Saturday, November 14, 2009


A quick blog about Remembrance Day and what it means to me and my feelings on how we celebrate it in Canada. This year it seemed more than ever there was a great focus on Remembrance Day not just the day but leading up to the day as well. I saw a number of news stories on schools that had veterans and Jewish war survivors in to talk to the students and not just High School and Junior High but grade school kids.

I saw a remarkable piece where a group of 8 – 10 year olds asked an 86 year old man who was a tank driver in WWII about his experiences. They had some amazing questions from “Where did you sleep?” to “What did you like about the war the most” It is kids at this age that have the innocence and honesty to ask questions that most of us would not ask but once they are asked think that is such a good question.

We take one day each year to honor and remember the veterans. Most people think we are honoring those who fought and died for us and that is how Remembrance Day started but now I feel it should be much more than that. It was started in 1919 by King George V to commemorate the sacrifices of the armed forces and civilians in times of war but especially WWI. It has come to signify all military personal whom have died in conflicts and a time to honor both those who have died and those who have served.

It is celebrated in a number of countries and on different days but the meaning remains the same to commemorate the men and women who defend the world against those who would take away our freedom. I live Canada one of the freest countries in the world and I feel blessed to live here and while it is not perfect I have seen allot worse in my travels around the world. I have been to 4 out of the 7 continents and see allot of countries. I wonder how many people truly understand their freedom and how easy it can be taken away and subverted and what courage it takes to stand up to tyranny when your own country does not support you.

Canada is assisting in an action in Afghanistan as I write this and every time one of those brave men and women die you hear the media bring up this survey or that study that says the majority of the people want our troops removed. I have yet to hear the widow or parents of one of these brave soldiers express anything other than how proud they were of the person who died and how much they believed in what they were doing. It is one thing for the Canadian military to spew out dogma and toe the line but it is another thing for the survivors to go on TV and say how much their loved believed in what they were doing.

I would like to have our government conduct a poll that asked how would you feel if overnight women were no longer allowed to be educated, no longer allowed to continue in their careers and even leave there homes unattended and dressed a specific way. I don’t think the results would be favorable especially from the women and yet this is what the Taliban did and the penalties for women who violated these rules were harsh including death by stoning.

I know the occupation by the Taliban and subsequent removal has much more to do with resources and political power but to me it was always about having 50% of your population losing their rights overnight and the world standing by and doing nothing. I don’t kid myself that we can solve the problems in Afghanistan but I hope we do not abandon that country.

I digress, Remembrance Day, one day and then for many of us we remove the poppy and go back to our business but all I ask is this and you know what ask is not the right word, I CHALLENGE EVERYONE WHO CHERISHES THEIR FREEDOM.

Until next Remembrance Day when you see an elderly person think about what they went through during WW2 (as most of the WW1 veterans and civilians have passed on).  Imagine a time when 70% of the young able body men were not here they were in another country fighting and dying and for those still in Canada basic necessities were rationed. If they are walking slow in the mall or maybe taking their time to park, or your behind them in line at the bank, give them that extra time, try and not to get impatient or short with them. This will not be easy for me but I am going to try.


This year more than most I cherish my freedom. I am not sure how long it will last anymore, it is not a given.

Below is a link to a web page that details 5 men who were braver and tougher than any action movie.  If you have read this far then please read about these brave individuals.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My First U2 Concert but not my Last

My First U2 concert was an event for me. I was living in Edmonton at the time and had been into U2 since the live at Red Rocks EP and then went back and bought the early albums, “Boy”, “October” and “War”. When The Unforgettable Fire came out I was speechless, here was a band that could play straight forward rock and roll with the best of them and had lyrics that were deep and meaningful as well.

I never dreamed that they would come to Edmonton because back then nobody came to Edmonton and so when I had a chance to board a plane to see them in Vancouver, I jumped at it. I remember the feelings boarding the plane the butterflies, the excitement were they going to live up to all my dreams and expectations. I arrived at B.C. place and thought I have to sit through these boring opening acts.

I still remember The Bodeans and Los Lobos and they were very good preparing the crowd for U2. I had not heard of The Bodeans but Los Lobos had the hit la bamba so I knew a few of their songs.

Then the moment came, when the lights dimmed, the crowd went crazy and I am not ashamed to say I had a few tears in my eyes, there they were those 4 boys from Dublin and from the first chords of Where the Streets have no Name the crowd was mesmerized. This was to be the first of many U2 concerts for me (the count sits at 19) but this was the first and the most special.

I watched as they went through there remarkable array of material from The Unforgettable Fire to In God’s Country through to a blistering version of Bad prequel by a cover of Beatles Help. U2 were on their game this night both passionate and angry as this concert was only days after the Enniskillen bombing in their home country of Ireland. To hear Bono, talk about the bombing you could hear the anguish and frustration in his voice over a country torn apart that he loved so much.

The band ended the main set tearing through New Year’s Day and Pride and left the stage with the crowd singing and cheering for more. They did not have to wait long as the band came back for a scorching version of Bullet the Blue Sky and then proceeding into an emotional version of With or Without You. The concert ended with U2 playing 40. The crowd was singing in unison with the band and then Bono left and the band played on with the crowd singing and then The Edge walked off and still the rhythm section of Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. played on with the crowd and then Adam walked off. The crowd sang on to the beat of Larry’s drums and finally Larry left and there was 50,000 plus singing away “How Long to sing this song” and it was minutes before the crowd realized they were on their own.

I don’t if U2 were even still close to the stage or back stage to hear the thunderous roar that went up from the crowd when we realized we had been part of something special. I have seen them many times since then but nothing will erase my first U2 concert.

My next review will be the U2 concert that inspired me to buy a ticket to next nights show immediately after the one I had just seen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cocaine the Drug the Goverment will Save you From

Cocaine the Drug the Government will Save you From

I live in Canada and we have 1000’s of homeless people and if you count people living below the poverty line the number is in the millions. The Canadian government in there infinite wisdom has decided to help these people by how, let me think

I will get to that but first let me digress

Fact 1 Cocaine is illegal

Fact 2 Taking cocaine can kill you

Now in the last year or so a number of people have gotten sick and even a couple of deaths from tainted cocaine. Now let me think how is cocaine refined in a government controlled laboratory that is monitored and inspected. I don’t think so.

