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Customer Reviews: 5
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Helpful Votes: 22

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C. Kingsley RSS Feed (portland, OR)

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Dexter: Season 4
Dexter: Season 4
DVD ~ Michael C. Hall
Offered by American_Standard
Price: $16.49
33 used & new from $11.45

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars character compensates for weak story quality, January 29, 2011
This review is from: Dexter: Season 4 (DVD)
Thankfully, the characters in Dexter held up season four. Alas, the writers seem to have lost the plot, rather literally. While this show has always relied on a certain suspension of reality to go with the flow of a very subversive character in Dexter, this season really fell off the edge. I don't know if the writers lost interest? Or running out of creative ways to make this story hold together? The whole seasons story line seemed rushed and ham handed. It felt like shock value over took any nuance to core story arcs. I'm not going to go into details of plot so as not to spoil this season for others who may want to draw their own conclusions. Ironically the season felt like many missed opportunities. Most of the characters and plot lines were fun ideas that could fit with the dark sensibilities of this show. However, it felt like each of the story lines was not thought through and were rushed and sloppy in how things came or fit together. So many twists and change ups in characters and plots that rather than feeling like revealing shadow sides or more complexity to the show just felt contrived. I'm really surprised to see so many comments lauding the stories and developments this season as it felt clearly to me like the weakest story executions of all the seasons. The characters, including Trinity until the last couple episodes, compensated and it was fun to see them almost more fully embody the characters they have been playing for four years now. It would be nice to see the writers give more consideration to tighter writing of the storylines next season, though I don't have much expectations around this. As others have mentioned, it can be really difficult to keep the quality of these shows high after three of four seasons. Though shows like 'The Wire' and others can provide rays of hope for those of us who appreciate the subversive nature of Dexter.

The Wisdom of Laotse
The Wisdom of Laotse
by Lao-Tzu
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful translation and enriched by Chuangtse, November 28, 2009
This review is from: The Wisdom of Laotse (Hardcover)
I have had this Yutang translation for twenty years and I still come back to it for it's wisdom and the beautiful enrichment I find from including both LaoTse and Chuangtse, the latter of which I love for his somewhat more tricksterish qualities. I've read many other transiations of the Tao, and while I also enjoyed Stephen Mitchell's, there is something about Lin Yutang's translation that feels soulful. And I love the little stories that get included to further illuminate the discussions of chapters.

Weeds: Season 4
Weeds: Season 4
DVD ~ Mary-Louise Parker
Price: $9.22
236 used & new from $0.50

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars down hill, August 15, 2009
This review is from: Weeds: Season 4 (DVD)
I enjoyed the first three seasons of 'Weeds' and I found the beginning of the fourth season relatively engaging, Albert Brooks helped. But the show went off the track as the season went on. I have no problem with dark material, 'The Wire' and 'Deadwood' and 'Dexter' I find brilliant in their own ways. But this season of 'Weeds' turned into shallow melodrama where the writers either ran out of ideas or were suffering personal anger issues that they decided to channel through their characters. Almost every character became a hollowed out version of their former selves. And don't tell me this is some sort of social realism, it was mostly just absurd. I felt angry with the creators and writers of this show by the end as they had taken an interesting show and debased it so horribly. I honestly don't know how so many people can give this season decent reviews? Either intelligence is being lost or maybe shallow spectacle is overtaking substance in culture, certainly in this season of 'Weeds'. Maybe I value some depth to characters more than others. Try and find much of any human heart or compassion in anyone this season, outside of aspects of Andy? This season of 'Weeds' suffers in contrast with shows like 'Mad Men' and 'Dexter' that handle 'darkness' and social commentary with much more subtley, nuance and insight. But that would be giving Weeds Season 4 too much credit.

The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa
The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa
by Michael Kimmelman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.77
181 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the accidental book, January 30, 2009
While I enjoyed some of the stories in this book, I couldn't really follow a coherent thread here. This book seemed a kind of fun and loose ramble through some of the authors musings on what is art. But it was way too loose for me and I can't say I came away from reading it with any really new thoughts or perspectives on what makes an 'Accidental Masterpiece' aside from the eccentric conviction of the creator. A mildly interesting perspective, but not exactly fresh or new or terribly insightful.

What Happened to Art Criticism? (Prickly Paradigm)
What Happened to Art Criticism? (Prickly Paradigm)
by James Elkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.18
70 used & new from $1.91

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good and bit heavy handed, January 30, 2009
I appreciated this books perspective on different approaches and categories of art criticism. Elkins is good at thinking about and describing possible reasons for 'the crisis' in art criticism. And don't assume that because this book is short it lacks depth, it is very thoughtprovoking. My own criticism of Elkin's perspective is his almost righteous stand for the need for deep historical knowledge of art to provide insigthful criticism. Towards the end he states, I don't think tongue in cheek, 'each writer, no matter what their place and purpose, should have an endless bibliography, and know every issue and claim'. While I think he is saying this to stretch his point, I could feel in the background of the whole book his own bias towards a strong art history foundation, which happens to be his own area of expertise. While there is value in this, I think it detracts from the rest of us being able to have deep responses to art based on our own experiences and reactions and to provide thoughtful criticism based on our responses.
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