Sunday, April 22, 2007

Moview Review: Fracture

Movie Title: Fracture
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, Rosamund Pike, Billy Burke, David Straithairn, Embeth Davidtz
Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
Genre: Thriller/Drama/Mystery
My Rating: 8/10

Fracture is a masterpiece movie with masterpiece actors and production values. The story and plot-line could have easily been stolen into an episode of TV's Law & Order and boosted up its ratings enough to last the show another season. However, nobody could enact such a story better than Hopkins and Gosling.

Hopkins plays Theodore Crawford, a millionaire owner of an aerodynamics firm, with expertise in fracture mechanism and thermodynamics. Ok, just understand he's a genius in a way. He's old, 60+, busy with work, and a much younger wife Jennifer(a gracious Davidtz) = she has an affair! But that's the only cliché. Hollywood seems to never tire itself of jealous older sugar daddies these days. Ted shoots Jennifer in the same jealous rage, his arresting police officer turns out to be the man she was having an affair with, and Ted knows it all along. Moreover, it turns out the gun Ted was holding during the arrest wasn't the same gun Jennifer was shot with, and with no matching gun found in the house.... he's a free man.

Gosling is a young prosecutor, William Beachum, about to embark on a new career in private practice and finally making the 3 figure salary not many people would have made serving the people. His new boss was going to be Nikki Gardner, played by the uber-gorgeous bondgirl Rosamund Pike, who he manages to have a go with just before working under her. Smart, at least they wouldn't have sexual tension.

BUT - his current boss, played by the usually underrated David Straithairn, wants him to take on a last case in his final two weeks at the D.A.'s office, and it turns out to be prosecuting Ted Crawford. After Crawford walks free due to the technicality, Beachum decides to go after the Crawford case to soften his ego, even if it meant losing his present job as well as his future job. Thus begins the cat-and-mouse game with no chase needed.

Hopkins was cold, similar to his Hannibal Lector roles, but just not so blood hungry. The emotionless wisecracks and insensitive sarcasms added some humor to the movie, which somewhat helped the flow. Gosling was excellent. He's one of those young actors you can easily rely on for a great performance. The supporting cast did a decent job as well.

The acting and script execution throughout the movie was superb. However, my only problem was people's accents. Ryan Gosling spoke with a drawl of a southern accent. Pike spoke with an American accent, something I've never heard that brit lady speak in before and it was kind of weird. Hopkins actually kept his Welsh accent, which wasn't bad just a bit odd, different say. In the second half I believe it starts sounding more ... Irish? Hmm...

8/10 - watch it in the theater, or rent it... you'll enjoy it either way.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Music Preview: Velvet Revolver

Velvet Revolver happens to be one of my personal favorite post-grunge bands of this decade, with some of the greatest rock musicians of the late 80's and 90's as it's members.

After their platinum debut album Contrabrand, VR is releasing their second album Libertad on July 3 this year. I couldn't be more excited and hopefully it will be at least as good as the first CD, even if it's different.

They have just concluded a tour of South America, and a couple of their new songs were recorded in concert and leaked on the Internet. The link is below:

These new songs rock! But, hopefully the recorded versions will be better. The concert I attended of VR in 2004 is one of the best performances I've ever seen, besides U2 and hopefully they'll tour in the mid-south later this year! They did play some covers of their former bands Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots last time around, but reports say they may not repeat that this time around. Too bad...

More about Velvet Revolver

411 Service from GOOGLE, Free!

While trying to get out of my short-term writer's block, I found another interesting service by Google.

From any phone in the US, you can dial 411 to get information about places to eat, movies to watch etc. in a specified area. However, most phone companies charge $ 1.49 or more every time you'd dial 411.

Google's experimental Voice Local Search provides the same service, for free. Instead of a three-digit code, you can dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) toll-free and talk with the automated system.

I just called that number, said what city/state I was in, and asked for a Starbucks. After saying the address, they connected me to that Starbucks store too.

Moreover, if you're calling from a cellphone you can also have them text/SMS you the details of the business establishment, by just saying "text message" or pressing 9.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Will Ferrell invades the Internet

Episode: Landlord

I would embed the video if only I figured out a way to not make it start automatically.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Concert Review: JET

Artist: JET
Location: New Daisy, Memphis TN
Genre: Rock
How was the show? Awesome!

