Akira Back – Toronto – March 17, 2018

Named after its Michelin-starred chef, this high-end eatery serves creative Japanese cuisine.
Address: 80 Blue Jays Way, 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON M5V 2G3

Website: http://www.akirabacktoronto.com/

Google reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars




Toronto Comicon – 2018


Website here: http://comicontoronto.com/




Dom Hemingway (2013) – Movie Review

Richard Shepherd’s latest film is a maelstrom of bad behaviour in the best style of British crime comedies – it’s impossible to not liken it to Guy Ritchie and his ilk – but this one stands out from the crowd as it features a stunning performance from Jude Law – he may have started his career with man in touch with his feminine qualities but here he is the full monty as the mockney gangster on steroids. Law cannot be accused of a lack of a commitment – he throws himself in with palpable relish – and shouts and swears his way in a remarkably winning performance. Subtle it ain’t – but man it is genuinely entertaining, pure and simple.

The lasting impression is the tremendous energy of the script and Jude Law – it could really be a stage play in places – it is not often these days that movies create energy through an excellent script, rather than energy by effects – this does.

No way is this a great film – but Jude Law’s performance is full of sly humour, and Richard E Grant obviously loved being the dry sidekick – there is more than a touch of Withnail to the whole proceedings and he is superb.

Dom Hemingway avoids squeamish violence in the main and goes for the jugular in its script instead – it even has more than a touch of pathos admid the insanity. All in all, if you like films with some style, real laughs, and energy – and crude craziness – then this fits the bill better than most.


7 out of 10 stars


Jacobs and Co – Toronto

Elegant environs with a piano bar, plus house-aged steaks & Caesar salads prepared tableside.
Address: 12 Brant St, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1

Website: https://jacobssteakhouse.com/

Google reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars. I actually rate the restaurant higher than this. I’m loathe to give anything a perfect rating, but it’s pretty damn close – 4.9 out of 5 stars for no other reason than nothing is perfect. I’ve been many times and have never experienced a bad meal.




3 Days to Kill (2014) – Movie Review

I’m not quite sure what this movie set out to be – a serious CIA thriller, another Bourne/Reacher/Ryan attempt to duplicate what James Bond achieved and spawn a remarkable franchise, or a slapstick comedy that didn’t take itself too seriously, but delighted in the thrill of action and explosions in the same manner as films like Die Hard, Mr and Mrs Smith or This Means War did. But whatever its intention was, it failed.

Starting off as a set up to what could be a serious albeit cliched film – the journeyman agent, the one evil genius still at large, that one last job before calling it a day – the film quickly loses itself in a way that it never quite recovers from. With a wooden performance by Amber Heard, and scenes and dialogue that belong in a Robert Rodriguez film, 3 Days to Kill never lives up to the potential of what it could’ve been. Not quite action, not quite spy thriller, not quite comedy, and so many botched attempts at sentimentality that it becomes almost like a soap opera in its execution.

A solid performance by Kevin Costner, who’s gone along the lines of Liam Neeson in perfecting the senior bad ass role, but even Costner wasn’t enough to give this film plausability. I’ve watched it once and I think that was enough.


4 out of 10 stars


Patria – Toronto

Classic Spanish cuisine (from tapas to paella), wine & cocktails served in a stylish, airy setting.
Address: 478 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1L7

Website: http://patriatoronto.com/

Google rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars. I actually think it is better than this rating indicates. The atmosphere is outstanding and the food is very tasty. It’s a bit more of an upscale tapas experience than Barsa Taberna (which is also quite good). I’d give it a 4.7 out of 5 stars.




Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) – Movie Review

This is the Greenwich Village described by Bob Dylan in his memoir Chronicles — brutally cold and damp, unforgiving in the way only an urban jungle can be. Llewen Davis, as portrayed by Oscar Isaac, reveals a timeless cliché: the egocentric “artist,” careening insolently from one self-induced disaster to the next while flaunting a sense of entitlement that is completely undeserved. The guy is, in a word, an asshole — a fact that bitter, accidentally knocked-up Jean (Carey Mulligan) never lets him forget. As a music guy, I respect that all the music performances were shot and recorded live, not enhanced with post-production tricks. Most music films are so far off base they make my skin crawl. There are some cool songs — most of which are rendered top to bottom — as well as a couple-a funny send-ups. However, I heard nothing extraordinary, composition- or talent-wise. I’d recommend that Isaac not give up his day job. He’s a fine actor but an average singer-songwriter.

The performance that justifies the price of a ticket is delivered by John Goodman. With this cane-wielding, junkie jazz musician, the Coens have once again invented a character for Goodman that dominates the screen with unpredictable, genuinely frightening, sickly hilarious power. In this extraordinary turn, Goodman rivals, perhaps even surpasses, his appearances in Raising Arizona and Big Lebowski.

Inside Llewen Davis lacks the charm or brilliant cartoon quality of Oh, Brother, Fargo, or Intolerable Cruelty. It’s an expertly made small film with no heroes and some listenable music. If you’re hankerin’ for a dark, chilly, cheerless tale in which nearly everyone’s a self-serving dick, this is just the movie for you.

5 out of 10 stars