Archive for October, 2010


David Suzuki and the Jackasses, all geniuses.

October 17, 2010

Oct 11, Notes from the back row is a weekly column in Pique Newsmagazine in Whistler BC


brown paper packages tied up with strings.....


David Suzuki is many things– scientist, academic, TV personality, environmentalist, 74-year-old grandfather, and also quite the comedian who doesn’t mind getting old at all.

“Years ago I was driven by testosterone and the urge to get laid and pass on my DNA,” the second-generation Japanese-Canadian recently said. “Now, I can go for hours and hours without thinking about sex at all.”

Force of Nature–The David Suzuki Movie is getting a special Whistler screening this week thanks to the Reel Alternatives program. Based on Suzuki’s Legacy speech (a 5-hour manifesto on everything from climate change to human/maggot parallels to the role of love in the creation of the universe) Force of Nature is a fascinating look at the life and ideology of a true Canadian national treasure as well as his words of warning for our collective future.

BC-born director Sturla Gunnarsson edits key moments from the Legacy speech with newsreel and footage from Suzuki’s iconic CBC show The Nature of Things but the most telling segments feature Suzuki returning to key places from his past and discussing the events that molded his life as an outsider– a WWII Japanese internment camp in BC’s interior, the racist backwaters of small-town Ontario, American research facilities int eh deep south, all the way to the famous logging standoffs and nature-connect spirituality of Haida Gwaii.

Where Force of Nature succeeds is in the mixing of these interesting and emotional moments with Suzuki’s eloquent take on science, history, nature and the future. From a doomsday-clock example of bacteria in a test tube to American Astronomer Harlow Shapley’s hypothesis that every human throughout time – from Jesus to Joan of Arc to Humprey Bogart to Angelina Jolie to you and I – essentially breaths the same air, specifically the argon atoms that our bodies don’t use and re-exhale with every breath.

Force of Nature will get compared to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth but Suzuki is a more compelling figure and this film is as equal parts character, love and soul mixed with the parts about why we shouldn’t let a man-made concept like economy dictate what we do with a natural system that’s been around for billions of years. Force of Nature plays at the Village 8 on Wed, Oct 20 at 7pm. Check it out, David Suzuki is the coolest.

A few other Canadian legends finally make their way into the Village 8 this week as Fubar 2 (in which two loveable idiots, Terry and Deaner, deliver one of the year’s smartest comedies) starts Friday.

Also opening Friday, speaking of smart comedies, is Jackass 3. A lot of people think these guys are just a bunch of…ah, jackasses… but in truth they are comedic geniuses keeping alive a tradition almost as old as film itself. Knoxville, Bam, Steve-O and the boys are masters of physical comedy who come up with new material by holing up for days watching The Three Stooges, Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry and that is why their movie is gonna rule, especially in 3D (which Whistler doesn’t have.)

Red, an action comedy about retired CIA assassins starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Marie Louise Parker also opens. It’s based on a comic book by Warren Ellis, and John Malkovich also stars as a guy who ate acid every day for 12 years. Looks decent actually.

And since nothing is anything without an online component these days, check out the bacteria/test tube example, taken from David Suzuki’s speech, about how right now is probably the end of the world as we know it.


the old shit in the face gag

October 8, 2010

Notes from the Back Row is a weekly movie column printed in Whistler BC’s Pique Newsmagazine

Diane Lane is a fantastic actress but she also has great personali-tits.

It’s all about progression. What blew our parents minds seems normal to us, what we deem extraordinary, our children will think is old hat. It’s not enough for a baby/toddler to just pee all over a person like back in the Look Who’s Talking/Three Men and a Baby era, these days you need to get shit on someone’s face if you’re looking for a laugh.

The proof is in Life As We Know It, an odd-couple parenting romantic-comedy that opens this week at the Village 8. Katheryn Heigl (Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth) stars with Josh Duhamel (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton) as two opposites forced to care for a 1-year-old after a their mutual friends die tragically.  The bickering couple then embark on a poo-joke filled disaster of a film, or at least that is the way it looks from the 8 clips and trailers I watched online. And Katherine Heigl seems like the same character in every role she takes. Skip this unless your ovaries are aching for cutesy baby crap and contrived narrative garbage. This is anything but progressive.

The other film opening this week is Disney’s Secretariat, a based-on-true horseracing tale about a legendary horse and the woman who loved him (not physically, it’s a Disney movie.)

The horse is no joke though, a thoroughbred, Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes) and set course records in the Derby and the Belmont that still stand today. Against all odds, he won 16 of 21 races he entered and retired at age three, when he became a much-sought-after stud and sired as many as 600 children-horses. That’s my kind of retirement.

Secretariat the movie stars always-appealing Diane Lane and never-dull John Malkovich and even though it’s a cookie-cutter underdog tale slopped with sentimentality, it’s still one of those rare movies that your 6-year-old niece and your 86-year-old grandfather will both enjoy.  Family fun, if little else.

