by Shane “What The Hell” Hnetka
I knew it was only a matter of time before Wes Anderson’s quirky indie film The Grand Budapest Hotel would make it to Regina, but I figured it would probably only play on small screens at Studio 7 or the RPL. Imagine my surprise a few weeks back when The Grand Budapest Hotel opened at the Galaxy. Naturally, my friends and I rushed to catch a Sunday matinee. Who knew how quickly some corporate automaton would replace this extremely well-reviewed movie with a Smurf sequel or found-footage horror flick?
I gave it a week, tops.
The theatre wasn’t packed but there was still a healthy number of people there, more than I expected. The trailers that played before the movie — including an amusing-looking Jude Law redemption comedy called Dom Hemingway — were all for small, independent films.
As for The Grand Budapest Hotel itself? Fantastic. And not the kind of movie we usually get to see at first-run theatres.
My friend Mark summed it up.
“What the hell?” said Mark. “I just saw an excellent movie that normally wouldn’t come anywhere near the Galaxy, and a bunch of trailers with no explosions. Some of those movies might be good.
“Something has changed,” added Mark. “It feels like cinema has returned.”
Poor Mark. So naive, so innocent. It would be great if something had changed — if films like The Grand Budapest Hotel regularly played at theatres like the Galaxy.
It would be nice. But it’s unlikely.
Two Steps Forward, Four Steps Back
Despite mixed-to-terrible reviews, I want to see Jackie Chan’s CZ12 (a.k.a. Armour of God 3, a.k.a. Chinese Zodiac). Chan co-wrote, directed and starred in what’s supposedly his last action film.
I had heard a rumour last year that distributor Well Go USA had the rights, and I decided I’d wait for its release instead of importing the Blu-ray from Hong Kong. Well Go has been releasing Asian movies for a while and they do a pretty good job. Original language with subtitles, uncut versions: it’s what I want and expect (but often don’t get) from companies releasing foreign films on DVD/Blu-ray.
Imagine my horror when I discovered that Well Go does NOT have the rights to CZ12. Instead, good old American Universal Studios bought the North American rights and, naturally, decided the best way to appeal to the limited Hong Kong action movie aficionado demographic is to cut the film by 20 minutes and dub it into English.
To add insult to injury, the original Hong Kong Blu-ray is currently out of print.
What the hell.
Shane Hnetka is a Regina film and comic book nerd. He writes Dog Blog’s “Sunday Matinee” column every weekend at prairiedogmag.com.