I had nothing to expect. I have heard Jet's songs before, liked them, but never considered them to be one of my favorite bands. Being deprived of a good concert for a while, I decided to give this one a shot. And it was worth every penny, every decibel, and every brain-cell lost.

This Australian band from Melbourne is a classy hybrid of Beatles and AC/DC with all their originality. And yet, they're one of the few modern rock bands that still actually rock. They're not any of the "emo" boy bands or speed-metal gothic wannabes. They're a real rock band, with a real bunch of bad-asses, and well utilized talent. Lead vocalist/guitarist Nic Cester can scream all he wants, whenever he wants and still not make it one bit ugly.

The band started with "Last Chance" and rocked everyone's face off since minute one.
They sang most of their songs from both albums, including "Are you gonna be my girl," "Cold Hard Bitch," "Look what you've done," "Rollover DJ," "Put your money where your mouth is," "Bring it on back" etc.. The encore started with Nic Cester singing "Shine On" with the guitar all by himself. That's one of the best one-man performances I have seen in a while.

The most daring, or unusual, deed at the concert was where Nic Cester stood on top of the bass-drum a couple of times and owned the stage completely.

The lighting, the sound, and the performance as a whole was just superb! This was a concert I surely won't forget for quite a while. Do check them out if they're in your area soon.

Rock on, JET!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Movie Review: Curse of the Golden Flower

Movie Title: Curse of the Golden Flower
Starring: Chow-Yun Fat, Gong Li
Directed by: Zhang Zimou
Country of Origin: China/Hong Kong
My Rating: 7/10

Curse of the Golden Flower is set in 928 A.D. China, during the regime of the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Ping (played brilliantly by Chow-Yun Fat) and Empress Phoenix (played by the beautiful Gong Li) are entwined in a power struggle, and to make matters worse, the sons are involved too. The plot-line is the only thing that didn't make complete sense to me here. The Emperor keeps poisoning his consort wife so that she's on her way to a slow death, preluded by a mental breakdown. The crown-prince does not want to be a crown prince any more, the valiant second son is loyal to his mother, and the youngest son has the typical and dangerous last-born syndrome.

However, this movie is worth a watch for it's art and glamor alone. A lot of resources have been put into making everything in this movie beautiful. Golden armor, exotic clothes for the women, and colors all over the palace that prove to be a sight for sore eyes. Moreover, Chow-Yun Fat excelled in his portrayal of the highly intelligent, yet compassionately numb Emperor. It is indeed a good change from seeing him all those goody-goody roles he's played all these years. He also plays his role, for a change. Not often in movies do 50+ actors play 50+ roles these days. Gong-Li was well dolled up, played her 40+ age and her acting wasn't bad. I just didn't become an instant fan of hers after watching the dismal Miami Vice last year.

Please note: This is not a kung-fu movie.

However, it is not a chick-flick either. I just see women enjoying this movie for it's slow and steady pace more than men. It is a beautifully done movie, too bad the plot didn't move me too much.

7/10 - Not a bad rental. Especially not a bad Netflix rental :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jet Li & Jackie Chan in a movie? HELL YEA!

As a martial art movie fan, today's news on collider and other related sites couldn't have been any better for me. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are working together for the first time in a movie about "The Monkey King" due for release next year. Li will play the double role of the Monkey King Sun Wu-k'ung and the Silent Monk, while Chan will play heroic monk T'sha Ho.

Jet Li had announced retirement from epic action flicks after last year's blockbuster Fearless, but has still signed up for this movie and another about warlords in ancient China.

Adding to the good news of this collaboration is that Yuen-Woo Ping is doing the action choreography for "monkey king" - which makes it all a triple whammy! Ping choreographed all the fight scenes in the Matrix trilogy, Crouching Tiger, Kill Bill I & II and many of Jet Li's greatest movies.

In my honest opinion, the casting and production team would be complete with Donnie Yen joining the cast as one of the fighters. Yen is one of the guys you see in every other Jet Li flick dominating one or two fight scenes with Li and almost winning every time.

Would this be a Drunken vs Shaolin Tai-Chi battle? We'll wait and see...

Other Reference:

In related yet other news, Jet Li has signed on to act in Mummy 3 with Brendan Fraser and ... yes, Michelle Yeoh! Rachel Weisz has grown as an actress and even won an Oscar since the last Mummy movie, but 3 would be incomplete without her, IMO.

"I can still kick your ass!"

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Movie Review: Grindhouse

Movie Title: Grindhouse
Starring: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Naveen Andrews, Marley Shelton, Bruce Willis, Fergie, Vanessa Ferlito, Rosario Dawson and Zoe Bell.
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez (Q&R)
Genre: Action/Horror/Thriller
My Rating: 8.5/10

As I exhaled upon exiting the theater last night, I just had to head home and relax for the night to recover from this 3+ hour movie watching experience. Grindhouse isn't just a movie, it's a compilation of 2 totally different movies, a handful of fake-trailers and a couple of dumb commercials here and there. An interesting and confident experiment, which worked well for a one-time thing.

The first movie is Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, where a leak in a biochemical plant transforms the people of the small Texas town outside Austin into zombies conveniently called sickos. It's up to a mercenary wrecker and a one-legged dancer to save the town, and subsequently the rest of the world from this disease. Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) plays the wrecker Wray, and a brunette Rose McGowan (Charmed) plays the dancer Cherry - both of whom might feel elevated big time from their small screen careers. After losing a leg to a zombie-bite, Cherry manages with a table's leg for a while, until Wray finds enough time to make her a leg-substitute machine gun. A flexible former dancer with a WMD leg = yikes! The end of all zombies!

In my honest opinion, the real sicko in the movie was the biochemical scientist Abby, played by LOST's Naveen Andrews. I've heard of maniacs in history who liked collecting skulls, but Abby goes much further. He enjoys collecting testicles! Uncredited actor Bruce Willis plays the baddie, and confidently acknowledges that his fans are only happy to see him make a cameo, no matter how lame the role. Marley Shelton, as gorgeous as she is, plays a doctor who's dirty little secret of two-timing her doctor husband with Fergie comes to light the night the sickos attack. Yes, it's the same Black Eyed Peas' Fergie. Yippie!

Planet Terror is still a good horror flick, no matter how cliche'd or stupid it may be. It's less horrific than Rodriguez's last horror flick From Dusk Till Dawn.

The second movie, after the lame trailers and ads, is Quentin Tarantino's Death-Proof, where a scarred stuntman in Austin TX loves deploying his "death-proof" stunt car for deadly collisions with other cars having young leggy lasses as passengers. Kurt Russell plays stuntman Mike - and manages to win over the audience in his first 15 minutes with talks and wisecracks etc.. The first set of ladies he targets includes characters played by Vanessa Ferlito (CSI:NY) and a blonde Rose McGowan (wow! she's really all over the movie). I'm personally fond of Ferlito, although I'm yet to see her in a role that could unleash her full potential. Rose, however, wasn't all that striking in this half, even with both legs. The second group targeted includes a quartet of stuntwomen played by Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell, Tracie Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Prior to the action and one of the greatest car-chase scenes I have seen lately, there's way too much talking and babbling between these stuntwomen. A buddy of mine almost felt like leaving the movie theater then. However, I'm glad I stayed. The last 15 minutes were probably the best part of the 185 minutes, and I don't mean to sound sick here. Remember, the second quartet is all "stuntwomen."

While Planet Terror was more action-packed and far-fetched, it kept you awake constantly. Moreover, the excessive dialog Death-Proof turns out to be worth it. Not a bad time to go to the restrooms etc., I'd rather stay for the dumb trailers in between these two features. Death-Proof was more realistic, just a bit psycho, and more stunts than special effects. A normal movie-goer could tell which feature was directed by RR and by Q.

Do not blame your theater if you think the screen quality is bad. It's purposely done that way to pay homage to the 70's and 80's cheap action/horror flicks. At some parts there will be skipped scenes, audio glitches and messages like "Reel Missing. We apologize for the inconvenience, Theater Management." Many guys may not appreciate that sign in one particular part of the movie ;-)

I give Grindhouse an 8.5/10. Take as much beverage as you desire, there are enough time-slots to take a restroom break. I'd avoid popcorn, however.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Smartass named GOOGLE

Man, these guys at the big G keep impressing me and everyone else who pays a little attention. The April 1st Toilet ISP was funny and ridiculous enough, but today, a co-worker enlightened me about GOOGLE playing cute this way:

  1. Go to

  2. Click on "Directions" below the search box

  3. From: New York
    To: Ireland

  4. Click the button that says "Get Directions"

  5. Check out Step # 23.

Can I get an LOL? Or a WTH, maybe?

