Monday, April 30, 2012

Started watching Community season 2. It's always frustrating when a show like this has trouble finding an audience and has to fight to survive, when a show like Two and a Half Men can last a decade. The bitter sweet aspect is that every amazing episode of Community watched brings me one step closer to a world where there's no more new episodes of Community.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

We live in a world that's in a constant and sprinting pace of putting us ever closer to actually living in what we would consider a sci-fi like future. The taken for granted magic that is the smart-phone was something that a few short years ago would have been something that only James Bond or Batman might have had.

All forms of media are in the midst of a giant upheaval. It seems that sooner or later all form of literature will be read on a tablet, music will only be listened to via an mp3 player, and TV and internet will be officially smashed together into one form of interactive entertainment.

The same technological shift has hit the theatrical movie game. Despite any and all respectable indie repertory cinemas fighting against the evolution away from film, the future is upon us. We at the Mayfair won't get rid of our 35mm stuff, especially because we have an awesome 35mm library hidden away in the Mayfair catacombs. The issue is, that by the end of the year, pretty much everything movie related will be distributed in a digital manner. Not just the big-budget mainstream kind of stuff that we've shown in the past like say Harry Potter, but everything. Whether it be a kids movie, an alternative documentary, a foreign offering or an Oscar winner...none of it will exist on film-stock anymore. Meaning that anything that we've screened in the past lil' while that has had success, would be unable to be played in our current format. We wouldn't be able to screen The Muppets or The Artist or Monsieur Lazhar.

Now, we get by and pay the bills and pay the employees, but the harsh fact is that none of us are ever going to get rich off of running the Mayfair. Hence, we don't have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank to pay for something like a fancy new digital projector. Throughout our 80th Anniversary, we're holding an ongoing fundraising event to raise cash to be able to afford such an immensely expensive piece of equipment. We're having a number of special screenings and events, there will be auctions and prizes and poster sales, and even good ole' fashioned banks for you to give us your hard earned spare change in.

It's going to be an uphill battle of work, but already patrons have been very kind in their charitable offerings. Every time I'm in the box office and someone donates some cash it makes my soulless Grinch heart grow three sizes too big. And local Ottawa places have already been kind enough to donate prizes that we will auction off, stuff like tickets to see the Lord of the Rings concert at the NAC. So keep an eye out for our various fundraising events that we're having throughout 2012, and most importantly, come watch stuff at the Mayfair for the greatest movie theatre going experience of all.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My comic book stash delivery this-morning reminded me that we are a mere week away from the greatest holiday of the year, Free Comic Book Day. It's a day so staggeringly amazing that when I explain it to non-geeks they don't believe that such a thing could possibly be a true event. The Avengers, Simpsons, Transformers, Buffy, Smurfs, Donald Duck, Star Wars and more...all for the low low price of free! Only seven more sleeps until geeks are blessed with free comic book offerings from all their favorite publishers and stores. Mark your calendar, clear your schedule, and partake in the pure joy that is a world filled with free comic books.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This weekend at the Mayfair we're playing a collection of vintage Columbia Pictures shorts under the banner Three Stooges Follies. Sometimes 35mm print collections like this get a bit mixed up over the years and loose a short or gain a short. According to IMDb the program includes Buster Keaton, Batman and a trio of Three Stooges shorts (and a couple more titles that I'm unfamiliar with).

It's always a great time screening rarely seen classic pieces of cinematic history like this at the Mayfair. Showing stuff like this on the big screen, in a movie theatre that opened 80 years ago, is one of the closest steps you'll likely ever take to time-travel. If you figure out how to actually time-travel in a non-sentimental and literal way, please do let me know so I can accompany you to a Ramones show and to go look at dinosaurs.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I happened to be walking down Elgin Street tonight just in time to witness the sad army of hockey fans shuffle out of bars as the Senators were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoff contention for another season.

