Friday, 23 December 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

This is a movie that examines what we perceive to be reality, somewhat similar to The Matrix, but this is different.  We become acquainted with The Plan (destiny), and the concept that once in a while there are accidents, things that happen that are not part of The Plan, enter The Adjustment Bureau, a group whose responsibility it is make sure that these diversions are corrected. 

Now imagine a man falls in love with a woman and that is not part of The Plan.  What you end up with is Love vs. Destiny.  This movie is the story of the struggle between the two. 

It’s an interesting enough premise and an enchanting love story.  

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas movies, but I do love the Harold and Kumar franchise.  This is the third installment of the series.  A few years have past since the last movie and the characters' lives have progressed in a realistic time continuum.  Well at least Harold’s has.  He’s married his dream girl and he’s now a member of the 1% that owns 99% of the wealth.  Kumar hasn’t fared quite as well.  He’s living in a dump, his girlfriend recently left him and he’s still nothing more than pothead looking for his next hit.  Throw Neal Patrick Harris in the mix (again) along with a pissed off mob boss, a waffle making robot (Wafflebot) and Father Christmas himself and you’ve got a wild ride of a Christmas movie. 

I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from this movie, but I was surprised.  This movie was so dumb that it was smart, so wrong that it was so right and so messed up that it was neat!  Harold and Kumar have done it again.  

One hint of advice, if you’re going to see it make sure that you see it in the 3D, there’s a couple of gags that really play up to the effect...have fun and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Horrible Bosses

Once again a movie that I expected would be very funny, failed to make me laugh.  This movie had a promising premise:  Three long time best friends find themselves in terrible work environments and they come to the conclusion that they would be better off if their bosses were to stop breathing and set about to help make this happen. 

The problem is that the premise is flawed.  For one  of the guys, his boss  is truly a horrible person and when he threatened to quit, his boss threatened to ruin his career if he went elsewhere.   For another guy, his cocaine-addicted boss just recently inherited the company from his father after he suddenly dropped dead and his cost cutting threatens to cause an environmental disaster, the world would truly be better off without him around.  The error in logic occurs with the third guy who is trapped in his present job because he is undeservedly on sex offender registry and no one else would hire him.  It just doesn’t make sense him wanting his boss to die because he’d still have the same predicament of not being able to find employment elsewhere. 

Despite the lack of laughs and the imperfect premise, the movie isn’t half-bad and still worth a look if you’ve got some spare time and not very high expectations. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil

After Michael Jackson passed away I was so touched by the number of people who told me that they thought of me when it happened.  Even people that I grew up with but had lost contact with over 20 years ago remembered how fanatical I was about Michael Jackson.  The truth is that I had forgotten how much I loved MJ.  It's sad. The music is so timeless that I see young children today who share in the same fervent love for his music as I did over 25 years ago.  

Tonight I attended the Cirque du Soleil show, "The Immortal".  I went in blind - I had no idea what to expect.  I've been disappointed by Cirque shows in the past, where I felt that they were too bourgeoisie for my taste.   More recently though, I saw the Cirque show “Believe” in Las Vegas which was thoroughly entertaining. 

The one thing that I did hear about this tribute to MJ prior to seeing the performance was a tweet stating that if you are in any way a fan of MJ, this show is a must-see.  I absolutely concur.

I was very touched by this show.  It went beyond being an absolute fitting tribute to the beauty of MJ’s soul.  I imagined that this would have been a show that MJ himself would have been happy to have been a part of.   I felt that wherever his spirit was that, he was seeing this show and he was proud of it.  They captured his very essence, his message and his music.  

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


After a summer of friends telling me how amazing it is, I finally saw Bridemaids.  Like most movies that have been hyped in that manner, I was sorely disappointed.  The storyline basically focused on a woman’s descent into a total meltdown.  It wasn’t funny at all and it was downright gross at some points, however about ¾ of the way it turned sweet and poignant.   

The highlight of the movie for me was that the actor that played the Illinois State Trooper was Chris Dowd, who also stars in the British sitcom, The IT Crowd, a big, big favourite of mine.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

I'll never forget that day, but in the wee hours of this morning as I listened to a New York City Police scanner and heard, reports of shots fired here and there, I couldn't help but think that the Americans do such a great job of killing Americans, there really isn't a need for terrorists to do it.  

There's been a lot of talk of 9/11 unifying Americans, but people are universally violent.  Americans continue to kill Americans. Canadians continue to kill Canadians.  Middle Easters kill Middle Easters.  They say the world was forever changed, but has it changed in the right way?  The only change I see as a result of 9/11 is "justification" for more killing.

I miss those two buildings and every time I've see the New York skyline since then, my heart aches.  

For all our technological advances, man still no more than mere barbarians.  As far as relationships with each other, we our no more advanced then cavemen.  We continue to be Neanderthals.   

