Friday, August 31, 2012
In Toronto to attend a wedding, and for the second time in as many days have dined at a very vegan friendly restaurant called Fresh. Went to two different locations, both were excellent, and I would like one to open in Ottawa post haste. Make it happen Fresh powers-that-be! I will give you money in exchange for tasty food!
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Taking a break from reading while on a bus trek to Toronto, watched the series premiere of Boardwalk Empire. An episode of a gangster themed tv series on HBO directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Steve Buscemi was just as great as you might expect it would be. Again I lament that I don't have enough hours in the day or the free time in my life to just sit around for a few weeks or months to get caught up on all the tv viewing that I would like to partake in.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
When you see a trailer for a movie that you've already seen, and it still gets you excited to see said movie, it's pretty safe to say that that is an awesome movie. For myself, currently that movie is Prometheus. We've been playing the excellent trailer for the film of late at the Mayfair, and I'll be going to see the movie for the second time this-evening. I rarely venture outside of the Mayfair for my movie watching, only time I do is when there is a free screening opportunity for a movie that I'm dieing to see. Prometheus was one of those films, and I will watch it for the second time on home turf tonight.
I thought Prometheus was great science-fiction. It was a risky endeavour for those involved to be sure, especially considering that it involved an acclaimed director going back to prequel-ize a beloved film that he directed over three decades ago. It was appealing to the die-hard Alien universe fan-base, and I'm pretty sure that it's just as enjoyable for someone to watch if they (have somehow) never heard of a Sigourney Weaver starring Alien picture. It makes me much more confident in the news that Ridley will soon be undertaking a similar venture with a new Bladerunner universe tale. There's nothing wrong with prequels or sequels or remakes or reboots...just take the care and effort to make them good. And this fiml, no matter it's re-hashed origins or basis in unoriginal beginnings, is quite simply very good.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Tonight at 7pm at the Mayfair we present the latest screening in our 80th anniversary celebration / decade countdown event. For the best of the 1960's we present the Oscar winning epic that is Lawrence of Arabia. Come out and watch the brilliance that is the performance of Peter O'Toole, and help us creep toward our goal of being able to afford a fancy new digital projection system and have the technology to be able to continue to screen movies into the new year and beyond.
As a footnote, Lawrence of Arabia is a very appropriate movie to catch before coming to see Prometheus (which we coincidently are screening the next two nights). Come and partake in one of the greatest cinematic epics ever made, then come and see an excellent piece of sci-fi that references it. Lawrence of Arabia is a classic, you'll be supporting the Mayfair, and as an extra bonus it will make you even more impressed with Michael Fassbender's android portrayal.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Today would've been Jack Kirby's 95th birthday. If I can slim down my over-all worship of the comic book medium down to one hero, it would be Jack. The imagination, quality, and staggering out-put that he managed over his career will never be equalled. Even though he hasn't been with us since 1994, there are still magazines and books that frequently print unpublished art.
I miss Jack Kirby, but am kinda glad that despite having read a ton of his work, I still have to get caught up with reading his entire library. If you thought that The Avengers movie was awesome, or think that Spider-man has a great costume, or have a special place in your heart for The Hulk (the list goes on endlessly)...you have the King of comics to thank for your geeky joy and entertainment.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
On the drive home from the States today, finished reading Batman and Psychology. See, that is the level of the geekyness that I live by, when not reading comic books I read books about comic books. And in this case, a psychological exploration of the characters and mythology of the world of Batman.
There was a good chance that this book could have been a clinical bore or a pretentious collection of literary nonsense. The writer actually managed to pull off a very well assembled pop-culture read. Not sure if non-geeks would have any interest at all in the subject, but I actually found it of geek interest and real world educational.
What I particularly found of interest was that the writer managed to cover the very wide subject of the many different worlds of Batman. In the book there are segments covering the live action Batman's ranging from the campy Adam West Batman of the 1960's all the way to Christian Bale's dark slightly more real world vision of the character of today. It covers the usual oft referenced work like Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, and writes in depth about Batman's beginning's to the current rebooted universe of The New 52.
