Tag: 2013

2013, Movies

Now You See Me (2013, Louis Leterrier)

Every so often you see a movie you’ve heard about a lot and it’s just entirely not what you would think. And it’s hard to know what to do with this schizophrenic, ADD film which doesn’t have a main character but has way too many characters, played by a ridiculous cast. SPOILERS

2013, Movies

Hell Baby (2013, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon)

This is a really dumb spin on The Exorcist crossed with The Amityville Horror – or some kind of possessed house movie, I haven’t seen that one in a while – but which manages to be pretty funny, all the while being fairly obvious. If you’ve seen Reno 911, it’s basically the same kind of comedy – it’s made …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction

The Boys in the Boat (2013) by Daniel Jams Brown

All I know of the 1936 Olympics is Olympia and Jesse Owens. So this story, the story the American Gold medal-winning 8 man crew, their coxswain, their coach and their boat builder (yes, even him) was completely new to me. I don’t even remember the rowing scenes in Olympia very well. This is an exciting …

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 …

2013, Books, Music, Non-Fiction

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion (2013) by Robert Gordon

This book tells the story of Stax Records, but it isn’t just a the story of Stax the record label, as it also places the story in the context of Memphis and the civil rights movement, and there are some very interesting parallels between the rise and fall of Stax and other American businesses.

2013, Movies

Buying Sex (2013, Teresa MacInnes, Kent Nason)

This documentary about prostitution in Canada is a little brief, a little low-budget, and a little too reliant on talking heads, but overall it is extremely nuanced and well worth your time if you are interested in laws and policies about prostitution, or about gender equality.

2013, Movies

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013, Lee Daniels)

Yes, seriously, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is the name of this movie. Even though this movie is ostensibly “based on a true story,” the director is responsible for it. The title is actually a clue: the filmmakers have so altered the story as to completely alter it. This is, in effect, the Black Forrest Gump.

2013, Movies, TV

Horici ker [Burning Bush] (2013, Agnieszka Holland)

Burning Bush is a 21st century version of those unaccountably good European TV mini series which are released in North America as films (often in abridged form). Though we have been living in a golden age of television in North America since right before the beginning of this century, it wasn’t always like that here. …

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Music

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album (2017)

Much like The Simpsons (at least back when I watched it) music plays a very significant role in Bob’s Burgers. In fact, it plays an even more significant role, given the singing propensities of multiple characters in the Belcher family. This album collects the featured songs from the show, as well as a few covers …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction

Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City (2013) by Russell Shorto

When I was in high school and even when I was in university we learned liberalism like this: The Magna Carta invented “responsible government” Thomas Hobbes invented the liberal constitution but his king had too much power John Locke took the Hobbesian constitution and paired it with better institutions and gave us liberalism Then the …

2007, 2013, Books, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste (2007, 2013 Expanded Edition)

Note: I am reviewing the reissue. This is an engaging, thought-provoking and highly readable discussion about taste, what it is, and the philosophical and practical issues inherent in taste.

2013, Movies

Coherence (2013, James Ward Byrkit)

This is one of those super talky, high concept science fiction films which feels like it was written for the stage. (Many of these have been written for the stage, but this one apparently was not.) There are a lot of these films by this point and it’s sort of become its own sub genre. …

2013, Movies

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013, Harald Zwart

This is one of the innumerable young adult fantasy franchises that has seemingly popped up out of nowhere over the last decade and a half. I watched it for the same reasons that I watch all of these – I enjoy bad movies. This one is, at times, better than a lot of the other …

2013, Movies

Captain Phillips (2013, Paul Greengrass)

This film reminds me a lot of Black Hawk Down, a similarly politically clueless film about East Africa, which is so well made and so compulsively watchable that, as a white Canadian, I stop caring about its political cluelessness.

2013, Books, Fiction

The Dilettantes (2013) by Michael Hingston

Full Disclosure: This novel was written by a friend of my brother’s. When I was younger, I reviewed everything without regard to who created it and so wrote some reviews of music made by friends that I didn’t love, though I couldn’t tell them this to their faces because I’m a coward. As I’ve gotten …

2013, Movies

Broken (2013, Bright Wonder Obasi)

Had I not seen other Nollywood movies, I might have been shocked by how awful this film’s production values are. But having seen a number of Nollywood movies now, I know that this is actually above average when it comes to those production values. It’s only the sound that’s really, really awful (and only at …

2010, 2011, 2013

Borgen (2010)

Borgen is a remarkable, unique Danish television show that may have established it’s own genre. Every other TV show to focus on politics that I have ever seen has added elements of fantasy; normally these shows and movies are “political thrillers” where someone always dies; occasionally they’re comedies. Either way, there is a balance between …

2013, Books, Journalism, Non-Fiction, Society

Informing the News (2013) by Thomas E. Patterson

This book was written to make the case for “knowledge-based” journalism. It was sponsored by an initiative that is trying to establish that kind of journalism. The author believes strongly in the cause and has been a crucial part of the initiative that sponsored his work here.

2013, Movies

Blue is the Warmest Color aka La vie d’Adele (2013, Abdellatif Kechiche)

This is an affecting, if long, coming of age story that contains perhaps the most graphic sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a coming of age movie (i.e. a movie involving “teens”). The film goes places other films don’t with the passion of “first love” thing, i.e. explicit sex. But there’s a lot more to …

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Mad Men (2007)

I watched Mad Men over an even longer period than most of you, so my memory of the individual episodes is not perfect. I know there were some weaker ones in there, and there even parts of seasons – perhaps even whole seasons – that I didn’t enjoy on the level of the best parts …

2013, Music

Bastards (2013, Claire Denis)

Denis takes your typical revenge thriller plot – solitary man’s loved one(s) is wronged and he seeks revenge – and flips it on itself. The solitary man is solitary because he works on tankers. His family is hurt by a suicide – not, on its face, a wrong inflicted upon them. And the world he …

2013, Movies

The Purge (2013, James DeMonaco)

The opening text this movie displays, explaining what ‘the purge’ is, is basically the pitch meeting for this movie. The filmmaker likely walked into an office, said those exact words, mentioned some actors for the key roles, and got this green-lit. This film is a perfect symbol of what is wrong with “high concept” films …