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SilverCity Mississauga: An Obituary Well Deserved

SIlverCity Mississauga recently shut its doors for good. The theatre was owned by the Cineplex corporation. Located at Ridgeway and Dundas on the west end of the Mississauga, Ontario. The theatre changed ownership from Famous Players to Cinexplex in 2005 when Viacom sold their theatres in Canada to Cineplex. Though, officially the name SilverCity never changed. 

On an emotional level I don’t think I’ve completely processed the lose of SilverCity. It was more than a place where I worked and earned money. It was a place of friendship, love, and rapid change. To this day I have not had a job where the tone of a workplace was so heavily set by the employees. Every month felt like a new feeling, a new emotion, and a new set of individuals. We were all growing. I remember spending the majority of my free time at the theatre, even if I wasn’t working.  It was our Mecca, our social scene. I moved three times during the course of me working at the movie theatre, and yet I can scarcely remember what two of those places I lived in looked like. I can however in vivid detail explain every square inch of that building.

The misfit theatre. Used mainly for independent films, children movies, and B list films that always under lived or over lived their life expectancy. Like loyal fans we took our loses. Win or lose. Whatever it was, it was ours. Our theatre was rarely busy, which gave us time. We had time to learn from another, time to interact, and time to discover. I think back to those days and at the time I remember thinking, “if only we get that next big film”, “if only we get more consistent films”. In my ignorance I did not realize that neighbouring theatres were busy from open to close. If our theatre had the same intensity I highly doubt our knowledge and friendships with one another would be so deep. It was in our mediocrity that we benefited.

If the movies sucked, there would always be more. We didn’t care.

Late nights, early mornings. Cold sweats. Drunken nights, hungover mornings. Scraping and saving. Wasting and splurging. Using and abusing.

The theatre gave me love in three distinct ways. First to a girl who I dated for a year. Secondly to cinema and film. Thirdly and most importantly for the opportunity to meet and date my future wife. I am grateful for all experiences, good and bad. I am also grateful for the friendships I’ve had. Some of which have transcended my time at SilverCity. For those who were part of the theatre are part of a special community. It’s something only we knew about.

Although I understand that Cineplex is a business, and profit and loss almost certainly played a huge factor in their decision to close the theatre. It still doesn’t make it any easier. In 2012 Cineplex acquired four of AMC’s theatres in Canada, which helped contribute to the over saturation of Cineplex’s brand in the General Toronto Area. The company needed to cut some fat.

If SilverCity Mississauga was seen as an unsuccessful theatre it was because of both companies stance (Famous Players and Cineplex) on using it as a bargain bin for films. In a city notoriously known for being deprived of entertainment options, I can’t help but feel as though others and not just a select few will see this as a loss. The building and land will be converted into a fitness facility. Something, which in my opinion the city does not need more of. All I can think of saying to end this post is something that I will never forget; 10-4 brother, over and out.

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American Hustle is No Casino

I have recently read some comments about how American Hustle is similar to Casino. Having just finished watching American Hustle I feel like the comparison isn’t one the film should be awarded.

Don’t get my wrong, American Hustle is an okay film. When it first came out into theatres I noticed it had a pretty high rating from users (something like 95%, if my memory serves me correct). The trailer also caught my attention and put it on my radar of must see films of 2013.

The movie failed at creating a deep personal connection with Christian Bale (Irving Rosenfield) and the audience. In Casino, Robert De Niro’s character does a superb job of this. This critique isn’t even a knock at Christian Bale, who I think is an amazing actor. Giving the limitations of the script and plot Bale did a fantastic job. The potential and talent weren’t the problem. I felt as though the deep friendship the movie implied between Jeremy Renner (The Mayor of Camden, New Jersey) and Christian Bale (Irving Rosenfield) was forced. I believed that The Mayor was a good man who cared about his constituents. What I didn’t believe is that Irving Rosenfield and The Mayor were good friends. The relationship never developed, at least not on screen.

I left American Hustle feeling like I had just seen a mediocre film that had the potential of being something excellent. If anything I’d give the movie a solid 70-75%. Bad movies are easy to get over. Movies that leave you wondering what could have been are the hardest to get over.

The film didn’t get snubbed at the Oscars, as many believe. Post Oscars several large papers had entertainment editorials focus on American Hustle not getting a single statue. Not always do I agree with The Academies choices, though in all categories that American Hustle was up for an Oscar there was clearly better films and better actors to choose from.

On the topic of better films, The Wolf Of Wall Street was consistently good from start to finish, though it did not get much traction at The Oscars.

