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Brecht Evens’ Night Animals Reviewed

Posted by Comics On February - 25 - 2011

Night Animals
Brecht Evens (w + a). Top Shelf

By Georgia Webber

It’s difficult to review something that you love. The constant worry is that your gushing and incessant use of the words “brilliance,” “genius,” and “orgasmic” will make the reader think that someone is paying you for your writing—and we can’t have people thinking that writers get paid. Especially not when they’re reviewing books released by fat-cat publishing houses with an anti-consumer agenda and the pocket book to pay for it. Please. Is there nothing sacred?

Well, actually, there is. It’s art. And not just art of any kind—it’s good art.*

That feeling you get when you see something that completely speaks to you, works that grab you by the heartstrings and say “you’re alive!”—priceless. And by priceless, I mean that it transcends our fictitious game of hot potato, passing around money like it would scald us if we kept it for too long, not that it shouldn’t be paid for; there’s a difference.

So good art is for each of us to define. Who can tell you which books grabbed your heartstrings and which tried to grope your bra straps but you? Why should you take my advice? Read the rest of this entry »

Caesar’s Film Disappointments of 2010

Posted by film On January - 21 - 2011

Legion stinks like a flaming bag of something left on a doorstep.

By Caesar Martini

1. Legion
Technically not a disappointment because I saw the previews and thought, “Wow, looks like crap,” and it was indeed crap. In fact, it exceeded my estimations of crap. The whole movie was just one bad decision after another, punctuated by bad dialogue, ridiculous plot directions, and questionable acting. Horrible.

2. The Last Airbender
This was particularly disappointing because 1) I liked M Knight Shyamalan once and would like to again, and 2) the TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender is such a good cartoon and rich source of material that it’s a tragedy to see it mishandled so badly. If The Last Airbender was a child, Shyamalan dropped it on its head, accidentally stepped on it with hobnailed boots and kicked it into a pile of razor blades and then picked it up hastily and proudly showed it off to the world. “Isn’t she beautiful?” No, M Knight. No she is not. She is horrid and needs medical attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Sean’s Film Disappointments of 2010

Posted by film On January - 19 - 2011

By Sean Kelly

Every year at MONDOfilm, we revisit our most disappointing experiences and biggest gripes of the year in the film world. They can be actual films, actors and filmmakers or trends and occurences that got our backs up. Sean Kelly kicks things off. Enjoy.

Lucy looks down upon us.

1. Too Much 3D (for real)

When I wrote my article in February contemplating how studios were jumping on the 3D bandwagon, following the success of Avatar, I had no idea how truly out of hand 3D would get during 2010. It started to seem that every single major release was coming out in 3D (often with the hilarious side note “also available in 2D”). The downside to this was that the studios were cutting corners and converting the majority of these films in post-production, which resulted in greatly diminished 3D effects (and wasted premium movie prices). This resulted in an understandable backlash, highlighted by an anti-3D article written by Roger Ebert. The 3D revolution also gave electronics companies a reason to speed up technological obsolescence by telling people to buy their new fancy 3D-compatable HDTVs and Blu-Ray players so soon after consumers (myself included) started to fully embrace the technology.

On the upside, TRON: Legacy restored my faith in 3D films and the next year promises to see more major films that were actually SHOT in 3D, including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: The Dark of the Moon. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics Readers’ Advisory #5: Comtesse

Posted by Miles On December - 22 - 2010

By Denise Liu

Aude Picault (w + a), Les Requins Marteaux, 2010.

Read if you like: period costume, wordless graphic novels, erotic fiction, French fiction.

What is it exactly about porn that makes it seem repulsive? Is it necessarily vulgar and is it always misogynistic? Okay, these might appear to be some really stupid questions but bear with me, MONDO readers – I know that at least half of you are just as degenerate as myself (and that it’s safe to presume that most of our staff have stashes high enough to become another nightstand, amirite?)

