Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Lessons to Be Learned by Gabriella Cilmi:
I picked up this CD on the strength of the single, "Sweet About Me". This is another case of a young singer (17) with a far more polished voice than you would ever expect, similiar to Joss Stone. Her songs are a mix of pop and blues, with a nice balance of ballads to hooks. The main complaint I have is that it's only 36 minutes long -- I can hold my breath for longer than that. You can listen to samples here.

Final Grade: B

How I Met Your Mother, Season Four:
While researching this review, I realized that I never reviewed season three -- somehow in my world of intricate lists and comprehensive clutter, a product slipped through the cracks. So, season three gets a B+, since it was as good as season two and better than season one. With that out of the way, the fourth season is a struggle with an extra -uggle. Despite a few really stand-out episodes (like "The Three Day Rule"), the writers spend too much time dancing around who "Your Mother" is and employing the tired writing device of starting at the end of a story and wasting a whole episode on flashbacks up to where the half-hour began. Before, it was obvious that "Your Mother" was just a backdrop to tell funny stories against. In this season, it's mentioned so often and with so little resolution that it's just annoying.

Final Grade: C+

The Associate by John Grisham:
I picked this book up to read on the plane to Hawaii, and then promptly read it in an evening during wedding week. It's a typical lawyer story in standard Grisham style (before he went all I'm-a-serious-writer-of-literature for a couple years back when), and as such, it works as a throwaway novel. There's more resolution in it than The Partner and it's not as horrible as Testament. Of his more recent books, I'd still recommend The Brethren as his best.

Final Grade: C+

State of Play:
I watched this movie on the plane BACK from Hawaii, enjoying the novelty where every passenger had a personal screen upon which they could SELECT from a list of recently released movies and song albums. The plot is dense, but easy to follow, and is marred by a late-game twist, but it kept me entertained for two hours, even if it's implausible to think of Rachel McAdams as a "blogger". It was also fun to see all the actual shots of DC involved -- rather than going the normal route of pasting the Washington Monument in the background, they actually filmed in identifiable areas like Rosslyn, Ben's Chili Bowl, and a Metro station.

Final Grade: B-

Man gets six months for La-Z-Boy DWI
Permanent marker is not a valid disguise
Church rejects Halloween-themed wedding

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