Thursday, November 01, 2012

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Pines by A Fine Frenzy:
A Fine Frenzy's third album is an "imaginative fable about a pining tree who is given the unheard-of chance (for a conifer) to make a life of her own choosing", and the amount that that line intrigues you is probably directly proportional to the enjoyment you'll get out of it. Since she wrote one of my all-time favourite songs, I'm willing to cut her some slack, but I just can't get into this album at all -- I appreciate it without enjoying it. The music is mostly meterless, and sometimes almost ambient, and does kind of sound like tree music. However, there are no hooks or beautiful melodies this time around, and her voice is imbued with a really awkward tremolo that's done so much, it must be intentional. There's a difference between vibrato and being cold when you sing, and this sounds like the latter.

Final Grade: D+

Morning Glory (PG-13):
We sometimes slum it with the free movies on Amazon Prime, and the presence of Rachel McAdams was a small bonus (which reminds me that I never did fulfill my 2009 Resolution to star in a naked movie with her). This is a harmless, predictable comedy (of a minimally romantic strain) that's most notable for Harrison Ford as a grouchy, legendary news anchor. Worth a watch if it's free and there's nothing else on.

Final Grade: B-

Chuck, Season One:
This is a well-done, comedic take on the spy genre about a nerdy guy who works in a big box store and accidentally gets the entire CIA database downloaded into his brain. It's kind of like Alias from the point of view of Marshall Flinkman, with less crying and Sarah McLaughlin musical cues. The "lore" is cohesive with nice gotcha moments, but the series never strays too far over the line into a drama -- I laughed out loud several times, and enjoyed the first (13-episode) season enough to buy the complete series (5 seasons). Guest appearances by a variety of well known actors are very fun as well.

Final Grade: A

Avengers (PG-13):
I am not a comic book / superhero fan, which must be why I didn't like this movie as much as everyone else in the universe. To me, adding Norse gods to a pastiche of superheroes from different eras was one incredulous crossover genre too far, and the first hour of exposition was boring enough that I dozed off around the 50 minute mark. The last 2/3rds of the movie were redeeming and exciting, but the path to get there was made bearable only through the one liners of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Just make an unending series of Iron Man films -- these other clowns don't bring enough to the table to interest me.

Final Grade: C

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