Fantasia Festival 2017: Dead Shack (2017)

Dead Shack (2017)

Dead Shack

Director: Peter Ricq

Cast: Lizzie Boys, , Lauren Holly, Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Gabriel LaBelle, Donovan Stinson, Valerie Tian

While staying at a run-down cabin in the woods during the weekend, three children must save their parents from the neighbor who intends to feed them to her un-dead family. – IMDB

Described as The Goonies meets Night of the Living Dead, Dead Shack comes as a fun zombie romp with a  young cast fighting to save their drunk father on a camping trip when they accidentally discover their neighbor and her undead family. This femme fatale next door does everything to make sure to keep her family safe and fed. With a runtime of 85 minutes, Dead Shack knows how to pace its movie to be fast and filled with moments of tension, comedy and action.

The young cast here creates a nice balance in characters. Matthew Nelson-Mahood playing the son’s best friend, Jason who is socially awkward as he tries to impress his best friend’s sister, Summer (played by Lizzie Boys) every chance that he has. He captures the role very well and in turn, with his awkwardness, brings in quite a bit of comedic relief along with the banter in moments of panic with the young trio. The three here create a balance of intelligence, common sense and spontaneous reflex and this leads them to really pull up a lot of strength and courage. Its also impressive to see that the story quickly shifts these teens, particularly Jason that starts the movie being told to toughen up and quickly does.

While the young cast is the focus here, the rest of the characters are well-used also. The father, played by Donovan Stinson is the most hilarious part of this movie. He starts off the movie with a lot of funny moments. However, even the supporting roles are there in their oddly disposable way but still have their value, mostly for comedy as well. Its realizes how to capture the humor in spite of the horror tension they want to create here. It also helps make the teens more useful and responsible than their parents.

The setting of the movie is in the middle of nowhere however fits perfectly. While Dead Shack feels like it is riddled with cliches, it uses them to their advantage whether by making some smart comeback in the dialogue or turning it into a comedic moment or adding some common sense that most horror movies don’t have. The music builds the moments really well also whether it is to create tension or the soundtrack that compliments some of the scenes. Along with some clever camera work capturing close-ups and angles, it works wonders for Dead Shack as a whole.

It is a shame that it feels that the enemy is largely underused. While it works because it helps create tension as to wondering when the undead or the Blonde will show up. This movie is definitely more a comedy in a horror setting. While there are more undead as the movie moves along and it never feels like we’re really invested into any of the characters, it still finds a way to make this into a fun romp that surprisingly works really well.

My Weekly Adventures: Festivals, Food, Fireworks and Planning!

Wow! It feels like a long time I haven’t done a Weekly Adventures.  This past month has been extreme festival season here and with wedding planning and keeping up with everything, its been really crazy.  Mentally and physically draining in many ways but things are settling down.  While that is the case, I still have little thoughts of having just a week off from the blog to catch up on things, notably sleep.  If any of you thought I didn’t sleep before, now its even less.

Regardless, lets hope I can fit this all in one post.  This month was really eventful and probably a few of these deserve their own posts but we’ll deal with it here! 🙂 So warning: it will be long but I’ll keep the words less and pictures more formula.

1) Fantasia Festival

Fantasia Festival is over! Which means its been at least a month since I’ve posted my last Weekly Adventures. I made it to all the movies even though there were a few I started wondering if I was starting to get sick especially when it was bouncing back between our heat wave and then rainy weather.  11 movies and a lot of decent choices.  There were some disappointments but mostly there were pleasant surprises.

If you missed any of my reviews, here they are:

What might have shined other than the movies were the short films.  The Morrigan, Black Eyes, What Doesn’t Kill You, Point of View were all really good. A fantastic festival and I look forward to next year.  I did miss a few that had some scheduling issues but I look forward to hopefully finding them on Netflix 🙂

2) Unexpected Retweet!

I think the busiest time during my site is during Fantasia Festival season and Halloween marathon time. The site kind of takes off a little.  Its that whole horror genre thing, I guess.  Its okay.  I’m just happy that it does because themed months makes me work double as hard and I plan in advance as much as I can. Regardless, I had some fabulous people retweet me.  The best one was for Cooties.  Elijah Wood retweeted my post! Excuse me.  I’m still a little shocked.  And that brought a ton of retweets from probably his fans and followers which made smile a ton!

