May Schedule – Comedy Calendar!

May is just around the corner and a few people have been asking me what my May stand-up schedule is looking like!

I’m hoping to update this schedule and add a few more shows – and if that’s the case I’ll just re-post the updated page on Twitter.

Absolute

Monday, May 5, 2014. 8:30 PM – Absolute Comedy. 412 Preston. 613-233-8000 for reservations. $4.00 cover.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014. 8:30 PM – Connor’s Gaelic Pub Ottawa. 313 Bank St. It is a pub with a pub atmosphere… not your typical comedy club… but still… a lot of fun… and cheap pitchers! No cover. No reservations needed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014. 8:30 PM – Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa. 292 Elgin Street. 613- 236-5233 for reservations. $6.00 cover.

Monday, May 12, 2014. 7:30 PM – The Brass Monkey Ottawa. 250 Greenbank Rd. This is another pub. Never been here before, but always excited to try new venues! No cover. No reservations needed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014. 8:30 PM – Connor’s Gaelic Pub Ottawa. 313 Bank St. It is a pub with a pub atmosphere… not your typical comedy club… but still… a lot of fun… and cheap pitchers! No cover. No reservations needed.

Once again, hoping to have a few more shows this month and will update as/if the schedule changes.

Hope to see some of you there!

Advertisements

Non-Stop – A Movie Review

Neeson with GunNon-Stop reunites Liam Neeson with director Jaume Collet-Serra who previously collaborated on the mind-numbing “action” Bourne Identity’esque film Unknown. The film promises to be a “non-stop” action ride with Liam Neeson playing air marshal Bill Marks, a known alcoholic living a life of regret, because nothing sounds smarter than giving a known alcoholic suffering from severe depression a gun and a badge to fly all over the world. And as it turns out, that’s exactly why Bill Marks is targeted by an unknown terrorist who is going to kill a passenger on the airplane every 20 minutes until he (or she) has been wired 150 million dollars to an offshore trust.

Neeson PartnerThe film then spends nearly half of its hour and 45 minute runtime trying to plant the seeds of doubt in the audiences mind that Neeson’s character may actually just be crazy and there may not even be a terrorist threat more real than himself. Non-Stop is not the worst movie I’ve seen in recent memory, that award goes to the McG shit-storm known as 3 Days to Kill, but Non-Stop does come close.

PassengersThe first cardinal sin of Non-Stop is that it’s boring. It tries to be clever and original, yet I just stopped caring; about anyone or anything. To me, it didn’t matter if Bill Marks was crazy or not, I just needed the film to pick up.

Julianne MooreNon-Stop does have a decent supporting cast to back it up, including Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery and Corey Stoll, recently of House of Cards fame. Yet, it is unfortunate to admit that where the film falls flat is with Mr. Neeson’s pedantic delivery. It is a shame, because I like to consider myself one of Liam Neeson’s biggest fans, I once (no lie) spent an entire afternoon practicing how I would greet him and shake his hand, as there was a miniscule chance that I would meet him later that evening. I, however, had the misfortune of missing Mr. Neeson and never got my moment to comment on how large his hands are. In honour of Mr. Neeson walking through Non-Stop in a John Cusack formulaic way I have now decided to create the Twitter hashtag #Neesonfail in hopes that he won’t do it again!

Aside from Mr. Neeson and a script that clearly didn’t need the 5 writing credits it has to its name, the true flaws in this film come with spoilers. SO… this is your warning. If you just want to see what I give this movie out of 5, scroll to the bottom, if you don’t care about the film being spoiled, let’s continue.

StollSPOILERS START NOW!

The first moment is actually in favour of Bill Marks being crazy. He receives a text message that says he needs to set his watch for 20 minutes because someone will die in that time. When Marks touches his watch for the first time it automatically is already set to start a 20 minute countdown, no preparation needed.

Fast forwarded 50 dull minutes and we get to a scene where the real terrorist is revealed. Yet just moments before the real terrorist is revealed he helps Bill Marks (who is being attacked by numerous passengers on the airplane), stops his imminent death, and then proceeds to give him a gun (which is later used against him). The moment that this man was revealed to be the terrorist I wanted to scream because there was absolutely no reason for him to step in and help Marks in anyway and the movie would have actually ended with his initial intentions intact.

Neeson Hurts PeopleSpeaking about who the terrorist ends up being, it ends up being a slap in the face about how simple the story actually is. There aren’t any real twists and turns once you know the story, there’s nothing captivating about it to make you think it may be a good movie to sit down and watch again, it’s almost offensive at how simple it truly is, yet the writers try to dilute the simpleness by making the villain(s) preachy as if their mission is meant to be a political statement that the viewer should walk away and think about. It was just maddening.

SPOILERS END NOW!

Non Stop PosterAll in all this film was a disappointment on the same level as Flightplan, if you even bother to remember that p.o.s. film.  This film is pretty much Flightplan with a bomb, only Jodie Foster was more enjoyable as a main character, if you could ever believe that.

1.5 #Neesonfails out of 5.

Check out Non-Stop on IMDB.

Check out Non-Stop’s Trailer.

Underbelly – Black Sheep Theatre – On Stage in Ottawa

On StageExciting news on the Ottawa Theatre front: I will be taking in and reviewing Black Sheep Theatre’s Presentation of Underbelly this weekend. Underbelly is based on the contributions of Beat Writer William S. Burroughs to the literary world.

As with most of my theatre reviews my review of Underbelly will be written for On Stage: Ottawa’s Theatre Arts Magazine. My previous On Stage: Ottawa’s Theatre Arts Magazine reviews include: Detroit & This is War

Underbelly PosterMake sure you check out our production preview of Underbelly here.

Make sure you continue to check here for the review. It should go up by Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the latest.

Update (March 2, 2014). The review is live.

Thanks for supporting Ottawa theatre.

Ain’t No Other: Never Really Broke – A Music Review

cover

Ain’t No Other, a 16 year veteran to the underground rap scene, prides himself on making original music that compliments his voice, his musical talents, and the people he brings into his projects. Hailing from Virginia, his first album was released in 1998 and throughout the years since has experimented with different musical genres, collaborators and projects. Ain’t No Other’s latest offering comes in the form of a 13-track album titled Never Really Broke.

Right off the bat it’s obvious that Ain’t No Other (A.N.O) is a musical force to be reckoned with. The first rack Devour is full of sophisticated beats, talented backing, and rich, intelligent lyrics. A.N.O’s voice is soft and mellow, but it fits like a puzzle piece perfectly into the seam work that holds his music together. One of A.N.O’s greatest talents is making everything mesh; sometimes the underground scene produces shoddy music that comes off quite unpolished and uneven. A.N.O makes sure that everything comes together perfectly and fits together snuggly. The flow between chorus and verse are impeccable and really accent his already cultured talents.

A.N.O.Another thing that A.N.O is great at is collaborating with other amazing talents. Streets of Rage features Jonzie and while it takes a little while to get going it sets up a musical style that is continuous on this album.  The track is set up with a video game voiceover, and as the album progresses it’s obvious that a lot of the musical inspiration for the back-beats to the album come from classic video games from the early to mid ‘90’s.

A.N.O. really puts a strong focus into his lyrics. It’s evident throughout the album that he makes sure his lyrics are strong and the rhymes all work together before he builds anything else into his music. I really liked the third track on the album Stay Away (Selfish) which starts off with very strong female vocals singing a tormented chorus that would fit perfectly into the soundtrack of an “all is lost moment” in any sort of romantic film.

Aint No Other and Monte SingsAnother collaborator is Phil A Gee on Hoodie On, which has phenomenal beats. A.N.O. has true talent when it comes to setting up the beats to each of his tracks. His rapping is rustic and raw; it takes me back to what came out in the early 90’s. There are some songs that feature references to other mainstream rappers and artists, yet after taking in this album I’d much rather listen to A.N.O. than some of the artists mentioned, there’s just something purer to his music and sound.

A few tracks that really stuck out to me included The Man which creates a connection between listener and musician via the biographical nature of the track. The transition between The Man and Heat vs. Lakers is also one of the best musical transitions between songs I think I have ever heard on an album. Class 5 and Hard on Myself are also great tracks.

A.N.O. Cover PhotoEvery so often I notice similarities between A.N.O. and other rappers and R&B artists. At one point I heard a touch of DMX, at another point I heard some Provizion, and even still I could hear resonations of Usher and even jazz great Trombone Shorty. Regardless of whomever his inspirations are A.N.O. truly does end up standing out on his own as a true artist.

Never Really Broke is definitely an album that will enhance any music library, especially if you are interested at all in the underground rap scene. For more on A.N.O. check out his Facebook page, his music videos on YouTube, and his Twitter account!

Pompeii – A Movie Review

Pompeii with Mount VesuviusTypically whenever I hear that Paul W.S. Anderson is directing another movie I don’t feel extremely optimistic for the future of cinema. When I heard that a film was being shot about Mount Vesuvius’s eruption and destruction of Pompeii I was ecstatic. Then I found it was being directed by Anderson. This is where I went to battle with myself. The content could be good. He’s just taking history and characters out of history and making a movie. But… it’s Paul W.S. Anderson, the director of trite, including but not limited a handful of those Resident Evil movies, Death Race, The Three Musketeers, and Alien vs. Predator. I cautiously went to see the film… and I’m still battling with myself over that choice.

