Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Time Rift

aestas canadensis (Canadian Summer)

I always have this nostalgic vision of summer: lazy, sunny mornings, padding around the house barefoot, where I linger over coffee, pastries and seasonal fruit. Reading in the shade while listening to new music or podcasts. Countless swims and bike rides and plentiful stops for ice cream. Restaurant hangs with friends. Movies in cooled theatres. Music in parks. Slow shopping in markets to get ingredients for a great meal made over a grill under a salmon coloured evening sky. None of that is exceptional or difficult but you need time such that none of it is rushed. You need a special kind of time. You need summertime.

Yet, what is a summertime? It's really just a dozen weekends, and if you really think about how many weekends others ask you to join them in their summer endeavours or that you have to use for all the chores and errands you were leaving for a warm, dry day, that number is probably closer to half of that. You also need summer weather. We now have summers of crushing, searing heat, oppressive humidity, raging forest fires, overwhelming droughts or deadly flooding and mudslides. Not a time for simple pleasures.

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Seen in August

Whether taking shelter from the heat or relaxing at the end of the day, this was how my summer ended. Only one film noted here was seen in a theatre. Maybe it seemed like too much trouble, maybe COVID was still on my mind, or maybe there just wasn't anything to see, but going to a theatre seemed less enticing this summer. Luckily, you can watch almost anything from home, so, adjust the heat or a/c as you like, pour your favourite drink and try one of these titles.

Jenny Slate of said stage fright.

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright
Comedian Jenny Slate's debut comedy special on Netflix. It's easy to be a fan of Slate, who previously was a Saturday Night Live cast member and is the co-creator and voice of Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. In some ways she is mining that the same vein as Sarah Silverman. She embodies the pretty Jewish princess who is so sweet that you are shocked by how much she cusses while talking about her lunar sex life. Unlike Silverman, who you can never know when and how far or ironic she will take her humour, Slate seems much more genuine and honest with her audience. Plus, in this comedy special we get to meet Jenny Slate's funny, supportive and for her, inspiring family.

My Old School
The story of a student named Brandon Lee who shows up at a Glasgow high school in 1995. Immediately his classmates thought he was a teacher, clearly too old to be a student, but when he was introduced as a new student, they all began to buy into a lie that played out over many months. As the student known as Lee did not want to be filmed, actor Alan Cumming portrays "Lee" (not his real name) visually and lip syncs the audio recording of the interview. The truth eventually comes out that the boy named Brandon Lee was really a 30-year-old man named Brian MacKinnon. The story of the deception and reason behind it is told in animated re-enactments combined with contemporary interviews with MacKinnon's 1995 classmates. It's a fascinating film told in an innovative and entertaining fashion.

The eponymous house.

The House
A stop-motion animated anthology of three stories set in three different eras, all set in the same house originally built in the 19th century (I think). The house would appear to be cursed or something. The first story, which shows how the house was built feels like a surreal horror film, while the second seems more like a modern nightmare. The final story, presumably set in the future when the rising waters of our current environmental crisis now threaten the house. This film is wonderfully animated, sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, but mostly it is very, very weird.

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