documentary – The Alpinist

Marc-André Leclerc died in Alaska age-25.

His death seemed inevitable.

When Alex Honnold thinks you’re crazy, you’re crazy.

Before his death, many of the top climbers would rank him best on mixed rock and ice.

Born in Nanaimo, he gravitated to becoming a dirtbag in Squamish with his girlfriend Brette Harrington, also a badass rock climber, and alpinist.

In 2015, Leclerc completed his first solo ascent of The Corkscrew on Cerro Torre. In winter. That’s one of the the toughest solo climbs ever. Yet nobody in the climbing world had ever heard of him.

Marc’s earlier solo climb of the Emperor Face of Mount Robson might have been even tougher. But he found it relaxing.

Marc didn’t care about fame or social media. Or money.

During the filming of this documentary, he got bored and took off. Climbing around the world.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

WOW – Don’t Look Up

I rejoined Netflix mainly to watch Don’t Look Up.

Brilliant.

Be sure to watch the credits. There are 3 endings.

Satire that reminded me of both Swift’s A Modest Proposal and Wag the Dog.

Something between a star-studded Hollywood blockbuster and an amateur YouTube documentary. Very original editing.

You’ve never seen DiCaprio like this. He had a lot of input on the script.

The cast is great. Best is Jonah Hill who plays a Don Jr. idiot appointed by his mother as the insanely unqualified  Chief of Staff.

The Republican tribe is urged to NOT LOOK UP at the planet busting comet. And deny what they can see with their own eyes. 😀 It parallels the American idiocracy of covid denial, for example. Apathy, incompetence and self-interest.

Denial of science.

It’s certain ReTrumplicans will hate this film.

This movie came from my burgeoning terror about the climate crisis and the fact that we live in a society that tends to place it as the fourth or fifth news story, or in some cases even deny that it’s happening, and how horrifying that is, but at the same time preposterously funny.[10]— Adam McKay, writer, director, and producer of Don’t Look Up

Toronto HOLIDAY in December

Having traveled over 90 nations, IF you asked me where to go in December … near bottom of the list would be Toronto, OnTerrible. 😀

Yet for reasons I’m too embarrassed to relate, I ended up staying in a downtown hostel for 5 nights.

ON THE UPSIDE, the Planet Traveler Hostel in Kensington Market is excellent. I knew the eclectic Kensington neighbourhood from the  Canadian television sitcom which aired on CBC Television from 1975 to 1980.

The STAR of King of Kensington was Al Waxman, a household name in those days.

Waxman died in 2001 — but there’s a statue of him in a neighbourhood park. Crowded by homeless tents.

I really did enjoy funky Kensington, however. Weird shops, cafes, and restaurants.

I went looking for the #GardenCar. And found it.

There’s a lot of bad graffiti. And some excellent art.

My best meal was slow cooked ribs and brisket from Hogtown Smoke. I brought it back to the hostel where the wine was cheap. 😀

What do you do in a big city during wet, dark winter?

Photo by Vincent Albos on Pexels.com

MOVIES. MUSEUMS. STAGE PLAY. WALK. WALK. WALK.

First stop was an immersive van Gogh exhibit.

I attended my second NBA game ever. Toronto defeated the defending Champion Bucks — who were without their MVP Giannis that night.

My first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum was a surprise. Expensive. But excellent. The space compares well against the Prado in Madrid, for example.

My highlight? Light of the Desert, the world’s largest faceted cerussite gem, weighing 898 carats (179.6 g).

By Miranda1989

Next December? … Hawaii. 😀

My Name Is Rek” 

The Disaster Artist – film 

I really enjoyed the book:

The Disaster Artist by Sestero & Bissell

Finally saw the 2017 American biographical comedy-drama movie. Also excellent.

The film chronicles an unlikely friendship between budding actors Tommy Wiseau and Sestero that results in the production of Wiseau’s 2003 film The Room, widely considered one of the worst films ever made

The Disaster Artist stars brothers James and Dave Franco as Wiseau and Sestero, respectively …

Wikipedia

Casting couldn’t have been better.

MUSICAL – In the Heights

Mike recommended a terrific film musical, produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. 

In The Heights

Based on the stage musical of the same name, the film tells the story of a corner in the predominantly Dominican Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan in New York City, where every member of the community pursues their dreams of a better life.

Corey Hawkins is my favourite. I got to like him first in 24: Legacy.

All tracks are written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Plenty of smart rap lyrics.

I love how it’s cut like a YouTube video.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Unfortunately, it was a box office bomb, grossing just $43 million against its $55 million budget and $200 million break-even point, though it was successful on HBO Max. Hopefully the success of the new West Side Story will motivate folks to check this out, as well.

It’s long at 143 minutes. Too long, I’d say.

YET I highly recommend you watch it. Fast forward through any slow sections. On review aggregator website Rotten TomatoesIn the Heights holds an approval rating of 94% based on 351 reviews with an average rating of 8.3/10.

Tom Hanks – Finch

I actually enjoyed this film.

Finch Weinberg (played by Tom Hanks), has survived the apocalypse — but just barely. He’s dying of radiation poisoning because of the depletion of the ozone. And though he tries to stay a step ahead of the worst of the resulting extreme weather events and starvation, he’s more than aware his days are numbered.

That bothers him. But more than that, he worries about what will happen to his beloved pet dog after he dies. To that end, he’s been converting his vast library into PDFs, feeding them into a computer brain that will serve as the main hard drive of a robot he’s built. …

Cult of Mac

It’s simple. Kind of charming. But no Academy Award winner. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

On The Rocks – Bill Murray

On the Rocks tells the story of a daughter and father, played by Rashida Jones and Bill Murray respectively, as they explore New York together in an attempt to mend their fractured relationship.

Bill Murray can do no wrong for me. He’s different but still entertaining in this Sofia Coppola film

Rashida is convincing in the understated role of Bill’s daughter.

Still — it’s not as good as Lost In Translation.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

I was happy to get my hands on the sequel to Thursday Murder Club.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim—the Thursday Murder Club—are still riding high off their recent real-life murder case and are looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet at Cooper’s Chase, their posh retirement village. …

The writing is witty. The old folks endearing, especially Ibrahim.

It’s a lark. Don’t take the plot — or the murders — too seriously.

And soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg. It will be more like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel than a murder mystery.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Dune on IMAX

I’ve always been a big fan of the original Dune published 1965.

Such a fan that I even loved the 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch. Recall Sting was Feyd-Rautha, Baron Harkonnen’s younger nephew. It was widely panned.

I booked an IMAX ticket online. Sat in the second row so the screen would fill my vision. I wanted to be engulfed by sand.

And I was not disappointed.

Denis Villeneuve was the right person to remake this story.

Dune is BIG. Dark. Gritty. Dusty. Beautiful.

I hiked that area of Jordan. Fond memories.

Though the cast was all excellent, Timothée Chalamet makes this film. He’s perfect as Paul Atreides. In contrast, Kyle MacLachlan was not believable in the 1984 version.  

Villeneuve stated that Chalamet was his first and only choice to play the role.

Stellan Skarsgård was intimidating as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. He reminded me of Marlon Brando when he reached 300 lbs.

 Zendaya as Chani is excellent too, but doesn’t have much screen time. She’ll be a central character in Dune part 2.

The only casting I’d question is Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Dr. Liet-Kynes. Not sure that worked.

Great soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.