2022, Movies

The Banshees of Innisherin (2022, Martin McDonagh)

This is an extremely funny dark comedy that takes a turn for the tragic. It was introduced to us as a fable, and I think it has to be viewed that way given the basically inexplicable behaviour of Brendan Gleeson’s character. SPOILERS

2015, Podcasts

Undisclosed (2015)

Undisclosed ended in March. I found out more recently because I’m perpetually behind in my podcast listening. It’s kind of hard to sum up this podcast, because there are so many cases and I cannot remember all of them over the last seven years, but I wanted to mention something about them for the simple …

2022, Movies

Triangle of Sadness (2022, Ruben Östlund)

This is a satire cum gross out comedy about the world’s 1% broken up into 3 parts with a prologue. It won the Palme d’Or so there was more than a little hype going into it. What I can say is that it is very funny and it is breezy 147 minutes. So that’s something.

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

The Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy (2018) by Paul Myers

Full disclosure: The Kids in the Hall are among the most formative cultural influences of my life. I was too young when their show premiered, as I was 7 when the pilot aired and 8 when it premiered. However, I was old enough to watch it before it went off the air. (My guess is …

2022, Movies

Holy Spider (2022, Ali Abbasi)

For most of this film’s run-time, it’s a conventional, perhaps a little contrived serial killer film, with a great opening sequence, that is otherwise mostly distinguished by the fact it is set in Mashad, Iran. And then it goes to a place that these films don’t. But that’s a spoiler so SPOILERS

2022, Movies

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022, Laura Poitras)

This film tells the story of the (formerly controversial) photographer Nan Goldin through the lens of her crusade to convince the major art galleries of the world to stop receiving money from the Sacklers (the former owners of Purdue Pharma) and to remove the Sackler name from their institutions.

2022, Movies

Free Money (2022, Lauren DeFilippo, Sam Soko)

This is a brief bur reasonably compelling and entertaining documentary about a UBI experiment in Kenya by the charity GiveDirectly. Full disclosure: I have complete drunk the Universal Basic Income Kool-Aid so I am not going to be the most critical reviewer of anything about UBI. You have been warned.

2022, Movies

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2022, Aitch Alberto)

This is a coming of age drama about two teenage boys in El Paso in the late 1980s. Jenn and I were not warned it was based on a YA novel and so we did not know what we were getting into. (To clarify: we knew it was based on a novel, we just didn’t …

2022, Movies

Emily (2022, Frances O’Connor)

I normally hate when biopics deviate wildly from the historical record but, in this case, it really doesn’t bother me as much. And I think that’s because the director essentially admitted it was all made up in her introduction. I have more time for these historical inaccuracies if only because I know it’s fantasy. Mild …

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality (2017) by James Kwak

I agree with a lot of the author says but I’m not sure I like the way he says it. In fact, this feels a little bit like a book I would write, albeit with better sources – a rant about the spread of an idea from someone who is does not have a background …

2018, Movies

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018, Morgan Neville)

This is a super arty, slightly hagiographic documentary about The Other Side of the Wind, a film Orson Welles never released but apparently completed. If I knew, I had forgotten that the film was released with this documentary. (I have not yet watched the movie.)

2022, Movies

Death on the Nile (2022, Kenneth Branagh)

This is a bloated, basically humourless, and simply ridiculous version of Death on the Nile that makes the campy 1978 version look pretty great. I remember, when I saw Hamlet in theatres, an audience member loudly complaining about Branagh’s ego in the intermission. I thought, “But it’s Hamlet. He is the star of the play.” …

2022, Movies

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, Sam Raimi)

Can you tell my some characters in other universes are played by the same actors and others aren’t? Dr. Strange is the same actor but Spider-Man isn’t. Jenn suggested it was British cast who stayed the same and American cast who change which would be a silly but fun gag. But one of the surprise …

2014, Movies

Viy aka Forbidden Empire aka Forbidden Kingdom (2014, Oleg Stepchenko)

This is a bizarre Russian horror film starring an English actor (and so dubbed into English, at least on streaming services) that was made in 3D, so it looks extra bizarre on your TV. It is bizarrely listed as “Fantasy” on IMDB and, hence, on streaming services, but it’s horror (ish). I actually saw a …

2017, TV

Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip and Trickery (2017, Liz Plonka)

This is a pretty amusing but otherwise very standard standup special from someone who has long been one of my favourite standup comedians. (If I can be said to have favourites because I’m definitely a sketch comedy person.)

2022, Music, TV

South Park 25th Anniversary Concert

South Park premiered just before my 16th birthday. Though it took me a little while to watch it, I was at the very right age for it. I was still 16 when BASEketball came out and I was only 17 when Bigger, Longer & Uncut premiered. I was only 23 when Team America was released. …

2022, Movies, Sports

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist (2022, Ryan Duffy, Tony Vainuku)

All I remember of Manti Te’o was that his girlfriend didn’t exist and he was probably involved somehow. Watching this, that makes me sad. I feel so bad for this man, not just for what this other person did to him, but because of what we as a society did to him, for seemingly no …

2022, Music

Wilco Live at Budweiser Stage Thursday August 18, 2022

I last saw Wilco in 2009 and it was the best show I’ve ever seen. Apparently I didn’t blog about it but they absolutely blew me away. Some of this was my expectations, I don’t know if I’d listened to or watched any of their live stuff yet but, if I had, I still wasn’t …

2010, Books, Non-Fiction

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (2010) by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is a far-reaching, thorough but page-turning history of cancer. It is a remarkably readable book and I have trouble imagining that I will read another history of cancer, at least for some time, simply because this one was so readable it’s hard to imagine another book about the same subject would be this “easy” …

2014, 2015, 2016, TV

Penny Dreadful (2014)

This is a slightly campy (but somehow very serious) British horror fantasy show with the rather old, but somehow not tired conceit of a bunch of characters from famous 19th century history novels exist in the same universe. (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of horror, basically.) It’s a show that sometimes works well for what it …

1964, 1970, 1977, 1984, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2012, 2019, Movies, TV

The Up Documentaries (1964, 1970, 1977, 1984, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2012, 2019)

When I first was trying to figure out how I would sum this up, I said “probably the most ambitious documentary project ever.” I should have said “in English” as this idea was actually not invented by this series. Rather, the Germans beat the British to it by a few years. Due to typical Anglo …

Books, Fiction

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (1987)

So, first off, this is not the “complete stories” so that is a mark against this collection. There are both early stories and some later (I believe unpublished) stories that are in this. Still, it collects its most famous stories and a bunch of others.

2022, Movies

Spiderhead (2022, Joseph Kosinski)

I loved George Saunders. I’ve only read one collection and one other story, but I’ve loved everything I’ve read. (This reminds me, I really should read his collections.) But I’ve never read this story. (I will soon, now that it’s spoiled for me.) So I can’t comment on how true this movie is to the …