Fact 3 Drug Dealers want to get you addicted

Fact 4 Drug Dealers want to make money

Now back to the Canadian government, what are they doing to help the working poor and homeless well not enough but they are spending money to make sure the cocaine users are warned about poisonous cocaine.

Let me think does this mean there is non-poisonous cocaine that is good for you. If any government officials read this:


We already tell people cocaine is bad, don’t spend any money telling them that it is poinsonous and bad, seems kind of redundant doesn’t it.





Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nobel Prizes and the half white President

I don't know if everyone is aware that there are 6 Nobel prizes, Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Economic science and Medicine. I know everyone heard that the half white president was given the Nobel Peace Prize which in my opinion is about the biggest farce I have ever heard.

Let me give you quotes from the Nobel Prize web site for the last 2 winners

2008 winner Marti Ahtisaari

"for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts"

They are talking about more than 3 decades of peace work that is 30 years, sounds like he has dedicated his life to peace, a suitable candidate I think.

2007 Winner IPCC

"for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"

An entire international group devoted to helping the planet.

2009 Barack Obama

"for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples"

In 2007 and 2008 leading up to receiving the award what were these people doing, working towards there goals, in the case of Mr. Ahtisaari he had been doing this for many years. What was Barack doing, was he working towards to world peace, eliminating nuclear weapons, reducing his carbon footprint, no he was spending millions on a carefully orchestrated political campaign to become president. Telling Americans exactly what they want to hear to get elected and then now that he is elected has he been the savior everyone figured he would be, NO

Will he eliminate nuclear weapons world wide, only a fool would believe that is possible and if it were what would we do with all the weapons grade plutonium and uranium? I know there are lots of militant groups who would love get ahold of some.

If Barack were to accomplish peace between Israel and the Palestinians which I feel will never happen because there are 2 many militants on both sides, but if it were to happen during his term, does this mean all the efforts of both of the Bush’s, the work Bill Clinton did and all of Jimmy Carter’s work had no impact.

The Nobel Peace Prize has just been cheapened, it is suppose to be about accomplishments not wishes and promises, you know what they say The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


PS I will wait for the Secret Service to find me now and take me away to a re-education camp :D

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Idiots at Movie Theatres

OK, I am going to rant about people at movies who use their phones. I went to a movie tonight and the tickets were free as a friend won them so I should not complain but I am sorry an idiot is an idiot regardless of the circumstances.

It took years for people to stop talking on their cell phones during movies and some still do and usually they are told to shut the bleep up quickly. Now we have everyone texting and for some reason people think opening there phone in the dark and the light from their phone and beeping of the incoming message is OK. I know there are some people who say it is only for a few seconds what does it matter.

I am tempted to carry a small mag light with me and every time someone opens there phone to text walk over shine the light right into there eyes for like 5 seconds and say it's only a few seconds what does it matter.

If your life is so important that you can't stop texting for 2 hours during a movie then maybe you shouldn't be there. If your wife's water breaks while your at the movie here is a friggin hint moron you should not have been at the movie in the first place.

It is too bad that our economy does not have the resources for movie theatres to have ushers monitor the theatres during the movies but even that wouldn't help because people are so arrogant today they would just tell the usher it is there right to text. I wonder if it is my right to use a laser pointer while there texting to annoy them.

OK I am done but 20 years from now when there are no movie theatres anymore and your watching your movie at home then everyone can talk and text and do what ever they wish.


Friday, September 18, 2009

TIFF Ratings and Mini-Reviews

OK, so I have been asked to provide ratings and mini reviews for the movies I saw at TIFF 2009. I will do this on a day by Day basis as I saw them.

I have no idea who will be reading these but should say a few things about me so you know what kinds of movies I like. I am a horror film fan and do not like comedies for the most part and when I do like a comedy it is usually a darker comedy. I do like romance movies though which I know does not make any sense, I loved The Lake House and Leaving Las Vegas to me was a truly romantic movie.

If after the above you want to go some where else for movie reviews and opinions I understand. I do try and look for the good in all the movies I review.

The ratings will be on following scale
0 - never see run from room if ever shown
1 - watch it only if tied down in Clockwork Orange chair or promised pleasures of 72 virgins once completed watching it
2 - OK you have a dentist appointment for a root canal or you can watch this movie well need I say anymore
3 -
4 -
5 -
6 -
7 -
8 -
9 - if you see it on TV while you are just passing by you stop and watch it loosing yourself in the movie
10 - you must own the DVD even if means you have fight a zombie for a copy or even worse a angry boxing day crowd at Wal-Mart(aka the devil)
11 - most awesome movie ever made on par with such classics as Blade Runner, Sound of Music and Dawn of the Dead 1979 version

Thursday September 10

Jennifer's Body
Rating 4.5

This movie was a hugely hyped horror movie starring Megan Fox, written by Diablo Cody writer of Juno and it turned out to be a big disappointment. Predictable horror movie which couldn't decide whether it was HORROR-comedy or COMEDY-horror and turned out to be neither.

Friday September 11 Happy Birthday to my daughter Cassie

Movie 1
Rating 7.0

A very well made period piece about Charles Darwin and the authoring of Origin of the Species. The movie focuses on the relationship between Charles Darwin and his wife and the actual writing of the book rather than the whole controversy at the time about the book that quote "killed God". I recommend this movie to people who enjoy period pieces and enjoy great stories and good acting.

Movie 2
The Informant
Rating 5.0

The latest from Steven Sodenbergh was greeted by all with a big love fest and while the director and stars were there I try and judge the movie on its merits not who is there. This movie is basically a one joke movie and the joke is told well but still after hearing essentially the same joke 10 or more times it gets a little tiresome. The movie is shot as if it were set in the 70's which they never explain and it seems there is not an intelligent character in the entire movie and it is suppose to be base on a true story. It may do well at the box office due to Matt Damon and Steven Sodenbergh but I did not enjoy this movie and did not find it all that funny.

Movie 3
Rating 9.0

Midnight Madness 2nd movie lives up to the title of Midnight Madness, it is the future and the world has been over run by vampires due to a plaque like illness that turns most people into blood suckers. The latest movie from the Spierig twins who brought Undead to TIFF in 2003 and like it this does not disappoint, a great story, lot's of gore and brilliant performances from Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neil. A must for all vampire fans.

