Author: rnhaas

2018, Movies

Black Panther (2018, Ryan Coogler)

So, before I get to the actual film, I think there is the film’s importance to discuss, and it’s hard to ignore. This is the only blockbuster film to have a majority black cast. It is an absolute landmark and it’s hard to believe it took so long. (It’s a testament to both systemic racism …

2008, Movies

Ce qu’il faut pour vivre (2008, Benoit Pilon)

This is an affecting but amusing film about an Inuit man taken to Quebec City for tuberculosis treatment in the 1950s. Though it is a simple film – and arguably a variation on a story that has been told many times – its unique perspective is a needed one, and it’s worth your time.

1974, Music

Kimono My House (1974) by Sparks

Sparks is one of those bands with such a big cult following that you inevitably encounter someone who loves them. I have, at some point, but it wasn’t a friend, just people on the internet. Reading a lot about a band always gives one impressions, and those impressions are often wrong. So it was with …

1974, Music

Winter in America (1974) by Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson

I knew one thing about Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” And I don’t know it well. So I came into this expecting a record of spoken word with few expectations about the music backing the poetry. All I basically knew is that this guy was regarded by some as the first MC.

1974, Music

Unrest (1974) by Henry Cow

One of the most appealing things for me Henry Cow is how utterly uncategorizable they are. Though regularly lumped in with the Canterbury Scene, it’s basically impossible to compare them to any of those bands, or really any prog rock band. This isn’t prog rock. I sometimes don’t know what it is, but it has …

1969, Music

The Young Mods’ Forgotten Story (1969) by The Impressions

Despite his fame, I don’t know Cutis Mayfield’s music very well and I don’t know the Impressions at all. I have only ever heard Mayfield’s most famous record and this is my first ever Impressions record. The little I know of Mayfield is that his music is slicker than I like my soul.

1997, Books, Non-Fiction

The Great Adventure (1997) by David Cruise, Alison Griffiths

I normally read a book through and finish it before starting another. But, with this one, I kept finding books I wanted to read at the library and they would show up before I finished this. So my reading of it became extremely disjointed. Some of this, perhaps most of this, had to do with …

1969, Music

Stand! (1969) by Sly and the Family Stone

I think my biggest problem with all the early Family Stone albums I’ve heard is a lack of consistent material. Because, otherwise, they’re a truly great band with a unique sound fusion and sound, full of truly capable musicians. But on the previous records, nearly all the songs outside of the singles felt lazy (or …

2013, Movies

Now You See Me (2013, Louis Leterrier)

Every so often you see a movie you’ve heard about a lot and it’s just entirely not what you would think. And it’s hard to know what to do with this schizophrenic, ADD film which doesn’t have a main character but has way too many characters, played by a ridiculous cast. SPOILERS

2018, Books, Music, Non-Fiction

Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) (2018) by Jeff Tweedy

At one point in my life Wilco were among my favourite bands, very close to being my favourite. I saw them in 2009 or 2010 and it was perhaps the best concert I’d ever seen to that point. (Live recordings!) I have all their albums but their debut, I have their concert film, I have …

1999, Music

Implode (1999) by Front Line Assembly

I just finished listening to KMFDM’s Adios, another band that operates on the spectrum between industrial music and electronica. (Though apparently these guys have existed longer, which is funny because I had never heard of them but had heard plenty about KMFDM.) As is often the case when I listen to two vaguely similar records …

1999, Music

The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999) by Ben Folds Five

For most of my adult life I’ve been only vaguely aware of Ben Folds and his band. I think he had a hit or two I heard of and many years ago I managed to listen to their reunion album but it apparently made no impression on me. Despite sort of bemoaning the death of …

2008, Movies

C’est pas moi, je le jure! (2008, directed by Philippe Falardeau)

I have never enjoyed stories about little boy hellions. I remember watching Problem Child and its sequel and the Denis the Menace movie as a child and being bothered by them, even while I believe I did laugh at the slapstick. (I have always been a sucker for slapstick.) As an adult, these types of …