Kit HaringtonThe story follows Milo (Kit Harington), a young Horseman from Britannia who is captured by the Romans. He’s trained to be a gladiator, and is a damn good one at that. When he’s transferred to Pompeii to fight in the gladiator arenas there he meets the young noble-women Cassia (Emily Browning) and its love at first sight. Pitted against a man who would become his best friend in an arena which is hosting games in honour of the man who killed his parents, Milo must not only survive the arena, but also try and find a way to survive the wrath of the gods as Pompeii is destroyed around him.

Kit and AdweleI really didn’t hate this movie, which is weird because I really thought I was going to. The character development is actually tolerable. Kit Harington and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje are both phenomenal actors in the film and develop a great chemistry which is quite enjoyable to watch. Emily Browning does very little for the film, and is probably one of the weakest actors in this film, so we’ll ignore her for now. The fight scenes are really well choreographed as well, and I found myself caught up in what felt like an elongated PG-13 episode of Spartacus.

Kiefer SutherlandWhere Pompeii fails is in its lack of originality. It borrows from everything. We have a dash of Titanic, Dante’s Peak, even a scene that felt like it was taken out of 2012, and a little bit of the horse whisperer. The film is extremely tame in its depiction of the violence and sexuality of the time. The gladiator bouts do act themselves out like fight scenes from the graphically guilty pleasure that is Spartacus, yet the movie fails to really capture its full potential here. Sure, by putting it at a PG-13 rating more people are legally allowed to see it, but by amping up the blood, guts, sex and gore you could definitely get a broader appeal across the board and turn this romantic disaster-action flick into a balls-to-the-wall action disaster extravaganza! PLUS you already have Emily Browning on the cast and she’s already proven she’s willing to bare all in much shittier movies than this!

The Water Way of PompeiiThe film did follow a handful of disaster movie clichés, yet they didn’t seem as boring as one would expect. The multiple ominous shots of Mount Vesuvius getting ready to blow its load did get a little heavy handed at times, BUT, it turns out that some people don’t actually know the story of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. A buddy made a joke before the film: “spoiler alert – things are going to get explosive.” And the people behind us had no idea what he was talking about. They, much older than myself, had no idea that Pompeii included an exploding volcano. (I guess that’s a spoiler alert if you refuse to read history books).

End is NightAnother thing that didn’t sit well with me was Keifer Sutherland’s flat and monochromatic performance. If anyone outshone Emily Browning for worst actor in the film it was Sutherland, who’s 2-dimensional villain really didn’t seem to have any real motivation behind his actions.

 

The Coliseum of Pompeii

I know there are a lot of negative things I’ve focused on in this review, and I haven’t even mentioned yet how terrible the 3D is, BUT, I still found myself enjoying this film. This is where the battle in myself continues to rage. By all measures this is the type of movie that I would hate. This is the type of movie I would put all of my effort into ripping apart, yet the negatives don’t seem so negative when I found myself actually enjoying the whimsical plot, the fight sequences, the acting and chemistry and some of the special FX. Pompeii isn’t going to do so well in the box office, it’s going to sit middle of the line for a lot of people, but it’s a solid film to pick up on rental or watch on The Movie Network.

 

Pompeii Poster3 Spartacus Rip-Off’s out of 5.

Check out Pompeii on IMDB! 

Check out Pompeii’s Trailer! 

All Hail the King – A Short Film Review

SlatteryIt is a must that before you sit down to take in the Marvel One Shot All Hail the King that you see Iron Man 3. Sure, All Hail the King only clocks in at just over 10 minutes, yet its entire premise is centred on the events of Trevor Slattery acting as The Mandarin. The setup is simple. A journalist has arrived at the prison where Slattery is being held and is interviewing him to try and find out who the real Trevor Slattery is, and why he felt the need to take on the acting role of The Mandarin.

all hail the kingWe meet up with Slattery, played by the ever-talented and very funny Sir Ben Kingsley, in the mess hall where he is kept alive by an ever-growing fan base. Everyone knows who Slattery is, yet they still refer to him as The Mandarin. The whole exploration into Slattery is to expose that when an actor stays in a role for so long he begins to personify the role in his (or her) day-to-day life.

MandarinWhile Slattery is raking in the flattery, not everyone is happy. For comic fans out there it seems that the real Mandarin is horrified that a fool such as Slattery has taken his name and his legend and made such a mockery of it and decides he wants Slattery to pay.

The One-Shot is short and its fun. However, I found myself questioning what the point of this short film was. The revelation for why this short is important is revealed within the last few minutes, but only serves to be of any substance if the story is prolonged and made into either a stand-alone film, or another adventure for Iron Man or The Avengers.

Justin HammerAll Hail the King also has a great cameo by Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, who you may remember from the extremely lack lustre Iron Man 2. All in all, the short is great fun for Marvel fans and hopefully sets up the stage for the real Mandarin to take his throne.

all-hail-the-king Check out All Hail the King on IMDB!