Sunday Matinee: Trader Horn

There are lots of silent films that featured female leads, sometimes as the hero, more often than not as the damsel in distress and sadly most of the movies have been lost. The only other major film would the brilliant Les Vampires which I’ve previously done.

Despite the pre-code era with several strong female lead roles, there isn’t really any action roles for women other than supporting or again the damsel in distress.  Sadly we have to jump to the 1940s action serials before we see a female lead.
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Sunday Matinee: Ruth Roland

One of the worst and greatest tragedies of the silent film era is how many movies have been lost forever, never to be seen again. Something like 70% of American silent films have been lost. So it’s especially frustrating to find something that sounds cool only to discover there is no chance of ever seeing it.
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Sunday Matinee: The Perils Of Pauline

The success of What Happened to Mary and The Adventures of Kathlyn would kick start a several action serials featuring female leads. In 1914 The Perils of Pauline starring Pearl White as Pauline, a young woman who is to inherit a vast fortune but her guardian Mr. Koerner (Paul Panzer) is plotting her death so he can get his hands on the money.
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Sunday Matinee: What Happened To Mary

It’s 2018 and this year there looks to be at least three movies featuring female action heroes. The Tomb Raider reboot, Red Sparrow with Jennifer Lawrence and most recently Proud Mary. With all that has happened lately in Hollywood and in the world in general I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the evolution of the female action hero.

To start things off we have to go back over 100 years ago. The first movie serial in the United States was 1912’s What Happened to Mary. Produced by Thomas Edison’s film studio Edison Films the movie wasn’t a true cliffhanger serial although there were 12 chapters released monthly. Each installment had a ending. But in a brilliant move each episode was released to coincide with the serial story of the same name published in McClure’s The Ladies’ World magazine.
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Sunday Matinee: Charade

On January 28 and 31 Cineplex is playing the excellent 1963 movie Charade as part of the Classic Film series.

Directed by Stanley Donen, the film is kind of mix between a romantic screwball comedy and a thriller. Regina “Reggie” Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) while on a skiing trip decides she’s going to divorce her husband Charles when she gets back to Paris. While at the ski lodge she meets Peter Joshua (Cary Grant). When she returns to Paris she finds that her husband has been murdered.
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Sunday Matinee: Elevator To The Gallows

Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) and his lover, the married Florence Carala (Jeanne Moreau) plot to kill Florence’s husband who is also Julien’s boss.

While the husband is working late Saturday night, Julien sneaks up the outside of the building using a rope and shoots and kills the husband. He then makes it look like a suicide. Julien leaves the building, starting his car and then notices that he left the rope hanging from the side of the building.
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Sunday Matinee: Suspiria

Dario Argento’s classic horror movie about a young woman (Jessica Harper) attending a dance school in Europe and discovering something sinister is happening at the school, is turning 40 this year.

Synapse Films did a 4k restoration on the movie that took four years to complete and has been screening the restoration in select theatres this year. It apparently looks amazing. They’ve also just released the restoration on blu-ray this month.
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REVIEW: ‘The Last Jedi’ is Star Wars’ Best Film Since ‘Empire’

Rey (Daisy Ridley) looks into the horizon, as you do in Star Wars.

As satisfying as The Force Awakens was, as the dust settled, it became clear than J.J. Abrams had basically remixed A New Hope for a new generation without bringing new ideas to the fore (heck, Abrams went for yet another Death Star, the most cumbersome of weapons). Considering this development, concerns over The Last Jedi being another Empire Strikes Back weren’t unfounded.

Enter Rian Johnson. The writer/director behind the brainy indies Brick, Looper and The Brothers Bloom explores corners of the Star Wars universe never seen before on screen, without breaking the mold. Chief among them, a scenario beyond the battle between good and evil that has characterized the saga. Johnson also takes full advantage of the visual possibilities and deliver the most unique-looking episode of the franchise, without becoming a CGI hodgepodge like the prequels. Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Last Jedi’ is Star Wars’ Best Film Since ‘Empire’”

Lingerie Shows are…..

I feel like I can do some mansplaining today. I personally define “mansplaining” as “explaining to men things that men don’t always understand”. Not the typical definition, I know. I think mine is a more honourable kind of mansplaining.

I have testicles that are, according to Dr. Gonor who did my vasectomy, average. (I point this out to allay trolls who will tell me things like, “grow a pair” or “be a man” or whatever uninventish, child-like response pops in to their perma-pre-pubescent brains). I can show you a picture if you need proof… but it would have to be in person because having a digital photo of your junk is idiotic.

Now that we have established my masculinity, here is my opinion on lingerie shows and the likes. They objectify women. Where do I get this opinion? The same place all men and women should. Ask smart people with relevant life experiences. So I did.

I am sharing the entire documentation of a recent survey in the image below. Please analyze it carefully and then read on. (Names have been changed because too many people are … well, you know)

Survey conducted in 2017. Yes, men. It is 2017.

Who are these people?

Jaime is a millennial working in marketing for a  Saskatoon owned and operated business. The business has a history going back more than 100 years. Jaime is bright and honest.

Morgan is a journalist who spent several years as a court reporter, listening to story after story after story about women being raped, murdered, sexually assaulted and everything awful that you can fathom. She was once told by a police officer at a crash scene, (please read in your douche-baggiest voice) “Honey, I love to watch you work”.

Taylor is a 42 year old single woman who owns her own women’s fashion boutique. She has not married or had children because, well, who says you have to do that shit?

Chris is a manager in a health region. She has years of background in social work (including a Masters degree), much of it spent helping women who were abused. She is also a mother and a busy community volunteer serving (or having served) on numerous boards in her city, province and nation.

Alex is a married mother of two (including a daughter) who has worked for 20+ years in marketing, retail and the service industry.

My mom was raised in the 40’s and 50’s and she is wise enough to listen to her children.

So – 100% of women I respect, agree – lingerie shows objectify women.

Historically, this has not been the consensus at the cheerleader table in the suburban high school cafeteria , but (to use their words) who cares what those bitches think. They’ll probably let their husbands do the voting, anyway.

If you wanna hear this from a woman… I think Tammy Robert, writing in Saskatoon Express nailed it.



REVIEW: The Road Forward Has Too Many Branches

A blend of musical and documentary too ambitious for its own good, The Road Forward attempts to tackle First Nations’ most significant struggles of the last century (the Native Brotherhood, the Constitution Express, residential schools, missing aboriginal women) via information and music.

The magnitude of the scope is staggering: Each subject is worth entire sagas and demands our attention. Despite Marie Clements’ self-assured direction, the outcome is scattered and it’s hard to become fully immersed in the film.

As if the birth of Indian Nationalism and recent history weren’t enough, The Road Forward dedicates a fair amount of time to the performers’ own battles. Their stories are compelling in their own right, but become lost in a bombardment of minutiae, particularly in the top half. Five years ago, the stylistically similar (and likely influential) The Art of Killing succeeded by limiting its scope.

The rise of Canada’s first indigenous newspaper -The Native Voice- gives the movie a vague framing, but the outcome cries for structure. The music comes close to supersede the film’s shortcomings: The score is strong and the tune “Indian Man” is rousing enough to transcend the film. Unfortunately, The Road Forward as a whole is far from cohesive. Two and a half planets (out of five).

The Road Forward will play at the Broadway Theatre this Wednesday the 13th only. Free screening.