Archive for August, 2007


TV-Show Review: Studio 60

I first began watching Studio 60 in December 06, at which point I managed to get my hands on the first half of the season. Naturally I loved it to ten thousand x ten thousand pieces and immediately rated it as one of the very best comedy/drama shows I’ve ever had the good fortune of watching. It’s just brilliant, and I can’t even begin fathom the stupidity of it being cancelled after just one season. It’s like Firefly-thing all over again.

Ah, well. This just goes to show that American Viewers are in general not very bright (I know; huge shocker). Studio 60 has everything you’d want from a show: mind-blowingly good actors, dialog to die for, fantastic sub-plots and character interaction and it keeps you in a state of suspended terror excitement. What’s more is that I actually give a crap about the fate of these fictional people, which is a very rare thing for me. Normally I couldn’t care less about whether or not the main character would get together with his ex, or if the brother of a supporting actor was killed off – but here I found myself living along with their ups and downs and I never wanted it to end.

For those of you who haven’t seen Studio 60, here’s what its about: Studio 60 is a live comedy show, much like Saturday Night Live and its fallen on hard times. NBS decides to take action and brings in a star duo in Danny Trip (Bradley Whitford) and Matt Albie (Matthew Perry). Of course thee is a lot of intrigue and power play going on, but over all I thought the setting was fascinating and those things I mentioned earlier are, when done correctly, hugely entertaining. I adored both Matt and Danny, but I also grew extremely fond of Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) and Jordan (Amanda Peet). I never cared much for her before I saw this show, but now I rank her very high and would consider watching whatever she does next.

The true mastermind, though, is surely the famous producer, Aaron Sorkin. I haven’t seen more than a couple of episodes of the The President (which he produced and created and wrote and directed and blessed with his holy self), but I now have a strong urge to see if they’re just as good as this masterpiece.

Of course it isn’t flawless, but I put most of the varying quality (from *brilliant* to *very good*) in this second half of the season up to the fact that the producers were probably trying out different things to capture an audience and maybe keep the show on for a second season. Obviously, this failed, and it saddens me that Studio 60 never got the attention it should have gotten.

Still, I highly recommend you try it out. In addition to the mixed quality of the middle of the second half, I also felt like things worked out a little too well. Still, in my heart I know I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 9/10.

It’s the one that says:

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When F5 Fails

Sorry for not being here more than I have lately. It seems that life has gotten in the way (which should surprise those of you who know me) and I find it harder and harder to make time enough to bog myself down in front of this shining screen. Things are also a lot slower now in the areas I usually post about – all my anticipated books have already been released and I have next to none new TV-series on the horizon.

School is also eating me slowly away. They have given us much longer hours this year (comparatively four times worse than last year), so I’m quite beat when I finally get home. It’s therefore easier to kick back with something less demanding than writing or reading.

However, I have it on good authority that times normalizes most situations and I should probably be up and blogging more coherently before you even knew it. For the moment you can look forward to a smallish review of “Studio 60″ (finally got around to watching the second half. Man, did I miss out or what? This show is mind-blowingy awesomeness incarnate!) and a full book review of “Consider Phlebas” by Ian M. Banks.

I’m telling you – near future!

I promise ;)

The Number 23

Are you obsessed with numbers?

I know I am, and that’s partially why I defied the critics and decided to give Jim Carrey’s new film a try. The word was that it was a very mediocre psychological thriller and that not seeing it wouldn’t impact your life in any other way than the fact that you’d have more money left then if you rented it. But I didn’t care, ’cause I saw something of myself in this film.

Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) doesn’t believe in destiny, but he can’t help thinking what would have happened if he hadn’t been delayed to that birthday date with his wife. If he hadn’t gotten called away at the last second, his wife wouldn’t have gone into that bookstore and bought the book that would ruin him completely. The book’s name was “The Number 23 – A novel about obsession” and it deals with how Fingerling’s life becomes haunted with the that dreaded number. He sees it everywhere, and soon that is also the case with Walter, who finds the tale a little to reminiscent of his own life. Soon he believes that the fictional character’s fate will be his own. The number is in his name, in his address, in the colors of his wall and even the degrees of the worlds rotation (23, 5 degrees, and 5 is 2+3…).

As a thriller and a mystery movie, I thought “The Number 23″ worked very well. Jim Carrey portrays a man who is obsessed with something with his usual class and the supporting cast is at the least very adequate. I felt that they could easily have cut away some of the more freakier things that slowed the film down, but aside from that I can’t see much to criticize.

