Friday, April 21, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Better Call Saul, Season Two:
I may be in the minority with my opinion, but this show is at its best when it's not focused on building the world of Breaking Bad. The little moments and wry asides stand alone very well, and it's almost a distraction when the main plots start to fall into the areas already established by Breaking Bad. It's held back a little by its very deliberate pacing -- it's easy to get impatient when I just want to know how it all comes together in the end, which reduces my appreciation for the development of the characters in the moment. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Dave Chappelle:
I never watched Dave Chappelle back when he was originally popular, although I was oversaturated by my college roommate, Kelley, spamming "I'm Rick James, bitch!" at every opportunity. Chappelle's new Netflix special is 2 separate stand-up routines in a story-telling style focused mostly on race jokes. The first is quite strong, but he seems to get tired and run out of steam during the second one, which was mostly forgettable. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Lazy Fair by Bryce Vine:
This album is full of vapid summer pop songs with clearly calculated attributes for maximum radio appeal, but I still can't help but enjoy it. The EP is very short, but each song is an infectious up-tempo market-researched morsel, heavy on pentatonics and nostalgia like Sour Patch Kids. As a bonus, if you create a "Bryce Vine" Pandora station, you end up with a neverending stream of music about 20-somethings living irresponsibly, which you can use as a teaching moment for your college-age child. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

The Night Manager:
This miniseries (based on a book I'd never read) tells the tale of a hotel manager who goes undercover to bring down a wealthy arms dealer. Well-paced with good intensity, the show features Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in escalating cat-and-mouse affairs in a very British way. The arc of the story feels complete, and the 6 epsiode duration is just right. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

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