The GATE http://www.thegate.ca Entertainment Magazine Wed, 20 Aug 2014 04:04:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Food adventures at the CNEhttp://www.thegate.ca/style/022080/food-adventures-cne/ http://www.thegate.ca/style/022080/food-adventures-cne/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 03:54:19 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22080 The Canadian National Exhibition hosted a preview event last week for media before the annual festivities kicked off on August 15, and while the dancers, rides, performers, games, concerts, and everything else at Exhibition Place are a lot of fun, it's hard to beat the Food Building's lineup.

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The Canadian National Exhibition hosted a preview event last week for media before the annual festivities kicked off on August 15, and while the dancers, rides, performers, games, concerts, and everything else at Exhibition Place are a lot of fun, it’s hard to beat the Food Building’s lineup.

Saving the best for last, media got a tour of the grounds that included a wide range of what’s happening this year at the CNE. Before the event kicked off there were churros and coffee from I Love Churros, which were delicious, followed by a demonstration of some of the dancers who are on the President’s Choice Financial International Stage. Dancers included the Mexicans Folk Ballet, Ijo Vudu African Dance Company, and Samba Heat.

After that, the hard-to-top Flying Wallendas performed on the highwire in what I can only call fairly intense winds, which didn’t seem to bother them at all.

The Flying Wallendas

The Flying Wallendas

Media then had a tour of the CNE’s new Northern Comfort Saloon, which offers a new country vibe that includes concerts and line-dancing, not to mention a mechanical bull, and it’s all housed under a giant tented space near the casino on the western side of the grounds.

And finally, before checking out the samples from the Food Building, performer Paz showed off a bit of his Hockey Circus Show by entertaining the crowd before he juggled flaming hockey sticks on top of a hockey net. It’s the kind of show you have to see to believe, and on top of being funny, he was a fantastic performer.

Let’s talk about the food though, because as much as the entertainment at The Ex is always excellent, the Food Building offers some of the best entertainment with their wonderful and often weirdly perfect food combinations.

The foodies at Eative are offering nitrogen sorbets this year, which are essentially fruit juices that had been frozen down using blenders and nitrogen. Coco’s Fried Chicken is offering deep-fried chocolate chicken that’s served with a chocolate ketchup that has a fantastic little sweet kick that is delicious–the combination of cocoa and juicy chicken is actually more perfect than most people might realize and the ketchup adds the right flavour to the mix.

Then there’s the Chunky Cheese Cafe which has a tangy, sweet and salty grilled cheese called The Chunky Elvis which mixes together bread, cheddar cheese, bacon, peanut butter and bananas. Elvis’ genius never seemed apparent to me until I tried this grilled cheese–the combination honestly sounded a bit weird to me–but biting into it offered a wonderful mix of flavours that is definitely worth sampling.

Hula Girl Espresso was also on hand to offer samples of their butter coffee and their Crowbar pastries, which are essentially croissants filled with chocolate bar pieces–Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Mars Bar, Kit Kat, or Caramilk. All of the combinations work perfectly, and for a sweet treat, they all pair very well with the sweet but mildly caramely butter coffee.

Coco’s Fried Chicken

Coco’s Fried Chicken

However, the most interesting restaurant offerings at the CNE would have to be Fran’s Restaurant, which makes their debut at the exhibition with a stellar, but simple, home-cooked, stylish menu. The highlight is their Thanksgiving Waffle, which is a waffle made out of stuffing, topped with cranberry sauce, turkey, and gravy. It’s simple, but delicious, and as Fran’s Restaurant chef Zaki Choudhary said when I spoke to him at the event, it’s a simple recipe that you can make at home, but it tastes especially great as Fran’s has prepared it.

Fran’s is also serving up spicy peanut butter Sriracha bites, and a cheesecake milkshake (they also have an apple pie milkshake). The milkshake goes perfectly with the Thanksgiving Waffle, and it’s about as fantastic as the name suggests–yes, cheesecake in a milkshake goes together perfectly.

Check out the gallery of photos from the media preview, and watch for more coverage of the CNE right up until Labour Day.

