A Quick One, While He’s Away- Billy Talent.

Nobody is away, I just like The Who.

I was lucky enough to see Billy Talent again on September 9th when they played at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, NY.

The theatre itself is beautiful and I understand why it’s a wedding venue. The roof is ornate, white with carved metallic-looking designs. It feels like a big space because of the height of the roof. It’s clearly a space that was made in an era where details were intricate and minimalism was not the end goal.

ANYWAY.

Badflower were really cool and sounded horror-punk at times and, man, I love horror-punk. They also had a very drawing stage presence that demanded immediacy, like this show and this song was all they cared about and all they lived for.

… Am I romanticizing?

But they played some sick tunes and in a pretty intense way and they all have cool hair. They were super chill after the show, talking to everyone and handing out free signed CDs. Check ’em out.

Oh, and Billy Talent. Ohhhhhhh, I love Billy Talent.

I was a person away from the barricade just left of centre stage, which is why I only have pictures of Ben and Ian, and THIS SHOW WAS OFF-THE-HOOK.

I feared for my personal safety at times but what’s a mosh pit without that, am I right? Seriously, the pit got very intense with a  lot of pushing, jumping, sweat, crowdsurfing… it was pretty goddamned awesome because people were there cause they liked the band.

What do I even say about Billy Talent? They have their music act together. It is tight, it is loud, it is dramatic but not fake, it has emotion, it is hard-as-fuck (I have been watching a lot of Trailer Park Boys). I watched as Ian D’Sa dripped sweat from the heat in the room, from how much these guys put into their music. Ian D’Sa sweating from playing too hardcore is very metal and I am so happy I got to see that.

And Ben. Ben with that manic glint in his eyes as he plays Fallen Leaves. Ben with talking about how we should love, accept, and not judge one another. Ben with telling the audience that they could move into his backyard if the elections did not go wall. Ben with singing his heart and and with histrionics.

Yes.

This band, this band inspires me, I love this band.

And then the driving bass from Jon. As the show ended Careless Whisper started playing and Jon had a water bottle in his hand and he just started pretending to play the sax to the song as he walked out. Going from serious, amazing bass played to water bottle sax solo.

Jordan Hastings filling in for Aaron. Canadian bands helping Canadian bands, that is beautiful and he did amazing!!!!!!!!!

Note: After the show was done the floor was literally covered in sweat. I repeat, there was a layer of sweat on the floor. That’s the kind of show this was.

And on top of such a good such, I got to meet the band afterwards. They were kind, patient, listened and were just so nice.

I feel so lucky and, again, so inspired.

Thank you, Billy Talent.

Much love to y’all. Good vibes to Aaron.

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THIS BLOG IS NOT INACTIVE.

I  will get stuff on here. Good stuff. Movie stuff. Food places stuff. Stuff about nice places I have stayed at for not many dollars.

Honestly, I always want to do 10,000 things and often all at once yet I find myself spending time doing none of them.It is a frustrating and on-going cycle that I know is not uncommon. Procrastinating is really easy while you do it, mildly hating yourself for doing it is hard.

And now I have school!!! I don’t like my program!!! I like some things about it but mostly the classes and content make me feel bad and guilty about existing, and guilty about living in a “developed” country, a guilty about consuming (more that I already feel), and weighed down by problems of inequality, violence, injustices of all kinds to which classes give no solution. “Look at all the horrible things that have happened, are happening, and could happen. Essay that won’t do a damn thing is due next week.”

I’ve been trying to not be pessimistic and I know there are better ways to look at school but it is  very hard for me to be happy in this environment of academia. A tempting solution is “just don’t care about school” or “care just enough to pass”, which many people do. But then I feel bad for not doing well, ugh, it is in part my parent’s money that’s paying for me to be in school. But, really, the practice of not taking things so personally can be healthy, like in mediation.

This is not a fun post, apologies.

I also keep forgetting to say that Deborah is not posting on this site anymore. So it’s just me. I don’t know how to change the domain name and with things like my school insurance being annoying as fuxx about paying me for the wisdom teeth removal that they’re supposed to cover, I think I have other things to do at the moment. Or maybe I’m just lazy and don’t wanna get another name.

Also nobody reads this blog, like, at all. I don’t wanna be a whiner (but why am I sitting on the Seinfeld diner?) but no-views is not motivational.

This reminds me of that part of Inside Llewyn Davis where Llewyn’s manager is telling him that it’s hard to establish yourself as a solo artist after being in a duo and Llewyn is like “we were never that popular as a duo!” This is not a direct quote.

