1991, 2020, Books, Music, Non-Fiction

I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen – 33 1/3 (2020) by Ray Padgett

I had actually never listened to I’m Your Fan before. And I’m not a huge fun So why did I read this? I enjoyed Ray’s first book a lot, and was interested in the next one. And, full disclosure: I write for his website, Cover Me. In order to read the book, I did manage to listen to the …

2022, Movies

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022, Rian Johnson)

It’s likely you have high expectations for this film, if you enjoyed the first one as much as I did. And that’s a dangerous thing. But I’m happy to report that this is both not the same movie as the first one and manages to still hit some similar topical notes. I think it mostly …

1996, Books, Fiction

The Lions of Al-Rassan (1996) by Guy Gavriel Kay

I read this book because Kay is my girlfriend’s favourite fantasy writer (and she really doesn’t like fantasy). I had really never heard of him before and didn’t fully realize he was Canadian. (Also, I knew nothing of his association with Tolkien.) I liked this book more than I thought I might, and more than …

1962, Movies

Harakiri [aka Seppuku] (1962, Masaki Kobayashi)

I was not familiar with jidaigeki but I’ve seen a few of them without knowing it. It’s possible that what I’m going to say about this film only makes sense in western genres and not in jidaigeki but, given that I’ve only a few of these films, I have no idea.

2022, Music

Jazz Sabbath, Vol. 2 (2022)

The second volume from Jazz Sabbath is considerably more ambitious musically than the first and, to my ears, considerably more campy. The first volume is tagged/categorized as, among other things, musical parody. But, aside from the “liner” notes, I honestly didn’t hear any parody. I heard a genuinely earnest and serious attempt to play Sabbath …

1940, Movies

The Great Dictator (1940, Charles Chaplin)

As the only American film (before their entry into World War II) to deal with the Nazis, I think we have to give it, and Chaplin, a lot of credit. It might seem crazy now, but some people didn’t think this movie should be made, or at least should be toned down. And this is …

2020, Music

Jazz Sabbath (2020)

Once, many years ago, when I was describing Paranoid to a friend who was skeptical of Black Sabbath, I used the term “jazzy” (or, perhaps, “relatively jazzy”). He scoffed. (He was probably thinking of the title track and thought I was crazy). I was referring, specifically, to Butler and Ward, who I felt played their early metal …

2022, Movies

The Bob’s Burgers Movie (2022, Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman)

Like every 22-minute TV show turned into a movie, this one struggles with enough laughs for its runtime. But it’s still pretty enjoyable and has most of the stuff you’d want in a Bob’s Burgers episode.

2013, Movies

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013, Peter Jackson)

This second film in the hilariously long adaptation of a 310-page novel is mercifully a little bit shorter than the first. (Though not much.) This one I’d actually mostly scene prior to actually sitting down to watch it, as I think it’s been on a lot over the years on channels available in hotels I’ve …

2012, Movies

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, Peter Jackson)

This nearly 3 hour film is the first part of a preposterous adaptation of a 310-page novel. I have no idea why anyone thought a novel this short needed to be adapted into three films, none of which are less than 2 hours and twenty minutes in length. It’s one thing to make an epic-length …

1983, Movies

Space Raiders (1983, Howard R. Cohen)

When this movie came out, somebody noticed some of the spaceship fighting scenes were the same as Battle Beyond the Stars. And somebody noticed the score was the same too. Remarkably, despite those hilarious facts, this is not among the worst movies ever made. SPOILERS?

2022, Music

Séances (2022) by Trevor Dunn’s Trio-Convulsant avec Folie à Quatre

I absolutely loved Sister Phantom Owl Fish when I first heard it when it came out, both because it was one of my first encounters with jazz that had metal influences (it might have been my first) and it was my first encounter with Mary Halvorson, and her extremely unique style of guitar playing. It …

2019, Music

Nothing Belongs Here (2019) by the Joe Policastro Trio

This is the first JPTrio record with originals. And I think I just like it less than their earlier records. That’s far less of a comment on their originals than it is on how easy it is to like the earlier records, when their material is pretty well known.

2017, Music

Screen Sounds (2017) by The Joe Policastro Trio

The third album by the Joe Policastro trio focuses on movie and TV themes (with one exception) and is, in some ways, even more fun than their second record. Certainly, it’s even more diverse. This time the material is just as varied, if not even more so. I’m particularly delighted by the presence of the …

2010, Books, Non-Fiction

Merchants of Doubt (2010) by Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway

This is a thorough and damning account of the so-called “Tobacco Strategy” and the “improvements” upon it, in which larger corporations fund think tanks and pay real scientists to discredit the work of other scientists which threatens their products.

2022, Music

The Joe Policastro Trio Live at The Rex October 26, 2022

A few weeks ago, I was browsing Cover Me’s Best Cover Songs of September and I came across a fun jazz guitar cover of “Take on Me.” I liked it. Jenn liked it. So I followed the group on the socials and saw that they would be in Toronto in a few weeks.