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Deliri di un vecchio giovane » 2007» August
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Archive for August, 2007

Hit parade di fine estate

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

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Agosto sta per finire e la situazione generale è quella sonnacchiosa tipica del periodo appena successivo alle vacanze/ferie di molti. Per questo motivo, visto l’enorme successo del post dedicato alla compilation di un paio di settimane fa (a quanto risulta dalle statistiche del blog, è stato il più visitato degli ultimi 15 giorni), ho deciso di preparare un altro post dedicato al CD che ho inciso qualche giorno fa, la solita compilation da ascoltare in macchina o quando vado in giro in bicicletta. Il discorso sul perché ci sia musica piuttosto commerciale e “leggera” e non le cose che considero dei capolavori l’ho già fatto nel post precedente, per cui se volete capire il perché di certe scelte, andatevelo a leggere. :D

In realtà, ho deciso di fare questo post (la compilation l’avevo preparata comunque, ma era nelle mie intenzioni iniziali parlarne più avanti) semplicemente perché in questo periodo c’è veramente poco da dire e siccome non mi va di lasciare il blog sguarnito per una settimana, questo era perfetto. Certo, avrei potuto parlare delle solite sfighe riguardanti la ricerca del lavoro, delle solite ed ormai noiose vittorie a Dr. Why, dei soliti discorsi sull’incomunicabilità, ma si sarebbe trattato del classico e noioso “more of the same”, quindi è sicuramente meglio lasciar perdere per ora. Continuo poi a chiedere a voi lettori romagnoli, anche se dubito qualcuno si farà vivo, di segnalarmi associazioni ed eventi nella zona relativi alle mie passioni, visto che continuo a non trovare nulla che non siano le solite cose che mi sono abbastanza stufato di fare (lo so, la Romagna è la patria del divertimento, peccato che io non trovi divertente andare a far casino in giro, a differenza del 90% della gente :D ).

Tra l’altro, approfitto per dire che parteciperò al RomagnaCamp che si tiene a Ravenna il 7/8/9 Settembre, per cui se qualche lettore del blog che non conosco passasse da quelle parti, beh, si potranno fare due chiacchiere, cosa che mi fa sempre molto piacere. Si tratta poi del mio primo BarCamp, e credo che purtroppo mi ritroverò sicuramente molto spaesato (conosco di persona soltanto un paio dei partecipanti). Staremo a vedere come andrà. :)

Nel frattempo, eccovi la tracklist della nuova compilation. Dopo il salto (cliccate su “more” per leggere il post integrale), troverete le mini-recensioni di ogni singolo brano, corredate da contributi multimediali, come l’altra volta. Buona lettura. :)

1. Backstreet Boys - Inconsolable
2. John Mayer - Dreaming with a Broken Heart
3. Natasha Bedingfield - Soulmate
4. Elisa - One Step Away
5. Swizz Beatz (ft. Chris Martin) - Part of the Plan
6. Tiromancino - Angoli di Cielo
7. Duran Duran (ft. Timbaland) - Skin Divers
8. Mandy Moore - Umbrella
9. Maroon 5 - Wake Up Call
10. Santana (ft. Chad Kroeger) - Into the Night
11. Sheryl Crow & Sting - Always On Your Side
12. Guns ‘n’ Roses - There Was a Time
13. Placebo - Running Up That Hill
14. Plumb - In My Arms
15. Rihanna - Rehab
16. Elliott Yamin - Wait for You
17. Hinder - Lips of an Angel (Acoustic Version)
18. O.R.O. - Vivo per Lei

(Cliccate sul link qua sotto per visualizzare il post completo)

(more…)

Week in Review (19-08-2007/25-08-2007)

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

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Ed eccoci al consueto appuntamento settimanale con la Week in Review. Anche quest’ultima settimana è stata abbastanza tranquilla, visto che gran parte dell’Italia era ancora in vacanza. Nonostante ciò, per quanto riguarda il lavoro, nessuna novità positiva. Avevo detto che avrei chiesto, seppur riluttante, aiuto ai miei genitori in modo che parlassero con chi di dovere per vedere se si riusciva a smuovere qualcosa da queste parti, ma i miei hanno improvvisamente cambiato idea, dicendo che devo aggiustarmi da solo (dopo aver detto per mesi che avrebbero chiesto volentieri per darmi una mano, mentre io ringraziavo per l’aiuto ma dicevo che per il momento non ce n’era bisogno… W la coerenza). C’è stata finalmente anche una risposta da una delle aziende a cui ho mandato il curriculum già qualche mese fa, peccato sia stata negativa (mi è stato detto che al momento non cercano personale, ma che terranno in considerazione il mio CV). Certo, potrebbe anche essere una delle classiche mail automatiche (anche se dall’header posso affermare con certezza che non lo è), ma almeno c’è stata la risposta, diversamente da quanto accaduto altrove. Continuo quindi a ritrovarmi in una situazione piuttosto difficile. Purtroppo, non sono potuto nemmeno andar molto in bicicletta, visto che da Lunedì scorso fino a ieri le condizioni del tempo alternavano pioggia a brevi schiarite. Ad un certo punto, però, me ne sono fregato e sono andato comunque in giro, pure sotto il diluvio, tornando a casa bagnato come un pulcino. Con queste temperature, si può anche fare. Ho visto che non muoio anche se prendo tonnellate d’acqua, per cui nel caso continui a piovere, non mi farò certo remore come me ne facevo una volta. Peccato non aver potuto fare il solito chilometraggio ed essere stato costretto ad accorciare diverse pedalate (si può pedalare sotto il diluvio universale, ma dopo aver fatto 10 Km a mo’ di canottaggio, uno comincia ad aver voglia di tornare indietro :D ). Per il momento, quindi, questa è la triste situazione. :)

Ah, anche se non c’entra nulla, ne approfitto per fare la solita richiesta: se siete a conoscenza di associazioni, manifestazioni, eventi e simili legati alle mie passioni qua in Romagna, segnalateli pure nei commenti, mi fareste un gran favore :) (visto che io continuo a cercare, ma non trovo una beneamata fava di nulla).

