Random thoughts

May 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm (Books, Festivals, Movies, Music, TV shows)

– First post in 3 months, yay!
– The reason for my silence: I recently moved to Canada, and the last couple of months have been hectic. Hopefully now that things have settled down somewhat, I’ll start writing here again.
– Many music releases lately. And So I Watch You From Afar’s new album is amazing, so is the new Explosions in the Sky, so is the new Mogwai. A trio of phenomenal instrumental rock bands. If you don’t know them, check’em out.
– Radiohead, however, released their worst album since Pablo Honey.
– Biggest musical disappointment: the new dredg album.  They turned from art-rock of the highest quality into a bland and boring pop-rock band. I can’t believe how atrocious their new album is. I have decided it’s the last dredg anything I buy, until they start writing music again. And now I’m also stuck with a t-shirt that came in a bundle with their CD that I preordered.
– Fave 5 movies of 2011 so far: Source Code, Hanna, Paul, Insidious and Rango.
– Cannes begins tomorrow – such a great line-up this year. Can’t wait for the first reports.
– Got tickets for Seinfeld this August, front row 😉
– “Fringe” ended Season 3 with a bang. And what an amazing season it was.
– “Community” can’t seem to do any wrong. All their episodes feel so fresh and inventive.
– “The Strain”, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, is one of the best novels I’ve ever read.

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A year in TV shows: 2010

December 31, 2010 at 11:48 am (Tops, TV shows)

TV show of the year:

The Walking Dead (season 1)

This one’s a no brainer. AMC did it again, and Frank Darabont’s new series is a lot more than I was expecting. A spectacular, tense, intelligent zombie show, with believable characters, lots of drama, and some zombie action sprinkled throughout. Huge audience success brought an immediate renewal for season 2.

Runner-up:
Dexter (season 5)
Last year’s winner lost its place at the top, but is still going strong. Season 5 hasn’t been as memorable as season 4, maybe because it didn’t feature a character as great as John Lithgow’s was, or a mindblowing finale as last year. But Dexter is still exciting, very witty and very well written. And it has also been renewed for a new season.

Honorable mentions:
Breaking Bad (season 3) – as great as the first two seasons. Bryan Cranston is amazing in the lead role.
Fringe (season 3) – this show gets better every year. Season 3 is really amazing, too bad the audiences aren’t responding properly. I really hope it won’t be cancelled.
Nikita (season 1) – the new version of Nikita is surprisingly well done. It takes a few episodes to settle in, but once it does, you’re hooked for good.
Community (season 1-2) – my favorite new sitcom on tv. Totally hilarious, full of memorable moments, crazy episodes, and lots of movie references.
Justified (season 1) – awesome new show from FX, based on an Elmore Leonard story, with a great performance from Timothy Olyphant in the lead role.
Family Guy (season 8-9) – still the funniest animated show on tv. Although Futurama is really close.

Some other awards:

Best new show: The Walking Dead
Best sitcom: Community
Best animated show: Family Guy
Best crime drama: Southland
Best action: The Walking Dead
Best episode: The Walking Dead pilot.

Don’t forget to come back sometime this weekend, for my Top Ten movies of 2010.

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Random thoughts

November 30, 2010 at 10:56 am (Movies, Music, Trailers, TV shows, YouTube)

System of a Down is back together! They just announced a European summer tour for 2011.

– I’ve been listening to a lot of post-rock recently, hence I found plenty of quality bands. My biggest recommendation: And So I Watch You From Afar. Brilliant stuff.

– Brussels, here I come! 2 more days until a well deserved vacation – that will include seeing Disturbed and Papa Roach live.

– One more episode until season 1 of The Walking Dead is over. And what a season it has been.

– After a shaky start (despite the brilliant first ep), Dexter seems to be back at full speed. I still can’t stand Julia Stiles, I find her completely inexpressive, but everything else is top notch. Loved this weekend’s episode.

– The Oscars just announced Anne Hathaway and James Franco will host the ceremony. Wouldn’t it be cool if Franco would give the best actor award to himself? By the way, I still stand by my pick: The Social Network for best movie.

– Lots of cool trailers recently, including Source Code, Your Highness, Cowboys and Aliens, and Battle: Los Angeles.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 127 Hours are the best films I’ve seen recently. Still waiting for Black Swan.

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Why “The Walking Dead” is the best TV show of the year

November 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm (TV shows)

Because it’s unique. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and television really needed something fresh.

Because of the talent involved. Frank Darabont, anyone? The guy is an amazing filmmaker, and his creative touch, as producer, writer and sometimes director, is felt throughout the show.

Because the comics are outstanding: dark, gloomy, intense, and not afraid to kick you in the nuts when you’re least expecting. If the show stays true to the source material, be prepared for dark days.

Because of the look. “The Walking Dead” seems made for cinema, not for TV. The producers really made sure the show looks like a theatrical experience all the way.

