Friday, August 22, 2014

2049 - The F Word (aka What If)

If you're in the USA or UK then you might know this by the unfortunate title "What If" but here in Canada it's got the awesome title of "The F Word".  I love this movie so hard.  I'm a romantic-comedy nerd, so I give a lot of them a pass just because I like the genre, but when I find one that's done so amazingly well it makes me want to scream from the rooftops - and this one does.  It's a wicked funny script, a charming as hell cast, and a really mature direction that's also playful.  I think this was my favourite film at TIFF last year, and it's up there with my favourite of the year in general.  It's being added to the ranks of When Harry Met Sally and it deserves to be.  Elan Mastai and Michael Dowse have crafted a beautiful, funny, sweet, and heartfelt romance that isn't shy at all about being set mostly in Toronto.
This film came out wide in Canada this weekend and I think it's still in the USA - please please please go check it out - it deserves a huge audience.  If you see this film and don't laugh a fair bit it's likely because you're dead inside.  I love it and can't wait to own it!

2048 - Thank You For Sharing

Man - it looks like I haven't watched anything this month, but I've actually been watching a bunch of stuff, but just in bits and pieces as I prep for my next film, so it's weird to write about stuff in that context.  Although I feel like I've missed a few here.  Apologies!
I wanted to see this 'cause I like the premise and the cast a lot.  Josh Gad is a superstar in my mind.  I love Mark Ruffalo but he looks creepy unshaven.  I'm sorry to say, but that really weirded me out, that and his character's nonstop smile kind of grated at me in a way that was confusing because he's easily one of my favourite actors.  I just had a hard time really getting into and caring about his character and story - same with Tim Robbins.  Josh Gad stole the film for me, it could have easily been just about him and it would have worked well.  So I like this, but didn't quite love it.  Give it a whirl on netflix if you're curious - it's about sex addicts!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

2047 - Guardians of the Galaxy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting to the point, for me, where it’s akin to the work done in the heyday of Pixar.  And given that Disney owns both them and now Star Wars, anyone who owns stocks in the Mouse are certainly going to be happy in the upcoming years.
Like most people I didn’t know ANYTHING about Guardians of the Galaxy going into this.  And I came out wondering if this was my favourite of the Marvel side-franchises.  It is so goddamn good.  It’s the most fun I’ve had in a Marvel film, including Avengers.  It starts off with a huge gut-punch - which hit me especially hard because of personal reasons - and then it involved into something that was sweet and funny and grand.  Chris Pine is an all-star, and Bradley Cooper makes Rocket more than just a wise-talking side-kick.  
My only complaint, and this is more a big-world question than anything else.  The villain’s lair/world(?) just feels so small and empty.  He wants to destroy things, a planet, but I never really got a strong sense of why - outside of the fact that it was evil and he’s evil.  If I have a complaint with this film it’s that the villain was a pretty weak cardboard cut-out - zero personality besides ‘bad’.  So that was the weak part of the film for me - that said the rest of the ensemble is so delightfully entertaining that it doesn’t hurt the overall movie like it should.  

Keep up the good work, Marvel.  The way you weave all your properties together is such a clever way of insuring viewership - but it’s also rewarding for the audience.  Keep up the quality and I’ll keep showing up.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2046 - Begin Again

It’s hard to watch this film and not feel like you’re floating.  It’s the kind of film that makes you remember emotions and feelings that you thought were numbed by every good thing that became before it.  It means one thing - it’s the kind of film that makes you feel new feels, and that’s something spectacular in and of itself.  I loved this film.  Kiera Knightly has never been better and she is magic alongside of Mark Ruffalo.  It’s a love letter to the art of creation so it has a special place inside of me.  The music itself is really fantastic and with a purchase itself (which I’m doing as I type this).  There are so many clever and beautiful sequences here that I’d love to go into great detail about, but I’d really rather just convince you to check it out yourself.  This is easily one of my favourite films of the year so far.  It’s a beautiful, entertaining, and powerful little flick.  I liked Carney’s “Once”, I love “Begin Again” - looking forward to a nice third instalment of this ‘making-an-album’ trilogy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

