Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ashley: Style Pistol

"Rita Hayworth is my inspiration because she's a pistol and the greatest person in the world."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tuyaara: Style in the Rain

"I get my inspiration from male fashion, but I add a few girly things. This particular outfit was sewn together by my mother whom I look up to."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sam: "Vintage & Modern Flair"

"I'm a big fan of designers Alexander Wang and Philip Lim. I like Alexander's edgy style and Philip's feminine fashion."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meghan: "I'm a Country Girl, But I Love the City"

"I like mixing and matching expensive with cheap. For instance, this Coach bag is limited edition and expensive, but this H&M poncho was only $20. I'm inspired by model Miranda Kerr and I love Model Off Duty style."

Saturday, September 22, 2012


"My style is a little eccentric. I like to add pop to my outfits -- could be my bag or shoes. Depending on my day, I like to get wild with the way I dress. I don't like to be boring. Designer Roberto Cavalli inspires me. I love his prints. I think it's phenomenal how he studies nature and brings life to his photographs with his fabrics."

Amie owns a fashion jewellery store that caters to designs from around the world and you can check it out here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Amber Joliat: Farewell to Summer

It's hard to believe that summer's over, but before we bid it a fond farewell to make way for chilly Fall, let's enjoy one last warm day at Ashbridges Bays (otherwise known as The Beaches or The Beach) with Yoga & Pilates instructor Amber Joliat of Misfit Studio.

TorontoVerve: Amber, you've appeared on TorontoVerve twice before -- the last time celebrating New Year's resolutions and fitness. Since then you've moved your thriving Misfit Studio to a bigger location and you've been named as one of BlogTo's Best Yoga Studios in Toronto. Can you tell us a bit about who you were before your success?

Amber Joliat:  I was a dancer -- it was my first language as a child. Always painting and dancing, my life was fuelled by creativity. I started teaching dance when I was 14, working in a company or performing. After finishing my art degree in Italy, I pursued a career in art by drawing and painting. But realizing how difficult it was surviving as a painter, I went back to dance and inevitably taught Yoga and Pilates.

TV: How does dancing help you express yourself?

AJ: It just flows from me. I feel like a vessel of pure divine spirit. And here I am, running a studio 2 years deep. Still trying to figure out HOW to, but following so honestly and truthfully my inner language.

TV: And what has the response been like from your students?

AJ: They really feel that it's innovative, creative, passionate and expressive, which I guess is new and different. They also feel that there is an authentic sense of community and connection. My philosophy is 'let's just dance, love and learn from each other.' And that actually happens.

TV: Obviously things are going well for you. How did you feel when BlogTo named you as one of the best Yoga studios in Toronto?

AJ: It's interesting. We live in a time where we want to rank things and make lists. In that sense, it's an honour. In the same breath, I feel like every single day I'm humbled and there's so much more to learn.

TV: You have many unique and artistic tattoos.  What inspires your choices?

AJ: My tattoos started at 15 and are like a body map of time --  where I was and what influenced me.
I have chakras, flowers, birds, a dragon, an anatomical heart, and a pirate ship on my back. It dragon will soon hold a pearl of wisdom, and then, well, I never know when inspiration strikes! They each tell a story. I'm a moving art piece.

TV: Your Yoga classes have been described as 'alternative'. Why is that?

AJ: Yoga is so straight. People roll out their mats and don't talk or laugh. And God forbid if you play loud music -- let alone Rock N' Roll. Part of the success with me and my method is that we're shaking things up. I brought a DJ to the Thomson Hotel and led a Rock n' Roll and a Hip Hop Yoga class in front of 200 people. But, while I bring in this element of playfulness and encourage conversation, I draw from my strong Yoga foundation of 13 years.

TV: So would you say that your Yoga is an evolution from the standard art form?

AJ: Yeah...although people want to have fun and shake things up in Yoga, it still speaks to them spiritually.

TV: Sounds like church. There are churches that are tranquil and serene and other churches where people are jumping up and dancing, but both congregations still receive the same message.

AJ: Exactly, it's like Yoga is the new gospel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gurratan & Jagmeet: Brothers in Style

Unbeknownst to me, my camera has a GPS for NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh's street style because this is the third time that I've bumped into him -- this time with his equally stylish brother, Gurratan.

Gurrantan (left): "My brother says my style is safari-inspired and I agree that it's that kind of vibe. It's hot so for me it's important to be comfortable and stylish at the same time."

Jagmeet (right): "I remember whatever style I was into, my brother would kinda emulate it, but recently, I've seen my him develop into his own person and style."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Anisa: "Sophisticated & Fun"

"I'm Pakistani and Italian so both cultures inspire me. My style is a combination of sophisticated, sleek, professional, but also very fun and upbeat."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

TIFF 2012: Frank Grillo in "Disconnect"

Director Henry Alex Rubin's Disconnect is a heart-pounding drama that explores both the allure and dangers of the Internet in a small community.

