Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Hunger Games (PG-13):
We watched this movie in the theatre last Sunday, bringing the total number of theatre visits for 2012 to 2, and bringing the total number of theatre visits since 2008 to 2. This is a pretty faithful adaptation of the book by the same name (which is also the best of the book trilogy). Well-cast, well-paced, and filled with actors like Stanley Tucci, who is obviously having a great time with his role.

The only problem with this movie is that the ultimate winner of the Hunger Games is "shaky cam". All but a handful of scenes in this movie are filmed in a handheld manner. While this is an effective way to slip the large amounts of non-gratuitous violence into a PG-13 wrapper, it really doesn't add anything to the rest of the movie. I have not seen so much "shaky cam" in play since I saw the second Bourne Identity movie in theatres (and even today, I'm not completely sure that Matt Damon was in that movie because the camera was so shaky).

Final Grade: B+

Pushing Daisies, Season One:
This nine episode season is available for free on Amazon Prime, but is even worth a purchase. The story is a modern-day fairy tale about a pie maker who can bring people back to life, but only for one minute. Episodes are reasonably standalone, as he uses his power to solve a different murder each week. What's unique about this show is its visual and musical style -- bright patterns and colors, a full orchestral score, and a whimsical dialogue patter that suggest a Tim Burton TV show, if Tim Burton were less emo. The show occasionally falls into the trap of recapping too much information from previous episodes (most noticeably when you watch them in a row), but I still greatly enjoyed its cleverness.

Final Grade: A-

Cougar Town, Season Two:
This show's second season about as funny as the first. A few episodes seem a bit more mean-spirited than necessary, as if it were channeling Everybody Loves Raymond rather than Scrubs, but overall it's worth a watch for some easy laughs.

Final Grade: B

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