Archives for category: Films


By James Pavel

I’m awfully fragile right now;  But I will do my best to transcribe what happened. 

Remember that actor I used to rave about? the ‘king of the world’ guy? – he just tossed me to the side like a Blackberry Curve this week and I am still trying to recover emotionally. 

He showed up in my home province unannounced, in one of his gas-inhaling private jets and immediately began stomping his muddy boots all over the place, screaming about how the Alberta oil and gas industry needs to come to a screeching halt. 

This is the actor that convinced a generation of boys and girls to visit Thailand and find themselves while simultaneously converting it into a western-fornicating, utopia. He’s Jay Gatsby. He’s the Aviator. He’s the coolest, model-plowing, wolf-howling, motherfucker on the planet. And yet, that doesn’t seem to matter right now. 

With him visiting, I was thinking it was going to be a weekend of scanning the voluptuous Rocky Mountains, a picnic at one of Banff’s glorious national parks and maybe even floating down the city of Calgary’s Elbow River – boy, was I off the mark.

 He completely sideswiped me. He continued banging on about the way me and my friends make a living around here. He said we should be ashamed of ourselves for the way we are irresponsibly purging from the Earth and destroying nature. 

You see Leo didn’t come to see me or any of his other adoring fans. He came to scrutinize the oil and gas sector and marvel at how supposedly awful we have treated the land we live on. 

As he roared at me that our relationship would never be the same, I sobbed like a child burying his first pet gerbil. I asked “But Leo, why didn’t you unleash this speech in Nigeria or Saudi Arabia?” 

Surely, they are are both oil-producing nations that rely heavily on the consumption of oil for profit too. 

Oh wait I remembered, he probably didn’t go there because those countries would never allow him film a millisecond of footage of their oil industry. You see, it’s way easier to come to Canada, a free country, and go on uneducated tirades about one of the world’s most vital industries without the fear of being imprisoned or worse. Must just be a coincidence.

Also kind of crazy, that James Cameron and Neil Young both gave the same guilt-riddled speech over the past few years and yet none of them, Wolf of Wall Street included, have actually provided any viable alternatives or solutions. 

I told Leo through my blubbering that it was strange that he chose Alberta to sever our bro-mance, considering that this province has the most stringent standards for oil and gas in the world and that we are regularly looking for methods to ensure even tidier and more environmentally-friendly tactics. 

Never mind that, he balked. “But, but Leo,” I managed to utter. 

“Remember during the World Cup of Soccer in Brazil when you arrived on one of the world’s most luxurious yachts and partied with some of the most beautiful creatures ever conceived? Well, that actually wouldn’t have been possible with turbines or windmill energy. That yacht actually ran off of this ‘dirty oil’ you are currently dismissing.”

He shot me an incredulous look, as if I was a character swinging an axe at him from The Gangs of New York film. I began to think that Leo was being duped into thinking he was playing a heroic character in a fantasy movie where oil isn’t necessary and the world can just get by on unicorn kisses and leprechaun dust. 

He abruptly brushed my comments off like a half-assed script emailed to him by Michael Bay. 

I decided I wasn’t going to let Leo get the last word. 

“You know Leo,” I practically screamed, “we are aware that oil and gas is not the ideal method of producing energy. But it remains the most effective, the most desirable and far and away the most successful way of running a vehicle or producing some of the world’s most important products.” 

We can’t wait for a cleaner source of energy to arrive either. But until that miracle resource arrives, we are going to work like hell to make this oil and gas as beneficial to as many nations as possible. We don’t like oil spills either, because just like you, we love the outdoors too. Hiking, biking, running – there’s more to us than just hockey and snow-mobiles. 

Listen Hollywood, we are all ears. But the whole wind turbines, nuclear energy movement? It’s proven to be a major bust. So if you are going to criticize, you better begin to bring some exceptional ideas to the Canadian table. 

