Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's a busy day of Halloween themed activity today. First I'm off to get a Doctor Who haircut to match my Doctor Who costume. My girlfriend has what you would call imagination and talent, hence she made herself a Dalek dress costume to dress-up in. I do not like dressing up in costumes, so when I do have to dress up I go for the easiest thing possible. So her choice of costume easily allowed for me to pair up to her and costume up as the 10th Doctor Who. The character dresses quite close to my usual attire anyhow, so it really wasn't that much of a stretch for my lazy costuming self.

Tonight we're going trick or treating with three of my fake nieces (real kids, just no blood relation). Wherein I will help to make sure that they safely partake in the receiving delicious candy from strangers, and then I will eat all the vegan friendly treats (I will eat all the gummi peaches and life savers!). After that it's out for a costumed night on the town to watch some Halloween themed burlesque. Somewhere in there I have to fit in my annual viewing of Charlie Brown and Thriller.

Then it's off to the pumpkin patch to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. I hope that your Halloween is equally action packed as mine is planned out to be. And that you get to steal much candy from children, what the holiday is truly all about.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Every other geek on the internet is talking about the exact same thing today, Disney has bought Lucasfilm and hence there are more Star Wars film on our horizon. I'm sure that you can go to countless other websites featuring folks of actual journalistic skill to learn about the importance of the event and facts and money matters and consequences.

When I read the headline "Disney Buys Lucasfilm For $4 Billion! STAR WARS EPISODE VII Scheduled For 2015 Release!" over on the exclamation point loving Ain't It Cool News, my first thought that it was some kind of April's Fools prank. That was genuinely the initial thought to pop up in my brain, I of course then realized that it was October 30th, a date not usually associated with online pranks.

Some folks seemed to think that I would be upset at the idea of Disney taking over the Lucasfilm and Star Wars reigns. That couldn't be further from the truth, yesterday I lived in a world with no new Star Wars movies to watch in my future, and now there will be at least one more trilogy produced. And they will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, who has a long and successful resume working alongside none other than George Lucas' best friend Steven Spielberg.

I'm also far removed from the angry anonymous internet nerds who are happy that George has passed along the torch to allow other filmmakers to play in the Star Wars sandbox. I enjoyed the prequels just fine, anyone who thinks that they are the worst things ever made in motion picture history clearly haven't seen enough movies, especially say anything with giant robots as directed by Michael Bay. My controversial stance is that the original Star Wars films aren't as perfect as you think they are, and the prequels aren't as horrible as you think they are. They are all just fun sci-fi serial matinee calibre escapism, and if you take them too seriously or put them too high up on a pedestal, you are missing the point of the series. You also need to get out more if disliking a movie gets you that upset. I hated Batman and Robin, but I didn't devote my life to telling everyone how much I hated it. I hated and moved on. Star Trek V was not what one would call a great movie, but I'm not going to spend all my days hating William Shatner for directing it. I'm going to look on the bright side and remember that Star Trek VI came out after it and it was great.

There also seems to be much teasing over the concept that Star Wars will now be Disney-fied, and that that is a bad thing. I remind people that Muppets has treated very well since becoming part of the Disney family, as was Marvel, and they've maintained a great relationship with Pixar for ages.

There will be a new Star Wars movie in theatres in two and a half years or so, and that makes me a very excited geek indeed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Grant Morrison's Action Comics #13 is another prime example of the powerful storytelling ability possible in mainstream super-hero comics when in the right hands. Excellent super-hero comics are few and far in-between, about the same odd's as excellent network television or Hollywood movies. Luckily, for the time being at least, Grant is hanging around the DC Universe; meaning we get some great Superman and Batman stories for the next few months at least.

Especially if you like dogs, Action Comics #13 will likely emotionally wreck you a little more than your average guys in spandex punching each other in face epic. If you don't like dogs, there is something wrong with you, and it probably means that you don't like comics or other things that bring joy to one's life either. Well, then maybe you don't deserve to read Action Comics #13! Go read a math text book or something.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Mayfair countdown to Halloween continues with more frightfully awesome programming...

