06 September 2014

Running: Why I Run

In late 2009 and early 2010, I experienced a series of difficult losses that led to me being depressed in the summer of 2010.

One morning, I was lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling. Eventually, I said to myself, "I need to move or I'll never get up from this bed." Later that day, in the evening, I walked around my neighbourhood to figure out a route for running. The next morning I went for a run. I probably did barely 4km, and when I finished, out of breath and my legs heavy, I thought, "This is why I hate running!"

Yet I kept at it, and I steadily came to appreciate how good I felt after a run, like getting a natural high.

Running is now an essential part of my life. While I may not say anything truly new here, these are the reasons why I run:

1. Constant, tangible improvement and achievements. I remember the first time I ran 10km and the sense of accomplishment I felt. Whether it's going farther or faster than I've gone before, running always gives me the chance to do more, to get better, to meet new goals. You've run your first marathon? Okay, let's see if you can go faster for the next one! As well, there's always more to learn about running, from shoes to crosstraining to gear to technique to diet and so on.

Film: Noah and The Drop

Noah  *** (out of 4)

Intriguingly watchable throughout, visually and for the story and characters. The world of the far (biblical) past imagined with a suitable level of the fantastic and sense of the mythic/grand/powerful. Russell Crowe strong, convincing; Emma Watson good; Ray Winstone does menacing well. Jennifer Connelly awkwardly overacts at times. Decently well done.

The Drop  *** 1/2 (out of 4)

Saw the world premiere at TIFF, with the cast and director in attendance. Tom Hardy exceptional as Bob, a quiet, seemingly unassuming New York bartender going about his days among gangsters and local street thugs. He rescues a puppy, meets a woman, deftly handles a suspicious cop, and does what needs to be done to keep everything together. James Gandolfini's final role; he's typically very good. Pacing, editing, cinematography slowly, expertly build tension to the climax. Ending is surprising, fitting, satisfying.

01 September 2014

Film: A Most Wanted Man and Locke

A Most Wanted Man  *** 1/2 (out of 4)

Philip Seymour Hoffman's last starring role. A meticulous, tense, very finely balanced and written spy thriller. Precision editing and cinematography. Keeps you guessing to the end, along with the characters. Convincing performances by all the leads, with Hoffman captivating in his weariness, distrust, and impatience. The post-9/11 world from behind the scenes, and it's a dour, shifting, confused world.

Locke  *** (out of 4)

Just Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke in a car on a long drive to get to a hospital in London for the birth of a child conceived during a one-night stand. He's trying to do the right thing, he says, as his life (job, family) disintegrates in the course of the drive. Locke proves to be a fascinatingly complex, troubled, coiled-up man. The claustrophobia of the car matches, perhaps, that of his life. Hypnotising.