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Sunday Matinee: Smokey And The Bandit

It feels like there’s always movies celebrating anniversaries. Sometimes though it’s a little shocking to hear how old some of these movies are. For example stuntman turned director Hal Needham’s first movie from 1977 Smokey and the Bandit.

The movie is kind of dumb but it kicked off a car chase craze throughout the 1980s. The simple easy going plot has Burt Reynolds (The Bandit) driving a 1977 Trans Am really fast to get cops to chase him instead of his buddy Jerry Reed whose semi is illegally hauling booze over state lines.

Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Smokey And The Bandit”

DA: Rest In Peace, Chris Cornell

Daily Aggregation1. LIBERAL CARBON TAX INFURIATES PETRO-GROUPIE Climate change is real, action needs to be taken, the Liberals have a plan and Brad Wall hates it. It’s hilarious that an alleged fan of business and markets rejects market-based climate change regulations. Maybe Brad Wall’s a commie? An OIL commie!!!

2. MEANWHILE GLOBAL WARMING FLOODED HUMANITY’S EMERGENCY SEED RESERVES (BUT THEY’RE OKAY FOR NOW) Kind of makes you think we’re at the point where climate change denial is a literal crime against humanity. I mean, the fucking seed reserves. You’d have to be cracked to think that’s not terrifying.

3. TRANSIT UNION SUES TO SAVE STC Is shutting down a Crown privatization? Government says no. Union says yes. Courts will decide.

4. NO SUPPER FOR YOU One in four Nunavut residents doesn’t get enough food and the situation needs national attention, say far-left hippies at the Conference Board Of Canada. “Canada doesn’t think as a country strategically around food. We don’t have a national food policy. We don’t have a national food strategy,” the report’s co-author told CBC. Well I for one support my tax dollars being invested in a public solution.

5. TRUMP SUCKS AT GAMES Good read here on why the President is terrible at getting things done. Politics might be poker but governing is chess.

6. CANADA’S BEST UFO INCIDENT TURNS 50 Read all about it.

7. CHRIS CORNELL OBITUARIES In The Guardian (plus this column on 10 essential songs), The New York Times, Rolling Stone and a bunch of write-ups in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative newspaper. I’m not a grunge guy so let’s keep this simple: here’s maybe Soundgarden’s best-known hit, “Black Hole Sun”.

Thomas Vinterberg and Tryne Dyrholm Break Down The Commune

Tryne Dyrholm in The Commune.

It’s no secret I’m fond of Danish cinema. It’s the one film industry close to batting 1.000 these days. This week, the remarkable The Commune arrives to the art house circuit, including Saskatoon’s own Broadway Theatre.

Written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg (one of the founding fathers of the Dogma movement), The Commune revolves around a group of people attempting to fulfill the classic 70’s pipe dream of superseding social conventions and truly live in a community (the needs of the individual are subservient to the group’s). Soon they discover the sense of self and property won’t be denied. (see The Commune review)

While a well-esteemed name among film connoisseurs, Vinterberg reached a new echelon with The Hunt, a superb drama about a pre-school teacher falsely accused of molesting a little girl. The film gave Mads Mikkelsen his first Palm D’Or as Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.

I had the chance to talk to Vinterberg and The Commune’s female lead (and Susanne Bier go-to actress) Tryne Dyrholm at the last Toronto Film Festival. Continue reading “Thomas Vinterberg and Tryne Dyrholm Break Down The Commune”

REVIEW: The Commune Has No Room for Self

The Danish keep on killing it at finding new angles for family dramas. While only recently Hollywood incorporated same-sex couples’ households into their films, the Danes are so far ahead, they are wondering if the notion of family is in conflict with individual growth.

Written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt), The Commune is set in the 70’s but tackles very contemporary issues. Anna (Trine Dyrholm, Love Is All You Need) and Erik (Ulrich Thomsen, The Celebration) fancy themselves a modern couple, so when they inherit a manor, they decide to put their beliefs into practice and start a commune.

The initially reluctant Erik is the first one to take advantage of the situation when he brings a student of his into the house. Anna tries to be open-minded about it, but soon enough learns there are limits to her tolerance. By the time personal decisions are to be dealt with by committee, Anna realizes she is not cut for ‘extreme’ community living.

