2010, Movies

The Town (2010, Ben Affleck)

This is a sort of one-last-job heist film that focuses almost as much on relationships as it does on the heists. Though I appreciate the (mostly successful) attempt to situate the film in a place that feels real, I also feel like the film is tugged in two different directions and that doesn’t completely work. …

2016, Books, Non-Fiction

American Revolutions (2016) by Alan Taylor

 grew up on the “history,” lore and mythology of the United States. My father grew up in the 1940s and 1950s and so got a very specific, and I’d argue somewhat inaccurate, story of his country from his pre-university education. He passed that on to me in what he told me but also in his …

2021, Movies

Django & Django (2021, Luca Rea)

This is a brief documentary about the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Corbucci that really feels like it was meant to be a DVD extra or something. I haven’t gotten around to seeing any of Corbucci’s films yet, so watching it might have been an odd choice. But I watched it because Quentin Tarantino was in …

2015, 2023

Hamilton Live at the Princess of Wales Theatre, March 1, 2023

We had tickets to go see Hamilton in April or May 2020 (if I’m not mistaken). Obviously, we didn’t get to go. So nearly 3 years later, 8 years after the hype machine began, we finally saw it. I mention the hype machine only because I don’t know how much of my experience of this …

2016, Movies

Hired Gun (2016, Fran Strine)

This is one of those documentaries that tries to cover a big topic by just interviewing some people and telling their stories. There are a whole series of these and they’re not the most effective. But this one is reasonably entertaining, and has enough stories that it isn’t a waste of time.

TV

Inside No. 9 (2014)

At first glance, this feels like the sitcom version of Black Mirror, minus the science fiction, and with an addition or horror elements (or, less frequently, thriller elements). But that’s not quite accurate, it’s just hard to compare it to much other contemporary TV. So, I guess, think of it as a comedic version of …

2001, Books, Non-Fiction

American Colonies (2001) by Alan Taylor

This is an excellent and compelling history of the European colonization of what became the United States up until the mid 18th century (i.e. right before the War of Independence). It is refreshingly unlike any other history of the US I’ve ever read and so I can definitely say I learned a lot. (How much …

2016, Movies

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Zach Snyder)

God these DC movies are just so…dour. I am no fan of the MCU, as you know, but every time I watch one of these DC movies from the teens I think the MCU has really stumbled onto something. They may be dumb, but they’re usually at least moderately entertaining. But these films are just …

2012, Music

Failure Epics (2012)

This is knotty, relatively diverse 21st century prog. Like much 21st century prog it’s filtered through at least some musical innovations that occurred after the first wave of prog rock, though that depends on the song. “Soothsayer,” for example, feels more traditional to me, a little more like the neo prog of the ’90s.

2019, TV

Russian Doll (2019)

So let me try to tell you as little as possible: this is a funny show with lots of pathos that deftly balances dark comedy with strong performances of people with metal health problems. If any of that interests you, see this without learning anything else about it. Ideally, if you can even avoid knowing …

1965, Books, Fiction

The Joke (1965) by Milan Kundera

I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being (and watched the movie) in university and loved it. But I’ve never read Kundera since. I saw this book in a local lawn library and picked it up, knowing nothing about it. I see why it’s interpreted as a political novel but I tend to agree with the blurb on …

2022, Music

Reason in Decline (2022) by Archers of Loaf

I used to be so skeptical of reunions when I was younger. I thought they were almost always cynical cash grabs and a waste of my time as a fan. The older I get, the more that seems (mostly) not true. A lot of bands seem to reunite primarily because they a) miss playing together …

2022, Movies

The Batman (2022, Matt Reeves)

A little while ago, Jenn and I decided to watch every Batman movie in order. We watched the Adam West movie and then we watched the Burton/Schumacher films. But then, we got this one sooner and ended up watching it before all the other 21st century Batman films. (I’ve most Batman films already, save one …

1996, Music

All the Nations Airports (1996) by Archers of Loaf

The pop album that really isn’t – it’s cleaner, sure, but is it that much cleaner, that much more commercial? Most of their catchiest songs are on their debut and this record just doesn’t feel anywhere near as “commercial” to me as its reputation suggests. I guess they’re a little less aggressive, and a little …

1995, Movies

Vee Vee (1995) by Archers of Loaf

This is a band that likes instrumentals more than most loud rock bands of their era but, even for a band that likes instrumentals, I’d say it’s a bold move to lead off your second album (the album that is almost always “difficult” for bands of this era) with a track that takes over 2 …

2022, Music

Archers of Loaf Live at Lee’s Palace Wednesday January 11, 2023

Last night I saw Archers of Loaf on the tour for their first album in something like 24 years. Like many ’90s bands, I got into them backwards (listened to their final album first) and can’t say I know them as well as many of their contemporaries. (I listened to their last album, then their …

2022, Movies

See How They Run (2022, Tom George)

This is a reasonably diverting and amusing mystery comedy that riffs on The Mousetrap, the infamous Agatha Christie play that has run in London’s West End, nearly continuously, for almost 70 years. (I have never seen it. It’s run was only interrupted by covid.) I wouldn’t say you have to seen The Mousetrap or read …

1979, Movies

Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)

Stalker is a willfully difficult, philosophical medication on the nature of faith posing as a science fiction film that feels like it would have been significantly more dramatic had it been made during the age of CGI. (Though Tarkovsky wouldn’t be the one to have made it, then.) I have not read the novel its …