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Sunday Matinee: Bonnie And Clyde

Man lots of great movies are celebrating anniversaries this year. And celebrating it’s 50th anniversary today is Arthur Penn’s classic biographical crime film, 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde.

The movie was a biographical if somewhat streamlined, comedic, violent and action packed version of notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barker (Warren Beatty). The movie takes some liberties with the actual events but it’s an awesome and entertaining movie.
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Sunday Matinee: Police Story 3: Supercop

One of Jackie Chan’s best movies turns 25 this year. It was the third in his Police Story series and the stunts in this film are nothing short of amazing.

Police Story 3: Supercop continued follow the adventures of Jackie Chan’s “supercop” Ka-Kui Chan. This time Ka-Kui has been requested by Interpol to work undercover with mainland China to capture a notorious drug dealer named Chaibat (Kenneth Tsang). The plan has Chan pretending to be a criminal and bust an associate of Chaibat’s out named Panther (Yuen Wah). Helping Chan out is a mainland Chinese cop Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh ends up posing as Chan’s sister and the two end up working for Chaibat after they bust Panther out of prison.
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City Council Warp Up: One Small Step For Cab Drivers, One Giant Stumble Backward For Sanctuary Cities

On the last day of July in the Year of Our Glorb 2017, council debated the already-much-debated Taxi Bylaw. They also debated a motion to declare the City of Regina a City In Which One With Precarious Immigration Status Shalt Not Endure Fear Of Deportation When They Access City Services.

And, oh, how they debated. They debated until it was nigh unto August in the Year of Our Glorb 2017.

And were it not for Robert’s Rules Of Order, they may have been debating still.

But eventually the debating ceased and many taxi cab drivers departed Henry Baker Hall feeling generally okay with the outcome while many taxi cab company owners departed feeling fairly peeved. And as for those who came to council hoping the Access Without Fear motion would pass unhindered? Oh, they were most unhappy. Most unhappy, indeed.

So gather around and allow me recount in painful detail all the long hours of council’s July 31 meeting, measured out in digestible 140 letter chunks.

You can follow my council live-tweeting on the last Monday of every month (plus or minus a Monday or Tuesday) at @PDCityHall

Are You Reading Murray Geister: Paranormal Investigator? No? Get On It!

Panel from Murray Geister: Paranormal Investigator, by Dakota McFadzean.

Sometimes I suspect people don’t realize Prairie Dog (an oft taken-for-granted Regina treasure) is running maybe the most ambitious newspaper comic serial in North America right now. But we are, and let me tell you,  Dakota McFadzean’s excellent Murray Geister: Paranormal Investigator deserves far more attention than it gets (i.e., virtually none).

Murray Geister is the story of an aging ghost hunter who, unfortunately for him, is skeptical about the supernatural. Is an eerie noise coming from that hole in your wall? Murray’s going to rule out mice before he even begins to entertain the notion that your house is haunted. Yes, Geister wants to believe, but he’s not going to delude himself into seeing things that aren’t there.

Unfortunately, this really screws up his ability to make money, since he’s not in business (such as it is) to rip off the gullible.

The 57th installment of Murray Geister hits streets (and the Internet!) Thursday. In the meantime, you can catch up on the first 56 installments here. This is an amazing work of comics literature by a Regina-born-and-raised master cartoonist that’s published in two Saskatchewan newspapers (us and Planet S). It’s really quite something, and yet I get almost no feedback on it outside of our writers (all droolingly enthusiastic fans).

What’s the deal? Does no one here “get” Murray Geister? If that’s the case, it’s frankly a little embarrassing for this city.

Sunday Matinee: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Starting today for the next several months Cineplex is having a Studio Ghibli Anime Series added to their monthly screenings. Today and Wednesday August 2 they are playing Kiki’s Delivery Service. Today’s showing will be dubbed in English but Wednesday’s show will be in the original Japanese with English subtitles.

The next film in the series is Castle in the Sky and it will be played August 27 in English dub and August 30 in Japanese with English subtitles.
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Belle and Sebastian: Friends in T.O.

Photos: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

There is probably no better time to see a band live than when they are not promoting a new album. Two-and-a-half years removed from debuting the fun, bouncy “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”, Belle and Sebastian hit the stage last night in Toronto with a set that seamlessly mixed greatest hits and deep cuts.