Then the second one was Tales of Halloween where one or two people of the crew liked the post.

I never expect much from my posts but I do try to link them up for the Festival so that its a little more exposure for them.  I just never expect these things to happen to my little blog.  Anyways, happy times, happy surprises! 🙂

3) Ottawa Asian Night Market

Living in Canada, we don’t always get to savor the authentic Asian cuisine.  Montreal doesn’t hold a lot of it so I usually head out to Toronto to get some better Chinese food.  This year, located in Lansdowne Park in Ottawa there was the Asian Night Market.  For one, it was a zoo! One line could take up to 90 minutes wait time. We had to separate and conquer in order to eat efficiently.

The lamb skewers were possibly the best ones.  There was some potato tornado or something like that.  It was really good.  Unfortunately, my phone died on the way there so I didn’t take any pictures…

4) Festival Orientalys & Just for Laughs Festival (Take 2)

One of my friends has a booth out at the Festival Orientalys the weekend afterwards selling Japanese street food: Takoyaki, Kakigori and Okonomiyaki.  After that, we headed out to Just for Laughs Festival for a second take to eat more food.  I’m telling…I ate on and off for about 3 hours. It was crazy! It was also fantastic weather so I had a lot of delicious drinks to try out. We got to watch some shows down at the Place des Arts area for the Just for Laughs Festival. It was an awesome time!

 

5) Fireworks: Madonna Tribute + Dinner in Old Montreal

The Montreal International Fireworks Festival runs for about a month or so.  I haven’t gone to see any of the showings in a few years.  For the last show that wraps up the festival, we went to go see the fireworks with my fiance and a bunch of our friends.  We went out and met up for dinner beforehand.  After some discussion, we decided to go to Holder’s Restaurant in Old Montreal.

 

And for some Fireworks highlight!

 

6) Brossard Cultural and Gastronomic Festival + (more) Fireworks

My goodness, these festivals, right? And you can start asking, why is she always eating? I’m sorry.  I should be losing weight for the wedding but umm…I just can’t resist.  Brossard Festival has been around for a few years now.  I’ve only started going this past few years.  I had skipped last year though.  This year, they added food trucks and we got there later so that we could catch the fireworks finale at 11pm.

The process to get there, especially that last 45 minutes was painful.  No disrespect to the highlight band, La Bottine Souriante which is a Quebec folk band, but it was a clash of loud music which was balanced so bad that it sounded like a thousand pots clanging at the same time.  On top of that, the lyrics were absolutely hilarious and somewhat creepy (in a weird stalker-ish way). Anyways, no disrespect.  It wasn’t for me and it was fun watching everyone doing their version of jigs and jumping up and down.

But the fireworks, although only 15 minutes long was fantastic.  It was simply beautiful

7) Wedding Planning

I guess I’ve kind of kept it pretty quiet.  I had shared some details with some blogging buddies here and there. Wedding planning on a tight time schedule between ALL these events is what is going on.  We had some invitations snags which are all ironed out.  You can see my invitation package below! 🙂

wpid-20150813_220326.jpg

If only all of us blogging friends weren’t so scattered around the world, there’s a lot of you I’d love to invite.  Imagine a meeting at a wedding, now that would be so cool! Unfortunately, I’m not rich so I can’t fly all of you in.  Sad because a lot of you have been a consistent part of my life the last few years and to me, you are all my friends 🙂 If you do want a bit more details on it, you can always drop me an email.

The past Sunday, I went shopping with my girl friends for my wedding dress and their bridesmaids dress.  I have a lovely friend being my celebrant so we were looking something for her as well! All in all, it was a long and exhausting day of shopping BUT, GOAL ACHIEVED! I found my wedding gown after just two dresses! It had everything I wanted and met all the criteria! Now for a few touch-ups and its ready to go! And, we even found my two girls their dresses with a lovely color (they called it eggplant). And I found my second dress! 🙂

Things are rolling into place but tentative schedules, details, centerpieces, bouquet, my mom’s dress, and of course, wedding bands: all still on our to-do list.  The date is rolling really close, my friends! I’ll probably drop one more update before the wedding! Two months countdown has started!!!

8) Upcoming….

