Sunday, September 08, 2019

Seen in August 


Golden. Image via The Movie Db

I feel like the days of the big summer movie that everyone saw and talked about are over and gone. This isn't a bad thing, if only because we live in a time when so much content is available that it's just hard for a "summer movie" to happen. On the other hand it sucks if movie theatres just become places we go because the a/c is better. I had many intentions of seeing movies in cold theatres, in old theatres, in new theatres and even in parks this summer but at the end of the day, at the end of my couch there was always something just a click away (and often better that what you could see on the big screen).

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Ok let’s not spend too long on describing this Fast and Furious franchise spin-off. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their respective roles as former agent and rogue, Hobbs and Shaw, joined by Vanessa Kirby as Shaw’s MI6 agent sister (we’re meant to believe their bad-assery runs in the family) as they team up to save the world against a genetically enhanced self-proclaimed “Black Superman” played by Idris Elba. As I’ve said before, for whatever reason, in one movie I can fully buy in to a talking raccoon yet in another, I can’t believe a character’s flawed motivation. That’s on me. The best way to think of this movie is that it takes place in another universe with different laws of physics so that a car can crash through multiple windows without losing momentum and then land on all for wheels and keep driving. Once you accept that nonsense, you’ll accept the rest (even the plot lifted from a Mission: Impossible film) and you’ll be fine. This assumes you wanted to see well choreographed fight scenes, unbelievable computer generated car stunts, explosions and a lot of snarky (camera winking) one-liners to begin with. No surprises here.

Crashing Season 01

Before Phoebe Waller-Bridge made her sensational Fleabag, she helped pen this hot mess British comedy of a group of people whose romantic and comedic lives overlap as they squat for cheap rent in an abandoned London hospital as something called property guardians. It’s a little exasperating as so much of the plot is driven by unnecessary truth-telling or lying that only leads to greater misunderstandings or insights. Yet it crackles and bristles in the funniest way even if it is the umpteenth show or movie with the title "Crashing".

The Rim of the World

This is Netflix’s attempt at catching lightning in a bottle and failing. The setting is a summer camp (at the Rim of the World) where a group of kids meet and find they may hold the key to stopping an alien invasion. Kids, in the 80s, fighting supernatural forces. Sound familiar? There’s some criticism that Netflix hasn’t successfully even added to the existing Stranger Things so why did they think they could just turn it into a genre? This film, with its younger cast is pointedly for a younger audience which begs the question, how does a younger audience understand the Goonies references and why would they care about the 80s in the first place. Not even Super-Mario or Pac-man could save this movie from the Rim of Despair.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Return to the Mean 

a graph explains regression towards the mean
Regression towards the mean - via Jeremy Tunnel

On the recommendation of my dentist I started using a new type of toothpaste; the kind for sensitive teeth even though I didn’t find my teeth that sensitive. Since then I’ve worried that I’m deadening the sensitivity of my teeth to the point where I'm not noticing any small cavities that may become big ones because I’ve turned off the sensitivity that is an early warning system.

Now I wonder if city living is making me less sensitive to all the stuff a big city throws at you. Am I hardening myself to life simply by being exposed to so much of it? By living in such an overwhelming environment am I in fact using a sensitive teeth formula on my soul (if there is such a thing)?

Let me back up a bit. A friend was visiting and brought with him his beloved folding bike (a customized Bike Friday) to ride about the town. He had ridden this bike in faraway places such as China and nearby places like New York City. Yet, in less than 24 hours of riding in Toronto, his bike had been stolen. As gutted as he was, I was equally distraught and depressed for days afterwards. How did I let this happen? Why did I let him use his spindly cable lock – a lock similar to the one I was using which was snipped when my own much loved shiny bike was stolen. I should’ve suggested we walk somewhere after he admitted that despite his years of riding experience he could only describe the traffic in Toronto as “mean”. It is mean. To date of my writing this, there have been 23 deaths of pedestrians on Toronto streets this year, 16 of which were over 60 years old, so no, these were not witless teens walking into traffic looking at their mobile phones. Streets are too wide and traffic is too fast… and too mean.
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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered 

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Summer vibes.

A post shared by Peter Rogers (@peterrogersesq) on



A man trying to fit his oversized bag into the overhead bin looked angrily at the compartment while not understanding how his overhead-bin-sized-bag would not fit. A flight attendant came to the rescue and turned the bag 90° clockwise and pushed it easily into the available space. When the flight landed a woman stood up and started towards the toilet before realizing that the plane’s exit was the other way. Even then she seemed unsure. Later in the terminal at a sandwich shop a man stood in front of a menu board looking so intensely at it you’d think he expected it to deliver the meaning of life. After a minute he abandoned the task and walked away in a huff. While I waited for my boarding call I entered the men’s room to be met by a woman shaking water from her hands. For a moment I thought I had gone to the wrong restroom but the urinals told me otherwise. This woman clearly now recognized her mistake, dropped her head and muttered, “Excuse me.” It’s a look I’ve come to know as “The Bewilderment”.
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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Seen in June and July 


Fleabag. Image via The Movie DB

Fleabag Season 2

When they talk about the current state of television as some golden, shining gilded age, they are referring to this series. I’m not going to bother trying to describe it (a comedy/drama of a young woman’s journey of… forget it), just watch it.

Good Omens

David Tennant and Michael Sheenan delight as a demon and angel respectively whose time on Earth lo these last 6500 years has led to their only real friendship and their common bond with humanity leads them to do whatever they can to prevent Armageddon from happening (yes, the biblical one, end of the world type stuff). This series is based on an co-authored book from Terry Pratchard and Neil Gaiman (like some kind of author supergroup) and is a bit like Gaiman’s fantastical American Gods if it had been written by Douglas Adams and produced by the makers of Doctor Who.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Skin I Was In 


The pool of Picton that saved my soul after over a 100 km of hot weather riding.

I lay in the warmth of my room reading a magazine with the hum of the air conditioning buzzing on. Idly I scratched my legs while I read. When the swoon of sleep began its descent I tossed the magazine aside then noticed the detritus of my scratching. The navy blue sheets were covered with tiny white flakes almost as if someone had dusted them with flour. In the din of the dark room it was almost like a constellation of northern Ontario stars. Also it was sort of gross and not a little sad. In less than two weeks I was already shedding the sun-browned skin that was my proof of an early summer adventure. I was shedding the version of myself that had known the sun sitting on my right shoulder as I rode east. I was losing that part of myself that recognized the croak of a bullfrog in a roadside creek, catalogued the dead (turtles, snakes, squirrels and baby birds), knew the distances between towns, knew the time to get there but didn’t care, knew the smell of mockorange and lilac blossoms so sweet they were like candy, and knew that fresh cold tap water was better than any Chardonnay or local beer money could buy.
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