THURSDAY JULY 27, 2017
 
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Aside from killing dozens of people, leaving thousands stranded, and destroying billions in infrastructure, Hurricane Sandy's greatest crime may have been the ruination of late night television.

Thanks to the storm, both David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon asked their New York City audience to stay home yesterday for safety, forcing the comedians to perform to empty theatres. Watch both of their bizarre monologues below.

Letterman went with the disaster as best he could. "We're in the middle of Hurricane Sandy and we have no studio audience, but we do have quite a show for you tonight. Thank you for joining us in the Ed Sullivan Shelter."

Fallon asked the home audience to play along: "You are the audience. Imagine laughter. Imagine excitement." Oddly, that's what we tell ourselves even when the audience does show up to Fallon's show.

Guests for both programs came, but the shows were painfully unfunny, like watching Andy Kaufman read The Great Gatsby, or showing up to a porno theatre with your uncle sitting two rows in front of you.

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Breaking a decades-long promise to his granny, Will Smith spouted bad words in a surprise freestyle (attached below) performed at Gabrielle Union's birthday in Miami.

With Doug E Fresh beatboxing, Smith dropped the N-bomb and a word that rhymes with Lilo and Stitch. Otherwise, the freestyle was pretty bad, but Smith did launch into his song "Summertime" and the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Could this freestyle mark the return of the Fresh Prince? After seeing his sweat shop talented son and daughter tear up the charts with their own hits, maybe Smith is itching to take back the mic. Or maybe he was just really drunk.

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A plate was thrown at a young woman's face after a brawl broke out at Toronto's Pho Xe Lua restaurant around 3 a.m. Saturday morning. The fight, allegedly over seating, involved two women punching each other in the face, lots of choking, and general bedlam.

The mayhem (attached below) was captured by a Toronto man who, by the sound of his drunken screaming, seemed to have really enjoyed the fight. 

Police are looking for the alleged plate thrower, a 'roid-munching, 905-looking douchebag wearing a SWAT costume (obviously). Anyone with an affinity for ultimate frisbee and hair gel is considered a suspect.

Sadly, only one employee stepped in to break up the fight. Everyone else in the restaurant remained on the sidelines, either cheering like handicapped gorillas, or cowering in fear like little Gaddafis. For shame, Toronto! You should know better.

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The estate of american author William Faulkner is suing Sony Pictures Classics and a group of unamed investors over a quotation that appears in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

In the film, Owen Wilson plays a writer who somehow travels back in time and socializes with artists in 1920's Paris. He tries to explains the experience to his fiancee, played by Rachel McAdams: "The past is not dead! Actually, it's not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party."

That's it.

The estate charged: “The use of the infringing quote and of William Faulkner’s name in the infringing film is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, and/or to deceive the infringing film's viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand.”

Obviously, the Faulkner estate does not have a sense of humour.

We think the sound and the fury anger from Faulkner's people is misguided, and their suit will likely be a splendid failure to do the impossible in vain. Do you think a great artist such as he would care about a petty dispute as he lay dying if he were alive today?

Related >> TORO Reviews Midnight in Paris

Related >> From Groucho to Woody: A Letter

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Abandoning any and all allegiance to Puritan decency, a 20-year-old Brazilian woman has sold her virginity for $780,000, proving that money can indeed buy happiness.

Catarina Migliorini (naked above), announced her plan to sell her services earlier this month, with legs wide open. The auction — or fire sale, or publicity stunt, or whatever — was was conceived as part of a forthcoming documentary called Virgins Wanted by Australian filmmaker Justin Sisley.

The winning bid came a from a Japanese man known only as "Natsu." (We at TORO don't believe in cultural prejudice, but didn't we all see this coming?) Migliorini will be "delivered" to her buyer on a plane between the US and Australia to make the act legal. She will be interviewed before and after the sexytime, and then thoroughly bathed in a facility just outside of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Reportedly, $722,000 of the purchase will go to impoverished families in Migliorini's home state of Santa Catarina.

"The auction is just business," Migliorini told Folha newspaper. "I'm a romantic girl at heart and believe in love. But this will make a big difference to my area." Does anyone else smell the loathsome scent of steaming bullshit?