Visto che ho dovuto far sparire le categorie per aumentare la velocità di caricamento della pagina, eccovi quindi l’elenco dei film recensiti in questa Week in Review.

Alone - Regia: Banjong Pisanthanakun/Parkpoom Wongpoom
Black Sheep - Regia: Jonathan King
Becoming Jane - Regia: Julian Jarrold
Dao Huo Xian (Flash Point) - Regia: Wilson Yip
Decoys 2: Alien Seduction - Regia: Jeffery Scott Lando
Kickin It Old Skool - Regia: Harvey Glazer
Knocked Up - Regia: Judd Apatow
Moliére - Regia: Laurent Tirard
Paris, Je T’Aime - Regia: AA. VV.
Rabbit Fever - Regia: Ian Denyer
September (Settembre) - Regia: Woody Allen
Sex Sells: The Making of Touche - Regia: Jonathan Liebert
Sleeper (Il Dormiglione) - Regia: Woody Allen
Super Sweet 16: The Movie - Regia: Neema Barnette
Unrest - Regia: Jason Todd Ipson
Wishmaster - Regia: Robert Kurtzman
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies - Regia: Jack Sholder
Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell - Regia: Chris Angel
Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled - Regia: Chris Angel

Detto questo, buona lettura. :)

Knocked Up (2006) - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Knocked Up is not as funny as The 40 Year-Old Virgin, but it’s still a movie that provides many laughs and great character development, in typical Judd Apatow-style. This sci-fi comedy (you’ll understand why I’m defining it “sci-fi”) is about the unlikely coupling between Alison, a young, hot and successful E! reporter and Ben, a good-hearted, unemployed and not so good looking slacker working with his roommates on a naked celebrities web-site. They hook up, both drunk, in a club where Alison went with her sister to celebrate a job promotion and have unprotected sex. She gets pregnant, but decides to keep the baby, trying at the same time to know Ben and build a real love story with him. If The 40 Year-Old Virgin had lots of reality elements, we can’t say the same about Knocked Up (that’s why I called it “sci-fi” comedy). However, this doesn’t matter, because it isn’t probably what you’re looking for in a movie like this. As I already said, Knocked Up is funny, really hilarious in some parts, but also very insightful, something that doesn’t happen so often in comedies. You see that Alison and Ben characters evolve during the movie, becoming different version of themselves at the end of the story. The beautiful Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) and Apatow-regular Seth Rogen (you’ve seen him in The 40 Year Old Virgin) are the stars of this movie, alongside Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann (Big Daddy) and other director’s regulars like Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Jay Baruchel, with small cameos of Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters), Joanna Kerns (Growing Pains), Ryan Seacrest, Steve Carell and Jessica Alba. The Italian dub will probably slaughter it, as it happened with The 40 Year-Old Virgin, making it extremely vulgar and totally different from its purposes, so if you want to see it, try to watch the original version, you won’t regret that.

YouTube Preview Image

Black Sheep (2006/I) - Voto/Rating: 6/10
This fun, silly and gory horror movie from New Zealand features zombie sheeps (!) and wonderful creature effects and make-up of WETA Workshop. The directing debut of Jonathan King is an over the top low budget production, where an herd of sheeps is turned into a zombie bunch of animals because of evil scientific experiments. This is not gonna be the best horror movie of the year, but it’s an interesting flick, with its silly premise and its style, reminiscent of another popular Kiwi, whose company worked on this movie’s creatures (I’m not saying who he is, you have to figure it out all by yourself). It has its flaws, but it’s fun and nice to watch.

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Paris, Je T’Aime (2006) - Voto/Rating: 7/10
This cinematic Paris postcard from a collective composed by several famed directors like the Coen brothers, Wes Craven, Tom Tykwer, Vincenzo Natali, Alfonso Cuaron, Alexander Payne, Walter Salles and many others is an episodic movie that uses love stories to underline the wide variety of styles, genres, encounters and the various atmospheres and lifestyles that prevail in the neighborhoods of Paris. Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood (its episode is the one I prefer), Catalina Sandino Moreno, Nick Nolte, Ludivine Sagnier, Rufus Sewell and Emily Mortimer are some of the popular names acting in the various stories. You can’t judge this movie from the direction, the acting or the way it’s written. A positive rating could exist only if it fulfills its purposes, and I must say Paris Je T’Aime does it very well.

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Wishmaster (1997) - Voto/Rating: 6/10
Did you ever think what could have happened if, inside the Aladdin lamp, there wasn’t a good tempered genie but an evil psycho monster? Movie make-up master Robert Kurtzman tried to answer this question in his directing debut. Wishmaster is an extremely gory horror movie, that no one will remember for its screenplay or direction, but just for the great fun she’s had watching it. Lost’s Andrew Divoff plays the title character, a monster called Djinn, that is somehow the evil version of the “classic” Genie, with a penchant for killings, horrendous transformations and terrifying dreams. Horror habitués like Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Ted Raimi, Tony Todd and Angus Scrimm also star in this fun movie, that features an incredible make-up work by Kurtzman and his partners in crime Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero, making every sequence in which the Djinn unleashed his evil powers a feast for the eyes. In my opinion, Wishmaster deserves a cult classic status. It won’t be taught in film school, but it’s damn fun, unlike the majority of horror movies released in the last twenty years.

