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Archive for November, 2010

MONDOcomics #82: November 24, 2010

Posted by Comics On November - 26 - 2010

Hey there MONDOcomics readers.

If you read the internet like I do you might have already looked down and realized that this isn’t your typical MONDOcomics. You might have feelings of panic, anxiety and disorientation — those are natural. They will pass as you come to love our new, permanent-for-now format. After 81 weeks of snapshot reviews, it was time for a change. Personally, I was getting burnt out trying to be uniquely witty on four to seven different titles every week. Also, sometimes there’s only so much you can say about your favourite guilty pleasures. So, we’ve decided to open it up and change the format drastically. Now, it’s up to each writer what they want to write about that week. That means you might get a long dissertation from Isaac one week or a series of short hit-pieces from me or a couple of picks of the week from Owen. The idea is to write about what we want to write about. Expect experimentation, new formats and love-ins. Hope you enjoy.

Amazing Spider-Man #649
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Carlos Cuevas (i), Edgar Delgado (c). Marvel Comics.

While I’m still concerned about how quickly everything has been handed over to Peter Parker for this storyline (a high paying science job when he most needed it), this problem is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they’ve added a very intriguing wrinkle — the return of Phil Urich. Beyond it being a nice nod to history, I didn’t think much of Phil’s appearance last issue, but now I realise he was in the exact same position as Parker, aimless and just scraping by. In this issue his fortunes change, arguably just as fantastically as Peter’s, but along the criminal alignment. I mean, Phil even has an Uncle Ben of his own! Phil’s story has always been told in relation to Spider-Man’s — now they’re taking that story and making Phil a dark version of Peter. Naturally there’ll be a fair amount of people who’ll cry foul at this; if they were a big fan of Phil as the heroic Goblin either in the past or not-too-distant, “what if” future of the Spider-Girl series, or they may have a problem with him just having a sonic scream when before it was a hardware ability in his mask. Maybe that’d only bother me. Regardless, I can understand not liking this characterization, but I’m still really impressed by this move from a thematic stand point. S’alright? S’alright.  — Isaac Mills Read the rest of this entry »

Erin Wells, Anastasia Phillips. Photo by Tim Matheson.

Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge
An Electric Company Theatre Production presented by Canadian Stage
Written by Kevin Kerr
Directed by Kim Collier
Choreography by Crystal Pite
Runs until December 19 @ Bluma Appel

By Kerry Freek

You’d think the promise of murder and nudity would be a recipe for a great show. Rather, the plot portion of Studies in Motion is a disappointingly bland imagining of the life of a potentially fascinating individual: Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), one of the founding fathers of modern-day cinema. Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Reviewed

Posted by film On November - 22 - 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Directed by David Yates
Warner Bros, 2010

By Sean Kelly

I should probably start off by saying that I have never read any of the Harry Potter novels. This was conscious decision on my part, since a) I’m a notoriously slow reader and b) I thought it would be best to judge the films as films without worrying about how close they are to the books.

By the time Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows comes out next July, the series will be four months shy of being a decade old. Read the rest of this entry »

Unstoppable Reviewed

Posted by film On November - 20 - 2010

Directed by Tony Scott
Twentieth Century Fox, 2010

By Caesar Martini

I went into this movie half-thinking, “Why am I going into this movie again?” The answer is because my friend wanted to see it. I wasn’t particularly interested, as I had just seen Tony Scott direct Denzel Washington in a movie heavily involving trains last year (The Taking of Pelham 123). In fact, I’ve seen Scott direct Washington in five movies now. It’s as if he can’t direct anyone else in a lead role. Or maybe he looked at how his brother, Ridley Scott, has directed Russell Crowe in five movies and said, “Hey I want one too! Only, you know… black.” Perhaps the Scotts are prone to man-crushes on talented actors. Anyway, groundlessly speculated director-actor homoeroticism aside, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Unstoppable. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #81: November 17, 2010

Posted by Comics On November - 19 - 2010

Batman Incorporated #1
Grant Morrison (w), Yanick Paquete (p), Michel Lacombe (i), Nathan Fairbairn (c), DC Comics.