No matter. Without delving too deep into the burning snake pit that is prostitution, we believe a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body. But if this girl somehow ends up in a sex tape doing blow off Kanye West's penis, you heard it here first!

Related >> Is Saskatoon Planning a Red Light District?

Related >> Teen Beauty Queen Caught Prostituting

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In a move that will surely make Shaquille O'Neal bust a sinus, the NBA has removed centres from the All-Star ballot, with fans will instead having the option of voting for three undefined "frontcourt" players.

In recent years, the centre position has become an increasingly ill-defined position, with many big men adopting the European style of facing the basket and shooting from the outside. The change is an admission that the NBA is now a "small ball" league.

"It just makes sense," said VP of basketball operations Stu Jackson. "Having a centre is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved."

Having three "frontcourt" options also frees up more room for forwards like the Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani, who for his entire career has had to face stiff voting competition from the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played February 17 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Related >> Bargnani: Lost in Translation?

Related >> Lakers Should Be Raptors' Enemy No. 1

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While he isn't travelling the world chopping people's throats, Irish actor Liam Neeson enjoys showcasing another passion: his love of Justin Bieber.

Recently, Neeson stopped by The Jonathan Ross Show to perform his rendition of Bieber's "Boyfriend," a song that has over 169,000,000 views on YouTube. Bieber, in audience, seemed to be taken by it, pun absolutely intended.

Never did we think that a man with a voice like Zeus and a body built like a refrigerator would utter the words, "baby" and "swag, swag, swag."

Related >> TORO Reviews Taken 2

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Starting December 12, Halifax's Joel Plaskett Emergency will play five concerts in five days to celebrate the 65th birthday of Toronto's legendary Horseshoe Tavern. The shows will mark the end of the band's Scrappy Happiness tour, and represent a sentimental reunion of venue and artist.

In 2007, Plaskett played six consecutive shows to celebrate the Horseshoe's 60th birthday. Each night, an album was performed in its entirety. The concert series — which featured a guest performance from the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie — has become one the Horseshoe's most famous. "I can't think of another venue in Canada that has the same feeling as it does," Plaskett said at the time. "For me, it's always a destination, whether I'm playing there or not."

Within the history of the Horseshoe lies the history of Toronto music. The venue is considered a right of passage for most local artists. And as Queen West — formerly the destination for punks, metalheads, goths, junkies, hippies, and other lovely people — gentrifies, the Horseshoe remains a triumphant symbol Toronto's gritty past.

A theme or format has not been announced for the 65th birthday celebrations, but expect them to be fun, through and through and through.

Related >> TORO Talks to Joel Plaskett

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If your Internet collapsed this morning, it's probably from the manic online nerd activity prompted from the just-released trailer for Iron Man 3. You can watch it below.

Returning to the franchise are Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as the love interest, Paul Bettany as the robot, and Don Cheadle as Terrence Howard. New to the series is Ben Kingsley as Mandarin (the racial stereotype supervillain, not the restaurant).

Continuing the biggest marketing scam since the creation of the Third Reich, Iron Man 3 follows the events of this summer's money machine The Avengers. Since all superhero movies are basically the same, we won't get deep into the plot. Expect a lot of angst, explosions, and Downey Jr. beating the pulp out of several bad guys.

Related >> TORO Talks to Cobie Smulders

Related >> TORO Talks to Mark Ruffalo

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Since Daniel Craig took over as James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale, one iconic character has been suspiciously missing from the franchise: the brainiac technology expert known as Q. But director Sam Mendes has rectified that injustice by casting a new Quartermaster for Skyfall. Watch below as 007 meets Q, played by Ben Whishaw, in a newly released clip.

True to form, the Bond-Q encounter is loaded with witty banter, and playful jabs.

Until his passing, Q was played by Desmond Llewelyn, followed by an unmemorable portrayal by Monty Python alumni John Cleese.

It's been a long time coming for the Whishaw. He began his career touring the indie circuit with films like Layer Cake (also with Craig) and the Bob Dylan romp I'm Not There, before graduating to blockbusters like Skyfall and the upcoming Wachowskis epic, Cloud Atlas.

It will be interesting to see the younger, more "serious" Whishaw step into a role that's been known for its comic relief. Given the grittier nature of the Craig films, we don't think Q will deliver Bond any jet packs or invisible cars.

