Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Not quite a nightmare, but...

Woke up after an unpleasant dream that centered around a poorly organized business trip.  

I arrived at an unusual terminal in Toronto with a technical colleague and neither of us had boarding passes.  We had an unconfirmed meeting agenda with customers in Montreal.  My colleague and I deal with different agents and end up with different flight arrangements.  

Only when I'm at the front of the security line do I realize that I'm not certain if I needed to fly to another city after Montreal.  I purchased a one way ticket (on a very odd airline) which came as a surprise to the agent because it cost me over $400 which the agent thought was very expensive - I answered "normal for me".  

I know airports quite well, but a really had trouble finding this gate and had to ask a number of clueless people where the gate was.  I found a ton of people on the third floor where multiple flights were all boarding at the same time.  I squeezed my way to my flight and tried to board, but found out that this plane was massive and I was asked to board very specifically by my seat section.

I had a look around the gate area and recognized a restaurant my wife and I had eaten at in the past.  There was a huge group of people waiting for the flight.

I arrive in Montreal without any specific meeting details and still uncertain who I'm meeting with and where I need to fly next.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job that requires me to do a lot of business travel and I enjoy meeting customers face-to-face in exotic locations like Warren, NJ, but it does stress me out a little when flight and hotel scheduling is only confirmed days ahead of my trip.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Movie reviews - the rest of 2015

Queen of Versailles

Delusional real lifers with a sad story of wealth.  But a few lessons to be learned about perceptions and realities of money.

Fascinating in a car crash kind of way.



A remarkable true adventure story.  I'm not certain why she did, but I'm glad she did.  Brought me to tears at times.  Beautiful production and superb acting by Mia Wasikowska.  I saw the photography book recently and then noticed it on Netflix - just what the doctor ordered.


Mr. Turner

Well produced historic storytelling.  A very interesting man who I felt at times he had quite a modern mind, but one that will forever be a bit of a mystery.   Passionate in many ways, cold hearted at times, and possessing a rich sense of humour.  Untraditional and exceptional.   Slow grunt or a man with the glorious backdrop of his inspiration.



Great music, but surprisingly deep.  Well acted all around with some nice casual relief from supporting cast.  Makes you think.  


American Sniper

Very emotional.  Very intense.  Very real.   Scary good.  Part 1 review on flight.

Part 2 Left me on edge (in a bad way).  I didn't know Chris' story, I was dreading what would happen to him at home (not in Iraq).  I thought the ending wrapped up too quickly and got a little disingenuous.

On Air Canada's seat back screen I couldn't see anything of the sand storm action.

Still a great movie, perhaps worth a second watch from the comfort of home.


Ed Wood

Only saw part of the movie on Air Canada, and it wasn't available on the return flight.  Loved it, very odd as expected, beautifully shot in B&W, great cast and bizarre (hard to believe true) story.


Particle Fever

I wish I'd paid more attention to my physics classes - wow.  Grasped a few bits the first time thru, then re-watched a few sections on the fundamental ideas from the theorists.  A little more understanding, but I'm sure I'll lose my grasp on these mind boggling ideas by morning.  

Yes, the content is cool, but it needs good film makers to get the best out of the story and most importantly, the people.  Very well made.

Beautiful, passionate, real, important, dramatic, joy, sadness - it had it all. 


Wow, that was intense.  Pretty much edge of your seat for a coupe of hours.  Managed to feel very real with superb acting all around.  Hanks' final scene was magnificent.  Amazing how drama like this can punch harder than the extreme violence we so often see.  Well done.  Well made.  Riveting.  

But I think it gave me a headache.  

Amazed about the massive presence by the US Navy for one man.


Lovely melancholy based on a true story.

Wonderful acting showing multi-dimensional aspects of complex characters.

Well produced and filmed 

​Worth watching and thinking about.


