March 28, 2015

At Canadian Film Fest 2015: Ben's At Home

Continuing today, the Canadian Film Fest screens the rom-com Ben's At Home from Canadian writer/director Mars Horodyski and writer/actor Dan Abramovici.

Ben's At Home follows the newly 30 and single Ben (Abramovici) as he copes with life, love, and bouncing back from a bad breakup. Heartbroken and cynical after he’s dumped by his girlfriend, Ben decides to never leave his house again.

Through the course of the film, Ben draws more into himself. However, he also relies more heavily on social media to interact with other people. Being at home also means relying on home-delivery for food and other necessities. It is in this way that he meets a really "awesome" girl, Jess (Jess Embro). What Jess does not know, however, is Ben's decision to not leave his home along with his other ' emotional baggage'. To make matters worse, Ben decides not to go to a buddy's bachelor party. At this point, Ben almost loses his friends. But not all is lost. And in the end, Ben must decide how important these relationships really are.

Romantic comedies are not my favourite type of film, but Ben's At Home is actually one I had fun watching. It is relevant and witty, and reminds us that in this digital age, there are times when we need to unplug in order not to miss the important connections we have... and those that are waiting right at our front step. This is surely a film that is more than just a silly look at relationships. 

Ben's At Home has been showcased in film festivals around North America to really positive reviews. The film will be released in theatres across Canada in May 2015 and on Video On Demand (VOD) platforms including iTunes, Shaw, Rogers and Bell in July 2015.

But you don't have to wait until then to catch it on the big screen. Ben's At Home screens today, Saturday, March 28, at the Royal Cinema, 3:45pm. The short film, This Is Not What You Had Planned screens alongside it. This short is also a funny and a very good look at the ups and downs of romantic relationships. Highly recommend both of these.  

I also encourage you to also attend Can Film Fest's Closing Film, Pretend We're Kissing, screening at 8:45pm. For more details, visit canfilmfest.ca.

March 26, 2015

Green Living Show 2015: Innovative Products And More

The Green Living Show is North America's largest consumer show dedicated to solutions for a better and sustainable lifestyle. The three-day event (March 27 – 29) will feature over 400 selected companies, speakers, innovative products, and other fun activities for the whole family. New this year: The show has moved to the Metro Convention Centre, which will mean a new look to the show.

The show has rounded up the top innovative products that show you how simple it is to be healthy and green. As well, you can take in a few panels over the course of the weekend. I suggest the following:

Scientific Solutions
Friday, March 27
12:00 – 2:00pm

In collaboration with Alternatives Journal, experts including members of Sustainable Canada Dialogues, come together to advance sustainability education, research and dialogue in the face of global environmental change to explore viable, science-based sustainable solutions in each of their specialized fields.

Blue Is The New Green
Saturday, March 28
1:45 – 2:30pm

Join the hosts of TVO's award-winning eco-adventure series, The Water Brothers, as they recount stories from their global adventures exploring the state of our blue planet.

Four Sides to Women's Health
Sunday, March 29
3:30 – 4:15pm

The upside to the rise of female entrepreneurs is the number of new products on the market designed to improve women's health. This panel features four companies with four products women will excited about.

I also suggest checking out the MaRS Discovery District. MaRS works with more than 1,000 startups in leading technology sectors, helping them grow into successful global companies that are building a better future for everyone. Lots of neat stuff from creative minds. At the exhibit you can meet the entrepreneurs behind 19 of these startups. And you can also learn about a range of innovative products.

Sampling at the 2014 Green Living Show
Photo courtesy of greenliving.ca

HOT Deals
Flash your March TTC Metropass, GO Presto card or Live Green Card at the door to receive free admission!

Dates & Hours
Friday, March 27 12 – 8 pm
Saturday, March 28 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday, March 29 10 am – 5 pm

NEW Location
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
255 Front Street West, T.O.
Closest Major Intersection: Front Street& University Avenue

Admission to the Green Living Show is FREE when you bring a piece of electronic waste for responsible recycling. For more information, visit greenlivingshow.ca.

At Canadian Film Fest 2015: Late Night Double Feature

The Canadian Film Fest (Can Film Fest) continues tonight with some genre films.

Late Night Double Feature
Directors:  Navin Ramaswaran, Zach Ramelan, Torin Langen
Cast: Jamie Elizabeth Sampson, Nick Smyth, Jeff Sinasac, Colin Price, Caleigh Le Grand, Sandra Da Costa, Brian Carleton

The set up for Late Night Double Feature is that of a film within a film of sorts. Essentially, the film begins during a late night taping of Dr. Nasty’s Cavalcade of Horror, where bloody chaos takes place in the midst of the screening of two features (Dinner for Monsters and Slit).

Samantha/Nurse Nasty (Jamie Elizabeth Sampson) is frustrated by how the show is being run by its womanizing director (Mike Donis) and its drunk and crazy host Dr. Nasty (Brian Carleton). As the screening goes on, the mood in the studio become more and more chaotic. And Samantha simply starts to lose what bit of patience she has left.

Late Night Double Feature presents us with three short films. Plus Dinner for Monsters and Slit which make up the main portion of the film. In the manner of a 70's late night horror double bills on television, the screening begins with Dinner for Monsters. Here we meet a couple (Jeff Sinasac and Sandra DaCosta), who are Morticia nor Gome, who hire a chef (Nick Smyth) to cook a special dinner that is to include a "man-roast" as the main dish. The chef , who is in dire need to revamp his restaurant agrees. Through the course of the night, things progress from dark to gruesome. I'll leave you to figure out what that means. Dinner for Monsters has potential to be a dark yet funny short, but it is not perfect. It becomes somewhat messy in direction, as it progresses to its bloody denoument.


The second film, Slit begins rather strong. The story revolves around Brad (Colin Price), a man who is paid to cut people; people who enjoy the pain of cutting. People who 'need' to cut. The story here flows much better. And as viewers, we are unsure if this professional cutter gets off from doing what he does. When he meets a new female client (Caleigh Le Grand), however, he finds himself in a very dangerous situation, in which the tables are turned.

One question I dare ask is, Why are women in horror films often made to be scaredy cats or completely psychotic? The female character in Slit is damaged; that's understandable. Yet her fall into anger and despair take away from the film, for me. As a whole though, Slit is the better of the two films.

Late Night Double Feature ends back at the studio, where Dr. Nasty loses his sh*t on-air and hurts Samantha. When the show's director fails to help Samantha, an unlikely hero saves the night. Or does he? You'll have to watch the film to see how it all unfolds.

Although parts of Late Night Double Feature may be lacking, it makes for a fun late night outing. For those of you who like campy, darkly funny and morose genre films, be sure to check this one out.


If you are a fan of old-school genre films, you will want to drop by the Royal Cinema tonight, 9:30pm, for this screening. And remember support local, indie Canadian films. We have lots of great talent on this side of the border! For a full list of films playing at Can Film Fest, visit canfilmfest.ca.