It is somewhat a text-book, but of interest to anyone who enjoys the Batman lore. Not sure if it would be of interest to many other people, but I think it was written with a pretty specific audience fan-base in mind.
When I mentioned reading the book to a friend of mine they asked if the book was filled with blank pages and one that just said - Batman is crazy. The End. To a certain extent, Batman is of course crazy. Instead of becoming a cop or a lawyer or the mayor of Gotham, Bruce Wayne decided to dress up in a Bat costume and take the law into his own vigilante hands. The writer takes the stance that mane creators and fans and I take though. Is Batman crazy? Well, if he lived on our planet with our rules and our reality...yes. Luckily he lives in a world of crazed clowns, shape-shifting monsters, freeze guns, riddle crafting crooks, supermen and easily escapable insane asylums. So in his world, he's kind of normal.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Not so surprisingly, when staying in a hotel in the middle of nowhere in New York state, there aren't a ton of food eating options. When you are a finicky vegan, culinary options are even slimmer. Was happy that we stumbled on a Red Robin restaurant, which I had mistakenly thought only existed on the west coast. Last time I ate at one was on a visit to Vancouver in the late 90's.
Not only is it a lovely movie poster and flare filled restaurant with a Galaga game in the lobby, they also have a shockingly vegan accommodating menu for folks like me for an American burger chain. On top of that they not only have the somewhat common bonus of free drink refills, they also have free fries refills. Free french fry refills! You did not read that incorrectly...those crazy bastards at Red Robin will give you an endless supply of french fries. I wasn't even hungry anymore, I might have even felt a lil' woozy, but just in principal I ate an extra round. Imagine if all the burger joints gave you all the french fries you could eat...what a wonderful french fry world it would be.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Up bright and early and roadtrippin' down to New York State to help out on some weekend roller derbying with my RVRG posse. Strangely enough, both bouts are not open to the public, which seems very bizarre to me. Even if they are going down at 10am, I would at least make an attempt to sell some tickets and make a few bucks. I would imagine that at least a few hard core fans would show up. It will be weird to partake in roller derby that doesn't have music blaring and fans cheering.
Our final destination is Poughkeepsie...or somewhere in the vicinity of that city. For some reason Poughkeepsie is a very familiar city name, I think it was referenced in a Bugs Bunny cartoon or Abbot & Costello sketch or something like that.
I love these weird derby road trips, it gives me the chance to sit in the back of a car for hours on end and catch up a little bit on my neglected comic book reading. Besides for the general chaos that inevitably ensue from travelling to a different country with a bunch of roller derby girls, it also gives the opportunity to go to places that one would never actually travel to in a million years. No one in the history of the planet has gone there for vacation or to see the sites. That statement is nothing personal against the fine people of Poughkeepsie...but I'm sure that they would agree with me that that is true.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I got this t-shirt in the mail today from TeeFury. It is one of the bestest geek themed t-shirts that I have ever seen in all of my days. Jawas carrying off a Dalek!? Star Wars crossed over with Doctor Who!? Brilliant! I do not need more t-shirts, but your product is so reasonably priced and has such nifty original designs. Curse you TeeFury!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The alien invasion animated comedy Invader Zim is one of those shows that numerous friends have raved about, but I have somehow managed to miss out on. It came out in 2001, so at this point I am more than a decade late in jumping onto the cartoons bandwagon of worshippers. It is now on the Netflix though (or mayhaps has been for a while), and I at long last gotten around to watching the first episode. And, as I had been told, it was indeed frickin hilarious. Amongst other talent involved, Kid in the Hall Kevin McDonald played one of the aliens, and upon interweb research I have learned that TV's Frank from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 wrote for the show. Great, another awesome show to add to the list of awesome shows that I don't have the spare time to watch.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I haven't seen any of the Twilight movies. I am actually a little shocked that I haven't yet, since I have a pretty good track record of watching not just bad movies, but all movies. Somehow the blockbuster vampire werewolf teen soap opera franchise has manage to avoid my viewer-ship so far. One day I'll probably sit down and watch them all back to back, likely with friends, and afterwards I will be sad that I didn;t do something more productive and less painful with my day.
