Visual Arts 2017

What’s this, an update to a blog?! Why yes, I’m going to rewind things 15 years and try to post something occasionally here, even if it’s only updates to this one entry. Mainly to give myself a routine, something constant for 2017, a year of change.

I really like that Steven Soderbergh keeps track of everything he’s watched or read throughout the year, so I’d like to do the same for 2017. I’ll copy his convention, which is as follows:

All caps, bold: MOVIE

All caps: TV SERIES

Italics: Book

Quotes: “Game”

1/3 – TONY ROBBINS: I’M NOT YOUR GURU
1/5 – SULLY
1/9 – BLACK MIRROR S03E02 (Playtest), DEADWOOD S03E09 (Amateur Night), DEADWOOD S03E10 (A Constant Throb)
1/10 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E02 (Vehicular Fellatio)
1/11 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E03 (The Reunion)
1/13 – BLACK MIRROR S03E03 (Shut Up and Dance)
1/15 – BLACK MIRROR S03E04 (San Junipero)
1/16 – DEADWOOD S03E11 (The Catbird Seat), DEADWOOD S03E12 (Tell Him Something Pretty)
1/17 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E04 (The Hot Towel)
1/18 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E05 (Denise Handicap)
1/19 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E06 (The Bare Midriff)
1/21 – DEEPWATER HORIZON
1/22 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E07 (The Black Swan)
1/23 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E08 (Officer Krupke), CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E09 (The Table Read)
1/24 – SUPERMARKET SWEEP
1/25 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S07E10 (Seinfeld)
1/26 – The Frozen Dead
1/28 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E01 (The Divorce)
1/30 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E02 (The Safe House), CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E03 (Palestinian Chicken)
2/2 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E04 (The Smiley Face)
2/10 – The Book of Fate
2/13 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E05 (Vow of Silence), FOXCATCHER
2/13 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E06 (The Hero)
2/15 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E07 (The Bi-Sexual)
2/16 – NARCOS S02E08 (Exit El Patrón)
2/18 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S01E01 (The Pants Tent), CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S01E02 (Ted & Mary), LAST WEEK TONIGHT, “Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain”
2/19 – STATE OF THE UNION
2/20 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E08 (Car Periscope)
2/26 – CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM S08E09 (Mister Softie), CURB YOUR ENTHUSIAM S08E10 (Larry vs. Michael J. Fox)
2/28 – BILL BURR: LET IT GO
3/2 – WESTWORLD S01E01 (The Original); WESTWORLD S01E02 (Chestnut)
3/3 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S01E01
3/4 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S01E02
3/5 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S01E03
3/6 – NARCOS S02E09 (Nuestra Finca), NARCOS S02E10 (Al Fin Cayó!)
3/9 – BLACK MIRROR S03E05 (Men Against Fire)
3/10 – WESTWORLD S01E03 (The Stray); WESTWORLD S01E04 (Dissonance Theory)
3/16 – WESTWORLD S01E05 (Contrapasso); WESTWORLD S01E06 (The Adversary)
3/18 – BLACK HAWK DOWN
3/20 – SNOWDEN
3/22 – WESTWORLD S01E07 (Trompe D’Oeil); WESTWORLD S01E08 (Trace Decay)
3/26 – BACK TO THE FUTURE
3/27 – WESTWORLD S01E01 (The Original)
3/29 – WESTWORLD S01E02 (Chestnut)
