Category Archives: General

Amanda Blue On… Preacher

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favourite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

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I was never into comics, or “graphic novels” as I now know them, but I’ve always been a bookworm. When I was a kid, I would hide under my covers with a flashlight to sneak in at least one more chapter after lights out. I read while I walked to and from school. I read on car rides. I read every chance I could, and still do, but I was always into novels, never comics. I didn’t have the patience for them. I wanted to absorb as many words as possible and create the story in my head in my own way, I didn’t want to take time looking at pictures and seeing everything the way someone else already had. At least I think that’s why I never got into them. It could be that they were never offered to me or presented as a worthwhile investment of my time. My parents didn’t read them, my friends didn’t read them, and I grew up an only child so I didn’t even have any siblings to steal them from. But when I was 20, a self-proclaimed comic nerd (my then-husband) assured me there were some really incredible stories told in that format and if I ever wanted to give them a shot, I should start with Preacher. I think it was partly my wanting to take part in something he enjoyed as much as it was my willingness to give almost anything in this world a fair chance, so one day, for whatever reason, I picked up the first trade of Preacher (“Gone to Texas”) and decided to give it a go. Did I like it? Well, I now have a half-sleeve tattoo based on this series and a cat whose registered name is Tulip O’Hare. What the hell, right? I’m still not sure how I went into Preacher with zero expectations and yet the series somehow managed to go beyond every single one of them.

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Will Smith loses Focus, audiences still dig Kingsman

It was a seriously lacklustre weekend at the box office, as none of the new releases managed to bring home any significant dollars. Here’s what went down:

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As predicted, Will Smith and Margot Robie’s Focus managed to debut in the top spot this weekend, but it was with a fairly unimpressive number, grossing just $19 million. This is certainly not what Will is looking for; me thinks he best serves his audience in larger, tentpole style films such as Men In Black. Maybe he’s going to be rethinking returning to Independance Day as well. Unless Focus manages to find some unexpected legs, this one should come and go from theaters vert quickly.
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Blue on Black: Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s rare that a sequel is any good. Ever. But what’s even more rare is a sequel that can stand alone as well as not be awful. I’ve never seen Night of the Demons, but the other night I watched Night of the Demons 2. I knew nothing about the premise, nothing about the storyline’s history, and it didn’t matter. Most people see a sequel because the first instalment made them want to, but in this case, seeing the sequel made me want to watch the original.

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Biff Bam Pop remembers Leonard Nimoy

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All of us at Biff Bam Pop are saddened to hear of Leonard Nimoy’s passing at the age of 83. You don’t become a geek without some sort of love of Star Trek, and nobody quite embodied that world like Mr. Nimoy’s Spock. We’ll be adding our thoughts as the day goes on, but in the meantime, here’s one of Andy Burns’ favourite Leonard Nimoy moments, along with the most poignant Star Trek scene you’ll view today:

Amanda Blue:

I saw Mr. Nimoy in person at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo in 2010. I remember the big smile he had on his face and the kindness he showed the neverending stream of fans lined up to meet him. He must have been exhausted, but it was obvious that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. You could feel his gentleness and patience from across the room. The world lost a good one to the Final Frontier today. RIP, sir.

Leiki:

Who didn’t love and respect Leonard Nimoy? From Star Trek to Fringe and his cameo on The Big Bang Theory, he improved everything. I will miss his very distinctive voice and presence.

Glenn Walker:

I’m more than a little stunned right now by his passing. Leonard Nimoy was part of my childhood, my education, my love of the genre, and now he’s gone, in this world at least. I can give you this, his last Tweet from his hospital bed:

“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”

Later, I wrote this personal essay over on my blog.  Live long and prosper, sir.

