Category: 2003

2003, Music

The Dresden Dolls (2003)

This is some pretty good stuff. I can understand why some people don’t love it, as Palmer’s delivery is often extremely affected. But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? I mean, this is cabaret rock, it should be at least a little bit theatrical, right? Palmer’s songs are mostly great, even when they (often) …

2003, Music

Some of My Best Friends Are DJs (2003) by Kid Koala

I think I like this record even more than the debut. It’s roughly the same kind of idea – collages of music and voice samples, created for musical or humourous effect – but this record feels more “musical” to me, more indicative of his clear musical talent. This is particularly true in how he uses …

1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, Music

Mauricio Kagel (2003) by Alexandre Tharaud

This collection is a little confusing in part because of the confusing nature of Rrrrrrr…, which can apparently be performed independently. The disc appears to be a compilation of his piano-based music. Calling “piano music” would be a misnomer, as there are lots of other instruments on a number of the pieces. The pieces from …

1990, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2010, 2011

From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010 (2011) by Iron Maiden

I accidentally picked this up thinking it was a compilation of their ’80s music. Ah well. I learned a couple of things from this record: First, Iron Maiden has a formula and they stuck to it (at least on the songs considered their “best”). Second, I should never get a live Iron Maiden album. It’s …

2003, Music

Dragging Wonder Lake (2003) by Janet Bean and the Concertina Wire

The debut solo (and only?) album by the drummer/occasional songwriter of Eleventh Dream Day is better than I ever would have imagined. This is a really solid set of songs (including two good cover choices) draped in a classic Americana/country rock sound (shockingly produced by the leader of Tortoise?!?!). Though the covers maybe reveal Bean …

2003, Movies

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003, Nick Broomfield, Joan Churchill)

The follow up documentary to Selling of a Serial Killer is not of much interest if you’ve already seen that first film, as this one rehashes a lot of what is portrayed in the first film, with nothing new to add, really. The production values are better and this time the focus is more on …

2003, Movies

Les invasions barbares (2003, Denys Arcand)

I stupidly watched this without having seen the first film, however I don’t think it matters. This is an affecting and amusing dramedy about mortality, friendship and, above all, family. However, there are some major issues with either the film itself or the characters. It could just be Quebec, but the men and women in …

2003, TV

Angels in America (2003, Mike Nichols)

There is a part of me that wants to say this is one of the great works of American literature of the late 20th century but I don’t know enough late 20th century literature to say that with any kind of authority and, specifically, I can’t tell you how few American plays I’ve seen written …

1951, 2003

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2003) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely

Though Herrmann definitely set the bar high for himself with Citizen Kane, this is the first time, to my knowledge, that he really stretched outside his comfort zone (he had been doing radio music for years before Kane). Though the theremin had been used on a few scores in the ’40s by other composers, I’m …

1760s, 1780s, 2003, 2010, Music

Haydn: Cello Concertos; Pereira: Concertino for Cello (2010) by Antonio Meneses, Northern Sinfonia

This is an odd collection that pairs Haydn’s two most famous (and likely sole surviving) cello concerti with a totally unrelated piece of music by the 20th century composer Clovis Pereira. Grumble. Haydn’s first cello concerto is a fine piece of music but it strikes me as typical of the era (though I don’t really …

2003, TV

Arrested Development (2003)

I watched the initial run of this show years ago, when it initially aired. And not entirely in order, I don’t think. It’s been so long that I don’t know that I can do it justice in a review. It’s a classic comedy that managed to create its own style that I’m sure has been …

2003, Music

Free Country (2003) by Joel Harrison

I don’t know Harrison, and coming at him in the middle of his career is probably a mistake. This is a strong, varied collection of very radical takes on American roots classics (check out that track listing, you’ll know 80% of the songs), featuring a fantastic group of guest stars too. The problem I am …

2003, Music

Hard Groove (2003) by the RH Factor

Despite the huge number of collaborators, I feel like this is Hargrove’s most personal album. He admits that this emerged from home recordings and it doesn’t surprise me. The man was suffocated by what he was told he had to be, and then, in his spare time, he fiddled around with some contemporary (and not …

2003, Music

Abaton (2003) by Syvlie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander

So to make this super confusing, apparently the idea here was to actually credit this trio as Abaton, despite the fact that there are at least three other bands in the world with that name. It’s a popular idea, I guess, sleeping in temples…I am a huge Friedlander (cello) fan but I had not much …

2003, Movies

The Station Agent (2003, Thomas McCarthy

This is an affecting and amusing albeit simple story, and the film’s obvious lack of budget is overcome by the strong performances of the three principals. McCarthy’s next film is substantially more powerful – and more significant – but that shouldn’t detract from this, a film succeeds on multiple levels: as an examination of the …

