Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Theory of Everything (PG-13):
I'm not a fan of bio-pics because they're either an obligatory parade of truncated vignettes or they go on forever so as not to miss anything. This well-acted movie about the life of Stephen Hawking did not change my opinion. After a setup reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, the movie starts bouncing through time like the island in LOST (but thankfully only in one direction), fading in on particularly notable events quickly before moving on to the next. This lessens the emotional connection to any given scene, and probably forced the directors to cherry pick the scenes that viewers would most likely expect to see. One of the big problems in my mind was that Stephen Hawking's area of expertise is hard to translate for laymen, and although we are constantly told that he's brilliant, we never see evidence as to why he's so important.

Final Grade: C-

Sons of Anarchy, Season 6:
One thing I appreciate about the storytelling in this show is that plot lines are allowed to naturally end when they're ready to end -- game-changers regularly occur in midseason episodes where other shows would just save it for the finale. One thing I dislike is that the show was extended from 40 to 60 minutes, leading to lots of boring, brooding reaction shots and way too many musical montages (this is a Shakespearean biker show, not Grey's Anatomy). One thing I hated was the very contrived way in which the season finale's climactic events were allowed to occur, based on a lack of communication between characters. One minus two is a negative number, so this season gets a C. The math is sound.

Final Grade: C

24: Live Another Day:
I'm not sure why they didn't call this Season Nine, but I'm glad they took my advice to have only 12 episodes*. This season contains all of the standard 24 tropes you've come to expect, without the dithering usually needed to pad out the run time. Even the female characters aren't as helpless as they're usually written to be.

Final Grade: B+

*"The show would be great if they called it 12 and then pared the plot down to just the major storyline." - BU, February 13, 2006

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