Friday, November 11, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Mario Kart Live (Switch):
This (too expensive) Augmented Reality game allows you to set up a Mario Kart course with a physical car in your house and then play it on your Switch. The novelty value is very high although the replayability seems pretty low. Maia loves setting up courses and then introducing other hazards (like Ian the Giant standing in the way) and the AR works pretty smoothly. It's fun seeing Mario driving around your living room (and it works on both floor and carpet). However, after you've done it a few times, there's not much more you can do. There are only 4 gates for each course so you're essentially constrained to a circle or a figure 8, and the signal from the Switch to the car is so weak that you really have to be within 10 feet of the car at all times -- this means that your course works best in a single room rather than all over the house. Recently, we spend more time just playing in "Explore" mode and driving around the basement rather than setting up a full course.

Final Grade: B-

Idlewild (R):
This Outkast musical slipped under my radar at release. I used to love Moulin Rouge back then but hated Chicago, so maybe I was just burnt out on musical movies. The plot is cookie-cutter but the raps and artistic flourishes are a lot of fun.

Final Grade: B-

Memory (R):
This suspense movie is about a hit man with a moral code who's also in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Other than the characters played by Guy Pearce and Liam Neeson, everyone is a flat caricature with bad dialogue. The movie is fine, not amazing.

Final Grade: C+

Mindf*ck by Christopher Wylie:
This book, written by the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, describes how social media algorithms can be (and were) manipulated and exploited in the run up to Brexit and the 2016 US Election. The author presents a pretty approachable narrative and shows how PsyOps and Russian Intelligence may have put a finger on the scale just enough to alter the outcomes. The book sometimes drags, especially when the author is describing the places and people involved (like flavor text in a fantasy novel) but otherwise, it's highly quotable and full of great insights.

Final Grade: B

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