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I pilot 2007/2008

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

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Ed eccoci qua, come capita da un paio di anni a questa parte nelle ultime settimane estive, a dare un’occhiata a quello che ci proporrà la TV (americana, ovviamente) almeno per quel che riguarda le nuove serie, a partire da fine Settembre in poi. Ho infatti avuto modo di dare un’occhiata ad un po’ dei pilot dei nuovi prodotti che saranno trasmessi prossimamente dai network americani. Purtroppo, almeno fino a adesso, sono riuscito a mettere le mani soltanto su una decina di episodi pilota, a differenza di quanto era successo lo scorso anno, quando praticamente c’era stato modo di vedersi quasi tutti i pilot prima che fossero trasmessi effettivamente. Da quanto ho potuto osservare finora, la stagione televisiva 2007/2008 sarà decisamente di più basso profilo rispetto alle ultime tre/quattro. Manca infatti un Lost, un Prison Break, un Heroes, una qualunque serie che, per intenderci, metta una voglia irrefrenabile di piazzarsi davanti al piccolo schermo per seguirla fino alla fine. Per carità, il livello medio delle produzioni televisive, negli ultimi anni, è notevolmente migliorato, complici l’aumento dei budget (dovuto al fatto che le serie vivono praticamente ormai una seconda vita in DVD o tramite il download legale degli episodi da Internet, cosa che in passato non accadeva) ed altri elementi, però quest’anno ci troviamo di fronte a tanti “show” soltanto discreti e non eccezionali, almeno dal mio punto di vista. In attesa di poter mettere le mani su qualche pilot nuovo (mi piacerebbe poter vedere gli episodi pilota di serie che mi parevano interessanti, come Cashmere Mafia, Viva Laughlin!, Dirty Sexy Money, Gossip Girl, Journeyman, K-Ville e New Amsterdam, tanto per citarne qualcuno, ma mi sa che bisognerà attendere l’effettiva messa in onda), questi sono i miei pareri su tutto ciò che sono riuscito a vedere (ovviamente, in Inglese, visto che sono estratti dal solito colonnino laterale :D ).

Ah, anche se non c’entra nulla, ne approfitto per fare la solita richiesta: se siete a conoscenza di associazioni, manifestazioni, eventi e simili legati alle mie passioni qua in Romagna, segnalateli pure nei commenti, mi fareste un gran favore :) (visto che io continuo a cercare, ma non trovo una beneamata fava di nulla). Detto questo, buona lettura. :)

Pushing Daisies - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Created by Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me), with a pilot directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Get Shorty), Pushing Daises is a “forensic fairytale” about Ned, a piemaker with a special ability. He’s able to make people resurrect for a short time span, making them die again after a minute to avoid that someone else dies. He uses this gift to help his investigator friend to solve crimes, but when he’ll find himself in front of the corpse of Charlotte, his long lost love, he will use his ability to make her live again, without taking her back to the dead. From this moment on, things will become complicated. Lee Pace (Wonderfalls), Anna Friel (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Chi McBride (I, Robot) and Kristin Chenoweth (The Pink Panther) star in the most original show of the year. Everything is great: the setting is perfect, acting is good, the plot is interesting, characters seem well developed and the love story between the two leads is handled in a fantastic way (I won’t spoil it, you’ll have to see it yourself). There’s just one gigantic issue - this is a procedural show, so every episode is stand-alone and you know how I hate this. Pushing Daises is a great addition for the ABC line-up, but I won’t follow it because I really can’t stand procedural shows. If you can go over it, I think the show could be really satisfying. Prediction: full season pick-up, with a renewal for next year (but don’t bet on that).

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Chuck - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Created by Josh Schwartz (The O.C.), with a pilot directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2), Chuck is a spy-com about a nerdy average joe, with a penchant for computers (we could call him “geek”) working at the local electronic store. His life will change forever after being implanted, in his sleep, with a chip containing government secrets. He gets recruited by an NSA guy to be the partner of Sarah, a beautiful agent who’s also going to be his first date in ten years. Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect), Joshua Gomez (Invasion), Adam Baldwin (Daybreak), major hottie Yvonne Strzechowski (just a few guest appearances in a couple of shows) and my personal favorite Sarah Lancaster (What About Brian?, Everwood) star in this fastly paced show, that mixes comedy, action and a few twists in a very good way. I won’t say this is a must-see, but I must admit I had fun watching it and this could certainly be of the new shows I will follow, but I don’t think it will ever reach the quality levels achieved by Lost, Prison Break, Heroes (it will be aired by NBC on Mondays, before the Tim Kring show). Prediction: full season pick-up, with a renewal for at least one season.

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Reaper - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Created by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (Ed), with a pilot directed by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), Reaper is a fantastic comedy about Sam, a young slacker working in a department store with his friends Sock and Ben, but also with Andi, the girl he has a crush on. After his 21st birthday he discovers a shocking truth: his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born, something that will force him to work as a bounty hunter for Satan. Bret Harrison (The Loop), Ray Wise (now Satan, before Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks), Tyler Labine (Invasion), Rick Gonzales (War of the Worlds and Missy Peregrym (Heroes) is a funny mix between a situation-comedy, a super-hero show a-la-Smallville and Ghostbusters. His pervasive humor, combined with his obvious lightness (it doesn’t absolutely takes itself seriously) could make it one of the new TV season’s winners. His biggest problem resides instead in his formula, with different villains to catch in every episode, something that makes it a bit procedural, and I’m afraid that this will make the show a tad repetitive just after a few episodes. I’m sure people will like it, but I think that Reaper will have great benefits if it’s gonna start using longer story arcs. Just a note: in the pilot, the Andi role was played by Nikki Reed, a beautiful and quite good young actress we’ve already seen in The O.C., but also on the silver screen, in movies like Thirt3en and Lords of Dogtown. She’s been replaced by skinny and not that beautiful Missy Peregrym, the young actress who was playing the shapeshifter Candice in the first season of Heroes. This is not a smart move in my opinion, because there was a certain chemistry between the girl and Bret Harrison. We’ll have to wait for the official pilot to see who’s right on this matter. Prediction: full season pick-up, with a renewal for next year.