This may have something to do with the fact that I’m an easily impressionable person when it comes to numerology. It’s not that I actually believe in number magic, lucky sevens and unlucky thirteens – I’m not that crazy – but I always feel a chill run down my spine when I see that my customer at the gas station has tanked gasoline for the hellish price of 666 kroner and 66 øre. Other events I don’t particularly like is when the clock is 22.22, 11.11, 13.13 or 17.17. That last one there has something to do with my very own “number 23″. Just like Walter Sparrow in the film sees his number everywhere he looks, I find seventeens everywhere. I haven’t decided whether or not seventeen is a lucky or unlucky number for me yet. If I live to see eighteen come a-rolling then I guess I will have an answer…

If you watch the extra material of the DVD, you will find a very interesting documentary on the Number 23 Enigma. Appartenly, being obsessed with such numbers are very common, and if you’re that kind of human you will be creeped out by this film. If you aren’t a crazy person like me, then you should at least enjoy it good enough. “The Number 23″ is a good film, but not great by any means; 7/10.

Schoolastic Pride

Which begs the question, why am I proud? Well, it’s simply because I just received some very fun trivia about my primary school. There has been a nationwide quality test of all the primary schools, and my school in little county of Nord-Trøndelag, came in at second place overall and first in our region!

How cool is that? Apparently some sissy school down in the western parts of Norway beat us to the title, but I would have been shocked if we even made a top-hundred list, so I’m not complaining about a second place.

The happy messenger of this news tidbit was my mother, who’s a teacher at the very same school. She has also informed me that the test was conducted on the 2006 generation – which means that MY class was the one that got matched up with the rest of Norway.

Apparently we were a talented bunch :)

Fool Moon is the second book in the Dresden Files series and it’s a direct sequel to Storm Front, the previously reviewed novel about the wizard detective Harry Dresden. If you so happened to read said review, you would know that I found the first installment in the series a nice, quick read. Sorta like Harry Potter all grown up, living in Chicago. Fool Moon is more of the same, which could be a good thing.

But it’s not.

Now, let me just mention that there is very little love lost between me and detective novels, or for that sake anything involving some kind of crime or mystery to be solved. I’ve read a thousand books on this subject – some of them quite good and most of them not. Storm Front was a different read for me mainly because it contains elements that are not often found in the genre; magic, demons and a whole lot of supernatural ass-kicking. Sounds fun? It sure as hell should, ’cause that what it is. In fact it’s so fast paced and action filled that I at times at a hard time catching my breath.

Let me give you a small taste of what the plot is like (without giving it away, of course): Harry Dresden is out of work (again). His contact at the Special Investigation department at the Chicago Police, Murphy, hasn’t been talking to him since the last book and since the state provided most of his income, he’s now flat out broke. Good thing that Murphy happens to find him and take him back. You see, there has been some weird killings as of late and all happening around the full moon. When Harry finds wolf prints on the murder scene, he knows he’s dealing with something out of the ordinary, and we’re only just beginning…

This book has in my opinion a lot of faults and many of them originate by me having read Storm Front. Fool Moon is essentially the same book and especially so in the first half. It’s only after you’ve turned the 200 pages mark that things start to get fresh and as fun as I remembered the previous book to be. Don’t get me wrong – the last two hundred pages were a blast, put I felt this book suffered greatly from lack of originality. The same things started happening all over again as if Butcher thought he’d happened upon the perfect formula for a book when all he’d ever managed was to hit something very mediocre in his first attempt. This book became accordingly relegated from mediocre to “not that good”.

Butcher’s prose isn’t all that great either, but it serves to drive the plot forward. What I did miss, however, was the good sidekicks. This series has so far only provided one and a half good character; the one being Harry Dresden and the half being Murphy, his contact at the PD. I say she’s only half because she is at times somewhat irrational, she’s always predictable and half the time she’s really more of a type then a full blown person.

To sum up: Fool Moon is worse than its predecessor, Storm Front, in many ways, but it’s still quite fun to read. I have to admit that it put me off reading much more of this series and I wouldn’t recommend you to pick it up either. This is easily the worst read I’ve had in a long time. 4/10.

Torture Tomorrow

:cry: :(
What seemed like an eternity in June is now ancient (well, actually recent) history and school is no longer out. Tomorrow I start what is promised to be the most difficult and laborious high school year of all. Tomorrow is the start of yet a never-ending lifetime of dreary classes with boring teachers, bad food and long hours. Tomorrow is torture commencing yet again on pupils all over the fair country of Norway. Tomorrow, tomorrow…

But I am not one to wallow in self-pity for things that have not come to pass. I shall take them all in stride, as I’ve done so many times before. Will there be times when I want to indulge my crippling need to smother the old hag that’s supposed to teach me something? Sure. Will there be a time when I stop writing my blog entries as a long interview of myself? That I cannot say for sure. I hate question-talkers and question-writers alike – but changing yourself is a hard feat indeed.

