Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Now Playing: Magic Mike

I had every intention of watching DKR again on Sunday night, but was foiled by IMAX reserved seating.  Already at the theatre, so far away from home, decided to catch whatever was playing next.  Enter: Magic Mike.

Honestly, it is what it is.  Badly acted, poorly scripted and chock full of cliches... who really cares?  This movie is about hard-bodied male strippers.  You could watch it on mute.  In fact, I recommend just that.  Frankly, there wasn't enough stripping.  They talked far too much. 

Should you watch it?  Only if you, too, have thirty movie coupons expiring in December and can't get in to see DKR.  Even then, see Brave or Spider-Man first.

1 out of 5 stars.  and the 1 is for all that muscle.  Mm-mm.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Now Playing: Dark Knight Rises

As is tradition, I was at the midnight show for The Dark Knight Rises.  Expectations were running high, as we had just ingested Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The theatre was, as expected, sold out. What made this so much more civilised was that we had reserved seating, so no eight-hour line-ups were required. Though, in defence of the line-up, it made for a showing of truly hardcore fans. I and four of my boys settled in, with popcorn, M&Ms and moderately-sized drinks; last bathroom break was at 23h45 when, with delicious irony, I breezed in and out and boys had to wait. In line. Oh yes.

In the spoiler-free portion of this review, I will just say that the movie lived up to all my expectations. It was nice to see these characters/actors, in whom we’ve invested for seven years, stretch a little more and get the screen-time they deserve. In a great plot setup, Gotham City has aged eight years and the Batman has passed into legend, disappearing after the events of The Dark Knight have unfolded. The City is ripe for the picking as Bane and Selina Kyle arrive on the scene. Bale is wonderful as the ever-tortured Bruce Wayne and Oldman (the unsung hero of the entire trilogy) is just a fantastically facetted Jim Gordon. The movie highlights how easily society degenerates when rules are overturned and people are pitted against each other.

…a thoroughly satisfying end to the Nolan Batman legacy. Good luck to anyone picking up this mantle. 5 out of 5 stars.


Sunday, July 15, 2012


There was this tiny moment in time, once, when I felt truly carefree.  Let's get this straight: if you were going to pick ten words to describe me, "carefree" would not be one of them.  But there I was.

It was late, still bright from the summer sunset.  We could hear the swans quietly trumpeting to each other.  I was a little tipsy, without a drop to drink.  Watching Iago had been an intoxicating experience.  We had to cross the bridge, to what was then an unfamiliar place.  Even in sotto voce, giggles bounced off the church walls.  I tripped.  You caught my elbow so I didn't fall and I think you laughed.  You never laugh.  I lamented that you didn't see the play, that you would have fallen in love too.  I remember the river and the swans.  I remember the dip in the sidewalk and the warm arm I held so tight.  I remember thinking it was the perfect evening for magic and tragedy.  I felt free and young and happy.  So tenuous, it dissipated in the porch light. 

I think my memory is playing tricks on me.  Why did we cross the river when our beds were right next to the theatre?  Did we really walk by the cemetery?  Perhaps I'm remembering it all wrong, putting together a mosaic instead of recalling a picture.  We may have never held each other.  I was drunk after all and the details escape me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

On Stage @ Stratford, 2012

Can't believe I didn't tell you about this poppets!  Sometime in May, between Quebec City and Boston, there was a quick trip to Stratford with AnCe.  After gorging on theatre last year, this year's offerings were fairly light, so we popped into the Bard's House for the day.

Up first: MacHomer.  Really, this was the only reason we even went out there this year.  A one-man performance where are all the characters are from the Simpsons?  Yes, I'm there.  Aye Carumba, it was amazing.  Rick Miller is pretty much genius in this and he was so lovely and generous with his time after the show.  He even thanked us for playing hookie from work.  

Second show was the Pirates of Penzance, which was okay.  If anything, it made me google the "I am the very model of a modern mahjor general" song - though that song is a lot longer than it needs to be. 

A quiet day.  Looking forward to 2013.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Birthday Weekend(tm)

I don't how many times I was asked the same question this past weekend: “what’s so special about this birthday?” And I answered the same way as well: “All my birthdays are equally special.” It’s true. For as long as I can remember, my birthday has been a great excuse for a party. The first party of the summer. Or a joint celebration with my Mom (two days before mine). Or World Cup Finals. Or blockbuster movie releases. So even when my birthday falls on a mundane Wednesday, there’s been a convenient excuse to elongate it to the weekend, at least.

This year is no different. Jadek had already planned to take me to see Beauty and the Beast. Dad wanted to take my Mom and I for a dinner cruise for both our birthdays on Friday. DjDwight is playing his Hybrid set (first Saturday of the month) and all of sudden, we have an itinerary. Nish’s visit home cinched the whole thing together and my birthday became a Birthday Weekend(tm).

