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Every so often, a movie comes along to further define the ‘Epic’ genre. These are films like ‘The Godfather’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Terminator 2’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’. And with ‘Avatar’, James Cameron has booked himself a second seat at that table. The scale of this film is majestical, and it’s clear that no expense has been spared; not just with the CGI, but with props, costumes, and sets. The animation is fantastic and blends seamlessly with the live action shots and characters. And most importantly of all, the story is powerful and moving, with a strong and positive message.
Death can be a hard topic for a TV show to deal with, so you credit is due for a show that’s found a unique way to deal with death every episode. The main characters, themselves, are dead. They’re Grim Reapers (though, without the cloak and scythe), assigned the task of removing souls from bodies prior to their deaths. The material is handled with a darkly comic touch and, though the opportunity is there, they’ve wisely steered clear of religious postulation about the afterlife. Reasonably strong performances throughout and the interesting take on the subject matter make this worth watching.
You have to worry when, even with only half a dozen tables filled at a 150-cover restaurant, it still takes 45 minutes to bring your breakfast. This could be forgiven if the food was outstanding, but with fairly basic bacon and eggs, and the only slightly more exotic ‘ranch’ style eggs on a cardboard tortilla, there wasn’t too much positive to say about the meal itself. The location, though, makes up for some of it – with the restaurant sitting on Tedder Avenue at the north end of the Gold Coast. Worth walking past, but not worth stopping for a meal.
This movie does have appeal, but not if you value coherent and structured storytelling over visual impact. The plot jumps all over the place – admitting or ignoring various story points without explanation. The animation is impressive, though; and the bleak, post-apocalyptic world is nothing if not starkly detailed. I think my biggest issue with this film is the lost potential. There was a lot of space that could have been used to flesh out the characters’ motivations or give the film a clear take-home message, and give you a reason to remember it and recommend it to family and friends.
For a show that I’m surprised even made it past the first preliminary briefing meeting, I’m impressed that it’s made it to its second (and now slated for a third) season. This second season re-hashes many of the themes from the first (it’s hard not to when the entire premise is built around one characters philandering ways), but the performances remain strong, even if some episodes blur into each other. The writing for Duchovny’s ‘Hank Moody’ character is what really drives the appeal of the show, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a fair bit of his dialogue were improvised.
Every so often we all need a lesson in the modern history of Rock and Roll, and even at 44 years of age, Eddie Vedder is a fantastic teacher. Sure some things have changed – he now swigs red wine, rather than beer, on stage; but the passion, the attitude, and the music remain the same. Touring their new album, ‘Backspacer’ (which I’m forced to admit I’m yet to buy), they mixed new with old (though, to the disappointment of many, avoiding ‘Daughter’), and even at one stage prompted a sing-along of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in The Wall’. Thoroughly enjoyable.
I must have been expecting too much from the second season of ‘Andy Richter Controls The Universe’. I’d figured that Fox must have had some inside information to renew this show out for a second season despite the lacklustre first season, but I guess not. And the fact that five of the thirteen second season episodes were produced but never originally screened would seem to suggest that they learnt their lesson relatively early into this season. This time around, the plotlines get more and more absurd, and the characters feel even less appealing than they were in the first season.
There’s very little to say about ‘Jackass: The Lost Tapes’ aside from that if you enjoyed the original show and subsequent movies, you’ll probably enjoy this; and if not, it’s certainly not going to change your mind. I was surprised to see how much of this footage was recycled, and how much of the rest of it may well have been. There aren’t any new ideas, and it seems somewhat self-referential when Wee Man (dressed in a nappy and refusing to be pushed down stairs in a pram) looks at the cameraman and says, “Why are we even doing this?”
Much like a fancy sports car, the loud chatter and buzz means that you usually hear The Quarter before you see it. And, sticking with the sports car metaphor, it plays on the attention it gets as more and more people look over to see what the fuss is about. That fuss is over decent food and great coffee, in a café environment that defines the laneways of Melbourne. Make sure you’re comfortable with close-quarter seating arrangements, as even though the tables aren’t officially communal, you’ll know all the details of your neighbours’ lunch before you know about your own.
When a show has to tell you explicitly how it’s trying to be funny, you know there’s a problem. Two episodes into this season about a faux news team, the title sequence was changes to include a caption detailing that the members of the public being interviewed were, in fact, not actors. Maybe this was necessary due to how bad the rest of the acting was, or maybe early audiences simply weren’t sure when to laugh. Personally, I didn’t laugh much at all when watching ‘Dog Bites Man' – regardless of what I was told at the start of the show.