Category Archives: General

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation soars to the top of the box office

The early weekend numbers are in and, as expected, it wasn’t an impossible mission for Tom Cruise to scale some impressive heights at the box office this weekend. Here’s what went down:

imageMission: Impossible Rogue Nation had the second best opening ever for a Mission: Impossible film, debuting in first place with an estimated $55 million, just $2 million shy of M:I2 ‘s $57 million debut. Critics and audiences have both given the movie high marks, and Cruise is already talking about getting to work on a sixth film in a franchise that shows no signs of slowing down. Read the rest of this entry

TIFF 2015 Marks Festival’s 40th Anniversary

First Festival of Festivals poster held by director Rosee Lacreta, 1976

It ain’t a mid-life crisis, that’s for sure. September’s just around the corner, and Torontonians know that means it’s time for another Toronto International Film Festival. This incarnation’s one of those zero-numbers people get so excited about, and at forty, TIFF’s getting downright venerable. What started out in 1975 as The Festival of Festivals (Toronto had big eyes back then, and not a whole lot else), has grown from a scrappy little fest in a half-dozen theatres around town to a massive media machine, with over 350 films appearing in its ten-day run. Start up the projector, let’s take a peak at a few treats that lie just ahead.

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David Ward On… Serendipities by Umberto Eco


I figured I’d take the opportunity to do my “On…” column on one of my favourite books this time around, and, strangely enough, it has nothing to do with visceral horror! I’m writing about an old and treasured favourite: Serendipities by Umberto Eco. I know Eco isn’t for everyone. One friend of mine once said he could never finish a book by him because he constantly had to refer to the dictionary. While he’s not that bad, some of his books are a little dense. I wanted to write about a favourite and much more accessible title. Outside of his fiction, I’ve re-read his essays more than any other type of his works – some of his academic and theoretical books make my brains drip out of my ears. Read the rest of this entry

Sizzle and Pop: The Brilliant Magic of Technicolor

Judy Garland glows as much as the landscape in the classic The Wizard of Oz

You know the moment. You’re stuck in Kansas with Dorothy and holy shit this place is boring. Yes there’s hogs and chicks and the local busybody who just wants to stuff Toto in a basket and ride away, and you can even sing if you want. But it’s all so drab, so mundane, so black-and-white. And then a tornado whips the house up into the air and plunks it back down again (and here’s to those old building standards for keeping that farmhouse intact) and BAM!, you and Dot are in a whole new magical realm. And what’s this? It’s in colour! Like the colour we see with our eyes. But better, vibrant, popping right off the screen. That magic was a film innovation, a little process called Technicolor. It brought heightened realism to the movies, and an iconic look to the films of the forties and fifties. TIFF’s halfway through a brilliant retrospective of Technicolor movies, and there’s still some gems to be seen.

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Biff Bam Pop’s It’s All Connected – Just a Kid from Brooklyn: Captain America, American Memories of World War II, and the MCU, Part I

Cover art for Captain America (Vol. 4) #1 by John Cassaday

Cover art for Captain America (Vol. 4) #1 by John Cassaday.

Captain America is a symbol, and Steve Rogers is an ideal. The former is the manifestation of the best that the United States of America can be, and the latter is the exemplar of citizenship that creates it. Yet this iconic character was born in defiance, and is inextricably linked with the largest and most horrific conflict in the entirety of human history. World War II left between 70 and 85 million people dead, or somewhere between three and four percent of the world’s population at the time. European Jewry was all but eradicated by a systematic, industrialized genocide. The infrastructures and economies of Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and the Philippines (among others) were largely smashed. In Great Britain – one of the victor nations – food rationing continued until 1954, nine years after the war had ended. How then, did Captain America, the paragon of American humanist and egalitarian virtue, spring from such poisoned fields?

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Now Playing: Tangerine


Tangerine, the new film by Sean Baker, portrays a realism that is at once immersive and fresh. The film, shot entirely on cell-phone cameras from seemingly every possible angle, invites the audience into a very personal story.

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Nobody is saying “WTF” about Minions outstanding debut weekend

It was a big weekend for one new release, while two others pretty much crashed and burned big time. Here’s what went down:

imageMinions was the biggest movie of the weekend, which should come as no surprise. The film had a built in audience and, even though the reviews haven’t been super strong, families came out in full force. The early weekend estimates put Minions on top with $115 million, an absolutely outstanding debut. Even alledged swearing Minion toys at McDonald’s couldn’t put a damper on this film.

As for the rest of the top five, Jurassic World slipped to second place with $17.8 million, bringing its North American total to $590. The movies should pass the $600 million mark this week, making it the biggest film of the year by far, and one of the most succesful films of all time. Inside Out was in third place with $17.4 million, while Terminator: Genisys sputtered to fourth place with $13.5 million. New release The Gallows closed things out in fifth place with $10 million.

Meanwhile, the Ryan Reynold/Ben Kingsley sci-fi film Self/Less could only muster up $5.3 million to land in eighth place.

So, to recap, here were our predictions:

1) Minions – $125 million
2) Inside Out – $20 million
3) Jurassic World – $18 million
4) Terminator: Genisys – $12 million
5) Magic Mike – $10 million

And here’s how the weekend turned out:

1) Minions – $115 million
2) Jurassic World – $17.8 million
3) Inside Out – $17.4 million
4) Terminator: Genisys – $13.5 million
5) The Gallows – $10 million

Next weekend sees the debut of Ant-Man and Trainwreck. Be sure to check back on Friday to see our predictions!

Trailer Time: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Comic Con Trailer

We all knew this was coming.

With the 2015 edition of the San Diego Comic Con in full swing right now, we knew that Warner Brothers would release something new regarding one of next year’s most eagerly anticipated films. And today, they didn’t disappoint fans.

Black versus blue.

God versus man.

Day versus night.

Batman versus Superman.

The one question that remains: what do you think?

Everything you need to know about the Playstation E3 Experience 2015


Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. I’ve waited so long to hear those words, and there they were on the screen. I had the pleasure of attending the Official Playstation E3 Experience at Yonge and Dundas theatre in Toronto – with none other than our great leader Andy Burns – and when those words flashed up on-screen the place erupted in applause.

It seems that the word ‘Finally’ was one of the underlying themes of the 2015 Sony E3 conference. Not only had we gotten our beloved Square Enix treasure, but we also finally got a glimpse of what some of us have simply passed off as impossible. Something that became more of a running joke over countless conferences that never showed a hint of it. Read the rest of this entry

Living in the Shadow – Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World

Great artists are kinda fucking nuts. They don’t always seem that way. Sometimes they come across completely normal, as normal as you or I. (Well, you anyway.) Sure, some have their tics and rattles, but it’s the work that really shows where their compulsions lie. To look at his work, Hans Rudolf Giger must’ve been batshit crazy with all manner of body and technological loathing. His prodigious output is among the most distinctive art of the late twentieth century, from paintings to sculptures to the all-time creepiest xenomorph ever to smash its double-hinged projectile jaws into a human skull in Alien (1979). The documentary Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World (2014) finds Giger in the final fade of his twilight years, ailing but affable, presiding over his legacy with the creation of the Giger Museum in his home Switzerland. It’s an uneven doc, but Giger’s shadows are impossibly compelling. Grab a ticket. If the ride makes you sick, well, isn’t that what you paid for?

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