Actually, it began on Thursday night, when we went to see a movie. That was a nice treat, watching a late movie on a weeknight. Slept in the next day and moseyed our way downtown to check in. Dinner on a boat that meandered its way through the Toronto Islands, chatting with the family. Had Saturday breakfast at Fran’s before window shopping and heading off to the theatre. Dinner at The Three Brewers (thanks AnCe!) before hotel shenanigans ensued. Yes, I waited until my 32nd birthday to have hotel security come in and try to break up the party. No worries, ten minutes later, we were cabbing it to Neu+ral.

Let’s get it straight, poppets. I was fully inebriated before we even stepped into the club. If there’s one thing us Frenches do right, it is party. And with LilBro around, I had no choice but to keep up. Thankfully, I have a boyfriend who was like a sentinel all night, making sure I was happy, hydrated and generally safe. The next morning, I was in no condition to actually attend our 1pm brunch appointment. So, instead, I nibbled on corn chips while watching the Wimbledon final (so sad, Mr. Murray!).

Best story of the night? There are three:
  1. Nish: “do you remember the shots? We lined them up and told you to take yours. You picked one up and downed it. When I said ‘hey, you didn’t wait for the cheers’ you said ‘oh my God, I’m so sorry!’ before picking up another one, saying ‘Cheers!’ and drinking that one too.”
  2. AnCe: “I asked you if you wanted some water and you’re like ‘God yes’; I handed it to you, you tipped your head back and attempted to drink. When nothing happened, you got confused and asked me to ‘make it go’ – at which point I simply pointed out that you should try unscrewing the cap.
  3. Jadek: “Last call, and I asked what you wanted and you very responsibly, said, ‘water please!’ So I hand you the bottle, you unscrew the cap, lean back on the bar, chug the entire thing in one shot and proceed to toss the empty bottle over your shoulder, behind the bar. Like a Viking with an empty mug.”
Oh dear. I don’t remember any of that happening. I do remember my hair elastic breaking and some stranger giving me hers in the bathroom. And I remember an excellent bartender (Jamie?). The rest… well, that’s what friends are for.

Monday, I shopped and contemplated a piercing before having house food with the family. All in all? Excellent.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Stage: Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Sometimes, the stars align just so.

Nish is only in town for ten days, straddling my Birthday Weekend(tm). Our favourite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast (…hello? he gives her a library!). The Beauty and the Beast Musical is playing in Toronto for just three weeks, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. And we (unknowingly) booked our hotel right next door. Sublime.

AnCe, Nish, Jadek and I caught the Saturday matinee, along with about two hundred little girls in princess dresses. That had to be the best washroom lineup ever. They sang all my favourite songs and there was a happy ending. I thought Gaston was particularly good. It was all excellent.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Now Playing: The Amazing Spider-Man

Reboot!  Yes, a scant decade since the Tobey Maguire franchise began, we have a brand new Amazing Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield donning the spandex.

I need to tell you, poppets, I was never a fan of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. I found the former insipid and the latter looked NOTHING like Mary Jane. What saved those movies, for me, were the villains. I hope they don’t recast either Green Goblins or Doc Oc anytime soon. That first trilogy so killed my childhood love for the webslinger, that I didn’t even watch it on opening weekend. Sad, but true.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AnCe's luggage checklist

Seriously.  This is the handiest thing I've posted in years.

I travel.  It's a thing I do.  My luggage has been on borrowed time.  After coming back from Vegas the last time, some ramp rat tore the top handle (and my cute M&M luggage tag) clean off, ruining my favourite suitcase.  With Japan looming, there is no question that I need a new suitcase.  And since I do travel, it was time to make an investment.  I come from a long line of travellers: I have FIVE aunts who are retired air stewardesses.  Five.  I learned a few things from, but it mostly pertains to actual packing (I can fit a week anywhere into one small carry-on).  When it comes to luggage, I turned to AnCe.

Poppets, I shall now share with you her wisdom.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Now Playing: Brave

On a lark, mostly to hide from the "extreme heat", Jadek and I went to see Brave on Sunday.   Honestly, I'm surprised by how much I liked it.  It was funny, touching, magical, and (ironically) realistic.  It was also very pretty to look at and the voice acting was just spot-on.  Can't really talk about the best parts without there being spoilers, so...

3.5 out of 5 stars.

...Spoiler Alert!

Facts I really really like:

Monday, July 02, 2012

Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl

Our annual non-fiction pick for Book Club was inspired by a book review at my staff meeting.  And with a very preggers Cyn around, who wouldn't want to read about "choosing boys over girls and the consequences of a world full of men"?

Enter Mara Hvistendahl's Unnatural Selection.  What began as a cultural study of why certain cultures continue to covet males over females turns into a statistical nightmare that reveals humanity's  dirtiest secret: our technology has surpassed our ability to control the repercussions of using that very same technology.

The crux of Hvistendah's is this: parents, even in modern-day societies, still have a "son preference' which leads to many families having babies until they have a bouncing baby boy.  (Do a quick, informal survey of your own: who many families do you know that have the older-girl-younger-boy makeup?  Look at single-child homes: how many are single boys versus single girls?  How many families do you know where the son is the youngest of the brood?  It's fascinating.)  In fact, this trending towards having as many kids as possible until you have a son is what led to the one-child-rule in China and the scores of abandoned female babies in other countries.