Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Sense8, Season One:
This is a new Netflix original series about eight people across the world who become telepathically linked, and can suddenly experience each others' lives. The individual stories of the eight are the primary focus of this show -- this is not a show to watch if you want to be satisfied by an overarching storyline or are seeking answers to why things are happening. Some of the characters are more interesting than others, and episodes stutter-step between long, talky sections, and fun action scenes where, for example, one of the characters uses the fighting skills of another character. It's very slow paced, and you'll know whether you'll like it or not after just two episodes. My opinion on the show can be summed up with Rossini's opinion on Wagner: "Wagner has lovely moments but awful quarters of an hour." Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

Half Full Ashtrays, Half Empty Glasses by the Lab Rats:
I really enjoyed the song, "Devil's Train" that came on my Hilltop Hoods Pandora station, and the EP is well worth the purchase. This is a solid collection of white blue-collar hip-hop over full orchestrations that are much more fleshed out than your typical looping beat track.

Final Grade: A-

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:
I have not yet seen this movie, but the book is well-written and a real page-turner in spite of the fact that it falls apart in the end. The book is divided into three sections -- the first hooks you in, while the second upends your understanding of all of the pieces. The third felt a little obligatory and more like an epilogue than a climax. The ending is internally consistent, but not satisfying after the intense build of the previous parts. If a poor ending will ruin your enjoyment of the book as a whole, you'll probably want to skip this one, rather than be let down by it.

Final Grade: B

Amazon Echo:
We've now had our Echo device for about five months, but it hasn't become an integral part of our existence. My primary use for it is music, but it has two drawbacks: playing Pandora stations includes too many ads, and it's cumbersome to set up playlists of your own music in the provided online UI. We also use it for top news and weather on a daily basis. Anything more complicated than this still results in poor understanding of our commands. Still, at the $99 price point, it's useful enough that I don't regret buying it.

Final Grade: B

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