Friday, 6 October 2017

Film Review: "Blade Runner 2049" (2017).





"The key to the future is finally unearthed..." Here comes Blade Runner 2049. This neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. The film is the sequel to Blade Runner (1982). Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. 

Original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott considered developing a sequel, and stated his interest while attending San Diego Comic Con in 2007. In June 2009, The New York Times reported that Scott and his brother, director Tony Scott, were working on a Blade Runner prequel set in 2019. However, in February 2010, it was announced that production on the prequel had ceased, due to rights and funding problems. In August 2011, it was announced that Scott would lead the production of a new Blade Runner film, although work would not begin until at least 2013. Producer Andrew A. Kosove suggested that Harrison Ford, the star of the original film, was unlikely to be involved. Scott said that the film was "liable to be a sequel" but without the previous cast, and that he was close to finding a writer that "might be able to help [him] deliver". Scott said in November 2014 that he would not direct the film and would instead produce; that filming would begin in late 2014 or 2015, and that Ford's character would only appear in "the third act" of the sequel. 

In February 2015, the sequel was confirmed, with Denis Villeneuve as director. Ford was confirmed to be return; as well as original writer Hampton Fancher. The film was expected to enter production in mid-2016. Initially, Villeneuve was against the concept of a sequel, as he felt it could violate the original. But after reading the script, he ultimately commited to the project, "because I feel that I can do it." Villeneuve noted that he's fully aware of the immense pressure he's under: "… I'm aware of that and I respect that, and it's okay with me because it's art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It's gonna be the biggest risk of my life.. For me it's very exciting... I've been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said 'no' to a lot of sequels. I couldn't say 'no'. I love it too much, so I said, 'Alright, I will do it and give everything I have to make it great.'" With various versions of Blade Runner over the years, it is fair to ask which version would be considered "canon" going into the sequel. Villeneuve replied: "The movie will be autonomous and at the same time there will be some link..." Ever since the original hit theaters, there has been a divide among its fans about whether or not Ford's Rick Deckard is a human or a replicant. It's a question that the film leaves up to the viewer, though director Scott, Ford, and everyone else has chimed in with their own thoughts on the subject. With the sequel, there will certainly be more fuel on the fire of Deckard's true identity. Villeneuve did go on to say that the mystery will be something they address in the film and that re-contextualizing the original film with any answers they present in the sequel is a concern of his: "The thing I must say is that I love mystery. I love shadows. I love doubts. I would just want to say to the fans that we will take care of that mystery. I will take care of it."

In April 2015, Ryan Gosling first entered negotiations, and was confirmed in November 2015. Principal photography was set to begin in July, with Warner Bros. distributing the film domestically, and Sony Pictures Releasing distributing internationally. In February 2016, an official release date of January 12, 2018 was announced. In March 2016, Robin Wright entered negotiations, and in April, Dave Bautista posted a picture of himself with an origami unicorn, hinting at a role in the film. Bautista and Wright were both confirmed in April, and a filming start date of July was established. In late April 2016, the film's release date was moved up to October 6, 2017, as well as Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks being added to the cast. Carla Juri was cast in May 2016. In June, Mackenzie Davis and Barkhad Abdi were cast, with David Dastmalchian, Hiam Abbass and Lennie James joining in July. Jared Leto was cast in the film in August. In March 2017, Edward James Olmos confirmed to return. Principal photography took place between July and November 2016 in Budapest, Hungary. In early October 2016, Warner Bros. announced that the film would be titled Blade Runner 2049. Post-Production commenced in December in Los Angeles. Jóhann Jóhannsson, Villeneuve’s regular composer, was announced to score the film. However, in July 2017, Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch replaced Jóhannsson.

The film stars Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto with Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos, both reprising their roles as Rick Deckard and Gaff. The cast were outstanding, with Gosling and Ford giving the best performances of their careers, de Armas and Hoeks giving break-out performances, and Leto and Olmos giving a memorable performances despite minimal screen time.

