All 3 entries tagged TV Reviews

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February 25, 2006

Sunday Brunch Entertainment

TV image
American Idol
4 out of 5 stars

American Idol

Sun, 11.25am onwards, ITV1 [Fri, 8.15pm onwards, ITV2]

If you thought Xfactor was good, then watch this. It's tenfold more enjoyable, tenfold more entertainment, and there are at least 2 men and 2 women [or boys and girls] that can sing!

If you think talent shows are rubbish and detrimental to good taste, but can't help thinking why you're hummin' along to that Kelly Clarkson song, watch this show.

It's not too much of yesterday's news, as like More4's Daily Show, it is broadcast within a day or week of the American airing [last night's ITV2 show was a combination of the Tuesday and Thursday shows of last week in the States]. Sunday will show the pre-final or post-theatre shows, where all 24 remaining contestants sing their 1-minute song and 2 boys and 2 girls are voted off by the American audience.

It's blatantly got lots of Americans loving themselves and telling about their struggles and how they dedicate their song to X or Y. It's blatantly got people chosing the cheesiest or most mellow of songs afraid to show off their voice. It's also got those few people who know what they can do and give it all and make it worthwile to watch. And yes, it's got Simon Cowell who seems to be the only level-headed person in this circus of sorts. Oh and the presenter is alright.

Lucky for you, the American audience seems to have a slightly better idea of who to vote off, so next week there will be no more renditions of Barry Manilow songs.

April 09, 2005

A Tale of Two Families

5 out of 5 stars

While the buzz of the latest American hot drama (Desperate Housewives) is wearing off, it's time to remind us of a modern classic: the Sopranos.

Revolving around capo Tony Soprano, the story tells us about the middle aged family man trying to control his own family and working his way up in his extended family, the New Jersey mob. His fortune is troubled by a God-awful mother who is never satisfied, and by meat—induced anxiety attacks.

The show is carried by outstanding performances by its lead actors James Gandolfini (playing Tony Soprano) and Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano). Despite all the crimes and blasphemy, it is hard not to feel connected to their characters. If not, there is a perfect character for every age group, making the show an unlikely family program. I was convinced that with all the swearing and prostitution that the show was big amongst men, but apparently women are its most avid viewers.

The first series – supposedly what this review is about – introduces us to Tony's world. His character is quickly developed, leaving room for the numerous sideshow villains to grow up fastly and die young (and nastily). Its pro is the lack of annoying characters (of which there's one in any of the next series) though it lacks a truly binding storyline (being the first series).

The second series is probably the best so far, as it gets harder for Tony to keep his two families apart. Friends and family all become possible victims and traitors as the feds get more interest in the Sopranos' "waste disposal" company.

The third series is the reason I write this entry. I got the series for Christmas 2003 and watched it in the same break (possibly even in 2 days). Last week (in fact, after a Desperate Housewives episode) I decided to show my friend what a real good show is like, which marked the first time since that Christmas that I watched the DVDs again. The third series lacks the pace and excitement of the first two, and it's harder to like Tony himself as he starts off being a racist and ends up killing people closer to him than ever before. Still, some of the best episodes – mainly involving funerals – reside in these series, as especially the blood family relations become clearer.

The fourth series has appeared on DVD by now and brings us Joe Pantoliano in the role of Ralphie, one of the annoying characters I referred to earlier. Again less pace than the previous series, though ever so gruesome. Ralphie already appeared in series 3, but now he really makes Tony's life miserable. Still, his story is not the most shocking one in these series. The quality of the show never gets worse than that of the best Desperate Housewives episode. The same can be said for series 5, though by that time, some of the more interesting characters have joined the "witness protection" program, and the show turns its eye on a battle of the mobs, as the New York maffia gets more involved in New Jersey.

Before my laptop battery fails on me again, let me advise you to follow the show chronologically, if you're interested. The first series is not extremely important, but a great way to get into the New Jersey maffia lifestyle. If you like any of the American shows Channel 4 currently broadcasts, you should definitely give it a go. Less long winded than Desperate Housewives and definitely less over the top than the OC, it's quality entertainment. Don't forget to stock in on pizza!

March 13, 2005

Review Box

With a full term of hard non-academic related work and some academic related work behind me, I thought I deserved another weekend relaxing in front of the TV, eating a nice bacon and golden syrup sandwich. This is what I saw.

CSI: New York
Should have left the Big Apple to Law & Order. CSI needs flashy casino's and sunshine and loads of neon light. Not back alleys and rainy days. Add to that a cast that makes you think "it's that guy/girl!" every other second and you wish the 50 minutes were gone so that Law & Order: Criminal Intent would start. Features Lt. Dan and Tad Rachel's (Friends) boytoy. This is probably what a CSI movie would look like.

Dark City
If they would have had the technology of the 90s, this is what movies in the 20s would have looked like. Futurism of Delaunay meets H.G.Wells' Sci-Fi. On the other hand, it seems an odd cross-over between cult films ala Blade Runner (hated that movie and tried to sleep through it, so might be missing the point here), and Roger Rabbit (sic), and more modern existential (?) films like the Matrix or Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Too many comparisons, or can I go on? Ever played Grim Fandango , most beautiful game ever made? Anyway – so yes I liked the film. About a guy waking up in a room with a murdered woman being made to believe he's a serial killer etcetera. No really, it's one of the most original films ever made!

Blackburn Rovers - Leicester City
Leicester should have won.

Random shows about Australia
Featuring sea dragons and a fight between a crab and a seagull over a worms. Special. The wombat might become my new favorite animal though, thanks to the Beerwah Queensland Zoo show.

The O.C.
If people tell you it sucks, don't listen. If they tell you it's great, don't listen. All I can say is where Hollyoaks is like Earth spinning around the Sun nicely comfy in its orbit, every year the same, this show is like Hayley-Bobb shooting through space and trying like a true over—the—top Californian production to try out every single love—multiple—angle humankind can think of. What I think? It's worth every valuable minute of my Sunday afternoon.

Regular working hours resumed from tomorrow onwards. Might go and look for a temp job to get into a productive mood. Oh and to make some money. Tonight it's Black Hawk Dawn by the way - better story than a cast of Orlando Bloom and Josh Hartnett might make you believe. Enjoy!

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