The Women of Summer 2014

Lucy-Scarlett-Johansson

by RYAN BOLTON

Ah, good ol’ summer movies. Doesn’t get much better than a solid summer action movie, does it? Wrong. Add in a solid dollop of red-hot actresses and then you have a top notch, take-my-$13-and-give-me-a-seat-as-close-to-the-screen-as-possible summer flick. And this summer’s offering is no exception. The major studios are pumping out films for every movie fan. You’ve got some action (Scarlett Johansson tearing it up in Lucy), you’ve got some A-star comedy (Cameron Diaz is back in Sex Tape), there’s a sprinkle of 3D sci-fi epic with Mila Kunis (yes!) in Jupiter Ascending and some horror for the screamers with Olivia Munn starring in Deliver Us from Evil. Oh, and how could we forget the crime-fighting nostalgia of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox? Now we’re excited.

So sit back and brace yourself, we’ve got you covered for the standout actresses of summer.

Scarlett Johansson

Lucy

Scarlett Johansson is a real-life superhero to us. This time, she’s a super powered drug mule that turns on her captors with her mind-bending abilities. And I mean mind-bending literally, as she has the power to use more than the typical 10% of her brain. So, both a brainy and brawny film with Johansson as the lead. Nice. To add to the matter, it’s directed by Luc Besson, the guy at the helm of The Fifth Element, so he knows a thing or two about strong female characters. Not to mention visually-intense movies.

Natalie Portman

Jane Got A Gun

Everyone’s favourite Natalie Portman is mixing things up. Again. Eschewing the Oscar-friendly roles like the venerable Black Swan, or the odd and likable Sam in Garden State, Portman is taking her shot at action-meets-western-meets-drama. And it’s got us quite excited. Playing the title character of Jane, Portman seeks revenge after her husband turns on his own gang and receives eight bullets for his efforts. Furthering the directness of the movie’s title, Jane prefers guns to see the aforementioned revenge through. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what role Portman decides upon as she always gives it her all—let’s not forget the head-shaving in V for Vendetta—and we’ll be watching, gladly.

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel star in Sex Tape.

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel star in Sex Tape.

Cameron Diaz

Sex Tape

Cameron’s back! And thank god. Our favourite bad teacher is in quite the pickle with this upcoming raunchy summer comedy. Reunited with co-star Jason Segel, Diaz and Segel look to boost their bedroom time by, you know, making a little sex flick. Problem is, it gets uploaded to the “cloud” and it’s out for every one of their friends to see. You know with Segel and Diaz steering the ship, there’s going to some lolz and R-rated hooliganism. We can’t wait.

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Let’s Go to Mars! (But Seriously)

Mars Trip

The phrase “men are from Mars” might not be so far fetched any longer. Indeed, both men and women might be using a Mars area code by 2023.

That is if you’re willing to book a one-way ticket, of course.

Some 56.4 million kilometres. That’s the brief distance from Earth to Mars. With current day technology, it would take roughly seven months on a spaceship—or a ‘89 Porsche 911 Turbo—to get to the Red Planet. To date, no human has ever been to Mars, well, otherwise than Bill O’Reilly for ancestry research. We have, however, landed two unmanned spacecrafts on its surface—the Mars Rover Opportunity and the science laboratory and secondary rover, aptly titled, Curiosity.

That is all about to change if Mars One has anything to do about it.

Mars One is a Dutch not-for-profit with the goal to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Fair enough. Formally launched in 2012, co-founder Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch entrepreneur and mechanical engineer, has quite the plan set in place that includes reality television as one of the chief revenue drivers for the Mars mission. “Human exploration of Mars will be the most exciting adventure mankind has embarked upon in decades,” says Lansdorp in a press release. “It will inspire a new generation of engineers, inventors, artists and scientists. It will create a new generation of heroes—the first explorers to go to Mars will step straight into the history books.”

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5 Ways to Redefine Holiday Gift Giving

We all have a kind Aunt Patricia. We all have a curmudgeon boss we want to impress. Maybe an in-law that only likes golf—and scotch. Lots of scotch. And we all loathe that time of year when we have to find them the perfect Christmas gift.

Year after year, we give Aunt Patricia a Virginia Woolf book. We give the boss a lame coffee mug with some asinine joke plastered on it. And we always give that in-law a couple golf balls and a bottle of Glenfiddich. And, for the love of God, stop with the Tim Hortons gift certificates for everyone else. Nothing says “Yeah, I’m not creative and I totally gave up” like a gift certificate. In those cases, dear reader, just give them money. Don’t give them “money” for only one store. That just takes away their options.

But I digress.

Let’s take a second and breathe. Relax that strained, instantly stressed holiday mind. Gift giving isn’t that bad. Really. And yes, I understand that shopping during the holidays can be a hassle. There are too many options; too many people running around aimlessly. I know that you want to stick to that shopping list like glue and get the hell out of that anonymous shopping mall within 10 minutes after entering. I get it. Read More

The Top 10 Coolest Workplaces. Maybe Ever.

Urban lumberjack: A shot of Parliament Studios in Portland.

A new piece just published in Chill magazine.

If you’re reading this at work, it’s best you take a deep breath and maybe go for a walk. Otherwise, life might become temporarily frustrating. We present to you the coolest workplaces on Earth. (Seriously, you should probably leave your cubicle right now and find a place where you can shed a tear.)

Parliament

Chill factor: Firewood walls to start

Industry: Design studio

Location: Portland, Oregon

Design studios, on the greater whole, are usually pretty cool. They’re design studios for chrissakes. Parliament, a cutting edge design agency with clients like Microsoft and Gatorade, has taken the design studio thing to the next level. With wood being the main motif, they have walls constructed of firewood (it looks like a giant stack of wood—as the wall), and all the floors, chairs and desks are also wood with a little bit of varnish. The look? Like if a lumberjack decided to hang up the axe and open a creative agency in the centre of a urban core. (Did we mention there’s also an authentic bear rug? Because there’s that, too.)

Pixar Headquarters

Chill factor: Steve Jobs’ brainchild

Industry: Animation

Location: Emeryville, California

According to Steve Jobs’ biography, the concept behind Pixar Headquarters was a place that “promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.” He also wanted a building that would stand the test of time. Well, he nailed it. Again. The open space concept super-lab has it all: real-life sized characters from its movies dot the campus, mini cabins that are office spaces for executives, a huge 20-acre landscaped green space and lots and lots of casual meeting spaces, you know, for that unplanned collaboration, for say, the next big animated movie. Read More

Canadians and Beer: A Love Story

Canadians and Beer

In light of Canada Day this weekend, my latest article with Chill magazine is centred on Canada’s infatuation with beer, naturally. 

by RYAN BOLTON

Marc Garneau, Canada’s first astronaut in space, is a Canadian icon for copious reasons. First Canadian up in the dark, distant expanse. Current member of parliament. He’s honoured as Companion of the Order of Canada, which is impressive, I’m sure. He also has a string of abbreviations behind his name, like C.C., F.C.A.S.I, and Ph.D. A little known reason, however, that he’s a Canadian icon—his first beverage after returning to Earth? A beer. In the shower.

Now that’s a Canadian.

But where did Canada’s infatuation with beer begin? Next to the beaver and maple syrup, beer is stitched into our national fabric. Hell, by you reading this magazine, these very words about beer, in a magazine available at the Beer Store, illustrates Canada’s love for its suds. That’s saying something unto itself. Read More

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