Ummm, things are coming. Yes. A new name, maybe. I want a theme with a lot of colours, palm trees, a logo that has both those things. I’m done with black-and-white minimalism. You hear that, boring/bored Toronto hipsters? D-O-N-E. There’s a lot of cynically annoying hipsters in Toronto with gross sunglasses and gross expensive vintage clothes and I need to find punk-rock peeps, or peeps who wear more colours. Tbh, I got peeps like that, why am I complaining?

I miss the East Coast and I was low-key tired of Toronto after seeing a hipster girl with a bag that said “My Prime Minister Embarrasses Me” and just thinking about how the city’s asleep by midnight  and how cold (not temperature-wise, but that too) it can be. And then I was at FanExpo and I always love it there and the Metro Convention Centre has such a beautiful view of downtown. I was there, like, 3 magic-hour days in a row. I went out with friends. It’s a gorgeous city. I do love it. I am very glad I still love it.

Excuse the rant. But I do love this city a lot but there are some things- you can get over-saturated by not cool things about it. Like all the black clothes that aren’t even goth.

Its like in Inside Llewyn Davis when Llewyn starts shouting that he hates folk music.

Getting Deep About Ghostbusters.

Have y’all seen the new Ghostbusters?!!
I’ve seen it twice already. I love it.
Everyone on the team is great. Jillian is awesome. I laughed a lot. The ghosts were spooky. The science part was exciting.
I just had a great time with this movie and it’s, without a doubt, one of my favourites this year.
Today I wanna talk about a very specific element of the movie, which I thought was very smart: the parallel between Rowan and the Ghostbusters.
Now, I have talked about parallels before. I find it mentally stimulating because they make me think about what it is that makes similar people branch apart, or how different situations can converge.
So, of course, after an action-comedy (that aced both those genres) I come out thinking abut what makes people the way they are.
I’m going to be talking about plot details in the movie, so if you don’t wanna know look no further! It doesn’t give that much away, though!
For similarities between them there are a few on the surface: an interest in ghosts, knowledge on ghosts, using the same technology because he had Abby and Erin’s book.
Not only this, but when the Ghostbusters talked to Rowan, the movie made sure we knew that they had similar experiences in their lives. Rowan complains to them about being an outsiders, being bullied and made fun of all his life, something we see several times during the film. Earlier, Erin had confessed she was bullied for years in school for her interest in the supernatural and the whole team is mocked by the media.
The point is that we see that both parties have been hurt by others and in this face-off, the parallels are easier to see. My philosophy is rusty but it’s almost Viktor Frankl-ian to me, a “you choose your response to a situation yourself” kind of deal.
As we see this group of people who have, in some ways, been rejected from society I propose that the movie has the power to ask us to reflect on how we respond to the negativity that comes our way.
On one hand we have Rowan, who took all the terrible things people said and did and turned his experience into hate and destructive vengeance.
Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters did something constructive with their experience. The dedicated themselves to science, to answering the questions humans still don’t understand, and to using their skills to help others. By avoiding the harbouring of hate, they focused on their work, something outside themselves and their immediate needs (though stemming from their interests and experiences). With that, they were able to save the city.
From my perspective, the movie served as a reminder of how self-destrucive being hung-up can be and how helpful it can be to focus on something outside yourself. It got Abby and Erin a book on ghosts, Jillian built some amazing ghost-catching tech, Patty’s history knowledge helped get things done, and they all had a team to count on by the end of the film.

Denmark-ish Double Feature.

DO YOU LIKE NORDIC MYTHOLOGY?

DO YOU NOT MIND MANY KINDS OF VIOLENCE?

DO YOU ALSO NOT MIND WEIRD MOVIES THAT HAVE THIS VIOLENCE BUT ALSO MOMENTS OF HUMOR?

THEN I HAVE 2 FILMS FOR YOU!!!!

The films:

  1. Valhalla Rising
  2. Beowulf & Grendel

About the films:

Valhalla Rising is 2009 film by Nicolas Winding Refn about a slave named One Eye who is taken along on a trip to the New World by a group of Christians. It begins in Scandanavia, it does not have the immediate connection to mythology Beowulf & Grendel does (borrowing directly from stories) but it does reference Valhalla in its title and One-Eye is said to posses supernatural strength.

