Friday, February 23, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Blade Runner (Final Cut) (R):
This is one of those classic movies that I always figured I should watch but never got around to. I went in blind and found that it does not necessarily hold up well against modern movie standards. It's not bad, as minimalist sci-fi goes, but seems to spend more effort on establishing setting rather than story. It also has the Star Wars Episode 4 problem where most of the scenes are actually transitions to other scenes rather than important scenes in their own right -- there's only so many scenes of Harrison Ford walking up some stairs or landing a flying car or trying to convey emotion with a blank facial expression I can take before I start to get bored. The "Final Cut" is a little jarring because it's audibly apparent where new dialogue was added and some scenes restate dialogue from previous scenes verbatim. Overall, not bad, but a little dull compared to the movies one could be watching today. I have Blade Runner 2049 up next to watch (which is the reason I watched the original), but its 2 hr 43 minute running time violates my long movie rule and I'm struggling to get motivated to watch it.

Final Grade: C+

The Good Place, Season One:
This is a pleasant, quirky little sitcom about an awful person who dies and mistakenly gets sent to the good afterlife instead of the bad one. It takes the whimsical fancy of Pushing Daisies and adds a lot more modern snark, resulting in a refreshingly funny show. The plot is allowed to evolve beyond its original premise although the twists and turns may not be hard to guess for people who have turned on a TV in their lifetime. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Attune by Lenka:
A mellow, pleasant outing from Lenka, who seems to have moved towards forgettable soundscapes rather than memorable songs. Great to have on in the background, but not as good as a car CD.

Final Grade: C+

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor:
When researching baby monitors, I was drawn by an honest review that roughly said, "In a world of shitty baby monitors, this one is pretty okay." The DXR-8 is a little pricy ($160) but not nearly as ridiculous as the ones with unnecessary heartbeat monitors or video poker features. It is great for our needs, with video, audio, and easy controls. The range of camera movement feels a bit constrained sometimes but a non-lazy person could mount it in a different location to overcome that. The video quality is perfect for status checks, and transitions seamlessly between night vision and day vision when clouds roll across the horizon. The monitor also holds a charge away from its docking station while left on all night long. There is a feature to talk to your baby through the camera, which we've shied away from doing so she doesn't get confused about our identities (she already recognizes our conversations with Alexa).

Final Grade: B+

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