Tag Archives: Joss Whedon

I'm listening to Joss Whedon's advice on how to be prolific, and "filling the tanks" by becoming a member of the Art Gallery of Ontario and making what I hope will be regular visits.

While I've visited the gallery several times before, the 13-month membership will afford me more leisurely visits so that I can study the exhibits and really take in everything the gallery has to offer.

I went on Friday to glimpse what was on offer. I was enchanted by Kim Adams's Artist's Colony (Gardens), a diorama of miniatures put together in a whimsical mixture of fantasy and reality. It reminded me a lot of Katamari Damacy, actually.

I spent a good fifteen minutes inspecting Artist's Colony (Gardens) and reading the disjointed narratives of each of the tiny figurines, no bigger that the top knuckle of my pinkie finger. In one market area, a clown stood by a statue, and was being flashed by a woman lifting her shirt. In a waterside dock, the police were arresting criminals while paramedics lifted a man away in a gurney. A big band played from a tiered concourse of shipping containers. All this and a lot more was contained within a space of about three by six feet.

It got me thinking a lot about the universe, how every person was a part of a greater art project. I couldn't necessarily tell the whole story from what I glimpsed, but it made me think and wonder what part the figures nearby might have played in that narrative.

A lot of other works in the gallery did the same thing, I realized. Tiny details tell volumes about what's happening in the world.

I ended the visit with a trip to the gift shop and bought a 1000-piece puzzle featuring Van Gogh's Irises. I spent the weekend meticulously putting it together, and I'm still working on it. Something about studying every inch of of such a beautiful painting makes you focus on the details that make up the bigger picture. All of this is a long way of saying I've been thinking about writing and the importance of every word.

Can't wait to visit the AGO again and see what else my brain conjures up in the quiet!

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Much Ado About Nothing
Directed by Joss Whedon
VVVVV

As much as I enjoy films and though I am a Torontonian, I rarely attend the Toronto International Film Festival. I went once about ten years ago and watched a movie called Chinese Coffee starring Al Pacino and Jerry Orbach. I can't remember much about the film, which probably means I was "meh" about it, and I wasn't into seeing the stars.

This year, however, my in-laws got me tickets to see one of the most anticipated geek fests out there: Joss "Avengers" Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. (Thank you, John & Rita!)

I was thrilled to be attending the world premiere of this movie. Not only was the director present (SQUEE!) but so was the entire cast, including Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Tom Lenk and a bunch of other Whedon alum. (SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!)

I am totally biased when I say I loved this film. For one, I love pretty much everything Whedon does, I love the actors he chooses, and I love Shakespeare. So really, this was a no contest SUPERAWESOMESACKOFWIN for me.

It's a beautifully done in black-and-white movie, filmed over 12 days in Joss Whedon's gorgeous home. Shakespeare's play is quite light and quirky, but Joss does his thing and digs up the darkness beneath the subtext while ensuring a healthy dose of laughs. He called it "romance noir," which was quite apt for the small but bursting-with-life production.

My husband and I were ecstatic about this show, and so was the rest of the audience. I heard one woman in the restroom say she only came because her daughter wanted to see it--she'd never heard of Joss Whedon and didn't enjoy Shakespeare, but she said, "I LOVED this film!"

High praise, indeed.

Silver Linings Playbook
Directed by David O. Russell
VVV1/2 

The second film we saw, again thanks to the in-laws, was Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. The film, based on a book by Matthew Quick, is about bi-polar man (Cooper) who has just been released from a mental health institution. He moves back in with his quirky parents while he tries to put his life back in order and win back his ex-wife. An off-kilter neighbor, played by Lawrence, agrees to help him if he'll enter a dance competition with her. It's a movie with deeply flawed characters and lots of dark humor. Lawrence and Cooper get to stretch their acting muscles in these roles, and they play off each other quite well.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. Cooper does a bang-up job being obsessive and broken, while Lawrence plays prickly and vulnerable without being sappy. There are some hard-to-watch moments, especially if you've ever had to deal with mental illness, but the story is heartwarming and triumphant.

And yes, the stars and the director were there. Was I impressed? Not as much, considering  the act it had to follow. Still, this was definitely a TIFF to remember.

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I won't go on too long about how much I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Marvel's the Avengers—enough to see it twice in theatres, and for my husband, three times. Suffice to say Joss Whedon got it all bang on, made me care about characters I knew nothing about (Hawkeye, Black Widow) and even made me like the Hulk. I hate the Hulk. Two separate movies and they still couldn't get the franchise going, yet somehow, I loved him in this.

