Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cinematically Discriminating

Lately, I have become more discriminating in my movie-going. Back in the day, I used to see any old trashy waste of celluloid that would come out. Recently, I asked myself, "Self...why?" Why should I spend all this money on movies I know will be rubbish? There have been a string of chick-fighting-baddies movies that Chris thinks is the second coming of Citizen Kane. "We have to see Underworld: Evolution/Aeon Flux/Elektra(?)/whatever-debris-of-a-film-is-playing!!!! It's the mad notes!" But no! I put my foot down. I only pay to see quality now. And it's not the money. It's the principle of the matter. The lost time. The dead brain cells. In the past 4 months, I've seen two movies at the theatre: King Kong and Walk the Line. I enjoyed them both, although one was too long and didn't have a kickin' soundtrack...I'll leave it to my sharp readership to figure out which is which.

However, I am presented with a dilemma. This dilemma can be summed up in two words: "gun" "kata".

For the uninitiated, get thee to a video store, posthaste and acquire Equilibrium. Schnell! Walk, run, hobble or pogoball it to the nearest dvd depository. In this movie, you shall learn all about the close-quarters, firearm-based martial art called gunkata. Yes, upon any reflection, it is ridiculous (see Appendix A) but on-screen, it's, dare I say, wicked awesome.

The dilemma I am faced with is this new movie called Ultraviolet (henceforth to be referred to as U/V). When I first heard of this flick, I though, "ho hum, another movie about a totalitarian future regime oppressing its people and a lone female heroine who must take them down". In this case, it's Milla Jovovich playing some sort of government enhanced super-human. Meh, right? Then I saw the trailer. It became clearer than a Terry's french fry bag to me that U/V is the progeny of Equilibrium, made by the same writer/director. (Aside: I take full credit for discovering Christian Bale. Batman fans can send me fruit baskets c/o Gameloft, 5800 St-Denis). It appears that there is some sort of gunkata in U/V. So what to do? Loyal readers (if any) know how much I heart the gat-kata.

My gut tells me U/V will stink worse than Mo's toilet on Super Bowl Sunday but on the other hand, it has gunkata. If I see it, it would negate months of arguments and self-deprivation. But if I don't see it, I'll miss the kata. And not just any ol' kata. Gun-friggin'-kata. What to do? See it? Wait for the dvd? *Gasp* download it? (Don't tell the MPAA, they already have a file on me). So please, Musing Nation, I need advice. Play Yoda to my Mari Amithest and give me guidance. (Too obscure? Fine, let's say Luke Skywalker, then).

My, my, my...gunkata can be a cruel mistress.





Appendix A: Gunkata: The Deadly Martial Art of Handgun Self-Defense.

Appendix B: Where's your bloody Aeon Flux now, eh Chris!? Yeah, I thought so.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

White out

As I sit here at my desk, 10 floors above the ground, I usually have a neat view looking south-westward at Mount Royal and downtown to the left of that. But right now, out the large windows spanning the length of the floor, all I see if white. No buildings, no details, just white. Seemingly out of nowhere, it began to snow...and how! Upon leaving the house this morning, there was no indication of this coming blizzard, yet here it is. Like a spider on the wall, it appeared out of seemingly nowhere.

This brings me to my point. Why would anyone settle here in the first place? It's insane. I think we can conclude that the Europeans who showed up must have arrived in the summer.

Jacques Cartier: Ah what a fine summer it is. I can only assume it will stay this warm all year! Say, what is that native saying?

Native (speaking in Iroquois): Dude, guy, you'd better have some frakin' winter parkas up in here or you'll freeze your puffy shirts off! Now, how about some of that fire water of yours?

I'm sure the settlers found out in a hurry how cold it is.

Cartier: It's going to get warmer, right? This is simply an October cold spell, correct?

Native (snickering):
Yeah, sure Jack. Say, how about more of that fire water? It really warms the blood.