Saturday September 12

Movie 1
Rating 6.0

Lars von Trier is back with another controversial movie, Antichrist which deals with guilt and grief in a way only Lars von Trier can. Well acted and did not deserve the hype about the gratuitous violence as this detracts from the point of the movie. If your fan of Lars von Trier you will enjoy this movie.

Movie 2
City of Life and Death
Rating 6.0

A Chinese movie dealing with the defeat and occupation of the then Chinese capital of Nan King. The Japanese occupied Nan King and slaughtered over 300,000 people most civilians and the movie does not hold back on the violence and brutality. Not for the squeamish but well made and acted but disturbing even for hardcore movie fan such as myself.

Movie 3
Hugh Hefner, Playboy, Activist and Rebel
Rating 8.0

My 1st documentary of TIFF and what better subject than Hugh Hefner. This movie was made by a Canadian woman and focused on Hugh's battles with the government over 1st amendment issues, his fight for woman's issues and through his love of music and comedy broke down race barriers. Hugh was there and as classy as ever even when asked an inappropriate question from a member of the audience.

Movie 4
Survival of the Dead
Rating 7.0

George A. Romero is back with his latest zombie movie and George was in attendance at the screening which was nice. The movie was not one of George's best movies and was more a horror comedy than a scary zombie movie. The movie had some good kills but the story was very simplistic and did not have many scares.

Sunday September 13

Movie 1
Beautiful Kate
Rating 6.2

Rachel Ward directs her 1st movie set in the Australian outback. A family drama about a 40 year old son coming home to see his dying father and younger sister, and to deal with outstanding family issues. This movie is shot in a style that is popular right now using flashbacks and like most Aussie movie uses the scenery and starkness of the isolation as a character.

Movie 2
Dorian Grey
Rating 7.0

The story of the portrait of Dorian Grey retold from the perspective of Dorian Grey and not so much from the point of view of Henry Wotton. The movie deals with one mans corruption and the question being if one were not to grow old would one delve into pleasures and desires one would normally not delve into.

Movie 3
Under the Mountain
Rating 8.0

A new movie from director Jonathan King who brought us Black Sheep to TIFF in 2006. This new movie is based on a famous New Zealand kids book and deals with twins and how they save the world from alien creatures who plan on conquering the world. This is a more intelligent, more creative young adults movie than Harry Potter could ever be but maybe I am bias because I do love New Zealand.

Movie 4
Capitalism - A Love Story
Rating 5.5

A new movie from director Michael Moore about the very thing that made him rich Capitalism which is kind of ironic. In this documentary which is shot in typical Michael Moore fashion, using quick cuts, half truths and never following 1 or 2 subjects through with background and follow up. I found the movie to be quite hypocritical in the fact even when he finds a business that has adapted in these tough economic times he makes it seem like a bad thing.

Movie 5
The Loved Ones
Rating 8.0

A new director debuts his movie at Midnight Madness and it was awesome, exactly what this program is all about. The movie is about a boy grieving over the death of his father and after he is abducted by people unknown it is sense of loss that helps him deal with what happens to him. This movie mixes the creepiness of Saw with the torture porn of Hostel and throws in some Pretty in Pink just for added weirdness. I highly recommend this movie to all lovers of horror and thriller movies.

Monday September 14

Movie 1
Whip It
Rating 7.8

Drew Berrymore directs her 1st movie starring Ellen Page the star of Juno as a unhappy high school senior whose mother is pushing her into the beauty pageant arena. Bliss (Ellen Page) finds roller derby and it is love at first site and the movie then follows a standard formula girl finds roller derby girl looses roller derby then girl gets roller derby back. It is written, acted and directed well and should do very well at the box office.

Movie 2
The Road
Rating 7.7

You know people say always read the book first and the book is always better than the movie well in this case the movie has inspired me to read the book. The Road is a post-apocalyptic movie starring Viggo Mortensen as a father traveling across America to find sanctuary for his young son. Together they face death at every turn and with only 2 bullets left in their gun, one reserved for each of them, the man as Viggo is credited never looses hope and never stoops to the level of some of the humans in the movie who have gone back t animal tendencies.

Movie 3
The Invention of Lying
Rating 5.8

Last year I came to TIFF and had tickets to Ghost Town and everyone raved about Ricky Gervais and I had never heard of him (don't watch much TV). This year The Invention of Lying sounded interesting and it started off very good. A world where no one can lie seems like a world that would be humorous to visit and it was. An interesting concept and when Ricky Gervais develops the ability to lie the movie moves to a darker comedy and I liked it. I will see it again to hear more of the jokes I missed due to the hee hawing of people laughing too much. People you can laugh quietly at the movie and enjoy the jokes you don't have to make sure everyone in the next city can hear you so you prove to your date and friends you got the joke.

Movie 4
Bitch Slap
Rating 6.3

A movie that was a homage to Russ Meyers movies from the 60's with large breasted tough women who played the mans game and played it well. This movie was marketed by these ladies who were at MM previous nights handing out swag for their movie and it paid off with a packed house and the lovely ladies were there. The movie itself was enjoyable and well made by the producers of Hercules and Xena, simple concept of 3 femme fatales looking for $20 million in diamonds to steal them. The movie moves well and the femme fatales in question do not even get naked other than loads of cleavage which again is a homage to Russ Meyers as his movies did not have allot of nudity.

Tuesday September 15

Movie 1
The Jones
Rating 8.5

A great concept for a movie that reminded me of American Beauty as examines our society and makes you think. Demi Moore and David Duchovny star as parents of the typical nuclear family that moves into a very nice neighbourhood with there 2 teenage kids a boy and a girl. They immediately fit into the community and appear to be a happy family with no issues but as we begin to look behind the layers not all is at it seems. I highly recommend this movie to all who are looking for a refreshing movie with an original idea.

Movie 2
Rating 7.5

Atom Egoyan's latest which is a re-interpretation/remake of a French film Nathaniel from 2003. This was a great movie starring Amanda Seyfried as an escort Chloe who is hired to try and seduce Catherine (Juianne Moore's) husband David (Liam Neeson) and report back on her liaisons. I think Amanda Seyfried has a great career ahead of her and she is not afraid to take chances which is a good thing. The movie was shot in Toronto and is set in Toronto which makes the movie even more appealing.

