Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bring the Take 5 to Canada

From Wikipedia:
Take 5 is a pretzel, caramel, peanut and peanut butter-filled, milk chocolate coated candy bar released by The Hershey Company in December 2004.

The "5" in the name refers the combination of five ingredients: milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, peanut butter, and pretzels.
And if you haven't tried it yet, do it. It comes in two nuggets, not unlike a Twix bar, except in its superiority. But none of this goodness is available to Canadians... well, it used to be. For a while, but not any more it seems, the Take 5 was known as Max 5 in Canada.

So why the heck did Hershey stop making them for the Canadian candy bar audience? Was the lack of maple syrup too much of an affront on our taste buds?

And why the name change in the first place? Is "taking 5" not in our national character? Too aggressive, too assertive? "Okay, you can have 5 flavors buddy - that's the maximum... alright?!"

Well, I'm standing up against this chocolately-pretzel-enforced-obedience and I demand my right to Take 5s.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

The End of French Films

Featuring (down from L to R): Viridiana, Le Salaire de la Peur, Rififi, Quai des Orfèvres, Le Plaisir, Le Million, L'Année Dernière à Marienbad, Jeux Interdits, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Les Diaboliques, Le Corbeau, Week-End, Les Quatre Cent Coups (maybe my favorite End Title of all time).

Inspired by Bad Banana's The End of Westerns

More stunning End (and Start) title cards at one of the most awesome websites dans le monde: the Movie Title Stills Collection

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Akira Kurosawa: Best Director Ever?

Who you got - Fellini? Welles? Hitchcock? Cassavetes? Godard? Cameron? Shyamalan?

Either way, Happy 100th Birthday to Kurosawa... so let's dance!

Guardian Blog has got a good retrospective of 10 of his essential films: link.

Even Google gives props.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NBA Jam: It's Baaaack...

For Wii in December 2010.

EA Sports in Vancouver, Canada is developing the game and they're letting fans vote online for which players they want to see in the game. You can still vote here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Goodmorning Plumber, Goodmorning Magic Elf

Came across this advertisement in a Captain America comic book from 1988.

Never tried it myself, but I can imagine how amazing it must have been to start your day with a bowl of Nintendo Cereal System and then head over to the NES for a sugar-induced zombie-gamer trance.

Thanks for making me puke Mario.

Apparently you might also have a chance to relive the deliciousness for a cool $100: gameSniped. Like a fine wine, it only gets better with age.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Talking at the Movies: A Criminal Offense

It's the worst. And it's never going to stop.

It especially sucks because it puts all the pressure on the shusher since the talker obviously doesn't give a flying funk if they ruin someone else's movie-going experience.

Linda Holmes at NPR gets into it in her article: "The Shusher And The Shushed: Why It Matters When You Talk During Movies"

Don't act like you don't know the contract. There are rules. You don't get mad at kids making kid-noises in the middle of The Princess And The Frog, but you do in the middle of Inglourious Basterds. Everybody's got expectations, and in some movies, in some theaters, in some moments, you're not going to bother anybody by pulling focus from the movie, because you're at a crowd-participation movie.

But you must, must, must know your moments, and if you don't, then you can't go to the movies

Here's a few ideas of how to deal with it when you do come up against as a contract-breaking jerksnake:

So yeah, there's really no easy recourse for the shusher. And if you decide to go tell the usher you're likely to get stabbed in the neck with a meat thermometer. Yes that happened just a few weeks ago. LA Times: "Moviegoer is stabbed after complaining about cellphone user". And it's happened before (and before) and will happen again.

But it's not just unruly teenage punks who talk during movies. It's just as annoying when it's an elderly couple summarizing every piece of mundane plot info. Or my personal fav - some hoity-toity hepcats laughing cynically where there are no jokes, just so they can make like they're smarter than the movie. Believe it or not, I want no part of your detachment, so laugh in your head smart guy.

All that said, there's nothing better than going to a movie that invites crowd participation with a lively, vocal crowd. So pick your spots. And hey, if you liked the movie, it's okay to clap when the credits roll.