It is a Winding Refn film so it gets pretty graphic, gory, and it has all kinds of violence. But if you are okay with that please enter into this nightmare world of the worst in humans (a theme Winding Refn seems to always explore!), bizarre imagery (yet not very abstract), and there is this one sequence near the start with this amazing red colouring (colouring is another Winding Refn staple). It also has an unwinding pace of an acid-Western like Dead Man, if you are into that.

Beowulf & Grendel is a 2005 film by Sturla Gunnarsson. A story of intergenerational repercussion that starts with a troll being killed by a Danish king. Years later another troll hunts the village and the hero Beowulf, along with his band (not literally a band, though I think it would be way rad is Beowulf and his hero friends were in a metal band), is called upon to fix the problem. Many other things happen.

I wish I could point out auteur things but this is the only Gunnarsson film I’ve seen! However, I did really, really enjoy it. I love folklore and traditional tales and I love when they make it to film in a way I actually like. I’m not into things like Clash of the Titans, or Troy, or Alexander (omg, let’s talk about Alexander, please) but this one felt smaller and more like an oral tale, and loser, and not big and bloated. Kinda like the old version of Jason and the Argonauts.

Full warning that this is gory, both films are can get brutal, there is violence and sexual content and non-consensual in both. The sexual content is very minimal but it’s still there.

Why they are a good double feature:

I’ve already discussed some of the similarities above. But, there is more to these films than violence.

Both are set in Scandanavia, centuries ago.

I also found it interesting that both deal with the introduction of Christianity into the region. Beowulf & Grendel does go into this clash more in-depth but the presence of Christianity is in both films and important to both films. Belief is a theme both explore.

The dialogue in both- this is something that drew me to the films- whereas many films about gods, mythology, and the past use “old English” (totes what mythological figures would have used) neither of these films bother. There is not a single “thou” in sight, it is grounding to the films and relieving to me as it always sounds off. Why use this old English or super formal language to show age if it doesn’t actually apply to the concept? It ends up sounding campy to me and there’s no room for camp in these films (this is not entirely true). But for real, these films use what I guess I’d call “current” English, lots of swearing too, it’s nice, it adds character. I have an easier time accepting that Beowulf and his bros would say “fuck off” than formal speech.

So if you want an afternoon, or morning, or night, of Scandanavian times with strange imagery and actually really funny moments when it comes to Beowulf, treat yourself to these two movies.

P.S: Gerard Butler plays Beowulf.

Love,

Sara.

Suspect Video.

Mirvish Village is disappearing.

I have no idea what to do about it.

I sent emails with my concerns over the destruction (dramatic) of this area and the responses were so vague. So here is what I’m going to do: write about a place I love and hope someone sees it goes and it becomes a place they can enjoy too, before it is gone.

Suspect Video quickly became one of my favourite spots in Toronto. I say quickly as I spent many years not know it existed. It is tucked into Honest Ed’s on the North-West corner of the store.

I only really found out about it because I was reading Perfect Youth (a fantastic book that focuses on first-wave Punk in Canada) and there was a story involving Steven Leckie (frontman of The Viletones, also formerly went by Nazi Dog) renting movies from this place from Damian Abraham (who is from Toronto punk band Fucked Up).

I mean, as someone very interested in the fact that this city had a punk rock scene I’d never even heard about I was curious to see this place.

And Suspect Video enchanted me!

It’s a small space or at least seems small because there are so many movies. Yest it is organized. There are categories based on genres, directors, location that you can browse. It is so much fun to just flip through movie after movie to find something new. There are so many weird things that are difficult to find anywhere else and I’ve found so many movies I’ve liked just because a cover or title caught my eyes.

Man, their selection of music documentaries and concerts is so good. Their selection of everything is so good.

On top of that the people working there are super helpful and know tons about film! Whenever I have a question or want a  suggestion or just wanna talk about a movie they are more than willing to help and also willing to share their movie knowledge. I’ve gotten a few mini-lessons on film a few occasions from both the staff and other patrons.

I mean, you can’t get that conversation anywhere else. I know it is easy to look online for a movie but when you have them in front of you and when you have people who love film to ask I find it so much easier to step out of my comfort zone and try a new film, discover a favourite I wouldn’t have even known exited otherwise.

The store is cute with lots of lighting, lots of sensory overload, cool magazines and books you won’t find just anywhere, collectables, and very nice people. Since the building has a lot of concrete it also has no cell signal so it’s even more like you’re in a bizarre time-machine.

And bizarre really is the right word for it. Not overwhelmingly and not intimidatingly, just a comforting, rabbit-hole adventure kind of bizarre.

