Friday, January 04, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Simulation Theory by Muse:
Muse's latest album is solid all of the way through, and one I keep putting back on in the car. A good mix of their classic hard rock style blended with their more recent electronica, and no wannabe-student-composer movie symphonies to be found anywhere!

Final Grade: B+

Ready Player One (PG-13):
This is about as good of an adaptation one could make of the original book -- telling the tale of a virtual treasure hunt in an online world where everyone in a dystopian future spends their time. The plot felt a bit rushed even though the movie still felt a bit too long, but it hit all of the right high points without been too enslaved by the source material. As usual, the portions of the movie that took place in the real world were more emotionally investing than the video game parts. I enjoyed that the movie was chock full of pop culture references, but strategically placed so you could enjoy them if you got them and not get beaten over the head with them otherwise. Subtle musical cues by Alan Silvestri (calling back to the era where his big budget successes, such as Back to the Future were composed) were particularly nice.

Final Grade: B

Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle:
I read this book about group dynamics for work -- its a fast read with some very interesting, yet shallow, anecdotes about famous successful teams, such as Pixar and the Navy Seals. I don't think the book is as actionable as it purports to be -- it would seem that a lot of the successful group dynamics originate from a particular personality or some naturally-occurring baseline allowed to flourish.

Final Grade: B-

Silicon Valley, S4:
This was a great season, with episodes bouncing from conflict to conflict for maximum comedic potential without allowing any one idea to become stale. No character felt overused, and the plot had a nice, complete feel to it.

Final Grade: B+

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