After reading this comic I felt like I had to call Isaac and say “how completely amazing was Batman Incorporated?” Honestly, I never do that. It was THAT GOOD! It’s not just the elegant storytelling or the gorgeous visuals; it’s also that for the first time in a very long time I felt like Bruce Wayne as Batman was fun! I enjoyed spending time with him. This book felt kind of like “Bruce and Selina’s sexy Japanese spy adventure”, and if that alone doesn’t have you running out to buy this book then you and I are two very different people. The interplay between them was a blast, the villain is completely awesome and the ending… THE ENDING!!! I loved it so much. – Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 5 out of 5

Batman: Streets of Gotham #17
Paul Dini, Fabian Nicieza (w), Dustin Nguyen, Szymon Kudranski (p), Derek Fridolfs (i), John Kalisz, Nick Filardi (c). DC Comics.

There’s a new villain introduced — The Bedbug… he’s appropriately disgusting and of course timely, I approve. This comic can be divided into three parts: a Batman/Catwoman team up, Hush is told some history, and the actual Ragman backup. The Hush history part is handled much better here than in the previous issue, as the unreliable narrator tells the story we get to then see what really happens — and part of what happens is Alfred goes all battle butler on some mobsters. The Ragman art was at times far too dark to make it out, and I’m not really a fan of the character, but certain images are deserving of their own poster. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

127 Hours Reviewed

Posted by film On November - 19 - 2010

127 Hours
Directed by Danny Boyle
Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2010

By Sean Kelly

One of the problems with seeing a film based on true events is that you already know the entire story prior to seeing film. In the case of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, the story is that of mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who, after getting trapped by a boulder is eventually forced to amputate his own arm to free himself. As such, the film is less about what happened and more about how it’s portrayed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Wide Awake Hearts

Posted by art On November - 18 - 2010

L-R: Raoul Bhaneja, Maev Beaty, Lesley Faulkner, Gord Rand. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Wide Awake Hearts
By Brendan Gall
Starring Raoul Bhaneja, Maev Beaty, Lesley Faulkner and Gord Rand
Directed by Gina Wilkinson
Runs until December 12 @ Tarragon Theatre Extra Space

By Kerry Freek

Our life is conflict, claims writer A (Gord Rand). Why aren’t we looking for entertainment that is peaceful and happy, he asks, as he sardonically pitches a TV drama that promises no conflict whatsoever.

Thankfully, playwright Brendan Gall takes no advice from his characters, introducing conflict into Wide Awake Hearts from the get-go. Read the rest of this entry »

Reader’s Advisory #4: Mirror Mind

Posted by Comics On November - 18 - 2010

By Denise Lui

Mirror Mind: Growing up Dyslexic
Tory Woollcott (w + a), self published/ Maybe Mumkin, 2009.

Read if you like: autobiography, local authors, childhood reminiscing, learning, Muppets, teen fiction

The “graphic novel memoir” is a flooded genre with works from some of the greatest cartoonists of all time like of R. Crumb, Julie Doucet, Chester Brown or Seth. The tradition is steeped in neurosis, some misogyny and often-brutal personal truths. Here, Tory Woollcott’s approach is just as honest, lovable and heart-breaking at times but, Mirror Mind is refreshingly far from a self-loathing story.

The Jist: Tory quite literally illustrates the challenges of growing up with dyslexia (in Toronto) as seen through her own eyes, from first noticing that she was a little different from the other kids, to being misunderstood by educators and taunted by peers, to finally being assessed and receiving an effective education on her own terms. The on-going narration by adult Tory is quite matter-of-fact in tone and never heavy-handed. Plentiful and nerdy late-80s pop culture references plus adorable kid personalities really make the story a delight to read (think Persepolis). The package is completed with an index of informational resources on dyslexia and other learning disabilities.1 Read the rest of this entry »

Owen and Curtis Kill Shakespeare

Posted by Comics On November - 16 - 2010

By Isaac Mills

(Hey Readers, how are you? Good? Good. Listen, we’re going to engage in a bit of nepotism here at MONDOcomcis this week. You see, one of our regular writers (Owen Craig) and one of our once-upon-a-time writers (Curtis Westman) have contributed a short story to the recently-released Kill Shakespeare trade. It might shock you to learn that I don’t pay our writers in the traditional sense so when I get a chance to give one of these good people a leg up I take it. So, without further ado, here is a little bit MONDOcomics incest. That doesn’t sound right. — Miles)

MONDO: I’m here with Owen Craig and Curtis Westman, who have written a back up story in Kill Shakespeare: Volume 1 for IDW this November. What can you tell me about how you ended up doing a story for this book?