[Pictured above: Frank Grillo plays one of the teen pranksters' stern father in Disconnect]

An estranged couple attempts to seek solace online when the husband (Alexander Skårsgard) gambles uncontrollably on a poker site and the wife (Paula Patton) searches for comfort in an online chat room. Soon after, their identities are stolen resulting in massive fraudulent credit card debt. Is the culprit the wife's online friend?

Meanwhile, two teenage boys pose as a pretty girl online to manipulate an unsuspecting schoolmate to email a naked picture. After they leak the revealing photo to the entire school to humiliate him, the devastated boy takes matters in his own hands, permanently rocking his family.

An ambitious news reporter is charmed by a handsome teen on a porn site and attempts to make a name for herself by covering his seedy story. But when the FBI forces her to reveal her source to bring down the illegal website, it could have life threatening results.

Disconnect is an absorbing film of solid intertwined stories that reveal how the anonymity of the web can have very real and harmful consequences.

Rubin's direction of this cautionary tale is first-rate. In lesser hands, Disconnect could have been relegated to a Hallmark television movie of the week. Writer Daniel Stern expertly delivers real empathetic characters and profoundly engaging stories. The performances are impressive, with special mention going to Jason Bateman as the humiliated boy's father (watching this movie, I concluded that Bateman is one of today's most underrated actors).

Indeed, the film's tense-filled climax, presented in extreme slow motion, is particularly impactful.

Disconnect should not be missed.

TIFF 2012: Directors Michelle Major & Maiken Baird "Venus & Serena"

It's unquestionable that Venus and Serena Williams have elevated the popularity of tennis -- and not just women's tennis. Their great athleticism, bold style and passionate nature have made them simultaneously the most loved and hated players in sports. In the new documentary, Venus & Serena, directors Michelle Major and Maiken Baird treat us to an intimate look at the controversial sisters.

[Pictured above: Directors Michelle Major (left) & Maiken Baird (right)]

Filmed over the last 2 years, Venus & Serena provides first-hand accounts of the sisters' childhood, training, rivalry, success and adversity. The film also contains countless stock footage of their matches and home movies -- not to mention, commentary from parents Richard and Oracene, Chris Rock, John McEnroe, Anna Wintour and former President Bill Clinton.

Some of the film's most revealing moments include: the sister's disinterest in marriage or kids, their uncanny domesticated lifestyle together and their embarrassment over their father's illegitimate children.

Venus & Serena is a very satisfying portrait of champion sisters who rely on each other's strength -- both on and off the court.

At this time, the film does not have a distribution deal.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TIFF 2012: Rachel McAdams & Director Brian De Palma "Passion"

Brian De Palma's Passion is a remake of Alain Corneau’s thriller Love Crime, a story of a ruthless business executive (Kristin Scott Thomas) who takes credit for her naive assistant's (Ludivine Sagnier) ideas, setting the stage for all-out war.

In Passion, De Palma follows the same premise. Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, The Notebook) plays Christine, the unscrupulous business executive who regards stealing her employees' ideas as standard practice. Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy) is Isabel, her talented assistant and ideas person. When Christine takes credit for Isabel's innovative cell phone ad, she begins to steadily climb the corporate ladder. Determined to control her own destiny, Isabel subsequently makes a risky business move that quickly puts her in the spotlight and stalls Christine's promotion. Inevitably, war is waged and someone ends up dead, but that's only the beginning.

Passion is a reminder that De Palma (Carrie, Scarface) is a master in his craft. The film is wrought with twists and turns that will leave you guessing -- "who done it" -- to the very end. The pairing of McAdams and Rapace is superb. McAdams is convincing as the evil Christine and Rapace is a surprise as the wicked Isabel.

If you love Hitchcockian thrillers, then you shouldn't miss Passion.

Passion will be released sometime next year.

[Pictured above: Director Brian De Palma]

Friday, September 14, 2012

TIFF 2012: Miss Universe Canada, Sahar Biniaz

Although actress Monica Bellucci was the star-attraction at the Rhino Season premiere held at The Elgin on Wednesday, it was Sahar Biniaz, Miss Universe Canada, who stole the show in this stunningly beautiful red dress.

Miss Biniaz will be representing Canada in the 2012 Miss Universe competition in December.

TIFF 2012: Director Brandon Cronenberg, Sarah Gadon & Caleb Landry Jones "Antiviral"

Today's obsession with celebrity has reached an all-time high. Want George Clooney's chin? How about Jennifer Aniston's nose? Or Kim Kardashian's butt? Real fanatics wouldn't hesitate to visit a plastic surgeon to make themselves appear like their idol. In Antiviral, writer/director Brandon Cronenberg takes this obsession to an even sicker height.

