Month: January 2017

2017, Personal, Politics, Society

Fascism is Alive and Well in the United States of America

I must admit that I have been somewhat of a “Trump optimist” these last few months. I believed in his obvious, demonstrable incompetence at just about everything he does (except branding and self-promotion, obviously). (He’s been abetted in this incompetence by untold numbers of people if you’re wondering why someone who is generally incompetent can …

2012, Movies

Brave (2012, Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell)

I’m glad movies like this exist. I can’t imagine how hard it was to be a girl in the past (or present) who had a mother (or a mother and a father) who believed that she should grow up to be a Lady. I think men had their struggles with male archetypes too, but it …

1973, 1997, Music

The Nightwatch: Live at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw November 23rd 1973 (1997) by King Crimson

This set was a famous bootleg before it was released for good reason, a bunch of it ended up (in edited form) as a major portion of Starless.

2006, Movies

Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006, JP Howell)

This is one of those terrible TV movies which are competently made at some level – the sound is fine, the lighting is okay, I never saw a boom mic in a shot – but are so unbelievably preposterous and poorly plotted that you wonder how they get made. (The answer is likely that many …

2006, Movies

Brand Upon the Brain (2006, Guy Maddin)

I didn’t go see this in theatres, with its live orchestra, and that is now to my eternal regret. Because I feel like that experience might have made this the greatest of all Maddin experiences. On the small screen, it’s just not quite as immersive as I assume it would have been in a theatre …

2009, Movies

The Boys Are Back (2009, Scott Hicks)

For much of its run, this feels like a much more authentic version of the ‘widowed single-parent struggling to raise children’ sub-genre. It has a location and a concept that are not typical of the genre and the whole thing feels more naturalistic (despite talking to dead people). However… (spoilers, if this type of film …

2010, Movies

Clash of the Titans (2010, Louis Leterrier)

I have only ever seen pieces of the 80s Clash of the Titans, but my memory of it was that it was actually based on Greek myths. I emphasize this fact because this remake appears to not care about its sources in the slightest, pulling a creature from Norse mythology as its climactic bad guy, …

2013, Movies

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013, Harald Zwart

This is one of the innumerable young adult fantasy franchises that has seemingly popped up out of nowhere over the last decade and a half. I watched it for the same reasons that I watch all of these – I enjoy bad movies. This one is, at times, better than a lot of the other …

1975, Movies

A Boy and His Dog (1975, LQ Jones)

This is an interesting idea – I’m sure the novel is good – that is severely harmed by a lower than ideal budget and a poor choice of locations results in a pretty mixed bag – one of those 70s science fiction films where the idea is so much better than the execution (and there …

2015, Movies

The Rezort (2015, Steve Barker)

The world has reached a new low when a Zombie Resort is a movie concept. The opening of this film is one of the most cliched and terrible openings of any film I’ve seen recently, featuring so much of that “static TV” shit as to be almost unbearable. (I almost turned it off.) Signs of …

2014, Movies

The Boxtrolls (2014, Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi)

Every so often I see a kid’s movie that’s really worth seeing and this is one of them. Like all modern stop motion animation, this is pretty incredible stuff. (I imagine seeing it in 3D would have been something else altogether, so that was a missed opportunity.)


Citizenfour (2014, Laura Poitras)

Like many of you, I paid attention to the Snowden leaks when they came out – as much attention as I could – and have followed The Intercept and others about the surveillance state since that time. But, on the other hand, my process of making my own life less accessible to the surveillance state …

2014, Movies

Chuck Norris vs Communism (2015, Ilinca Calugareanu)

This is a brief, by-the-numbers documentary which combines talking heads with rote dramatizations to tell the powerful story of how American films changed life in Romania during the Cold War. Unfortunately, I already saw Hotel Dallas, a far more interesting (albeit difficult) film more or less about the same theme. This pales in comparison. That’s …

1986, Music

We Became Snakes (1986) by Saccharine Trust

A lot has been made of the latent jazz influences on hardcore and post hardcore bands – Black Falg is supposed to have listened to Free Jazz for example. But never was I expecting a hardcore band to make music you might actually confuse with jazz. There are times on this bizarre, crazy record that …

1981, Music

This is The Ice Age (1981) by Martha and the Muffins

Yes, this is second wave New Wave, and it sure sounds like a lot of other bands and musicians. (The guitar lead on “Swimming” is so wannabe Robert Fripp it’s not even funny. A bunch of tracks sound like Eno-lite.) But this is a strong set of songs with good lyrics and a commitment to …

1981, Music

Odyshape (1981) by The Raincoats

I loved the debut, a seemingly perfect combination of naive rock and punk energy. But this is another thing entirely – shockingly different. To call this music post punk is to admit that we don’t know what to call it. It’s not post punk in any sense, except that, once upon a time, maybe The …

2016, Music

Hotel California (1976) by Eagles

Who is this record for? Clearly, it’s for a lot of people, as it sound somewhere between 20 and 30 million copies. But listening to it, I don’t know who it’s for. The rock tracks feel like they appeal to one group of people, and the sappy, over-produced soft rock ballads to another group. It’s …

2016, Non-Fiction, Podcasts

Accused: The Unsolved Murder of Elizabeth Andes (2016)

This podcast covers the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Andes, at a university in Ohio in the 70s. It’s a new take on the rash of podcasts that are out there as, in this case, the crime is unsolved. (However, when In the Dark started recording, that crime was also unsolved.)

2016, Non-Fiction, Podcasts

In the Dark (2016)

I forgot to review this when I finished listening to it (and I presume I have forgotten to review a bunch of other podcasts I finished). This is a frustrating, devastating and infuriating portrait of a child kidnapping in the 80s, the near-absolute power of country Sheriffs in the US (and their general incompetence) and …