The Flying Wallendas Paz, Hockey Circus Show The Flying Wallendas #2 Northern Comfort Saloon Crowbar pastries Fran's Cheesecake Milkshake Nitrogen sorbet The Chunky Elvis Coco’s Fried Chicken Fran's Thanksgiving Waffle CNE Zipline

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Celebrity faces of TIFF 2014http://www.thegate.ca/blog/022079/celebrity-faces-tiff-2014/ http://www.thegate.ca/blog/022079/celebrity-faces-tiff-2014/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:14:49 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22079 Want to browse through some of the celebrity faces who will be coming to the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival? TIFF has made it easy once again thanks to their Pinterest board, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival Guests.

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Want to browse through some of the celebrity faces who will be coming to the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival? TIFF has made it easy once again thanks to their Pinterest board, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival Guests.

To make your life easy, we’ve got the whole board below for you to check out, which includes 185 people at the time that I posted this.

The majority of the photos are all headshots or red carpet photos, but there are some gems among them. Look for Bill Murray eating popcorn; Kuoth Wiel moody, beautiful headshot; a dapper a smiling Denzel Washington; Alice Eve staring the camera down; and the always quirky Kevin Smith.



Stay tuned for more on TIFF 2014 in the coming weeks!

Photo from – TIFF ’11 Gallery: ‘A Dangerous Method’.

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TIFF announces stars and filmmakers coming to Torontohttp://www.thegate.ca/spotlight/tiff/022044/complete-list-stars-filmmakers-coming-2014-tiff/ http://www.thegate.ca/spotlight/tiff/022044/complete-list-stars-filmmakers-coming-2014-tiff/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:12:59 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22044 Celebrities and filmmakers from across the world will be descending on Toronto for the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in just a few weeks, and this morning TIFF revealed the full list of stars expected on the red carpets, at the films, and around the city at all of the parties.

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Celebrities and filmmakers from across the world will be descending on Toronto for the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in just a few weeks, and this morning TIFF revealed the full list of stars expected on the red carpets, at the films, and around the city at all of the parties.

Among the stars announced were: Rosario Dawson, Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Roger Waters, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Antoine Fuqua, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Costner, Xavier Dolan, Robert Duvall, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benicio del Toro, Alice Eve, Andrew Garfield, Bill Murray, Bill Nighy, Kevin Smith, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Jon Stewart, and hundreds of others.

TIFF 2014 runs from September 4 to 14, 2014. Scroll down for the full list of stars and filmmakers, listed by last or middle name.

The official film schedule was also released today and is available at TIFF Bell Lightbox or online at tiff.net/festival. It is also available on August 21 in the Toronto Star and Metro newspapers.

Update: Browse some of the faces of TIFF 2014 on the festival’s official Pinterest board.

Actors, Stars & Guests:
A to C:

Liam Aiken, Jennifer Aniston, Loreto Aravena, Gemma Arterton, Dorothy Atkinson, Charlotte Aubin, Marion Bailey, Ellen Barkin, Isaach De Bankolé, Jason Bateman, Haley Bennett, Sonja Bennett, Melissa Benoist, Juliette Binoche, Evan Bird, Douglas Booth, John Boylan, Jordana Brewster, Connie Britton, Daniel Bru?hl, Arabella Bushnell, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Steve Carell, Josh Charles, Justin Chatwin, Justin Chon, Priyanka Chopra, Hayden Christensen, Sam Claflin, Richard Clarkin, Patricia Clarkson, Suzanne Clément, Jennifer Connelly, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Costner, Marton Csokas, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cusack.

D to G:
Rosario Dawson, Benicio del Toro, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Zhou Dongyu, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sarah Doucet, Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr., Brad Dryborough, Ger Duany, Robert Duvall, Ansel Elgort, Jillian Estell, Alice Eve, Vera Farmiga, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Sarah Gadon, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gael García Bernal, Andrew Garfield, Jennifer Garner, Richard Gere, Greta Gerwig, Sophie Goulet, Holliday Grainger, Aidan Greene, Jessica Gunning, Jake Gyllenhaal.

