Category: 2008

2008, Movies

Entre les murs aka The Class (2008, Laurent Cantet)

This is a French version of the “How can I reach these kids?!?!” genre, a genre I really, really dislike. But, I must say, this is a pretty excellent variation in part because it avoids most of the pitfalls of the American style.

2008, Movies

A Christmas Tale (2008, Arnaud Desplechin)

The way I watch older movies is I go through my ridiculously long 90-page list and see what I can watch on Netflix or borrow from the library. I rarely remember why I added them. That can lead to some pretty hilarious misunderstandings when I added something I really didn’t mean to. Or, as in …

2008, Books

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood (2008) by Mark Harris

This is an excellent and enthralling survey of the five films nominated for Best Picture for the 40th Academy Awards, a symbolic moment in the history of Hollywood when both “new Hollywood” and “old Hollywood” films were up for Best Picture. The movies are Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle (seriously), The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat …

2008, Movies

Che (2008, Steven Soderbergh)

So the first thing that must be said is that this is an incredibly ambitious project – rarely is a biographical film this detailed and this long. Only in TV now could you get this level of depth into a the subject of a person’s life. The fact that the film exists is an accomplishment …

2008, Movies

Changeling (2008, Clint Eastwood)

This is a weirdly told true crime film which turns what would have probably been a really interesting film into a bit of a mess. It’s weird watching a Clint Eastwood film and thinking it could have directed by someone with a surer hand. I’m not sure what happened here, but it’s really clunky, something …

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.

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 …

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.

2008, Movies, Music

Cadillac Records (2008, Darnell Martin)

From the opening scenes of this docudrama about history of Chess Records, things feel a little off. The attempt to balance the stories of Leonard Chess and Muddy Waters feels a little wonky and the pacing definitely seems off. A man just walks up to Muddy in a field and says he’s Alan Lomax and …

2008, Books, Economics, Non-Fiction

Predictably Irrational (2008) by Dan Ariely

This is a fascinating and sometimes amusing exploration of behavioural economics through descriptions of experiments that the author has conducted, and some he’s read about. It’s a pretty good introduction to behaviourial economics and social psychology. A number of these experiments were unfamiliar to me and some of them are really illuminating. I’m particularly interested …

2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, TV

The Wire (2002)

It’s been about 10 years since The Wire finished and 16 years since it started. In that time, I have managed to watch the first three seasons four times (I think), the fourth season three times and the notorious fifth season twice. (The only other dramatic show I have ever watched more than once is Deadwood.) I …

2008, Movies

Bronson (2008, Nicholas Winding Refn)

There are probably two types of people: people who think Winding Refn is a genius and people who think he is ponderous, boring and way too interested in style over substance. You can count me among the latter. Despite all the praise over Valhalla Rising and Drive, I found both movies to be flawed. I …

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Mad Men (2007)

I watched Mad Men over an even longer period than most of you, so my memory of the individual episodes is not perfect. I know there were some weaker ones in there, and there even parts of seasons – perhaps even whole seasons – that I didn’t enjoy on the level of the best parts …

1710s, 1760s, 1790s, 1803, 2008, Music

Trumpet Concertos (2008) by Alison Balsom, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

This is a collection of Classical and Baroque trumpet concerti, and it’s a good selection of these pieces, giving a good idea of how the music progressed…only the sequencing is, um, kind of backwards.

1935, 1937, 1939, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1956, 1958, 2008, Music

The Definitive Collection (2008) by Billie Holiday

Full disclosure: I do not like vocal jazz (as you know). This is a compilation of 22 tracks over the course of Holiday’s career. I have no idea how definitive it actually is, as I do not know her at all, beyond her reputation as one of the great singers of the century, and “Strange …

2008, Music

Stay Positive (2008) by The Hold Steady

The Springsteen influence is heavily tamped down on this record. It’s still there in in Finn’s songs – he has to be the most Springsteenian songwriter I’ve yet devoted time too – but the musical influences have expanded. The punk edge is definitely greater (though, do not mistake me, I am not calling this “punk”) …

2008, Movies

Adoration (2008, Atom Egoyan)

Oh, Egoyan’s attempts to understand the past through contrivances and meta-narratives! Gotta love’em. Whereas with Ararat, Egoyan tried to get us to understand the Armenian genocide through making a movie about making a movie about it (yeesh), here he tries to get us to understand suicide bombing and terrorism, and the resulting prejudice, by making …

2008, Movies

Adam Resurrected (2008, Paul Schrader)

I struggle with Schrader as a filmmaker – the man has written some of the great American films, but those films are always directed by someone else (Scorsese among others). As a director I always wish that someone else had made his movies – with the exception of Mishima – and this one is no …

2008, Music

Witches Brew (1959, 1964, 2008) by the New Symphony Orchestra of London conducted by Alexander Gibson

This is one of those “Spooky classical” things that is generally entertaining but hardly anything more. It’s a good (but obvious) selection of famous “spooky” pieces, primarily from the Romantic era. The Ex and I attended one of these types of things with the TSO one Halloween a few years ago and the selection wasn’t …

1966, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1991, 2008, Music

Complete String Quartets (2008) by Philip Glass, performed by the Smith Quartet

First off, this is no longer ‘complete’ if it ever really was – Glass has apparently written a 6th quartet. (Also, there are other pieces he has written for string quartet that do not appear here, but they are not numbered among his string quartets, apparently.)

2008, Books, Non-Fiction

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (2008) by Vincent Bugliosi

I have “read” one book by Vincent Bugliosi before. (I say “read” because it was an audio book.) And in that book Bugliosi impressed me with his rather ruthless rigor of thought about an issue that was clouded by too many books and opinions.

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

The Best Movies of the Aughts (2000s)

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 …

2008, 2009, Basketball, Playoffs, Sports

Playoff reform, seriously

Once again I renew my call (which no one answers) for playoff reform in the NHL and in the NBA. In the NHL: No points for losses already. This is so stupid. No other professional league does this, that I know of. It is retarded. There is no rationalization for it. It skews the standings. …

2008, Hockey, Sports, The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke

On the Hiring of Brian Burke

I don’t know what I think about all this. Burke said (almost) all the right things at the conference today. I still think his record is inflated by his supporters. (And I’m finding that, surprise, surprise, his detractors are equally full of hyperbole.) I can say one thing, he is a better GM than Ferguson …