Posts Tagged as reviews

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  1. Friday, April 21, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Better Call Saul, Season Two : I may be in the minority with my opinion, but this show is at its best when it's  not  focused on building the world of  Breaking Bad . The little moments and wry asides stand alone very well, and it's almost a distraction when the main plots start to fall into the areas already established by  Breaking Bad . It's held back a little by its very deliberate pacing -- it's easy to get impatient when I just want to know how it all comes together in the end, which reduces my appreciation for the development of the characters in the moment. Free on Netflix.   Final Gra...
  2. Friday, April 07, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Modern Family, Season Six : We burned through this season pretty quickly after the fifth season's long stall -- it recaptures some of the lighter, wholesome fun of the earlier seasons without letting any one character overshadow the show.   Final Grade :  B     The Climb : This retail game for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch controllers allows you to go climbing and bouldering in exotic locales like the Alps, the Grand Canyon, a fjord, and a tropical cliffside. It really sells the depth of vision and illusion of 3D, especially when you're dangling by one arm and happen to look down...
  3. Friday, March 24, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Arrival  (PG-13): The exposition of this movie is way too long, as if the director took the classic movie maxim, "Don't show the shark too soon," and turned it into a Mahler symphony. It eventually gets somewhat interesting but then goes off in weird sci-fi directions at the conclusion. I liked the movie the most in the middle 3rd when it was all about linguistics. Skip it.   Final Grade :  C-     I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore  (NR): This is an interesting indie flick co-starring Elijah Wood as a weird neighbour who joins the lead in a quest to find the people that robbed...
  4. Friday, March 10, 2017:
    First Impressions: Oculus Rift  With the millions of dollars gained by selling back 5 weeks of leave from my last job, I decided to get one last pre-adulthood extravagance and purchased an Oculus Rift. Of course, it arrived just two days before they dropped the price by $200.     Not to sound like a shitty Ted Talk or anything, but virtual reality is finally here. After many false starts like those mall kiosks in the early 90s and awful 3D Televisions, the Oculus Rift is a high quality, consumer-grade solution that will change not only gaming, but also the way we interact with other people online. Using it for just a few minutes gave me a sense of technology awe that I haven't really experienced since the Wii first overpromised its motion contro...
  5. Friday, March 03, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season Two : This remains a fun, no-investment treadmill show that occasionally has some really funny musical parodies. Thankfully, the overarching plot is allowed to naturally shift away from last season's love triangle which was starting to get old even though it was the original premise.   Final Grade :  B     The Accountant  (R): I liked this action movie about Ben Affleck as an autistic accountant with surprising skills much more than expected. Good escapist entertainment with some nice character development. The twists are pretty easy to spot miles away, but...
  6. Friday, February 17, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Travelers, Season One : Like  Colony  before it, this is a sci-fi show with a lot of potential that immediately gets squandered when the plot goes nowhere fast. The characters remain relatively flat, and little sparks of great world-building ultimately end up showcasing just how little actually happens in the first season. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  C-     Finding Dory  (PG): This is a fun revisit to the world of  Finding Nemo  although it never quite reaches the heights of the original movie. I enjoyed the ride, but I'm getting a little tired of the "bounce...
  7. Friday, February 03, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Detectorists, Season Two : The second season is just as charming as the first and over much too quickly. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B+     Sneaky Pete, Season One : The pilot of this Graham Yost show is easily the weakest of the bunch -- the two years it spent in production since then has definitely turned it into more than just the "case of the week" network show I worried it would become. It comes across as a blend of the storytelling from  Justified  with the wry appeal of  Better Call Saul , (but is never so grim that it's  Breaking Bad ly un...
  8. Friday, January 27, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Rise of the Tomb Raider : Like its predecessor, this is game is very well done and really gives you a kinetic feeling as you spiral through 3D landscapes with a tight, effective control scheme. It's as much fun to watch as it is to play, but gets a little bogged down by console-style gameplay (collect X useful things, unlock Y useless upgrades, and of course, crafting things out of animal skins) and too much repetitive combat. I enjoyed playing it for about 20 hours, but never really got enough momentum or inspiration to finish it off.   Final Grade :  B-     Borderline, Season One :&nbs...
  9. Friday, January 20, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       This Was Tomorrow  by Seth Sentry: This solo Australian hip-hop artist reminds me a bit of  Just Jack  with more of a comedic edge. There's a decent amount of variety in the arrangements on this album and it's a fun car listen.  Thanks For Your Hospitality  is a good, representative track from this album.   Final Grade :  B     Ocean's Twelve  (PG-13): I watched  Ocean's Eleven  on a trip back in 2001 because there was  nothing else to do in New Jersey . I never watched the sequels because I felt that adding more characters to a story that alrea...
  10. Friday, January 06, 2017:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Glitch, Season One : After how great  The Code  and  Dreamland  were, I'll always give Australian shows a chance. This character thriller about six people from different eras who have suddenly come out of their graves in a local cemetary is very well done. The characters are well-developed and allowed to develop at their own pace (not as slowly as in  Rectify ). I enjoyed the reveals in the final episode of season one, but I really wanted more answers than I got. I'll definitely watch the second season if it comes out. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B     Gi...
