Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Seen in September

2nd - Heartburn
After reading a profile of Nora Ephron I decided to check out this very 80s classic. Meryl Streep is great. Jack Nicholson is good. The Carly Simon music is a little annoying. Would I recommend it? meh.

5th - Let The Right One In
Vampire film set in 1980s Sweden. The vampire in question is a 12-year-old girl. Odd. Worth a look. In Swedish with English sub-titles.

6th - Big Man Japan
Who fights all those monsters that are always invading Japan? Big Man Japan of course. Turns out Japan's last Big Man is an aging divorced schlub. Strangest concoction of monsters ever imagined. Also the weirdest ending I've seen in a long, long time. In Japanese with English sub-titles.

7th - Dan in Real Life
I thought this was supposed to be a comedy? Wasn't this supposed to a comedy? Why did you lie to me? Why?

12th - Observe and Report
One of the worst films I've ever illegally downloaded. This film deserves to be illegally downloaded then deleted. A most disturbing ending.

Year One
Some good jokes, but the trailer was better.

13th - L'Avventura
A masterpiece that I'm still trying to figure out.
In Italian with English sub-titles.

17th - The Class
One of the best films of the last year. Have you taught high school? Have you attended high school? Do you have kids in high school? See this film. In French avec sous-titres anglais.

18th - One Week
One long Tim Hortons plug. Or was it commissioned by Tourism Canada? Not an awful film. Not a great film. Made me want to buy an old motorcycle and eat a donut. Great soundtrack full of Canadian Indie music.

19th - The Boat That Rocked
Lots of fun, great music. The movie is about pirate radio in 60s Britain. Puts today's illegal downloads in some perspective.
Note: the film has recently been released in North America under the more obvious title, "Pirate Radio" and marketed heavily as an American helping Brits get their "rock" on which, you will find, is not the case.

20th - Valentino, The Last Emperor
A great look inside the world (luxurious world) of the renowned fashion designer, Valentino Garavani. More interesting though is Valentino's relationship with Giancarlo Giammetti, his long time partner in life and business. Mostly in Italian, partly in French, sometimes in broken English with English sub-titles.

26th - The Red Desert
I now realize that many of Antonioni's films are about alienation and loneliness because the characters are, in fact, alienated and alone. Some pretty amazing scenes but I think I was done with loneliness and alienation at the 80 minute mark. Unfortunately, there was another 40 minutes. In Italian with English sub-titles (even Richard Harris is in Italian with English sub-titles).

27th - The Brothers Bloom
A con film with Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz. A fable about two brothers gifted in the art of the con. Trying waaaaaaaay to hard to be quirky and idiosyncratic while finding meaning in fraternal and romantic love, resulting in extreme dullness and disinterest. Pass.

28th - The Last Days of Lehman Brothers
Great BBC dramatization of the collapse of one of the world's biggest banks and the last weekend of desparate attempts to save it. In Banker-ese without English sub-titles.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Look Who's Cookin' Now

When last I was upon that rocky protuberance known to us as the isle of New Found Lande I did bring with me two exotic curios that were new to my parent's home. Wi-fi and Polenta. Polenta, cornmeal as used in Italian cooking, seemed the more popular. Please see the brief kinomatic featurette below on the grilling of said polenta now available from your nearest Dominion.

Look Who's Cookin' Now from rowdyman on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Night the Last Page Turned

If a Chapters outlet closes they have a sale. When Pages bookstore closed they held a wake. The Gladstone was filled to the rafters with Toronto's literati, hipsters, bon vivants, sexy librarians and curious onlookers (did I mention the sexy librarians?) One after another, friends of Pages past and present (though I guess they're all "past" now) stood in front of the gathering recounting books found and friends made.

 As the stories grew darker and tears started to appear in the eyes of many I thought I'd step out of the crowded bar just to feel some air. Sitting on a concrete step was a well-dressed artist having a smoke break. Unfortunately I don't smoke otherwise I would've gladly joined him. I went for fries instead. Have you ever wanted a coffee and run into a coffee shop and immediately known this cup was going to cost approximately twice what a normal cup would cost? That's what this French-fry shop was like. Still, it satisfied. On my way back to the Gladstone for another drink I met a colleague and we decided to have that drink together. We wound up sitting next to a group made up of those who earlier in the evening were eulogizing Pages Bookstore and praising it's owner and life force, Marc Glassman.

 It occurred to me that without Pages Bookstore, this table of like- minded folks may not ever convene again. Rep theatres, record stores and book shops - dying breeds all, done in by digital media or the economic scale of big box stores. For all the talk of "community" on the Internet, it cannot create a place like Pages Books or The Revue Theatre or SoundScapes. Because I still value those places I don't see why they can't stay open and serve a certain market - me. I guess a market of one is really a market of none.

For more on the Pages sendoff see The Torontoist.

Posted via email from peterrogers's posterous

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Friday, September 04, 2009

LAB Mixtapes: Episode 20 

This week I've become nostalgic for the coming end of summer, so I thought I'd lay these summer tracks at your feet as a sacrifice to please the Gods of Autumn. What makes a song a summer song? I have no idea. Breezy melodies that carry through the warm evening air or that are heard coming from car stereos or out on the street. Maybe? Who Knows? Enjoy with an SPF of no less than 30.

These three songs have been playing over and over in my head so much that they've become my de facto summer soundtrack. Oddly, these tracks represent a cavalcade of the animal kingdom, featuring Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse, Caribou and Grizzly Bear. I guess summer is more about the fauna than the flora?

Episode 20
Runs 12:10 mins

1. Just War – Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse
Links below open the iTunes Music Store:
2. She's The One – Caribou
3. Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Seen in August

1st - I Served the King of England
2nd - Breakfast on Pluto
3rd - Saxondale
4th - Saxondale
5th - Gomorrah
7th - Everything is Illuminated
8th - I Love You, Man
14th - District 9
20th - John Adams epi 1, 2
21st - Science is Fiction: 23 Films de Jean Painlevé
22nd - Breaking Bad - epi. 06, 07
24th - John Adams epi. 06
25th - Inglorious Basterds
27th - John Adams epi. 07
28th - Coraline
29th - The Hangover
30tth - Body of Lies
31st - I Like To Kill Flies

Best movies of this bunch? Probably a toss up between Coraline and District 9. Both big surprises. Inglorious Basterds would be next. I gotta say, I was surprised by I Love You, Man and The Hangover. They won't change the world but you'll laugh (as long as you see it with other people). The other recommendation would be John Adams. Another great HBO series. It lagged at times (it covers fifty years in the life of a politician so of course it lagged at times) but in general it certainly brought those historical characters to life without too many "and this is the moment when he did A, B, C, and D". In that sense it avoided feeling like a bio-pic, probably because it was a seven-part mini-series.

I almost forgot Gomorrah, a small film about organized crime in Napoli. Makes the Sopranos look like school yard bullies, compared to the initiation carried out in so matter-of-factly in this film.