Ensley F. Guffey:

As part of the central trinity of Star Trek Leonard Nimoy helped inculcate in me an enduring love of science fiction, a passionate belief in the value of space exploration, and an abiding fascination with fictional television shows that ask more of the audience than passive consumption. On a more personal note, I grew up watching reruns of Star Trek in syndication with my Dad, who was a fan form the series’ original airing. It’s one of the earliest things I can remember doing with my father, who died in 2000, and so Spock, Kirk, McCoy, Checkov, Sulu, Uhura, Scotty, et al. are inextricably tied up with some incredible, and very dear, personal memories. As with the passing of Deforest Kelly and James Doohan, Leonard Nimoy’s death leaves a hole in my heart, and the world is just a little bit less today than it was yesterday. Farewell, Mr. Nimoy, and may your next voyage be even more “fascinating” than the last.

Luke Sneyd:

Thinking on it, I’m a little surprised how much Leonard Nimoy was an influence on me growing up. I LOVED STAR TREK. As a kid I watched all the original series episodes, and the clunky animated series. I had the action figures, the models, the Star Fleet Technical Manual. A friend even built a full-size captain’s chair and bridge console out of wood (or his dad did) and we attempted our own Super-8 Star Trek movie, without any real script of course. I loved all the characters, but Leonard Nimoy as Spock was wonderful, the insistent rationality, the wry detached humour that nevertheless seeped through. Watching McCoy and Spock snipe at each other was endlessly amusing. And in the face of William Shatner’s glorious ham Kirk, all Nimoy had to do was cock an eyebrow on the angle of his pointed ears. Devastating. Post Star Trek, Nimoy’s In Search of… series had a big impact on me, too. Delving into all kinds of unexplained phenomena and the paranormal, Nimoy hosted the series with his trademark intelligent rasp. It anticipated a lot of the mysterious doc series on today, blending talking heads with eerie re-enactments. And Nimoy had success as a director, too, though I stayed far, far away from Three Men and a Baby. All in all, a stupendous career, and an inspiration for the rational, ever-curious, inquiring mind. Dif-tor heh smusma, Leonard, to a life well and truly lived.

Lastly, how cool is this guy?

Robin Renée:

Mr. Spock was one of my first crushes. I think that impulse has continued on for me in my lifelong attraction to the deeply intellectual. I will always love Leonard Nimoy, though, not only for his most famous role, but also for aspects of his art and being I discovered much later – his brilliant eye for photography, his narration of what came to be one of my favorite holiday broadcasts, the way he seemed to never stop creating, and how he, in every aspect I encountered, showed true concern for the heart of humanity.

Jean-Paul Fallavollita:

I grew up watching reruns of Star Trek, introduced to the original television series by an older cousin, and fell in love with it immediately, becoming forever enamored with the onscreen friendship between William Shatner, DeForest Kelly and Leonard Nimoy.

For me, Leonard Nimoy, was always the most venerable member of the Star Trek community. Even with his philosophical battles of being pigeonholed as the character of Spock, over the last few decades he seemed to embrace that visage and grow from it. From narrator on In Search Of… to directing various films, artistic turns in writing books or as a photographer, to reprising the role of Spock in two new generations of the Star Trek franchise and even playing a caricature of himself on both The Simpsons and Futurama, his work has always moved me and has always provided an important point of discussion for my own group of close friends.

I grew up with Leonard Nimoy, and he helped usher me through the future with intellect, with wonder, with wisdom, and always with a strong sense of camaraderie. Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy and thank you for all of that camaraderie in all of its various forms.

Loretta Sisco:

Leonard Nimoy was a beloved actor who brought to life Mr. Spock, an iconic science fiction character. Even I know what a Vulcan salute is, and I confess I have never seen an episode of Star Trek. I remember Mr. Nimoy hosting In Search of . . . when I was a kid, with a voice that was unmistakable. He will be missed.

Marie Gilbert:

I grew up when the mind set of the nation was changing. As a baby boomer and post World War 2 child of Italian immigrants, I lived during the Cuban Crisis, the assassination of a beloved president, the invasion of British music, civil rights movement, women’s liberation, the Vietnam War, and yes, the Apollo space program. When Star Trek premiered on television in 1961 it dealt with subjects mirroring what was happening in the world I lived in. It mattered not your sex, color or planet of origin; all were equal. I loved all the characters, but Leonard Nimoy’s Spock was my favorite. He was a scientist and a cool one at that. He was logical, getting us to see past the emotions and prejudices to the truth of the matter. Even though Spock hid his emotions, we all felt his pain and his joy. Spock, with his pointy ears and weird eyebrows was a guiding light to all of us who thought outside the box. If Spock could be weird and still be cool, so could I. On February 23, he posted this tweet: life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.. I will always remember Leonard Nimoy aka Spock for allowing me to look up at the stars and dream of what would be.

