Tag: Dramedy

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 …

2008, Movies

A Christmas Tale (2008, Arnaud Desplechin)

The way I watch older movies is I go through my ridiculously long 90-page list and see what I can watch on Netflix or borrow from the library. I rarely remember why I added them. That can lead to some pretty hilarious misunderstandings when I added something I really didn’t mean to. Or, as in …

2019, TV

Russian Doll (2019)

So let me try to tell you as little as possible: this is a funny show with lots of pathos that deftly balances dark comedy with strong performances of people with metal health problems. If any of that interests you, see this without learning anything else about it. Ideally, if you can even avoid knowing …

1965, Movies

Chimes at Midnight aka Falstaff (1965, Orson Welles)

Like many of Welles’ later films, the strange history of this film is almost as interesting as the movie itself. It’s the kind of saga that makes me want to read a biography of Welles though I think there’s a documentary that just came out, isn’t there? Anyway…

2015, Movies

Chevalier (2015, Athina Rachel Tsangari)

I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to “people being awful” or “people being dumb” movies. I generally find them amusing but my degree of amusement doesn’t just depend upon the quality of the film, it also regularly depends upon my mood and where I watch them – if I am in a …

2018, Movies

Support the Girls (2018, Andrew Bujalski)

This is one of those films which focuses on an eventful day in the lives of the employees of a small business. There are a bunch of these films but for some reason the film we both thought of afterwards was Empire Records, though this is a very different movie (it should go without saying). …

2008, Movies

C’est pas moi, je le jure! (2008, directed by Philippe Falardeau)

I have never enjoyed stories about little boy hellions. I remember watching Problem Child and its sequel and the Denis the Menace movie as a child and being bothered by them, even while I believe I did laugh at the slapstick. (I have always been a sucker for slapstick.) As an adult, these types of …

1994, Movies

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994, Mike Newell)

This film, which should really be called Threes Weddings, a Funeral and a Fourth Wedding, is one of the innumerable ’90s films I told myself I had seen as a teen, only to discover upon watching it now, that I’ve definitely never seen it before. (I probably watched five minutes of it when I was …

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 production 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …