month : 06/2015 29 results

Director trades quick-draws for Slow West

First-time feature director John Maclean takes on western archetype and the core ideals of the American ethos in Slow West, his Sundance-winning feature starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee By Katherine Monk It's a genre marked by star-shaped badges and John Wayne’s lanky swagger, an optimistic ode to masculine heroes and horses. Yet, for all the fanatical affection lathered on westerns as a fundamental part of the American identity, historically speaking, most westerns are horse manure. It’s a point John Maclean isn’t all that eager to assert right off the top, given he’s a Scotsman and his debut feature, Slow West, takes the viewer straight back to the open prairie and the romantic vistas revealed in early John Ford movies. “Being Scottish, and tackling such a sacred American genre certainly crossed my mind the first time I watched it with an audience in the U.S.,” says Maclean, shortly after the film’s world premiere at the Sundance film festival, ...

Movie review: Slow West throws an axe at western genre

John Maclean's feature debut offers a crisp, revisionist take on the romantic notion of the Old West thanks to the oddball chemistry between leads Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee, writes Katherine Monk

Movie review: Max bites emotional jugular

Though littered with sentiment and family movie hokum, this story of a military dog suffering from post-traumatic stress finds the essence of true friendship, prompting uncontrolled saline leaks from the eyeball, writes Katherine Monk     -30-

Movie review: Ted 2 is an exhausting series of comic misfires

Sequel to the movie about a crude, dope-smoking teddy bear just a wearying retread of the 2012 hit, writes Jay Stone

Journalists aren’t the trouble with journalism…

But their bosses aren't doing much to help the profession's credibility in the face of increasingly desperate financial woes By Charley Gordon There is a sudden push on to convince the public that journalism is a good thing. You can understand why. It has to do with journalists who become senators. It has to do with CBC hosts and art dealers. Some media organizations, including both union and management, have started an advertising campaign called JournalismIs to help the Canadian public become aware of how important journalism is. Full-page ads, featuring the enlarged half-tone faces of prominent journalists have been showing up in newspapers, with cautionary messages. “With a few keystrokes you can sample thousands of opinions, afloat in a sea of information,” says one. “But as the volume increases, the accuracy and reliability of professional journalism is essential. Gathering and sorting the facts, weighing and interpreting events, and following the story from ...

Lest we forget the labour that birthed a province

Official school curriculum ignores the blood-stained history of organized labour, so Rod Mickleburgh offers a refresher on two violent events that unfolded on the waterfront By Rod Mickleburgh VANCOUVER - There were some grim remembrances last week for those dwindling few of us who consider the past travails of unions and workers worth preserving as part of our collective heritage. Their struggles and tragedies are as dramatic as history gets. Yet they claim very little place in what students are taught about the province’s history. We are getting better at changing history from just what dead white guys did long ago, even if I sometimes fear we de-emphasize these events a little too much in our schools. They did shape this country, and we should know about them. While John A. Macdonald, for instance, did some bad things (Louis Riel, treatment of First Nations, etc.), without his vision, strength of character and political acumen, parts of Canada might long ago have been ...

Home releases: What’s streaming your way in June

Kevin Costner cocks the starter pistol, Liam Neeson runs all night, John Travolta fakes it, Colin Firth pops his brolly and Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart Get Hard -- but it's Red Army's Fetisov who scores on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD, writes Katherine Monk By Katherine Monk McFarland (2015) 3.5/5 Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Morgan Saylor. Directed by Niki Caro. Running time:  129 minutes. Parental Guidance. In sports movies, cliché comes on the side – like coleslaw. You don’t ask for it, and you may not even like it, but there it is: a little white paper cup filled with shredded cabbage, a silent affirmation that you got what you paid for. The coleslaw in McFarland is the idea of the underdog competitor, in this case, a group of Latino high school students in southern California. Jim White (Kevin Costner) used to coach football at a school for privileged white kids, but after he loses his temper, he’s fired ...

Snow White and the seven emotions

Inside Out is the story of an 11-year-old girl's emotions. But almost 80 years ago, Disney had another movie that looked at feelings in a similar way     By Jay Stone   The near universal praise for the Pixar film Inside Out (98 per cent and counting on Rotten Tomatoes, and the demurrals seem pro forma) are partly due to the very audacity of the idea. This is an animated film about the emotions of an 11-year-old girl named Riley: how Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness work together — or sometimes at odds — to form a human personality in flux.   It arrives as a Disney film without a villain and without a princess (although, parenthetically, even the most mundane marketing department — and Disney’s is far from that — should find many opportunities for toys, dolls and other associated merchandise. One fully expects to see hordes of little Angers and Joys trooping to the house next Halloween.)   However, that’s the least of ...

Movie review: Being Canadian a trip of cliches

Documentary that examines myths about Canada ends up creating as many stereotypes as it tries to explode, writes Jay Stone

Pop Culture Decoder: Top 10 Excuses to See Magic Mike XXL

Misty Harris finds socially acceptable reasons to see summer’s bulging tentpole By Misty Harris With the Magic Mike XXL debut just around the corner, haters are dialling up the discontent to a full Nancy Grace. Their main critique is that while the Soderbergh-directed original was dark and provocative, the sequel appears to be little more than a big-budget manspoitation film.   Incidentally, this is the precise reason I’ve already purchased tickets. The tentpole is real, people, and it looks spectacular.   On that note, today’s Decoder lays bare the Top 10 socially acceptable excuses to #ComeAgain for Magic Mike. Haters, consider yourselves warned.   1. Supporting the arts: This time around, the dance portion of the movie looks to be as enhanced as Joe ‘Big Dick Richie’ Manganiello (if you haven’t seen the trailer, it’s as if Step Up and Flashdance had a baby and named it Ab Flex). Getting your culture on has never looked ...