Category: 2018

2018, Music

Hadrian by Rufus Wainright Live at the Four Seasons Centre, October 17, 2018

This was the second ever performance of Rufus Wainwright’s second opera, Hadrian, which tells the story of Emperor Hadrian’s final day of his life, as he mourns his dead male lover. I should say at the outset that this is only the third 21st century opera I’ve ever seen, most of the operas I know …

2018, Movies

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, Henry Dunham)

This is a very stagey film – so stagey you’d think it was a play – that overcomes that limitation by being expertly made, even though it is Dunham’s first time directing a feature. (It’s a miraculous debut, in terms of Dunham’s ability to film and edit – I would sworn this was not a …

2018, Politics, Society

Ontario and the Notwithstanding Clause

There are many things to like about Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a more inclusive bill of rights than, say, the American one. But there’s always been a crucial flaw, the “Notwithstanding Clause.” This clause grants any provincial government the right to override the Charter in a specific instance for a specific period of …

2018, Movies

Museo (2018, Alonso Ruizpalacios)

This is a super hyper stylized, completely fantastical depiction of what is apparently the most notorious “art” heist in Mexican history. The movie makes no bones about how inaccurate it is – stating multiple times that it is not the true story – so do not go into this movie expecting a docudrama.

2018, Movies

Hold the Dark (2018, Jeremy Saulnier)

Expectations are an awful thing. I have seen and enjoyed every previous feature film Jeremy Saulnier has made. At some point I was going to see one I didn’t like. I’m not saying I didn’t like this, exactly, but I’m definitely struggling with it in ways I didn’t struggle with his previous two movies, and …

2018, Movies

The Realm aka El reino (2018, Rodrigo Sorogoyen)

This is a deeply flawed but otherwise pretty incredible thriller about white collar political corruption in Spain. The good aspects of it are so good that I really want to overlook the massive problems – such as the run-time – but I don’t think I can. Let’s put it this way: for 2/3rds of this …

2018, Movies

Winchester (2018, Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig)

This movie exists because somebody found out about the Winchester Mystery House and decided that a movie should be made about it, and then they wrote a script to try to explain why this house is creepy. If you haven’t been to the house, or you didn’t find it creepy, I suspect this movie does …

2018, Movies

Screwball (2018, Billy Corben)

If I could describe this documentary about Biogenesis and Alex Rodriguez in one word, it would be “glib.” This is one of the glibbest documentaries I’ve ever seen. On the one hand, that makes for a pretty funny movie. On the other hand, the style is very over the top and the filmmakers appear to …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Bad Blood (2018) by John Carreyou

This is a real page turner about how a startup deceived and defrauded investors, conned business partners and the public, and hounded former employees into not discussing the company’s problems. For someone like me, who pays little attention to Silicon Valley, it was an eye-opening read, as well as being impossible to put down. Carreyou …

2018, TV

Wild Wild Country (2018)

This is a crazy story about a cult, but not necessarily the kind of cult you might expect (i.e. not a death cult). Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is how much film there is of the cult.  But the film is problematic; to paraphrase one critic, it’s incredible that at over six hours …

2018, Movies

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist (2018, Barbara Schroeder)

This is a documentary miniseries about an absolutely bonkers crime, which shouldn’t be called America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, but rather American’s Craziest Bank Heist, or America’s Worst Bank Heist. If you are interested in true crime, I would strongly recommend watching this, both for how it tells the story and how this particularly story – …

2018, Music

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2018

This was the 20th year of WIMF – we have to say “20th year” because it didn’t happen in 2016 – but I must say that there perhaps a little less anticipation this year, because a lack of a headliner as prominent as previous years, and some concerns about the lineup. But I honestly enjoyed …

2018, Movies

McQueen (2018, Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui)

This is a pretty conventional chronology + historical footage + talking heads style documentary about someone who may have been, in my ignorant opinion, one of the most interesting fashion designers in history. I know nothing about fashion, and I really don’t care about it. It was only in adulthood that I discovered that there …

2013, 2018, Hockey, Personal, Sports

The Day My Leafs Fandom Died

As you know, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed John Tavares and have the strongest group of young forwards they’ve had in a very long time. If you put aside age, it’s probably safe to say it’s been 25 years or so since the last time the Leafs had this much talent in their Top …

2018, Personal, Philosophy, Psychology, Society

What if One of Your Core Beliefs is Based Upon a Lie?

Like any self-reflective adult, I like to believe that the beliefs I hold are based upon facts, not other beliefs. I spent a long time between the ages of 18 and 25 working to come to what I thought were defensible beliefs, beliefs based upon objective reality (as much as possible), rather than what I …

2018, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Memphis, Tennessee May 31 – June 3, 2018

So I went to Memphis over the weekend. We chose Memphis for an odd reason: it was our fallback after we decided we didn’t want to go to Nashville, as flights to Nashville for this particular weekend were too expensive, and we both read an article that soured us on that city. So we looked …

2018, Hockey, Philosophy, Society, Sports

The Nihilist Hockey League

I have been a fan of the hockey comedian/commentator Down Goes Brown for some time. I don’t remember when I became aware of him, but it was before he started writing for Grantland. I have appreciated both his comedic takes on what is a very silly league and also his perspective, which often seems to …

2018, Music, Theatre

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables live at the Four Seasons Centre, May 13, 2018

Back in 2008 or 2009 or so, the Canadian Opera Company put on a radically different performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “3 act” opera The Nightingale, buttressed by additional pieces in order to actually make the runtime somewhat comparable to a normal opera. (The Nightingale runs less than an hour.) I don’t know who initially curated the selections …

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 …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction, TV

All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of the Wire

Note: This is an oral history of how The Wire got made. You should only read this if you have seen The Wire in its entirety. The spoilers in this review concern the show, not the book.

2018, Personal, Sports, Travel

Riley Goes to Panorama Mountain Resort, February 3-February 9, 2018

For the past week, I was in the Kootenays, skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort, a place I have wanted to ski at for a very, very long time. (That is true of many ski resorts in North America, however.) I cannot say enough positive things about the resort and I would strongly encourage you to …

2018, Music

Black Inscription (2018) by Rabbit Rabbit

One of the things I love about this band is that I never know what their next record is going to sound like. They normally release one track a month but I always wait until the full album comes out, making the whole thing more of a surprise.