Such questions can be very polarizing, in the way that for some personalities the answer is a clear-cut “heck yeah!” or a definite “heck no!” For the sake of our discussion, let’s begin by loosely defining porn (print format) as any literature that graphically or textually concentrates on the activity of erotic, sexual acts to affect arousal. Yes, that is a pretty broad description but I’d like to think that 1) there are a lot of works out there that could qualify as softcore, despite not being marketed or intended as such, and 2) if writing Peanuts fanfic makes you happy in freaky ways, then so be it. In writing this review (I’ll get to the book eventually, I swear) a few questions had to be addressed, but at the centre of them all was: why does it feel as though I’ve been dared to write a piece about porn? It’s just another graphic novel, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Easy A Reviewed

Posted by film On September - 28 - 2010

Easy A
Directed by Will Gluck
Sony Pictures, September 2010

By Caesar Martini

My new favourite red-headed actress* stars in Easy A, a movie about the worst kind of prostitution — fraudulent prostitution. If you can’t count on a whore to do some actual whorin’, what kind of world are we living in?

(*  A position previously held by Nicole Kidman before she injected enough collagen and botox into her face to kill a horse, and then by Lindsay Lohan before she did the same and then followed it up by snorting enough cocaine to kill Scarface.)

Emma Stone plays Olive, a witty but anonymous high school girl in small town California who inadvertently starts a lie about her virginity (specifically, her lack thereof). Thanks to technology and the age of digital information, she’s instantly labeled as a tramp by the entire school. Read the rest of this entry »

Appetite: Bite-Sized Scenes, Delicious Whole

Posted by art On April - 21 - 2009

Linnea Swan in Appetite. Photo by John Lauener.

Linnea Swan in Appetite. Photo by John Lauener.

Directed by Sarah Sanford
Co-created and performed by Claire Calnan, Adam Lazarus, and Linnea Swan
Runs until April 26 @ Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

By Daina Valiulis

Lasting long enough for a small meal at a nice restaurant, Appetite is a delicious little treat of a piece that satisfies fully without leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Performed at Passe Muraille in association with Volcano and the Exchange Rate Collective, the artists Linnea Swan, Adam Lazarus, and Claire Calnan jaunt about the stage and — gleefully, disgustingly, sensuously — explore the human appetite for food, sex, love, and attention.

A project four years in the making, Appetite was inspired by watching people interact with their food and each other at a bar in Edinburgh. The play grew out of the collaborative effort by the artists to dialogue and the mash-up of movement, clown, dance. Set in a meat processing plant with stark fluorescent lighting, an industrial sink in one corner and a table in the middle of the stage, the constant sound of machines droning reminds the audience of the ugly and violent side of food — an idea that pervades much of the scenes, as the characters’ relationships are all excitingly violent and sexual.

All three performers were incredible. Seamless movements transformed them from dead animal carcasses to two regular people breaking up in a restaurant, to clowns throwing themselves about the stage, to graceful and bendy dancers making every scene flow naturally into the next. They used every inch of the stage and were all committed, invested, and hysterically funny.

Naturally, “appetite” has one thinking of food, which was actually used in different ways throughout the show (not so fun for the person who has to clean up every night after the show). A stand-out hilarious scene: immediately following an intense encounter, the actors threw pies in each others’ faces, sprayed the back wall with mustard, and danced around with chickens and lettuce. It was a celebration and a war, and was followed by a serious vignette. The actors did an amazing job balancing the darkness and light of appetite (and of food), mirroring the way we can be disgusted by it or enraptured by it, though we need it all the same.

So many shows characterized by vignettes lack cohesiveness, but Appetite was effectively organized. There was nothing extraneous; it was focussed and concise. The artists presented strong, consistent characters that carried the idea of appetite in relation to food, sex, violence, and love through to the end. Appetite is short, sweet, hysterically funny, sexy, disgusting and smart — if you feel like going out for a big steak afterwards, I would completely understand.