H to L:
Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour, Alex Harrouch, Ken Harrower, Salma Hayek, Hannah Herzsprung, Dustin Hoffman, Nina Hoss, Holly Hunter, Max Irons, Jeremy Irvine, Johnny Issaluk, Christopher Jacot, Emmanuel Jal, Sian James, Felicity Jones, Jeremy Jordan, Reda Kateb, Diane Keaton, Catherine Keener, Anna Kendrick, Tory Kittles, Kevin Kline, Keira Knightley, Mpho Koaho, Chandia Bernadette Kodili, Nick Kroll, Lilianna La Greca, Allen Leech, Melissa Leo, Jane Levy, Justin Long, Alex Loubert, Steven Love.

M to R:
Elyas M´Barek, Anthony Mackie, Chris Mackie, Marte Magnusdotter Solem, Tobey Maguire, Brit Marling, Faye Marsay, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Meunier, Anthony Michael Hall, Antoine Monot Jr., Maika Monroe, Julianne Moore, Chloë Grace Moretz, Viggo Mortensen, Bill Murray, Ahmed Muslimani, Bill Nighy, Arnold Oceng, Jack O’Connell, Haley Joel Osment, Muna Otaru, Al Pacino, Nate Parker, Michael Parks, Robert Pattinson, Alex Paxton-Beesley, Jaime Pebanco, Simon Pegg, Lee Perkins, Rosamund Pike, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Plummer, Maxime Pomerleau, Colin Price, Bill Pullman, Tahar Rahim, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Redmayne, Ryan Reynolds, Sam Rockwell, Genesis Rodriguez, Mark Ruffalo, Rene Russo.

S to Z:
Adam Sandler, Romnick Sarmenta, Dan Savage, Tom Schilling, Ben Schnetzer, Ben Schwartz, Andrew Scott, Alexey Serebryakov, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Shannon, Dax Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Aidan Shipley, Bob Silvers, J.K. Simmons, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Ross Smith, Timothy Spall, Peter Spence, Abigail Spencer, Octavia Spencer, Hailee Steinfeld, Dan Stevens, Ben Stiller, Corey Stoll, Peter Stormare, Ma Su, Omar Sy, Channing Tatum, Miles Teller, Aliaune “Akon” Thiam, John Travolta, Alexandre Vallerand, Garrett Wareing, Denzel Washington, Ernardi Watimin, Danny Webb, Dominic West, Kuoth Wiel, Kristen Wiig, Cassie Williams, Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Jung Woo-sung, Sam Worthington, Han Ye-ri and Zhao Wei.


Filmmakers & Artists:
A to C:

Naji Abu Nowar, James Adolphus, Michele Alhaique, Lisandro Alonso, Kiki Álvarez, Yuri Ancarani, Roy Andersson, Sarik Andreasyan, Juanfer Andrés, Theo Anthony, Olivier Assayas, Robin Aubert, Barry Avrich, Ramin Bahrani, Jaume Balagueró, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, Daniel Barber, Daniel Barnz, Rebecca Baron, Sophie Barthes, Eric Baudelaire, Noah Baumbach, Wiam Simav Bedirxan, Justin Benson, Nils Bergendal, Dana Berman Duff, Anahí Berneri, Paul Bettany, Susanne Bier, Charles Binamé, Mike Binder, Vincent Biron, Baran bo Odar, Shonali Bose, Scott Brachmayer, Adam Brooks, Israel Cárdenas, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Damien Chazelle, Peter Chelsom, Andrew Cividino, Mary Helena Clark, Isabel Coixet, Saverio Costanzo, Paul Cowan, David Cronenberg, Harold Crooks.

D to G:
Ernesto Daranas, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Siebren de Haan, Mijke de Jong, Yann Demange, Lav Diaz, David Dobkin, Xavier Dolan, Andrea Dorfman, Sotiris Dounoukos, Lee Do-yun, Fabrice Du Welz, Kaveh Ebrahimpour, Martin Edralin, Kris Elgstrand, Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz, Tony Elliott, Martine Époque, Santiago Esteinou, Chris Evans, Sean Evans, Philippe Falardeau, Lixin Fan, Alexander Farah, Sepideh Farsi, Pascale Ferran, Severin Fiala, Fluorescent Hill, Anne Fontaine, Maya Forbes, Alain Fournier, James Franco, Veronika Franz, Toa Fraser, Sol Friedman, René Frölke, Tor Fruergaard, Antoine Fuqua, Sarah Galea-Davis, Connor Gaston, Ole Giæver, Dan Gilroy, Dana Gingras, François Girard, Shaun Gladwell, Richard Glatzer, Rob Grant, David Gordon Green, Eugène Green, Sturla Gunnarsson, Laura Amelia Guzmán.

