Saturday, December 31, 2011
I can't believe it's already the end of 2011. Here's to a happy 2012 for one and all, and a big fingers crossed that it isn't actually the year that the end times hits us. I have a pretty good feeling that we'll all be fine, and our lil' planet will still be in one piece a year from now.
Monday, December 26, 2011
My couch is filled with a ridiculous amount of clean laundry, gifts and a couple of board games to put back up on the shelf. Boxing Day is approaching it's end. I'm back home and another Christmas has come and gone. Time flew by again, as it always does for one and all. Didn't get to watch the amount of Christmas programming that I had hoped, didn't get to read as many Christmas stories as I had planned, but I did eat 50 pounds of cashews and ten dozen macaroons and a whole bunch of dinosaur shaped gingerbread cookies. I'm kinda' tired, kinda' feel like I don't have to eat again for a couple weeks, and very happy to be back able to sleep in my own bed tonight.
Then I will wake up tomorrow and go in for a shift at the Mayfair. If you are still on your holidays, and possibly with a kid or two to entertain, you should come in too. We'll be showing the original Muppet movie (Tuesday December 27th at 1pm). And if you haven't experience Kermit singing Rainbow Connection up on the big screen, amongst other great movie moments in the film, well then you my friend are missing out. Then you can come back in a couple days and see the follow up, The Great Muppet Caper (Thursday December 29th at 1pm). Both an excellent lead in to the brand new Muppet film, which will be up on the Mayfair screen before you know it.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Remember that time Optimus Prime dressed up like Santa Claus and delivered toys to all the good little boys and girls? Good times, good times. Hope those of you who celebrate the putting of a tree in your living room and then sitting around it and opening boxes wrapped in brightly coloured paper to get gifts had a lovely morning. I was awoken by a rat terrier barreling down the stairs to where I slept on the floor on an air mattress and jumping me awake. She might as well have been screaming "It's Christmas!". Santa was good to me, got a giant stack of Christmas themed comics, a bunch of Blu Rays (Rocketeer, Three Amigos, Gremlins, Pee Wee on Broadway) and an insane amount of vegan approved candy. And, for the first time in forever, it's actually a snowy white Christmas outside. Take that Al Gore and your precious global warming conspiracies! If only I had gotten the life size Han in Carbonite, all my Christmas dreams would have come true. Maybe next year.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
The great human distress that was a week and a half without the interwebs is over. I know that there are greater hardships that a person can go through, but I don't think there are that many in this day and age. If I didn't have one of them there smart phones, I really would have been at a complete loss to maintain anything in the way of productive and sane member of society status. I have no idea how the world worked without the worldwide web. I lived in that world for more of my life than not, but I think I've blanked it out like someone who survived some terrible accident.
It's been a busy time of year, as I'm pretty sure it is for everyone, whether you lean towards Christmas celebrations or not. There have been many a Christmas party, social events, work and then the scrambling of trying to buy gifts and prepare for attempts at a couple days of not doing anything except receive gifts and eat food. Went to see a very kewl rendition of a pair of old The Shadow radio plays at the Gladstone Theatre, which was a nice combination of geeky, festive AND legitimate theatre!
Got an invite to attend a free hockey game. I don't follow the game at all anymore, haven't for a while, but I do enjoy free things. Plus, it was not only free but also in a corporate box, so I got to pretend to be rich for the evening. Pretend to be rich, but still not buy the $5 cans of Coke. While there, one of my friends classmates (it was a graduation thing) started moaning and complaining about the Sens wishing everyone a Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Whenever someone bitches about the war on Christmas, all I want to do is wish them a Happy Holidays. Or pretend that I'm Jewish and offended just to mess with them. Or remind them that they are being idiots and a wish of Happy Holidays is not meant as an insult, but as a nice thing to say to one and all no matter what religious belief, nationality, choice of holiday pass-time or whatever. If you have time to fool yourself that Christmas is being harmed by the onslaught of different holidays this time of year, you are a fool. Weigh the amount of Christmas movies, TV shows, albums, decorations vs say...Hanukkah or Kwanza or anything.
Secret Santa at the Mayfair this year got me a Gizmo action figure (last year I got an R2D2 thingy, the year before an Indiana Jones costumed Mister Potato Head). I had a couple different secret screenings at the Mayfair (I've said too much!). Been prepping for 2012 at the Mayfair, which is not only the year the world will come to an end according to some, but also the theatres big 80th anniversary. January kicks off with a visit from Crispin Glover, who will host two nights of eccentric film and other media. We'll also screen two of the most requested movies since Mayfair rebooted: Beetlejuice and Pee Wee's Big Adventure, and of course a screening of Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th.
Anyhow, for now I must return to Christmas prepping. Hope everyone has a Happy everything.
Monday, December 12, 2011
A couple years ago my brother and I, along with his girlfriend of the time, were spending our Christmas Eve gorging ourselves on food and watching a Christmas classic film at my mums house. The Christmas classic was Gremlins. My brothers now ex-girlfriend wasn't a giant movie buff, and hence wasn't familiar with the movie. When we said we were going to watch a Christmas movie, she had something in mind more along the line of something like Miracle on 34th Street or It's A Wonderful Life. She did not expect a film in which a mother defends her home against mischievous little bipedal reptilian monsters with weapons of knives and a microwave. She got quite upset with us in our definition of what a Christmas film is.
Gremlins takes place at Christmas time. The Hollywood back-lot town where the film is located is covered in a blanket of wonderfully fake movie-magic snow. There's Christmas trees and Christmas carols and we all learn a valuable Christmas lesson. It's as much of a Christmas film as A Nightmare Before Christmas, Christmas Vacation, White Christmas or any numerous versions of A Christmas Carol. I daresay it is the favorite Christmas film of many a people. It's certainly right near the top of the list of requested films from Mayfair patrons over the last few years.
