Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mount Kilimanjaro: Here I climb!

Climbing for those who can't.

I am climbing Mt. Kili this coming January to support a worthwhile organization. As such, I am reaching out to all my friends, family, colleagues and perfect strangers to ask for a kind donation and to help me reach the top.

It's a great cause and will be an amazing journey.

Thank you!
NABS Canada ‪#‎KiliClimbForNABS‬

Donate Link:

Mount Kilimanjaro

Monday, May 26, 2014

Godzilla Review

Godzilla was a thoroughly entertaining movie. 

For me, it was a smart movie. This is how the military should react when confronted with oversize monsters wrecking havoc on their city. Of course, they're not going to listen to the scientist who knows best, but still it was well-written and well-acted.

My only beef was the overlay of cheesy music swelling every time Godzilla hit the screen (enough! already) but overall, entertaining, and the monster fights were done well (without going overboard).

This movie played some good psychological games with your mind as remnants of Jurassic Park came to mind as some scenes played out much like they did in that movie (cue to scene of men lying silently on train track as monster roars by beside). People died, people were saved and everyone cheered at the end.

See. It. You won't be disappointed.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

While I really enjoyed seeing the old and new cast of the X-Mens series in one movie, I felt as if the majority of the movie was not about "The X-Men" but really about 4 people trying to change their fate. For a movie that should encompass a group of individuals working together to fight evil, this movie was surely lacking in that respect.

Not to say there wasn't any teamwork. The older X-Men fighting the Sentinels in the future definitely serve up our "fight" quota for the movie. But it just felt like that was missing from the present when most of the present was being used to get the "gang" back together (really just a couple of people) and stop the ultimate act that would bring on the Sentinel attack in the future. For a revitalized X-Men sequel, it was seriously lacking the new 'X-Men'.

That aside, kudos to James McAvoy who, I feel, stole the movie. His defeat and anguish of letting down his X-Men was apparent throughout as he struggled to regain his belief that humans and mutants can co-exist together and that all was not lost. His scene with Patrick Stewart was one of the highlights for me. It was great to see him hold his own, and then some, against one of the great thespians of our time. I really wanted to see more of them together…alas.

The fights that were showcased were brilliant, something you would expect from a Bryan Singer movie - over-the-top, explosive, dramatic, intense and satisfying. Jennifer Lawrence manages to really grapple with Mystique's crisis of faith throughout. My one complaint was that Wolverine took up way too much screen time (I understand that this was the logical choice to go back in time) but still, this movie should have been centered on the new X-Men and I just feel he has too much screen time. If I wanted to see a movie about Wolverine, I'd go watch a movie about Wolverine.

The time-travel story worked well and I enjoyed, and was amused, that this movie essentially wiped out everything that happened in X-Men: The Last Stand (haha).  So, everything's back to normal..uh huh. Well, I supposed if you're going to re-write history, do it in style. I do have one lingering question: how did Magneto get his powers back?…I guess we are meant to believe that the mutant cells are still in our mutant heroes and they would eventually come back. I do remember the scene with the chess board so…ok, I can accept that only because of the fact that his powers are used quite awesomely in this movie.

I cannot say enough about QuickSilver. Every time I laughed out loud, QuickSilver was in the scene. While James McAvoy won the drama award in this movie, Evan Peters stole the comedy award. He was absolutely brilliant and his scenes were impressive(!), to say the least. He will be a welcome addition to the third X-Men instalment.

All in all, an entertaining film. I fangirled over all these amazing actors in one movie even though I felt deprived of seeing any of their characters fleshed out or have any really story. I kinda felt they should have done an after-credit scene where the older X-Men give their younger counterparts advice. That would have been hilarious.

This movie definitely makes up for that uninspiring 3rd X-Men outing (The Last Stand - I'm looking at you) and certainly primes things up for the next Wolverine movie as well as the next X-Men movie. A bit of revisionist history in this movie will be interesting to see how it plays out in future films. Much like Captain America 2 changes things for all Marvel movies going forward, this movie will change things for all X-Men movies (some might say for the better).

Go See It.


I just about cheered excitedly when Bobby morphed into IceMan and sprayed out a sheet of ice that he skated on as he fought the Sentinels. So cool! Man did that bring back memories of watching cartoons on Saturday mornings! While I've seen Storm, Cyclops and Frog all use your abilities before, it was nice to see some new mutants (at least none I've seen on screen) showcase their awesome abilities (I'm looking at you Blink and Warpath!). Looking forward to seeing more of them in future films.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Captain America 2 Review

Captain America is a thoroughly entertaining movie. Long review follows. No big spoilers (just minor ones).

First, the bad. This movie suffers slightly from taking on too much and over-exposition, particularly one scene where the movie felt it needed to re-hash the plot from the first Captain America movie. As the scene unfolds, the story was revealed in a way that lent itself to this movie in a plot-twisty sort of way that actually made its' inclusion make sense.

There were a few slow parts but that didn't detract from the movie, in fact it allowed us to take break in between incredible! fight sequences and over-the-top action scenes. This also allowed time for our characters' struggles to be showcased as these would play out through the rest of the movie.

Each main character has great personal development stories that built upon past movies and will have an impact on their future roles. Director Fury has his biggest role to date with a particularly great action scene and some fantastic line delivery that only Samuel L. Jackson could pull of.

