Friday, January 10, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Irishman:
Martin Scorcese's three and a half hour mob movie is a meandering mess that feels like a vanity project through and through. There are parts that show some of the greatness of Goodfellas, but at the end, it's impossible to understand why this story was worth telling. The movie only has energy in the sections with Al Pacino's character -- when he's not there, it drags as much as The Last Jedi. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

Killing Eve, Season Two:
The first season of this show was quirky and fun, but the second is just more of the same. The most interesting aspect (the relationship between the two leads) is not focused on enough, with the writers spending more time in a procedural / cop show vibe instead.

Final Grade: C

Jack Ryan, Season Two:
I thought that Season One of this John Krasinski vehicle was a poor man's Homeland. Season Two is at least 50% worse. There are some really great action scenes in the first episode, but the rest of the show is a dull plod in search of great action scenes. The villains are one-dimensional and any plot twists are obvious and telegraphed from the beginning. Any scene involving "Uber the riverboat pilot" had me tuning out immediately. The most interesting thing about this season is the number of Russian troll farm trolls spamming its review section with diatribes about the evils of socialism -- while socialism may be imperfect in the real world, it really has no correlation to anything that happens in this fictional season. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC):
In sequence, here are the strikes I recorded against this game, which some have called the greatest open world game ever created:

  1. Required a 120GB download.
  2. Required me to make an account in a proprietary game launcher (Rockstar Social Club). Game launchers are this generation's BonzaiBuddy.
  3. Had so few permutations of my typical usernames in their Social Club that I ended up with something like buriburiburiburi174892.
  4. Required me to captcha and refill out an entire form every time my username was rejected. A multi-step captcha too -- selecting all images of traffic lights from about 12 images.
  5. Requires about 5 minutes of loading screens on every run.
  6. Has a multi-hour tutorial in which you can't run, most of which is spent on a horse following someone slowly and listening to them talk.
  7. Has NO manual save during the tutorial, meaning that if you quit expecting an autosave, you start all the way back at the beginning.
  8. Has too many controls that they only remind you of once, so you end up punching your horse instead of mounting it.

I stopped playing after 90 minutes (plus 30 minutes of loading screens) and still hadn't finished the tutorial chapters yet. The game is quite pretty, but incredibly slow-paced. In my glory days, I might have liked it. However, I'll never get far enough to appreciate it in modern times when I can only play in 20 minute spurts and there are so many other things vying for my attention.

Final Grade: Not Rated

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