The show, which kicked off the North American leg of their 2017 tour, was a nearly two-hour solid demonstration of musical proficiency. Belle and Sebastian indulged on their penchant for classism, arching back to the band’s chamber-pop days, when the presence of a violin, cello and trumpet was a given.

The easygoing nature of the Scottish group was in full display through lead singer Stuart Murdoch. The gregarious, unassuming Murdoch believes he can take the pulse of the city by their public transportation system (he is not wrong). Stuart was a bit troubled by the TTC, but came to the conclusion once pot is legalized, nobody will mind. Continue reading “Belle and Sebastian: Friends in T.O.”

Sunday Matinee: The Fabulous Baron Munchausen

Karel Zeman was a fantastic and amazing Czech filmmaker and animator whose work is wondrous to see. Zeman used live action and combined it with animated both hand drawn and stop motion to create amazing fantasy worlds.

Today’s Sunday Matinee is Karel Zeman’s 1961 The Fabulous Baron Munchausen. Loosely based on the Munchausen stories, this incredible fantasy follows the adventures of an astronaut who lands on the moon only to discover the crew from Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac, Baron Munchausen and others already on the moon. The group assumes that the astronaut is a moon man and the Baron decides to take him to Earth to show him what Earth is like.
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REVIEW: Dunkirk’s Imperfections Add to its Brilliance

It took me a while to figure out what bothered me about Dunkirk. All those five-star reviews were right: Breathtaking scenes, daring structure and emotional payoff. It was all there, at a scale seldom seen before.

Then it hit me: There isn’t a single original narrative in the film. Portraits of down-to-earth heroism have been done before and Dunkirk doesn’t break any new ground. Furthermore, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s favorite trick, messing with chronology for maximum effect, is more distractive than anything and I have serious doubts there was need for it.

That said, Dunkirk hits such highs, any shortcoming dwarves by comparison.

The film unfolds in three setup entwined together, but not necessarily concurrent. The first is the beach of Dunkirk, France, where 400,000 Allied soldiers wait for evacuation, surrounded by Nazi forces and intermittently attacked from above. We witness the havoc through the eyes of Tommy (newcomer Fionn Whitehead), a young private initially without other calling than coming out of this alive. Continue reading “REVIEW: Dunkirk’s Imperfections Add to its Brilliance”

Sunday Matinee: Unearthly Stranger

Today’s Sunday Matinee is a quiet little British sci-fi thriller from 1963 called Unearthly Stranger.

Shot on a low budget with practically no special effects the story follows a scientist, Dr. Mark Davidson (John Neville) narrates the story as a flashback. Fearing for his life he tells how he got to this point.
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REVIEW: From the Land of the Moon (or Sexy Kidney Stones)

As roles of ingénue begin to dry up in Hollywood, Marion Cotillard seems to be favouring French-speaking parts. She is practically a Cannes mainstay thanks to her collaborations with the Dardenne brothers, Jacques Audiard and Xavier Dolan.

One of Cotillard’s lesser known Cannes entries arrives to SK this week: From the Land of the Moon (the French title, Mal de Pierres, is so much better). Set in France in the 50’s, the film tells the story of Gabrielle, a liberated/unsociable (your pick) woman stuck in an arranged marriage. Even though her husband José (Alex Brenemühl) is remarkably tolerant to all her unpleasantness, Gabrielle sulks and mops non-stop.

A sexy case of kidney stones sends Gabrielle to a health spa, where she meets the handsomely crumbling Lt. Sauvage (Louis Garrel, The Dreamers). Gabrielle falls in love with him (or the romantic ideal he represents), a passion that leads to further estrangement from her husband. Continue reading “REVIEW: From the Land of the Moon (or Sexy Kidney Stones)”

John Waters: The Full Interview

John Waters and Gary Varro at a dinner held during Camp, Trash, Filth

Our June 8-21 issue featured a cover story on legendary American filmmaker, author, artist and provocateur John Waters. It was in advance of a June 24 appearance he made in Regina as part of Camp, Trash, Filth organized by Queer City Cinema artistic director Gary Varro.

Waters’ contract stipulated no media while he was in town. He did agree to two pre-appearance phone interviews from his home in Baltimore. I snagged one, and wrote the above mentioned cover story, along with a second story using recycled and new material for the CARFAC SASK newsletter.