I am rather fascinated by Twilight from a pop-culture phenomena perspective. Especially of interest is that the books were popular...but not good, then the movies were popular...also not good. And everyone involved in the films production doesn't seem to hide the fact that the films are no good, and any fans of Twilight all also know that they are not good. Yet, they read and they watch and they care about if they are on team werewolf or vampire.
The powers-that-be in the film adaptations were rather evil brilliant in their realization that they didn't have to try so hard in making the film franchise good, because people were going to buy tickets no matter what. So they kept the budgets much lower than that of say a Marvel Comics or Lord of the Rings film, they made sure not to hire anyone too expensive to portray the characters, and they were sure to have lots of sponsorship tie-ins.
One of the actors who has found uncomfortable fame in his characterization of a sparkly dreamboat immortal undead is Robert Pattison. I have never seen the young super-star act in anything (or at least I have no memory of him, evidently he was in a Harry Potter movie). I cannot hold it against the guy for being in a horrible movie franchise any more than it can be held against a carpenter or plumber for taking a career making gig for sub-par employees. If you don't like the movies that's fine (and likely), but begrudging Pattison is along the same mindset of people being angry at bands who they think are sell-outs when the group gets successful. I've seen Pattison on a number of late night talk shows, and he seems like good people. He seems very conscious of the fact that the movies he is acting in are horrible, but he's not dismissive or unthankful about being in the position he has achieved.
The next two nights at 9:30pm we are screening Cosmopolis at the Mayfair. I'm looking forward to checking it out because I always appreciate an actor trying to break out of his type-casting mold, and I don't think director David Cronenberg would have given him the part undeservedly. If George Clooney can soldier on past his Batman & Robin turn, and Justin Timberlake can pull off a supporting performance in a hugely acclaimed Oscar winning film after having been a Mouseketeer and in a boy band, maybe there's hope that young Mr. Pattison won't have to be in soft-core teen horror romance films for the rest of his days.
Monday, August 20, 2012
We get hit with bad news so fast and hard now-a-days. So, when I turned on the Mayfair Twitters this-morning to write up the daily showtime postings, and there are posts from the likes of Michael Moore and Edgar Wright about Tony Scott...I feared the worst.
I love Tony Scott movies. He managed to have a unique style unto his own amongst main-stream Hollywood blockbusters. Beverly Hills Cop II is one of the best sequels ever, maybe even better than it's original. In the 90's I loved his fog-machine filled action / thrillers The Last Boyscout, Crimson Tide and The Fan. And after the turn of the century, I might be in the great minority of film-goers who enjoyed his kick-ass Denzel reunion with Man on Fire and then kind of loved the insanity that was Domino.
When not directing, he was a member of the Scott Free producing team with his big brother Ridley. They put out such diverse films as RKO 281, Cyrus, The A-Team, and Prometheus.
If I could only watch one Tony Scott movie for the rest of my life though, there is no hesitation in the choice that it would have to be True Romance. True Romance is a comic book geek Bonnie & Clyde romantic epic that showcases one of the most amazing ensemble of actors ever in a movie. And yes, it is my favourite Quentin movie, even though he didn't direct it. It also showcases a haunting Hans Zimmer score (again...one of my favourites), which will be in the back of my mind as I think about Tony as I'm sure he will be a topic of sad cinematic conversation the rest of the day.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I Am Comic (which I watched on the ole' Netflix) is a documentary tale of a once A-list stand-up comedian and his attempts to delve back into his once successful career. Interspersed around that plot-line are interviews with pretty much every successful comedian in the business...and that is not an exaggeration. The project features a wide variety of comedic talents including some of my favourites, like Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan and Chris Hardwick.
Although not the most ground-breaking of documentaries, it is an interesting look into the ongoing exhaustive life endangering battle that is the life of a stand-up comedian. The film is also about as low-budget and rough around the edges as the poster makes it to look, but in this form of movie-making sometimes all you really need is a camera and a mic and some interesting people to talk to.
