Daily Archives: October 20, 2015
In the comics, it’s usually the heroes who have complicated backstories and casts of characters. All you need to know about the bad guys is that they are, well, bad. Some villains do have that background, and some have families, loved ones, origins, backgrounds, and motivations. Captain Cold is a good example. He has friends and family. In this week’s episode of “The Flash,” we learn a bit more about Cold. We’ve met his partner, his sister, and now, his father. Join me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Family of Rogues.”
By the numbers and with its fair share of familiar faces, Gridlocked (2015) is a serviceable action flick showing tonight at Toronto After Dark. In the style of The Expendables franchise, it’s a bullets and brawling bruiser with cheeseball jokes, some wincingly gruesome violence and probably $50 million less of aging testosterone-fueled ego. If that gets you excited, then take the safety off, rook. Let’s dance.
After the daring rescue of Agent Jemma Simmons last week, things are back to status quo for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” While ex-Agent Grant Ward rebuilds Hydra with the son of Baron Von Strucker, S.H.I.E.L.D. is back to collecting Inhumans before the mysterious government group run by Rosalind Price, the Alien Threat Containment Unit, who are more about dissecting the Inhumans than recruiting them. And what does the sinister Inhuman called Lash want? Meet me after the jump for clues, and my thoughts on “A Wanted (Inhu)Man.”
If there was one comics story I would never have thought would be brought to the screen, small or silver, or even adapted, it would be “Flash of Two Worlds,” one of the most pivotal tales in the history of the DC Comics Universe. I had been asked in the 102nd episode of The GAR! Podcast what I wanted to see in “The Flash” this season, and never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this. I am in nerd heaven. Meet me after the double super-speed jump for my thoughts on “Flash of Two Worlds!”
Film is a fragile medium. It’s easy to forget in this digital age that so much of our cinematic history is committed to old-fashioned celluloid, the plastic spools wound on reels that rattle and clack on their way through the illuminated projector gate, giving us our magic in the dark. And celluloid is decidedly impermanent. The winding and travel of projection can damage film prints. And they fade, dry out, flake and become brittle over the years, even when they’re kept in optimal conditions. Film preservation has become a big concern, with directors like Martin Scorsese trying to raise awareness about how much film history might be lost if efforts aren’t made to keep these prints around.
TIFF has gone to great efforts to preserve films in its collection. This October, they’re breaking out a rarity, Canada’s first horror film, and first 3D feature as well. It’s a little known picture called The Mask, directed by Julian Roffman and released in 1961. In the film, a psychiatrist comes into possession of an ancient tribal mask. When worn, the mask assails him with nightmarish visions of monsters, occultists, and ritual torture. Believing that he has discovered a portal to the deepest recesses of his mind, he continues to explore this terrifying new psychic world — even at the risk of his sanity. It’s a dark, malevolent journey, with a riot of psychedelic 3D imagery every time the film intones for the doctor, and the audience, to “PUT THE MASK ON”. A definitive version of the film hasn’t been seen in decades, but through the restoration efforts of TIFF and the 3-D Film Archive of New Jersey, The Mask has been returned to its full, dizzyingly surreal glory. I spoke with the TIFF Director of Programming Jesse Wente about The Mask‘s strange journey, and TIFF’s challenging restoration.
Born: January 28, 1981 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
“If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be a secret agent.”
Did You Know?
Beat out 150 actors, including Jake Gyllenhaal, for the coveted role of Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.