Monday, July 30, 2012

A Change in My Diet

I have always been conscience about what I eat, and I do yoga, and work out at the gym when I get the time. I know I was much more active several years ago before I was laid off and had to cancel my YMCA membership (I was at the Y about 4 times a week and was in tip top shape because of it). So in conjunction with not doing as much hardcore cardio workouts that I did before, I have gained eight stubborn pounds that are hard to get rid of. To lose weight, one must increase their exercise while lowering their caloric intake. But I eat well in general, so I don't know what I'm doing wrong. However, I found a clue recently. While I was at a website over the weekend, I clicked on an amazon ad for a book titled, 'Wheat Belly'. It has bagels on the front of it, so the name and the image peaked my interest. As a person who loves bread in all its forms and styles, I was curious as to what this book was about. So I went to the amazon webpage where this book was featured and read the summary of the book and about half a dozen comments. Just based on that half-hour of reading about this book, I could relate to what the author, William Davis M.D., and reviewers were saying about the effects of today's wheat products is related to so many aliments that people suffer from today. Basically, today's wheat is genetically modified to produce more to feed more American mouths. I have been aware of the hormones that are given to cows to make them produce unnatural amounts of milk and have been conscience of not consuming so much, but wheat, this is new to me. As per the amazon link regarding this book, please read the following:
A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.
Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100
million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls “wheat bellies.” According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: It’s due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.
After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic—and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health.
So as you can imagine, reading just this brief snipet about what Dr. Davis has determined from his own patients, has prompted me to make a dramatic change in my diet. I thought nothing of eating blueberry muffins, bagels, buttered toast with honey or strawberry spread, deep dish pizza, etc. I haven't had a four-pack tummy in quite a while, and I miss it! I want it back. Right now, my stomach is very soft and a little puffy, and I now know what is the cause of it! So, I will be buying this book to become more educated and figure out how in the heck I'm going to be successful at this because when you think about it, especially as Americans, BREAD is a food staple! But today, bread is not what it was when I was a kid in the 70s or 80s for that matter. The wheat has been genetically altered to produce more to meet the demand of an increased population. Now I know why 'gluten-free' is so popular now. A lot of people realize that wheat is messed up and therefore, has messed up our health and weight. If you're concerned about your health and diet, what can it hurt to go to the Amazon link and read up on this book and the helpful reviews, and determine if you need to eliminate wheat from your diet.

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I hauled ass last week and into Saturday afternoon in finishing an essay paper for my summer graduate class. I did some work on it while at work, and stayed up late Thursday night, and to about 1:30am Friday night. I woke up Saturday morning at 8am to finish it up, and it was completed by 1:30. I then emailed it to the professor. On Sunday, in starting Unit 5 I read that the Unit 4 essay is due Aug 5th. Dang! I killed myself working on that paper and it wasn't due until another week! Oh well... at least I have this week to breathe easier eh? ;-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Film Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild (9.5/10)

Rarely are there films that wonderfully blend the imaginary world into the harsh realities of a closed off remote society like 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' does. I went into watching 'Beasts' without reading any in depth reviews because I didn't want any spoilers or have another person's view of the film cloud mine. And I'm glad I didn't because the adventure that Beasts takes you on is so unique in that if just for those 92 minutes, you feel like as if you are living in The Bathtub, the fictional name of the little town in the Bayou region. This is a story about a precocious six-year old little girl name Hushpuppy, remarkably played by Quvenzhané Wallis, who lives in a makeshift home of tin and cardboard with her father, Wink, played by an excellent Dwight Henry. But before I go on, I must take a moment to acknowledge that these two actors are not professionals, and this movie is their first roles, so even by that measure, I was greatly impressed by how brilliant their performances were in bringing to life these odd characters.

As a way to escape her meager existence in this no-man's land region, Hushpuppy often talks to her deceased mother through a t-shirt she must have worn when alive. Hushpuppy fantasizes a lot and when she heard a folklore tale about giant boars, she imagines them coming to get her just as a hurricane is coming to her area and possibly destroying the Bathtub. The boars represent an impending doom in Hushpuppy's mind, and they run through the film towards her in a fashion that only a child can imagine. In what may appear as possible verbal and physical abuse, Wink is being harsh and 'straight-up' with Hushpuppy, just to prepare her when he's not around. And based on Wink's erratic behavior, we soon sense that he has an illness which there may be no cure. The residents of the Bathtub are happy to fish, eat, drink, and sing, until the storm comes. After the storm hits, they are still ok, but everything around them is underwater and destroyed, and their way of life is taking it day-by-day until they have to figure out a way overcome the affects of the storm.

This insular society does not like or trust the outside world, which we do not see much of, other than rescue workers coming to remove people from the Bathtub due to safety reasons after the hurricane. Everyone fights off The Man, but they wind up in an emergency shelter anyway. All through this, we see Hushpuppy being tested in ways that a typical child should not be, but she perseveres because she has to. She's guided by a curious nature that makes her strong willed and indefensible. She loves life and she loves to hear it through the heartbeat of animals and people. She listens for the heartbeat of a leaf before she eats it - she's in-tuned to the world in ways that other people, especially adults, are not. I cried towards the end, when Wink says "no tears", that's pretty much a cue to tear up dammit. This is a beautiful harsh film about a brave little girl who just wants to live life to the fullest, with both her parents in it with her.

Grade: 9.5/10

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Movie Weekend, Tiff, and Ghetto Gossip

The film that I am anxious to see is Beasts of the Southern Wild, and I will see it on Saturday at the Michigan Theatre, probably the 7pm showing with a friend.  This festival darling film has been hot on the tongues of many cinephiles for several months now. I'm sure I will like it and will have my first official pre-Oscar film that I can legitimately discuss. I say this because I have been one of many who sprout off at the mouth about the Oscar chances for films I haven't seen, or care too. It's human nature to get into pissy verbal challenges, but because of this blog, I have to demonstrate more professionalism and cred, and take my ass to see films that are going to be talked about throughout awards season.

Here is a synopsis of 'Beasts' courtesy of Covering Media:
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.

