Monday, December 31, 2012
We did it! My New Year's resolution at the end of 2011 was to blog daily. There was no distinct theme, except for it being written by me. I enjoy having a self imposed assignment, and an excuse to undertake the chore of writing on a frequent basis. I also find that keeping on top of the practice of writing in any form keep the mind and typing fingers sharp for other assignments.
Foolishly, I think I am going to keep up with the daily blog, if anything I might just aim for shorter entries at times. The blog has been going well and has garnered some nice response from folks, and has even managed to get some films and books sent my way for review purposes, now if I could only trick someone into paying me for doing such things. Between the blog and various social media writings on behalf of the Mayfair Theatre, I find that that often takes up what normal humans might consider the same amount of hours as an average work day.
I also have some comic book and movie script stuff I want to get underway, so mayhaps a bit more work on that stuff and a bit fewer over-all annual hours put towards interweb writings. Thank you for reading, see you in the far off future that is 2013.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
I finished reading another of my Christmas gift books: Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism. The novella comes from Hellboy mastermind Mike Mignola and his frequent collaborator Christopher Golden, it tells the tale of a young priest and his first post World War II assignment at a church / orphanage. That would be an interesting enough of a story, even without the creepy haunted puppets, which of course this book has.
The other day a friend asked via the Facebook what my favourite book of the year was, for the non-comic book genre, this one is it.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
A black and white stop-motion animation movie directed by Tim Burton based upon his own cult classic live-action short is reason enough for any movie geek to be excited. When it garners great praise, looks beautiful, is a lot of fun, has a lot of heart, and seems to be a step back to quality form from the director...that's even better. If you see it at the Mayfair and you can bring your dog along with you to enjoy the movie going experience, well that is just awesome!
Join us tomorrow for a Bring-your-Doggie matinee of Frankenweenie, Sunday December 30th at 2:30pm, only at the Mayfair. A theatre full of dogs watching a family friendly Disney horror movie on a snowy Sunday afternoon...what could possibly go wrong!? Please leave kitties at home, we'll try a kitty matinee some other time.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Finished reading / looking at one of my awesome Christmas gift books: DC Comics - The Sequential Art of Amanda Conner. I think that Amanda is the bestest comic artist working today. If you like comic books and aren't familiar with her work I suggest that you quickly correct that. May I suggest Power Girl? If you read Amanda Conner's Power Girl and do not like it, do not tell me, I will think that you are a fool.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The Master is one of those completely polarizing kind of movies. A good friend of mine thought it was completely boring, I thought it was intense and I was completely enthralled. I admit that I walked into this as a giant fan of PT Anderson's work (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood) and that I can get lost in a long slow movie in a positive like manner. Whereas I think it's safe to say my friend would give The Master a failing grade, I would easily put it on my list of the best films of 2012.
A Mayfair patron made a similarly negative remark about the movie on Twitter, coincidentally right at the same time another patron gushed in an opposite positive manner on the same topic. I think that the good or bad aspects of a film are subjective and not objective in nature, a point of topic that some disagree with me about. I can love a film that others hate, or I can hate a film that others love...and there's nothing wrong with that. I will always remember that the Ottawa Citizen gave Army of Darkness it's lowest possible rating, while I think it is pretty much a perfect movie-going experience. I pretty much despised Avatar, and clearly I am in the great minority in that opinion since it just happens to be the most financially successful motion picture ever produced.
See which side of the fence you fall in on your Master opinion, check out The Master tonight at 9:15pm at The Mayfair (and if you can't make it tonight it plays the next three days too!). It's ok if you don't like it, I respect your opinion and we can still be friends. If you don't like Army of Darkness...I don't know, that might be a different story.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I have read every book that Julia Wertz has published, and I wish I had more time on my hands because I'm way behind on reading her various online comics and blog posts. I love super-hero comics as much as the next geek, but I also greatly enjoy the more indie aspect offerings that are out there. Julia's bravely honest autobiographical humour work is my go to pick for people who aren't into what the mainstream publishers could be offering, but still might be interested in some comic book readings.
I finished reading The Infinite Wait a few days ago, but I can mention it now because I have given it over to my friend. It was her Christmas gift, and I wanted to read it before wrapping it up and sticking it under the tree. The gift package was extra nifty 'cause it included an original drawing, a print, some little Julia made buttons & magnets, AND a personally made Julia mix-cd. I hope Julia doesn't mind that I was thrifty and didn't purchase two copies of the book, in the mean time I will encourage everyone else to go buy her stuff.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Nothing says Merry Christmas like a Mobile Organism Designed Only for Koffee! The mad scientist that could only have been designed in the Marvel Comics heyday by the genius that was Jack Kirby and titled the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing is now mine in mug form! We truly do live in an age of miracle and wonders.
Now, like a kid hepped up too much Santa delivered stocking candy, I will list all of the highlights of the treasure that I received:
Blu Ray: Prometheus, Cabin in the Woods and A Charlie Brown Christmas
Books: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden's Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism, Grant Morrison's Dinosaurs vs Aliens, Roger Ebert's Life Itself, & DC Comics: The Sequential Art of Amanda Conner
...also got the recently released Joey Ramone lost cd - which I hope is good, I love Joey Ramone, but often lost songs are left off of albums for a reason.
Almost as awesome as giant cybernetic floating head to drink delicious beverages out of, also got not just Jenga, but Spider-man themed Jenga! What's could make the stress induced stacking blocks game more exciting than crossing it over with a geek brand!?
Anyhow, hope everyone is having a great holiday season, I have to get back to watching cartoons, reading Archie Comics, and eating.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
One of the favourite Christmas tv traditions for myself and David Letterman is Darlene Love's annual visit to the Late Show to perform Baby Please Come Home (which was televised last night). Thanks to the the festive magic of the interwebs, I can share yet another of her great performances.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Hey, check it out...the world didn't end! I was fairly confident that nothing was actually going to happen, as it didn't happen all those other times in recent history when some crazy people let us all know that the end was nigh on some specific time and date. Have to admit though that there's always a tiny little amazingly minuscule part in the back of my mind that thinks it might be cool to witness an apocalypse. Not a wise thought, but I guess it's the same mindset that makes geeks think that a zombie outbreak or giant monster attack would be fun times.