The Hitanthrope: No Misses in Red Light’s Molière

Posted by art On April - 14 - 2009

imgmi01The Misanthrope
Written by Molière
Translated by Tony Harrison
Directed by Johanna Schall
Dressed by Jenny Schall
Produced by the Red Light District in association with Mirvish Productions

Runs April 3-26 @ The Drake Hotel

By Jen Handley

Taking your ticket from an usher in clownish makeup and bracing yourself for a night of rhyming satire circa 1666, the last thing you’re expecting to be hit with is “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

But, during the ludicrously tender prologue of Red Light District’s The Misanthrope, in which enraptured lovers repeat to each other the words of Cyndi Lauper’s most famous observation, we get to share a laugh at how silly and stylized is the devil we know, before tucking into Molière. And the surreal mash-up of antique humour and contemporary culture that follows is, well, fun.

In the plush and shiny basement of the Drake Hotel on Queen West, the audience sits around two intersecting aisles, where most of the action takes place.  The actors, each clad by Jenny Schall in a neon combination of old and new fashion — like a knee-length jacket over a hoodie, or a bustle with an acrylic belt — look less like refugees from the sixteenth century than the most dedicated vintage fashionistas on the face of the earth.  (And they had some worthy competitors in the bar upstairs.)

The play is about a man, Alceste, who is fed up with the fact that not only are people mean, but they pretend to be nice. Ruthless honesty is the only way to fight their system. His friend Philinte points out that you might as well accept people as they are and coddle them with affirmation, because monkeys will do “what monkeys do,” but the argument gets complicated when it becomes evident that — in this clique — sex, like small talk, is an obligatory social chore.

Disco and pop tracks underlay most of the scenes, so it feels as though at any moment Alceste’s rant about mean girls or his girlfriend’s retort might get sucked into the remix. Translator Tony Harrison’s rhyming couplets contemporize Molière’s social commentary with all the predictability and stuffiness of a rap battle. (Guess how he rhymes “deconstruct it”.)

But politeness holds back the patter and makes the experience feel less like 8 Mile than an LSD voyage captained by Gilbert & Sullivan.  Each conversation passes by like a song, with its own rhythmic and emotional atmosphere, and the performances are suitably operatic. But the sobbing, stuttering, and all that fake guffawing the actors lay down isn’t exaggeration, it’s vocal instrumentation.  The dialogue’s delivery is literally danceable; the performers never lose their physical connection to the words being spoken. Bits like a split-second involuntary collapse at the mention of a girl’s name or a combination ass-grab/face-smack/handshake play less like running gags than ill moves.

And, of course, any contemporary relationship story would not be complete without the encroachment of technology. The most weirdly surreal scene — where characters choose to witness a tender moment not through tears, but through their camera phones — isn’t unfamiliar at all.

Underneath all the colours, music, and cultural in-jokes, it’s sexual tension, and the tension between lies and honesty, that hold the play together.  But the question about whether a compromised opinion means more than a compromised relationship is up for grabs.

Friday the 13th Reviewed: Horror Classic Gets a Reboot

Posted by film On February - 17 - 2009
Only 2-D?

Only 2-D?

Friday the 13th
Directed by Marcus Nispel
New Line Cinema/Paramount Pictures, 2009

By Sean Kelly

It makes me feel old that one of the most mainstream horror franchises of my childhood is receiving the remake treatment, which is approximately, but not precisely what Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes Productions is doing with this film. Friday the 13th was pretty much THE horror franchise of the ’80s. A film in the series was released every year in that decade with the exception of 1983 and 1987. While I was too young to see the movies at the time, the image of Jason Voorhees became firmly entrenched in pop culture (there was even a Nintendo game based on the films). I think it is impossible for me to ever see that style of hockey mask without thinking of the big scary guy from the films. The only series that matches Friday the 13th in its mainstream appeal is A Nightmare on Elm Street and Platinum Dunes is already on the job for another remake.

However, “remake” doesn’t quite do justice to the approach taken here. The film (directed by Marcus Nispel of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) uses an original story, which uses elements from the first three films. The only reference to the first film is a prologue with Pamela Voorhees during the opening credits, while the film’s opening sequence is filled with references to the second film (such as Jason wearing a sheet and the shrine to his mother). Once Jason gets the hockey mask (an event that happened in the third film), the film goes on a completely original path. So, I guess that “reboot” would be a better term to describe this film. Thank goodness the filmmakers opted for an original story, eliminating the hounding feeling of comparing it to the original, point-by-point (as opposed to Rob Zombie’s uninspired Halloween remake last year).