Tiff Talk

This week we saw the announcement of the first 60 film titles that will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Over at Awards Daily, they are very excited about quite a few films that will be showing at Tiff. And today, Sasha posted Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly, his top ten film picks. Then she posted hers. Film titles with an asterisk are what I am to see. I'm sure to change my mind and reconsider some of their picks. Note that they do not mention some films I am eager to see, these are specifically the Oscar baity films for now.

Dave's List
Anna Karenina*
Argo*
Cloud Atlas*
Hyde Park on Hudson
The Impossible*
The Place Beyond the Pines*
The Sessions*
The Silver Linings Playbook
To the Wonder*
Rust and Bone
(read details at his webpage)

Sasha's List
Great Expectations*
Quartet
The Hunt *
The Sapphires
Jane Mansfield’s Car
Much Ado About Nothing
Imogen
The Reluctant Fundamentalist*
Thanks for Sharing
Frances Ha

As you can see, Dave's taste in films mirror my own, but that is not to say that everything that Sasha listed is not good. I may in fact see many more. However, once the official film list comes out featuring over 250 films, I will have the most difficult time of deciding which 10-18 I will see. I will be in town from opening night Thursday through early Wednesday the following week. A good chunk of time, BUT, I have other interests around Toronto that will prevent me from seeing more. The thing about tiff is that even a cinephile like me has to have a perfect balance of watching films, star gazing, enjoying Toronto, and being with friends. I will do all in a fine balancing act.

Ghetto Gossip of the Week

As it is Friday, there are two ghetto gossip stories that bugged me this week. As ToZ is still a new blog, I'm thinking of themes that will be regularly featured here. Ghetto Gossip will be discussed when celebrity gossip occurs that just annoys me to the marrow of my bone in ridiculousness and outrageousness. The two ghetto gossip stories this week are regarding the Saga with the Jackson family and Michael Jackson's beloved kids, and the bullshit sexism against Kristen Stewart in her "apology" to that Pattison guy for "cheating" on him with her Snow White director. Sigh... where do I start?

Firstly, I will say once more, that I do not believe that Kristen and Robert were ever real boyfriend and girlfriend. It's all been PR to promote the film. I will never understand why the studios insist on matching up film leads in faux relationships, but more, I will never understand why people fall for it time and time again. What concerns me is the harsh treatment this girl is now receiving from even people who proclaimed their love for her. In light of this cheating scandal, it demonstrates just how much people place value on PR created relationships and use that, and only that, as a gauge to like a celebrity or not, and go see their films. It's sadly disgusting and disturbing. What ever happened to just enjoying a film and just liking actors/actresses for their talent, not in whom they sleep with? What's worse is that "grown men and women" are calling Kristen foul names, and that is just terrible. I'm no fan of the girl, but cripe, I'm really horrified by what I have been reading from people about her. Stay away from reading up on this story at usatoday.com because the crazy may come to get you through your computer screen!

Secondly, the situation with Katherine Jackson mysteriously and suddenly taking a "vacation" to Arizona, and not even telling the CHILDREN that she is the guardian of, where she's going, and not being in contact with them for days, is just strange. What has been played out in the media looks like a highly dysfunctional family that really don't seem to genuinely care for the grandmother/mother, Katherine, and Michael's three kids. I'm also pleasantly surprised by how articulate the two older kids have been in expressing their anger and concern over their missing grandmother (who has now returned to California), and the behavior by their aunts and uncles. I think everyone knew the Jackson's were a crazy family, but they certainly proved it this week. As of this very moment, the kids are with a cousin, TJ Jackson, who for the most part seems to be the most rational Jackson, and cares for the kids. The way this saga has played out this week qualifies it to be the most Ghetto Gossip of this week. Just shameful! Just for giggles and more gossipy reporting on this story, go to Dlisted, I love MK's style of writing about all this. The Wrap provides a glorious list of Who's Who in this ghetto mess.

Start of the Olympics in London

This post will be the first of several today as I have a lot to say on several issues. But first... today is the day that London has been waiting for. The kick off of the Summer Olympics in London, England! I'm sure everything will go fine, and England will make me proud. Why do I say that? Well, as a proud American, I also have a deep fondness for England... so that makes me a bonafide Anglophile! I know Team USA will do very well, but I'm hoping that England does well in the awards too. I don't watch the Olympics, haven't since I was a kid, but I do read up on the results and make note of the medals tally.

Good luck Team USA and good luck Team Britain!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quote of the Day - Twilight Craziness

In regards to the hillarious PR reality show featuring Kristen Steward and Robert Pattison, my guilty pleasure gossip hero, MK of Dlisted posted this great article. However, one of the comments is what made my day.

Submitted by SANS FARDS on Wed, 07/25/2012 - 2:03pm.
From a People commenter:
"After reading about this last night, my two teenage daughters are very upset. They are still upstairs in their bedrooms, prob. crying. I couldn't even get them to go to Cheerleading camp this morning. Last night, the youngest one, who is 15 actually started crying in the middle of the restaurant that we were having dinner in. The oldest one refuses to even say Kristen's name. They are extremely hurt and disappointed.
What am I to do?"
Kill them and make it look like a double suicide.
Wow, just bloody brilliant fantastic. See, this is what happens in the world when Hollywood concoct pretend love stories between the two leads for 4+ years, and mindless people fall for it and become suicidal by the lies created by the original lie. Part of me laughs at this, but the other part of me is irritated because it's a factory of lies all to sell a movie. This is not going to end after Twilight. From this moment on, films geared towards tweens will always pair up the male/female leads to draw in the gullible. It's sad, but true.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This tiff Day is Xmas in July

Rian Johnson's 'Looper' is opening tiff 2012 on Sept 6.
For North American cinephiles, the last week in July is our Christmas in July as we wait with abaited breath to see what are the first 60+ films to be announced! An impressive list of  high profile directors are debuting their films in Toronto in September, including the reclusive Terrence Malik. But what's the big news is that a potential Hollywood Blockbuster 'Looper' starring the impressive Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake in 'The Dark Knight Rises') is the opening night film. For the first 7 years of attending tiff, I never went to opening night because of budget, and work issues, but last year was my first time and I loved the more calm before the storm excitement of the city. Looper is a futuristic action thriller, my favorite genre.