  • Baking Through Disney Project: Snow White theme baked goods (my plan for this weekend)
  • Unloading my vacation pictures from May (I know its late but things got a little crazy)
  • Music Obsessions (possibly!)
  • A few book reviews
  • I’m planning a new way to get rid of some movies on Netflix and I’ll talk about it on the next movie review (right after I wrap up all the posts I owe fellow bloggers)
  • Maybe a Wedding Planning themed Pinterest Therapy (for good measure)

And to end it all, since I didn’t do a workout update, although I’m still running, Zumba and doing a 4 week Nike Training Club Workout Program.  In the heart of Zumba, one of the instructors use this as our cooldown song so it always makes stretch and do the cooldown routine when it comes on. I wasn’t a huge fan but listening to it over and over kind of grew on me.

Happy Friday, my lovelies!! 🙂

P.S. Drop by later! I have something awesome coming up!!

 

 

Fantasia Fest: Tales of Halloween (2015)

My first ever horror anthology everyone! And I get to start it with a world premiere of Tales of Halloween directed by some awesome directors who happen to be hosting the event also.  Included in this group is definitely one of my favorite directors, Neil Marshall, the guy who directed The Descent which is one of my favorite horror movies.  Before the movie started, a few of directors hadn’t seen the final cut because its has only been completed a few days according to them.  To them, this is a project among good friends who would want to direct a movie together and that resulted in 11 directors for 10 stories in this horror anthology. For this one, I was that crazy person scribbling on my notebook in the dark without looking at the paper while the movie was playing and my eyes were glued to the screen. The hype in the theatre was incredible.  Tales of Halloween might be one of the best theatre experiences I’ve had! It defines why I always love going to Fantasia even if it means lining up 80 minutes in advance outside.

Let’s check it out!

Tales of Halloween (2015)

World Premiere

Tales of Halloween

Sweet ToothDave Parker
The Night Billy Raised HellDarren Lynn Bousman
TrickAdam Gierasch
The Weak and the Wicked – Paul Solet
Grim Grinning GhostAxelle Carolyn
Ding DongLucky McKee
This Means WarJohn Skipp & Andrew Kasch
Friday the 31stMike Mendez
The Ransom of Rusty RexRyan Schifrin
Bad SeedNeil Marshall

I’m going to try to keep this short.  Each segment was maybe about 10-12 minute pieces or so and it was in that order up there, title with the respective director for that piece.  Tales of Halloween is set in a small American town where these 10 stories take place in different areas and at various timelines where you’ll see characters crossing in each other’s stories.   It features all things Halloween from ghosts, witches, killers, monsters and a whole lot more that you should go and discover.

Tales of Halloween

I wasn’t so sure that I’d be into horror anthology and to be honest, the first trailer released for Tales of Halloween really didn’t quite get me so eager to see it.  What sold me was the Comic-con trailer that was a lot more detailed and well, Neil Marshall being there.  The Q&A for this one was really great, just to hear their experiences and working together and how to put it together.  There is one thing that you can’t doubt: the passion and heart put into Tales in Halloween.  There is a ton of it!

Going into an anthology for the first time, I had the expectation that it would be hard to follow and wondering whether there would be correlation between the stories.  As it happens, there was a lot of little details from the directors appearing in each other’s stories to characters crossing through stories as it all takes place in various time lines through this town.  The second expectation is that I’d probably end up liking one more than the other for reasons of different style or whatnot.  In a way, that was true. I didn’t like all the stories equally but they were all entertaining and I didn’t hate any of them but they all definitely had different styles.

Tales of Halloween

Tales of Halloween sets the tone right at the beginning like its taking us into a town on the day/evening/night of Halloween.  The opening sequence was done so well.  It was kind of cartoony and had this really nice score in the background as we had the narrator take us into the town and we got snapshots of each story and their directors.  At least that’s what I remembered it was.  I just loved it a lot and it pulled me right into being the excitement of watching this.  Right off the bat, we step into the first story, Sweet Tooth and it takes us right into the mood as we have teenagers scaring a little kid about legends of this character called Sweet Tooth revolving candy and trick or treat and Halloween traditions.  Honestly, there is no better way to take everyone into Halloween than that.  As the other stories unfold, we have neighbors fighting for who decorates their lawn better, flipping the perspective around to trick or treat, slight turns of faint, facing demons and bullies and haunting ghost stories.  It all comes into the mix with all the symbols we’d associate with Halloween played into this mix and then ending it with something a big finale of action and craziness.