Leatherface takes claim on it's poster that it is "The Most Controversial Horror Film Ever". That's quite a heady statement to make, especially in a world in which various slasher, cannibal and revenge grindhouse movies exist. They wrote this on their poster because the sequel was the final horror film threatened with an X before the NC-17 rating was instigated.

This third film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise comes from director Jeff Burr (whose filmography is strangely top-heavy with sequels: Stepfather II, Puppet Master 4, Pumpkinhead II, Puppetmaster 5). Writer David J Schow worked on the 1990's super-hero goth classic The Crow, but is strangely enough also horror sequel inclined with the likes of Nightmare on Elm Street 5, Critters 3 & Critters 4 on his resume.

The film stars geek genre veteran Ken Foree...go look at his imdb page, he's been in everything from Dawn of the Dead to X-Files to Devil's Rejects. Although I'm sure he'd rather you neglected this part of his resume, TCMIII also features future Oscar nominee, Lord of the Rings icon and David Cronenberg mainstay, Viggo Mortensen. And of course this cinematic treasure also features a really big scary guy with a chainsaw killing people.

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III - Monday October 29th - 9:30pm at the Mayfair

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tomorrow night marks the première of the seventh annual Killer63 short horror film festival at the Mayfair. Time does have a tendency to fly, and it blows my mind a bit that all of a sudden we're up to our seventh Killer63 event. I don't have the exact statistics on hand, but I bet that we've probably screened nearly 100 short films in that time. The one night mini-fest began with a 63 day time-frame to produce the short, and was all local Ottawa filmmakers. It has since dropped the 63 day rule, and now screens films from accross Canada and the States, international offerings, and of course we continue to screen local talent as well.

Tomorrow night we'll screen fourteen shorts in all, ranging from under a minute in length to 13 minutes. We'll have shorts on hand from Ottawa filmmakers of course, some from elsewhere in Canada, and one from Italy. One is Total Fury from Quebec (pictured above), it is a few years old, but we've never screened it and it is awesome (awesome in a hilariously offensive girl-power kinda way).

Killer63 year seven - Sunday October 28th at the Mayfair - One night only!

Friday, October 26, 2012

This weekend we have two matinees of one of my favourite movies of the year, Paranorman. The more I think about this movie the more I think that it's truly destined to become a Halloween cinematic classic. Besides for being a beautifully produced piece of animation filled with great characters and an impressive script, it also has cool monsters in it and some fun kid friendly scares. Also, in a rare twist when it comes to movies now-a-days, Paranorman is an actual original. It's not a remake, reimagining or reboot, it's not based on a book, comic, tv show, video game, toy line, board game or pre-existing movie. Shocking I know, but this is actually a brand new original piece of filmmaking.

Do yourself a Halloween themed favour and come out and watch Paranorman on October 26th or 27th at 1:30pm. Unless you don't live in Ottawa, then you should find some other means to watch it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The insanity and madness that is the annual Halloween screenings of possibly the most successful cult movie of all time - The Rocky Horror Picture Show - is upon us yet again! Tomorrow night at 9:30pm and Midnight, Saturday October 27th at 9:15pm and Midnight and on Halloween at 7:00pm and 9:45pm.

As per usual, our Rocky Horror events are hosted by the amazing Absent Friends shadow cast, whom I will proclaim as the greatest shadow cast on the entire planet. Please, no rice or confetti; use bubbles! Yes...we know that rice and confetti are part of the tradition, but they are an incredible pain to clean up. Throw a bunch of rice and confetti around your living room...see how messy that is? Now multiply that by a couple hundred people doing that same thing. Not a pretty sight.

