Author: rnhaas

1994, Movies

Sátántangó (1994, Béla Tarr)

Since I re-ordered my list of films to watch, to prioritize critical opinion, I’ve been watching a lot of extremely long films. I think these types of films are critically celebrated for at least two reasons: There’s a self-selecting group who watch these types of movies: only certain types of people will sit through a …

2018, Movies

Venom (2018, Ruben Fleischer)

The world is a strange place. Because of rights issues, Venom is not currently part of the MCU even though Spider-Man and the recent Spider-Man movies are. So Venom isn’t part of the MCU and there is no Spider-Man in it. So that’s, um, weird. It might not be the worst thing, given all the …

2017, Music

Oceanarium (2017) by Deluge Grander

Literally 4 years ago (seriously) the leader of this group sent me a message and asked if I would review this album based on a partial release. I suck and so it’s taken me 4 years to get to it. (In my limited defense, my podcast was still running so I basically listened to nothing …

1986, Music

The Way It Is (1986) by Bruce Hornsby and the Range

I know basically nothing about Bruce Hornsby. I remember seeing his name on a Mix 99.9 ad on the subway in high school. And I know he toured with the Dead. That’s all I got.

1986, Music

Duotones (1986) by Kenny G

Upon reflection it seems kind of cruel to assume that Kenny G isn’t actually a good saxophone player just because he doesn’t have taste. If I learned one thing from this preposterously popular record, it’s that Kenny G can indeed play. Now, that begs the question, what is worse, someone who has talent and uses …

1986, Music

Express (1986) by Love and Rockets

I spent way too much time in my review of Earth Sun Moon obsessing over how these guys weren’t Bauhaus. It’s a weird review that I find hard to read now. I wish I had focused on the music so I could try to compare the two records and understand why I appear to have …

1986, Music

Blood and Chocolate (1986) by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

At some point a career goes on long enough where it starts to divide the true fans from the people who just got into the artist because they were in the ether, but sometimes the critics will continue to care and sometimes they won’t. I don’t know where exactly that point is with Costello but …

2005, Books, Non-Fiction

The Great Mortality (2005) by John Kelly

This is a frustrating book, which I learned a lot from but also had me rolling my eyes way, way more than it ever should have. It purports to be a history of the Black Death but it’s a really a European history – maybe that’s a tacit assumption given the title – and there …

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 …


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. …