Title Comment Comment Date Comment Link
Best of the 90s

My two cents: Taste of Cherry is essential viewing, as is the Koker trilogy. Life and Nothing More and Through the Olive Trees (and Close-Up!) show he does not merely rank among history's greatest filmmakers, but he's also one of the art form's most thoughtful critics. He's constantly probing into what constitutes cinema and, for my taste, he even surpasses anyone who came out of La Nouvelle Vague in this regard.

8/6/2016 View
Favorite Music [archived]

I've wrestled a bit with this question, but can't come up with a satisfying hierarchy. The bottom two are 808's (unlistenable, though I haven't listened in years), and Cruel Summer (some good tracks). I like Graduation and Watch the Throne a lot, the latter more so, but they're not at the highest level.

That leaves us with five, and I'm not sure how to organize them. Perhaps Pablo is at the bottom-- though it's a very fine, ambitious album, that I have no doubt will age well. I'm slightly inclined to say that Late Registration stands at the top of the heap, but I'm not so sure these days. The College Dropout, My Beautiful and Yeezus are all very great, the latter two in particular being the more inventive works in his canon. But trying to sift through them to determine what gives the most pleasure is a fruitless task.

What's your take?

edit: any thoughts on Views?

7/21/2016 View
Favorite Directors

RIP Kiarostami... Following the (outdated) list's logic that would make Tsai my favourite living filmmaker, but--as good as he is--he cannot fill the very great man's shoes.

7/6/2016 View
Music Rankings & Notes

The new Kanye is beautiful imo. I'm still taking it all in, but am loving it so far. "30 Hours" is my favourite.

You guys Future fans? I like his recent stuff a lot. Nothing particularly ambitious or insightful, but enjoyable nonetheless.

2/18/2016 View
Film Log

...never!? Maybe this should be archived.

I haven't been watching many films lately, but a grip of favourites are playing in my local theatre in the coming months (Tokyo Story, Breathless, Wings of Desire, Stalker (!)... Kiarostami(!!!)). Maybe that will get me back into the swing of things, and I'll resume marking some stray observations. Have you seen anything particularly noteworthy lately, worth recommending?

1/24/2016 View
Critics Ranked and Reviewed

Jay-Z is incomparably better than Nas, imo. "Ether" is way more direct, and I can almost see why people say Nas won based off its strength, but "Takeover" only addressed him in one verse and was able to dismantle his entire career; there is something to be said about succinctness. Most importantly, "Takeover" is the better song; "Ether" isn't particularly enjoyable to listen to unless you want--for some reason--a breakdown of Jay-Z. While I'm on the subject, I think American Gangster is a really great album that is inexplicably overlooked.

I love Drake; Take Care easily gets the nod as his best album. It's the most ambitious, coherent, musical... I remember reading The Weeknd had a heavy hand in its creation, which makes sense. I like If You're Reading, but it's not as strong. Stand out tracks include "Preach" (maybe my favourite song of the year?), "Star67," "10 Bands," "No Tellin"... Nothing Was The Same was the album which surprised me in its utter uneveneness... Lots of forgettable tracks, though I love "Tuscan Leather," "Pound Cake," "Too Much" and a couple others. That said, I wouldn't go to Drake looking for depth, although he often seems convinced he's being profound. But that doesn't, for me, diminish the pleasure.

Am interested to hear your thoughts on Beauty! One of my favourite tracks of his that isn't on an album: King of the Fall.

12/18/2015 View
Best Canadian Stuff

There's no denying Frye was remarkably intelligent, but I suppose it's a matter of temperament. He's really interested in taxonomies of knowledge, and--frankly--all those ideas about archetypes and myths and topos leave me a little cold. I prefer the close textual engagement of critics like F.R. Leavis, William Empson, Ross Posnock, Helen Vendler, etc. And Erich Auerbach, Mimesis might be the best book of criticism ever written. He was a German-Jew who fled the Nazis to Istanbul where he wrote his masterpiece, which covers European literature from Homer to Woolf. Hugh Kenner seems like a pretty great Canadian crit from the little I've read of him; The Pound Era is generally regarded as the finest book on the poet.

Some Livesay: Bartok and the Geranium, The Unquiet Bed, Day and Night (excerpt). I genuinely enjoy her work, but I would also note that she does not rank as an overall favourite; only within the parameters of Canada.

12/15/2015 View
Critics Ranked and Reviewed

Black on Both Sides -- too long, but "Mathematics," "Ms Fat Booty," "Mr. N***a," and some others are great
Illmatic -- some really fine tracks ("Memory Lane," "NY State of Mind") despite the fact that Nas usually bores me to tears
Dancing in Your Head -- wonderful; hat tip to Xgau, I think.
Yeezus -- great, but not something I play as much as his first two. I like it front to back but standouts include "Blood on the Leaves," "Send it Up" and "Hold my Liquor".

I'm really interested in the Louis/Duke album but am somewhat skeptical, because it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to listen to Satchmo's, say, post-30's output. The artistic power recalls his earlier work, but it's just not the same.

Have you heard Beauty Behind the Madness? I love it.

12/15/2015 View
Best Canadian Stuff

Despite being Canadian, I know little about our artistic culture. Naturally, that doesn't stop me from having an opinion. Dorothy Livesay is probably my favourite Canadian writer, and I don't get the fuss about Frye. I prefer Ararat to Exotica, and you might want to check out Michael Snow and Jack Chambers for really captivating experimental film, though I like Cronenberg more than either. The absence of the Group of Seven is particularly agreeable, but you're missing Drake.

I need to read Carson.

12/15/2015 View
Critics Ranked and Reviewed

I remember Prindle's reviews being funny but I looked up the wife thing and good lord some of the stuff cited here is depressing.

12/6/2015 View
Favorite TV Shows

Master of None is so bad; the pandering to liberal values with zero subtly or intelligence is embarrassing.

11/12/2015 View
Favorite Music [archived]

The Weeknd >

10/29/2015 View
Favorite Directors

I'm shocked... Chantal Akerman committed suicide on October 5th at the age of 65.

Truly one of the greats.

10/10/2015 View
The Greatest Albums Ever

"The Beatles broke up because they were idealistic enough to be convinced of their historical mission and realistic enough to know they were no longer capable of carrying it forward. The Beatles broke up because they didn't see or care that the corporate life of a rock group could endure long after its collective life was kaput. The Beatles broke up because the couple is a more stable structure than the four-way. The Beatles broke up because three of them believed they were geniuses and only one of them was. The Beatles broke up because they thought they were immortal. The Beatles broke up because they couldn't stand each other anymore." -- Robert Christgau

Christina Rees has an amusing theory about how it was written.

10/8/2015 View
The Greatest Albums Ever

Naw, his poetry is def really banal imo. If being better is central to passing judgement then the whole critical enterprise is sunk.

10/7/2015 View