Monday, May 31, 2010

1353 - Pushing Daisies: season one

I love Anna Friel. I don't care to hide it. I could probably make this whole post about how much I love her and her character on this show. You just want to hug her and squeeze her - especially since her love interest can't. And what lovely, lonely things they do with that premise. A tragic love story where the lovers can never touch. Alas.
This show is unlike any on television. The production design alone sets it in a completely different zone. The clothes, hair, colors, sets, I could go on and on. And bizarrely enough the show is almost a procedural in it's plotting. Or at least a procedural with an arc and character development.
This show only got one more season, and I can't wait to see where they take it and what they do with the series. Poor Brian Fuller. I'm still waiting to see the Dead Like Me film he made to wrap up that series. Maybe we'll get a similar treatment for this. As long as Anna Friel is in it - sign me up. If you haven't seen this series yet, you don't know what you're missing. It's clever, sweet, funny, charming, the list goes on and on. My only complaint is that sometimes the CGI looks a bit cheap. Can't win 'em up.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

An open letter to those who ride on two wheels..

I realize that I don't normally rant and rave on here. I usually stick to my reviews and my news about my projects. But every now and then there's something that I just feel downright passionate about. Maybe I'll start doing more of this. It remains to be seen.

Anyway. What I came here to do.

An open letter to those who ride on two wheels:

I don't hate you. I don't. I have many friends who ride bicycles in Toronto. And they're good people. They're among some of my favorite people. I'm well aware that cyclists in this city often have a bad reputation. And I KNOW that it's a few bad apples that spoil the bunch.


I'm not going to complain about how you weave in and out of lanes, in and around cars. Or how you treat traffic signals and signs as suggestions rather than laws, or things which otherwise keep people safe.

Here's what I'm going to bitch about. I know it's petty. I know it's small. But I've seen it so many times in the last few days that I have to say something. I just have to.

IT IS ILLEGAL TO RIDE ON THE SIDEWALKS. When I'm walking down the street (pushing my child in his stroller, or pulling him in his wagon) and I hear you chime your bell to tell me to get out of your way, it makes me want to push you onto the road. In fact, it takes a lot of strength for me not to. Instead I tell you that you shouldn't be on the sidewalk. And you either ignore me, flip me the bird, or act like you had no clue that this would or should be an issue. But the worst was a few days ago when someone on a Vespa honked for me to get out of their way. ON A VESPA! Seriously?!

I realize that this is petty. But I have to say something. And I know that the police have far more important things to do than to give tickets to cyclists - and who knows - maybe they do - maybe there's a really big crack down. But I've been ranting and raving about this long enough to other people that I feel like I have to throw my thoughts out into the www. So there. It's out there. Now I can sleep.

Again, cyclists - I don't hate you. I just hate the idiots among you. I should actually cycle for exercise. And maybe I will. But I sure as shit will ride on the road.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

So it took me a LONG time to get through this book. Partly because I've been busy, my commute to the new edit suite is a bit shorter, and because... it took me a while to get into it. I probably could have put it down about a third of a way into it. But I said to myself, "Self. There are ten volumes in this series. There has to be a reason for that. Give it at least two volumes before giving up on it." And while I'm not completely on board with it, it definitely picked up steam. (*SPOILER AHEAD) There is some wonderfully disturbing stuff in this book, but the most of all is with Sandman's sister Death, when she reaches into a cradle, carefully picks up a baby and the baby asks, "But... is that all there was? Is that all I get?" And she kindly replies, "Yes, I'm afraid so." As a new parent, that's the kind of stuff that stops me cold with the shivers. It's so simple and so delicately done, and for me it completely eclipses the more grotesque things that happen just prior to it.
I've been loaned the first three volumes of this, so I'll probably get through at LEAST those before making a decision to read the whole series or not. I've still got a stack of my own stuff to read, and I desperately want to re-read the Scott Pilgrim before the last book comes out. Ahh, time management.
So it's hard for me to say if I recommend this or not. It doesn't seem to have a real form or structure - which may be wonderfully refreshing - or wonderfully frustrating. Stand by...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


So I'm particularly proud of this blog entry. I've recently befriended a very talented artist named Kalman Andrasofszky, who does a lot of comic art, including stuff for Marvel, such as this Dazzler one-off. Today it came out and he has a signing at The Beguiling, so I went to get my autographed copy. Knowing little to nothing of the character, I was still entertained by the story, but for the first time ever I bought it for the art. There's some seriously wonderful stuff going on with it. The cover alone (above) is just brilliant. It's like a cracked out Britney Spears - there's just layers of awesome going on up there. I'm planning to go out for drinks with Mr. Kalman at some point in the near future, maybe figure out something we could work on together. Trick him into slumming it with me ;-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1352 - It''s Complicated