Related >> Listen to Adele's James Bond Theme

Related >> Check Out James Bond's Aston Martin DB5


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Legendary British new wavers Depeche Mode have announced a 2013 world tour in support of a yet-unamed album. The concert series kicks off in Tel Aviv May 7, and will likely come to North America after July. The European stops are listed below.

The band will hold a press conference tomorrow to hash out the details. You'll be able to live stream the event on Depeche Mode's website.

Have your hair gel and drug of choice ready.

05-07 Tel Aviv, Israel - Hayarkon Park
05-10 Athens, Greece - Terra Vibe
05-12 Sofia, Bulgaria - Georgi Asparuhov Stadium
05-15 Bucharest, Romania - National Stadium
05-17 Istanbul, Turkey - Kucukciftlik Park
05-19 Belgrade, Serbia - Usce Park
05-21 Budapest, Hungary – Puskas Ferenc Stadium
05-23 Zagreb, Republic of Croatia - Hippodrome
05-25 Bratislava, Slovakia – Inter Stadium
05-28 London, England – O2 Arena
06-01 Munich, Germany – Olympic Stadium
06-03 Stuttgart, Germany – Mercedes-Benz Arena
06-05 Frankfurt, Germany – Commerzbank Arena
06-07 Berne, Switzerland - Stade De Suisse
06-09 Berlin, Germany – Olympic Stadium
06-11 Leipzig, Germany – Red Bull Arena
06-13 Copenhagen, Denmark - Parken
06-15 Paris, France – Stade De France
06-17 Hamburg, Germany – Imtech Arena
06-22 Moscow, Russia – Locomotive Stadium
06-24 St. Petersburg, Russia – SKK Arena
06-27 Borlange, Sweden - Peace & Love Festival
06-29 Kiev, Ukraine – Olympic Stadium
07-03 Dusseldorf, Germany – Esprit Arena
07-07 Werchter, Belgium – Rock Werchter Festival
07-11 Bilbao, Spain – BBK Festival
07-13 Lisbon, Portugal – Optimus Alive Festival
07-16 Nimes, France – Antic Arina
07-18 Milan, Italy – San Siro Stadium
07-20 Rome, Italy – Olympic Stadium
07-23 Prague, Czech Republic – Olympic Stadium
07-25 Warsaw, Poland – National Stadium
07-27 Vilnius, Lithuania – Vingis Park
07-29 Minsk, Belarus – Minsk Arena

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A few months ago, we reported that celebrity chef Jamie Oliver would be opening Maison Publique — a refined ode to British cuisine — in Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal. Oliver finally visited his new baby this past weekend, two weeks after the restaurant's grand opening.

The trip was Oliver's first to Quebec, and by all reports, he had a terrific time. After being welcomed to Montreal on Saturday with the best rainbow he'd "ever seen," the chef attended a private party at Maison Publique with George Stroumboulopoulos. Oliver then hopped around the province: He visited chef Martin Picard at Cabane à sucre Au pied de cochon à St-Benoît de Mirabel, played with some baby cows, and appreciated the local plumming community.

As a partner and consultant, Oliver is Maison Publique's (pretty) face, but the kitchen is run by Chef Derek Dammann, famous for his offal factory DNA Cuisine Complice in Old Montreal. Dammann met Oliver 12 years ago when he was working in the latter's Fifteen restaurant in London.

Oliver's unpretentious style should do well in Montreal, and his decision to open the restaurant with Dammann (a local favourite) is wise, considering other star chefs' recent inability to weather the market. We wish Oliver well, and hope he has time more time to explore Quebec when he's not saving the world.

Related >> Four Solid Montreal Restaurants

Related >> Montreal in 48 Hours

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Not being one to pinch pennies, Microsoft has enlisted some big time Hollywood talent to promote their flagship video game franchise.

The launch trailer for Halo 4, produced David Fincher (Fight Club, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and directed by VFX wizard Tim Miller, has just landed. Watch the trailer, below.

The preview, titled "Scanned," is impressive and uncannily blends CGI with live action. The viewer is taken on a series of flashbacks and thrown between the the first and third perspective. Also stuff blows up and aliens get pwn3d.

Halo 4 follows the return of Master Chief as he faces a new enemy with the ability to enter his mind and dissect his strengths and weaknesses.