Movie 3
Rating 8.5

A documentary about Rachel Scdoris who competes in the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska. The race is over 1000 miles over the frozen tundra and what makes the fact Rachel competes incredible is the fact she is legally blind. The cinematography is quite spectacular showing the bleakness and harshness of the Alaskan landscape. I will be keeping track of Rachel's progress as I think anyone completing the Iditarod is a feat let alone someone who is legally blind.

Movie 4
[REC] 2
Rating 7.3

Midnight Madness has its 1st sequel and it is a good one. In 2007 we had [REC] which was a Spanish film about a reporter who follows a fire crew and ends up trapped in an apartment building due to an outbreak of a strange virus. The sequel literally picks up 15 minutes after the first movie ends with a SWAT team entering the apartment building to find out what has happened. The movie has many thrills, and chills with a nice mix of gore and plain scariness to satisfy most horror fans.

Wednesday September 16 U2 Concert #1

Movie 1
The Front Line
Rating 6.5

Early morning Italian movie about a terrorist/revolutionary group called La Prima Linea which translates to the Front Line who staged kidnappings, bombings and eventually political assassinations during the 70's and 80's. The movie is a glimpse inside the organization through the eyes of one man who falls in love with another leading female member. The movie shows how "The Front Line" changed from a group supported by the people to a group who was reviled by the people. Can love flourish in a terrorist organization, this movie would have you believe yes. A good movie which will be on IFC before the end of the year I am guessing.

Movie 2
Mother and Child
Rating 7.0

This was one of those movies when I started watching I said maybe this too much of a chick flick for guys. The entire movie was a series of female characters for the most part revolving around motherhood, birthing, raising, etc. A mother gives up her daughter for adoption when she gives birth at 14 and flash forward 37 years to a bitter lonely woman who lives each day with regret unaware that her adopted daughter is close. Meanwhile a family with a wife unable to have children are trying to adopt and finding the road not easy. These there story lines intersect with humor, heartache and everyday life. I could have cornered the market on Kleenex at this movie and yes I even had something in my eye at on point.

Movie 3
The Glorious 39
Rating 6.8

This movie was not what I thought it was going to be, set in England in 1939 the last summer before Europe goes to war. It centers around the family of a British MP and his 3 children 2 natural born and 1 adopted and there life's. The movie starts as a light examination of there summer but soon changes as some secrets are discovered around the government and there secret dealings with Hitler. The movie changes into a darker espionage type movie with people not being what they seem. I would like to see it again to fully judge it.

U2 Concert at Rogers Center aka Skydome

This was the first of 2 U2 concerts for me and was looking forward to it allot. I had not seen U2 since there Elevation tour and so was curious to hear new songs and see if they had lost any of there energy. The band it the stage and were playing well and doing there best to get the crowd into it but unfortunately the crowd was quite subdued and could not be elevated above polite applause most of the concert.

There were brief moments like when the band went into Beautiful Day or Sunday Bloody Sunday when the crowd seemed to come to life but they could never sustain the momentum and the crowd would slump back to there seats and sit on their hands.

The concert ended on a high note but by this time Carmen and I had moved so we could rock a little more and not feel out of place. Not the best U2 concert I have seen but there is no such thing as a bad U2 concert.

Thursday September 17 U2 Concert #2

Movie 1
The Dammed United
Rating 7.5

Brian Clough arguably England's greatest football manager still to this date. This movie focuses on his 44 day term as manager of his arch rival Leeds and what went wrong and what went right if anything. This movie is well written, well acted and has a great story and when it is released in the US it will tank most likely because yanks won't empathize with a British football movie. I am hopeful Canadians will take it to there hearts as it is a great movie.

Movie 2
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Rating 6.5

Pippa Lee, the young wife of an aging publisher moves with him to a retirement community and appears for all as the perfect wife with her aging but sophisticated husband. This is the setting of Rebbeca Miller's new movie and we see Pippa's life start to unravel in this seemingly idyllic life which is not as it seems. The movie examines relationships and focuses on the younger woman with a much older man when the man is in his twilight and the woman is still trying to find her place in this world.

Movie 3
Rating 8.5

A Korean gangster film beautifully shot on location in Macao and Hong Kong. The movie opens with the murder of a husband, wife and 2 young children in Macao and then the arrival of a mysterious french man. The woman is his daughter and she is alive and provides the barest of clues which sets the man on his quest for Vengeance, no one does Vengeance like the Koreans. This is a beautifully shot movie on location in the far east and I do not want to give away too much other than there is Vengeance and some interesting plot twists.

U2 Concert #2 at Rogers Center aka Skydome

The second of 2 U2 concerts for me and this one did not disappoint, if Wednesday was full of all the pretty people and corporate giveaways tonites show was the die hards and the people who paid hard earned money for their tickets. From the opening drum beat by Larry Mullen jr you could sense a change, everyone was on their feet and I mean everyone. The show rocked from start to finish and the band could feel it. It did not matter if it was a new song like Unknown Caller or Vertigo or even an old favorite like New Years day the crowd showed there support.

While the band did not play Pride for a 3rd night in a row a first since Pride was recorded back in the 80's the band did play Mysterious Ways the first time this song had been played on the current tour. The show was enthusiastic and energetic and my only regret was that my friend Carmen did not see U2 at there best.

The show ended almost 20 minutes later than the previous night show which indicates how much fun the band was having this night. This was what a U2 concert is all about the ability to turn a 50,000 seat stadium into the intimate atmosphere of a club.

Friday September 18

Movie 1
Love & Other Impossible Pursuits
Rating 6.5

Natalie Portman stars as Emilia a legal secretary who starts an affair with her boss and eventually leads to the breakup of his marriage. The movie deals with relationships and how communication and honesty effects peoples perceptions of each other and how communication can help work through pain of loss. The movie is set in New York and could only work in New York as it really is a New York movie. I enjoyed this movie but not sure if Natalie Portman is ready yet to be a leading lady.

Movie 2
Samson & Delilah
Rating 6.0

An Australian movie set in the outback about 2 young adults. Samson, is a glue sniffing lay about who does nothing but get high and waste his life away. Delilah is an industrious girl who spends her days tending to her grandmother and helping her with her aboriginal art. Samson decides one day that he wishes to be part of Delilah's life whether she wants it or not. The two of them face loss and much hardship in there lives and the movie does not hold back showing the bleakness of there life as they try and fit in a world without many of the life skills we take for granted.

