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Movies and TV

Movie Review: Avatar

James Cameron's Avatar
James Cameron's Avatar

This has been a big year for movies. There was a lot of really good stuff. Star Trek set the bar of how good Sci Fi could be and rejuvinated a tired franchise. The Hurt Locker set new standards for what tension could be. Inglorious Basterds reinvented the war movie. UP showed us that even when the concept is baffling on paper, Pixar can make it work (seriously, who expected a movie with a cranky old dude as the main protagonist to be an action adventure flick?).

It was also a year where special effects became boring. I sat through both GI Joe and Transformers, and was pretty much bored the entire time.  Both Stephen Somers and Michael Bay have forgotten that in order for action to have impact, you need pauses for the audience to catch up.

James Cameron finally showed us what he’s been working on for the last decade and a half, and while the story itself is a rehash of existing material…the technology he showcased and the art direction entirely redefined movies as we know them, and made me a believer in 3D which up until now was a weird gimmick I had little interest in looking at.

I could go on at length about how beautiful it was, how Cameron once again pushed technology to its’ limits, or how 3D may be the silver bullet that kills movie piracy.

Instead of that I’ll tease you with one word.

Wow.

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: This Is It

Michael Jackson's This Is It
Michael Jackson's This Is It

Michael Jackson is my generation’s Elvis Presley. We grew up with his music, and for many of us, his songs are the soundtrack of the 80’s. I remember in grade 6 when Ms. Hutchinson gathered us all on the 2nd floor to watch the brand new Michael Jackson video for Thriller, and how it made me realize that you could make a movie in 8 minutes.

Much like Presley, Jackson was not known for his performances in the end, but rather the circus that surrounded him. He became a bad punchline to an unfunny joke. Unlike Presley ugly allegations surrounded Jackson and rumours of inappropriate conduct with minors.

The last decade of his life far outshone the first four decades, his death (ironically of drug abuse much like Presley’s) came as both a shock, and to no real surprise. We had seen him literally fall apart before our eyes for years.

Still, Michael Jackson left a legacy of music that can’t be overlooked. He’s the most important pop figure of the last 30 years (with only Madonna arguably being in his stratosphere), and this film is a chronicle of the preparations for his final European tour.

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Movies and TV

Summer Movie Review Blowout

Disney Pixar's Up
Disney Pixar's Up

I’ve actually managed to watch quite a few summer movies this year, and other than Star Trek, I haven’t mentioned any of them.  So this is a quick blow out review list of Wolverine, Fast and Furious, Up, The Hangover, and Drag Me To Hell.

I’ve still yet to see Terminator Salvation and Transformers 2 (both pure popcorn movies), and I really want to see Away We Go (although I doubt it will play in London), but so far I’m really impressed with the summer movie crop.

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About Me Movies and TV

What I did on my week off

The Garsides in Wonderland
The Garsides in Wonderland

I actually took last week off from work and had a real honest-to-god family vacation.  While I had a list of things I WANTED to do, the list of things I ACTUALLY did was a little smaller, but in some ways a lot better.

Last Saturday night I had the boys over for some UFC action.  We played a little UFC Redemption on the PS3, and then settled in for UFC 98 (Evans vs Machida).  I was looking forward to the Hughes / Sera fight, but I really wanted to see Rashad pound the crap out of Lyoto Machida, who I have always considered one of the most boring fighters on the planet, and a man who along with Anderson Silva is ruining my enjoyment of UFC right now (yeah, I hate Anderson Silva, probably the only man on the planet…but I just hate that stupid little dance he does at the end of his fights so much, and the fact that he’s been world champion for a year and still can’t give us a half hearted post-fight interview).

Unfortunately Rashad lost, and now we have “The Machida Era” to look forward to.  Oh bliss!

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Movies and TV

Movie review: Star Trek

Star Trek the Movie
Star Trek the Movie

I love a good science fiction film, and in the last decade there have only been a handful of really great ones. I also love the original Star Trek series, not enough that I know trivia, or would die if I ran into Leonard Nemoy or anything (though I would go mental if I met William Shatner). I love Star Trek 2, 6, and First Contact, because they’re sci fi first and Star Trek second.

The new Star Trek abandons all of the continuity of the original series, but keeps the archetypal relationships, the technology, and keeps the spirit of the original without being a slave to the cannon of the various Trek series.

JJ Abrams took all of the elements that worked, turned them up to 11 and discarded the rest.

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Comics Movies and TV

I watched the Watchmen

Dr Manhattan from Watchmen
Dr Manhattan from Watchmen

Today Char and I got to catch a matinee of Watchmen, and it was…

Watchmen, for those of you who don’t know is the adaptation of a 12 issue mini-series produced by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in 1987 (and available on All New Comics as a softcover and hardcover edition).  It is about big ideas, treating comic book superheroes as if they were in a real world setting, and the changes that would happen to history if this were the case.

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Movies and TV

Most Anticipated Movies of 2009

Dr Manhattan from Watchmen
Dr Manhattan from Watchmen

I love movies, that’s one of the main reasons I went into TV and Film production.  The sad reality though was that making movies is really kind of glorified construction work, and I don’t have the patience for that stuff.  I love the pre and post work of movie making, but hate the chewy middle where you have to cut your teeth to make it anywhere.

2008 was a really good year for movies as you can see from my Movies Year in Review post, but already 2009 is shaping up to be even better with a few can’t miss blockbusters in the pipe, and a bunch of “maybe’s” and “possible big surprises” out there.  Plus we don’t even see the post Cannes, Sundance and Toronto Film Fest potentials on the horizon yet.

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Movies and TV

The best movies of 2008

The best movies of 2008
The best movies of 2008

(Updated to include The Wrestler and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) – Continuing my Best of 2008 series, we have the Best Movies of 2008.  It was a really good year for movies this year with some of my favourites not even truly being 2008 films.  Gone Baby Gone, Juno, and No Country for Old Men all technically were released in 2007 even though we didn’t see them here in London until 2008.

In the end though there can only be one absolute favourite, and for me this year it was pretty much a no-brianer.  The film was a tour de force, worked on several differnt levels, and totally brought a genre forward.  It was…

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Movies and TV

Movie Review The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Char and I were able to get out to a movie this evening (thanks to the stellar babysitting services of my Mom and Dad), and we caught The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which I’ve been wanting to see since the first trailers were released nearly a year ago.  David Fincher is a great director, and even his films that don’t totally engross me (such as the Jodi Foster vehicle “Panic Room”) still have moments in them.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button however is epic in scope, gorgeous in execution, and tells a haunting and memorable story.

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Movies and TV

Blame Hollywood

Dr Manhattan from Watchmen
Who will watch the Watchmen?

The MPAA is continuing to blame Canada for its piracy woes. This despite the fact that Hollywood had a pretty boffo year with movie ticket sales on par with last year’s.

It’s not Canada’s fault, it’s a combination of a diversifying entertainment spend, and Hollywood’s failure to fully embrace technology.