Tickets are $10 for members / $15 for non-members. These screenings have a history of selling out, so be sure to arrive early (or drop by and buy your tickets in advance), and don't be too shy to dress for the occasion!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tomorrow night the Rideau Valley Roller Girls unveil their hot-off-the-presses 2013 calendar at Patty's Pub (1186 Bank Street) at 7:00pm. After that, the festivities move over to the Mayfair for a 9:00pm screening of east coast comedy troupe Picnic Face's big screen debut, Roller Town. Come out and see a genuinely hilarious new Canadian film, hang out with derby girls, and buy a calendar from 'em too. It's your chance to participate with a triple dose of Canadian content support at the Mayfair...and yes, as per usual with out RVRG events, there will indeed be pizza and beer for sale too. What more could you possibly want from a night out at the cinema!?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I don't want to alarm anybody, but mainstream Hollywood seems to have actually produced an awesome movie poster. If you look at the evidence put forward in such posters such as The Avenegers, X-Men: First Class, or the Transformers movies, to name a few from the countless many, I thought that maybe Hollywood had actually lost a dare and had to produce only terrible one-sheets. Almost everything made in the past decade or so seems to make use of junior high levels of skill at photoshop, and looks like it was produced in about 15 or 20 minutes by someone distracted with another chore. Good job whoever did the Iron Man 3 poster, it's not quite a Drew Struzan painting, but a very fine bit of effort none-the-less.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Watched the HBO film The Girl. It was ok, but I can't help but think it's just the Snakes on a Train version of a behind-the-scene's filmmaking biography, which will likely be told better in upcoming Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins (even though this one was about The Birds and the next one is about Psycho). Toby Jones plays Hitchcock in the tv movie, in the shadow of Anthony Hopkins portraying the icon just in time for Oscar season. Interesting since he played Truman Capote as well, in the shadow of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar winning performance of the same bio-pic role.

The real stand out though is Sienna Miller in her portrayal of Tippi Hedren, up and coming model turned actress and Hitchcock's mental punching bag. I was only familiar with her work in the Alfie remake, and gaining love and admiration from geeks for if not the GI Joe movie, at least for her Baroness poster from the movie. She does a great job as the only person gutsy enough to stand up to the director's insanity, and her film within a film moments are even more impressive if you are familiar with The Birds and Marnie.

The Girl is alright, but if looking for a truly memorable movie about Hitchcock, you're likely fine to wait for the next version.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

If you are looking for a movie to watch in honour of the Halloween season, you can't get much better than a comic book inspired anthology from Tom Savini, Stephen King and George A Romero. If you were too tired to stay up for the late late show of the 1980's horror classic a couple of nights ago, you can catch the encore presentation of Creepshow tonight at 8:30pm at the Mayfair. It just may indeed be the most fun you'll ever have being scared.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Today and tomorrow at the Mayfair we're having a poster sale, where-at you can get your hands on hundreds (mayhaps even thousands) of movie posters. And then you can purchase them for a mere $7 dollars and then bring them home and put them up on your very own walls! Complete madness! There's a wide range of posters available, including amongst other offerings, the fabulous Best Worst Movie poster as displayed here. Doors open at 12:30pm, be sure to get their in a punctual manner if you want to snatch up the really good stuff.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Mayfair's 80th birthday / the DCP projector fundraiser event continues this weekend with the selection for the best of the 1940's - Casablanca.

Casablana is one of those movies that I can just watch over and over again and never get tired of, made even better when viewed on a big screen in an 80 year old single screen theatre. At seventy years old the movie is still dramatic, exciting, filled with incredible acting, and what many forget about the film, immensely funny.

