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Dear Santa Claus, Go F### Yourself Tour

Uh… Go… Find Yourself? Go… Flog Yourself? Go… Frag Yourself?

It could be one of those words that’s bleeped out in the title, or something entirely different. I don’t know.

What I do know is that the people who are touring this holiday-themed show are Ricky, Julian and Bubbles of Trailer Park Boys fame. And tonight they’ll be appearing at Casino Regina. Doors are at 7:15 p.m., and tickets are $45 and $52. To give you a sense of what to possibly expect here’s the “trailer” for the group’s 2014 feature film Don’t Legalize It:

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Lisa LeBlanc

Born in New Brunswick in 1990, LeBlanc has Acadian roots and performs in French. She’s been active as an artist for a few years now, and in 2013 released her self-titled debut album which she wrote and recorded in Granby, QC and Montreal.

Tonight, LeBlanc is in town to play a show at the Artesian. The gig is being presented by the  Regina Folk Festival in partnership with Le Conseil Culturel Fransaskois and Association Canadienne-Française de Regina. Backing LeBlanc up is violinist/fiddler Veronique Poulin who is best known to local audiences  as one quarter of the Saskatoon rock band Young Benjamins.

Tickets are $20 advance and $25 at the door, and the show should get going at 8 p.m. You can find more information on the RFF website, and to give you a sense of what to expect here’s the video for LeBlanc’s song “Aujourd’hui, ma vie c’est d’la marde” off her debut album:

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In November, Youth Ballet and Contemporary Dance of Saskatchewan presented a performance called East Meets West that blended traditional Indian Kathak dance with classical ballet and contemporary dance.

“East Meets West” is a good way to describe the Cirque de Soleil production Dralion which hits town Wednesday, Dec. 10 for a five-day run. The title is a portmanteau of “dragon” (symbolizing China, and the East in general) and “lion” (which is an old British Imperial symbol, and represents the West). Cirque de Soleil debuted Dralion in 1999, and as you might expect from the title, it offers a mix of traditional Chinese and contemporary Western circus acts.

I’m no expert on Cirque de Soleil, but I did some research and discovered that Dralion was a bit of a milestone show. It was the company’s 12th touring production, and the first since 1985 not to be directed by Franco Dragone. Instead, Guy Caron helmed the project.

The set is apparently designed like a futuristic castle/temple, with huge claws that the performers can climb to reach and then hang from to perform acrobatics and other feats of derring-do. Throw in a 1500-costume wardrobe, and a fusiony musical score by French Canadian composer Violane Corradi, and Dralion promises plenty of arty circus thrills.

Dralion will be performed at Brandt Centre Dec. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 13 at 4 and 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 14 at 1:30 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $57-$160, and can be obtained from the Brandt Centre website. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s the Cirque de Soleil trailer:

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Vinyl Cafe Christmas Show

I’m not sure how long this tour has been going on, but for many Canadians it’s probably safe to say it’s become a bit of a holiday tradition. Similar to the CBC radio program, there will be a mix of stories from Stuart McLean and music — courtesy of the Winnipeg-based bilingual singing group Chic Gamine.

The Vinyl Cafe Christmas show will touch down at Conexus Arts Centre Tuesday, Dec. 9. Things should get going around 7 p.m., and tickets are $52. To give you a taste of what to expect, here’s Chic Gamine performing the song “All Night”:

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Sunday Matinee: Fantastic Voyage

fantastic_voyageMarvel’s Ant-Man just finished principle photography and in the spirit of miniaturization today’s Sunday Matinee is the 1966 classic Fantastic Voyage.

