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Best Cinema Experiences of 2014:

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What really counts in this post is the experiences, not the wording or grammar, etc… That’s my polite way of asking you to disregard the lazy, formulaic summaries and to focus on each, particular screening and the atmosphere each created. Also, please forgive my shoty camera work and the quality of some of the videos…

I Origins (Cast and Director Q and A):

I’m a Mike Cahill admirer. “Another Earth” blew me away and I couldn’t wait for his follow up…and it did not disappoint. Oh, and having Michael Pitt join Cahill in a post-screening Q and A was the icing on the cake.

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99 Homes: (Cast and Director Q and A):

Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, and Andrew Garfield so close I could literally reach out and touch them…need I say more? Shannon is one of my all time favourite actors and the chance to hear him speak about his latest film nearly had me in tears of fortune and excitement.

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Locke: (Stephen Knight Q and A):

If you know me, you know that my fandom in regards to Tom Hardy and “Peaky Blinders” knows no bounds. Naturally, having the chance to catch an advance screening of “Locke,” Hardy’s and “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight’s latest collaboration, left me winded. It’s also the only time my mom has ever stepped into my world, the life of a die-hard cinephile. And the fact that she loved it in its entirety left me overjoyed.

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The Imitation Game: (Cast and Crew Q and A):

Benedict Cumberbatch…in person…that is all… Oh, and Keira Knighley and Matthew Goode too.

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Q and A: Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The Guest: (Director/Writer/Cast Q and A):

This past year’s screening of “The Guest” during TIFF 2014’s Midnight Madness program was easily the most fun I’d had at a cinema all year. Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard are uproariously funny and extremely talented at what they do. Add in the charismatic, unbelievably charming and handsome Dan Stevens in addition to the lovely Maika Monroe, and you’ve got one hell of a theatre experience. The film itself cracks my top 10 of 2014 with ease and this screening has a lot to do with it. I hate to admit it, but having my lame-o friends undergo the craziness with me made all the difference in the world. Plus, we were the only ones to bring a beach ball! Which only added to the over-the-top atmosphere throughout the entire screening. I should probably explain… Midnight Madness is TIFF’s most out of control cinephile experience. There’s loud music beforehand, it starts at midnight, there’s the potent scent of substance abuse lingering in the air, and usually has a ball or two being tossed around. It’s essentially a rock concert that replaces the band with a film.

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The 50 Year Argument: (Martin Scorsese Q and A):

This is, without question, the best experience I’ve ever had in a theatre to date, let alone 2014. Of course, any occasion that has you sitting in the presence of one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers is a monumental occurrence indeed. To be completely honest, the film, “The 50 Year Argument,” although thoroughly engaging and utterly interesting, was simply a welcomed formality, a terrific bonus. Being granted the opportunity to listen and digest Martin Scorsese discussing film and his career for an extended period of time is unlike any euphoric treat that’s ever graced itself to my presence.

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Did you have a particularly awesome cinema experience this past year? Let me know in the comment section below, I’m dying to know! Also, if you haven’t contributed your voice to the latest poll, please click on Vote! in the bar above to do so…don’t make me chase you down!

Jurassic Park 3D (2013)

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Part two of my doubleheader this weekend at the cinema was the 3D re-release of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Check out the review for the first part of the doubleheader starring Evil Dead.

I was fortunate enough to see Jurassic Park in its IMAX 3D format this past weekend. If that isn’t excessively decadent, I don’t know what is. They certainly spared no expense in re-formatting Jurassic Park in 3D.The theatre was packed and the energy in the room filled my gut with excitement. I swear I regained some faith in humanity when I noticed that parents were bringing their young ones to watch it. Opening their fresh, innocent minds to the wondrous world of cinema, its enough to break your heart. All right, hold on. I may be overdoing it a bit, but come on, it’s Jurassic Park, a classic. To know that it’s still relevant and that generation after generation will be exposed to this masterpiece is gratifying.

Unless you’ve been living under a petrified rock for the last 20 years. You’ll know that Jurassic Park is directed by the inspiring, brilliant, unmatchable Steven Spielberg and features incomparable performances from Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, and Jeff Goldblum. With Jurassic Park, Spielberg perhaps squeezes the last drop of wonder and amazement from our planet and presents it in all of its splendour for the masses to see. Its soundtrack is arguably one of the most recognized film scores ever, composed by none other than the supremely talented John Williams. Provoking strong arguments regarding the current state and future of science, the limit of merchandising, and the extinction of manual labour. Jurassic Park is as equally intelligent as it is fantastical.

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Dr. Grant (Neill) and Dr. Sattler (Dern) are coaxed into attending a weekend on the island is Isla Nublar by John Hammond (Attenborough), the CEO of InGen. Accompanying them on their journey is Dr. Malcolm (Goldblum) and Donald Gennaro, a lawyer. Once they arrive at the island, it is revealed to them that it is a biological zoo of sorts that houses genetically engineered dinosaurs. The reason for their visit is for Mr. Hammond to obtain endorsements on the safety and reality of his park which is called into question after an employee is killed by one of the dinosaurs. Another of InGen’s employees is bribed into providing a rival company with embryos of the dinosaurs. When the power and security is shut down to retrieve the embryos, the dinosaurs begin to unleash their fury on the park and the visitors.

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I honestly take it to heart how my interpretations and understanding of Jurassic Park evolved as I grew. As a kid, the underlying messages and themes don’t really resonate with you, but as you mature, so do your opinions. Jurassic Park deals with some serious topics, such as cloning and merchandising. The scene I feel best exemplifies Jurassic Park’s social and political undertakings is when Malcolm and Hammond discuss the act of discovery. Grant and Sattler also contribute to the conversation, but the back and forth between Malcolm and Hammond is the core. The inclusion of the lawyer I think is elegantly satirical.

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It is actually quite miraculous how the 20 year old animatronics still stand up today. The Tyrannosaur never looked better. Grappling with the tour jeep, reeking havoc amongst the park, tearing guests apart, it’s stunning. It’s tough to find a fault in the film. There might be some factual inconsistencies in the design and mechanisms of the animatronic dinosaurs, but they are easy to overlook considering their authentic look and feel. Taking into account the sheer inventiveness and vastness of Jurassic Park, let alone the animatronics and script, it’s easy to appreciate Spielberg’s craft. The originality and intelligence in Spielberg’s direction and Crichton’s novel, on which the film was based, is unmatched.

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When the tears begin to trickle down Dern’s face as she stares into the eyes of the sick triceratops, it conjures up deep feelings of resentment and endearment, it chokes you up. The same emotion can be felt when Neill takes his first look at the herds of dinosaurs drinking from a small lake. Their performances reflect the unbearable anxiousness and ferocious excitement that exude from their characters inner child, which is what I feel makes Jurassic Park such a universally understood and cherished film. Everyone wants their hopes and dreams to come to fruition and when we witness it happen to others, it trembles our very bones. Attenborough mirrors this very aspiration at several moments in the film. Goldblum embraces chaos theory and displaces it throughout his performance. Whether he annoys you or makes you chuckle, their is no arguing with his effectiveness.

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Jurassic Park has the smarts, looks, and personality. The kind of film you’d take home to show off to your friends, just joking. All kidding aside, Jurassic Park is the perfect potent blend of terror, intrigue, and brilliance.

Jurassic Park IMAX 3D: 10 out of 10.

Also guys, don’t forget to check out the top 10 films of 2012 and the week #3 discussion board!