It's amazing that we as a species enjoy watching sports of any kind, 'cause statistically speaking, almost every time it eventually leads to depressive sadness. Many consider Wayne Gretzky to be the greatest player of all time, and he managed to only win the top prize four times in a couple of decades. Those don't equate to an over-all chance coming out in a gleeful spirit at the end of each season. Now-a-days, it seems many a well respected player can make it their whole career without even a single championship. A friend of mine once told me that that was why she would never be a sports fan, she wasn't opposed, but just couldn't handle the stress and heartbreak that inevitably crosses your path.

As I watched the morose jersey clad drunken masses shuffle out of pubs, I felt like maybe I should suggest a less heart-wrenching hobby for them to partake in, like movie watching or scrap-booking.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Because the legitimate news media is filled with liars, idiots and immature editorials I naturally go to the fake comedy news sources to get informed about goings on in the world. Last night on The Colbert Report I learned about another thing that secures Canada as the greatest country on the planet. Canada has roughly 85,000 different kinds of quarters in active circulation, ranging from Remembrance Day tributes, to ones drawn by little kids, to sports team logo's. The next quarter added to the roster will be one with a kick-ass dinosaur on it. If that's not awesome enough, the damn thing is glow-in-the-dark so you can see the dinosaurs skeleton. Canada's quarters are better than all your quarters! If they can put glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs on all the money, this totally switches my opinion that currency should get rid of paper and coin and just go 100% virtual.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tomorrow I get my Kermit the Frog tattoo, continuing my ongoing quest to have the most geekiest of inked up arms in all the land. Now I've got a Banksy piece, a couple DC Comics characters, a Droid, Kim Pine, a dinosaur, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a TARDIS. Hopefully I won't be sued by Disney, they have a history of suing daycare centres, and getting the image of one of the characters they own added to oneself for display is way more permanent then painting Mickey Mouse on a wall.

Monday, April 23, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin is yet another amazing movie with a brilliant performance from Tilda Swinton. Watched it tonight at the Mayfair and it kept me in rapt terrified attention from beginning to end. There's this looming sense that everything is going to go horribly wrong pretty much from frame one, and the horribleness unfolds throughout the story. Impressive turns from Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly is nothing too shocking, but what really stands out are the creepy villainous skills of all three young actors playing the various ages of Kevin. Some wouldn't classify the film as horror, it is though, just not the horror genre that involves a guy in a hockey mask chopping up teenagers. Although this is not the kind of film that you would likely buy on Blu Ray and make a tradition of watching with the family over the holidays, it is a film that is close to brilliance on all sides. It's the kind of film that leaves you a bit shell-shocked as the credits roll as you sink in what you just watched. Don't watch it if you are on the verge of contemplating starting a family.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I thought that mathematically speaking, since I had friends on four of the sixteen teams participating in the fifth annual Beast of the East tournament, that there was a pretty good chance that I'd be cheering on at least one team with friends on it as they made there was to the championship trophy. Alas, the fates were not on my derby-fan side this day. Not to say that it wasn't an action-packed and incredibly dramatic day.

First the Slaughter Daughters had to defeat a Montreal team with one of our beloved former team-mates on it (Assassinista on FDR). The game had so many back n fourths and was so close that I did not breathe for a large portion of the bout. Another couple of similarly stressful bouts were to follow, and next thing you know we were in the Championship bout for the second year in a row. As I wrote yesterday, I won't go into the exact play by play, but we did not win the day. Not out of direct laziness, but watching so many bouts in such a small period of time makes the whole day a blur. There was so much cheering that I kind of lost my voice, I may have choked back tears on a couple different occasions, and I ate delicious vegan taco's and pastries.

