Posts Tagged as reviews

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  1. Friday, July 01, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Inside Number 9, Season One : We really enjoyed the first season (6 episodes) of this British anthology show which features different stories about people that live in apartment or room number 9. The balance of wry and macabre is well-done and the British humour is pleasant. The last episode was the weakest of the set. We liked this enough to continue on to Season Two, but that requires an extra video streaming subscription, which is a resounding NO. On Amazon Video.   Final Grade :  A-     Dave, Season Two : Season Two was much more experimental than Season One and sometimes seemed...
  2. Friday, June 17, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Brooklyn 99, Season Three : This show is just funny enough to enjoy as a treadmill show -- a few laugh-out-loud jokes balance out the occasions that just feel too campy. The third season has some fun guest actors as well. On Hulu.   Final Grade :  B-     Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster : Gaffigan's latest special starts out strong with his unique takes on the pandemic. The back half is less successful -- sometimes it felt like he was trying something new by being a little more edgy, but it usually came off more mean-spirited than funny. On Netflix.   Final Grade : &...
  3. Friday, May 27, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Russian Doll, Season Two : As big fans of  Season One , we were hugely disappointed in Season Two. Natasha Lyonne is great as usual, but her character's motivations in the first half are poorly defined, leading the lessons learned by the end to be underwhelming. This would have been better as a one season limited series. On Netflix.   Final Grade :  C-     Ronny Chieng: Speakeasy : Ronny Chieng's latest special is a little lackluster. A few laugh out loud jokes are buried in medicore, uneven material. Fun enough to have on in the background, and would probably be fine as j...
  4. Friday, May 20, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       The Outlaws, Season One : This was an unexpectedly pleasant ensemble comedy about a rag-tag group of petty criminals doing community service together, with great performances from Stephen Merchant and Christopher Walken. The characters are likeable and the plot never gets too menacing or overwhelming. Its only flaw is that many of the subplot threads are dropped without resolution by the end, in favor of wrapping up the "main" storyline, so a few characters seem to have sudden character changes to align them better with that plot. On Amazon Prime.   Final Grade :  B+     Modern Family, Season...
  5. Friday, May 06, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Palm Springs : We went into this movie sight-unseen based on its appearance in a list of "best stuff to watch on Hulu", and that may be why we were so pleasantly surprised with how good it was. The movie does a good job balancing several contrasting tones, and never devolves into the realm of parody you might expect after seeing Andy Samberg on the cover. Everything is held together by great performances from all the leads (I've yet to see a bad Cristin Milioti performance). On Hulu.   Final Grade :  B+     Fallout 76 : My  first impressions  of this game continue to hol...
  6. Friday, April 01, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       West Side Story (2021) : It's been over 30 years since I last watched the original movie version of West Side Story (in the last days of 8th grade band following an awful Spring Concert medley of the songs), so I had no expectations going in. I enjoyed this remake, especially how traditional it all feels. From the color saturation to the heavy use of choreography, the movie doesn't try too hard at modernizing any particular facet. Minor faults: I got pretty tired of the sideways lens flares that busy up every shot, and felt like the motivations of the main characters in the build-up to the final scenes could have been explored more. On D...
  7. Friday, March 18, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Hadestown, Original Broadway Cast Recording : Hadestown is a retelling of the Greek myth about Orpheus and Eurydice, with catchy tunes that easily could have been on the soundtrack of the old TV series,  Treme . I really enjoyed the deep bass parts of  Patrick Page . The first Act is a little more memorable than the second, but the whole thing is a fun listen.   Final Grade :  B     Legends and Lattes  by Travis Baldree: I previously only knew Baldree as one of the game designers on  Torchlight , but apparently he's also gained reknown as a narrator of ...
  8. Friday, March 04, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Encanto  (PG): Disney's latest animated movie tells of a Colombian family where every person has a magical power except the protagonist. The movie is pleasant and the music is clearly in Lin-Manuel Miranda's style. The rapid patter style is fun, but makes it much harder to learn the lyrics or relate the words to what's going on in every color-packed fast-cut scene. We finally let Maia watch it because some of her school friends had seen it. Her favorite character is Isabella, although she requested that we skip some "sad" parts towards the end. On Disney+.   Final Grade :  B     Onward ...
  9. Friday, February 18, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       The Expanse, Season Six : The final season of The Expanse waffles on how final it wants to be. While there is a great conclusion for the main characters of the show, there are many other scenes that see no resolution and are completely wasted (such as every scene on the planet of Laconia). I also got really tired of the character of Filip Inaros, who constantly looked like he was trying to boil a kettle of water with his stare. I enjoyed the show for the most part and would probably give the series as a whole a  B- . It's worth struggling past the super-slow first season to get to some of the later good stuff. Free on Amazon Pr...
  10. Friday, February 11, 2022:
    First Impressions: Fallout 76   Fallout 76  is a pared-back multiplayer version of  Fallout 4 , offering you fun, shallow way to explore the world after nuclear war, this time in West Virginia instead of Boston. Released three years ago to uniformly awful reviews, the game has continued to improve with major content updates. I picked it up in a $10 Steam sale and find that it scratches the "explore, shoot, loot" Fallout itch quite well so far.     The game engine is the same as Fallout 4's, so many of the previous game's bugs and annoyances linger, like a cumbersome menu system where keys like Esc and Tab are overloaded poorly. There are major graphical improvements, though, and the choice of West Virginia as a setting offer...