Gremlins was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Chris Columbus (who went on to write The Goonies and Young Sherlock Holmes for Spielberg, and direct a couple of Home Alone & Harry Potter movies), directed by Joe Dante (The Howling, The 'burbs, Matinee) and features an amazing score and an unforgettable theme song from the late great Jerry Goldsmith (L.A. Confidential, Poltergeist, Chinatown, a ton of Star Trek stuff).
And, have you ever wanted to have your very own Mogwai as a pet? Well, tonight you have two chances to win one of the fluffy little creatures thanks to our friends from Lost Marbles. If you win one though, please do remember the three rules: Keep it out of the light, don't get it wet, and no food after midnight. Very important.
Lost Marbles presents GREMLINS at the Mayfair Theatre - Monday December 12th at 8:30pm
Friday, December 09, 2011
At #78 on the IMDb worst movies of all time list sits a little holiday gem titled Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. There are tens of thousands of movies made in the past century and a bit, and a mere 77 places away from what has been deemed the worst film ever made by humans sits a movie about Santa being kidnapped my Martians so their lil' alien children can get gifts too. If that's not accolade enough for a motion picture, it also can take pride in being a film roasted by the award winning, bad movie watching geniuses at Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Some twenty years ago in the far off time of 1991, Joel and his robot friends Crow and Tom Servo were forced by their mad scientist tormentors to endure this most stunningly awful of holiday treats. Amongst other bits of hilarity, the episode gains legendary status amongst fans for containing Crow's heartfelt musical rendition of "A Patrick Swayze Christmas".
Some people don't have an appreciation of bad movies. They don't spend their free time watching films about the Sharktopus or non-sequels to Troll or anything starring Nicolas Cage from the past ten or fifteen years or so. Those people are sane and wise and we can learn from them. Film fans like myself actually go out of our way waste our precious limited time on this earth to watch bad movies of our own knowing free will. Not quite sure why we do such foolish things, but I cannot lie about how much I do enjoy a good bad movie.
Hence, despite it being terrible, I encourage you to get out to the Mayfair for a truly great awful movie experience. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians tonight (Friday December 9th at 11:30pm) and returns for a slightly earlier encore screening on Sunday (December 11th at 9:30pm).
Monday, December 05, 2011
Two posts in a row with a Christmas Carol theme.
The festive Mayfair season kicks off with Scrooged, a modern retelling of the greatest yuletide tale of all, A Christmas Carol. A 1980's version of the Charles Dickens literary masterpiece starring Bill Murray in the central role of a man who loses his soul amongst the greed and power of success. As in every version of the story ever re-imagined, the scrooge of a character is visited by ghosts of the past, present and future as the spirits attempt to teach him a valuable lesson about not being a jerk to everybody all the time.
The film features the talents of Richard Donner (the director of Superman, Goonies and Lethal Weapon), Michael Chapman (cinematographer of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull AND Space Jam!) and the musical score styling of frequent Tim Burton collaborator Danny Elfman.
As with many of the X-Mas-y themed movies we're showing in December, my harsh criticism of you if you don't like it is that you are dead inside. This thought does of course go against my view that movies are a subjective and not objective. It's a little course on my part mayhaps, but if Scrooged doesn't fill the most bah-humbug of human being with wonderful joy filled holiday feelings, there might be something wrong with you.
See Scrooged tonight (Monday December 5th at 9:30pm) at the Mayfair, and if you miss that you have a matinee second chance (Sunday December 11th at 1pm).
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Happy December! I blinked and realized that it's been over a couple weeks since my last posting here. I totally dropped the ball on writing about the last RVRG roller derby bout, various Mayfair things, my latest horribly painful round of tattooing, and that I finally finished reading all the premier issues of DC Comics New 52 (Favorite: Action Comics - Worst: Hawk & Dove). I'm also working on some new comic book writings and contemplating what to do for the 2012 Painted Lips & Lolly Licks short film festival.
Well, a new month brings a new interview from (cult)ure magazine movie nerd April Yorke with myself, the resident Mayfair Theatre geek-in-chief.
This month we talk about the various awesome Christmas themed films we'll be screening, ranging from family favorites like Elf, 80's classics like Die Hard and Gremlins, and cult horror classics like Silent Night Deadly Night. I also may have been somewhat quoted as calling Disney monsters. I don't actually think that they're monsters of course, especially since PIXAR took the reigns and started fixing everything there. I'm just continually upset that they don't let their older films out of those pesky Disney vaults for repertory cinemas to play. Michael Caine is my favorite actor, Christmas Carol my favorite story, and watching the Muppet Show is perhaps my earliest memory. Hence, I'm a little upset that we can't show Muppet Christmas Carol. On the off chance that anyone from Disney reads the article I hope they don't take offense, or y'know, they understand my sadness and just let us make use of their older films.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Zap over to the CBC website and go to the 12:28 mark on Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays - episode 109. There you will bear witness to the Canadian episodic television debut of the Mayfair Theatre in all of it's small screen glory for upwards of a minute and fourty-five seconds. The Mayfair has appeared in a couple of feature films and a number of shorts already, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time it's been in a TV show. If you are a Mayfair regular, I bet you might even yell "Lee!" and point at the screen during the scene. If not a Mayfair regular, doing so might be slightly less likely a thing to do.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
For the third year running, Team Mayfair and the readers of the Ottawa X-Press have crowned the Mayfair as Best Alternative to a Multiplex Movie in the Best of Ottawa 2011 Poll.
