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DA: Levitating Helicopters

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! My iPhone tells me it’s minus-12 heading towards a -10 high before things get cold this week, so get your winter clothes ready. Sunset is 6:55 (sunrise was 7:41); tomorrow’s sunrise  is 7:38. News!

1. TODAY IN THE SASK PARTY Convicted impaired driver Don McMorris is back in the Sask Party caucus, which he shouldn’t be because he should’ve resigned, and Brad Wall has stopped taking top-up pay which is good because he’s Saskatchewan’s premier, not just the Sask Party leader.

2. CANADIAN WOMEN STILL DON’T EARN AS MUCH AS MEN Story in The Globe And Mail. TL; DR: “Canada’s gender pay disparity is larger than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average. Canada has also tumbled down the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap rankings, to 35 th place, from 19th place two years earlier.”

3. “YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED”: U.S. BORDER AGENT DENIES ENTRY TO BROWN-SKINNED CANADIAN, TELLS HER SHE NEEDS AN IMMIGRANT VISA Classy.

4. THE MAJORITY OF CONSERVATIVES DO NOT BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE Good read here. Saskatchewanians and Albertans are much more likely to reject facts than other Canadians.

5. “BLAH BLAH BLAH SHARIA LAW BLAH” There were rallies nation-wide Saturday against a parliamentary motion to condemn Islamophobia. The protests were met by counter-protests across Canada. In Saskatoon, Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens protesters were opposed by anti-racism protesters. In Regina, a Planet S reporter said small group of anti-Islamics had their Fox News-style talking points utterly squashed by a cheerful crowd of 50-plus people promoting a message of tolerance, diversity and peace. Here’s stories on rallies in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens ground zero, Montreal. Anti-racism demonstrators heavily outnumbered CCCC protesters at all the demonstrations I looked up. Here’s a column on what it all means.

6. SIKH MAN SHOT IN SEATTLE Some poor guy working on his car in his driveway was wounded by a masked gunman who told him to “go back to your own country.” This happens a week after a man of Indian descent was killed by a 50-something white man who allegedly told him to “get out of my country.”

7. TRUMP SIGNS NEW THINLY-VEILED BAN ON MUSLIMS The last one was blocked. Will the new ban stand?

8. U.S. SUPREME COURT PUNTS TRANSGENDER BATHROOM BAN BACK TO LOWER COURT Story here. Meanwhile in Canada: progress.

MAGIC HELICOPTER OR CAMERA TRICK? Occam’s Razor demands the simplest explanation, so magic it must be.

Sunday Matinee: The Valley Of Gwangi

So I seem to still be on a Lost World kick and I realize I’ve never written about the entertaining 1969 movie The Valley of Gwangi. Let’s fix that. 

Set in the early 1900s, The Valley of Gwangi follows a travelling cowboy show run by T.J. Breckenridge (Gila Golan) that performs in Mexico. T.J.’s ex-boyfriend, Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus), has come back to buy her out. T.J. refuses—she’s got a new attraction that will be bring in the money: a miniature horse. But when Tuck shows Professor Bromley (Laurence Naismith) the tiny thing, Bromley claims it’s an extinct Eohippus. Whoa. Could there be other prehistoric wonders out there?
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DA: The Final Snikt

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! It’s plus-3 with a forecast high of five. Sun sets tonight at 6:50. Here’s some news links.

1. THE NDP WINS ONE Ryan Meili is the new MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin. If he still wants to become leader of the provincial NDP, this was an essential victory. More here.

2. OPEN SEASON ON WOMEN She was unconscious and mostly naked in a cab and somehow it wasn’t rape? This is a terrible, terrible verdict. Yes, there can be nuances around consent and a drink or two, but there should be no debate on consent and unconsciousness. The entire Canadian justice system just does not get it.

3. SMARTPHONE SNOOPS CBC has a good story on Canada’s border goons checking out visitors’ phones. Talk about pointlessly obnoxious overreach—not to mention making visitors feel unwelcome. I know I wouldn’t take my phone over a border, and the most incriminating thing on it are the eight billion photos of my pets.

