Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Seasons One - Four:
My mom has been trying to get me to watch this series for years, so I took in the first four during some treadmilling / photo-albuming multitasking this year. It's cute, with witty dialogue and one-liners, but feels a little too dated for me to get into. Apart from some really good standalone episodes, it's high on teenage angst and starts to feel repetitive by the third season. Ultimately, I looked at the three seasons I had left and the four I had just watched and decided that it wasn't worth continuing when there are better things to watch.

Final Grade: C+

Easy A (PG-13):
This movie, about a high school girl who unwittingly gets a false reputation as the school tramp, is in the same vein as Mean Girls and Election. It lives up to its influences pretty well, and works as both a "smart" comedy and an easy laugh. It doesn't seem to have received much hype or widespread availability, but it's worth your time if you stumble across it in a bargain bin or bargain Amazon Marketplace stall.

Final Grade: B

Ghost in the Wire by Kevin Mitnick:
This autobiography of hacker, Kevin Mitnick, is hit-or-miss. It's an engrossing technical tale of social engineering, hacks, and clever tricks, but Mitnick presents himself with such a puffed-up ego that the tone of the book feels all wrong. If he were as great a hacker as he purports, he wouldn't keep getting caught throughout the book by law enforcement (who he continuously dismisses as ineffective), and if he were truly as repentant after each arrest because of the heartburn he caused his family, he wouldn't run out and do it again. Ultimately, it's a fun book for the tech talk more than the biography.

Final Grade: C-

Paris-Buenos Aires by Boulevard des Airs:
This is the album of one of the ska-reggae-world-infused bands we saw at the Summer Festival in Quebec. It's a catchy, fun little package, but feels overproduced -- the songs feel much safer than the live show and don't do the live performance justice. This is especially noticeable in the trumpeting, which was bombastic, technically fluent, and high in the live show, but is limited to unison saxophone doubling on the CD. In spite of this, it's an enjoyable change-of-pace CD to have in the car.

Final Grade: B+

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