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Showing posts from 2020

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…

Ides of April Ideas for Home Viewing During Covid-19

With the cancellation of film festivals new methods of release are being explored.For example, starting tomorrow April 16 CBC will start showing and streaming some titles from the HotDocs lineup. Check this out at: https://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/watch-exclusive-first-run-feature-docs-from-the-2020-hot-docs-festival-at-home-on-cbc-1.5523214 The International Documentary Film Festival is also making available hundreds of titles online. Check out: https://www.idfa.nl/en/collection/free?page=1 With Netflix’s “Tiger King” all the rage, it added a new 40-minute episode “Tiger King and I” of interviews with associates of “Joe Exotic”. A sample of the ongoing commentary: https://variety.com/2020/digital/news/tiger-king-nielsen-viewership-data-stranger-things-1234573602/ https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/claws-out-my-adventure-in-the-court-of-the-tiger-king-92bp2bg2r https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/13/the-crass-pleasures-of-tiger-king?utm_source=onsite-share&utm_medium=email&ut…

Viewing in a time of Covid-19

Viewing in the Time of Covid-19 First I want to wish a very happy 70th birthday to my wonderful sister Yvonne in Calgary! Good to know there are still many things one can celebrate remotely (we did a Skype call). On the low tech end, for those confined at home it may be time to return to the pleasures of traditional book reading (beyond the flood of online material).I’m currently making my way through Thomas Piketty’s monumental Capital and Ideology (about which more in a future post). Viewing options abound.TV and various streaming services may never again be as popular.The available content is already staggering.I’m not a big fan of the new Amazon Prime Series Hunters which imagines Jewish vigilantes hunting down Nazis in the U.S.But I highly recommend the new HBO (on Crave) miniseries The Plot Against America which imagines a proto-fascist turn in the U.S. in the early 1940s (somehow the Trumpian zeitgeist afflicting our neighbor to the south makes that seem less implausible).In the t…

Viewing During a Time of Viral Pandemic

Instead of flying to Lima, Peru today to begin a charity challenge trek of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu I find myself grounded, but fortunately with a great many reading and viewing options. Movie releases have been delayed and theatres closed across the continent with uncertain consequences: https://www.indiewire.com/2020/03/pandemic-theater-chains-survive-coronavirus-box-office-1202217581/ https://www.indiewire.com/2020/03/christopher-nolan-movie-theaters-coronavirus-1202219510/ However this interruption is already proving to be a huge boon to streaming services which can continue to be enjoyed in at-home isolation.I have a half dozen. For more see this link and the articles below on the many streaming choices. https://www.indiewire.com/2020/03/streaming-wars-indie-film-criterion-collection-shudder-mubi-1202218898/ Under the circumstances all of the following review notes and recommendations refer to content for home viewing, both TV and online. My highest recommendation goes to this new…