Monday, 4 April 2011

The First of Many

First off, I apologize for not posting in a couple days. I've been a bit swamped with work as the year comes to a close. But as I was away, an important document found its way to the public through the internet and also through the media. This is of course the Liberal platform for 2011. Now, of course there is going to be a lot of scrutinizing and a lot of slander towards this document, mainly from the Conservatives but also from the NDP, the Bloc and the Green. But really you have to make your own decision about this document. You cannot let another political party, who will obviously stand against it in the interest of their own parties, decide for you what to think about the Liberal platform. Now, saying that...I thought it was a piece of crap. But please don't take my word for it, read it yourself. But let's take a look inside shall we?

The Liberal platform promises a number of new social programs that will benefit the people of Canada. Two of their biggest are the Learning Passport, which helps students pay for post-secondary education, and a Family Care Plan which is designed to assist families who care for elderly loved ones. Along with these the Liberals promise a handful of new infrastructure projects (including a speed-train system from Windsor to Montreal) and a green renovation tax-credit. All of these ideas sound great. A Liberal government would no doubt put family first and help the average person live a more fulfilled life. Unfortunately, as has happened in the past, these social programs and innovative projects do not have the funding to support themselves. The Liberals intend to pay for all of these programs by raising corporate taxes but making sure to leave the HST and income tax alone. The Liberals promise the people that these programs will not cost them a dime, it's the businesses that will be forced to pay up. I'm beginning to think the Liberals don't understand how money works. 

Okay, so, let's say the Liberals carry out this plan of only hiking up the corporate tax. That's fine, so corporations now have to pay more in order to keep their businesses thriving. New businesses will be discouraged from opening as a result of the growing taxation which will damage the job market as well as the economy. But what about already thriving businesses? Well, unfortunately for them less profit will be made meaning there is less room for expansion which means that no new jobs are popping up around the country. The last time I checked, countries do not run so well when there are no jobs for their citizens to hold. Less business and less jobs means less income tax an less corporate tax for the government, no jobs equals less purchasing meaning less revenue from the HST an whoopdee doo look at that, our government ends up losing money. Now don't you worry, the Liberals will get us out of that one when the time comes, but how will they do it? Well there is a number of ways, first and foremost they could and most likely will start with the HST. So bam, taxes staying the same for families? Doubtful. 

Now let's take a look at the other side of spectrum. The Conservatives want to lower corporate tax which will in effect open up more profit for businesses, creating more jobs, generating more profit and expanding our economy. If we spend wisely (*cough jets *cough) under a Conservative government, it will benefit Canada much more in the long run. Plain and simple the Liberal numbers do not add up. They're spending money that Canada does not have in the hopes that somehow the economy will keep moving along nicely as it always does. Now I know I'm going to get criticism saying the Conservatives have the highest deficit in years, and Harper's government has the highest debt of all time, but...does no one remember the economic crisis? Sure Harper's government has been overspending by a lot, too much in fact, but it has been going towards the economic recovery of Canada, which the last time checked has been working, seeing as how Canada lead the G7 in GDP growth through 2009 and into 2010, and now Canada has been fore-casted by the IMF as the best place to invest for 2011. But nah, you're right Liberals, that was all probably money down the drain.

But please, I do encourage you, especially if you are a Canadian, to read the different party platforms. The Liberals are the only ones with a platform out at the moment but I have no doubt the other parties will be releasing theirs within the next few weeks. For now however, I'll keep waiting for the debates to come :) This is gonna be good.

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Lars Von Awesome

Geez, April already. Just under a month left until school is done for the summer - finally. Unfortunately for me though, this also means that exams are coming up :( Which requires studying, which requires notes, which equals more work then I've done in a long time. But enough of my sob story, though it is a terribly dramatic one, it's time for another review. Yes, that's right, It's Friday and I'm spending my time writing a review for a horror movie. Sad, I know. But here goes...


A couple of my friends had been telling me about this one for a while now, so I figured I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and give it a go. The movie takes place in present day and is about a husband and wife who are trying to come to terms with their young son's death. The wife takes the death especially hard and ends up being hospitalized as a result. When she recovers, the husband, who is played by Willem Dafoe, suggests that she conquer her most painful memory of their son. The wife suggests the family cabin, where she and the young boy spent the summer while she was working on her thesis. The couple travel to the cabin and then that's when the weird stuff starts happening. Now, I really don't want to give away the best parts of this one because I actually really enjoyed it.