A lot of thought was put into organizing the Tales of Halloween so that they would flow well together and build the Halloween mood.  What’s nice is its not just scares, there’s quite a bit of sarcasm and comedy in it all and it really lifts the movie.  There was some stories that didn’t quite have me into it all the time but there was also the whole idea of knowing how good a director is when it knows when to play the audiences expectations, be it a jump scare or a turn of events.

I really don’t want to dive into this too much.  Overall, Tales of Halloween is an impressive horror anthology with a fantastic opening sequence, catchy score and a nice mix of horror subgenres while giving it a thoughtful flow of events.  Nothing makes a movie better than feeling the talent mixed with heart and passion put into a project.  Tales of Halloween is an entertaining set of stories and if you get a chance, you really need to check this out for yourself! 🙂

Have you heard of Tales of Halloween? What do you think of it: directors, cast, premise, trailer? Do you like horror anthologies? Any recommendations?

Fantasia Fest 2015: Anguish (2015)

The wake up call hits when its a week ago that I went to go see the world premiere of this horror film called Anguish. This one had a trailer that creeped me out so much I pretty much didn’t finish watching it and stood waiting for the movie to start so early that I had time to get all nervous about how scary it might actually be.  I’m sure amping up my expectations on something I essentially knew nothing about wasn’t a great idea but you know what, so far in the two years of Fantasia, I’ve made some pretty good choices especially in smaller films so I’m pretty excited.  In an afterthought, my suggestion is to NOT watch the trailer 😉 However, mine will be a spoiler-free review and I’ll keep it relatively short to not go into too many details so here we go!

Anguish (2015)

World Premiere

Anguish

No poster so here’s from the director Sonny Mallhi hosting the world premiere of his movie, Anguish

Director/Writer: Sonny Mallhi

Cast: Ryan Simpkins, Annika Marks, Karina Logue, Amberley Gridley

Sixteen-year-old Tess (an astoundingly powerful Ryan Simpkins) may be young in age, but she’s already had several lifetimes worth of psychological distress, beginning randomly when she was found banging her head into a wall at the age of five. Through the years, her mother has tried everything, every specialist, every alternative treatment, to bring her into balance. The closest thing to a proper diagnosis that doctors have been able to assign to her mental condition is an identity disorder, and in a sense, that’s not incorrect. Tess’s identity is horrifically disordered — because it’s being encroached upon by spirits of the dead. – Fantasia

Before we start the review, what you should know is that Anguish is inspired by true events of people suffering with unexplained psychological disorders (or that’s the idea of it if I remember correctly).  They clarify it more in the beginning of the movie.  Regardless, that’s a good point to remember as you watch it.

Anguish

Anguish is the directorial debut for Sonny Mallhi who is the producer and/or writer of a good few films that we all know ranging from The Lake House to The Roommate to the much more well received The Strangers.  Last year, I almost went to see another movie he produced at Fantasia called At the Devil’s Door.  I’ll probably give that a watch for the Halloween marathon later this year.   He definitely has a knack for horror and in Anguish, he succeeds at writing and directing a very atmospheric spirit possession movie.  However, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I blame part of my lack of fright because the trailer reveals a lot of the scares to expect in the first act.  They are still quite creepy and will give you that chill down your spine regardless.  For those who go in with less knowledge, this one will give you plenty of scares.  The scares build from utilizing his background sounds and knowing when to isolate sounds in that environment and using an ambient soundtrack that creates the mood the audience needs to be in.  The story premise itself is also pretty good.  It does sometimes feel a little predictable with reminisces of Insidious (for one example).

Anguish

The setting that they choose for Anguish is also very good with lots of nature and contrasts of the city scene.  It gives space for the change in scene and mood that’s well needed for the story.  Some shots are done so well that they captured in my memory quite a bit.  However, Anguish focuses very much on women because we look at two parallels in mother-daughter relationship and the ties they  have.  It pulls in a good level of drama and struggle and successfully allowing us time in the well-paced story to bond with sixteen year old Tess.  While we’re talking about Tess, she is such a central character and Ryan Simpkins does a great job of capturing Tess and making us wonder about her mental disorder and how much it has to do with this being haunted business.

Anguish is a little movie that deserves a lot of attention.  While it may suffer mildly from predictability, it does a great job at building the perfect creepy and chilling atmosphere blending it with a suiting sounds that will make you jump up from your seat with some of the scares.  You will feel anguished and dread what will happen one scene after another.  Not quite as much about jump scares as it is about making this a psychological journey in the horrific world that Tess gets dragged into. There’s something pretty awesome about Anguish and its worth a watch! 🙂

Have you heard of Anguish? Are you a fan of some of the movies that Sonny Mallhi has produced and/or wrote?

Fantasia Fest 2015: We Are Still Here (2015)

Moving on to the next movie was my second double movie night at Fantasia! I’m telling you, this year’s schedule accounts for a lot of my feeling super tired.  These double movies are great and lots of fun but also a ton to think about afterwards.  Thank goodness, this time around, I recorded the Q&A so I don’t need to strain to remember some things here and there.  It doesn’t work to incorporate into my review but it does remind of things that I felt like I agreed with or not. Anyways, enough of this rambling…

The next movie was We Are Still  Here.  Its a directorial debut for Ted Geoghegan (who apparently is also the Director of Publicity for Fantasia Festival) and his sharing of the professed love for an era of horror movies that he feels hasn’t been done in a long time.

We Are Still Here (2015)

Canadian Premiere

We Are Still Here

Director/Writer: Ted Geoghegan

Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham

The year is 1979. Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) are mourning the loss of their teenage son and attempting to start over in rural New England. Before long, however, noises in the basement, falling photos, and a cryptic visit from a very strange neighbour suggest they’re not alone. Anne invites over hippie spiritualists May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (Larry Fessenden), and things get even more alarming when it becomes apparent the locals are harbouring a secret about the house — and the horrible fate that befell its former inhabitants. Soon, a failed attempt at spiritual contact opens the doorway to a supernatural slaughter.. The spirits [..] aren’t simply content to slam doors and lurk in shadows. They’re out for blood — and get plenty, literally painting the walls crimson. – Fantasia

We are Still Here

 Coming right out of watching You’re Next, Barbara Crampton’s name was the first to pop out and I’d be lying if her appearance didn’t give me that final push (along with a very well done trailer) to grab these tickets. We Are Still Here is something special.  It really is.  The movie has this nice style to it that really impresses.  It starts off slow in the first act. We get the layout of the house this couple moves in.  We learn about our characters and what they are dealing with.  There’s a good sense that we can suspect something else is lurking in the shadows.  I might be overthinking this but the camera does it so that it feels like we’re watching the characters sometimes interact like someone is spying on them from around the corner or the next room.  Its builds a pretty creepy atmosphere.  The script even lets us learn that the house has a dark history from a long time ago.  There’s not a lot of characters we deal with but each very well portrays what is needed.  Especially since the cast and even crew has been part of some movies that I’ve heard about.  There are a ton of really great jump scares, and I’m not using myself as the judge here but the fiance because he’s a whole lot harder to scare than I am.  They were extremely effective and those spirits are awesome, chills down your back ones.  I’m not going into further detail because that’ll just ruin your fun when you watch it.

We Are Still Here

I should elaborate a little on the cast since its so great in this one.  Barbara Crampton is a fantastic horror actress.  Its kind of funny because there are parts that her lines and expression kind of give us a little moment to laugh even in the most tense situation.  The final act particularly has a few of those moments. Those moments don’t just apply to Barbara Crampton’s Anna but also all the other character’s here.  Another character that does leave a mark is Jacob (played by Larry Fessenden) who does the whole hippie gig super well and then goes to be a total opposite character and grasps that perfectly as well.  I’m being vague deliberately, okay? Another great actor is Monte Markham who plays the Town Leader (in a way) and does it so awkward and great.  The vibe is incredible.

We Are Still Here

I’ve only touched on the first act being slow but what makes We Are Still Here great is the fact that its like a switch turns on in the second part and things go crazy.  Its not that slow burner about building character anymore, it gets all blood and crazy.  And that’s also when I went “huh?” in a good way because it was so genius how the plot twisted.  I don’t say this often but wow.  That’s really all I have to say about it. It kind of blew my mind a little.

Here’s a good spot to end this.  Overall, great characters portrayed by a stellar cast, effective jump scares, building story, mind-blowing plot twist and a switch from slow to fast in a second filled with a creepy atmosphere that turns around and gets bloody and crazy in a second and my fiance might be disappointed if I don’t mention it, but his favorite is that the spirits themselves are done really well that made the scares even more effective.  We Are Still  Here is a great movie and one I definitely feel privileged to have seen at Fantasia Festival.  I haven’t seen what this movie is supposed to be inspired by (since I’m still learning about the huge world of horror) but if you know more, you might even catch how much heart this movie has.  A great effort for a directorial debut and I look forward to what else this team comes up with.