Anyhow, since we are all still alive, what better way to celebrate than getting out of the house and partaking in one of the worst movies ever made? Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is impressively awful in staggering and unbelievable levels of writing, production and performance. It is also laugh out loud funny from beginning to end, though always for unintentional reasons, seeing as I'm pretty sure that everyone involved thought they were making actual sci-fi and didn't intend for bargain basement camp cinema.
Amongst other accomplishments, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has the most amazing (and by amazing I mean awesomely terrible) robot and polar bear, and a mesmerizing theme song that will play over and over again all Holiday season long.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (and not to play spoiler, but he never exactly conquers anybody) yuletides its way onto the Mayfair screen tonight at 11:30pm. PS - Another Christmas miracle, as tonight marks the unveiling of our fancy new digital projector...never has such a bad movie looked so good!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Every time December rolls around, it seems that people moan and complain that there were no good movies released throughout the year. This always frustrates me, because there are great movies released every year, it just seems the masses would rather watch reality tv or cop shows or do whatever else they do to pass the time instead of watching good movies.
Last night I watched yet another great 2012 movie that seems to be making a lot of year-end best-of lists and garnering lots of geek appreciation cred and award buzz. Looper is an impressive sci-fi action drama featuring Bruce Willis as the elder and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the younger versions of the same character. A character who makes a living as an executioner of people sent back from the future to be disposed of, with the stipulation that he will make a fortune but will also have to kill a 30 years elder version of himself sooner or later. When Joseph is faced with killing himself (as played by Bruce), he screws up and is left both chasing himself down and trying to avoid punishment from the crime boss he is employed by.
Does that make sense? Explaining time-travel movies can be a bit confusing for the writer and the reader alike. In fact, right in the context of the movie, Bruce's character angrily and frustratingly retorts the he doesn't want to think about time travel 'cause it's too confusing (that is either smart or lazy screen-writing...not sure).
The film is filled with some great performances, especially from the two sides of the titular Looper. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has graduated with amazing success from his bad laugh-track sitcom beginnings, and more and more I think Bruce Willis may end up being the greatest movie star of his time. He can of course handle any action-hero duties a movie might need, and as a bonus he can hold his own in dramatic or comedic roles, and isn't afraid to play a supporting or unlike-able role.
Looper is smart sci-fi, and at it's core is an impressive and entertaining crime morality drama. And, so your brain doesn't get too overwhelmed with the scientific complexities of travelling through time, there is also a whole bunch of of awesome guns-a-blazing battles to keep your attention.
Be prepared to prove jerks wrong when they say that there are no new good movies being made, catch Looper tonight at 9:15pm at the Mayfair.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When I get a text from my girlfriend saying that there is a snow TARDIS across the street from the apartment, I must admit that my brain instantly translates that as "There's an actual TARDIS with some snow on it across the street!". Hence, when I return home and do not see a full size blue police box on the side-walk that I can step into and partake in intergalactic time-travelling adventures, there is a little bit of disappointment. None-the-less, a mini-TARDIS made from three recycle bins full of snow is still pretty neat. Well played geeky festive neighbours (plus it allowed my girlfriend to counter-geek by writing Bad Wolf in the snow on it).
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
One more sleep 'til everyone's favourite guns-a-blazing festive holiday cinematic x-mas tradition returns to the Mayfair - the Die Hard double bill!
I always hesitate to gush too wildly about movies that I love, 'cause seeing a movie that you've been told is 5 stars but then you see it and you think it's only 4 stars somehow makes it seem like 2 stars. And you would think that Die Hard is safe since it was released over 24 years ago, but I'm always shocked as to classics that people have not seen. I am never afraid to put Die Hard up on a pedestal though, seeing as it is unarguably the greatest action film ever made!
If you see Die Hard now, after having seen a couple of decades of the action films that followed, you might not think it to be a masterpiece. What one must take into account though is that pretty much every action movie that came on it's heels was just ripping off the Die Hard character and formula. Before Bruce Willis portrayed the in over his head every-man action-hero cop John McClane, the action movie genre was a very different beast. The hero's were big and strong and cardboard cut-out's, Bruce embodied confident and cool the same way a Steve McQueen did...but he also got the hell beat out of him along the way, showed humanity and humour and fear, and had a weird habit of talking to himself a lot.
Die Hard also just happens to be set at Christmas time, which means that it stands shoulder to shoulder with other greats like It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol as one of my holiday favourites.
Die Hard 2 is also pretty cool, and features another Christmas bloodbath as John McClane takes on the challenge of both holiday travel via airports and terrorists. I'm also pretty sure that at one point it had the highest body count in any motion picture (not counting planet explosions like in Star Wars of course). And no, it's not called Die Harder, that was just the tag-line on the poster.
Die Hard double bill at the Mayfair on Tuesday December 18th at 7:00pm. It ain't Christmas without Bruce Willis jumping off the top of an exploding building.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Hellboy in Hell #1 resurrects both Mike Mignola's return to drawing comic books, and continues the decades deep chronology of tales for his legendary cigar smoking hell-born hero. Though Mignola was never far from his most identifiable creation, co-writing many a Hellboy and BPRD (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence) script, and supplying many a cover. It also isn't really a resurrection of Hellboy, since the character is actually still dead and stuck in hell.
Mike Mignola makes the most of his comic book story-telling and tells amazingly fun, complicated, heart-wrenching, scary, enthralling tales within them. He is never guilty of phoning it in, you'll never find 22 pages in a row where nothing happens. Mike Mignola does the history of comic books proud, and I hope he keeps it up for many a year to come. Just the face that I have a newly published comic book in my possession that says 'story and art by Mike Mignola' makes me very happy.
