Sunday, December 20, 2009

Follow-up: On The Olympic Torch

Check out my pictures of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics Torch run in Kirkland, QC. I've also uploaded a couple of videos that will help you re-live the glory of the cool, cool wait for a very special flame.

53 days to go!

Friday, December 18, 2009

30-second movie reviews

These past few weeks have been full of movie-watching, for some reason. The first time, it was intentionally, with the first ever (soon to be monthly) Retro movie night. The movies won't always be retro, but they will always be flicks you've been dying to see but for some reason, haven't.

That night, we watched "It's A Wonderful Life" and "The Sound of Music". Two classics I had never seen. Then, I saw "Brothers", "Up in the Air", "The Blind Side" and "Avatar" in theatres. Wow. I'm kinda movie'd out, but I really want to see "Fantastic Mr. Fox" this holiday season, as well as "Nine". And I wouldn't say no to "Sherlock Holmes".

So with all that creative buzz flowing in my mind - and in case you're on the fence about seeing some of these films - here are my 30 second movie reviews.

Avatar was an incredible tale of hope, full of vivid colours and synaptic beings. Or it would be, if it weren't a sad reflection of our so-called humanity. These kinds of senseless wars and destruction take place around the world, and for what? We haven't learned from our mistakes, even in 2145. We are all inter-connected, whether we feel it daily or not. My heart weeps for all the unnecessary losses of souls.

The Blind Side
The Blind Side filled me with hope for a better world, and it wasn't presented in a cheesy way either. If only we all actually paid attention to the environment around us, the people we live with and their livelihoods, perhaps the world would be a better place. Perhaps we would all be happier. But instead, we choose to turn a blind eye and be selfish, only taking care of ourselves and our own, and even then, we barely do that. There needs to be more people like Leigh Anne Touhy in the world. I wish I could honestly say I was one of them.

Up in the Air
I keep thinking about this movie and the more I do, the more I understand how sad it truly is. I'm an avid traveler and I totally get the airport buzz... And I really enjoyed the ambiguous ending! Up in the Air is a story about humanity and how deep personal connections truly are essential to our happiness, no matter how individualistic we are. It's a story about finding love but not about looking for it. And it's a story about finding your place in the world, figuring out where you belong in all aspects of your life.

Wow. What a powerful movie! I cried a bunch of times and I don't usually tear up at movies. What really got to me was how real it was, but with no pretensions or exaggerations. You believe in it, like you would a documentary, but it has all the major elements of a movie too. It's like a really good book... it gives you enough material to become involved in their lives but leaves enough to the imagination as well, so you can fill in the blanks with your own thoughts and experience. A must see!

It's A Wonderful Life
I only loved "It's a Wonderful Life" at the end of the movie. The rest of the time, I simply followed the quest for figuring out what's important in life, and understanding how deeply each individual's actions affect the people around us and the environment we live in. We are all interconnected and we need to keep this in mind when we take actions. Lesson learned: People come first, and when you care about people, truly care, they care about you too.

The Sound of Music
Wow. After finally seeing this, I get why people love it so much. The songs are haunting, as are the sights, and though it's a little bit cheesy, you can truly dream along with the characters... each and every one of them. This is storytelling at its best: it had a little bit of everything: love, hope, passion, faith, fate, hate, action, battle... and an ambiguous resolution that says that these kinds of wars always live on.

Lots of stirring images and thoughts on humanity. What is our purpose in life? And will creative works like movies be what helps us figure it out? Only time will tell...

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On the Olympic Torch

Today, I had the great pleasure of seeing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch in full flame.

Wait, that doesn't sound nearly exciting enough.


It was very windy, which made it feel very cold, but I was bundled up in some of my favourite winter gear and waited patiently with a big smile on my face... Along with a whole bunch of school kids and quite a few adults, given the 12:49 ETA of the flame.

The atmosphere was electric. The excitement was almost palpable. The kids were chanting eagerly, from the Montreal-favourite "Olé" song to "Go Canada Go!" to their class number, in competition with other classes, of course.

The sponsors, Coca-Cola and RBC, distributed mini-tambourines, flags, and those blow-up noisemakers that have become so common at sporting events and every time a car drove by, whether it was a random commuter or a cop, the crowd became feverish.

Finally, the relay vehicles -which all have cool "Flame 7", "Torch 5", "Relay 4" style license plates - announced that the torch would be showing up in 5 minutes and the crowd-warmer RBC and Coke trucks came by.

Then, someone standing near me yelled out excitedly, "I can see the flame!" And the crowd went wild!

It was such a spectacular moment. Being surrounded by all these strangers, united in our quest to see the flame, to be part of something bigger than us. Hopes and dreams for Canada's success in the upcoming games - and personal achievements too - silently filled the air as we all got our cameras ready and started waving.

And then, I saw his face. I don't know who the first Kirkland torchbearer was, but his face told me everything I needed to know. The pride, the excitement, the joy in his eyes and in his smile was reflected in all of us, young and old. For that one moment, I felt what he felt. For that little bit of time, I felt like an Olympian athlete: proud, excited, accomplished.

And the joy... I don't think anyone could stop smiling. Some people ran after the flame, others stayed and gushed with their friends... My camera battery died due to the cold so I stayed put, but it was worth it. For those quick glimpses of the flame - which at times almost looked like it was going to blow out due to the wind - it was worth it all.

Now, I can really feel the Olympic Spirit. I'm excited, I'm pumped and... I'm going to Vancouver! :D