But I promised not to wax on, so I won't. Instead, I present you The Avengers, in order of bangability:

#1 Thor, God of Thunder, son of Odin.
Skills: Super strength, wields a magic hammer. And we all know hammers really stand for.
Bangability factors: Chris Hemsworth's bulging muscles speak for him. With that smile and those locks, old school chivalrous affect plus godlike stamina, Thor is the ideal bedmate. I'd take this guy to my high school reunion.

#2 Captain America, aka Steve Rogers
Skills: Super strength and speed, wields a shield made of vibranium-steel. Imagine the possibilities...
Bangability factors: Like Thor, Chris Evans's physique is impressive, but his wholesome, boyish virgin factor makes him extra appealing to me somehow. Which disturbs me a little. I just want to make him salute the flag and cry while singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

#3: Iron Man, aka Tony Stark
Skills: Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist with a flying rocket suit.
Bangability factors: Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, played by Robert Downey Jr., and he's got a wicked beard and a wickeder sense of humor to boot. Many would argue he ought to be my number two, especially compared to vanilla Steve Rogers, but the fact that Stark's with Pepper Potts and his obsessive compulsive tendencies kind of turn me off.  Great for a one-night stand and a few ostentatious "it's not you, it's me" gifts, but that's just my opinion.

#4: Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton
Skills: Master of archery, martial arts, acrobatics.
Bangability factors: I knew nothing about Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye before this film, save for the minute or two of footage from Thor. But wow, do I ever want to see this guy get his own movie, or costar in one alongside Black Widow. The guys sinewy arms and laserlike focus on the mission shine through. Apply that to the bedroom and I'm sure he'd have me bull's-eyed.

#5: Loki, the Trickster, stepson of Odin
Skills: Super strength, telepathy, magic abilities.
Bangability factors: Okay, so technically he's not an Avenger, but look at him. Tom Hiddleston is irresistibly charismatic in this role. As one character aptly put it, "He kind of grows on you," even though he's really a conflicted and kind of pathetic character. But imagine what he could do with the power to manipulate your mind. You could have him AND all the rest of the Avengers with you...

#6: Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff
Skills: Superspy. Particularly good actress.
Bangability factors: She may be the only woman on the team, but she proves herself to be an equal among these powerful men, leveraging her foes' underestimation to her advantage. She's smart and fearless and doesn't back down from a fight. If I had to have a lesbian experimentation phase in my life, I'd be honored and thrilled if it were with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.

#7: The Hulk, aka Robert Bruce Banner
Skills: As Banner, genius-level intellect; as Hulk, nearly invulnerable, can take flying leaps, smash.
Bangability factors: Mark Ruffalo's performance was adorable, but he still managed to keep the simmering monster visible beneath his trembling nerdy exterior. Yes, I still put him dead last in this series because, let's face it, while size matters a little, I'm not sure I could go one round with the Hulk without needing serious physical rehabilitation afterwards.

#0: Nick Fury
Skills: He's motherf***ing Samuel L. Jackson. All he needs to do is be badass.
Bangability factors: He's number zero on this list because, chances are, he's already f***ed you and left. Because that's how S.H.I.E.L.D. operates, motherf***er.

The Secret World of Arriety (2010)
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
VVV1/2

Based on the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton, this charming tale about tiny people who live off the leavings of household inhabitants is beautifully brought to life by the wonderful Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

While not as exciting as some of Miyazaki's other works, the film is reminiscent some of the older Studio Ghibli movies, with a focus on domestic details and the not insignificant trials of everyday living. The art and scenery are lush and gorgeously painted, and there's little a child would find frightening. A must see for Miyazaki fans, naturally.

Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Directed by Drew Goddard
VVV1/2

Joss Whedon's much-anticipated horror/slasher flick does not disappoint, blending classic horror tropes and plots with Whedon's trademark wit and sociological insight. I can't give out many details about this movie without spoiling it. Suffice to say, if you're a fan of Whedon, you should go see this.

 

 

Shattered Glass (2003)
Directed by Billy Ray
VVV1/2

The true story of former disgraced journalist Stephen Glass is one that every journalism student should watch. Hayden "Anakin Skywalker" Christensen plays the erstwhile Glass,  who fabricated many of his stories and eventually got caught. It's a cringeworthy precautionary tale, and watching Christensen really flex those acting chops as a charismatic pathological liar makes you realize how wasted he was in the Star Wars franchise.