Concert Review: Death From Above at the Commodore Ballroom

It was strikingly chilly in the Commodore Ballroom compared to the rather hot and humid weather that dominated the outdoors. There was a a cloud of haze and smoke covering the venue as Murray A. Lightburn took the stage. Lightburn is best known as the frontman of Canadian indie rock band The Dears but tonight was just Lightburn and his guitar. His set was a fairly mellow acoustic performance and I worried that he’d have a hard time connecting to an audience expecting a rambunctious rock n’ roll show. Lightburn held his own though, reaching the audience on a more intimate level. Big cheers came when he performed The Dears’ “Death of Life We Want You” which contains the lyric “Just when you think you’ve had enough, here comes more death from up above.” Lightburn paused and the crowd erupted into cheers.

Death From Above took the stage just after 9 o’clock launching into their debut EP “Head’s Up”, which opens with the absolute barn burner of a song “Dead Womb”. The crowd that had been relatively reserved during Lightburn’s set lost all control, jumping off each other, head banging, and screaming. If you were in the centre of the crowd, you were going to be moshing. The show kicked off the “Heads Up! Is Now” tour, where the band blasts through the six-song EP from 2002 (which had been given a vinyl release this year), followed by a series of songs and fan favourites from the rest of their output. The energy heard on the bands records, specifically on “Heads Up”, is not lost in a live setting, in fact it’s amped up to ten. The amazing thing about Death From Above is that, between just two people, they’re able to create such a wall of sound. Jesse F. Keeler, dressed in all black like a silhouette in front of a wall of amps with his lucite Dan Armstrong bass brings all the fuzz and more with a fierce tone not for the faint of heart. Sebastien Grainger, possibly the most fashionable man in Canadian rock, sits high on his drum throne, bashing the skins to combat Keeler’s oncoming onslaught of fuzz bass like they’re in a constant battle to create the bigger noise, ultimately complimenting each other.

After the band wrapped up the “Head’s Up” EP and played a few more fan favourites, Grainger told the crowd, “We’re here to play the hits! Or just the hit. Ah, we’ll just play this stupid one” kicking into the band’s radio hit “Freeze Me” from their last record “Outrage! Is Now”. The band continued the onslaught with another 10 or so songs from their discography before calling it a night, leaving the crowd more than satisfied.
Ultimately, it’s a miracle to me that the floor of the Commodore didn’t fall through, as the entire audience was jumping up and down for the entire show and the venue was noticeably shaking.

Obviously, the concert didn’t disappoint, Death From Above is amped up to max volume and that’s reflected in their performance and in the audience’s reaction. Death From Above, as two hyperactive men, know that the humour of a big rock show is inherent in the playing of it. There are no winks or nudges. Death From Above remind us what a good rock n’ roll show should be.

Ticked Off – Amazon Cancels ‘The Tick’ after Two Seasons

Today it was announced that after two seasons the live-action adaptation of “The Tick” was cancelled. The showed started Peter Serafinowicz in the titular role alongside Griffin Newman as Arthur Newman. This was the third series based on the character, the first, an animated series aired from 1994-1996, and a live action series staring Patrick Warburton as the title role aired for one season in 2001.

The news was confirmed by series creator Ben Edlund, who is also the creator of the comic of which all of the Tick shows are based on. Edlund tweeted out to fans this morning, writing “I’m sorry to say Amazon has chosen not to proceed with @TheTickTV I’m not sorry to say I love this show, its cast, its story, and its message. Destiny demands that my compatriots and I now seek a new home for this series.”

The series had been well-received by critics during it’s release. The first season averaged a 90% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while the second season received 100%.

Edlund followed up his initial tweet implying that he and the producers would try and find another platform to continue the series tweeting “Meanwhile thank u from my heart’s bottom to all the fans who’ve shared their love with us and the show. Thank you sweet #LunaTicks and #LunaTickArmy for your militant affection 🙂 We want to find a place to make more. That is the mission now and we are on it.”

In addition to Serofinowicz, the series also starred Valorie Curry, Brendan Hines, and Alan Tudyk.

From Vampire to Bat – Robert Pattinson Could Be the New Batman

The future of Batman’s role in the DCEU and in Matt Reeves’ upcoming film “The Batman” has been up in the air since Ben Affleck stepped down from the role. However, sources say that “Twilight” franchise star Robert Pattinson is in negotiations to star as the title character in the forthcoming superhero film set to hit theatres June 25th, 2021. Though it’s not confirmed yet and Warner Bros. has no comment as of now, Pattinson is the top choice and the deal is expected to close shortly.

