Friday, August 21, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Live at Brooklyn Steel by Mika:
Mika's most recent album is a live collection of older songs. It has great sound mixing -- the audience sound is toned back just enough that you get the live feel without losing the main performance. Mika also sounds just as good as he does on his studio albums.

Final Grade: B+

Ocean's 13 (PG-13):
I watched this movie over 3 treadmill sessions and remember very little about it. It has minimal characterization, minimal heisting, minimal payoff, and minimal reason to care about any of it. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: D

Elder Scrolls Online:
I first reviewed ESO back in 2015. It was a fun, non-addicting game that I enjoyed playing until Fallout 4 came out and distracted me. I picked it up again just as the pandemic was revving up and played it consistently for 3-4 more months. The game has seen regular improvements and has so much solo-friendly content that I hadn't even finished the last 3 or 4 most recent expansion packs by the time I stopped in June. ESO definitely fills a lot of the "boredom" criticisms I discovered when I tried WoW again, and is a game that I'd definitely return to some day when nothing better is out. The only downside is the relative confusion of figuring out where to begin -- with so many new expansions and NPCs that try to channel you towards the newest stuff, the underlying story can be hard to follow without helpful "story order" lists on forums.

Final Grade: B+

Hamilton:
I love the experience of watching a triple-A musical from the comfort of my couch. You can see individual faces, get a little more kinetic energy from moving cameras, and turn on subtitles for all the lines that get swallowed by poor sound mixing.

As for Hamilton itself, I thought it was a great musical though maybe not worth selling your children to get tickets for. The through-composed songs reprise regularly throughout the musical, connecting things together very effectively. Staging is fairly simple, but the dancing ensemble keeps the background interesting. All performances were strong although Thomas Jefferson and King George clearly stole the show. The only fault I found was the speaking voices of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr -- both used whiny, raspy tones that scraped against my brain like an infected safety pin. As soon as either one started singing, my brain was much happier. Free on Disney+.

Final Grade: A

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