Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Zero Dark Thirty (R):
I don't really understand why this obligatory Bin Laden movie received so much hype. It was, by far, more boring than any given episode of Homeland but thankfully less boring than Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The movie felt like a paint-by-numbers book with only binary digits: it set out to tell the story of catching Bin Laden, and then proceeded to do exactly that for 2.5 hours, no more and no less. Characters had no motivation outside of pushing the plot forward, and the lack of subplots or fleshed out characters just highlighted how boring the main plot actually was.

Final Grade: D+

Spring Recipes by Gary Mak, Josh Long, and Daniel Rubio:
Having learned the Spring programming framework seven years ago, I picked up this book as a refresher to see what had changed. The Spring reference documentation has the annoying habit of being too comprehensive: "Here's twenty different ways to do the same thing, but we won't give you enough of an example to do what you actually want to do". This book excels at filling that gap, providing common use cases, example code, and patterns to greatly reduce the Spring learning curve. It's 1000 pages, but most of that is example code -- the actual prose is nicely compact. On the plus side, I liked that examples were usually complete, and provided all of the extra bits that most books would just gloss over. On the minus side, the book is full of typos and much of the code doesn't actually compile. If all you need is a book to learn or relearn the paradigms, this is the one for you. If you need working code, move on.

Final Grade: B-

Parks and Recreation, Season Four:
Another season of harmless laughs in which Leslie runs for city council. It's as strong as the previous two seasons, and features a fun guest appearance by Paul Rudd.

Final Grade: B

Nice Day to Cross a River by Greg Giraldo:
I was first introduced to the comedy of Greg Giraldo through the spoken-word song, "Underwear Goes Inside the Pants. His specialty was scathing social commentary wrapped in dialog just slightly less profane than Dave Attell. This album has some great bits, and is definitely worth a listen.

Final Grade: B+

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