Skip to main content

Posts

Mid-September Viewing Options Update

Flying west recently for brief visits in Saskatoon and Calgary was a strange experience with everyone masked throughout and the only thing distributed being a sealed Air Canada “Clean Care” package including a small bottle of sanitizer, latex gloves, and an extra mask (though you already needed one just to enter the airport).With almost no international routes operating, including from U.S. destinations, my return flight from Calgary to Toronto was on a big 300-seat Boeing 787-9 “Dreamliner” with over 100 movies available on the entertainment system.Older titles can sometimes be discovered on streaming services.For example, I watched the 1989 France/Egypt coproduction Alexandria: Again and Forever after The New Yorker’s Richard Brody recommended it as “a masterpiece hiding on Netflix”. Also recently added on Netflix: the documentary Capitalism in the 21st Century based on the book by Thomas Piketty (who is also a cinephile), and the fantastic Danish television series “Borgen” (see: ht…
Recent posts

Late August Viewing Options Update

I am happy to report that some theatres have reopened, including my Ottawa favorites the ByTowne (https://www.bytowne.ca/) and the Mayfair (https://mayfairtheatre.ca/).   Seen in theatres and reviewed below are: Joan of Arc, Nomad, Summerland, John Lewis: Good Trouble, The Great Green Wall, Arab Blues,and La bonne épouse (check listings). At the same time huge amounts of streaming content are being added.My friend Audrey Rosa alerted me to the three seasons on Netflix of “Animal Kingdom” inspired by the terrific 2010 Australian feature of the same name (available on Amazon Prime Video).Also on Netflix is another crime family series “Ozark”, the third season of which has earned scads more Emmy nominations. As for real-crime stories, a new Netflix docuseries World’s Most Wanted has five episodes on: a Mexican drug lord, a financer of the Rwandan genocide, a British female terrorist mastermind, a Russian mafia boss, and Italy’s last Cosa Nostra godfather. The reviews below start with two …

August Civic Holiday Viewing Update

I’ve finally been back to my favorite independent Ottawa theatres, the ByTowne and the Mayfair, with precautions and limitations (mask-wearing, distancing and a 50-person audience maximum). But let me start with streaming suggestions from Netflix which already has over 36,000 hours of content to which it is constantly adding. Dark (Germany, three seasons 2017-2020, 26 episodes, Netflix) A- I only discovered this title recently but it appears to have been Netflix’s first original German series, concluding with the final season released in June. Although extremely strange as well as dark, the production is of high quality. The setting is the small German town of Winden in the shadow of the twin towers of a nuclear power plant.Linked to that facility is a spooky cave with subterranean passages storing barrels of radioactive waste and, more importantly, a time-travel portal on which is inscribed the Latin phrase “ Sic mundus creatus est” (“Thus the world was created”) Scenarios affecting mu…

A Mid-Summer Viewing Menu

Cinephiles mourned the loss of the great Italian composer Ennio Morricone who died at age 91 earlier this month, especially remembered for his iconic film scores for the Clint Eastwood “spaghetti westerns” of the 1960s and for “The Mission” among other classics.Also on the music front, although my last post was quite critical of the Netflix series “The Politician”, the best thing about it is to have introduced a wide audience to Ben Platt who has the title role.Platt, who has been on stage since childhood and became a Broadway star, is a supremely talented musician, singer, and songwriter.Check out the Netflix special Ben Platt Live from Radio City Music Hall, a fantastic performance, immensely appealing and candid, recorded last September. As the “politician”, Platt’s character is determined to become president. So my favorite Platt quote is: “I’m counting the days until Trump is just a stain on history …”.On the acting side, Platt has joined an 18-year project by master filmmaker Ri…