It's 2011 people, let's get beyond the savagery and learn to work to help each other and be good to one another.   

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Tourist

The Tourist
The Tourist is a movie that had been on my to-do list for awhile but after seeing many awful audience reviews of it, I’d kept it on the backburner for quite a while.  After seeing it, I thought maybe everyone else had been a tad too harsh.  It’s not as bad as the reviews would have you believe.  

Starring Angela Jolie, it reminded me of her previous outing, Salt, without the huge stunts and effects of that movie.  Johnny Depp is also a very watchable actor.  

One of my favourite things about this flick was the setting.  Most movies use Venice, Italy as a backdrop, but The Tourist gives a great view of this magnificent place.  The city is just gorgeous.  

All in all, I would not say that The Tourist is the total waste of time most of its reviewers declare it to be.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Green is the Colour of Will

Green Lantern

I saw The Green Lantern back on its opening night on June 17th , 2011.  I usually don’t like to see movies as soon as they come out; I prefer to avoid crowded theatres, but the new Cineplex UltraAVX theatres with their reserved seating made it painless.  

I’ve been told that this is the summer of comic book movies.  A hardcore comic fan friend was interested to hear my take on Green Lantern.  He had attended the midnight screening as soon as it came out.  He wanted to know my thoughts, because as a non-comic book junkie I would not have any expectations.  

I like seeing movies when I don’t know what expect from them, it makes it hard to be disappointed.  I found The Green Lantern to be a fun roller-coaster ride of an adventure movie.  The best way I can describe it is that it’s Spiderman meets Top Gun meets Star Wars.  I have the feeling there would be a “meets Lord of the Rings” in there too, but I can’t in good faith say that, as I haven’t seen any of the LOtR movies. 

The only disappointment for me in this movie was the climatic battle, particularly the way it ended, it was pretty weak.  Also I thought the use of 3D in the film was well done, but for some reason 3D movies give me a headache and make my eyes hurt.

I had heard a lot about the principle actors in this movie, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, but have to admit that I had no idea who they were.  Reynolds reminds me a lot of a younger Ben Affleck and Blake Lively is an absolute stunner whose mere presence would make a movie worth watching. 

So if you like Spider Man or Top Gun or Star Wars, I’d say give this movie a shot, you’ll probably like it too.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Kid Rock Born Free Concert at the Air Canada Concert

Kid Rock’s Born Free Tour exploded into the Air Canada Centre on May 27th 2011. After a nice opening set by hometown based The Trews, the highlight of which was their poignant “Highway of Heroes”, Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band unleashed a masterpiece of a show.

It opened with a video collage of photos and video footage from when he was young up to the present and then he made his entrance on the stage which looked like an old-time bar in someone’s basement, with wood paneling, and members of the band set up on the bar counter tops.
He walked through the saloon doors in the centre and just totally rocked out. I loved that songs from his lesser known most recent and most mellow album, Born Free, were sprinkled between the crowd rousers.

Midway through the show he talked about turning 40 earlier this year and a video played greetings from many celebrities, mainly talk show hosts sending him birthday wishes. He then informed the crowd that he intended to turn this whole tour into a yearlong 40th birthday party and launched into a hilarious song, “Fuckin’ 40”, which I could certainly relate to.

His greatest songs, “Cowboy” and “Bawidaba” were executed to perfection and I was happy that he played some other personal favourites, “Sugar” which for some reason he hadn’t played on his “Rock N’ Roll Jesus” tour, as well, he led us into the chant of his name from “3 Sheets to Wind” before taking to the DJ decks for a demonstration of incredible scratching, while pouring himself a shot of Jim Beam and then standing up on the bar top all the while continuing to scratch, he then played some lead guitar before taking over the drum kit.

At one point, five bar stools were set up in the middle of the stage as three guitarists, including Rock and the two backup singers sat down to play. Rock introduced the song by saying before he had hit the road an interviewer asked what could be expected from this tour, his response was “Strippers and stripping down”. By stripping down he was referring to the acoustic rendition of “Purple Sky” which followed. By the way the strippers were fantastic too.

Aside from excellent music and musicianship the there was a full-fledged visual assault of pyrotechnics, lasers, fireworks, video effects, to compliment the aforementioned strippers, all of which just totally worked and never seemed overdone, or detracted from the incredible music.

Kid Rock himself, in my opinion, best showman of this century, was so spirited, jumping around, dancing, high-fiving members of the audience, acknowledging signs and giving the audience his sincere gratitude for spending our hard earned money to come see him.

The encore consisted of a wonderful, funky stripped down version “All Summer Long” with Kid Rock dancing and playing maracas. He then sat down at the piano to play “Only God Knows Why”. The piano rose out of the stage revealing USA and Canada flags as it turned a 360 and then Kid Rock climbed up on top of the piano until it retracted back into the stage. He closed with the best song of the “Born Free” album, which is its title track.