Best in Film: 2009

Sorry to make you wait, but the Poppies arrive later than most best-of lists because I like to wait until the Academy Awards winners are announced. It's a nice reminder of how little stock to put in the Oscars since they're so stiff and Biz-centric.

More to the point, I like to wait so I can catch up on things I missed that pop up on other year-end lists. Although the more you try to catch up with, the more it seems like you haven't seen. So of course, there's no such thing as a complete list, but here's my best guesstimation of what moved, shook, and took me in 2009.

To refresh your memory, last year The Dark Knight was the big winner (and in 2007 it was There Will Be Blood).

10 Best Films of 2009

10) Watchmen (d. Zack Snyder)
Alan Moore's iconic comic book is given life on the big screen. A slavish adaptation yes, but the claustrophobic style is suitably grotesque and Snyder's ending is much neater than Moore's. Maybe not so slavish afterall. The opening credit sequence's ridiculous revisionism is worth the price of admission alone.

9) Carcasses (d. Denis Côté)
This documentary/fantasy suspense film is best seen with zero expectations or knowledge of the plot. So all I'll say is that it was the best film I saw at the Toronto film festival in '09. See it if you can.

8) Goodbye Solo (d. Ramin Bahrani)
Charming and restrained as its two leads, this film is from the director of Man Push Cart and Chop Shop. It tells the story of a young Senegalese cab driver and his old, grumpy fare. And here, Bahrani makes another new American classic - touching and cliche-free.

7) Where the Wild Things Are (d. Spike Jonze)
The fact that this got made the way it did is worth kudos enough. Old school puppetry and animatronics give this film a timeless feel to match its source material. I was never a big fan of the book, but I am a big fan of the movie.

6) Inglourious Basterds (d.
Quentin Tarantino)
What a bounce back from the mediocrity of Death Proof! Nice work Quentin. Forget about that Kill Bill prequel and keep making these historical epic genre remixes.

5) The Hurt Locker (d. Kathryn Bigelow)
Bigelow finally gets props from the mainstream for being the epic filmmaker she's always been. Although not as pulpy as Near Dark or Point Break, this movie is crammed with excitement to go along with its detailed character sketches. Anthony Mackie is awesome in his supporting role.

4) Pontypool (d. Bruce McDonald)
I love you Pontypool. You had me from the opening credits until the very end. For my money, one of the best horror/zombie movies of the last ten years.

3) Anvil! The Story of Anvil (d. Sacha Gervasi)
Realizing half-way through the film that one of the main characters lives in my old neighbourhood, only added to the relateability factor for me. One of the most poignant films on aging and relentlessness that I've seen.

2) Avatar (d. James Cameron)
I have to admit this is a bit of contrarian move to put this so high on this list, because this movie certainly has many flaws (as many have already pointed out). But I can't deny the pure action-adventure excitement I got from it when I first saw it. Michelle Rodriguez as the new Ripley - I love it!

1) Sugar (d. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck)
As they showed with Half Nelson, Boden and Fleck have such a knack for creating stories we've all seen/heard before, but then re-framing them in subtle and profound ways. At the end of the movie, I walked out of the theater more satisfied and engaged than any other time in 2009.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ladyhawk/Punishment Park Fan Video

Hope you like this li'l video I edited attempting to honour a great song and a great movie.

If you've never heard of Peter Watkins, the director of Punishment Park, you should really check out his films. He makes speculative-documentaries that don't get caught up in mockumentary artificiality. Dystopiamentaries. Movies like the Gladiators and War are stunning and not to be missed.

As far as Ladyhawk go, this song is from their most recent album Shots from 2008. Lately, the Vancouver based band seems more occupied with side projects like Sports and Duffy and the Doubters. You can also hear Duffy Driediger and Ryan Peters on the new Phil Spector/Burt Bacharach inspired Maintenant by Gigi (myspace).

Thursday, March 04, 2010

St-Hubert: Roi Du Poulet

Celine knows what's up. Swiss Chalet doesn't hold a candle.

Nothing beats childhood memories of a St-Hubert dinner with the family after getting a good report card.