So, for my 9th tiff, so far, the list looks very impressive! Keep in mind that over 150 more films will be added to the festival over the next 4 weeks.

Rian Johnson ("Looper"), - OPENING NIGHT FILM
Ben Affleck ("Argo"),
Deepa Mehta ("Midnight's Children"),
Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski ("Cloud Atlas"),
David O. Russell "(The Silver Linings Playbook"),
Joe Wright ("Anna Karenina"),
Ramin Bahrani ("At Any Price"),
Neil Jordan ("Byzantium"),
Mira Nair ("The Reluctant Fundamentalist"),
Robert Redford ("The Company You Keep"),
Cate Shortland ("Lore"),
Francois Ozon ("In The House"),
Roger Michell ("Hyde Park on Hudson"),
Joss Whedon ("Much Ado About Nothing"),
Robert Pilcini and Shari Springer Berman ("Imogene"),
Derek Cianfrance ("The Place Behind The Pines"),
Laurent Cantet ("Foxfire"),
Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha"),
Sally Potter ("Ginger and Rosa")
Terrence Malick ("To The Wonder")

For the full-list of Galas and Special Presentations, check out Indiewire - also, here is the link to tiff, but they don't have everything up yet. typical

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Yoga Mats & One Boat Trip

Sometimes I look back at my week and wonder how I got so much accomplished, but apparently, I'm a guru at multi-tasking. To lighten the mood, I just want to share a quick story about a fun thing that happened on twitter recently.

About two weeks ago, I made a post about not being able to attend my Bikram yoga class, but instead, I would work out on my Jillian Michael's DVD 'Yoga Meltdown' at home instead. A little bit later, I get a reply tweet from General Electric (GE) saying how cool I was at being so committed to my health. Then they followed me and asked me to follow them so that they could send me a DM (direct message). I followed them and they sent me a DM saying that they were impressed with my health activity and they wanted to see if I could give them my address so they could send me a gift. Well, this was GE and they had that blue arrow thingy which signifies that they are legit. So I gave them my address. I was thinking that they would send me a coupon, or even cooler, an exercise DVD. Well low and behold, on Friday, coming home feeling a little depressed, I see a big and tall box waiting for me by my mail box. It was delivered via Fed Ex and came from New York. I was thinking, 'What? Who sent me this?', then I remembered GE! So I ran up to my apartment, grabbed my box cutter and opened that bad boy in record time. And looky here:
Thanks GE!
Ain't that nice? I got two fancy thick 'Eco Friendly' yoga mats! The Yoga Lords answered my subliminal prayers because I oh so desperately needed a new yoga mat! And I have a person in mind already whom to give the second mat to. This is just awesome and I wanted to share this with the readers to let them know that cool thinks lurk on twitter! They asked me to take a look at their www.HealthyShare.com website and Facebook.com/healthy. I'll do that and also wanted to let you know too!

And on Saturday, I drove over to Mt. Clemens to hang out with my Pearl Jam fan buddies to help celebrate the birthday of my dear friend Jim. His wife surprised him with a birthday party outing on the Clinton River on a nice boat tour on the Captain Paul II with the Clinton River Cruises company, which lasted for 3 hours. It took us up the river and into Lake St. Clair!!! This was such an awesome adventure of a free bar (I only had two drinks), great light food, excellent birthday cake, Pearl Jam music, and friends. And I wound up being the non-official Official photographer because I was the only one who had a "real" camera, everyone else bought their iPhone or androids.

What I want to emphasize is this trip helped remind me how beautiful the state of Michigan is. Lake St. Clair is the smallest of the five fresh water lakes that surround Michigan, but it's still like an ocean when you are out on it. I've been inspired to buy a boat now... one day. Here are just a few images from the boat ride, and the sunset was just lovely.

Side boat view, just taking off up the Clinton River

We are approaching lake St. Clair

A cool boat passed us. I like that size, perfect!

My bro Jim in the middle with all his kids.

A Michigan sunset on Lake St. Clair.



The Awful Truth About What Paved the Way for The Aurora Shootings

Perhaps I'm biased, but I think my blogger peers have more guts to write the truth. Please read Mark Lipsky's essay at his 'Light a Fire' blog about what he believes lead up to the theatre massacre Friday night.

Here is a snipet:
Movies are much more than mere entertainment. They’re the most powerful means we’ve got at the moment – and for the past hundred years – for stirring emotions and for communicating and defining basic cultural and even spiritual standards and practices. As a result, we as members of the filmmaking community have a deep responsibility to remain ever conscious of the awesome potential we have at our disposal for doing great good as well as the potential for breaking down the very fabric of society one ultra-violent and degenerate dramatization after another.

What occurred yesterday in my opinion was a perfect storm made from two interdependent sides of an equation critical to ones pursuit of success and fulfillment in the film business. The first is the art and skill of filmmaking focused, in the case of films like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, almost exclusively on violence and depravity strictly for violence and depravity’s sake. The other is marketing where, in the case of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, untold resources are hysterically and relentless directed at cultivating and inciting fanboys – and fangirls – into a frenzy of obsession and anticipation. - Mark Lipsky
Preach it Mark! Read more at his blog.

Analyzing Batman and Its Box Office Allure (updated)

When I wrote my review Saturday morning, I steered clear of mentioning the events of Aurora and the deranged shooter, as I wanted to focus on the achievements of a film which concluded a seven-year era of a trilogy. Now that it's Monday, it is time to review a few other aspects surrounding this film. As a cinephile, not only am I very interested in the films per se, but I also monitor how well they do at the box office, domestic and foreign, and discuss their Oscar nomination chances. Late Friday, it was announced by Warner Brothers that out of respect to the victims, they would not publish box office information for the weekend, and many of us agree and understand that sentiment. However, predictions and box office receipt reports have been posted on various film sites and it appears that the shooting had a significant impact on the box office for The Dark Knight Rises. I predicted a $188 million weekend, and that was a little soft compared to other enthusiastic predictions which went as high as $214 million. Although the official box office will not be confirmed until later today Monday, so far projections, as per Dateline, are at around $161 million domestic.

Update 6pm: Warner Bros. reports that The Dark Knight Rises earned $160,887,295 in its opening weekend — making it the biggest 2D opener in history, besting the 2008 The Dark Knight which earned $158.5 million - Source: Hollywood.com).