Catch one of the greatest films ever made, and multitask a kind charitable deed towards the Mayfair whilst doing so, tomorrow night at 6:30pm and Sunday October 21st at 3:00pm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An amazing thing about a well made feature documentary (or any story) is that even if the subject is completely out of your wheel-house, you can still be completely enthralled by the film. Not that I'm opposed at all, but ballet is pretty far out of my normal entertainment place of interest. None-the-less, I thoroughly enjoyed First Position. Whether the story is about a spelling bee or a cake baking competition or ballet, I find doc's have the ability to mesmerize and keep you on the edge of your seat (and other such complementary cliches) more than any form of sporting event. So, if you are a fan of the NHL and have an empty places in your soul missing due to a lack of hockey watching, maybe you could go for a dose of ballet.

First Position screens for three nights at the Mayfair - Friday October 19th at 7pm, Sunday 21st at 6:30pm and Monday 22nd at 7pm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Re-watched Batman: Year One, this time with audio commentary accompanying the viewing. The latest DTV film (which means direct to video...which doesn't quite fit as a title for these things anymore) is yet another great cartoon and story from the Warner Bros animation division. Even in this golden age of comic books being adapted into film and television entertainment, I think that DC's animation output has put most everything else to shame. My only wish with the series is that they were released theatrically first, seeing a movie like Year One on the big screen would be a great sight to see for comic geeks and cinema goers alike. Best of all, amongst other reasons that they are worth watching, in the DC animation world Batman doesn't sound like cookie monster and Green Lantern is played by Nathan Fillion. Doesn't that world sound like a better place?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Late to the game on viewing these of course, but finally watched the last two movies based on the final novel in the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows. I am not what you might call a super-fan of the series, I've only read the first book and it didn't entice me enough to continue along with the series. With a few exceptions I'm just not into the swords and sorcery genre most of the time, I could hardly get through the Lord of the Rings even. I have seen all of the Harry Potter movies, but that is just thanks to free passes, friends who had the DVD's, and Mayfair screenings. There are holes and bits of non-worshipfulness in every geeks basket of obsessions, and Harry Potter is just outside of my wheel-house of interest.

None-the-less, I think that all of the films are well crafted and filled with an impressive cache of actors and a talented behind the scenes crew who have cobbled together an impressive eight decent movies in a row that the fan base seemed to adore. My issue with the films is that they seem to be for the fans without an interest in shaping them to be enjoyed as equally by someone who has never read the book.

Every single movie in the series just feels like it's missing giant pieces of important story, and even characters. I know this as a fact actually, having seen Craig Ferguson rant about it on his show. I understand that some of the books were pretty enormous, but that's not excuse to have a script cobbled together that leaves a portion of the audience feeling like they've just watched a movie with whole scenes missing from it. The Harry Potter movies always seem like their sprinting to catch up with their 2.5 hour running time, and in doing so they have to leave giant portions of their story left out.

Maybe in retrospect they realize it might have been a better idea to split up more of their movies into two parts the way they did with their finale. I can't help but look at Scott Pilgrim vs the World as a film that handled this predicament of a source material with too many pages to fit into two hours much more successfully. The six Scott Pilgrim comic books when combined tally in somewhere around a whopping 1100 pages. Yet, Edgar Wright and company managed to whittle that page count to an excellent and completely followable 2 hour movie. To be fair, it tanked at the box office and Harry Potter did in this case I might fall under the umbrella of annoyed guy uselessly screaming into a thunderstorm.

Plus, it's not like any of my critiques matter in the aftermath of a film franchise that its fans gushed over, was nominated for and won a stack of awards, and made over seven billion dollars worldwide in box office ticket sales alone. Those witchcraft loving nerds were quite content with what was dished out to them I guess.

Monday, October 15, 2012

After a couple of months of sitting ignored on my book rack, I finally got around to reading Tara McPherson's third collection of her art into book form, Bunny in the Moon. I guess it would be more fair to say looked at than read, since the book is more picture than word themed.

She might be my favourite modern pop-artist, I never get tired of looking at her mesmerizing rock and roll poster style images of mysterious mythical and sci-fi women and creepy cute animals.

