Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Although of course all good things must come to an end, Dave's upcoming teevee retirement still hasn't settled into my brain and leaves me feeling sad. It'll just be so strange not watching Dave on a frequent basis, as I have for decades of my life. Thanks to Stephen Colbert though, I am quite confident that the future of The Late Show is in good hands.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Monday, April 28, 2014
The praise of "funniest ever" gets thrown around whenever one sees a new teevee show or movie or stand-up comic that is exceptionally funny. I am fairly confident though, that U Talkin' U2 To Me is the funniest podcast that I've ever listened to.
The show is hosted by Comedy Bang Bang creator Scott Aukerman and Parks and Recreation actor Adam Scott. On the surface, it is a podcast featuring a couple of U2 super fans, in which they are supposed to talk about everything U2. The twist is, that despite all best intentions, they constantly go off the rails and lose train of thought and end up talking about everything but U2. They end up talking about movies, other bands,or delving into improv fueled comedic distraction. This would not be the end of the world, if not for over-obsessive types who have too much time on their hands, and really love U2. I never get why people keep partaking in something that they don't like. They do actually talk a lot about their love of U2...they are just a couplof funny guys who talk a bout a lot of other stuff too.
My favourite part of every show is my imagining of a U2 super fan stewing over and getting infuriated by the hosts as they talk about Huey Lewis & the News while still staking claim at being the be all and end all comprehensive U2 corner-stone on the internet. It gets even better when they read e-mails from those not in on the joke, and e-mails from those smart enough to play along with the gag. Initially they were supposed to do one episode for each U2 album, ending with a wrap-up episode about the latest album release. They've had whole episodes where they go pretty much U2-less, and the anticipated new release from the band has been delayed again and again. I hope the album never comes out so that this podcast can go on forever, and that it can continue to annoy U2 fans with no sense of humour.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
This photo of Joel Hodgson with his robot friends Tom Servo and Crow fills me with unbridled joy. If you aren't familiar with the comedic mastermind and the two robots in said photo, then you are missing out on one of the greatest and most hilarious bits of television ever created by humans. In simplest terms, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 was a show in which three funny performers made fun of old bad movies. Thanks to a high concept story surrounding the characters and genius writing, MST3K is so much bigger and better then it could be in the hands of lesser talent. There have been numerous times that my friends and I have watched episodes and almost died with laughter. It can be a dangerous endeavor. After 11 seasons and an incredible collection of bad motion picture history on display, the series came to an end way back in 1999.
So, you might imagine that a giant in-depth article on Wired titled Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece caught my attention. And, the part where it reveals that Joel has plans to bring back MST3K this year almost made me cry.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
While in Montreal, which I am this weekend for roller derby, one of the mainstay places for me to visit is The Green Panther. Good vegan restaurants glean high loyalty points from vegan peoples. Today I ate there twice in fact. I had a delicious sammich, a butter tart, and then the bestest salad I've ever had. The highest praise an out of town restaurant gets is when a traveler goes out of one's way to drop by and eat. I buy food from The Green Panther every single time I'm in Montreal, and wish that there were one in Ottawa. If there were a Green Panther on home turf though, that would be one less reason to cross over the border for a visit to Quebec though. I wish I had brought home some take-out.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Do you like Mad Men, but wish that it had crazier characters, wilder sex, and took place behind the scenes of the early days of television during a 1950's kids sci-fi space show? Then you should be reading Satellite Sam. I have a hard time singling out my favourite when it comes to comics that I'm currently reading, there's so much great stuff being published, but this is for sure one of the best comics out there today. The seventh issue is currently on the comic book store shelves, available for digital download, or you can pick up the volume 1 collection (containing the first 5 issues). Great writing from Matt Fraction, beautiful art by Howard Chaykin...keep it out of the hands of lil kids though.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Another great animated short in celebration of The Bat's 75th anniversary (that I forgot to post a couple of days ago). I may not love their live action efforts all that much, but DC sure does know how to make excellent super-hero animation. I hope that 2014 is filled with a lot more of these cartoon tributes.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Yesterday I watched The Lego Movie, and it blew my mind. The Lego Movie could have very easily been a blatant 1980's style 90 minute commercial to convince kids to big their parents for more toys. Instead, it is the most shockingly original, imaginative, intelligent and heart-felt movies that I've seen since I don't know when. It's one of those kinds of movies, that if financially viable,I would want to screen once a week for eternity at the Mayfair.