There were quite a few scenes reminiscent of the Avengers that had me asking (out loud), " Where is Iron Man?" lol…quite a bit happens in this movie that had me wondering where Tony Stark was, as plot developments in this movie surely would have an impact on his life. Yes, I am aware it is called Captain America.

It remains to be seen how the effects of this movie will play out in future Marvel movies (as it will surely have an impact), the results of which we will see immediately on the tv show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It was great to see Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, and the aforementioned plot re-hashing from the first Captain America goes a long way to explain how 'Bucky' is alive and well in the 21st century. Kudos to the writers who created scenes from the past to showcase the unwavering friendship between Steve and Bucky. They added a bittersweet tinge to the rivalry between them in the present.

The big thing that really stood out for me was the unprecedented fight sequences. You could tell a lot of long hours went into ensuring realism in the combat-style fights that Captain America takes part in throughout the movie. Not one, not two, but three huge Captain America fight scenes that left me cringing and looking away. You can tell Steve Rogers has been putting in some serious training. This is not a kid-friendly movie, the level of violence being upped tremendously in this second outing with the body count rising by the minute as the movie unfolds.

But, once the movie is over and you have time to breathe, you realize the moral of the movie (the price of freedom equals great sacrifice) was really delivered upon with all the death and destruction. The movie advocates choice and freedom but never becomes preachy. It's enthralling, edge of your seat entertainment and nail-biting.

I want to see this movie again just for the action scenes alone as they sometimes took my breath away. The best part is watching Captain America don his (original) suit and getting that no-nonsense look in his eyes as he blazes into battle. I cheered out loud quite a few times.

My only caveat is I don't think it's worth seeing this movie in 3D as some of the earlier fight scenes get lost in the distraction of watching them in 3D. Other than that, really fun outing and definitely setting up for a great third act for this great American hero.

Stick around for two end-credit scenes that set up nicely for the Avengers sequel and the eventual Captain America Act III movie.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

Amazing Spider-Man 2 is first, and foremost, a love story and second, an action movie. Most of the story revolves around Gwen and Peter's relationship (for a good reason which I won't spoil here) with secondary subplots about Electro and Harry Osborn. They aren't used as filler to the romance angle, they're both used as catalysts for Peter's journey as he tried to figure out who his father was, how he can keep those he loves most safe and discover, in the process, who HE is. Truthfully, it's Spider-Man's journey as he tries to figure out who he truly is.

It's a great coming-of-age story for Spider-Man so that he can become the hero we know he is. Andrew Garfield is phenomenal in this second outing. He really knows his character well and the guilt and fear that come with being hero and being responsible for other's safety. He and Sally Field just shine in the scenes they have together. Even Emma Stone is fantastic as the girlfriend to the superhero who must always take a backseat.

Every main actor in this movie takes their material and runs with it. From newcomer Dane DeHann (Harry Osborne) to Jamie Foxx, each actor embraced their character and character flaws and bought life to them. Even without the special effects, the movie wins on drama alone.

This drama could not be possible with some incredible writing. Emma and Andrew bring a real maturity to their relationship in this movie which I felt really helped grow Peter into the man he needs to be in order to be superhero the city needs him to be.

And let's talk about the effects…No one makes swinging through skyscrapers more fun than Spider-Man does. Some really impressive shots in this movie, particularly the still shots of Spider-Man flying through the city (go see the movie for these alone). Cinematographically speaking, this movie surprises the first one hands down. Breathtaking views of the city that can only be seen through Spidey's eyes.

My only issue with this movie was the constant use of slow-motion to really drive across what was happening. This occurred during some very inconvenient moments particularly during an awesome Electro-Spiderman showdown. I was yelling at the screen to just stop! Slow-mo is great for some scenes but there really is something to be said for over-doing it.

Comic book fans will enjoy the after credit scene (just one) and probably cheer as this scene sets up Spiderman 3. Fans will revel in Peter Parker's ring-tone (hint hint..it's a theme song!). There were a few surprises that I enjoyed, particularly one that explained why Peter was affected the way he was when bit by the spider in the first movie. That was a nice surprise moment that actually made sense in the context of this film.

This movie does suffer from being a bit bloated with quite a few stories interspersing throughout. Ultimately, they all come together at the end to allow for a very satisfying third act.

I definitely recommend this movie but go in knowing that the movie spends quite a bit on the Gwen/Peter relationship and that the main villain is actually secondary to the plot. Other that that, enjoy it. It's well acted, well directed, has some phenomenal fight scenes and is a great entry in the Spiderman repertoire.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Did you expect something different?

As Albert Einstein said:
"Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result."

Apparently, I am insane.

I have been doing the same thing over and over again, week in and week out, expecting a different result. Guess what? Result was the same! And I couldn't figure out why.

Really, I could. I just didn't want to admit it.

Change is scary. Really really scary.

With routine, we have familiarity, calmness, serenity in knowing how things will work out. We know what will happen and so are not afraid.

I think it's time to be afraid, change things up a bit, take a risk, break a leg (well, not literally - but that would definitely change things up), just do something different and scary as hell!

Only then, can we feel alive!

Today, I am insane.

Tomorrow, I will not be.