So Nancy Meyer seems to have found her niche in writing for middle aged women - and to be fair - she's attracting top talent. Her films, including this one, are good, but not great, and I think the problem lies in that she's got a monopoly on this crowd and no one else appears to be stepping up to be heard - so it's easy to be the big dog in this kennel.
The cast, like I mentioned are tops. John Krasinski even plays a broader version of his Office character, Jim. This isn't a slight to him at all, in fact, he brings something unique to this film, and any time he's a bit too much I think is merely a script thing.
Alec Baldwin has never been better than this stage of his career. He's interesting to me. Meryl is lovely and gets a chance to do some fun, light stuff. Steve Martin is a mystery to me here. His character doesn't have much to do, and I'd argue that's one of the bigger problems with the film - he'st just kind of there, lingering, never demanding anything for himself.
There is one perfect amazing sequence about half-way through the film where they all gather at a party at Meryl's daughters place. Hilarity and heart ensue. Doesn't help that there's a Beach Boy song underscoring. The film never comes back around to the brilliance of this earlier moment. So like I said, its good - not great. Highly recommend for those whom like her work, otherwise it's worth seeing at some point of you like rom-coms.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

1351 - Back to the Future

Where do I even start with this?! It's been far too long since I've revisited this film. I'm a bit ashamed actually. This is the kind of film where, if someone told me that they didn't like it, I'm not sure I'd believe them. It just wouldn't make sense. How could someone not like Back to the Future?!
In terms of pure dynamics this is practically a perfect high-concept film. A strong, unique premise, filled with wonderful characters, fleshed out by solid performances. It's a home run. I was obsessed with these films as a kid. I think I even had the novelizations of the films. I remember being so excited for when my small town Video Shop was getting Back to the Future Part II in on VHS, I called them every day for a week to remind them to hold it for me. They must have either thought it was pretty cute, or that I was goddamn annoying.
Re-watching it now to gear up to write something that's in a similar vibe to this. Get inspired by the greatness that is this film.
Not much else to say - if you haven't seen this film then I apologize for whatever's happened in your life to keep it from you, and I insist that you remedy the situation as quickly as possible!

Friday, May 21, 2010

1350 - The Office: season six

I know that Erin (Kelly 2) was introduced in season five, but she is one of the breaths of fresh air that this season so desperately needed. Now what I'm about to say, I say with love: this was the series weakest season. Now that comment is a testimony to how great the show is (when it's great). Granted, this season paid off some wonderful things, in particular with Jim & Pam - however now it feels like their story is over. Dead, really. Now they're just... that couple. There's no 'spark' to them anymore. And sometimes I find them a bit catty and... mean. Before they were playful. Now that they're all married and have a family their behavior often feels a bit juvenile. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wouldn't be upset if their characters left Dunder-Mifflin. I love them, and the actors that play them, but they are bogging the show down just a bit.
The biggest problem that this season had was simply missed opportunities. It seemed like they were really good at setting stuff up but lousy at paying it off. Jim becoming co-manager. GREAT IDEA! And then... they didn't do a whole lot with it. And then it was over. Huh. Others they feel like they're taking their time with, which scares me into wondering if they don't have anything really great to build to anymore.
I want to make it clear that this season was still filled with great moments, I laughed A LOT, but I also found myself wanting more. It's just not as good as it's been, it's set it's own standards too high and now it's not meeting them.
They've set up a lot of interesting things for next season (which could be the last, or just the last for Michael). Let's see if they can pay them off...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1349 - All of Me

When I write I tend to try and surround myself with similar kinds of films, and I think that I probably added this one to my list back when I was first working on something with my writing partner called Speak For Yourself, Asshole. Which was quite some time ago. Better late than never I suppose.
It's a body swap comedy and it's not bad. They have some fun with the premise and do some nice little things. Steve Martin is enjoyable when he's not being too far over the top. It's an alright film, worth watching if you like either Martin or Lily Tomlin, but ultimately, a somewhat forgettable film...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1348 - Dr. Horrible's Song-Along-Blog

I don't really have a whole lot to say about this other than I really quite enjoyed it. The actors and everyone is having a lot of fun - for good reason. It's full of really fun and catchy music. Now I need to check out the musical commentary.
This is very very easy to recommend, especially if you're a Joss fan. Check it out!