I appreciate the Mayfair winning the category yet again. As I do every year though, I find it peculiar that a year end poll is voted upon with an early November deadline. I also wish that it just said 'Best Movie Theatre in Ottawa', something about the wording of that bothers me (as it did the last two years). I guess just because I think that the multiplex is such a horrible movie going experience more often than not. Bitching aside though, I am quite proud of the lil' accomplishment, and hope to be complaining about the wording of the category again in 2012.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
I don't know about you, but whenever I see a single shoe on the sidewalk or in the middle of the road, my instant first assumption is that someone has been shoved into the back of a trunk, and in the ensuing kidnapping struggle the person's shoe has fallen off. My girlfriend, a more logical and smarter person than I, pointed out that when I see something like that, it's likely just a shoe from a change of shoes that has fallen out of someone's back-pack. I kid you not, I never even contemplated that in all the years of thinking that seeing a singular show in the middle of the road was the result of crime.
When discussed with one of my Mayfair brethren, he not only agreed with my kidnapping theory, we also then to the leap to the conclusion that a mysteriously left behind single shoe could be the result of alien abduction. My girlfriend still went with the boring and more real world lost object theory.
The reason that this discussion came up was that on a walk to the Mayfair last night, not only did we walk past a shoe on the sidewalk, we then walked by the much more bizarre abandoned baby stroller on a street corner. Not only an abandoned baby stroller by the way, it also had an empty wine bottle in it. And that's all of the story that I know. Will never know what the hell that stroller was doing there all alone on a street corner at nine o' clock at night. Though I will of course assume that the baby was kidnapped by drunk aliens.
Monday, November 07, 2011
He fought his first battle on the Scottish Highlands in 1536. He will fight his greatest battle on the streets of New York City in 1986. His name is Connor MacLeod. He is immortal.
Tonight (Mon - Nov - 7th) at 9:45pm the mini-series of Lost Marbles 80s Nights at the Mayfair wraps up with The Highlander. There were many a sequel and spin-off to the 1986 fantastical swordplay epic, but let's just all pretend this movie is a stand-alone story and we'll all be a bit better off in the long run. The film of course features not only Sean Connery again not bothering with attempting to put on an accent that would fit his character, it also has Queen music and is from the director of geek cult classics the likes of The Shadow and Resident Evil: Extinction. And although there isn't really much in the way of Highlander merchandise floating around, Lost Marbles still managed to cobble together a couple nifty prizes to give away.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
The above sketch is titled - Batturtle will get there eventually. It is drawn by Jeff Matsuda, whom I remember from a Wolverine run written by Erik Larsen and the cartoon Jackie Chan Adventures. It has nothing to do with my Batturtle icon, but is interesting as a random something that has popped up on the internet, and then was e-mailed to me... as weird things on the interwebs have a tendency of doing. My Batturtle is a turtle / bat / pterodactyl hybrid kinda looking thing, this one here looks more like a turtle wearing a Bat costume. And not sure why he's yelling "Bruce Wayne!", kind of gives up the secret identity by doing so.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
My third in an ongoing monthly interview series about goings on at the Mayfair has been posted on the (cult)ure magazine website. Amongst other cinematic topics this month we discuss Sir Sean Connery's lack of attempts to disguise his natural accent, the genius that is Andy Serkis portraying a chimp, that I bare no ill-will towards re-makes, and that I really like baseball movies despise hating the sport itself in real life. And we concur on the thought that Highlander is amazing. Which you should too. King Kong Lives is not amazing per-say (though does have a very nice poster)...but is a very enjoyable bad midnight movie. And will make you appreciate Rise of the Planet of the Apes even more.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
The Mayfair is again nominated for 'Best Alternative to a Multiplex Movie Theatre'in the Best of Ottawa Readers Poll in the X-Press. I again appreciate the nomination, and again think the thing is worded improperly, since it makes it sound like multiplexes are a good place to go see a movie. As we all know, they are not. Anyhow, please tell all your friends and family and co-workers and enemies to go and vote for the Mayfair. Democracy!
Monday, October 31, 2011
Besides for it's Halloween theme, the TARDIS jack-o-lantern has nothing specific to do with this blog entry, I was just looking around for holiday appropriate images and thought that this one was kinda' awesome. Halloween is my favorite holiday thematically, but one that I really don't participate in in the dress-up sense. In the past few years I've gone out trick-or-treating with a couple of my lil' fake nieces, but this year they went and moved to Hawaii. So I don't even have the fake-uncle obligation of taking them door-to-door and carrying their candy bags for them anymore.
What I do like about this time of year is scary movies, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror episodes, the Thriller music video, monster comics and candy. All of which I have taken part in today or will take part in. Though to be fair, I take part in all of those things fairly often on any given day of the year whether it be October 31st or not.
The Mayfair is showing a one two punch of The Rocky Horror Picture show of course, so I made a rare trip out to the multiplex that I've grown to be so displeased with each and every time I go to get my dose of horror. At least I used my Visa points, so they didn't get any cash out of me. We saw Paranormal Activity 3, and it did not disappoint. I have been truly impressed and terrified by this franchise three movies in a row. I hope they end it with the third entry though, I think the story has now been told in a nice lil' trilogy package. I have a feeling that Paramount will look at the $50 million dollar cash-haul of a weekend for a $5 million investment and get a fourth entry ready for Halloween 2012.
I am off to watch Halloween cartoons and mayhaps another movie. Happy Halloween one and all. Please do feel free to give me your leftover licorice and Maynards gummy candy.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Starting tonight the insanity that is the annual tradition of showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Mayfair during the Halloween season continues. You have a total of six chances to check it out on Friday, Saturday and finally on Halloween night itself. As an added bonus on top of the usual madness of throwing stuff and dressing up in bizarre costumes, the screenings are also accompanied by the Absent Friends Shadow Cast whom expertly preform a live rendition of the film in front of the film in progress. I think it would be kind of funny to do a non-participation screening and just sit and watch the actual movie. I seem to be in the grande minority in that thought though.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
A few months back I worked on the installation of a traveling exhibit that was making a stop-over in Ottawa at the Museum of Nature (or as I have always called it, the Dinosaur Museum) called Extreme Mammals. I've been meaning to go and check it out as a museum-goer and not a thing-setter-upper before it left town. Plus, I am cheap, and Thursday's they do a free admission thing at the museum.