H to L:
Szabolcs Hajdu, Dieudo Hamadi, Bent Hamer, Mia Hansen-Løve, Ning Hao, Hal Hartley, Mark Hartley, Ethan Hawke, Jalmari Helander, Ryuichi Hiroki, Nguyen Hoang Diep, Margaret Honda, Israel Horovitz, Slater Jewell-Kemker, Cristián Jiménez, Boo Ji-Young, Gerard Johnson, July Jung, Park Jung-bum, Chang Jung-Chi, Zvonimir Juri?, Marie-Ève Juste, Serhat Karaaslan, Yassmina Karajah, Dome Karukoski, Ross Katz, Matthew Kennedy, Robert Kenner, Nino Kirtadze, Arlen Konopaki, Panos H. Koutras, Omung Kumar, Juris Kursietis, Kim Kyung-man, Richard LaGravenese, Joel Lamangan, Alexandre Larose, Michelle Latimer, Andrew Lau, Mélanie Laurent, Josh Lawson, Elizabeth Lazebnik, François Leduc, Mike Leigh, Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, Barry Levinson, Shawn Levy, Ben Lewis, Richard Loncraine, Andrew Loo, Julie Lopes Curval, Zhang Lu, Frieda Luk, Johann Lurf.

M to R:
Adam MacDonald, Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir, Caroline Mailloux, Nilesh Maniyar, Mikael Marcimain, T. Marie, Carolina Markowicz, Isidora Marras, James Marsh, Lynne Marsh, Philip Martin, Mario Martone, Thomas McCarthy, Dave McKean, Santiago Menghini, Bennett Miller, Pat Mills, Reza Mirkarimi, Jyoti Mistry, Ako Mitchell, David Robert Mitchell, Jefferson Moneo, Grayson Moore, Michael Moore, Tomm Moore, Aaron Moorhead, Oren Moverman, Francesco Munzi, Ruba Nadda, Olivier Nakache, Tetsuya Nakashima, Afia Nathaniel, Andrew Niccol, Laura Nix, Jonathan Nossiter, Ryan J. Noth, Alanis Obomsawin, David Oelhoffen, Randall Okita, Joshua Oppenheimer, Luis Ortega, Ruben Östlund, Hlynur Pálmason, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Christian Petzold, Yim Pil-sung, Joana Pimenta, Matías Piñeiro, Shira Piven, Gabe Polsky, Denis Poulin, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Megha Ramaswamy, Hamy Ramezan, Matthew Rankin, Jason Reitman, Martin Rejtman, Giulio Ricciarelli, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Esteban Roel, Alberto Roldán, Oscar Ruiz Navia.

S to Z:
Samir, Christophe M. Saber, Benny Safdie, Joshua Safdie, Ghassan Salhab, Fernanda Salloum, Feike Santbergen, Marjane Satrapi, Sylvia Schedelbauer, Lone Scherfig, Céline Sciamma, Liew Seng Tat, Kim Seong-hun, Jacques Servin, Lynn Shelton, Raha Shirazi, Amer Shomali, Amie Siegel, Carlos Siguion-Reyna, Kevin Smith, Sion Sono, Jeffrey St. Jules, Jon Stewart, Mike Stoltz, Marah Strauch, Peter Strickland, Amanda Strong, Shim Sung-Bo, Mariama Sylla, Damian Szifron, Isao Takahata, Jordan Tannahill, Julie Taymor, David Tedeschi, Frank Ternier, David Thorpe, Jacob Tierney, Eric Toledano, Clément Trehin-Lalanne, Shinya Tsukamoto, André Turpin, Morten Tyldum, JP Valkeapää, Igor Vamos, Lonnie van Brummelen, Jan-Willem van Ewijk, Pieter Van Hees, Marte Vold, Calum Walter, Wayne Wapeemukwa, Matthew Warchus, Roger Waters, Wash Westmoreland, Blake Williams, Adam Wingard, Michael Winterbottom, Frederick Wiseman, Ray Wong, Wang Xiaoshuai, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (Young-hae Chang and Marc Voge), Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Zhang Yimou, Soon-Mi Yoo, Jeffrey Zablotny, Krzysztof Zanussi, Baldvin Zophoníasson, Christian Zu?bert, Mich’ael Zupraner, Andrey Zvyaginstev, Edward Zwick and Antoinette Zwirchmayr.



