Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Robocop (2014) (PG-13):
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this remake of the 1987 classic. The remake manages to tell its own story while still hitting a few major story beats. Where the original was a satire of society cloaked in a violent action movie, this iteration focuses heavily on the moral questions raised by fusing humans with robots, and the mental conflict between being human and having an AI. It stands well on its own, and limits its callbacks to the original to a few quotable lines. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

Derek, Final Episode:
The British love their Christmas Specials, and this extra hour-long episode permanently wraps up the series in a warm way. It suffers a little from the second season exit of Karl Pilkington, but otherwise goes out strong. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Mr. Robot, Pilot Episode:
The pilot episode of this new USA show hits all of the right marks, and leaves an intriguing setting that I would enjoy exploring in future episodes. It feels a little too like Fight Club sometimes, and Christian Slater just acts like Christian Slater, but otherwise, the characters are interesting. This may also be one of the few shows that gets its technobabble and computer screens right -- it's hard to make computer hacking exciting without someone yelling "Enhance!" while zooming in on Google Maps, but Mr. Robot pulls it off. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

The Book of Mormon:
We saw this show at the Kennedy Center last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's highly profane, has a definite vein of South Park running through it, and will keep you laughing, although it's probably not a show you need to watch more than once. The cast and the pit orchestra were both universally strong, although the overwhelming wall of sound often prevented me from picking up the nuances of the book. It's easy to hear the lines that elicit laughs, but less so to understand the chorus.

Final Grade: B+

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