2021, Movies

Schumacher (2021, Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker, Michael Wech)

This is an extremely workmanlike documentary about the first part of the career of Michael Schumacher and a tiny little bit about the accident. Much like the Jacques Cousteau documentary I just watched, it feels sanitized but in this case even more so. It also feels incomplete.

2021, Movies

Saloum (2021, Jean Luc Herbulot)

My first Senegalese film (as far as I know), this is a tonally inconsistent horror movie which tries to trick you into thinking it’s something else more than once. It’s super stylized and some of my confusion with it likely stems from having never been to Africa and knowing literally nothing about this part of …

2021, Movies

Arthur Rambo (2021, Laurent Cantet)

This is the story of a rising French literary star (and YouTube personality) whose career is derailed right at the moment of his big triumph by his Twitter history. it’s something that happens seemingly every day in our world and yet I don’t think I’ve seen yet seen a movie that explicitly deals with this, …

1981, Music

Mark of the Mole (1981) by The Residents

I read about The Residents as a teenager and thought their origin story was really cool and then later I fell in love with the cover of Third Reich ‘n’ Roll and so I thought I would get around to listening to a bunch of their records. Nearly two decades later this is the second …

2021, Movies

True Things (2021, Harry Wootliff)

This movie follows a predictable arc, if you’re familiar with its type: the main character is struggling with their life, a mysterious stranger comes in and entrances said character (or “insert other plot device here”) , and then life lessons. (Sorry for the mild spoiler.) I point this out so early in the review because, …

1981, Music

Penthouse and Pavement (1981) by Heaven 17

This is on the funkier, more organic side of British synthpop in part because of the instrumentation but also because of the songwriting. As such, it almost feels somewhere on the spectrum between synthpop and post punk, even though the attitude of this band is very much not something you would associate with post punk …

1981, Music

Wanna Be a Star (1981) by Chilliwack

I came of age musically listening to Classic Rock Radio, specifically Q-107 in Toronto. And I came to loathe virtually all CanCon played. (Obvious exceptions: Neil Young and Joni Mitchell when they counted, Rush. No The Band doesn’t usually count.) And so I figured I loathed Chilliwack, though I couldn’t name a song. Another albums …

1981, Music

Happy Birthday (1981) by Altered Images

Post-punk was really evolving by 1981, and I think it’s safe to say that a number of bands were starting to realize they didn’t have to sound like Joy Division. Altered Images’ obvious influence is the Banshees but Grogan does not sound like Siouxsie Sioux (and she really isn’t on her level, as a singer, …

1981, Music

Private Eyes (1981) by Daryl Hall and John Oates

For years and years, I avoided Hall & Oates because I assumed they were yacht rock. I was only vaguely aware of their songs and sound – actually the only song of theirs I really knew was their cover of “Jingle Bell Rock.” I became vaguely interested in Daryl Hall once I knew about his …

1976, Music

Spirit (1976) by Earth, Wind and Fire

As usual, Earth Wind and Fire manage to combine a lot of different styles (relatively speaking) for what is essentially pretty soul with touches of disco, world music and jazz. Though they are always slightly too slick for me, I find their diversity extremely refreshing compared to their contemporaries. But something about this album isn’t …

1976, Music

Blackheart Man (1976) by Bunny Wailer

When I first heard Peter Tosh’s solo stuff, it was a revelation. I couldn’t believe how much more I liked it than the Wailers. And I sort of stupidly assumed that it was specifically Tosh I liked and the Wailers I didn’t like so much. I already knew I liked Tosh’s Wailers songs more than …

2009, Books, Non-Fiction

The Buyout of America (2009) by Josh Kosman

The problem with making big predictions in your book is that, when they either do not come true or only partially come true, you kind of look like an idiot. (I should say you “should” look like an idiot because we humans love to listen to people who’ve failed in their predictions time and again. …

2021, Movies

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (2021, Edwin)

This film is many things all at once. It is, kind of incredibly, based on a novel, which made my confusion over what happens all the deeper, as the thing that I can’t resolve feels like its the kind of issue that wouldn’t exist in a book. So I’m wondering if something was lost in …

2021

Dashcam (2021, Rob Savage)

The people who made this movie are extremely enamoured with Annie Hardy. I didn’t know anything about her though she’s actually only a few months older than me. If I had encountered her music when I first encountered Anal Cunt or when I was, say, 22, I can imagine also being enamoured by her music. …

2021, Movies

Huda’s Salon (2021, Hany Abu-Assad)

This is an excellent, taut thriller about blackmail and hard choices in Palestine. It is mostly extremely well done and really worth checking out both for how it works as a movie and for its message of how hard it is to be moral in a place where you feel like you have no allies. …

2021, Movies, TV

Attica (2021, Stanley Nelson)

All I really knew about Attica was the scene in Dog Day Afternoon, a movie I’ve seen way too many times. I had some vague idea of the riot, but that was it. This documentary collects interviews from the prisoners, the “Observer’s Committee” and the families of some of the guards to re-tell the story …

2021, Music, TV

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2 (2021)

The second volume of music from Bob’s Burgers is another massive collection of original songs interspersed with some deliberately bad covers. Like the first volume it is full of catchy stuff performed extremely campily. It’s more evidence that this show has about the best use of music of any similar “sitcom” since The Simpsons. There …

2001, Music

It’s a Wonderful Life (2001) by Sparklehorse

Mark Linkous was one of the more reliable lo fi singer-songwriters of the 1990s, both for quality of songs – and relative paucity of song fragments – and for relative stylistic diversity with those songs. I’ve only heard the first two records before this one but I appreciated his diversity paired with song quality and …

2001, Music

No More Drama (2001) by Mary J. Blige

So, I basically only know Mary J. Blige from her hits and maybe some guest appearances. I thought I had listened to an album of hers at some point in the past but there are no reviews so I must have decided not to. I’m not really sure why, I guess I decided the combination …

1977, Books, Fiction

A Book of Common Prayer (1977) by Joan Didion

I’m in marketing. But I cannot for the life of me understand the cover of my copy of this novel, “published in Canada.” (Actually distributed by PaperJacks and published in New York. Anyway…) The cover tells me it’s “A story of passion” and there is an elegant woman’s hand in soft focus, holding a lighter. …