Amongst many bigger, scarier and more extreme mammals was the Platypus. Not so extreme by normal measures, except for that it's part beaver, part duck, and has poisonous claws. Poisonous claws that the males uses to subdue the females for mating purposes. Or, in layman's terms, the little bastards propagate the species thanks to making use of roofie techniques that might be used by any number of sleazy douche-bags in meat-market bars. Another fine example of the insanity that is the miracle of nature and animal ways.
There are plenty of non-shocking and offensive animals to observe as well. If in Ottawa, you have 'till November 6th to check it out before I go in to help pack it up and it rolls on to the next town.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Last night I got caught up in a naive attempt to try and do a good deed, and ended up being ripped off for twenty bucks. I didn't even realize that it happened, that I'd been evilly con-manned, until a good five or ten minutes after the thieving bastards plan had successfully come to fruition.
I was in the midst of a late night walking of the rat-dog with my girlfriend. A guy approached, who seemed very stressed out but polite and nice, and asked if he could borrow my phone because he had locked his keys in his car. I found myself handing over my phone to him, while chanting in the back of my thoughts "Don't steal my phone...don't steal my phone...". He did not steal my phone, thanked me for the use of it, and explained his trouble. He had not only locked himself out of his car and house, but his wallet was in his car, and hence he could not pay the tow-truck guy to help him to bust into his vehicle. Now, at this point, in retrospect, I have no idea why I fell for this. He really was delivering an Oscar caliber performance for the ages.
Next thing you know, I had not just handed over some cash but had gone to an ATM to get it first. I then accompanied my new friend to where his fictional car was parked. The locked out driver ran ahead to catch the tow-truck before it left. Alas, by the time we caught up with him, the non-existent tow-truck guy had left. My twenty dollars was taken, with the promise that it would be returned with a bonus momentarily (which I very Canadianly refused the thought of). We headed home, watched an episode of 'Arrested Development', and somewhere in the midst of doing so it donned on my that I had been tricked by a thief.
It's not the end of the world, twenty bucks lost into thin air does not destitute me. It did upset me quite a bit though, and couldn't help like being made feel like quite an idiot. Just another jaded evil happening that makes you think that it can be a really horrible planet filled with underhanded people more often than the opposite kinder type. This simple wrong-doing did make me feel a bit like going all Punisher vigilante justice onto the streets of Ottawa. But that seems like a lot of work, instead I will comfort my anger with Daily Shows and comic books.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tonight at the Mayfair we present what is possibly the scariest and most acclaimed horror movie double bill of all time. Now, ask any movie buff what the two best horror films / scariest films ever made are and you will get varying answers of course. I continue to stand-by my opinion that movies are subjective and not objective. That in mind though, as a mathematical equation if you took into account the thoughts of all the critics and filmmakers and fans, the number one and two spot on the scary movie list would very likely belong to The Exorcist and The Shining. So if you are brave enough, please join us tonight (Oct 25) at the Mayfair at 7pm and 9:20pm for a pair of true Halloween tradition masterpieces.
As an afterthought, why is it that now-a-days the non-film-studio / made by talented film-fans movie posters seem to be always better than the real thing?
Monday, October 24, 2011
Killer63 has shown a number of Matt Fincer's Creepy Puppet Projects since the mini-fest began, and year in and year out they seem to garner the biggest laughs and applause from the crowd. If we were an actual festival that gave out awards, not to disrespect the other fine films, I'm fairly confidant that the Creepy Puppet Projects would continually win an audience favorite award. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is Matt's twisted contribution to last weekend's Killer63 screening, Happy Fuzzy Things.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Too tired to make much of a posting tonight. Another round of Killer63 went very well, lots of nice response and praise for the set, and a very decent crowd in attendance, especially considering it was scheduled in the late late slot. I always get nervous and stressed during a screening like this, but again all went ok, and was a nice event for the Mayfair, a nice showcase for some indie filmmakers, and a nice ego boost for me. Got home at about 2am from that, then had to get back up for a split-shift gig at 4am, which I'm just home from now. Set up lights and stuff for some kinda' fundraising event that will involve Joe Montana. Long day. Think at one point I actually fell asleep on my feet for a brief second (and I'm not even joking).
Anyhow, just wanted to post 'The Last One', the short that I worked on with three of my friends that we did for this years Killer63. I wrote it in about half an hour, we shot in about four hours, Jeremy worked his editing magic over his great cinematography skills, and here's what the final product came out like. And if you're curious as many seem to have been, no there is not a plan for a longer version of this. A stand alone short story is it. Hope you enjoy.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Images from Killer63 alum and Rideau Valley Roller Girl document-er Jeff Campbell's latest directorial effort 'Good Samaritan'. Tonight is the night for the sixth annual special Mayfair presentation of Killer63. It really falls under the time flies category for me, as it seems like just yesterday that a couple friends and I were casually chatting over the internet about organizing some kind of short horror fest for all of our friends to partake in. Now it's become an annual lil' Halloween event. An annual lil' event that always stresses me out for a few weeks then miraculously comes together at the last minute and everyone seems to enjoy.
So, a final reminder: Killer63 VI - Saturday October 22nd at 11:30pm at the Mayfair Theatre (1074 Bank Street in Ottawa). Fourteen new films from local filmmakers, a couple from Quebec, and even one from overseas. Last minute bonus news, we will have some give-aways thanks to our friends at Ottawa Horror.
