February 28, 2010
February 27, 2010
It started when a reporter went to an International Olympic Committee official and reported that, shock and horror, the Canadian women's hockey team were celebrating their gold medal victory by drinking beer and champagne and passing around a cigar while still in their uniforms in the ice rink in full view of some photographers.
One of those team members was underage. Marie-Philip Poulin is the youngest member of the Canadian team, and, coincidentally, one of the biggest heroes. She just finished scoring the winning goal, both of them, in fact, all of the offence needed in the 2-0 victory over the U.S.
She doesn't turn 19, the legal drinking age in B.C., until later next month.
The IOC official said "tut tut" or words to that effect. If true, it's not the kind of behaviour we expect from Olympians, he said. We'll look into it.
Then out of an abundance of caution, the Canadian Olympic Committee apologized to anyone who was offended by the celebration and said the women should have done their partying in the dressing room.
It's hard to know what part of this is more ridiculous. First, no one said anything when the pride of Russell, Man., Jon Montgomery walked through the streets of Whistler drinking from a pitcher of beer after winning a gold medal for Canada in skeleton. Nor should they have.
One of the things we have enjoyed most about these Olympics is not just watching Canadians athletes win, but sharing in their joy as they celebrate their victories.
So our women had nothing to apologize for.
Sure, there are serious issues around the public consumption of alcohol and underage drinking.
Vancouver police have spent a busy two weeks pouring out liquor and issuing tickets to people caught enjoying a drink while joining in the unprecedented street party that has been going on ever since the Games began. They've closed downtown liquor stores early to keep a lid on public drunkenness.
Moreover, this story came out on the same morning that the provincial government issued a press release announcing the start of the B.C. Liquor stores annual fundraising campaign for Dry Grad, the worthwhile effort to keep teenagers from poisoning themselves with booze as part of their ritualized exit from high school.
So go ahead and ask: What kind of example are these women setting for Canada's youth? I hope that sounds as ridiculous as it is. It's hard to imagine better role models than the women who made us all so proud Thursday night.
Yes, they were getting high in public. Over the moon in fact, as they had every right to be after thrilling Canadians and realizing their own dream of becoming Olympic champions.
So they have nothing for which to apologize and plenty to celebrate. While the Olympics is all about overcoming adversity, women hockey players have an even steeper hill to climb than most of our athletes.
On the day they finally won, they had to answer questions raised by IOC president Jacques Rogge and some commentators about whether their sport even deserved to be part of these Games.
Is it too easy to win hockey gold?
Just ask the American women, who won the last two world championships and did everything Thursday except score goals; just ask them how hard it is to get a chance to celebrate, with or without beer and champagne, at the Olympics.
And it's not just the lack of respect. Unlike the men who play hockey, women don't have a lucrative professional career to go back to when the Olympics are over.
So the Canadians got to celebrate, with a couple of brews, while the Americans wept. Beer on ice. It's the hoser way. No apologies necessary.
February 25, 2010
This post presented by Disney and the swashbuckling adventure of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," in theaters 2011! - Via iwatchstuff
February 24, 2010
Not always about using new programming languages to plot massive amounts of data, infographics can be fun too. From the National Post comes the 101 Muppets from Sesame Street. Who would want to read a boring Cast of Characters list. Visualizing the information is what makes it fun as you try to recognize some of the more obscure characters.
Some Muppet faces are more familiar than others, so here’s a handy guide to some of our favorites in celebration of Sesame Street’s 40th year on the air!
February 23, 2010
The literature metaphor is apt as at 160 minutes, 'James' certainly takes its time wandering its many wind-swept wheatfields and pin drop quiet white rooms. The plot often takes detours following the other members of the gang whilst James himself disappears for long stretches at a time. Even when off screen though, the legend and talk remains consistently about the man and/or Robert Ford's hero worship of him.
Ultimately, all of these little segues are relevant to the narrative.
Epic and intimate, brutal and poignant, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” aims higher than practically any other American film this year and hits the target with aplomb. Arriving in theaters at the time of year when audiences are assaulted by overblown attempts at seriousness made in the hopes of winning awards, “Jesse James” is that rarest of birds — an art film with mass appeal.
Based on the novel by Ron Hansen, the film explores the dynamic between legendary Old West outlaw Jesse (Brad Pitt) and the young henchman (Casey Affleck) who would betray him. Opening in 1881, the glory days of the James Gang are well behind them. Jesse and his brother Frank (Sam Shepard) are forced to recruit young farmers to join them, and Bob Ford eagerly joins up, having obsessively followed Jesse’s exploits in dime novels.
