Blog

REVIEW: Koneline Registers a Slow-Moving Disaster

A slow-burning documentary by Nettie Wild, Koneline: Our Land Beautiful depicts the simmering tensions in northern British Columbia between a population in a symbiotic relationship with nature and the disruptive force of mining companies.

While the impending conflict is a great motivator, Nettie Wild takes her time to show how mine construction upsets every activity in Tahltan territory. Even something supposedly benign as the power grid reaching further up the northwest is seen as harbinger of doom. “When people comes, wildlife disappears”, assess a hunting impresario accurately.

Most of Koneline’s interviewees are part of the community. In most cases, their livelihoods are at stake. Tahltan’s elders have organized a blockage, but there is dissension in the ranks and the strategy is not sustainable in time. The area is believed a world class gold deposit and mining startups are already punching holes all around.

The director makes two smart decisions in approaching the subject: Finds a sturdy narrative and allows it to unfold organically, even at expense of a traditional ending (to this day, the situation remains in flux). Also, the fact documentaries are visual constructs is never far from Nettie Wild’s mind. Eye-popping sequences like horses crossing a treacherous river populate the film and drive the message home.

It’s never in doubt on whose side the film is on. The government of British Columbia and Imperial Metals don’t do themselves any favors, the former by being noncommittal and the latter by showing an off-putting sense of entitlement (“we paid a significant amount of money” says an executive on camera, annoyed by the blockage). Without a decisive victory for one or the other side, it seems the conflict will go on, nature losing ground one transmission tower at the time. 3.5/5 planets.

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful opens this Friday 6th at the Roxy Theatre. On Wednesday the 12th, Nettie Wild will be doing a Q&A via Skype following the 7 pm screening.

DA: Einstein The Parrot

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! It’s a gorgeous day, 13°C, with hours left before sunset (7:48 p.m.). How about some news? I found this on the Internet for you…

1. EFFICIENCY IS MAGIC Worried about the epic devastation caused by budget cuts? You can stop. The government will fix everything with changes to the Education Act. Phew!

2. LIBRARY LAMENT Provincial cuts to library funding are devastating. Here’s the Saskatoon situation. This is what we get from a bunch of boom bungling politicians, I guess.

3. ENTER THE APP WayToPark lets Saskatoon drivers pay for parking with their cellphones. Sounds civilized.

4. PROTESTS FOR COLTEN BOUSHIE CONTINUE The RCMP have scaled back their presence outside North Battlefield’s provincial court after demonstrators called it “intimidating”: “[The RCMP is] protecting who, and from what exactly? That’s not clear to us, especially with the history my family’s had thus far with the RCMP,” Boushie’s cousin told CBC. Good question.

5. “ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT” Canada ranks 10 out of 16 “peer countries” on a Conference Board Of Canada report. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which a certain nasty ex-Prime Minister dismissed as “northern European welfare states”, rock, as usual. Also, the United States is hilariously disastrous on the Income Inequality chart.

6. WELCOME BACK BRIAN, I GUESS Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal will gather ’round the cabinet table for a special performance from Canada’s favourite former prime minister, Lyin’ Brian Mulroney. The sad thing is, ol’ “envelopes stuffed with bills” probably has useful insights. Sigh.

7. CELL PHONE SPY DEVICES DISCOVERED AT MONTREAL AIRPORT Who’s behind it? Nobody’s taking responsibility.

8. BANNON BOOTED President Donald Jerkwad Trump has removed his political adviser, former Breitbart boss Steve Bannon, from the National Security Council. Trump’s administration continues to be an unprecedented shambles.

9. WHO GASSED CIVILIANS? Russia and Syria say it was Syrian rebels but pretty much everyone else says it was the Syrian regime. I’ll put my nickel on the latter. If Bashir al Assad had retired to Moscow after the 2011 mass protests the country wouldn’t be rubble and 470,000 people would still be alive. The brutality seems never-ending. Monstrous.

A PARROT TURNS 30 AND IT IS CUTE Here’s Einstein, the Knoxville Zoo’s smartypants African Grey parrot. Squawk!

ICYMI: CBC Covers The New Planet S Subscription Thing

In case you missed it, I was interviewed on both CBC Saskatchewan and CBC Saskatoon this morning about our new crowdfundy-kickstarter thing! Those interviews have been transmogrified into a story:

The papers, produced biweekly by Hullabaloo Publishing, will still be freely available in their traditional coffee shop, pub and street box locations. But, by taking a page from the crowdfunding playbook, Whitworth is hoping to keep the printing press humming.

“Our readers who value our paper, and seem to like us from what we can tell, should have a clear and concise opportunity to support us directly,” said Whitworth.

Subscriptions start at $9.99 for every two issues. There are increasing tiers of paid support that include perks for readers wishing to contribute more.

Read the whole thing here, and, if you want, support our “weird and funny…fanatically fact-based, reality-based and entertaining-to-read” publication here.

