Carle Likes Scott Pilgrim!

Finally saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World tonight, with Dechene and Steel. Swell movie. Not really like anything I’ve seen, and lots of fun. In fact I predict it will be a classic — people will be watching it in 10 years the same way they watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Napoleon Dynamite now. Here’s what you need to know about this neat movie. Continue reading “Carle Likes Scott Pilgrim!”

We’ve Gotta Get A Mainstream Movie Theatre Back Downtown

Here is my problem. I want to go see Scott Pilgrim Verses The World tonight. But it’s only playing at the Galaxy. Which is basically located in Saskatoon. So, I’m not going unless I can bum a ride or cave and take a cab for $20 (I live in the centre of Regina, just south of downtown).

Sigh. If only we had mainstream downtown theatres. Like, you know, the Capitol (demolished 1992), the Coronet (demolished 2005) or the Cornwall Cinemas (now a lame mall-basement discount department store, an anemic reminder of the excellent discount department store that was Army and Navy. Which oh yeah was demolished).

Note: no lectures about how I can see This Movie Is Broken at the RPL, please. I’m not a big Broken Social Scene fan. Nothing personal. Besides I wanna see Scott Pilgrim because that’s how this nerd rolls

Pick of the Day: This Movie is Broken

Some pretty major Canadian talent is on display in this movie, which screens tonight at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m., along with Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. To begin with, Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar are the director/writer. And featured is the Toronto rock collective Broken Social Scene.

Here’s a link to the trailer for the film, which sees a guy named Bruno pull out all the stops to get a girl he’s sweet on named Caroline to an outdoor BSS concert in order to cement his connection with her on the eve of her departure for France to go to school.

Also on tonight, there’s gigs by the Nancy Ray Guns (a CD Release) with Intergalactic Virgin and Coelacanth Dance at the Exchange (doors at 8 p.m. $8). Next door at the Club, it’s Tara Dawn Solheim with Danny Nargang, Rye ‘n’ the Vats and the Co-Accused. At O’Hanlon’s Pub, there’s an EP release for Jeans Boots with a set by Carl of Library Voices. Finally, at Cathedral Village Freehouse Winnipeg singer-songwriter Jodi King is playing.

Carle Hits The Big Time!

Carle Steel’s name is misspelled on imdb.com. Carle’s in the movie I Heart Regina.

Was just checking out the listing for the film I Heart Regina on the Internet Movie Database and was amused to see Carle Steel’s name in the credits.

Or, as IMDB misspells her name, Carle “Steele”. Hahahahahaha!

(I’m just jealous. I want an IMDB listing!)

I Heart Regina

Dates have apparently been booked for this feature-length film to receive its world premiere. And it won’t be in Regina. Instead, it will screen at the Montreal World Film Festival at the Quartier Latin Cinema Complex (350 rue Emory) Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 31 at 12:30 p.m. and Sept. 1 at 3 p.m.

In the spirit of films like Paris, je t’aime and New York, I Love You, I Heart Regina, which was executive produced by Vanda Schmockel and Mark Wihak, features contributions from 14 different directors. “While Paris and New York have been visited by millions of tourists and have been the setting for hundreds of films, Regina has been in the realm of the uncharted, the unknown, and dare we say … the unfathomable.”

So reads a publicity blurb on the film. With its riff in the title on the boosterish slogan embraced so enthusiastically in recent years by Regina movers and shakers under the leadership of Mayor Pat Fiacco, the film is definitely not a love letter to Regina. But neither is it necessarily an outright slag of the city. Love, hate, anger, attraction, those are some of the emotions that the directors explore in their segments — which makes sense, because while Regina does have many things to recommend it, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.  

We wouldn’t exist as a magazine, in our current form anyway, if that wasn’t true. Because that’s really what we’re all about at prairie dog. We advocate for things that we think will make Regina better, and resist those things that we feel make Regina a less pleasant place to live.  

Following its Montreal premiere, plans call for I Heart Regina to screen at the Regina Film Theatre Oct. 21-24. So expect to read more on this film in the weeks to come.