Unfortunately for Warner Bros., fans aren’t happy with this possible casting at all, and petitions have already been launched for Pattinson to be replaced before he’s even been cast. “Don’t make the Batfleck mistake again” one petition appeals, referring to the controversy over Ben Affleck’s performance as the character in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League”.

Warner Bros., has given Writer/Director Matt Reeves plenty of time to develop the script in the hopes that this latest incarnation of the caped crusader is done correctly after the disappointment with the previous films. No start date for production has officially been set those insiders says that pre-production could star as early as late 2019 or early 2020.

At 33 the former “Twilight” heartthrob would become the second youngest actor to play Batman on the big screen after Christian Bale, who was 31 when he “Batman Begins” premiered in 2005.

Bill Murray Says He’s Willing to Do Another “Ghostbusters”

Bill Murray has become somewhat of a mysterious legend in recent times. Though he’s moved far past the legacy of “Ghostbusters” the allusive actor says he’d be open to returning in the upcoming sequel. Though the actor had famously declined to participate in another “Ghostbusters” movie for years he now says he’d be happy to show up on the cinematic continuation that original director Ivan Reitman’s son, Jason is working on.

The “Ghostbusters 3” in question ignores Paul Feig’s 2015 all-female reboot, that Murray himself cameoed in, in favour of serving as a direct sequel to 1989’s “Ghostbusters II”. Murray speaks fondly of the original films, clarifying that his only real problem was with the studio. “This franchise paid for my son’s college,” he said. “We made this thing. We are the caretakers of it. It’s a great thing and it was a really fun movie to make. It’s a real movie with some really funny stuff in it.”

30 years after the previous entry of the series, it seems like the proper time for the long-awaited sequel. Initial reports have said that the film will shoot for about 15 weeks in Calgary, Alberta beginning on the 25th of June, though no timing has been confirmed yet. While it hasn’t been confirmed if or to what extent original stars Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Murray may have in the film we do know that the film is serving as a continuation of the original two movies. Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, and “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard have been confirmed for the film which should arrive next year. 

‘Black Mirror’ Season 5 Trailer Debuts Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace, and Anthony Mackie

Are you ready to get spooked?

Yesterday Netflix premiered the trailer for the upcoming fifth season of “Black Mirror”. The dystopian anthology series will return on June 5th, 18 months after the previous season, though, we were all treated to the interactive one-off “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” which was released in December.

The trailer was revealed after a four-month silence on the “Black Mirror” twitter account was broken, tweeting “Is this a bad time? You seem distracted.” 10 minutes later the account posted the two minute long trailer along with “You should’ve seen it coming.”

The long-awaited fifth season will feature three new episodes, with performances by some big names, including Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace, Anthony Mackie and Pom Klementieff.

According to Variety, Cyrus will be portraying a character based on herself, a pop star with thousands of technologically-altered fans.

During the heart-pounding trailer, a series of words flash on the screen providing the vague themes that will be explored in the series that usually deals with the dangers of technology, artificial technology, and virtual reality.

“Technology. The future. The world. Each other. Love. Privacy. Connection. Sex. Family. Work. Afterlife.” Reads the screen as images flash by.

The trailer seems to primarily focus on on the recurring and realistic elements of not only the imperious power of technology and it’s ultimate distraction as it tempts us collectively as a society.

So are you ready to get spooked?

Watch the trailer for the upcoming episodes below

Film Review: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – Incredibly Boring, Frightfully Slow, and Just Okay.

In the same way that Ted Bundy couldn’t get away with murder, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile fails to get away with an endearing story and engaging plot about one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. This repression of Bundy comes from Joe Berlinger, who previously directed the documentary series on the killer, focuses on Bundy’s relationship with his girlfriend, Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) and plays on the angle that Bundy’s looks and charm were his most formidable weapons.