We have The Lego Movie at the Mayfair a couple more times today, then we're bringing it back next weekend for an encore. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour and see it in a movie theatre filled with kids to truly experience its joy and wonder. Little kids thanked me for showing the movie as they left,after having given it a rousing round of applause. You can't get a reaction like that when watchin' a movie at home on the teevee.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
My girlfriend has a couple of her family members visiting. Amongst all museum and gallery visits, her little six year old cousin was excited to go and checkout a comic book store, and we did so today. He got an Adventure Time comic and a Darth Vader necklace and asked many a question about all the geek lore on th shelves around him.
We also picked him some treasure from the 50 cent bins. Sadly, out of a table filled with a dozen of more long comic boxes, it's quit difficult to find stuff that is kid friendly. We live in a world where most people reading comic books are middle aged. So, that product has skewed over to appeal to that customer base. After lots of digging though, we managed to find an issue of Teen Titans Go, Pet Avengers, Amelia Rules, a Spidey, and a couple issues of Jeff Smith's Shazam. Her little cousin looks at these books like they are the world's greatest treasure, even if they are only parts of the over-all story, even if they aren't in mint condition, even if thy are only worth 50 cents. Even though comic book characters thrive on the big screen, on teevee, and in video games...we should never forget that comic book characters are best served in comic books. As long as kids like this one still want to read comics, there is hope for the future.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Every year I sneak into the Mayfair with my friends to hold a private birthday screening on my own behalf. This year, things got a bit delayed 'cause Craig Ferguson was in town performing on my birthday last month. He was supposed to be here in January, but he got prevented from coming thanks to illness. Plus,its more difficult to sneak in now-a-days 'cause we do matinees all the time and also rent out the place for weddings and private events and such.
A space opened up this Sunday, so I'm jumping onto that afternoon to bring my friends together to watch a movie. It's not the best of days, since a lot a folks are going to be busy Easter-ing in some capacity, but a handful of us will get together to enjoy some Muppet goodness.
My pal Tall Josh can't make it, so he drew me up this great Rocket Raccoon birthday wish in his absence. Having talented friends is such a nice bonus on so many levels. If you haven't checked out Josh's online comic, zap on over to Robots of Futuretown.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
After watching various forms of of Asian cinema, specifically Japanese anime, I have often pondered how crazy almost all those movies are. I have joked before that they seem like such a nice people, but the cinematic output thy offer up can often be mindbendingly bizarre. That might seem like a cliche or stereotype, but I'v watched a lot of Japanese cartoons, and even the most mainstream of them are pretty out there.
To be fair, I imagine that film fans from around the globe probably think the same about much of our Canadian cinema. I mean, we gave the great David Cronenberg to the world, and I think even he would agree that his movies are kindah weird. This thought came to mind tonight after having watched Denis Villenueve's latest directorial effort, Enemy. As the credits finished up, my girlfriend, two of our best Mayfair patrons, and our projectionist, were all on the same page in a state of wonder and confusion. None of us were looking at it negatively, at the same time I don't think that any of us knew what exactly just happened. Not that that is a bad thing. A movie in which you don't know what's happening can make a whole bunch of interesting conversation and pondering in its aftermath. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an impressive double duty twin performance, the mystery of the script kept me very Twilight Zone intrigued, and Toronto has never looked more horrible.
