Thursday, May 05, 2011

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

In the Plex by Steven Levy:
I enjoy Levy's articles in WIRED and his previous book, Hackers so I picked up the Kindle edition of this book, even though I was a little Googled out after reading The Google Way. This book is better in every way -- it's less of a theoretical explanation for profit and success, and more a history / behind-the-scenes look at everything Google has done. The chatty, easy-to-read quality of Levy's prose makes it an easy read, and the fact that the book is organized by "types of inventions" rather than a continuous timeline does a nice job of tying everything together. I never got bored reading this book, although less technical folks might not get quite as much out of it as I did.

Final Grade: A-

Heroes, Season Three:
This season was awful, and only survived the F zone because it started to improve towards the end. The season has no clear focus and mainly involves the heroes running in circles, gaining powers, losing powers, or acting in ways completely outside of their predefined characters. Anytime a plot rears its head, it probably came straight from one of the plots already done in The 4400, and in a much more amateurish way. The last five episodes are actually pretty good, but it's too little, too late.

Final Grade: D+

Black Swan:
As a Darren Aronofsky movie, I expected some level of weirdness or artistic freedom here, but the movie managed to be weird without really resonating with me. Other than the fact that Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman are the stars, there's nothing here that would make me watch it again. If you like weird, psychological movies, you'll probably find something to enjoy here, but it wasn't my thing.

Final Grade: C+

Office, Season Four:
This is the writer's strike season, so the number of episodes is greatly pared down (at normal prices, of course). There are also more "super-size" episodes that are doubled in length. The problem with super-sized Office episodes is that the show is best taken in small doses. Twenty minutes is the perfect amount of time for a fresh, funny plot -- any longer than that and it just becomes apparent how irritating some of the characters are.

Final Grade: B-

Why Wood Pulp Makes Ice Cream Creamier
Bin Laden Aides Are Said to Have Bought Bulk Orders of Pepsi, Coke
German mayor rescues man trapped in women's prison

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