Syd (Caleb Landry Jones) has a most unusual occupation -- he works for Lucas Clinic, a lab that specializes in deliberately infecting willing clients with celebrity diseases. In the opening scene, Syd injects a seemingly healthy boy with Syphilis inside his upper left lip. It's the ultimate devotion that a fan can express for their favourite celebrity -- contracting their viral affliction. But the insanity doesn't end there. Butchers also serve up steaks, engineered from celebrities' human cells.

Despite intense security, Syd smuggles viruses out of the lab to sell his own modified concoctions on the black market. Life goes according to plan for Syd until his superiors ask him to collect the latest virus from his favourite celebrity, Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon). After collecting her blood, Syd doesn't hesitate to inject her virus into his own bloodstream. But things take a turn for the worse for our protagonist after he discovers that Hannah's virus may be life threatening.

With Antiviral, it's obvious to see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Cronenberg's bleak tone in the film is very similar to his father's (director David Cronenberg) work. And like his dad, Cronenberg's vision is brilliant. Antiviral is original and shocks us to no end -- and not just because of the sight of blood. The idea that celebrity obsession could go the DNA route is not far gone.  Didn't a fan recently buy a lock of Justin Bieber's hair on eBay?

Whether you're squeamish or not, Antiviral will definitely creep you out. And don't just take my word for it; I asked the elder Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Fly) to rate the creep factor on his son's film and he said: "I'd give it 9 out of 10. No, make that 9.5 out of 10."

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Antiviral hits our bloodstream on October 12th.

[Pictured above: Director David Cronenberg]

Thursday, September 13, 2012

TIFF 2012: For the Ladies...Mr. Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem signs autographs for his enthusiastic fans at the premiere of Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony at The Ryerson Theatre today.

Bardem produced the documentary, which examines "the colonization of the Western Sahara that has displaced nearly 200,000 people to refugee camps."

TIFF 2012: Actor Simon J. Berger & Director Mikael Marcimain "Call Girl"

[Pictured above: Actor Simon J. Berger (left) & Director Mikael Marcimain (right)]

Don't let the salacious title fool you; Call Girl is a smart, engaging and multi-layered crime thriller by first-time director Mikael Marcimain.

Inspired by the prostitution scandal that nearly toppled the Swedish government in the 70's, the story centers on Stockholm detective John Sandberg (Simon J. Berger), who's close to cracking his case against Dagmar Glans, a Heidi Fleiss-type madam running a sophisticated prostitution ring. But every time he seeks assistance with his investigation from his department, he inexplicably runs into a road block.

Meanwhile, underaged girls, Iris (Sofia Karemyr) and Sonja (Josefin Asplund), are lured into Dagmar Glans' stable of girls with the promise of money and independence -- a huge departure from their current lives in a group foster home. Glans hooks the girls up with her most influential clients: politicians and police officials. The same public servants who tie Sandberg up in a lot of red tape.

If Sandberg is going to successfully close this case, it's going to take a miracle. And much to everyone's horror, that miracle just might be Iris' testimony in court.

Call Girl is two movies in one. First, it's a coming of age story, where the two young girls learn a hard lesson in self-respect and second, it's an intriguing police drama.

Marcimain's 70's backdrop is authentic and his first job directing is solid. Berger is convincing as the by-the-book cop.

Call Girl is an epic film with similar elements to another classic crime thriller, Serpico.

Highly recommended.

The film screens at TIFF again on Sunday, September 16th at 9pm, Scotiabank 3.

There is no word yet on an official release date.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TIFF 2012: Director Nicolás López, Lorenza Izzo, Eli Roth & Andrea Osvárt "Aftershock"

Last night's Midnight Madness held the world premiere of Director Nicolás López's Aftershock, a disaster movie for the not-so faint of heart.

When an American tourist (Eli Roth) and two Chilean buddies hook up with 3 beautiful women: a Russian model, a party girl (Lorenza Izzo) and her uptight sister (Andrea Osvárt) for fun in Chile -- things appear to be looking up for the hapless men. That is until a massive Earthquake crashes their party, killing many people in cruel and gory fashion.

Desperate to stay alive, the group escape into the perilous night, seeking help for their wounded friend. But before long, the deadly aftershocks prove to be the least of their worries when they find themselves running from violent gang members and dangerous escaped convicts.

Aftershock is an original twist to the natural disaster movie genre. Usually in films such as Deep Impact (Meteor), The Perfect Storm (Tsunami) and Contagion (Viral), the good of humanity is what overcomes their adversity, but in Aftershock, their natural disaster unleashes the very horror of humanity. And you can only imagine that the horror is unspeakable when it comes from the creative mind of Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel).