3/30 – WILD
4/2 – HACKSAW RIDGE; HORRIBLE BOSSES; BLACK MIRROW S03E06 (Hated in the Nation); THE CROWN S01E01 (Wolferton Splash)
4/5 – LOUIS C.K. 2017
4/6 – BLOOD SIMPLE
4/8 – BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II; THE CROWN S01E02 (Hyde Park Corner); EASTBOUND & DOWN S01E04; JIM JEFFERIES: BARE
4/9 – BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III
4/10 – THE CROWN S01E03 (Windsor)
4/12 – WESTWORLD S01E03 (The Stray)
4/13 – FULL HOUSE S03E01 (Tanner’s Island); EASTBOUND & DOWN S01E05
4/14 – THE CROWN S01E04 (Act of God); EASTBOUND & DOWN S01E06
4/16 – THE CROWN S01E05 (Smoke and Mirrors); WESTWORLD S01E04 (Dissonance Theory)
4/19 – THE CROWN S01E06 (Gelignite)
4/22 – SUPER TROOPERS
4/25 – THE CROWN S01E07 (Scientia Potentia Est)
4/26 – WESTWORLD S01E09 (The Well-Tempered Clavier); WESTWORLD S01E10 (The Bicameral Mind)
4/27 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E01
4/30 – “Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain”
5/1 – “Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain”
5/2 – THE CROWN S01E08 (Pride & Joy); The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
5/3 – “Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain”
5/4 – JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E01 (The Friends of English Magic); JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E02 (How Is Lady Pole?)
5/6 – “Minecraft”; THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS
5/7 – The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea; “Minecraft”; STORKS; HELL OR HIGH WATER
5/9 – JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E03 (The Education of a Magician); JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E04 (All the Mirrors of the World)
5/12 – “Zoo Tycoon”
5/13 – BAD MOMS
5/14 – EX MACHINA
5/16 – Steve Jobs
5/17 – OJ: MADE IN AMERICA – PART ONE
5/18 – OJ: MADE IN AMERICA – PART TWO
5/19 – OJ: MADE IN AMERICA – PART THREE; OJ: MADE IN AMERICA – PART FOUR
5/20 – OJ: MADE IN AMERICA – PART FIVE
5/21 – INSIDE OUT; PIRATES OF SILICON VALLEY
5/22 – JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E05 (Arabella); JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E06 (The Black Tower)
5/24 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL
5/25 – WEINER
5/26 – JIM JEFFERIES: I SWEAR TO GOD
5/27 – THE GODFATHER: PART II
5/30 – A Dangerous Fortune
6/1 – THE CROWN S01E09 (Assassins)
6/3 – THE CROWN S01E10 (Gloriana)
6/4 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E02
6/6 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E03; SLOW TV: TRAIN RIDE BERGEN TO OSLO; HOUSE OF CARDS S05E01
6/7 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E04; JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL S01E07 (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell); THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE S01E01 (The New World)
6/8 – HOUSE OF CARDS S05E02; HOUSE OF CARDS S05E03
6/9 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E05; EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E06
6/10 – HOUSE OF CARDS S05E04; HOUSE OF CARDS S05E05
6/11 – ROCKET MEN
6/13 – THE JIM JEFFERIES SHOW S01E01
6/14 – THE JIM JEFFERIES SHOW S01E02; EASTBOUND & DOWN S02E07; My Struggle: Book 4
6/15 – EASTBOUND & DOWN S03E01
6/16 – THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE S01E02 (Sunrise); EASTBOUND & DOWN S03E02
6/17 – BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM
6/20 – HOUSE OF CARDS S05E06