Packed with gorgeous visuals and populated by both familiar faces and fresh energy, Blade Runner 2049 successfully recalls the original's revolutionary world while injecting it with a new spirit. Like the original, the film is a visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece. It is an extraordinary rarity, not just one of the best films of the year but also one of the best sequels ever made, period.

Simon says Blade Runner 2049 receives:


Monday, 18 September 2017

TIFF Film Review: "The Shape of Water" (2017).



"A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times." This is The Shape of Water. This romantic fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film is an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government labyrinth and oratory where she works, lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment.

The idea for The Shape of Water formed during del Toro's breakfast with Daniel Kraus (whom he would later co-write the novel Trollhunters) in 2011. Del Toro then began working on the film, he self-financed a crew that designed both the creature and the world. Del Toro called it the most difficult movie he and his team have ever designed. Del Toro would go on to work on this film for the next several years, and developed it before he began production on Pacific Rim (2013). Eventually, he chose to direct this film instead of Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018). It was finally confirmed in March 2016 when The Hollywood Reporter reported that the film was in development which would star Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer, and which del Toro would write, produce and direct for Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film would be set in the Cold War era. Del Toro originally wanted to shoot the film in black and white, but due to budget restraints, decided against it. Del Toro first pitched the film to Hawkins when they first met at the 2014 Golden Globes, and pitched the film to her while being intoxicated; "I was drunk and it's not a movie that makes you sound less drunk". Ironically, when she was offered the lead role in this film, Hawkins herself was working on a script for a short film about a woman who turns into a fish. Hawkins researched Charles Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Buster Keaton and Audrey Hepburn for her part. Del Toro bought her a Blu-ray collection featuring the performers prior to filming. By May, Michael Stuhlbarg and Michael Shannon had joined the cast. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, del Toro confirmed his frequent collaborator Doug Jones would play the creature in the film. Jones commented: "...I played a creature in it, in a full rubber, you know, transformation from head to toe. ... Sally Hawkins is like the lead of the movie, and the one I had most of my scenes with." Jones spent three hours every day getting into the costume. According to him, it was nothing compared to previous costumes he has worn in other films by del Toro. Filming began in August 2016 in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, with a budget of $30 million. Filming took twelve weeks, and it wrapped in November 2016. In December 2016, Alexandre Desplat was announced to score the film. Desplat's whistling can be heard in the soundtrack. Del Toro wanted the score to feature whistling because it contrasted how many scenes of the film feature water. In July 2017, the first trailer for the film was released. Despite visual similarities, del Toro has denied that this film has any connections to Hellboy (2004). The film was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival and premiered on August 31, 2017. It would later win the main award, The Golden Lion, the first English-language movie since Somewhere (2010).

The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. The cast gave terrific performances that was outer worldly and more multi-lated than one would expect. Both Hawkins and Jones gave incredibly physical performances that radiated soulfulness and outer worldly beauty without uttering a single word. Performances that harken back to performances of the silent era to the performances of the golden age of horror films. They were just simply wondrous. Shannon's multi-layered performance was the key throughout the film, as his character in the film epitomizes the human theme of the film. He has joined the rank of del Toro's greatest antagonists, a character who is both unsettling and chivalrous. Stuhlbarg, Jenkins and Spencer gave scene-stealing performances that is sure to get some award buzz.

The Shape of Water is Beauty and the Beast for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable like Pan's Labyrinth. The film is another epic, poetic vision from Guillermo del Toro in which a love story is set in a period of history that examined what made America great and horrible. It is a fairy tale of such potency and awesome beauty that it reconnects the adult imagination to the primal thrill and horror of the stories that held us spellbound as children. It works on so many levels that it seems to change shape even as you watch it. Del Toro has crafted a masterpiece, a visually wondrous fairy tale love story for adults that blends the beloved del Toro fantasy elements and the melodrama of Douglas Sirk into one of the most magical films to come along in years. It is so breathtaking in its artistic ambition, so technically accomplished, so morally expansive, so fully realized that it defies the usual critical blather. See it, and celebrate that rare occasion when a director has the audacity to commit cinema. The film is one of those rare beasts, with a sense of genuine permanency. It beds down in your mind, like it is preparing to live there for a while. It is not pretty, but it is, sometimes, very beautiful. But even in a year where cinema is not at its finest, I'm unable to see everything. And I'm still not finished with my 2017 discoveries. I'm still looking for more movies to watch until the end of the year. Nothing I am likely to see, however, is likely to change my conviction that the year's best film is The Shape of Water. It's simply bewitchingly bonkers.