Photo from The Judge courtesy of TIFF

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Photo: Fran's Big Breakfast at The Ex. French toast, sausage, bacon and topped with an egg.http://www.thegate.ca/blog/snaps/022053/photo-frans-big-breakfast-at-the-ex-french-toast-sausage-bacon-and-topped-with-an-egg/ http://www.thegate.ca/blog/snaps/022053/photo-frans-big-breakfast-at-the-ex-french-toast-sausage-bacon-and-topped-with-an-egg/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:37:20 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22053 Posted automatically from Instagram via Instagrate.

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Photo: Deep-fried chocolate chicken at The Ex.http://www.thegate.ca/blog/snaps/022051/photo-deep-fried-chocolate-chicken-at-the-ex/ http://www.thegate.ca/blog/snaps/022051/photo-deep-fried-chocolate-chicken-at-the-ex/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:00:42 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22051 Posted automatically from Instagram via Instagrate.

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Photo: The Flying Walendas fighting the wind at the CNE media preview.http://www.thegate.ca/blog/snaps/022049/photo-the-flying-walendas-fighting-the-wind-at-the-cne-media-preview/ http://www.thegate.ca/blog/snaps/022049/photo-the-flying-walendas-fighting-the-wind-at-the-cne-media-preview/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:32:18 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22049 Posted automatically from Instagram via Instagrate.

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Blu-ray new releases – August 5 & 12: ‘Need For Speed’, ‘Muppets Most Wanted’http://www.thegate.ca/film/022040/blu-ray-new-releases-august-5-12-need-for-speed-muppets-most-wanted/ http://www.thegate.ca/film/022040/blu-ray-new-releases-august-5-12-need-for-speed-muppets-most-wanted/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 03:48:11 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22040 The "Need For Speed" is something I get. There's nothing quite like long straightaways on a highway where you can push the pedal down just a bit and feel the pavement fly underneath the tires. For filmmakers--and here I'm especially talking about producers and a few directors--I wish some times they would think a bit more about the "Need For A Good Script" first though, even before they think about the speed, special effects, and everything else.

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AUGUST 5

Need For Speed
Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi, Imogen Poots, Ramón Rodríguez, Michael Keaton
Director: Scott Waugh

Rated: 4/10

The “Need For Speed” is something I get. There’s nothing quite like long straightaways on a highway where you can push the pedal down just a bit and feel the pavement fly underneath the tires. For filmmakers–and here I’m especially talking about producers and a few directors–I wish some times they would think a bit more about the “Need For A Good Script” first though, even before they think about the speed, special effects, and everything else.

Of course Need For Speed has some great choreographed action sequences on wheels. It seems like Hollywood has no problem figuring out how to do a great race through highways, cities, and over just about any paved or gravel surface. Technically speaking at least, filmmaking today is in good hands. The cinematographer alone on Need For Speed captures some breathtaking action as the expensive cars fly over the streets. But, does any of that really matter if the story sucks? That’s the real question.

I can turn on my television or click over to YouTube and watch hours of car porn that will dazzle even non-car lovers. Watching Top Gear alone is amazing, but there’s not a whole lot of story behind any of those shows, and if I’m going to watch something as long as Need For Speed–which clocks in at 2 hours and ten minutes–there better be a decent story, or at least something to connect the dots logically.

But, a lot of films–even films made for an estimated $60 million dollars–have no clue what a good story looks like. Or, once they’re making the film, product placements and placing your actors just right are more important considerations than whether the story makes any sense.

