Monday, April 30, 2007

This and That - continued

Three weeks.

It's been three weeks since my last post.

I must be running out of steam quicker than I thought. See, a while back (somewhere around my 200th post) I started to think that at 25o posts I would reconsider this whole blog thing.

I guess the fact that I've been slowing down so much is a pretty strong indication that 250 might be my last post.

So enjoy #241.

- First of all, tonight is the big night for Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids - Part Deux. Dan is hosting this fun night at the Victory Cafe on Markham, south of Bloor, near Honest Ed's. I'm looking forward to it, though I'll have to go home to get my story. I forgot it in my rush out the door this morning. It's been that kind of week.

That Kind Of Week
- Broke my nose playing ultimate frisbee last weekend. Did I mention that? Yeah. Kinda sucks. I'm all crooked now.

That Kind Of Week II
- Burned my wrist while ironing the other day. Did I mention that? Yeah. Kinda sucks. I'm all scarred now.

- I'm sure I could write a whole essay on this one (and I assume others have). The verdict's still out on this one, in many respects. But, I gotta admit, this last month has been interesting; catching up with names and faces I hadn't seen in years. It's like looking back on a whole other life.

Hot Docs
- Checked out the Toronto Hot Docs festival last week. I'd have to say it wasn't worthy of its own post, despite the fact that I saw several films (thanks to my "industry pass" - the only perk I've seen from this job so far). The films I saw came across as rather amateurish. Some will be on tv soon, so you can judge for yourself.

Mainstream Films
- I plan to see Hot Fuzz and Spider-Man 3 soon, so stay tuned for those reviews. Probably in posts 242 and 243.

UFC 70
- A largely disappointing event, especially for Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic fans. The Croatian Sensation was knocked out by a high leg kick at the very end of the first round in a shocking upset. The dream card of Cro Cop vs. Randy "The Natural" Couture will have to wait until at least the end of the year. Let's hope UFC 71 is better. Even UFC President Dana White admitted "Nations Collide" was a bust.

My New Cell Phone
- I broke down and got a cell phone last month. It's a Fido pay-as-you-go type of deal. I pay $10 for a month and get calls for $0.30/min anytime. I can receive texts for free, but it costs $0.15 to send. So far, I've been pretty happy to have it. I've used it a few times in the very scenarios I envisioned: trying to coordinate with friends while "on the road". Big thanks to my friend Christine who gave me her old phone. The sound quality is better than any other cell phone I've used (my major compaint).

What that's about it. The usual stuff still applies: hate Bush, haven't been to McDonald's...

Hmmm.. this was a pretty lame post. Sorry about that, folks. I might need suggestions to get me even as far as 250!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

UFC 69 : The Great Depression


This was an odd night. After watching the Leafs take care of business by defeating the Canadiens in regulation, I settled in to catch the real highlight of the night: UFC 69.

Or so I thought.

The night started off well, with former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove (10-3) defeating Alan belcher (9-3) in impressive fashion.

But the first hiccup of the night came when hometown boy and former Ultimate Fighter participant Mike "Quick" Swick (10-2) laid an egg against Yushi Okami (21-3). Swick didn't seem to have his typical confidence (hometown nerves?) and couldn't overcome Okami's takedowns. It was frustrating to watch Swick hold back; when he did let his fists fly, he was really taking it to the Japanese newcomer. The unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28) was closer than it should have been.

The next fight made up for things a little - it was actually the best fight of the night...sloppy, but exciting. Lightweights Roger Huerta (19-1) and Leonard Garcia (13-2) threw bombs from beginning to end - a rare sight for that weight class. The 30-27 unanimous decision did not do the fight justice; it was a pretty close fight, but Huerta squeezed out each round.