  11. Monday, December 19, 2016:
    List Day: 10 Highest Grades of 2016  Have you missed out on any great TV shows, games, or albums this year? Here's a recap of the highest grades I bestowed in 2016.       Person of Interest, S5   (A+) The final season of  Person of Interest  made the whole journey worthwhile, in spite of some clunky, phoned-in episodes in the fourth season.      Lovesick, S2   (A) A British  How I Met Your Mother  if that show actually had some heart.      Fargo, S2   (A) This entire series is a masterpiece.      Overwatch   (A) I've essentially played this game nonstop for 10 months now.   &n...
  12. Friday, December 16, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Kathleen Madigan: Bothering Jesus : Though not as funny as her earlier comedy specials, this one has a warm, charming feeling to it that makes it a pleasant way to spend an hour. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B-     The 100, Season Three : I really enjoyed how the ultimate threat in this season's storyline started out orthogonally to the main plot thread. This continues to be a show of shallow characters mixed with great ideas and uneven execution -- the world-building is its strength, even if the characters often make incredibly stupid decisions that pass for character developm...
  13. Monday, November 28, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Silicon Valley, Season Two : Silicon Valley continues to charm in its second season, hitting the sweet spot between funny and absurd.   Final Grade :  B+     Fundamentals of Caring : (TV-MA) This Netflix Original stars Paul Rudd as a depressed everyman starting a new job in home care. While it does hit the emotionally manipulative story points in a paint-by-numbers way, it's a low-key, funny affair that will be most enjoyed by people who are already Paul Rudd fans. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B-     Homeland, Season Four :&nbs...
  14. Friday, November 04, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Narcos, Season Two : The second season of  Narcos  feels pretty obligatory, focusing on the real-life decline of Pablo Escobar's drug empire. It's pretty slow-paced for only being 10 episodes, and it introduces too many minor characters with minimal payoff. It's okay if nothing else is on and you don't mind endless Spanish subtitles. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  C+     10 Cloverfield Lane  (PG-13): I'm torn on this movie. For the first 90 minutes, it's a claustrophobic psychological thriller featuring John Goodman as an unsettling doomsday prepper. Then, the last 15 m...
  15. Friday, October 28, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Zootopia  (PG): Though definitely not an instant classic, this new animated movie has some good moments. The story is a thin skeleton used to segue between funny scenes, and the voice acting (including Jason Bateman and Idris Elba) is solid. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B     Shameless, Season Three : I started getting bored during this season as the plot meandered too much and the situations started to get old. Some parts are only notable for shock value, and there's too much sex and nudity covering up the sparseness of plot. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade ...
  16. Friday, October 21, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Bruxelles  by Boulevard des Airs: The third album by this reggae-skaw-orld band feels very mature, with better produced songs but slightly less fun. None of the albums matches up to seeing them live in a foreign country's summer music festival, but on the bright side, this album is densely packed with over an hour of good-to-better songs.   Final Grade :  B     Whitton  by Whitton: This self-titled EP includes the catchy  I Fell In Love With You  song and is only 15 minutes long. There's enough overlap with the  Rare Bird  album that it's not worth purchasing -- ...
  17. Friday, October 14, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       KIN  by KT Tunstall: The  good  KT is back after the disappointing, overly mellow  Invisible Empire / Crescent Moon  album in 2013. This album is full of catchy hooks that will get stuck in your head.   Final Grade :  B+     Architect  by Wallis Bird: Wallis Bird strays away from her folksy guitar sound into electronica here, and the result isn't particularly exciting. There are a few good songs interspersed, but overall, the production is cold and forgettable.   Final Grade :  C-     Stranger Things : This ...
  18. Friday, October 07, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Jarvis Adjustable Standing Desk (Ergo Depot) : I'm very satisfied with this desk, having used it consistently for about a month now. With the push of a button, I raise it up and down multiple times a day to vary my working position. There were a couple hiccups in the assembly (one accessory came with screws that were too long for the desktop) but customer service was very responsive and helpful.   Final Grade :  A-     Broadchurch, Season One : I just realized that I screen-capped the French version of the DVD cover, but wouldn't it be great if you could go to a craft brewery and or...
  19. Friday, September 23, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Limitless, Season One : This short-lived TV series picks up where the " forgettably entertaining " Bradley Cooper movie left off, and even uses him as an occasional guest star. Telling the tale of a burnout who takes a drug that expands his mind's potential and starts solving cases for the FBI, this show maintains a very consistent tone of light comedy that never veers too deeply into melodrama. It's very much a network show so it won't challenge you much, but is a pleasant joyride with a solid, cohesive plot that gradually deepens over the season. The show was cancelled after one season, but the finale has a very good ending t...
  20. Friday, September 09, 2016:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Chaos Monkeys  by Antonio Garcia Martinez: This memoir offers a taste of working at Facebook, but it's much less incendiary and edgy than advertised. The writing style gets tiresome very quickly, and it's highly likely that you will not be interested in half the material presented. The author creates a disjunct hodge-podge of historical references, literary quotes, memoir-style stories, and dry explanations of how things like online advertising and hedge funds work -- just when you start to get interested in something, the book tangents into another area and kills any momentum. By the halfway point, I had gotten tired of the endless edgy...
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