Friday, October 21, 2011
A late in the day reminder that tonight (October 22nd) at 11:30pm, the Mayfair is screening Zombie (also known as Zombi, Zombi 2, and I think a few other titles. Italian movies are so confusing in that sense!). All you need to know about this horror masterpiece is that this is the movie where a zombie fights a shark. If that doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
One of the short films screening tomorrow night at Killer63 VI is actually a music video from an Ottawa based band by the name of Zebrasseires. Check out Lone Fish, the song that inspired the video on their website, and then come out and see the video from the song on Saturday night (October 22nd at 11:30pm) at the Mayfair. And then the next time they play, go see them in concert. They are good. Listen to all the songs on the website...I'm not just being nice 'cause they're a part of Killer63.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Co-ownership of an indie movie theatre has it's privileges, one of them being that sometimes I get to watch movies slightly in advance of everyone else. Along with a couple members of the press, yesterday I got to watch an advance screening of 'Attack the Block'. I had high hopes for a new twist on the alien invasion genre from the producers and many of the crew behind 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz'. It did not disappoint.
Any time someone bitches and moans that there aren't any good movies anymore, that it's all sequels and prequels and remakes and reboots, I point to movies like 'Attack the Block'. Filmmakers aren't out of ideas, movie studios are still making great stuff...it's just that instead of finding something better to watch you (and likely not "you"...but you know what I mean) went to see 'Transformers 3' or 'Fast 5' or brought your kids to see 'The Smurfs'.
So, if you are in Ottawa, do yourself a favour, find some time in your hectic schedule, and get over to the Mayfair Theatre to see 'Attack the Block' sometime between October 21st and 23rd or 26th and 27th. If you don't live in Ottawa, track down this movie and watch elsewhere!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
A screen-shot from the short film The Mask of James Henry, from Digger Films / directed by Steve Villeneuve. Steve and Digger Films are one of the returning alum to this years Killer63 line-up, amongst a mix of diverse offerings ranging in horror theme and sub-genre the likes of Creepy Puppets, zombies, apocalyptic tales, Twilight Zone fare, rock and roll, gore, comedy and more.
Below is the list of the films being screened (in no particular order), with a couple of late additions still to be announced:
KILLER63 year VI
Victor Perpetual – Ray Besharah
Employee of the Month – Olivier Beguin
She's Not Gone – Randy Smith
Lone Fish - Zebrasseires music video – Luca F
The Mask of James Henry – Steve Villeneuve
The House on Arch Lane – Alexander Steinhoff / Alexander De Lukowicz
Good Samaritan – Jeff Campbell
Six Minutes – Ralph Gethings
Profile of a Killer – Chris Chitaroni
Happy Fuzzy Things – Matt Fincer
Emily – James Campbell
Games Night – Fiona Noakes / Islam Balbaa
I've also finally posted a Facebook Events page, so now you can invite all of the people you know without the inconvenience of actual real-world interaction.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Released only a week apart from that other 1982 Spielberg movie, 'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial', was a much scarier view of a modern American suburban family, 'Poltergeist'. The film went on to become a box office smash, was nominated for three Academy Awards, spawned two sequels, and is on various top 100 lists from the likes of Bravo, the American Film Institute and others.
The film also got quite a bit of legit media and tabloid recognition thanks to two things revolving around the production. There has been quite a bit of superstitious talk of trouble on-set while the movie and it's sequels were being made. There were also a number of deaths amongst the cast, which can really for the most part be considered coincidental considering the number of people that work on any film. Sadly of course, one of these deaths include that of young actress Heather O'Rourke, the young blonde actress who uttered the films often repeated catch-phrase "They're Heeeeere!"
There has also been back and fourth controversy to this day as to who was actually the creative force and director of the project. Most reports seem to lean towards that is actually much more a Steven Spielberg film than a Tobe Hooper film. The poster for the film has 'A Steven Spielberg Production' listed right at the top of the credits, he wrote the story, and he was a producer on the film. On top of normal film production duties in that effect, he also did some if not all of the storyboards and a number of actors said he was more of a director on the project than Tobe Hooper was. Spielberg has been diplomatic over the years to his involvement on the project and to Hooper's deserved directorial credit. I'm suspicious though and lean towards believing the rumors and reports that Spielberg was in fact the director of at least most of 'Poltergeist'.
'Poltergeist' may have been the first horror film that I saw. It was a PG film back before the advent of a middle-ground rating in-between PG and R, so kids could get away with watching it without seeming to break any censorship rules. It's the perfect kids scary story, and if you see it at the right age it has a good chance to scar you for life. Any numbers of phobia could result as an after-effect to watching the film, including that of clowns or trees or television sets or suburbia in general even. Some cross-over effect of having seen 'Poltergeist', the extended 'Thriller' music video and 'Night of the Living Dead' at a young age are to blame or to thank for my love of the horror movie genre I'd say.
See 'Poltergeist', another great pre-Halloween screening tonight (Monday October 17th at 9:15pm) as part of Lost Marbles Geek Nights at the Mayfair. Answer a relatively easy bit of trivia and you even might win a prize!
Friday, October 14, 2011
Although the October installment of the 'This Month at the Mayfair' article came in a couple weeks late due to the poor interviewed being super ill and bed-ridden, it is at long last up on the (cult)ure magazine website for all to read. Went up on the site last night after we did a last minute interview to explore the second half of month, since some of the article was cut because the movies talked about had passed by on the schedule already. Upcoming programming at the theatre ranging from 'Winnie the Pooh' to 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' were all discussed.
Also for the piece we chatted about this-evenings Lost Marbles Geek Night presentation of 'Critters' (Friday October 14th at 11:15pm). The film is one of the rip-off / wannabe clones that came out on the heels and success of 'Gremlins'. Though it is a bit different since the monsters are from outer-space and they have intergalactic bounty hunters chasing them. The movie was directed by Stephen Herek, whose next film was 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and spawned three sequels (one of which was the first role for a young Leonardo DiCaprio).