Man, if you love ilm or tv, or just interesting places please head over to 605 Markham St. It’s a 4 minute walk from Bathrust station and it’s unfortunately going to go. Don’t forget to check out Honest Ed’s and the rest of the village while you’re there.

Please visit this place, it is lovely and I’ve had nothing but good times in there!

-Sara

 

 

Mojave- A Film Nerd Post.

LOOK NO FURTHER IF YOU DO NOT WANT DETAILS FROM THE MOVIE, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Quick plot, Thomas (Hedlund) is a writer who lives in Los Angeles and works on movies. He has a crisis and drives out to the desert. His car gets wrecked and he spend the night at the desert where he meets Jack (Isaac). In the uncomfortable encounter they get into a fight. Thomas, hides out in a cave. When someone comes to the mouth of the cave he awakes from his sleep and shoots. It was not Jack, but a police officer. The plot unfolds.

Alright, so after this I have concluded that spooky Los Angeles movies are full-out spooky.
This is told with a quiet sort of terror, the fear that the threat of Jack brings. It’s a real story of stalking and suspense builds but then there are breaks from that as Thomas has to carry on with the problems he had before the desert. It’s cool to see how he tries to live his life while balancing this guy who is out to kill him and the fact that he killed someone.

Hedlund and Isaac both give performances that are enthralling.

I realized that I have a real thing for characters who are foils. In this case they are not foils in that they are very different but they almost seem like two outcomes of the same person. I’d like to think that maybe the whole movie did not happen, that there really was no Jack but the talks and destruction of him was Thomas’ way of dealing with himself and his conflicts. I don’t think the story was an illusion, I just think it’s interesting to think of Mojave as a psyhological experiment of beginning again.
Thinking about this split-personality (as in Jack and Thomas have the same interests, skills, almost same mindset are not, in fact, the same) makes sense following William Monahan’s (the writer and director) trajectory. The Departed, which he wrote, concerns itself greatly with duality and different personalities within a person (See: Remakes and Remaking- Chapter “Hellish Departures?”), whether it is the split personalities of Costigan’s upbringing in two sides of Boston that made him perfect to go undercover or Sullivan’s facade of being a cop while helping Costello. It doesn’t surprise me that this Monahan film carries on with this same theme.
I feel like there is an essay to be written here about “schizophrenic” type characters and what they mean in these movies.

On the topic of Scorsese, when Jack came on screen there was something I couldn’t quite pinpoint about how he talked that I recognized. A few minutes later my mom said “is he like Cape Fear?” and I thought “oohhhhhh, that’s who I’m thinking of”. There are some similarities to Max Cady (at least the DeNiro version I’ve seen) besides how he talked such as the stalking and just how scary he was. I mean, when Jack goes to the theatre to watch the same play Thomas was watching is a parallel to Cady finding the Bowdens in Cape Fear. Though when one is kind of a movie nerd finding parallels is not hard so maybe I am reaching too much. Speaking of reaching, I liked Jack’s bandana and it reminded me of Harvey Keitel’s in Taxi Driver which made it click for me that Scorsese references makes sense as Monahan has worked with him before.

The movie is one I found genuinely interesting and there were parts with super tense suspense. It is stylistically gorgeous, even down to what the characters wear, Lots of philosophy, talking, and  interesting performances. Why not spend 90 minutes in the desert?

-Sara.

The book I referred to earlier is “Remakes and Remaking: Concepts- Media- Practices” by Rüdiger Heinze and Lucia Krämer. The chapter on The Departed is Hellish Depatures? The Departed, Infernal Affairs and Globalized Film Cultures . You can find the book at Columbia University Press here.

 

 

 

Mojave- Pensive, Spooky, Beautiful.

Let me give all of you a backstory of my relationship with this movie.

Okay, not relationship, but story.
Many months ago (about last August) I was on IMDb looking at Garrett Hedlund’s profile to see what he was up to ’cause I like a lot of movies he is in (See: On The Road, Tron: Legacy, Inside Llewyn Davis).
I saw this movie, Mojave, and it caught my eye and very much my attention because it was a desert-set, kind of road movie from what I could see. I loooooove the South-Western desert in the U.S. Sure, I’ve never been but it always looks gorgeous in movies.
When I found out more about the movie I saw that it was about a writer and a drifter and desert drama and I this just sounded like the kinda thing I would like.
Note: At this pre-The Force Awakens time Oscar Isaac was mostly the guy from Llewyn Davis to me.
So I followed it, reading boards to get any information on distribution but nothing seemed to be happening. In one thread someone mentioned the movie reminded them of The Rover, a movie I was very impressed with, which made me want this movie to get distributed even more.

