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Showing posts from April, 2010

Manufactured Landscapes

Strangely enough, I heard about Manufactured Landscapes on a gaming podcast (1Up's Oddcast). I forget how the subject came about, but one of the hosts started talking about the movie and the subject piqued my interest.

This award winning documentary is a showcase of photographer Edward Burtynsky's work. The subject matter deals specifically with China, a land that was not long ago 90% agrarian and 10% urban, but now is closer to 70% urban. Because of this drastic change over the decades, the landscape of the country has changed dramatically through industrialization. Burtynsky's photographs show us the destructivity of this change, but in a way, brings about the beauty from what would otherwise be monstrous images.

To me, the most gripping imagery is in the first shot of the movie. It's a long 5 minute shot that slowly pans across an electronics factory in China. We see the workers working like ants, and there are probably a thousand of them lined up in rows building th…

DC's Fifty-Two!!!

When I was a youngster, Marvel Comics was always my favourite company between them and DC Comics. Marvel just always seemed to have cooler and flashier heroes. DC on the otherhand always seemed oldschool and bland by comparison. Amongst me and my friends, Marvel was always the cool and hip brand.

Now that I'm older, I'm really re-evaluating that preference. What reasons do I have to like Marvel? Nothing that I've read in the past few years have really grasped me, in fact, I've felt more disappointed if anything. DC on the otherhand seems to produce more content that I can really connect with and if you count their Vertigo imprint as DC, then by far, DC would be my favourite right now. But I'm going to be fair to Marvel and discount Vertigo. I just get excited reading DC stories now. Not only are the stories well written and gripping, I get excited in discovering new characters that I never knew about before, who are just as cool as those from Marvel.

Okay, I just had…

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [Foreign]

I don't get it.

The movie is based on the book of the same name written by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. It's part of a trilogy of novels that has sold over 23 million copies worldwide. Everytime I walk into a Chapters or an Indigo, it's always on the bestsellers shelf/rack. So two weeks ago I sat at the bookstore for about an hour and started reading it. I got to around page 40 or so but the book never captivated me. It's just a straight up thriller/mystery story, what's the sell? I just don't get it.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a Swedish produced thriller that follows an unlikely pairing of characters. The first is Mikael Blomkvist, a middle-aged journalist stuck in the middle of a controversy between his magazine company and a rich industrialist. He is hired by a rich old businessman named Henrik Vanger to solve a missing persons case, that of his beloved niece who has disappeared for 40 years. In exchange for his work, Vanger offers Blomkvist…

Toronto whoring out as New York

I love Toronto. I'm proud to call myself a Torontorian, just look at the banner I have at the top: me and Toronto. It's where I was born and raised and it'll forever be where I call home.

So on Monday's review of Kick-Ass, I mentioned how it bugged me seeing Toronto pose as New York City. It happens all the time and I'm sure we've all seen many movies with Toronto in disguise whether we were aware of it or not. Besides the cheesiness of it, it never really bothered me. But after watching Kick-Ass it seemed kind of embarrassing and I realized something new: Toronto is a whore.

Let me explain. Prostitutes are people who take money in exchange for sexual deeds to fulfill one's fantasies. In a way, isn't Toronto doing the exact same thing? We're really selling ourselves short. I feel as though our city is telling movie studios, "Hey! You there! Come on in! Film your movies here! Just pay your taxes and we'll be whatever you want us to be!"…

KICK ASS!!! (I'm going to avoid the cheeky puns. uh, too late)

I first heard of Kick-Ass around the Fall of 2008 when they began filming shots around Toronto. At the time, the comic book series was only at issue 3 so I didn't know too much about the story but was surprised that they were working on a movie adaptation so quickly. I didn't really follow the production news behind the movie until the momentum from geekdom began to build late last year when it was screened at Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-A-Thon festival. Needless to say, it garnered rave reviews from the geeks in attendance. The advance screenings in January also received the same kind of positive responses. One thing seemed unanimous: the character Hit-Girl was the clear standout. Having watched it now, I can fully agree, Hit-Girl was a hit!

The movie itself follows a teenager named Dave Lizewski who considers himself mundane amongst all the kinds of characters he encounters in high school. He's a big comic book nerd and wonders why no one in real life attempts at being …

Modern Warfare 2!!! (Xbox 360)

Instead of doing the normal review for Modern Warfare 2, I thought I'd just post an email I sent to my friend Matt instead. It pretty much summarizes my feelings. I will add a few notes though. It's pretty much the same game as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, with a slight facelift and some new weapons. That's not a bad thing at all considering the first game was pretty effin' awesome. The most noticeable thing to me about the campaign was how much easier it was than the first one. There's not that same sense of urgency that you feel from the first game (remember all those missions that were like "you've got 10 minutes to finish this mission"?) which really allows you to pace yourself. Basically, if you've got a lot of patience, the whole campaign even on its hardest mode, will be a cake walk. So yes, I wasn't frustrated clearing the game on veteran mode as I was with the first game. Aside from that, I love coop gaming, and they did jus…

Afghan Star!!