As an added bonus, in this initial chapter of our hero's trek through hell, he has a run in with some Christmas Carol mythology in the form of some creepy puppets (Christmas Carol is my favourite book).
If I could only read one set of comics for the rest of my life, I'm fairly confident that I would pick Mike Mignola's Hellboy stuff. I love a comic book that look like a comic book. I am not a big fan of artists who strive for photo-realism in their comic book pages, and I don't like once fantastical epics that are now filled with pages of talking heads. If it's a non-fiction or autobiographical thing...no problem, no need for explosions. If the story is filled with larger than life characters and super-hero's and potential for action and adventure and horror and awesome...do something! Comic books at their best can be better than any tremendously expensive Hollywood blockbuster, and within their pages you can do anything! It's much cheaper to get an artist to draw whatever you can imagine vs spending a bazillion dollars on cg.
If you've never read any Hellboy, go do so. You can go back to square one (the first collection is called Seed of Destruction), or pick up Hellboy in Hell #1 without being all that confused. It's pretty much all awesome.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
If there was ever proof needed that initial box office receipts and critical response are not equal to a movie becoming a timeless classic, you just have to look to It's a Wonderful Life. The Frank Capra film starring Jimmy Stewart was released to sub-par critical writings and was a box-office flop in 1946, and it is now the undisputed Christmas tale cinematic classic.
I'm also fascinated by the story because although now considered a family friendly Christmas tradition, people seem to forget that it actually has quite a few moments of distressing darkness, including that lil' part where Jimmy Stewart almost gives up on everything and leaves behind his wife and children to suicide (!). It seems that if handled by a different director or if given a slightly more Twilight Zone re-write at one point, it almost could have been a much different story (very similar to my thoughts on another personal favourite, Groundhog Day)
Catch the holiday favourite at the Mayfair today (Dec 15) at 6pm or tomorrow (Dec 16) at 5:30pm, and just maybe an angel will get his wings.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Although it took me awhile, I finally finished reading Comics Prose: Short Stories by Comics Writers. I always seem to be guilty of stopping and starting on short story collections, I read a story and then put the book down due to distraction from a longer book or comics or some competing collection of stories vying for my attention. According to a receipt found within the book, I purchased it in April 2011 while on a visit to NYC. I read one of two stories on the flight home, and picked it back up off the shelf a few days ago determined to take it off the check-list of stuff to read that is around the apartment. The book is a collection with no over-all genre or theme besides for it's writers usually are known for work with sequential art accompaniment. Writers in the collection include Astro City's Kurt Busiek, Road to Perdition's Max Allen Collins, Batman universe writer and editorial mastermind Dennis O'Neil, Crisis on Infinite Earth's Marv Wolfman and Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini. It's an interesting thing to check out if you are a fan of these writers previous comic book writings, or it makes a good jumping on point if you are reading inclined but not comic book initiated. You just might stumble on some entertaining stuff that will pique your interest to check out something of a more actual comic book-y inclination.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
This is our Christmas tree. It's base is a vintage comic book spinner rack which displays over 50 different Holiday themed books ranging from TMNT to Lobo to the Tick. It has decorations featuring Wolverine, Spidey, Star Wars, Nightmare Before Christmas, Looney Tunes, Spongebob, and the Muppets. It is topped with a mini-tree, Wavy the Crocodile wearing a Black Lantern ring, and a Weeping Angel. I hope it makes you as jealous as it makes me glow with festive geeky pride.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
As I've recently mentioned, I think that documentary filmmaking has had an incredible run of excellent releases the last few years. The only unfortunate turn, is that often these impressive cinematic offerings leave one feeling that the end is nigh to do environmental or political travesties. Failing that, if you don't feel like giving up on our planet, you might at least feel immensely angered at the state of humanity and the powerful people ruling our world.
If you didn't have a distaste for billionaire business magnate and trashy reality TV host Donald Trump before, You've Been Trumped will most certainly leave you angered. This new documentary focuses on the bold faced lies and inhumanity that Trump spear-heads in his quest to destroy cherished lands in Scotland to build a gaudy tourist gold course. Witnessing his horrible diatribe and villainous actions taken against these lovely small town folks, who he wants to displace, makes you wonder if he is full blown insane or just evil. It's cliché to think this of a person, but you can't help but wonder how Trump can look himself in the mirror every morning.
None the less, even though it will make you want to hop a plane to the nearest Trump Tower and throw a punch, this is a brave and immensely interesting doc that although not exactly the feel good hit of the year, it is very well worth your movie viewing time.
You've Been Trumped screens at the Mayfair tonight and tomorrow, Dec 12 and 13, at 7:00pm.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Martin Scorsese is maybe the most respected filmmaker alive, admired by his peers and worshipped by critics and fans of the cinema. Hence, I have a feeling that he doesn't just slap his name as a presenter on anything just for the hell of it. Easy Money is a newly released to North American theatres presentation, arriving here after a financially successful and award winning international run. Although not exactly the same genre, the Swedish crime thriller reminded me thematically of Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy. It plays along at its own pace, features a lot of great performances, some climactic action, and at the end you kind of wake of from it's world as the credits roll and realize that you may have just watched a masterpiece. It also happens to fall under my favourite sub-genre...the crime doesn't pay story - see also Simple Plan, Cassandra's Dream, The Killing, etc...
