Friday, February 09, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Lovesick, Season Three:
Formerly titled Scrotal Recall, this clever, warm British relationship comedy remains very watchable even though it has now outgrown its original conceit. I felt like this season wallowed a bit, as if they weren't really sure where to go next, yet I still enjoyed watching it as a pleasant way to end the day.

Final Grade: B

Super Mario Odyssey:
This is one of the flagship games for the Nintendo Switch. Other than a game mechanic where you can become different creatures by throwing your cap at them (which is clearly WAY DIFFERENT from getting a leaf out of a question mark block), there is very little originality in the first few worlds of this game. World progression revolves around gathering "moons" which is fine until you realize there are 8 billion moons, some of which are just lying around on the map -- it lessens the enjoyment of any achievement, like a 100-point basketball game versus a tied 1-1 soccer game. There are 9 billion moves that Mario can do, although you'll never need half of them and some of the most important ones can only be done with Wii-like motion controls. I'm only about 6 hours into the game, and yet I find myself bored while playing and lacking any sense of wonderment or fun. I'm not super impressed with the Switch so far.

Final Grade: C-

Keepsake by Elizabeth and the Catapult:
This indie band's 4th album is great -- mature and polished but still in the same pleasant style as the first 3. After listening to this, I tried to surprise Rebecca with tickets to see them in concert, but disappointingly found out that they played in Vienna two months ago and won't be back anytime soon.

Final Grade: B+

Westworld, Season One:
Based on an old Michael Crichton movie, this show features a theme park full of near-sentient robots where human visitors can be the hero or villain in their own story. I had high hopes since it was made by Jonathan Nolan, the creator of two of my favourites, Memento and Person of Interest. The world and plot are an intricate puzzle box of interlocking, byzantine sub-stories and overarching themes, but it left me cold. After a promising pilot, the remaining nine episodes are a tedious slog where the (2 pretty decent) plot twists are made possible through the intentional muddling of the unclear passing of time. All of the reveals are soggy with vague philosophical monologues or flashback montages with voice-overs, and as an HBO show, there's constant consequence-free violence and dehumanizing nudity. (It's amazing that the obligatory robot orgy scene is held off until episode 5 rather than the pilot). Bottom Line: It's full of big ideas and a decent sci-fi grounding, but lacking in anyone to care about. It felt like an unnecessary prologue for the next season.

Final Grade: C-

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