I've heard some folks complain that there is nothing good on Netflix. These people must be even more incredibly lazy than the average couch-potato. Or maybe they don't understand that there are a library of offerings to browse through. I've got a list of like 50 things I want to watch, and I haven't even looked that hard...to be fair, one of those things is Cool As Ice with Vanilla Ice. Just because they have good offerings like I Am Comic doesn't mean I have over-all good taste.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Like any piece of entertainment put out to the masses that geeks consume, The New 52 from DC Comics has taken a lot of flack from comic book readers. Whether it be a series of books, tv shows or a movie franchise, geeks seem to love going to something and then tearing it apart...then buying more of the same thing and then complaining about the same thing some more. A comic store owner once told me that he had a few customers who had been buying X-Men books for years, even though they did nothing but talk about how much they hated X-Men books. They were collectors, at one point they were fans, so there was some form of obligation that they felt they had to just keep on buying.
I will never understand that. I bought X-Men comics when I was a kid. Then in my humble geek opinion, around when I was in high school an artist named Rob Liefeld started working on X books, things went to hell. Years later, my favourite writer wrote the flagship X title, and it was great. On his heels, Joss Whedon wrote some X-Men and shockingly enought I thought it was great too. Then I stopped reading because I didn't like them under their new creative teams and direction. I spent my money and comic book reading time elsewhere.
One of my favourites in the rebooted DC Comics universe is Batman and Robin, from writer Peter Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason. Batman is on the verge of his 75th birthday, so trying to keep the character and his world interesting must be challenging to say the least. The ongoing twist to the Batman lore that this series focuses on is Batman as father to a young Robin born and trained to kill. A familiar character like Alfred Pennyworth in the grandfather role, Bruce Wayne and Batman as the unplanned parent, and Damien Wayne as the troubled punk-ass child who has a chance to be the greatest danger or maybe the greatest hero the world has ever known. I love the art and I love the story. I don't like the book just because I'm a Batman fan, that makes me a harsher critic at times to the mythology...I don't even like Chris Nolan's version of Batman (clearly I'm in the great minority with that opinion). This comic book is easily accessible, familiar to the batman mythos, and manages the near impossible task of truly adding a new building block to the lore in the form of Damien Wayne and his scowling, hooded Boy Wonder alter-ego.
Are all of the offerings in The New 52 worthwhile? No. If you like Community and 30 Rock on NBC though, I don't think it necessarily means that you'll enjoy fifty other programs on the channel. I think that the publisher is admirable in trying something new, in employing a diverse batch of creators, and not being afraid to take some chances. Now they just gotta explain how Batman went through so many Robin's so quickly.
Friday, August 17, 2012
It's time for another round of roller derby tomorrow night in Ottawa, this time at the Brewer Arena, located at 210 Hopewell Avenue. All the pertinent information is conveniently listed in the Rideau Valley Roller Girl image above this text! If you have plans tomorrow night, cancel them, this will be more fun than whatever is on your agenda.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Depending on your religious leanings, We Have A Pope might leave you quite offended. I found the comedic drama of a film to be a very well crafted script featuring some impressive performances, good laughs and surprising twists. I'm not religious though, so I have no fear of a spiteful god striking me down for watching a story that questions the hierarchy and traditions of organized religion. I wasn't the only one left impressed by the film: it was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, won a Golden Globe for Best Film in Italy, and got a batch of awards from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.
Tonight is your last chance to see the multiple award winning festival favourite We Have a Pope, at the Mayfair at 7:00pm.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
My friend Tom Fowler, the talented comic book artist who drew me being killed by Jango Fett in a Star Wars comic, has a new book released today. If you're in Ottawa, swing by the Silver Snail and pick up the book and get it autographed. If you live elsewhere, go buy it and read it in an equally enjoyable unsigned version. I'm looking forward to checking out his latest effort, and am kicking myself that I didn't think to ask Tom to draw Hulk smashing me.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Tonight at 6:30pm, right before we pack the theatre with roller derby girls for the doc Derby Baby, the Mayfair screens The Swarm. What is The Swarm you ask? Why, it's only a 70's disaster movie starring Michael Caine (who just happens to be my favourite actor) in a battle against killer bees. That's right...awesome cinematic perfection. Remember...this is more than a movie. It's a prediction!