I really want to get a Tara McPherson tattoo, just don't know where I might squeeze one in. I might have to settle for an expensive print to put up on the wall.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I love Pixar. Have ever since I was a lil kid and saw a cartoon that they produced starring a couple lamps. Now remember that this was long before computer animation was commonplace and familiar to one and all, so at first I was genuinely confused for a moment and thought that it was stop-motion or some kind of lamp puppetry.

The animation company had an incredible run of films that were the impossible to achieve impressive combo of financially successful, critically acclaimed, award winning and well liked. Most movies are lucky to achieve one or two of those factors, but to achieve all four is a staggering cinematic accomplishment.

Then came Cars. Which I did not like. I didn't hate it, but something felt off. It got mixed reviews, still made a ton of money and won some awards. It was followed up by three much more impressive works in Ratatouille, Wall-E and I forgave Pixar and moved on. Cars 2 was another matter. It was the first Pixar film that truly felt like it was just done for the merchandising revenue. It made me sad.

Evidently it also made a lot of people at Pixar sad too, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that the film made didn't ease the crushed morale that they had taken a major misstep off of their usual high quality path. The result of the failure of Cars 2 may be the rousing success of Brave. It's a beautifully crafted fairy tale, with all elements of technology and storytelling amazingly meshing together the way a Pixar movie should. It also happens to feature a central princess character unlike any seen before in animation, one that not only leads the adventure, but one that does not pine after or need a prince on her arm to win the day. I have always put Pixar up on a pedestal above their computer animation competition, and Brave puts them back up in that rightful place.

I got to watch Brave this-afternoon in a packed with kids Mayfair Theatre on a gloomy, rainy afternoon and it was a perfect movie watching time. We even had a bow and arrow set to give away thanks to Mrs Tiggy Winkles, which I hope doesn't get the prize winning kid into too much trouble. It appropriately enough went to a lovely little girl who correctly answered the Pixar themed trivia question.

We have the film for two more nights at the Mayfair before it's hauled off and locked away in the mythical and movie fan dreaded Disney vaults forever. Or at least locked away until it's re-released in 4D bow-o-vision in ten years.

Brave - Wednesday October 17th and Thurs October 18th at 7:00pm.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It is Auntie Loo's Treats third birthday party today. One of the things that puts Ottawa on the map and makes it a great place to live are amazing indie businesses like this one. If you haven't experienced the cupcakes or nanaimo bars or whoopie pies or anything else made there, do yourself a favour and go. Today there will be the extra fun bonus of numerous special events: my friends from Rideau Valley Roller Girls will be on hand, raffles, bbq, free stuff, and of course various amazing addictive baked delicacies.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The last episode of Doctor Who before the break leading up to the annual Christmas episode was of course another piece of Brit science fiction television genius. As often happens when I watch Doctor Who, it was an emotional roller coaster of a viewing experience that left me in tears. Getting choked up is not a horribly rare happening whilst I watch the show, which is a compliment of course at how emotionally attached to the series I've become.

The following contains spoilers about The Angels Take Manhattan, but I can't imagine that anyone reading this blog is not up to date on Doctor Who. I'm sure that you, like me, put life on hold and drop everything as soon as a new episode of the series becomes available to watch. If your priories are messed up and you have not watched it yet, and for some reason are still reading this, do feel free to go away now.

Doctor Who is never afraid to switch things up, hence there being 11 different actors playing the same character in the past 50 years, and this latest episode marked the finale for a couple of beloved characters. I took the ending of the episode as bitter-sweet, a good-bye to Amy and Rory, but at least they get to live together happily ever after in NYC. Unbeknownst to me, not everyone took the ending as I did. Evidently most thought that it was a tragic ending the left Amy and Rory stuck living in a hotel room captured by the evil alien statue monsters for the rest of their days.