I hope this is just a tiff between us Leo, I really do. But until then, maybe you are right. Maybe a break-up is the best thing for both of us. 


great apes picture


By James Pavel

The fundamental difference between the apes and the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that the apes are determined to create a just and formidable society, while the humans are predominantly concerned with regaining access to their greatest obsession – technology.

Never before did I believe that I would feel so ashamed to be on the opposing side, (team Human,) yet there I was praying that Caesar, the ape leader, would banish us from existence.

While a killer virus has wiped away the majority of the human population and the apes have flourished over the past ten winters, a group of men, women and children have remained immune to the virus and have set up camp in the heart of San Francisco. The apes settle for peace, but of course the humans seek a method of damaging this brittle communion by pleading for access to the water reservoir, which just happens to be in ape territory.

Now why must the humans have access to the reservoir? Even after a decade of just living to survive, humans are hell bent on re-constructing the damn, thereby stimulating electricity and thus resurrecting their precious technological gadgets.

It’s as though the unit of human survivors don’t actually believe they have been living, but rather have been waiting for the chance to once again have access to dozens of tools and appliances that ostensibly, make life complete.

It’s as though our tools have evolved so dramatically and dynamically, that the concept of fostering a life without our technologies would be too severe of a shock to the stimuli.

The survivors are so focused on the reservoir as their means to re-claiming their past lives that they are willing to go to war with the apes if they are not granted access. It’s a blinding addiction and one that has such a strangle-hold on their desires that they are literally willing to die for it.

Although it has been ten winters since the dramatic shift in Earth’s hierarchy took place, the humans have progressed very little in the decade of salvation.

It’s possible that present-day civilization would have a harder time recovering from a global crisis because we exist in such a wealth of riches. Someone recovering from the Great Potato Famine or the Black Plague would no doubt be devastated by the loss of life, but their possessions would not have been depleted in such vast numbers as someone from the modern day. To lose not only our loved ones, but our hot showers, iPods and NFL Sundays may leave us in a state of infinite disarray.

Kerri Russell’s character, Ellie, loses a daughter throughout the original ordeal and although it is an understandably sensitive subject, she appears to have come to terms with the death. Yet, she is still possessed to help with the water reservoir functionality, to the point where she volunteers for a trip to Ape Village, where death is only but a few slivers from certainty. So despite the dangers that she is well aware of, the opportunity to flick a switch or plug something in and gain results is a salivating opportunity for her.

In a sense, her love of technology has come to trump even her affinity for her own human flesh.

Dreyfus, Gary Oldman’s character, is a pillar of calamity and a symbol of hope yet is finally rattled out of his stoic state when the electricity is revived and his iPad glows to life. Yes, it is the pictures of what we presume are his two boys that ultimately bring him to sobs, but it is also the knowledge that his iPad has been revived that is just as exhilarating as the contents of this modern device.

The apes recognize that there exists victory in surviving another day. Humans seem to take the breaths of life for granted, even in a state of total destruction, because they have drank from the rivers of gigabytes and memory cards for such an inordinate period of time that it has altered what we deem essential to a satisfactory existence.