Monday, August 13, 2012
Tomorrow night at 9:00pm the Rideau Valley Roller Girls, long time Mayfair friends, present the new documentary Derby Baby. The film explores not so much the normal aspect of fill-in-the-blank job by day kick-ass derby girl by night aspect that has pretty much been done to death, but delves into where the sport is now and what the future holds.
The doc itself is akin to the DIY-ness of Roller Derby culture as it received financial help thanks to Kickstarter fundraising and old fashioned tourings of the film. Hence tomorrow night's screening which comes thanks to a RVRG donation to the filmmaker's cause. If a great Juliette Lewis narrated doc and a theatre full of derby girls isn't enough for you, we will also be licensed for alcohol for the night. What more could you possibly want in an evening out!?
Experience a compelling story of love, addiction and rink rash at the Mayfair on September 14th at 9:00pm.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
As you might guess, a film that takes claim as the most violent movie ever made and likes to remind you that it's banned in a whopping 31 countries is not for everyone. Most people can't even name 31 countries, much less be banned in that many.
The immensely controversial exploitation film, also known as Make Them Die Slowly, was directed by shlock-master Umberto Lenzi, who also brought to the screen other such cannibalistic cinematic fare the likes of Eaten Alive! and Nightmare City.
For those who couldn't stay up late for a midnight movie on Friday and enjoy being offended at a slightly more reasonable hour, tonight is your encore presentation chance to Grindhouse it up with us at the Mayfair at 8:15pm.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
I love animation. If I was more a more talented artist, or maybe if I had spent more time in high school practising drawing instead of playing role-playing and video games and watching Evil dead 2 and Nightbreed over and over, I would have gone the animation school path. I can't remember a time when I wasn't awed by the wonder and magic of cartoons.
In the 1940's there were the comic book adaptation perfection of Max Fleisher's Superman, there was the genius level of comedic insanity that was the Looney Tunes, and of course the theatrical masterpieces from Disney the like of Fantasia and Dumbo.
Then in the late 50's a company called Hanna Barbera began producing animation, they gained cartoon world domination in the 60's, and greatly thanks to them the the art-form mostly went to hell for a very long time. Hanna Barbera holds a soft spot in the heart for many a person reminiscing back on their Saturday morning cartoon or after school cartoon viewings. But if anything doesn't hold up from the naivety of childhood once viewed as an adult, it's the dozens upon dozens of Hanna Barbera cartoons. Sure there are the corner-stone stand-outs like The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, The Jetsons, and Yogi Bear...but guess what, none of them are all that good.
They were produced in a limited animation style, which is a kind way to say done for no money by artists forced to cut as many corners as possible and hack writers forced to re-hash the same bad jokes over and over again. Even if Scooby Doo was original at one point, after the company drilled the teens solving crimes with a talking fill-in-the-blank animal sidekick, it lost a bit of it's flare. The Flintstones gets held up on a pedestal as break-through television, but have you watched a show lately? I know it's not fare to judge old vs new at times, but Simpsons it is not.
In fact, the best programs made under the Hanna Barbera umbrella were produced after the company merged with Cartoon network. It was clear that there was new blood in the offices, due mainly to the fact that now shows were good with the likes of Dexter's Lab, Cow and Chicken, and The Powerpuff Girls. In the late 90's, the programming dropped any connection with Hanna Barbera, and not so shockingly things kept getting better and better into the 2000's with more breakthrough cartoons like Samurai Jack, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Ben 10.
Anyhow, the reason for my hateful rant against this beloved by millions animation studio is that I watched the sub-par hack of an animated film Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats. This animated film wasn't just bad, it was an embarrassment of a production that clearly no one involved cared even a little about. I deserve an apology from everyone involved for this film, and they should feel great amounts of shame for releasing it for people to view instead of destroying it and denying of it's existence.