While the love triangle is front and center, The Commune also examines what does it mean to be part of a hive-mind (and why nine times of ten it doesn’t work). As compelling as the idea of sacrificing personal freedom for the good of the group sounds, it’s not sustainable in the long run.

The moral of the story? Never a good idea to deal with emotional issues rationally. 3 ½ planets.

The Commune is now playing at the Broadway Theatre.

DA (MNBD): The Saint Of Killers

Daily AggregationHappy noon, Saskatoon! At 12:10 it’s 15°C en route to a high of 17. Sunrise was 5:11 a.m. and sunset is 8:55 for almost 15 hours and 44 minutes of glorious daylight. Would you like news links? Have some news links.

1. DAY OF THE HACKERS Beware, Internet humans: there have been shenanigans.

2. HARASSMENT IN JUSTICE Saskatchewan’s Justice ministry produces the most harassment complaints of any ministry, though very few are investigated.

3. DEPT. OF CORRELATIONS: WARMONGERS HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING NORTH KOREA ON A MAP Interesting if not surprising.

4. CALL IN THE CITIZENS Civilian Review and Complaints Commission chair Ian McPhail says RCMP work culture is broken and needs civilian oversight. I think it’s bad news anytime a police force doesn’t have civilian oversight. Unsafe for the cops working in dysfunctional workplaces.

5. STC WAS SAFE. WILL A PRIVATE SECTOR REPLACEMENT BE? Concerns aplenty.

6. RAPE, MURDER AND MUTILATION IN INDIA Awful.

7. SEGREGATION AND BLOOD PRESSURE African Americans who live in highly segregated U.S. neighbourhoods have higher blood pressure than African Americans who live in more integrated neighbourhoods, a study says. Gonna go out on a limb and guess segregated neighbourhoods correlate with vulnerable communities and their attendant poverty, underfunded schools, inaccessible health care, poor economic opportunities, etc. etc. etc.

8. A PERFECT DINOSAUR DISASTER The asteroid that wiped out Earth’s all-time coolest animals hit the right place at the right time to unleash maximum devastation.

9. RYAN VS. RYAN One of my favourite hockey players is peeved at Anaheim Ducks pest Ryan Kesler. I miss Ryan Johansen being on the Columbus Blue Jackets. The trade for Seth Jones was great for both teams, but still.

PREACHER PROMO The first season had its moments (a violent, bloody and hilarious fight between Jesse, Cassidy the vampire and three unkillable angels was a laugh-out-loud highlight) but it also wandered pointlessly and treated its characters like plot devices rather than, well, coherent characters. So should we watch season two when it starts June 25? I’m undecided, but the trailer is fun.

Sunday Matinee: The Girl With All The Gifts

Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s a zombie movie.

I used to read British writer Mike Carey’s comics all the time. He had a fantastic couple of series. His Lucifer was brilliant as was his short lived Crossing Midnight and The Unwritten. After years in the industry he moved on from comics and became novelist and has been writing novels for the last couple years. One of his more recent novels has been made into a British movie that never saw a North American release.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Girl With All The Gifts”

REVIEW: Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 C’est Ne Pas Bon

Bon Cop Bad Cop 2

Full disclosure: I recall very little about the first Bon Cop Bad Cop, in theatres ages ago. The only thing I remember for certain is that I didn’t care for it and it’s not worth revisiting.

Didn’t need to. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 is self-explanatory. It’s also an expensive pile of clutter. I couldn’t stop thinking how many solid indies could have been financed with this unwieldy mess’ budget.

The principle that sustains the Bon Cop Bad Cop franchise is not a terrible one: The cultural differences between Anglo and French-Canadians are less vast than initially thought but allow for solid procedural comedy. The sequel uses the same principle, but transfers it to the relationship between the RCMP and local police, and Canadians and Americans. It’s more broad than you could possibly imagine. Continue reading “REVIEW: Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 C’est Ne Pas Bon”

HotDocs Film Festival – Day 9: Donkeyote

Donkeyote (UK/Germany, 2017): Finding documentaries that make you feel good about the human condition is often challenging. Donkeyote is one of them: Manolo, a septuagenarian farmer, enjoys days-long walkabouts across Southern Spain alongside his donkey, Gorrión. His dream is to one day walk the 2200-mile Trail of Tears in the US, but not only it’s expensive, bringing Gorrión is a whole other thing.

