Tuesday, 31 October 2017

'Once Upon a Time in Canada' Chapter 24.

On Wednesday night, Peter was back in town because he had business, as usual, that day. Once we both got our stuff out of the way. It was at Barque Smokehouse at Roncesvalles Avenue. Maybe a place in the GTA would have sufficed. Nonetheless, it was a nice place to enjoy a barbeque dinner.

We were set on having the Smoker’s Choice, which consisted a feature salad, smoked wings, twelve-hour brisket, BBQ chicken, pommery pulled pork, and baby back ribs, seasonal sides, and pastry chef’s daily dessert. The feast began with a dish of the dry rub smoked wings (weighing at 1 pound), followed by the Barque Caesar salad. The BBQ chicken and the four Oz pommery pulled pork then came after, which then preceded by the sweet heat baby back ribs. The twelve Oz twelve-hour brisket finally arrived before the feast concluded with Pecan Pie.

We both cleaned our plates by the end of the night, even if we were trying not to let our stomachs split open. Peter, who was kind enough to do so considering my current situation, paid for the whole meal. On the condition that the next time we meet up and if I have a job by then, I’ll get the next bill.

Today was all about hanging out with Porfy and Lucas. The three of us met up at Spadina. Once we met up at the rendezvous spot, we made our first stop at The Beguiling. It is one of the best comic book stores in town. Maybe one of the top five. Nonetheless, it was a great place for guys like us to hang out in. Porfy and I spent some time going through each shelf. Ultimately, Porfy ended up buying two graphic novels, Valerian & Laureline and Saga.

We then set off to get lunch, and settled on going to Ramen Isshin. The place serves authentic ramen. I figured that I try it out based on Porfy’s recommendation, and the fact that it served authentic ramen got me interested. We both cleaned our entire bowls by the end, even though they were hot and spicy. The ramen I had was a miso soup based bowl. But boy was it hot. I mean it was freezing cold outside, and I was wearing layers of clothes, but by the time we headed out the doors, I did not want to put on my thick coat back on. Then after a while I did eventually put it back on as the heat in my body finally subdued gradually as time went by.

On most days, the temperature would drop to somewhere between minus ten to minus thirty degrees, and when it goes down, there’s no way you can go outside without a coat period. I couldn’t just go outside without one, as well as a facemask, scarf, and gloves. So having these things is definitely helpful, duh. Well… that’s Canada. Over time, I’ll just have to get used to the freezing Canadian winters. The winter brings colder temperatures and less daylight. This all combines into a big "f*** you" to my entire body. Eventually, it takes more energy to keep warm than it does to keep cool. Once the sun goes down, the air gets too cold to be exposed to, especially if you’re a homeless person. It’s a cause for concern during this time of year. And I’m sure it’ll be the death of me if I’m not too careful.

The guys and I then caught the 506 streetcar. Then we walked down McCaul Street, and then to Elm Street. Being outside for some time was enough for us to head indoors. In this case; their place. Just being outside almost the whole time was torture. We got inside and started to play some games, Mortal Kombat in particular. Playing the game wasn’t too hard for, considering I’ve never really played a game in my life. Which kind of explains my gaming experience if you ever see me gaming. It’s pretty simple if you know which buttons to press and when. The guys made sure of this, and that I was having fun at the same time. I pressed the buttons when I needed to. I kept my eyes on my character and the screen, and sure enough… I was dying. I can stress this fact enough; I suck at video games. But I knew that already. Compared to what I imagined in my mind, I have to say that it could have been worse. I managed to score a couple of points. It only took me thirty minutes to call time out, then Lucas took over and when at it for about an hour. Then there was the conversation on comic books to animation that took place for the next two hours. We then had to call it a day, and I made my way back home.

Also, see Chapters 23 and 25.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

'Once Upon a Time in Canada' Chapter 23.

I was particularly excited on Friday No more did I have to wait for the sequel to one of my favourite movies of all time – Blade Runner 2049. I’ll be going to the biggest screen tonight! Even if I have no job, and will have to sacrifice a really good meal. I can finally go see this movie, and I can walk to the cinema from my place. I don’t know if I mentioned before how much the original Blade Runner means to me as a filmmaker, but I LOVE that movie, and it’s such a major influence on me. I’ve watched it so many times that I’ve lost count. Of all of the movies I wished still had with me is Blade Runner. Though I no longer had access to my DVD collection back home, why should that get me down when I had a place like TIFF Bell Lightbox playing classic and modern films from all around the world. God, I wish Auckland had a place like that. Then I wouldn’t have stayed home all the time and would be less socially inept. At this point, it no longer mattered, and I didn’t care as I was going out more anyway.