Simon says The Shape of Water receives: 


Sunday, 17 September 2017

TIFF Film Review: "The Death of Stalin" (2017).



"The fight for leadership begins." This is The Death of Stalin. This period comedy-drama film directed by Armando Iannucci, adapted by Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, and Peter Fellows, based on the French graphic novel of the same name by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. The film follows the Soviet dictator's last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death.

The project first gained momentum during the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Armando Iannucci was set as director and co-writer, alongside his regular collaborators David Schneider (The Thick of It co-writer), Ian Martin and Peter Fellows. Production began in late June 2016, with Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Andrea Riseborough, Adrian Mcloughlin, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs and Paul Whitehouse all confirmed to be in the cast. In September 2017, a high-ranking Russian official with the culture ministry said the Russian authorities were considering a ban on the upcoming film, which, he alleged, could be part of a "western plot to destabilise Russia by causing rifts in society."

The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov, Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev, Olga Kurylenko as Maria Yudina, Michael Palin as Vyacheslav Molotov, Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria, Paddy Considine as Comrade Andreyev, Andrea Riseborough as Svetlana Stalina, Rupert Friend as Vasily Stalin, Jason Isaacs as Georgy Zhukov, Adrian McLoughlin as Joseph Stalin, Paul Whitehouse as Anastas Mikoyan, Paul Chahidi as Nikolai Bulganin, and Dermot Crowley as Lazar Kaganovich. Every single one of the cast gave performances that rides the thin line between hilarity and insanity. Every moment throughout the film, all the performances were hilarious and insane to the point where I actually, and literally, fell on the floor of the theatre laughing my ass off. All the jokes by the cast were funny as hell and the entire ensemble is great.

There had been nothing in comedy like The Death of Stalin ever before. All the gods before whom the Russia of the stolid, paranoid 50s had genuflected went into the wood-chipper and never got the same respect ever again. Armando Iannucci's brilliant Soviet Union satire is funny and razor-sharp. The film is arguably one of the best political satire of the century. By a whopping margin, this is Iannucci's most radical film and greatest dramatic gamble. Like most of his work, Iannucci's insane satirical comedy-thriller on the death of Joseph Stalin madness and its possible effects has aged well. Perhaps Iannucci's most perfectly realized film, simply because his satirical vision of the danger of power and human stupidity is wedded with comedy. The pre-eminent satire of the troubling times of the Soviet Union, the film is a hilarious and harrowing fable of systemised madness. The film does what so few comedies do today: it challenges us, provokes us, unsettles us while also making us laugh. A slick satire of Stalin's death, and one that succeeds in brilliantly lampooning the hands that guide the world.

Simon says The Death of Stalin receives:


Saturday, 16 September 2017

TIFF Film Review: "The Day After" ("그 후") (2017).



The 21st film by the Korean Woody Allen - The Day After (그 후). This South Korean drama film written, produced, and directed by Hong Sang-soo. The film centres on Bongwan, who runs a small publishing house in Seoul, wakes up early, very early this morning. Why is that so? To his wife who asks him for an explanation, Bongwan answers only elusively. He then sets off for work and while walking through the dark streets, he thinks of the woman who left him a month before. Later on, at the office, he meets Areum, his new secretary, a pretty young woman who takes on her first day of work. Meanwhile, at home, Bongwan's wife discovers a love poem written by him. She sees red and rushes like a fury into the publishing office. Mistaking poor Areum for her husband's mistress, she physically attacks her.