By James Pavel

  1. Channing Tatum’s armpits. Dude, we get that you shave your upper pubes, which is either practical or the second most metrosexual trait you could have next to wearing capris and waxing your eyebrows, but do we need a close-up of your naked under-arms for the final 15 minutes of the movie?
  2. Jonah Hill’s complete indifference. Hill’s material in this movie gives the impression that after emailing his four best comedic bits and antidotes, he decided to get mind-numbingly ripped with Seth Rogan. Stoned out of his skull, he then emailed a fifth strip of half-written, barely legible ideas to the directors of 22 Jump Street who incredibly, decided to green-light his material. He made his pay-day, but surrendered some of the brownie points he received for taking a pay cut to star in the legitimately hilarious, Wolf of Wall Street.
  3. It has no depth. Nor does it have Johnny Depp,  who although has made seven Tim Burton movies too many, would have balked at the idea of a sequel to this dim-witted ploy for money.
  4. Not only robbing the jokes from the first movie, but admitting to doing it repeatedly throughout this clogged dumpster of a film, making me feel like an absolute moron for paying to see this instead of just having a friend download it off of some hell-bound, pirate-ran website.
  5. The dorm room twins. What in the blue heavens do these two add to this project? I don’t think I’ve ever loathed two characters for doing so little. The worst is that they chirp Hill and Tatum for looking older than college students, despite both of them looking like the older brothers of Barack Obama.
  6. Making me wish this suddenly became a college football movie starring Channing Tatum because the scenes where he plays a wide receiver are by far the most exciting and believable of this wasteland, shit storm of a movie.
  7. Ruining the momentum both of these main characters currently have going for them. Hill is hot off of Wolf of Wall Street and Tatum is likely to elevate his game drastically with the release of FoxCatcher.
  8. Making Spring Break in Mexico look fun when every person over the age of 21 knows it’s a penis fiesta, which isn’t good when you’re into bikinis and vaginas.
  9. ‘Suns out, guns out’ tank top. So 2012.
  10. Making college parties look exactly like high school parties.
  11. Suggesting that the main difference between high school and college is this: In high school you don’t know what you want to do with your life except that you want to make money and in college you discover what you want to do, except you know that you will make no money doing it.
  12. The jokes about Hill and Tatum being old. It made me feel old which then made me force the remainder of the 10-pound bag of popcorn down my larynx like I hadn’t eaten since Christmas.
  13. Puka shell necklaces. Don’t even dare to try bringing that atrocity back.
  14. The funniest parts are in the previews.
  15. It’s worse than Anchorman 2 and I thought that would be impossible.
  16. That red mohawk. In what twisted universe would that ever be cool?
  17. The excessive use of the F-bomb. I love to drop the F-bomb, I love to hear the F-bomb and yes, I even enjoy to F-bomb. But when literally every fifth word rhymes with duck, it becomes rapidly trite.
  18. Ice Cube’s one-dimensional acting.
  19. Suggesting that Jonah Hill could sleep with Ice Cube’s fictional, but smoking hot daughter.
  20. The laughing, stoned hyenas in front of me that made me want to strangle them with every ounce of energy in my popcorn-fueled body.
  21. It being incomprehensibly worse than it’s predecessor.
  22. Delivering me not one, solid, red-faced laughter explosion.

Tom Cruise

By James Pavel

I saw the latest Tom Cruise movie in an almost empty theatre last night.

The seats were left vacant and cold and not because the film, Edge of Tomorrow received poor reviews. In fact, the film was a futuristic bullet train of entertainment that unfortunately, very few can attest to.

For some time now, audiences no longer view Tom Cruise as the ultimate movie hero, but instead as a psychotic, religious zealot. For the past five years, he has felt the repercussions of this shattered relationship each time he has starred in a new movie.

My dear, fellow movie goers, it is time we make amends.

You know his career and his voice, but you do not know the man himself. You have likely felt as though you have made eye contact with him four dozen times in your life. You have surely seen him dance in his tighty whities. But you do not know him in any manner beyond the silver screen.

Voracious movie audiences need to finally erase what they claim to know about Tom Cruise the person, and start fresh with the mega movie star that we have now neglected since the turn of the decade.

You need to forgive the actor and forget about his bizarre personal life.

In the realm of butter-paved popcorn and 2 litre drums of pop, the entertainment is all that matters and nobody accelerates the human pulse like Tom Cruise.

Edge of Tomorrow, is likely to be yet another flop for Cruise, an unfathomable statistic 15 years ago. And yet the quality of films he chooses has not wavered. His latest choice pursues the same intellectual avenue as Leonardo Dicaprio’s Inception, and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Looper. All three movies could only exist in the present day because of their blindingly bright concepts and neck-twisting themes that focus on the potential of the mind intertwined with science.

It’s cutting edge cinematography, but audiences can’t be moved to forgive poor Tommy. We loathe Cruise like he slept with our younger sister and never called. We pretend to know him because of the toxic pollution that exists on newsstands with false rumours and outlandish tall tales of his social life.

The man we pretend to know everything about is actually Thomas Cruise Mapother IV and although, he might be two Scientology sermons away from the coo coo house, this shouldn’t matter.

We have become so enamoured with celebrity gossip that we have actually allowed it to cloud the very method that we’ve come to know the name of someone famous in the first place. We do not know who Cruise is because he openly supports one of the most contentious religions in the world, or because he enjoys pouncing up and down on a couch like a Ritalin-needy child.

His name is embedded in the pop culture lexicon because he made Top Gun one of the decade-defining movies of the 80s. His name is synonymous with acting because of his spine-tingling performances in Jerry Maguire, and The Last Samurai. And yet we have held a grudge against him because he might have been a mind-control freak-a-zoid in his relationship with Katie Holmes. We stick our noses up because we don’t agree with his religious beliefs, despite him never actually attempting to persuade any audience member to convert to his preferred union in any role he has chosen.

The person that you do know is the movie/action star, Tom Cruise. He is what should matter. We should judge him by the quality of his craft, and not by the recent US Magazine headline.

Let him back into your life. Let Tom Cruise the movie hero save the world again and again, like he has for the past three decades.

You don’t have to pick up the phone. You don’t need to Facebook him. Just pay to see Tom Cruise’s latest film and gently whisper, “I forgive you.”


By James Pavel

Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech for best actor at the 2014 Academy Awards exuded advice, wisdom, and comedy and thrusted a lifetime of charm into a perfectly-executed victory dissertation that will be remembered as one of the finest ever bestowed on the Academy.

I would like to thank blah, blah, blah, blah and blah. That is what 80 per cent of nominees sound like to audiences watching the Oscars across the globe. Nobody knows who your agent is, nor do they care. It’s not that these people don’t matter, it’s just that they don’t matter to us.

Which is likely just one of the reasons McConaughey’s speech was earth-shatteringly brilliant. He didn’t thank a group of people who’s names and duties are exclusive to his knowledge and a handful of others. He didn’t ramble on about how grateful he was to some random production company for giving him the chance to hone his craft.

No, he instead began by discussing his passed-away father, who he pictured looking down below drinking a Miller Light and rejoicing in his son’s victory. It was personal, but still painted a visceral portrait of a proud father that almost everyone can crack a smile over.

He then acknowledged his belief in God, but not in a self-righteous manner, but in the form of a purist, one who is able to ignore the question marks and deceit that revolve around religion and focus only on the tranquility and hope that faith can bring. The quick Hail Mary wasn’t arrogant or obnoxious, but just a man refusing to believe that his incredible fortune has not just been the result of blind chance, but perhaps a greater being.

He praised his family, but not in the over-the-top, awkward slime fest we’ve become accustomed to, but in an almost adorable, “I’m the luckiest guy int the world” method.

Finally, he closed his speech with two references to his two most iconic and glorified roles. He began that ridiculous humming sound courtesy of his coke-addicted, booze-throttling role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and then gave stoners, hippies and aging hipsters the ode of a life time by uttering the one-liner of the century: “Alright, alright, alright,” via “Dazed and Confused.”


By James Pavel

 Critics have hammered Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest work, The Great Gatsby with negative criticism but it hasn’t stopped the film from bringing in an impressive $51 million in its first weekend.  

 The critical blundering is completely unjustified because even watching DiCaprio do absolutely nothing is grander than watching a normal man attempt amazing feats.

 The film is a glamourous spectacle, with wild, ostentatious parties, elaborate and decorative outfits and slick haircuts that would look just splendid in today’s time-traveling fashion lineup .If you haven’t read the classic novel, “The Great Gatsby,” then you wouldn’t know that it is about a man who has seemingly everything, who has accomplished even the wildest of ambitions, but who does it all for the love and affection of a woman named Daisy.

 It is an electric and dreamy love story, which is likely what critics disliked so vehemently. When a regular gentleman explains their quest for the hand of a lady, it can be energizing and thrilling, but also repetitive and glib. But when Leo falls in love, it is never anything short of enchanting.