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Bionic Woman - Voto/Rating: 6/10
Created by David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) and Jason Smilovic (Lucky Number Slevin, Kidnapped), with a pilot directed by Michael Dinner (Off Beat, The Crew), Bionic Woman is a sci-fi drama that could be considered as a remake of the popular 70’s show with Lindsay Wagner. The new main character is a bartender, called Jamie Sommers, a woman in her 20’s living with her younger sister Becca (she’s deaf in the pre-air pilot, she won’t in the aired one) and really loved by her boyfriend Will. A car accident will completely change her life, because some of her body parts will be replaced by bionic ones. So, she will start facing criminals, but she will also have to deal with her arch-enemy, the evil Sarah Corvus. British hottie Michelle Ryan (she was 4th in last year’s FHM UK Top 100), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Will Yun Lee (Torque) and Miguel Ferrer (Robocop) star in this show, very well packaged and acted, with a bleak mood that ties perfectly with the main character’s one. Unfortunately, the storyline seems a bit weak, and the show, in my opinion, reminds too much the ill-fated James Cameron’s Dark Angel. Sci-fi lovers could probably like, I think I’ll be happy only if this will act as a launch pad for Michelle Ryan in movies, as it happened to Jessica Alba with her most important TV work to date. Prediction: this is not easy, but I’m sure that Bionic Woman will receive at least an half-season order. I’m not so sure about a full one or a renewal, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Created by Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Black Dahlia), with a pilot directed by David Nutter (Disturbing Behaviour, but also several pilots like Without a Trace, Supernatural, Smallville), The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a sci-fi drama that starts just after the events narrated in T2, with Sarah Connor and her son John always on the run from authorities and Skynet’s troops. Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo in 300), Thomas Dekker (Heroes) and Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity) star in this show, that looks very well done on the outside, but it also feels like an ordinary sci-fi show. If it wasn’t for the Terminator moniker and characters, I think FOX would have passed on it. The pilot looks quite slick, with good direction, writing and acting and opens interesting plot possibilities, especially if you’re a fan of the saga. Producers stated in some interviews they will reshoot part of the episode in sign of respect for the young people killed in recent college slaughters. I hope they won’t do this because the school set is integral to the pilot, and I think it’s quite ridiculous doing something like this about an year after those tragedies (FOX has picked-up the show for mid-season, so it will start airing it on January). Were they looking for free publicity? I hope so… Prediction: if it’s not yanked after a few episodes (I’m sure it’s a quite expensive show, so its ratings will have to be really high for not prompting the network to stop it), there will surely be an half-season order. If FOX will be able to snag distribution for Terminator 4, I think the show will go on for another season, to tie with the movie. Otherwise, it’s gonna be canceled next June.

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Cane - Voto/Rating: 5/10
Created by Cynthia Cidre (The Mambo Kings), Cane is a latin drama about the Duque family, a group of people of Cuban descent working in the sugar business. This is the story of their rivalries, friendship, betrayals, relationships, and much more. Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue), Nestor Carbonell (Lost), Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman) and veteran Rita Moreno (West Side Story) star in this slick and stereotypical big budget soap opera aimed to a Latin public. Acting is good, everything is beautifully packaged, but with no soul whatsoever. Prediction: full season pick-up, with a renewal for next year.

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Lipstick Jungle - Voto/Rating: 5/10
Created by Candace Bushnell (Sex & the City), with a pilot directed by Gary Winick (13 Going On 30), Lipstick Jungle is an all-women drama following the lives, the careers, the love affairs, the marriages and the relationships of three very successful women in New York: a movie major boss, a fashion magazine director and a fashion stylist. Brooke Shields (Blue Lagoon), Kim Raver (24), Lindsay Price (Beverly Hills 90210), Julian Sands (Naked Lunch) and Andrew McCarthy (Weekend at Bernie’s) star in this quite disappointing drama, which takes most of the elements used in shows like Sex & the City and tones them down for network TV (the Darren Star show aired on cable). The pilot is very well acted and features a good soundtrack, but it’s too bland, in my opinion, to start a successful series. Prediction: as NBC picked it up for mid-season, I’m betting for an half-season order. Afterwards, the show will be canceled for poor ratings.

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Aliens in America - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Created by David Guarascio and Moses Port (Mad About You), with a pilot directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), Aliens in America is a single camera sit-com about Justin Tolchuck, a very sensitive 16-year old high school student, who’s constantly made a fool by his classmates. His mother wants him to become cool, so she signs for the International Student Exchange, hoping to receive in her house a guy able to help her son in his life. She will be really disappointed for the arrival of Raja, a Pakistani muslim student that will instantly forge a bond with her son, but won’t help him becoming what she would like him to be. Dan Byrd (The Hills Have Eyes), Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) and Amy Pietz (Caroline in the City) star in this funny sit-com about friendship, racism and how can things change from different point of views. Aliens in America is far superior to the similar themed Cavemen, and it’s the fourth show in this column featuring geeky characters, in what seems like a trend for 2007/2008 TV season. The real Revenge of the Nerds? Unfortunately, it’s just happening on TV. Prediction: full season pick-up, with a renewal for next year.

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The Big Bang Theory - Voto/Rating: 6/10
Created by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Gilmore Girls), The Big Bang Theory is a multi-camera sit-com about two hyperintelligent nerdy/geeky guys (call ‘em as you prefer), who find themselves dealing with their new neighbor, a beautiful and sweet girl working as a waitress, something that will make them realize they don’t know anything about life. Johnny Galecki (Vanilla Sky), Jim Parsons (Judging Amy) and major hottie Kaley Cuoco (8 Simple Rules, Charmed) star in this funny but also quite repetitive (it’s a big problem if this already happens in the pilot) sit-com. I mean, you laugh, but what makes you laugh are not dialogues, but just the one-liners uttered by the various characters. You laugh because the communications between the geeky guys and the hot neighbor are difficult, as they’re extremely different from each other, even if they seem to tag along very well (I think I would pay huge amounts of money, if I was living alone, to have a woman so sweet, understanding and beautiful as the Kaley Cuoco’s character in this show). I liked it, but I must admit that The Big Bang Theory is a very classic multi-camera sit-com, easy to watch, but also plagued by bad writing and the usual unbearable laugh track. Prediction: this is hard, but I’m betting on a full season pick-up, with no renewal (this is what I hope, but I’m not sure it’s gonna happen).