Easy Money screens tonight at 9:00pm at the Mayfair. Trust Mister Scorsese, he would not lead you wrong.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Tonight my team was victorious in our battle to win the Winter Wonderland Edition of Geek Trivia as put together and presented by the fine gentlemen of Unreasonable Action. I always knew that my Marvel Comics, Star Wars and other such geeky know-how would pay off one of these days. I continue to be quite thankful that I spent my high school years reading comics, playing role playing and video games, and watching movies instead of studying boring old scholastic topics. If something like geek trivia nights is something that sounds appealing to you, you should go check out their web-site and listen to their podcast so you will know when the next one comes around. Then if you are feeling exceedingly geek brave, you can attend the event and try to dethrone myself and my mightily knowledgeable of useless information team-mates.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Got my latest comic book pull-list delivery yesterday, which included the latest issue of Doctor Who. I've been very impressed with the writing in IDW's Doctor Who comics. Even without the official executive producer stamp of approval that the Buffy universe of comics have, these books really manage to seem like stories that could be episodes of the BBC television series, and they have a really great skill of having dialogue within the word balloons that sound like they could be coming right out of the actor / characters live-action mouths.
The latest story arc is written by Brandon Seifert, whose previous work includes Clive Barker's Hellraiser comics and his own creation at Image Comics, Witch Doctor. The art looks great, embracing the comic book medium instead of going for a painted / traced / bad photo realism style (that was made use of so horribly in the well written but horrible looking Doctor Who / Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover, also from IDW). The artist on this arc is indie vetran Philip Bond, whose previous work includes Vinanarama, Hellblazer and Tank Girl.
If you were ever curious as to how Doctor Who helped in the creation of James Bond, look no further than this comic.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Sometimes when tidying, organizing and making your way through old basement stored boxes, you luck out and stumble on a little bit of treasure. I've been trying to clean up a tiny bit of my mum's scary Blair Witch basement and take care of some boxes that I've had stored down there forever and a day.
I retrieved a couple of my dad's boxes of stuff, he passed away years ago, and going through stuff like this kind of gets left behind a pushed into a corner 'cause it's often not the most fun chore to undertake. Besides for a baby picture and old drawings, there were also some completely hilarious school journal writings that I did in early grade school. I'm pretty sure if I took one of these books and just stood in front of an audience doing stand-up at a comedy club it would be pure comedic gold.
A very cool piece of treasure that I found was a puzzle with seemingly all the Marvel Comics characters from the early 1980's. I would hazard a guess that it belonged to me, but I have no recollection of ever having seen it before. Despite being quite the comic book aficionado, even I don't recognize everybody crowded together on it. Can you check-list them off any better than I was able to? You can cheat and find the back of the box online that lists everyone in the puzzle, ranging from obvious super-hero's the like of Spidey and Captain America to the slightly more cult icon's like Man Thing and Jack of Hearts. And if you know who Makkari, Charlie 27 or Martinex are, I tip my geeky hat to you.
Friday, December 07, 2012
It's a cliché to say that truth is stranger than fiction, but there seems to be a parade of documentary films released in the past few years that easily show that to be a fact. The latest in the line of great stories that would seem unbelievable if told in scripted fictional film form is Searching for Sugarman. The rock doc focuses on the story of a genius early 1970's singer songwriter who never gained success and disappeared into strange never quite proven tales of on-stage suicide via handgun or setting himself ablaze. What starts as the story of a should-have-been Bob Dylan calibre performer who never made it, becomes a fascinating mystery with an unexpected twist. Plus, there is the added bonus of the whole film being filled with some unbelievable music that if you haven't heard before, you will be a fan of afterwards.
Searching for Sugarman begins tonight (Friday December 7) at the Mayfair, followed by screenings on December 8, 9, 12 & 13).
Thursday, December 06, 2012
I was sceptical about the teen found footage movie Chronicle, especially having unfortunate experience of watching Project X, the previous teen-themed and completely horrible motion picture. I was pleasantly surprised by the low-budget taping of a $12 million budget sci-fi tale, not only did it fare well at playing by the found footage rules, it also showcased a smart script and some fine performances from the young unknown cast. It has fared well for the director and the films star, they're new respective gigs are directing the Fantastic Four reboot and starring as Harry Osborn in the next Spidey. Chronicle is an impressive feature directorial début from Josh Trank, a modern take on the birth of a villain and a hero, and a very impressive non-comic book based comic book like tale exploring the age-old rule that with great power comes great responsibility.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
I bought tickets today to attend an evening of John Williams conducting a selection of his film scores at the Boston Pops in June. You only live once, and I feel that if I passed on this opportunity it may not come up again and I would regret missing out on witnessing the event for the rest of my life. Much like when I was in person to watch the Muppets perform and they sung Rainbow Connection, when he conducts an orchestra to perform the Star Wars theme while I am in the audience before him, there will likely be geeky tears. While there, we are also going to check out the same orchestra perform a Pixar themed night. In honour of the city of Boston, I will also get in a bar-room brawl with some Yankees fans and ask a jerk if he likes apples.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Watched the new documentary from Sarah Polley, Stories We Tell, last night at the Mayfair. Her directorial efforts continue to impress me, and it makes me so proud that she has put her roots down in Canada and continues to produce her work and tell her stories in her homeland. Her latest picture explores the history of her immediate family, mainly focusing on how the life and death of her mother effected herself, her siblings and her father. The movie questions how we all have different points-of-view on what is in fact the true stories of our lives, and expertly inter-cuts interviews, home movies, and recreations to puzzle-piece together this amazing little documentary with twists stranger than in many a fictional tale.
You have one more chance to see Stories We Tell at the Mayfair, tonight (December 4th) at 7:00pm. Get out there and show your support for Canadian cinema. I don't know what more proof people need that Canada continues to produce great and diverse films. I cannot recommend this movie enough.
Monday, December 03, 2012
Saw V/H/S tonight, and am happy to report that it scared the hell out of me. The anthology offerings come flying out the gate with the first chapter, Amateur Night. The only flaw in doing so is that they may have put the best and most frightening tale first...all the other chapters had a hard time to compare keeping up to the style and terrifying aspects of a story of three jerks who have their night turn for the worst after bringing a strange girl they meet in a bar back to a hotel room. Hannah Fierman portrays the aforementioned strange girl, and she steals not only this portion of the anthology, but easily runs away as the character to remember in the whole film. Her skills in the role had me so freaked out that I could barely keep my eyes on the screen, a truly impressive and hopefully a breakthrough performance.