The Cold War is on and both the Soviets and the Americans have developed the ability to miniaturize stuff but for a limited time. Soviet scientist Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) has discovered a way to prolong it indefinitely. He flees to the U.S. but is almost assassinated. The attempt has left his life in peril as a blood clot is in his brain. Fortunately the U.S. has the C.M.D.F. (Combined Miniaturized Deterrent Forces) which has built a special submarine. A team is assembled (Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasence, William Redfield and Arthur Kennedy) and miniaturized. They have an hour to travel through Benes’ body, find the blood clot and remove it. After an hour they will all get big. Trouble is there seems to be a saboteur among them.
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Bands On The Run

Given that this concert is at Casino Regina, you might be tempted to to assume that the feature act is a Paul McCartney (& Wings) tribute act. But it’s actually a trio of country bands who are doing a two-night stand at the casino on Monday Dec. 8 and Tuesday Dec. 9.

The bands are the Road Hammers, Doc Walker and Blackjack Billy. Start time both nights is 8 p.m., and tickets are $45 and $52. To give you a sense of the delights that await (for country music fans anyway) here’s the video for the Road Hammers’ latest single “Mud”:

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Holiday Celebration

Each year in early December the MacKenzie Art Gallery hosts an art-themed holiday celebration complete with choirs, sleigh rides, refreshments and more. This year’s party goes Sunday, Dec. 7 at the gallery starting at 1 p.m.

The weather at this time of the year can be challenging, of course. But the nice thing about this party is if you do get chilled while participating in the outdoor activities you can always head into to the gallery to warm up. And while you’re inside you can check out all the great art that’s on display, and perhaps even do some art-making of your own in the Learning Centre.

Feature exhibitions at the gallery right now include In the Alley by Regina painter Wilf Perreault and Digital Handshake by Regina sculptor Troy Coulterman.

Again, the party gets going at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and you can find out more by visiting the MacKenzie website.

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Friday Afternoon Kitty: Catcerto

Who doesn’t like classical music? Dogs, that’s who. Cats, on the other hand, dig the orchestra. Some of them, like Nora the piano cat here, even compose symphonies. Look!

Carle found this thing on YouTube and posted it on Facebook, from which I yoinked it. Thanks Carle! You can learn more about Catcerto here.

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New Horizons

New_Horizons_-_Logo2_bigAfter being delayed a day because of gusty winds and a minor technical problem, Orion blasted into orbit this morning on its inaugural test flight. The flight is supposed to last for 4.5 hours, and if all goes well the spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific Ocean later today.

That’s not the only important space exploration event set to happen this weekend. On Saturday at around 8:30 p.m. Regina time the spacecraft New Horizons is supposed to emerge from hibernation. It was launched by NASA in 2006, and with gravity assists from Mars and Jupiter, it’s nearing the end stage of a seven-year journey to conduct a flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto at the outer edge of the solar system.

Similar to the Rosetta spacecraft that is currently studying the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, New Horizons has spent much of its journey in sleep mode to conserve energy. But with its July 2015 rendezvous with Pluto approaching, the craft is being revived so it can begin long-range study of Pluto and its companion moon Charon.

We’ll have more on the mission in the months to come. But for now, here’s a primer courtesy the Planetary Society website.

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Splendour_2_14cSaskatoon-based, Biliana Velkova has family roots in Bulgaria. Since the mid-1990s, she’s studied visual art in Vancouver, Montreal and Saskatoon. She holds a BFA from Concordia University, and in 2010 she obtained her MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. On Saturday Dec. 6, she’ll be in town to present an artist talk at the Dunlop Gallery’s Sherwood Village Branch for her exhibition Splendid.

Above is a digital print from the show, in which Velkova depicts herself as a Disney-style princess in various wilderness locations. In part, she’s riffing on idealized notions of Canadian identity tied to the land.

As far as our international brand goes, wilderness and Canada are probably regarded as inseparable. But the reality is not so simple. To begin with, we’re largely an urban society now. And the wilderness that we supposedly celebrate is increasingly regarded, by governments of a certain political stripe anyway, as nothing more than a storehouse of resources to be extracted and sold for corporate gain regardless of the impact on the environment and associated plant and animal life.

You can find out more about Splendid here (scroll down to the third item).  Velkova’s talk is at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Sherwood Village Library (6121 Rochdale Blvd) with a reception to follow. The exhibition runs until Feb. 4.

