Category: 2009

2009, Movies

Carmel (2009, Amos Gitai)

This is one impressionistic film. Impressionistic films deserve your attention and concentration, they should not be watched while you empty the dishwasher and work on your podcast. Alas, that’s how I watched this film, so my appreciation of it, or lack thereof, is coloured by my wavering attention.

2009, Movies

Carcasses (2009, Denis Côté)

Carcasses is part of that trend in Canadian independent film in the early years of the 20th century to mix documentary style with fictional or plots, sometimes with people playing themselves. (I say Canadian trend because most of the films I have seen that do this are Canadian films from this time, or thereabouts.  I …

2009, Movies

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2009, Anders Ostergaard)

Burma VJ is one of those journalism-as-documentary films that is out of date pretty quickly after it is made – the military regime that is depicted in this film has fallen and a new, less repressive and supposedly democratic regime has taken its place. But just because things have happened since this film was made, …

2009, Movies

Budrus (2009, Julia Bach)

This should be an inspiring documentary a village banding together to stop an oppressive foreign government from building a wall through their land. I say “should” because between when this film was released and when I watched it, 8 years later, the Israeli government did indeed succeed in building the wall around Budrus, though maybe …

2009, Movies

2012 (2009, Roland Emmerich)

It’s a testament to the endless credulity of human beings that this film got made as a blockbuster, with the budget that entails and the all-star cast. The Mayan Apocalypse thing was some the worst horse shit I’ve heard the intelligent people I know spew, and it drove me crazy that I knew people who …

2009, Music

Improvisational Four: Piano Improvisations Inspired by Joni Mitchell (2009) by Olga Konkova

I was actually looking for a different Konkova album when I found this. Being a pretty big fan of Joni Mitchell and not remembering why I was looking for Konkova (but generally liking piano jazz), I thought: this should be right up my alley.

2009, Movies

Bright Star (2009) Jane Campion

Maybe it’s my age, but I had trouble feeling the feelings of the protagonists in this film, which dramatizes John Keats’ final love affair before his death. I feel like I have seen too many of these films which fail to connect with me – seen one historical love affair, seen them all, is how …

1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2014

Augusta Read Thomas: Selected Works for Orchestra (2014) by Various Artists

This is a compilation of performances of some of Thomas’ writing for orchestra. I got this from the library by accident but decided to listen to it anyway.

2009, Movies

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)

I bet this is a wonderful children’s book. Had I kids, I can imagine reading it to them, them loving it, and me feeling good about reading it to them. But as a movie, I’m not 100% sure that it is upt there among the great kids films. Maybe that’s just because I’m old.

2009, Movies

The Boys Are Back (2009, Scott Hicks)

For much of its run, this feels like a much more authentic version of the ‘widowed single-parent struggling to raise children’ sub-genre. It has a location and a concept that are not typical of the genre and the whole thing feels more naturalistic (despite talking to dead people). However… (spoilers, if this type of film …

2009, Movies

Boogie Woogie (2009, Duncan Ward)

This is a reasonably amusing, reasonably on satire of the London art world which could well be called the Short Cuts of art world movies – at least it aspires to be that. There’s an All Star cast, there are lots of inter-cut stories, there’s a fairly ruthless attitude towards many of the characters. Not …

1963, 1993, 2009

Kagel: String Quartet No. 4; Keuris: String Quartet No. 1 (2009) by Lagos Ensemble

This disc collects Kagel’s final quartet and the first quartet by Tristan Keuris, a Dutch composer I have never hear of before. The works were composed 30 years apart. Kagel’s fourth and final quartet is similar to his third in that it contains more radical elements, but these elements are incorporated into more traditional and …

2009, Movies

Black Dynamite (2009, Scott Sanders)

I haven’t seen any blaxploitation in some time but, from what I remember, this is a spot on parody. And, like every great parody, it takes itself seriously enough of the time that the film and characters feel committed to the genre even as they tear it apart. There are some really solid jokes here, …

2009, Books, Journalism, Non-Fiction, Psychology, Society

The Peep Diaries (2009) by Hal Niedzviecki

This is a relatively interesting and amusing book about how modern technology and modern culture have created a brave new world that we don’t really understand how to navigate (and which could have all sorts of unintended consequences for us. However, the book suffers from a number of problems which make it not among the …

1931, 1994, 2009

The Complete Early Recordings of Skip James (1994, 2009)

This is one of the numerous discs to collect all nine of Skip James 1931 78 records that he recorded before he abandoned his music career (or whatever happened) until being “rediscovered” in the ’60s. This music is essential listening for fan of the blues or people interested in music history. James among the best …

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 ones) that I didn’t enjoy on the level of the best parts of the …

1990, 2009, Movies

Best Worst Movie (2009, Michael Stephenson)

This film is ostensibly about Troll 2, which some consider the worst movie ever made at(at one point it had a 0% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes  and was once the worst movie on IMDB). At this point I should mention I have never seen Troll 2. Surprised, aren’t you? I should. But I don’t …

2009, Movies

Black Sheep aka Oveja Negra (2009, Humberto Hinojosa Ozcariz)

This is a movie that tries to tell a relatively simple story using complicated narrative techniques. The movie is told in flashback, almost entirely, but the reason for use of flashback is not revealed until the film’s reveal and, until that moment, it’s hard to know why exactly the film is told in flashback because …


Case 39 (2009, Christian Alvart)

Renee Zellwegger, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper and Callum Keith Cennie star in this film. Why have you never heard of it? Well, the reason is because this film is awwwful and my guess is that it was dropped at some point when nobody would pay attention to it. It is awful in so many ways: …

2009, Movies

Angels & Demons (2009, Ron Howard)

This is one of those movies where even a little bit of a thought unravels everything. Tom Hanks’ character makes insane “deductions” and everyone (rightly) thinks he’s insane, yet somehow the plot machinations always bear him out. It’s utterly ridiculous stuff, especially the climatic scenes where there’s literally no way that anyone could have possibly …

2009, Movies

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009, Jessica Oreck)

This is a fascinating if idiosyncratic documentary about the importance of insects in Japanese culture. It’s not structured in a traditional manner and features literally one talking head, but the the off-centre approach works as a means of involving you in the material differently than, say, a strictly educational film might. Despite my general interest …

2009, Movies

Bananas!* (2009, Fredrik Gertten)

This is a maddening, frustrating and outrage-sparking documentary about Dole’s (nee Standard Fruit Company) use of a banned pesticide in Nicaragua (and Costa Rica and Honduras) and how it deeply affected the lives of workers on plantations. There are great things about this movie, including the depiction of actual courtroom arguments, and the clear evidence …

2009, Movies

Bakjwi aka Thirst (2009, Chan-woo Park)

The idea of vampires being used as some kind of metaphor for sex has probably been around for as long as vampires have been in literature. It’s not a new thing. And so, initially, this film feels like yet another in the endless line of erotic vampire films. However, the film has enough twists and …

2009, Movies

Antichrist (2009, Lars von Trier)

I struggle with Von Trier’s movies – and megalomania – for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ridiculous Dogme 95 statement that he has gone back on so thoroughly in his later films. (It’s not that I object to Dogme 95 in itself but it’s the brashness of youth I …

1919, 1922, 1939, 2009, Music

Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music 1 (2009) by Lawrence Power, Simon Crawford-Phillips

This disc collects Hindemith’s three viola sonatas with piano accompaniment, and it also includes a transcription for viola and piano of one of the dances from Hindemith’s ballet, Nobilissima Visione. The sequencing is odd: it starts with the final one, then goes to the first, then to the second, then back to the late ‘30s …