Tag: Dramedy

1995, Movies

Carrington (1995, Christopher Hampton)

This is an extremely episodic film about the painter Carrington and her highly unconventional personal life. The film is mostly about her personal relationships and not really about her work so if you’re looking for a biography of a painter, look elsewhere. The film won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 1995 but with …

2018, Movies

Museo (2018, Alonso Ruizpalacios)

This is a super hyper stylized, completely fantastical depiction of what is apparently the most notorious “art” heist in Mexican history. The movie makes no bones about how inaccurate it is – stating multiple times that it is not the true story – so do not go into this movie expecting a docudrama.

2017, Movies

Tiff 2017: The Death of Stalin (2017, Armando Iannucci)

Iannucci’s new film is, as I understand it, a bit of a left turn for him: it’s an adaptation of a graphic novel based upon the real event of the title. Though I had no such fears, one could be understandably trepidacious about Iannucci turning his satirical eye to something historically accurate.

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.

2017, Theatre

Confederation Part I: Confederation and Riel (part of The History of the Village of Small Huts) Live at Soulpepper Tuesday July 11, 2017

This is the second staging of a 1988 set of two 1-act plays which are part of the 21 1-act play cycle, The History of the Village of Small Huts, performed by Video Cabaret, a troupe that uses tableau and total darkness to give essentially soundbite snippets of Canadian history. I can honestly say I have …

2008, Movies

Bronson (2008, Nicholas Winding Refn)

There are probably two types of people: people who think Winding Refn is a genius and people who think he is ponderous, boring and way too interested in style over substance. You can count me among the latter. Despite all the praise over Valhalla Rising and Drive, I found both movies to be flawed. I …

2006, Movies

Bonneville (2006, Christopher N. Rowley)

This film is absolutely not for me but I’m glad that such movies exist. This film takes the evil step mother of so many Hollywood films and imagines the loss of the father from her perspective instead, and it feels like that’s been a long time coming. Combine that with a road movie and you …

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.

2013, Movies

Bright Days Ahead (2013, Marion Vernoux)

This is the kind of film that I am glad exists but that I don’t get much enjoyment out of. Were I older – and were I female – I’d probably enjoy it much more. But I am super happy that people make movies like this and I wish there were more of them. (Also, …

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 …

2004, Movies

Being Julia (2004, István Szabó)

I haven’t read the novel (I gather it’s one of Maugham’s lesser regarded works) but I feel like the edge that I have always felt in his writing is present here, which is no small accomplishment. Benning gives a bravura performance in the title role (though everybody’s good) and the production design is excellent. But …

2011, Movies

Behold the Lamb (2011, John McIlduff)

This is one of those movies where quirky characters – who don’t like each other – spend a day with each other and learn some kind of profound lessons about life. If this was an American movie it would come complete with a particularly quirky score. I don’t like these people, but though I learn …

2009, Movies

Bakjwi aka Thirst (2009, Chan-woo Park)

The idea of vampires being used as some kind of metaphor for sex has probably been around for as long as vampires have been in literature. It’s not a new thing. And so, initially, this film feels like yet another in the endless line of erotic vampire films. However, the film has enough twists and …

1932, Movies

Red-Headed Woman (1932, Jack Conway)

This feels like the direct inspiration for Baby Face – in fact Baby Face feels like a rip off. But Baby Face is the superior film: better plotting, motivations for the characters higher production values and, on a personal note, I prefer Stanwyck to Harlow. The character Baby Face is at least motivated by lust …

1947, Books

The Portable Chekhov (1947), edited and translated by Avrahm Yarmolinksy

This is a pretty great collection of selected short stories from Chekhov, plus two plays (one major, one minor) and a few letters. I am not a man who cares about an author’s letters, so I won’t be discussing those.

2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: The Club (2015, Pablo Larrain)

This is an extremely black comedy – as black as black comedies get – about a group of delinquent priests that have been forced to “retire” in a house in a small town in Chile. Unfortunately my experience of this film was affected by a couple things. First, I saw it with one of the …

2003, TV

Angels in America (2003, Mike Nichols)

There is a part of me that wants to say this is one of the great works of American literature of the late 20th century but I don’t know enough late 20th century literature to say that with any kind of authority and, specifically, I can’t tell you how few American plays I’ve seen written …

1961, 2015, Theatre

The Physicists (1961) by Friedrich Durrenmatt, adapted by Michael Healy, live at the Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford, July 25, 2015

This is a play about the social responsibility of scientists posing as a murder mystery-cum comedy, set in an insane asylum. The play uses comedy and the teensiest bit of mystery to dilute it’s otherwise very heavy-handed message. The play itself is so prescient (and so relevant to our time) that I am shocked I …

1979, Movies

All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)

I am not a fan of Fellini. Well, that’s not exactly true, I like early Fellini. But I find “peak” Fellini highly overrated and I pretty much can’t stand late Fellini. Of all the “Great Directors” I a have attempted to appreciate, Fellini is among my least favourite.

2014, TV

Fargo – Season 1 (2014)

I normally review a TV series after I’ve watched all the seasons. However, given that the second season of Fargo will consist of an entirely new cast and plot, I am reviewing them separately. Needless to say, SPOILERS!!! I was really, really skeptical of this idea, not only because I was once a gigantic Coen …

2014, Movies

Birdman (2014, Alejandro Gonzalez Iinarritu)

I have never been a fan of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.I find his films self-important, over-plotted, over-long, ponderous, and so forth. They all contain moments wonderful, profound, beautiful and hysterically funny, but those moments are always surrounded by so much unnecessary crap and, usually, two narrative arcs too many. I have long felt the man needed …

2011, TV

The Bridge aka Bron (2011)

I am reviewing the first season of Bron because I have no intention of watching future seasons. (Though I have heard the second season of the American version of The Bridge is very good so maybe if I do try the American version, I will get that far.) The following review contains spoilers.

2014, Movies

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014, Roy Andersson)

This is the third of Andersson’s trilogy about “being human” or something like that. I haven’t seen the first. I have seen the second, You, the Living.