Toronto #17

OK, so it’s still slightly late (I usually like to type these up on a Sunday), but I still want to keep this as a regular thing. Especially after a week like last week.

First things first, an update on my job. Whereas last week, I said that it didn’t look like I was going to be in my current placement much longer, it was barely a day later when I found out that my contract had been extended – by two months! At the very least, that gives me plenty of time to save and prepare for at least a brief period of unemployment, if needs be.

Having said that, I still plan on getting out as much as possible for the slightest excuse of enjoyment. Which is why I headed down to The Royal cinema twice. First was to catch the Black & Chrome edition of Mad Max: Fury Road. It was quite the experience. While some moments made me realize how wonderfully colourful the original version is, there were definitely plenty of scenes where the black and white works beautifully, especially the night scenes. It was definitely worth the watch.

The other film I saw was The Dead Zone. I’ve been in a Stephen King mood lately (which I’ll get to in a moment), so finally seeing this on the big screen was perfect for me. (What also helped was the trailer the Royal showed for it before Mad Max: “On the most terrifying day of 2017, watch a political lunatic get taken down…by Christopher Walken!” Times like this that make me seriously glad I came to Canada.)

I’ll admit, I have yet to read the book, but the film was great. Shot in wintry Ontario, the film tells the story of Johnny Smith, a man who, after a car crash, spends 5 years in a coma before waking up to discover he has psychic abilities. The film explores not just how he uses these powers, but also how he adjusts to a life that has moved on without him.

Christopher Walken was brilliant in the lead role, and the story was surprisingly sweet, considering it was directed by David Cronenberg, during his early days of visceral shocks and body horror like Scanners and Videodrome (the latter I really am itching to see). Don’t get me wrong, the film did have some horrific scenes, (one of which involving a pair of scissors that even I couldn’t bear to watch,) but overall, it also included some really great drama in there, too.

It was also surprisingly episodic, with the film’s plot broken into 4 parts – there’s the “origin” of the lead gaining his psychic powers; there’s a murder mystery; there’s a focus on his personal and professional life; and finally, there’s the climax where he makes a difficult but important decision. It all flowed together really well, and watching it, I could see how it could’ve been adapted into a TV series.

Overall, it seemed to be a solid Stephen King adaptation. I’m even more curious to read the book, and if I’m honest, check out the TV series, too.

Also this week, I’ve gotten back into my 3rd read of The Dark Tower series. I was in the middle of volume 5, ‘Wolves of the Calla’, when I put it aside months ago. Partly to focus on moving to Canada, as well as other things. This week, I finally picked it up again, and read the rest of it in a couple of days. So good.

‘Wolves’ is a great mix of Magnificent Seven tribute, horror, sci-fi, and even ‘Salem’s Lot sequel (the last of which I appreciated even more, having finally read what is currently one of my favourite vampire stories since my last read of the Tower). All of which given that distinctive Stephen King spin. I must admit, ‘Wolves’ has grown to be one of my favourites, after the second volume, ‘The Drawing of the Three’. (Now there’s a life changing book for me if ever there was one.)

I may make a start on volume 6, ‘Song of Susannah’, in a couple of weeks or so. Currently, I’ve decided to re-read Black House, another Stephen King book I’ve enjoyed (co-written with Peter Straub), and which has major Dark Tower connections. Certainly, I plan on finishing the current read of the Tower before the film gets released in a few months time.

Am I excited about the film? Well, I’m certainly keeping an open mind about it. From what I’ve read, it sounds radically different to the books in terms of its plot, but considering how meta and complicated the books get, that’s understandable. Even more understandable given that the film’s less of a straight-forward adaptation and more of a…well, I won’t spoil it for any who’ve yet to read the novels. All I’ll say is that Idris Elba, while not exactly who I pictured as Roland, is someone I can still see playing the part really well.

I think I’m more excited about Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. He looks really cool in the role, and I can definitely see him playing it really well. I just hope we get a trailer soon (and a proper one this time, not one that was leaked online before the effects were even finished).

Now, away from fantasy and books and back to Toronto. I’ve found out that my current favourite place (well, possibly joint favourite, next to the Royal,) Cherry Cola’s, is thankfully still open. I headed down there Saturday night, where I proceeded to have plenty of drinks while enjoying some really great live music. Yep, that place really is my kind of pub.

Afterwards, and despite it being so late, I decided to watch The World’s End when I got home. Because when you’re drunk and have listened to great music, watching a film about people getting drunk while fighting robots to a soundtrack that kicks off with Primal Scream’s “Loaded” has such massive appeal, I’ve gotta say.

Well, that’s it for this week. I don’t know whether I’ll have much to write about in my next post (with the possible exception of how awesome Black House is), but I’ll try to keep it interesting. For now, here are some words from Christopher Walken:


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