"Halo is one of the most iconic sci-fi universes, with a depth that allows for amazingly cinematic and emotionally riveting stories," Miller said in a release. "Our goal is to deliver a blockbuster, Hollywood-quality trailer that raises the bar for the award-winning legacy of live-action Halo storytelling."

Halo 4 comes out November 6, 2012 for the Xbox 360.

Related >> TORO Reviews Borderlands 2

Related >> TORO Reviews Minecraft

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Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, actor Matthew Fox previewed his latest project: the Mitt Romney biopic. Produced by the Lifetime network, Mitt Romney and the Dockers of Destiny follows the love story between one Presidential hopeful and his beautiful khakis. Watch the trailer below.

Looks like a serious tear jerker.

We already know that Matthew Fox is a chameleon (literally), but seeing him take such a serious role, especially in the wake of the Presidential election, is commendable.

Related >> TORO Reviews Alex Cross

Related >> Mitt Romney's Good Looks Incite Domestic Abuse

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Drake, the coolest Jewish Canadian musician since Leonard Cohen, has finally graduated from Degrassi High.

Last night the 25-year-old entertainer posted this message on his Twitter feed:

"97% on my final exam. 88% in the course. One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight I have graduated high school!"

Damn. Those be some Rhodes Scholarship marks.

Drake, who attended Toronto's Forest Hill Collegiate and Vaughn Road Academy, dropped out of high school at 15 when he landed a role on Degrassi: The Next Generation. His single mother was apparently very sick at the time and the family needed money. 

"The only money I had coming in was off Canadian TV," Drake has said. "A season of Canadian television is under a teacher's salary, I'll tell you that much. It's definitely not something to go fucking get."

Word.

Since then, he's made a shitzillion dollars, been nominated for nine Grammys, and known G4 pilots on a first name basis. So, the dude's come a long way.

Congratulations, Drake! Reppin' the Toronto District School Board since 2012.

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First ridicule over flirting with bikini models during the opening game of the ALCS and now trade rumours. Alex Rodriguez just can't catch a break.

Isn't it bad enough that the high-priced slugger is a woeful 2-for-23 during the postseason, was twice left out of the lineup, was pulled for pinch hitters three times and is universally hated by Yankees fans?

But now, with the Yankees needing a win to stay alive against the Tigers tonight in Game 4 of the ALCS to keep their playoff hopes alive, come reports that A-Rod might be traded to the Florida Marlins. Although the talk all began in jest, apparently, when Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Yankees president Randy Levine that Rodriguez is a Miami guy, it's seemingly picked up steam.

BikiniModel.jpg"Look, there's blood in the water," Rodriguez said to reporters after he was left out of the Game 4 lineup Wednesday (the game was rained out and rescheduled for today).

"And when you don't play well, and I haven't played well, and some of the criticism I've received -- I've been here nine years -- I can take that. Well-deserved. But that other stuff, gossip, I don't give a crap about that. But I will tell you this. I hope nothing like that is going on at this point because our only focus from the top to the bottom is to win a game tonight."

As it stands, it's possible that Rodriguez, who still has $114 million and five years left on his contract, could have played his last game with the Yankees. With less than two hours to today's game, A-Rod was still not in the Yankees lineup.

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We say this with the heaviest of hearts, but Bill Murray will not appear in Ghostbusters 3, thus forcing millions of movie fans to turn to the bottle.

Deadline reports that while the long rumoured sequel will indeed begin shooting summer 2013 with Canadian Ivan Reitman at the helm, Murray will not be reprising his role as Dr. Peter Venkman. This is sad news, but it also raises a strange question: How can a franchise go on without its leading man?

According to Dan Aykroyd, the Ghostbusting torch will be passed to fresh blood.

"My character, Ray, is now blind in one eye and can't drive the Cadillac," said Aykroyd, "He's got a bad knee and can't carry the packs. [Harold Ramis's character] Egon is too large to get into the harness. We're gonna hand it to a new generation."

Aykroyd goes on to say that new team will be comprised of three young men and a young lady. Interesting.

For years, colonies of nerds trolling Internet movie forums have been pleading with Hollywood to cast the likes of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Jason Segel in the roles of the new Ghostbusters. And sure, all of those actors are TORO favourites, but what's the point without Bill Murray?