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One Minute Till The Oscars Start: My Predictions

Movies excite us, anger us, and challenge us. The artistic form of movies is something I have always loved. The Oscars are often called superficial. If you can look past the Glitz and Glamour you will see that the event is a celebration of film. It’s about awarding excellence. I don’t agree with many of The Academy’s decisions. Though as an event The Oscars are extremely important for those who love and are directly and indirectly involved in it. It’s not just about awarding actors and directors. It’s the sound editors, cameraman, set designers, costumer designers, writers, editors, and visual effects people who are the backbone of creating a good film.

I’m extremely excited for this years Oscars! My predictions are as follows.

Best Picture: Her

Best Actress (Lead): Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

Best Actor (Lead): Leondaro DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Best Actor (Supporting): Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)

 Best Actress (Supporting): Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

Animated Feature Film: The Wind Rises

Cinematography: Gravity

Music (Original Score): Her

Biggest Snub: Joaquin Phoenix (Her)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Before Midnight

Writing (Original Screenplay): Blue Jasmine

I don’t have the time to finish this list as the Oscars are about to start. I felt as though there was categories I couldn’t speak to. I should have put more time and effort into this list. There’s always next years Oscars!

My Top 5 Most Impactful Albums

This isn’t an ordinary list. These albums have at one point in my life helped me understand something about myself, develop a new appreciation for a particular genre of music, or helped me relate some of my personal struggles to others. Music is all about making relations.

clash

The Clash: Combat Rock

This album was one of the first albums that drastically changed who I was in my early teenage years. This album opened my eyes to how music could be an outlet to talk about politics. The Clash is the reason I fell in love with punk music. Listening to punk music helped change my perspective. I started to think about how others viewed me, and how I viewed them. I started to alter my style to fit in with other punks. It was actually a lot of fun in some ways. I was able to experiment with style, hair colour, and what others viewed as socially appropriate. As I got older, I got lazy. These days I find it much easier to rock a pair of jeans or slacks and a t-shirt. I also spent a fair bit of time in the washroom every morning putting glue into my hair to make my Mohawk stand up. It turned out to be a lot more preparation than I thought it would be.

I let myself get reckless and became part of a scene. I started going to a lot of concerts, drank alcohol too frequently, and experimented with drugs. There was a ton of positives though. I learned a lot about myself. Combat Rock was the first album that sent me down a road of music and self exploration. Through listening to The Clash I got into bands like Propagandhi, NOFX, Bad Religion, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, etcetera. Some of these bands I still listen to today! My interest in politics started with music. It’s kind of strange when you think about it.

blinkBlink 182: The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show

The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show was the first live album I ever bought and thoroughly enjoyed. The banter back and forth between Mark and Tom made the album what it is. The album was an accumulation of the best of Blink. My appreciation of live albums started with Blink 182; for that I am extremely grateful. I picked up bass guitar in my late teens  and started to learn Blink 182 songs. The bass lines were simple, quick, and fun to play. I still listen to this album today and enjoy it just as much as I did thirteen years ago.

Brand_New_Deja_EntenduBrand New: Deja Etendu 

Music is about sound, but it’s also about words. There is as much skill in telling a story as there is in writing one. Brand New’s album Deja Etendu was one of the things that helped get me interested in writing. I would spend a lot of time researching lyrics and exploring some of the meanings behind them. Jesse Lacey is someone who is blessed with the skill of writing and singing. It’s a deadly combination. Through Brand New’s music I was able to explore written text and ways in which I could evoke emotion in my own writing. There’s an intrinsic quality in Brand New’s music of being genuine. Often artists get put in boxes, and produce the same exact music over and over.

Brand New to me adopted the philosophy of progressing and writing music that was relative to their age and experiences. I’ve been to countless Brand New concerts and watched several interviews with Jesse Lacey on the topic of not playing old material at new shows. From what I interpret, and what Jesse has stated is that for a long time people would go to their shows and want one or two things from him. The songs on Deja Etendu and Your Favourite Weapon are written when Jesse was in his early twenties. The bands sound and lyrics have evolved over the years, which shows the members of the band changing as a group and individuals.

It might have been hard for some fans to get over. I myself have struggled at times to get into their new music. Once I got past the fact that no album will ever be the same as the one before I started to appreciate each album individually. As a writer I have adopted this philosophy with my writing.

6432-give-upThe Postal Service: Give Up

This was a transition album for me. I was still into punk music, but I was feeling burnt out and worn down. Punk music is intense; it can be extremely enjoyable in small doses. In large doses it can get on your nerves. The Postal Service was something new. It was a mixture of electronics mixed with heartfelt melancholic lyrics. It was the right album for the right time in my life. Ben Gibbard’s lyrics hit home on sadness, loss, and strangely enough optimism. I remember listening to tracks like Sleeping In and Recycled Air and feeling a great deal of release.