4. CHINA FORCES BBC TEAM TO SIGN A CONFESSION Wow. A good reminder that China is not a free country.

5. SOVIET STATES OF AMERICA Some analysis of the Jeff “lied under oath” Sessions incident.

6. VIETNAM NO-SHOW PLAYS NAVY DRESS-UP Donald “Five Deferments” Trump takes a page from the George W. Bush “I skipped the war but I’m still cool” playbook and wears military threads for a tour of a new aircraft carrier. Also, what nincompoops name an aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford? It’s like they want it to trip over a wave and sink.

7. SECOND THOUGHTS ON OBAMACARE Trump supporters might not want one of the things they specifically voted for—the repeal of Obamacare. Shocking.

8. BATS: A BITTER FAREWELL Every once in a while it’s good to read a venomously bitter column about humanity’s contempt for threatened wildlife. Here’s a great one.

LOGAN The final Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie is now playing. Jorge says it’s great. Here’s the trailer. Looks good to me. Snikt!

REVIEW: We Go On… For a Manageable 90 Minutes

For a low-budget genre flick, there are several things We Go On does right. It’s a self-contained film that doesn’t chew more than it can eat, features a true to life dialogue, and -above all- invests on a good cast, namely John Glover in a supporting role and the perennially underrated Annette O’Toole as one of the leads.

The plot: Crippled by phobias and fear of dying, Miles (Clark Freeman) comes to the conclusion the only way he can move on with his life is by having certainty there is something beyond the grave. He literally throws money to the problem by offering 30,000 dollars to the first person able to prove we go on (see what I did there?)

Predictably, Miles receives hundreds of answers, but only four capture his attention: An academic, a medium, an adventurer and a mysterious caller. Alongside his concerned mother (O’Toole), Miles goes on a supernatural tryout that may render undesired results.

The heart of the film is the relationship between Miles and his mom. In spite of the context, the two maintain a healthy rapport, which ups the ante. The top half slow-burning leads to a more traditional -if competent- conclusion. The denouement works with recognizable genre troupes, but still manages to provide a surprise or two.

Because We Go On is aware of its limitations, it doesn’t try for the ‘wow’ factor. It could have taken some risks and deliver some jolts, but overall, it’s a tidy endeavor. Two and a half planets.

We Go On is available on Shudder.

Sunday Matinee: The Land That Time Forgot

Edgar Rice Burroughs had dabbled in the lost world genre before he wrote his classic The Land That Time Forgot in 1918. The first film adaptation didn’t occur until 1975 with legendary fantasy writer Michael Moorcock writing the screenplay.

Set during WWI a British boat has been torpedoed by a German u-boat. The survivors manage to get aboard the u-boat and take it over. The Germans manage to sabotage the navigation and the u-boat ends up in the south Atlantic where they come across a lost continent called Caprona.
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Only Tyrants Ban Journalists From Press Conferences

U.S. politics continues spinning out of control. From The New York Times:

Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions.

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”

It’s pretty simple: Trump’s administration bars media outlets because media outlets expose their lies and self-interest. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans have been radicalized by right-wing propaganda posing as news (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson) and nonsense-spouting opportunists (Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, and, back in the day, Glenn Beck).

Politicians and leaders who attack science, journalism, women’s rights, the poor and minorities are the bad guys. Don’t be on the same team as the bad guys.

REVIEW: A Man Called Ove Is the Hidden Gem of the Oscar Race

In this year’s Best Foreign Language Film’s Oscar race, Toni Erdmann has the critics’ love and The Salesman locks up the controversy factor.

A Man Called Ove is more low-key than its peers, but it’s a better movie that’s worth of your attention.

(Oddly, it also got a second nomination: Best Make Up.)

The Ove in question (Rolf Lassgård, Wallander) is a cantankerous man on the verge of becoming a sexagenarian. Deemed redundant by the factory he has worked at his entire life and without his wife, Ove doesn’t have a good reason to go on.