See if you are smarter then me and if you can figure out what wasgoing on in this movie, as we screen Enemy once more tonight, Thursday April 17 at 9:30pm.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I'm a bit upset that the fate of Nightwing has been spoilered thanks to a press release in regards to the upcoming DC Comic titled Grayson. That's always the issue with reading a shared universe continuity like that of DC Comics. I'm sure that they don't want to upset readers and ruin endings of storylines...but they also have to advertise upcoming books. Currently, the original Robin'slife hangs in the balance in the Forever Evil series that is about to wrap up. Having just recently killed the most recent Robin, I had a feeling that they wouldn't be crazy enough to off another one...but you never know in the soap-opera like world of super-hero comic book storytelling.
So, Dick Grayson will live on to fight another day, but the moniker of Nightwing will not. It looks like Dick's resume will expand from circus performer, Robin, Teen Titan, and maybe cop (not sure if that carried over to The New 52 universe reboot), to now include super spy. Now, if the impending return of Damian Robin rumors come to be true, it will be happy days for Batman's 75th anniversary indeed.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
The Wolf of Wall Street is a three hour long epic that seems like a mash-up of Goodfellas, Spring Breakers and of course, Wall Street. In other hands it might come off like an exceedingly long copy-cat undertaking of stuff that has come before. In the hands of Martin Scorsese, it is not so surprisingly great. The worst Scorsese movie is better then even the most skilled filmmakers best work, and this effort is well worth all the critical praise and Oscar nominations thrown its way. The Wolf of Wall Street screens the next two nights at the Mayfair (Monday April 14 and Tuesday April 15) at 8:45pm. It is not for the faint of heart. It will definitely offend those who think that Oscar nominations = Remains of the Day.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Our manager at the Mayfair Theatre unrolled a poster from a newly arrived in the mail tube, and upon seeing the contents, my heart skipped a beat. At first glance the poster for Journey to the West, the latest from martial arts filmmaking mastermind Stephen Chow, seems to have a poster by Drew Struzan. Upon closer observation, the signature didn't match Drew's familiar signature scrawl.
The poster comes from an artist by the name of Paul Shipper, who quite clearly wanted to be Drew Struzan when he grew up. At first I admit that I was a bit mad that this guy was copy-catting and tracing the perfected style of a master. Upon looking at the artists website though, I have to forgive him because he has produced so many amazing looking movie inspired works. On his website you'll find beautiful posters for Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Avengers, Pacific Rim and more. All of which of course were not used as the actual theatrical posters for any of these films, because whoever is in charge of the poster department of Hollywood is a fool.
Peruse some very pretty movie posters for yourself over at the Paul Shipper Studio site.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
I am going to watch Guardians of the Galaxy at least 1,000 times in a row. Goodbye life, hello watching Guardians of the Galaxy over and over again!
It is weird that due to a wacky chain of bad business decision events in the 1990's, Marvel does not own the bulk of their household name comic character franchises for film production. Marvel sold off the rights to Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-man, years before any thought that they'd be in a position to produce their own films one day. Meaning that now since we've made our way through the corner-stone Avengers roster, we're moving on to obscurity.
That Marvel is making use of their third tier characters now is not something that I look at with negativity. In my wildest grade-school lil comic book nerd dreams, I never thought there would be a live action Avengers movie. So, it never even crossed my mind that we'd one day have a movie starring Rocket Raccoon! Rocket is maybe my favourite character that most human beings have never hard of would be gracing the silver screen. Rocket Raccoon is making it to movie adaptation before Wonder Woman! I love this risk that Marvel is taking. I hope the gamble to give off-centre characters the spotlight pays off and we get more weird Marvel movies in the future (Micronauts...Cloak & Dagger...Alpha Flight). This is truly the golden age of geekness.