Luckily Hanna Barbera does not exist anymore, except for the occasional train-wreck of a project like the live action / cg Yogi Bear. Remember Roger Rabbit? The Yogi Bear movie is just like that except it is terrible instead of awesome. So if you are going to watch cartoons, watch good ones. And if you see a Hanna Barbera logo anywhere near a cartoon, avoid it and go watch one free of the moniker. Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, and all the other stuff from the studio, is not worth your valuable cartoon watching time.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Watched Seeking a Friend for the End of the World tonight at the Mayfair. I will not put the Seeking a Friend for the End of the World poster on my blog because it is yet another horribly cut-and-pasted photoshopped messed and I hate it. Every damn time Hollywood releases a new theatrical poster, or at least around 95% of the time or so, it seems to enrage me with amazing levels of furious anger. Anyhow, so instead of that mess, please enjoy a picture from the film of the lovely Keira Knightley.
The first thing I thought upon learning of the existence of this film, was that it sounded a lot like a Hollywood remake of the 1998 film Last Night. Don McKeller's end of the world tale was a decidedly Canadian counter to cinematic fare the like of Armageddon and deep Impact that had been released in months previous. I loved Last Night, I did not love the more traditionally apocalyptic Hollywood offerings.
Although of the same theme, Seeking a Friend isn't a rip-off. The film makes a number of strong attempts at wandering off the beaten path from the average end times action movie mainstream. Thanks to having seen Last Night, there isn't really much in it that makes me feel like I'm seeing anything new or exciting. If you haven't seen Last night, you might come to it with fresher eyes and be more taken by the story than I was.
Having said that, what the film does showcase is a great ensemble of actors, a memorable soundtrack, and a script with some smart character beats and genuine surprises. I especially respect when an actor like Steve Carell takes on a sombre quiet role as this one is, when he could have just staged within the safety-net of continuing along with his former network television gig.
Within the movie was more than one 'I can't believe that that just happened moments', and for better or for worse depending on your taste, the film was quite darker than the trailer might lead you to believe. I knew this movie would succeed or fail on if it had the guts to actually conclude with the end of the world and hence the death of our central characters (and everybody else). I cannot comment on whether this happened or not without spoiling the ending of course, so I'll leave that for you to find by yourself.
You have three more chances to see what you think of this apocalyptic tale at the Mayfair - on August the 11th and 12th at 6pm and the 13th at 7pm.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Finished reading The Kill Bill Diary, written by David Carradine. I picked up the book randomly off the bookshelf in the office at the Mayfair. I am far from the biggest Quentin Tarantino fan in the world, my favourite of his directorial efforts is probably Pulp Fiction, but I find all of his stuff past then to be greatly uneven. Inglourious Basterds had moments of real movie-magic genius, but I couldn't get on board with the all over the map cinematic style. I mean, the movie wasn't even really about the Inglorious Basters! Why did he bother ripping off the title from that other movie anyways!? Anyhow...that's a whole other geeky rant.
In fact, my two favourite films that he's been involved in are ones that he didn't even direct. I really love True Romance from director Tony Scott, and From Dusk Til Dawn from QT friend and frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez. I'm in the minority I'm sure, but I love those movies way more than anything that he directed himself. In fact, I keep hoping that he would again write up a script for someone else cool to direct. I have a feeling that he's become such a centre-of-attention auteur of a filmmaker that that will never happen again though.
This Kill Bill journal has a few interesting behind the scenes tales, but really only of interest if you're wearing a Resevoir Dogs t-shirt and are a card carrying member of the QT fan-club. A good third of the book seems to be Carradine gushing about how awesome Quentin is, though is honest in it's portrayal of the director as an occasional diva and slight madman. Any criticisms and anti-QT-fanboy opinions aside, I will admit that having read the book now I really want to watch the Kill Bill films again.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Went to see The Dictator tonight at The Mayfair. It didn't grab me, but to be fair I watched it right after watching The Avengers again, so anything I watched afterwards in comparison might have been hindered a little bit in comparison.
I think that Sacha Baron Cohen is a true talent, and although I know this to be a heady statement, I think he may be the Peter Sellers of our time. He's already proved that he can not only create characters, but he has the uncanny and rare ability to make the characters really come alive within our world. Like Paul Reubens portrayal Pee Wee Herman before him Sacha brought to life not only one character that humans observing thought to be real, but many. First there was ALi G, then Borat, then Bruno, all characters who were thrown into faux documentaries to interact with unsuspecting victims. He also proved that he could handle being tossed into another stars comedy world with a turn in Talledega Nights, kids entertainment with Madagascar, and has gone on to work for directors the calibre of Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese.
