Blog

HotDocs Film Festival – Day 1: Bee Nation

Bee Nation (Canada, 2017): The definition of a crowd-pleaser to kick off this edition of HotDocs, Bee Nation revolves around an event with tension, drama and personal achievement ingrained in its DNA: The First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee competition. The first ever for aboriginal community.

It’s Documentary 101: Director Lana Slezic pics a handful of kids from different First Nations communities in Saskatchewan and shows their lives and how they prepare for the event. The approach allows some distressing information to seep through, like the fact schools in reserves receive considerable less money per student and, forcing administrators to make some hard decisions regarding their curriculum.

The children Slezic picks as main subjects are all overachievers, but they have a personality of their own (for William, failure is devastating; Savannah is a model of personal drive). In each case, their parental figures see education as a way out, a chance to see a world beyond the reserve. Heartbreak is unavoidable (the winners of the provincial chapter head to Toronto to compete against private school kids with tutors), but makes for great cinema.

Bee Nation is a bit stately (it’s presented under the CBC Docs banner), but is worth your attention.

3/5 planets. Bee Nation will premiere on CBC in September.

DA: Hugh Jackman’s Escape Claws

Daily Aggregation1. EUROBANKERS BEFORE FASCISTS, I GUESS France’s presidential reality show is down to two finalists: the tax-cutting, regulation-loosening business-boostering “but he’s a centrist!” finance dude, and Madame Mussolini. On May 7, will find out whether neoliberal Emmanuel Macron or anti-immigrant Trump fan Marine Le Pen will be president. Wheeeeeeeee.

2. SASKATOON MARCHES FOR SCIENCE I liked Mark Bigland-Pritchard’s call for scientifically literate journalists, which seems like an opportunity to remind everyone they can support our scientifically literate stories (such as this one) by subscribing to Prairie Dog. The more support we get, the more we can do. Simple as that. As for the big Washington march: here’s a wrap-up, here’s a short essay on science’s politics problem and here’s another story because I like things that come in threes, especially when the third thing is Bill Nye.

3. POUNDMAKER’S PIPE It’s in the British Museum. Huh.

4. FREE LAND The Saskatchewan government fought hard to keep its payment from CP for land secret, and, well, I guess now we know why.

5. UNHAPPY DAY Happy Days star Erin Moran has passed away at 56. 🙁

FAREWELL TO HUGH The hilarious goofballs at How It Should’ve Ended made a surprisingly touching short about Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine (good movie, bye the way). If you’ve seen Logan, check this out. If you haven’t, well, go see it, and THEN watch this.

Sunday Matinee: Caltiki, The Immortal Monster

After directing the first Italian sound horror movie, Lust of the Vampire in 1957 director Riccardo Freda started work on his next horror movie Caltiki, the Immortal Monster. But for whatever reason Freda abandoned work on the film (Freda claimed he did it so Mario Bava could get the job, Bava states that the film was a mess which is why Freda left). Either way Caltiki, the Immortal Monster became legendary filmmaker Mario Bava’s first movie.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Caltiki, The Immortal Monster”

DA: Bill Nye The Twitter Guy

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! It’s an underachieving 6°C in the city with a high of eight on deck for later. The forecast for the next week is all kinds of lame, with threats of snow on Monday. Wheeeee. Sunset tonight is at 8:15. Let’s just move on to the news.

1. IF YOU CAN’T WIN A FAIR FIGHT, CHANGE THE RULES The Saskatchewan government is getting yelled at for its sketchy-ass plan to preemptively block lawsuits from Sask municipalities.

2. MAGICAL MYSTERY NUMBERED COMPANIES I’ll preface this with the disclaimer that Kevin Doherty, Don Morgan and the rest are following the law, according to the conflict of interest commissioner. That said, I wanna know if all these numbered companies politicians have are rental properties or pawn shops or patches of land or whatever, and I bet you do too.

3. COMPLICATED LEGAL BATTLE COULD BOOT NON-CATHOLIC KIDS FROM CATHOLIC SCHOOLS, MAYBE? I don’t fully understand this (gotta do more reading because I don’t get the motivation for the original complaint, which looks to me like someone going to court to nuke their own funding, which seems weird) but I think it causes trouble for everyone?

