Category: 2016

2016, Movies

Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)

Peter Berg excels at a kind of hyper competence, where his films are technically extremely well made and impressive but which lack subtext or critical thinking. I often hate his films even though I have to grant that they always have exceptional production values. But this one is (a little) different. I think this is …

2016, Movies, TV

OJ: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)

I must say I paid relatively little attention to the OJ trial. I think I watched the car chase and I remember our French teacher bringing in the TV to watch the verdict, but that’s about it. My memory of the entire case is more about perceptions of what other people thought rather than facts. …

2016, 2018, TV

Westworld (2016)

Westworld was a pretty great concept when it was conceived and it’s a great concept now. It’s been forever since I’ve seen the movie – the inability of 1970s special effects to capture the concept well forever immortalized by The Simpsons – but the idea was so ahead of its time that it feels entirely …

2016, Movies

Inferno (2016, Ron Howard)

I have never read a Dan Brown novel and I imagine I could not handle reading one. But for some reason, perhaps because I enjoy watching bad movies, this is the second of the adaptations of his novels I’ve seen. I’m not sure this one is as stupid as Angels and Demons, but it’s pretty fucking …

2016, Movies

Warcraft (2016, Duncan Jones)

I’ve seen lots of video game adaptations but most of them have been action and horror games, not fantasy games. This fantasy game, which I played at some point in the distant past, has the added disadvantage that at least some of its basic species types have been stolen from Tolkien, giving it even less …

2016, Movies

Suicide Squad (2016, David Ayer)

It’s kind of hard to express how incomprehensibly incompetent this film is for a major Hollywood blockbuster.  I am not a fan of the Avengers films but, watching this I feel like those films are masterpieces in comparison. In fact, watching this film, I long for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s basic film-making competence – yeah, they’re …

2016, Movies

The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black)

This is pretty hilarious slapstick buddy comedy mashed up with a period film noir set in LA in 1977. I didn’t realize this is the guy who made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it was, and if you liked that movie, you’ll no doubt like this.

2016, Movies

Star Trek: Beyond (2016, Justin Lin)

For some reason, I have yet to see the first movie of this Star Trek reboot. I’ve seen Into Darkness and I didn’t love it. And I must say the things I didn’t love about Into Darkness and present to a degree in Beyond. But I seem to have come to terms with them better. Because this time, it …

2016, Movies

Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson)

When we’re watching movies, I think most of us never really think about the shots and scenes that got left “on the cutting room floor.” Unless we’re absolutely obsessed with a particular movie or filmmaker, most people don’t buy or watch the outtakes of most movies. Most of us accept the finished film as is, …

2016, Basketball, Books, Non-Fiction, Sports

Boys Among Men (2016) by Jonathan Abrams

This is a pretty excellent narrative history of the one and only generation of NBA stars to come directly from high school. Though I have one minor quibble, I got over it and, for the most part, it’s probably the definitive book about this topic.

2016, Music

Undestroyed (2016) by Free Salamander Exhibit

Even before listening to this record, the evocation of the former band is perhaps a little too overt. Not only does the artwork of the album recall Sleepytime Gorilla Museum but look at these band names: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum Free Salamander Exhibit People as creative as these guys are need to change up the format …

2016, Movies

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2016, John Scheinfeld)

This is a prestige documentary about John Coltrane featuring Denzel Washington of all people reading Coltrane’s own words, as well as a collection of interviews with Coltrane’s children (and step-daughter), critics, historians, biographers, fellow and later musicians and Bill Clinton. But if you are at all a fan of the man’s work, and you have …

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Music

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album (2017)

Much like The Simpsons (at least back when I watched it) music plays a very significant role in Bob’s Burgers. In fact, it plays an even more significant role, given the singing propensities of multiple characters in the Belcher family. This album collects the featured songs from the show, as well as a few covers …

2016, Books, Non-Fiction

A Natural History of Human Morality (2016) by Michael Tomasello

For the vast majority of recorded human history, we humans have believed that morality comes from somewhere outside of us; from “above,” from the ether, from some kind of benevolent creator, etc. Even as we have learned more and more about how humans evolved from apes who evolved from “lower” animals who evolved from “lower” …

2016, Movies

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016, Edward Zwick)

After watching this sequel, I feel like I should go back and up my rating on the original because, for all its flaws – some seemingly inherent in the source material – the original movie was entertaining as these things go. This one is not. SPOILERS (for this film and the original)

2016, Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Bryan Singer)

The stakes got upped a bit in the previous entry and so I must say I was worried about the endless stake-upping occurring in this series, like it does with the Avengers movies. And, to an extent, the stakes are indeed upped passed the point of sanity. The bad guy is a different kind of …

2016, Movies

Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum)

I feel like every single time I watch one of these legendary blockbuster bombs I find myself asking the same question: did I watch the same movie as everyone else? Make no mistake: this is not a good film. But once you’ve been told something is The Worst over and over again, your expectations get …

2016, Movies

Jason Bourne (2016, Paul Greengrass)

Why there’s another Bourne movie I don’t know. This one hits all the marks you’d expect: Bourne is mad at the CIA and is taking some kind of action, there’s someone on inside helping him out. (Actually 2 people, but whatever.) The cast is too good for the material, as is usual with these films, …

2016, Music

Hotel California (1976) by Eagles

Who is this record for? Clearly, it’s for a lot of people, as it sold somewhere between 20 and 30 million copies. But listening to it, I don’t know who it’s for. The rock tracks feel like they appeal to one group of people, and the sappy, over-produced soft rock ballads to another group. It’s …

2016, Movies

Captain America: Civil War (2016, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo)

What is this? Is it a 2 and a half hour prelude to another movie? Because it sure feels like that to me. It’s the nadir of this recent trend in blockbusters to split a movie into two halves. Because, though this is ostensibly a Captain America film, what it really feels like is just …

2016, Movies

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015, Joss Whedon)

I pretty much only watch Marvel movies when I am looking for something I don’t have to think about. Civil War was just added so I figured I’d watch that, distract myself from my surgery tomorrow. But then I remembered I hadn’t seen this one, so I figured I’d watch it first. SPOILERS I guess

2016, Music

The Dillinger Escape Plan Live at The Opera House, Friday December 16, 2016

I wanted to go see The Dillinger Escape Plan in August but my friend who likes them had to work both nights. I figured I’d see them next time. Then they announced they were going on “hiatus,” seemingly permanently, and I thought, for the nth time, “Once again I have failed to see a band …