Kanyewest_collegedropoutKanye West: College Dropout

This album was pivotal for me. It helped me to appreciate a different type of hip hop. The music was fun, catchy, and had some great lyrics. Kanye’s skill of mixing tracks, and beats was impressive. I was able to relate to the lyrics about money, family, and the struggle to be successful. Kanye poured his heart into this album, and touched on subjects many artists only talked about on a superficial level.

The depth of the album is seen where Kanye shows his versatility as a rapper on tracks like Through the Wire and Jesus Walks. He then transitions into being soulful and sweet by revealing intimate details about his life and family on tracks like Spaceship and Family BusinessLast Call is part song, part story. It helps close the album in such a way that gives the listener a great deal of context into how hard Kanye had worked to be looked at as an artist, and not just a producer.

Kanye surrounded himself with talented musicians on this album. The tracks are made better by the collaboration. This album made me look outside the box, and discover what is currently being done in mainstream music – and more so what someone can do. Talented people feed off of other talented people. This is something that transcends all type of art.

“Now the music divides us into tribes” – Arcade Fire

Looking back, I couldn’t see this. My eyes weren’t open to other genres of music. I’m glad that my music palette has grown and evolved over the years. I’d love to hear from other people about how music has had an impact on their lives.

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The F Word: A Movie That Makes You Proud of Toronto

The F Word is an upcoming romantic indie comedy film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. The film is slated to be released on Valentine’s Day 2014. The film has seemed to be getting a lot of traction lately in the social sphere. It has also got some decent reviews. Metacrtic has the film listed at sixty percent based on five reviews; four of which gave the film roughly seventy percent. Rotten Tomatoes reviews are based on thirteen individuals and are slightly higher than that of Metacritic. The film currently has a score of eighty-five percent.

Audiences were able to get a sneak peak at the film at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, as well as currently at Tiff’s Canada’s Top 10 Festival. Canada’s Top 10 festival runs from January 3rd to the 12th.

Besides being a great film, It also makes a person proud of Toronto. Toronto is a much sought after location for film makers who want their films to be set in a big city. Lots of movies are “set” in New York or Chicago, but are actually filmed in Toronto. The reasons for filming in Toronto as opposed to New York range from tax breaks, accessibility, space, to a large pool of creative and capable individuals.

Sometimes when I watch movies that are filmed in Toronto  but are set in another North American city, I can’t help but feel as though my city is getting shortchanged. Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America. It has a distinct history, with a vibrant culture. New York has an allure to it, but so does Toronto.

The F Word showcases local neighbourhoods of Toronto, and does it in such a way that highlights some of the best parts of Toronto. From the skyline of Ward’s Island, to the bustling streets of Chinatown. It’s easy to watch this movie and fall in love with Toronto’s diversity. Hopefully audiences around the world will also fall in love with it too. Building our cities allure on the centre stage is something that films like this help to do. Toronto’s beauty comes from its diverse locations, not just the skyscrapers used to mimic the streets of New York.

The Top 5 Things Not to Do While Watching a Movie in Public

Photo © Alex

I love going to watch movies. It’s something I look forward to each and every week. I’ve had a bad string of luck recently. Every movie has been plagued with people who don’t understand what is and isn’t socially appropriate to do while watching a movie in public. I constructed this list based on my past experiences.

1) Talking

Talking is the most annoying and obvious thing you shouldn’t do while in a theatre. If you want to talk, go to Starbucks. Everyone paid to see the movie, they didn’t pay to listen to you talk about yourself or problems.

2) Going to a Movie While You’re Sick

If you’re sick, don’t go to the theatre. The last thing people want to do is hear you cough or sniff for two hours. You’re subconsciously telling everyone else in the theatre that your enjoyment is more important than the other 200 people in the auditorium. A person can ask another person to put their phone away, or stop talking – but how do you tell a sick person to not be sick? You can’t. Telling someone they shouldn’t be at a theatre is A LOT different than telling them to please be quiet.

If you’re the type of person who goes to movies while sick, you probably also park in front of stores and block traffic. If you’ve ever called someone out for this, they will likely tell you that they only have to run into the store to grab a couple things. I almost feel like saying to these people, “So does everyone else. Now go park your car”.

3) Checking Your Phone

If you need to check your phone or send a text, leave the theatre. In a dark theatre your phone is pretty much a flashlight. Placing your phone below your seat or covering it with your body does not work. People can still see it.