2045 - Bad Grandpa & Bad Grandpa.5

Working on a hidden camera show I thought it would be fun to check this out.  I like this better than the typical Jackass fair because of the storyline that’s present - it’s actually a decent little storyline in and amongst fucking with a lot of strangers - which I can absolutely get behind.  I won’t ruin a damn bit because that’s half the fun.  Netflix offers the .5 version, which is essentially a combination of making-of and also bonus scenes - if you like behind the scenes stuff this one is pretty entertaining, especially the inner workings where they show how the hides, etc… work.  This isn’t for everyone, but the people who like this sort of thing are going to like it a lot.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2044 - Oldboy

It’s always dangerous territory to remake a much celebrated film - especially one that has such a twist ending as Oldboy - and then to do nothing new with the twist… it’s a bizarre choice given that the only real audience for this film is fans of Spike Lee and people who have seen the original - and that is likely the same audience, I imagine.  So I guess my first question is - what the hell was the point of this?  Stylistically this film doesn’t even touch the original - there’s nothing super special or unique happening here outside of Lee’s own version of the “hammer fight” sequence.  It might have looked a bit flasher, but the original still takes the cake by a long shot, as does the entire film.  Who knows, maybe if I’d seen this without the original I’d have a different opinion - but it’s just a bit too much of a rehash.  Shame.

2043 - Men in Black III

Part of the problem with this series now is that the freshness of the concept is long gone.  Pulling back the curtain and showing how further integrated aliens are into our world isn’t fresh anymore.  Gags like Andy Warhol work mostly because of the casting rather than the gag itself.  The casting is interesting - there’s a spot on Josh Brolin doing a young Tommie Lee Jones, but despite how much I LOVE Emma Thompson, is Alice Eve REALLY the best representation of her at a young age.  For his credit I didn’t even recognize Jermaine Clement as Boris the Animal.  

I think if you can over look the logic issues with the time travelling it’s a fun film, and way way way better than the second instalment.  That said, had it not for being on Netflix, I doubt I would have ever put any effort into checking it out.  Enjoyable enough!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Scott Pilgrim remains one of my favorite series of all time, and so the other day when I realized that Bryan Lee O'Malley's first Pilgrim follow-up was finally out I ordered it right the hell away.  It's the story of a cook looking to fix some mistakes from her past and gets the chance do to some magic mushrooms (not to be confused with the drug).
I loved the style of this - visually it builds upon what we've seen of him before but there's an additional artistry present that shows his growth.  There's a really awesome narration technique that's playful and fun.  It's a beautiful and sweet story told with a wink, always aware that it's there to entertain.  If you like O'Malley's work from the past this will not disappoint.

2042 - Nurse Jackie: season six

We're six seasons in, so if you're reading this without having seen anything yet - go back and read my previous posts, 'cause there are SPOILERS AHEAD...

FINALLY, Jackie has gotten her ass kicked by all the shit she's put people through.  As much as it was fun watching Jackie be a total shit this season and just be a proper addict and fuck everyone else over - it was frustrating because usually she pulls a horseshoe out of her ass at the last minute.  It looks like heading into the seventh, and I hope final, season that they're working on an exit strategy.  Having watched Showtime continually renew both Dexter and Californication until they were creatively sucked dry I hope that they know what they're doing this time around and resolve this story in a way that pays tribute to it's golden days.  The show has meandered and stalled a bit, but where this season ends I feel in pretty good shape.

Monday, July 14, 2014

2041 - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis - you are easily one of the most underrated actors of your generation.  I re-watched bits and pieces of the first instalment of this re-boot to head into this and I have to say that this is shaping up to be one of my favourite franchises.  I think these two films blow the water out of the original series.  Not just because of the effects, although to be fair it’s the technology that allows for the emotional layer that makes it truly special.  
What’s really lovely about this second chapter is that we care about both sides of the camp. It’s not humans or apes - both parties are good and bad.  It’s real and honest in that sense.  We’re conflicted and have no idea how it’s going to go.  
I don’t want to say much more, because it’s best just to experience this all for yourself.  This is the best blockbuster I’ve seen this summer, and I can’t wait to see it again.  If you have absolutely any interest in this film do yourself a favour and see it on the big screen.