Pick of the Day: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

I caught the biopic Coco Before Chanel at the RPL last winter. It starred Audrey Tautou in the title role of the famous French designer, and traced her life from time spent in a nunnery as a young girl to the first successful show she had as a designer of haute couture.

This movie functions as a sequel of sorts. Anna Mouglalis stars this time as Chanel. Newly wealthy, she makes the aquaintence of exiled Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelson). Forced from his homeland by the Russian Revolution, Stavinksy lives penniless in Paris following the scandal of his 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring. Chanel subsequently invites Stravinsky, his ill wife and their four children to live with her in her villa.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky screens tonight at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9:15 p.m. Here’s the trailer.

Also playing tonight at the RPL at 7 p.m. is the Spanish film Agora. Set in 4th century A.D., it’s directed by Alejandro Amenabar and details the life of the celebrated astronomer and mathematician Hypatia. Living in Alexandria in the waning days of the Roman Empire, she is witness to a rising tide of Christian fundamentalism that ultimately results in the destruction of Alexandria’s famous library which was then revered as the repository “of all the knowledge in the world.”

Once that happened, of course, it was all down hill, and the Western world was plunged in the millenia-long Dark Ages where science and rational thought were supplanted by religious fervour and mindless superstition. Here’s the trailer.

Director Talks Pilgrim

Image via torontoist.comEdgar Wright, director of amazing comedies such as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, did an interview with the Onion A.V. Club where he goes into great detail about Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, the feature film coming out this weekend.

A point of interest is when Wright compares the film to musicals, as he’s done in passing before:

That’s where the idea of making allusions to musicals came in, and playing the fights like production numbers in a MGM musical, where Gene Kelly does a big dance number, and then you’re right back into the story, and nobody comments on the amazing virtuoso tap number they’ve just seen. That was the idea about making the fight scenes dream-like and big production numbers, and also through the ensemble and peanut gallery, show that everybody else had their own preoccupations that stopped them from doing what any real person would do during these fights: “What the fuck was that? He just had this fight, and was flying through the air!”

The series of books by Bryan Lee O’Malley had a strong fan base before the film’s release became imminent, but the movie will surely send casual movie fans to the source material in droves.

If you’ve been on the fence about the books, I’d suggest you check out this post on the Millions, briefly sums up why they’re worth checking out.

Pick of the Day: Harry Brown

This is the British equivalent of the 2008 American film Gran Torino which starred Clint Eastwood as a crusty Korean War vet who gets caught in the crossfire of growing gang violence in his working class Michigan neighbourhood.

Like Eastwood, the character Michael Caine plays in this movie is a retired war veteran and widower. When his best friend Leonard is murdered by local thugs Harry goes on a quest for justice (and vengence) which puts him in conflict with the police.

Harry Brown plays tonight at the RPL at 9 p.m. Here’s the trailer.

And if you’re in the mood for a doublebill, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet latest, called Micmacs, is screening at 7 p.m. It’s an imaginitive tale about a group of Parisian outcasts who band together to fight injustice with a MacGyver-like array of weapons. Here’s the trailer.

Pick of the Day: RPL Films

Got a trio of dandy music-themed films at the RPL Theatre this weekend. Tonight at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 9 p.m. Neil Young: The Trunk Show is playing. It’s directed by Jonathan Demme. As a filmmaker, Demme is best-known for the classic 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs. But he also has a previous concert film on Neil Young to his credit (2006’s Heart of Gold) and in 1984 he directed Stop Making Sense which featured the Talking Heads. Here’s the Trunk Show trailer.

Screening tonight at 9 p.m. and tomorrow at 7 p.m. is Patti Smith: Dream of Life. This 2008 documentary is directed by Steven Sebring, and explores the life and work of Smith who emerged in the early ’70s as one of the leading figures of the American punk scene and has since gone on to make her mark as a singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist. Here’s the trailer.

Finally, July 31 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 1 at 9 p.m. there’s the acclaimed 2009 documentary by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman Soundtrack for a Revolution which examines the role of music in the American Civil Rights Movement. Featured are performances and interviews with artists like Wyclef Jean, The Roots and John Legend. Here’s the trailer.