The Dictator finds him creating another political comment of a comic character, but with the difference that unlike previous turns, this was a true film and not mockumentary. I have a feeling that pre-scripted comedy is a bit easier and safer of an undertaking than the chaos that was the production of Ali G and the rest. I'm pretty sure that a few times Sacha Baron Cohen's life was genuinely in danger on more than one occasion while he was bravely running around in character. Hence, I could understand that he might want to take a safer turn, if not lazier effort, this time out.
It still has it's laughs, and the always funny Anna Feris, and a very intelligently crafted climactic moment. There were also a ground of kids there with their parents who seemed way too young to be there, and those kids thought the movie was the best thing ever made by human beings. If you want to check out The Dictator for yourself, you can check it out tomorrow night at 9:30pm at the Mayfair (and you can go see The Avengers at 6:30pm too!).
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Joss Whedon is writing and directing Avengers 2, geeks world-wide rejoice at the glorious blockbuster movie productions news. Seeing as how Jon Favreau and Joe Johnson and Kenneth Branagh aren't returning to Iron Man and Captain America and Thor respectively in spite of the success of all of their directorial efforts, Joss not coming back to Avengers wouldn't have been the most shocking of things to happen. He could've taken the new-found boost to his directorial street-cred and gone back to do some more Dr Horrible episodes or some Shakespeare stuff or whatever the hell he wanted to do really.
As much as I totally would have respected that might have wanted to leave on top of the Marvel movie universe, I am pretty ecstatic that he's returning to assemble the Avengers sequel. There was also an announcement that joss would work on a live-action Marvel TV series in some capacity. I'm going to jump right to the conclusion that that it's going to be a Runaways series. Make it happen Joss!
Monday, August 06, 2012
Oh good...yet another excellent TV program to add to the list of shows that I don't have time to watch. I don't understand what's up with AMC. They show heavily edited and censored and commercial filled movies...and in the last couple of years decided to step up and continually produced the most stand-out television programming anywhere. Well, that's not exactly true since everyone seems to be producing the best television of all time. At it's worst, and there still is plenty of dreadful programming, it's shameful to humanity reality programming and another cop or lawyer show to toss onto the sub-par pile.
Watched the first episode of the railway western Hell on Wheels. If you're a fan of revengeful westerns or just plain old excellent dramas, check it out. I was mentally entrenched in the show, then the ending happened and I realized what the crux of the show was going to be and I got really excited. The central character seems very Jonah Hex, and like a character Clint Eastwood could have portrayed in his heyday.
Anyone who says that there is nothing good on TV is completely out of their mind. I wish there was nothing good on TV, then I wouldn't feel so bad about having a social life or being busy at work or having ambitions and hopes and dreams. If only I had nothing to distract me from the wonders of TV. Then I could just sit at home all day in front of the TV and quest through watching all of the glorious entertainment that it provides us lowly humans. Dare to dream.
Sunday, August 05, 2012
Went to see the kick-off of our lil' 70's disaster film fest programming at the Mayfair this-afternoon, this first two of five films were Earthquake and The Hindenberg.
The disaster movie genre is a bizarre one. In the 70's there was seemingly a rabid audience for plot-lines involving a whole bunch of people being killed or to a lesser extent greatly terrified thanks to natural disaster occurrences or plane crashes. Which is a pretty morbid and blood-thirsty level of cinematic entertainment. You know what makes for a fun night out at the cinema? The destruction of a city and the death of thousands!
Hindenberg is of course based on a true story, but like every film based on a true story, I'm curious as to what the percentage of truthiness actually is. There was in fact a dirigible that was called the Hindenberg, but not so sure if it was an espionage plot that caused the tragedy. I have a feeling it might have been plain ole' boring human error. In the case of this film they actually inter-cut real footage of the tragedy (spoiler alert!), which adds an extra level of macabre to the George C Scott lead epic.