It sounds like the producers just want to make a Ghostbusters with balls, but no dick.

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Pity poor Lance Armstrong. The conspirators have finally won. Today, the American cycling hero stepped down as head of his Livestrong cancer charity, NIKE announced it had dumped Armstrong from its roster and Radioshack severed ties with him too.

“Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him,” reads a statement on the Nike website.

“Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

The latest developments come in the wake of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency making public its report on Armstrong earlier this month. The 1,000-plus page report contains statements from 26 witnesses, including 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates, which assert that Armstrong cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles and an Olympic bronze medal.

Among those teammates was Canadian cyclist Michael Barry.

“After being encouraged by the team, pressured to perform and pushed to my physical limits I crossed a line I promised myself and others I would not: I doped,” Barry said in a statement.

Naturally, Armstrong and his former doctor continue to deny the cyclist used performance-enhancing drugs.

Have we heard the end of it? Not likely (a New York Daily News story alleges Nike participated in bribing a cycling official to bury a positive drug test back in 1999). But, gawd, we sure hope so.

Geez, Lance ...  you couldn’t be satisfied with being a cancer survivor. No, you had to be a champion, not once or twice, but SEVEN times. And now it’s come full circle and, ironically, the people who once had your back are treating you like the disease you fought so hard to beat.

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Everyone laments the one that got away — even basketball teams. According to the Toronto Sun (sorry), former TORO cover boy Steve Nash was ready to come to Toronto this offseason, that is until the Los Angeles Lakers courted him with a sexier offer.

"I was very close [to signing with Toronto]," Nash said in a recent interview. "I was comfortable with and happy with the opportunity to play in Toronto. But when this opportunity (with the Lakers) became a reality, I couldn’t pass it up."

Playing for the Lakers gave Nash two obvious advantages: [1] He could be close to his young family in Phoenix, and [2] he could play on a championship calibre team with a history of winning. Nash has never won an NBA title, and will likely remain an elite point guard for two or three seasons at most. And with a starting lineup of Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard, the Lakers are probably the scariest team in the league right now.

Still, Nash concedes that playing in Toronto would have been a great fit.

"It wasn’t in any way like, 'Oh well, I gotta go to Toronto.' I was thrilled,” Nash said.

"I love Toronto, it's home in many senses," he went on, "and I think it's a first-class organization and a first-class city and I would have been extremely proud to play for them and represent the city, and play for those fans and hopefully help get that team into the playoffs."

National sentimentality aside, playing in Toronto would have given Nash many practical benefits. As Basketball Canada's new general manager of the Senior Mens Team, Nash could have been very close to the organizations's Etobicoke headquarters, and would receive endless Canadian endorsement deals. Oh, and let's not forget that the Raptors offered Nash a $36 million contract — $10 million more than the Lakers.

But it was not to be.

Steve Nash is already showing flare in Hollywood this preseason, and has served as a mentor to fellow British Columbian Robert Sacre.

Like any lost love, we wish him the best. But we can't help but think what might have been.

Related >> Steve Nash Rejects Toronto for Hollywood

Related >> Lakers Should Be Raptors' Enemy No. 1

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The video for Bon Iver's "Beth/Rest" (attached below) dropped this morning and it's as cheesy as the song. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

In case you didn't know (or have a contempt for flanel-inspired music), "Beth/Rest" is the fourth single off Justin Vernon's album Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Since it debuted in 2011, the song — awash in synth, keyboards, saxophone, and saccharine vocals — has been met with mixed reviews for its "cheesy" taste. Unlike the heartbreaking folk-fare that dominates the album, "Beth/Rest" is a hard-on salute to 1980's bands like Alphaville.

The video, too, proudly dives into the honey pool. Imagine if E.T. did MDMA with his girlfriend and then vomitted fresh Reese's Pieces — that's what the video feels like.

"It's kind of about two people who are truly meant for each other and what happens to their essence," says Vernon. "How they connect is some other thing that we don't know how to really talk about."

Does that sound pretentious to anyone else?

No matter, we at TORO happen to like cheesy things, as long as they don't reek of too much sentimentality. You see, there's good and bad cheese. Example of the former: That awesome freeze-frame of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. Example of the latter: That revolting video of Stephen Harper and his sweater.

We rest our case.

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