But just as he’s adjusting the noose around his neck, a noisy Persian-Swedish family moves in next door. If there’s something stronger than Ove’s death wish, it’s the need to tell people off (think of a darker Curb Your Enthusiasm). Soon, the situation becomes a loop and every time Ove is close to meet his maker, we get a flashback that helps us understand the grumpy old man. Let’s just say he has been dealt a number of rotten hands through the years.

Besides lots of black humor, A Man Called Ove is a fun character study that shows the power of community and the benefits of diversity. The film may not be as cutting as the competition, but for sure is timely. Four planets.

A Man Called Ove opens today at the Roxy.

DA: Spirited Away

Daily Aggregation1. CHARLIE ANGUS THROWS HIS HAT IN THE RING Well, there’s the next federal NDP leader.

2. AMERICAN BACKLASH As President Trump continues his imbecile jamboree, the heat turns up on the U.S. Republicans who hopped on his bigly bandwagon.

3. DEADLY NERVE GAS! A genuine WMD was used to kill North Korean Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il’s half brother.

4. MAN CHARGED FOR WEED DEALING A good reminder not to speed. Also this is dumb. Legalize it, tax it and use the money to fix Brad Wall’s dumb budget problems. In other pot news, the White House is opposed to recreational marijuana and is planning to be an ass about it. Which I assume means siccing the pro-KGB FBI on people of colour who use pot.

5. ISRAEL DENIES VISAS TO HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS Ugh. At least they didn’t shoot them.

6. JAY AND DAN! JAY AND DAN! Will the sports broadcast legends return to TSN? Officer Bobrovsky awaits an announcement.

MIAZAKI CAN’T STAY RETIRED The world’s greatest animator is going to make another movie. It’s supposed to be out before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. You’ve seen Spirited Away, right?

DA: Get Out

Daily AggregationGreetings Saskatoon friends! How are you? It’s -4 on a day that, for a change, won’t see plus temperatures. Sun came up at 8:02 a.m. and she’s gonna set at 6:35 tonight. Here’s some news and stuff.

1. ANOTHER REASON TO NOT SCREW WITH SASKTEL We know it’s likely that any privatization of SaskTel would lead to higher phone bills, lost jobs and permanent loss of government revenue. Add pension problems to that list.

2. TIME TO UPDATE BIKE BYLAWS They’re way out of date, say cyclists.

3. EX-SOLDIERS OF ODIN CO-LEADER BUSTED FOR GUNS Astounding news that no one could’ve seen coming.

4. STANDING ROCK’S GRIM TALLY “At least 1,000 Standing Rock protesters, according to camp medics, have been treated for chemical poisoning, hypothermia, rubber-bullet and “nonlethal” beanbag wounds, and many more serious injuries, all as a direct result of violence from militarized police, who sometimes arrive by the hundreds.” Story here.

5. MARCH OF THE EXOPLANETS NASA found seven more of them, all earth-sized, with three of them in the Goldilocks zone (not too hot, not too cold) for life. Cool.

6. CAN WE NOT MAKE IT LEGAL FOR U.S. CUSTOMS TO DETAIN CANADIANS IN CANADA, MR. TRUDEAU? Seems like a big leap past reasonable “pre-clearance” to me.

7. TRUMP SIGNALS THAT DISCRIMINATING AGAINST TRANS PEOPLE IS OKAY U.S. President Bigotface removes protections for trans students, which will make it easier for repugnant bigots to be shitty to them.

8. CONSERVATIVES OPPRESSING CLIMATE SCIENTISTS Gross. When your friends and relatives trash-talk scientists, make sure you stand up for these heroes of civilization.

9. MASS EXTINCTION: NOT AS UNBELIEVABLY TERRIBLE AS BELIEVED? Life on earth might recover faster than thought after mass extinction events, which by the way we’re currently in and it’s all human-caused (hooray?).

GET OUT Jordan “Key and Peele” Peele made a horror movie and it’s getting great reviews. You might want to check it out this weekend. Here’s a trailer: