Saturday, September 30, 2006


Spain, 2006, 121 min.
Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, María Isabel Díaz.

Friday night was for Volver, (lit, To Return) a movie by famed Spanish Director Pedro Almodóvar (Best known for All About my Mother, Talk To Her and Bad Education) that's been the talk of this year's film festivals. Unsurprisingly, Volver played in front of a packed house.

Volver is the story of a mother (Maura) who decide to return to her family in order to fix situations that she could not resolve during her life. Her ghost becomes the comfort of her sister and soon, of her daughters (Cruz, Dueñas) and her grandchild (Cobo). Added to the mix is plenty of fantastic shots of Cruz's cleavage, dirty family secrets and witty, sharp dialog.

This is a good movie by Almodóvar (it's not like he really ever does bad movies!) and it feels very similar in writing. While it is not as good as Todo Sombre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) and may not get equivalent praise, it is still a great movie that is worth seeing. As always, Cruz is great to watch in a kitchen and Almodóvar's dialogues are quite entertaining.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Colour Me Kubrick

France, UK, 2005, 86 min, 35mm
Directed By: Brian Cook
EXEC PRODS: Luc Besson, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, Steve Christian, Donald A. Starr, Daniel J.B. Taylor, Colin Leventhal
PRODS: Brian Cook, Michael Fitzgerald
SCR: Anthony Frewin
CAM: Howard Atherton
ED: Alan Strachan
MUS: Bryan Adams
Cast: John Malkovich, Jim Davidson, Richard E. Grant, Luke Mably, Terence Rigby

Last night I went to the Canadian Premiere of Colour Me Kubrick, which was being showed in the 25th edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival. This is the true (-ish) story of British conman Alan Conway (John Malcovich), who in the late 90's went around London posing as Stanley Kubrick. During these years, Conway was very successful at getting a lot while giving nothing in return from people who believed he was the famed director and believed his promises of fame.

While Malkovich is fantastic in his role, the story itself falls a little flat. There is humour, impossible wardrobe and situations, but virtually no plot. The sole purpose of the movie is to show what Conway did, but because he pretty much gets away with it all, there is no set dénoument or conclusion. One can not even say that the movie is about character development. But Malkovich makes up for a lot of it, and the costume department did the rest by putting together some of the worst outfits in history (and yes, that's a good thing).

Overall, this is a good arthouse movie and an enjoyable one too. But it is easy to understand why this movie will not get a wide release and why it will probably only run in smaller theatres - it doesn't stick to the Hollywood conventions structure wise, which can be seen as a good thing by some) and the layout of the story makes it hard for us to care enough about the characters.

catching up to life

for some reason i feel like i'm falling behind on everything in my life. in doing the dishes, cleaning, doing laundry, painting my walls, organising my life, buying furniture, retouching my pictures. and especially on life itself. i'm busy, and i have such a long list of "to do" that i'm having a hard time enjoying the moment and simply being happy. it's very sad, especially since i've been doing some great stuff lately.

i went to my friend's wedding two weedkends ago on vancouver island. this is my first friend to get married. the wedding was beautiful, and the location at strathcona lodge was simply stunning. apart for the insane long waits for the ferry to and from the island, i had a wonderful time. i also got home with a crazy quantity of seafood... but who can complain about eating large helpings of oysters for two days in a row?

and now i've got a good quantity of tickets for big movies at the vancouver international film festival, so my evenings are mostly booked with late representations. i'm debating doing mini-reviews on the site... we'll see how it goes!

we're lucky lately in vancouver because the weather is still beautiful. but nice weather means being busy and being busy means that nothing feels quite relaxing. am i secretly wishing for the rain to return? of course i'm not. but i can't wait until i'm done what i'm supposed to do and that the weekend rolls around without any plans having been made. sometimes, not knowing and not planning can be very liberating. until then, i'm booked until the last weekend of october. yikes!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

a bloodless coup

i was really surprised today to read in the newspapers of the recent coup in thailand. i mean, aren't things going bad enough in that country already? bomb explosions a few days ago, the tsunami a few years back... you'd think that adding a coup to that list would bring a serious drop in the influx of tourists. but i guess that this was not on the military's mind when they decided to enter bangkok with tanks and encircle the government buildings.

what's scary to me is that i've been to that city and looking at some pictures i knew where it was. it felt a lot more real than if it had happened in a country i had not visited. i thought about all of the tourists and the hopeless hippies of khao san road and it gave me chills. i felt lucky that this didn't happen while i was there. i mean, the government buildings are just a few blocks away from the mecca of tourism!

picture from

there's nothing good that can come from a coup. but reading more about the issue on hand, it's hard to tell if there may not be some good in it. while it's hard to pick a side, i can't help but think that there could have been a better way. the thai people don't need any more hardship... thailand can't afford to appear as an unstable and dangerous place to visit. (on the other hand, this may rid the country of annoying tourist, leaving only the true, hardcore travelers visiting for a while... thus restoring the country to it's former, paradisiac self.)

anyhow, all i really wanted to say is that the events, especially mixed with those of last week, deeply sadden me.

you can read some interesting background information in this article by

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

5 things to eat before I die

So it seems that Helen from Grab Your Fork has found my blog and has invited me to tag myself for Melissa's 5 Things to Eat Before You Die, which in turn I will distort and pretend that it was a direct tag. You know, for sanity reasons.

