Month: February 2017

Primer

I’ve been sitting on this one a while as it is a part of one of my favourite memories. The first time I watched the amazing hidden gem, Primer,  was with my younger brother. Baffled after first viewing, we spent a couple hours online and with pens and paper trying to map out the whole thing. After that, we headed back into the living room and watched it again on the same night (while standing on an ottoman for the second half since we saw a silverfish and were too scared/ enthralled in our re-watch to deal with it).  I wish I still had the chicken scratch timeline map we’d created during watch #2.

Somewhat like Predestination, this is not a movie to watch while cruising twitter. Seriously, this is a lesson, bring a pen.

This absolutely sparking hidden gem centers around four friends attempting to build an error checking device.  In doing so, they stumble across a finite time travel with specific rules.  In doing so, everything they are is tested in front of the backdrop of “what would you do with that kind of power?”

This movie is as confusing as it is groundbreaking.  On a minimal budget with suggestions of science magic, these 4 friends embark on a journey of time travel that tests every fiber of them and their very humanity.  As these guys fit in the category of your average middle class ‘guy,’ it becomes more relatable than, say, Biff Tannen’s experience in time travel.

While this movie is an actual mindF*** (I’m looking at you, Inception), it is ultimately completely sensical and follows a specific set of rules making it reconcilable with some attention.  That’s because Shane Carruth, writer, director and star (he also composed the score), is a software engineer and mathematics major turned filmmaker.  He planned every second of this movie so well, that you’ll know it makes sense, but probably have to draw it out at least once.

While this trailer isn’t TOO spoilery, I definitely prefer that I went into this movie fresh (I didn’t even know it was about time travel for a bit).  That said, give it a glance to see the tone and vibe of it all.  It’s not the sparkling epic of your average time travel movie, it’s a much more subtle approach to the genre.  Also, if you’ve studied software engineering at all (I have in a very removed way in a philosophy course on the functions of the human mind, so I mean it when I say “at all”), you will really pick up on how those functions were important in the mapping of this flick.

Watch this one when you’re still awake enough to spend time and attention on it.  For me, that meant a 4 am re-watch standing on an ottoman.  Aka, absolute perfection in movie viewing.

Great if you liked: Predestination, Pi, Back to the Future, Inception, Moon, Interstellar, Timecrimes, Timelapse, Arq, Donnie Darko, Looper, 12 Monkeys

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Valentine’s Day Special

Happy Val Day, Sab!! (10000 points to anyone who gets that joke).

It’s Valentine’s Day.  A Day I actually kind of dig, because it means guilt free chocolate, wearing red and pink together, hearts on everything, and that there will be amazing candy sales tomorrow.  This all comes from someone who appreciates a val day completely devoid of love story.

So I know a lot of people like to pour up some wine, get some red candy and watch romantic comedies and cry.  To those, I have one question: WHY?!  I prefer to pour up a scotch and watch some action movies.  Nothing reminds you what matters more than crushing a brew and watching Arnold blow a bunch of shit up.  (Terminator 2 is still my favourite in this category, but if you haven’t seen that, log off right now and watch it and honestly, are you lost or something?)  So that in mind, I present you a list of some of my favourite Valentine’s Day movies, completely devoid of love story.

Reservoir Dogs

Listen, I probably don’t have to be the one to tell you about this Tarantino classic, but I will remind you of it’s being devoid of even so much as a stolen glance.  Reservoir Dogs should be the example of what your confusing high school English teacher meant when they said “you follow the rules of writing, then when you’re really great at it, you can break all of them.” This flick focuses on a team of crooks anonymous to each other, attempting a heist, and after turmoil, suspecting that there might be a mole in their ranks.  I love this movie for not showing us the heist, but only the aftermath, and telling the story out of order making for amazing reveals.  It’s bloody, it’s loud, it’s scary, it’s awesome.  Bonus round: note all the references to it in Breaking Bad upon a re-watch.

Dredd

This 2012 not-actually-a-sequel to Judge Dredd is everything right and everything wrong with 3D cinema.  There will never be another Sly, but Karl Urban absolutely kills it as a Judge in Dredd.  In this alternate (or a little too close to…) reality, “Judges” are the new cops and act as “Judge, Jury and Executioner.” (Or is that the tagline to The Punisher? Whatever).