Owen: At the Wizard World Toronto (comic convention) I ran into Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col, the creators of Kill Shakespeare and I ended up talking to them for a long time about that book. I’ve been sort of a Shakespeare guy for quite a while — I went to theatre school — and so I talked to them for a long time about this book because I was really into it and ended up at one point saying “Hey, maybe I could pitch you a backup story or something” and I was really surprised to hear them say “Sure!”. And after confirming that they weren’t just humouring me I got together with Curtis and we came up with a couple pitches for them and they ended up really liking them. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #80: November 10, 2010

Posted by Comics On November - 12 - 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #648
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Carlos Cuevas (i), Edgar Delgado (c). Marvel Comics.

It’s a brand new day for Spider-Man with this flat, boring, awkwardly composed cover! Are you ready for 30 more pages of similar art? Yeah! Wait. What? No, that’s no good at all. But, you see, my excitement over Slott writing Spider-Man solo outweighs my dislike of Ramos’ art — so I had to buy this, even with the terrible omen that is this cover. So, the part where Slott takes over this “new season” of Spider-Man rocks. And it’s really good he got all these extra pages. You get introduced or reintroduced to a huge cross-section of Spidey’s large supporting cast as well as several new characters. It’s a great time to jump back on Amazing Spider-Man, if you can handle a few more issues of art like this cover. Heck, maybe you even like this cover and this comic is all gold to you. I don’t understand you. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 3.5 out of 5

Ant-Man & Wasp #1
Tim Seeley (w), Tim Seeley (p), Victor Olazaba (i), Simon Bowland (c), Marvel Comics.

I freaking love Eric O’Grady. Honestly, pretty much any comic with him in it I would…well… at least consider buying. Luckily, Seeley wrote an awesome comic so I don’t have to regret it. There’s a lot of bonuses here for fans of Irredemable Ant-Man and some excellent (and much needed) focus on Eric’s relationship with Hank Pym. Add in cameos from the Avengers Academy cast and some creepy villains and you’ve got yourself a winner. — Owen Craig.

Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Year of Magical Thinking

Posted by art On November - 11 - 2010

Seana McKenna. Photo by David Cooper

The Year of Magical Thinking
By Joan Didion
Starring Seana McKenna
Directed by Michael Shamata
Runs until December 12 @ Tarragon Theatre Mainspace

By Mira Shenker

Spending my Thursday night reviewing a play—what could be wrong with that? Before I entered the theatre, I knew little about the show. Only that it was a solo show deemed “best” by Toronto Life and starring Stratford Shakespeare Festival regular, Seana McKenna. After I sat in my seat, I got to reading the backgrounder. The play is based on Joan Didion’s memoir of the same name. It’s a first-person narrative about how Joan Didion survived the month of December 2003, when her daughter Quintana Roo suddenly went into a coma and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, died in front of her due to a massive coronary.

Heavy. I was concerned. This was a 90-minute monologue about death and with no intermission. Read the rest of this entry »

2010 Sketchfest: 100 and 50, Deadpan Powerpoint, and Maybe

Posted by art On November - 9 - 2010

Deadpan Powerpoint: lectures and suits. Image via

100 and 50, Deadpan Powerpoint, and Maybe
Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival
November 7 @ Comedy Bar

By Meagan Snyder

At the end of any comedy festival, there’s evidence of the flowing booze and late hours—Sketchfest was no exception. In host Gary Rideout Jr.’s words, “If I sound rough, it’s because I am.” Rough, maybe, but Rideout was entertaining and the three troupes’ on-stage energy didn’t falter.

100 and 50 are Megan Fraser and Kristen McGregor, a self-described puppet and clown-focused troupe who make uncomfortable situations (a comedian’s currency) hilarious. Only two sketches actually involved puppets or clowns, but their adeptness with both media translated into a general panache for physical and visual humour—especially when kept brief, such as a quick request from McGregor to Fraser for a Houdini-style punch in the gut, and a commercial parody for TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant,” Read the rest of this entry »



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