Movie 3
The Boys are Back
Rating 6.5

Clive Owen gets to stretch his acting chops somewhat in this movie. A father who spent a great deal of time working on the road has a young son and loving wife has his world turned up side down when tragedy strikes. His parenting role changes and and he adopts a simple rule when is comes to raising his son "Just Say Yes" and by living by this causes him to be judged by some, condemned by others. This movie is based on a true story and I think most people will enjoy it.

Saturday September 19 Last Day of the Festival

Movie 1
The Unloved
Rating 7.5

Samantha Morton star of movies such as Elizabeth the Golden Age and In America writes and directs this movie which is a British TV movie getting a theatrical release. The movie shows the British child welfare system from the eyes of Lucy an 11 year old who is taken from her abusive father. She is placed in a group home and we see what life is like for a girl abandoned and she finds solace in god and never looses faith that her life will be better. Samantha Morton spent most of her childhood in the social system and still does her best to bring the plight of children to light.

Movie 2
Mall Girls
Rating 6.0

Some have called this the Polish 13 and in some ways it is just that but it can also be taken on a different level all together. A 14 year old girl moves with her family from the country to a big city in Poland and she finds to fit in with a hip crowd she will have to sacrifice her morals. What will she do, to fit in and what I find interesting is how the movie shows how western culture was not just introduced to Eastern Europe but almost rammed down their throats. They went from almost living on the poverty line to all of a sudden everything that they were told was evil it is all there for the consuming. At what cost?

Movie 3
Mr. Nobody
Rating 9.1

Probably my favorite movie of the festival and can’t really explain why. The movie was a weird flashback, science fiction movie set in the future. In 2092 no one gets old, dues to stem cell research but there is one man who is still dying from a natural death. His deathwatch has become the biggest rated TV show and the movie shows his life in flashbacks but the way it is done is what makes this movie and incredible journey. A must see for film viewers who enjoy and intelligent movie that does not spoon feed the story.

Movie 4
The Disappreance of Alice Creed
Rating 5.8

Another movie from a first time director, J Blakeson who has a history of being a screenwriter, The disappearance of Alice Creed starts as a standard crime drama/thriller. I also expect a little more from a screen writer turned director as they should know how to write for an audience and this movies starts very well building up the tension and story line. The movie then shifts gears and some of the plot twists are quite evident but others are not and keep the movie interesting. The ending was a little too clichéd but overall if you enjoy crime drama/thrillers like Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels you will enjoy this.

Movie 4
Ong Bak 2
Rating 7.3

The last film of the festival as the closing night gala is over and all we are left with is the final midnight madness. Ong Bak 2 is not really a sequel to Ong Bak a martial arts movie which debuted at TIFF a few years ago. This movie is a very simple story of a son who wants to get revenge on a murdered mother and father, the son as a child falls in with a band of thieves and learns many styles of martial arts. The fight sequences are the really star of this movie and they do not disappoint as they are spectacular and numerous. In a nutshell, simple story but some of the best fight scenes you will ever see in a martial arts movie.

The festival ends and once the last reel ends there always seems to be an emptiness in you like “what am I going to do tomorrow”. When you get into festival mode it seems almost to become part of your life and when it is gone you feel like you have been fired from a job or finished a long journey.

If you have never done a film festival then I recommend doing it once before you die. I am not saying doing 35 movies in 10 days that is not for everyone but seeing 10 -15 movies in 10 days would be do-able for almost anyone. There are so many ways to do a festival, you could do all documentaries, or just go to see stars and not see movies, or focus on a country or director. It is an experience is all I am saying.

And from a famous movie here is a quote

“This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship”

Friday, September 11, 2009

TIFF too corporate and forgot what it is about

TIFF 09 a transitional year maybe. I have only gone to one movie and was not impressed by the number of reserved seats that first were good spots for legitimate ticket holders and second they were left empty during the screening.

Is the amount of reserved seats a monster that we have created ourselves, I am not sure how but TIFF has to find a better balance this or they will be in trouble. I have run into so many people in the lineups that are complaining how they can't get tickets to films and yet there are always empty seats. I truly do not believe the average movie goer cares if the big stars are there or not and are more interested in directors and screenwriters as it is their vision we are seeing for the most part.

I waited till I was finished with TIFF before completing this blog entry as wanted to see if things improved and they did not. I attended a number of screenings, from early morning to Visa gala screenings to 7 out of the 10 midnight madness and found the same thing a large number of reserved seats at most screenings.

The Visa galas were the worst and The Informant was the worst with at least 5 rows of prime seats reserved which just is not right. I know people will say well there are lots of corporate sponsors and such and these people should be treated appropriately and I agree.

Here are a few thoughts on the whole reserved seats and sponsors

- I have no problem with actors, directors, and producers getting reserved seats as they can be their very presence cause disruptions through no fault of their own.
- A few dignitaries from each of the major sponsors and from TIFF itself should have reserved seats as again they will need to co-ordinate and mingle with the stars

- do volunteers, production assistants, and just employees of the sponsors need reserved seats, I don't think so

I have no problem giving away free tickets but tell me shouldn't they be expected to line up with everyone who has bought there tickets. I was at a Visa screening and sitting in the balcony as that is what I prefer and there was 3 rows of seats at the front middle of the balcony reserved for Fed-Ex as they sponsored the film. 3 rows is roughly 50 -60 tickets, would it be such a hardship for them to not all sit together and to have to line up early if they waited better seats.

TIFF you need to be careful with your reserved seats as the people who buy the tickets are the ones who keep the festival going. I went to 35 movies this year and this was down from my normal 40 or so and only due to the 2 U2 concerts I attended.

TIFF keep up the good work and we will see you next year.


Monday, September 7, 2009

TADD Day 3 Movie 2 Dead Snow

Well, ask most people in line at TADD for first 2 days and all you heard was about Dead Snow the nazi zombie movie, how everyone was there to see it. I am afraid sometimes when the build up to movie is this big that the movie itself can be a let down. Well in this case the build up was totally justified, but more about that below

First as always is the Canadian short film and in this case we have Deadwalkers by director Spencer Estabrooks which basically is a zombie western. This short moved well and had great special effects for such a small film. A Marshall brings 2 criminals back to small town in the west but the town is not what it appears. A great film as a pre-cursor to Dead Snow.

