Hot Apollo

Toronto's Shiniest Rock-and-Roll Band

Of Minotaurs and Meat

The latest book I’ve been reading is something I only found out about through a random Twitter thread in which people were supposed to say what their jobs would be if they switched places with the protagonists of their favourite novels. Some dude said he’d be a minotaur at a burger joint, and I had to ask him for the title. And that’s how I found “Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest”. Bit of fantasy. Lots of whimsy. Touch of romance. All great flavours. Solid book.

Bonus Question!

Best minotaur?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Tahngarth.

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Dora's Gold

I was never a devout watcher of "Doea the Explorer", though I did catch an episode or two in high school, and that map song got stuck in my head. Not in an unpleasant way. It's still in there somewhere. But then this new movie came out with all those classic adventure tale trappings I love, and I obviously had to see it. For whatever reason, I wasn't really anticipating the inclusion of the anthropomorphised animals from the cartoon. But they're there. And one's Benicio del Toro. He’s a felonious fox. So hey. That's frosting.
And since that frosting is atop an Indiana Jones cake of archaeologic adventure that's mixed with Spider-Man-style teenage action hero pie, I'm satisfied.

Bonus Question!

Best felonious fox?

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Guillermo Stories to Tell in the Dark

Remember that Goosebumps movie where all the monsters from the books came to life and attacked some kids? "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" is basically that without Jack Black. Although "Goosebumps 2" was that too. But this one has the 60s!

And Guillermo del Toro. I just love this dude's approach to horror. And I say that as someone who's not the most fervent horror fan. But he almost works in that Vincent Price tradition of infusing legitimate fright with a subtle soupcon of camp amidst all sorts of supernatural happenstance. That's a flavour I relish, and I can always count on Guillermo to serve it up.

Bonus Question!

Best Toro?

That dude from the Invaders.

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Back to Wonderland

I just went to Canada's Wonderland for the first time in a decade. It had been on my mind in a vague way, but I didn't really think I'd make it. But then I met up with a friend today, and when I realised we could make it happen, I put things into motion. Solid slice of summer.

Bonus Question!

Best name change for a ride that used to be licensed from a movie?

Most of the name changes were really bland, but when they stopped being able to call the ride "Tomb Raider", "Time Warp" actually seemed like an improvement. It's also my favourite regardless.

New Shiny Tattoo

As I was going to bed on Sunday night, this idea popped into my head, and I rushed into the tattoo parlour on Monday morning to put it into practice. Tuesday was really busy, but I had enough time to design it with an artist, and on Wednesday I rushed back to get it on my head. And here it is.


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Big shouts to Village Ink for doing an awesome job at short notice! Again!

The Only Screening of "The Art of Self-Defense"

I'd been meaning to see "The Art of Self-Defense" for a while. Despite the fact that it had only been put for two or three weeks, I was only able to find one showing. I made it work anyway.

It seemed worthwhile. It's a dark comedy that plays like a more charming "Fight Club" with a less charming ringleader. And where that movie's main man was made by the protagonist, the reverse is true here.
Since the readership of this blog is even smaller than the audience for this movie, I don't feel worried about saying that.

And Jesse Eisenberg's just generally fun to watch. He's like a prettier Woody Allen. Without the more problematic Woody Allen stuff.

Also. Because I was forced to see this movie earlier in the day than I otherwise would have, I ran into this acquaintance I hadn’t seen in years as I was leaving the cinema, and we reconnected amidst an adventure to seek a way to fix his lost ticket situation for a show at a bar I was playing at later in the week. So yeah. Good movie. Great day.

Bonus Question?

Best self-defense?

A good self-offense. Which is why all those comedians made careers around making fun of themselves before anyone else could. Which probably includes Woody Allen.

Toy Story 4

Finally saw “Toy Story 4”. I fell in love with the first one when it came out in early childhood, and I saw the rest, but I don’t carry that vibrant flame for the franchise that many of my generation do. But I have to say that this new entry in the series captures more for that generation than mere nostalgia. The mood of the nebulously young adults who grew up with the early movies is one that does its best to laugh off the near nihilistic sense of meaningless and futility that tints their view of the modern world. The main new character in “Toy Story 4” is one who keeps saying that he’s trash as he excitedly tries to dispose of himself, which definitely feels like a valid encapsulation of the millennial zeitgeist.

But I just liked the movie. Personally, I preferred it to the last.


Bonus Question!

Best toy?

Cuddly.


X-Song Rights

I just had this dream where some producer I was thinking about working with maliciously acquired the rights to my songs, and I didn't know how they could have been sold to him by someone else in the first place. Then I did some investigating and discovered that the rights were somehow held my Charles Xavier, and I didn't know why I would have given them to him. Like . . . I like the guy, and I trust him to a point, but I'm holding the rights to my songs till I die.



Maybe that was it. Since this is a world with Charles Xavier, death is less permanent. I probably died with a will that transferred the song rights to him and then got resurrected but forgot to go through the legal processes that would revert the rights to me.