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Daily Aggregation: Spectre

daily-aggregation-21. ATTENTION RACISTS WHO WANNA KILL BLACK PEOPLE Apparently you should become a cop in the United States. Jeez, what a total mess.


3. THE OTHER BOOM More information on that Regina Beach home explosion.

4. SCOOP CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT PROCEEDS The federal government tried to stop a class action lawsuit that seeks damages for “a devastating loss of cultural identity” caused by the infamous ’60s scoop, in which government officials took First Nations kids away from their parents, cough, genocide, cough. No dice, feds — the suit’s going ahead.

5. PENSION FUND DRAMA IN QUEBEC The province legislates higher worker contributions to pensions. Guessing this isn’t going to go over so well.

6. LAUNCH DELAYED Orion stays parked.

7. SENATE CHALLENGES OFFENSIVELY AND IGNORANTLY NAMED BILL Good for the Senate. And we all realize that calling a bill the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” is spectacularly inappropriate, right? It’s xenophobic, childish and most of all unprofessional parliamentary  behaviour. It’s just propaganda for suckers. Also, where do Conservatives get off being so judgmental? They’re widely regarded as an ignorant, arrogant bunch of war-mongering, firearm-waving, dead aboriginal women-ignoring, scientifically illiterate and scientist suppressing, critic tax-auditing, reproductive rights attacking, daycare-sabotaging, veteran disrespecting, environment-trashing corporate stooges. They don’t know how to run a civilized country. These deficit-happy clowns doesn’t even know how to run an economy. No one should listen to their opinions on other cultures. The issues they’re raising are serious, nuanced and important, and governments need to address them, but these federal Conservatives flat out don’t have the expertise, empathy and frankly intelligence tackle them wisely.

They better knock it off before I write what I REALLY think.


9. MEANWHILE IN GREAT BRITAIN Conservative brainiacs want to shrink government to 1930s size. Because small governments make everyday people’s lives better, oh wait, no they don’t, not at all.

VIDEO: A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. LOOMS The next James Bond movie looks like it might be fun! Although I shouldn’t get too excited because the last one was way too misogynistic for my 21st century tastes. But still. Christoph Waltz!


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Jingle All The Way

Every year around this time the Regina Symphony Orchestra presents a family-friendly concert designed to get everyone into the holiday spirit. Jingle All The Way is the 2014 offering. It goes Saturday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at Knox Met Church.

Guest conductor for the concert is Alan Denike, and guest vocalist is Leora Joy. Together with the orchestra, she’ll be performing a selection of jazzy holiday standards like “Let It Snow” and “Winterland” arranged by the RSO’s principal violist Jonathan Ward.

Tickets are available through the RSO website. In addition to her solo work, Joy is a member of the folk duo Winsome Kind with her husband Scott Perrie. Here’s some nice summer video of the twosome performing the song “This Much Is True” to close:

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Daily Aggregation: The Scouring Of Shia

daily-aggregation-21. LET IT BURN 2014 is going to be the hottest year on record, beating out 2010 which beat out 2005 which beat out 1998. Golly gosh jeepers, seems kinda like a trend, dunnit? More here. Now look at these scary pictures.

2. DEFEND THE SCIENTISTS The union Canadian scientists belong to fights to protect scientific integrity. Good for it. Someone needs to stand up to the pro-global warming government that attacks free speech.


4. PETER MacKAY OPENS HIS MOUTH Justice minister, assault weapons advocateparenting expert and well-known mansplainer Peter MacKay says something dumb.

5. DISHONOUR THE DEAD Huh, so Veterans Affairs isn’t properly looking after Canadian soldiers’ graves. Kind of ironic since the federal government is big on the “yay soldiers” talk. Wait, that’s not irony. That’s something else. What’s the word again?

6. SOMEONE SHOT A MOUNTIE The officer is in stable condition.

7. THIS SHOOTOUT WAS A MASSACRE Are Mexican officials covering up the mass execution of unarmed gang members? Probably.

8. LIVE NUDE PSYCHOPATHS It’s not news, and this interview with the neuroscientist who discovered he was a psychopath and then wrote a book about it is a couple of months old, but I think it’s interesting. You might like it too.

