Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Lost Songs by Ellie Lawson:
This is Ellie Lawson's second album, which I didn't like as much as Philosophy Tree. It's only downloadable, which makes it quite cheap, and gains BUPoints (which are redeemable for bacon) by being longer than an hour. On the other hand, while all of the songs are "solid", there are no amazing hooks or gems to be found. You can hear samples here. I like tracks 3 and 4, despite the horrible misspelling.

Final Grade: B-

Dollhouse - Season One:
I liked Firefly, but never really cared for Buffy, so I went into Joss Whedon's new show with a fairly unbiased keel, but my keel was hauled fairly quickly. After a slow burn of a story about humans that can be programmed as entire different personalities for rich clients, things are taken to the next level in a manner similar to The 4400. That old show wasn't good because of its "super power of the week" stories -- instead, it unfolded into the social and moral implications of having a society affected by these powers. Dollhouse could have stuck with a "slut of the week" formula fairly easily, but it doesn't actually become a good show until it moves beyond that conceit. The season storyline was satisfying, and the extra unaired episode after the finale managed to be deeply intriguing without stepping on the finale's toes.

At an episode count of 13, this is another show that proves you don't need four hours about Jack's tattoos to be involving.

Final Grade: A-

The Cases that Haunt Us by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker:
I've read and enjoyed Douglas' older books about profiling and serial killers, and picked this one up as a "never would have bought it except that the proceeds go to charity" one-off. In it, John Douglas revisits classic cases like Lizzie Borden, the Zodiac Killer, and the kidnapping of Lindbergh's baby, analyzing each case with modern techniques, and giving his opinion about whether the police of the day got it right.

The book is worth a read right up to the final chapter, on JonBenet Ramsey, which is distractingly marred by Douglas' constant self-endorsement of his profiling. I guess that when you're personally involved in a case, you have to make it clear to avoid bias, but reiterating your credentials and impartiality every second paragraph got old quickly.Final Grade: B-

My One and Only Thrill by Melody Gardot:
Melody Gardot is a jazz vocalist I first heard on XM, and later heard on the plane back from Hawaii. She's got a great mellow timbre to her voice, and (unlike Ingrid Michaelson) actually does a cover of Over the Rainbow that doesn't masticate your eardrums into pulp. Overall, it's great background/dinner music, and I would definitely listen to another one of her albums. You can hear samples here.

Final Grade: A

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