The crowd cheered the Slaughter Daughters on to their acceptance of the 2nd Place Trophy. Coming in 2nd out of 16 teams on a year when you've got a bunch of new players and won the year before is not something to be ashamed of. Plus, the 2nd Place Trophy had a dinosaur skeleton in derby attire on the top of it, which is pretty awesome. We all know dinosaurs are great...but winning a dinosaur skeleton wearing roller-skates and a helmet trophy is a prize to be proud of.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The opening bout of Beast of the East involved our Slaughter Daughters, the defending champions. It was scheduled for an insane 8:00am start, and was followed by shortened matches for the rest of the day. I'm not going to have great sports-journalistic skill in reporting the scores and events on the day, it was too much of a blur. I'm sure anyone interested can easily find the score-cards online.

By the end of the day I was completely exhausted, and all I had done was watch a bunch of derby. So you could imagine how my battered and bruised friends who actually partook in an epic day of actual intense athletics felt. My Slaughter Daughters came back to win their next two games, so they get to go on to day two, along with the three Montreal teams that my friends belong to now. Tomorrow at least once a team with a former RVRG member will play against us, and I know it will be a strange experience. As I commented before, it's like seeing Gretzky in a silver and black Kings jersey playing against the Edmonton Oilers.

We walked home through the miserable Montreal weather, we are staying at a derby friends house. We sat around eating some snacks and chatting and feeling quite worn out. Was shocked to look at my phone and see that it was a mere 9:45pm, it felt like we had been up all night and it was 5am or so. I think that starting derby at 8am instead of the more usual 7pm has completely messed with all of our inner-clocks. We will go to bed early, dream of girls skating around bashing each other to the tune of rock n roll and whistles, and wake up ready for another day of derby madness.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Road-tripped to Montreal with my girlfriend and a pair of roller-derby girl friends to partake in the madness that is the Beast of the East tournament. Getting into a car with a bunch of girls and traveling to far off lands for derby related events is nothing new for me. I've accompanied my Rideau Valley Roller Girls gang to such exotic locales as diverse as Sudbury, Pittsburgh, Rochester and more.

The girls at Montreal Roller Derby didn't think it was enough to host a giant weekend tournament, they figured they'd also play a bout on Friday night. The New Skids on the Block handily defeated Buffalo's Lake Effect Furies 326 - 62.

Since last season, four of my derby friends moved from Ottawa to Montreal, and they managed to land themselves on three different Montreal teams. Meaning I walked in to the rink, made my way to the merch table and bought three new T-shirts. Being a loyal friend, I'll be costume changing my attire depending on which friends team is in the midst of battle. At the likely event that out of the sixteen teams, sooner or later my friends will play against each other, then I will tape two shirts together and feel stressed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I hardly ever watch movies at home, being as I go to the Mayfair all of the time to experience movies in all of their big screen repertory theatre brilliance. Seeing how busy I often am, I like to make the most of my free time at home, and catch up on films that we wouldn't be able to screen theatrically. Hence, because I have the interest in all forms of cinema and the cursed skill to watch anything, last night I watched Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus. A really big shark and a really big crocodile cause havoc and kill lots of people, it stars Urkel and that hologram doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, and it was as horribly awesome as it sounds. I also found out that this is the sequel to Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus,which I shamefully have not wonder it seemed like I was missing out on some aspect of the in-depth story element of big things smashing smaller things.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The new Rideau Valley Roller Girls season starts May 12th! Our long national nightmare is almost over.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bob's Burgers serves as further proof that Seth McFarlane should wrap up the various versions of Family Guy that he produces. Unlike the trio of McFralane series that clog up Fox's animated time-slots, Bob's Burgers is original, funny, and actually has plot-lines to their episodes. Where-as Family Guy has a mish-mash of non-nonsensical dream sequences and seems to be on a dare-a-thon to see how offensive they can be before being banned from television forever. McFarlane should wrap things up and go concentrate on his live-action endeavors. I'd much rather Fox's animation department budget go towards Bob's Burgers instead of a fourth McFarlane show (which if we're not careful will be a Flintstones re-boot. Seriously!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

When The Simpsons comes up in conversation, some believe that it is past it's prime and should have gone off the air years ago. I've never given up on the show, and although it has had it's peaks and valley's over it's twenty-three years, I think the it is always worth watching. Especially since I've grown completely fed up, disgusted and bored with the animated universe of Seth MacFarlane, I've embraced and appreciated The Simpsons more and more.