2010 Movies

It’s been almost 18 months since my last post, which has to be the low point for this poor site. I’d like to write more, but even the simplest post takes me forever and I don’t have the time. I’m going to try to be better the second half of 2011.

Even though we’re almost halfway through the year, I thought I would post all of the movies I watched in 2010. I did this last year and was very surprised to get a response from the real life son of Robert “Flash of Genius” Kearns about my hastily written one paragraph movie review. So, in hopes of getting a response from Ricky Gervais, here are the movies I watched in 2010 in order. No comment on the movie means I can’t remember it, which I’m chalking up to either life with twins or too much Stone (or both).

  • Up – Had a very touching opening, don’t remember much after that.
  • Food, Inc. – I loved  The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, but didn’t find this film to be the ‘call to arms’ I was hoping it would be. I also liked the story about Polyface Farms, but was a little turned off in the film because he was so kooky.
  • Ghost Town – I had greater expectations for Gervais. This was amusing, but nothing has matched Liar, Liar in the gimmick comedy genre. That statement will probably forever turn you off on all future reviews.
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • American Psycho – The book was so much better, but there is no way you could ever match it. I’m impressed the film-makers even tried.
  • The Hangover – Saw this in the theatres, loved it, thought it was hilarious.
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The Invention of Lying – Gervais disappoints again.
  • The Hurt Locker – Very good, even though my Navy friend refuses to see it and says there’s not much reality in it.
  • Love Actually
  • Marley & Me – Liked this so much more than I ever expected. Perfectly captured the passage of life with all the ups and downs.
  • Lost Boys of Sudan
  • The Assassination of Jesse James – Disliked this, found the soft focus and voice-overs too pretentious.
  • It Happened One Night – Part of my attempt to see all Oscar Best Picture films.
  • For All Mankind – Incredible footage of the Apollo missions.
  • Moon – Interesting mind bending film.
  • Weeds: Season 5
  • Californication: Season 1 – A perfect series in every way. Very strong performances from Duchovny.
  • The Blind Side – I passed this up on an airplane, only to watch it later. I was surprised by how much I liked this, but shouldn’t have been because I love everything Michael Lewis puts out.
  • The Informant!
  • Californication: Season 2 – Possibly even better than season one. I literally cried during one episode because of some of the dialog about life, love, and family.
  • When You’re Strange – Liked it; how can one man consume so many drugs in such a short lifespan?
  • Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire – I thought I hated this, but Netflix says three stars, so now I’m confused.
  • Going My Way – Another Oscar Best Picture film.
  • The Pillars of the Earth – We loved the book, and this miniseries was very true to it.
  • (500) Days of Summer – I liked the non-sequential story line.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine – I loved the concept, was expecting to be disappointed by the film, and ended up liking it overall.
  • District 9 – I don’t think any movie attempting to show a real depiction of aliens has ever been rated higher than two stars.
  • Up in the Air
  • Breaking Bad: Season 1 – We both really hated this, which was amazing because of how highly rated this series is. We could never sympathize with any of the characters. And I don’t know if I can ever forgive Cranston for Malcolm in the Middle.
  • The Machinist – Very dark and strange
  • Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon – Incredible documentary. After watching you’ll listen to the album in a whole new way.
  • The September Issue – Interesting, but still have a hard time taking the material seriously.
  • Kramer vs. Kramer – The breakfast making scene is something I remember often during “Daddy Daughter Days”.
  • Dexter: Season 4 – Lithgow was an awesome addition to this season, which was significantly better than Season 3.
  • Waiting for Guffman – I’ve tried Guest’s films a few times, but have never found them better than mildly amusing. Just not my type of humor I guess.
  • Beer Wars – Good film overall, was nice to see Stone a few times and really liked the Dogfish Head guys. The caffeinated beer woman was a little sad, especially knowing that a few years down the road “functional alcoholic beverages” would be banned.
  • The OH in Ohio – A Laura recommendation, good and went in a direction I didn’t expect with DeVito.
  • Coco Before Chanel
  • Entourage: Season 6 – More of the same, but I’ll keep watching.

2009 Movies

Inspired by my friend Jake’s post on the same topic, I’ve decided to run down my year in movies.