Need For Speed is like a lot of video game movies (it’s based on a very popular series of games by Electronic Arts) that just have no idea what they’re doing from scene to scene, and the plot not only flies off in all directions, but it also just doesn’t make any sense as even a bubble-gum movie should, let alone a supposed blockbuster. If you’re not groaning at the screen during half the film, you’re probably watching cars fly by, and after the first wayward 30 minutes, the rest of the movies gets harder and harder to watch as people make unlikely, stupid decisions after even more unlikely, stupid decisions.

The cars are probably the real stars of this film, but for the most part, I liked the main cast, even if their characters are poorly written. Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi (AKA Kid Cudi), Imogen Poots, and Ramón Rodríguez all seem to have fun, which is kind of fun to watch, and despite Cooper’s obvious rich-guy/bad-guy routine, the cast was not too bad. However the scenery-chewing, over-the-top Michael Keaton is a disaster to behold. I didn’t like him in the RoboCop reboot, and I especially don’t like him in Need For Speed where he turns even somewhat believable lines into bad pitches by a used car salesman. His performance drags an already bad film down even lower since his character, Monarch, is on screen way too often.

Instead of watching this terrible film, I’d rather recommend Top Gear, which probably has more plot and story going for it than any given moment in this brainless disaster.

Divergent
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller
Director: Neil Burger

Divergent is essentially the “In a world…” plot, where the society as we know it has been turned upside down for a really strange concept, but with teenagers of course since it’s 2014. Ever since teen movies seemed to do so well a decade ago, every teen book on store shelves has been optioned for big screen adaptations, and Veronica Roth’s novel was the latest one up for what the producers hoped would be a whole new fansanity.

Of course, we already know the trilogy has been slated for a total of four films already, but it’s safe to say that Divergent is not going to create the buzz we saw around Twilight, or even The Hunger Games, but you can certainly expect three more films over the next few years.

Shailene Woodley stars as Tris, a girl in a dystopian future where the population has been divided in groups based on their abilities and personality. Tris, however, is Divergent, meaning she belongs to more than one group, and apparently, the world of tomorrow doesn’t like the idea that this group even exists, and a plot is underway to destroy them all.

Based on popular criticism of the film, unless you’re under 20, it’s safe to say that you can skip this one, although fans of the novels will appreciate that it’s apparently fairly faithful to the original story.

Oculus
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, Katee Sackhoff
Director: Mike Flanagan

As a Doctor Who fan, the horror movie Oculus has one thing going for it in my books, and that’s star Karen Gillan who plays Kaylie, a girl who has to prove the innocence of her brother in a murder case by revealing the supernatural force that is behind the grisly deaths. Yes, really.

Reviews for Oculus were fairly good, especially for a horror film, and most critics enjoyed the old fashioned ghost story that it creates with reality-bending moments that are filled with surprises. Plus, Karen Gillan is in it.

Muppets Most Wanted

AUGUST 12

Muppets Most Wanted
Starring: The Muppets, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Director: James Bobin

Rated: 7/10

Thank-you director James Bobin, and co-writer Nicholas Stoller, for bringing the Muppets back on screen once again in a fresh and original story that pops with great jokes, and lots of eye candy, music, and A-list cameos.

Muppets Most Wanted kicks off right where the last film ended. The extras are going home, the Muppets are excited, but what are they supposed to do next? “How about a world tour?” Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) suggests in an effort to drag them into his criminal master plot, and with that, the gang is off to Europe. Meanwhile, Mr. Badguy is working with Kermit the Frog’s evil look-alike, Constantine, who has just escaped prison and is ready to oust Kermit to take his place and direct the Muppet gang to help him as he plans the biggest robbery in history.

Muppets Most Wanted is simply fun, fun, fun, whether you’re 15 or 51. The songs are catchy, the stars are wonderful, and I never tired of the Muppet gang’s antics.

Gervais, and Tina Fey (who plays Nadya the gulag overseer), are both likeable and funny, but it’s Ty Burrell who steals the show as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon. Burrell does not have a lot of scenes, but I looked forward to every time he appeared, and his comic timing–even next to the Muppets themselves–is perfect.