A bit shockingly considering the movie was low-budget, B-grade, knock-off fare, Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review back in 1986. In surprising review situations such as this, I'm always reminded that Roger also liked the Tomb Raider movies. None-the-less, continue checking out our Halloween programming, and see if you like a movie about fuzz-ball alien eating machines terrorizing a small town as much as the most powerful film critic of all time did.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tonight and tomorrow at the Mayfair (Oct 12 at 9pm and 13 at 9:30pm) are your last chances to check out Bellflower, the knock-out directorial debut from Evan Glodell. Supposedly made for only a $17,000 budget, which I will say in a complimentary manner that I can't imagine a budget so low to be true upon seeing the finished product. I mean, the movie has a flamethrower and an amazing post-apocalyptic Mad Max style car in it ! Just one of those things alone has to cost about the much right?
My comment as the credits rolled, after a horrifically mesmerizing and explosive climax to the story was to say, "Well...that was something!". In terms of modern day film-making comparisons, it reminded me of 'The Devil's Rejects' style of characters seen from Rob Zombie mixed into the darkest of Quentin Tarantino's universe of storytelling. Somewhere around those two comparisons, mixed with slacker characters from Richard Linklater or maybe Kevin Smith if his actors did more than chat about Star Wars and lean on corner-store countre-tops.
All of the characters were very interesting and watchable, but I didn't like any of them. And that's a trait that seems to be lost in the storytelling styles within present day cinema. Everyone has to be too good now-a-days. Hence, it also reminded me of something you might have seen back in the hey-day of the 1970's. Something that might star Steve McQueen, except more disturbing. And I think it's the most impressive directorial debut I've seen in a long time.
I saw Bellflower last Friday night, unfortunately not many other people did. I think there were eight paying customers there that night. For the screenings tonight and tomorrow, I hope more people find their way to the theatre (maybe folks won't be so busy with Thanksgiving obligations and travels). I say that partially as a co-owner of the place of course, but also 'cause this is a movie that I hope gets some support, and that people get to see big screen style. I want to see another movie from these guys.
Don't just take my word for it, check out the Chicago Sun Times review from King of all the critics in all the land, Roger Ebert.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
As often in my attempts to keep a blog updated, I am guilty of being a day or two behind in planned writings. In this case, tardy in wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Or at least wishing my fellow Canadians a happy Thanksgiving, my American friends get no such well wishes until next month.
I again find myself thankful for many things as the holiday rolls past this year. Mostly for the simple things in life, like that The New 52 at DC Comics turned out ok, that it's only a couple months until the Doctor Who Christmas special, that I'm amongst a select few of people who get to wear a Rideau Valley Roller Girls hoodie as my gang attire, and that I now how 300 gigs to play with instead of the pesky 25 I had with the provider that I just broke up with.
I'm thankful that the small bit of power I have in life makes it possible for me to get Blair Witch Project and Highlander along with other of my favorite movies seen up on the big screen. I am thankful that more often than not my life seems like the plot of a sitcom or some form of John Hughes movie. More and more I find myself actually taking a moment to let it sink in that I'm actually part owner of my favorite place on earth or that I'm on a road trip with a posse of roller derby girls or that someone knitted me a Super Mario Bros scarf from scratch (how does a human do that!? I think I'd be about the same level of impressed if someone handed over a jet pack to me).
Hope you all are equally thankful in your lives and sitcom happenings. And next year I will try to post my Thanksgiving thoughts before Thanksgiving, but likely will be late again, but still thankful that I'm kept so busy doing awesome stuff and things.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
When you work freelance in techie related fields, whether it be rock and roll concerts or film production or boring corporate shows, you find yourself working on a wide range of diverse and strange stuff. I've done gigs for everyone from Cirque du Soleil to the Liberals to Kevin Smith in my day. I've pointed lights at KISS, painted sets for a Tori Spelling TV movie and helped piece together prehistoric monster museum exhibits.
Today I finished up crewing on the latest Brett Kelly B-grade independent epic, Jurassic Shark. You read that correctly. Not since Snakes on a Train or possibly Transmorphers has there been a greater mock-buster title. From what I pieced together from my few days of working on the production (didn't work on the whole thing) the movie is about girls in bikini's, evil spies clad in black, and a giant CG shark to be added at a later date.
Keep an eye out for the movie coming to a small screen near you sometime in 2012. Or if you live in Ottawa, I'd imagine that the premiere will likely be at the Mayfair sometime in the next few months. I just hope it means that rumor spreads thanks to misread imdb browsing that people will think I worked on a Jurassic Park movie.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Tonight at the Mayfair at 7pm, the world premiere of Ottawa based filmmaker Brett Kelly's new western, Hell At My Heels. The director will be in attendance to intro the film, and I would imagine most of the cast and crew will be on hand as well.
Also tonight, right after that at 9pm, your last chance (for now) to see Kevin Smith's Red State. Red State marks arguably the first time that Smith has made a real move (no guys hanging out in malls and corner stores talking about various rude things, comic book stuff and pop culture references), and I think it's the best thing he's done since Clerks. And John Goodman is in it!
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I'm three weeks behind on extolling the virtues of Joss Whedon and his comic book writing skills, but I just managed to read the three weeks ago released first issue of Buffy season nine issue # 1 last night.
It's been over four and a half years since Buffy season eight hit the comic stores, and yet it seems to me that almost every time I meet a person who claims to be a fan of the series, they still have not checked out the comic book. How could someone claim to love Joss Whedon and his work, and yet not want to read the comic book that he writes and executive produces? And when Joss isn't writing the book himself, the other writers include Buffy and Angel writing alum the likes of Drew Goddard, Jane Espenson, Steven S DeKnight, Drew Z Greenberg, and Doug Petrie. It's the closest that we are ever going to get to another Buffy-verse TV series I think, and if you claim to be a Buffy fan, you should be supporting this book. If you don't want to hit a comic book store, or read comics in their monthly format, they collect them up into bigger fatter comics that you can buy at any bookstore or get on Amazon.