Anyway, when I woke up I briefly dislocated my shoulder, but I'm fine now.


Bonus Question!

Trustworthiest X-Man?

On the whole, I'm inclined to go with Sam Guthrie, the Cannonball. He's a good kid. And nigh invulnerable when he's blasting.

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Tom Tingles

Alright. I know I've always said that Andrew Garfield was my favourite Spidey, and I still think he was a fresh breeze of cavalier air after the somewhat dour Tobey Maguire, who still wasn't really bad at his take, but "Far From Home" convinced me to join everyone else in 2016 and accept that Tom Holland is god tier Spidey. And that's even with my soft spot for the Ultimate Peter Garfield reminded me of. Tom even nails the aspects of that version. It's not really news to anyone but me. In some ways, it's not even news to me. But Tommy's a wondrous distillation of some kind of Platonic Spider-Ideal.

And the movie as a whole is my favourite Spider-Man film. Even its mix of high school jinks and rangy adventure brings to my mind the Ultimate comics that elevated

the character to new heights in my young mutant heart. Also, while I'm somewhat ambivalent about the direction of the credits scene, the character who steered it was a welcome surprise of the grandest order.

The fact that Mysterio's presented as a fusion of my two favourite Avengers doesn't hurt either.


Bonus Question!

Mysterio's described as a mix of Iron Man and Thor, just like Sigurd Stark, the Iron Hammer of the Infinity Warps event. Who wins?

Mysterio's extra stylish in the movie, but he's still just a trickster. Not even a trickster god. Iron Hammer's

got divine science magic. And a hammer. So . . .

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Ragnarok and Whale

I'd basically forgotten that I'd put a hold on this book from my library app. It was "The Wolf in the Whale", and I was intrigued by its mixture of Inuit history and Norse mythology. I don't recall if I knew that it was by a familiar author when I reserved it, but when it came up for me, I looked at her name and remembered my middling experience with her previous writings about Greek gods in modern times, another concept  I love. I thought I'd give her a chance on this one, though I didn't have any certainty about finishing the book. But it grabbed me somehow. I think I might have been more liable to bounce off the previous books because of the fairly clinical disposition of the narrator, but "Wolf" is seen through a more earnest and open lens. Somehow, that's enough to make it resonate more when all else is relatively equal. This novel's getting devoured.


Bonus Question!

Best whale song?

"So Long and Thanks for All the Fish".

Putting the Camp in Camp Half-Blood

I didn't even know that there was a Percy Jackson musical till I saw a poster on the subway a few weeks ago that announced its one-week engagement in Toronto. I decided on the spot that I basically had to give it a look.


And hey. It was a time. It almost felt as though it was made by people who just got thrown together and wrote the whole thing in order because it really got progressively better as it went on. Everything got tighter and more decisive, but it never dropped that bathetic whimsy, which so heavily defined the books. Honestly, I'd put it around the level of the movies, but its strengths and flaws were wildly different. Still. A good time. And the kind of thing I basically had to do.


Bonus Question!


Movie Grover versus musical Grover!


Each was a divergent take on the character, but musical Grover felt closer to Ned from "Spider-Man: Homecoming" with an undercut, and that did a lot to endear him to me.

Grimly Phoenix

Just saw "Dark Phoenix". Can't understand the hate. It was a fun X-Men film filled with classic X-Men nonsense. Like "Apocalypse". On a tonal level, I did prefer "Apocalypse", but that's  because it was more uplifting, and my own tastes might have liked that to be the end point. But I'm also the guy who used to end the Ziggy Stardust album on "Suffragette City" because "Suicide" seemed too dour to end on, and now that's one of my favourite songs.

But it's pretty rare for a dude to get a second chance at seeing his vision through without interference, and that's what Kinberg got for this after the complications of "Last Stand". He rose from the ashes of that and made his Phoenix play here.

I will say that the X-Men uniform popped better onscreen than I expected, though I still would have preferred the wilder costumes that were teased at the end of "Apocalypse". What else popped? Mystique's hair. That  coif was radical. It could have come from a bottle called "Radical Red". Pure comic book colour. Cheers for that. And cheers to Kinberg for managing to convince her to come back for endless hours of makeup application.

And I realise now that Tye Sheridan might have won the casting call in large part by virtue of his mouth. That blind pout is pure Cyclops. I loved Marsden in the old movies, but he might have almost been too stylish for the role. He might have made me like Scott more than I should have. But Tye's performance is incredibly honest.

Also. At one point, the X-Men are antagonised by the Mutant Control Unit or whatever, with big letters on their outfits that read "MCU", which seems appropriate after all the legal issues between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox's X-Men franchise.

And the ending reminded me of the epilogue to "Dark Knight Rises", which mainly had the effect of making me want to watch a conversation between Xavier and Michael Caine. It doesn't even have to be with Alfred. Any Michael Caine.


Bonus Question!

How was the last season of "Jessica Jones"?