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Cavemen - Voto/Rating: 3/10
Created by Josh Speck and Will Gordon (Blades of Glory), based on the characters invented by the two creators/directors for a popular American insurance company commercial, Cavemen is a single camera sit-com about three cavemen living in modern world, trying to integrate themselves between normal people, showing them they’re not different from everyone of us. I was under the impression, as soon as I heard about it in the first months of the year, this show would have been a real stinker, and I wasn’t wrong. Nick Kroll (Things I Hate About You), Sam Huntington (Superman Returns) and John Heard (Home Alone, Prison Break) star in the worst pilot ever. It’s a sit-com and it doesn’t make you laugh. It just makes you nervous, because you start thinking about how much money has been spent on this crap. ABC stated they will reshoot most of the pilot, but I think no reshoot could save this show. Prediction: I hope the show is yanked after two episodes, but I know it won’t happen. So, I’m betting on an half-season order.

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Week in Review (12-08-2007/18-08-2007)

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

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Ed eccoci al consueto appuntamento settimanale con la Week in Review. La settimana è stata logicamente piuttosto tranquilla, visto che tutta l’Italia lavorativa si ferma e non ci sono quindi sviluppi da quel punto di vista. Come vedete, i film recensiti sono decisamente calati, e ciò è dovuto al fatto che ho passato più tempo in bicicletta rispetto agli ultimi mesi. Purtroppo, per motivi di polmoni, non posso (e non potrò ancora per un bel po’) tornare ai 70/80 Km medi che facevo l’anno scorso, ma mi tocca stare sui 30/35. Inutile dire che preferirei poterne fare così tanti, in modo da stare un bel po’ fuori casa, rilassarmi e godermi il caldo di queste belle giornate, almeno fino a quando durerà (visto che le previsioni parlano di piogge in arrivo per la prossima settimana). Magari, nei giorni a venire, proverò ad allungare di una manciata di Km, per vedere se sono tornato ad avere abbastanza fiato per arrivare almeno a 40 Km. Detto questo, buona lettura anche per questa settimana. :)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) - Voto/Rating: 8/10
The closing chapter of Jason Bourne’s adventures is the whole trilogy’s best. A 110 minutes non-stop action piece, masterfully directed by Paul Greengrass, that mixes one of the best car chases ever seen on screen, a few spectacular sequences that will make movie buffs have an hard-on, a screenplay with well-fleshed characters and also a political sub-text missing from the majority of Hollywood mainstream action movies. Matt Damon stars once again as Jason Bourne, the rogue agent that will finally discover who he is after a shocking chain of events. This is easily the best action movie of the year, and a contestant for becoming the real best movie of the year. An absolute must see.

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High School Musical 2 (2007) (TV) - Voto/Rating: 6/10
The incredible and unexpected success of the first High School Musical prompted Disney to greenlight a real concert musical and a sequel that premiered on the American Disney Channel a few days ago (the Italian premiere is set for the end of September), featuring the same cast of the original movie. Troy, Gabriella and all their friends/enemies go to work in a country club owned by Sharpay and Ryan’s parents. Troy and Gabriella’s love story will be tested when the evil Sharpay will try to steal the boy from the hands of her classmate. The plot is a little less linear if compared with the first episode’s one, but features once again cheesy lines and a really clichéd ending (it’s for kids, they don’t demand great storylines, they just want to have fun). The songs and the soundtrack in general have improved, as the acting of the main stars Zac Efron (even if he looks like the Joker with all that make-up on his face), pocket hottie Vanessa Hudgens (she’s just 156 cm tall), Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel. High School Musical 2 is what you can define “more of the same”. Those ones who loved the first movie will definitely love this one too, haters will also hate this sequel and those who didn’t have neither of those feelings, like me, will feel just the same. So, you know what to expect.

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Bug (2006) - Voto/Rating: 6/10
William Friedkin’s latest movie is a terrifying and claustrophobic drama about a couple, a man and a woman, closed in their hotel room, who start developing a scare for imaginary bugs, something that will take them on the verge of madness. Based on a theatre play, Bug is a powerful movie, which unfortunately has a very big problem. Acting is top-notch, with Oscar-worthy performances by Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon, who star alongside Harry Connick, Jr. and Lynn Collins. The movie is also quite unusual for Friedkin, a director we know as a real master with car chases and action. Even if it’s his best direction in years, Bug has other issues, coming all from its screenplay. A very deep psychological analysis is countered by a really confusing script, that makes very difficult to find a plausible meaning for the movie. In my opinion, Friedkin has a style that absolutely doesn’t fit with a picture like this one. I think that, for instance, in the hands of a director like David Lynch, Bug could have been really fabolous. This way, what we have is just a decent movie.

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Inland Empire (2006) - Voto/Rating: 4/10
I’m a David Lynch fan, and this is a known fact (to support this claim, I can say I just bought from Play.com a 2-disc DVD SE of Lost Highway), but I’m really sorry that Inland Empire is one of the crappiest movies I’ve seen in ages. It is not just bad or plain bad, it is excruciantingly bad, so bad that I can’t believe it was written (we’ll come to this later) and directed by one of my favourite directors. Originally intended as a series of unconnected shorts (the movie exploded to a 3 hour running time, but didn’t lose its unconnected nature) and it was written by Lynch day after day on the set (I know, this is what usually happens in big Hollywood blockbusters, but that’s not my point), in a way determined by how he felt that day. This is an interesting experiment, but it can’t be defined as a movie, in my opinion. To add confusion, Lynch also put in Inland Empire a few shorts he shot a few years ago, called Rabbits (they’re pure genius, but this way they lost all their edge). The final outcome is a nonsensical sort of movie that drags itself for almost 180 minutes. Laura Dern deserves great kudos, because she’s able to carry almost the whole movie on her shoulders. Even the rest of the cast, which includes Lynch regulars like Harry Dean Stanton, Justin Theroux and Grace Zabriskie, and other known names as Jeremy Irons, Jordan Ladd and William H. Macy, do commendable jobs. Unfortunately, they’re not enough to save Inland Empire, which is probably the worst movie the great American director made in his whole career. An incredible disappointment.

