Tag: 2014

2014, Movies

The November Man (2014, Roger Donaldson)

This is an over-plotted spy thriller with a hell of lot that doesn’t ring true. (Yes, I recognize that it’s a spy thriller, but they don’t even try to make it realistic.) I spent most of the movie wondering why they couldn’t have just made a better movie. SPOILERS

2014, Movies

The Calling (2014, Jason Stone)

I do not believe in god but I recognize that a lot of people still do. And I recognize that there is a broad appeal in movies with explicit or implicit religious content. Despite my lack of belief I do occasionally find religious horror films and thrillers quite effective, in part because the rich traditions …

2014, Books, Non-Fiction

The Human Age (2014) by Diane Ackerman

This is an endlessly fascinating book about how human beings are currently shaping the world through technological innovation, and how we have shaped the world in the past. Though the back might convince you it’s about how humans are fighting climate change, it’s really about much more than that, as the climate change section is …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction

The Meaning of Human Existence (2014) by Edward O Wilson

This is a weird book, which doesn’t exactly live up to its title. It’s a book of philosophy by a biologist, who spends his time telling us where evolutionary biology is in 2013, what he thinks about aliens and getting mad at “The Humanities” for ignoring science. I can’t say I really enjoyed it all …

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 …

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?

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.

2014, Movies

What We Do in the Shadows (2014, Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi)

This is an amusing parody of reality TV disguised as a vampire comedy. It’s pretty slight, however: the plot is basically an extended reality TV episode about what happens when the house gets a new member or two, rather than anything more compelling. But there are enough gags – and the now patented New Zealand …

2014, Movies

Cold in July (2014, Jim Mickle)

I’m not sure exactly what to say about this bizarre film that offers a new twist (or several) on the age old “redemption through violence” theme in American cinema. The plot goes a very different way than I would have ever expected which is to the novel’s credit, I guess. But that big left turn …

1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2014

Augusta Read Thomas: Selected Works for Orchestra (2014) by Various Artists

This is a compilation of performances of some of Thomas’ writing for orchestra. I got this from the library by accident but decided to listen to it anyway.

2014, Movies

The Boxtrolls (2014, Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi)

Every so often I see a kid’s movie that’s really worth seeing and this is one of them. Like all modern stop motion animation, this is pretty incredible stuff. (I imagine seeing it in 3D would have been something else altogether, so that was a missed opportunity.)

Movies

Citizenfour (2014, Laura Poitras)

Like many of you, I paid attention to the Snowden leaks when they came out – as much attention as I could – and have followed The Intercept and others about the surveillance state since that time. But, on the other hand, my process of making my own life less accessible to the surveillance state …

2014, Movies

Cathedrals of Cultural (2014, Karim Aïnouz, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin, Robert Redford, Wim Wenders)

This is an omnibus film about various man-made architectural wonders in the world.

2014, Movies

Calvary (2014, John Michael McDonagh)

This is a strange film about the priesthood in Ireland, which starts with an extremely (basically ridiculous) high concept plot, spends most of its time in dark (very dark) comedy and then veers into deep pathos. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and does well.

2016, Movies

John Wick (2014, Chad Stahelski, David Leitch)

This is a revenge film that takes place in a bizarre universe in which all the hitmen I (and hitwomen!) hang out at the same hotel and club. That is a ridiculous conceit that would bother me if the movie around it wasn’t entertaining. I mean, why wouldn’t the police (virtually non-existent in this film) …

2014

Black See (2014, Kevin Macdonald)

For the most part, this is a pretty effective submarine movie with a great, out-of-character performance from Jude Law. It does what a submarine movie should do, and it does it well. There are, however, a few major quibbles that I have that hampered the movie in my mind. They involve some MAJOR SPOILERS.

2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo)

I think I like this more than the first movie, though I can’t necessarily identify why. One thing that differentiates it from so many other current super hero movies is that the enemy at the end of the film isn’t some ridiculous, world-destroying force or space monsters, or whatever. So that’s something. But there are …

2014, Movies

Edge of Tomorrow (2014, Doug Liman)

Let’s get this out of the way: the premise – a science-fiction/action version of Ground Hog Day – is dumb. This is basically the film version of playing a video game, albeit condensed into 2 hours. But if you can get over that (and over the presence of Tom Cruise)… SPOILERS!

2014, Movies

Bird People (2014, Pascale Ferran)

This film tells the stories of two people who accidentally meet. In that sense, it is much like numerous other films that tell individual stories and combine them with chance meetings. Only this one has a fantastical twist hinted at in the title. Why it has that twist I can guess at but I’m not …

2014, Movies, Sports

The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young (2014, Annika Iltis, Timothy James Kane)

This is a very conventional documentary about one of the craziest races you’ll ever hear about. Not only is it insane (somewhere between 100 and 130 miles in 60 hours, over hills and through the woods) but is run in such a kooky way. Part of the appeal of this film is the sheer accomplishment …

2014, Movies

71 (2014, Yann Demange)

This is a mostly stellar thriller set in Belfast in 1971. I think this would have been an exceptional movie had a surer hand with more experience directed it. Though tense, I can imagine a better (or more experienced) director making a more tense film. While I’m at my nit-pikcing, the framing device of the …

2014, Music

Ian Sabourin Counter Tenor (2014)

I was sitting on a bench waiting for Jenn to leave her work when I heard this incredible voice (a counter tenor, it turns out) all around me. I thought it was coming from multiple speakers, it was so powerful. After looking around a bit, I saw a young man singing. What impressed me particularly …

2014, Movies

Whitey: United States of America vs James J Bulger (2014, Joe Berlinger)

Somebody once said, it’s not integrity that matters, it’s the perception of integrity. One of the reasons people freak out at the more minor of political scandals – the ones where there are only hints of impropriety, or where bureaucrats or politicians are accused of over-spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when the …