The other episodes pay tribute to a wide variety of the horror cannon, ranging from slasher with a Natural Born Killers twist, a Jason Voorhees style monster in the woods, and a haunted apartment viewed through Skype. The film does close strong as well, with an unfortunate turn for a group of guys who go to the wrong address on Halloween and end up at an actual haunted house.
Anthologies always have their ups and downs, and usually have stories within them that you like better than others. I was impressed with with both the gimmick of V/H/S, and the talent the filmmakers displayed in putting it all together. I look forward to the the V/H/S sequel, and think that is has much higher potential for continued interesting scary storytelling than your Friday the 13th's and Saw's and such.
You've got one more chance to be scared by V/H/S at the Mayfair, Tuesday December 4th at 9:15pm. It will forever change your thoughts on the outcome of a girl telling you that she likes you.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Sometimes things work out just perfect. In a category that all the puzzle-pieces of an endeavour fit together as per hoped, right on the perfect day, so well they fall right under the category of 'couldn't have been better if written in a script'.
Thanks to the more then generous donations, purchases, efforts and attendance of our amazing patrons at the Mayfair, at a meeting this-afternoon with our projectionists we were able to discuss our upcoming digital projector purchase. We will make the addition to our projection booth equipment when the shiny new technology is installed sometime soon after Christmas. That is of course the important fact to make note of...the new projector will be sitting beside its 35mm projector grandpa. Unlike most theatres across the globe, we will be hanging onto the ability to screen 35mm prints. Studios will soon stop producing 35mm prints, but we own a library of a couple hundred films, and there are a number of resources from whom we hope to keep acquiring existing film prints from.
There is a bit of film-geek negativity towards the extinction of 35mm film and arrival of digital presentation (though it's not so new anymore, as movies have been screened via digital for quite some time now). I do not share these feelings, and have a very glass half full point-of-view towards the whole thing. I'm especially excited that we'll have an expanded catalogue of movies to pick from, as studios make more titles available from their vaults in the dcp format. We will have movies showing up on the calendar as soon as January 2013 that we have never been able to screen before, and I think that that is something to be quite excited about.
After our meeting, at the screening of Scarface hosted by our friend Thom Ernst from TVO's Saturday Night at the Movies, we were able to make the official announcement about our successful projector fundraising efforts to the audience in attendance. A wonderful day all-in-all, and I think very soon any film / digital debate will be left by the wayside, and we can concentrate on the simple desire to program and screen great movies. We also had a giant birthday cake, everyone loves birthday cake.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
My talented pal Kelly Tindall has kindly donated this lovely original piece of art, painted especially for the Mayfair's 80th birthday / digital projector fundraiser. It's titled Breakfast on the Death Star, is acrylic, 11 x 14, and would make an excellent holiday gift for that special geek in your life. You can get your hands on it via silent auction at the Scarface screening at the Mayfair's birthday extravaganza on Sunday December 2nd at 8:15pm. May the force of a delicious breakfast be with you.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Join our special guest Thom Ernst, host of Saturday Night at the Movies, for the Mayfair's 80th birthday celebration. I've had the pleasure of meeting Thom when he previously dropped by the Mayfair, he's an esteemed cinema geek and historian, and a worthy host in the shadow of the late great Elwy Yost.
Be sure to be on hand this weekend for a truly rare cinematic event. Not every day does one have the chance to see an 80 year old film (actually screened on film!) in an 80 year old one-screen repertory theatre. We will be screening the infamous 80 year old black & white gangster classic Scarface, directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Howard Hughes.
This weekend you have the a chance to win a private screening (where you can watch a 35mm film from our library, bring your own favourite blu ray, DVD or VHS movie, or play video games!), and you can also bid on great silent auction items. Plus we have Kichesippi beer on tap & there will be birthday cake on Sunday too!
We will also be able to make a special official announcement in regards to our ongoing fundraising marathon that has been going on throughout 2012, I will refrain from mentioning anything else just yet as to avoid spoilers.
Scarface - Saturday December 1st at 6:30pm and Sunday December 2nd at 8:15pm at the Mayfair
Thursday, November 29, 2012
We've been showing the trailer for the new horror anthology V/H/S for a little while now at the Mayfair, and it alone does a very good job at scaring the hell out of me. The found footage genre isn't for every movie fan, but when at its best, I am all in. With this style of cinematic fake reality, I have the ability to completely kick in the suspension of disbelief portion of my brain. I believe that a trio of aspiring documentary filmmakers are being stalked by a witch in the woods, or that a suburban couple could be haunted by paranormal activity.
V/H/S combines the modern found footage cinematic style with the mostly untested now-a-days genre of the horror anthology. I grew up on anthology films the like of Creepshow, Twilight Zone and Tales from the Darkside, and tv shows like Amazing Stories, Storyteller and Tales from the Crypt. I'm pretty sure you can directly link my love of anthology storytelling to my life-long worship and readership of comic books, which often feature back-up stories, or a number of short contained stories in one issue.
I haven't seen V/H/S yet, but the trailer has me hooked, and I can give you a pretty decent guarantee that I will watch in a terrified state. Join us at the Mayfair for this acclaimed Sundance and Fantasia Film Fest favourite, the best way to see a horror movie is in a theatre with an equally anticipatory and frightened crowd.