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Year of the Dog (2007/I) - Voto/Rating: 7/10
Mike White’s latest movie is about dog people, those ones whose love for their dogs or other animals is almost everything they have in their lives. This is the story of Peggy, a woman whose life seems perfect, especially when she’s with her little dog. The loss of the animal will make everything fall apart, but will also allow the woman to discover there’s something else in the world and not just her dog. SNL-alumni Molly Shannon, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern and John C. Reilly star in this poignant and well acted light drama produced by Brad Pitt, whose greatest strength is the way the characters and the relationships between them are portrayed. It all looks real, something that doesn’t happen so often in American movies, not even in indie ones. This is why I really liked it. Thumbs up.

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Hercules in New York (1970) - Voto/Rating: 2/10
Schwarzy’s movie debut looks like an American version of the popular Italian trash movie Alex l’Ariete, that featured ski champion Alberto Tomba in the role of an unlikely policeman. In 1970, when he was just 23 years old, after winning the Mr. Universe title, the actual California governor starred in this hilarious and extremely ridiculous fantasy comedy, where he played the role of Greek demi-god Hercules, kicked away from the Olympus by his father Zeus. He decides to stop in New York, where he’ll be seen as someone very similar to an alien. Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman (who will become, in the following years, an established TV director), the movie is probably one of the worst ever made, but it’s really funny watching it, especially when you think how things have changed for this Austrian man, who also talked, at that time, with an incredibly thick German accent, that made it very difficult to understand what he was saying in English (he was dubbed in first version of the movie, that has been subsequently re-released with his original voice). Hercules in New York was also the debut for a “big” comedian, the late John Candy, who appears uncredited as one of the thugs beaten by Schwarzy/Hercules when he arrives in New York. This is not a movie you will see for its cinematical value. It’s just something curious, something that movie buffs will probably enjoy, even if it’s one of crappiest things ever released.

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Hit parade dell’estate

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

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Il Ferragosto richiede un post più leggero del solito, ed è per questo che ho deciso di tirare nuovamente fuori dal cassetto il buon vecchio post musicale, quello relativo alle compilation che mi preparo da ascoltare in macchina o con il lettore Mp3 mentre mi faccio i miei 20/25 Km quotidiani in bicicletta. Per vostra fortuna, però, non ci sarà nessun podcast musicale a-la-Radio Bill, come succedeva fino a qualche tempo fa. Mi servirò del provvido YouTube, come già faccio ogni settimana con la Week in Review, per far sentire i brani. La compilation in questione è proprio quella estiva, visto che è stata preparata all’incirca tre settimane fa.

Prima di elencare e descrivere i pezzi che la compongono, però, mi preme fare una precisazione. La musica che io di solito infilo all’interno di queste compilation non è quella che ascolto abitualmente, o meglio, per essere più chiari, non è quella che ascolto principalmente. E’ semplicemente quella che io definisco musica fast food, ossia musica di facile assimilazione, radiofonica, orecchiabile, chiamatela come vi pare. Dal mio punto di vista, a differenza di quanto diverse persone pensano, questo non è affatto un male, anzi, tutt’altro. Ritengo che non si possano sempre ascoltare cose “difficili”, se così possiamo definirle, ma che ogni tanto, soprattutto in certe situazioni, siano necessarie canzoni che non fanno fatica ad entrare in testa e che si possano allegramente canticchiare (poi, come sapete, io sono un fan del karaoke) quando magari si è in giro in macchina, sotto la doccia o in qualche festa con gli amici. Non mi sognerei mai di infilare in una compilation di questo tipo artisti come Tori Amos, Ryan Adams o i Dream Theater, tanto per citarne alcuni di cui ho recentemente ascoltato le ultime produzioni (beh, in passato della Amos ci ho messo qualcosa, ma un paio di pezzi su più di 60 compilation) e che apprezzo molto. Oppure non ci infilerei cose “sacre” come pezzi dei Pink Floyd, degli Who, dei Genesis, dei Queen e via dicendo, anche se molti sono conosciuti e sdoganati anche ai più ignoranti musicalmente. Perché questo? Perché trovo che cozzino con quello che è l’intento di questi CD, ossia quello di offrire un semplice accompagnamento musicale a determinate situazioni, come possono essere i giri in macchina o in bicicletta. Un qualcosa di leggero che possa essere gradito anche da eventuali accompagnatori e accompagnatrici la cui cultura musicale non contempla certe cose ed a cui il fatto di avere le orecchie foderate di prosciutto tende a portare ad un: “Cambia sta musica, che è oscena”. E’ chiaro, ci sono diversi pezzi che fanno parte di queste compilation e che portano agli stessi comportamenti, visto che raramente rispecchiano quello che è in testa alle classifiche, sia di vendita che radiofoniche, però almeno evitano di sentirsi commenti di quel tipo per l’intero viaggio. Poi è chiaro, io lo faccio soprattutto perché in macchina piace ascoltarle a me, non di certo per soddisfare gli altri. Diciamo che, come sempre, per accontentare salomonicamente tutti, bisogna adottare la strategia della “via di mezzo”. :)

Detto questo, eccovi i 19 brani che compongono la compilation, piuttosto sbilanciata, questa volta, su generi decisamente “black”.

1. Timbaland (ft. Keri Hilson) - The Way I Are (Radio Edit)
Il secondo singolo da Shock Value ha un beat davvero “catchy”, che ricorda molto quello di SexyBack di Justin Timberlake, prodotta dallo stesso Timbaland. Keri Hilson, la bella voce che canta assieme al titolare, è una ragazza 25enne, molto carina a quanto si vede dal video, che si è fatta le ossa scrivendo successi per altri artisti “black”, ed ha un album di prossima uscita. Questa versione della canzone non include il rap, che trovate invece in quella presente nel CD e nel video. Lo trovavo decisamente di bassa lega e quindi ho preferito il Radio Edit.

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2. Bobby Valentino - Tell Me
L’ultimo CD del cantante R&B Bobby Valentino è piuttosto moscetto. Questo pezzo si trova infatti nel precedente album, aperto da quell’eccellente singolo che era Slow Down. Tell Me era il secondo singolo, caratterizzato dal solito beat perfetto, che incolla la melodia in testa in pochi istanti. Si tratta della versione liscia, quella presente sul CD, visto che in radio è stato passato solo il remix, che includeva un rap piuttosto orrendo di Lil’ Wayne.