While that figure is nothing to dismiss, it is apparent that based on reports of theaters being half-full, the strong presence of police at many theaters (which can turn off or scare people away even more), and the fear of a copy-cat, people stayed away from The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. I'm glad I went to my theater on Friday night and saw a fantastic film. It was sold out, and there was notable police/security presence, and people at my showing were respectful and excited about the film. But we all surely had Aurora, CO on our minds.

The real litmus test for DKR is to see if people will go see it during the week, and importantly, next weekend as a full week would have passed to distance film goers from July 20. All the Batman films did really well at the box office, but with this one in particular being the final one featuring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and director Christopher Nolan, I can't imagine true fans denying themselves the treat of seeing this film on screen, especially in IMAX. I know I will see it again in the next week or two because I really enjoyed it, and I've seen the previous films twice at the theater too.
"There will be a dark shadow hanging over this (trilogy) for as long as people remember the massacre," says Scott Mantz, film producer and critic for Access Hollywood. "And people aren't going to forget."
The deaths aren't likely to diminish reverence for the trilogy among fans and critics, Mantz says. "But there's always going to be some sadness associated with it, because it's the first (mass shooting) of its kind. The worst imaginable thing that could have happened to Chris Nolan and Batman happened this weekend. I'm not sure how you overcome that."
The true test of the aftermath comes next weekend, "when we'll see if fans still want to buy tickets," says Jeff Bock, box-office analyst for ticket-tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. "This is the first time we'll know if they're as deeply disturbed by all this as the industry." - USA Today.com
So as you can see from Scott Mantz' point of view, there is a gigantic obstacle for DKR and Warner Brothers to overcome to get the general public interested in going to the theater to see this movie. I know that Warner Bros, the producers of DKR, and Mr. Nolan are just gutted by the shootings, and they are probably wondering 'why our film?' (why at all for that matter?). Well, as per the latest reports about the shooter, the lunatic fancied the Batman movies and had some Batman related paraphernalia at his bomb booby trapped apartment dwelling. Geez, even writing about this loser gives me the creeps!

I have a feeling that DKR will make up for the box office losses with tremendous interest in the Blu-ray/DVD, which will most likely go on sale just in time for the holidays, and for Oscar consideration (more on this topic later).

A new poll will be posted to gauge reader's interest in seeing DKR. If you haven't seen it yet, but want to, will you?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises (9/10)

It has been four long years since we last saw Batman, and he was running away, taking the blame for the death of beloved DA Harvey Dent. But we know he didn't kill him, and that act of bravery in taking the fall for a murder is the essence of the selfless heroic endeavors we come to admire about Batman. Without anyone supposedly not know that Bruce Wayne was Batman, Bruce retired and became a recluse in his mansion, allowing all his battle wounds to scar his body into a tight and frail condition. When we first see Bruce Wayne, he looks quite pathetic.

Gotham is under siege for a third and possibly final time due to the tenacious plans of Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Bane is a solider from the secret order of Ras Al Ghul, and he is not only skilled but damned determine to finish what Ras Al Ghul started to do to Gotham. The opening sequence introducing Bane is fantastic and mind boggling, and demonstrates what his team is capable of in creating havoc. He is a mysterious man wearing a face mask that gives his voice an even more menacing Darth Vader timber.  In the film, eight years has passed since the days of the Joker and Dent, and it appears that the economy has not been friendly to the city. The polarizing between the have and have nots is evident, even Wayne Enterprises is in financial trouble because of Bruce's negligence, via his self-imposed exile from humanity.

As the threat of Bane comes to Gotham, we are introduced to a very slick Selena Kale, played by Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Because I still love Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman from the 90s, I wasn't sure if Anne was up to snuff, but I must declare, she did a fine job. Her agenda is hard to follow as she flip flops so often to take advantage of opportunities that would benefit her and screw anyone else. You wonder what is her back story to make her so lethal and skilled in fighting, as well as a prolific cat burglar/thief, but the film doesn't offer us that opportunity. In a plea to Bruce, to help turn Gotham city around, a young detective, Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, informs Bruce that he knows who Batman is, and that he did not believe Batman killed Harvey Dent. And along with a tough love hot discussion with his devoted old butler Alfred, that freshly opens wounds, Bruce got his mojo back and dons the mask and cape once more.

There is a foreboding sense that this is the last time Bruce will be Batman, either he would die saving city, or really retire from that soul devouring personal mission. And in an epic fight scene between Batman and Bane, it is shocking to see that not only does Bane know his true identity, but successfully beat the crap out of Batman. Through this set-up fight/entrapment, we see that Catwoman does have the ability to shed at least one tear. Learning about what made Bane is personally experienced through Bruce and the viewer ponders if it's possible that Bruce could overcome his new prison; a physical and mental prison.

As Gotham is held hostage and soon to be destroyed by Bane and company, the city's poor corrupt take over the city's rich corrupt in cold and brutal ways. Now the old rich see how dreadful it is to have no money and no power. Everyone is on the same level now, and that's scary. The process of wealth distribution is not easy or pretty, and The Dark Knight Rises demonstrates to us how ugly that world vision would be if it were to occur basically overnight. Life is not perfect as it is, but at least if someone has the will, they can try to make their dreams come true. Under Bane's new rule, it's an ugly and short-lived world. The city needs Batman now more than ever, and for the last time. The film does a fine job in connecting the dots to the previous two films in flashbacks, giving a perfect cohesion to this trilogy.

There are a lot of exiting fight scenes and explosions and chase scenes, and it's hard to come to terms that this is the last time we'll see Christian Bale as the best Batman ever, under the direction of Christopher Nolan. Leading up to the end, I felt tears forming in my eyes and fought them back, and by time the very final scene is on the screen, that's when my watery eyes dried up and a smile came on my face.

Grade: 9/10 - A

Friday, July 20, 2012

Complete Murdering Mayhem at Midnight Showing of Batman in Denver!