The big news, of course, is that Fubar 2 has been out for a week and if you haven’t driven down to Vancouver to see it yet you really ought to. Shot in the same faux-documentary style as the original, Fubar 2 sees everybody’s favourite hosers, Terry and Deaner following their buddy Tron up to Fort McMurray to work in the booming oil sands.  Amidst strippers and Workers Comp scams (and West Edmonton Mall) Terry and Deaner find a way to shine a light on the meaning of friendship and remind us all that “knowledge of non-knowledge is power.”

It’s always tough for a sequel to match the original because the surprise factor is lost but the writing in Fubar 2 is top notch, almost every plot point and joke does double duty and director Michael Dowse (Fubar, It’s All Gone Pete Tong) keeps things moving in this 85-minute instant classic.

Fort McMurray is Canada’s greatest national shame and the smokestacks and treeless landscape provide such a perfectly putrid backdrop that no matter how stupid Terry is or how lazy Deaner gets it’s hard not to love them, especially when the film climaxes in the best Christmas ever. Go Shanto!

Coming back to the Baby theme, kind of. The DVD of the week is Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as two scientists who’s baby is a bad-ass-and-strangely-hot new life form they create in lab. And then it all goes downhill.             Who knows what the future holds for baby movies, how to top a shit-on-the-face gag will be one of the next generation’s big problems. Right up there with global warming


The Social Network, Now you know

October 3, 2010

this girl pops up when you google "hottest chick on Facebook". I don't know who she is or where she's from but that's kind of the point of the interent isn't it. She is pretty hot though.

Notes from the back row is a movie column From Whistler, BC’s Pique Newsmagazine

Sept 26- Now you Know Facebook.

It’s ski and snowboard movie season, time to see the best hits, bails, tits and rails last winter offered up. Or maybe putting tits in your snowboard video is old-school and no longer fashionable, the sport must be maturing.

Regardless, what I like to see in any ski or snowboard flick, other than linked turns, is riders going really going huge into untracked landings. The ultimate video of all time wouldn’t have a single bomb-hole in it. Unlike still shots, virgin landings are hard to fake on video.

There’s a virgin landing at the two-minute mark of Sandbox’s now you know. Just a rider and a giant, empty, perfect white screen of untracked pow. And it’s shot from a helicopter. Touchdown!

The Sandbox crew and producer Kevin Sansalone always capture the joy of riding with your friends and the fun times to be had screwing around on a board. This year now you know continues the tradition of snow and shenanigans featuring all sorts of pillow lines, cliffs, gnarly rails, bails and progressive jumps with FIS-sounding names like “double-corked 12” (remember when tricks had names like “Chicken Salad”? Which generation is having more fun I wonder?)

My favourite segment in now you know goes to Yes rider Jake Koia– he goes big, greases his landings real nicely and even manages to get a few quick turns on film before a boosting a cliff. Now you Know premiers Saturday Oct 2nd at Millenium place, with both 7:30 and 9:30 shows. It’s slow season and this flick is designed to get you stoked for the upcoming winter so quick stalking chicks on Facebook, get out of the house and go see now you know.

Speaking of Facebook. Did you know it has more than 500 million active users– that’s 1 in every 14 people on earth. That populace spends 700 billion minutes a month facebooking. (How many billion minutes would it take to build a bunch of decent schools in the poor countries and dig a well or two?)

And according to The Social Network, also known as “the Facebook Movie”, the whole everything is built around one lonely dork and the desire to meet chicks.

Opening Friday at the Village 8, and with a lot of sneaky hype to back it, The Social Network is an admittedly semi-fictional account of the life of Faceboook co-creator Mark Zuckerberg, as played by Jesse-Zombieland-Eisenberg, and his journey from militantly anti-social college dork to a getting-better adult dork with a few billion bucks.

The score, by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, is money. The story is essentially a class struggle but written by Aaron Sorkin (Malice) and directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Benjamin Button, Zodiac). The movie is a speedy, styled examination of human interaction these days as Zuckerman, a hero you hate to like, burns bridges and scratches at the old guard even though he really doesn’t belong at their Harvard parties anyhow. His creation, Facebook, is an outcast’s dream–everyone’s is the boss of their very own exclusive club. The film worth checking out.

Another good Internet flick is Catfish, some kind of documentary about meeting people over the internet with an ending everyone who’s seen it is pretty tight-lipped about. Sounds promising. Catfish is playing at Tinseltown in Vancouver.

Speaking of building schools in poor countries. The real Mark Zuckerburg, perhaps in an attempt to offset how The Social Network portrays him, perhaps because he’s secretly awesome, donated $100 million bucks to the Newark School System to build a new paradigm for education in America. You gotta “like” that.