There is a certain irony to this though. On one hand, I wanted this badly and I though that this was a fantastic idea. On the other hand, how can anyone come up with only 5 things! This has been torturing me all day. Ideas of what to include or exclude, and the fear that I'd miss or forget the most important things.

So, amidst all these foods and memories, these made the cut. It was incredibly hard to select only 5 and to choose these amongst so many others. These are in no particular order and may very well change in time. But today, this is my list.

1. Heirloom tomatoes. The black ones are just like heaven.

2. A real, whole lamb mechoui. I had the pleasure of attending a mechoui when I was a child, and it as marked me for life. It was at my friend's cottage, and the whole thing was a big event with tons of people attending. I remember the lamb roasting for hours, smoking and filling the air with succulent scents. I remember my best friend and I eating lamb until we were full, and then some. I remember digging into the carcass for tender meat hidden between bones. Before I die, I want to experience a mechoui again, with many friends at a lovely location in the country.

3. White nectarine. Enough said.

4. My dad's bread. If you're ever in Knowlton, QC, go to Panissimo and eat some real, damn good bread. You can't find stuff like that easily!

5. New Zealand delicacies! But specifically: A) Fish n' chips. Just North of Paihia on the North Island, one can find the best Fish n' Chips in New Zealand. And frankly, I've never had better. Never frozen, the fish is as fresh as it can get - it's even guaranteed that there's less than 2 hours between the fish being caught and it being served in your plate. Perfectly battered, immensely tender and juicy, the fish and the scallops were simply perfect. Sitting on the side of the ocean with a beer and Stray friends, it's really hard to beat. B) Melt Pizza, Auckland NZ. Melt is not conventional pizza - it's true kiwi style. Fresh ingredients and stuff we're not used to gladly get put on pizzas down there and the result is fantastic. I would gladly travel back to NZ for a taste of the Thai Chicken Satay or the Tijuana Pizza. Because they are that good. C) Tip Top ice cream. Tip Top makes the tastiest ice cream, again, with the focus being on fresh local products. The standard is called "Hokey Pokey", which is a mix of creamy vanilla ice cream with chunks of caramelised Manuka (local) honey. And then there's the passion fruit flavour, made with real fruits and seeds. And what's more? It's ridiculously cheap. D) Kumara sweet potatoes. There's no sweeter potato out there!

These next ones didn't make the cut, but they are very close to my heart: dumplings in a dirty hole-in-the-wall restaurant in China, real buttery croissant, a Bière LaRue beer inVietnam (from the bottle with the printed-on label), poutine, fresh strawberries right off the field, goat's cheese, my mom's infamous Christmas doughnuts (because even though she lost the recipe when I was a child and I never got to taste them, I'd still like to know what the hype is about!), Montreal bagels, cheese cake, roti canai in Malaysia, sticky rice on a long buse ride in Laos.

Monday, September 11, 2006

all we need is


especially so today.


whoa! i've been bored at work lately. i keep reading other people's blogs and looking a pictures on flickr and somehow i'm envious. see, for some reason people out there are traveling and enjoying life while i sit at my desk. even people at home get the blessing of being pestered with "memes" and lists to complete and the likes. the most occurring of these seem to be the "things to eat before you die" meme (which is pure genius, and i've read all 1170 entries, thank you very much) and the numerous variations on the "soundtrack of my life" (thanks victor for being the only one to include zip files!). so, while i hate memes and lists and surveys and the whole whatnot, i've realized today while sitting in my cubicle that i was dying for someone to pester me with one. why can't we bring back the days of email chain "learn more about me" style emails? why can't people tag me for stupid stuff like this? i obviously can't just start joining them on my own, can i? that would just be sad...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

guess who's back!

puce came back home last night, purring her little heart out. she's quite happy to be home and to be getting so much attention. i still wish that she'd eat more and that she wouldn't fight me so much about taking her meds, but hopefully things will get better from now on.

Friday, September 01, 2006

pretty pou,

i miss you!

get better, ok?