Thursday, February 09, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Better Off Ted, Season One:
This sitcom dates back a few years, and I remember occasionally catching it on TV and enjoying it, but never making time to seek it out. Ted is a manager at a scientific inventions company, Viridian Dynamics. It's a fun poke at corporate bureaucracy and doesn't require much investment, and is currently streaming freely (like pee) on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

Kitchen Confidential, Season One:
Rebecca was reading the book of the same title earlier this year, and I recalled this short-lived Bradley Cooper sitcom from the limbo period between movie stardom and Alias. Loosely based on the themes of the book, if not the plot, thirteen episodes of this show were filmed but only three ever aired. I'm not sure why -- this is just as fun as many of the shows I like, and much better than many others that still haven't been cancelled yet.

Final Grade: B

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (R):
We finally used our $25 movie gift card two weekends ago and were surprised to find that a veritable gold mine ($2) was left on the card after buying two tickets (we spent it on Sno-Caps). This American version of the story should be the definitive version of the story for anyone who hasn't already gone through the books or the Swedish movies. The meandering plot is stripped away to a bare skeleton and tightly compressed to the elements most translatable to the big screen. Although it loses much of the story complexity and puzzleness of the book, it also ditches the long troughs of boredom that designate the book as "for fastest readers only".

I liked this version better than the Swedish one (although subtitles also bore me). The pacing and intensity gradually increases as the main characters are introduced, and fast cuts between each of the character's storylines keeps you unsettled. I was a little irritated by Trent Reznor's ambient music, which triggered flashbacks to his awful Quake soundtrank in the 90s, but I was ultimately impressed with how the music organically tied everything together.

Although the movie was two hours and forty minutes long, it didn't start to drag until the epilogue section. This is an unfixable hole in the original plot, which throws another hundred pages of meandering intrigue after the real climax but requires that knowledge to start the second book in the series.

Final Grade: A

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