Friday, November 25, 2011

THE DESCENDANTS: Heirs to the glimmering world

A few thoughts on THE DESCENDANTS, and ranking Alexander Payne's movies.

Earlier this year, "The Five Album Test" emerged briefly as a meme.  It suggests that one way to determine a musical act's greatness is that they made five great albums in a row.  This was then extended to "The Five Movie Test": which great directors had made five great films in a row?  Personally, I don't think this test is a very good representation of an artist's greatness - a great director, like a great band, introduces a lot of risk in each new project, and risk is a key element of both success and failure.  But now comes THE DESCENDANTS, director Alexander Payne's fifth movie, and he's five for five.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Some thoughts about Davis Guggenheim's fantastic documentary about U2 and the making of ACHTUNG BABY.

There's a common argument among U2 fans over the last 20 years: which is better, 1987's THE JOSHUA TREE or 1991's ACHTUNG BABY?  Depending on a number of factors (my mood; which album I'd most recently listened to; the phase of the moon; etc), my answer changes.  (Occasionally, it even shifts to ZOOROPA.)  What's interesting is that, although the albums were recorded only four years apart, they could not be more different.  Where THE JOSHUA TREE is anthemic, important, sincere, ACHTUNG BABY is groovy, sexy, ironic.  How did this band get from point A to point B?

Look, I Made a Blog

Hi there.  Welcome to my shiny new blog.

When I first joined twitter, I used it mainly as a tool to follow celebrities I like.  I myself rarely tweeted - but as I started tweeting, I became more interested in following local folks, and occasionally joining local conversations.  I've also started reading a bunch of local blogs, and these often leave me thinking: I can write better than they can.  (Not you, of course; your blog is perfection.)  I also had the opportunity to do some blogging for the Calgary International Film Festival as a volunteer, and I really enjoyed that.  So I thought I'd experiment with blogging again.

I've been in Calgary for nearly a decade - I like this city so much that I actually moved here twice.  My main blogging interest is pop culture, particularly movies and television.  I plan on talking about stuff going on in Calgary as well.  I'm not starting this blog with a particular agenda - although I do have lots of ideas - so let's just see where it takes us.  Say hello in the comments, write me an email, insult me on twitter, whatever you want!

(Also, for the next little while, pardon the mess.  I'm still experimenting with the formatting and adding features and all that fun stuff.  It's like moving into a new house!)

First things first: here is a picture of my dog: