Posts Tagged as reviews

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  1. Friday, January 17, 2020:
    Review Day: Local Grocery Stores        Safeway  Giant  Wegmans     Organization    BEST : A logical progression of goods with cold stuff at the end.       WORST : The same items can be found in multiple locations, some of which you might never discover because the store is too big.     Navigation       BEST : Wide aisles with room to maneuver around the distracted and the obese.    WORST : Every aisle has room for 1.5 carts across, and there are 10 carts pushed by soccer moms at all times.     Experience    WORST : Dirty aisles ...
  2. 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....
  3. Friday, January 03, 2020:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Easter is Cancelled  by The Darkness: This is another solid release from The Darkness, which has sailed past its early novelty hype and drug issues to be a consistent hard rock band. There's a good mix of styles here, all unified by the voice of the lead singer.   Final Grade :  B+     Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi : I enjoyed Episode 7 on a popcorn level and finally got around to watching this one. It felt interminable while I watched it, with no real plot line and nothing to recommend it. An entire subplot of this movie involved in a failed mission that has no bearing on th...
  4. Friday, December 20, 2019:
    Top Reviews of 2019  Here are the experiences I gave the highest ratings to in 2019. Perfect for filling the Christmas week doldrums!    Television Shows       Dark, Season One and Two  (A-, A) (Netflix)    Barry, Season One  (A)    Dead to Me  (A) (Netflix)    Russian Doll, Season One  (A-) (Netflix)    Stranger Things, Season Three  (A-) (Netflix)    12 Monkeys, All Four Seasons  (B, B+, A, A)    Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Season One  (B+) (Netflix)    i'm sorry, Season One and Two  (B+, B+) (Netflix)      Movies   &nbs...
  5. Wednesday, December 11, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Living With Yourself, Season One : This series features Paul Rudd trying to make a better version of himself when something goes wrong. It has a few promising ideas that are never fully developed and has way too much repetition and "24 hours ago..." sequences. By the time it ended, I didn't feel like much plot progress had been made -- more like I was watching a prequel than a full season. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  C+     Goldsboro  by Goldsboro: While listening to an album of the defunct, underrated band,  Orson , I idly wondered what they had done next. I purchas...
  6. Friday, November 08, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Laughing and Crying  by Just Jack: This EP consists of 4 songs and 3 acoustic version which seems like a recipe for tedious repetition, but the acoustic versions are just different enough to succeed. This is a pleasant, muted set on becoming middle-aged, but I still prefer his early up-tempo stuff much more.   Final Grade :  B-     Dolemite Is My Name  (R): I didn't realize that this was a biopic going in (I probably would have skipped it) but I thoroughly enjoyed this Eddie Murphy comeback vehicle. The story and style stay very true to the classic "crass and heartwarming" style o...
  7. Friday, November 01, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Game Night  (R): This comedy features Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as an ultra-competitive couple whose game night gets derailed. It's shallow fun that doesn't try too hard to have a deeper meaning and gets great mileage out of having Jesse Plemons (fat Matt Damon) as a creepy neighbour who never gets invited.   Final Grade :  B     My Name is Michael Holbrook  by Mika: Mika's most recent album has great songs but the arrangements feel phoned in. As I listen, I can hear the places where freshman or sophomore maturity Mika would have thrown in a few trumpets for no good reason ...
  8. Friday, October 25, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Silicon Valley, S5 : The fifth season of this show is only 8 episodes long. It's pleasant enough and exactly what you'd expect if you've watched it before. That said, it's probably about time to wrap this series up.   Final Grade :  B     El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie : This movie tells the tale of a main character from  Breaking Bad  in the hours after the series finale. I was surprised to find it to be a story worth telling, not just an obligatory regroup of actors and favourite scenes for fan service. The movie's filled with Vince Gilligan's usual visual flairs but ...
  9. Friday, October 18, 2019:
    Review Day: The Red Knight by Miles Cameron   There are no major spoilers in this review.       The Red Knight  (Book 1 of 5 in the Traitor Son Cycle) is a master class in weaving multiple points of view together into a satisfying convergence of plot, suspense, and character development. This master class isn't for everyone, however, spanning three whole semesters and requiring much more concentration than you might be used to in your fantasy reading. The book tells the tale of a mercenary company that accepts a contract to protect a convent of nuns and finds themselves in the midst of a siege between humans and the creatures of "The Wild", a catch-all stereotype for varied races in the North deemed (by humans) to be primitive and beast-l...
  10. Friday, October 11, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Stranger Things, Season Three : Finally, a season of  Stranger Things  I can stand behind. There's no bloat or unnecessary episodes and the pacing kept my interest from episode 1. The show transcends its traditional overreliance on 80s nostalgia to tell a compelling coming-of-age story full of humor and fun characters. The homages (like an episode featuring horror movie tropes in an under-construction hospital) are still there, but serve the story rather than overshadowing it. Winona Ryder is finally given something to do besides freaking out about a missing child.  This season is worth a watch even if you don't totally...