  • In Bruge – Very good, darker than I expected. Made me wish I visited Belgium during my Europe trips.
  • Dexter: Season 1 – My favorite series of the year.
  • La Dolce Vita – I came away not liking this one, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all year.  This will require a second viewing.
  • Man on Wire – Very entertaining.  This is someone who loves life.
  • Burn After Reading – Good, not great.  Also darker than expected.
  • Dexter: Season 2 – Not quite as good as the first.
  • Blade Runner – It took me a long time to finally get around to this one.  It has been hyped too much and a bit too dated for my tastes.
  • I Am Legend – Disappointing.  Will Smith needs to stick to the thoughtful drama category.
  • The Edge of Heaven – I don’t remember this one very well, but know that I liked it a lot.  This lack of memory will be a recurring theme for the year (thanks to twins, I guess).
  • WALL-E – Much better than expected.  I don’t get the controversy that surrounded the message.
  • Brotherhood: Season 1 – Just OK.  We didn’t care about any of the characters.  Probably won’t pick up Season 2.
  • The Duchess – No memory of this at all.
  • Lust, Caution – Very good, beautiful film.  I picked it up for the NC-17 rating, and it turned out to be good for a whole bunch of other reasons.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera – Did not like this, although I didn’t much like the book either.
  • Slumdog Millionaire – Very good, but way over hyped.
  • Step Into Liquid – Good.  I am one step closer to seeing every surfing movie ever made.
  • Tsotsi – Pretty good, but I wanted to like the main character more.  Maybe that was the point.
  • Milk – Interesting story, thought Penn was pretty good.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Story was too much of a gimmick to ever make a great movie.
  • The Wrestler – Painfully good.  I can’t believe Rourke looks the way he does.
  • Frost/Nixon – Interesting, made me want to see the original footage.  The Nixon actor was excellent.
  • The Reader – Good, but forgettable.
  • Gran Torino – Great role for Eastwood.  Consistently loving his movies.
  • Lords of Dogtown – Can’t hold a candle to Dogtown and Z-Boys.
  • Weeds: Season 4 – This is holding up in the fourth season.  Nice twist at the end.
  • Changeling – Decent but not very memorable.
  • Mad Men: Season 2 – Very good, love that Roger Sterling.
  • Tell No One – Have it down as a highly rated movie, but don’t remember it that well.
  • 21 – Disappointing, book was so much better.
  • The Right Stuff – Exact opposite of 21, very true to the book and a great flick.
  • Superbad – Dumb, but was expected.
  • Deep Water – Interesting, depressing documentary about a sailor.
  • Flash of Genius – Pretty predictable. I think Kinnear has better roles in him.
  • Jeopardy: An Inside Look – The process of creating the questions/answers was very interesting.  Would have like more on Alex.
  • The Tao of Steve – Showing its age.  The main character was not at all redeeming.
  • Life After People – I was disappointed in this, and also in the book The World Without Us.  Can anyone do the “world post humans” concept well?
  • Revolutionary Road – Did not like this one either.  I wanted everyone to die in the end and I almost got my wish.
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona – Another beautiful film.  Decent story and acting.  All round good effort, but nothing like Match Point.
  • Entourage: Season 5 – I’ll keep sticking with this series even though it’s pretty predictable.
  • Following – Good for those wanting to see the Nolan body of work.  He’s just cutting his teeth here.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum – This has turned out to be a great series, even better than the Jack Ryan films or later Bond films.
  • John Adams – An amazing performance from Giamatti.  A good format for those wanting something faster than the book.
  • Dexter: Season 3 – It was a bit harder to get into this season, but it finished strong.
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – Interesting perspective of the Holocaust.  There are many others that are more powerful, The Pianist for example.
  • The Proposal – Predictable, but better than expected.
  • Julia – Hands down the worst movie of the year.  I could have watched this at 2x speed and it still would have been too long.
  • Valkyrie – I was prepared to hate this because the loon Tom Cruise was in it, but I ended up liking it.
  • Duplicity – Good, but I found myself needing an org chart at times.  The old brain isn’t what it used to be.
  • Angels & Demons – Much better than The Da Vinci Code.  Beautiful in the Blu-Ray format.
  • Tyson – A surprise, very poignant and made me feel bad for this nut job.
  • Yes Man – Blah, tried too hard for the laughs, about 45 minutes too long.

Review – This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Stephanie and I watched this a few nights ago and were a bit underwhelmed. I think we can all agree that a rating system for films is a good idea. Maybe the current system isn’t perfect, but aren’t there more pressing issues in the industry, such as the increasing irrelevance of the physical distribution model and the gradual destruction of the movie-going experience for the sake of revenue generated by pre-movie ads and in-movie product placement? As movie distribution shifts from theaters to Netflix, Bittorrent, etc., I think the rating system will have less meaning and the NC-17 rating won’t be a death sentence for a film’s commercial prospects.

I did find the appeals process interesting; the appeal board was made up almost entirely of VPs from the major theater chains and movie studios. It seems like they would be more inclined to change NC-17 ratings to R ratings, since R rated pictures will have a higher gross.  I wonder why this group chooses, in the majority of cases, to uphold the original MPAA rating?

All in all, not a bad film, but not the dramatic exposé I was expecting.