The film is another addition to director Hong's study on human relationship that has been synonymous to the director's career since his 1996 debut film The Day a Pig Fell into the Well (돼지가 우물에 빠진 날). But one can not ignore the fact that the film is an indictment for the director's extramarital affair with his leading lady, Kim Min-hee. In June 2016, Hong was reported to be having an extramarital affair with the actress since shortly after their first collaboration on the director's 2015 film Right Now, Wrong Then (지금은맞고그때는틀리다). Hong, who was 54, was in relations with a woman 21 years his junior. Rumours of their affair started circulating since the release of Kim's 2016 film The Handmaiden. At the Seoul premiere of On the Beach at Night Alone (밤의 해변에서 혼자) in March 2017, both Hong and Kim openly admitted their affair. By March 2017, it was reported that Hong had financially cut off his daughter for the affair, Hong's wife had confronted the actress in public, and that Hong's wife has refused to divorce Hong as she believed that he'll come back to her. She commented: "She put us in hell but my husband looks at Kim Min Hee with such a happy expression. My husband looks like a boy who fell in his first love. But we used to live so well together..."

The film stars Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-hee, Kim Sae-byeok, and Jo Yoon-hee. The cast gave terrifically slight, contained, but ineffably soulful performances that portrays the subtleties, fragility and the brutal melancholy of people caught in a tangled web of complicated relationships.

The Day After is a simple story where director Hong Sang-soo addresses complex issues through extensive dialogues. Hong has a unique ability to create relationship studies that are both charming and puzzling. Every one of Hong Sang-soo's efforts has their delights. In its quiet, pensive manner, the movie plays like a cogent stanza in the ever-flowing lyricism of Hong's career. Even though the film is plotless, its wryly likeable study of human emotions. A melancholic honesty blows through every haunted frame of Hong Sang-soo's film.

Simon says The Day After (그 후) receives:


Thursday, 14 September 2017

'A Tree in Water: My Journey From Aotearoa to The Great White North' Chapter 19.


Made it to another meet up today, and I had a fun time. Just like I did for the first meet up. An interesting meet up this one was. Getting to the location wasn’t much of a problem, even though it was a little far. As to how far it was that I live all the way West and the location was all the way East. Further East than my where my bnb was. I left for the location at 5:30pm and I took the 504 streetcar, a streetcar I’m more than familiar with since I’ve taken it more than any other streetcar. The ride was a little while but it was a straight ride, which only went in one direction. Up till now, I’ve been hanging out by myself and exploring on my own. It is when I’m exploring on my own that I started to feel lonelier than ever. The feeling grew more and more as time progressed. But as soon as I joined the group, I no longer felt alone and felt more and more that I enthusiastic to hang out with groups and people like this one. The good news is that this will continue to comfort me for days to come. I get to have opportunities where I can hang out with like-minded people and I can be myself and do what I love with them.

The weather was fine, it wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. No unbearable heat and no discernable winds. I think it was a good evening to shoot some photos. There’s a good chance we could get some great pictures of the skyline and sun setting. I should be able to show off some tuff in this post. Which, by the way, we did. After taking shots of the bridge over the Don River, the Broadview Hotel and its surrounding area during sunset and at night. I stayed with the group on the bridge for most of the time. I could gone off on my own and shot some different things, but the group was so much fun to hang out and shoot with, and there wasn’t much else to take photos of. Most of the action took place on the bridge. By the end, we wrapped it up and went out drinking at a bar and chatted with each other for about two hours.




























It’s a strange but wonderful feeling when I was sitting there surrounded by my new friends. Before all of this, everywhere I went, I felt isolated and distant from the Canadians I’m living among. During then, I never once felt I could connect with; the last thing I remembered was an advice give to me by friend Peter, whom I met during my stay at my bnb. He told me something that stayed with me that shaped my perceptions of Canadians, whether for better or for worse. He told me that Canadians are nice, but they are not friendly. This concept was further reinforced when I first interacted with my roommate. She told me it was because Canadians have their national/international image to uphold as an immigrant-friendly nation that upholds diversity above all else. Because of this reputation, Canadians are pressured and stressed to never let the reputation slip through the cracks, as my roommate explained. I wasn’t really expecting much in terms of interacting with Canadians after that. I was expecting to have a difficult time connecting with people. A month passed by and I had only made a few friends, which mostly consisted of the people I interacted with at my bnb. Here’s a man who has substantial amount of friends back home. Man, I miss my friends. I wish I could see all of them before I had left. Jesus Christ, look how far I’ve come connecting with people and making new friends. Back in the first month, I’d give anything for a five-minute conversation with someone, anyone for that matter. Anywhere and about anything. I’m the first member of my family to have taken the risk to immigrate to another country on the other side of the world and to be alone in that country.

