dog we follow a gang of young criminals, in an downward spiral of drugs and violence. Based on real events, the movie serves mostly as an interresting insight into the life of well off smalltime crooks in suburbia, smooching of their parents, doing drugs and living the good life. Until they suddenly get involved into serious crimes, especially a kidnapping, where they suddenly find themselves facing real, hard, time. My initial attraction to this movie was Bruce Willis (yeah, I admit I’m a fan) and also curiosity to see whether or not Justin Timberlake could act. No, there weren’t much Bruce Willis in the movie, and yes, Timberland can act. Or, perhaps not. I don’t know if “playing an obnoxious rich kid” is such a stretch for him, actually, but, hey, it works here. The movie is a rather horrifying insight into how violence escalates, and worth seeing.

Verdict: See

April 21, 2007 at 21:47 Leave a comment

Movie Review: The Hoax

In the Hoax we follow the story of an elaborate, if well meaning and at the beginning unwilling, con-man trying to convince his publisher that he is going to write the autobiography of the mysterious and highly private millionaire Howard Hughes. He do, however, not have a single connection to Hughes and makes it all up, but in the process becomes entangled with Hughes personality.

Lasse Hallström has a great talent for telling stories, and this is an interesting one. I, personally, think that Richard Gere always plays the same part, but with different names. Alfred Molina, however, is terrific as the second fiddle. The problem is that I don’t really care about anyone in the story. Hallström simply doesn’t manage to tell the story in such a way that it comes to life. The historic angles are good, of course, but this is the kind of movie you can both see and miss. If you like the historic period, however, you should see it.

Verdict: See (But just barely, and do rent it).

April 21, 2007 at 21:39 Leave a comment

Movie Review: Big Nothing

Once upon a time David Schwimmer was a funny guy. You know, last century when everyone laughed at “Friends”. Watching old “Friends” reruns now is a harsh reminder that not all comedy ages with grace, although there are some exceptions (Seinfeld seems to last, at least when choosing from the current nightly reruns). Schwimmer has had a hard time when picking roles lately, his best was perhaps the small part in “Band of Brothers”, but then, everyone was great in that series… But – to the point. Big Nothing is not a big budget movie. My main attraction for seeing it wasn’t Schwimmer, but instead it was Simon Pegg, who impressed me somewhat in “Shaun of the Dead” and a lot in the brilliant Spaced. Funny guy. I was REALLY surprised, how ever, as it turned out to be a really entertaining black comedy. A very black comedy. Things go really wrong, everyone is at risk, and you’ll probably laugh all the way. At least if you’ve got a dark sense of humor.

Verdict: Must See.

April 15, 2007 at 19:00 1 comment

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