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Will your focus be on Focus this weekend?

Another weekend, another battle at the box office. Can the latest from a tried, tested and true movie star take down Ana and Christian? Here are our predictions:

imageFocus will hopefully be a return to form for the usually dependable Will Smith. His last flick, After Earth, was a colossal bomb on all fronts, so Will needs a hit to be back on track. Focus is a con flic, and we haven’t really had a notable one of those since Now You See Me from a few summers ago. The film’s not so secret weapon could very well be co-star Margot Robbie, who has some serious buzz around her after having accepted the role of Harley Quinn in the upcoming DC Comics film, Suicide Squad (also set to star Smith). With all these factors in play, I think we’ll see a first place showing for Focus with a solid $25 million.

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Blue on Black: It Follows (2014)

I don’t even remember how It Follows ended up on my radar, but I heard it was something I needed to see, found out it was playing at my favourite theatre, and off I went without even bothering (and in fact avoiding) reading anything about it or watching the trailer. The perfectly spooky art house environment I was in made the experience of It Follows more than I could have hoped for.

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The Strange Case of Hou Hsiao-Hsien and the Very Very Long Take

Tony Leung is torn between two companions in the sumptuous Flowers of Shanghai

TIFF’s got a retrospective of Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien on right now. Which could make you swoon, if you love lush cinematography, oblique story-telling and very long takes with a free-wandering camera. Or it could be as exciting as a long night with your second cousin’s family, driving around aimlessly, wishing these people you barely know actually had something to say. Beautiful, meditative, complex, tedious, distant, and meandering are all words that could apply to Hou’s mesmeric take on movies. Sometimes the spell works. Others… Join me after the jump to find where you fall on the Hou scale.

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Livin’ In The 80s: The Beast Within

The-Beast-Within-1982-movie-8Hi, there. Welcome back.

I thought long and hard about which 80s cinematic offering we’d kick things off with. Do I go with something tried and true, or go off the path less travelled? Then it dawned on me. Since this is much a personal reminiscence as it is a history lesson, I thought I’d go with one that left its mark on me at a young and impressionable age.

And so, I present… The Beast Within.

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Blue on Black: From Beyond (1986)

If I could hug Stuart Gordon, I would. I would hug him twice. First for Re-Animator (which I gushed about a few weeks ago), and second for From Beyond. Back in my video rental days, I remember picking this one up and enjoying it, but somehow it slipped through the (many) cracks of my memory. Well, the other night From Beyond made its way back into my life and I re-watched it on a whim while mindlessly playing some Simpsons Tapped Out on my iPad (Don’t judge me!) in bed, thinking I’d just throw it on for awhile before falling asleep. I ended up being totally sucked in, watching the entire thing, staying up way past my bedtime, and dragging my ass the entire next day at work. But it was so worth it.

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Blue on Black: The House of the Devil (2009)

About 7 years ago, I gave up on “new” horror. Aside from a handful of rare exceptions – including Drag Me to Hell, The Cabin in the Woods, The Conjuring, and The Babadook –  the last decade of horror has been disappointing to say the least. The films just mentioned were a few that piqued my interest enough to temporarily lift my ban and give them a chance, due to a particular director, some abnormal hype, the recommendation of a friend, or simply winning free passes and thinking, “What the hell, why not?” After all of the embarrassing remakes ruining fond childhood memories, after all the studios relying on naked teenagers to distract from the lack of actual storyline, after all the Top 40 soundtracks instead of original scores, there was just no real reason to bother anymore. It was around the time I decided to avoid wasting any more money going to the theatre only to suffer through 2 hours of garbage that I evidently missed out on something that was actually worth watching: The House of the Devil.

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