FINALLY, it got released and I rented it (support your local video stores, if you will).

I really liked the movie. A lot.

First off, I found the look of the movie beautiful. Everything is in warm tones but not quite earthy. And it’s not washed-out either, which I think it’s easy to do with sunny deserts.
Agh, I’m caught between wanting to talk about the movie a lot and in detail and not saying much so if someone reads this and watches it they’ll see the events unfold without knowing what will happen.

Alright, the movie can get heavy and dark but it also has moments of humour that fit into the movie instead of being awkwardly inserted for relief.
It is dialogue-based which is one of the reasons I liked it. Many scenes of just back-and-forth discussion.

If you get the DVD/BLU-RAY/can watch the special features, I definitely recommend looking at the deleted scenes because some really quality content got cut out. I specially liked the one with the twins, I think it was number 11.

It is pensive but not pretentious. It can get really chilling but it’s also about relationships and grounded problems. I found that everyone did a great ob so that the movie was just a pleasure to watch. Hedlund and Isaac made minutes and minutes of dialogue interesting, tense, and almost hypnotizing. Among the suspense in the movie there is a lot of frustration with the film industry and with being creative and also a more chilled-out sort of pace. It is definitely not a breakneck, no-time-to-breathe-or-blink movie. Sit back and watch, y’all.

OSCAR ISAAC TALKING ABOUT X-FIGHTERS.

I found this video and while I don’t watch Jimmy Kimmel it’s very cute.

Oscar Isaac explains how they gave him a blueprint of all the buttons on the cockpit and which were used for what.

I mean, you can just watch the video and hear it for yourself.

My point is that I did  not know that the Star Wars movies would be so specific with detail but I think it’s wonderful and adorable. I also think it must be a pleasure to work with that much information and organization. It’s great that someone (or a team) took their time to lay out the print for the ship and really notice which buttons controlled what on previous movies because it shows the level of care and because personally it would be the kind of job I would like to try out!

It’s also cool to think about how these actors are setting out new things that will become part of the Star Wars canon!!! Imagine being able to construct a universe!

Make your own universe, friends.

DIVERSITY AND WHAT ARE WE DOING? Part 2.

Having said all I have said about being REALLY careful on how we use words and really emphasizing that there are no categories of people, I have another thing that is bugging me.

This debate of diversity has been really, really, reeeallllyyyy “black” and “white”.

And I feel like I shouldn’t even say anything because ohdeargodthisisgonnacomeoutwrongsomehow.

I am afraid that this is too much about myself. I am afraid of undermining the struggle of representation. I am just afraid of sounding bitter. But I am really afraid of keeping all this bottled in and just becoming resentful.

Okay.

I need a breather.

It is really important to have “black” representation (I am really sorry to use the word, I wish I had another term). It is ridiculous that this is still an issue. It is unbelievable that racism still exists but it is more ridiculous to pretend like this is not a real issue.

But I just don’t understand why I don’t see as many (I actually have not seen any) people speaking out about other representations. As someone who is Hispanic this hits home and eats away as my soul. “Why doesn’t anybody care?” I hear myself asking and this is a question I do no like because I feel the hint of anger.

Honestly, I don’t want to grow up thinking that nobody cares. I am sure that other people care but why don’t I see their opinions voiced? Why have I only seen comments of “black” actors and representation? I hope that it is just because there has been such a big movement for rights and for the mistreatment of people that are labeled “black” and this has been really going on in America where these awards take place. So, I can see why, then, attention would be placed on this issue.

But, damn, seriously, just- talk about other minorities, other groups that are marginalized, others that are left out.

And the argument of “at least people care about *insert certain representation or issue here* instead of nothing”. NOOOOO. NOOOOO. That is not good enough. Leaving people out is not good enough. Taking small steps is not good enough.

Care and care about everyone if you can and be aware of others that might be struggling.

I’m really sorry that I used certain words and left a bunch of others out. I only brought up Hispanic because it’s what I am but I realize that by bringing one “group” up I am already leaving everyone else out and I would give a shout-out to underrepresented groups at the end but I would always leave someone out.

THIS is why diversity is important, to have different perspective, to have those who will speak out about what you would never even think to. To bring unique experiences.

We are all humans and nobody is superior to another but the (sad) reality is that we have made up categories and we have excluded each other based on them which is friggin’ imperative to acknowledge.

We’re not at equality yet but nobody should be left out of the process of being heard and represented.

-Sara