4) Adding Your Own Commentary

Save the insights and remarks till the end of the film. If you think you’re adding to others enjoyment, you’re not. If your goal was to draw attention to yourself and away from the film, then congratulations you succeeded. Don’t spoil my movie because you feel the need to validate yourself in public.

5) Excessive Eating

I’ll eat food while watching movies. I will however not eat an entire meal. If you’re hungry enough to go to a buffet, then go to a buffet. Don’t bring the buffet into the theatre. If All I hear from you is munch, munch, munch or crunch, crunch, crunch you successfully ruined my movie.

The 15 Best Romantic Indie Films to Watch While in a Relationship

Photo © Ania Mar

  • Serendipity
  • High Fidelity
  • The F Word
  • The Silver Linings Playbook
  • 500 Days of Summer
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Away We Go
  • Celeste and Jesse Forever
  • Ruby Sparks
  • Beginners
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Cyrus
  • The Art of Getting By
  • Chasing Amy
  • Moonrise Kingdom

All of these films have helped me to understand the intricacies of relationships. Here’s a couple of those lessons;

High Fidelity taught me to not take your partner for granted. Don’t get lazy. Just because you have someone’s love and affection, does not mean that you always will.

The F Word taught me that douchebag boyfriend campers exist, and sometimes they’re not horrible people. What they do however is pretty shallow. In this movie’s case so was the actions of the female. If a girl recognizes she is developing feelings towards someone, and still continues to pursue a friendship with that individual she is compromising herself and her relationship. It might not be physical cheating, but it’s definitely emotional. I don’t consider one worse than the other. Physical cheating is usually the result of the individual’s inability to make mature and logical decisions. It shows character flaws in the cheater, not the person who got cheated on. On the flip side emotional cheating is usually the result of an unhealthy or unstable relationship. The causes usually stem from one person’s unhappiness or one person being unfulfilled. Emotional cheating is pre-meditated, where as physical cheating most times is random and spontaneous. People are afraid to lose what they have for the unknown. Friend Dating, as I like to call it is a way of seeing what’s out there without giving up what you have.

Chasing Amy taught me that your own insecurities can ruin your relationship. People have pasts, and sometimes they aren’t as sparkly clean as you want them to be. People are human, we’ve all made mistakes in our life. Wear your mistakes like a badge, don’t let others shame you. If someone can’t accept you, you’re better off without them.

Cyrus taught me what I already knew, which is kids and relationships can get pretty dodgy. Coming from a family whose parents split up when I was 11 years old, I know how complicated it can be having children and a girlfriend or boyfriend. Set boundaries, and also take into account your children’s age and their emotional development. Common sense should always be the rule of thumb here. In doubt, talk to professionals. Too often parents split up and jump into living situations with their new partner. Besides potentially causing further emotional damage to your children, you’re also being extremely selfish.

Away We Go taught me that home is what you make it. Sometimes fitting in isn’t easy. If you you’re not happy, keep searching. Home is not a particular building, or place. It’s the people you surround yourself with. When you become a family, you’re making a commitment not only to others but yourself.

2013 Toronto International Film Festival Highlights

tiffI have been lucky enough to catch a couple of films at this years Toronto International Film Festival (tiff). On average I see about four to five films each year, due to my work and or school schedule. I generally do spend quite a bit of time trying to read the guides, watch the previews, and seldomly listen to what people are saying about various films. It’s good to hear what the buzz films are, as tiff truly is the people’s film festival where the average person gets a chance to immerse themselves in the festival. Cannes and Sundance are great festivals, however they seem to struggle to include normal people into the equation. Not just actors, buyers, sellers, agents, friends of friends, etc.

tiff always has some hidden gems that I would’t have had a chance to see on a big screen if not for the festival. The purpose of this post is to focus on some of the films that had distribution before or after being presented after the festival.

The F Word

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

I absolutely loved this film. One person had told me that “if you loved 500 Days of Summer, you’re likely going to love this film”. I think this was a great transition film for Daniel Radcliffe. He’s a great actor and has spent ten years playing one character (Harry Potter). Radcliffe is fighting against that image and to not get typecast. I don’t want to give too many details away but this romantic comedy is based around two friends, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) who becomes infatuated with a girl named Chantry (Zoe Kazan), only to realize she’s in a relationship – which lands him right in the “friend zone”.

The movie was filmed in Toronto, and actually acknowledges it. Toronto is the location of many films that want that “big city look”. I’m admittedly biased here, as I enjoyed some local landmarks of Toronto. If a film is set in Chicago or New York, it’s usually filmed in Toronto. The reason is that it is cheaper and logistically easier to film in Toronto as opposed to New York or Chicago.