I think it was an interesting pop-culture experiment in what kind of person you are: glass half empty or glass half full...positive or negative. Well, today the BBC posted an addendum to the episode which sheds a bit more light on what happened to Amy and Rory. It's from the actual BBC, has Rory narration, hence I'm counting it as canon. And most importantly, it proves that I was right in my hopefulness and everyone else was wrong in their negativity. Please enjoy the attached video, and yes, it made me cry.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bubba Ho-Tep celebrates it's 10th anniversary this year, which makes me feel old. If Bubba Ho-Tep is a decade old that means that Army of Darkness is even older than that, and I remember going to see the one in the theatre when it came out as well.

A movie from Don Coscarelli (director of other legendary genre films such as the quartet of Phantasm films) and Joe R Lansdale (an amazing award winning writer of a diverse batch of books, comics and scripts) is promising with those two factors alone before knowing anything about the plot or who's in it. If told that it's about two old guys in a retirement home who may or may not be Elvis and JFK and their battle with a Mummy who's stealing elderly souls, that makes the prospect of the film being great even more likely. If then told that B-movie King Bruce Campbell is playing Elvis and that legendary acclaimed actor Ossie Davis is playing JFK, well...pretty sure that there's no way that this movie can't be anything but awesome.

And the movie was awesome indeed. I fully admit that I'm a bit biased, like many a geek I grew up worshipping everything and anything that Bruce Campbell did. Bubba Ho-Tep is something more that your average low-budget monster movie though. It's not the kind of trash that should be relegated to cheap DVD bins of middle of the night cable tv. The movie has a great smart script, a couple of brilliant performances, and besides for all the humour and scare, it also has a lot of heart & soul.

Kick off the Halloween movie watching season and help us celebrate the 10th anniversary of this now cult-classic film with us at the Mayfair:

Bubba Ho-Tep - Friday October 12th - 11:30pm - One night only!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The plot of Iron Sky involves a group of bumbling space Nazi's not familiar with the state of the Earth in the near future of 2018, and the massive invasion they undertake after having lived on the moon since World War II. If you look at the posters, or have read up on the film and know that it had a budget of under $10 million, you might easily imagine up a pre-conceived notion of what kind of movie that this is. You would be right if you were thinking that this was low budget indie comedic science fiction. And that usually movies with those factors mixed in together aren't much better than horrible Snakes on a Train calibre knock off's that you find in the discount bins.

I thought that the movie would fall under the classification of so bad that it is good. Here was the surprising turn of events though, the movie isn't so bad that it's good... it's just plain old fashioned good. The film is still a curious beast though. It's not quite the serious / comedic take on a genre the style of something like Shaun of the Dead, but it also isn't a straight up sci-fi spoof the way Spaceballs was. It falls somewhere in the middle, there's gratuitous moments of our central hot Nazi woman losing her clothes, but there is also some very smart political jabs.

It also doesn't look like a movie that was made for under $10 million bucks. Yes, I hate thinking of $10 million dollars as "only"...but considering romantic comedies are made for five times that, it's quite impressive. The production design and imaginative special effects make the film look like a much more expensive undertaking.

If you enjoy B movies or sci-fi or a good laugh at the expense of those pesky Nazi's, do come out and see this impressive lil ambitious and weird movie at the Mayfair:

Iron Sky - Wednesday October 10th and Thursday the 11th at 9:15pm

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A year in and the special event to celebrate the anniversary of re-booting the universe from DC Comics is a batch of Zero issues to cover their whole line of books.

For those not in the geeky know, a zero issue serves as a (theoretically) stand-alone story that tells the origin of a comic book character.

The biggest revelation from the event, the question on everyone's mind that has now been answered...yes, Robin has been ret-conned into a costume that has always been accompanied by pants! Considering the decades of teasing, bad press and criticism that the character has taken for his wardrobe choice, this is a long over-due update. Especially when one takes into account that Gotham City is much too cold of a city to not be wearing pants in in the fall and winter months, this is a welcome continuity change indeed. I applaud the decision for Robin to have a slightly more logical choice in attire for a vigilante crime-fighter...but I still think that Superman looks stupid without the red underwear/outerwear.