The story deals with a young man named Clay Miller (played by Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki) who comes to Crystal Lake to search for his missing sister. He joins up with a cottage-bound group of young folks and chaos (and a body count) ensues when Jason shows up. Jason is played by Derek Mears, a stunt man, who in recent years has been showing up (under a lot of prosthetics and make-up) in various horror films such as Cursed and The Hills Have Eyes II. Mears’ take on Jason is probably one of the most brutal to appear on film, as he brings a twisted creativity to his murders. Mears also succeeds at making Jason more agile and cunning than he has ever been.

"He's just waiting with my towel."

"He's just waiting with my towel."

Even though the film looks to be aiming to introduce Jason to a modern audience, it doesn’t reject the ’80s charm that made the originals so beloved. This includes some cheesy dialogue at points, as well as the fact that Jason seems to choose his victims based on their indulgence of drugs and sex. Those clichés are used to an almost tongue-in-cheek effect. The film’s not asking to be taken too seriously when it’s revealed that there just happens to be a whole grove of cannabis plants growing near Camp Crystal Lake and when pretty much every female who’s not a main character gets naked at one point. In fact, the clichés are so prominent that it is truly shocking when they are not followed (to avoid spoilers I won’t say when or where).

This film is a successful return for Jason Voorhees. With this reboot, Jason has effectively been introduced to a new audience and reintroduced to his old core, holding onto all the elements that made the Friday the 13th films all that they were. The only thing I have left to wonder is whether we should expect Platinum Dunes to do as well with Nightmare on Elm Street as they did with this creative reboot.

Miles’ Book

Blue Monday #1 (of 5)
By Chynna Clugston
Oni Press, 2009

Blue Monday is like a cross between Archie and HBO. And I don’t know what to think about it.

Stylistically, Blue Monday is drawn as a Shōjo manga (which means manga drawn with young women in mind. Yes, I did have to look up Shōjo because I don’t know a lot about manga. I do, however, know that there are useful words for different styles — something we could really use in North America besides “edgy” or “cartoony”) but the narrative and the characters are stereotypically American. It focuses on a group of Californian teens (probably about 15) that seem to be frozen in the late 90s: getting a new Walkman is a big deal to one of them and one of them says “no duh” and another has a mushroom cut.

My biggest hangup about the book is that it’s adult in language but immature in story. Like, the kids swear, look at pornography, talk about areola widths, yeast infections, and watch a lot of animals have sex. But how they feel and act about their relationships is childish — so much so that I was more annoyed than anything else.

However, having said all that, I realize that that is exceptionally realistic for teenagers. So, maybe Blue Monday is totally brilliant. However, I’m not sure who I’d hand it to as a recommendation. For adults, the painful naivety of the characters would be too infuriating; but I wouldn’t necessarily hand it to teenagers because the book dates itself with its references, nor do I want to validate their potty-mouth lifestyle.

So, I remain conflicted about this book.

Except for the songs that will introduce sections: those I hate. Occasionally, Clugston will introduce a scene with a song to — I guess — set the mood. I find this incredibly pretentious. Something about it just seems so forced. Maybe it’s just that I don’t think kids listen to Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra, Devo, and Adam and the Ants (among a couple others) anymore.

But then again, they are her characters, so I guess I should shut up.

Isaac’s Book

Wolverine and Power Pack #3
Written by Marc Sumerak
Art by Scott Koblish
Marvel Comics, 2009

Do you know why I was so excited to review Wolverine and Power Pack #3? The cover has the four Power Pack kids dressed like street urchins straight out of Oliver Twist harassing a finely dressed Wolverine in top hat and monocle. Yup. Monocle. Case closed. Go buy this book.

Turns out there was cool stuff in between the covers of this book too — in fact while reading it I kept stopping every couple of panels to read out loud to my brother some new piece of dialogue that I couldn’t just read silently.

