Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review Day

Blades of Glory: If you add up all the true laughs in this movie and then round to the nearest ten, I'm pretty sure the answer is right around zero. Another movie that proves that Will Ferrell is very, very funny, except when he isn't. D+

Ratatouille: This was a pretty fun cartoon movie, but not as universal or enjoyable as any of the other movies in the Pixar stable. It didn't help that the two main characters are a rat and a human who cannot have a conversation (even though the rat seems to have a firm grasp on the nuances of English, which seems to be the official language of Paris). The animated movie, Car Wash, with Will Smith reminds me of this movie -- mildly entertaining but without any lasting effect. The best part of the movie was the preview that mentioned the release of a DVD consisting of all the Pixar animated shorts from over the years. C+

Shrek the Third: The Shrek franchise has essentially run out of ideas, but the movie is still enjoyable. There are a couple obligatory jokes that you're just supposed to laugh at because they were in the first two movies (and this is also what annoyed me about the later Austin Powers movies), but it's short and sweet. B

Scrubs, Season Six: If Shrek is trying to shake new ideas out of an empty Scrabble bag, Scrubs is on their third or fourth consecutive enema from the idea colon. The show is still half funny and half touching, but more of the jokes come from overusing character stereotypes rather than making up new situations. The season got better as it went along, and the musical episode (starring writers and actors from Avenue Q) was surprisingly not awkward. This season was about as good as season five, but I think seasons two, three, and four were the high points. B

MI-5, Season One: MI-5 is a BBC show that's like Alias without the mysticism. The pilot was uniformly dreadful, but the remaining five episodes of the first season weren't half bad. A good watch if you like spy shows and don't mind occasionally turning on subtitles. B-

Sopranos, Season Six Part II: Taking a page out of the playbook of Ultima VII in its title, the last half of the last season of The Sopranos was out on DVD for some ridiculously expensive price. Unlike half the Internet, I thought the final ending was decently artsy and fit the tone of the entire show. The sixth season as a whole was well-written, if not on par with the original two seasons, but it did a good job of tying up many of the loose ends from previous seasons. B

Meteos (DS): Meteos is a Tetris-like game on the DS that you play with the stylus and touchpad. Blocks with different colors fall out of the sky, and you can drag a block up or down in its stack. Line up three or more colored blocks and they will launch into the air, carrying any surrounding blocks with them. The goal is to launch all your blocks off the screen, and the game has a variety of worlds with differing levels of gravity and block speeds. Music and sound effects range from fun to kooky to annoying, and the game is addicting like Tetris -- there's no real point to playing it, but it draws you in for "just one more game". B+

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS): Zelda was perfectly sized and paced for a handheld game. Every action is done with the stylus and touchpad, from drawing the path for your boomerang to scribbling notes on your overhead map to reveal secrets. Sailing is still annoying but faster, and there is one timed dungeon that can get frustrating as you visit and revisit it over the course of the game. Otherwise, the game is fun and even has a little humour in its story. A-

That Way Lies Camelot: I found this collection of fantasy and science-fiction short stories in a used bookstore and read almost the entire collection on the day that the world bolted my car's tire. Some are better than others, but I especially liked the four stories with the recurring character of Ensign Jensen, chasing a space bandit across the galaxy -- it reminded me of a written Firefly. B+

Stormed Fortress: Today's update is pretty long, and Kathy has probably already tuned out, so I won't go in-depth with this book. Instead, you can read my review on Amazon if you're interested. I engulfed this book in just a few days, and am now in the process of reading it at a more stately pace. I also read two WoLaS short stories recently, Reins of Destiny, and Child of Prophecy, both of which were great, if over too quickly. A

Zoo Fire Suspicion Centers On Armadillo, Lamp
Eighth wonder of the world?
Chinese doctors have warned moviegoers not to try some of the more ambitious sexual positions featured in the uncut version of the film.

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