V/H/S - Ottawa Premiere! - November 30th at 9:15pm, December 1st at 8:45pm, 3rd and 4th at 9:15pm - only at the Mayfair
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
There's a new issue of Saga out! Actually, I think it returned from it's three month hiatus a week or two ago, but I just got a chance to read it the other night. No disrespect or hard feelings to all of the other comics out there that I love, but this is by far my favourite comic currently being published. If you haven't been reading this Image Comics series, you can go and pick up the very reasonably priced collection of the first six issues for a mere $9.99 at your nearest local comic book shop, and then grab issue #7 while you're there too. Go do so, and then we can commence with extolling the virtues of and gushing on endlessly about how amazing this book is.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Tonight at the Mayfair is the highly requested and greatly anticipated B / exploitation / action / horror / drive-in classic tribute - Grindhouse! The double-bill extravaganza features Robert Rodriguez' Planet Terror, Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, and fake-trailers from Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright and Robert Rodriguez! Grindhouse has been right near the top of the list of movies that I have wanted to get a hold of that we have never screened under our modern Mayfair reign.
Rose McGowan shooting mega-monster-zombies with a machine-gun peg-leg! Kurt Russell driving a car at 200mph while smashing into a car with Zoe Bell strapped to the hood! An even more over the top than usual Nic Cage as Fu Manchu in a fake trailer titled Werewolf Woman of the SS! ...and much much more! What more could you possibly want from a motion picture!?! Maybe a Bruce Willis or Michael Biehn or Tom Savini or Rosario Dawson? They're all in this too! Drop everything and get to the Mayfair tonight for everyone's favourite grindhouse tribute cinematic event!
Grindhouse - One night only at the Mayfair Theatre - 35mm - Tuesday November 27th - 7:00pm
Monday, November 26, 2012
We have had a whirlwind of a fundraising weekend on the ole' interwebs. The online portion of the Mayfair's fundraising campaign has now passed not only our initial $15,000 goal, but also our $20,000 bonus level goal we set on indiegogo!
Everything raised via indiegogo for the rest of the week ($355 extra so far) goes towards the excellent folks at the Canadian Red Cross
We will continue to collect funds in-house for the next week, as we creep ever closer towards the over-all $45,000 goal. The conclusion of our fundraising digital projector quest will conclude at the grand dual 80th anniversary Mayfair / Scarface screenings next weekend, December 1st and 2nd (the 2nd is our actual birthday).
Although I can't make an official statement just yet, I'm pretty sure you want to be in attendance for a good-news announcement on Saturday or Sunday (plus, seeing an 80 year old movie on our 80th birthday will be kind of amazing).
Sunday, November 25, 2012
We're screening Mel Brooks' sci-fi spoof Spaceballs this-afternoon and tomorrow night at the Mayfair. For many fans of cinematic comedy, that would be easily enough reason to make a trip out to visit us for some movie watchin'. My favourite part of the film is Rick Moranis' performance, in that era he was in the midst of an incredible comedy run, including of course SCTV, Little Shop of Horrors and Ghostbusters.
At the Mayfair we are known to movie geek things up for our patrons with extra special events as much as possible, ans this will fall under that category. This specific print that we'll be screening is an extremely rare pre-release print, seen by the eyes of very few human beings. This is the nearly complete, but still in a somewhat rough stages print that would have been shown off to studio executives before final approval went through. I'm not a Spaceballs expert, so I might not notice every single little difference, but I know the following: a few parts are in black and white, there are unfinished special effects seen, a temporary music score over portions, and the biggest treasure are a number of scenes never seen on print, TV, VHS, DVD, Blu Ray. Another night of entertainment possible nowhere else on earth but the Mayfair Theatre.
Spaceballs at the Mayfair - Sunday November 25th at 3:00pm and Monday November 26th at 9:15pm
Saturday, November 24, 2012
I was going to excitedly post a blog update about the ongoing Mayfair fundraiser which is going on so we can get a fancy new digital projector and keep screening new movies and stay in business. The post was going to be about how ecstatic I was that over-night we had surpassed our $15,000 indiegogo goal, with a whopping $15,025 raised. Now my post can be filled with even more joy gained from the miraculous and gracious charitable outpouring from our Mayfair patrons, because in the last couple of hours we have reached an incredible $17,785!
Everything raised via indiegogo between $15,000 - $20,000 goes towards other projector bells and whistles, everything over $20,000 raised via the site will be donated towards the Canadian Red Cross. The good-will and kind words send towards the Mayfair during this time has been overwhelming to say the least. I'm glad the Mayfair is just as important to so many other folks as it is to me, and pleased that most are approving of the job we're doing with her. This turn of events makes the future much less stressful, stay tuned as the fundraiser approaches it's grand finale on December 2nd with our 80th birthday.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Our November free-for-members / Saturday Night Sinema event is the 1978 Burt Reynolds stuntman classic, Hooper. Came to the realization that we were playing a Burt Reynolds movie in November, a month which doubles as the hipster charitable event known as Movember. If looking for a screening to rally a moustache growing fundraiser around, what better cinematic icon to pay tribute to at the same time than Burt Reynolds? So, if in attendance at the Mayfair on Saturday night, especially since a it's free-for-members screening, we hope you'll consider donating a couple bucks. If not visiting the Mayfair on Saturday night, you can also donate and find more info at the site for Movember Canada.
Hooper - Saturday Night Sinema (free-for-members) - Saturday November 24th at 11:00pm at the Mayfair.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
I cannot tell a lie...Deadpool is my guilty comic book pleasure. It's even more peculiar since the character initially came from that sub-par comic book artistry of Rob Liefeld, my least favourite comic book creator of all time.
In the years since then, many more a talented writer and artist have worked on the character, and he's built up an impressive library of stories from the like of Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinnes, Fred Van Lente, Jason Pearson, Kyle Baker and more. The latest in a long line of first Deadpool issues comes from writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn (whom I'm a big fan of thanks to The Sarah Silverman Program and other comedic endeavours). The art is from Tony Moore (whose diverse resume includes the initial Walking Dead and the Punisher's wonderfully bizarre Franken-Castle storyline), with covers from the legendarily detailed Hard Boiled artist Geof Darrow.
