Category Archives: Movie Theatre

professionalism and the cinema of Michael Mann

FirestormWow, new babies do really keep you up at night. Here are two “late night / early morning” things that I’ve learned, upon new fatherhood. Number one: baby dancing to mid-70s blaxploitation soundtracks makes baby happy (Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man seemed particularly effective). And number two: watching kung fu movies and/or Asian crime flicks at four a.m. makes daddy happy.

This makes sense. Subtitles means the volume can be kept at a not-disturbing-the-exhausted-wife level. And the crazy, super-fun martial arts fighting effectively keeps the sleepy eyes and brain dancing and more or less alert. I’ve become a huge fan of Hong Kong star Donnie Yen. In movies like IP Man or Flashpoint, he mixes MMA moves with more classic kung fu and it’s awesome (I guess you could say that I now have a YEN for Donnie YEN – HA HA HA HA ha …I’m sorry; I’m so tired).

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when funny is serious

I Am Chris FarleyHere’s my Saturday Night Live theory: everyone has “their” Saturday Night Live. And how do we determine what is “our” Saturday Night Live? It’s the SNL that you watched when you were around thirteen years old. You remember those magical years – still too young to go out late on a Saturday night yet old enough to stay up super late. And the Saturday Night Live cast that’s on the TV during these years ….well, that’s your Saturday Night Live cast.

Me? I think I got lucky. My Saturday Night Live cast was the classic 1982 – 1984 run of Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Belushi etc. I enjoyed some of the later years – with such luminaries as Jon Lovitz or Phil Hartman or Mike Myers - but these were not my years.

The 1990-1995 SNL were definitely NOT my years. Anytime I happened to catch a sketch with Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider or whoever, I always wondered. “what is this? Why am I not laughing?”.  It is like I aged out from the demographic, never to return. And since I’ve been away for so long, I was curious to watch the new documentary on the early 90s SNL star Chris Farley.

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the business (and art) of ballet

Ballet 422Somethings you don’t see coming and here’s one: I’ve become a fan of the ballet. Kind of a big fan. This hit me a few years ago when this woman-friend [SPOILER -  she's now my wife] wanted to introduce me to live dance. At the time I was happy just to get cleaned up / dressed up and do something fancy, but I wasn’t expecting any lasting impact.

Yeah. I was wrong. I was absolutely transfixed with both the music and movement on stage. There was something in physicality of ballet – how human muscles, bones, tendons become the canvas for this particular art form – that intrigues and enthralls me. Sadly though, I don’t seem to get out much to see ballet performed live. Someday.

Until that day, there are all kinds of movies to feed this habit. The best I’ve seen recently is the 2015 documentary Ballet 422. The film’s subject is 25 year old dancer /  choreographer Justin Peck, as he undertakes to create and present the New York City Ballet Company’s 422 (hence the title) original ballet. What’s special about this documentary (and what I liked especially about it) is that this film offers little context into the lives of the dancers and the other artists who together work to launch a show. No one acknowledges the camera. We never learn the names of the principal dancers or the musicians or the costume creators. Instead the film’s focus is solely on the labour.

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