Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Market and The Hobbit

Thursday December 20, 8:12 p.m.

Been a while. I've always wanted to take a look down here, so last Friday I took the Parliament 65 bus past my old neighbourhood of nearly 40 years ago, St. James Town, and Cabbagetown. Finally, I got off at the Distillery, an area that I've heard so often about over the year I've been back in Toronto but had never visited. Much like Cherry Beach, my old images of the area consisted of deserted fields and old sugar mills. Obviously, not anymore.

The weather was frankly un-Xmas-like. Balmy for December and so of course, not a flake of snow to be seen or felt. But with the Market finishing up on the 16th, I couldn't wait for the weather to make things appropriate. And of course, being the morning, the atmosphere was that much more un-Xmas-like (Christmas markets are probably far more festive in the evening with the illumination on). Still, with a bunch of high school kids having fun, and scenes like this one to the left here, the Market did have its charm.

I also got a chance to partake in my first stollen. I'd seen a program back in Japan which featured the famous German dessert being sold at the Xmas markets over there. This one I bought was actually produced in Peterborough, but I wasn't complaining at all. I think for those folks who treat the annual fruitcake as a seasonal punchline would probably enjoy a stollen far better. The texture is between that of a cake and a bread, and it has a slight sweetness instead of the hazy booziness of a fruitcake. It'd be perfect for dunking in coffee.

I enjoyed my little stroll through the Market, but next year, I'll see if I can come during a meteorologically appropriate night, although some of the weather folks are saying that a snowless December is probably gonna be the norm in T.O.

Later in the evening, I met up with The Anime King and The Anime Bishop over at Empress Walk in North York to catch "The Hobbit". I was never all that much of a Tolkienite, but I did catch the entire trilogy of "Lord of the Rings" with MB in my Japan days and enjoyed it. But like those three movies, "The Hobbit"was one of those movies that I probably wouldn't have gone to see if I hadn't been invited. We definitely got the full effects with this movie. Peter Jackson had thrown in the 48 frames/second gimmick (not ready by any means to call it a revolution), and it was in 3D.

First off, I saw the 9-minute prelude for the next "Star Trek"movie. Yep, happily, it was much better than the similar presentation for "Tron: Legacy". Still, I'm not sure if it was a prelude or if it's something I'm gonna see as part of the main movie next May. J.J. Abrams is continuing to knock down sacred cows....hasn't killed off any other major characters yet but he's got the Enterprise going as the 23rd-century's most famous submarine. Looks like fun, although from the prelude, I wonder if this version of the franchise seems to be emulating a space-age version of "American Pie" with a less horny bunch.

As for the main feature, "The Hobbit"did its job. The 3 hours whizzed by quickly enough; never looked at my watch even once, although I think the first several minutes could've been easily cut.  I guess Jackson still has that problem that he had with "King Kong"several years ago. Now, as for that 48 frames per second....well, it didn't make me nauseous at all, but it did feel like I was watching a giant video presentation of a BBC drama. And although the characters' faces didn't look exactly like moving representations of craggy topography, they took on a more detailed hue which may be potentially interesting if the gimmick is ever used in some of the legendary dramas such as the ones by Shakespeare. Still, I'd love to see Clint Eastwood or Tommy Lee Jones being filmed that way.