Okay, enough moping about depressing feelings. Now I am having a conversation with someone, with some people: my new friends. It’s a bit quick to jump to conclusions but I’ve made up my mind. They are my new friends. And the whole point of this entry is to talk about my new friends. I could even talk about them and a whole bunch more before this long story ends. So here’s another first: This week I’ll be attending the Toronto International Film Festival.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Film Review: "It" (2017).



"You'll float too". Prepare for It (or It: Chapter One) (2017). This supernatural horror film directed by Andy Muschietti, adapted by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman, based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King. It is intended to be the first installment in a planned duology. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

The project first entered development in 2009. In March 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros. would bring Stephen King’s 1986 novel to the big screen as a single feature film, with David Kajganich as screenwriter, and Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison as producers. In June 2012, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Cary Fukunaga was brought on to direct and co-write the script with Chase Palmer. In addition, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg were added to the producing roster. In May 2014, it was announced that Warner Bros. had moved the film to its New Line Cinema division. In December, in an interview with Vulture, Dan Lin announced that the film would be split into two films, with the first film would be a coming-of-age story about the children tormented by It. Whilst the second will skip ahead in time as those same characters band together to continue the fight as adults. Also, Lin mentioned that the production was set for principle photography in the Summer of 2016. In March 2015, Fukunaga noted that his goal was to find the "perfect guy to play Pennywise", and, in May, it was officially announced that Will Poulter had been cast to play Pennywise, after Ben Mendelsohn, Ike Barinholtz, Richard Armitage, and Mark Rylance had all turned down the role. In the same month, Ty Simpkins was considered to play Bill Denbrough. Afterwards, it was reported that Fukunaga had suddenly dropped out of the project over creative differences. After Fukunaga's departure, King wrote, "The remake of IT may be dead—or undead—but we'll always have Tim Curry. He's still floating down in the sewers of Derry."

In July, it was announced that Andy Muschietti was in negociations to replace Fukunaga as director. Muschietti’s sister and collaborator, Barbara, was also brought on as producer. In October, Muschietti noted that the production would start shooting next Summer during an interview with Variety. In February 2016, Roy Lee confirmed that Fukunaga and Chase Palmer's original script had been rewritten. In April, it was indicated that Poulter had dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts. In addition, New Line Cinema were meeting with actors to replace Poulter, and had set the film for a September 8th 2017 release date. In June, both Bill Skarsgård and Jaeden Lieberher were both confirmed to portray Pennywise and Bill Denbrough, with a cast that included Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Sophia Lillis as the Loser Club. By the end of June, the rest of the cast was rounded out. In July, during an interview with Northumberland News, Barbara Muschietti revealed that filming locations for the film would take place throughout Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Principal Photography on the film began in Ontario, locations included Toronto, Port Hope, Oshawa, and Riverdale. Principal Photography wrapped in September, and Post-Production began in the same month. In July, the first offical image of Pennywise debuted. In August, the first full costume image of Pennywise was released in Entertainment Weekly. In February 2017, during the press tour for The Lego Batman Movie, Lin confirmed that It would be rated R. In March, New Line released the official teaser poster, and then a 139-second teaser trailer the following day. The trailer reached 197 million views in its first 24 hours, setting a new record as the trailer with the most views in one day. Beating out The Fate of the Furious (2017). 