Now on to Tommy Wirkola's second feature after Kill Buljo: The Movie which was a Norwegian parody of Kill Bill and now Tommy has moved on to nazi zombie genre. It should be noted that all of Tommy Wirkola's movies, are co-written by himself and Stig Frode Henriksen who also stars in them. This movie was the first sell out of TADD and was zombie appreciation night and the crowd was full of zombies and hard core horror fans. This was a crowd that would have eaten a bad movie to pieces but they had nothing to worry about, Dead Snow delivered in zombies and gore, plenty of both.

A group of friends fresh from medical school decides to go to one of there parents cabin up in the mountains for some winter fun instead of flying to somewhere warm. Tommy Wirkola has all the horror cliches as we have 2 couples, 1 single extremely hot slutty chick, the overweight movie nerd and the quiet cool guy but that is where the stereo types end.

When they get to the cabin, there host is nowhere to be found so her boyfriend heads out to find her leaving the others on there own. Que the strange man who turns up in the dark to tell them the history of the area and thus we know what we are in for. At this point the movie nerd heads to the outhouse for a crap, have to love outhouses in horror flicks and while he is there, it turns out the slutty chick is a movie nerd after all.

Can anyone say outhouse sex and more and from there the mayhem ensues. In the genre of nazi zombie movies Dead Snow will live on as one of the classics. Where else will you see a person get attacked by a zombie but instead of being bitten he bites the zombie and ends up hanging from a cliff by well you will have to see the movie.

Rest assured this movie has everything from decapitations, liberal use of a chainsaw, and much more. It is obvious that Tommy Wirkola has a great love of horror movies and the zombie genre in particular. The story is simple but effective and for a change the characters understand what they are up against and instead of just admitting defeat they fight back and fight back hardcore.

I don't like giving away too much of the story as I have read far too many reviews that tell you exactly what is going on. This movie grabs you and does not let you go and mixes humor well with horror and gore. I look forward to Tommy Wirkola's next film to see what genre he will tackle next.

So far the high point of TADD and all the fans left feeling like the hype and build up was worth it.

Enjoy you zombie fans and here is the link for the trailer


Saturday, September 5, 2009

TADD Day 3 International Short Films

It is day three of the festival and my daughter and I went to the International short films without our 2 Torontonians in tow as they decided to skip the shorts. I personally love short films because even if they are not very good they are not very long so you don't have much to sit through.

I am going to just a quick review of each as chances of seeing them are slim for most people reading this.

When It Will be Silent (Israel) director Dan Sachar
This short was profoundly affecting and there was not a single word spoken throughout the 7 minutes but the message it conveyed was strangely powerful. A man the body of a woman and what transpires is both riveting and intriguing.

Die Schneider Krankheit (Spain) director Javier Chillon
This was my favorite and for an 11 minute film it was like a mini epic. I love the fact the entire movie was shown as a black & white newsreel vintage from the 50's when people got there news before movies. An epic has encompassed Germany from a space capsule and how humans can cope and adapt and is it worth it.

Welgunzer (USA) director Bradford Schmidt
This was a well made film about time travel and how it can effect ones mental state and sometimes it is better to just live in ones own reality. Is it better to actually know what has happen before from many different perspectives.

The User's Guide to Imaginary Friends (Spain) director Ciro Altabas
This was a hilarious short film about imaginary friends but shot from a self-help seminar point of view. how do you keep your human interested in maintaining is or her imaginary friend as they get older. The seminar is put on by the legendary Captain Kiloton who has been an imaginary friend to Fernando for over 20 years a record.

Little Mouth to Feed (USA) director Jack Daniel Stanely
To what extents will a woman go to have a child and what would she do to keep that child healthy and alive. This little film examines these facts and for a short film was well shot and quite powerful.

The Horribly Slow Murder with the Extremely Inefficent Weapon (USA) director Richard Gale
This movie was hyped as a really cool funny horror satire but I found it really disappointing and boring. The concept was not even that new and seemed to go on and on and had no real ending. Sorry this did nothing for me.

Santa: The Facist Years (USA) director Bill Plympton
Now this was a hilarious animated news reel type short about how Santa was a bad evil monster before he became the Santa we know. Hint, Santa never fight a battle in the summer with your storm troopin snowman :)

X-Mess Detritus (USA) director Voltaire
This was just a messed up short film with no real point in my opinion. It really is not even worth reviewing.

Zombie Zombie (France) director Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann
A homage to The Thing using GI-Joe dolls, well made but was too typical and had no special effects to say. It was well made from a technical point of view with the stop motion and GI-Joe dolls but did really over whelm me.

King of Power 4 Billion % (Australia) director Paul Roberston
This was just a video game gone horribly wrong with absolutely no point. This was the last short and everyone left going what the fuck was that. Not a good short to end on.

Overall the shorts were well made and fun to watch, as I have said even if the short is poorly made, it is only 15 - 20 minutes long at most.

I found a couple of trailers of some of the shorts

Here is a trailer for Die Schneider Krankheit;jsessionid=6B62EBCAB46223D1982EEAA9A6C9312F

And a trailer for When it will be Silent


Friday, September 4, 2009

TADD Day 3 Movie 1 The Warlords

I know India makes the most movies of any of the major movie making countries, and I must say quantity is not always the quality, behind India we have good old North America Hollywood with their movies being churned out. Asian makes its share of movies and for a population of over 2 billion people the make very few movies per capita but every once in awhile a movie comes along that you wish everyone would see, "The Warlords" is one of these movies.

First the Canadian short film which in this case is Zero by Jace Junggru Kim which was an entertaining animated film about vengeance and can vengeance ever be stopped and if it can't would this ultimately be the end of the universe. It fit well with the feature we were about to watch.

The Warlords a movie my daughter was less than thrilled about viewing and I told her just watch the first 15 minutes and if she didn't like it then she could leave and shop. Well from the opening scene she was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Jet-Li from the "Hero" and "Fearless" teams up with Andy Lau of the "Infernal Affairs" and "House of the Flying Daggers" and Takeshi Kaneshiro of the "House of the Flying Daggers" for an epic movie based on actual historical accounts of Chinese history. This is becoming a trend in Chinese movies, basing movies on actual historical events and in this case it works well.