It has only been a few hours since the rest of the world learned of a horrific killing spree inside a theater in Aurora, Colorado (a suburb of Denver) during the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. At the present, 12 (down from first reported of 14, per CNN) people have died and 50 people have been injured by a lone gunman, who has now been identified as 24 year old James Holmes. As per witness accounts, the gunman was dress in complete riot gear, with a helmet and bullet proof vest. He entered the theater from a front side exit, released two canisters containing a tear gas substance, and started to randomly shoot innocent people who were there to watch a movie. Just writing this all out feels as if it's part of a screenplay, it's unbelievable!

The media is in full force covering this, but I got the latest information from BBC News. And already, courtesy of Nikki Finke's Deadline blog, she has been the first one to dare mention how this tragedy will affect the weekend box office of the Dark Knight Rises. As off-topic and insensitive as that seems, it is most likely on the minds of Warner Brothers.

I will update this post with additional information and commentary as new information develops. I'm scheduled to watch the movie tonight, and I'm wondering how the events in Colorado will affect security at theaters across the country.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the injured.

1st Update 9:27am EST: Cinemablend and French websites report that the Paris premiere has been canceled out of respect to the victims of  the shooting.  Both President Obama and Mitt Romney issued statements expressing condolences to the victims. Warner Brother has issued the following:

“Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”
2nd Update 11:10am EST: The suspect's apartment has been found and police state that it has been booby trapped with explosives. The police could be at the apartment for days. The entire building has been evacuated, and the 3 block section has been cordoned off. This maniac planned this for a very, very long time! Read more at The Denver Post.

3rd Update 11:50pm EST: I just got back home from watching The Dark Knight Rises, there was a notable police presence at the theater and my 8pm screening was sold out. I loved the film and I will post the review this weekend. I found a statement by Christopher Nolan regarding the shooting:

“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”- Christopher Nolan via Variety

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quote: Christopher Nolan Doesn't Do Email or Mobile Phones

As if I couldn't admire the director of Dark Knight Rises and Inception anymore, Christopher Nolan admits in an interview that he doesn't use email or have a mobile phone. In a world where addicted people hold tightly onto their iPhones like an oxygen tank, Mr. Nolan couldn't be bothered because he just doesn't need these toys. I have a very basic cell phone, it's so basic, my 12 year old nephew teased me about it and showed me his android. Whatever! But I can relate to Christopher, can you?
"It's not that I'm a Luddite and don't like technology; I've just never been interested," Nolan said. "When I moved to L.A. in 1997, nobody really had cell phones, and I just never went down that path." [He continues to explain]  A lot of the things people amuse themselves with really are just toys for grown-ups, and it eats your time and pulls your concentration," he said. "The idea that you're holding in your hand a device that will actually let you speak to another human being and instead of using it for that, you type some silly little message and send a one-way communication — it's a very odd step backwards in communication terms."

At the age of a youthful 41, Christopher's indifferent attitude towards the communication technology tools that so many people are desperately dependent on is admirable, and very zen like. I can go days without looking at my cell phone, I know some people can't go 5 minutes without it. As a Communication major, I find Christopher's low tech stance to be pretty sensible, cool, and humble.

Source: Next Movie

The Day Before The Dark Knight Rises

I just sent an email to my friend who is going to see The Dark Knight Rises (DKR) with me tomorrow evening. I told her that due the huge nerd/fanboy factor, we need to have our butts in our prime seats by 7:25, earlier if possible. I'm glad I bought our tickets in advance because I know it's going to sell out, and suckers who are not internet savvy, will line up at the movie ticket queue like it's 1997, and buy tickets, only to find that the time they want to go is sold out (trust me, this happened to me before). Just posted at twitter, @boxofficemojo confirms that DKR is all the rage at movietickets.com where I bought my ticket last weekend.


And speaking of DKR, I know you have heard about how some fanboys verbally attacked and threatened the life of the first critic who gave DKR a negative review, in fact, he gave it a D at Rottentomatoes.com (the fresh score is currently an impressive 87%). Because I am on a review embargo to prevent spoilers, I don't know what the man wrote, but specifically because it was negative, the fanboys lost their minds. And because of the outrage, RT has to cease further comments from fans until after the film opens. Rottentomatoes may now change their commenting format to prevent such abuse in the future. Thanks batshit insane Batman nerds!

So to answer Box Office Mojo's question, I predict that DKR will open around $188 million, and that's because there is no 3D version, just 2D and IMAX. I will post my review of DKR on Saturday!

Over at the Awards Daily forums, I created a tiff thread so that readers there can post info about the film festival and share their film schedules. Some of us may even be inclined to make rendezvous plans to meet up in Toronto.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ann Arbor Art Fair & Film Review: In Her Skin

Today is the 53rd Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair (July 18-21), and thankfully, it was not 100 degrees outside, but still warm and shiny enough. I took a quick walk through a portion of the fairs and had my camera with me with. I can honestly say that in the many years that I have visited the art fair, I haven't bought anything. The really nice stuff is out of my budget, and some of the kitschy stuff, I could probably make myself. But it's good for people watching and buying stuff from sidewalk sales of the businesses taking advantage of the fair. Here are just a few images of the art fair this year. One thing I want to point out is the higher visibility of non-"art" related vendors. Can someone explain to me why in the hell did Macy's have a Clinique booth up at the State Street Art Fair section, such a prime position right in front of the Michigan Union, front and center? That was so many levels of wrong... I fear the art fair has jumped the shark this year as there's no valid reason, other than MONEY that a nationwide department store was selling at a booth, a worldwide cosmetic from the mall, just 3 miles up the road. Just wrong. I took a picture of it because I couldn't believe it, but I'm not going to post it here, even though I do use that cosmetic brand.








All photos taken by Simone


I suspended my Netflix account back in May in preparation for my European vacation. And I haven't reactivated it yet as I haven't felt the need to do so since I can just prance into the A2 library and check out DVDs. While I work full-time, and take classes, I need some downtime to just enjoy a movie. I rarely watch previews  on DVDs, but sometimes, depending on the DVD, especially if it's an independent/foreign film, I like watching their previews because the parent company features previews of films that do not have a theatrical release or are foreign and very low on the word-of-mouth radar. And that's how I discovered 'In Her Skin'. It is a 2009 Australian film starring Guy Pearce and Miranda Otto as two parents of a teenage girl who has gone missing. The villain Catherine, impressively played by Ruth Bradley, is a disturbed former neighbor who has a wicked fixation on Rachel because she hates herself and her own life so bad. But if she can take over Rachel's life, all will be fine in her deliriously demented world. The movie also stars Sam Neill, and it is sadly based on a true story. Directed by Simone North, it's a good movie that has some tense moments, and a prolonged murder scene that is hard to watch, but not very gruesome, just, rude. I say check it out - 7.5/10.

