Category: 2020

2020, Movies

2020 Toronto International Film Festival

For what may be the third year in a row, I only saw 5 movies at TIFF. Every year I resolve to see more the next year but it never seems to happen. Now, this year is different, obviously. This year I watched TIFF films on my couch. And this year I only watched 5 …

2020, Movies

Nuevo orden aka New Order (2020, Michel Franco)

This is a very promising film about class conflict in Mexico that gets really confused and, for me, goes off the rails to the point where I am kind of astounded it won a Grand Jury Prize at a film festival. SPOILERS later in the review.

2020, Movies

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020, Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan)

I saw the original Corporation sometime back in the aughts. I have no idea whether or not I would like it now. This film is infuriating, both because of the problems in the world it reminds us of, and because of how unfocused it is. In many ways, it feels like two movies, the sequel …

2020, Movies

76 Days (2020, Weixi Chen, Hao Wu, Anonymous)

This is a harrowing but ultimately kind of triumphant fly-on-the-wall style documentary about COVID-19 patients and the frontline workers looking after them in China. If you are lucky enough to have not gotten sick but feel like this has been really hard, I strongly suggest you watch this movie. (And if you think this whole …

2019, 2020, Basketball, Sports

Your 2019-20 Toronto Raptors

There is a lot of disappointment in Toronto right now and I’m not sure it’s warranted. The Toronto Raptors won the title last year. They then lost two starters: one of the 3-5 best players in the entire league – and best Raptor ever in terms of pure two-way talent – and a candidate for …

2020, Books, Non-Fiction

10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less (2020) by Garrrett Jones

This is a frustrating book. I agree with some of what he says and he inspired me to come up with some additional ideas. But I find the presentation ill-thought out, and I find his perspective limited, and rather traditional.

2020, Movies

Enemies of the State (2020, Sonia Kennebeck)

This is a masterful documentary about an American potential whistle-blower accused of child pornography and related charges, who took refuge in Canada. I paid no attention to the story at the time, so the entire thing was new to me. Before I get to the review: if you like documentaries about the nature of truth, …

2020, Personal, Society

Journal of the Plague Year: Blood on Their Hands

If you had asked someone in Autumn 2019 which country would be best equipped to handle a pandemic, they might have answered “The United States”. They have the most resources of any country in the world. Of course, given who is in power, they might have expressed doubt. But ask the question in Autumn 2015, …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: Nobody Follows the Rules

“Nobody is following the rules!” That is what literally everyone is saying. So many people are saying it that some of the people who are saying it must also not be following rules. As Jenn put it, each of us thinks we are following the rules better than everyone else. And we want everyone else …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: It’s Oh So Quiet

Time has lost all meaning. Weekdays feel like weekends and weekends feel like weekdays. The only thing that lets me figure it out is consciously thinking about it. I have a weekday work schedule, which helps too. But I still have to think to myself “This is a weekday” in order to start it. So …

2020, Music

Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020) by Fiona Apple

So, full disclosure: I love Fiona Apple. My least favourite of all her albums is her first record, which is still extremely impressive for someone of her age. (Compare it to records made by similarly aged artists through the history of pop music, I bet it stands out pretty strongly). So I don’t think I …

2020, Personal, Society

A Journal of the Pandemic Year: Day 37

Continued from Day 36 I think one reason I don’t have much to say about our pandemic is because I have been putting my faith in the experts, to a much greater degree than I normally do. From the beginning, my girlfriend was paying far more attention than I was and was more informed. And …

2020, Movies

Made You Look (2020, Barry Avrich)

This is a very well done, but very straight-forward, art fraud documentary that is apparently so new I can’t even rate it on IMDB yet. It turns out I was already familiar with the story – we think through an episode of American Greed – but the access the filmmakers get and the skill with …

2020, Personal, Society

A Journal of the Pandemic Year: Day 36

The WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11th. On March 12th my province extended the upcoming March Break for an additional week. On March 14th, my country recommended against international travel. On March 17th, my province declared a State of Emergency. (The day before, my girlfriend’s office instructed them to work from home.) On …

2020, Philosophy, Politics, Society

The Problem of Subjectivity

Throughout most of human history, we haven’t done a good job of understanding objective reality. Learning about objective reality has been a slow, difficult process, with many setbacks, but which has rapidly accelerated in the last few centuries, especially the last one. If you compare the growth of scientific knowledge about the universe versus the …

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, TV

BoJack Horseman (2014)

There’s something about animation that gives TV shows (and some movies) a freedom of tone which is not accessible to live action movies and TV. Something about animated characters lets us humans be more accepting of tonal shifts and sight gags. At least I think so. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered another show more …

2020, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to North Carolina Day 4: Charlotte Monday March 2, 2020

We had a lazy morning this morning, because we didn’t really have any fixed plans this day. Eventually we packed, checked out, got the hotel to store our luggage and walked back to near the stadium.

2020, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to North Carolina Day 3: Asheville to Charlotte Sunday March 1, 2020

We had to get up early because the car was due back 48 hours from when we rented it, which meant we had to drive from Asheville to Charlotte before noon.

2020, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to North Carolina Day 2: Asheville Saturday February 29, 2020

We had big plans for this morning. Or rather, I should say, I had big plans. To go hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had looked up a bunch of “winter” hikes, which would be accessible at any time of the year. The night before our shuttle driver recommended heading up to Mount Mitchell …

2020, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to North Carolina Day 1: Charlotte to Asheville, February 28, 2020

We went to Asheville, North Carolina this weekend. A lot of people, both in Toronto and in North Carolina, have asked me why. My answer is usually “beer”.

2020, TV

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)

This is a frustrating but also fascinating brief documentary series about Aaron Hernandez the NFL tight end who was convicted of murdering one person, charged with murdering two others, and credibly accused of shooting at least one other person. I paid no attention to this at the time so much of this was new to …