When everyone died that winter, they all realized what the hell they got themselves into. The Spanish and the Brits got all the good new land down South. The French got stuck with the blighted North lands. The question is, why would people stay?

It's so cold! It's so snowy. So much snow. My god, the snow. Then you watch tv and there are actual people living in actually warm places. Living there! Can you imagine?

Although, my own observations are that the warmer the climate, the nuttier the people. Look at California and Florida! Look at the Asian subcontinent and Africa and South America. The warm weather makes people nutty. The more north you go, we have nothing better to do than stay indoors and be good half the year. When it's 30 below and snowing, there's no chance of mischief. Then, when the weather is nice, we appreciate it so much that we just try to enjoy ourselves. Other places are spoiled and the heat cooks brains.

All that being said, I want to go someplace warm. Sigh...I need a vacation.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Musings on an overheard Grammy Broadcast

I have a policy of not watching music awards shows anymore. They're usually vapid and give awards to the most undeserving "artists". This is a symptom of the larger problem that general tastes of the masses are awful, compounded with the recent payola scandal (where music companies bribed thousands of radio stations into playing songs that otherwise would probably not be hits). Anyway, specifically, I refuse to watch the Grammy Awards for one single reason: Mariah Carey. I loathe her. She's a dimwitted celebrity whose best days are way behind her. Yet she's still there, wailing a variation on the same song for 15+ years now. Enough! Mariah, you're dead to me.

Keeping with the Grammy theme, I was in my room while my mother was watching the telecast in the other room and I heard U2 come on and start playing. Mo will come on this site and be a hater, posting a bunch of hater comments but say what you will, "One" is a brilliant song, probably U2's best. So I overhear Bono singing and he's doing as he always does...then everything goes wrong. Suddenly, there's some woman wailing and emoting on a microphone, "singing" along with the song. I couldn't take it and closed my door. She was awful. Later, I found out Mary J Blige did a duet on the song with Bono. Wow. I didn't realize how awful she was, or perhaps it was just that performance. Blige, you're on my watch list. If you don't mind yourself, you'll be on my outs.

What are your impressions? Do you actually listen to the music that's being pushed on us? I think the state of radio in this city is beyond garbage. I have no access to the music I like. No, instead, we get Mix 96 with the mass produced dreck they play (somehow, a song worth a damn slips through their filter). Then, you have CHOM that would be great if I was a mid-50s boomer still trying to fit into an old Led Zep concert tshirt I got 30 years ago at the Forum. Then what? Q92's soft rock? I may as well buy all seasons of Will & Grace while I'm at it. The only thing I can half listen to is 99.9 The Buzz and I can only pick that up in the car...and even then, half of what they play is way too loud and generic. Anybody who plays Aliexisonfire is not welcome. No wonder I just listen to the Team 990 all the time.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl

Last night's Super Bowl was a disappointment. The game was ho-hum, especially towards the end when Pittsburgh pulled ahead. The poor officiating also played a factor. But an un-special game is to be expected. The major disappointments were two-fold.

1) The halftime show. Boring! In past years, the Superbowl halftime show was an exercise in absolute extravagance and poor taste. All this culminated 6 years ago when 'NSYNC, Aerosmith and Britney Spears were all on the stage in a terrible mess of a train wreck. But it was a fun terrible mess of a train mess. Now we get the Stones. For all their popularity and longevity, the Stones were boring. They played a few songs and left. Nobody was into it. But it's not their fault. The NFL and the networks are all scared stupid to do anything remotely daring due to the Janet Jackson fallout.

The fact that there was such a huge deal made about the Jackson wardrobe malfunction shows America's hippocrisy on such matters but that rant is for a different time. The fact is, since then, we're treated to "safe" acts. Last year, we had Paul McCartney playing it safe and thanking the Super Bowl. This time, we get the Stones. (Isn't it ironic that people who were viewed as controversial 40 years ago are now the safe acts?) And even so, the Stones were censored for some mild language in their songs, last night.

I say bring back the k├ętaine performances. It's what we love to hate.