The last few years they've gone out of their way to kick their cool factor up a notch as well. Somewhere around the time when they started working on the movie I think is when efforts got kicked up a few factors. I also think that they now have fans working on the show who grew up watching the series, and now have their dream jobs. They've employed writers like Seth Rogan and Ricky Gervais, had weird guest-voices like former comic book writer and current warlock Alan Moore, and opening credit sequences designed by Oscar nominated rebels like Banksy. Last nights opening sequence was a very impressive piece done by one of my favorite animators of all time, Bill Plympton. If they continue at this pace, I have no qualms if they feel like making the show for another few decades. Simpsons at its worst is still much better than watching a Family Guy episode that consists of a bunch of characters barfing for six or seven minutes straight.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spent a chunk of the day watching The Muppets on Blu-Ray, watched the film with audio commentary and then all of the bonus features. On the disc was the trailer for Brave, which after the sadness and disappointment that a sub-par effort the likes of Cars 2 has re-instigated my worship of PIXAR. Up until Cars and Cars 2, I thought that PIXAR was pretty damn close to movie producing perfection. All of their movies were really good, critically acclaimed, award winning and happened to all make a truck full of profits.

Then Cars came along, which was not the worst movie ever made, but was the first movie that they did that left me feeling 'meh' at the end. Then a few years later they hit us with a sequel that seemed for the first time in their history to be done only for financial gain, and not because they had a good story to tell. Toy Story 3 had a great script, Cars 2 seemed to be done to sell Happy Meal toys and car shaped slippers and backpacks to kids. Especially in an animation world that was now producing really good non-PIXAR computer animated films the likes of How to Train Your Dragon, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Puss in Boots, this was just unacceptable.

I think Brave is PIXAR waking up, feeling shame, and wanting to be excellent on all sides again. My faith in the animation studio was happily restored. Then the next trailer was for the Cars straight-to-DVD spin-off, Planes. Meaning that now PIXAR has resorted to producing films the style along the lines of a Simpsons PIXAR parody. And again, I felt sad and angered at the state of most of what goes on in Hollywood film production.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

We began our run of A Separation, the excellent Oscar winning Iranian film, last night at the Mayfair and it plays through April 17th. The film is pretty damn near cinematic perfection. If you can't make a movie that is from front to back exceptionally as well made as this film, you should just go home and sit on the couch and waste your own time with a little American Idol. If you aren't going to give it your all and have a great script performed by amazing actors and end up with an over-all impressive product for your audience to sit on the edge of their seats for and be enthralled by, why even bother? I'm looking at you Brett Ratner.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Anime makes a return to the Mayfair tonight with the movie that Speed Racer wishes it was, Redline. Highly praised in animation circles, the movie makes it's Ottawa premiere tonight at 11:30pm with an encore screening Sunday the 15th at 9:00pm. If seeing an excellent cartoon wasn't an inciting enough thought, we will also have some prizes to give away from Lost Marbles. And I promise that it will be much less offensive and insane than previous late night anime offerings like Urotsukodoji: Legend of the Overfiend (Redline isn't banned in any provinces). Just hold on to your seat and get ready to be knocked out with a hell of a lot of speed lines.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I have never been happier as to have avoided trailers and reviews and spoilers than with The Cabin in the Woods. I hate multiplexes, but ventured behind enemy lines thanks to a free advance screening pass that I got a hold of. It was the one film being released this year that I wanted to see as soon as possible in order to avoid finding out anything about the movie and having story-line and plot-twists revealed to me.