Comic books continuing on the stories of characters from other mediums is nothing new. Dark Horse has been publishing the further adventures of various Star Wars characters for years. There are a ton of Star Trek comics, and in more recent years there have been cancelled TV series like Charmed and Farscape making there way to the comic book page under the supervision of the shows creators and writers. Stephen King has even allowed for comic book prequel tales from the epic Dark Tower series of books to be published under his supervision.
Buffy season nine picks up with our central lead vampire slaying heroine living in San Francisco with a couple of roommates, hanging out with Spike, and...well...I guess I shouldn't say much else since there are so many damn potential spoilers stuffed within a fourty issue series.
Oh, and also go read the Serenity comics. Those are awesome too.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Tonight at 8:45 (Oct 4) at the Mayfair the Halloween programming continues to roll along, this time with a presentation of the original (and the best) version of Fright Night. I was never a giant fan of the juggernaut 80's horror sequel franchises the likes of Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, I seemed to lean towards other areas of horror offerings, and Fright Night was one of my favorites.
Writer / director Tom Holland brought to the screen something a kin to the John Hughes teen angst formula, but instead of having our hero go up against an evil principal or various forms of high school crisis, this one goes up against a vampire. Holland went on to direct a couple of Stephen King stories, and a number of very good TV horror offerings within series like Tales from the Crypt and Amazing Stories, but I think his first directorial effort was his best.
The film stars William Ragsdale (who also seemed to have peaked in Fright Night) as the teen in trouble, with the much more memorable vampire and washed up horror TV host turned vampire hunter roles going to Chris Sarandon and the late great Roddy McDowall. The remake does boast a rather impressive cast (including the 10th and best Doctor Who, David Tennant) and a script from Buffy / Angel vet Marti Noxon, but in this case as in most (with rare exception of your True Grit's and Ocean 11's) you just can't best the original.
Monday, October 03, 2011
People may look back on it now as a gimmick film, but it should be of interest to any film fan that The Blair Witch Project was a true phenomenon. A dozen years ago, while horror fans were in the midst of slasher fare franchises the likes of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer & Urban Legend (amongst many other of the same ilk) came a little movie out of nowhere about kids getting lost in the woods.
In a time where the internet was twelve years younger and viral videos weren't commonplace, the brains behind Blair Witch managed to be in the right place in the right time with the right idea. Trick as many people as possible into thinking your fake horror themed documentary is a true story, reel in the free publicity, and try to make back $60,000 bucks. They managed to do just a little bit better than that and watched their no stars / no effects / no tripod film gross near $250 million in worldwide ticket sales.
I happened to be in California when the movie was in previews down there. My friend and I drove past a theatre with Blair Witch Project on the marquee and a line-up around the block. I had never heard of it, he explained what it was, and I was confused as to why anyone would care.
A few weeks later back in Ottawa, I sat in a theatre on a Friday afternoon with a couple of friends to watch the now much hyped film. I proceeded to be completely enthralled and petrified. I know there's some complaint in the inability for some to suspend disbelief as to why these characters refuse to ever turn off their camera whilst on the run for their lives through a scary forest. That point is valid. I managed to push that aside and completely enter the world that this was indeed a very real documentary about three dumb kids who try to make a documentary about the fabled Blair Witch and end up entangled in a fight for their life against... something. I have three theories as to what that something is, but I guess I shouldn't share them here on the off chance someone reads this who hasn't seen the film yet. It also didn't help that one of the characters names was Josh. That put me even slightly more in the centre of the action. I wasn't a camper before watching Blair Witch, but afterwards it certainly did't make me ecstatic at the thought of going camping in a tent in the middle of nowhere for fun.
At that screening, while the credits rolled I heard two women discussing that they couldn't believe that a film studio would allow for such a disturbing documentary to be shown. While working at Rogers Video I took three calls asking if the film was a real documentary. And, I have had three conversations in real life with people trying to convince them that it's fake. It was maybe the greatest pop-culture trick on the public since Orson Welles and his friends mistakenly convinced folks that aliens were invading in 1938.
So, tonight at 9:30 (Oct 3) we showcase The Blair Witch Project. Kicking off not only the Halloween season, but also a trio of scary films presented by Lost Marbles (and with prizes from Lost Marbles too!). Later in the month comes Critters (Oct 14) and Poltergeist (Oct 16 & 17).
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
It's a pride filled time in a life-long comic book reading geeks life when they have a shiny new comic book out that they worked on for the masses to read. My friend and comic-con posse member Kris Waddell has a new mini-series out through Mirror Comics called Challenger. You can download it through mydigitalcomics for a mere 99 cents right now, and then sometime in the near future you can get a good old fashioned paper version. Go download it now! C'mon! It's only 99 cents! It'll slightly adjust the karma-wheel back in your favour to make up for all of the movies and music you've stolen off the interweb...and it's actually a really good comic too.
Friday, September 02, 2011
What could be better than a screening of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? A screening of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas preceded by a live performance by Sin Sisters Burlesque! Tonight - Friday September 2nd, starting at 11pm at the Mayfair.
In other Mayfair related news, I was interviewed by April Yorke of (cult)ure magazine in a piece called This Month at the Mayfair - September 2011. Learn all about how I never get tired of watching Aliens, about the star-studded and long-lost never released Grizzly 2, and why I think Quentin Tarantino was all down hill after Pulp Fiction. The beginning of what I hope to be a new monthly tradition.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The summer has wrecked my schedule a number of ways thanks to a hectic work schedule amongst other obligations. No more so have things been delayed or halted than my attempts to keep a blog going on a regular basis. By slipping one in under the wire on the last day of August, I at least keep my streak alive of monthly updates, and will again promise to try to be more diligent with writings in the future.