As I mentioned previously, I already ordered my The Dark Knight Rises ticket for the Friday 8pm showing, so look out for a review of the final Batman shortly afterwards. I'm sure I'll like it, but if I don't, I'll be honest, and I highly doubt batshit insane fanboys will harass me like they did that critic at Rottentomatoes. People.


Monday, July 16, 2012

TIFF Has This Year's Design Announced!

Melanie Simon won the tiff contest to create this year's film festival design! This is incredible! I'm going to buy this t-shirt or whatever else appeals to me which has this design on it. Melanie won a Festival 10 film package, two t-shirts featuring her design, and her design will be seen throughout the festival with her name attached as the designer. Dammit, why can't I be this creative?

Source: tiff

A Holiday that Stays with You

Have you ever been on a vacation/holiday to such a wonderful place that it stays with you weeks, months, or years later? I'm lucky in that I can travel, and it amazes me how many people do not go away from home for mind rejuvenating adventures. Or if they do 'go away', it's just a couple hours away from home, if that! For me, life would not be half as interesting if I did not travel beyond my immediate region. So, that's why I travel to the UK as often as possible. My last trip was just seven weeks ago, May 24-June 3 (this is why I missed out on Cinetopia), when I went to Ireland for six days, and then spent 2 1/2 days in London. I'm in the process of writing up an essay about Ireland that I'm going to submit to an online magazine. Once it's approved and published, I'll post the link here. But in summary, my trip to Ireland, Co. Kerry was so much fun. I went alone, but I never felt I was alone. I hiked approximately 70 miles on trails all throughout Killarney National Park, the Gap of Dunloe, and through the lovely small tourist town of Killarney. I anxiously look forward to my next visit, and it will be much sooner than I previously thought.

Steps in the garden of Muckross House.
The thing about Ireland is that once you go there, you have to visit again. There's just so much to see. I not only want to re-visit the places I have seen already, but I want to venture out and see other places in that beautiful country, especially in Northern Ireland. While I was on a small boat in the middle of the Lakes of Killarney, I was talking to an American couple and they told me that this trip they were on was their fourth visit in 7 years! They just loved visiting Ireland and they always stay for two weeks. They inspired me, and I reckon that's what I will be doing in the future. On my next trip, I hope to take a friend or two.
If you're interested in seeing pictures from my trip to Ireland, check them out at my Pinterest board! As you review these pictures, you may come to understand why everyday since my holiday, I have been thinking about Ireland ever since. I feel a spiritual connection to that country now.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises & The A2 Art Fair

The Dark Knight Rises opens in theaters on July 20!
I just purchased two tickets at movietickets.com, for the Friday night 8pm showing of The Dark Knight Rises. This will be the final time Christian Bale will don the bat mask and cape, and for Christopher Nolan to direct it. Now, if The Avengers could surprise everyone and earn $200 million in its first weekend, I am confident that The Dark Knight could reach that mark too, but if not, be pretty close to it. I normally have Bikram Yoga class on Friday nights, but I'm putting it off to go see Batman because I have another plans on Saturday, and I have to do some class work on Sunday. So, Friday night it is, and I reckon it's going to be a madhouse!

If you haven't already, go check out the Dark Knight Rises website, it's loaded with a lot of interactive stuff for fans of the film. 

Also this week, the 53rd Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair starts on Wednesday, July 18 through Saturday the 21st. Since I work close to the street events, I will take my camera down there and take pictures of the highlights and post them here for you. I will do this after work. It's my hopes that the weather isn't as hot as it was last week, with temps around 100 degrees. I love it hot, but oppressive hot while you're outside it's just not fun and it's dangerous. This is a very popular art fair that brings half a million people into town from ALL over Michigan, the country, and Canada!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 1 at Comic Con & Unhealthy fries at Olympics


The Twilight Cast's final year at Comic Con
Many of my blogger peers have made the trek to San Diego this week to attend Comic Con, and as per their tweets and blog articles, a lot of awesome things occurred in just the first day. I am impressed and surprised by some of the A-listers that were in attendance yesterday promoting upcoming films. However, the highlight for Twilight fans was the entire cast of the franchise on the panel yesterday. I'm not a fan of the films, but I have seen them on DVD... I cannot allow myself to actually pay a ticket and go to the theater and sit there with the devoted and watch these juvenile fantasy vampire films. But just out of curiosity, and for my love for the vampire horror genre, I have seen some of these films in the privacy of my home. So I'm not ignorant about the movies, but I can tell you that I still don't understand the manic infatuation with the books and movies, but, who am I to judge? So with that said, the final part of 'Breaking Dawn 2' will come out in November,  but the Comic Con fans got a double treat at the convention by not only seeing the cast in the non-sparkly flesh, but about 7 minutes of the film too.


Henry Cavill
 Today at Comic Con, Henry Cavill, the new Superman will be at the Warner Brothers panel, and that should be a good one. Henry is ridiculously gorgeous and a decent actor as well, so I think he'll bring some very good qualities to the umptenth revisioning of Superman. And apparently it has just been mentioned on a blog reporting from CC that new details about the RoboCop remake have been released. The movie release date is August 9, 2013, a whole year from now. And it is still not clear if any part of the film will be filmed in the Detroit area. If that happens, that would be incredibly awesome and provide fodder for the Motor City Comic Con, which just occurred in May. So perhaps next year, the Detroit CC will have something related to RoboCop since Lt. Murphy is a Detroit cop. Stay tuned.