All I will say is that The Cabin in the Woods was one of the greatest movies that I have ever seen. I doubt anything else being released this year will come close to matching it as my favorite movie of that year. I walked into it knowing nothing about the movie except for those involved in making it, some of the actors, and that it was very likely something more complicated than a traditional teens killed in the woods story. I thought it was genius, and that's all I want to say. If someone starts telling you about the movie and you haven't seen it yet, punch them and run the other in the other direction. You will not be in the wrong.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I resisted the urge to get more comics from the library while returning stuff today. There's always something more that I want to read, but I really want to try to put a dent in the giant stack of unread comics that I have waiting to be read at home. The bottom drawer of my dresser is filled with three stacks of cheap bin comics that I haven't looked at yet.

There's a lot of great comics being produced currently, but it's hard to match the pure imagination, diversity and insanity of comics that were produced fourty or so years ago. Each cover was a masterpiece, there were heroic war comics, scary ghost comics, and super-hero books were actually fun and of interest to kids. Another plus is that many of the issues are self contained, so you aren't forced to buy dozens of cross-over books to follow a story.

The best part is that these kinds of comics can easily be found in cheap bins at conventions and stores. If you're lucky you can even find them at garage sales, though often people running garage sales are mad with delusional power and think that old comics actually have a monetary value. They're a great cheap option to pick up for kids (or grown-up folks) looking to read a bunch of comics. Though not so great if you already have a couple of hundred awaiting you in an unread state at home.

Plus, almost as entertaining as the comics, are the ads. The advertising encouraging kids to behave nicely for their parents so that they will then think they are responsible enough for gun ownership is worth the price of admission alone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another round of Fake Trailers Reel Festival makes it's highly anticipated return to the Mayfair in June. The one night only event will feature an hour of original fake trailer programming followed up by an hour of the greatest grindhouse / drive-in / cult classic 35mm trailers from the Mayfair vault.

I've gotta go try and figure out a storyline that doesn't feature derby girls, burlesque girls, swords, guns and random violence. I know that those are all excellent things to put in a trailer, but I can't just repeat last years theme.

Those interested in submitting a fake trailer have until Friday June 8th to do so, and the screening will be on Friday June 29th. Keep an eye out for further updates around the internet at various Mayfair portals (website, Facebook, Twitter), and if you have any questions let me know.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Back when Buffy was a TV show, my routine was that I would watch the latest episode and lose track of time and then yell a "son of a bitch!" when the 'Executive Producer Joss Whedon' credit hit the screen at the end of the show. The cursing would come because I thought there was still more show ahead, and a cliffhanger had just punched me in the brain. I enjoyed watching the show as it came out in weekly increments. I think that watching TV in giant marathon runs is kind of cheating. You don't get that time in-between stories to ponder and discuss and go crazy in anticipation of the next show.

I am a traditionalist when it comes to comic books as well. Hence, I read Buffy (currently in it's second comic book season, ninth over-all season) month to month and not in collected form. This season is being produced in a slightly different manner with Andrew Chambliss writing Buffy and Christos Gage writing Angel & Faith off of the over-all story as laid out by creator Joss Whedon, and under his supervision as he serves as executive producer on the books. For Buffy season 8, Joss was on hand to write a bit more, and there was a rotating crew of Buffy-verse TV writer alum and Joss Whedon's comic book writer favorites handling story-arc's.

Andrew Chambliss wrote five episode's of Dollhouse for Joss and has proclaimed himself to be a mega Buffy fan. I think he's doing a fine job handling the reigns of the franchise while Joss is off assembling Avengers.