1994, Movies

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994, Mike Newell)

This film, which should really be called Threes Weddings, a Funeral and a Fourth Wedding, is one of the innumerable ’90s films I told myself I had seen as a teen, only to discover upon watching it now, that I’ve definitely never seen it before. (I probably watched five minutes of it when I was …

1999, Music

Snuffbox Immanence (1999) by Ghost

I got made fun of so much for liking prog rock when I was in my late teens and early 20s, in part because, for the people I knew, prog rock was horribly old and uncool and, moreover, my friends didn’t actually know what they were talking about usually, mistaking “prog rock” for Styx and …

1999, Music

Mule Variations (1999) by Tom Waits

At this point, anyone who has followed Waits since his left-turn in the early 1980s knows what to expect from a Waits album. Aside from from production choices, most Waits albums of the last 35 years have sounded rather similar to each other, with everything in his own inimitable style, and the only major difference …

1994, Music

The Lion King Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994) by Elton John, Tim Rice, Hans Zimmer et al.

I don’t normally review soundtracks. But occasionally the anniversary of a soundtrack comes up, when the soundtrack was so big, and so culturally relevant to a generation, that to ignore it would be against the purpose of my podcast. So here I am. This one has a lot of baggage.

1994, Music

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994) by OutKast

Everything I know about scenes is confined to rock music, and most of the detailed stuff I know about rock scenes is confined to the psychedelic rock scenes of the 1960s. That’s probably the only period where I could hear music I don’t know and give a good guess as to where it was made. …

2010, Books, Non-Fiction

War at the Wall Street Journal (2010, Sarah Ellison)

I’m not sure this book is something I would have read were it not for the “Planet Fox” series in the New York Times. But it’s a mostly well-told, compelling story of Robert Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones. I’m not sure it does enough to make it an essential read, but if you’re interested in …

1994, Music

Illmatic (1994) by Nas

I am not a fan of hip hop and I pay no attention to hip hop or hip hop oriented media. One advantage of that, when I actually listen to hip hop, is that I have no expectations. I don’t know what albums are considered good or not good, beyond seeing some ratings or reviews, …

1994, Music

The Bleeding (1994) by Cannibal Corpse

To the best of my knowledge, this is the best selling death metal album of all time. Something about that makes it sound like its an essential record to me, which is why I find myself listening to a straight-up death metal record from 1994, years after the genres invention, and probably right around the …

2008, Movies

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, Steven Spielberg)

This movie has become somewhat legendary since its release, so much so that I went from never wanting to see it to thinking I should probably watch it for a laugh. SPOILERS, I guess.

1989, Music

Full Moon Fever (1989) by Tom Petty

For years, my only real experience of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was their 1993 Greatest Hits record. That record contained the three big hits everyone knows from this solo album, though I wasn’t too concerned that these were ostensibly solo singles on a record collecting the band’s hits. I also wasn’t particularly concerned, at …

1989, Music

Club Classics Vol. One (1989) by Soul II Soul

This is a review of a the original British album and British tradition dictates that the big single from the album is not released on that album, so that consumers have to buy both. So the song you know, “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” is only present here in an a cappella …

1984, Music

New Sensations (1984) by Lou Reed

The ’80s were a bad time for so many musicians, so many people got talked into making their records sound “contemporary” which rendered those records horribly dated to later audiences. I don’t think I ever imagined Lou Reed would be one of those musicians and certainly none of his other ’80s work that I’ve heard …

1984, Music

Junk Culture (1984) by Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark

This is my first experience of OMD but perhaps it is not the best place to start. This band was one of those that was so much bigger in the UK than North America, I don’t think I could even name their biggest hit. (I am trying right now, without looking it up, and I …

1984, Music

A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984) by Blue Nile

Many years ago, I learned that first impressions should be ignored and overcome as much as possible when it comes to music. There have been many days in my life I’ve been happy about doing that and today is one of them. Because my first impression of this record was not a good one, and …