Category Archives: TV and Film

Slings and Shelfies

Posted on September 29, 2015 by

(null)A Daughter of No Nation is on the Shelfie Top 10 list for Most Anticipated SF and Fantasy books, in great company, with novels by Charlie Jane Anders, Kameron Hurley and Catherynne M. Valente. Review copies of the book are percolating out to the usual (and hopefully a few unusual) suspects. Soon we’ll be hearing what people think of the second installment of Sophie Hansa’s adventures.

I’m finding the prospect a little nerve-wracking. I don’t think there was anyone who absolutely hated ​Blue Magic. There were a few people whose response came down to “Holy gosh, this book sure do have a lotta queer people in it!” but there’s not much you can do about that except go, “Yep.”

Child of a Hidden Sea, on the other hand, and Sophie in particular got under a few readers’ skins, and not always in a way that led to true and enduring love. I decided to take this as a sign that I’d become better at characterization, especially since most of the reviews were, in fact, raves. Anyway, it might simply be the effect of a lingering head cold, or the fallout from a rather unusual week, but right now I’m thinking my only sane response is to go “La la la, can’t hear you!” and think of something else until my head clears.

Having been to Stratford for the first time this past weekend, and having seen three shows – Carousel, The Alchemist, and She Stoops to Conquer, Kelly and I are finally embarking on watching Slings and Arrows. We’ve had so many chances to do so over the years–I think people have lent us the DVDs on three separate occasions, and we never quite managed to pop one into the gadget before sheepishly returning the disks.  It’s been one of those gaps that was almost embarrassing to admit to, what with me being such a raging Paul Gross fan. But it never happened, until now, and it’s almost–but not quite–too dated. It’ll be good prep for seeing His Almighty Grossness and Martha Burns in Domesticated next month.

Everyone’s gone to the movies

Posted on September 20, 2015 by

imageKelly has been blogging about our continuing adventures at the Toronto International Film Festival. She has write-ups on Neon Bull and Southbound, 25 April and Faux Depart / Sector 9 IX B, and the film that, so far, is the best thing we’ve seen this week: Jennifer Peedom’s Everest Documentary, Sherpa.

Today’s the final day and we will be seeing two things: Angry Indian Goddesses and London Road. The latter is a film version of a musical we saw at Canadian Stage the week of our 25th anniversary.  It’s something called a “verbatim musical,” which means that the playwright recorded interviews from a neighborhood in Ipswich where a serial killer had been active, and then made an audio script for actors to mimic precisely. If that sounds ambitious, then imagine doing the same thing and setting it to music.

Tomorrow we both go back to work! Like all vacations, it’s been incredibly wonderful and too damned short.


Blame the Machines

Posted on September 15, 2015 by

alyx babyOne fine summer evening many years ago, in the days before DVDs, we rented The Thin Red Line. This was almost certainly my fault, as Kelly, generally speaking, has more sense– except in cases where Keanu Reeves is involved. After what seemed like thirty-six and a half hours of cinematic bludgeoning, we remembered we could hit the FWD button. By this means we hoped to watch the rest in fast motion until something happened, and at least come out of it knowing who’d died.

The pace of the shelling and shooting did indeed pick up. Still, fast-forwarding took another twenty five minutes. Purgatory moves faster, I’m pretty sure. This is a film, I’m fond of saying, that really captures the length of World War Two.

It’s a comment that usually brings Thin Red Line apologists out in droves to defend the earnest majesty or solemn nobility or outstanding performances or what have you you-clearly-live-in-a-parallel-world awesomeness of the film. But I had occasion, yesterday, to compare it to the French film The Fear, and nobody so much as squawked. I choose to take this as evidence of everyone realizing I was right in the first place.

In other news, I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting configuration wars with a shiny new PC laptop; the old one has been developing just a touch of age-related dementia. I might have nursed it along for quite a while, but to the extent that Chez Dua has a hardware upgrade plan, it made sense to replace it now.

The process was time consuming but largely painless–the iTunes library wheezed a little, and is still pissing me off a bit, but everything else essentially slotted into its assigned place in my ecosystem. Cloud backups made it easy.

I do 90% of my work on a tablet these days, which made the replacement less of a treat than it might otherwise have been. Still, puttering away has its pleasures, and of course the rest of my waking hours have been spent doing things like soaking in the hot tub with Kelly, sleeping late under a pile of kittenflesh, wandering around Toronto with Kelly, shopping in Chinatown for new phone cases with Kelly, and seeing weird and not entirely satisfying TIFF films with Kelly.  (Her writeups on The Fear and Eva doesn’t Sleep are here.) I liked the latter more than she did… I was intrigued by the back and forth and various interments and recoveries of Eva Peron’s body as the political winds in Argentina changed direction.

Tomorrow we will see 25 April, which is (cough) another war film. It is, in fact, an animated retelling of the battle of Gallipoli, by a female Canadian/New Zealand director named Leanne Pooley.

This be TIFF Party, or Vacation day three

Posted on September 12, 2015 by

qxy4aAfter a writing date, a quick trot out to the clinic for immunotherapy, and a run to the incomparably delicious Forno Cultura for lunch, we went to our first TIFF film yesterday. Its English title was In The Shadow of Women and Kelly’s thoroughly articulate and delightful write-up is here.

I’m not generally big on angsty adulterers as a topic for fiction, but Philippe Garrel’s direction was tight, the cinematography was gorgeous and, oddly, I found the sound direction very interesting. Aside from being distanced from the subject matter, my only real beef with the film was the voiceover narration, which seemed completely unnecessary. “Pierre was hurt by Manon’s having cheated on him, despite cheating himself…” No, really? So that’s why he’s being such a wankstain? Didn’t need it. What I would have loved was if the voiceover had gone in the absolute opposite direction. “Pierre was totally cool with Manon’s cheating, and acknowledged the inner depths of his own hypocrisy…” Followed by the scene where he’s all pouty and asking about her sex with the Other Dude.

Today’s international cinema experience: Starve Your Dog.

Paul Gross! In his natural habitat

Posted on September 10, 2015 by

imageThis is a case where the right ad, at the right time, can really hit. I saw this yesterday. I had tickets … well, maybe ten minutes later.  This triumph of the shopping spirit is the sweeter because there was just no way I was gonna see his film Hyena Road at TIFF.

So! Seeing the actor I’d choose to play Clydon Banning, in my fantasy film version of The Hidden Sea Tales? Soon this shall be knocked off my bucket list. To be replaced, in all probability, with seeing him again.

(Any comments you may have seen on Facebook about us showing up with a giant butterfly net and smokes for bait are, I assure you, highly exaggerated.)

Today is the first day of our TIFF staycation, and there’s no movie on the docket today. Thursday and Friday are fancy red-carpet premiere events. Kelly and I are mostly going to foreign films you never heard of.  We never heard of them either, so that’s lovely. We did add a horror movie to Friday – Southbound, it’s called, and it’s an anthology of five scary interlocking tales.

This. and all the other things we have tickets for this fall–it’s gonna be an amazingly entertaining autumn here in Dualand–is part of what makes Toronto feel like Alyx and Kelly Disneyland. Whee!!

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