Prior and during the movie, I couldn’t stop thinking "Oh my God" throughout the entire time. To drill it out of my head, I just had to focus immensely on the movie. Most people, I bet, probably were having the same thought in their heads as well. It was like that for most of the time. I mean we were just really excited for this movie because "it is probably the most anticipated movie of the year other than Star Wars: The Last Jedi." And oh man, was it. Absolutely it was.

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Today I write this entry having just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. The first thing I did when I got up in the morning was wave my arms while I was in bed. Felt good! I was in my apartment enjoying my morning like the bohemian that I am. I’ll thinking about where I should go to celebrate and how am I going to afford it, but that’s something to think about later on, as always.

After a few hours of relaxation, it was time to get out of the apartment. First, I spent many hours of the day going around the city with my camera taking shots of a life in a day. Naturally, after a couple of exhausting hours in the sun, I went back home to rest and have a nice lunch. Then I kind of napped and lounged around for a while. I wanted to spend the rest of the day relaxing, but I had more to do.

After resting up, I went out again and headed towards Eaton Centre. There I hung out at Indigo, spending time reading film magazines and books that caught my eye. Then I went to the Apple store and purchased myself a new USB cable and a portable battery charger since my old USB cable’s rubber had ripped and started messing with the inner wiring, as well as the fact that the battery charger my mother had given me had stopped working entirely.

After that, I made my way back home again. Along the way back, I saw nothing but people either carrying big bags of groceries or people dressed in nice clothing going to high-end restaurants. Speaking of dinner, it was time that I’d get dinner to celebrate today. It then came to me, I would go and have dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant, and have myself a nice plate of Korean pork belly. Which I did, and I enjoyed it. How could I not? It’s only my favourite meal in the world. If there’s one food I wish I could eat all the time, it would be pork belly. As unhealthy as that sounds. It could actually kill me.

I decided to eat as much as I could, and I was served with two plates full, and I was happy as I could be. I walked back home afterwards to lose off the weight. I’ll have to continue job hunting tomorrow as usual. But in the moment, enjoy resting for the rest of the evening, and eventually enjoy a good night sleep. With the knowledge that when I wake, my morning will be spent in the toilet for some time.

Also, see Chapters 22 and 24.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Film Review: "Blade Runner 2049" (2017).

"The key to the future is finally unearthed..." Here comes Blade Runner 2049. This neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. The film is the sequel to Blade Runner (1982). Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. 

Original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott considered developing a sequel, and stated his interest while attending San Diego Comic Con in 2007. In June 2009, The New York Times reported that Scott and his brother, director Tony Scott, were working on a Blade Runner prequel set in 2019. However, in February 2010, it was announced that production on the prequel had ceased, due to rights and funding problems. In August 2011, it was announced that Scott would lead the production of a new Blade Runner film, although work would not begin until at least 2013. Producer Andrew A. Kosove suggested that Harrison Ford, the star of the original film, was unlikely to be involved. Scott said that the film was "liable to be a sequel" but without the previous cast, and that he was close to finding a writer that "might be able to help [him] deliver". Scott said in November 2014 that he would not direct the film and would instead produce; that filming would begin in late 2014 or 2015, and that Ford's character would only appear in "the third act" of the sequel. 

In February 2015, the sequel was confirmed, with Denis Villeneuve as director. Ford was confirmed to be return; as well as original writer Hampton Fancher. The film was expected to enter production in mid-2016. Initially, Villeneuve was against the concept of a sequel, as he felt it could violate the original. But after reading the script, he ultimately commited to the project, "because I feel that I can do it." Villeneuve noted that he's fully aware of the immense pressure he's under: "… I'm aware of that and I respect that, and it's okay with me because it's art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It's gonna be the biggest risk of my life.. For me it's very exciting... I've been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said 'no' to a lot of sequels. I couldn't say 'no'. I love it too much, so I said, 'Alright, I will do it and give everything I have to make it great.'" With various versions of Blade Runner over the years, it is fair to ask which version would be considered "canon" going into the sequel. Villeneuve replied: "The movie will be autonomous and at the same time there will be some link..." Ever since the original hit theaters, there has been a divide among its fans about whether or not Ford's Rick Deckard is a human or a replicant. It's a question that the film leaves up to the viewer, though director Scott, Ford, and everyone else has chimed in with their own thoughts on the subject. With the sequel, there will certainly be more fuel on the fire of Deckard's true identity. Villeneuve did go on to say that the mystery will be something they address in the film and that re-contextualizing the original film with any answers they present in the sequel is a concern of his: "The thing I must say is that I love mystery. I love shadows. I love doubts. I would just want to say to the fans that we will take care of that mystery. I will take care of it."