The start of a new semester is in many ways the start of a new year for me. Everyone else likes to use the birth of Christ to mark the year’s end and the beginning of a new one. I, however, tend to measure it by when I have to go back to that dreary old place I call school. It’s more natural.

New years vows are very common all over the world. People say they’re gonna stop smoking, start exercising and/or spend more time at home etc etc. Very few of these vows are ever held true. I like to make similar vows when I start school. “This year I will not make fun of people,” is a what I most often come up with. It’s a good vow too, ’cause I have been known to take too many whacks at people who I think deserve them. Most often I manage to keep this promise for a good week or two, but then I regress into my old self and start making low puns on other people’s behalf. I fear the same thing will happen this year as well (history insists on it).

Aside from my not so good personal sides, there is also some academic issues that should be addressed in my vows. I always say that I’m going to get the best damned grade possible in the subjects that end this year (which are a great many compared to last year’s total of five), and that I will not get a grade worse than 5 (i.e. second best grade possible) in the rest. This has proven achievable in the past, and I will therefore persevere to do the same again.

(If this comes off as bragging to you, know that it isn’t meant that way. If I were an average student, I would set my standards to that level and be happy about. As it is I have the ability to get the highest grades, and so if I didn’t try to do so I would be nothing but stupid. And nobody wants to be stupid, right?)

Luckily I have found some good friends at my school, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again. We had some good times last year and I hope we will continue this trend. I have also received word that there are some new faces in my class. I know for sure that one of them is a member of the same gender as me – so I’ll naturally be rooting for a hot girl(s) to fill the plural part of aforementioned rumor. Hot girls are in short demand here in Nowhere, so you can imagine my glee if we finally get a good ‘ne this year.

As for my the amount of blogging you can expect this semester from me; I do not know. I hope I can do one-a-day like I used to before the summer, but only time will tell.

So, to sum up: Tomorrow is the dawn of a new age of torture, a new year for all high school students.

There will be no rockets or fireworks. Only bitter tears to seal the chains that clasp together on our no longer free minds and bodies.

No worries, people – your dear blogger has not been eaten by an insatiable Grue. He has, however, been very busy with working and trying hard not to take all my suppressed anger out on the poor sausage-eating customers. I’m quite proud of the fact that I have now been civil towards people for over a whole week (which must be some kind of record for me).

Anyways, things will normalize as soon as I start going to school on Tuesday. Hang in there, won’t you? :)

The full title for this uk edition of Scott Lynch’s hugely awaited novellas about The Gentleman Bastards is set for a 2009 release. That means it will be a long wait for does of you who don’t plan on getting the limited edition run from SubPress of The Mad Baron’s Mechanical Attic and The Choir of Knives. I will of course be getting both :P

This cover art is kinda nice though. Nothing special, true, but at least it isn’t ugly.

Sometimes you just have to contradict every sensible voice inside your head and watch something you know probably sucks beyond belief. These voices were with me when I watched the first film in the Fantastic Four series, which was very mediocre, and they were yelling that I couldn’t be in my right mind if I expected the sequel to be any better. No, I answered them, of course I’m not in my right mind, but I’d be a total lunatic if I passed on a chance to watch Jessica Alba run around in a skintight outfit for an hour and a half. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but I own every major movie Alba has ever played and I intend on keeping tabs on her until she grows old and ugly (hah! As if that will ever happen…)

Another good reason for watching this, is the fact that the reviewers in VG gave it a 2/6 and Filmpolitiet gave it a 4/6. Based on previous experiences, I know that I’m more inclined to agree with people who know how to review a movie, and so I sat down to watch this new Hollywood flick.

For me, The Fantastic Four will always be a cheap copy of the more entertaining X-men movies. This goes for Rise of the Silver Surfer as well. The best thing about this film (aside, of course, from the one time when Alba is “naked”) is the special effects that at least makes this film look really good on the big screen. I also enjoyed the whole Silver Surfer thing, which I suspect was even better in the comic books, but it was no less quite entertaining and engaging.

The plot is your run-of-the-mill save the world from total destruction story. The Silver Surfer suddenly appears and starts making these giant holes right through the whole planet. After some reasearch, Mr. Fantastic discovers that each world that gets a visit from this striking fellow is completely obliterated eight days later…

The four lead actors aren’t especially good actors and their interaction is at times very shallow. Watching the Human Torch nag the Thing was fun, but both Sue Storm and Mr. Fantastic are dull without much personalities at all. Von Doom (worst evil name ever) is predictable and seemed a little puppety ™ at times, but when you string this together you get a decent superhero flick that kept me entertained from start to finish. It’s not mind-blowing, but it doesn’t really suck either. I’ll give it a 5 /10 and recommend it to all male Alba fans (i.e. the entire gender). Not her best movie, which are Into the Blue, Sin City and The Sleeping Diary, but definitely worth your saliva.

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