In terms of acting, this one is really great. As I said, Willem Dafoe stars as the husband and Charlotte Gainsbourg as the wife. The two are really great together, and although there are quite a few 'raunchy' scenes where we unfortunately see some of Mr. Dafoe's naughty parts, you quickly get past that and come to see what a great duo these two are. Yeah, should have mentioned that before but this is not a PG movie, it is quite graphic so don't watch it with your kids. The film's directed by Lars Von Trier, a filmmaker from Denmark and, though the film obviously has a semi-low budget, WOW is all I can say. The cinematography and directing style is unique and honestly captivating. All I can say is that I hope Von Trier makes more horror films in the future because his directing style is incredible. 

Okay, now here is where I may accidentally give some parts away. So, you've been forewarned. This movie is more disturbing then it is scary. In this way it is able to have deeper meanings because it takes itself seriously, making the film itself more realistic and less ridiculous. Now, saying that, it has many deeper meanings which obviously come through towards the end of the film. One of the largest and most obvious themes is the natural evil of women and their relation to nature. The wife ends up going crazy towards the end, and Dafoe finds old research notes from her thesis in which she changed her subject entirely to the natural evilness of women. Dafoe finds clippings from witchcraft books, books about demons and angels and the like. The film addresses the ideas that the Bible creates of women being the reason why mankind cannot be in paradise. It is their natural instinct to manipulate, defy and destroy. Geez, I feel like I'm writing an English essay. 

Now, I don't want to give away the scary bits because a) it would ruin the fun of you seeing it ;) and b) they are, as I said, quite disturbing and very graphic. Overall though, I loved this movie. It disturbed me in the same way that movies like the original Saw did. The simple idea of some of the events which transpire in the film are grotesquely absurd and terribly spine-tingling. While the movie is not exactly 'frightening' in the traditional sense of serial killer, ghost, creature, etc. It is still very cringe-worthy. I give this one an eight out of  ten. Could have been a bit scarier at times but was still incredibly disturbing, combined with great actors and an incredible director. But seriously, don't watch this with your kids. 

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Whoa, almost missed this one today. This is a late post and unfortunately it will probably be shorter than usual because I am very tired and today has been a long day :( I just finished watching this movie with a couple friends, but as usual I was the only one who ended up forcing myself to pay attention to it. Okay, without further ado, here it goes...

The Rain

Well, my immediate issue with this movie is that it has two names. The Rain is the official name, it appears on the IMDB page and the film's official website, but according to the case the film is called Dark Fields. I don't like it when film makers do this. Why do you need two names for the same movie? One dark, frightening and simple two-word title isn't enough for you? So, wasn't too excited for this one from the start that's for sure. It's directed by an up and coming director named Douglas Schulze who has made a few other low-budget horror films. Surprisingly enough, Schulze is considered 'up and coming' thanks to this movie. But, let's move on shall we?

Wait, I thought it was called
The Rain?
The movie takes place during three separate periods of time: one in the 1800's, one in the 1950's and finally in present day. The plot revolves around some mystical hat which belonged to some native shaman who was killed. David Carradine, who stars in the 1800 time period, finds the hat, only to realize it has put a curse on him and the rest of the inhabitants of the town. Soon enough the townspeople resort to human sacrifice in order to appease the evil shaman spirit dude. Carradine saves the day, buries the hat and bam the movie could end right there. But wait, there's more! Some idiot digs the stupid top hat back up in like the '30's or something and then oh wouldn't ya know it, people start drying up and turning to dust again. This time, instead of someone smart going "HEY, let's just bury that sucker back in the ground" the people just keep sacrificing their kids. Fast forward to present day and some girl who grew up in the town is on a mission to save her little brother from her parents who are trying to sacrifice him. WHOO. Okay, if you read that as fast as I was reading it in my head then WOW that was a brainful.

Oh look, it has two different
covers too...
Actors, actors, actors. This one's also got some pretty famous people in it. The late David Carradine for instance, who stars in this film. I don't know anyone who doesn't like David Carradine, I don't care if you think he's a bad actor, anyone who has seen Kill Bill knows Carradine doesn't mess around. Dee Wallace, from ET and other films, stars as the protective mother in the 1950's timeline, and Richard Lynch plays the old child-sacrificing father in present day. So, for a low-budget film I was impressed. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. The rest of the actors on the other hand............... The 'dot, dot, dot' speaks for itself.

