Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Beginners (R):
This movie, starring Ewan McGregor, perfectly fits the mold of a quirky, indie flick, and if you're in the mood for such a flick, you'll enjoy this one. The movie tells the tale of a middle-aged man learning to connect more with his life after the death of his father (Christopher Plummer in his Oscar-winning role). It dragged a bit in a few places, but was otherwise a cute, unassuming story.

Final Grade: B-

Tower Heist:
This movie is just barely a heist movie, and really only serves to give Eddie Murphy a chance to act like Eddie Murphy, while Ben Stiller acts like Ben Stiller. There are plenty of humorous one-liners and jokes to be found, as long as you don't try to follow the plot too closely or expect much in the way of an actual heist plotline.

Final Grade: C+

Community, Season Two:
We liked the first season of this show a lot -- it was fresh, self-aware, and gave off an Arrested-Development-like aura in its stylings and humor. The second season starts strong but then drags down to near unwatchability, before recovering slightly in the end. The biggest problem seems to be plotting -- after running out of funny situations to milk from the perspective of the community college experience, they spend more episodes doing parodies of common TV tropes or plotlines that verge on complete fantasy. None of these fantasy episodes are half as successful as any first season plotlines in the real world.

Final Grade: C

Treme, Season One:
This is the latest HBO show from the creator of The Wire, telling the stories of various people in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is definitely a solid show -- great acting, strong characters, and good music -- but it never really caught my fancy the way The Wire did (Rebecca disagrees, as she liked Treme a lot).

I felt like the show could have used a little better balance between plot and character development, as it sometimes seems like one of those shows where you just wait around for things to happen to people. I also felt, ironically, that for a show which focused so heavily on the music of New Orleans, there was actually too much footage of music, and that's when I was the most bored. John Goodman was great in a role that seemed designed just for him, and the various brass musicians (like Wendell Pierce) did a decent job looking like they were actually fingering the right notes during all of the songs.

Final Grade: B-



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