In April 2015, Ryan Gosling first entered negotiations, and was confirmed in November 2015. Principal photography was set to begin in July, with Warner Bros. distributing the film domestically, and Sony Pictures Releasing distributing internationally. In February 2016, an official release date of January 12, 2018 was announced. In March 2016, Robin Wright entered negotiations, and in April, Dave Bautista posted a picture of himself with an origami unicorn, hinting at a role in the film. Bautista and Wright were both confirmed in April, and a filming start date of July was established. In late April 2016, the film's release date was moved up to October 6, 2017, as well as Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks being added to the cast. Carla Juri was cast in May 2016. In June, Mackenzie Davis and Barkhad Abdi were cast, with David Dastmalchian, Hiam Abbass and Lennie James joining in July. Jared Leto was cast in the film in August. In March 2017, Edward James Olmos confirmed to return. Principal photography took place between July and November 2016 in Budapest, Hungary. In early October 2016, Warner Bros. announced that the film would be titled Blade Runner 2049. Post-Production commenced in December in Los Angeles. Jóhann Jóhannsson, Villeneuve’s regular composer, was announced to score the film. However, in July 2017, Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch replaced Jóhannsson.

The film stars Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto with Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos, both reprising their roles as Rick Deckard and Gaff. The cast were outstanding, with Gosling and Ford giving the best performances of their careers, de Armas and Hoeks giving break-out performances, and Leto and Olmos giving a memorable performances despite minimal screen time.

Packed with gorgeous visuals and populated by both familiar faces and fresh energy, Blade Runner 2049 successfully recalls the original's revolutionary world while injecting it with a new spirit. Like the original, the film is a visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece. It is an extraordinary rarity, not just one of the best films of the year but also one of the best sequels ever made, period.

Simon says Blade Runner 2049 receives:

Also, see my review for Arrival.

Monday, 2 October 2017

'Once Upon a Time in Canada' Chapter 22.

I got a couple of minutes to meet one of my idols, and then it was over. But it’s not the worst thing. I’ve had my time for that day. I must be one of the luckiest people in the world to be in the situation right now; it’s a kind of a miracle as a matter of fact. In my free time, I just get by; go around places, go to the cinema, do groceries, all that jazz.

On one of my days I hung out with good friend Ishkhan and his gang for one whole adventurous night during Nuit Blanche. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Nuit Blnache (or White Night) is an annual all-night or night time arts festival. A Nuit Blanche will typically have museums and/or private and public art galleries, and other cultural institutions open and free of charge, with the centre of the city itself being turned into a de facto art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), themed gatherings, and other activities.

For Toronto, it was exactly that. The entire downtown area was transformed into one gigantic art gallery with multiple exhibitions scattered everywhere from one end of the city to the other. And when I say exhibitions, I mean all kinds, ranging from high art to the down right bizarre. And, yes, of course there was entertainment. There was music booming through the air, there were films of all lengths and kinds playing in almost half of the exhibitions, dancers roaming through the streets performing everything from ballet to hip pop, with performance art occupying the same space as them. And everything about it was… amazing. The highlight was the Red Forest exhibition, the last one. It was a Netflix-inspired exhibition that took inspirations from Stranger Things (mostly), and the upcoming movie Bright. For this one, we had to wear special costumes, containment suits (like the ones in Stranger Things), to in order to explore the Upside Down world of the show. The entire piece itself was eerily beautiful and hypnotising, and much more colourful than the world in the show. They did a terrific job of capturing the essence of the show.

So far, I’m having as much fun as I can despite my current predicament. It’s not perfect. But then again, nothing is, and I’m making the most of it while I can.

Also, see Chapters 21 and 23.