Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Now Playing: Life of Pi

Watched Life of Pi as part of a double-feature this weekend. [It’s hard trying to use up what was supposed to be two years’ worth of tickets in four months. You get very unlikely pairings when this happens] I had read the novel years ago, when I was still ensconced in the tiny room of my parents’ abode. I loved the novel, staying up late into the night to finish chapters despite having 6am shifts at work. Needless to say, I had high hopes for the movie.

Pi? It’s really really good. The acting is pretty amazing: Suraj Sharma spent so much of his screen time alone, it must have been really daunting to react only to a green screen (or did they use real animals? If they…double wow). It is unabashedly Canadian (set in Montreal, about an Indian family bound for Winnipeg) – so, perhaps that turned some American audiences off. And the effects … oh the effects! They are so good, I was slightly uncomfortable is some parts (read: any part where they were underwater – agoraphobia really acted up). If nothing else, Pi is a really beautiful movie adaptation of an equally gorgeous book.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

taking credit

You know, I give LilBro a hard time. I can’t help it – I’m older, wiser, and (sometimes) smarter. I take pride in my sense of responsibility; equally, I loathe that same sense because I feel it is sometimes to my disadvantage. I’m getting more and more cynical as I age, though still lagging far behind my compatriots. Anyway, this is all to say that I’m often dismissive of the talents, skills, and genuine good-naturedness of my sibling. And I shouldn’t be.

Where I may be smarter, he’s certainly more clever and witty. He’s open to new ideas and discussions of big and little things alike. He has opinions – strong ones – but that doesn’t mean he’s closed-minded. He can be convinced with logic and rationale. This is a quality that is rare. It takes a lot to make a stand and then to admit that you may have been wrong. Where I may be wiser, he still carries some of that audacity of youth that I have long since lost. I have wisdom at the expense of courage. I know how to make, spend, and save money. He knows how to make, spend, and save creativity. Which of us is wiser?

I may be older…well, I am older. Nothing is changing that. I have become less pliant, more brittle, easily hurt. I don’t twist an ankle, I tear three tendons; I don’t have a sore muscles, I have chest pains and nausea; I don’t have heartbreak, I have a permanently broken heart. What I do with it is useless: I bury it, stomp on it, forget where I put it and let it go. He fuels it into music and song, takes something painful and makes something beautiful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now Playing: Wreck-It Ralph

In a fun bit of nostalgia, we took in Wreck-It Ralph this weekend. I was totally sold by the trailer and couldn’t think of better people to watch it with than fellow old-school gamers (LilBro and Jadek). It was a lovely bit of fluff, complete with wisecracks and morals. Voice acting talents were good; especially loved Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope von Schweets. I watched it in 3D – you don’t need to, it rarely used any of the mind trickery to make it worth and extra three bucks. Animation was up to the usual Disney snuff – no complaints there. Scripting was equally clever, with tonnes of references, self-deprecating humour, and great kid/adult humour.

I don’t know if they were setting up for a sequel (or franchise, even), but there were SO many arcade references that were missed (e.g., Area 51, street fighter, frogger…) and the ones they did have were almost half-done (Bowser, but no Mario?). The other thing was the disguising of actual games – the titular game is clearly a riff off Donkey Kong and Sugar Rush stood in for Mario Kart (complete with rainbow road!)…why? And they’ll need to make a PC/console version, because I really missed Wolfenstein, Duck Hunt, and Contra.

If you have fond memories of “Nintendo thumb”, this is definitely worth a rental. 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Now Playing: Skyfall

The third Bond movie helmed by Daniel Craig, Skyfall, sees our favourite British spy getting back to basics. The gadgets are pretty low-tech (radio!) and car is vintage, so if you’re expecting a showcase of techno wizardry, you’ll be disappointed. The cast is good, with standout performances from Javier Bardem and the indomitable Dame Judi Dench. Also, if you’re expecting super-suave and almost-perfection in Bond, look elsewhere. In what seems to be the trend for superheroes (thank you, Mr. Nolan), Bond is much more realistic. He gets injured, he looks dissipated, … I mean, if that’s your bag, you’re going to love this movie.

In terms of plot and pacing, it was well done. Great story, good character development, surprise twists – all there. Sometimes I wish they would divorce Bond from the franchise, and just let a new double-O (with a new back story and personality) take over every 4-5 movies. Anyway, a good time: 3 out of 5 stars.