Category: 2006

2006, Movies

Den brysomme mannen (2006, Jens Lien)

Imagine a dryer, less quirky, less fantastic Brazil and you get some faint idea of what this Norwegian film is like, a dystopian fantasy dark comedy which acts either as a critique of materialism/consumerism or as a horrible vision of the afterlife. (I’m not 100% sure which.) SPOILERS (I realize I already spoiled something for you. …

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 …

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 …

2006, Movies

Bonneville (2006, Christopher N. Rowley)

This film is absolutely not for me but I’m glad that such movies exist. This film takes the evil step mother of so many Hollywood films and imagines the loss of the father from her perspective instead, and it feels like that’s been a long time coming. Combine that with a road movie and you …

2006, Movies

Black Snake Moan (2006, Craig Brewer)

This is a fascinating, provocative and, in its own way, uplifting film about The Blues and redemption. However, at it’s heart is a really strange idea about (really) tough love being necessary for some psychological problems (though it acknowledges the opposite is true as well) that I’m not 100% comfortable with. But that doesn’t mean …

1984, 2006, Music

Elgar: Violin Concerto; Introduction and Allegro (1984, 2006)

This disc is a reissue of a famous performance of the Elgar violin concerto with his Introduction and Allegro, presumably recorded at the same time. (I say presumably because it was not on the initial LP and I am listening to it from the library’s stream, and so I don’t have the liner notes to confirm …

2006, Music

Jon-Rae and the River Knows What You Need (2006)

At some level, it’s understandable why a certain section of Toronto’s (and Canada’s?) music critics lost their minds over this band back in 2006. There probably weren’t a lot of bands like this at the time, I suppose. And from listening to this record, I can imagine they are a good live band. I can …

2006, Books, Non-Fiction

Thomas Paine (2006) by Craig Nelson

I have only ever read The Rights of Man many years ago. I loved Paine’s wit (there are many classic one-liners, including my favourite anti-monarchist barb of all time: “a hereditary monarch makes as much sense as a hereditary poet laureate”) but found his philosophy superficial, probably because I had just left grad school. This …

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 …

1921, 1925, 1926, 1977, 2006, Music

Káťa Kabanová; Cappriccio; Concertino (1977, 2006) by Leos Janacek, performed by Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Charles Mackerras featuring Elisabeth Söderström, Peter Dvorský, Naděžda Kniplová

This set pairs a Janacek opera with two of his chamber music pieces. It’s an odd pairing, but in the era of the CD it was a regular thing when an opera failed to fill out two discs. Káťa Kabanová is considered Janacek’s first “mature” opera but I think I like it less than Jenufa. …

1740s, 2006, Music

Handel: Messiah (2006) by Freiburger Barockorchester, The Choir of Clare College conducted by Rene Jacobs featuring Kerstin Avemo, Patricia Bardon, Lawrence Zazzo, Kobie van Rensburg, Neal Davies

This is, by some accounts, the finest of the various available performances of Messiah. I have literally no idea if that’s true or not as I have only ever heard one other complete version and, moreover, I am not sure I yet at the stage where I can detect minute differences in orchestration (though my …

1902, 1910, 1911, 1913, 2006, Music

Ives: Symphonies Nos 2 and 3 (2006) by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton

This set pairs Ives’ middle symphonies with the “song” he orchestrated. The second symphony opens with a movement that is, for Ives, startlingly traditional but it soon brings the zaniness he’s known for. The second movement builds slowly to a rather massive climax that feels particularly late Romantic and reminds me of some of my …

2006, Music

Come Clarity (2006) by In Flames

Call me crazy, but of the two In Flames releases I’ve heard, I like this one more. It feels a little more varied than the other album of theirs that I’ve managed to listen to, and it feels like the band may have some (slight) versatility. This is still not my favourite stuff – the …

2006, Movies

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, Scott Glosserman)

MILD SPOILERS This film begins as the horror movie equivalent to the classic 1992 Belgian black comedy Man Bites Dog. It’s literally the same concept: a documentary team follows a serial killer around. However, the additional conceit here is that the audience sees what the horror movie would look like, were one being made. Does …

