Posts Tagged as reviews

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  1. 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 ci...
  2. Friday, October 21, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Reservation Dogs, Season Two : The second season of this show is still very pleasant, but a little more "slice of life" rather than continuous plot. There's a nice wrap-up at the end which could serve as either a series or season finale. On Hulu.   Final Grade :  B+     Everybody Hates Chris, Season One : This show is ancient now, but it's perfect for when you're looking for a classic traditional sitcom to cleanse your palette of edgy, modern stuff. The narration by Chris Rock really doesn't add much -- his little punchlines that were great in stand-up comedy feel very sanitized a...
  3. Friday, October 14, 2022:
    First Impressions: Overwatch 2   Overwatch  was my favourite game for over 2 years, and a rarity in my gaming library as a competitive game that I could actually hold my own in (at least in the plebeian Unranked bracket). I finally stopped playing in May 2018 (with my account at level 1201 and over 1200 hours played) because the variability of real-time match lengths didn't work well with Maia's nap schedules, and I couldn't carve out enough time to practice enough and maintain my desired skill level.   It's from this nostalgic background that I decided I had to try  Overwatch 2  at least once, in spite of the downward spiral that Blizzard's reputation has been in for many years, the departure of the well-liked game director, and the...
  4. Friday, October 07, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power  (first episode): I have no skin in the RING for whether this show succeeds (I'm not a big LotR fan at all, either the books or the movies) but I thought it was interesting that it had been review-bombed so heavily that Amazon actually hid all reviews from their site. I gave the first episode a shot and was pretty bored throughout. The dialogue, plots, and characters felt exceptionally generic. There should be a dRINGking game for all of the cliched touches. The lush, orchestral score behind every single scene was completely distracting and unnecessary. Introducing a new fantasy show or world is really tri...
  5. Friday, September 09, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Will of the People  by Muse: It's hard to believe that these guys have been making music for over 20 years now. Their 9th studio album is a lot of fun -- it sounds as if they took the most effective styles and sounds (more hard rock and less EDM) and reused them to make brand new songs. The result feels a little like a fake Greatest Hits album.  You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween  is an example of the bombastic sound with over-the-top lyrics that I enjoy.   Final Grade :  B+     Brooklyn 99, Season Eight : The bulk of this final season feels like a misfire. Written aft...
  6. Friday, September 02, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       a lighter shade of blue  by Christina Perri: Christina Perri's newest album sounds like a remix of the most inoffensive parts of her previous albums. I've listened to it multiple times but none of it gets stuck in my head.   Final Grade :  C+     Motorheart  by The Darkness: Not as good as  Last of Our Kind  or  Easter is Cancelled , but full of pleasant glam rock anthems. Justin Hawkins' falsetto is as strong as it was 15 years ago.   Final Grade :  B-     Brooklyn 99, Season Seven : This season feels a lit...
  7. Friday, August 19, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Brooklyn 99, Season Six : The sixth season feels a little tired, but offers a continued stream of occasional belly laughs. On Hulu.   Final Grade :  B-     What We Do In the Shadows, Season One : This mockumentary about vampires (based on the  the movie of the same name ) is a lot of fun and starts out quite promisingly. It doesn't totally maintain the same energy throughout (and there's not much in the way of character development) but it's a harmless, fun show to watch at the end of the day. On Hulu.   Final Grade :  B     Ha...
  8. Friday, August 05, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       Booksmart  (R): This coming-of-age movie plays out kind of like a female version of  Superbad  (and also stars Jonah Hill's sister). If that's the kind of movie you need at the moment, this one hits all of the right marks and is full of pleasant and vulgar laughs. On Hulu.   Final Grade :  B     Cascadia : We got this board game for Rebecca's birthday. You build an ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest and place different kinds of animals, with points based on best habitats (longest salmon runs and number of hawks not near any other hawks, for example) and longest terrain run...
  9. Friday, July 22, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       The De2our  by Ekoh: I liked a few of this rapper's songs on Pandora so I purchased this album. The marketing around it isn't great, as his three albums are titled "The Detour", "The De2our", and "The D3tour", making them confusingly undiscoverable in searches. Most of this album (De2our) was underwhelming -- nice beats but few great hooks. Ekoh sounds like a cross between Lil Dicky and Chris Webby but doesn't seem to bring anything unique to this style of music that those guys haven't already done.   Final Grade :  C+     Stranger Things, Season Four : This season is self-indulgent...
  10. Friday, July 08, 2022:
    Review Day   There are no major spoilers in these reviews.       The Essentials III , by Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox: This compilation album is a mixed bag -- while it has some definite classics like Haley Reinhart's cover of   Habits  , it's also dragged down by some forgettable early covers (that were later redone) and weak voices.   Final Grade :  B-     Happiest Season : This is a pleasant, by-the-numbers Christmas rom-com whose main point is to reassure us that Victor Garber is still alive. It features a fun, recognizable cast playing in their comfort zones.   Final Grade :  B-   ...
  11. 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...
  12. 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 : &...
  13. 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...
  14. 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...
  15. 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...
  16. 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...
  17. 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 ...
  18. 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 ...
  19. 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...
  20. 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...
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