Took a chance and was rewarded by an opening track from The Vaccines.  Rather silly at times, but quite harsh and shocking at moments.  I liked it and it played out well.  Read a few reviews and can see where they may be some confusion - I don't think this was a comedy.  

Very sad at times. 


Why can't they make more movies like this.  Excellent plot, well acted and produced.  Amazing how suspenseful it can be with zero violence.  Actually yelled out with the shower scene.  Fantastic job by writer, director and actor Edgerton.


...and the hits keep on coming...

Fascinating story of a place I'd never heard of or knew gave its name to a sound of music.  Massive collection of fantastic music, not without drama and pain.  Beautifully photographed and produced.  Need to watch again with Shazam by my side.

Recommended by a new work colleague after we talked about Rodriguez (who we're seeing this week).  And I'm definitely going to be paying this one forward.


Liked the plot and setting.  But had trouble staying awake.  Remember plot got a little silly, but enjoyed watching it with my daughter.  Clever FX.


Took a few US Netflix visits, but very, very good, as I'd hoped.  Second Chris Evans movie this week.  Superb detailed storytelling, but surprised at level of violence.   Lots more to contemplate.


Into the Woods

Very bizarre.  Unpredictable, fairy tale themed musical with some odd plots shifts.  Entertaining but too long.  Good cast and comedic elements.  


Unfinished Business

Silly but fun, especially if you like Vaughan.  Very adult humour and weird casting, but it kind of worked.


Perhaps a little bit overhyped, so I was expecting a conclusion that was more profound.   But still, highly entertaining and the imitations and voices were bloody hilarious.  


Good drama and enough plot to keep it interesting.   Superb cast assembled by Redford.   Marling was magical again (for me).  As per the IMDB comments - I liked the emotional elements.   Entertaining. 


Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Fun family fun once again.  Cameo by Wilson was brilliant.  Lots of funny bits.  Very entertaining.  


Charming, heartfelt with verses of melancholy.  Connelly and Collins were brilliant.  Lots of scenes to love, and if you like Opera in any way, you'll love it.  But it did feel a little anti-climatic.


Fun if you like Grant and Tormei.  Quite a few good laughs.  Great supporting cast.  Some good tunes.  Not as predictable as I thought.  Entertaining rom-com.  


Not bad.  Good love of mystery and confusion but it tried to be too clever and ended up being a bit of a mess.


Not terrible.  Some good bits.  Only to be viewed if you love these ladies.  Missed the last bit as I had to leave my Air Canada seat.  


Movie review catchup - 2015 part 1

Melancholy in a good way.  Sad, with hope for better days.   Spot on casting, nice sound track, and a fine writing touch.

Kind of orthogonal to a feel good movie.

Yes, tears were shed openly, but enjoyable all the same.


Wonderful (based on a true) story of colliding worlds, characters and passions.  Superbly acted, beautiful cinematography and fun and fitting soundtrack/score.  Captivating smiles and infectious laughter shows life is what we make it.


I thought Renner did I good job.  Not certain I appreciated the plot, but the action and location shots were top notch.  Superb motorcycle chase.  Norton provided a good sense of dread and Weisz a perfect damsel in distress.  Liked all the intelligence tracking and tech - quite believable.  


Powerful telling of one of America's most important stories.  And one Americans need to understand and remember.  Well balanced production of the horrific brutality with the peace of Dr. King.  Superbly acted, shocking and...

Unavoidable and justified comparisons with twelve years a slave.

Agree with claims of Oscar snubs for Oyelowo and DuVarnay, Happy the movie was recognized and really like the song Glory written for the movie.


Clever keeps you guessing.   Fatal attraction like.  Interesting layers.   Gripping.  Complex.  Better than expected.  Great casting.  Clinical use of violence and even language.  Behind closed doors.   Don't like the title.   Surprising.   A good old fashioned Hitchcock thriller ?  Some doubtful plot bits.


Bizarre but beautiful.  Sensual but sad.   Natural but neo sci-fi.   I saw that Nerdwriter has a vlog about it being classic art house.  Haven't seen the vlog yet, but feel this must be what is art house.  Artistic in unusual ways, but many scenes are very realistic and documentary like.  Superbly acted by Johansson and the supporting cast.  Stunning scenario and wonderful cinematography.   Some very clever, unexpected and shocking elements.  Full of drama and suspenseful scenes.  Loved how she was so natural in her seduction and so unnatural with almost everything else.  Liked the weather influences, especially the scene at the castle.


Violent gang pursuit balances the film's very ambitious ideas.  I liked it.  Suspension of disbelief is critical to enjoying it.  Pretty close to Scarlett's brilliant detached role in Under the Skin - type casting ?   The drug does exist.  Cool to think about the real possibilities.  

Made me wonder how unbelievable this life I lead (and tech I use) today would seem to someone at the turn of the 20th century.

How can we feel comfortable seeing such far out science fiction ?

Entertaining.  7/10

Wonderful story of an amazing man, and his amazing wife Jane.  Superbly acted by Redmayne and Jones.  Sad and tragic but Hawking's frequent humour was / is a welcome tonic.  For love or for science. What can I / we learn from him ?  I have to read the book now (had it for a long time).  Aligns with my feeling about religion - not certain, but I feel life is sometimes beyond science and my understanding.   



Good old fashioned war movie.  Standard mix of characters thrown together in the horror of war.  Well acted, well produced.  


Dallas Buyers Club

Superb performances for McConaughey and Leto.  Well crafted story (albeit a little bit of a stretch for the lead character).  Tragedy of massive proportions in right versus wrong drama.  Loved the flawed characters.


Safety Not Guaranteed

Great chemistry all around.  Very sweet.  Great writing.  Super dialogue and quotes.  Surprising love stories.  Personal feelings and parallelism.  Closed and open - love it.  Johnson reminded me of Mark Ruffalo.  Great soundtrack too, incl. Arctic Monkeys.


The Judge

Good to see Downey Jr. In a serious role.  Yes, he still got to be a little funny, but Duvall perhaps brought the best out of him.   

Good story of family, the law and life.  Great supporting cast.  



Loved the casting.  I think it helps to be a fan of Jazz, or at least beautiful music and the people that create it.  Great dramatic acting and straightforward plot with gems of goodness.  A few decent turns and no cheese.  Liked it.  



Pilot turned movie - I'll take it; interesting idea, mediocre acting.   


Extremely violent, a little embarrassed to say it was a lot of fun. Great cast, clever Bondesque plot.  Superb action scenes and fx.   Not as funny as I expected.  Very entertaining.  


The Amazing Spider-Man

I liked it.  Garfield much better than McGuire.  Stone doesn't really pass for a 17 yr old and lots of plot holes, but hey, this is a superhero movie, who cares.  Great lizard monster, good dark mood and excellent supporting cast.  Even got a Coldplay number in there.   Lotsa fun for genre fans.  Great fx and spidey movements.  


Horrible Bosses 2

Sidayskis was top drawer.  Superb supporting cast.   Lots of LOLs (nice on an airplane).  Must have been hilarious on the set; great closing credits outtakes.  Even good twists.  Constant chuckles on the plane.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

As before, I didn't really buy into the fx but I liked the premise and story elements.   



Captivating, Completely transformational performance by Gylenhal.

Great writing, rock 'em sock 'em dialogue, lovely cinematography.   Fab car chase.  Comical, but very disturbing.   Morals and ethics tossed aside for news media - what could go wrong with that.   Snappy closing line.  Brilliant.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Fragile solider.  Kept expecting a big twist, but there were only minor turns.  Well played by Lawrence and Harelson stole a lot of scenes.   Seeing Seymour-Hoffman's performance was a little eerie.  Didn't like Moore's role and the part 1 ending.  Lovely song by Lawrence.



I liked the multiple layers of this complex sci-fi adventure.  And especially liked the mind boggling finale.   As expected, a little hard to fathom at times and the fx were lost a little for me on the tiny Air Canada seat back screen.  Entertaining, but will watch again on my big screen shortly.   



Brave doc, but I got a little muddled on the non-doc looking scenes (wasn't certain if they were re-enactments).  A complex real life tragedy unfolding before our eyes - very eye opening to us less informed.  Gorilla elements were superb as well as cinematography.   Dramatic, scary, saddening but beautiful at times.



Lovely Canadian find on Air Canada flight home.  Touching, simple story of music, love and friendship.   Beautiful lyrics and music by Davis - yes, I'll be downloading her tracks.   



Loved it.  Keeps you guessing.  Great cast.  Love the soundtrack.  Sexy, stylish, funny and highly entertaining. 



Better than expected - superb acting by the entire cast, bizarre setting and plot that took a while to settle into.  Made me want to revisit the theatre and see a Broadway show next time I'm in NYC. 



Loved it for the most part, but ultimately thought it tried to be too clever.  Or maybe, it was too smart for me.  I got lost.  Big time.  Need the synopsis on IMDB.  Thinking hard.  Maybe they are all the same person.


Ex Machina

Quite well done.  Really interesting setting and characters.  Well made sci-fi with just enough amount of believability, context with today and life changing possibilities.   Low budget or just minimal for the effect.  Liked it


The Hangover Part III

A ton of laffs at every turn, if you like this kind of stuff.  Jeong was superb as usual.  Just saw the scores of IMDB - disagree.   Maybe I was just in the mood for silly shenanigans, college music and a caper.  Entertainment in spades.



Missed the beginning, but hit record and watched over a couple of nights.  Really liked it.  Pegg and Frost were the usual comedic pals, but Rogan's voiceover for Paul was brilliant.  Great supporting cast.  Lotsa fun.  Saw the beginning on a Delta flight to MSP 3 months later.  Good stuff.  Watched most of it again. 


The Phone Call

Saw this on TriBeCa film fest on United flight.

Beautiful short.   Superb, simple story and portrayal. Very touching and pure.  


Orbit Ever After

Saw this on TriBeCa film fest on United flight.

Bizarre, creative Sci-Fi short.


Trust me I'm a lifeguard

Saw this on TriBeCa film fest on United flight.

Silly but fun.  



Lotsa fun, giggles and hip tech.

Super comfy and cool AMC cinema upper west side NYC with an old friend made it even better.


The Age of Adaline

Although the concept is far fetched, the story is a simple tale of family, love and history.   Far from Sci-Fi, it was a love story with a lot of romance.  Well played by x and a decent supporting cast, incl. some good emotion from Ford.


October Gale

Very Canadian - Georgian Bay, Clarkson (originally though her Canadian, but actually from New Orleans) and a slow, beautiful and dark plot.  Liked it a lot.  Roth was a bonus.  



Really nice romantic movie, sad that I watched it by myself.  Unusual indy casting but it worked; and supporting cast were brill.  Great soundtrack, incl. another lovely bit by Pare.  Before Sunset meets the replacements crossed with ... 



Woodley plays a perfect heroine.  Film follows book pretty closely (from what I can recall).  Good sci-fi premise with interesting possibilities for a trilogy+, plus good fx and action scenes.   Actually made me want to read/see part 2 - Insurgent.  Less than believable fight scenes.


Magic in the Moonlight

Delightful.  Wonderful Woody dialogue.  Beautiful scenery and cinematography.   Expertly cast as usual.  Much better than expected.  Charming entertainment.  If you're a Woody fan, you'll love it.  



Much more about the man and the NYC art scene than his art.  Superb lead acting by Wright - quite the departure from his recent recurring role as Felix Leiter in Bond.  Fantastic big star supporting cast.  Like the exhibition I recently saw at the AGO, I'm still struggling to relate to his work.