As many of you realize, the Olympics are in London this summer and when I was in London in early June, the city was celebrating the Queen's Jubilee, but there was also a significant pre-Olympics presence on display around the city. The Olympics start on July 27th, and the latest ridiculous news I heard is in regards to McDonald's monopolization/sponsorship of the games by sending out a mandate that no other food vendor can sell fries to patrons in town during the Olympics because they must only be allowed to eat McDonald's fries. They are BANNING other vendors from selling fries. Can you believe this shit? However... unless someone is buying the English meal standard of Fish & Chips, then they can order that with the traditional thick and chunky chips, but any other meal where fried potatoes is on the menu to be ordered, they cannot serve that as it will be in unfair competition to the holy sponsor, McDonald's! So if you were to order a hamburger from one of the few hundred other small vendors, they cannot sell you fries to go with that!!! I haven't eaten at McDonald's in probably two years. I try to eat healthy, like sushi, Luna bars, smoothies, and salads, etc. The last time I ate there, I got sick... my stomach had a hard time processing the highly processed salty food and I felt like I had lead in my stomach. Then being stupid, a month later, I ate at a different McD's thinking that I just ate something bad. Nope, same reaction. I think my Bikram yoga and healthier eating has made my body more 'efficient' and when I eat something shady, my body reacts to it. Lesson learned, I just stick to healthy foods.

Number one, I have never seen such outrageous sponsorship-monopolization...oh wait, yes I have, I tried to order some Olympics products for work a few weeks ago, and my boss only has an employee Mastercard charge card. The company I was trying to buy the Olympics stuff from said that they ONLY take VISA!!! Apparently, VISA is the ONLY credit card that people can use to buy Olympics themed stuff anywhere on the planet, and it's the only card you can use at the Olympics! Not everyone has a VISA, some only have a MC, or American Express... or, guess what, prefer to only use cash! So anyway, I just find it odd that for a fast food chain restaurant that serves such unhealthy food, is the sponsor of choice for nutritional supplements of the Olympics games. Well, they have been sponsors of the Olympics for about 40 years, but still... sponsorship should not be so forceful, especially in regards to a food staple like the potato. No athlete in their right mind would eat at McDonald's while they are in competition as the food is not healthy for them... but yet, there it is, the largest McDonald's in the UK will serve food to the masses that any athlete worth their salt, pun intended, wouldn't be seen at during their participation in the games. I just think this is rude to the consumer to not allow them the option to buy fries with meals at other vendors as if McD's has a patent on fries in London during the games. The International Olympic Committee ought to be ashamed of themselves for granting McDonald's exclusive rights to sell unhealthy, fattening, high-calorie, sugar-coated salty fries!

Although my blog is just a week old, this has been something I wanted to establish months ago. Today, I bought the domain http://www.theatreofzen.com/ so that the blog could be more legitimate and professional. And in buying my domain, it demonstrates my commitment to maintaining this blog, and giving it an officialness to it. If you haven't already, please 'follow' the blog so that you can get updates when new articles are published, and feel free to 'share' any of the articles with friends at Facebook, Google+, or followers at Twitter, by clicking on the share options below each article. It takes a long time to get a blog up and running, and along with my own promoting of it, I need the help of readers to promote it too, especially if they like what they read. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Video Game to Film Adaptations & Comic Con 2012

In light of the news about my favorite actor, Michael Fassbender, and his production company, DMC, climbing on board to make a feature film from fan favorite video game, 'Assassin's Creed', people are wondering if this video game-to-film will fail to impress audiences like so many of its predecessors. Well, MTV wrote an interesting article (a rare achievement) yesterday praising Fassbender's thespian caliber in bringing to life the video game's protagonist, Desmond Miles, and also highlighted the fact that the designer of the game, Ubisoft, will make the film... and not an out of touch Hollywood studio.

I'm not a gamer, haven't been once since the 1980s when I was a kid, so you would think that I'm the last person to be interested in video game film adaptations. But you're wrong, I really enjoy some of those movies, like, Silent Hill, Hitman, Boom, and my all-time favorite, the Resident Evil franchise. And that's mostly due to my enjoying the heroine factor played by Mila Jovovich. So I am very interested in seeing what comes of Assassin's Creed because I know Fassbender's talent, and he's a smart man, so he'll be going into this wanting it to be as best a representation of the actual video game. I also reckon that a lot of people are like me in  that they could care less about playing video games, but appreciate the creative plots of the games and are receptive to seeing them on the screen. I'm optimistic about Assassin's Creed being a very good film.


Comic Con 2012 in San Diego will be starting tomorrow, July 12th, and it's an event that I tend to just be happy living vicariously through the people who actually attend. Back in the day, a decade ago or so, Comic Con was really for the FANS to go there and be a part of a geek/fanboy-girl convention of like minds wholly infatuated with all things related to the genre of comics. But then Hollywood studios saw it as an opportunity to introduce in very special previews to a very select crowd, future comic themed films and TV productions. Toss in some cool A and B list stars on the panel and for autograph sessions, and you have a new community that you have a unique opportunity to wine and dine and gauge their interests for future marketing schemes. In summation, it's a zoo at CC, and every year it gets crazier and crazier because the fanatic fan attendance grows larger and larger. And this is because the newest fans, started to attend just in the past couple of years due to the higher profile of CC because of certain film franchise's fanbase. And as per the sad news of the car accident death of a Twilight fan yesterday, who has been waiting in line, outside of the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) since Sunday, to get a good seat at the Twilight panel four days later, this just demonstrates how devoted some of these fans are. To suspend life for many days to sit in line, days before the actual convention begins. Sigh. Life is too short for such crazed devotion, but that is par for the course in the mindset of many CC attendees. I have been to the SDCC for an exhibit myself, and the place is gigantic, but I think I would be too overwhelmed to attend for Comic Con, let alone be able to afford it. San Diego ain't cheap. Anway, I look forward to reporting about what's happening at CC the rest of this week.

Edited to Add:
San Diego Comic-Con, running from July 12-15, is considered the biggest event on the sci-fi, fantasy and comic book lovers' calendar, regularly drawing 250,000 attendees to the four-day event. A seat inside the Convention Center's Hall H, where Hollywood studios often fly in A-list actors to unveil footage of upcoming movies for the 6,000 fans that can cram inside, is especially coveted. From: NY Daily News

Movie Reviews

I had a mini Jason Statham marathon this weekend. Most of his films are corny but fun to watch, and these other two films continue in that vein.



