“Your life ended about five minutes ago, under the inept ministrations of Dr. Beverly Crusher.”
After “Face of the Enemy,” Season Six’s other best episode is “Tapestry,” which ends up on more top ten lists, although I like it slightly less. Still, there’s little arguing against it. It’s the series’ last great Picard episode before “All Good Things,” and it’s a marvelous Q episode to boot, largely in that it’s not the usual “Q is a goofball!” routine. Here, with a nice balance of caring and malice, Q throws Picard into his own personal It’s a Wonderful Life loop, after the Captain has been killed on an away mission. We stitch in the great piece of the Picard backstory, as verbally outlined in “Samaritan Snare” – the night he got stabbed through the back during a bar fight, while still a cocksure Starfleet cadet.Read more
I met a man in the park the other night. He was locked out of his apartment, and I was locked out of everything else, and we were both just sitting by the pool, killing time. He was here from Victoria on a 4-month internship at one of the banks, and although he’d found a place to live and a roommate to live in it with, he was talking to me about the frustration of social opportunity in the urban landscape - telling me, in effect, that he was finding it really hard to make friends. That he’d even set himself a goal, to make at least one good friend in Toronto, before he had to go back. And now he was talking to me, cold, in the park.Read more
This is easily my favourite episode of Season Six; and it’s certainly, far and away, the best Counselor Troi episode in all of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s such an achievement over its sixth-season running mates that I actually find it startling. I mean, last week we were on “Aquiel,” and the season so far hasn’t exactly been a string of series-defining successes. Then this happens.Read more
"I mean, the thing is that you spend… you know, you spend enough time doing something, and you focus for long enough, you know, on every little detail, then you start to lose sight of the… uh… uh…"
Daniel Cockburn gave me a blu-ray of his film, You Are Here. It is, I believe, four years overdue. Unless I miss my guess You Are Here played in the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010, i.e. before the festival adopted “You Are Here” as its slogan and You Are Here's maze of twisty little poster designs as one of its ad images, i.e. when You Are Here merely played at the festival, and before it became the festival.Read more
In case you forgot, I don’t need movies to be good. (Here’s some more.) And here’s Jandy’s manifesto from a couple of weeks ago, which I think is bloody brilliant, as it gets to some of the ideas I was trying to talk about, but ended up talking myself away from.
I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to anyone who’s listened to Mamo! as we’ve moved into the subjective vs. objective portion of the debate (so really, everything since episode 194 or thereabouts) that I’ve held star ratings in a dim view for most of my life. What, exactly, does 3.5 stars out of 4 mean? Does it mean that the movie is perfect, except for one quantifiable mistake? (Roger Ebert memorably docked Thelma & Louise half a star for the abrupt fade-to-white on its final shot - and quite rightly, IMHO.)Read more
I want to tell you about a movie I saw this afternoon, Still the Water. Directed by Naomi Kawase, it concerns two teenagers on an island off the coast of Japan, dealing with death and change in their family, in parallel and together. It is a movie about nothing in particular, really, composed of a series of low-key scenes, and just as often, silent sequences of the characters traveling, or thinking, or sitting. Don’t worry: it is very much the movie I signed up to see, a kind of rural Japanese melodrama with its accompanying piano score and a great sense of the sea and the salt air, and the sound of leaves rustling.Read more
Fighting some kind of psycho-emotional Purge Night as day breaks cold and grisly on the last weekend of #TIFF14. I duck in to Theeb first thing, earlier in the morning than I should be doing this, though I woke up earlier all week for work, so I’m not entirely clear on why my body and mind and heart and soul and all the itty bitty angels are fighting me quite so hard on this. But fight me, they do. The movie is wonderful and the intro and Q&A equally so, and I take the time to dream I’m a Bedouin boy trying to survive on his own in that canyon on pluck and sheer will. Then I dream about what it means to dream about such things. I am no such boy - and yet, it moves.
What we learned yesterday and today: that after-work nap is the fuzzy beige line between this thing working like MechaGodzilla, vs. the whole King Ghidorah going off the rails. I spent a couple of lost hours immediately after work doing other things much further up the priority list than my date with the couch, and felt fine about it till I crash landed in the midst of another midnight in a row. Man! I had this shit wired, not 2 days ago! So I can tell you that What We Do In The Shadows was dandy, for the parts of it I was able to intake. It seemed to me a comfortable B-side to Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive from last year, with the central thesis again being that immortal vampiric life might seem all well and good, but the actual doing of it would likely be an exercise in scarcely-withheld insanity-due-to-boredom. I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t a bit too on the nose for the Midnight Madness crowd, as subject matter. There was certainly a brightly lit scene at the tail end which, after so much mercurial gloom, nearly made me hiss and claw for the shadows.Read more
Heading into the last turn of TIFF week; it’s all straightaway from here out, after tonight. I finally took myself up on a personal commitment made a decade ago to be intelligent about this thing, and booked myself into a good long massage this morning to iron out a week’s worth of festival seating. The seats at the Ryerson have improved a lot since we moved to the venue in ‘05 but they still do a number on ya if you slouch, as one tends to do at Midnight Madness; especially the ground-floor seats we’ve been gulagged in all week. The recliner chairs at the Scotiamount are insanity on a stick - I spend more muscle strength trying to keep my body in a workable film viewing position than I expend in the average bike marathon. I won’t be in the Elgin this week, or the Winter Garden, and it doesn’t feel like a real festival without them. Another corner of the world taken away.Read more
Wednesday night a repeat of Friday - the rains started around the end of nap time, and persisted. I was reading the Prometheus sequel comic, Fire & Stone (it’s quite good so far), so the LV-223ish gloom was appreciated, and it did better prep this time than last, with my umbrella and waterproof everything. Everyone is bleating about In & Out Burger’s four-hour layover in Toronto tomorrow, so I went to Five Guys and got myself the superior cheeseburger. And they’re here all year round, gang.
Tonight was my double feature of kill-crazy adolescent boys, Goodnight Mommy followed by Cub. I already have a generous terror of boys, having been one myself, and having been bullied by other such ones besides. (Not for a while, don’t worry.) I know what’s going on in there from both sides of the equation, and it’s nothing good.