Much like it's live-action predecessor, the last two issues of Buffy (which I read today in a bout of catching up on comic book reading) both made me go "Gah!" in a 'son-of-a-bitch!' like manner as I flipped to the last page of the story. If you are a fan of Buffy and Joss Whedon and are not supporting the comic, you are a monster. That may seem a little bit harsh, but it is true.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy eat candy for breakfast day! You can of course eat candy for breakfast whenever you would like because we live in the greatest country on earth (well, I do might theoretically be reading from a lesser country where you aren't allowed to eat candy whenever you would like to). Today, along with Halloween and Christmas I guess, it is slightly more socially acceptable to eat candy all day though. So get out there and gorge and celebrate the day that zombie Jesus came back to life and threw candy to all the children as he rode the easter bunny up to heaven. Or something like that...I'm not an expert on religious mythology and ceremony.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

I am shamefully behind on my TV watching, which is a shame because I think that we are in a golden age of television. Yes,I know that the medium is filled with D-grade celebrities eating bugs and douche-bags eating giant slabs of hamburgers and horrible low-brow laugh-track sitcoms and a bunch of offensive tiresome Seth MacFarlane cartoons. Disregard all of that trash though, and TV has endless high quality comedy and drama being produced. There is so much in fact, that barring suddenly being independently wealthy and not needing to sleep, I will never ever catch up.

The latest small-screen episodic masterpiece that I've taken to watching is Community. It came highly recommended, I knew pretty much nothing about it, and I rather quickly fell in love with it. I enjoyed it so much, that I am pleasantly surprised that it is currently in it's third season, because most tv shows that I love get cancelled rather quickly. Shows the likes of Firefly, The Tick, Greg the Bunny, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe (and the list could ramble on) all succumbed to cancellation before reaching a second season.

Community features a very talented cast in a rather normal tv show premise of a bunch of classmates in a community college. Premises of tv fare like this, the surroundings don't really matter all that much, it's the characters and their scenarios and the quality of the writing that are important. There's nothing too groundbreaking in the concepts of people hanging out in a bar, a comedian and his jerk friends doing nothing in New York, or doctors operating on patients during a war...but all are classic television.

All I knew about Community was that I had seen it's star on various late night talk shows, and that he was funny. I also was familiar with one of his co-stars, Donald Glover, because there was a bit of a rumour / geek push to get him to play Spider-man in the rebooted franchise. And that Chevy Chase is on it, and evidently he is difficult to work with. Otherwise, I was coming in to the show with a pretty blank slate as to what I was going to see.

It was so funny that on numerous occasions I hit the 'I'm laughing so hard I might die' danger zone. And, it is chock full of geek references ranging from 28 Days Later to Sesame Street to Batman, which is an easy way to win me over. Of course, the show it so good that it means it will likely be cancelled in it's third season (I just got through season one). How can shows like Two and A Half Men or According to Jim last for like a decade, and great stuff not? Damn you Nielsen families, it's all your fault! Watch better TV!

Friday, April 06, 2012

As much as I've enjoyed much of DC Comics reboot of their super-hero universe with The New 52, my biggest complaint would be in the area of character design. Much of the costuming chores seem to have gone to Jim Lee, and although he is maybe the most popular comic book artist of our time, I can't stand his design skills. Everything he does is overly complicated, his Cyborg looks like a Michael Bay Transformer.

So, I was glad to see that Kevin Maguire was handling the design gig for The New 52's introduction of Earth 2 into the rebooted continuity. I've been a fan of Mr Maguire's work since he drew the 1987 relaunch incarnation of the Justice League. His cover for Justice League #1 is hands down one of the most famous and copied covers in the history of the medium, and over the last 25 years he's worked on pretty much every comic book character you've ever heard of. His resume includes work on Captain America, Spider-man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman, Batman, and he's done some great indie stuff like Strikeback and Trinity Angels.

The only bad news is that with the news of his involvement in DC stuff, this means there are a couple more comic books that I am now looking forward to checking out. More money to spend, and more stuff to read in my always too packed, not enough hours in the day schedule.