Barbara Crampton, Ted Geoghegan, Travis Stevens (Producer) Karim Hussain (Cinematographer) hosted this movie and was available for the Q&A.  I would post it all up here but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that.  But there is a nice trivia especially regarding one of the scenes. Here’s a picture of them…from my seat far far up in the Concordia Hall Theatre.
Fantasia Festival

Seeing as this is a Canadian premiere and I have no idea where else its been released, have you seen it? Does this intrigue you?  Are you interested in this 70s style horror?

My Weekly Adventures: Another Month Went by so Fast!!

I’ve been a tad on radio silence about my own life after the whole getting sick ordeal.  I already don’t have great health so when I get sick, it takes time to get better.  And then, work gets busy and I hurt my toe so things have been interesting. Suffice to say, I had to change up my routine that I had worked on in the last month to build but that’s okay.  Although not a whole lot went on, there was still a few memorable moments to share.

Of course, there were some frustrations.  For one, I mentioned this on Twitter about Netflix changing their whole setup structure.  I’m feeling a little conned because I now cannot see what movies will expire. At least they fixed whatever stopped me from seeing my entire list on Netflix. I’m still a little angry at it but they’ve been updating some stuff I like so its made me feel a little less bothered by the whole thing. Not that I’m not displeased. Then I had a Paypal issue that probably was from a phishing email pretending to be from Netflix and that caused some scam on my Paypal account.  Thankfully, it will be reversed.  Finally, its the whole roof business that my mom’s place has. I’m just not understanding how that company had defected shingles so its ruined before the warranty period and there’s a whole settlement thing but to get it, I need to climb on my roof and walk all over it and take pictures.  There was one part that said to count the shingles that were done.  Excuse me…I’m not counting every shingle on my roof.  Plus, after I send it in, they will still send someone to check it.  Then just send the dude in the first place, no? I just don’t understand…

Done with my rant, moving onto the actual Weekly Adventures from the past month! I’m giving you mostly highlights so buckle up and have some fun!! 🙂

1) Running/Training

Being sick and hurting my foot meant that I was off running for 2 weeks.  My idea is to not further the injury so that I couldn’t even walk.  I think that’s pretty fair 😉 I did do upper body workouts to keep in line with training a little so I didn’t just sit around.  And had to put some foam roller and yoga after the first week of recovering when I could. Sitting around all day just meant a lot of hip pain so it helped.

Fortunately 2 weeks ago, I got back into running again with a little 4 mile run which felt tons of good, especially after being on the road to Toronto and then eating a lot so that night I headed to the treadmill at the hotel.  It felt pretty great. Then this past week, I went out with one of my girl friends and her husband for a jog/bike thing and did a nice 10km run. My time isn’t great and it was baking hot even at 8:30-9am in the morning. But point is, its the first time I ran my whole run instead of taking brisk walking breaks.

2) Garden update

Some win and losses this month.  We had a little issue with the cucumber plant but I soon realized it was because of the heat and not watering it enough.  I’ve gone back to the wine bottle watering system to keep it moist while I’m away at work so that when I get home, I get take care of it. Same goes for the raspberry plant. Strawberry plant is extremely abundant BUT the little bunny has a really nice eating schedule and just nibble them away whenever they get anything close to ripe. And its just cute as a button that I don’t really get that mad anymore…

Second round of romaine lettuce is coming out.  The iceberg ones aren’t quite growing again.  I think we need to figure out the way to harvest it properly.  Two out of six regrew a second round while 5 out of 6 is growing again for romaine.

My pink and white flowers are growing but thats really just a guideline when they did the seeds because there’s yellow and purple flowers also.  I don’t really mind.  They are super nice.

Aside from that, I spent Quebec’s birthday gardening like a crazy lady and the weekend before last pulling weeds and trimming ferns and fixing up the garden beds and they are ALL DONE! Sure, its just maintenance now but its a whole lot nicer than before.

How are your gardens doing?

