Category: 2010

2010, Movies

Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010, Alex Gibney)

This is an episodic yet frenetic documentary about Jack Abramoff and his lobbying scandal. I can’t say I loved the style of the film, which was a little over-reliant on pop culture cues, but the film takes a serious issue and makes it entertaining, which is something that should be commended.

2010, Movies, TV

Carlos (2010, Oliver Assayas)

This is one of those innumerable high end European miniseries that got transformed into a movie in North America, both in its full version and in a shortened version. I watched the full version because I really don’t get why we should be satisfied with cuts that are just a little bit more than a …

2010, Movies

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010, Craig McCall)

Cameraman is a fascinating but idiosyncratic look at one of the first technicolor cameramen in film, the first person to be awarded a lifetime achievement Oscar for cinematography.

2010, Music

The Element Choir at Rosedale United (2010)

It must be hard to be in the art music field these days. Sure, you’ve got a world of genres to play with – most of them unknown or nonexistent in the recent past – but sometimes having too much choice is worse than having little choice. (Actually, that’s true a lot of the time.) …

2010, Movies

Clash of the Titans (2010, Louis Leterrier)

I have only ever seen pieces of the 80s Clash of the Titans, but my memory of it was that it was actually based on Greek myths. I emphasize this fact because this remake appears to not care about its sources in the slightest, pulling a creature from Norse mythology as its climactic bad guy, …

2010, Movies

Blue Valentine (2010, Derek Cianfrance)

This is a devastating portrait of a relationship that rings true with both the excitement of love and the heartbreak of the end of a relationship. It’s a remarkable achievement even if Cianfrance didn’t get to do what he wanted to, which is to film the two time periods years apart, kind of like a …

2010, Movies

Blank City (2010, Celine Danhler)

This film chronicles the rise and fall of No Wave (the movies, not so much the music), New Cinema and the Cinema of Transgression in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to interviews with the filmmakers and stars, it features a number of famous people (some directors and musicians, an actor …

2010, 2011, 2013

Borgen (2010)

Borgen is a remarkable, unique Danish television show that may have established it’s own genre. Every other TV show to focus on politics that I have ever seen has added elements of fantasy; normally these shows and movies are “political thrillers” where someone always dies; occasionally they’re comedies. Either way, there is a balance between …

2010, Music

Royal Toast (2010) by The Claudia Quintet

We’re at a time when all genres blend together and bleed into one another. This record is a perfect example of that: there’s music that could be jazz-influenced chamber music, there’s music that sounds freely improvised, there’s music that sounds like jazz, but also sounds like it was completely written in advance (and rehearsed a …

2010, Movies

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010, James Nguyen)

I have seen a lot of bad movies in my life (though fewer recently) so I have pretty high (low?) standards for my “Worst Movies of All Time” list. For me, a film has to be have zero redeeming qualities about it for me to consider it one of the worst films ever made. Most …

1951, 2010, Music, TV

Billy Budd (2010, Francois Rousillon)

To some, Billy Budd was the greatest English-language opera ever written when it premiered, to a few its even the greatest English-language opera ever. (To those people I say, have you ever heard of John Adams? But anyway…) I did not love it when I first heard it, for any number of reasons, the biggest …

2010, Movies

Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt)

The Western was possibly my favourite genre growing up, I watched tons of the classic Hollywood Westerns. So many, in fact, that I ruined classic Westerns for myself and moved on to revisitionist westerns. The Western of classic Hollywood relies so much on mythology. But even most of the revisionist westerns I love so much …

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 …

2010, Movies, Sports

Senna (2010, Asif Kapadia)

This is a captivating and engrossing film about Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian Formula One driver who some believe was the greatest driver the sport has ever seen, but who died young, before he might have broken some records. The film does a good job of making us understand why Senna had appeal outside of his …

2010, Movies, TV

Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010, Paul Ziller)

How do I put into words how monumentally dumb this movie is? I’m not really sure. It’s one of those films that you want to live blog o live tweet because of the inane/insane lines, the utter ignorance of scientific facts and the budget (and what is forces the characters to do/say). It’s just awful. …

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 …

2010, Movies

Salt (2010, Phillip Noyce)

This is one of those movies where everyone is double crossing everyone else and, if you think about the triple cross at the heart of this movie…well, it sure doesn’t make much sense. Everything is competent: there’s a great cast, giving their all, and the production values are high. But the plot is dumb and …

2010, Movies

Bill Cunningham New York (2010, Richard Press)

Bill Cunningham is an interesting guy. He has some interesting theories about style and fashion – subjects that I couldn’t care less about but when he talks about them I listen. However, I can’t help but feel a certain way about some of these New York City documentaries. Now, I’m not one to invoke the …

2000, 2010

On Writing (2000) by Stephen King

I have never read a single Steven King novel or short story – I know, I know – and I don’t write fiction, but this book was recommended highly, and I figured I would give it a try given the struggles I am experiencing with my current project. King is an engaging, entertaining writer. He …

2010, Movies

Beginners (2010, Mike Mills)

This is extremely affecting and often entertaining film that tries and somehow manages to balance two different types of films, the meet-cute romantic comedy and the parent-dying drama. It does both, and it also adds a unique spin – using narration with photographs to deal with with the passage of time in in a rather …

2010, Movies

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010, Andrei Ujica)

This film attempts to paint a portrait of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu simply by assembling and editing together excerpts from something like 1,000 hours of official footage. Because of the way it is assembled – just this footage, no talking heads, no narration, no obvious message – what you make of this movie appears …

1919, 1922, 1923, 2010, Music

Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music 2 (2010) by Lawrence Power

Part 2 of Power’s performances of Hindemith’s viola music focuses on the sonatas for solo viola, of which Hindemith also wrote three. Though these all lack the incredible, complex and difficult piano parts of their cousins, that doesn’t make them any less impressive and, not surprisingly, the viola parts are more complex.

2010, Music

Heaven is Whenever (2010) by The Hold Steady

From the opening notes of “The Sweet Part of the City” it’s pretty clear that this band has finally overcome their Springsteen odour. Sure, Finn is still an extremely Sprinsteenian songwriter, but the rest of the band no longer sounds like a louder E-Street band minus the sax. (I’d blame that on the departed keyboard …

1941, 1945, 2010, Music

Hangover Square; Citizen Kane (2010) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba, featuring Martin Roscoe and Orla Boylan

This disc collects a suite of pieces from the 1945 film noir Hangover Square, arranged for orchestra, with a piano concerto Herrmann wrote for the film, with what seems to be the complete (or nearly complete) score to Citizen Kane. The music for Hangover Square is pretty classic Hollywood noir, even if the first three …