 Everything exuded by Leo is with the passion of a thousand poets, a man who is now a master of emotion and sincerity. He appears almost blindingly dashing in each scene, leaving men grateful that he is restrained to mingling only with only supermodels and Hollywood celebs and not us mere mortals.

 The 3-D experience is also stunning, as it provides the most engaging and stimulating visuals since “Avatar.” Gatsby isn’t for the traditional summer audience who are only moved by relentless car chases and meaningless dialogue.

 Gatsby is for those appreciative of love and aware of its ability to possess the soul and force it to conquer anything in order to attain the true and undeniable love of a single man or woman.

 An actor who has played so many historic characters would often grow tiresome or almost unbelieving to an audience because of such a mass assortment of aliases, but not Leo.

 He is as visceral as Gatsby as he is Jack in Titanic. He is as much a tourist on a beach in Thailand as he is a South African excited by blood diamonds. The only element that doesn’t seem real is Leo himself. He is and always will be, the king of the world.


By Séamus Smyth

5. Denzel Washington

Nobody communicates such paramount emotion with only a concentrated stare like Denzel. Washington can play the craziest mofo on the planet (see Training Day,) or a beyond-loyal father in John Q, all with a determination scarcely seen in Hollywood. With every film, Washington demands that the audience steps inside a world of uncensored truth and humility. He can carry any movie because he just doesn’t stop caring, which forces the audience to temporarily mimic his intensity.

4. Matt Damon

Not only one of the most sincere, but easily one of the most intelligent actors of the decade. He managed to overcome the ridicule that bestowed him in the cartoon-comedy Team America, and has continued to remain one of the most respected actors of the era. Damon can be red-faced serious, but also knee-slapping hilarious because unlike Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio, Damon comes across as the dude banging on your backdoor with a case of beer in tow.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio

Nobody believed him when he roared “I’m the King of the world,” as his ascent to the throne was a long and arduous path. But DiCaprio was the poster boy that refused to be type-casted after a career-defining performance in Titanic. He wisely and patiently waited for the premier directors to start buzzing him. And they did. Spielberg enlisted Leo in Catch me if you can, and Martin Scorsese would groom DiCaprio to be a re-engineered Bobby DeNiro for a new generation. His one and only downfall is his persistent, almost obsessive decision to continue to choose movies that he thinks the Academy Awards will favour. It has resulted in Leo sometimes choosing roles that leave the crowd yearning for a mattress.

2. Christian Bale

He is the American psycho. He is the Terminator. And least forgettable of all, he is the Batman. Being able to list these three titles on one’s resume not only equals immediate job offerings, but earns instantaneous credit from any respectable man or woman.  Bale doesn’t just seek out strange and complex characters, he craves them. He willingly lost a dangerous amount of weight, (see The Machinist) to gaining so much muscle that the Directors of Batman actually had to ask him to slim down a bit, which all demonstrates his ruthless dedication to his craft. There is a natural mystery surrounding Bale, a trait that can’t be bought or taught, but just a divine-inserted gene located deep in his DNA.

1. Brad Pitt

What separates Pitt from the wolf pack is his persistent knack to refuse any role that he does not perceive as a challenge. His list of already iconic characters should put him in the same paragraph as Brando and De Niro, expect not even these two can compete with the range that Pitt travels. If he had begun to flop after Seven and Fight Club, Pitt would still be considered an icon, no longer how brief that period was. But he didn’t stall at these two aphotic sagas, in fact, quite the opposite.  Pitt decided to fly back in time for Troy, adopt a harsh, almost indecipherable accent in Snatch, and even hang out with Julia Roberts in Mexico. It’s not cliché, but a matter of fact, that Pitt is getting astonishingly better with age. Babel, Inglorious Bastards, and The Assassination of Jesse James, are all respectable candidates for his best work and all equate to the most polished and decadent selection of films of any actor over the past ten years.