Because it oozes professionalism from every single frame. From the directing, to the writing, to the acting, this is top notch television throughout. The first 3 episodes are filled with so many intense, unforgettable moments, you will have the urge to watch each episode again, as soon as it’s finished. I know I do.

Because it’s on AMC, a small TV channel that managed to beat HBO, Showtime, and everybody else, in terms of quality of their TV shows. Don’t believe that? Check out the commercial and critical success of their other efforts, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

And, most of all, because this is not actually a simple zombie show. It’s a character drama set in a world filled with zombies. Character development seems to be way ahead of mindless action, and that surprised me in the most pleasant way. It’s more about these believable characters trying to hold on to their humanity, rather than about trying to survive mindless zombie attacks.

The first season is halfway through, and the second season has already been greenlit. My suggestion: jump in the bandwagon, while there’s still room. You will not regret it.

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Top 10 new TV shows to look for this autumn

July 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm (Tops, TV shows)

With autumn fast approaching, the new TV season and a batch of brand new shows are just around the corner. This is my Top Ten on what’s on my radar for the rest of the year.
Note that it’s pretty much impossible to figure out what’s gonna be indeed really good – so take this list with a grain of salt. Also – this seems like a very weak autumn in terms of new shows, so some shows on this list might end up actually sucking pretty bad.

10. Running Wilde (trailer)
When: September 21st
Where: FOX
Why: Because it’s created, produced and stars the really funny Will Arnett, in his first recurring TV role since Arrested Development. Also, because I pretty much had nothing else to choose for number 10. As I said, it’s a really weak autumn.

9. The Event (trailer)
When: September 20th
Where: NBC
Why: Because it has a cool premise, it’s one of the few shows on network television that has a season-long story arc, and it’s run by Evan Katz, of 24 fame.

8. Outsourced (trailer)
When: September 23rd
Where: NBC
Why: Because of its concept: an office sitcom set in India. Also, the first trailers look really funny.

7. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
When: autumn 2010
Where: IFC Channel (where??)
Why: Because it’s the first time David Cross and Will Arnett show up together since Arrested Development. And because it’ll guest star Spike Jonze and Amber Tamblyn.

6. Lonestar (trailer)
When: September 20th
Where: FOX
Why: Because the concept is really cool and different than pretty much everything else on network television. And because the pilot is directed by Marc Webb.

5. Nikita (trailer)
When: September 9th
Where:
The CW
Why:
Because I loved both the original film and the ’90s TV show. And because I like lead actress Maggie Q.

4. Rubicon (trailer)
When: August 1st
Where:
AMC
Why:
Because it’s AMC. They have produced 2 tv shows so far, and both have been universally acclaimed. This one looks pretty good too.

3. Undercovers (trailer)
When: September 22nd
Where:
NBC
Why:
Because it’s created by J.J. Abrams, who also directed the pilot.

2. The Walking Dead
When: October
Where:
AMC
Why:
Because it’s a TV show with zombies! And it’s on AMC! And it’s created and produced by Frank Darabont, who also directed the pilot. Also – it looks freaking awesome.

1. Boardwalk Empire (trailer)
When: September 19th
Where:
HBO
Why:
Let’s see. It’s produced and has its pilot directed by Martin Scorsese. It’s written and produced by Terence Winter (of Sopranos fame). It has a fantastic cast, including Steve Buscemi, Kelly MacDonald, Michael Pitt and Michael Shannon. It’s on HBO – so they afford to be as realistic and violent as they want. The trailer looks absolutely amazing. Enough?

Looking even further down the road: here are some shows that will premiere in winter / spring 2011, that I’m highly anticipating:

Mind Hunters – HBO drama produced by David Fincher. What more can you ask for?
Terra Nova – any TV show produced by Steven Spielberg deserves attention. Especially when it’s a SF story set into the future.
Fallen Skies – Another Spielberg-produced SF drama, to air on TNT. And it’s got aliens!
Episodes – Matt LeBlanc moves to Showtime, in a sitcom that looks really different, and really funny. Check out the trailer and see for yourselves.
Spider and Son – HBO show about the early life of Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis.

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22 Rock

July 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm (TV shows)

The Emmy nominations have been announced, and, surprise-surprise, 30 Rock is leading the pack with a staggering 22 noms. I’m somewhat glad, because I like the show, but I can’t say the last season blew me away in any way, shape or form. Hopefully they’ll come back strong next year.

As usual, AMC’s Mad Men is also nominated for too many categories to list, and so is Breaking Bad – maybe the best TV show of the last 2 years, together with Dexter – making AMC the total badass TV network. They have a total of 2 shows in the schedule. Both are tearing it up at the Emmys – again.

Speaking of Dexter – well done again, I’m really rooting for them to win as much as possible (although I think best drama is a lock again this year for Mad Men), especially John Lithgow who was outstanding as the villain of Season 3.