What I like about his designs is that there's a realism to them without losing the super-hero aesthetics. Robin looks like she could actually wear that outfit while jumping around rooftops of Gotham, no high-heels, no extra-long cape tripping her up. This new Supergirl isn't dressed like a stripper, and is actually in an outfit that wouldn't be inappropriate for a girl to wear on Halloween. They should've let him handle the initial DC reboot designs too and maybe Batman and Superman wouldn't look all weird without wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I got a very excellent belated birthday present from one of the kids of a couple of friends of mine. This young lady enjoys reading Bone comics (I got Jeff Smith to sign a Bone book for her at Fan Expo last year), likes listening to Weezer, and wears Batman shirts and Converse. Not so shockingly I'm a fan, and amongst the aforementioned young geek cred, she is also quite the artist. Pictured above is a R2D2 magnet, home-made from scratch with no help from instructions or a how-to book or the interweb. This little droid was made out of pure imagination and skill. I know that you are jealous and you want one too, but you can't have it, it is mine all mine.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

It's not often that I venture outside of the Mayfair to watch movies on the big screen. I snobbishly refuse to give any money to the multiplexes, mostly because every time that I o I have a bad experience with a sub-par quality presentation like the movie being presented in the wrong aspect ratio or candy tossed up and plastered on the screen. I also find that you are much more likely to be pestered by other patrons chatting on cel phones, texting, talking amongst themselves, or getting drunk while the movie plays.

So, along with that negativity and because the Mayfair is the bestest way to enjoy a film, the only time that I partake in non-Mayfair movie watching is when I can do so for free. The latest free pass that I got a hold of was for the sequel to a remake, Wrath of the Titans. The Clash of the Titans was pretty awful, but I am a glutton for punishment, have no taste, and will watch pretty much anything. I wasn't expecting much, and I didn't get much.

When I see a movie like this from a studio like Warner Bros, a budget of $150 million, featuring actors the caliber of Liam Neeson, Ralph Finnes and Bill Nighy...I would like to think that all those factors could cobble together something at least semi-passable and a little entertaining. More often than not with this kind of stuff, it seems like no one is really making that much of an effort. As the end-credits roll, we've gained no attachment to the characters, had no plot-line to follow, and sit there feeling a resounding "meh".

Added to the drudge of the film is that it's presented in the biggest ruse in cinema, the glory of 3D. There wasn't a single part in the movie that was enhanced by it's 3D presentation. A couple of times embers floated by, and once the camera took a dive down a long tunnel, otherwise any hint of 3D was completely non-existent. I'm shocked that this snake-oil salesman of a trick continues to lure people to pay extra at the multiplex box office. In fact, the only time you really notice 3D is in the credits, which you wouldn't think that anyone would be all that enthused to pay extra money to enjoy. The only good news is that the film has only made $125 million worldwide (yes, it's insane that the words 'only made' in front of a number that big), so will maybe only brake even. Fingers crossed, that means that the planned third film in the series called Return of the Gods will die before it's put into production. Then I won't get another free pass for that and have to see another horrible mythology movie starring that guy from Avatar.

It was a waste of a couple of hours, but at least I got to see the trailer for Prometheus.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The new This Month at the Mayfair article is up at the (Cult)ure Magazine website. This time around we discuss the greatness that is the April schedule for the Mayfair. Amongst other worthy cinematic offerings, April includes such diverse films as the bizarre 1980's remake Cat People, the intense anime of Redline, truth is stranger than fiction documentaries like Girl Model and The Ballad of Genesis & Lady Jaye, Canadian Content acclaim of Monsieur Lazhar, the Penthouse Magazine produced Caligula, and the classic slapstick comedy from The Three Stooges. If there's not something that you're interested to see at the Mayfair this month, I'm pretty sure it means that you hate movies.

Monday, April 02, 2012

If loving Clooney is wrong, I don't wanna be right. I think that he has the most integrity, that his career is the most diverse, and is the most talented movie star that we have on the planet. If you would have told me that I was going make such a statement fifteen or so years ago, I would have pointed at you and accused you of being a liar. If you had told me that right after I saw Batman & Robin, I might have pushed you over and taken a couple swings at you with a gold club.