2003, TV

Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)

Battlestar Galcctica, the reboot, is probably the greatest science fiction TV show of all time. (That obviously depends on what we mean by “science fiction”, as if I included the original Prisoner in that genre, maybe I would be forced to rethink my position. And no, no version of Star Trek has ever particularly impressed …

2003, Music

The Intercontinentals (2003) by Bill Frisell

This is a fascinating and compelling melding of American folk music, whatever the music is that Frisell has been making that combines American folk music with certain elements of jazz, and various world musics. He and his collaborators touch on a lot of styles so it is a little hard to categorize this properly, but …

2003, TV

Carnivale (2003)

Carnivale does a good job focusing on age-old, time-tested mystical themes from religion, mythology and superstition. But like most of the programs / works that handle these themes – and like the religions and mythologies themselves – Carnivale becomes less compelling when it gets to the specifics. When it remains obscure, it stays mysterious and …

2003, Movies

The Hunted (2003, William Friedkin)

I feel like Friedkin is a director who is only as good as his scripts: he has made two of the greatest American movies ever, and he has made lots of crap. He can’t seem to be consistent, and so I figure that has something to do with the material he chooses. Unfortunately, this film …

2003, TV

State of Play (2003)

For about all but a half hour of its run-time, this is a fantastic – if occasionally unbelievable – miniseries about political corruption and journalism. It’s like the British All the President’s Men – yes it’s that good – but with a little bit of soap thrown in (apparently they couldn’t resit). The one thing …

2003, Books, Non-Fiction

Democracy’s Dilemma (2003 MIT) by Robert C. Paehlke

This is a pretty excellent summary of the issues facing us human beings when globalization is only thought of in economic terms. Paehlke’s strength is that he is moderate; too often we hear either “Globalization is evil” or “Globalization is great” and obviously neither is true. Paehlke approaches the subject from a perspective that is …

1926, 1930, 1932, 1942, 1953, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1971, 2003, Music

Complete Organ Works (2003) by Maurice Durufle, performed by Friedhelm Flamme

The pipe organ must be one of the seriously neglected instruments of 20th century “classical” music, at least from the perspective of us musical naifs. I mean, even though there are plenty of notable organ and organ-centric compositions, very few of those have actually made it into mass awareness. The little bit of organ music …

2003, Music

Fever to Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003 Interscope)

I avoided this like the plague when it came out: I didn’t like the single then, but moreover (and more importantly for me), I was getting sick of bass-less bands and I wasn’t about to hop on the garage rock band wagon (and frankly I still don’t get the deal with the Strokes). But this …

2003, Music

The Singles: 1992-2003 by No Doubt (Interscope 2003)

Yes, No Doubt are a singles band. I must assume that since the only studio album I have heard by them, Tragic Kindgom, is one of the best examples of a ’90s album where the singles are uniformly better than anything else. This is a good compilation in that sense, but personally I can’t say …

2003, Music

Old World Underground, Where are You Now? by Metric (Last Gang 2003)

I can’t really write anything positive about this because…there’s nothing to write home about. Haines has a good voice – not a great voice but a good voice. She is not a particularly great keyboardist, relying on some pretty straight forward synth lines and using effects more than her actual playing to do anything. I …

2003, Music

The Golden Age of the Grotesque (Nothing 2003) by Marilyn Manson

When an artist resorts to cheerleaders its hard to know what to think. Occasionally it can work and be funny. Most of the time it is ridiculous. The same might be said for nonsense lyrics. If you are going to scat, you should be able to sing. Singing was never Manson’s strength but he used …

1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, Music

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression …

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Movies

The Best Movies of the Decade

Now that we’re through the aughts, here are my picks for best movies of the decade. The ones that make the initial list are movies that I rated a 10/10. The runners up are 9/10s, and the honourable mentions are 8/10s. Many of these movies I have seen only once, and remember that in 2000 …

2003, 2007, Hockey, Movies, Playoffs, Sports, TV

More NHL Playoff Predictions and Movies

Jose in 7 Ducks in 6 Sabes in 5 Sens in 7 Or so I thought on Wednesday. In the last week I’ve seen two 10/10 movies, which is pretty rare. Best of Youth – because it’s one of the best (if not the best) family dramas I’ve ever seen – because it’s a million …

2003, Movies, Personal

Valentine’s Day & The Corporation (2003, Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbot)

In the CD player: nothing cuz it’s far too early. I watched The Corporation yesterday. Interesting and entertaining documentary. I don’t necessarily agree with the filmmakers about everything, but it was worth watching. Personally, I don’t think direct democracy will help us much (it will certainly make it harder to protect rights.). It seems to …