2018, Movies

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, Henry Dunham)

This is a very stagey film – so stagey you’d think it was a play – that overcomes that limitation by being expertly made, even though it is Dunham’s first time directing a feature. (It’s a miraculous debut, in terms of Dunham’s ability to film and edit – I would sworn this was not a …

2018, Politics, Society

Ontario and the Notwithstanding Clause

There are many things to like about Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a more inclusive bill of rights than, say, the American one. But there’s always been a crucial flaw, the “Notwithstanding Clause.” This clause grants any provincial government the right to override the Charter in a specific instance for a specific period of …

2016, Movies

Suicide Squad (2016, David Ayer)

It’s kind of hard to express how incomprehensibly incompetent this film is for a major Hollywood blockbuster.  I am not a fan of the Avengers films but, watching this I feel like those films are masterpieces in comparison. In fact, watching this film, I long for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s basic film-making competence – yeah, they’re …

2018, Movies

Museo (2018, Alonso Ruizpalacios)

This is a super hyper stylized, completely fantastical depiction of what is apparently the most notorious “art” heist in Mexican history. The movie makes no bones about how inaccurate it is – stating multiple times that it is not the true story – so do not go into this movie expecting a docudrama.

2018, Movies

Hold the Dark (2018, Jeremy Saulnier)

Expectations are an awful thing. I have seen and enjoyed every previous feature film Jeremy Saulnier has made. At some point I was going to see one I didn’t like. I’m not saying I didn’t like this, exactly, but I’m definitely struggling with it in ways I didn’t struggle with his previous two movies, and …

2018, Movies

The Realm aka El reino (2018, Rodrigo Sorogoyen)

This is a deeply flawed but otherwise pretty incredible thriller about white collar political corruption in Spain. The good aspects of it are so good that I really want to overlook the massive problems – such as the run-time – but I don’t think I can. Let’s put it this way: for 2/3rds of this …

2018, Movies

Winchester (2018, Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig)

This movie exists because somebody found out about the Winchester Mystery House and decided that a movie should be made about it, and then they wrote a script to try to explain why this house is creepy. If you haven’t been to the house, or you didn’t find it creepy, I suspect this movie does …

1962, Movies

Carnival of Souls (1962, Herk Harvey)

This is one of those movies where, if you cast your mind back, you can imagine it would have been scary, as there wasn’t much like it in 1962. But now, with fifty plus years in between, it’s hard to look at it as much more than an eerie curiosity, full of great lighting and …

2018, Movies

Screwball (2018, Billy Corben)

If I could describe this documentary about Biogenesis and Alex Rodriguez in one word, it would be “glib.” This is one of the glibbest documentaries I’ve ever seen. On the one hand, that makes for a pretty funny movie. On the other hand, the style is very over the top and the filmmakers appear to …

1972, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Jumpers (1972) by Tom Stoppard

My favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, believed that space exploration, particularly manned space exploration, created a new paradigm for human beings. For the first time in history, humans could physically see what astronomy and math had only proved before, namely that we were just animals on a little planet in some little corner of the universe. …

1998, Books, Non-Fiction, Travel

A Walk in the Woods (1998) by Bill Bryson

Ever since I first heard about it, I’ve wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. I know I likely won’t so now I say “If I win the lottery, I’ll hike the Appalachian Trail.” Regardless, this is a dream. So I’m very happy to read a book about someone who tried to do it.

1993, Music

Giant Steps (1993) by The Boo Radleys

As neo-psychedelia goes, this is a pretty diverse and varied record. That’s good because it’s not all that psychedelic comparatively speaking – I’m thinking of Mercury Rev by way of comparison – and often has more in common with britpop.

1993, Music

Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (1993) by Stereolab

I am familiar with what one might call “peak” Stereolab, the sound of the band in the mid 19990s. They are not a band I particularly enjoy but they are a band I respect, given their pretty much utterly unique fusion of styles. (They basically have their own genre, in many ways. And I wouldn’t …

1993, Music

Perfect Teeth (1993) by Unrest

Imagine if Television were really an indie pop band with an occasional female lead singer and maybe you get some idea of what Unrest sound like on this record. Not really, actually, as that’s a pretty poor comparison for many of the songs here, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.

1993, Music

Tuesday Night Music Club (1993) by Sheryl Crow

For me, Sheryl Crow seemed everywhere in the 1990s. Poppy enough for Top 40 but “rock” enough for some other stations – especially later – in my memory it feels like there was always a Sheryl Crow song playing on the radio when I was in high school. I didn’t pay much attention, mind you, …

Uncategorized

The Accountant (2016, Gavin O’Connor)

This is a kind of bizarre hybrid of an action movie with a serial killer-style crime investigation combined with forensic accounting – yes, I know how that sounds – that is surprisingly effective much of the time, but has some massive flaws that keep it from really working. Mild Spoilers

2013, Movies

Hell Baby (2013, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon)

This is a really dumb spin on The Exorcist crossed with The Amityville Horror – or some kind of possessed house movie, I haven’t seen that one in a while – but which manages to be pretty funny, all the while being fairly obvious. If you’ve seen Reno 911, it’s basically the same kind of comedy – it’s made …

1954, Movies

Carmen Jones (1954, Otto Preminger)

This is a weird one: a film of a Broadway musical based upon Bizet’s Carmen, but which has only been adapted in terms of plot, not in terms of the music (really). Why is that weird? Well, an all black cast, set in North Carolina and Chicago in the ’40s, and they’re singing…French opera.

2011, Movies

Carnage (2011, Roman Polanski)

This is the first time I’ve seen a Roman Polanski film I haven’t seen previously prior to what you might call my “maturity” regarding the crimes Polanski has fled the United States for. I have known about these crimes since I don’t know when – probably since I discovered who he was (so 20-something years …

1988, Music

Sunshine on Leith (1988) by The Proclaimers

If you’re my age, or a little older, you’ve heard “I’m Gonna Be” more times than you could count. Depending on how you feel about this song, you may be pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album or severely disappointed.Because the thing is, there’s maybe one or two tracks on this album that come …