Luckily, a year later, George managed to land a gig in the Steven Soderburgh adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Out of Sight. Since then, he's been puzzle-piecing together what I think will go down as one of the greatest resume's in movie history. Ocean's 12 and 13 weren't groundbreaking works of cinematic genius, but besides for a few lil' mis-steps like that he's been on quite the roll since the late 1990's.

He's played the lead, played supporting parts, played good guys or bad guys or he even once played a fox. When not repeatedly working with his new bestest pal Steven Soderburgh, he's quietly managed to work with nearly every talented filmmaker working in the business (Terrence Malick, the Coen Brothers, Robert Rodriguez, Jason Reitman, Alfonso Cuaron, Wes Anderson, etc...). Along the way he also learned how to be quite the filmmaker himself, directing four impressive films, two of which he also co-wrote. If that's not enough, he's stacked up a bunch of Oscar nominations, a win, and dozens of other nominations and wins.

Tonight I watched The Descendants, and it's not so surprisingly added to my ammunition of proof that Clooney deserves to be allowed to do anything he cinematically wants. If there were more stars out there who cared as much about putting out high-end product as Clooney does, we would have a whole lot better quality movies out there. Imagine if he had been able to wait a few years and do a Bat movie with filmmakers who actually cared about the characters? Being glass half full and unable to time-travel to fix things though, maybe doing the movie taught him a lesson that most others in Hollywood could learn a valuable lesson from. Actors should care more about making a good movie and amassing a good career over getting the big safe pay-cheque.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Late last night I worked on the tear down of a stage that I helped set up on Saturday night for the Juno Awards. I'm not even sure what exactly went on there, I think some autograph stuff and a couple of songs performed by bands I've never heard of. It was at a mall, and I was quite curious if anyone actually cared about this kind of thing and if anyone would show up. Evidently, people can be lured out for shopping mall based entertainment of the free variety. Rumour has it that upwards of a couple thousand people were in attendance, which blows my mind a lil' bit that there's anyone who would actually be a fan enough to partake in pop music presented in such a manner.

It reminded me of a different kind of mall gathering that I attended a dozen or so years ago while in Florida. My friend and I were flipping through the newspaper (that's how long ago this was) looking for something to do. He flipped the page, an ad caught our attention, and simultaneously we both exclaimed "The Power Rangers are going to be at the mall!". Our other friend we were with was not impressed, luckily his sister had a better sense of humour and she ave us a lift. Even though we weren't exactly the Saturday morning target audience age, we were fans. In fact, my friend had a life-size cardboard cut-out of the Pink Ranger in his bed-room. Hence, we were fairly ecstatic that this was going down while we were temporarily residents of Florida.

The Green Ranger and the Pink Ranger were there signing autographs to publicize the upcoming season and remind kids to buy toys and various other bits of Rower Ranger merchandise. It was complete and utter madness. There were traffic jams on the way there, the place was packed, and people in attendance weren't being very mature or level-headed at all about the situation. After the actor's hit the stage, it was akin to The Beatles stepping off of an airplane onto American soil in the early 1960's. Parent's were losing any sense of human sanity, kids were losing their minds, and security was completely overwhelmed. The frightening thing was that of course because we were in Florida, the overwhelmed mall-cops were all brandishing fire-arms. In fact, I would guess that many of the parents and maybe children had guns too. I saw parents on their way to partaking in fisticuffs, and one throw coffee in anothers face. It was on the verge of complete societal breakdown, riot squads and tear gas were imminent.

We didn't actually get to meet the Power Rangers, but we did get autographed head-shots. Mall people resorted to giving out stacks of pre-signed photo's in hopes of quelling the impending insanity of a Mall destroying mall. We were lucky to get out alive. Very glad the we got to go though, if we had missed it we would have felt as regretful as Homer did that time when he didn't go to the mall to see Mr T.