Pick of the Day: Genius Within

At the RPL Theatre this weekend there’s been a bit of a Glenn Gould Film Festival screening. In addition to this documentary by Peter Raymont and Michele Hozer, which is subtitled The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, Francois Girard’s classic 1993 feature 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould has also been playing.

Born in 1932, Gould was a child prodigy who could play and read music before he was four. Taught exclusively by his mother until he was ten, he became one of the most acclaimed concert pianists of his era. Bach’s Goldberg Variations was a favourite of his, I believe, and at the height of his popularity in the 1950s and ‘60s he was a true national icon.

Gould was also pretty eccentric. Eighteen years before his death in 1982 at age 50, he quit the concert stage and never again performed in public. He was also a huge hypochondriac. But he was also a genius. And our society sometimes doesn’t look very kindly on people like that.

For further insight, check out one or both of these flicks. Genius Within screens at 7 p.m., 32 Short Films at 9 p.m. And to set the stage, here’s video of Gould performing sections of the Goldberg Variations on TV in the early ‘60s. (YouTube)

This afternoon, there’s also a free family-friendly performance by Maritime musician and storyteller David Stone at the Royal Sask Museum between 2-4 p.m. The gig is being presented by Regina’s Spring Free From Racism Committee. And tonight at the Exchange Camaromance (a.k.a. Martine Groulx) is playing as part of a national tour in support of her third album The Parade. Here’s the video for her 2008 song “Mostly Harmless” (YouTube)

Review: Alice in Wonderland

Hella underwhelmingJust read through the prairie dog‘s review of Alice in Wonderland, and I can agree on this much: this movie falls flat.

Burton seems to have just given up on making a film that’s even entertaining. When Alice is amusing, he fouls it up and destroys any semblance of tone he’s build. (SPOILER EXAMPLE: There’s a breakdance routine.)

The movie is frustratingly inconsistent in how it imagines Wonderland visually and as a place. The contradiction of a too-concrete world divorced from reality would be impressive if it didn’t drive me fucking nuts.

Burton normally succeeds visually – just think of the wonderfully-shot black and white Ed Wood or the contrasting broken-down mansion and suburban ideal in Edward Scissorhands. The visuals in Alice show the same indecision that damn the rest of the of this movie. He can’t decide whether to make the film a more realistic Alice in Wonderland or a complete flight of fancy.

Plus, they run a song sung by Avril Lavigne about Alice over the credits. C’mon – that’s just adding insult to injury.