  11. Friday, January 28, 2022:
    Review Day: Flourish, Signature Edition  Flourish is a fairly recent "card passing" game where you score points for constructing the best garden while passing your weakest cards to your neighbors. Cards depict flowers and features that give your garden a raw score, and multipliers that crank those scores up at the end of each round and the end of the game.     I picked this up for the family for Christmas, having searched for a game that would be interesting for 2 adults to play but accessible enough for Maia "Tokaido Lover" Uri to play along with. It's a hit with Maia although she normally just builds the prettiest garden rather than caring about scores.   There's an overwhelming number of cardboard game pieces that need to be built, but 90...
  12. Friday, January 21, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       S16  by Woodkid: After enjoying the uniqueness of  Golden Age , I immediately purchased Woodkid's most recent album. It works fine for atmospheric background music, but feels a little forgettable. I'll listen to it a few more times, to see if I change my mind but I preferred the earlier album.   Final Grade :  C     The Sun  by Bliss n ESO: The latest album from this Australian hip-hop group is excellent, full of great hooks, beats, and fun lyrics. I never thought I'd hear Carol of the Bells as a hip-hop sample until I heard the first track on ths album.  Cadillac O...
  13. Friday, January 14, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol : This is an investigative documentary about the events of January 6, 2021 built up from the many live recordings captured that day. While it's very visceral and worth watching to refresh your memory of why this day mattered, it's also pretty shallow and doesn't do anything to put these events in a broader context. Free on Youtube.   Final Grade :  B-     Shadows and Shinings: Deluxe Edition  by Drapht: In this age of EPs and 30 minute albums, I never thought I'd be able to say that an album is too long ever again. However, 7...
  14. Friday, January 07, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Michael McIntyre: Showman : This is a great set by British comedian, Michael McIntyre, featuring observational / storytelling humor. We really enjoyed his bit on  Internet passwords . Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  A     Together Together  (R): This is a quiet indie film about Ed Helms' character seeking a surrogate so he can raise a child on his own. The vibe is fairly mellow throughout and it rarely falls into the more obvious jokes and tropes one might expect.   Final Grade :  B-     No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Cu...
  15. Friday, December 17, 2021:
    Top Reviews of 2021 Top Reviews of 2021  Here are the experiences I gave the highest ratings to in 2021. Go discover something new!    Television Shows       Arcane  (A) (Netflix)    Truth Seekers, Season One  (A) (Amazon Prime)    Lupin, Part One  (A) (Netflix)    Lupin, Part Two  (B+) (Netflix)    Schitt's Creek, Season Six  (B+) (Netflix)    Vice Principals, Season Two  (B+) (Amazon Video)      Movies       Blindspotting  (B+) (Amazon Video)      Music       Bright Night Flowers  by Jon ...
  16. Friday, December 03, 2021:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Squid Game : This show had an intriguing premise but poor execution. The conceit of desperate people willing to do things and the divide between super-rich and poor has been done before, and the importance of these themes faded into the background after just a couple episodes ( 3%  did it all better).  Squid Game  might have been more successful as a tight miniseries with 4 or 5 episodes -- by the penultimate episode, I was watching at 1.25x speed to skip through the lingering camera shots that mistook "wasting time" for "building tension". Character development is pretty muddled although there are a few nice moments th...
  17. Friday, November 19, 2021:
    Review Day: New World (PC)     New World , the ambitious new MMO from Amazon Game Studios is a happy mess, getting just as much right as it gets wrong.    The Good    There are no classes or dead ends in character development. Every character can practice and improve every skill, and each build is designed around picking two types of weapon and swapping between them. You can only have two characters, which gives incentive to really grow attached to your character and explore lots of different builds and professions.   In contrast to  World of Warcraft , which has become so simplified and streamlined that you can level up by turning on your computer,  New World  moves at a more...
  18. Friday, November 05, 2021:
    Review Day: Walkabout Mini Golf (Quest 2)   Walkabout Mini Golf  is a fun, relaxing VR game that really captures the spirit of going to the mini golf course on your beach trip.     At just $15, the game is packed with more content than some games from big deal companies. There are 8 unique 18-hole courses (each with a separate Hard mode) with new ones being added for free regularly. Early courses are very reminiscent of classic mini golf tropes, while the later ones are more imaginative (ever golfed in space?). When you're done actually playing golf, each course also has treasure hunts that unlock new cosmetic balls and putters to play with.   The mechanics of putting are great, and the fine differences between hard and soft swings f...
  19. Friday, October 22, 2021:
    Review Day: Oculus Quest 2  The latest iteration of VR headsets, the Oculus Quest 2, is a muddle of compromises that is nevertheless worth it, due solely to its completely wireless gameplay.   Last year at this time, I was on the fence about VR -- my first generation Rift had developed a sound issue from a very common manufacturing problem and Facebook was charging 40% of the original price to get it fixed. They were also pairing headsets with Facebook accounts, which I still think is an awful idea. I finally decided to get the Quest 2 for my 42nd birthday because I wanted something new to do in the 15 minute gaps between childcare and I was sitting on too many bonuses from work.   The biggest improvement from the Rift to the Quest is t...
  20. Friday, October 15, 2021:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Profile  (R): This movie tells the story of a journalist who tries to gain the trust of an ISIS recruiter but ends up sympathizing with him. The whole movie is told through a view of the journalist's laptop screen with video chats and instant messages. It's a unique, tense watch, although the final motivations of the main character fall apart a little in the climactic moments.   Final Grade :  B     The Lion's Roar  by First Aid Kit: The vocalists on this album sound like Christina Perri if she wrote hippie music. This is a nice sound for a single (which is why I bought the album)...
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