February 29, 2004

waiting with anticipation

This week I seem to have been focused on relatively recent movies like Runaway Jury and Under the Tuscan Sun. Your basic Hollywood material. (Both enjoyable, both good, neither great.) The latter, Tuscan Sun, is as bright and sunny, story and look, as the DVD cover to the right suggests.

But I'm looking forward to next week ... If I'm lucky, sometime mid-week Amazon.ca will have shipped my first order for 2004: In a Lonely Place (1950), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Gaslight (the original 1940 version plus the 1944 George Cukor version), The Song of Bernadette (1943) and, yet another for my Howard Hawks collection, I Was a Male War Bride (1949), with Cary Grant.

As you can see, I'll be back into the older movies very soon.

February 27, 2004

why we need Canada's new Conservative party

I don't care much for the political scene. It's either too tedious or too irritating. Frankly, I don't like any party. But there are those who do and as long as they stay away from me, I say "live and let live." But for those who really dislike the new Conservative Party (aka the Alliance, aka the Reform Party), I say, "Settle down." Where else can you find a leader who wishes a "Happy India Day" to Canada's native community?

For entertainment value alone, I say we need these guys.

February 23, 2004

if it's not news, it should be

Well, here's one of my favourite stories: All the news that's fit to fool (Thanks to Doc Searls, who thanks whoever this originally came from.)

February 22, 2004

a teasing time of year

Even as the other end of the country cleans up after the Maritimes' "weather bomb" of last week, here in Alberta we're being teased by intimations of spring.

Snow and ice are melting. The days are clear and warm and delightful (and thankfully) longer. There are even magpies outside my window building a nest. (Not a good thing as anyone familiar with magpies will attest. They make a racket 'cause they're chatty buggers.)

However ... This is Alberta. And we know (or should know) it's only a tease. Winter has a few more wallops to smack us with; this is just a set up. (Unless this a is very unusual year.)

February 21, 2004

more westerns

I like westerns and I especially like Clint Eastwood westerns, even the ones that are not considered the best.

One of those, Two Mules for Sister Sara found its way to my DVD player last week. It's not Unforgiven or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

It was directed by Don Siegel, one of the people Eastwood credits as being an influence. I don't think Two Mules has a huge budget, but that's okay. Siegel, like Eastwood, puts the emphasis on his characters and their story.

(In non sequiter fashion ... also watched a number of Coen brothers movies this week, including The Big Lebowski.)

February 15, 2004

needing an editor

It's embarrassing, you know. I keep posting things and forgetting to proof them. So I go back later and see some incredible howlers. You'll see a number of them in recent reviews like Trouble in Paradise, Intolerable Cruelty, and especially in My Fair Lady and Lost in Translation.

Some of the mistakes are typos. Some are spelling and grammar. And some are just bad and/or incomplete writing. (In one I referred to Frederick March though I meant Ronald Coleman when the correct actor was William Powell.)

Wow. I need an editor.

February 8, 2004

loving and hating musicals

I've never been big on musicals. I dunno ... they just kind of seem silly and, quite often (especially with older ones) really long.

Like My Fair Lady. Now that one is long. But ... I like it. Go figure.

I can't say the same about two of the recent musicals, Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Some of the older ones though, the Hollywood classic musicals, I do like some of those.

As you can tell by what I am writing here, filling up some space, I really don't know what the hell to say about musicals. As a general rule, they just don't register with me. I find them the hardest films to write about. (For instance, look how lame my review of West Side Story is.)

This prompts the question: why write about them at all? Must ask the management about that one.

February 7, 2004

lighten up - a Canadian fiasco

One of the things I like about Don Cherry is his ability to create a political correctness schmozzle that highlights some of the extremities of Canadian 'niceness." It makes for great comedy, sort of like Peter Sellers in The Party or Being There where the protagonist creates chaos without even being aware of it.

What did Mr. Cherry do? Between periods of a hockey game, on national television, he went on a rant about visors in hockey (something he often does) and claimed they were mainly used by Europeans and French players, whom he called "French guys," implying something not so good about Quebec and other French Canadian players.

From the reaction you would think he was the raging mouthpiece of the KKK.

Cherry is, for Canadians, a trickster character. As we blithely go about being correct about everything to an almost embarrassing degree, Mr. Cherry still refuses to censor himself and says what he thinks, whether he's right or wrong, and voicing what are often the sentiments of an older generation of Canadians (and sometimes not so old). Some equate him to a kind of right wing blatherer but I personaly don't see anything terribly political about him. He doesn't strike me as either right or left but as someone who is frustrated by politicized bureaucracy and dumb-ass policies.

He's often the voice of the knee-jerk response as opposed to the usually sanitized and treacly opinions we hear from other quarters. This doesn't mean his opinions are right. Quite often he is not. It simply means they are expressed and often represent what a number of others are feeling too, others who feel their voice is largely silenced by Canadian political propriety.

The latest mess has created some wonderfully Stepford Wives comments like, "The government will not tolerate statements that create dissonance in our society and disrespect for others, " from Jean Augustine, the Liberal government's junior minister for multiculturalism. (Now there's an Orwellian title with a fitting quote to match.)

From the leader of the federal NDP, Jack Layton, comes the comment, "I'm in shock." Really now, if you'll forgive the syllogistic flim-flam here, if you're Canadian you are surely aware of hockey and if you know hockey you must know Don Cherry and if you know Don Cherry, how the hell can you be shocked by what he says? That's his schtick, Jack. You've got to wonder how Canadian our Canadian NDP leader is if he can make a statement like that with a straight face.

Finally, from the mother corporation itself, "CBC Television categorically rejects and denounces the personal opinions Mr. Cherry expressed during the segment. Comments such as those expressed during the show cannot be repeated and will not be tolerated." That's from Harold Redekopp, executive vice-president of CBC Television. That's the voice of outraged bureaucracy. Why can't that Cherry fellow be a nice gray cipher like the rest of us?

Is it any wonder the CBC is so dreadfully dull? I use to love and champion them but there is no getting around the fact it has become largely a waste of air waves (not to mention the money). I don't mind my taxes going to a public network. I do, however, object to paying the salaries of idiots.