2) The Super Bowl commercials. They were dreadful. If you didn't see them due to Canadian feeds, go here and here. Watch them and be unimpressed. Some of the low-lights were the Hummer ad, the laaaaaame Pepsi ads and the totally embarrassing BK ad with Brooke Burke's equally embarrassing appearance. Does anyone actually believe she's ever consumed a Whoppper? Please. I'm told there's an amusing Mastercard ad with MacGyver that I didn't see and is not linked on the pages I provided above. If anybody finds that online, please post it here.

In my day, Super Bowl ads were a big thing. You'd see commercials for the latest blockbuster movies (I remember in '99, there was a preview for The Phantom Menace and The Matrix...blew my mind!) and Nike and such. Then the dot com bubble burst and the innovative ads went with them. This year, what movies did we see ads for? The Shaggy Dog remake, with Tim Allen on all fours, pretending to be canine? An ad for Poseidon, that I already saw elsewhere (and I'm not even interested in seeing?). V for Vendetta, by the Wachowski Bros., whom will never see another dime of my money anyway? Blech! Where's Michael Jordan playing ball with Looney Tunes? I've lost any faith I've had in Madison Avenue to provide entertaining ads. I know they're only commercials but the top talent at these ad agencies were supposed to create top notch ads in the most visible ad slots of the year. They receive huge salaries to come up with this? Man, I could do better.

******

Here's an update on Chris's contributions to Brokeback Mountain's box office gross. Through February 5th, it's made $59.8M. That makes Chris responsible for 0.0000184% of its gross. Let's all give Chris a hand for being progressive, open-minded and supportive of the gay community. We all knew you had it in you. I can't wait till you officiate your first gay wedding. I'll be there (not as one of the grooms, merely as a spectator, so quit whatever jokes y'all were planning to write).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Train of Fools

Taking the metro everyday, there are certain things you pick up on. One is trying to predict which car will have the fewest people in it and then waiting on the platform at the exact place where you think the doors to the most unoccupied car will open. Usually, you have to wait at the front end of the platform. It's a curious sociological phenomenon that can be described by a bell curve. Most people will come down the stairs and wait at the middle of the platform, with some stragglers moving off to both ends.

Anyway, another thing to which you get accustomed is which stops have people leaving. I get on at Bonaventure and usually do not get a seat. But then one stop down the line, at Square Victoria, there is a mini-exodus, whereupon I can park myself down and get comfortable with a book or whatnot. Then a few stops later, at Berri-UQAM, everybody clears out. It's pretty neat. By the time I get to Rosemont, there isn't much activity and I'm starting to recognize faces.

All this to say that in the few times that I still can't manage to get a seat, it's usually due to jerks. People are generally jerks but I was only familiar to bus jerks prior to being a regular metro user. I'm talking about the people who are sitting in the 2-seaters. They usually sit next to the window. Then when the person next to them leaves, the window-sitter will move outwards to the edge seat, blocking access to the window seat they were just in. Why would they do this? Don't they see people want to sit? The worst is when they actually put their bag on the empty seat. Your effin' bag is more important than me? Sometimes, I swear, I just want to grab these people from the scuffal-regions of their neck and slam them into the walls, then wrap them around the poles! But, alas, that's not a very proper reaction, unless I was Sarge from Beetle Bailey. But that's a garbage comic strip. I just hate it when they do that! And it always seems to be the same old Asian woman who does this to me and others.

Long story short, old Asian women are evil.


********


On an unrelated story, I will now calculate how much of Brokeback Mountain's box office intake was contributed to by Chris. Let's see, as of January 27th, it made $51M. Assuming Chris payed the $11 at Paramount to see it...
Chris contributed 0.00002157% of its gross. Nice! That number will perhaps rise when he sees it again a few more times, then buys the DVD, the action figures featuring genuine Brokeback hip-action as well as the "I wish I could quit you"-edition of Brokeback Trivial Pursuit. Hooray!