  11. Friday, September 27, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Black Mirror, Season Five : This short, three-episode season consists of great standalone episodes with strong stories, but they all lack the inherent dread that is a part of Black Mirror's DNA. Technology is more of an incidental feature of the setting rather than the looming pitfall. Once these episodes are over, there isn't much that will keep you thinking of them after the fact. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B-     hip-hop is good  by e-dubble: I find myself constantly impressed with the hip-hop output of e-dubble. He managed to create a unique style and voice without eve...
  12. Friday, September 06, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season Four : The final season is uniformly mediocre. It takes about 7 episodes (of 17) before they finally recapture the spirit of the show, then immediately kill any good will by recasting a major role with a completely new actor. The original actor left in Season Two, and the story would have been just as strong without the callback. The show muddles towards something of a non-ending in the finale, although the live concert of several songs tacked on the end was pretty fun. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  C-     Carnival  by Bryce Vine: This is a modestly...
  13. Monday, September 02, 2019:
    Review Day: First Impressions   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Mosquito Joe's : After years of ravenous tiger mosquitoes and occasional attempts to self-spray the backyard that resulted in my fingertips smelling like chemicals for lingering days, we decided to try out a commercial spraying service. We paid for 3 applications (every 3 weeks) but were not suitably impressed. Any hard data in reduction in bites was confused by rain storms (one started 15 minutes after they sprayed) and the fact that it was too hot to be outside much this summer anyhow. The first two applications were very thorough, but on the 3rd visit, only one of the pair of sprayers showed up, and I'm pretty sure he skipped an entir...
  14. Friday, August 23, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal  by Nick Bilton: I picked up this book because I still don't understand how Twitter can be such a valuable service. I was vindicated since it seems like people who run it haven't quite figured it out either. This was an entertaining read featuring incredible levels of backstabbing and power plays amongst the original founders of the service. The only downside is that the book only goes up to about 2013, so any more recent successes or failings of Twitter are not covered.   Final Grade :  B     Money Heist, Part One&nbs...
  15. Friday, July 26, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Humans, Season Three : The third season of this show about human-like robots juggles several interesting ideas but suffers from a few poor side plots (especially one that seems like a mystical wild goose chase). The build up to the climax was great, although the final cliffhanger to set up the 4th season was pretty weak. I'm glad the show was cancelled after this season. Free on Amazon Prime.   Final Grade :  B-     Ralph Breaks the Internet : I liked this sequel to   Wreck-it Ralph   more than I thought I would. The representation of the Internet in cartoon form...
  16. Friday, July 19, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       3%, Season Three : The third season of this Brazilian dystopian show is held back a little by a low budget and distractingly poor background actors, but there's a fun progression to the story in these 8 episodes if you can just go along with the broad strokes. The departure of a particular actor is disappointing at first, but doesn't harm the story as much as I initially thought it would. Free on Netflix.   Final Grade :  B+     Song of the Beast  by Carol Berg: This standalone fantasy novel about a musician who was imprisoned and tortured for years without explanation and suddenl...
  17. Wednesday, July 10, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       12 Monkeys, Season Four : This show continues to have a great balance of humour and drama in its final season and it brings back several favourite side characters in ways that feel earned and fun. The uber-villain of the show (who was finally revealed at the end of the previous season) is irritating in a one-note kind of way, but otherwise this is an amazing wrap-up to the story. The last 3 episodes frame a perfect ending that I didn't see coming, although they are as self-indulgently long as the end of the  Lord of the Rings  trilogy. After it was all over, I was able to see clear tie-backs to events in Season One -- the vast ...
  18. Friday, July 05, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       12 Monkeys, Season Three : This season kicks off with an incredibly ambitious first episode that clearly embraces the difficulty of gaining new viewers and doesn't look back. Every episode feels like a season finale, to the point where I finished this whole (10 episode) run in just a few days. This show also features a crazy character (the Brad Pitt role from the movie) that perfectly walks the fine line between really funny and annoying.   Final Grade :  A     Flowers in the Pavement  by Bliss n ESO: This is the first album of my favourite Australian hip-hop band, released in 200...
  19. Friday, June 21, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Weber Genesis II E310 LP Gas Grill : This Weber grill assembles easily and doesn't have that flimsy "gonna break tomorrow" feel that my  8-year-old Weber  had (Just after giving that grill an A-, the starter stopped working permanently). Apart from a minor issue with a bent starter connection, I had the grill up and running in just a couple hours. I've used it about 6 times since then and it's resulted in consistent timings and grilling quality. I also like that the burners go from front-to-back, reducing the propane wasted on smaller servings.   Final Grade :  A     12 Monkeys, S...
  20. Friday, June 14, 2019:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       12 Monkeys, Season One : Based on the classic movie starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, this first season takes a while to get away from the source material and discover its own voice. It drags a bit in the middle and there is too much explanation of time travel for the sake of dumb network audiences. However, when it finally does strike out on its own, it becomes an intriguing, watchable example of high-concept sci-fi. The last 3 episodes in particular do a great job of tying everything together. I liked this enough to buy the remaining 3 seasons all at once.   Final Grade :  B     Reset&...
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