Thursday, September 06, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in this review.

Clockers by Richard Price:
This urban crime drama was the last of my "throwaway beach" reading materials. It's an easy, engrossing read with vivid descriptions and nicely-crafted dialogue, solid B material. Unfortunately the book is old enough that the Kindle edition seems to be an optical scan of a paperback. As a result, there are numerous typos, strange capitalization, and odd punctuation from where the scanning process couldn't quite interpret the written page -- this is prevalent enough to be distracting from the story. For example, a "clocker" is a street-level drug dealer. Half of the time, you'll correctly read "clockers" and the other half, you'll see it as "dockers". I'm fairly certain that drugs weren't getting sold by a pair of yuppy pants, but if I'm mistaken, then I totally misunderstood the story.

Final Grade: B-

Community, Season Three:
If you didn't like the second season of Community with all of its fantasy trappings, you definitely won't like the third. However, the parodies are more successful in this season because the show finally owns the concept and isn't shy about what it's trying to accomplish. A few standout episodes (like a Ken Burns Civil War parody and a Law and Order parody) and one-liners improve a season that's "funny enough", but with a little too much Chang.

Final Grade: C+

The Dark Knight Rises:
I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. I recently went back and watched the first two movies of the trilogy and found that they both stood up well to the passing of time. The final movie comes in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, but I didn't think it was too long -- instead, I felt like they spent too much of that running time on unimportant plot twist garbage, relegating some of the more interesting sections to near-montages. Much of the dialogue was unintelligible, and this was exacerbated by the fact that a main villain wears a mask so you can't see his lips move. Luckily, this is a movie that you can enjoy both by tracking every detail and by just going along for the ride, so missing a bit of dialogue won't hurt. Overall, this is a worthwhile popcorn movie, but doesn't quite rise any higher than that.

Postscript: Anne Hathaway's costarring role as "Anne Hathaway" was a distraction, and kept breaking the fourth wall in my bubble of immersion.

Final Grade: B+

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