Maybe I'm getting dumber but I swear people are making more and more confusing horror movies. This one wasn't as plot-holey and just plain stupid as Vanishing on 7th Street, it was just made in a weird way. That little plot synopsis I just gave you, that was all true, but imagine if a little piece of each timeline was told at a time. They just kept switching between three different story lines with the same general concept but told them all at once and in no particular order. This style works for SOME movies, trust me it does. But it usually works for high-budget, Hollywood thriller, or drama or mystery movies. Not a film which is supposed to be scary. If I want to get my mind blown I'll watch Inception thank you very much. If I want a scare, give me a scare! 

This film is apparently getting really good reviews by horror critics because of its 'originality' which I just totally do not agree with. Yes, it's 'different' in today's horror film world because almost all other horror movies today consist of teenagers getting butchered for an hour and a half. But it still sucks. The people drying up and turning to dust was kinda cool, but the films style, the pace, even the evil townsfolk were pretty lame because the attention was spread out across three story lines. There were three different heroes, three different villains and as a result, none of the three story lines got enough attention.

Okay, so overall, I'll give this one a three. Don't watch this movie. Please don't watch it. Unless you honestly have nothing better to do on a rainy day (ha.) please don't waste an hour and a bit of your life on this. I am ripping on it pretty hard I know, but I just didn't like it. Low-budget automatically makes it difficult for me to pay attention to it so when it doesn't deliver one strong plot which has characters I feel like i can root for it just kills the movie for me. I don't care how fancy you make it and how you tie all the plots together if they all end up sucking. Plus it has two names, which is just stupid. Ugh, bed time now.

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Debating Season!

That's right, the party leaders are talking of debates. Be they big group debates, or individual one on one debates, I'm looking forward to them. Harper's robotic wit and emotionless dialogue pitted against Ignatieff's senseless promising and idiocy? Oh and can't forget Layton's mustache. This is going to be good. The tension is rising, both in parliament and now even the web. Apparently the leaders of the major Canadian political parties are now 'tweeting' insults and challenging each other. I really don't understand Twitter and can't say that I have my own account, though apparently everyone is using it now - even the leaders of my country. 

Check out that 'stache!
So apparently the story is Harper suggested in a statement he made that he and Ignatieff should have a one on one debate at some point. This prompted the Liberal leader to respond with a 'tweet' which read "Any time, any place." So not only is Ignatieff more American then he is Canadian, apparently now he's a twelve year old. The 'badass' remarks through Twitter are not helping your grown-up image Iggy. But honestly, that's terribly ridiculous. No doubt Harper has had some immature 'tweets' of his own and believe me, I don't support him doing it either. This has excited all the political leaders, including Jack Layton who, addressing Harper in regards to the 2008 debates, 'tweeted': "Don't blame you for not wanting to face me again." 


Clearly his mustache is tingling with anxiety. He's coming out of that left-wing corner swinging with credit caps and now apparently corporate tax cuts. That's right - the NDP wants to have more corporate tax cuts. I know, i know, what the hell are they thinking? I thought this is what all you lefty's hate about the right? Now you want to lower corporate tax? Sometime's I don't get you. But I digress, back to the debates.
Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, is apparently not going to be included in the debates! The broadcast consortium decided not to include the Green Party in any of the debates. I don't really know what to think about this. On one hand the Green Party has a fair chunk of the vote in Canada while at the same time they have no seats in parliament. Hmm, what to do, what to do? I mean, I don't really see why not to include her, what damage can the Green Party really do? It would probably make the debate more interesting to get a little more emphasis on the environment in the debates. I say let her go for it, why not?

I'd just like to say that this whole Twitter business is too far. I don't know if it's because the leaders are trying to get their ideas across to a younger audience, to appear 'hip' and 'cool' or if it's any other reason. But just because you want to appeal to pre-teens doesn't mean you need to act like one. Next thing we know Ignatieff's gonna be calling Harper out to meet him by the flag pole outside parliament at lunch for a showdown.

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

No, this is not a post about Are You Afraid of the Dark :( Though I do miss that show very much and should probably try to find some old episodes online... But no, this is yet another movie review. Nobody suggested a movie for me to review :( so I had to choose this one. The same idea still applies though, if you want a movie reviewed or you want to learn more about a movie you've heard of just post a quick little comment and I'll do my best to find it and review it. But on to the main event for today...

