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November Viewing Update

  Hallelujah, I did actually get to see 2 movies on the big screen: Ammonite at Ottawa’s ByTowne Cinema ( ) and The Climb at the Mayfair ( ).  God knows for how long.  Beyond that,  are streaming options galore. Netflix’s fourth season of “The Crown” is earning plaudits .. more next time. HBO has two excellent new series: “The Undoing” and the docuseries “Murder on Middle Beach” helmed by a son investigating his mother’s murder.  Ottawa’s European Union film festival in its 35 th year is presenting 27 films—for the first time online across Canada (check out: ).  November 13 started with a wonderful 2018 German film All About Me (the German title translates as “The Boy Needs Fresh Air”). Director Caroline Link’s focus is on the boyhood of Hans-Peter (Hape) Kerkeling based on his autobiography.  One of Germany’s most loved comedians he overcame family tragedy (and in 2001also penned a memoir of walkin
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Halloween Viewing Update

The headline of an article in my October 19 Ottawa Citizen was “Don’t Netflix Away the Second Wave.”  Ok, I get it … don’t let the pandemic turn you into a couch potato, or wherever you settle down to binge watch.  Incidentally, the market value of Netflix, which now has almost 8,000 employees and 200 million subscribers, has multiplied 500-fold since 2002. What will this online trend do to cinema? (Check out: .   “A Year without Movie Buzz” laments The New Yorker’s Richard Brody.) But with theatres closed again here (sigh) I’m glad for the streaming options even if the expanding array of choice can become overwhelming.   On TV, Crave’s The Good Lord Bird is great.   A review in The New Yorker praises its “mischievous irreverence” and Ethan Hawke is a holy terror as the militant abolitionist John Brown.   Meanwhile CBC is showing the compelling docuseries Enslaved .   HBO is wrapping up two fine series:   We Are W

Post- Thanksgiving Viewing Update

  Is this the beginning of the end of the big screen?  I hope not! Ottawa theatres are shuttered again and thousands have closed across North America.  (All cinemas have stayed dark in New York and L.A. since March.) For a discussion of the prospects see the segment on this recent CBC radio program: .  At the same time enormous amounts of good content are being added to streaming platforms.   However, let me begin with the best film I’ve seen this year— a 1977 Soviet one, The Ascent , by female director Larisa Shepitko.   (Tragically, it was her last feature as she and crew members were killed in a 1979 accident.)   This extraordinary masterwork was broadcast October 6 on the TCM channel as part of its presentation of Mark Cousins’ 14-hour docuseries Women Make Film: A New Road Movie through Cinema (A+).   More at: .   See also: and Reviews