Monday, October 08, 2012

I am ever so thankful that my thanksgiving was just as awesome as this DC Comics cover to JSA #54. Well, it wasn't just like that cover...there were less super-hero's at my mum's house and I ate no turkey. Otherwise, it was just as lovely though. And as per holiday tradition dictates, I am so full of food that I think I may never have to consume food ever again. I hope your day was as equally filled with friends, family and overwhelming amounts of gluttony.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Spent the day with frequent collaborator and talented editor Jeremy Kennedy getting all the video finalized and in order that will play behind The Reverb Syndicate for the show at the Mayfair. Lots of weird, awesome, bizarre, cool stuff will be playing behind the boys on the big screen as they rock and roll.

The band is donating their time and talent for this extra special Digital Projector fundraiser event, tickets are regular Mayfair admission price of $6 for members / $10 for non-members. And yes, the event is indeed licensed for alcohol. Hope to see you all there for what will be an excellent and memorable night.

The Reverb Syndicate presents Mondo Mayfair - Saturday October 13th - Doors at 10:30pm

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Shockingly enough, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a terrible movie. I wouldn't go so far as to say something like that it's so bad it makes the original Ghost Rider film look good. Both the original and sequel demonic comic book based motion pictures are just terrible.

You wouldn't know this based on any cinematic evidence in the last six or seven years, but once upon a time Nic Cage was a respected and acclaimed actor. Every actor has bad choices or films that didn't quite come together on their filmography, but Nic Cage has been on an impressively terrible marathon of late. If you start with National Treasure in 2004, which to be fair was a giant financial success, and look at his tack record from there it's amazing what he's accomplished in the quality of his movies.

Nic Cage has managed to star in a body of work that includes Wicker Man, Next, National Treasure 2, Bangkok Dangerous, Knowing, G-Force, Season of the Witch, Drive Angry, and Trespass...and that's just since 2006. Not only are they all bad movies, most of them didn't make any money either. And yet Nice Cage bravely soldiers on to the next awful script and the next pay-cheque.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was directed by the hack duo that go by the combined surname moniker of Neveldine & Taylor. They are a lot like Nic Cage in their directorial track-record, except that they have directed four movies, all of them pretty horrendous: a pair of Crank films, Gamer and this one. There is some hope that after a fourth film of equal merit, that maybe that they would just give up and move on to a different career that they might be a bit better at. I have a feeling that they will be back soon with another train-wreck. The funny thing is that Ghost Rider isn't exactly high-brow, sophisticated, complicated source material. It's a 1970's comic book about a stunt man on a motorbike who becomes a demon with a flaming skull who fights bad guys. Yet they still screw up something that awesome! Shameful.

Good news for me is that one of my best friend recently moved back to town. Bad news for me is that he is a friend with the same habit of watching movies that are knowingly awful. Then we enable each other, even though we know the pain that will follow, and go out of our way to watch bad movies. It is a horrible addiction. That means even though I know better, I will likely be back sooner or later with my thoughts on such high quality motion pictures as Battleship, Cool As Ice or Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Admittedly, although I do genuinely enjoy all forms of cinema, my tastes do lean towards genres featuring super-hero's and zombies and spaceships. Even though complex special effects, dangerous exciting stunts, beautiful cinematography of epic surroundings, and an unforgettable orchestral score can all puzzle-piece together to help make a great motion picture, sometimes you don't need any of that. Sometimes the simplicity of sticking three impressively skilled actors in a room together is all of the movie magic that you need.

Hope Springs, from the Oscar winning director of The Devil Wears Prada, is nothing ground-breaking in terms of a cinematic history. There are no breakthroughs in technology used in the films production, I'm pretty sure that none of the actors had to research their roles in any form of method style, and it's unlikely that any-one had any Christian Bale calibre nervous breakdowns on set. Hope Springs is a nice, calm, memorable little character piece about a pair of characters who have been together for over three decades who visit a marriage councillor.