She's not my favourite character of the Netflix Defenders, but for some reason, her show always goes down smoothest.

Forgetful Detecting

I kept forgetting Bill Nighy was in "Detective Pikachu" before I finally saw it. But he is. And it was.

Awesome. It was awesome.

I'd heard people say that it was weak outside of seeing live Pokemon, but I might tend towards the inverse. It was a fun adventure film outside of the visuals, which are never my main draw to a movie. The Pokemon looked good, but they didn't seem miraculously realistic. They just had an overall design that brought their level of detail up, but I'd still say Jar-Jar and company looked more natural in a real world than anything here. That's no knock against the film. I liked how it maintained a bit of the cartoony feel of the franchise, but my experience was at odds with a lot of what I'd heard about the film.

Anyway, it's a fun time. And the ending was an adorable surprise.


Best Eevee?

Sylveon. Because fairies.

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Nice and Accurate

I just watched "Good Omens", and I've got to say that Crowley is the best example since Alan Rickman's Snape of the ability of an adapted character's entire aesthetic to transcend that of the source material so wonderfully. Dude feels like an underworldly Ziggy Stardust. The book did not set my expectations for that.

Also, it's just good, man. And still true. I don't have any issue with the "American Gods" show, but it didn't do for me what the book did. Along with "Good Omens", I could probably fit it near the top of my favourites. The television series felt too different for my own tastes. But "Good Omens" recreated the novel's feel brilliantly, and I've got to cheer for that.


Bonus Question!

Best omen?

I don't know. Red skies at night? At least if you're a sailor.

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Batadict Cumberbat

Been hearing about this Batman casting. I don’t need to tell you that Pattinson’ll be fine. Everyone basically knows. Putting aside my personal affection for the Twilight franchise, I can still say he’s a skillful actor beyond the confines of that role he harbours open distaste for. But at least it gives clear precedent for his portrayal of a moody nocturnal rich dude. With bat symbolism.

Anyway, if that doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I’ve got another suggestion inspired by hearing that one of the villains for the film is supposed to be the Penguin.

Benedict Cumberbatch! Another tall dude with dark hair who looks as though he could come from money. Maybe he doesn’t quite have the chin for it? But whatever. Really, I just want to hear him pronounce “penguin” again. That was a highlight of that Madagascar film he was in.

He needs a name though. We just had Batfleck, and people are trying to decide on one for Robert. I’ve heard “Robert Batinson” and “Robat Pattinson” at least. Maybe “Batadict Cumberbatch” or “Benedict Cumberbatman”? We can work on it.

Bonus Question!

Best penguin?

Probably Memphis. He’s an incarnation of Elvis played by Hugh Jackman. That’s a potent mix.

Dirty Rocking Scoundrels

I just saw "The Hustle", which turned out to be a remake of "Bedtime Story", which I haven't seen, and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", which I loved. But I just discovered that "Scoundrels" got Steve Martin and Mikey Caine after a proposition to et Bowie and Jagger fell through, and now I want that nonexistent film hard. We could have had the cinematic equivalent of their "Dancing in the Streets" cover! Eh. Lass.


Bonus Question!

Mick Jagger the street fighting man or Mick Jagger who dances in the street? Place of battle is the street.

Well, one might expect the guy who's known for fighting in streets to win a fight in a street, but there were some pretty impressive kicks in that other video. Although they might've come from David Bowie.

 

 

Spring Beaching

I saw "The Beach Bum". It was basically like watching a whole movie about Sam Rockwell's Zaphod Beeblebrox soundtracked by turning on a classic rock station at random. Which is to say . . . It was alright for me.

Directed by the dude who did "Spring Breakers". I don't leave movies early often, but when I realised that it wouldn't stop being a series of disconnected scenes with little salient dialogue, I ran across town to see the G.I. Joe sequel instead. Which was delightful. With The Rock.


Bonus Question!

Best Beach Boy?

In high school, my default answer was Dennis, but I haven't examined that since.

Spoils of Infinity War

“Endgame” just came out. “Game of Thrones” is ramping up to its finale. Talk about spoilers and the ethics thereof has not been more prevalent in recent memory.

Now, I remember hearing about some study a few years ago where scientists claimed to prove that spoilers can enhance the consumption of a story because humans subconsciously enjoy putting together a puzzle when they know the end result. Which is fine for some people.

But in recent weeks, I’ve heard that study cited far too much by all sorts of people who hold it up to be some sort of universal truth. But humanity’s not a hive mind, and it’s insane to claim that someone who avoids spoilers actually just doesn’t know that they secretly want them.

I’m not the most fervent opponent of spoilers. Its a personal decision. Like everything, people bear some responsibility for avoiding what they don’t want in their lives, but they also have the right to be annoyed at those who ruin their fun. People generally understand themselves enough to know what they want, and no study is going to trump individual taste. It’s not like vaccination. That stuff doesn’t care if you like needles. It’ll help you anyway. Not the same deal here.


Bonus Question!

Best needle?

Gun.


Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.