As presented by Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik, the film’s storyline seems closer to “I Shot Andy Warhol” than to Sam Fuller’s “I Shot Jesse James”: Ford is, essentially, a stalker, torn between emulating and worshiping his hero and then, when spurned, with destroying that hero.
Driving towards the event with an unwavering sense of inevitability so that by the time the shot is fired, everyone involved has long been resigned to their fates including James himself. Affleck as the insecure and often-humiliated Ford delivers a rich and powerful portrayal, showing off new facets of very familiar type of character. D.O.P. Roger Deakins delivers some truly extraordinary photography with some rather stark locales. His use of lighting (most notably in the train robbing sequence) and warm earth colors give the normally drab mid-West a rich and natural palette.
It's a film that ultimately requires a lot of patience with its drawn out scenes and dialogue. In fact if you were to fast-forward it at double-speed, you could probably still enjoy all the film's rewards without having to endure the glacial pacing. Then however you'd miss its rich atmosphere - the artistic landscapes, the tense love and fear the characters have of Jesse, the preciseness of the documentary-like voiceover, and the fascinating exploration of the James legend post-kill. A long journey, but one of the most rewarding in a long time.
February 22, 2010
Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairytale. It is a story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions… and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history. Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider, key players at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation department during the mid1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the Animation Studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next ten years. Artists polarized between the hungry young innovators and the old guard who refused to relinquish control, mounting tensions due to a string of box office flops, and warring studio heads create the backdrop for this fascinating story told with a unique and candid perspective from those that were there.
Through interviews, internal memos, home movies, and a cast of characters featuring Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Roy Disney, alongside an amazing array of talented artists that includes Don Bluth, John Lasseter, Glen Keane, and Tim Burton, Waking Sleeping Beauty shines a light on Disney Animation’s darkest hours, greatest joys and its improbable renaissance. Too bad these last 15 years have not proved so successful for Disney, maybe someday they'll engineer yet another comeback, or has the industry evolved so much that it may never return?
February 21, 2010
Geniuses of satire Matt Stone and Trey Parker bring more laughs to the big screen after their wildly funny 1999 movie "South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut" with a cast of square-jawed marionettes fighting terror by way of North Korea's Kim Jong II in a relevantly childish reading of "freedom." Inspired by the '60s British television series "Thunderbirds," Stone and Parker use Jerry Bruckheimer's action movie plot template to parody America's bullying military with one-third-scale puppets that give new meaning to 'wooden acting.'
The ridicule hits a fever pitch anytime the comic duo's brilliantly phrased songs modify the puppet action sequences (you'll be chanting "Team America, F**k Yeah" for days). Kim Jong II exploits the Film Actors Guild (including Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Samuel Jackson and Sean Penn) for his evil schemes while the Team America World Police recruit a Broadway actor to infiltrate an Iraqi terror cell. This all-out adult satire pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.
The greatest gift that Matt Stone and Trey Parker possess is their inexhaustibly childish and brash approach to big issues. Although they’ve said in interviews that "Team America: World Police" mocks terrorists rather than the war on terror, the film rightfully does off-handedly ridicule Bush’s "war on terror." The movie slyly acknowledges the truth of multinational global corporate oppression, that there is no and can be no such thing as a war on terror, just as there can be no war on the desperation that drives ostracized people from committing any act of abysmal depression. When our puppet commandos kick off "Team America" by killing a group of Muslim terrorists in Paris, they consequently destroy the Louvre and kill many French civilians. It’s no accident that the French are the first to suffer at the hand of America’s fraternity minded group of mercenary heroes with ammo belts hung across their chests to preclude any confusion about the heroes’ agenda.
The liberal doses of crude vulgarity that Stone and Parker smear over everything they do is a keen equalizer that goes much deeper than party lines or class striations. Stone and Parker’s purely filthy satire enters your central nervous system via coded systems of pop culture references that expand in your sub conscious as you watch the movie. It’s a thoroughly integrated and sophisticated brand of intoxicating anti-propaganda that sparks from everything you already know on an intrinsic level.
In "Team America" no quarter is given to corporate shills like George Bush or John Kerry, or to puppet enemies like Osama or Hussein. Instead the filmmakers go right for the jugular of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il as a lonely dictator baddie who feeds UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix to a shark. That scene won’t stick in your memory as much as the much-debated hilarious puppet sex scene (with an extended and extra disgusting version on the DVD), and the film’s final explanation of the world’s problems as based on assholes, pussies, and dicks, surely will stick with you.
Rated R. 98 mins. (A+) (Five Stars)