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Archive for the ‘100-Word Reviews’ Category

100-Word Review: Food, Inc.

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Robert Kenner‘s documentary pulls back the ugly veil surrounding the industrialization of food in the United States — and man, “ugly” ain’t even the beginning of it. Kenner demonstrates that it’s not only ugly and disgusting the way animals are treated, but also the way workers, farmers and even consumers are treated. Kenner’s clearly not concerned with presenting both sides of the debate fairly, but since I was already heavily leaning toward the side he’s advocating, that didn’t bother me. Thought-provoking, stomach-churning, heartwrenching and ultimately life-changing — I think it’s finally time to kick off my long-considered conversion to vegetarianism. Grade: A-

Written by Allen

May 17th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in 100-Word Reviews

100-Word Review: Up In The Air

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George Clooney has this amazing ability to overlay the same charming, often smug mask over the top of a number of different characters; he looks like a Movie Star, but actually, he’s an Actor. I expected his Ryan Bingham to be a douchebag underneath the Clooney Smirk, but (spoiler!) he’s not. Instead, he’s just a scared, lonely, good-hearted guy with serious commitment issues. Director/co-writer Jason Reitman (Juno) continues his hot streak, playing against story beats he seems to telegraph. Strong performances from Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, all of whom were nominated for Oscars (as was Reitman).

Grade: A-

Written by Allen

May 11th, 2010 at 9:03 pm

100-Word Review: Dave Matthews Band’s “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King”

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The spirit of former Dave Matthews Band saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who died during recording from complications from an ATV accident, infuses every bit of Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King.  His licks open and end the album, and Matthews sings quite clearly about his missing friend on several tracks, most notably “Why I Am” — but rather than feeling morose, Groogrux King instead seems to be a celebration, a fitting tribute to a musician whose sax had helped define so much of the band’s sound.  First-time DMB producer Rob Cavallo brings a welcome warmer, more lush tone to this record.

Grade: B

(Sometimes — not always, but sometimes — these 100-word constraints are problematic.)

Written by Allen

June 10th, 2009 at 10:00 am

100-Word Review: Metric’s “Fantasies”

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Metric provide catchy, edgy New Wave which blindsided me, burrowed its way into my brain, pitched a tent, rolled out its sleeping bag and now refuses to leave.  Emily Haines’ voice, which vacillates between sweet and throaty, isn’t overpowering or bombastic, but it doesn’t need to be:  its softness works well with the band’s solid pop hooks and James Shaw’s fuzzy guitar licks.  Some of the lyrics take a serious turn toward the vapid, but I’m willing to forgive that affront when the melodies are this strong, such as on “Sick Muse,” “Girls Gold Guns,” “Gimme Sympathy” and “Satellite Mind.”

Grade: B+

Written by Allen

June 9th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Posted in 100-Word Reviews,Music

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100-Word Review: Glee (Pilot)

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That title?  Yeah, pretty accurate.  FOX debuted this show — about a high school glee club made up mostly of rejects — to start building some early buzz for it before it begins its run this fall.  I hope it works.  The music throughout is infectious, both the a cappella background music and their use of 80s classics intoxicating (“Don’t Stop Believing” indeed).  I’m looking forward to seeing more of this cast, especially Lea Michele as the talented, determined Rachel.  It’s a joy to see a show with such an optimistic bent shine out in the sea of darkness currently on TV.

Grade: A-

FYI:  You can still catch the whole pilot episode for free on Hulu

ETA: It’s also available on iTunes, if you want to the file to go. (Thanks for the update, Adam!).

Written by Allen

May 29th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Posted in 100-Word Reviews,TV

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