Afghan Star is a documentary that follows four individuals who have made it into the top ten finals of the show under the same name, "Afghan Star". As the name would suggest, the movie takes place in Afghanistan, a country that we don't regularly associate with glitz and glamour as much as we do war and strife. The show is basically Afghanistan's version of "American Idol" here in America. The movie shows us some of the hardships that the contestants have to overcome in order to chase their dreams. But their dreams don't seem much to be rooted in fame. Rather, it's that opportunity to express themselves through an artistic manner that seems most important; a facet that is rare in their culture.

This was a powerful movie for me mostly because of my naivety in that I've never thought of the Afghan people in this way. We see and hear about Afghanistan in the news all the time and because of the news, I feel I've been manipulated to think that A…

Alice in Blunderland.

I've been going through this ritual pretty much the past 6 years or so. Every Sunday I'll wake up (usually around noon), have my lunch with my desktop or laptop in front of me. I then check out Boxofficemojo.com to see the early estimates of how movies performed that weekend. I love movies in general but the geek in me pushes me further and I get intrigued by all the stats and figures associated with the movies. I love looking at how movies performed, whether they met budget and how fast, whether they underperformed, how they rank with movies of a similar genre and so forth. I don't know how it slipped past me, but somehow Alice in Wonderland made over $300 million since it opened earlier in March. It's an incredible number and I must have just glossed over it. You see, usually the only movies that past the $300M milestone are those giant-size budgeted summer blockbusters. So this is quite the feat. But is this high grossing number indicative of a great movie?

Short a…

The death of Kanyon and why it sucks to be a wrestling fan sometimes

This past weekend, the body of former WCW, WWE/F wrestler Chris Kanyon, 40, was found dead in his apartment in Queens, New York. The cause of death was presumed to be suicide from an overdose of medication. Another premature death of a wrestler, it's a common occurence these days.

I first saw Chris when he performed as a masked wrestler named Mortis in WCW. He would eventually unmask and become known as Kanyon. In-ring wise, he was an entertaining wreslter to watch; a really solid worker, coming up with unique spots all the time. Arguably, the peak of his career was in a storyline where he, Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow (also deceased) formed a stable dubbed "The Jersey Triad", who though a trio, were allowed to perform as a tag team, giving them an advantage over other two-man teams.

When WCW folded earlier in the decade, he was picked up by WWE when they scooped up the defunct company. Still in his early 30s, Kanyon would eventually fade into obscurity amongst…

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1-3

Over the past year, I've heard rumblings about the Scott Pilgrim movie over on AICN, but never caught on to the hype probably because I never read the source material. The trailer was released two weeks ago and with its video game-like appeal, I thought to myself, "ooh... this might actually be interesting".

So I tackled the first three volumes in the series of six (of which five have been released) and can confidently say that I enjoyed them. Scott Pilgrim is a series of manga-like comics with its story based in Toronto.

The story follows Scott, who is unemployed, loves video games and plays in a band, while he finds his true love. There's a girl that constantly reappears in his dreams and he's convinced that she's "the one". One day he meets Ramona Flowers, who turns out to be the girl haunting his dreams, and they hit it off. If it seems too good to be true, then you'd be correct. Before she can officially be his girlfriend, he needs to defeat …

BROOKLYN'S FINEST is mostly fine!

Let me tell you a little story about me and Brooklyn. When I was younger, our family used to drive down to New York almost on a yearly basis. You see, half of my relatives (pretty much the complete side of my mom's family) resided in New York, with most of them living in Brooklyn. I don't know why, but when I was a kid, I always feared Brooklyn. I always thought of Brooklyn as this dominion for gangs, drug dealings and general debaucherous activities alike. I guess it was because of the way that TV shows and cartoons would depict it. It wasn't until the past two years that I've changed my views on this borough. Well, at least it was no more shadier than the ghetto neighbourhoods of Toronto. Which is connected to why I didn't think this movie was fair, even though it was enjoyable.

Brooklyn's Finest is director Antoine Fuqua's return to the police drama genre since the highly acclaimed Training Day which earned Denzel Washington an Oscar. Since then, he's…