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More Online Viewing Options -Canada Day Edition

The already vast amount of streaming content keeps growing. Some is on established specialty TV channels like HBO.I’m grateful to it for showing the wondrous 2018 Quebec feature Une Colonie (A Colony), from first-time director Geneviève Dulude-De Celles, which has garnered numerous awards including best film at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards. I remember watching “Perry Mason” as a kid with Raymond Burr in the title role.Check out HBO’s new 8-episode version with Matthew Rhys as “Perry” and Canadian Tatiana Maslany as “Sister Alice”.Also just arrived on HBO is David France’s searing Welcome to Chechnya (https://www.welcometochechnya.com/) about LGBTQ persecution, particularly deadly in this ravaged Russian province ruthlessly ruled by Putin’s chosen strongman.Amid harrowing scenes France observes the courageous work of activists in rescuing endangered individuals and getting them out of Russia (Canada is a noted country of refuge).This is guerilla-style filmmaking at its finest. Here’s…
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More Viewing Options into the Pandemic Summer

I’ve raved about the German series Babylon Berlin on Netflix.Thanks to Hugh Finsten for pointing me to other terrific German series on Crave: Deutschland 83 and Deutschland 86. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody alerted me to free screenings available on the Tubi platform (https://tubitv.com/home).There are 18 films by German master Werner Herzog. (I caught up on the anarchic Even Dwarfs Started Small from 1971 and the absurdist 1977 feature Stroszek.).Included is Aguirre: The Wrath of God, among my 2018 book’s 20 greatest films of all time. Influence (Canada/South Africa 2020, available on CBC Gem and documentary channel) B+ Directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille, this probing exposé of the dangers of public relations manipulation was one of the HotDocs selections picked up for broadcast by CBC in May. The villain of the piece is Timothy Bell, head honcho of the firm Bell Pottinger.Clients on the right included Margaret Thatcher and Chile’s Pinochet.But the firm also worked for post-So…

Ides of May Update on Viewing During a Pandemic

Viewing at home has never been more popular in these times.  On TV, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a treasure trove of older classics.  A while back I watched the four-hour 1963 epic Cleopatra that starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  Possibly the most expensive movie ever made, the extravagant scene of Cleopatra’s entry in Rome (which actually happened in 46BC) is something to behold.  For deprived theatre goers, Britain’s National Theatre has been presenting acclaimed full-length plays every Thursday on its YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUDq1XzCY0NIOYVJvEMQjqw?sub_confirmation=1 (free to watch for one week).  The May 7 offering was Antony & Cleopatra with the great Ralph Fiennes. Here are more viewing choices: Capital in the Twenty-First Century (France/New Zealand 2019, Kino Lorber on demand) A French economist Thomas Piketty just turned 49 a few days ago but has already produced two of the most important works of political economy of recent decades.Ca…

MayDay Update on Viewing Options in a Time of Covid-19

Let me begin by noting that the film world has lost two great actors this year—Kirk Douglas (103!) and Max Von Sydow (90). The pandemic has been a huge boon to online/streaming platforms … Netflix is now worth more than ExxonMobil. (Amazon is valued at US$1.2 trillion and rising.) The best series on Netflix is the German Babylon Berlin (A+), but Tiger King (A) frenzy has been the biggest boost to ratings: https://deadline.com/2020/04/tiger-king-huge-viewership-netflix-earnings-money-heist-love-is-blind-spenser-confidential-1202914195/ https://variety.com/2020/biz/news/tiger-king-big-cat-public-safety-act-1234591738/ On another Netflix series Freud (A) check out this analysis: https://medium.com/@wjauthor/austrian-german-netflix-show-freud-combines-mythology-and-psychoanalysis-6e3cf419eb0d Planet of the Humansrevisited On April 22 I sent around a viewing link for this provocative documentary. My original review is below, but be aware that the film has stirred much controversy and sparked furio…