4. DAY IN COURT Marc and Jodie Emery were the targets of grandstanding police raids that probably launched to scare pot businesses and activists away from their livelihoods and cause. The raids were a stupid waste of policing resources given the utter wrongheadedness of pot prohibition. It’s not the Emerys’ fault Canada has dysfunctional, irrational recreational drug laws. This kind of crap reduces public confidence in police* (which, if I were a cop, I would be livid about) as well as the Federal Liberals’ legalization legislation. Anyway the two were in court today. “”These marijuana laws are sending peaceful people like ourselves into cells in handcuffs. That’s no way to treat a Canadian in 2017 for something that’s going to be legalized next year,” said Jodie Emery. No kidding.

*A Toronto police spokesman said the Emerys were “endangering the public”. That’s rich. You know what endangers Toronto? Cops killing black Torontonians.

5. FRANCE PONDERS A FASCIST The French start a two-part presidential election this weekend. Hopefully they won’t send the far-right xenophobe to the final round. There’s probably a decent chance after this week’s shootings. Meanwhile the Conservative candidate sounds like a total douche, the otherwise interesting far-left candidate is too anti-Europe and pro-Russia for my tastes and the socialist who wants to bring in universal basic income has been kneecapped by his party’s past failures. Well, it’ll be interesting anyway.

6. IT’S NOT EASY TO PISS OFF HAWAII BUT THIS IDJIT DID IT U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is apparently a pompous, entitled goof.

7. THE X-FILES IS COMING BACK Fox has ordered a 10-episode 11th season. Hope it’s better than the last one. #Scullyforever

8. WESTJET VS. LABRADOODLE You won’t believe what happened next!

9. SPEAKING OF MISPLACED PETS, HERE’S A NINE-MONTH-OLD STORY ABOUT A LOST-AND-FOUND PET GECKO NAMED “NOM CHOMPSKY” Like it says. I can’t not share stuff like this.

BILL NYE VS. TWITTER Tomorrow is the March For Science. Seems like a good time to drop a Bill Nye video in here. Good stuff, although this guy might argue with him about the hypothetical threat posed by artificial intelligence.

DA: Yay-Balls For 4-20

Daily AggregationWhatcha doon Saskatoon? Happy 4/20! It’s a beaut afternoon that could use a little more sunshine maybe: 16°C according to my pocket computer, with a revised high of 17 coming right up. The sun sets tonight at 8:13 p.m. and you won’t see it again until 5:55 a.m. tomorrow. It was up at 5:58 today for a grand and glorious total daylight time of four hours and (almost) 16 minutes. DING DING DING NEWS TIME!

1. SASK PARTY SUPPORT DROPS This is a surprise? Maybe that’s why they’re suddenly reviewing their $4.5 million cuts to libraries. Wait until the cuts really hit. Also, DON’T PISS OFF LIBRARY LOVERS. Also also: raise the PST another point, then roll it back by one per cent before the next election. And don’t tell my NDP pals (I may have one or two) that I gave you that solid political advice.  Shhhh!

2. CRIME, CRIME, CRIME Guns fired in hotels, kids vandalizing schools, more human trafficking arrests. Why won’t anyone step back and take a look at Saskatchewan’s crime problem? Oh wait, Dale Eisler did.

3. LONG-AWAITED MARKET CORRECTION Saskatoon renters are starting to see lower rents as vacancy rates skyrocket. Dunno if anyone’s done a study but I submit that skyrocketing rent from 2006 to, say, 2012 will be shown to have been be a key factor that kept tons of regular people from benefiting from the boom. Stuff like that ain’t no accident, buttercups.

4. IT REALLY IS PRETTY NICE OUT THERE, DESPITE THE GREY Our On-The-Scene Mulligan took this photo for you! Look! Prettyyyy!

5. SO NOW GIRAFFES ARE ENDANGERED? YAAAY One of the most charismatic of megafauna should be listed, say conservationists. Threats to giraffes include human-caused loss of habitat, human-caused collisions with cars and…power lines? yeesh, and human-inflicted poaching and trophy hunting. Jesus, our species. We really are smarter, and better, than this. We’ve got to act like it.

6. THE ECONOMY SWOONS BUT THE BUD BIZ BOOMS Medical marijuana company CanniMed is putting $10 million into its Saskatoon plant. I doubt they’re doing it for vanity. There’s money in them thar buds.

7. A GOOD DEATH CBC has a story about the peaceful death of a husband with terminal cancer who opted for euthanasia. No dry eyes at this desk.