9. DEAD PRESIDENTS Also not news, but I really enjoyed this feature on Thomas Jefferson’s Bible opinions.

10. GOODBYE, JEAN BELIVEAU A hockey great and Montreal Canadiens legend passes away.

WHAT. THE. HELL. This thing was published a couple of months ago but I’d never seen it until my friend John K. shared it on Facebook (thanks John!). I wouldn’t have thought something about Shia LeBeouf could be worth watching. I was wrong. This is very good.

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The Trews

In October, I did a post about a Sloan gig at the university where I noted how, unlike a lot of bands as their careers progress, Sloan had never experienced a line-up change. Instead, the same quartet had been rocking out together for 23 years.

The Trews have only been around since 1997. But like Sloan, they’ve had the same line-up since day one. That’s not the only thing the two bands have in common, either, as they both hail from Nova Scotia. In the Trews’ case, they’re from Antigonish.

Wednesday Dec. 3 the Trews are in town to play a show at Casino Regina. Doors are at 7:15 p.m., and tickets are $30 and $35. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s the first single of their latest album (a self-titled effort released in April) called “Rise In the Wake”:

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Daily Aggregation: 100 Years Of Hair

daily-aggregation-21. NEW LEANINGS Murray Mandryk says we needs some kind of health care innovation, but the current approach is a $40 million mistake.

2. OLD IS NEW AGAIN Saskatchewan brings back old license plates… for a price.

3. BEWARE ROBOT BRAINS Stephen Hawking does not trust artificial intelligenceHe didn’t like aliens, either. What a xenophobe!

4. GOD’S A NO-SHOW, AS USUAL A devoutly religious woman waited for God to resurrect her dead, decomposing, husband, but for some reason, God did nothing.Couldn’t possibly be because God does not exist, I’m sure.

5. A GUY I DISLIKED IS DOING SOMETHING GREAT Conservative MP Stephen Fletcher and supporters in the Senate are fighting for the rights of terminally ill and profoundly suffering people to die with dignity. Good for them. Back in the day, Fletcher was the head of the University of Manitoba Student Union and an enemy of the U of M newspaper, The Manitoban, where I was, I dunno, a mascot or something. Fletcher was a standard-issue ’90s Tory hack — the usual small government, cut spending, slash services, generally leave vulnerable people to fend for themselves nonsense—  and we did not like him one bit. I’m happy to see him lead this fight today and I’m glad he’s found an issue that will make people’s lives (and deaths) better.

6. CLEAN ENERGY IS BUSINESS, TOO And business is booming.

7. THIS IS WHY WOMEN DON’T COME FORWARD Here’s an absolutely nightmarish story by a woman who was abused and assaulted by Jian Ghomeshi, and hung out to dry by CBC and her union. I mean:

My old union issued a memo along similar lines, saying that no union staff members had heard of any complaints of sexual harassment. I emailed Bruce May, a staff representative at the CMG, and told him the memo was wrong, because I’d spoken to Neesam. May replied that technically the memo was correct, because Neesam was an “elected representative” and not a union “staff member”. He asked if that “clarified” things for me, and I said that it did: it clarified that the union was carefully parsing its words to leave casual readers with the impression that I was lying and they had done the right thing.

Really? Fucking appalling.

8. PRIVATIZING BOOZE MEANS GOVERNMENTS HAVE LESS MONEY TO SPEND ON STUFF WE NEEDS There’s a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

100 YEARS OF HAIR/MAKE-UP TRENDS The ’40s and ’80s are both super sketchy.

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Charlotte’s Web

To help get everyone in the holiday spirit, Regina Little Theatre is presenting the stage version of E.B. White’s beloved 1952 children’s story set on a bucolic farm. The lead characters are a spider named Charlotte, and a pig named Wilbur. There’s a few other animals in the cast, along with some human characters, and the themes of loyalty and friendship are prominent throughout.