This assault on the senses takes place in a tenement, which gives all sorts of The Raid vibes, where Dredd is fighting to take down Ma-Ma (a lady villain, everyone, wuddup), a drug lord distributing Slo-mo, a drug that causes people to experience reality in slow motion (cue the amazing/ terrible use of 3D).  Guys, we have a mixed-gender lead cast and no one so much as flirts.  What else do you want? #IAmTheLaw

The Usual Suspects

Don’t nobody need me to tell them about The Usual Suspects.  I am just here to remind you that this movie hasn’t even a loving peck.  This absolute giant of cinema tells the story via an interrogation of the only survivor of a boat shootout.  If you’ve seen this, you don’t need me, and if you haven’t, I’m gonna let you take care of this one yourself.

This movie is permanently cemented into pop culture for it’s incredible story telling, surprises, cast, and direction.  And there is plenty of gun fire and explosions to satiate you through blowing through that box of chocolates.

These are just a few of my favourite flicks to blow through over anything but wine.  But the list is hardly short.  What are you watching tonight?

Sadako v Kayako

So people have been all abuzz about the release of Rings, the follow up we didn’t ask for, but all kind of wanted since The Ring totally changed the game for a lot of horror fans.  I remember when The Ring was in theaters, and my entire high school told their viewing stories as if we had all survived a natural disaster.  “J Horror” (Japanese horror) had made a big splash for Western cinema fans, and sparked remakes of plenty Japanese horror giants like The Grudge, Dark Water, and One Missed Call.

Much of J Horror focuses on these black haired crawling demons, like the ones we fell in love with in The Ring.  (A lot of them live in toilets… it’s weird).  I don’t mean to brag, but for the premiere, the city of Toronto was covered with locks of black hair and the demons were creepin’ all over.

For those of you who don’t follow along with the Japanese counterparts, the demon from The Ring (or Ringu, the J original), is known as Sadako, and the demon from The Grudge (or Ju-On) is known as Kayako.  So before you go flooding the seats to see the American follow up, check out this unreal death match of your two favourite J Horror demons, Sadako v Kayako.

After two girls accidentally stumble across the legendary Sadako tape, and another upon the Kayako house, they contact a demon expert to try and rid themselves of said demons.  After some failed attempts, they conclude the best method would be to have the demons face off against each other.  That’s pretty much all you need to know.

It’s actually pretty scary and doesn’t skip any J Horror tropes, but has a full heap of that dry horror humour that J Horror does so well.  It manages to be hilarious without being too campy, and is an absolutely unreal follow up for any casual J Horror fan, even if you’ve only seen the remakes.

The promo was for a new horror streaming service called Shudder.  This isn’t an ad for it, but it’s dope and maybe if they see this, they’ll give a girl a few months free, n’am sayin?

Great if you liked: The Ring, The Grudge, Ringu, Ju-On, Freddie vs. Jason, Sinister, Insidious, Death Note, Shaun of the Dead

Equilibrium

Remember all those books you read in high school about the dystopian future? Fahrenheit 451? The Handmaid’s Tale? The Giver? 1984? All ‘dem? Now imagine someone took all of those, added pre-Batman Christian Bale, some ridiculous gun fighting and made it into a badass sci fi action flick. Boom. Equilibrium.

Don’t let writer/ director Kurt Wimmer’s tendency toward unnecessary remakes scare you, this totally original (well, save for the books mentioned above) sci fi is an absolutely wonderful self contained story line.

In the not so distant future, the government has suppressed all emotion with the mandate of preventing war via a drug to be taken at required intervals.  (The giver, anyone? #Soma).  Along with doing so, all sources of emotion are contraband and, if found, burned on site. (451, anyone?).  John Preson is a cleric tasked with maintaining the world order.  After meeting a woman who has been off her drugs, before her execution, Preston questions his emotionless lifestyle.  After slipping up, he seeks out the resistance and considers the uprising.

There was a while when ipod video was still a thing and this was the only flick I had saved on mine, so I watched it far too many times.  But with the current “rise up” climate, this one comes straight back to me.

This is a really fun take on the dystopian drama that will ease you into wanting the more heavy stuff. I just blew through V for Vendetta and am on kind of a resistance rebel kick, and this blends in seamlessly.

And side note, the whole gun fighting thing is actually pretty dope.

Great if you liked: 1984, The Giver, Batman Begins (ugh), The Prestige (also ugh, but same Bale, I guess), The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Minority Report, Gattaca