Vanishing on 7th Street

To be honest I've been putting off seeing this movie for while now, for the sole reason that the title reminded me of "Miracle on 34th Street." I don't know why I thought this but for some reason it was just stuck in my head and I couldn't shake the thought that this would somehow be about an evil Santa Clause. I'm glad to say that in fact no, this movie is not about a killer Santa Clause thank god. The film revolves around a small group of characters who are left alone in Detroit after a mysterious blackout causes everyone to disappear. The survivors, who were lucky enough to be near a candle of some kind during the blackout, quickly realize that the darkness is what causes people to disappear. They band together and hold up inside an old tavern. The rest of the movie consists of the heroic team being picked off one by one by the shadows in the darkness while trying to figure out why the shadows are taking them. 

Now, there is some good news for this one. First of all, it's directed by Brad Anderson, the same guy who directed "The Machinist" with Christian Bale in 2004. I loved that movie; instantly thought it was brilliant and if you haven't seen it, go watch it - now. So as soon as I found out this was an Anderson movie I got my hopes up. The next piece of good news is that it has a full cast of well known actors and actresses. Hayden Christensen stars alongside John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton. A film with stars like these deserves at least a watch or two. So, needless to say I had my hopes pretty high going into this. I liked the actors, I liked the director and it wasn't about Santa Clause. 

The film has its good moments. The concept is a great one for starters. It turns out later on (spoiler alert) that the shadows are actually ghosts or spirits, whatever you want to call them. So, my understanding was that the ghosts had come back to take the souls of the living to the afterlife with them. This is what I believed at least. But then some of the characters started seeing their loved ones as shadows and I didn't understand why your deceased mother would want to take you to hell with her? So then I thought "Hey, maybe they're imitating the loved ones so that the people will get closer to them?" This is what I'm sticking with. The ghosts or demons or whatever, were evil and were pretending to be the ghosts of deceased relatives, but this is never really confirmed.

Now as you can see from my previous paragraph, this movie confused the hell out of me. To be honest, I re watched a couple of the most important scenes over and over, trying to figure out what was going on. If the filmmakers were trying to explain what the shadow-things were, they did a terrible job. The child of the group is the only survivor by the end (oops another spoiler, I'm on a roll with those today) and he survives by saying his name over and over again in an attempt to acknowledge his consciousness and that he exists. I don't have any idea what the hell that has to do with fighting off ghosts. The kid rides off on a horse, yes, a horse in the middle of Detroit, with a little seven year old blonde girl who also seems to have survived on her own with no help from adults. 

Overall, I don't even know. Film making quality was excellent, clearly there was no lack of budget for this one. It had a bunch of stars which made the acting quality as best as can be expected from such a movie. The basic conflict of the story was a really cool concept and could have been explored deeply and thoroughly. But it's almost as if they ran out of time explaining the plot. It just didn't make sense, and if it was meant to not make sense and you were supposed to finish that movie having no idea what the hell just happened, well then, sorry Brad Anderson, but it sucked. Another five out of ten. If you watch this movie and you understand it, please enlighten me.

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Election Season Eh?

Mhmm, it's that time of year again. When parties get together in times of joy and merriment, to declare that in fact they do not have confidence in their government. Ah, isn't it beautiful? The news is flooded, heated debates flying left and right, and little red and blue signs popping up all across the nation.

Damn he loves those jets.
But seriously, again? Really? At this point I don't care who I vote for as long as I know they'll stay in power. I'm completely willing to give Harper the majority as long as this election crap goes away. Now, before I go on, I must tell you something. It is true, though I've been trying to hide it for some time now, that fact...a Conservative. I know, I know, I own a couple jets and ride around my ranch all day big whoop. But don't sum me up all at once now. Even I have my beefs with Harper. I used to like the guy, well I still do in some ways, but I've gotta give it to the left on this one - the fighter jets? What the f!@# is he thinking? I support the Liberals on that one. That is absolutely ridiculous. We have enough debt and economic problems right now, we don't really need to be spending an additional sixteen to twenty-nine billion dollars on fighter jets. The simple concept of being able to bomb Libya has got him all worked up and excited. Canada is not in a present state of any danger Mr. Harper. Last time I checked, we were not the threat of a German air-raid and won't be anytime soon.