I was pleasantly surprised with Lost‘s 12 nominations – a huge number compared with previous years. Maybe it’s because they just finished their last season, or maybe because the last season was absolutely amazing – either way, good for them.

For a list of the nominees in the more important categories, head over to imdb.

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Random thoughts

June 29, 2010 at 8:30 am (Movies, Music, TV shows)

– One more month until Inception!

Futurama kicked off last week, it was hilarious. The ratings were good as well.

True Blood is back, and Anna Paquin is as beautiful as ever. She even made it to my desktop.

Dexter‘s new season starts shooting, which means Michael C. Hall is fine, thank God.

Sonisphere was a blast, one of the better organized concerts ever in Romania. Up next: KoRn @ Targu Mures, and (maybe) Serj Tankian @ Sibiu.

– Have been listening to a lot of Oceansize recently, eagerly expecting their new album this autumn. (Who, you ask? Them. )

– Other than Inception, I only have 2 more films I really wanna see this summer: Predators and Piranha 3-D.

– Talking about madness – I am getting increasingly excited about Von Trier’s new film Melancholia. Every tiny bit of news I read makes me drool in anticipation.

– How about Black Swan getting a release date already? Cannot wait to see Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis make out. In an Aronofsky film, for that matter.

– If you’re into Lizzy Caplan (and you know you are), maybe you should give Party Down a try. Really fun, witty TV show that just ended its second season.

JoBlo.com and its affiliates are my favorite film sites on the web, period. MovieFanCentral.com is better than Facebook.

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The end of an era

May 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm (TV shows)

lost

This Sunday, Lost, the best TV show of the last 6 years, ended with a very anticipated finale that answered some questions , left some unsolved, and wrapped everything up with a memorable final hour that was as emotional and exciting as everything I’ve ever seen on TV.

(spoilers ahead)

It’s hard for me to imagine a better ending for this show. Some, expecting to have all the answers spoon-fed to them, complained about not being straightforward enough. Others felt the final 10 minutes too cheesy. Most, however, feel just like I do: it was the perfect wrap-up. A great final episode that summed up all that was brilliant about this show throughout its entire existence: the amazing mix of mystery and sci-fi, of spiritualism and philosophy, of great storytelling and outstanding score.

Saying goodbye to all these characters by watching them remember their (real) lives while sorting out their issues in the “in-between” world, learning to let go and move on, while you yourself as a fan are saying goodbye and trying to move on, was the perfect approach. I loved remembering all the bits and pieces they were remembering. I loved figuring out the logic – and awesomeness – of all the parallel flashes of season 6. I loved the final conflicts on the island, and the final shot of the series: close-up on Jack’s eye closing – just as, almost 6 years ago, this magic journey began with a close-up on Jack’s eye opening.

It was a great final episode that summed up an amazing series. Now, it’s time to move on.

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A year in TV shows

December 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm (Tops, TV shows)

TV show of the year:

Dexter (season 4)

This is really a no-brainer. Four seasons, each better than the last. The fourth exceeded all expectations, offering a compelling storyline, a memorable villain and a shocking finale. Dexter is at a different level than everything else on TV, I cannot recommend it enough.

Runner-up:
Lost (season 5)
Ever since the producers decided to end the show after 6 seasons, Lost has been outstanding. Season 5 was as original and interesting as possible, while the final season is just around the corner.

Honorable mentions:
Breaking Bad (season 2) – fantastic little show from a small TV channel – very intriguing premise and great acting
Family Guy (seasons 7-8) – after all these years, still going strong. Passed South Park in my preferences as best animated show.
Fringe (seasons 1-2) – a modern version of the X-Files, with weird cases, conspiracy theories, and lots of action.
Weeds (season 5) – back in top shape after a disappointing fourth season
Curb Your Enthusiasm (season 7) – a really funny show, that became even funnier due to the Seinfeld reunion
True Blood (season 2) – vampire madness. Done right.

Some other awards:

Best new show: Flash Forward
Best sitcom: 30 Rock
Best animated show: Family Guy
Best crime drama: Flashpoint
Best action: 24
Best episode: The Dexter finale

I will not do a “most anticipated” list, because the new TV season is really far away (autumn 2010).

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow, for the most important list of them all: the best movies of 2009.

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It’s that time of the year again

December 22, 2009 at 12:48 pm (Games, Movies, Music, TV shows)

Wrapping things up at work & getting ready for a well-deserved (I think) 5-day Christmas holiday – it’s that time of the year again, when all that’s left to do, other than eat & enjoy presents, is to look back at 2009 and ahead at 2010.

So, starting tomorrow, I’ll kick off a bunch of posts with my personal tops about everything I enjoyed this year, and hope to enjoy next year.

There will be tops for movies, music, video games, tv shows – so come back daily for recommendations, and maybe throw in your personal preferences in the comments 😉

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