As far as live music goes, the Polymaths are playing at O’Hanlon’s Pub tonight. Backing them up is the new Regina group LoveAct.

Pick of the Day: Exit Through the Gift Shop

In contrast to tagging, which is more or less the equivalent of a dog marking its territory by lifting its leg and peeing, graffiti has a long and noble history in Western society (dating back to the time of ancient Greece and Rome) and can be a highly effective way subverting dominant political/economic ideology and giving voice to marginalized viewpoints.

The key, of course, is for the artist to pick their target wisely and create thought-provoking imagery and/or text that will inspire those who view it to think more deeply about the issue that’s in play. If the artist does that then, in my mind, the graffiti they produce shouldn’t be condemned outright but rather should be regarded as an outlet for promoting freedom of expression.

At the outset of this British documentary, French videographer Thierry Guetta is intent on profiling the work of well-known graf artists like American Shepard Fairey (DogBlog) and the anonymous Brit known as Banksy. But as the film progresses, Guetta comes under Banksy’s wing, and morphs into a street artist himself named Mr. Brainwash.

Exit Through the Gift Shop plays at the RPL Theatre tonight at 9 p.m. Here’s the trailer.

“The Last Airbender” is THAT bad

Because of the brilliancy of a couple of his films (“The Sixth Sense”, “Unbreakable”), I’ve always been willing to give M. Night Shyamalan the benefit of the doubt.

That ends now.

“The Last Airbender” is about as bad as other Summer fiascos such as “Jonah Hex”, “SATC2” and “Grown Ups”, only considerably more expensive (it reportedly cost over 250 million dollars.) “Airbender” crams a full season of the TV show that inspired the movie in two hours by having the actors spitting chunks of the plot in between action set pieces. This is done with such little concern for the plot denuenment, “Airbender” frequently doesn’t make any sense, and you don’t see Shyamalan losing any sleep on it.

Even by conceding that audiences are not looking for stories, but special effects, “Airbender” comes short. Don’t bother wasting three extra dollars for barely-there 3-D. Because of the extra layer between you and the screen, you’ll perceive the movie as extra dark, for no good reason.

Perhaps the most obscene aspect of “The Last Airbender” is the shameless set up for a sequel. Will it happen? Actually, there is a chance, as Shyamalan latest has made over 32 million dollars since opening day. Can film critics compete against the hype? Because  of dishonest movies like “Airbender”, it’s worth the try.

Concert Review: Star Wars In Concert Brandt Centre June 30

“So, do you want to get your picture taken with Darth Vader?” Yes, I know. I’m a horrible Dad.

For there are a whole lot of other things to have your son photographed with in the Brandt Centre’s main concourse … there’s the models of Yoda, Chewbacca, C-3P0, some of the light sabers, costumes of the generals and warriors … enough stuff to keep a Star Wars fan in awe until the lights go down at 7:05 for Star Wars In Concert.

The event features a 60-some piece orchestra and choir playing selections from the three Star Wars movies and three other ones (The Phantom Menace, The Attack of the Clones and The Revenge of the Sith) for which I needed years of therapy to erase from my mind. John Williams scored the soundtracks for all six, so they’re good, if not totally recognizable (the music from the other three movies.).

My date for the night was my six-year-old son, Eric, who had never been to a concert before — well, he had gone to the Regina Folk Festival a couple of times, and he was pretty impressed with the spectacle, as was a good portion of Regina — I’d say they sold about 5.500 tickets — not a sellout, but a bit better than three quarters full. There were a few dressed as their favourite characters — though nobody seems to choose mine, the food server at the Death Star canteen …

courtesy the genius of Eddie Izzard

On one hand, it’s another way for George Lucas to earn a few more paydays from the Star Wars franchise. And as paydays go, it stands to be a lucrative one. There’s enough people with enough fondness for their past — and Star Wars, an integral part of their past — that people such as Anthony Daniels (the evening’s narrator and who played C-3PO in all six movies) can make a comfortable living. While re-editing the movies to provide a common narrative for the songs may be a bit confusing, in the end, it seems to be something well thought out.