Blitz (2011) is about a homicidal cop killer played by an excellent scene stealing Aiden Gillen, who kills cops in London in a most brutal and bold fashion, as if it were a hobby. Jason Statham is in his comfort zone of playing a smart ass, do things my way rogue cop. And Paddy Considine is a seemingly straight laced lieutenant from the posh West London police station, doing time in Southern London to help catch the lunatic cop killer. Because I love British crime drama, this is an entertaining film to kill some time and watch Jason in action. 7.5/10.

Killer Elite (2011) is another Jason Statham film which co-stars Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro. It takes place in the 1980s about a special secret British Ops group where a peer is kidnapped and held hostage by a Shiek to avenge the assassination of his sons. Jason has to kill the men responsible for the men's deaths and then his friend will be released. This is based on a true story and this espionage film shows you just how corrupt and backstabbish all governments are in the pursuit of their share of oil from the Middle East. It's pretty good - 8/10.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild coming soon!

The downside of living a mid-western town is that highly anticipated and hyped indie films arrive in town weeks and sometimes months after it is released in the larger cities (ie. New York, Los Angeles, etc.). For the past several months I have heard so much about 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' that I think I've mentally seen the film already. So many people love this Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival winner, that Oscar talk has been discussed.

Well, the Michigan Theater will start screening the film on Friday, July 27th, and I will definitely go see it that weekend. Prior to that weekend, I will be seeing The Dark Knight Rises, the final Batman film starring Christian Bale and directed by Christopher Nolan. So the final two weekends of July will demand my seeing two highly discussed films.

Meanwhile, check out this clip of 'Beasts' and hopefully it will whet your appetite to go see it.






Over the next few days, I will catch up on reviewing some films I have seen in the past month this is worthy of mentioning.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

'Only Lovers Left Alive' Coming to Film in Detroit

It was announced months ago that the new Jim Jarmusch film, 'Only Lovers Left Alive', starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (Loki of 'The Avengers') is a vampire love story and will be coming to film some segments in Detroit very soon! Tom confirmed that in a tweet this afternoon! And back in April, he told The Hollywood Reporter a little bit about the film. I'm looking forward to this movie and I hope I can find out where the filming location will be so I can check out the excitement!


Link===> Hollywood Reporter video interview with Tom!

Update: Apparently the entire cast is in downtown Detroit, filming right now!

What I Just Watched

Because I rent DVDs regularly, I'm going to have to be a bit more creative when it comes to the blog title articles when I review several films I watch in one sitting. Yesterday it was like 100 degrees, for the fourth day in a row here in Ann Arbor, and along with reading for my class, I watched three films.


The Tourist is a romantic comedy drama starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The film, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was slammed by critics and didn't do well at the theater, but I thought it was funny and pretty to look at. The plot is rather tried and tested about a double crossing agent and stole money from a bad guy. I give it a 7 out of 10.



As a fan of the 1982 version of John Carpenter's The Thing, I was anxious to see what the 2011 version of The Thing 'prequel' was about. I saw the the first film at the theater and at least 100 times since then. Like many fans of this cult favorite, we wanted to know what happened before the Kurt Russell version, and what happened after. The latter event has yet to be brought to film, however, the 2011 version, directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as a tough and inquisitive paleontologist, and helicopter pilot Joel Edgerton, was pretty scary and gruesome. It did a great job in tying up a connection with the 1982 film, and we get a glimpse of the original state of the horrible Thing before it starts to imitate humans. It lacks the dark, dreary, awesome tension of the 1982 film, but it's a decent horror flick to answer pre-quel questions. It earns a 7.5/10.



I watched Ryan Gosling's Drive again last night, I saw it at last year's TIFF. Ryan, the director Nicholas Refn, and key actors from the film came out on stage after the film screened. I love this film for it's 80's feel in today's setting. Ryan plays a movie stunt car driver who is hired out once in a while to be the driver for robberies. He gets a cut of the action, and gets on with his quite life. He befriends a pretty next door neighbor played by Carey Mulligan until her husband is released from jail. Upon his release, her husband, played by Oscar Issac, immediately gets back into trouble and takes Ryan down the trail of car chases, guns, and murders. This is a great film with a fantastic performance by Albert Brooks too. Check it out, it earns 8.5/10.


Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ryan Gosling, Nicholas Winding Refn at TIFF 2011
Bryan and Ryan

TIFF Photos by Simone

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What is the Theatre of Zen?

TIFF 2011 'Drive' screening w/Director Nicolas Winding Refn
I have been writing on the Internet for many years, but it has often been on just one special interest topic. As I look forward to my 9th consecutive year in attending the Toronto International Film Festival, I realize that I needed to start chronicling my full experience at the film festival. In prior years, I posted short reviews of the films I saw at TIFF at a film/movie awards message board. But since I have lost interest in visiting that particular website earlier this year, I realized that as TIFF 2012 approaches, I needed a new outlet to write my reviews.

Compared to many professional critics and established film critic bloggers, I am a novice at reviewing films per se. However, I do feel that my love for cinema, and the fact that I watch so many films on DVD, Netflix, and attend TIFF, I have a voice to share as well in critiquing some of the films that I see. So I look forward to updating this blog regularly about a movie I saw. Additionally, I have also been inspired by the new film festival that my hometown of Ann Arbor kicked off this year called Cinetopia. I unfortunately missed out on this inaugural event, May 31-June 3 as I was on holiday in Ireland. Needless to say, I will be more careful in planning my vacation next summer as I plan to participate in Cinetopia next year!

The title of the blog, 'Theatre of Zen' was created to represent my interest primarily in the world of the 'movie theater', but also, in the theatre of 'Life' (gossip/entertainment, politics, Ann Arbor living, culture, etc.) and the 'Zen' part is for the wonderful things that bring joy to me (travel, tea, health & beauty, yoga, my photography, etc).

Please make sure you check back often to see what I'm writing about as each post will be totally different from the other. I have a sharp sense of humor, I can have a potty mouth at times, but it's all in good fun. I look forward to sharing things with you that I hope will inspire you or give you pause for consideration. Comments are greatly encouraged, and you can email me in private too if you prefer. Thanks!

Photo Source: Simone