Last weekend three friends and I took a lil' road trip to Toronto to attend Fan Expo 2011. I had a few missions set out for myself while there, succeeded in most of them. Got to meet Jeff Smith, and he not only drew me a quick Bone sketch, he also autographed and sketched in a book that I gave to one of my fake nieces for her birthday. Gaining me super big awesome fake uncle points for now and forever.
Watched the world premiere of an episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars season 4. It was advertised as the season premiere, but then the producer via pre-recorded message said "an episode" of the upcoming season. It had Ackbar in it and was very cool. And the eternal weirdness and joy of comic book conventions is the normalcy of watching a cartoon, mixed with the insanity of watching a cartoon in a room with dozens of folks dressed like Stormtroopers and Sith Lords and Slave Leia's. Many of them brandishing large firearms and / or laxer swords.
Went to a couple panels on the rebooting of the DC Comics Universe. They were actually quite interesting...well, to me anyhow...to a normal non-geek person, likely not so much. I have to admit that I've gone through the stages of grief on this subject and have come out the other side. I was in denial that they were going to do it. I was angry that they were doing it. I bargained the idea about in my head, trying to figure out if it could be stopped. I was depressed at the loss of my favorite universe. I accepted, and now I'm stressed about it, hoping it's good. And I have to say that listening to the editors and creative staff talk about it, seeing how much of a love of the game they have for the DCU, seeing how enthused they are at the challenge that lays ahead of 'em, they've really won me over. I'm still not sure if I believe the statement that this was 100% the decision of DC Comics and the powers that be at Warner Bros had nothing to do with it. But whatever the reason for zapping everything back to #1, I think they're giving it their all, I think they really want these to be great books, I think that they are super invested and want to make this the best DCU they can. I've gone from jaded to wanting to read everything they publish.
After hours one night we went to a club and watched a geek themed rapper by the name of Word Burglar. He was great. And not in a laughing at him, looking down at him, this is insane kinda great, but as in actually really talented and just happened to be rapping about GI Joe vehicles and Doctor Who. And he had an audience that when prompted all knew that TIE Fighter stands for 'Twin Ion Engine', and that they're not called that 'cause they look like bow-ties.
Spent the last day checking out a couple Q&A's. Katie Sackoff, for whom I didn't get to tell the story of how my friend and I set in motion a chain of events to get a baby named after her Battlestar character. Then, was blessed to be in the presence of William Shatner. That man knows how to keep the attention of a room. Whether it be with his stories of horse racing, working as an actor at a theatre in Ottawa in his youth, or Twilight Zone behind the scenes tales.
The bizarre highlight of the weekend happened when i was guarding my friends table in artists alley, I looked over the shoulder of some other friends I was talking to, and spotted someone I recognized. I excused my self, bolted around, headed out to the convention floor. I got out there, and lost sight of my target. I a panic, I looked left and right, then saw him. Big guy, glasses, beard, holding two giant bags of comics and swag. I approached and said "Excuse me Mr del Toro?". He turned around with a jubilant "Yes my friend!". Nicest professional geek in all the land, we proceeded to have a nice chat about various things, including the Mayfair. I can confirm nor deny that he gave me his e-mail and that he offered to record an intro for us if we show his films.
So, there are a handful of other stories, but those were some of the highlights from Fan Expo 2011. Oh, and for $5 I got the action figure of Lando wearing Han's clothes from the end of Empire. I love those obscure on-screen for 5 seconds Star Wars toys.
Friday, July 08, 2011
A few years before Ghostbusters made them true geek movie legends, director Ivan Reitman, writer (and future Egon) Harold Ramis, and star Bill Murray made a true Canadian classic in the summer camp movie Meatballs. Catch it this weekend (July 9th and 10th at 2:25 both days) as a rare afternoon Lost Marbles Geek Night at the Mayfair.
Friday, July 01, 2011
I don't know what the hell's going on in this comic book panel, but I would buy that comic book and the merchandising. This is the kinda' thing you stumble on when looking around the interwebs for a comic book image to accompany ones 'Happy Canada Day!' blog posting. Specifically I was looking for a Deadpool / Canada image, which you would think woulda' been easier to find considering he's Marvel Comics second greatest Canadian icon.
This year is the first in an age that I don't have a work obligation on Canada Day. The last few years I've done follow-spot stuff for Canada Day shows, and failing that I've fought the crowds to get downtown to tear down the stage post fireworks. I think there were cutbacks all over the place this year, so good news / bad news, I actually get the day off like most the rest of the country. Even the Mayfair is closed for the day, so I can't even go hang out there and watch movies! So far my Canadian content celebrations have mainly been the listening of Metric music.
I have no intention of braving the downtown crowds and wandering around with the masses. Especially since this year there's a prince and princess hanging out down there, meaning security, media, and maybe protesters will be at a much higher quotient. I think that there will be Canadian themed cupcakes from Thimble Cakes in my future, maybe some BBQ, and I am currently wearing a patriotic colour appropriate red t-shirt and matching Converse (ok, they're Maroon, but it's close enough).
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I said I'd try and do more than just write about roller derby and Mayfair related stuff here, but then kewl stuff keeps happening with roller derby and the Mayfair. So please put up with me while I once again make mention of something else incredible and Mayfair related. The latest bit of awesome, is a Mayfair poster being published in the legendary cinematic horror magazine, Fangoria. Within an article about the legacy of Planet of the Apes, there appears a poster from our recent Go Apes! fest. First BBC Radio, then Fangoria Magazine, then I'm pretty sure that it's straight to world domination.