When the mayhem begins, it becomes quickly obvious that it's not about who's going to live, but what horrific demise each will suffer. Besides heavy concrete crushing bone and a deadly Tsunami, the protagonists must avert gun fire, sexual violence and axe-wielding felons.

Aftershock is a terrifying disaster ride and if terror floats your boat, then this is right up your alley.

TIFF 2012: Alex Williams, Laura Wheelwright and Anthony LaPaglia in "Underground"

[Pictured above: Actors Alex Williams & Laura Wheelwright) 

Underground is the intriguing unauthorized biopic of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange when he was just a teenage computer hacker living with his mom. Armed with a Commodore 64, a young Assange easily broke into banks' and government firewalls searching for sensitive information -- not for profit, but for fun. However, the fun is short-lived when he's hunted by a determined police detective (LaPaglia), who's hot on his heels. It's a cat & mouse game that further heats up when the boy discovers a major US government cover-up after hacking into the Pentagon.

Underground is the Wargames of a new generation. It's thrilling, funny and provides great insight into the young hacker's complicated early life.

Newcomer Alex Williams does a wonderful job portraying a young Assange and Anthony LaPaglia is engaging as Dectective Roberts.

Underground is sure to please both the techie and non-techie types.

There is no theatrical release date at this time.

[Pictured above: Actor Anthony LaPaglia]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TIFF 2012: Agyness Deyn in "Pusher"

Director Luis Prieto's Pusher is the UK re-imagining of the the Danish cult film of the same name (originally directed by Drive's Nicholas Winding Refn).

[pictured above: model/singer, Agyness Deyn, in her first major film role]

The story follows drug dealer Frank (Richard Coyle) who's in over his head when he borrows a kilo of cocaine from his supplier, Milo (Zlatko Burić, reprising his role from the original film), for a quick transaction. As the deal goes down, the police swoop in for the bust, but Frank eludes them by dropping the evidence in a pond. Although safe from conviction, Frank is not safe from Milo, who wants his money or else. Unable to pay him, Frank resorts to desperate measures to score the cash within Milo's short window of time -- all the while, destroying his friendships and relationship with his stripper girlfriend, Flo (Agyness Deyn).

I have not seen Refn's Pusher so I can only review this film on its own merits. Prieto's Pusher is intense and is guaranteed to elevate heart rates. His sometimes erratic direction effectively demonstrates the hellish path that Frank descends to pay back his debt. When Frank attempts to escape Milo's wrath with Flo, it's hard not to recall the tense-filled climax of De Palma's Carlito's Way -- and that's no small compliment.

Prieto and Deyn were in attendance at my screening and when asked if his Pusher would receive the same trilogy treatment as the original, his producer quickly stepped in to say: "you tell us!" Certainly, the film's ending opens up the possibility of a sequel. Whether that happens or not depends on audiences and the box-office.

Pusher opens in the United States in October and possibly in Canada next fall.

TorontoVerve Interview in Fashion Series Magazine

TorontoVerve and I are featured in Fashion Series Magazine's latest edition.  Check it out here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

TIFF 2012: Johnny Depp & Natalie Maines at the "West of Memphis" Screening

Documentary filmmaker Amy Berg's latest film, West of Memphis, details the gross miscarriage of justice in West Memphis, Arkansas, that convicts 3 innocent teens of murdering three 8 year old boys in 1993.

14 years later, after new DNA evidence exonerates the men, the same judge, who originally presided over the case, promptly dismisses it. It's this reluctance admitting a mistake that prompts Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and Berg to produce a film chronicling the men's tragic story in an attempt to sway public opinion and change the court's decision.

The result is a thorough and compelling examination that uncovers shoddy police work and a sinister plan to wrongfully charge Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin with murder (one scene provides proof that the lead investigator manipulated a mentally-challenged Jessie Misskelley Jr. into changing his statement to incriminate the trio).

Thanks to the support of loved ones and influential people like Jackson, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Actor Johnny Depp and Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines, the three wrongfully incarcerated gentlemen were released on August 19, 2011, but only after each making an Alford Plea, which admits their guilt. This is the Attorney Office's desperate move to avoid getting a wrongful conviction lawsuit, which could possibly cost the State $60 million.

Although they won their freedom, the men still lose their good name.

Johnny Depp and Natalie Maines attended the film's TIFF screening to help bring attention to the men's story and explain their involvement in the film. Also in attendance was Damian Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis, to share their long journey seeking justice, which still continues as they try to overturn Echols' guilty plea and receive a full pardon.

Echols almost missed the event when he was nearly denied entry into Canada for his criminal background.

[pictured above: Damian Echols and his wife Lorri Davis]

West of Memphis is an achievement in documentary filmmaking for Berg and deserves to be seen.