TUWOPS - Preview Screening!

Last night we had our preview screening of the finished film. I'm not sure of the final headcount, but I know that well over three hundred people RSVP'd. Filled with cast, crew, friends, family, and some other people along the way.
It was a rush to see it in a theatre as beautiful as The Royal. A lot of people asked me if I was nervous going into the screening, and I wasn't. Not really. Mostly because, unlike a play when things can go horribly wrong, the film was finished - if people didn't like it at this point there wasn't much I could do. I made the film that I set out to make, and I'm really happy and proud of it. The best compliments I recieved last night when was a few people, individually, told me that they saw themselves up on the screen, and that it affected them. And that's the best compliment it gets. To know that you've told a story that other people feel connected to. As a filmmaker I don't think that you can ask for much more.
So if you came last night - thank you very much! I hope you enjoyed it. And if you're still waiting to see it - hopefully we'll have some exciting news in the upcoming weeks and months. We're just starting to submit to festivals and we won't start hearing back on whether we get in or not until mid-to-end of summer.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

1347 - The Wackness

I saw this when it first came out - in fact I believe if you do a search you can find my previous review of this. I'll keep this short and sweet. Watched it because Emily hadn't seen it and I just picked it up recently. It's a nice little flick - I'm a fan of coming-of-age stories in general so that doesn't hurt and Peck and Thirlby have this rare beautiful awkwardness to their relationship. I absolutely love their final moments together in this film. So I won't say much more, but if you haven't seen this - do yourself a favor, it's quite nice, and you get an awesome Ben Kingsley performance AND you get to see him making out with one of the Olsen twins. So beat that! B
But in all seriousness - well worth checking out - and there's some fun nods to the nineties as well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1346 - Shutter Island

This was an incredible mind-fuck of a film, and I'm going to keep this extremely short as not to try and give anything away. This is a very different film for Scorsese, and one would bet that he signed up for it almost due to the dream/fantasy sequences alone. He doesn't some beautifully inspired work in those moments.
So I won't say too much other than it's a film that demands your attention and concentration. Not my favorite Scorsese by any means, but worth checking out for sure. Some really nice, smart, harsh twists and turns.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

1345 - Real Time

I love Jay Baruchel. I think he's a brilliant actor, clever, smart, funny. And he's a big supporter of Canadian cinema so it's one of my hopes to one day work with him. This film is an interesting one, I'd wanted to see it because of Jay, but also because it was produced by a company that I, years ago, had a film in early development with that, ultimately, went south. It's a decent little film that's, more or less, exploring a very specific theme and idea through-out the entire film. I find that it hits it a little hard for my liking, and it's almost hitting the same note through-out. I just wish that they would have found a few more ways to get their themes and points across. Quaid and Baruchel do a really lovely time of keeping it interesting and enjoyable. I have no idea what the point of making Quaid an Aussie is. His accent is fine, just doesn't seem like there's much of a point.
So if you see this out there, please do give it a look. It was made south of here in Hamilton (I believe) and it's actually a nice little film and well worth watching, if for nothing else than the brilliant Baruchel.

1344 - Up

I know that I'm late to the party on this one and my recommendation means absolutely nothing since everyone on the planet has seen this film already. But here it is anyway - and it's one of pure love:
Look at that picture above. Doesn't that guy look like he's just having the time of his life? That's the experience that I had watching this film. It's funny, incredibly touching at times, and the story plotting is just really really sophisticated. As a story-freak, I was sitting there several times just wondering how the hell they were going to get out of this scenario, or the next. With the characters and beats, this is story telling at it's absolute finest.
I've never seen a Pixar film I haven't liked (the only I haven't seen is Bug's Life), there are a few I'm a bit 'meh' on, but this one is, without a doubt, their finest hour.
Let's see how you top it gentlemen!

Friday, May 07, 2010

1343 - District 9

This was a powerhouse of a film. I'm glad that I finally saw it. I loved the campaign they had for it. Great posters. Great ideas. The idea of the film itself is pretty prominent to us as well sadly. How we treat those different, from different backgrounds. It was actually difficult to watch how some of the aliens were treated. The CGI here was flawless and beautiful - seamless really. I don't think this film could have worked with known talent, it wouldn't have had the raw and real feel. I can't recommend this strongly enough, and to boot, it was edited by a fellow Canadian. This is the kind of film that I can't wait to show my son when he's old enough to be entertained by it, then when he's old enough to understand all the levels it's playing on.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Astonishing X-Men #4: Unstoppable

So as you can see I clearly blasted through this series. I never would have imagined I'd be this into X-Men. If you're familiar with this particular series you'll know that the image above isn't from this volume, but an earlier one, however if you're familiar with this volume - you'll know why I picked it.
Colossus and Kitty Pride are the heart of this entire series, particularly in the end. There's some really moving and interesting stuff going on in their storyline, even till the end. It's definitely changed the way I look at the big Marvel stories - I suppose that there's a reason they're so popular.
So I don't want to go into any detail except to say that this is a really spectacular final thrust in this storyline (which would have made a far more interesting third film, if done closer to what they've got here...) Alas. I'm not sure it'll make me want to pick up other X-Men books, but if anyone can recommend some at this level - I might just be up for it.