Friday, April 11, 2014
The WB / DC powers that be got animation legend Bruce Timm to return to his Batman roots and produce the short "Strange Days" in honour of Batman's 75th anniversary. It's as beautiful and awesome as you would expect a Bruce Timm / Batman reunion to be. I have no idea why WB doesn't just let their animation team produce their live action movies. Their movies would be so much better. Anyhow, sit back enjoy 3 minutes of glorious 2D Batman animation. Also...the one line that Batman speaks at the end of the short made me cheer in geeky Bat fan joy.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
A friend and I went to see the free preview screening of The Raid 2 last night. As the credits rolled, we took a moment to recover from our shell-shocked state, and then agreed that everyone can stop making martial arts movies now. I can't imagine that anyone will ever be able to top the mid-blowing fight scenes, insane levels of action, awesome characters, and sheer intensity that is The Raid 2. It's 2.5 hours long and feels like a lean 90 minutes. The Raid 2 is the new bench-mark of martial arts movie perfection that all other filmmakers will be looking to beat from now on.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Exciting news for Jeff Smith fans. You can now click over to his website and read all 28 'Season One' pages of his new comic Tuki for absolutely free! If you do not like Jeff Smith, or are disinterested in reading a new comic from him, there is clearly something wrong with you and you should reevaluate everything about your life. Drop whatever you're doing and go read Tuki now!
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Monday, April 07, 2014
Jay Leno retired from the Tonight Show twice, and got nothing in the way of tribute from his peers or comedians and talk show hosts younger than he. I am fairly confident that not one comedian in the history of the universe has ever said the words "Jay Leno is my hero". On the other hand, David Letterman should be prepared for a solid year of praise and tribute and lifetime achievement awards to be deservedly coming his way. The always joyful and hard working Jimmy Fallon is the first of the late night host gang who learned from Dave's comedic genius to pay loving tribute to his late night hero.
Sunday, April 06, 2014
The very first time Steve Coogan appears on screen, even though it's only in the form of a head-shot photo on the wall of a radio station, I laughed out loud. I continued to laugh throughout the movie that brings his legendary Brit comedy character to the big screen for the first time at long last.
We've got Alan Partridge at the Mayfair tonight (Sunday April 6) at 8:30pm and tomorrow (Monday April 7) at 9:00pm.
Saturday, April 05, 2014
We have Frozen this weekend at the Mayfair (Saturday April 5 at 3:30pm and Sunday April 6 at 1:00pm). It's a great modern take of the Disney princess mold, has some wonderful music, great acting and character animation, and a very funny snowman. As an added bonus, the Oscar nominated Mickey short 'Get a Horse!' is also included in the presentation. It's a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen, and this might just be your last chance to do so before it's locked away into those pesky Disney vaults.
Friday, April 04, 2014
This GI Joe themed episode of Community completely blew my mind. I can't believe that Hasbro let Dan Harmon and his gang get away with this brilliantly insane parody tribute to 1980's bad Saturday morning cartoons. If they make action figures inspired from this episode, I will buy those action figures.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
News quickly leaked today that David Letterman will be retiring sometime in 2015. The musical guest of the nice twittered about it during the taping of the episode, and it zapped along the internet and news spread at super speed, as news tends to do now-a-days. It's almost good that the announcement got spoiled for me, and I didn't learn from it via Dave as he sat behind his desk. Then I might have been a real mess.
Dave delivered the news like any other story he's told in such a manner, after his stand-up monologue and before his first guest. His announcement was laid back, it was funny, and filled with that reserved Letterman class and charm. This day had to come sooner or later, it's not the end of the world, but it fills me sadness to think of a world without Dave hosting a talk show. Now I must brace myself for a year of getting emotional at what I'm sure will be a parade of tributes and praise coming Dave's way. I don't want to discuss and debate at who might be the new host of The Late Show, I just wanna enjoy one last year of the genius of David Letterman.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Anthony Mackie has said that if it were up to him he would be wearing red spandex for his wardrobe in his portrayal of The Falcon in the new movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Alas, the Marvel powers-that-be did not agree with him. I guess the movie still looks pretty cool anyways.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I love a comic book that looks like a comic book and is filled with a sense of wonder and awe and adventure and imagination. Photo realistic images might show off artistic talent, and there are plenty of dark and dreary comics that are great...but more and more I want to read the opposite of that. The latest incarnation of Silver Surfer, from Superior Spider-Man mastermind Dan Slott and Madmad legend Michael Allred, is everything that is great about comics. Extra bonus, it's a comic that a kid can actually read and enjoy and not walk away from scarred for life.