Though it’ll take all my efforts, I won’t subject you to that. Taken out of context, the exclamations of four juvenile superheroes (plus one Franklin Richards) take on any number of hilarious characterizations when you let them — for example, I can’t help but assign the voice of Ralph Wiggum to Franklin Richards when he covertly tells his friend Jack Power, “Uh-oh. Stranger danger!”

The actual story is this: Franklin and Jack, having already destroyed the rest of the super science stuff hanging around Reed Richards lab with their horsing around, decide to use the last functioning technology — the time platform!

Ah, yes, I almost forgot, the issue is titled “Frank and Jack’s Excellent Adventure” so it’s already earned huge points in my eyes for referencing Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Travelling to the past (because even these kids know that the future is a “dark and dangerous” place), Frank and Jack quickly realize that if they wanted to find some fun that caters to kids with attention deficit disorder then perhaps 19th century New York wasn’t the best idea. Putting their best foot forward the two decide they can still play hero in this time when they come upon a trio of young punks threatening young James Howlett. The mean kids get scared off, but oh they’ll be back, and with a sinister adult looking to make some sweet ransom money off of rich Canadian tourists.

You may have figured out that Frank, Jack, and James (this is Wolverine when he was a kid, just in case you didn’t know that part. Yes, I know you wanted a monocle-wearing Wolverine, but really, why can’t you just be happy with the cool cover containing that accessory, accompanied by the interior time-travel story??) get kidnapped, and then get sort of saved by the remaining Power Pack members who have travelled back with H.E.R.B.I.E. to bring those irresponsible kids back to the future. I say sort of saved because Jack and Frank were well on their way to rescuing themselves — we wouldn’t want to think there was any real element of danger to their adventure, would we?

It’s a simple, fun comic adventure that I enjoyed. I don’t really know all the other Power Pack members’ names and abilities but it doesn’t really matter for the story that was told.

You know how kids always talk like they “get” more than they really do, and they manage to be more and less sophisticated at the same time because of it? Well, that kind of thing is here in spades and it adds a real world modern touch to these kids. Does a six-year-old really “know people” for solving problems? Depends on if you count big sisters or not.

Miles’ Book!!!

I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!! #4 (of 6)
By Megan Rose Gedris
Platinum Studios Comics, 2008

When I pulled this title as my random book, I was hoping it would be every bit as good as the title. I mean, look at it: there are three exclamation marks in the title. Few have the balls to do that.

While in many ways this isn’t a very good comic, it succeeds in doing what it wants. The art, while not good in a technical sense—there are often no backgrounds and body shapes are sometimes inconsistent—reminds the reader of a pop art, 50s style that works well with the narrative and tone of the book. The dialogue is hammy, but well done. I laughed aloud a couple times while reading, and that’s better than I can say for most books. The highlight of the book for me was this exchange between a crew member and the pirate captain:

Crew member: Captain, by my calculations there’s no way to fit this many shoes on the ship even if we took everything else out!
Captain: Can’t you just…. change your calculations?

Hilarious. But maybe funnier in context.

Anyway, it’s not going to win any awards or be on many “books of the year” lists, but I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!! is a nice romp where the girls get to have as much fun as the boys, and there are a goodly number of digs at all genders.

Isaac’s Book

Written and Drawn by Jeff Smith
Cartoon Books, 2008

The vortex unfurls, glowing ever brighter, more electric until on the second page the outline of a man appears carrying two glowing turbines and wearing what can only be described as a shaman mask, and I say to myself: “This is Sliders!!”

Now at the time I was joking; I didn’t seriously think I could be holding a comic awesome enough to deal with someone travelling through the infinities of reality where one Earth is just different from the next via the slightest twist of fate — but that’s what this is!

There’s a lot I don’t get about this story, about the main guy Rob’s motivations and goals, but there’s enough that you care about the man, and that’s certainly enough to carry me through this issue. What I do know is that he’s either looking for, or running from, his friend Annie’s killer. In search of answers, he goes to a museum hosting a Native American art exhibit because the ad for the exhibit has the same “maze of life” symbol on it as is printed on Annie’s necklace.