Astonishing X-Men #3 - Torn

This series continues to get more and more interesting. Of my limited knowledge of this world I knew absolutely nothing of Emma Frost or the Hellfire club, so I feel looking into that might have made this a richer read. Other than that it continues to be a really entertaining series. They had a lot of fun in this trade with messing with the X-Men's minds, seeing Wolverine reduced to the state of an English Schoolboy was quite a delight. And the relationship between Kitty and Peter is quite lovely. There's a really great moment where she loses control of her power mid-coitus.
There's one more book left in this series, and then I think I'm going to take a short break from reading comics, mostly just because I owe several people notes on scripts, so I need to focus on that for a little bit. I've got Sandman lined up, which is one of my major gaps when it comes to classic comic series.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Astonishing X-Men #2: Dangerous

Again, I should state clearly for the record that I'm not a huge X-Men geek, I've got limited knowledge at best based on pop culture, the movies, and a few of the comic series I've read over the years. I was given another X-Men series to read recently and I couldn't get through it - so it's a pretty big achievement to have me finishing my second trade, and promptly starting the third. What Joss appears to be doing with this series is playing "What If?" with the X-Men a little bit. The first "Gifted" posed the question, 'What if someone developed a 'cure' for the mutations?'. And this one seems to be, 'What if the Danger Room came alive?'. It's like he's testing the premise, and there's a lot of fun stuff inside of it.
The writing here is playful, and the twists and turns are sharp and well calculated. I look forward to the final two books of Joss' run.

Monday, May 03, 2010

1342 - Postcards From The Edge

"I don't want life to imitate art. I was life to be art."
This is one of those films that I knew of, but never had any burning desire to watch - although I really do adore everyone involved in it. Mike Nichols is, I think, an underrated director. Meryl Streep is is phenomenal and Shirley MacLaine is heartwarming and heartwrenching all at the same time. The film is littered with great cameos ranging from Gene Hackman to Richard Dreyfus, Dennis Quaid and Annette Benning (whom I barely recognized).
There is a lot of great dialogue and scenes in this piece, none of which feel written with movie dialogue :) I'm not really sure that I got a strong sense of a character arc in the piece. Sure she's in a different state at the end than she was in the beginning, but I'm not geting of sense of what Meryl's character wanted or needed throughout the film.
Glad I finally got a chance to see this. I'd file it under a 'rainy day' category. Not the kind of film you absulotely must run out and pick up - but worth seeing if it happens to fall into your lap.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

1341 - New Moon

Over the last half year or so myself and our story-editor have been piling films on my assistant to watch, and in that time she's watched an assload of films (over 80 at the very least - I'll post the list sometime in the near future). And as retribution for watching all of those film she's insisting that I watch the 'Twilight' films, this being the latest.
I have a few gripes with this film. First is that they lack chemistry in the love stories. There isn't any. It's pretty flat and boring. And not a lot happens - all that does happen is we're introduced to the idea of werewolves and the hierarchy of the vampires. And the writer just lays on thick what she would LOVE to be parallels to Romeo & Juliet, which only serves to show how poor a version of that this is. The film is slow, twice as long as it should be. And they handle exposition pretty horribly. If my assistant drops the third film on me when it hits DVD I'll probably check it out - lord knows why. Although I could go either way. It's a very 'meh' film for me.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

1340 - Humpday

This film has been talked about quite a bit, based solely, I think, on the premise - which is essentially two heterosexual friends daring each other to have sex with them on camera.
This comes out of the Duplass methodology which started back with The Puffy Chair. It is unscripted and completely improvised - I'm not quite sure how much of an outline existed. I'd be curious to know.
The film is an entertaining one and the cast is charming. I particularily enjoyed Alycia Delmore and found that she really grounded the whole thing. Sadly I wasn't blown away by this. I enjoyed it and would gladly recommend it to anyone into independant film made experimentally.