2006, Movies

The Departed (2006, Martin Scorsese)

Note: I haven’t seen the original film. Many years ago, I watched Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear and hated it. I have no idea if that teenaged opinion is valid, but I think the experience scarred me for a long time, and so I avoided this remake. (Also, I didn’t like the previous two films …

2006, Movies

Away from Her (2006, Sarah Polley

This is a deeply moving film about Alzheimer’s, featuring excellent performances and an appropriate pace. It’s a note-perfect movie (except for the awful Neil Young cover over the closing credits) with one rather significant program: this is a film that focuses on the emotional devastation of the disease (for the relatives of the afflicted), but …

2006, Music

Boys and Girls in America (2006) by The Hold Steady

Springsteen’s influence hangs over much American 21st century indie rock. For many, this is good. For me, never a Springsteen fan, it is beyond annoying. This is among the most Springsteeny of Springsteen-American indie rock albums I have ever heard. Maybe it’s the most. It’s so unbelievably in his shadow that I feel like I …

1922, 1942, 2006, Music

Hindemith: Ludas Tonalis; Suite 1922 (2006) by Boris Berezovsky

This collects two of Hindemith’s solo piano works, the most famous ones and those that are usually considered “essential.” Ludas Tonalis is Hindemith’s attempt at a modern version of The Well Tempered Clavier. And though it is obviously not quite up to that standard, it’s still a noble attempt. This is far and away my …

2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006, Gore Verbinski)

This is a reasonably entertaining PG action film that I half watched while I performed a really annoying task related to this blog. I can’t say I paid a lot of attention, but it seemed reasonably well done. 6/10

2006, Movies

Amazing Grace (2006, Michael Apted)

How like us white people to make a film commemorating the British abolition of the slave trade by focusing entirely on the efforts of a rich, white man. Yes, I understand that his efforts were important, and it’s not like slaves outside of Haiti were in a position to do much themselves, but this is …

2006, Movies

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006, Jonathan Levine)

I watched the first 30-35 minutes of this maybe a year ago (in pieces) while someone else was watching it. I figured I should watch it all the way through, even given my reservations. My reservations were a few: I didn’t go to a school like this. I guess there were one or two girls …

2006, Movies

Blood Diamond (2006, Edward Zwick)

This is film feels like an attempt to cross an adventure movie with a war movie with a Hollywood message movie. At times it succeeds rather well but at other times it’s borderline terrible. The film suffers from the typical Hollywood problem when making movies about Africa, which is that it has to be seen …

2006, Movies

Adama Meshuga’at aka Sweet Mud (2006, Dror Shaul)

This is an affecting coming of age drama about what it was like to grow up on an Israeli Kibbutz in the seventies with a single mother. All the performances are strong and they help take the very loose narrative to a greater level of pathos. I can’t imagine what it would have been like …

2006, TV

Why I Gave Up on Big Love (2006)

I just finished the second season of Big Love, and I am giving up. I don’t need to watch the other three seasons. I’m not sure the people who made the show really knew what they wanted it to be. At the times the show seems to be an attempt at making a less profound, …

2006, Music

The Door, The Hat, The Chair, The Fact (2006) by Ben Goldberg

I love klezmer jazz – perhaps a little too much – and whatever the stuff that I refer to as ‘post free’ actually is. And this has both. Goldberg has written a fine set of tunes with features for every member of his band and there are opportunities for some strong unison playing as well. …

2006, Books, Non-Fiction

Your Movie Sucked (2006) by Roger Ebert

I used to read Ebert a lot while he was still alive. It’s not that I necessarily agreed with him all the time – I find that he both overrates some well-made children’s movies, and falls into that typical critic’s cliche of thinking the values of his generation are universal (more on that in a …

1886, 1890, 1978, 1980, 1995, 2006, Music

Franck: String Quartet; Violin Sonata (1978, 1995, 2006) by Fitzwilliam Quartet; Pierre Amoyal, Pascal Roge

I am a sucker for a good string quartet and I like to think that this is a very good string quartet. It’s certainly interesting for its era and, though not as ballsy as so many of the great quartets of the early 20th century, I think it would probably bear comparison with other notable …