I’ve been to many great concerts throughout the years, but this one concert, was the best I’ve ever witnessed.

10 *s

Call Me Russell

Russell Peters is a comic genius. On May 6th, I attended his show at Casino Rama. I’d seen him many times in the past, at small clubs before he was very well known and at big shows. This was the first time in a long time I had seen him, and I’d always enjoyed him a lot, but he was operating on a whole different level on this night.

See, many comics have a routine that they take on tour and do from city to city, but there was so much interaction with the audience at this show and it showed how naturally funny Russell is. Not only that, but he took the tidbits that he got from the audience and masterfully stitched them into stories. He interwove these segments with the prewritten segments masterfully and it is for that reason that I proclaim that Russell Peters is a comic genius.

A week later I picked up my first e-book. “Call Me Russell,” is an autobiography written along with his brother Clayton Peters and acclaimed screenwriter Dannis Koromilas. This is not a humorous book. Do not buy this book expecting big laughs.

In this book you will learn about Russell, as a man, where he comes from and what he values. The tale starts long before he was born, tracing his roots from his grandparents in India, to his parents’ migration to Canada and then his own story, his upbringing and the his route into comedy and stardom.

I was able to relate to this book for a few reasons, one being that I migrated to Canada with my family when I was very young; because I am familiar with the area where Russell grew up and writes about in the book; and because I am one year younger than Russell, so we grew up in the same era.

This book offers a deep insight into a Canadian comic icon and if that appeals to you then I recommend this book otherwise I suggest you pass.

Friday, 27 May 2011

127 Hours

Without a doubt the most decorated movie of the past year was The King's Speech. It won four of the twelve Oscars it was nominated for, including Movie of the Year, yet I have to admit that I didn't care for it. This dumbfounds just about everyone that I tell, but in a word, I found the movie to be quite dull. 

Another movie that garnered much accolade during the award season earlier this year was 127 Hours and I just couldn’t imagine a full length movie whose sole topic was a man trapped in the wilderness, but I came across an opportunity to see it and decided to find out what all the fuss was about. 

Right from the opening seconds I was hooked and I realized that this was a movie that I was going to enjoy, I could tell from the music and from the pacing of the shots.  This movie did not disappoint, in fact, it exceeded my expectations.  

Admittedly there were a few times where I felt lost, but these were during the scenes depicting Aron Ralston’s delirium, so it was appropriate that I wasn’t able to make sense of it.  

Danny Boyle’s directing was masterful and Jon Harris must have worked his fingers to the bone editing the shots so tightly.  This film really gives one an appreciation for fine film making.  Full credit also to James Franco for his outstanding on-camera appearance, in what could only be a difficult role to play.    

From what I’ve read after watching the movie, what we see on the screen is incredibly true to what actually happened.  

Well worth seeing! 


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Kid Rock's Born Free Album

I became a Kid Rock fan on June 5, 1999. That was the day that he performed his song, “Bawitdaba” on the MTV Music Awards. That performance singularly melded rock and rap the way Run DMC intended it to be when they teamed with Aerosmith on “Walk this Way” in 1986.

Since then I have collected all of his music and seen three of his concerts in Toronto. I heard him continue to jump from genre to genre or fuse two or more effortlessly. Aside from the aforementioned rock and rap, he also brought country, blues and jazz into the blend. Basically if it was popular American music, he was playing it! And no matter what he was playing it had soul in spades.

In two weeks I’ll be seeing him for my forth time and I figured it was about time I got around to checking out his new album. It had been released six months ago!

What I found with the album is that rap had left the fold, save for a few measly moments when rapper T.I. injects hip-hop into “Care” which also features country music star, Martina McBride.

Yep, the country is there and the rock can’t leave, it’s in his name! What I heard was all that is American. I thought either this SOB is the most incredibly patriotic son of a gun out there, with his ear on the pulse of exactly what the typical blue-class American family needs to hear, or he’s a marketing genius that’s just ready to tap into the wallets of this culture.

The lyrics touch home for US military families waiting for their loved ones to come back from Afghanistan, and Iraq. Patriotism rages on this album and many songs are anthemic in nature. On “God Bless Saturday”, he sings a hymn for the blue collar worker, but it seems so far removed from his experience as a huge celebrity who was at one time married to Pamela Anderson.

I really enjoyed the first few songs on the album but by the time I got near the end, all the songs had started to sound the same and I kept hoping for some rap to mix things up a bit, but he stayed true to the rock/country fusion throughout the album.

This album is the first that didn’t carry the parental advisory sticker and it’s truly a mature and mainstream outing. I’m surprised that it hasn’t been more successful and better embraced. I did hear it last week in Las Vegas though while waiting in line tickets to a show and again the next night they were playing the album before a show started.

As usual, I am really looking forward to his show. He never disappoints live and I highly recommend it.

This gets a rating of 7/10 for me.