Gravity 

Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

This highly anticipated thriller focused around two surviving astronauts who were stranded after a space shuttle was damaged. I’ve read some the reviews and this movie looks solid. I assume that this movie will do fairly well at the Oscars this year. The film already has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the North American release isn’t until next week!

This movie looks like a safe bet when it comes to purchasing a movie ticket. I unfortunately did not get a chance to see this film at tiff this year, as it was completely sold out and the rush lines for this film were out of this world. I saw an entire line of over 200 people get turned away for Gravity. Not a single person on standby got in. Insane!

12 Years a Slave

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender

12 years a Slave is based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup. Northup was a free black man who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold as a slave in Louisiana. The movie follows the life of Northup who worked in plantations for 12 years before his release. This film has received extremely favourable reviews throughout the festival – even winning the 2013 Tiff People’s Choice Award. The award is based on the audience’s vote throughout the festival.

Oscar bound is all I can say.

The Wind Rises 

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

This film was a very special surprise for me. I had no clue on the day of that I was going to see this film. I was lucky enough to know someone who got me an extra ticket. The Wind Rises is a Japanese animation film produced by Studio Ghibli. It was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. For those not familiar with Studi Ghibli or Hayao Miyazaki he is the mastermind behind the animated films such as, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

The filmed has been hailed as Miyazaki’s piece de resistance. The film is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the creator of the Mitsubishi A5M, which was an air plane used by Japan in World War II.

I thought the film was beautiful, however I saw the film in its subbed version and spent too much time reading as opposed to watching the rest of the film. At the Q&A after the film a representative from Studio Ghibli spoke on the matter of sub vs dub, and made an interesting point that, “Some people say that a movie once dubbed is not the same film as it is subbed. However, as you probably just noticed you spent a good part of the movie focused on one or more areas of the screen. Our eyes focus on particular parts of the film at different moments, and some of that is lost when someone  is focusing primarily on reading text”. Luckily I will get another chance in a couple months to see the movie in its dubbed version.

Sadly Miyazaki has said he is retiring and this will be his final feature film. For lovers of the films of Studio Ghibli there is some good news from all of this, and that is that his son Goro Miyazaki who directed Up on Poppy Hill plans to continue to direct and write films with Studio Ghibli.

The 25 Best Songs of 2013

  • Arcade Fire – Afterlife
  • Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
  • Grouplove – Ways To Go
  • The National – Don’t Swallow The Cap
  • Hollerado – So It Goes
  • July Talk – Guns And Ammunition
  • New Politics – Harlem
  • July Talk – Guns+Ammunition
  • Fitz And The Tantrums – Out Of My League
  • Lorde – Royals
  • Lorde – Team
  • Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers
  • Vampire Weekend – Step
  • Frightened Rabbit – Late March, Death March
  • Bastille – Pompeii
  • Frank Turner – Recovery
  • Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
  • Daft Punk – Instant Crush ft. Julian Casablancas
  • Avicii – Wake Me Up
  • Ellie Goulding – Burn
  • Tegan and Sara – I was A Fool
  • Classified – Inner Ninja ft. David Myles
  • Classified – 3 Foot Tall
  • Chvrches – The Mother We Share
  • Daft Punk – Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams

The list above is not in order from best to least, or vice versa. All the songs in my opinion earned a spot on the list. 2013 was a big year for indie music! Arcade Fire released their fourth anticipated album Reflektor. Vampire Weekend also released their third album, Modern Vampires of the City. I thought Reflektor was a good album, but I wasn’t in love with it. I was hoping for a lot of hits on this track, and in that regard I felt the album came up short. On the other hand, Modern Vampires of the City delivered. I was expecting one or two tracks I’d love. Surprisingly I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the album from start to finish.

Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor known commonly as Lorde, is a seventeen year old from New Zealand. Lorde established herself as one of the most common household names this year. Her Album Pure Heroine climbed charts and made huge waves. Royals and Team easily earned their spot as two of the best songs of this year. I believe that having a young talented people who do not fall in line with pop culture is something good for the Millennials.

Drake had a great year. He recently received four nominations for the 2014 Grammys. His new album Nothing Was the Same has received world wide acclaim. Hate or love him, he’s successful. I like some of Drake’s music, even though I’m the first to admit the dude needs to delete his Twitter account, and stop making ridiculous videos of himself.

That’s a quick wrap-up of the best songs of 2013! Feel free to give your opinions below. I’d love to hear what alterations you would have made. I’m also always looking to listen to some new tunes.

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