Archive for the “Movies” Category

Let’s start the weekend round-up on Friday night where our upstairs neighbours treated us to awesome steaks from the St. Lawrence Market.  We ate a great meal on the patio (moving in once it got chilly later in the evening) and hung out for a few hours.  We even walked the dog to nearby parking lot as an excuse to spy on a movie shoot.

Saturday morning came early, thanks to our canine guest, who apparently thinks that 5am on a Saturday is playtime.  After a lot of yelling, cursing and barking on the part of various tenants of our house, we eventually got up and started a day of errands that included a car wash, buying garden stuff at Canadian Tire, and starting the process of gutting our backyard to include some basic landscaping.

On Saturday night, a few of us braved the TTCless streets (in our cars, of course) to go and see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  If you’re thinking about seeing it, you should probably ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Did you like “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”?  ‘Cause this is basically the same movie
  2. Can you handle infrequent full-frontal male nudity?
  3. Do you like to laugh?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, then you’ll get your money’s worth out of this movie.  Keep your ears peeled for the funniest line of the movie which is about Ghandi… and puppets.

Sunday was church, followed by helping the former tenants of Pembroke Castle move to The Shuter Shack (their new house).  It was sad seeing the Castle empty out again, but the guys’ new digs are pretty awesome and I’m looking forward to invites for BBQs and some hot and heavy Wii action (is that an unfortunate sentence?).

We finished off our weekend by enjoying some burgers on the patio and watching some TV like old people.  It was a pretty great weekend, all things considered.  Now, I’m back into the swing of the work week as angry as ever with the TTC and looking forward to getting some herbs to plant in the window boxes on our deck.

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This is a week of milestones for me and Danielle.  Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of our wedding, but we didn’t go crazy and celebrate.  We’re going to save that up for our one year anniversary in October.  Thursday will mark the one year anniversary of the day I got down on one knee in High Park and asked her to be my bride.  All of these anniversaries prove that time is flying because it feels like it was just yesterday that we were married, and it doesn’t feel much longer since we were immersed in wedding plans.

After six months, I’ve learned that I’m not the easiest person to live with and that Danielle is far more patient than she gives herself credit for.  I’ve also learned that when everyone talks about how great marriage is, they aren’t just saying that to keep from getting beaten when they get home.  Marriage really is awesome, but only if you marry the right person.  I know I did.

On Friday night, after some serious napping at home, we wandered off to a birthday party for a friend of Danielle’s.  I spent most of the night brushing up on my French listening skills (and speaking a little bit too) and after meeting some really cool people, I think I may find myself attending a local French language and culture group.  At the very least, I’ll meet some more cool people and at the most, I’ll learn to speak French so well, I can convince people that I’m actually Quebecois.  I’m not holding my breath.

On Saturday night, we caught a really late movie and saw Stop-Loss, starring Ryan Phillipe.  The movie focuses on the provision in every US soldier’s military contract that allows the government to extend their service beyond what they signed up for.  It’s a sort of back-door draft, and although it’s a crappy thing to do to a (paid) volunteer, the US has had to step it up due to increasing casualties and declining recruitment in their push to ‘free’ Iraq.

The movie is far from anti-military or anti-‘war in iraq’ and paints the soldiers on the ground in a very human way, but the image of the military machine and the government that controls it is a very dark one.

The story is complex and very emotional, and the film boasts a fantastic cast.  There are some amazing action sequences in the first half, and given how schmaltzy and melodramatic it can get in parts I was surprised that I liked it so much.  I would recommend seeing “Stop-Loss”, and I would certainly recommend seeing it at the Sheppard Grande at Yonge and Sheppard.  It has large, lush seats and was nearly empty when we were there.  The concessions were surprisingly reasonably priced, and unlike the Scotiabank Theatre downtown, when a late movie lets out, you aren’t immediately in the middle of the police state that is ClubLand.

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Danielle and I watched The Bucket List last night.  It has the two things you would expect (and require) from a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman:

  1. Nicholson playing a character that is a likable social pariah
  2. Freeman playing a character as well as the narrator.

The plot is a little ‘Odd Couple’ish, so that aspect of the relationship between the characters has been overdone in countless relationship and buddy-cop movies, but the usual slapstick of odd characters is replaced with some pretty insightful comments on differing views of life and death.

It’s a really enjoyable movie, but I don’t think it’ll be taking the Academy Awards by storm (of if it was in last year’s, I can see why it didn’t take them by storm).  I guess I’d say that if you have more than 6 months to live, or you think you do, you wouldn’t be wasting your time by watching this movie.

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How apt is it that my nose won’t stop running today, just mere hours after watching Michael Moore’s SiCKO on DVD last night.  I smell a conspiracy… well, I would smell a conspiracy if I could smell anything at all.

Is it a good movie?  Sure.  Is it a documentary?  Not at all.  Throughout the film, he compares nations with socialized healthcare (or “free” healthcare, as he calls it) to the US without looking at all at the costs that are passed along to citizens in taxes. It’s briefly mentioned when he asks a middle-class French couple about their standard of living, but based on what I know about France, that couple was far from the norm.

The bottom line of this film is pretty bang on though.  Private healthcare is only good for the companies that collect premiums and dole out cash for care.  Do I pay higher taxes in Canada for socialized medicine?  You betcha.  Do I regret it?  Not in the least.  I would much rather pay a little for everyone’s care while I’m healthy and pay nothing when I get sick than save on my taxes and go broke if I have a serious illness.

