Tag: Movies

2017, Music

Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World (2017, Barry Avrich)

This is an engaging, thought-provoking documentary about the state of the art world in the 21st century (especially post Great Recession) that is perhaps a little too hyper-stylized for its own good.

2017, Movies, TV

Crooked House (2017, Gilles Paquet-Brenner)

This is an atmospheric adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel with an all-star cast that does a very good job aesthetically, even though it gets a little over-the-top, but I’m not entirely sure the source material is quite as strong as it needs to be. SPOILERS

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.

2002, Movies

Ônibus 174 (2002, José Padilha, Felipe Lacerda)

Bus 174 is a low-budget, overlong documentary about a bizarre hostage-taking incident in Brazil that was watched by the country on the news. The story itself is compelling in many ways but the actual film about the incident is kind of a mess. We might call it “completist” as it’s a 2.5 hour movie about …

2007, Movies

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007, Yves Simoneau)

My country was founded in genocide, as was our neighbour to the south. This is a fact that we still haven’t dealt with as evidenced by how many Canadians and Americans would find my initial statement controversial – even offensive – despite its truth. I was born in the last fifth of the 20th century …

2009, Movies

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2009, Anders Ostergaard)

Burma VJ is one of those journalism-as-documentary films that is out of date pretty quickly after it is made – the military regime that is depicted in this film has fallen and a new, less repressive and supposedly democratic regime has taken its place. But just because things have happened since this film was made, …

2013, Movies, TV

Horici ker [Burning Bush] (2013, Agnieszka Holland)

Burning Bush is a 21st century version of those unaccountably good European TV mini series which are released in North America as films (often in abridged form). Though we have been living in a golden age of television in North America since right before the beginning of this century, it wasn’t always like that here. …

2017, Movies

Wonder Woman (2017, Patty Jenkins)

Wonder Woman is yet another super hero origin story. It is obviously different from most feature comic book super hero origin stories we’ve seen before for a very obvious reason – the character is a woman – but, otherwise, I found the movie reminiscent of a number of previous super hero films, one in particular. …

1980, Movies

New Year’s Evil (1980, Emmett Alston)

I live tweet this one, though I didn’t do a very good job. I was kind of hoping more people would be doing the same, but only 5 people were into it, it seems. Anyway: as far as I know, this is the only New Year’s Eve horror film. It was the only one we …

2017, Movies

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017, DJ Caruso)

If I saw the first xXx film, I don’t remember enough of it, beyond that terrible CGI snow, to know whether this film is significantly worse. But it sure feels like it. Much like the Fast and the Furious franchise, this film feels like a very calculated attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator of movie …

2017, Hockey, Movies, Sports

The NHL: 100 Years (2017)

This, the official documentary history of the NHL, is an adequate history of the NHL if you don’t watch hockey and didn’t grow up watching hockey OR you like having the old hockey myths repeated to you by different people than the people who usually told you these myths. As an actual history of the …

2016, Movies

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2016, John Scheinfeld)

This is a prestige documentary about John Coltrane featuring Denzel Washington of all people reading Coltrane’s own words, as well as a collection of interviews with Coltrane’s children (and step-daughter), critics, historians, biographers, fellow and later musicians and Bill Clinton. But if you are at all a fan of the man’s work, and you have …

2015, Movies

The Night Before (2015, Jonathan Levine)

This is one of those seemingly innumerable movies where celebrity cameos are viewed as a substitute for a good story and laughs. This is one of those “spot the cameo” movies, with a host of famous people popping up at different points. I suppose Scrooged is like that too, but at least it’s working off of A …

1999, Movies, Music

Buena Vista Social Club (1999, Wim Wenders)

I have had a copy of the album for over a decade and so I must say that (much of) the music featured in this film is quite familiar. But I had long erroneously thought that the album and the film were more closely related and so I found myself quite confused for a good …

2006, Movies

Den brysomme mannen (2006, Jens Lien)

Imagine a dryer, less quirky, less fantastic Brazil and you get some faint idea of what this Norwegian film is like, a dystopian fantasy dark comedy which acts either as a critique of materialism/consumerism or as a horrible vision of the afterlife. (I’m not 100% sure which.) SPOILERS (I realize I already spoiled something for you. …

2009, Movies

Budrus (2009, Julia Bach)

This should be an inspiring documentary a village banding together to stop an oppressive foreign government from building a wall through their land. I say “should” because between when this film was released and when I watched it, 8 years later, the Israeli government did indeed succeed in building the wall around Budrus, though maybe …

1974, Movies

Murder on the Orient Express (1974, Sidney Lumet)

I think there are two things to talk about when discussing this film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express: there’s the success of the film as an adaptation of the novel and then there’s the source material, the novel itself. SPOILER ALERT

2012, Movies

Brooklyn Castle (2012, Katie Dellamaggiore)

Brooklyn Castle is a film about a year in the of a particularly successful junior high school chess team. The film follows a few of these students of different ages as they compete in chess tournaments. At first glance, it feels like one of the innumerable “kids competing” documentaries that spread up in the wake …

2011, Movies

Cowboys and Indians (2011, Jon Favreau)

Many years ago, in my teens, I had a habit of writing down every movie idea I had, as I dreamed I would one day be a filmmaker. One such idea was a western film in which aliens showed up part way through. However, a key part of the idea – perhaps the key part …

2014, Movies

As Above, So Below (2014, John Erick Dowdle)

This is yet another found-footage horror film, number 300 and something at this point. (I have no idea whether that’s high or low.) When this was made, it was 15 years since Blair Witch. At some point, shouldn’t low-budget horror filmmakers realize this gimmick is a little tired?

2017, Movies

Gifted (2017, Marc Webb)

This is a film about one of those precocious child geniuses that only exist in Hollywood movies (and independent movies that wish they were Hollywood movies – I’m looking at your Good Will Hunting) and how such geniuses should be nurtured. In real life, nobody is quite as smart (or quite as high functioning if they …

2017, Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn)

I don’t know what kind of ill-humour causes me to not love these movies as much as the next guy, but I was pretty damn underwhelmed by the (possibly over-hyped) first Guardians of the Galaxy and really had no plans to watch this one, unless I was bored one day looking through Netflix (which is how …