Charlotte’s Web will run from Wednesday, Dec. 3 to Saturday Dec. 6 at the Regina Performing Arts Centre. There’s performances each night at 7:30 p.m., along with a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are Adults $20, Students & Seniors $18, with children 12 and under admitted to the matinée only for $10. More information can be found on the RLT website.

To close, here’s the trailer for a live action movie version of the story:

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Daily Aggregation: Aaaarrrrrrrrrgh

daily-aggregation-2ANNOYED EDITOR’S NOTE: I spent three hours putzing around with today’s Daily Aggregation — what can I say, I was on a roll! — so naturally, as soon as I finished it, the Internet devoured it. The file, which should’ve been autosaved countless times, is inexplicably gone. It’s not in “drafts”, it’s not in “scheduled”; it’s not even in the trash. It’s dead, vanished, kaput. It’s not pining for the fjords, it’s pushing up daisies. It is an ex-blog post.

I say, “Pfft! Whatever.” You can’t crush my spirit, Internet. I’ll just write it again!

1. A LESS KILLY CANADA The country’s murder rate drops to its lowest level since 1966. Hooray! The highest murder rates in this less homicidal country? You’ll find ‘em in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Hey, I wonder what Canadian city has the highest murder rate… oh, dear.

2. THEN AGAIN, WE ARE KILLING THE ENVIRONMENT… Canada remains brutality out-of-step with most of the rest of the planet on climate change, the most important issue facing humanity which the do-nothing governments of Chretien and Martin ignored and which the  Harper government has treated with ignorance, contempt and malice. Maybe these guys should be tried for ecocide.


4. NOPE, CAN’T LET THAT ONE GO Seriously, we live in a country where one out of five children live in poverty, where a crisis of missing and murdered aboriginal women is ignored , where trashing the environment isn’t a political deal-breaker  and now our courts are saying “fuck the homeless”, too? Even though it wouldn’t be too hard to help? Ya know, Canadians seem like good people but we sure elect bastards.

5. STILL NOT OVER IT I mean, Alberta’s been wealthier in the past quarter century than it’s ever been or will be, probably. And the child poverty rates are the same? One might suggest that Conservatives just do not give a shit.

6. NOT FANS OF FANTINO Speaking of awful Conservatives, the NDP and Liberals want Veterans Affairs minister Julian Fantino to resign for totally sucking. I remember when this guy was the race-baiting, activist-hating Toronto police chief. He’s sure done well for someone who’s made Canada worse.

7. HERE COMES CLINTON Hillary heads to Saskatoon.

8. DON’T DISS THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTERS Some Republican jerk resigns. Good.



11. RACISTS ARE LOOSE IN THE GALAXY Apparently black stormtroopers are controversial in some quarters. Huh. 




15. OH. HOW ABOUT CYBER MONDAY? Um, well, I can get behind this and especially this.

CAN WE WRAP THIS UP WITH A DISTURBING VIDEO CRITICIZING RAMPANT, DISGUSTING AMERICAN-STYLE CONSUMERISM? We sure can! This delightful confection is called Ham, and you can read an interview with its director, Eric Wareheim, here. A quote:

I was visiting my relatives in St. Louis and we were going to a Wal-Mart to stock up on ammunition because my uncle was going to take us shooting at the range. And at the Wal-Mart there were about six or seven enormously obese people on Rascal scooters all trying to get in the front door at the same time. It was like a logjam. Then I walked in and noticed more of these Rascal scooters were going up to McDonald’s, which was inside Wal-Mart, and they would get their Big Macs and sodas and they would shop with the food, so they would be taking clothes and putting them on their bodies for sizing and they’d be all stained with ketchup and meat grease. It was just unbelievable. And then we went to the ammunition section and it’s literally right next to the toy section, which I couldn’t believe. So this whole idea of how our society is going toward fast food, obesity, and all the gun violence that’s been going on for the past couple years—it hit me really hard and I wanted to make something kind of showing the future of America, or actually present day America.

Eww! And here’s the video. Have a LOVELY evening!