Like any Michael Moore film, his conclusions should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt, but his movies are always thought-provoking and entertaining.  This one had something that I haven’t really seen since Roger & Me in that it was actually kind of heartwarming.

Should you see it?  Meh.  It’s not a must-see film, by any stretch of the imagination, but if you ever want to thank your lucky stars for socialized medicine, settle in with this movie.  You could even watch it on your laptop while you wait to see a doctor in an emergency room (a HUGELY overstated fallacy here in Ontario).

In summary, it’s not a documentary, but it’s a fun watch.  Maybe save it to watch on a day when you’re home from work sick.

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I couldn’t sleep last night. I blame it on a mix of the heat, worrying about why our basement smells like rotting meat, and the heat. So like I tend to do, I headed to the living room to see what was on TV and I watched the middle hour of The Mothman Prophecies on TBS. The only reason I turned it off was that I wanted to watch it again from the beginning and not know the end. Man, what a really good movie. It’s scary without being stupid and gory.

Probably the biggest surprise is that Richard Gere is actually believable as being someone other than Richard Gere. I know… I was shocked too.

In other movie news, apple.com is hosting the trailer for the NEW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I mean, come on… are they even trying anymore? Is there an original idea anywhere in Hollywood? If you’re going to remake movies, at least remake OLD movies and give them a fresh perspective. sigh.

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I’ve posted before about how great TV Ontario is… public broadcasting at its finest, I would say. Well, this weekend is a treat for fans of Sci-Fi… well, of good movies at least. ‘Saturday Night at the Movies‘ is putting on the best line-up I’ve seen in my 28 long years. That’s saying a lot given how often they run war movie marathons. Alas, I’ve gone off-topic…

First up, at 8pm ET we have ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still‘. This 1951 classic gave us some iconic images for future alien invasion movies and dealt with a lot of social issues of its time. That, and it also gave us the hilarious line “Klaatu barada nikto” which is pretty popular with nerds… er, I mean… science fiction buffs.

Second, at 10:10pm ET they’ll be showing the Director’s Cut of Ridley Scott’s ‘BladeRunner‘. I remember seeing this on CityTV as a kid and nearly crapping my pants from fear… after being bored to death by how slow scenes moved. Well, as an adult, I can say it still scares me a bit, but it’s a phenomenal film. It’s got Harrison Ford playing a great Harrison Ford character (essentially Indiana Jones and Han Solo in one person) and Rutger Hauer going insane. Pure… awesome.

Lastly, at 12:35am ET you can sing along with ‘Planet of the Apes: The Musical’ starring Troy McClure. Oh, sorry… I misread that. It’s the 1968 version with Charlton Heston being grimy, sweaty, surly and… yelly(?) with some crazy looking monkeys. These are in the heady days before Tim Burton decided to badly remake an AWESOME film for some unthinkable reason, and before Mark Wahlberg was even BORN! This film inspired a whole generation of monkey-hating sci-fi fans, and helped many of my high school friends ride out the new year, so I’m very well acquainted with it. Oh Taylor… you poor human.

These are the kind of ground-breaking films that directors and screenwriters watch and drool over… before chopping them up into out-and-out remakes, or thinly-disguised ones.

It’s safe to say that we’ll be having a vote at the cottage about watching these movies (which show commercial-free, I may add) but I kind of hope it’s voted down… I can always rent them.

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I’m kidding, of course… but I still share my opinion to keep you from wasting your hard-earned dollars on bad films… and then you can waste them on camping equipment, vanity iPods, or regrettable roadtrips to wasteland cities. Still, thanks to Karim and Steve, it’s come to my attention that I need to give a little more context around my X/10 ratings that I give to the films I review here.

You see, my two roomates are movie junkies. Between the two of them, it feels like we have thousands of DVD’s in our house. That means that whenever I want to see a movie, I just wander through their collections to find something that strikes my fancy. Matt usually picks up most new releases the day they come out on DVD, and Jared tends to collect quirkier and harder to find movies.

Thanks to the convenience of all these movies, I can’t recall the last time I paid to see a movie in theatres. I find it hard to justify paying $12 to see a crap movie (they’re pretty crap these days), so I just wait for movies to show up in our hallowed halls. I think this really skews some of my ratings… I mean, when you see a movie for free, your expectations are FAR lower, right?

Speaking of low expectations, it’s trailer season for this summer’s blockbuster movies. I have a feeling I’m not going to be seeing many movies this summer.

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Since the last Bond, my faith in Pierce Brosnan has been a little shaky, and I wasn’t really looking forward to another Remington Steele / James Bond / that-guy-in-the-movie-with-Rene-Russo-where-she-refused-to-wear-shirt kind of character. That is, the ultra-debonaire British Playboy with the bulletproof wit and GQ style. Wow. This movie restored my faith. Julian Noble is a character that would make Charles Bukowski blush… and they would probably go and get drunk together (inviting the dearly departed soul of Hunter Thompson to act as their collective conscience).

Would you look at that? I’m already off on a tangent. This is what ‘The Matador‘ will do for you… or to you. Well, both. The story is hilariously quirky, and the characters are deep in a very natural way. Brosnan plays a really crazy character in a VERY fun way (which is great to watch) and the plot turns just enough times and in unexpected ways. Strangely enough, it’s actually a very touching story about the nature of true friendship, but don’t let that get in the way of you enjoying all the potty humour.

Did I mention the soundtrack? No? Sweet sassy mo-lassey! There. I’ve said it.

9/10. This could jump to a 10 on DVD if the special features are as fun as this movie. I think they had more fun behind-the-scenes than in them, and that would be awesome to watch.

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