Captain America: The Winter Soldier – the only problem is that Captain America & The Winter Soldier are in it

Captain America Winter SoldierThe worst thing about Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that Captain America is in it.

I can’t lie: I’ve never liked the star spangled avenger. Most of that can be attributed to me being Canadian, and being fairly disinterested in a superhero wrapped in someone else’s flag. (Lest you think it’s entirely about nationalism, I have always maintained that Alpha Flight is pretty stupid.)

The first Captain America movie because it put the character in his proper context: As a piece of WWII propaganda. I don’t even mean that in a derogatory sense: It was a fun, pulpy bit of entertainment that played with the character’s origins and created a scenario where it was (almost) credible to dress a man up in a costume and send him to Germany to fight Nazis with a shield.

But while the modern Captain America narrative tends to be a “fish out of water” story, Winter Soldier takes Captain America too far out of the character’s comfort zone, and doesn’t do much with the resulting juxtaposition.  Continue Reading

Stop taking pictures with Rob Ford

It’s not just about being a fat stupid drunk.

We all know Rob Ford is ridiculous. At his best, he mixes simplistic catch phrases with incoherent bluster until he turns red in the face. One might think he was drunk or high most of the time, until he shows up in public demonstrating what a drunk Rob Ford really looks like.

There was that time he got so drunk he accidentally smoked crack.
 
And so we have the Crack Mayor, the godsend to late-night talk show hosts, who says and does things that politicians simply don’t do. He appears on Jimmy Kimmel, and people crowd around him to take his picture wherever he goes. Some people even take pictures of their kids with Rob Ford. Some of those people are probably true supporters, while others are doing it out of irony or celebrity spotting. Either way, they should stop.
 
If he were merely a buffoon, if he were only a stupid rich man pretending to be mayor, then it might be okay. But there’s so much more to Rob Ford than the crack mayor who has plenty to eat at home. 

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Friday Music: EMA, Boris, Nothing, Mogwai

Erika M Andersons’ previous album, Past Life Martyred Saints, was one of those albums I liked & admired, but didn’t love. It was dark, moody, and emotional, and something I should have adored, but it just didn’t click for reasons I can’t fully explain.

There are no such problems with Future Void*, which is one of the best things I’ve listened to in 2014. It’s noisy (opener Satellites) fun (grungey pop So Blonde), and emotional (3jane, which is almost certainly going to appear on some soundtracks.)

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Karen Stintz runs for mayor, announces she has no idea how to identify a mayor

“We thought we were getting a responsible leader.”

That’s what newly-registered Mayoral candidate Karen Stintz had to say about electing Rob Ford at the Toronto Board of Trade.

It’s safe to say that Rob Ford has surprised a lot of people during his time as mayor. No one expected him to be videotaped smoking crack, hanging out with convicted criminals in parking lots late at night, or waging a public relations war with the chief of police.

But let’s not pretend there weren’t any signs pointing to the possibility Ford might not be entirely mayoral.

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American Hustle has style, but can’t back up its ambition

American HustleAmerican Hustle opens with a balding and pot-bellied Christian Bale performing the intricate ritual of arranging his combover. There’s some obvious symbolism in his character, Irving Rosenfeld, pretending to be someone he’s not: He’s a con man, leading desperate people on with the promise of loans that will never materialize in exchange for some very real fees. As his partner and lover, Amy Adams masquerades as an English noblewoman with ties to British banks.

But the scene, full of glue and merkins and hairspray, also hints at one of the film’s weaknesses: It is very concerned with how it looks. The film is set in the late 1970s in New Jersey and Long Island, and director David O. Russell wants to make sure you know it. This was clear from the earliest promotional posters, which showed off the clothes, hairstyles, and, in the case of the female cast members, cleavage of the era. Continue Reading

How to start the year

New Year’s Resolution: Begin every day with Please Mr Kennedy, from Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s entirely delightful.

(Note: Not an actual New year’s Resolution.)