Category: Movies

2017, 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 …

2015, Movies

The Night Before (2015, Jonathan Levine)

This is one of those seemingly innumerable movies where celebrity cameos are viewed as a substitute for a good story and laughs. This is one of those “spot the cameo” movies, with a host of famous people popping up at different points. I suppose Scrooged is like that too, but at least it’s working off of A …

1999, Movies, Music

Buena Vista Social Club (1999, Wim Wenders)

I have had a copy of the album for over a decade and so I must say that (much of) the music featured in this film is quite familiar. But I had long erroneously thought that the album and the film were more closely related and so I found myself quite confused for a good …

2006, Movies

Den brysomme mannen (2006, Jens Lien)

Imagine a dryer, less quirky, less fantastic Brazil and you get some faint idea of what this Norwegian film is like, a dystopian fantasy dark comedy which acts either as a critique of materialism/consumerism or as a horrible vision of the afterlife. (I’m not 100% sure which.) SPOILERS (I realize I already spoiled something for you. …

2009, Movies

Budrus (2009, Julia Bach)

This should be an inspiring documentary a village banding together to stop an oppressive foreign government from building a wall through their land. I say “should” because between when this film was released and when I watched it, 8 years later, the Israeli government did indeed succeed in building the wall around Budrus, though maybe …

1974, Movies

Murder on the Orient Express (1974, Sidney Lumet)

I think there are two things to talk about when discussing this film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express: there’s the success of the film as an adaptation of the novel and then there’s the source material, the novel itself. SPOILER ALERT

2012, Movies

Brooklyn Castle (2012, Katie Dellamaggiore)

Brooklyn Castle is a film about a year in the of a particularly successful junior high school chess team. The film follows a few of these students of different ages as they compete in chess tournaments. At first glance, it feels like one of the innumerable “kids competing” documentaries that spread up in the wake …

2011, Movies

Cowboys and Indians (2011, Jon Favreau)

Many years ago, in my teens, I had a habit of writing down every movie idea I had, as I dreamed I would one day be a filmmaker. One such idea was a western film in which aliens showed up part way through. However, a key part of the idea – perhaps the key part …

2014, Movies

As Above, So Below (2014, John Erick Dowdle)

This is yet another found-footage horror film, number 300 and something at this point. (I have no idea whether that’s high or low.) When this was made, it was 15 years since Blair Witch. At some point, shouldn’t low-budget horror filmmakers realize this gimmick is a little tired?

2017, Movies

Gifted (2017, Marc Webb)

This is a film about one of those precocious child geniuses that only exist in Hollywood movies (and independent movies that wish they were Hollywood movies – I’m looking at your Good Will Hunting) and how such geniuses should be nurtured. In real life, nobody is quite as smart (or quite as high functioning if they …

2017, Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn)

I don’t know what kind of ill-humour causes me to not love these movies as much as the next guy, but I was pretty damn underwhelmed by the (possibly over-hyped) first Guardians of the Galaxy and really had no plans to watch this one, unless I was bored one day looking through Netflix (which is how …

2005, Movies

Brokeback Mountain (2005, Ang Lee)

I think it’s probably hard to discuss Brokeback Mountain without talking about the hype: this film is considered by many to be a landmark either in Hollywood with regard to LGBTQ topics, or in LGBTQ cinema in general. Now, I don’t know much about the history of LGBTQ cinema – just what I got from a …

2009, Movies

2012 (2009, Roland Emmerich)

It’s a testament to the endless credulity of human beings that this film got made as a blockbuster, with the budget that entails and the all-star cast. The Mayan Apocalypse thing was some the worst horse shit I’ve heard the intelligent people I know spew, and it drove me crazy that I knew people who …

2017, Movies

Toronto International Film Festival 2017

This year, I saw the fewest movies at TIFF that I have seen since I first started attending the festival around a decade ago. The reason for seeing so few films  will become apparent in about a month. Here is my round up of the films I saw at the 2017 edition of The Toronto …

2017, Movies

TIFF 2017: One of Us (2017, Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady)

I have seen a few Ewing-Grady documentaries so far and I have always found they tackle fascinating subjects but I have never loved the way in which they tackle them. Though I appreciate their attempts at breaking outside of documentary norms and customs (to a degree) I also sometimes find their attempts to do so …

2017, Movies

TIFF 2017 Racer and the Jailbird (2017, Michaël R. Roskam)

This is an entertaining, albeit slight, amalgam of the bank heist genre with one of those romances where the two alpha leads, who do risky things in their professional lives, fall in love with each other, but which is pretty much entirely ruined by an absolutely bonkers left turn (well, a series of left turns) …

2017, Movies

Tiff 2017: The Death of Stalin (2017, Armando Iannucci)

Iannucci’s new film is, as I understand it, a bit of a left turn for him: it’s an adaptation of a graphic novel based upon the real event of the title. Though I had no such fears, one could be understandably trepidacious about Iannucci turning his satirical eye to something historically accurate.

Books, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Society, Theatre, TV

In Praise of Cultural Appropriation

This article is about the accusation of “cultural appropriation” being thrown around at works of art. I may not be entitled to write this.

2014, Movies

The Monuments Men (2014, George Clooney)

This is a reasonably entertaining, but oddly paced and very traditional film that dramatizes the efforts the US went to in order to rescue the art that the Nazis stole in World War II. As far as I can tell, it is very, very, very loosely based on the true story.

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)