This sequel is not quite as fun as the 2011 film The Muppets, and the songs aren’t quite as good either, but it’s very, very close, and the film is too fun to miss. After you watch it, the Blu-ray feature “The Longer, Longest Blooper Reel in Muppets History” is also a must-watch, especially if you want to see Gervais flub his lines over and over again, snickering all the way through.

Bears
Starring: The grizzly bears of Alaska, John C. Reilly
Director: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey

Rated: 6/10

Narrator John C. Reilly takes us through the lives of three bears in this compelling Disneynature documentary in and around Katmai National Park in Alaska during the Spring and Summer months.

Mother bear Sky has to fend for her two cubs Amber and Scout as she takes them down from the cold and snow of the mountains, to the green pastures of the sea side where they need to contend with male bears, and the constant hunt for food, not to mention a occasional grey wolf.

Although the forced plot of the documentary makes some of the “story” seem a bit unreal, and Reilly’s narration follows that all too much as well, Bears is a beautiful documentary. The scenery and the cinematography are unbelievable, and it feels like you get right up next to the bears in their natural habitat. For kids and families who adore nature, Bears is certainly worth a watch for that reason alone, and it should act as a great reminder about conservation efforts, and the importance of parks like Alaska’s Katmai National Park.

Watch my interview with Toronto Zoo animal supervisor Jeff Young as we discuss the bears, and their environment.

Bitten: Complete First Season
Starring: Laura Vandervoort, Greyston Holt, Greg Bryk, Paul Greene, Steve Lund, Michael Xavier, Genelle Williams

Actress Laura Vandervoort stars as Elena Michaels in Space’s werewolf thriller, Bitten, about a woman who discovers she has a supernatural curse, and the new furry family that she must contend with because of it.

Torn between her new werewolf family and the new city where she lives and works as a photographer, Elena has to figure out if she wants to hide in the city, or run with her pack.

Bitten airs on Space in Canada and SyFy in the United States, has already been renewed for a second season, and it’s based on the novels Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong.

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RIP the unforgettable Robin Williamshttp://www.thegate.ca/blog/022041/rip-the-unforgettable-robin-williams/ http://www.thegate.ca/blog/022041/rip-the-unforgettable-robin-williams/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 02:39:14 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22041 The news today that Mr. Williams has passed away is nothing short of devastating, and I never really imagined how his death would affect me until now. Robin Williams was always bigger than the roles he inhabited, and his characters were always raw, leaving a mark that I always found myself coming back to as I watched his films again and again.

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The news today that Mr. Williams has passed away is nothing short of devastating, and I never really imagined how his death would affect me until now. Robin Williams was always bigger than the roles he inhabited, and his characters were always raw, leaving a mark that I always found myself coming back to as I watched his films again and again.

For starters, I grew up on Mork & Mindy. As a little boy I was obsessed with that strange, child-like, and out-of-place character from another world. And after that, Robin Williams was always in and out of my life as I grew up, in roles that always made me think of the man behind the wild characters. They were emotional standouts who always seemed out of place, but somehow deeply connected at the same time.

While I grieve over the idea of watching almost any of his films, it will always be Dead Poets Society, Birdcage, August Rush, Bicentennial Man, Patch Adams, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, and even Jumanji that have touched me the most.

Those films, and one other.

The film that is going to totally crush me is actually one of his lesser-known gems: Hook.

From the charming romance with Tinker Bell, to Peter’s fight with Hook himself, the movie was packed with charm and wit, and if there ever was a film that personified the man I imagined Robin Williams to be, it was Hook. Growing up at the time, and rewatching the film in my 20s, I always identified with Williams as this Peter Banning fellow, who was all grown up, but still felt, at least a bit, like a child inside.

I feel richer for remembering Williams as the man who showed me, at least on some level, that you don’t necessarily have to grow up just because you’re getting older. And that “shazbot” is sometimes the right word for the situation, including right now.

But it feels wrong to end this note with anything but… “O captain, my captain!”

Photo credit: Unknown, Mork & Mindy.