Ordinarily the idea that the main character has to pull out of thin air the next thing he has to do would bother me, everything becoming all too coincidental for my tastes, however with the shaman mask (there really is no better term for it, especially considering the first line of the definition for shaman reads “a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds” say, by sliding between them?) and emphasis on Native American culture, there is an implied spiritualism in this adventure. Perhaps Rob had to access something beyond science to gain the ability to be a man of multiple worlds… I’m open to some coincidence here is all I’m saying.

A flashback shows a considerably cleaned up Rob working at a lab with his partner Miles and Miles’ wife Maya. Though Miles is incredibly excited about an impending funding agreement for his St. George array, Rob has reservations concerning possible weapons applications for the array. I ask you, what kind of scientist worries about the consequences of his work? Sounds more like he’s a hippie in disguise. I’m totally joking.

To convince Rob to go along with everything, Miles gives a speech about doing it for their hero Nikola Tesla — and Rob doesn’t look convinced. I don’t blame him, because I’m sorry, Nikola Tesla, however awesome he may be, doesn’t have the press to be a cool sounding personal hero. What DOES at least keep Rob’s mouth shut and on board for everything is when Maya, Miles’ wife, kisses Rob while Miles has his back turned away to open some celebratory champagne. The close up of Rob and Maya sure does make sure to show us the huge wedding ring on her finger. It’s clear that between Miles and Maya, Maya has the better negotiating skills.

I can’t believe I haven’t even gotten to the cool fight between Rob and Annie’s killer when that guy shows up to kill that world’s version of Annie. The bad guy asks Rob if he’d prefer to be called Rasl, so even though I still don’t know what that means, at least I know it refers to the hero of the story. The bad guy also says that despite the innumerable alternate earths, he and Rob are without cross world doppelgangers which is crazy, but it’s always more interesting to believe what the bad guy is telling you. Bad guys only lie about this kind of crazy stuff like 25 percent of the time.

The Organized Thinker: Surviving the First Date

Posted by lifestyle On September - 19 - 2008

Steph Perkins is an organized thinker. In the battle of the sexes, she is a latter-day Sun Tzu, or perhaps a John Churchill. Anyways, trust her advice.

Q- I find first dates totally awkward and nerve-wracking, probably more than the average person does. What are your rules for pulling off a successful first date?

Ah yes, I’m with you. First dates are the worst. Not much different than a job interview if you ask me, except you have to be charming and witty on top of dynamic and interesting. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all start out on date number three? No cold sweats, less possibility for horrific surprises, perhaps even an inside joke or two to get the comfort-ball rolling?

But have no fear – I’ve had my share of first dates over the last while, so you’ve come to the right place. Meaning I am the queen of bunging up first dates with awkwardness and bad moves. So let’s take stock of what I’ve learned with another installment of my personal dos and don’ts, shall we?

Do have a plan. Whaddaya wanna do? Duhhhh I dunno, whaddayou wanna do? That’s annoying. Pick something, suggest it, and away we go.

Do OR Don’t have a drink. This is going to depend on the person, so weigh what works for you. For me a shot of whiskey before leaving the house chills me out. For others that could be a gateway to a rather messy, embarrassing evening. Can you keep your cool, stay in control while you’re drinking? Then a drinky-poo during the date can help with nerves too. I’ve gotten hammered on dates though; if it’s going well, you can lose track of how much you’ve had. While there’s no doubt you’re having fun, you want to actually remember the fun, right? So use your discretion and know your limits.

Do shut up for a second. If you’re a nervous rambler like me, this can be tough. Sometimes it’s easier to take the focus off yourself by asking a lot of questions and yammering like a ninny to fill the air. If you are feeling like you’re sick of your own voice, then you’re using it too much, so shut your trap. Allow for uncomfortable silences. Again, for me this is the most difficult, most uncomfortable act, but it’s necessary if you want the person you’re out with to have a minute to think to ask YOU something about yourself. Just chillll. Excuse yourself to go to the washroom, and when you get back, make it your beeswax to zip the lip. See what happens, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Guys- Do pay. I know that’s not very forward-thinking of me, but what can I say, there are certain things I appreciate the old-fashioned way. Going dutch is PERFECTLY acceptable, and I prefer it, especially the more often you go out with someone, but on the first date, I still consider it gentlemanly to pay. Bring enough cash and class to do this. It will be appreciated.

