Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Is it just me, or is Google Chrome smoother sailing than Internet Explorer when moving down the River Internet?

(I've had Chrome on my laptop for a while and, due to habit, I have always clicked on Explorer when starting my journey.)

Monday, September 19, 2011


I have missed Sun News Network (here in Canada) in the last few weeks. Too lazy and cheap to get a converter box for my analogue television.

Good news, and a friend suggested this recently, is that the super news network is available online, here...

Oh, my. Nothing has changed. Still the amateur outfit it was when I last visited them three weeks ago. Technical glitches galore. (A few weeks ago I had a coffee with a university student friend of mine. He too has noticed the abundance of errors: "It's like, someone just press that GD button!")

It's still loaded. What is more interesting is that the commercials are still the 'block-booking' type: Pet spray; portable cooler; Dr. So-and-So's foot odour shoe insert. There are still no 'regular' commercials. A part of me would like to contact the sales guy, feigning interest in buying air time. Hey, I'll get back to you. It's just too tempting. My guess is he will be very cautious, if not defensive.

Before I go, I must suggest you tune in and seek out, or wait for, the 'remotes'. They are so amateurish that they remind me of when we had to do the same thing back in school, when we booked the Portapack units. Yep, that bad. (When I told this story to a former film/tv student friend of mine, recently, he almost sprayed a mouthful of coffee over me. I must be careful.)

Dear Sun News Network: Fire Alex Pierson. She embarrasses you, and herself. "I thought I was really dumb and not getting it." Heard seconds ago. Hire someone smart and pleasant, like Genevieve Tomney. Maybe your can lure her away from the CBC. Nah, that won't work. Why would she leave a real news organization to take a massive step down?

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Normally when I travel, I save most of the complaints for me: "Cripes, why don't you leave for Heathrow at the last minute? It's not as though you risk missing your flight." (Last time I did just that, I got stuck in the middle of the middle of an Air Canada Boeing 747. The guy to my immediate right was just a miserable individual -- or maybe he was smart and wanted nothing to do with me. The guy to my immediate left was an Art History professor, so he was really interesting to speak with since I am no slouch in that area (he seemed to agree with my summation of 'Early Christian Art', with an enthusiastic response). We chatted for the bulk of the flight. Still, it would have been nice to have had a starboard-side window instead of the World's Happiest Man.)

So!... How about people who complain to their travel agents about their recent trip? As detailed in today's Toronto Star, there are some bizarre complaints on record.

My three favourite are these...

* “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, it only took the Americans three hours to get home.” (Note from Barry: I'm convinced, and have been for years, that many people have never picked up an Atlas. Use the Internet for something besides wanking.)

* “There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad.” (Note from Barry: I'm guessing that the editor of this article replaced "to" with "too".)

* “Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.” (Note from Barry: No comment.)

Check out the other 17 complaints...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Two days ago I mentioned the 1963 feature film PT-109. The director was Leslie Martinson. Three years later, Mr. Martinson directed the feature-film-from-a-tv-series, Batman. I saw it again a few years ago. It is actually a fun movie, even to someone like myself who grew up with the classic series (starring the impeccably-cast Adam West and Burt Ward).

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"

I did not realize that Leslie Martinson was still around...

JOHN CALLEY (1930 - 2011)

John Calley, a studio executive who was in the thick of the upheaval in late 1960s American cinema, has died. He was executive at Warner Bros from 1968 to 1981. He more recently spent seven years at Sony Pictures.

Watch a documentary on film directors like Stanley Kubrick or the 'Movie Brats' (George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, etc), and there he is, in all his soft-spoken glory.

He looked like a nice and well-balanced guy, for someone who was in a pressure cooker of a job.

Obit from The Hollywood Reporter...

Wikipedia entry on John Calley...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I only just learned that actor/comedienne/beauty Sarah Silverman is here in Toronto. That's right, she's in Sarah Polley's new film which is premiering at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Hmmm... the TIFF 'grounds' are mere minutes away by foot.

Gotta go!

Sarah Silverman and Gross Guy...


For someone who considers himself a Star Trek fan (original series only) it's pretty amazing that I had forgotten that the famous show was celebrating its 45th anniversary, on September 8th, until I picked up the Globe and Mail later that day. No folks, I did not have a calendar on the wall with a run-up or countdown to September 8th, 2011, marked in red ink. That surprises even me.

The first episode to air, even though it was not the first one of regular series production (after the two pilots), was "The Man Trap". With great journalistic integrity, not to mention a placement on 'page 2', the Globe printed a frame from the actual episode; and not from one of the movies, which can be the usual lazy photo editor's treatment. (Jeez, I know that but I cannot remember the anniversary. Sorry, my head's been in Jersey Shore these last few months.)

By the way, and it's a big one, although NBC premiered Star Trek on September 8th, 1966, in the United States, here in Canada, CTV beat them to the punch by running "The Man Trap" on September 6th. Americans living near the Canadian border could watch the exciting new NBC color series in "Colour".

A look at Star Trek's 45th...

Nice timeline/historical graphic on Trek...

CLIFF ROBERTSON (1925 - 2011)

Two days ago I was leafing through the book "Steven Spielberg - a biography" and read a bit on a young Spielberg visiting a soundstage at Universal where the feature film PT-109 was being shot. The tour group was kicked out as cameras were about to roll on an effects scene.

Cliff Robertson played a young John F. Kennedy in PT-109 (1963).

This morning I read the sad news that the 'actor with a long career' passed away yesterday.

I will post something later today when I get more time.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


Things have been slow in, or rather, from, this corner of the Internet. Life is taking over.

However; I have three movies lined up for this weekend. They are...

* Martin (1977)
* A Boy and His Dog (1975)
* Living In Oblivion (1995)

... I'll let you know.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Last week I polished off the 200 minute long documentary on super-indie filmmaker John Cassavetes, A Constant Forge - The Life and Art of John Cassavetes.

In typical Criterion style, the production was outstanding and superior. A doc of 2.33 hours might seem like a long time (given that talking-heads can take over the screen), but due to the thousands of stills -- not to mention 16mm film -- taken of Mr. Cassavetes and company over the years, and clips from his movies, the running time is balanced nicely.

I realized while watching A Constant Forge that I have never seen film or photographs of teacher and critic Ray Carney. For some reason I did not picture him like that... more like Oscar Levant, I suppose. Funny how we form mental images of people based on their reputations, careers, and attitudes.

One of my favourite films of Cassavetes' is The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976); as outlined in the doc, it is not exactly considered a highpoint in the director's filmography, critically or otherwise, but for some of us, it's a fine film.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Here in Canada we switched over exclusively to digital broadcast television. As I receive over-the-air signals via rabbit ears and run an 'analogue' (cool name, eh?) television set, I now cannot watch any telly.

That's too darn bad. Not that I watched much before. But....