The film depicts Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) on the surface level as an eager-beaver law student, and the complicated relationship he shares with his girlfriend. The film escalates as Bundy is arrested for attempted kidnapping before more serious charges spirals into a drawn-out murder trial, made more sensational by being televised, and by Bundy’s own distorted vanity. Unfortunately, a film that could’ve explored the inner-workings of a notorious killer and his warped image of himself, is bogged down by boring scenes of Kendall asking Bundy “Did you do this?”, with Bundy replying “Of course not, you know me!” again, and again, and again. Not only that but we’re also treated to a shot-for-shot remake of Bundy’s televised trail, which if you watched the documentary series, you’ve already seen. Efron plays a charming and frighteningly likeable Bundy, the way you’d expect him to be, but a good performance can’t save the actor from falling to the dialogue of a less than stellar script. Collins appears stuck in a performance where it seems that the film is unsure whether to treat the character as inept and unaware, or just emotionally stuck in a love affair with a man playing to her feelings.

The lameness of the film comes when the film reveals a list of Bundy’s 30 known victims as somewhat of a solemn afterthought. This feels sheepish and transparent as the film has failed to do justice to the sheer volume of horror committed by one man. As the film wraps up we’re left feeling unsatisfied, as this biopic portrays our leads as a pathological liar and his girlfriend in-denial.

Fired and Rehired – ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Director James Gunn Opens Up About Disney ‘Divorce’

It’s been an interesting year for “Guardians of the Galaxy” writer and director James Gunn who was fired from the franchise after internet trolls resurfaced offensive tweets from 2009-2011. He was then hired by Marvel Studios rival company DC to write and direct a sequel to the film “Suicide Squad”. After both fans and stars of “Guardians of the Galaxy” protested Gunn’s dismissal he was reinstated by Disney earlier this year to write and direct the third instalment in the series. He’s now given his first proper interview about the situation and compared losing the franchise to his divorce from “The Office” star Jenna Fischer.

Throughout the process, aside from an apology for the tweets, Gunn remained mostly silent about the whole ordeal. Today, Gunn spoke in depth with Deadline about the experiences over the past year, his initial response to the firing, comparing the job loss to his divorce, and what the rehiring experience meant to him.

Perhaps surprisingly, Gunn says he doesn’t blame anyone but himself for the firing, and takes full responsibility for his past mistakes. “I don’t blame anyone. I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humour, just the unintentional consequences of not not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there. I know that people have been hurt by things I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility.” Gunn told Deadline.

Speaking on the split from Disney “[They] totally had the right to fire me,” he said. “This wasn’t a free speech issue. I said something they didn’t like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that.”

Gunn went on to compare the ordeal to his divorce from across Jenna Fisher. “It was like the break-up of my marriage,” he said. “I got divorced, and then had those conversations with my ex-wife: ‘Let’s get along as well as we possibly can and be kind to each other because we’re both a large part of each other’s lives.’

“I wanted to feel that way about Disney. I didn’t want to look back and feel bitter, upset or angry. Of course all sorts of emotions are attached to it. But I just wanted to be comfortable saying goodbye and splitting up, and that’s where my head was at, even in the very early meeting we had, a week or two weeks after it all happened.”

Eventually though, Gunn was rehired and is back to work on the third instalment in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Production on the film will begin after Gunn completes “Suicide Squad 2”. The full interview with Deadline can be read here.

Picking up the Pieces in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Warning: This Contains Plot Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

Peter Parker has been through a lot in the last few years. After being recruited by Iron Man he fought against Steve Roger’s faction of the Avengers at an airport in Germany. Afterwards he returned to school only to discover that his crush’s dad was none other than the supervillian Vulture. If that’s not enough, a battle against an intergalactic threat in New York lead him into outer space, face to face in fight against The Mad Titan, Thanos. Parker was then snapped out of existence by Thanos, and spent the next five years as a pile of ash. Finally, shortly after being un-dusted by the Hulk in Avengers: Endgame Parker witnessed the tragic death of his mentor Tony Stark. That’s a lot for a teenager to go through, and it’s safe to say that Parker feels a greater responsibility, as shown in the trailer for the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.

“Everywhere I go, I see his face… I just really miss him.” Says Parker, grieving over the loss of his role model.

The loss ways heavy on him in the latest trailer for the film. The dire straits Parker is left in carries over onto the newest poster for the sequel. Released today on the official Spider-Man Twitter account, the poster finds Peter Parker in his Iron Man-esque Spidey suit, calmly arched on a rooftop with a mural of his fallen mentor behind him.