Earthquake is arguably the most famous from the era and genre. Starring Charleton Heston and as per usual for these kinda movies, a giant supporting cast of all your favourite B grade and washed up celebrity talent. My personal favourite was Richard Roundtree's portrayal of a motor-bike stuntman, who spent the movie in a costume that to me looked a lot like DC Comics Black Lightening. The movie is not good per say, I have a feeling that none of them are, but it is definitely worth checking out if only for the awesome old school in-camera special effects and the over-the-top Charlton Heston-ness. I wonder what it must have been like sitting in a theatre in downtown L.A. and watching the film in it's initial release?
For those who missed out on our first pair of so-bad-they're-good disastrous films at the Mayfair and want to catch the encore presentation, you can do so on Tuesday September 7th at 6:30pm and 8:45pm.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
Another reminder that the world première of the Rideau Valley Roller Girls documentary happens tonight at 7pm on CBC Ottawa. It's extra awesome to consider that it is in what would be the Hockey Night in Canada time-slot during a different time of the year. I am sure that we will get equal or better ratings. I wonder if we can make use of their thrown away theme song that they got rid of a couple years back?
If you cannot watch the doc due to non-Ottawa area residency, or you don't have one of those fancy digital boxes to watch all the CBC's on, I again will kindly request and beg and plead that you take a moment of your time to e-mail the powers-that-be to ask them to re-air the doc nationally and interwebly. They can be pestered at: email@example.com
Friday, August 03, 2012
CBC Ottawa will première the Rideau Valley Roller Girls documentary Four-Wheeled Furies tomorrow night at 7pm. This brand new television doc was put together by myself and a few immensely talented filmmaking friends, and we hope it could be the start of an ongoing relationship with the channel. If I can somehow manage to actually make a few bucks every once and a while by documenting some ongoing roller derby tales for the enjoyment of the television viewing public, well that would easily fall under the category of a dream come true status.
If you are not in Ottawa, I will shamelessly ask you to please contact our friends at CBC and let them know that you would thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to watch the doc on the national network and the interwebs. You can do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Now that it's not only the third biggest movie of all time with an estimated box office take of $3 bazillion dollars, but also critically acclaimed and a comic geek fan favourite, it might be easy to forget that The Avengers was at one point in movie pre-production history actually quite the gamble. Marvel's tricky master plan to puzzle-piece together a multi-picture comic book style mega-universe on the big screen managed to pay off greatly, with much help from an impressive cast and king-geek writer / director Joss Whedon.
The Avengers is everything that the like of Michael Bay thinks and wishes his overly expensive, train-wreck blurs of confusing looking transforming giant robot movies wishes it was. It's big and loud and and made a whole bunch of money...but it also happens to have great characters, a compelling script, and action and special effects that you can actually follow along with. You will never once think you are out of touch or over the hill and find yourself yelling "What's going on!? Who's that guy!? Is that a good robot or a bad robot!?". Instead you will just sit back and revel in the awesome and the joy and the expert levels of filmmaking on all sides.
On the off chance that you haven't seen The Avengers yet, now is your chance to see it in all it's theatrical glory. It is all to rare proof that every so often the fat-cat Hollywood mainstream can actually get things right. Even if you have seen it, you know that it's well worth catching again before it heads to blu ray land.
The Avengers will assemble at the Mayfair tomorrow at 6:30pm with four follow-up screenings Sat, Sun and Wed, Thurs. It's Joss-tastic!
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Are you reading Saga, the Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples masterpiece in the making published by Image Comics? No? Well you should be. I know that it's a heady statement, but barring some kind of unprecedented creative disaster, this book will stand on the pedestal amongst other comic book greats the like of Sandman, Preacher, Y the Last Man, Strangers in Paradise and fill in the blank of whatever comic book that you think is unmitigated genius. I just got caught up and read the last few issues (including issue #4, which featured the beautiful cover that I pasted above the words here) and I continue to fall more in love with the romantic sci-fi epic. So stop doing whatever you're doing, go to a comic store or the Image Comics website and start reading. It is better than whatever you are reading currently...unless you are reading Saga...then please stop reading this and continue.