Category: 2011

2011, Movies

The Eagle (2011, Kevin Macdonald)

This movie tries really hard. It’s clear a lot of effort went into the film, including the costumes and, particularly, the use of Gaelic – even though, with a few minutes research, it turns out it likely wasn’t Gaelic they would have been speaking.

2011, TV

The Bridge aka Bron (2011)

I am reviewing the first season of Bron because I have no intention of watching future seasons. (Though I have heard the second season of the American version of The Bridge is very good so maybe if I do try the American version, I will get that far.) The following review contains spoilers.

2009, 2010, 2011, TV

Bored to Death (2009)

I can’t really tell you how much I love this show, a playful send up / take down of tired noir / hard boiled detective cliches mixed with a celebration / attack on the writer’s role in contemporary society, specifically, and the role of Brooklyn as cultural epicentre, more broadly. I get that it’s a …

2011, Movies

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, Tomas Alfredson)

For a while I have wanted to watch first the original version of this and then this remake. However, I lost my American netflix awhile ago and haven’t yet got it back. And I stupidly gave in and watched the remake first. I say ‘stupidly’ because this is an idiosyncratic thriller and I may have …

2011, Movies

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011, David Fincher)

Aside from the bizarre, music video opening – which also features a terrible cover of “Immigrant Song” – and the bizarre “Swedish” accents of all the Swedish characters (a huge pet peeve of mine in any English language film set in a foreign country), I think this is probably superior, as a film, to the …

2011, Music

Messiah (2011) by Georg Friedrich Handel, performed by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir, directed by Ivars Taurins

For something so unbelievably famous, I am shocked at how little of this (I believe) I have heard over the years. Pretty much just the “Hallelujah” chorus is all I recognize.

2011, Movies

X-Men: First Class (2011, Mathew Vaughn)

As a child, the X-Men were my favourite super heroes but for reasons I will no go into, I have not found the various X-Men films that I have seen particularly compelling. The first film was better than most of the other comic book movies of its era, but I did not enjoy the second …

1865, 1888, 2011, Music

Violin Sonatas: Bartok / Strauss / Grieg (2011) by Vilde Frang

This is a strong collection of mid-to-late Romantic and early modern violin sonatas. The collection spans a very long period of time.

2011, Movies

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011, John Pogue)

I thought I had seen the original but I was just getting it confused with some other “Stuck in a building, being chased by rabid humans” movies and, well, I’ve seen [Rec], so I basically have seen the original. (The implication is that the original Quarantine is just a [Rec] rip-off.)

2011, TV

Prohibition (2011, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

Prohibition is the shortest Burns mini-series yet, and I am tempted to say it is the best, or at least the most consistent of the mini-series he has helmed to date. It also feels the least mythological, which is refreshing coming from Burns, a man who can never avoid mythologizing or re-mythologizing his country’s history.

2011, Movies

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011, Rupert Wyatt)

This is the second attempt at “rebooting” the Planet of the Apes series and, I must assume, the more successful attempt, since the Burton remake hasn’t let to other films. It is apparently intended as a prequel to the original film, and not as a straight-up remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

Civilization (2011) by Niall Ferguson

This appears to me to be an attempt by Ferguson to provide a sort of sequel to Guns, Germs and Steel. I say that because both books begin the same way – the attempt to answer a question about Europe’s predominance over the last few hundred years and because Ferguson makes multiple reference’s to Diamond. …

1890, 1891, 1900, 1904, 1911, 1917, 1931, 1934, 2011, Music

The Complete Concertos (2011) by Alexander Glazunov, Performed by the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Jose Serebrier

I can be quite picky about compilations, especially when there is a supposed theme to them, such as “violin concertos.” I generally want my music to be at least of the same era – and performed by the same people – rather than a hodgepodge that some record exec thought was a good idea.

2011, Movies

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011, Guy Ritchie)

Putting aside this film’s complete diversion from the source material… (Unlike the original, this film doesn’t even bother to try to pretend it’s based on one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. It incorporates “elements” of two of them, which is a bit of a stretch.)

2011, Movies

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011, David Yates)

For one brief, incredible moment they had me: I thought I was about to witness the ballsiest act in movie franchise history – because I don’t read much fantasy, I know nothing about where it would fit in fantasy franchise history – and I was in the process of being blown away when, of course, …

2011, Movies

Fast Five (2011, Justin Lin)

In the very first scene in this movie, most of the principals should have died. So, really, the movie shouldn’t exist. You may wonder why I watched the fifth movie in a series without having seen the first four. In fact, you might suggest that it is totally unfair that I judge the fifth movie …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

The Divinity of Doubt (2011) by Vincent Bugliosi

It’s hard to know what to say about this book: I agree – most of the time – with Bugliosi’s position on this subject. But, as with his Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, this comes off as an unorganized rant that is made all the worse because he constantly claims other people – …

2011, Movies

Melancholia (2011, Lars Von Trier)

Mental illness is very difficult to portray on screen, but when it’s done well – in this film or Take Shelter, a very similar film in many ways, or Rachel Getting Married – it can be quite affecting. However, Von Trier seems to be suggesting that mental illness gives us some kind of superior insight …

2011, Music

Piano Quintent; String Quartet by Edward Elgar (2011) performed by Goldern Quartet, Piers Lane

This is an odd combination: we get a string quartet, piano pieces seemingly picked at random from two separate eras of his career, and the piano quintet. I guess they wanted to give us our money’s worth or something. The string quartet is good, but it’s hardly on the level of Bartok. In fact, I’d …

2011, Movies

Battle Los Angeles (2011, Jonathan Liebesman)

Stray thoughts on Battle: Los Angeles: “We cannot lose Los Angeles!” Why can’t we? Is Los Angeles a strategic position or does it just make a good “high concept” pitch? Those mountains behind it wouldn’t be a better place? Does the Hubble telescope look into the Earth’s atmosphere? Of course it does. “23rd Sergeant?” “You …

2011, Music

Essential Delius (2011) by Various Artists

This is a compilation and so we have to treat it with a bit of skepticism. But it does contain most of the major orchestral works of his, and so it does offer a good intro, even the performances aren’t exactly standardized. I remain slightly reticent to get into Frederick Delius and I can’t exactly …

2011, Movies

A Dangerous Method (2011, David Cronenberg)

This is a fictional version of the conflict between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung which caused a major fracturing in psychoanalysis, leading to the birth of a second school of thought. I think the major problem with this movie is that the filmmakers were not sure what story they were telling: the story of Freud …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

Bad Science (2011) by Ben Goldacre

First off, this is pretty much an essential read for anyone who doesn’t have a science background. Goldacre gives an easy to understand and funny crash course in basic evaluative tools to assess scientific studies