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Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield AfricaTwo years ago at around this time Chris Hadfield was in Russia preparing to blast off into space on a Soyuz rocket to assume command of the International Space Station. He was the first Canadian to ever hold that post, and during his five month stay at the station he skilfully used social media, plus some okay musical chops, to captivate Canadians and other followers of the ISS program world-wide with his wit, charm and ability to convey the grandeur of space.

On Wednesday, Dec. 3 Hadfield will be in Regina to do a presentation of sorts where he will discuss his pre-astronaut early years growing up in Sarnia, his student years studying engineering and becoming a test pilot, along with his later adventures in space. In October, you might recall, I did an interview with CBC science journalist Bob McDonald about a book he published called Canadian Spacewalkers where he interviewed the three Canadian astronauts who have done space walks. Hadfield was one of those astronauts, along with Steve McLean and Dave Williams.

The audio-visual presentation will be held at Conexus Arts Centre beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $42-$112, and more info can be found by visiting the CAC website.

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Weekly Reckoning: Dimensions of News Edition

weekly-reckoningNews. What is it? How much is it? Can you pack five or more newses into a backpack? What’s the density of news on the surface of Saturn? These are questions that only a careful application of science can answer. Luckily, I’m a scientist. A scientist of news.

1. THE NEWS IS AT LEAST 500 DISGUSTINGS PER CUBIC CENTIMETRE As if we haven’t had enough of the nonsense surrounding the non-indictment of Darren Wilson (who has unsurprisingly resigned), it turns out that forensics expert Shawn Parcells, who performed a private forensics report on Michael Brown’s body, is a fraud. Apparently he picked up his forensic pathology skills “on the job”.

2. THE NEWS IS TWO GLOVES FROM SAFETY Brandon McKean, a black man in Michigan, was stopped by a police officer because he was walking with his hands in his pockets. If only he’d been wearing gloves, then that officer would have to be racist elsewhere.

3. THE NEWS IS COMFORTABLE AND RESTING WITH MINIMAL SPEECH AND LIMITED MOBILITY Mr. Hockey, aka Gordie Howe, is currently recovering from two strokes, according to his son Mark Howe.

4. THE NEWS IS AT LEAST ONE DEFIBRILLATOR OUTSIDE THE LAW Ottawa police constable Jason Mallett has been arrested for criminal harassment, improper storage of a handgun and theft of a city-owned defibrillator. Who looks at a defibrillator and thinks “I’m going to need that”? I’m also curious about improper storage of a handgun. Did he leave it in his Budweiser mini-fridge? Balance it on his hat? Tape it to his partner’s back? The news is hungry for knowledge.

5. THE NEWS HAS A FLAVOUR Beak’s Chicken, those purveyors of the greatest fried chicken in Regina, have launched a Kickstarter to fund their transition from food truck to a good old-fashioned year-round restaurant. Say, doesn’t that sound like a tasty idea? If you want fried chicken in deepest winter, maybe this is a project worth your pledge? Hmmm?

Lastly, here’s The Force Awakens teaser trailer, as imagined by George Lucas. Abrams almost messed the franchise up big time, but thankfully someone has the guts to present Lucas’ true vision.

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Sunday Matinee: Edge Of Tomorrow

Edge of TomorrowNot every big budget movie becomes a massive hit. Nowadays it seems that if a studio throws enough money in advertising, makes a cool trailer, they usually make a few bucks on the opening weekend. If the buzz for the film is positive there’s a chance that the film will do even better but for a movie like this year’s Edge of Tomorrow it just kind slipped through the cracks.

The movie debuted in the 3rd place in June and only made $100 million at the box office despite it’s $178 million budget. Fortunately the film has grossed $370 million worldwide so it’s not a total loss for Warner. On the review front it received quite a few positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% fresh rating, on Metacritic it has a 71 out of 100 rating and on IMDb it’s currently rated 8.0 out of 10 with 222,925 votes. Having just watched it I can say it’s pretty damn good. So how did Warner Bros., who spent $100 million in advertising, drop the ball?
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