DA: The Non-Hats Of Men

Daily AggregationGood afternoon Saskatoon! While I’m sitting here listening to “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats and sniffling through unwelcome springtime sniffles, it’s 12°C outside. Sunset tonight is at 7:44, which is lovely. News!

1. PRELIMINARY HEARING FOR COLTEN BOUSHIE’S KILLER Started today, could go on for a week. At issue: will Gerald Stanley go on trial for shooting Colton Boushie in the head, or was the shooting self-defence? Background here.

2. OTTAWA PHONES ARE BEING MONITORED Parties unknown!

3. BYELECTON MONDAY Voting is happening; none of it here.

4. BRAD WALL’S POP DROPS He’s still pretty darn popular, though.

5. RUSSIAN SUBWAY EXPLOSION KILLS 11 It was caused by an “unidentified explosive device”.

6. TODAY’S REASON TO HATE GARY BETTMAN NHL players won’t be  in the 2018 Olympics. To be fair, it doesn’t sound like the International Olympic Committee did enough to make this happen. Story here.

8. TRUMP VOTERS: BLIND HOPE AND IRRATIONAL, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE LOYALTY Possibly a small consolation for the millions of Americans who will be harmed by the Donald Trump presidency and Republican House and Senate: the people who voted for him will pay for it too. Not that they’ll stop supporting him.

9. SPEAKING OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS Stephen King has always had insight into American psychologies, so when he writes about his imaginary roundtable with made-up Trump supporters it’s worth reading.

10. EVERYONE LIKES DINOSAURS Looks like the fact that dinosaurs are cool is the one thing conservatives and the rest of us can agree on. As long as they don’t share their dumb opinions on the earth’s age.

WE CAN DANCE! WE CAN DANCE! Everything’s out of control!

Sunday Matinee: Ghost In The Shell

The crappy Americanized remake/live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell has hit theatres with a thud. So today’s Sunday Matinee is the original animated movie from 1995.

Based on Masamune Shirow’s 1989 comic book, the 1995 animated movie was a streamlined adaptation of it following the adventures of Major Motoko Kusanagi and her squad of troubleshooting specialists of Section 9.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Ghost In The Shell”

Sunday Matinee: Warlords Of Atlantis

The final lost world movie that director Kevin Connor and actor Doug McClure made together in the late 1970s was this original tale of the search for the lost city of Atlantis.

The first three collaborations were all Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptations but for this film they hired screenwriter Brian Hayles who wrote several Doctor Who episodes in the 1970s.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Warlords Of Atlantis”

DA: The Handmaiden’s Jorge

Daily AggregationHappy happy afternoon, Saska-Saska-Saskatoon! It’s 6°C at 2:52 p.m., down from a high of 7°. Sunset tonight is at 7:27. The next time I write a blog post it’ll be waaay after 7:30. All right, let’s aggregate.

1. STC FALLOUT: STRANDED WITH CANCER The most compelling reason shutting down the Saskatchewan Transportation Company is stupid and vicious? The 300 rural cancer patients who took STC buses to Saskatoon are out of luck. #BradBotchedTheBoom

2. LIBRARIES CUT TO RIBBONS The StarPhoenix reports most library districts face funding cuts between 50 and 60 per cent. Ugly. #BradBotchedTheBoom

3. TRENT WOTHERSPOON, QP BADASS? The interim NDP leader was kicked out of yesterday’s Question Period because he called the budget deceitful Wotherspoon refuses to apologize. #BradBotchedTheBoom

4. SASKATOON COUNCIL MEETS TO TALK BUDGET With essential Saskatoon institutions like libraries and the University of Saskatoon taking big budget hits IO imagine they’ll have a lot to discuss. #BradBotchedTheBook

5. I THINK THIS IS THE BEST MURRAY MANDRYK COLUMN I’VE EVER READ Murray Mandryk says:

“Sask. Party MLAs, you just raised taxes by nearly a billion bucks a year by gouging kids’ clothes and restaurant meals. You just fired 574 people. You just took away your own voters’ buses — buses used by sick, old, rural people and farmers needing parts. Hell, you won’t even pay for the funerals of those who in their whole life didn’t save enough money to buy their own coffins.”

Good stuff. Mr. Mandryk’s utter contempt for arrogance has always been one of his best qualities.

6. THE GREAT GRASSLAND SELL-OFF The Sask Party is selling 51 provincial community pastures. says Trevor Harriet:

“Among our large provinces and territories (i.e. excluding the Maritimes), Saskatchewan already leads the nation in the ratio of private land to public. Across Canada, 11% of land is privately owned. In B.C. 7% of land is private. In Alta, 30%. Saskatchewan is at 40% but south of the boreal forest in this province the figure is 80% and rising. In fact, believe it or not, by 1980 24% of all privately held land in Canada was in Saskatchewan[i]—almost all of it in the Prairie Ecozone. And now we are adding more?”

7. NO MORE CANADA SAVINGS BONDS The famous investment bonds won’t be sold anymore and CBC has an excellent and interesting story on it.

8. HOUSE OF COMMONS PASSES ISLAMOPHOBIA MOTION Good. Although I fear places like, say, the comically Islamophobic Facebook page The Republic Of Western Canada might be losing their minds right now…

9. TODAY IN AMERICA DON’T WORK NO MORE From the Washington Post: “The decision means the ACA remains in place, and a major GOP campaign promise goes unfulfilled. It also casts doubt on the Republican Party’s ability to govern and to advance other high-stakes agenda items, including tax reform and infrastructure spending. Ryan is still without a signature achievement as speaker — and the defeat undermines Trump’s image as a skilled dealmaker willing to strike compromises to push his agenda forward.” LOL.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE There’s a new trailer for the new Hula adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian book The Handmaid’s Tale. It looks horrifying. On the bright side, if you look closely you might catch a glimpse of Prairie Dog film critic Jorge Castillo, who’s onscreen for about a second in the background of a crowd shot. Yup, really!

REVIEW: Prevenge, or What You Don’t Expect When You Are Expecting

British filmmaker Ben Wheatley is making his mark not only through his nihilistic movies, but by influencing some of his collaborators. Chief of them all is Alice Lowe. The female lead in Wheatley’s most “accessible” film, Sightseers, Lowe does it all -writes, directs, stars- in Prevenge, a pitch black comedy that pushes the envelope further than you could possibly imagine.

Lowe is Ruth, a pregnant woman on her third trimester who goes on a killing spree. The targets are very specific (we slowly learn why), and Ruth is more or less methodical in her approach. She seems to be getting orders from her unborn baby, who despite having been surrounded by amniotic fluid since her conception, is very judgemental.

Prevenge moves at brisk pace, and allows plenty of humor among the carnage, mostly from the contrast between the presumably vulnerable Ruth and her actions. In spite of her doings, the protagonist remains sympathetic, as if her life wasn’t her own. Repeatedly, we get back to Ruth’s doctor who -unaware of her patient’s homicidal tendencies- pushes her to wrestle control back from the unborn baby.

While there is a clear method to the madness, Prevenge resolution is a notch underwhelming. That said, Lowe dots her I’s and crosses her T’s. The overall thoughtfulness indicates there is a future for the multi-hyphenate artist behind the camera. Three prairie dogs.

Prevenge starts streaming in Shudder on March 24th.

NEW: Save The Planet And Get Stuff Too!

Times are rough for alternative newspapers like Planet S. Even though we’re a well-established (15 years this fall!) and, dare I say, affectionately regarded paper, this biz is getting harder and harder. Frankly it’s a challenge to publish this thing every two weeks, let alone make it the kind of high-class fishwrapper we want it to be (and that we think you want to read).

It’s incredibly frustrating:

But such is the sad state of news media nowadays. And sure, I could whine about about how agency and government ads are way down; or how national ads have been extinct for a decade; or how our office, which once had seven staffers, now has two. But I’m not a whiner.

And anyway, there’s good news: we’ve figured out a way you can help.

For as little as the cost of one premium beer a month, upstanding citizens like you can help keep independent media alive in Saskatoon. This ain’t no handout, neither: for your support, we’ll mail every issue directly to your home or office so you’ll never miss a paper!

On top of that, supporters get to pick gift cards to some of Saskatoon’s best restaurants and shops, as well as be eligible for supporter-only contests and giveaways. Details are here. Check it out!

Support Planet S! You’ll be the hero  this galaxy needs — and wants!

DA: Filth City

Daily AggregationHappy noon, Saskatoon! it’s -2 now, but in a mere 10 degrees it’ll be plus-8. Woo! Sunrise was 7:03, inching toward that 7 a.m. barrier! The sun will set this evening at 7:23, and since it’ll be around 5 degrees out it might be a nice time for an after dinner walk. But that’s up to you: it’s you’re life! The only one you’ve got. Wow that was so deep. News!

1. IT’S BUDGET DAY, ARE YOU EXCITED? Read the CBC, StarPhoenix and CJME.

2. IT’S ALSO FEDERAL BUDGET DAY CBC, Toronto Star, Globe And Mail.

3. THE NATIONAL POST SUCKS I was going to put in a National Post link but since the paper just ran an utterly irresponsible (not to mention pompous) column that’s skeptical of human-caused climate change, to hell with it. The only reason anyone still argues about climate change is money. There’s infinite money to be made in fossil fuels. Gotta keep drilling, which means the petro-stooges and their idiotic, radicalized followers will keep arguing with/discrediting/harassing climate scientists forever. Scientists say last year was the warmest on record, by the way. Yay!

4. TERRORIST ATTACK IN LONDON People dead and injured, suspect shot.

5. PREDATORY ONLINE MISOGYNY Thug hacker lectures victim on morality, demands sex video.

6. PRESS FREEDOM VS. RCMP: COURT ORDERS VICE JOURNALIST TO FORK OVER INFO Fight not over.

Stumbled across the trailer for an upcoming movie today. Looks fun! Seems weirdly familiar, somehow.