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Real Life Writes The Plot: Canadian International Documentary Festival

You know what I love most about living in Toronto? Tim Hortons.

But if you asked me if there was anything else I loved about Toronto, it would probably be that there’s always something going on. This is the first real city I’ve ever really lived in, so I’m often amazed by how spoiled for choice I am. Music, movies, art in all its myriad forms – it sometimes feels like every few weeks another big event rolls into town.

And so it is that the 2014 Canadian International Documentary festival kicks off next Thursday, the 24th of April. I’m going to catch a few docs and, if you happen to be passing through Toronto in the next couple of weeks, here are some you might want to keep your eyes on. Continue reading

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Podcast: April 8, 2014 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Conor and Katie naturally saw the latest blockbuster from Marvel Studios, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. You’ve already read the review of the comic book blockbuster; now listen as we ramble on about the movie, unemployed HYDRA agents, Robert Redford’s pimp slap and the potential for a Marvel Cinematic Universe that continues to grow and evolve.

 

Music: “The Cannery” by Kevin MacLeod

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The Super Soldier Who Came In From The Cold – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The First Avenger was a pleasant surprise to many people, though I’m not sure why. I saw the same trailers, the same cast, the same guy in the director’s chair and I knew it would be a fun movie. Though it felt rushed at times, it did the spectacular job of bringing a hero to the screen that could have gone horribly wrong. There was no jingoistic tone or flag-waving patriotic BS with the first Captain America film. Instead, it got right to the core of the character: Steve Rogers simply hated bullies and, in him, existed the real sense of what “America” could mean.

So I’m very happy to report that the sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, manages to surpass the quality of the previous movie and, in my opinion, is the best Marvel flick we’ve seen since The Avengers. Continue reading

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The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer is… definitely a trailer. Yep.

You may or may not recall, but a few months back I wrote this somewhat aggressive piece on the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I ranted about the choice of Jonathan Liebesman as director; I was certain that Michael Bay’s involvement would only result in things exploding when they shouldn’t explode; and I fumed at the notion that Splinter was being played by Danny f*cking Woodburn.

Well, this week saw the release of the first trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. William Fichtner makes some speech about creating heroes, Megan Fox keeps her pretty mouth shut and Will Arnett is definitely in this movie.

If you haven’t yet seen it, here you go. Continue reading

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Scientists Agree, the Universe Blowed Up Good

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Where was the big St. Patrick’s Day article? I get it. It’s because I’m Irish, isn’t it? Oh yeah, must be time for me to polish off my bright green bowler hat and and indulge in some good old-fashioned stereotypes!

I don’t think so.

Instead, this is the most exciting news I read on St. Patrick’s Day. A team of astronomers led by John Kovac, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have announced the discovery of the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation – in other words, the “Bang” part of the Big Bang. A trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the birth of the universe, scientists theorise that space-time expanded rapidly. Previously, the best evidence to support this idea was in the generally uniform temperature of the cosmic microwave background – the implication being that it was all the same temperature because it all came from the same place. Continue reading

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We’re not at Disneyworld anymore – Black Sails and the dark heart of piracy

Starz and Michael Bay: not a combination I had high hopes for. My general distrust of Michael Bay is no secret; after suckering me in with The Rock and Bad Boys, he proceeded to throw my hopes and dreams under a bus, then blew the bus up in an admittedly impressive fashion. I mention Bay because he is one of the executive producers on Black Sails, a show set in the world of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Set roughly twenty years before the events of the novel, it follows a young John Silver (Luke Arnold) as he joins the crew of Captain Flint and becomes embroiled in Flint’s search for a Spanish treasure galleon. Continue reading

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Michael Bay presents: Robot Jesus Vs the CIA – this week’s trailers

It’s time for another round-up of trailers that have hit our screens small and large in the last week. Because this week has seen a whole rash of long-awaited previews landing online, it’s only fair I get all snarky and stuff. Continue reading

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I Literally Cannot Stop Watching This Simpsons/Sylvain Chomet Mash-Up, You Guys

If you grew up watching The Simpsons like I did, then you’ve probably watched Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie dash to that couch of theirs hundreds of times – and you’ve probably seen all sorts of things happen when they get there. The couch gag, as it’s known, is one of those things that makes the show what it is. True, there are other programs that have wacky opening sequences, but The Simpsons has always found a way to make it clever by way of social commentary or, more recently, as a way for artists like Banksy and directors like Guillermo del Toro to put their own stamp on the show. Now there’s a new man behind the couch, so to speak, and I’m absolutely captivated by his vision.

Continue reading

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A Sweet and Sour Appetiser: Hannibal – “Kaiseki”

Damn whatever fool decided to put “Hannibal” in a Friday night death slot. It’s a show that should not logically exist, at least not on a network like America’s NBC, yet the show has proven popular enough to ensure a second season of macabre and magnificent television. But it’s obvious someone doesn’t want this show to succeed. Friday night is often the kiss of death.

Why would someone try to sabotage “Hannibal”? Well, you only have to look at the content of the show. You only need to see the “Viewer discretion is advised” message plastered all over it. “Hannibal” is not a comfortable show. It doesn’t wrap the horror of its crimes in a nice little sterile bag like “CSI” or its countless knock-offs. It does not allow you the vicarious thrill of watching the police solve the case and snag the bad guy, nor the darker thrill of the murders themselves. “Hannibal” succeeds in depicting the broken minds of the killers and cops alike. Continue reading