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Reviews and Ratings
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reviewed The Sopranos: Season One. August 02, 2010
The Sopranos: Season One
The AV Club has started covering classic Sopranos episodes, which has finally given me the motivation to start watching. Some thoughts on the first season:         The …
reviewed FIFA World Cup 2010 - Final. July 10, 2010
FIFA World Cup 2010 - Final
The 2010 World Cup Final is exciting for fans of World Cup history. Spain and Holland are by far the best two nations to have never won the thing. Spain constantly disappoints, like the Cubs, whereas …
reviewed Angel: Season 3. June 16, 2010
Angel: Season 3
The first season of Angel was defined in large part its relationship with its parent show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the second season by its increasing independence and development of its own voice. …
reviewed Adidas Jabulani. June 14, 2010
Every time the World Cup comes around, there are a bevy of complaints about the futuristic new ball, and every time, the matches have played pretty much the same as they had before. So when the complaints …
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
Whenever I've spoken with social historians of pre-modern culture, especially medievalists, one of the things they always stress is that the normal state of mind for ancient or medieval was more non-linear, …
reviewed Angel: Season Two. April 26, 2010
Angel: Season Two
The second season of Angel is a bit of a mixed bag, but in it, the show begins to find its form outside of its origins as a Buffy spinoff. In the first season, Angel was still indebted to its parent enough …
reviewed Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Five. April 19, 2010
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Five
The premiere of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire serves as something of a microcosm for the entire season. "Buffy vs. Dracula" is, for the vast majority of the episode, is an occasionally …
reviewed Fallout 3. April 09, 2010
Fallout 3 Box Art
Fallout 3 is a game with history. It has antecedents like Fallout 1 & 2 or Morrowind and Oblivion; it has a fully fleshed out game world; it has a full role-playing system. These are all valid, if …
A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
In A History of Histories, British historian John Burrow sets himself a nearly impossible task in the title of the book alone. Impressively, he succeeds, describing the general form of history in the …
The Philip K. Dick Reader
American science fiction is generally divided into a Golden Age from the 1940's to the 1960's or so, when the giant names of Clarke, Bradbury, Asimov, and more wrote. The transition between their …
reviewed Promethea. March 03, 2010
Promethea: Volume 1
Speculative fiction has a long history of basing its stories on premises wherein something societally recognized as metaphorical becomes real. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a famous example, which channeled …
reviewed Final Fantasy Tactics A2 [NintendoDS]. February 28, 2010
There are many ways to do sequels in the video game world, but the most common can be summed up as "More of the same, only better." Keep what was good about the original game, tweak the things …
reviewed Mario Kart Wii. February 07, 2010
Nearly two decades after the original Super Mario Kart for the SNES, with Mario Kart Wii it seems that the venerable kart racer showing its age. It doesn't help that its console predecessor, Mario Kart: …
reviewed Enter the Magical Mystery Chamber. January 31, 2010
Enter the Magical Mystery Chamber
One of the most interesting stories of music in the 2000s was the return of the Wu-Tang Clan from punchlines to superstars, and perhaps a consistently underrated story of pop music is the persistent popularity …
reviewed Guitar Hero. January 31, 2010
Guitar Hero
(note: most of this review is based off of playing Guitar Hero: World Tour, but it's based on the underlying mechanics of the game more than the details of any particular incarnation, so it should apply …
reviewed Bamboozled. January 27, 2010
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Southland Tales, calling it the most bizarre major studio movie of our era. Bamboozled is the only film I've seen that can really be considered competition. But while …
reviewed Glee. January 12, 2010
The cast of Glee
Glee has a wonderful premise for a show, and it happily lives up to the promise of that premise much of the time. Its combination of wicked humor, talented performers, the fertile setting of a high school …
reviewed Southland Tales. January 02, 2010
Southland Tales
Southland Tales, at first glance, appears to be a fairly weird film. Directed by the guy behind Donnie Darko, and filled with relatively big names from the early 2000's - Sarah Michelle Gellar, The …
reviewed Lust, Caution (2007). December 22, 2009
posted in Reel Overseas
Lust, Caution (Widescreen Edition) (2007)
Ang Lee may be the most interesting and gifted director alive today. He's done comedies of manners (Sense & Sensibility), comic book adaptations (Hulk), martial arts epics (Crouching Tiger, Hidden …
reviewed Sleater-Kinney. December 18, 2009
It's easy, almost tautological,  to describe music as the interplay of melody and rhythm. So saying that a band is great because of their excellent combination of melody with rhythm, at first glance, …
reviewed The Hidden Fortress. December 07, 2009
posted in Reel Overseas
The Hidden Fortress
Akira Kurosawa is one of the most influential storytellers in the history of cinema, using primarily samurai-based films to toy with different narrative devices. Arguably the most well-known of these …
reviewed 2010 FIFA World Cup. December 04, 2009
2010 FIFA World Cup
I was really excited about successfully picking Italy to win it all last time, and for largely the correct reasons (solid defense plus superb metronome midfielder/set piece taker in Andrea Pirlo). But …
reviewed The Coup. December 04, 2009
The Coup are my go-to answer when I get confronted by the occasional "So what music would you recommend?" They're almost criminally underknown, especially given just how joyous and appealing …
reviewed Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below. December 03, 2009
Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below
This is the clear #1 if it's a single album, as about half the songs on each part are magnificent. That said, there's still enough here to call it one of the best of the decade. The litmus test: if "Hey …
reviewed Can You Run It?. December 03, 2009
Can You Run It?
I've got a PC with a few years and miles on it, and I keep seeing games that I'm worried won't run, regardless of how great they look: Bioshock, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, etc. I'd essentially resigned myself …
reviewed Under the Blacklight. December 03, 2009
Under the Blacklight
Rilo Kiley's ability to turn tragic stories into gorgeous pop/rock reaches its apex on Under the Blacklight. "Silver Lining" and "15" are stunningly beautiful tales of lives gone astray, …
reviewed Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno). December 03, 2009
posted in Reel Overseas
Pan's Labyrinth
The fantasy genre doesn't lend itself well to movies, for whatever reason. Before this decade, fantasy films were much more likely to end up on MST3K or, at best, in a "Most Nostalgic Kids Films …
reviewed Trader Joe's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip C.... December 03, 2009
I'm a bit of a cookie fanatic. I think they're the best food on the planet, nutritionists be damned. But if I get them from Trader Joe's, then they're good for me, right? And, more importantly, …
reviewed Fishscale. December 03, 2009
Ghostface Killah's hip-hop epic manages to move from crime narrative to life on the streets to general bizarreness like a dream sequence involving Spongebob banging the Eisleys. It's catchy, it's hardcore, …
reviewed Children of Men. December 02, 2009
Children of Men
Apparently I love Alfonso Cuaron, who directed both this and Y Tu Mama Tambien (as well as the third Harry Potter film). And, in many ways, I like both films for similar reasons: they work on the superficial …
reviewed Y Tu Mamá También. December 02, 2009
posted in Reel Overseas
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Where to begin? Superficially, it's a fantastic sex comedy/road trip movie/coming of age film, some of the most well-worn genres in filmmaking, but chances are the viewer won't even notice that it fits …
reviewed Scrabble. December 01, 2009
I like games. I like words. I like games with words, and have friends who primarily like games with words. So Scrabble comes up often as the go-to game, especially on Facebook. And I can't …
reviewed Kanye West. December 01, 2009
Kanye West
The best thing about Kanye West is also the worst thing about him: he has no filter. What Kanye thinks comes out of his mouth, or on the stage of an awards show or benefit concert, or best of all, into …
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