Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Inglorious Basterds:
I liked Reservoir Dogs, but otherwise remain ambivalent to all of Quentin Tarantino's output (including the occasional places where he's being quirky in front of the camera and calling it acting). Pulp Fiction was mostly retarded, and not in the "heartlessly mocking people with disabilities" way, but in the "this is just plain stupid" way. I also fell asleep halfway through the second part of Kill Bill. With my backstory firmly in place, I was surprised to find that I liked Inglorious Basterds, which is an alternate reality take on pieces of World War II. Despite being 2.5 hours long, the movie kept my interest throughout, and when the action was slow, the tension was high. The attempts to mix 70s blaxploitation interludes in were jarring and failed miserably for me, but otherwise I would call this movie a success.

Final Grade: B+

24: Redemption:
This 24 movie takes place in a 2-hour window between the 6th and 7th season, but comes off as more of an extended episode (still in real time) than a movie event. The pace is uneven -- it takes most of the first hour to gain momentum, and the last half is just good enough. As a standalone affair, it's weak. We don't really need to see Jack Bauer in the forests of Africa saving orphans, but as a segue between seasons, it methodically does the job it sets out to do: introducing season seven characters and showing how Jack got from his situation at the end of last season to where he is in the beginning of the next. For fans only.

I have also started watching the seventh season, and the first three hours feel fresh and exciting.

Final Grade: C-

Braid:
This is one of those artsy-fartsy indie puzzle games with a story that you don't actually read, pleasant graphics and sound, and an interesting twist on affairs. In Braid's case, you can never die, because you can hit a button at anytime to rewind the action to an earlier point in the level. In later levels, time (and enemies) move forward when you go right, and backwards when you go left, some objects are unaffected by time travel (like Richard Alpert), and going back in time releases a shadow version of yourself that retraces your steps back to the present.

Though it's a novel concept, my brain just doesn't work in this way. If you give me a puzzle where you have to get Mel Schlemming home by turning on a toaster with an alligator, I'll tackle and enjoy it, but when the rules of the puzzle are at a meta level like the flow of time in the game, I just get stumped and open up a walkthrough, or go back and play Portal again.

Final Grade: C-

Woman keeps largest rodent as pet
Smelly passenger removed from plane
Microsoft rickrolls network leechers

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