P.S. Fine, lazy people, here's the link:

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Movie Review: Blades of Glory

Movie Title: Blades of Glory
Starring: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer and Craig T Nelson
Directed by: Josh Gordon & Will Beck
Genre: Comedy/Sport(yea, right!)
My rating: 7.5/10

If Talladega Nights was "Anchorman on Wheels," could Blades of Glory be "Talladega Nights on Skates?" A sport superstar loses his way, goes insane and eventually comes back to win.... hmm, but this movie isn't exactly just that. If you look at the poster to the left you'll see Will Ferrell at large and Napolean Dynamite's Jon Heder somewhere in the lower part of the picture. Ferrell might be a comedy star right now, but Heder is not far from it. That's right, Jon Heder makes most of the difference in this movie and makes it only as unique as it can be!

I couldn't say Jon Heder stole the show from Will Ferrell, but he definitely grabbed his share of the limelight well and made sure it just wasn't a Will F movie with skates.

Jimmy (Heder) and Chaz (Ferrell, same character name he had in Wedding Crashers) are sworn rivals in the men's figure skating championships. After a tie at a tournament they get into a brawl and thereby banned from figure skating for the rest of their lives, while being stripped off their medals. 31/2 years later, a creepy fan enlightens Jimmy about a loophole in the system where a banned skater can participate in championships only with a partner. The way things turn out, Jimmy and Chaz try and put their differences aside and pair up as a team. Yes, 2 men, never before done but not prohibited by the system. Unhappy with this pairing are their rival American team, a brother-sister combo played by Will Arnett (of Arrested Development) and Amy Poehler (the last surviving doll of Saturday Night Live) - who are in reality husband and wife! Matters complicate when their sister Katie, played by the Office's Jenna Fischer and Jimmy develop mutual liking. Nah, it' not a forbidden love kind of tale, relax.

The skating scenes are ... well, entertaining but incredibly weird. I'm not a die-hard skating fan to say the least, and don't even follow the Winter Olympics on the television, but I'm pretty sure it's not that ridiculous. Forget the 2-men a team, thing.... just the concept of skate-dancing like a cowboy or peacock or even JFK-Marilyn enactment, come on. It's so SNL! In fact, the entire movie can be taken as an SNL kit, with Poehler, Ferrell and almost SNL people like Heder and Arnett. But, this is not a bad thing at all. The movie did not drag one bit, and ended before I knew it. While I compare it to SNL, I can confidently say that none of the jokes were recycled.

The acting, or comic acting rather, was superb. Will Ferrell looked a bit old in parts, and Jon Heder looked too young. It was probably the the idea of the producers. Amy Poehler plays a funny evil woman well, Will Arnett was just ok. I liked seeing Jenna Fischer on the big screen (I'm an Office fan, btw). Besides a cameo on Six Feet Under I haven't really seen her other works, but she seemed alright. Daring, in fact, which is good. Craig T Nelson played their coach, maturely, and Romany Malco (40 Year Old Virgin, TV's Weeds) played a brief part as the choreographer - I feel he could have had more screen time for a couple of wisecracks.

The cameo's were good too. Luke Wilson (representing the Frat Pack) makes a n appearance as a Sex-Addicts counselor, Rob Coddry (Daily Show), Any Ritcher (Andy Barker, PI), William Fitchner (TV's Prison Break) and Nancy Kerrigan herself added garnish to the already well prepared dish.

Best Quote:
Chaz: Nany Kerrigan, are you an official? Because you're officially giving me a boner!

You don't have to be a Will Ferrell or SNL fan to enjoy this movie. You don't have to care about ice-skating one bit. Hell, you could like it even if you're homophobic!

I give it a 7.5/10, but for a comedy it's more along 8.5/10.

This year seems to be going well as far as movies go. The previews for summer flicks made me very enthusiastic about the big part-3's :Spider-man 3, Shrek 3, Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End, Ocean's 13.

Google's Wireless Internet via crapper

I'm not kidding. Google now offers FREE wireless Internet to everyone. They send you a free setup kit upon request, and .... you have to put one end of the fiber-optic cable into your toilet! So besides alligators appearing out of the commode, we can also use it for obtaining free Internet from Google, how bizarre....

Read it and see it with your own eyes:

Note: I haven't tried this yet. But if you plan to, please let me know.

Toilet Wi-fi! Only from Google

Oh wait, it's April 1st!