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3. Bon Jovi - (You Want to) Make a Memory
Dopo l’inatteso successone di uno dei singoli dello scorso album, Who Says You Can’t Go Home, nel mercato country, il buon John e la sua band hanno scoperto uno dei generi preferiti dagli americani (e anche dal sottoscritto, ad essere sinceri), cosa che ha permesso loro di portare il loro nuovo album, Lost Highway, in testa alle classifiche d’oltreoceano a quasi 20 anni dal loro ultimo #1. Il primo estratto del CD, (You Want to) Make a Memory è una discreta ballad country-pop prodotta dal loro collaboratore abituale John Shanks, dotata tra l’altro di un video molto azzeccato. Certo, Always era tutt’altra cosa, ma a differenza dei loro ultimi lavori, questa canzone e tutto il resto dell’album si lasciano decisamente ascoltare.

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4. Naomi Striemer (ft. Carlos Santana) - Cars
Naomi Striemer è una giovane cantautrice canadese, scoperta da Narada Michael Walden, personaggio che è stato talent scout di artiste come Mariah Carey e Whitney Houston, oltre che produttore di album di incredibile successo come, ad esempio, la fenomenale colonna sonora di The Bodyguard. Questo brano è una ballad molto bella, estratta dal primo album della Striemer, uscito lo scorso anno, che però non ho ancora avuto modo di ascoltare. La chitarra è quella inconfondibile, ma anche decisamente prevedibile (nel senso che, la prima volta che ascoltavo il brano, anticipavo i pezzi di chitarra riproducendo le distorsioni a voce), del baffo di Tijuana, il grandissimo Carlos Santana.

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5. Kelly Clarkson - Sober (Radio Edit)
Ed ecco la mia adorata Kellina. Vincitrice della prima edizione di American Idol, dotata di una voce meravigliosa, oltre che di una bellezza, almeno dal mio punto di vista, decisamente particolare (la trovo una donna da sposare :D ). Il suo primo CD non mi aveva entusiasmato più di tanto, il secondo, intitolato Breakaway, è il miglior CD pop dell’ultimo decennio, visto che ogni pezzo aveva le potenzialità per essere un singolo (solo Walk Away non mi piaceva, e sono dell’idea che la stupenda Addicted meritasse di uscire come quinto singolo rispetto al pezzo appena menzionato). Questo terzo CD, intitolato My December, è sicuramente un’evoluzione, sia dal punto di vista melodico che da quello dei testi, scritti quasi completamente dalla ragazza. Peccato che, a differenza degli altri due, sia tutt’altro che radiofonico, e questo è dimostrato anche dalle scarsissime vendite ottenute oltreoceano. A me non è affatto dispiaciuto, tanto che ritengo che questa Sober, una potentissima e struggente ballad, inaspettatamente uscita come secondo singolo nelle radio americane, che vede tra i suoi autori anche Reba McEntire, popolare nome del country americano, sia il suo miglior pezzo al pari di Addicted.

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6. Hinder - Get Stoned (Piano Version)
Gli Hinder sono un gruppo rock americano che si è fatto conoscere in tutto il mondo con la passionale Lips of an Angel e la successiva Better Than Me (pezzi che ho inserito, addirittura in più versioni, in compilation precedenti), caratterizzata da un video che non è stato praticamente trasmesso in TV per via di contenuti un pochettino estremi, ma che trovate qua sotto. Get Stoned è stato il primo singolo del loro primo album, lo stesso da cui sono stati estratti i pezzi summenzionati. La versione inserita nella compilation, trovata come B-side in un loro CD singolo, però, è decisamente più leggera di quella originale, abbastanza rockeggiante, in quanto completamente suonata al piano.

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7. Rihanna (ft. Jay-Z & Chris Brown) - Umbrella-RMX (My Cinderella)
Di questo pezzo c’è da dire quanto hanno già detto in molti. Le radio lo suonano ininterrottamente da mesi, il video viene trasmesso ininterrottamente da tutte le reti musicali, il brano è stato in testa per ben 10 settimane alla classifica dei singoli inglese, Rihanna è una gran gnocca (ehm…), e via dicendo. Questa versione, però, è come al solito differente da quella che sta martellando da tempo i timpani di tutti i noi. Si tratta di un duetto, con testo nuovo nella parte maschile, assieme al giovane artista R&B Chris Brown. Questo fatto la rende decisamente più sopportabile, in quanto il contrasto tra due voci molto diverse, almeno dal mio punto di vista, è sempre cosa molto gradita.

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8. Aeroplanitaliani - Perdermi in Te
Della versione italiana di The Blower’s Daughter avevo già parlato in un mio precedente post musicale. Perdermi in Te non è altro che la cover tradotta (quella in inglese si trovava invece nel precedente CD di Alessio Bertallot e soci, intitolato Sei Felice, che vi consiglio di acquistare, come quest’ultimo, perché davvero molto belli) della meravigliosa canzone di Damien Rice, di cui ho già tessuto lodi sperticate un sacco di volte. Una cover con un arrangiamento a metà tra l’elettronico e l’orchestrale, decisamente minimal, che rappresenta una buona alternativa all’originale folkeggiante del cantautore irlandese. Visto che sono bravo, vi potete sentire qua sotto entrambe le versioni della cover, encodate ad una qualità bassissima per ovvie ragioni (se le volete, compratevi il CD :D ).

