Month: February 2017

2009, Movies

Bright Star (2009) Jane Campion

Maybe it’s my age, but I had trouble feeling the feelings of the protagonists in this film, which dramatizes John Keats’ final love affair before his death. I feel like I have seen too many of these films which fail to connect with me – seen one historical love affair, seen them all, is how …

1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2014

Augusta Read Thomas: Selected Works for Orchestra (2014) by Various Artists

This is a compilation of performances of some of Thomas’ writing for orchestra. I got this from the library by accident but decided to listen to it anyway.

1981, TV

“Brideshead Revisited” (1981)

This is a nearly unprecedented 700 minute TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. It is about as good as it gets for these British “chamber” TV shows, and is a reminder (when you watch it) that we are seriously missing out because more classic literature isn’t adapted into TV miniseries.

1983, 1985, 1999, 2001, Music

Higglety Pigglety Pop!; Where the Wild Things Are (2001) by the London Sinfonietta conducted by Oliver Knussen, starring Cynthia Buchan, Lisa Saffer et al

This disc features both of Knussen’s “children’s operas,” based on books by Maurice Sendak.

1975, 1979, 1988, Music

Knussen: Symphonies Nos. 2-3, Trumpets, Ophelia Dances, Coursing, Cantata (1988) by Various

This is a compilation of a few of Knussen’s pieces, which, far as I can figure, are performed by three different ensembles, including an ensemble conducted by Knussen himself.

2006, Movies

Cocaine Cowboys (2006, Billy Corben)

I have heard about this film from a number of people and wonder if we watched the same movie. This is a poorly made film that absolutely reeks of early digital technology (even if 2006 would suggest it wasn’t made with early digital technology). Why is it that so many people are okay with watching …

1997, Music

Either-Or (1997) by Elliott Smith

The problem with hype is that it makes you have expectations that can never be met. And, for some reason, the the death of someone just makes this so much worse, but in retrospect. Once a beloved musician dies, everything they ever made becomes a masterpiece and must be held up as proof as the …

1997, Music

Brigthen the Corners (1997) by Pavement

A kinder, gentler Pavement. With hindsight I think we can say this is the first record where it really sounds like Malkmus is writing songs for himself, rather than the band. I’m not sure that’s fair, but I sure feel like this has more in common with his solo career than with Slanted and Enchanted. …

1992, Music

Vulgar Display of Power (1992) by Pantera

I have not heard Cowboys from Hell but I have a hard time imagining that it’s significantly better than this onslaught of a record. I have no idea if this was is one of the first proper groove metal records (I doubt it) but, listening to it, it’s hard to imagine one that’s more definitive: …

1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, Music

Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992) by Aphex Twin

I am familiar with electronic music up until a point – that point is somewhere in the very early 80s. I have no idea what happened between then and the music we have today (save for the odd track that gets played too much or turned into stadium music).

1992, Music

Generation Terrorists (1992) by Manic Street Preachers

What do we do with a record like this? It’s called Generation Terrorists but sounds like it was produced by Mutt Lange or Bob Rock or someone like that. (Well, the production is maybe not that bad.) We have the bizarre amalgam of 80s hard rock (or “cock rock” as some call it) with extremely …

2009, Movies

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)

I bet this is a wonderful children’s book. Had I kids, I can imagine reading it to them, them loving it, and me feeling good about reading it to them. But as a movie, I’m not 100% sure that it is upt there among the great kids films. Maybe that’s just because I’m old.

1977, Music

Peter Gabriel [Car] (1977)

With hindsight, it feels like Gabriel had yet to really figure out who he wanted to be on his debut album. There are songs that sound a little sub-Genesis and then there are songs that sound like he is positioning himself as a sort of sub-David Bowie. Then there are tracks that sound sort of …

1977, Music

(I’m) Stranded (1977) by The Saints

This is a really early punk record – so early it beat The Clash and The Pistols to the punch in terms of their debut LPs – that likely gets ignored because it’s Australian. It louder and grimier than almost all the UK bands and most of the American bands, pointing the way for future …