8. A BREXIT MULLGAN? The European Union parliament’s president said if Brits tuef the Tories, they could become unBrexited. Hmmm.

9. A PARDON: SOMETHING YOU EARN OR SOMETHING YOU BUY? People with criminal records who are eligible for pardons usually don’t have $631 lying around. They’re spending that money on their kids, or rent, or food, or prescriptions. A high price for pardons is fundamentally misguided and I’m glad the Liberals are looking into fixing the mess Stephen Harper and his gang of sociopathic goons created.

10. TORONTO LGBTQ COPS DEMAND CITY PULL PRIDE FUNDING I can see their point. I can also see how chronically racist policing pisses people off so much that they organize to punt uniformed cops and their parade floats out of Pride.

11. COLBERT’S “TRIBUTE” TO BILL O’REILLY Nicely done.

12. IT’S 4/20! Happy “Pot Is Still Illegal But Not For Much Longer” day. Looking for some stuff to read? Start with Beatty’s feature in the current Planet S, then check out Now’s interview with pot activist Jodie Emery. The Georgia Straight has a report that tears apart the Liberal’s legalization plans and the Toronto Star has a story on the origins of 4/20. Pro-weed Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger has tons of stuff to read, including this article on the history of Washington state’s trail-blazing cannabis regulations and this David Schmader piece on vaginal pot suppositories that has awesome sentences like “the sun is rising in my uterus”.

Let’s wrap this up with Adam Ruins Everything’s reality check on marijuana. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday Afternoon Reptile Report: Leonard The Lump

The world needs more photos of cute animals. Fortunately, my awesome pet snake Leonard is extremely cute.* Happy Wednesday, world! Happy Wednesday, Leonard!

*Feel free to disagree in the comments but be warned: Leonard has legions of fans who can and will defend his adorableness from petty anti-snake sentiments.

DA: More Like Bill O’BYE-ly

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon Saskertoon! It’s been awhile! Soooo: it’s 11°C and my cell phone says that’s as good as it’s going to get. The sun came up this morning at 6:00 on the dot and sets tonight at 8:12 p.m. for 14 hours and 12 minutes of glorious daylight. Here’s a pile of news I found.

1. FEDS INVEST IN NORTHERN MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT $1.2 million between two bands doesn’t seem like a whole heck of a lot, but hopefully it’ll help.

2. OPENING WOUNDS It blows my mind that anyone is still defending police who, according to a public inquiry, picked up Neil Stonechild and dropped him off in a Saskatoon field, where he froze to death. You can refresh your memory on the case here, and if you’re wondering about cops’ credibility, you can read this story about someone with a Saskatoon police computer who changed Wikipedia’s “Starlight Tours” entry.

3. REFUGEES AND PREDATORS The RCMP have charged a Regina woman with human smuggling involving people anxious to get out of the United States (or as the CBC puts it, “droves of asylum seekers … making their way north into Canada from the U.S. in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president.”

4. FRACK FRACK QUAKE Fracking in British Columbia caused 767 earthquakes between 2014 and 2015. Fracking causes earthquakes. What are we doing. We have got to kick the fossil fuel monkey.

5. IRONIES ABOUND AS BIGOTS FREAK OUT OVER SCHOOL PRAYERS A Toronto school board gave Muslim students prayer space and now critics are losing their minds. A lot of no-prayer-in-the-classroom type atheists like me tend to be for it (because come on, it’s NOT a school-endorsed-or-mandated class prayer, it’s a compassionate, tolerant and no-skin-off-my-nose accommodation) while people who would love to see the Lord’s Prayer recited in classrooms are opposed (which I have no evidence for that but it’s true).

6. CHINA IS CONCERNED ABOUT NORTH KOREA Hey! Me too!

7. THE TRUMP EFFECT: REPUBLICANS DODGE HUMILIATION IN GEORGIA So far, anyway.

8. JAILED KILLER JOCK PROBABLY KILLED HIMSELF Probably.

9. BYE-BYE BILL O’REILLY Fox News is dumping him. Good. O’Reilly’s been an angry, toxic person who infects viewers with his hateful worldview. Would love to see the end of his career.

Sunday Matinee: World Without End

In 1957 a group of astronauts, Commander Dr. Eldon Galbraithe (Nelson Leigh), engineer Henry Jaffe (Christopher Dark), radioman Herbert Ellis (Rod Taylor) and scientist John Borden (Hugh Marlowe), are travelling back to Earth after taking their rocket ship out for a test run around Mars.

Upon returning to Earth the ship suddenly accelerates and knocks the crew unconscious. When they awake they discover that the ship has crash landed on Earth into a snow covered mountain. Confused the crew try to figure out what has happened.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: World Without End”

Sunday Matinee: Hollow Triumph aka The Scar

“The Story of a Man Who Murdered Himself and Lived to Regret It!!!”

One of the problems of movies being in public domain is that the physical condition of the film tends to fall into poor disarray. If you want to watch a copy of the film odds are the version you are watching is going to look like crap. Not always but more often than not.

Lots of great film noir have fallen into public domain for a variety of reasons and one of them is this 1948 film Hollow Triumph which was re-released as The Scar.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Hollow Triumph aka The Scar”

DA: The Force Awakens (After A Copyright Attack)

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! How happy? 22°C happy. Why are you reading this? Find a patio that has beer. The sun doesn’t set until 7:51 tonight. Go! Scram! Shoo! This blog post will be here all weekend.

1. MORE JOBS, WAIT. MAYBE NOT Conflicting reports on Saskatchewan’s employment situation.

2. SPITEFUL SASK GOVERNMENT BABIES CAN’T HANDLE CRITICISM, LASH OUT The Opposition NDP 11 MLAs. The governing Sask Party has 51. The Opposition NDP just had its funding cut by $64,00, compared to $130,000 for the government. The Sask Party loses $2,550 for every MLA. The NDP? $5,800. That isn’t just unfair, it’s targeted suppression of a political opponent. Who do these bullies think they are, Putin?

3. SASKATONIANS PROTESTS LIBRARY CUTS As they should.

4. MASSIVE SASKATOON POLICE SCANDAL Two cops made fun of crime victim Bronek Hart’s name. Unacceptable! Wait. Bronek? That is kind of a funny-sounding name. Apparently it’s Czech (from “Brotislav”) and means “glorious armor”. Doesn’t sound like this Bronek has very thick armor. Well, he was having a bad day. Hopefully the cops will apologize for being idiots and for using an offensive slur, and we can all go back to reading about the end of the world, speaking of…

5. SYRIA: NO MUSHROOM CLOUDS YET SO THAT’S GOOD U.S. President Donald J. Trump gave Russian ally Syria a 59 penis pummeling last night. Here’s the Washington Post’s latest. Not that the regime doesn’t deserve a faceful of missiles, but Assad has been murdering children for a long time and it seems unlikely this will stop that. Besides, it’s not like this will inspire that grandstanding, egomaniacal hypocrite to accept Syrian refugees, which is what he’d do if he actually gave a shit about children.

6. SYRIA: MORE: “World leaders react to strike”, “U.S. Missile Strikes Bring Angry Russian Response”, “Was Trump’s Syria Strike Illegal?”“Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Dangerously Impulsive”,“The Grim Logic Behind Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attack”, “U.S. Tries To Restore Military Back Channel With Russia After Syria Strikes”.

7. SYRIA: TRUDEAU SUPPORTS MISSILES AND REFUGEES Yuuuuuugh. Well he’s in a tough spot. The country he leads is next door to a deranged and heavily armed giant. Still grotesque and nauseating.

8. SYRIA: JEET HEER: THE GENERALS HAVE WON THEIR WAR WITH TRUMP One of our favourite mighty intellectuals throws his brain at Trump’s Syrian adventure.

9. SYRIA: BRIAN WILLIAM’S BEAUTIFUL MISSILES I assume the news anchor was trying to make a darkly poetic analogy contrasting the lights and colours of rockets with the destruction they cause but it didn’t work and bringing Leonard Cohen into it is just shitty. Also I apologize for writing “59 penis pummeling” at the start of this thing. That was horrible.

10. AN OILERS OWNER SEX SCANDAL? Stepping away from conflicts between nuclear powers: so Daryl Katz is being sued. First: don’t threaten the careers of women you’ve propositioned after they’ve turned you down. Second: fuck, just don’t be an entitled rich creep. Third: there are professional sex workers out there happy to take money for companionship. Even from gross, slimy men.

BAD LIP READING: THE FORCE AWAKENS After a ridiculous, and brief, copyright takedown, the latest Bad Lip Reading video is back online. While not as amazing as “Seagulls (Stop It Now)”, it’s still a lot of fun.