The Blower’s Daughter

Perdermi in Te

(Cliccate sul link qua sotto per visualizzare il post completo)

(more…)

Week in Review (05-08-2007/11-08-2007)

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

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Ed eccoci qui ancora una volta, al solito appuntamento settimanale con la Week in Review. Sono riuscito a rimuovere le categorie dalla visualizzazione della pagina principale (il metodo utilizzato era l’unico a cui non avevo ancora pensato e, come sempre, era quello più semplice ed ovvio :D ), mentre devo trovare il modo per “sostituire” la visualizzazione presente sulla barra laterale in qualcosa di meno pesante, motivo per cui finché non troverò una soluzione degna di nota, quelle dovranno rimanere lì. Per il resto, è stata una settimana abbastanza all’insegna del relax, con diverse uscite con gente che non vedevo da qualche secolo, poco Dr. Why (sospeso nella maggior parte dei locali della zona fino alla settimana post-Ferragosto) ed ancora meno lavoro del solito (ci sono alcune cose in pending, ma come al solito, sono nebulosissime). Più che altro, sto meditando di fare davvero una pazzia, una cosa che non ho mai fatto in vita mia. Visto che intanto il viaggio in Svezia è andato a ramengo, ho pensato di acquistarmi una videocamera, per provare a fare qualcosa di relativo alla mia grande passione (anche se sarà dura, visto che riuscire ad ottenere la collaborazione degli amici che mi ritrovo è sempre stato abbastanza impossibile), ossia provare a girare qualche corto o qualche video musicale. Il problema è che l’aggeggio che ho adocchiato non è una semplice videocamera digitale MiniDV da qualche centinaia di Euro, ma un prodotto professionale, che filma in alta definizione (in Full HD) e che di Euro ne costa all’incirca 1800, molto meno di tanti altri, ma comunque una cifra non indifferente. Ho fino a Settembre per pensarci, visto che l’unico rivenditore italiano del prodotto è chiuso per ferie fino a quel momento. Il senno tornerà al suo posto o farò questo acquisto folle? Chi lo sa, ai posteri l’ardua sentenza… Invito poi nuovamente i lettori della zona, come avevo già fatto qualche post fa, a segnalarmi nei commenti la presenza di associazioni culturali relative alle mie passioni (che presumo siano chiare) qui in Romagna. Nel frattempo, buona lettura. :)

Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) - Voto/Rating: 6/10

The third Ocean movie is not as bad as the previous one (it would have been difficult to do something worse), but neither as good as Ocean’s Eleven. This time, Danny Ocean’s gang must deal with Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a casino owner who just defrauded Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), one of the gang’s members, causing him a terrible heartache. To avenge their friend, Danny, Rusty (Brad Pitt), Linus (Matt Damon) and the other will enlist the help of their arch-rival Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who also has unfinished business with the heartless Bank. Ocean’s Thirteen follows the same formula of the previous movies, mixing a few twists, funny scenes and performances, the glossy Las Vegas environment and the usual cast we learned to love in past years. The movie isn’t as convoluted as the horrible Ocean’s Twelve, but unfortunately it doesn’t neither run smoothly as the first chapter. If you think this is the best movie in which Al Pacino starred in the last few years, you could easily understand what downfall this great actor (he’s my favorite one) had. Ocean’s Thirteen is a decent flick, light as fun, not as good as it could have been, but rather enjoyable.

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Delta Farce (2007) - Voto/Rating: 2/10

How could some movies manage to get financing is quite a mystery. This is a question that pops up several times into your head when you’re watching Delta Farce, a propagandistic spoof comedy about three unlikely characters who are sent by U.S. Army to Mexico because of a mistake. Unfunny, very idiotic and stupid. These are three adjectives that best describe this horrible movie, a waste of time and money that should be avoided by everyone. This is not the worst movie of all time, but we should say it’s a runner-up for that title.

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Broken English (2007) - Voto/Rating: 6/10

Zoe Cassavetes’s directing debut (she is Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes’s daughter) stars indie queen Parker Posey in the role of a woman in her thirties that, unlike all her friends, has not yet found the love of her life yet. As soon as she’ll meet a quirky Frenchman, everything will change. Drea de Matteo, Justin Theroux, director Peter Bogdanovich, Gena Rowlands and French actor Melvil Poupaud also star in this light drama that features good acting performances, lots of character development, and a few interesting bits here and there. Director Cassavetes tries instead to mimic her late father, without being able to get even close to him. Decent.

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Popcorn (2007) - Voto/Rating: 5/10

A shy and virgin geek falls in love with a movie theater employee, so he tries to be hired in that place to meet her and tell her how he feels about her. With the help of his co-workers, he creates a few plans he’s going to use to complete his task, but every of them will backfire. This is, summarized in a few lines, the main plot of Popcorn, an English teen comedy starring a lot of young actors, some of them even quite popular in the UK (like Jack Ryder, the beautiful Jodi Albert, who plays his love interest, and Kate Maberly, you probably remember as the lead in the film version of The Secret Garden). The movie starts very well, getting really predictable ever since and even quite ridiculous in the last 20 minutes, because of a script that’s really sub-par. Fortunately, some funny scenes and a rather upbeat mood avoid the complete disaster. If you’re looking for a teen comedy different than the usual American Pie movies or similar, this could be perfect for you. Just remember, if you decide to watch it, you could receive quite a disappointment.

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46-Okunen No Koi (A Big Bang Love: Juvenile) (2006) - Voto/Rating: 6/10

Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike’s A Big Bang Love is a very original movie, whose outcome, unfortunately, is quite vacuous and pointless. The story, set in a not so distant future, deals with a boy, imprisoned in an all-male juvenile facility, who confesses the killing of another guy, forcing two detective to start investigating on what happened. Visually striking, but really poor in every other department, the movie is just recommended to Miike fans. But don’t expect gore or other similar thrills, because A Big Bang Love reminds much more of a very deep psychological analysis than any other thing you’ve seen from the Ichi the Killer director.

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Desu Nôto (Death Note) (2006) - Voto/Rating: 7/10

Based on a very popular Japanese comic, Death Note is the story of a battle between two guys: a boy who finds a powerful notebook called Death Note he will use to kill the most cruel world criminals and the world’s greatest detective, who will start an investigation to find who’s behind all these killings. This interesting action thriller, starring Tatsuya Fujiwara (you remember him in the two Battle Royale movies), has been a great success in his home country, generating an animated TV show and a sequel, recently released in theaters. A really fun movie, well written and acted, but with a few issues mainly related to directing and visual effects (there’s an entirely digital character interacting with some of the actors), quite cheesy in some situations. But they’re not great issues, because the movie is really enjoyable and fun. Thumbs up.

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