Category: 2017

2017, Movies

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Jon Watts)

I hate reboots. There are perhaps few things I hate more than reboots than reboots of reboots. And yet, I must admit, this one works. And it works way better than expected. This film is, for me, one of the top 3 MCU movies. It might be the best, actually. Very minor spoilers if you …

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite (2017) by Jake Bernstein

I think tax avoidance/evasion is the second most important issue of our time. So I wanted to be able to recommend this book highly. Alas, I can’t unequivocally recommend it, though I would say it’s worth reading if you are unaware, as I am, of a better book on the subject. (I’m sure it’s out …

2017, Music

Far From Over (2017) by ViJay Iyer Sextet

This is my second Vijay Iyer record, the other one I’ve heard was a trio record which was obviously not as full band as this one. That makes him one of the 21st century jazz artists I’m actually paying attention to, because my popular music podcast has me ignoring jazz basically altogether at the moment.

2017, TV

Alias Grace (2017, Mary Harron)

This is a Canadian mini series with great pedigree, a Margaret Atwood novel adapted by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron. I’m not sure Canadian television gets much more prestigious than this. (Also, Paul Gross is in it. But of course he is.) Those are some weighty expectations which, fortunately, I was not really …

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Movies

Riley’s Best Films of the 2010s

I am an avid movie watcher. I have seen something like 5,000 movies in my life as well as countless hours of movie-quality TV. But my pace has slowed somewhat in the last decade, as life has gotten in the way. Moreover, because I see so few movies in theatres outside of my annual TIFF …

2017, Movies

Logan Lucky (2017, Steven Soderbergh)

This is a very enjoyable heist comedy full of quirky performances and fun cameos. It’s a pretty silly film – some have called it a “hill billy” or “red neck” Ocean’s Eleven and the film itself calls it “Ocean’s 7-11” – but it’s pretty funny and manages to also be enjoyable as a heist movie, …

2017, Movies

Blade Runner 20149 (2017, Denis Villeneuve)

I’ve seen the original Blade Runner 2 or 3 times over 10 years ago but I’ve yet to be completely sold on it. Before I watched, multiple people (critics, friends) told me it was one of the best movies ever made. I liked it more the second or third viewing, but I’ve never come around …

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Weaponized Lies (2017) by Daniel J. Levitin

This is a layman’s summary of how to understand probability and statistics and other critical thinking tools Levitin feels are necessary to have in the era of “Post-Truth”. It’s very much meant for the lay reader and it’s likely an expert in statistics or (especially) probability will be bored and possibly even annoyed. At this …

2017, Books, Music, Non-Fiction

Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time (2017) by Ray Padgett

This is not “The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time.” I don’t know how you would figure out what songs those were and it’s really entirely subjective.

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Killers of the Flower Moon (2017) by David Grann

This book is an eye-opening story that is part true crime, part history and part investigation into one of the worst parts of American history, a story that has seemingly been mostly forgotten, due to the ethnicity of the victims and how it violates American national myths. It is an awful story, but it is …

2017, 2018, Basketball, Sports

Your 2017-2018 Toronto Raptors: Blow it all up?

Every year at this time of year I usually write a recap of the Raptors season. (Before I switched allegiances, it was a Leafs’ recap.) I’m sorry to say I don’t really do this for other people. I know there are actual basketball writers in the world who have actual things to say about Toronto …

2017, Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017, Rian Johnson)

When this movie came out, I read in various places that it was perhaps the best Star Wars movie ever made. That would be a tall order, I guess, if I actually enjoyed Star Wars as an adult. The thing is, I don’t. I keep watching these movies and whatever it was that compelled me to really …

2017, Movies

Alien: Covenant (2017, Ridley Scott)

It’s been so long since I saw the latter Alien sequels that I do not remember if they cared much about mythology, but I feel like they must have, at least a little bit. But Prometheus, which was only sort of a prequel – depending upon who you spoke to – really introduced mythology to the series, …

2017, Music

Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World (2017, Barry Avrich)

This is an engaging, thought-provoking documentary about the state of the art world in the 21st century (especially post Great Recession) that is perhaps a little too hyper-stylized for its own good.

2017, Movies, TV

Crooked House (2017, Gilles Paquet-Brenner)

This is an atmospheric adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel with an all-star cast that does a very good job aesthetically, even though it gets a little over-the-top, but I’m not entirely sure the source material is quite as strong as it needs to be. SPOILERS

1967, 2017

High Priestess of Soul (1967) by Nina Simone

Aside from her voice and her piano playing, the thing that stands out most about Nina Simone among her fellow soul singers of this era is her variety and versatility: listen to most other 1967 soul albums and you will hear one thing, soul. Yes, there will be slow soul songs and their will be …

2017, TV

The Keepers (2017, Ryan White)

The Keepers is a fascinating, moving, infuriating and ultimately frustrating true crime documentary mini series both about who killed a nun in 1969 but, also, on a larger level, the moral corruption of the Catholic Church and the government authorities who have protected the Church or at least ignored complaints against it. HUGE SPOILERS but …

2017, Movies

Wonder Woman (2017, Patty Jenkins)

Wonder Woman is yet another super hero origin story. It is obviously different from most feature comic book super hero origin stories we’ve seen before for a very obvious reason – the character is a woman – but, otherwise, I found the movie reminiscent of a number of previous super hero films, one in particular. …

2017, TV

The Problem with Apu (2017, Michael Melamedoff)

The Problem with Apu is a brief, made-for-TV documentary about how the only major American (east) Indian character on TV for a very long time was a stereotype voiced by a white guy. As a white guy myself, of course I never had any problems with Apu. Fortunately we now live in an age where …

2017, Movies

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017, DJ Caruso)

If I saw the first xXx film, I don’t remember enough of it, beyond that terrible CGI snow, to know whether this film is significantly worse. But it sure feels like it. Much like the Fast and the Furious franchise, this film feels like a very calculated attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator of movie …

2017, TV

Five Came Back (2017)

Five Came Back is an affecting and interesting mini-series about five major Hollywood directors who helped the US propaganda efforts in World War II. Each of the five directors is paired with a modern director/admirer who helps tell the story. That conceit is a neat one which helps distinguish this documentary from the numerous others …