Now that both articles have been published, I thought I’d stitch together a fuller picture of my 25-minute interview with John Waters.

Could you offer a snapshot of what it was like growing up in Baltimore?

Well, the ’50s were horrible. You might know them from watching television and hearing doo-wop music and seeing cool cars, but it was a time of terrible conformity. That’s why rock ’n’ roll went crazy. That’s why Elvis Pressley was a Martian who scared the whole world. Then beatniks started, and hippies, then punks, grunge, gangstas, and now hackers. So there’s my history.   

Your family may not have understood what you were doing, you’ve said, but they were still supportive. What about life outside your home in Baltimore? Did you ever feel repressed?

I felt repressed, certainly, by people I went to school with. Most of the teachers I had too, especially in high school, would never encourage what I ended up doing for a living. I didn’t care that much, though. I wasn’t bullied because the bullies thought I was crazy, so they left me alone. And I created a lot of friends in my mind and even a character for myself. And I had a career as a puppeteer when I was 12 for children’s birthday parties. I also wrote stories that would horrify people at summer camp, and the counselors would call my parents. So that was always my comfort. Continue reading “John Waters: The Full Interview”

Sunday Matinee: Tron

35 years ago today Disney released a movie into theatres that they would consider to be another box office failure for them (in the ’80s Disney wasn’t doing too good). The movie would eventually become a cult classic and 28 years later Disney would eventually make a sequel.

Tron was the brain child of writer/director Steven Lisberger who had previously made the animated movie Animalympics. Lisberger originally wanted Tron to be a completely animated movie but released that it wasn’t possible at the time. He opted for live action with a mix of backlit animation and computer animation. Tron was not the first film to use computer animation but it was one of the first to use extensive computer animation. 15 full minutes of computer animation including the legendary light-cycle scene.
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Sunday Matinee: The 39 Steps

Hope everyone had a good Canada day! Today’s Sunday Matinee is Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant masterpiece from 1935 The 39 Steps.

The movie sets up and features several themes that Hitchcock would use through many of his movies to come. The macguffin, the wrong man falsely accussed on the run, the blonde love interest and much more.
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DA: Meow

Daily AggregationGood morning! Happy summer! Here’s a few links.

1. AND THEN THERE WERE 12? There’s going to be a provincial byelection, but are the media and government counting the NDP’s Saskatoon-Fairview chickens before they hatch?

2. GOING SLOW Regina police made virtually no progress on workplace diversity fro  2015 to 2017.

3. THE SCENE FROM CANADA’S BIGGEST PRIDE EVENT No police floats and Black Lives Matter didn’t stop the parade.

4. RECENTLY IN TRUMPLAND The U.S. Supreme Court says it will hear arguments for President Trump’s Muslim travel ban in the fall, if necessary. In the meantime, the conservative-dominated court ruled parts of the ban can stand. Read the Washington Post story here. Also, the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court ruled that taxpayer-funded playgrounds can NOT be denied to religious schools. Time for the Church Of Satan to get into the education business!

AND NOW I NEED A PET CHEETAH Where is my pet cheetah? I demand a cheetah!

Sunday Matinee: Saboteur

It may be one of the lesser Alfred Hitchcocks but it’s still pretty entertaining and it manages to turn 75 years old this year, today’s Sunday Matinee is 1942’s Saboteur.

Hitchcock was under contract to David O. Selznick but Selznick wasn’t interested in the story so Universal picked up the movie and produced it. Hitchcock didn’t get the cast that he wanted but Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings and Norman Lloyd do a pretty decent job.
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REVIEW: Okja Makes a Case for Vegetarianism

Okja and Mija.

One of the most notable filmmakers currently at work in South Korea, Bong Joon-Ho has a knack to mix dissimilar genres to startling results. In The Host, Bong changed monster cinema by combining it with realistic family drama. In his first film in English, Snowpiercer, the writer/director did a remarkable job by coating a social-issues movie with stylish action set-pieces.

Okja, Bong’s first movie to open in competition at Cannes, fits nicely in his filmography and it’s likely to transcend the art-circuit that has championed the filmmaker for nearly a decade: The movie will bypass theatres to open directly on Netflix.