There’s a lot for Peter to handle in the upcoming film, dealing with emotions, concerns of “being the next Iron Man”, and not to mention teaming up with the Nick Fury and the mystifying Mysterio to battle the Elementals. The film finds Spidey out of his element, as he leaves Queens for a much needed Vacation before his jaunt around Europe his knocked out of synch when these Elemental creatures begin popping up and attacking cities. With the Avengers scattered it’s up to Spider-Man to sort it all out.

Spider-Man: Far From Home opens in theatres on July 2nd.

From Fantasy Drama to Space Opera – Next ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy to be Spearheaded by ‘Game of Thrones’ Creators

Last week Disney revealed that the company will be producing three more Star Wars films, the first of which will hit theatres December 16th, 2022, three years after the upcoming culmination of the Skywalker saga “The Rise of Skywalker”. The two following films will be released in December of 2024 and 2026 respectively, alternating release dates with the upcoming sequels to James Cameron’s “Avatar”. Today, at the MoffetNathanson Media & Communications summit, Walt Disney Company chairman Bob Iger confirmed that the first film of the new Star Wars trilogy will be overseen by Game of Thrones show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

“We did a deal with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are famous for Game of Thrones, and the next movie will be theirs,” Iger said. “And we’re not saying anything more than that.”

Although the three year hiatus between 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker” and a new trilogy had previously been announced, fans were unsure whether the new films would be helmed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, or the Game of Thrones showrunners.

It’s been reported that neither trilogy will feature the Skywalker bloodline, and will instead focus on a new cast of characters in their own time period. The strongest rumour surrounding Weiss and Benioff’s planned trilogy is that they will be based on the Old Republic, and era of Jedi set hundreds of years before the Skywalker saga.

This news leaves the futures of Rian Johnson’s planned Star Wars trilogy uncertain, as there hasn’t yet been news about when that previously announced series will debut.

A Million Little Things Brings Millions to BC

An economic report released on May 1st has spotlighted the affect ABC’s family drama series A Million Little Things has had on the British Columbia economy. According to the report, during the making of it’s first season, the production spent more than $27 million dollars in-province.

The report highlighted that the show had spent over $13 million on BC goods and services and engaged with more than 750 local businesses and 32 communities across the province. On top of that, over $14 million was spent on BC production crews and labour, creating 380 local jobs. As it turns out, A Million Little Things was one of 65 film and television projects filming at the PNE in 2017, which helped the non-profit foster a record year with more than $1 million in revenue. The PNE has a film-friendly policy making it an an ideal location and enables continued investments in its park spaces, events, and programs. A Million Little Things used the PNE to double as Boston Garden, the home arena of the Boston Bruins.

The series, set in Boston, is about a group of friends motivated to live their lives to the fullest after the unexpected suicide of a close friend. The title is a reference to the saying “Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.” The show features an ensemble cast including Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers), David Giuntoli (Grimm), and Romany Malco (Weeds, The 40-Year-Old Virgin). The series was renewed for a second season on February 5th, 2019.

Detective Pikachu Kicks Off a Golden Age of Video Game Movies

The adorable and extremely caffeinated title character, Detective Pikachu.

Detective Pikachu opened on Friday to an estimated $58 million in the North American box office and has already been hailed as one of the best live-action film adaptations of a video game.

Though the film opened at #2, behind the wildly successful Avengers: Endgame, it’s still the sixth highest opening ever for a movie that didn’t open at #1. The film’s success stands to show the timeless and enduring popularity of Pokemon extends well beyond the games.

The film has received mixed reviews so far with critics praising the design of the Pokemon, and applauding Ryan Reynolds’ performance, but criticizing the plot as being standard and playing it safe. Reynolds’ stars as a gruffer and more caffeinated, though equally as adorable, adaptation of the title character, teaming up with Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, a former Pokemon trainer and reluctant hero investigating the whereabouts of his missing father. The CGI Reynolds’ character, along with the other Pokemon are immaculately integrated alongside the live action performers in a spectacular display of movie magic.

The writers of the film opted to twist the plot of its source material and chose to file in on the concept of evolution, rather than create a film entangled by elements that work better in the medium of gaming. It’s a smart move in the creative realm as the transformations of Pokemon in live-action are absolutely breathtaking. Though, these visual transformations are used sparingly as they take a backseat to the overlying metaphor of evolution in the film. According to writer Benji Samit, this is just the beginning of the Pokemon franchise, kicking off what is expected to be a long line of a stories in the new live-action universe. It’ll be interesting to see how the franchise evolves in the coming years.