Jet Li portrays Pang, a Chinese soldier who falls in with 2 brothers who have any army of thieves and after some persuasion Pang convinces them to join the regular Chinese army. Under Pang's leadership they are successful in campaign after campaign until they are becoming somewhat of a political embarrassment to a rival general. The movie does not hold back on the battle scenes and they are shot with graphic violence and grand scale of battle.

It is a nice change to see action stars given the opportunity to stretch their acting skills and all three leads in this movie do that showing a range of talent and that is what makes this movie so much more than just an action movie. In the end it shows how politicians, control countries and how even the most idealistic of people can be corrupted. The violence in this movie is brutal but is only a small part of the movie and the premise of the movie is the strength of bonds between friends and brothers and weighing that against the good of the many.

This is a movie that I highly recommend to everyone and the real shame is it will most likely never get a wide distribution deal. The story goes that shortly after the film was completed the director and producer got into a huge argument and each are blocking the other from a major release of the movie.

A true shame.

Here is the link to the trailer and if you get a chance check out The Warlords


TADD Day 2 Movie 4 Embodiment of Evil

Return of Coffin Joe, these words are all that would be needed to bring most gore hounds around interested and curious. Coffin Joe star of such movies as At Midnight I take Your Soul and Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver is back in a new movie. This is a Brazilian movie and is being screened at the festival for the first time in Toronto. It has been 30 years since the last coffin joe movie and this was due to the director/star being ill and not able to make movies.

But first the Canadian short "The Killer Bra" and in attendance was the director and one of the stars. The Killer Bra was a silly over long short about a bra that was possessed by the dead soul of the girl who died trying to buy it. The only redeeming factor was some naked breasts but even that did not make up for a horrible script and bad filming.

So again I was going into the feature with a bad feeling as the short film had left me with a sallow wanting feeling. The movie opens with coffin joe being released from prison after 30 years and he looks as though he has not aged at all. All coffin joe wants is to find the perfect woman to give birth to the perfect child, and is that so bad well if your coffin joe the way you go about is not the best.

This movie was hyped to be extremely violent and gross and in my opinion did not disappoint. From the moment coffin joe is released from prison and met by his faithful sidekick who has recruited a new legion of followers the movie continues along the same line as the previous coffin joe movies.

The movie moves at a good pace and between torture scenes, mutilations, and coffin joe seeing ghosts of past victims it keeps the viewer entertained. This is a movie for hardcore horror fans and fans of the previous coffin joe movies will enjoy this one.

The ending of this movie was very well done and unlike other movies where you wonder whether there will be a sequel this movie screams for a sequel and I hope the director is well enough to make another movie.

I recommend this to all coffin joe fans.

Here is the trailer for the movie


TADD Day 2 Movie 3 Black

We now move on to the 3rd movie of the day, a french action movie called Black which was preceded by the Canadian short "Becoming". This short film did not belong in this festival as it was did not seem to be in the genre or feel of the festival and the crowd did not enjoy it at all. The ending seemed to be mis-contrived and added just to make it more acceptable for the festival.

With a very poor short film I was looking forward to a good rip roaring action film that promised, lots of action, Russian Mercenaries, voodoo and giant snakes. I should have taken the warning from the short film that this was not my night as this movie started off with a almost comical action sequence that couldn't decide if it was going to be hard core action or action-comedy. Both the Parisian cops and the criminals seemed to be total inept at both hitting anything with there guns and any kind of organization.

The anti-hero of the opening sequence gets away and immediately leaves for Africa after receiving a phone call from a relative he has not seen in years. At this point I knew the movie had miles to go to live up to any expectations I might have. After narrowly escaping a massive shootout with automatic weapons and grenades he just casually leaves the country. In the mean time in Africa the easy score has changed and for some reason a tribe believes a chosen one is coming.

Are we confused yet and then before the heist is to take place his gang falls apart and we throw in an Interpol agent who just happens to be really attracted to our anti-hero. Between corrupt banking officials, the local criminal mastermind who is cohorts with a voodoo witch and some Russian mercenaries the movie just seems to go in many directions and makes no sense.

Just when it was to end you thought all of sudden, there is a tribal ritual and a "joining of the anti-hero and Interpol agent" and then a ridiculous climax and ending that makes even less sense.

Lets just say when it was finished I was like Thank God I made it to the end.

Here is the trailer and it has the best parts

I will leave it up to you but I can't recommend this film in good conscience


TADD Day 2 Movie 2 Franklyn

The second movie of the day was a British movie by first time director Gerald McMorrow which looked to be a cross between a cop film and V for Vendetta Utopian society gone bad. Prior to the screening of course was the Canadian short and this time we had Hirsute by A.J. Bond.

A quirky little short about time travel and the extents a man goes to have sex with himself. The short was view and and interesting at the same time which is one of the things I expect out of a short film, keep me entertained and also have a little story. A man has invented time travel and seems to be for the sole purpose of having sex with himself only in Canada.

Franklyn was the directorial debut of Gerald Mcmorrow who also wrote the movie and it starts in a fantasy city where not having faith in a religion is a crime. Faith plays a predominant role in this movie and one wonders how much of a role faith plays in the filmmakers life. Our hero Jonthan Preest (Ryan Reynolds) is a man with no faith who lives outside of the law and is seeking to safe a young heroine a story we have heard many times before. He must kill a man to safe a girl but will he get there in time, and without faith to believe will he be able to safe her.

The movie then jumps to modern day London and a another story begins to unfold of a father (Sam Riley) looking for his son and a woman (Eva Green) searching for acceptance by her mother. The movie then switches back and forth between these realities and the two realities are drawn closer and closer together till we know they are going to collide.

The movie is well shot and visually works quite well but as the story unfolds it becomes less and less compelling and more and more predictable. It could have been a brilliantly dark and mysterious movie but instead opted out for a pat ending. It was made with a nice flair and I enjoyed the interaction between the characters and realities that I will be watching for the next movie from Geral McMorrow if he makes another and give it a try.

The link for the trailer is below


Thursday, September 3, 2009

TADD Day 2 Movie 1 The Dark Hour

OK I know it has been some time since I posted a movie review but am going to try and be better. Day 2 of the TADD and my daughters first of 2 days with 4 movies in 1 day. The first movie The Dark Hour a Spanish film but first the Canadian short film as always before it.