3) Toronto/Gatineau Weekend Getaway

On the last weekend of June, the fiance and I went off for our weekend getaway to Toronto.  It wasn’t exactly super planned and we just did a lot of practical shopping like we needed to get him new glasses.  I had already gotten mine last month and I don’t even think I had posted a picture of it. I mean, we went to Canadian Tire to get car parts.  Like I said, practical.  We did make a little trip to Vaughan Mills to do a little shopping.

Minions

Make your own Minions at the Build a Bear Workshop in Vaughan Mills

Other than stocking up on Teavana and getting some yellow tea, which I have yet to try, the best buy was going to Disney outlet and finding the last Miss Bunny plush toy to add to my collection and on sale!! You should’ve seen me! I was this short girl frantically waving my fiance over to grab it from the shelf because I couldn’t reach it. It was pretty funny…and probably embarrassing, but I didn’t really care 😉

Casino Lac-Leamy

Casino Lac-Leamy

Aside from that, we took a little ending thing to redeem our voucher that was going to expire at the Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau for one of the restaurants called Banco Bistro. I’m going to do a recap on the 3 restaurants we tried on this trip.  Probably in one post.  Since I still have a ton of Seattle and Alaska ones to do.

4) Starting Zumba classes

One of the reasons my running has somewhat slowed down is also that, I started Zumba classes with my girl friend (that I did the run with).  We got a sweet Groupon deal for $30 for 10 classes within a month.  Its pretty close to home and so far, after these two weeks, we’ve tried out 3 instructors and we’re having a lot of fun.

Zumba is really feel-good, full of cardio and dynamic body weights of some sort.  Its energetic and can get pretty intense.  My only issue is that my body doesn’t function that way in like the whole shaking your chest and moving my hips…questions marks float around my head.  Haha! Still, I’m slowly picking up these routines and its a ton of fun! We’re definitely thinking of continuing to do this.

Have you done Zumba?

5) Our first hike this year: Mont St-Hilaire

The weekend before last, we took an afternoon and went to do our first hike. We were supposed to go off to Quebec City area to visit a garden but other priorities took over in the morning and we ended up heading out in the afternoon to Mont St-Hilaire and catching a nice hike up one of the trails.

Mont St-Hilaire

Mont St-Hilaire

The view was awesome and while there was a good bit of people going, it was pretty spaced out so there was never a lot of traffic and we got to enjoy the peace and quiet in the nature.

Mont St-Hilaire

Chipmunks and toads were our main companions 😉

6) Festival season in Montreal!

Francofolies and Jazz Festival both came and left the city.  We just stepped into Just For Laughs Festival and the last weekend was the Percussions Festival.

Percussions Festival

Percussions Festival

We met up with some friends and checked out both of these events.  The main highlight for us in Just For Laughs Festival was the food trucks.

I’ve only tried one before so we were down to try some delicious food and we definitely did.  There wasn’t a lot of food trucks, at least not much I could eat from because of food allergies but the ones I tried were great.

Any festivals hitting where you are?

7) Fantasia Festival 2015 begins TODAY!

Fantasia Festival 2015

Following right along that topic up there, Fantasia International Film Festival starts today! I’m not heading over for any movies today but the advanced screening of Ant-man is probably the highlight to kick off the festival. I didn’t even want to bother with getting tickets since last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy ran out in a second.

I posted up my list on Saturday after getting the tickets.  If you missed it, check out the run down HERE! I’m still on the fence about two movies which show at the same time (Synchronicity and Momentum) so I might just take a day off in general for that one. I’m pretty pleased with the line up.  Head over there and tell me what you think. There’s a ton of horror and I’m sure all of you have better insight than I do for that genre 🙂 I do have to head over to pick up my tickets today so I’ll see how everything is.

As for posts, I hope to get reviews up within 2 days after I see it.  It might change since some are late showings and I’d get home late especially on week nights when I need to prepare for work the next morning.  If you aren’t here for movies, I’ll try to keep a good bit of variety going on here.  I’ve gotten back in cooking and baking so hopefully more recipes and all those backlogged posts need to go up.

Anyone else going to Fantasia?

8) Upcoming….

  • Seattle Day 2
  • Fantasia Film reviews
  • Toronto/Gatineau food
  • Baking and Foods (recipes)

And to wrap it all up, a song that I’m totally obsessed with.  Its just so happy!! 🙂

Have an awesome Tuesday! 🙂

Fantasia Film Festival Line-up! :)

It’s the time of year again! Fantasia Film Festival hits Montreal starting the coming Tuesday (July 14th)!