Now, now, now hold up a moment. All this Harper criticism's got me feeling like "hey, maybe I should reconsider who I vote for this year, what are my other options?" Well I've got bad news for myself - there are no other options. I'm sorry Liberals, I love your party. It's an incredible party with a history which boasts some of the most well known and well respected Prime Ministers of all time. But...Ignatieff? The Canadian Learning Passport, which Ignatieff announced yesterday, is the first major piece of policy I've admired the Liberals for conceiving. It's also because I'm a student and I realize that university costs too much. It's true, it does. While this plan sounds incredible, and believe me I'd rather this then the jets, it's still going to cost the country billions. Why don't we, instead of promising revolutionary new policies, just focus on making our economy not suck? Have we ever considered that maybe Canada's not too bad right now? Why don't we take a look at that debt? Maybe it's just my Conservative mind at work, but I don't like the idea that we owe hundreds of billions of dollars to other nations.

But back to Iggy for a moment here. While the Liberals say that the Conservative ads of him "Not coming back for you" are cruel and untrue - it's, well, true. The guy hardly even lives here, why should he be Prime Minister? If George Bush could run for Prime Minister of Canada, would you vote for him? I hope not. The Liberals just seem to 'wishy-washy' for me these days. Pick something to stand behind and stick with it already. You can't please everyone it's just impossible, plain and simple. Iggy's party has made countless promises that they simply cannot fulfill. Harper put it best in his 2005-2006 election when he said "I believe it's better to light one candle than to promise a million bulbs."

Anyway, now you hopefully have a good stance on where I sit in terms of this whole politics business. I'll keep you up to date on what's happening during this campaign and what I think about it. But I think this election has the potential for there to be some major upsets. Could get interesting.

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.

Grr Demons!

Another day, another brilliantly crafted masterpiece of film. But...not really. But first, I think I'm gonna start a little "request-a-movie" type deal. I can pick a movie a day to watch, but hey where's the fun in that? You guys pick it. Leave a little comment with the name of the horror movie, I'll watch the piece of crap and give you my 2 cents about it. But please keep it in the horror range, I really don't feel like reviewing the "Time Traveler's Wife" -_-. But yes, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen I give you...

Night of the Demons

This is what used to scare the
poops out of me...can you believe it?
Alright, well first of all I don't know if many people remember this, but it is technically a remake of the 1988 film of the same name. I never saw the first one, but I always remember seeing the cover for it in Blockbuster and just that was enough to scare the crap out of me as a kid. Then they came out with a second and third one, which makes this number four, yay! The 1988 one was about a girl, named Angela, who was throwing a Halloween party inside an old funeral parlor. Then of course, as we all know teenagers love to do, they have a 'seance,' and unwittingly awaken some mystical evil force which begins possessing them one by one. Okay, that's the original out of the way, now lets move on to the good stuff. 

The new one starts off with some background information. This time 'round it's an old plantation-like house in New Orleans where some people went missing a hundred years ago give or take. Again a girl named Angela is having a Halloween party at the spooky ol' place and inviting as many people as she possibly can. If you thought "Well, at least there's about two-hundred teenagers in a house with demons, so at least we're gonna get some good gore going" you and I would be in the same boat my friend. But alas this was not the case, the police shut down the party, forcing all but seven people to leave. Soon enough the demons start appearing and the blood starts flowing. 

Well, right off the bat we know that the movie's going to be good, John Connor's in it for Christ's sake! That's right, he's back. The guy who played John Connor in Terminator 2, I couldn't even remember his name, I had to look it up. Edward Furlong ladies and gentlemen. Now, my immediate problem with this was he is supposed to be this teenage girl's ex-boyfriend. However, correct me if I'm wrong but he's what? Like 35 maybe a little older? Does no one else find it creepy that this guy is dating someone 15, possibly more, years younger than him? He's also not looking too good, especially to be the main hero of the film. The film's also got Shannon Elizabeth in it, which is always a plus. I seem to vaguely remember her being in some pg-13 rated scene in, oh what was it...American Pie? Ah the good old days. The acting is 'meh' to put it in scholarly terms. I mean what do you really expect from a horror movie?

The movie does have gore, not as much as I was hoping maybe, but enough to satisfy me that's for sure. The scene where the girl gets her face literally bitten off was one of my personal favorites. I started cheering for the demons at certain points because the movie began to offer nothing more then gory deaths. Overall? Five out of ten. That five is all gore, watch it if that's what you want - a gory film. But plain and simple, it's not scary. It felt like I was watching "Halloweentown" at certain points and not a legitimate horror movie. I don't think Hollywood's ever going to learn that once you make a cult classic, you leave it be. 

Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.