About the only sour note for me happened during the encore. The orchestra played the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back, and the massive video camera caught several members of the horn section wearing Saskatchewan Roughrider ball caps. Big cheers erupted from the audience when they say that — a totally Pavlovian response, to be sure, but I was a little alarmed. When did Rider fans accept, and even embrace that they were embodiments of evil?

Pick of the Day: The Trotsky

Didn’t get a rave review from Jorge in our June 17 issue, but the premise behind the film is certainly interesting. It’s about a relatively privileged young Westmount man (Jay Baruchel) who decides he’s the reincarnation of famed Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

The ice pick reference at the end of Jorge’s review, by the way, refers to how Trotsky was assassinated by a Stalinist agent while living in exile in Mexico in 1940.  The Trotsky plays tonight and Saturday night at the RPL Theatre at 9:15 p.m., and Friday and Sunday night at 7 p.m. Here’s the trailer. (YouTube)

And if you’re in the mood for a double-bill, Roman Polanski’s latest film The Ghostwriter is at the RPL tonight and Saturday night at 7 p.m., and Friday and Sunday night at 9 p.m. It’s about a writer who becomes involved in political intrigue when he signs on to ghost-write the biography of a retired British PM played by Pierce Brosnan. Here’s the trailer. (YouTube)

Musicwise, the Bull North are playing a free show on the Scarth Street Mall at noon. Tonight at O’Hanlon’s Pub, Calgary indie-pop band Jane Vain headline a gig that also features the Valleys. At the Exchange/Club, there’s a gig by a band called Caught Off Guard.

Pick of the Day: Reel Injun

Hitting the streets in a few hours will be our June 17 issue. It should be up on the website shortly as well. Once it is, I’ll post a link to the story I did on this documentary that screens tonight and Saturday night at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m., and Friday and Sunday night at 9 p.m.

It’s directed by Neil Diamond. No, not that Neil Diamond. This Neil Diamond is a Cree filmmaker who grew up in northern Quebec. Chockful of clips from old Westerns dating back to the early days of Hollywood, Reel Injun explores with wit and an appropriate level of dismay Hollywood’s pathetic track record when it comes to representing Aboriginal people in films. Here’s a link to the article I wrote. And here’s the trailer. (YouTube)

Also on tonight is a townhall meeting at Wesley United Church (3913 Hillsdale) on the topic Climate Change & the G20: Not Business As Usual which will feature speakers with first-hand knowledge of how climate shifts are harming developing countries around the world.

Musicwise, Montreal indie post-punk band Nightwood at O’Hanlon’s Pub. David J. Taylor is at Rock Creek out in east Regina, and country legend Ray Price is at Casino Regina. To get the juices flowing for the first gig here’s the video for Nightwood’s song “The Bikerider” (YouTube)

Pick of the Day: The Secret in Their Eyes

In contrast to his review of the new Sex in the City flick, upon which he bestowed zero out of five dogs, our intrepid film reviewer Jorge Castillo quite liked this movie which plays at the RPL Theatre tonight at 9 .m. (and Saturday/Sunday at 7 and  9 p.m.).

Here’s a link to his review in our June 3 issue (scroll down to read). And here’s the trailer (YouTube)

If you’re in the mood for a double-bill, the Canadian comedy Control.Alt.Delete is screening tonight at 7 p.m., and Saturday/Sunday at 9:15 and 7 p.m. Here’s the trailer

Pick of the Day: 48 Hour Film Frenzy

In the last couple of days you may have seen small bands of people roaming around downtown Regina with cameras, boom mics and other film-type equipment.  Yes, as far as moderate to big-budget Hollywood productions go, Saskatchewan’s film industry, which as late as 2008 was generating upwards of $70 million in annual revenue, is in the tank. But that doesn’t mean no one in the province is making movies.

Each year, the Saskatchewan Filmpool invites teams of local filmmakers to compete in the creation of short 16 mm films. The catch being that the teams only have 48 hours to script, shoot and edit their mini-masterpieces. Tonight, the fruits of their abbreviated labours are being screened at the Filmpool (301-1822 Scarth St.) beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, and a panel of judges will assess the entries and award one lucky team the covetted Filmpool Cup.

Should be fun.