Tag: 2019

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 …

2019, Movies

The Dead Don’t Die (2019,Jim Jarmusch)

This is a deliberately-paced, usually mildly amusing but occasionally laugh-out-loud funny zombie movie tribute film. To call it something other than a tribute film feels weird to me, because it feels like Jarmusch is more concerned with layering references – and possibly making some vague statement about consumption and climate change – than he is …

2019, Movies

I Am Not Alone (2019, directed by Garin Hovannisian)

This is a surprisingly slick documentary about the 2018 Armenian Revolution. We need a different word for non-fiction films like this, though because calling it a documentary implies a level of impartiality that is not present in this film. Nevertheless, it’s a “ground truth” view of the protests and it manages to get some interviews …

2019, Movies

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019, Vince Gilligan)

Two disclaimers: First, I watched the final season of Breaking Bad quite some time ago. Not the season it premiered but whenever it found its way to Netflix, so within a year or so of its premiere. Call it 2014 ish. It’s been a while. Second, I hated the ending of Breaking Bad. But my …

2019, Books, Non-Fiction

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (2019) by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is an excellent account of the disappearance of a mother of 10 during The Troubles and the surrounding context. My knowledge of The Troubles comes almost exclusively from films (mostly fictionalized) but Radden Keefe’s book gives a lot of context and history for someone like me who is pretty new to the subject.

2019, Movies

El guardián de la memoria [The Guardian of Memory] (2019, Marcela Arteaga)

This is a gorgeous film – seriously it’s beautiful – about an awful subject, Mexicans fleeing Mexico due to persecution from cartels. It’s a little like Taming the Garden in terms of how pretty it is, though the shots are not as impressive as that documentary.

2019, Movies

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019, David Leitch)

This spinoff is reputed by many to be the worst of the interminable Fast & Furious movies. I must admit I still haven’t seen all of them – though I have seen most by this point – but I’m not sure why exactly. Most of the problems with this movie are typical of the problems …

2019, Movies

Booksmart (2019, Olivia Wilde)

The “high school graduation party” movie has been done more than a few times. So has the “trying to find the big high school party” movie. And they’ve been combined, as they are in this film. But this movie has a new twist to the format: it’s girls, instead of guys, and they’re smart, and …

2019, TV

Country Music (2019)

This is an engrossing, thorough, occasionally moving and, for its first six episodes, authoritative history of country music. It follows the usual rhythms of a Ken Burns’ documentary, which is something I thoroughly enjoy, and has the usual strengths and weaknesses of his approach to storytelling.

2019, Books, Non-Fiction

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business and Life (2019) by Rory Sutherland

Reading this book, I can’t help but wonder “who is this for?” It’s like a Greatest Hits or Best of for evolutionary psychology and behavioural economics but filtered through the mind of someone with no attention span (or who strongly believes his readers don’t have one). It’s utterly bizarre and works only as a very …

2019, Movies

The Gentlemen (2019, Guy Ritchie)

Remember when Guy Ritchie was a fresh young director? Some people were (unfairly) calling him an English Tarantino. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels had to be sought out at the video store. Then he married Madonna and made some questionable film choices. Eventually he became one of the numerous indistinguishable blockerbuster filmmakers Hollywood goes …

2019, Movies

Ready or Not (2019, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett)

This is one of those movies where the premise sounds really great – a rich family plays a game to welcome new members of that family, but when that game is Hide and Seek, things turn deadly – but where the execution is just not up to snuff. There are moments that are pretty great, …

2019, 2020, Basketball, Sports

Your 2019-20 Toronto Raptors

There is a lot of disappointment in Toronto right now and I’m not sure it’s warranted. The Toronto Raptors won the title last year. They then lost two starters: one of the 3-5 best players in the entire league – and best Raptor ever in terms of pure two-way talent – and a candidate for …

2019, Movies

Citizen K (2019, Alex Gibney)

This is a mostly excellent documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch turned activist and his battle with Vladimir Putin. It’s particularly notable for two things: its attempts to portray Khodorkovsky as a flawed person, and its relative creativity at telling the story.

2019, Podcasts

COMMONS: Dynasties (2019)

This is an interesting but flawed podcast about major recent familial dynasties in Canada. I have a bunch of reservations about it but, given that I know of no other coverage of this subject in Canada, I still recommend it to you if you are at all interested on the impact of inter-generational wealth and …

2019, Movies

Hustlers (2019, Lorene Scafaria)

This is a pretty heavily stylized dramatization of a true story of strippers ripping off rich men in post crash New York City. I somehow never read the infamous article – though I’m going to now – so I can’t comment onto how accurate the depiction is. (Though that is not something I usually care …

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 …

2019, Movies

Captain Marvel (2019, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck)

As I have noted with Marvel movies, I only ever read X Men and related comics, so I have no skin in the game of whether or not Captain Marvel should be a man. But a quick Wikipedia search reveals that it’s not so controversial as some made it seem. But make no mistake, this …