Tag: Historical Fiction

2006, Books, Fiction, Non-Fiction, TV

Deadwood: Stories of the Black Hills (2006) by David Milch, David Samuels

For me, Deadwood is probably the second greatest English-language dramatic, fictional television show in the history of the medium. But it is also horribly under-watched (if not completely under-known). I have watched the show through at least 3 times and I still believe it’s kind of a marvel of combining big ideas with a compelling …

1965, 1966, 1967

War and Peace [Voyna I Mir] (1965, Sergey Bondarchuk)

This is an epic, 7 and a half hour adaptation of War and Peace, sort of on the scale of The Human Condition, but not nearly as long and far more ambitious. Apparently made in response to the Hollywood version, this film (or series of films) mostly realizes the promise of Peak TV decades earlier …

1995, Books, Fiction

The Island of the Day Before (1995) by Umberto Eco

This is a weird one, full of all of Eco’s typical obsessions but lacking many of the things that make some of his novels classics or, at the very, least enjoyable. I have read just over half his novels now, and this is my least favourite by a considerable margin.

2017, TV

Alias Grace (2017, Mary Harron)

This is a Canadian mini series with great pedigree, a Margaret Atwood novel adapted by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron. I’m not sure Canadian television gets much more prestigious than this. (Also, Paul Gross is in it. But of course he is.) Those are some weighty expectations which, fortunately, I was not really …

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…

2013, Movies

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013, Lee Daniels)

Yes, seriously, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is the name of this movie. Even though this movie is ostensibly “based on a true story,” the director is responsible for it. The title is actually a clue: the filmmakers have so altered the story as to completely alter it. This is, in effect, the Black Forrest Gump.

1959, Books, Fiction

Hawaii (1959) by James Michener

This was my first Michener, though I did read a novel called London, which was basically an imitation Michener, back when I was a teenager. My understanding is that he is very much the author of these alternative histories of given places. So I guess I had to read him at some point. But holy …

2012, Movies

The Master (2012, Paul Thomas Anderson)

This is a fascinating  film about personality cults – both the people who are lead them and the people who are drawn to them. It’s kind of hard to talk about the film without talking about Phoenix and Hoffman, both of whom are fantastic (as usual) as the film is primarily about their relationship, whether …

2012, Movies

Zero Dark Thirty (2012, Kathryn Bigelow)

Much like Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, this is a film that, at least in part, seems to aim to tell the “human” story – or the “ground truth” – of a particular conflict the US is involved in. In this case though, it’s obviously something of a little more import.

2012, Movies

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012, Timur Bekmambetov)

Based on the title and on some moderately positive reviews I read at the time of its theatrical release, I was actually kind of looking forward to this despite – perhaps because of – its poor box office performance. But I don’t really know where to begin.

1936, Books, Fiction

The Big Money (1936) by John Dos Passos

Whereas I found Nineteen Nineteen to be a significant improvement on the first book, The Big Money feels like he has lapsed back into his bad habits, and he gets confused between the form and the storytelling. He is still writing reasonably compelling stories but he can’t decide whether he wants to tell one person’s …