The film follows Manolo in his efforts to put the trip together, but the campaign is just an excuse to spend time with a compelling figure, an uncomplicated man who embraces life with gusto, but slowly realizes the world may have passed him by. Donkeyote could have used a sturdier structure (towards the end, the movie feels aimless), but it’s a guaranteed good time. 3/5 planets.

HotDocs Film Festival – Day 8: Ramen Heads

Ramen Heads (Japan, 2016): A man with a cause can be a powerful force, even if that cause is to create the best bowl of ramen eight dollars can buy. The figure in question is Osamu Tomita and he is as obsessive as a Michelin-anointed chef.

Tomita believes strong flavors can be balanced, so his broth is as thick as mud He is as picky with the noodles, the ingredients and the service. The outcome is memorable. I tasted it.

Ramen Heads doesn’t entirely focus on Tomita, but he is the star of the show. The film covers the history and entire process of making ramen in dynamic fashion. The utterly dry narration manages to add more flavor to an already well seasoned dish. 3.5/5 planets.

DA: I Made A Stupid Video

Daily AggregationGood afternoon, Saskatoon! Sunrise was 5:30 a.m., sunset is 8:37 p.m. and and today was 15 hours, seven minutes and 26 seconds long. It’s 24°C right now, which my phone says is as hot as it gets today and I say that’s plenty hot enough.

Yup. Really nice day:

News!

1. BYE, BYE GOOD OL’ SGI, DROVE MY CHEVY TO THE LEVEE BUT INSURANCE WAS TOO HIGH Hot on the heels of the Sask Party’s announcement it could sell off almost half of SaskTel — which would cripple the crown and pave the way for full privatization, no matter what Brad Wall claims — the government says private companies want to buy parts of SGI. That said, stories like this don’t help the case to keep insurance public, which has a duty to be more compassionate than private companies.

2. SASKATCHEWAN LEADS CANADA IN STOPPING POOR PEOPLE FROM HAVING FUNERALS A proud day.

3. SASKATCHEWAN FIDDLES WITH DISABLED TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE Fiddling would be fine but the bottom line is disabled people in care homes will lose $750 million in funding.

4. SASK CROWN CEOS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS TAKE A PIDDLY PAY CUT Whoopdedoo. Look, if you make a six-figure salary you can afford a higher percentage pay cut. Sure, 3.5 per cent of $$566,762 is a proportionally bigger hit than 3.5 per cent of, say $50K, but when you’re making enough money to pay cash for a new car every year you’re not going to suffer from a 10, 15 or even 20 per cent rollback.

5. SASKATCHEWAN’S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TALKS LIKE AN OIL STOOGE Scott Moe (nice name) says Saskatchewan will never allow a carbon tax. There’s absolutely room for debate on the merits and problems with carbon taxes, but blanket statements like this deserve contempt (especially when they come from a guy with two first names). Read about how a grown-up government fights climate change here.

6. WOW, THE EDMONTON OILERS GAVE WOMEN’S WASHROOMS TO MEN Garbage. And this from a team whose owner is tangled up in a cash-for-sex lawsuit. Female fans should sue the Oilers, the league and the City Of Edmonton (which put $131 million toward Rogers Place and is the official owner) for sex discrimination. Seriously.

7. U.S. CONGRESS PASSES AFFORDABLE CARE ACT SABOTAGE BILL BY A FOUR-VOTE MARGIN Story here. Next step: the Senate. Good luck with that.

8. SHOULD SIDNEY CROSBY RETIRE? Yup, says Keith Primeau. These concussions are ridiculous. The NHL needs to widen rinks to accomodate today’s bigger, faster and stronger players.

9. PRINCE PHILIP CLEARS HIS SCHEDULE Queen Elizabeth’s husband is retiring at 95. Also, Queen Elizabeth’s husband is still alive at 95.

HERE’S A STUPID I was bored and made a dumb cell phone video about how Prairie Dog functions. Or is that dysfunctions?