The night went to hell in the next fight, which was probably the most anticipated bout of the night: 19-0 Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez vs. 10-1 Josh Koscheck. These two obviously hate each other, exchanging words in interviews and punctuated by a Sanchez shove at the weigh-in. The fighters refused to touch gloves before the fight...and that was the end of the excitement. This was all hype, folks. The fighters came out in each of the three rounds just circling each other, with only the occasional jab. Koscheck won each round by connecting on one or two punches, while Sanchez did absolutely nothing. The fans in attendance clearly expressed their displeasure with a chorus of boos in each round. Boooooring. Worst fight of the year. This was a disaster for Sanchez. Much like the Griffin-Jardine bout, this fight should have never taken place. Koscheck simply hadn't earned it. He had lost to Sanchez during the first Ultimate Fighter and Sanchez had gone undefeated since, taking out guys like Caro Parisyan, Joe Riggs and Nick Diaz. Koscheck, meanwhile, had amassed a very good record, mostly against meatheads. Sanchez suffered the same fate as Griffin, and instead of a much-deserved title fight, he now has to (unbelievably) "prove himself" with another couple of wins before he can jump to the front of the line.

But the topper on the night came in the main event as UFC Welterweight Champ Georges St-Pierre made his first title defense against Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback winner Matt "the Terror" Serra. St-Pierre was heavily favoured, but as soon as the fight started I asked myself: "Wait a is St-Pierre going to win"? Serra had heavier hands and was a world class Jiu-Jitsu fighter. It seemed Serra had the advantage whether it went to the ground or if they stayed on their feet. St-Pierre tried to establish his distinct height/reach advantage, but it didn't take long before Serra connnected on a couple of solid punches, knocking the Canadian silly. St-Pierre could not recover before Serra dropped a few more bombs and within seconds, it was all over. The little guy from Long Island had become the new UFC Welterweight Champion.

Don't get me wrong: I like Serra. I was cheering for him during the Ultimate Fighter, but this win does nothing for the welterweight division. Likeable or not, Serra will not last as champ. Matt Hughes will likely get the first shot at the belt and will be heavily favoured to win. Then what? Another rematch between Hughes and St-Pierre? Probably. But what if St-Pierre wins that fight? A rematch with Serra? Does the belt just go round and round? What about the other guys in the division (and there are lots of contenders)?

All in all, it was a pretty depressing/disappointing night. And it'll only get worse if (when?) the Islanders beat the Devils Sunday afternoon to eliminate the Leafs.

Then again, I hear miracles happen this time of year.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Film Review: Grindhouse

A friend of mine generously offered me passes to the Grindhouse preview held at Silvercity Yonge & Eglinton on Thursday.

The last time I passed on a preview it was for Thank You For Smoking - not making that mistake again.

I've discovered that the majority of reviews for this flick are right on: the style is interesting, but the films are somehow unsatisfying. The first movie (Planet Terror) is better than the second (Death Proof) - though the friend who accompanied me disagreed. (Death Proof actually had greater potential but the execution was brutal) In the end, the experience is a thumbs up, but not a "masterpiece" as the recent ads would have you believe.

If you're wondering how this double-bill thing works, here's the lowdown: the entire experience is a little over 3 hours. For us, this included no trailers and only a 2-minute pause between films. Now, Grindhouse includes its own "trailers" for mock films, so I'm not sure if regular viewings will include an extra 10 minutes of Spider-Man and Pathfinder trailers. If so, it's a loooong night. Empty your bladder beforehand. If you can't make it beyond the break, no worries: the first 20 minutes of Death Proof are a complete waste of time. Not sure what Tarantino was thinking.

Oh, and sorry K.A. - you soooo cannot see this film. The gore factor is very very high. In fact, some of it was beyond unnecessary - to the point where it wasn't funny, it was just...crass. If you see the flick I think you'll understand what I'm hinting at here. No, it's not a genre thing.

So, if you have a stomach for B-movies and schlock, you might get into this and think it's great. My bet, however, is that most of the general public would find this experience pretty silly and tiresome.

I'll let you folks decide for yourselves.

Dr. Block: We gotta lose the arm, Joe.
Joe: Lose the arm? What do you mean, "lose the arm?" My arm?
- Josh Brolin and Nicky Katt in Grindhouse

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Fonz Guest Stars on Prison Break


You hear that?

Yup, that's the sound of Prison Break jumping the shark.

It was written on the walls from the start: you have a show about a prison break - how long can it last? How long can you wait before they break out? How long can you keep them on the run?

Well, let's see: as of last night's episode, the prisoners had escaped, the guy who was on death row (the catalyst for the entire show) had been exonerated, half of the original cast was dead, and all of the villains had been exposed or killed.

So now what?

Oh. Right. Have the hero break out of ANOTHER prison! Of course!


Or should I say: "Ayyyyyyyyyyyyy".