The films simplicity does not equate to it being unimpressive or unenjoyable by any means, just the opposite in fact. There are numerous moments between Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones that easily prove that they are deserved in praise of being two of the best actors on the planet. Steve Carrel's supporting role as the marriage councillor proves that unlike other comedian turned diverse actor's out there, he can actually adapt into different roles. He never breaks character, attempts to get a laugh, and never lets Steve Carrel peek through the character. Carell's skillful turn here again proves that he has some real diverse acting chops, the same can't be said for the likes others who attempt the same back-n-fourth career like a Jim Carrey.

Hope Spring's screens tonight at 7pm at the Mayfair, with follow-up screenings on the weekend and Tuesday, ending on Thursday the 11th. Even though there are no millionaires in flying robot armour or climactic battles against monsters or amazing spellbinding computer animation, it is shockingly enough none the less a very impressive motion picture.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

There seems to be a trend of kids books that aren't actually kids books. Or books that might not seem appropriate for kids, but that many a kid would read and think are awesome. Go the Fuck to Sleep is a particularly hilarious example of this style of book, especially the audiobook version as read by none other than Samuel L Jackson. And under the same humorously strange literary sub-genre there is also, I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) from Stephen Colbert.

The latest not for kids book in the guise of a kids book to cross my path is Zombie Cat: The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty. A simple little tale of the zombie apocalypse, a cat who gets infected, and the owner who takes his beloved pet back into his home.

Zombie Cat is an enjoyable quick little enjoyable horrific geeky read, perfect for a Halloween night bedtime story as long as the kid being read to isn't too sissy or squeamish. I look forward to the audio-book, I think as read by Simon Pegg or Nick Frost would seem appropriate.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

This news is a couple of weeks late, my only excuse is that time flies by when you are busy, and I am always busy. Always busy, always tired, always wishing that there were more hours in the day to watch movies and read comic books. Looking up at the shelf above the TV as I write stuff on the laptop and watch Conan, I can see an item on display that reminds me I neglected to write-up a post that I was meaning to.

The annual Kid Robot / Munny art gallery event put on by Lost Marbles awarded my girlfriend the bestest Munny ever made award for 2012. This may not have been the actual title of the award she received, it might have actually been Best Accessory, but this is my blog so that means that can be even less journalistically professional than the interweb normally is. You can offer to buy the vinyl toy art from her, but I don't think she is going to let it go. She might be able to take a commission to customize you a knit attired Munny for your very own though. Last year another of my bestest female friends was also awarded a grand prize from the powers-that-be from the Lost Marbles judging committee. I am surrounded by talented geeky ladies.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tonight at 7:00pm at the Mayfair is your last chance to catch Beasts of the Southern Wild. It's one of the most impressive début films that I've ever seen, even more extraordinary when taking into consideration it's very independent nature, stage-play source material roots, low-budget and inexperienced non-Hollywood cast. It's filled with a distinctively different and new vision, an amazing memorable score, and has a fierce ground-breaking performance from the young girl who is central lead and voice of the film. Plus on top of all that gushing praise that I can give the film, there are also these really cool pig-monsters in the movie!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Yesterday I watched the latest Doctor Who episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. I don't want to say too much about it. I don't want to discuss the awesome bit on the building rooftop in New York in the opening scene, or the beloved character who shows up, or the heartbreaking yet romantic twist near the end of the show in fear of playing spoiler. I will say that the show made me cry. To be fair, if you lined up all the modern Doctor Who episodes and separated them into a pile of made me cry vs not cry, Doctor Who making me cry would have the bigger stack of episodes hands down. None-the-less it is my favourite television show and if you are not watching it you are a fool. There is nothing possibly better on tv that you should be spending your valuable time watching...and crying to.