Tag: 2016

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 …

2016, Movies

The Memory Illusion (2016) by Julia Shaw

This is an extremely accessible and thought-provoking tour through all the ways in which the human memory is not as reliable as we all believe. Though, like many of these books, it does contain a bit of a Greatest Hits of psychological studies and cognitive biases, the focus on memory is usually clear enough to …

2016, Books, Non-Fiction

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions (2016) by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

This is a pretty excellent overview of computer science theories relevant to our daily lives. As someone who took computer science only once, in high school, I didn’t know so much of this and found most of it (accept the game theory chapter) basically entirely new. Every chapter contains new discoveries and new, provocative ideas.

2016, Movies

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2016, Matt Tyrnauer)

I always thought Jane Jacobs was from Toronto. Shows you what I know. This is an interesting documentary specifically about the battles between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs over roads in New York and more generally about the urban renewal and how to plan cities in general. It’s interesting, informative and thought-provoking. As one of …

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, TV

BoJack Horseman (2014)

There’s something about animation that gives TV shows (and some movies) a freedom of tone which is not accessible to live action movies and TV. Something about animated characters lets us humans be more accepting of tonal shifts and sight gags. At least I think so. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered another show more …

2016, Books, Non-Fiction

Dark Money (2016) by Jane Mayer

This is an alarming – dare I say frightening – examination of the ways in which American billionaires – primarily the Koch brothers – and multimillionaires have used their fortunes to influence US politics, particularly since Obama’s first term. It also chronicles their efforts to create an education and lobbying system to promote their extremist …

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Movies

Riley’s Best Films of the 2010s

I am an avid movie watcher. I have seen something like 5,000 movies in my life as well as countless hours of movie-quality TV. But my pace has slowed somewhat in the last decade, as life has gotten in the way. Moreover, because I see so few movies in theatres outside of my annual TIFF …

2016, Movies

Christine (2016, Antonio Campos)

This is an excellent film about the person behind an infamous moment in US television history. It’s a drama with a great sense of place, an excellent cast and a really strong lead performance. I recommend you watch it but I also recommend that if you are interested in watching this film and don’t know …

2016, Movies

Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)

Peter Berg excels at a kind of hyper competence, where his films are technically extremely well made and impressive but which lack subtext or critical thinking. I often hate his films even though I have to grant that they always have exceptional production values. But this one is (a little) different. I think this is …

2016, Movies, TV

OJ: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)

I must say I paid relatively little attention to the OJ trial. I think I watched the car chase and I remember our French teacher bringing in the TV to watch the verdict, but that’s about it. My memory of the entire case is more about perceptions of what other people thought rather than facts. …

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Weaponized Lies (2017) by Daniel J. Levitin

This is a layman’s summary of how to understand probability and statistics and other critical thinking tools Levitin feels are necessary to have in the era of “Post-Truth”. It’s very much meant for the lay reader and it’s likely an expert in statistics or (especially) probability will be bored and possibly even annoyed. At this …

2016, Movies

Inferno (2016, Ron Howard)

I have never read a Dan Brown novel and I imagine I could not handle reading one. But for some reason, perhaps because I enjoy watching bad movies, this is the second of the adaptations of his novels I’ve seen. I’m not sure this one is as stupid as Angels and Demons, but it’s pretty fucking …

2016, Movies

Warcraft (2016, Duncan Jones)

I’ve seen lots of video game adaptations but most of them have been action and horror games, not fantasy games. This fantasy game, which I played at some point in the distant past, has the added disadvantage that at least some of its basic species types have been stolen from Tolkien, giving it even less …

2016, Movies

Suicide Squad (2016, David Ayer)

It’s kind of hard to express how incomprehensibly incompetent this film is for a major Hollywood blockbuster.  I am not a fan of the Avengers films but, watching this I feel like those films are masterpieces in comparison. In fact, watching this film, I long for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s basic film-making competence – yeah, they’re …

2016, Movies

The Accountant (2016, Gavin O’Connor)

This is a kind of bizarre hybrid of an action movie with a serial killer-style crime investigation combined with forensic accounting – yes, I know how that sounds – that is surprisingly effective much of the time, but has some massive flaws that keep it from really working. Mild Spoilers

2016, Movies

Star Trek: Beyond (2016, Justin Lin)

For some reason, I have yet to see the first movie of this Star Trek reboot. I’ve seen Into Darkness and I didn’t love it. And I must say the things I didn’t love about Into Darkness and present to a degree in Beyond. But I seem to have come to terms with them better. Because this time, it …

2016, Movies

Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson)

When we’re watching movies, I think most of us never really think about the shots and scenes that got left “on the cutting room floor.” Unless we’re absolutely obsessed with a particular movie or filmmaker, most people don’t buy or watch the outtakes of most movies. Most of us accept the finished film as is, …

2016, Basketball, Books, Non-Fiction, Sports

Boys Among Men (2016) by Jonathan Abrams

This is a pretty excellent narrative history of the one and only generation of NBA stars to come directly from high school. Though I have one minor quibble, I got over it and, for the most part, it’s probably the definitive book about this topic.

2016, Music

Undestroyed (2016) by Free Salamander Exhibit

Even before listening to this record, the evocation of the former band is perhaps a little too overt. Not only does the artwork of the album recall Sleepytime Gorilla Museum but look at these band names: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum Free Salamander Exhibit People as creative as these guys are need to change up the format …