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Sean Bean lives on in ‘Legends’ #dontkillseanbeanhttp://www.thegate.ca/television/022016/sean-bean-lives-on-in-legends-dontkillseanbean/ http://www.thegate.ca/television/022016/sean-bean-lives-on-in-legends-dontkillseanbean/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 21:12:54 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22016 Sean Bean has had a strong career, appearing in some big films over the years, but as any fan will point out, the characters he plays have some real mortality issues. Perhaps with his new series, Legends, Bean can do a little better?

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Sean Bean has had a strong career, appearing in some big films over the years, but as any fan will point out, the characters he plays have some real mortality issues. Perhaps with his new series, Legends, Bean can do a little better?

Premiering on Bravo, August 27 at 9:00 PM (ET), Bean stars in Legends as Martin Odum, a deep-cover FBI agent who begins to question his own identity after a tip from a stranger suggests that his past is a lie.

For Sean Bean’s fans, the show is a chance for the star to have a few years, as long as it is renewed of course, in one role, and a wide range of people have jumped in to have their say with the popular, and cheeky hashtag, #dontkillseanbean. TNT, the network airing Legends in the U.S. started pushing the hashtag during the Television Critics Association’s tour with t-shirts, and it’s obviously a spectacular branding opportunity for Bean and the series alike.

Whether the hashtag will end up being fulfilled or not is up to viewers who will just have to tune in to keep the series alive, but if the success of the hashtag so far is any indication, Sean Bean is probably in good hands this time, at least for now.

Scroll down for the official trailer and the “Don’t Kill Sean Bean” trailer, plus the show’s official synopsis, and a couple of outstanding tweets.

Don’t Kill Sean Bean – “Sean Bean will live” promo:


Legends trailer:


Synopsis: “In the series premiere of Legends, deep cover agent Martin Odum (Bean) returns to the FBI after an assignment infiltrating the Citizen’s Army of Virginia (CAV), a domestic terrorist organization. He tries to re-connect with his estranged wife and son, put his life back together, and get the last “legend” behind him, but when the CAV announces an eminent attack, Martin must go back under in order to stop them. Also, a mysterious stranger confronts Martin to tell him that his whole life may be a deep cover legend and that everything he thinks he knows is a lie.”

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Matt Gordon and Charlotte Sullivan: wild hints for the ‘Rookie Blue’ season 5 finalehttp://www.thegate.ca/television/022035/matt-gordon-charlotte-sullivan-wild-hints-rookie-blue-season-5-finale/ http://www.thegate.ca/television/022035/matt-gordon-charlotte-sullivan-wild-hints-rookie-blue-season-5-finale/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:57:17 +0000 http://www.thegate.ca/?p=22035 Global is promising an "explosive" Rookie Blue season five finale tonight, starting at 9:00 PM (ET/PT). The episode, "Everlasting", has 15 Division trying to find a car-bomber, but there are numerous targets around town and only so much time to stop him.

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Global is promising an “explosive” Rookie Blue season five finale tonight, starting at 9:00 PM (ET/PT). The episode, “Everlasting”, has 15 Division trying to find a car-bomber, but there are numerous targets around town and only so much time to stop him.

As a lead-up to the finale, I spoke to actors Matt Gordon and Charlotte Sullivan about the episode. Here’s their fun, creative, and wild hints at what happens in the finale:

Synopsis: “With the car-bomber, Ted McDonald, still on the loose, the officers of 15 Division work to track him down with the help of Marlo Cruz, who’s back and working for Intelligence. Once Ted is caught, Swarek must sit down with the suspect and work through his crazed conspiracy theories, in order to get to the bottom of Ted’s darker plans. Are the bombs over or are there more to come? Who else is this man targeting? Just as it feels the worst is over, a bomb goes off in the evidence room of the station – with Andy McNally inside. But that’s just the first surprise. Ted’s grand finale is still to come: a violent ending to a violent life, and a mysterious act that leaves Swarek dumbfounded.”

Rachael Ancheril

Rachael Ancheril

Missy Peregrym

Missy Peregrym

Rookie Blue season six, which is currently filming in Toronto, will premiere in Spring 2015.

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