The film stars Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, and Jack Dylan Grazer. Each of the seven young actors each gave unique performances that carried the film forward and made the horrors they faced even more terrifying. Giving performances that were sweet, strong, ribald, outrageous, funny, a bit rough around the edges, and pure. Simply one of the film's greatest treasures that absolutely must not be missed. But the key performance came from none other than Mr. Skarsgård. Who gave a terrifying tour-de-force performance that moves Pennywise away from Tim Curry's interpretation into much darker territory. Every great hero needs a great villain. And in 2017, the Loser's Club found theirs in Skarsgård's demented dervish, Pennywise. His sinister and frightening performance constantly upstaged the young performers, as well as being mesmerizing. He threw himself completely into the role, and will now rank among cinema's greatest villains.

A sensationally effective action picture, It (2017) is a terrifying horror flick that works all the better because it's populated with characters that have been developed into human beings. It exquisitely captures the vulnerability of youth. Gracefully blending raucous comedy with intense terror, the film is about the loss of innocence, as well as the fears and anxieties of childhood. Director Andy Muschietti is blessed with a talent that is absurdly absent from most American filmmakers these days: this man actually knows how to tell a story on screen. It speaks well of this director's gifts that some of the most frightening sequences in It are those where we follow the young leads on their journey through the darkness and horrors of childhood. Nerve-frying, for the most part, It is a gripping horror film that works beautifully in every department. Kubrick's The Shining aside, this is the best horror Stephen King adaptation of the bunch. The film is a terrifying motion picture of the highest order. Good luck looking at clowns the same way again, folks.

Simon says It (2017) receives:


Friday, 8 September 2017

'A Tree in Water: My Journey From Aotearoa to The Great White North' Chapter 18.


By my reckoning, I think I’m doing find in the connecting/social department. Or simply, making new friends. But, without giving myself too much credit, I’ve finally a group where I can be make new friends, be my-freaking-self, and do what I love with like-minded people. I’m feeling pretty good. Not “King of the World”, but pretty good. As I mentioned, I’ve finally found a way to connect with people with the help of MeetUp. Thank God for MeetUp. The site was specifically created for people to connect with other people with similar and shared interests, so it’s especially useful for people like me in my situation. I knew when I found out about it and created my account that it was going to be a very useful tool in my arsenal. The site had tons of groups for me to choose, so I figured that I would narrow it down to, at least, five groups I would join. I was right in this. Turns out that I found exactly five groups that peaked my interests.

My first meetup was to be for a group called ‘Get Out & Shoot Toronto!’ I chose this first because it was a photography group with amateur and semi-professional photographers that went all around Toronto and Ontario, giving me the opportunity to connect with my kind of people and explore Toronto with them. Also they were the only photography group that was less of a semi-professional class and more of a casual social group. Plus, the other groups would cost me some dough. That wasn’t going to work out, but it meant that the group I finally joined was the only one for me. I considered putting things I had planned for today on the back burner to attend my first meeting for the group. So I made my way to my first meet up in Chinatown. Which I actually got there in 15 mins since I lived five minutes by foot from the 510 streetcar which goes up Spadina. It wasn’t much of a strain to get there. Things got interesting from there. I reached the rendezvous on Spadina/Dundas; it was not quite the spot I would pick to meet up, mainly because it was just absolutely bustling as it always is in Chinatown. I then started to meet the various members that would come to the spot slowly, one-by-one. Thirty minutes later, and after meeting the members and introducing each other, the organizers Adam and Kurt showed up and we finally got the show on the road. So, again, I was finally in a meet up group, I am surrounded with like-minded people, I got to do what I loved with them, and I got to explore a part of Toronto with people and not by myself. This was a great sign. Today, my luck was starting to look a little bit more positive. After two months of struggling in a new city and country, I’ve found a place to live in and I’ve made new friends whom I could see myself hanging out with for the rest of my days here. For once, I didn’t feel as lost as I did when I first arrived. I started to know exactly where I was. I’m in the right place, as a matter of fact. I’m finally feeling I am a part of a Torontonian community. Tomorrow, I can wake up with another great feeling to feel happy about. I’m in a good place despite the fact that it could be better. Now my next tasks, as usual, are to: continue looking for jobs and attend any more meet ups. I better get going!