The Canadian short film Under Pressure: A Story of Microscopic Stakes by Daniel Devita and it was very entertaining. An interesting little piece of film shot in what looks like a video tape feel about a Canadian family where the mother gets accidentally shrunk and this causes a major falling out until many years later when the son goes inside his disease riddled father to look for his mother with some interesting consequences. Remember this film makers name as he has a great eye and I think has a future making films.

The Dark Hour is a Spanish movie that was actually made in 2006 and has seen viewings at film festivals but has not secured a major release. The movie is a hybred of science fiction and horror centering around a group of survivors of a nuclear war living underground, scrounging for food, medication, and weapons. There are other things living below with them that only come out during The Cold Hour which is the time when the survivors have to turn off the heat and take refuge in there rooms.

There is an amusing mix of men, women and children that are thrown together from necessity rather than pre-selection. It is never explained why these people are together and what there background story is and this just adds to the dark and dreary back drop of the story. If the world were to end in a final flash of nuclear destruction lets face any survivors would be a haphazard mix of whoever was able to make to shelter.

The main premise of the movie is can children handle the reality of a harsh situation as well as adults and is it fair to shelter them or is it better to have them face reality. The movie is told from the point of view of Jesus' and his obsession with a camcorder and filming everything. The main group of survivors tries to maintain a normal life, they go about a daily routine including school lessons for Jesus and Anna. The one outcast from the main group is Judas who lives alone and entertains the kids with stories of the surface and movies from times past. The movie is very dark and builds in suspense as the groups supplies start to run out and they have to venture out into the areas of the complex controlled by the creatures.

I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys the post-apocalyptical movies but ones that are more centered around the suspense and break down of civilization as opposed to the shoot-em up ones. The ending works well with the movie and will not disappoint.

The trailer is located at the link below


Time is the enemy

I always have great intentions of writing big long blogs on things I like things that bother me and just stuff and then before you know it it is midnight and 5:30 comes really quick. I started this blog for my movie reviews and will get to them but they take time and well time is the enemy always.

I wish I could convince young people to enjoy all the time they have because as they get older it vanishes but then we want them to be responsible to. It is such a tough thing to juggle, I remember the Twilight Zone I think it was where a fella had a stop watch that would stop time when he pressed it. That would be handy.

OK enough about time as writing this blog takes time and I still want to start on a movie review tonight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Deportation of Criminals in Canada

In yet another example of how this country is more worried about being politically correct and doesn't care about the average person a convicted drug trafficker who was ordered deported in 2004 has been granted yet another stay from a federal judge.

What is it going to take to have these criminals deported quickly and permanently, I am guessing if this judge's daughter or son became addicted to crack cocaine or crystal meth from drugs provide from an immigrant his tone would change. How many changes do we give these people or do we simply say well in "their culture" drug dealing is an accepted practice and like "honor killings" we should be more tolerant.

I know if I was a convicted drug dealer in Vietnam in 2004 I would not be fighting deportation to Canada in 2009, my bones would be de-composing in the ground or I would be rotting in a Vietnamese jail.

Yes, yes know we are suppose to be a more civilized and tolerant country but tolerance only should go so far and when the welfare of good and honest "Canadians" is being threaten by drug dealing immigrants who are members of street gangs then maybe we need to stand up and say something.


Monday, August 24, 2009

TADD Day 1 Black Dynamite

Day 1 consisted of 1 movie "Black Dynamite" which was a spoof on the blacksploitation films of the 70's such as Black Belt Jones and Foxy Brown.

First there was the Canadian Short Captain Coulier (Space Explorer) and I tried to find a link to the short film but was not able. It was directed by Lyndon Casey and was a Canadian take on the Star Trek TV shows. It was able to blend a number of the shows into what can only be described as a short with a Canadian flavor but keeping with the dry wit of the Star Trek franchise, I was entertained which is what I expect from a short film.

Then on to the feature Black Dynamite. The movie was co-written and starred Michael Jai White who was the star of the ill fated Spawn movie. The movie appeared to be set in the 70's and like most blackspoitation films centered around revenge, kung fu and chicks. Black Dynamite's kid brother is murdered and this brings Black Dynamite back into the action to solve his brothers death. Was a he a drug dealer as the cops say and murdered over a drug deal gone bad or is there more here than meets the eye and what role does the social worker have in the whole scheme. The movie never tried to take itself seriously and from the Chili & Donuts stands to the hilarious scene where the black hero's figure out the "master plan" of the enemy the movie moves with a great pace. From car chases with 70's footage cut in to the Chinese to a showdown in the Whitehouse with Tricky Dick this movie never lacks for laughs and action.

I loved the action scenes and there were a number of cameo's from the likes of Arsenio Hall to a Captain Kangaroo look alike. The movie was allot of fun and for an opening night gala really set the tone for the festival. Michael Jai White, besides being a great action and comedic actor has a future as a screen writer. This movie would appeal to most movie goers but unfortunately will never see a wide release. If your looking for a fun movie then check it out.

The link for the preview is and it is worth checking out.


Toronto After Dark Day 1 TADD pre-movies

OK I know the festival is over but am going to post what I think are the best movies what I thought of the movies etc. I will also be posting links to the movie previews for the movie I review.

First a little background, TADD is in its 4th year and this year I went with my daughter and we stayed at a great Hostel called Clarence Castle. The opening night we met a couple of people from Toronto Andy and Ryan who had both attended the festival before. TADD shows, horror, sci-fi and action films as well as Asian films. These are smaller movies that would not normally get wide releases.

Andy was a great help in picking the correct seats for the movies as he had been to the Bloor Cinema before. The theatre looked to be built in the 20's with a main floor and 2 balconies, the main floor did not have much of a slope as Andy had mentioned and the best seats in his opinion were the first row in the first balcony. This gave us a nice view and no one in front of us and plenty of leg room.

Adam Lopez the festival director gave a little speech before the first movie and you could tell he was not only excited but also very much a movie lover. There would be a Canadian short film before each feature movie which I was looking forward to.

OK on the first movie and my first review but I leave you with a believe that as long as people attend movie festival like the TADD then genre movies will never die.


first blog

This will be my first blog entry and hopefully the first of many. I am just experimentin g with blogs to start