Okja is both a coming-of-age adventure and a fierce indictment of capitalism and mass-produced food. It’s the kind of film for which the ubiquitous “viewer’s discretion advised” was invented. Continue reading “REVIEW: Okja Makes a Case for Vegetarianism”

Apparently, Rider Nation Has Annexed The Whole Of The City

Great! The very day I’m packing for a return trip to Malta, the Leader Post drops a massive feature on the soon-to-open-for-realsies Mosaic 2.0.

It’s titled, “Building the dream: The long road to new Mosaic Stadium.” Online, that piece is connected to a slick video titled “Mosaic Stadium: The House That Rider Nation Built.”

That Rider Nation built? You don’t say.

There it is, happening right before our eyes, the creation of a civic myth. Funny thing is, like most myths, it may contain a kernel of truth but the bulk of it crumbles under scrutiny. Because, this heroic tale of Rider Nation (and the “people of influence” who lead it) building themselves a football home brick by brick with their own brawny hands only works if you leave out a bunch of numbers.

But I seriously don’t have time to get into the weeds on this on the blog right now. But! All day, as I’ve been prepping for vacation, I’ve been jotting down thoughts on Twitter (read: angrily ranting). And I’ve compiled those thoughts below…

See you a few weeks, Regina.

Sunday Matinee: Predator

Filming has just wrapped up on the latest edition of the Predator franchise, The Predator which is actually only the fourth film. The original though first hit screens 30 years ago on June 12. Today’s Sunday Matinee takes a look at the classic first movie.

Back in 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger was king of the action films. He had two big hits in theatres in 1987. The Running Man and this mix of action and sci-fi horror.
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REVIEW: Cars 3 Goes Back to Basics

Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramírez burning rubber.

Less hyped but more profitable than other Pixar productions, Cars is the most kid-friendly saga out of the Disney subsidiary. Each film is awfully similar at playing with toy cars, a joy a franchise like Transformers completely misses.

Cars 3 is a nice rebound from the overstuffed and Mater-heavy Cars 2 (Mater is best in spaced out, small doses). A good portion of the film takes place away from the big city, precisely one of the charms of the first film. As a good Pixar film, it carries a positive, timely message (being different is not an obstacle to achieve your goals), although is less high-concept than, say, Inside Out.

We reencounter Lightning McQueen (voiced with increasing ease by Owen Wilson) as his career is taking a tumble. Newer, faster cars are joining the track and McQueen is having trouble keeping up, let alone winning. The next-gen champ, the slick, patronizing Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), is too passive-aggressive to be a proper villain. McQueen is basically his own worst enemy.

Following a fierce accident, Lightning reevaluates his career and comes to the conclusion he needs to change strategy. Backed by a new owner, McQueen ends up in hands of Cruz Ramírez (Cristela Alonso), a trainer whose unusual methods don’t sit well with Lightning.

Cars 3 unfolds smoothly. It provides a hearty dose of comedy and nostalgia, while at surface level. Cruz Ramírez is probably the best character the series has introduced outside Lightning and Paul Newman’s Doc Hudson. Tentatively, Cars 3 ventures outside race circuits and folksy little towns and into a makeshift monster-trucks arena. It’s the kind of risks the franchise could take more often.

Cars 3 offers a rare twist ending for a Pixar movie, one I failed to see coming. I guess old cars can learn new tricks. Three prairie dogs.

Cars 3 opens this Friday the 16th, everywhere.

REVIEW: Not Another Drone Movie

Sean Bean and Joel David Moore dressed to kill in Drone.

Drone warfare films are a dicey proposition. They can be a snooze like Ethan Hawke’s Good Kill or riveting like Helen Mirren’s Eye in the Sky. The difference lies in the stakes: While Good Kill is a standard PTSD drama that practically forgoes the targets, Eye in the Sky forces the audience to empathize with civilian bystanders.

In the bluntly titled Drone, the unmanned aircraft is more of an excuse for a hostage thriller. The frequently deceased Sean Bean is Neil Wistin, a drone pilot with plenty of issues unrelated to dropping targeted bombs: His dad just died and he is unable to write his eulogy, his wife is getting some action on the side, and his son barely communicates (the teen rather play war videogames than hanging out with dad, a dig to war culture as subtle as a sledgehammer). Continue reading “REVIEW: Not Another Drone Movie”