Deadpool is notoriously overused throughout the Marvel Universe, almost as much as Wolverine is. He also appears in other forms of cash-grab bits of geeky pop-culture like video games and he's in a horrible Wolverine movie, and you will gain much more hipster comic book cool-kid cred if you say you like something a little more Warren Ellis or Alan Moore-y. Yet, there's something about the 4th wall breaking, guns-a-blazing, gallows humour heavy, bright-red costumed Canadian mercenary that I just can't get enough of.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
There's been a long running rumour in comic book circles that if Wonder Woman were not Wonder Woman, her comic book series would have been cancelled ages ago. Evidently the only thing that keeps her solo monthly series going is that her likeness and logo sell a lot of clothing, shoes, wallets, make-up, and other such pop-culture tie-in merchandise. This sounds crazy that such an icon can't actually sell any books, but I have heard from reliable comic book professional sources that this is indeed fact.
It's a shame if this is indeed true, because Wonder Woman comics have been good not only of late but for years (even decades). The current New 52 reboot of Diana of Themyscira comes from the Harvey and Eisner award winning writer of 100 Bullets, Brian Azzerello and Green Arrow/Black Canary artist Cliff Chang (though he just supplied the cover of the latest issue).
This latest incarnation features a heavy mythological tone with all sorts of historically known gods and monsters, and also much more of a horror theme. Best of all is that the series is completely self-contained, no need to pick up a dozen other books to be able to know what the hell is going on.
The first volume of the New 52 Wonder Wonder Woman is currently available, and volume 2 comes out early in 2013, issue 14 is currently on the comic book shelves. It's a highly recommended series, and reading an actual comic book will make you even cooler than just having a Wonder Woman t-shirt on.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I rarely venture out of the Mayfair for my movie watching, because I am thrifty and there is no better place to enjoy a movie than the Mayfair...I also tend to get rather snobby at the often sub-par multiplex cinematic experience. On occasion I'll get free passes to preview screenings though, and if I have a free night and I've seen the Mayfair offerings of the night, that is sometime enough to get me to venture behind competitor's borders.
I wish that I hadn't of gotten free passes to see the Red Dawn re-make, and that I wasn't movie geek curious enough to see anything and everything. I didn't think the movie would be all that good, it's source material isn't exactly perfection in itself, but it was just a train-wreck of horribleness. I give a pass to Chris Hemsworth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, because I like them and they have proven their acting ability elsewhere, everyone else involved should be ashamed in themselves. The film was directed by Dan Bradley, a veteran stunt-guy and 2nd unit director, and this proves that skill and experience in one film profession does not necessarily equate success when jumping over to another job title.
It's a shame, because I have no ill-will towards the ongoing trend of remakes and adaptations and sequels in Hollywood, and this will become the new go-to example that Hollywood is out of ideas. This was one of the movies that sat on a shelf for a couple of years due to MGM's financial troubles, too bad it couldn't have stayed there.
Monday, November 19, 2012
I liked the original Expendables film. It was good over-the-hill action, fun seeing all of these icons and semi-icons on the screen together blowing stuff up, but it all left me neutral as the credits rolled.
Cut to a couple of years later, and due to the films financial success, the inevitable sequel was produced. Sylvester Stallone remained on-board the second time around as star and a screenwriter, but stepped away from the director chair with Simon West (Con Air) taking over the gig. Another point of interest was the promise of slightly bigger roles for first movie cameo appearance stars Bruce Willis and now non-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of the Expendable mercenary soldiers return, along with the addition of upcoming action hero Scott Adkins, Thor's lil' brother Liam Hemsworth, and the addition of another senior statesman of action, Chuck Norris.
For me, the real excitement to see this movie is that Jean Claude Van Damme came to his senses and joined the cast. Evidently he was offered up a role in the original and for some reason he passed on the opportunity to be in what had a chance to be a big hit movie...I can't imagine that he had a more promising gig to keep him occupied instead.
The best part of all is that he's the bad guy, his characters name is Jean Vilain, and he has a fight with none other than Sylvester Stallone. I'm sure there is lots of other guns-a-blazing, explosion filled, bad guy killing action...but what could possibly be more awesome than Stallone vs Van Damme. I think we're in an age of never-say-never in cinema, and in my youth I never would have imagined such a battle ever actually being filmed and put into a movie. On top of that I think there's a scene where Willis and Schwarzenegger drive around in a tiny car shooting stuff.
We've been screening the trailer at the Mayfair, and it has me genuinely excited to see it. I don't know if Expendables 2 will be a good movie, but I can pretty much guarantee that it will be a kick-ass awesome movie. I will be cheering for JCVD to defeat those pesky Expendables.
The Expendables 2 - Tuesday November 20th at 9:00pm / Wednesday November 21st at 9:15pm at the Mayfair Theatre
Sunday, November 18, 2012
One of the perks offered up in our ongoing fundraising efforts at the Mayfair on indiegogo is the opportunity to become a permanent part of the theatre via your name on a plaque on your favourite seat. The above image shows what seats have been snatched up so far (more have actually been purchased than that, just not reserved as of yet).
You know how when you get to the theatre looking forward to sitting in your favourite place, only to find that someone has beaten you to your chair? Well, if you are kind enough to donate to our cause in this manner, then now and forever you can point at said person and with plaque like proof prove that they are indeed in what is your seat. It's the best kind of charity, the manner that will leave you mad with movie theatre god-like seat possession powers!
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Celeste & Jesse Forever was co-written and co-produced by Rashida Jones, which staggeringly enough means that she has some real talent in film production and writing on top of the awesomeness that she already had just from being actress Rashida Jones as is. The movie hit some heavier notes than I had expected, and at the same time had some of the funniest laugh out loud moments I've seen in a film all year. Although, even with her character as the one causing trouble and being a bit unsympathetic in certain moments of the film, you none-the-less have to make the unlikely to be realistic and mighty suspension of disbelief leap that someone would want to divorce Rashida Jones.
Celeste & Jesse Forever - last night to catch it on the big screen - Sunday November 18th at 6:30pm at the Mayfair Theatre
Friday, November 16, 2012
Tomorrow is not only a chance for you to charitably support our ongoing digital projection fundraiser, it's also a cinematic experience that you can partake in few other places on our planet than the Mayfair Theatre.
Schlock Around the Clock: The 24 Hour Trash Film Festival gets under-way at 1:00pm on Saturday November 17th, and the dissent into madness will conclude (as the title suggests) a whopping 24 hours later on early Sunday afternoon.
The marathon of 14 wonderfully horrendous motion picture masterpieces being presented in glorious VHS are: To Catch a Yeti, Cool As Ice, The Barbarians, TerrorVision, Deadly Prey, Film House Fever, The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of Yik Yak, 2020 Texas Gladiators, Enemy Gold, Eliminators, Skyscraper, Undefeatable, Heavenly Bodies and Hell Comes to Frogtown (trailers all available via the link above).
The word hero gets thrown around a lot, but if you attend, watch and survive this
from-a-seated-position marathon, you are truly a hero that will be worshipped and admired for the ages.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I haven't been a video game player for quite a number of years. It wasn't really a conscious decision, but my enjoyment at playing video games fell to the wayside thanks to there not being enough hours in the day. From childhood and then through about college years or so, I finished some 250 video games, and played who knows how many others on top of that. One of those games that I played a lot of but didn't finish, because it can't really be finished, was Tetris. I achieved 216 lines on Tetris on four separate occasions, clearly that's where my block-falling-line-making skills top out. I figure that I played Gameboy Tetris for roughy 87 bazzillion hours.
Even though I'm out of the video game world besides for semi-annual Mario Kart-ing or games in which I shoot my friends, I none the less remain fascinated with the video game art-form and culture. The King of Kong, a truth is stranger than fiction documentary about the insane world of competitive Donley Kong-ing is not only a great documentary, but is also without question one of my favourite movies of all time. I was also very impressed with the more recent Indie Game: The Movie, about the trials and tribulations geeks must undertake in the stressful and challenging world of independent video game production.
The latest doc to keep me enthralled about the world of video games is Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters. The movie explores arguably the most successful video game ever produced, and the assembly of the greatest players in the world for a line-making puzzle-piece 8-bit championship playoff. What's amazing about the power of a great documentary, is that no matter the subject matter, it has the power to keep a viewer in rapt attention and on the edge of their cliche seat. I haven't played Tetris in some 16 or 17 years, and yet the climax of the film had me holding my breath and mesmerized. Much like being hungry after seeing a good food themed movie, it also made me want to try my hand at Tetris again.
If you are a Tetris / video game fan, this movie is truly a must for you to see. If you are unfamiliar with or would like to be re-acquainted with the most addictive non-drug thing ever to be created by humans, I dare you to see this movie and I hope it doesn't de-rail and ruin your life too badly. You don't need friends and family and career and hobbies and hopes and dreams...making Tetris lines all day is much more rewarding.
Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters - Friday November the 16th at 9pm, Thursday the 22nd at 9:15pm at the Mayfair Theatre.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
On my current stack of recently read comics is 2012's CBLDF Liberty Annual. CBLDF stands for the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, a non-profit organization which prides itself in the protection of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians and readers from the horrors of censorship.
Not only to proceeds from the comic books sales all go towards a good cause, as an added bonus the book is actually filled with some great work from an impressive collection of comic professional. The book features the writing and artistic talent of Andy Diggle, Robert Kirkman, James Robinson, Mike Allred, Terry Moore and Phil Jimenez to name but a few. Go drop down your $5 bucks, get a well worth the read comic, and as a karmic bonus do a good geeky deed all at the same time.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
My talented pal Tom Folwer (who has drawn all kinds of nifty stuff ranging from Venom to Star Wars: Jango Fett to Hulk: Season One) was kind enough to donate his awesome rendition of Walter Sobchak to the Mayfair Theatre's Indiegogo portion of the fundraising campaign. I am happy to report that it has found a happy home, for the much appreciated to receive donation price tag of $300 bucks. Thank you Tom, thank you to our art purchaser, thank you John Goodman.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Tonight the live comedic genius event that is the Found Footage Festival returns to the Mayfair Theatre. For those not in the know, the mastermind's behind the phenomenon find the most bizarre things ever recorded to the VHS medium, and then tour their findings to an audience of appreciative geeks. I am a big fan of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and their style of audio commentary comedy is very akin to that. Their visit last year was the most hilarious thing that I saw at the theatre all year, and I'm looking very forward to seeing what insanity they have to offer and make fun of tonight.
Found Footage Festival Volume 6 - Monday November 12th at 9:30pm - Mayfair Theatre
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Watched Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies last night, the middle chapter of 2012's presidential trilogy which began with Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer and will conclude with the more simply titled Lincoln. The movie comes from the copy-cat grindhouse geniuses at The Asylum, the makes of such other classic pieces of cinema the like of Snakes on a Train, Paranormal Entity and Transmorphers. Good luck to Mr Spielberg at keeping his Lincoln effort at the high cinematic quality that the first two movies have achieved. Also, why does Lincoln have two l's?
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Now that I'm back on Canadian soil, I will jump back onto the ongoing 2012 Mayfair Theatre fundraising bandwagon. Currently under-way is our online Indiegogo campaign portion of the event. For a total of 30 days (until December 2nd at 11:59pm) you can donate to our cause, and depending on how much you are interested in donating, there are a number of fun and interesting rewards set up which you can get a hold of in trade. Perks include a candy embiggining card, getting your name put on a Mayfair seat for eternity, you can present a film, or get a platinum card that will get you into free movies for a year.
Thanks to everyone for their continued well wishes and kind donations that will be used to acquire us a new digital projector and help keep us open and screening movies for many more a year to come.