Don’t sleep together on the first date IF you can help it. Because let’s face it, sometimes it can’t be helped. Sometimes you’ve had too much to drink to turn back now. Sometimes the person you’re out with is too attractive to resist. Sometimes it’s been six months since you had sex. Just sayin’. But if you try, and you get out with your pants up, I believe there are very few circumstances where you’d regret that decision. The chances of seeing each other again and getting to know each other better improve greatly if you don’t sleep together right away. I believe this. A little mystery is power, I’m tellin ya. And I mean, how often is first-date sex good sex? Really. Is it worth it? In my experience usually not. But that being said, no judgment from me if you go there. We’re only human. (And be safe. But hopefully I don’t have to tell you that.)

I really feel for you. It’s a scary world out there, and the chances of winding up on a date with a total tool are way too high not to have some first-date anxiety. I have learned that each first date is easier than the last, and more fun. Just try and remember that the other person is most likely as nervous as you are, and just as concerned you may turn out to be a nutjob. But you aren’t – you’re cool as a cucumber, sharp as a tack, and you have a lot to offer this date and this whole datingsphere. So be confident, good luck, and I’ll see you out there.

Young People Fucking Reviewed

Posted by film On August - 1 - 2008

Young People Fucking
Directed by Martin Gero
Maple Pictures, 2008

By Madeleine Sims-Fewer

With its racy subject matter and a title few would be prepared to say out loud, Young People Fucking was bound to attract attention from all angles. Being a Canadian movie just adds to the allure. A quirky, biting comedy, Young People Fucking follows five typical pairings through their atypical sexual encounters one fateful night. The film revs into action immediately, lubricated with slick dialogue and snappy editing, pulling you into the fray in the first minute. We are introduced to The Friends, who are looking to escape their past failed relationships in a night of drunken sex — with each other.

Then there’s The Couple, who are easily sidetracked and seem like they may never get around to doing the deed; The Exes, who provide the softer, subtler notes of the film in their night of reminiscence; The First Date, between a player and a seemingly innocent co-worker; and The Roommates, who share an unlikely ménage-a-trois (sort of). The film guides the audience through the different stages of sex, including foreplay, the midpoint, and post-coital pillow talk. Never did I realize that sex involved so much talking. I don’t just mean the occasional instructions: these couples have fully fledged conversations during sex. It is not unrealistic however, and proves to be one of the film’s few triumphs. The steady stream of dialogue keeps the audience from noticing the potholes. Coupled with the agile editing, YPF rarely loses your attention.

The film suffers a little in the first half from a few poor performances, most notably from the Friends, who punctuate each line delivery with a flailing hand gesture, and the Exes, who act as if they are reading auto cues. But the acting is solid overall, with sensitive turns from Kristin Booth and Josh Dean (who resembles a young Steve Buscemi).

The biggest problem with the film is that it doesn’t quite live up to its title. The actual sex is dry, uninspired, and void of any of the poignancy that made films such as Shortbus and Sleeping Dogs Lie so groundbreaking. Every couple is heterosexual, and since when did “young people” translate to “incredibly gorgeous thin people”? Not one of the characters is ugly, pudgy, or has birth marks in weird places, and all of the women have sex with full make-up on. This detracts somewhat from the intended reality of the film, even though they are all very nice to look at.

The most laughs are garnered by the Roommates, who are definitely the strangest (cookie dough anyone?), though surprisingly also the most human of the lot. Some of their dialogue is truly hilarious, and there is one moment involving a hand and a derrière that is worth waiting for.

Though I enjoyed it at the time, and laughed at how silly people can be when it comes to bedroom antics, looking back Young People Fucking was a little hollow: all fuss and no finish.



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