Friday, November 30, 2012

Lord of the Flies

What happens when the Lower Ossington Theatre unleashes a group of stranded British school boys on a makeshift island stage with no adults and no rules? Well, their sense of civilization crumbles; they get really dirty and dance around in their underwear. And last night, we had a front row seat for all this chaos.

Whether you read the William Golding classic in school or on your own accord, most people know the story of Lord of the Flies and are familiar with school boys Ralph (Jeff Dingle), Piggy (Micky Myers), Jack (Lindsay Robinson), Simon (Kyle Murray) and the rest of their unfortunate gang. You can probably clearly remember their exploration of good vs evil, of right vs wrong, and how everything takes a terrifying turn for the worst the longer they are on that island, because that terrifying turn is the kind of nightmare that you just can’t quite shake.

This production does a fantastic job of bringing these horrors alive in front of your eyes, much thanks to the strong performances from these young, relatively new faces to the theatre scene. Jack’s decent into madness was perfectly portrayed by Robinson, whose eyes seemed to literally darken as his sanity slowly slipped away. Murray had his own shining moment as Simon wandered off into the forest and stumbled upon the rotting pig’s head, which sent him into his own troubling fit.

The dynamic between Dingle’s Ralph and Myers’ Piggy was just as complicated as we remember. Myers captured that tricky balance between a loveable and hateable character, straddling that line of annoyance perfectly, leaving you uncertain whether you feel sorry for Piggy or not. But your heart really goes out to Dingle, who as Ralph, is just trying to do what is right, survive and be rescued. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance up against that pack of wild school boy hunters. 

These performances, alongside the distressing story line and atmosphere of the small studio theatre really made for a creepy, unsettling theatrical experience. There were certainly scenes that caused us to hold our breath and hide in the safety of the dark shadow of the audience as the blood-painted hunters crept across the front of the stage with torches and a hint of insanity in their eyes, literally right in front of us. It’s enough to make you empathize with Ralph and pray for someone, anyone, to rescue you.

Lord of the Flies is on stage at the Lower Ossington Theatre until December 9. If you miss this production, well, sucks to your asmar.

images from google images

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Red Dawn

These days it seems like Hollywood is saturated with half-assed remakes, reboots and big blockbuster movies that are made to rack up the numbers at the box office, not necessarily to leave an impact or lasting impression. That’s what makes Dan Bradley’s vision of the 1984 movie Red Dawn so refreshing; the formula is there for a big action packed movie, but there’s still a lot of heart to the film.

Lucky enough to score a pre-screener to the new Red Dawn last night before it opens Wednesday, November 21, we went into the film with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised with how it all played out.

When the town of Spokane is suddenly invaded by North Korean soldiers, a group of misfit teens - high school footballer Matt (Josh Peck), childhood friend Toni (Adrianne Palicki), tech savvy Robert (Josh Hutcherson) and the mayor’s son Daryl (Connor Cruise) led by Matt’s older brother Jed (Chris Hemsworth) – flee to their family cabin in the wilderness to regroup. Not knowing the fate of their families, they arm and train themselves after Jed’s military guidance and form an armed resistance known as the Wolverines to take back their homes.

The film set a steady pace right from the beginning, not wasting too much time on building a background before jumping into the action. But even so, the story didn’t feel rushed and a clear development of character continued to build while on the run. There was a welcomed blend of comedic jabs weaved throughout the action, something which can often dissect the flow of the film but worked really well in this case, an entertaining training montage and lots of high quality explosions.

Naturally, there was also a strong patriotic theme throughout with a number of inspiring motivational speeches about standing up for your country and for your home. In films like this, it’s those moments that send those shivers up your spine and cause the audience to clap and holler out during victorious moments (which happened numerous times in our screening).

With Hemsworth and Hutcherson being linked to massive geek-friendly films this year (The Avengers and the Hunger Games, respectively), we were certain our beloved nerdiness would pigeon hole each actor into their previous roles and take away from the film. Thankfully, they were able to redefine themselves on screen for this underdog story and while Thor may have be missing his long hair and hammer, he still nailed it.

images from google images

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Break of Dawn is Finally Among Us

We are proud/ashamed to say that we were wrapped up in all this Twilight chaos well before there ever was any chaos to be wrapped up in. We read the books before there was a bandwagon to jump on, and while they were poorly written, they were entertaining enough for what they were, kind of a new young adult genre stepping outside of the Anne Rice vampire world.

When they announced they were turning the series into movies, we bought tickets to go see it the first night it premiered in Toronto, unbeknownst to us that that night would be one of the worst nights of our lives and would be the beginning of a mind numbing nightmare that would haunt us for the next four years.

Thankfully, this weekend the last and final installment of the Twilight movies, Breaking Dawn Part 2, hits theatres and we were... lucky... enough to snag VIP pre-screener passes to see it at the Shangri-La Hotel last night before it opened to the masses in theatres at 10pm.

The VIP screening actually made the whole thing worthwhile. The Shangri-La’s swanky “screening room” held only 40 elite, none of which were screaming Twi-twats. We were seated on couches, were given free drinks (non alcoholic, sadly, we could have used that booze), popcorn and salted nuts. It felt like we were just hanging out in someone’s living room watching a movie with our closest friends. If we’re going to have to sit through this movie, may as well do it in style. And for free.

We aren’t going to waste our time reviewing the movie, it is what it is
(though this was one of the least horrible of the five). Instead, we’d like to focus on the few lingering thoughts we are left with after the finale of the Twilight franchise:


-    If vampires are these strong immortal beings, why is it so easy to pull their heads off?

-    Why do girls insist on bringing their boyfriends to these movies? Wouldn’t they rather see something like this with a group of girlfriends instead of listening to someone complain all night about how horrible it all is?

-    Does Charlie (Bella’s father) seriously not notice that Bella and Edwards “adopted niece” has aged and grown rapidly in the past months? There’s a growth spurt and then there is a vampire/mortal child growth spurt. 

-    Not to mention how cool and calm Charlie is with Jacob turning into a giant dog and Bella refusing to tell him why she is ‘different’, suddenly healthier and doesn’t look  like herself.

-    How can Robert Pattinson be a part of this franchise when he clearly hates it so much
(see: Robert Pattinson Hates His Life)

-    Are we the only ones who think that the story would have been better if the epic battle between then Cullens and the Volturi actually happened and that’s how the book/movie ended?

-    How can everyone in Forks just be okay with Jacob “imprinting” on a baby?

-    Why do vampires sparkle?

-    Emmett is too beefy, Veronica wants to climb him.

-    Why on earth would 100+ year old vampires choose to keep repeating high school?

One day, we are going to write the anti-twilight and return the world to its rightful state. This we promise you. Until then, let's hope this epidemic dies down and stays dead.

images from google images