After waiting for the site to get updated and the schedule to go up on Tuesday, I sat down for 2 hours looking at trailers, reading descriptions, seeing what fit in my schedule.  It sure took longer than I expected.  But then, last year probably took the same amount of time.  With work rush in the way, I have to make some choices that I didn’t really want to.  Some movies I wanted to see only  had time slots where I couldn’t go or it clashed with something I wanted to see more.

One movie, I did end up not choosing (because the chances of me getting tickets were also slim) was advanced screening of Ant-Man.  I’ll still go check it out in theatres if its still around after the festival but its okay.  There are a lot of great choices and some amazing hosts for certain movies.  With that said, I was a little nervous that I couldn’t get tickets for some of the movies.  Here is what the final line-up is!

Just a note: I don’t have particular preferences but I do usually go for less dramas and romance and more horror and thrillers.  I always choose one Hong Kong (China) production and try to dive into Canadian movies also.  Other ones, I try to keep an eye out for is Quebec production and animations that peak my interest but not necessarily included.

July 15

Kung Fu Killer (Quebec Premiere)

The Hallow (Canadian Premiere)

July 17

Cooties (Canadian Premiere)

July 19

We Are Still Here (Canadian Premiere)

Observance (World Premiere)

July 21

Anguish (World Premiere)

July 24

Tales of Halloween (World Premiere)

July 28

Cop Car (Canadian Premiere)

July 29

Bite (World Premiere)

July 30

Antisocial 2 (World Premiere)

Dark Places

That’s the line-up for now! 🙂 11 movies! That’s the same as last year.  I’m pretty happy that I managed to get all of what I wanted even though I hesitated a little during ticket checkout for Tales of Halloween and Antisocial 2. Those are kind of my wild card right there but after looking at the San Diego Comic Con trailer for Tales of Halloween.  It does make me a good bit more optimistic.  I haven’t ever dived into the world of horror anthology movies so this will be a fresh experience.  As for Antisocial 2, my review for Antisocial will go up some time next week, tell me that it doesn’t give you a creeping feeling of Resident Evil BUT I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil, seeing as its my guilty pleasure and all, that I’m willing to give this one a chance.

This year, the fiance is coming with me to see the Sunday two movies back to back night with We Are Still Here and Observance. And one of my good friends are going with me to see Cop Car.  I always love company in these things since everyone else seems to have company.  Not that I mind too much since I’m usually pretty hyped up about these events.

 

Moving along, there were a few movies I couldn’t see because of time constraints but these two were the ones that I felt like I will miss out the most:

Cruel

Cub

While there are movies that I considered and the trailers were rather intriguing but upon a second look at the trailers and discussing with my fiance for weekend showings, we decided to not choose those.  Whatever the reason, I do only have a certain budget so sadly, among a pool of potentially good movies, I had to make choices and hope that it would work out for the better. However, please take a look.  Maybe you can shed some light on some of these that I wasn’t aware of and I’ll add it to my viewing list.

Ludo (India)

Synchronicity (USA)

Momentum (South Africa)

Cherry Tree (Ireland)

Synopsis- via Fantasia Festival

Traders (Ireland) 

Synopsis – via Fantasia Festival

And there you go! My final line-up, potential candidates that didn’t make it (but your opinion and suggestions may change that) and movies that had scheduling conflicts.  As for one of the movies, I actually chose because I wanted to see it and then work my schedule around it.  But then, I really hope I’m sacrificing for the right movie… Either way, I need to be confident in what I’ve chosen. I really do like the looks of it all.  I think I’ll need to round up a ton of comedies to ease the amount of horrors sitting in this list.  If you had to choose one horror to get creeped out of, Anguish gave me chills and the first time, I didn’t even finish the trailer on my own.  My fiance claims I’ll stay up all night.  Lets hope that won’t happen. As for hosts, Tales of Halloween will have a ton including Neil Marshall.  I’d lie if I didn’t choose to see that movie because I wanted to see what he had to say about it. Then there’s Cop Car where Kevin Bacon will host along with the director.  Just a little highlight from what I can remember.

Yay! Festival season! 🙂 Its a huge reason why I feel so lucky to be living in Montreal!

Anyone going to be here for the Fantasia Festival? What are you seeing? Anything catch your eye out of this selection? What peaks your interest from this list?