Forbidden Planet and making the sound of the future

I helped out the Calgary Cinematheque Society’s soundtrack series today with a 10-minute speech on the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet. It actually barely scratches the surface on what’s interesting about the first fully electronic score ever composed, but if you’re curious what you missed, here it is. (Forgive the formatting; it wasn’t really meant to … Continue reading

Seven Psychopaths: Of puppy dogs and exploding heads

Seven Psychopaths is a very clever movie. Some are going to say it’s too clever — that’ll happen any time you explicitly comment on the medium you’re working in, really. And Seven Psychopaths does comment on its medium. A lot.

Countdown to CIFF: #4. Bliss

For the 10 days leading up to CIFF’s opening gala, I’ll be posting a quick write-up per day on some of my favourite movies at the fest. I’m not exactly unbiased — CIFF does give me a paycheque, after all — but these posts are my own opinions and not those of the festival. Bliss … Continue reading

The Oscars Project: Week 13 — Patton

For 82 years, the Academy Awards have purported to choose the year’s best film. For the next year, with the help of the good folks at Casablanca Video and the Calgary Public Library, I’ll be watching one best picture winner per week, starting 52 years ago and working up to The Hurt Locker. Some of … Continue reading

Beyond Prometheus: An interview with Vincenzo Natali of Splice

I just think we’re beyond the Promethean myth. We’re no longer having to question whether this technology should exist or not. We’re not questioning whether we should be stealing fire from the gods — that’s already happened. It’s simply a matter of questioning how to apply that technology in a way that will do maximum good and minimum harm.

Owl a good story poorly told

There are few things in film more frustrating than a good idea poorly executed. Psychological thriller The Cry of the Owl practically oozes potential — and even manages to salvage some of it by the end — but it’s ultimately sunk by an awkward script and a flat lead performance. The promise comes from the … Continue reading

Banksy’s cinematic sleight-of-hand

All reviews of Exit Through the Gift Shop should come with a disclaimer: There’s a good chance this whole thing is a hoax. The premise of the ostensible documentary is just too perfect — compulsive videographer Theirry Guetta tries to track down notorious British artist and provocateur Banksy, but once he succeeds, Banksy turns the … Continue reading

The Oscars Project: Week 9 — A Man For All Seasons

For 82 years, the Academy Awards have purported to choose the year’s best film. For the next year, I’ll be watching one best picture winner per week, starting 52 years ago and working up to The Hurt Locker. Some of the films are rightly regarded as classics. Others, decidedly less so. But each of them … Continue reading

La Danse: Inside the Dancer’s Studio

Dance fans rejoice — you’re not likely to find a better onscreen exploration of the art form any time soon. La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet is two-and-a-half hours of rehearsals, performance and a minimum of backstage business, presented without a word of narration or context. Instead, director Frederick Wiseman throws his audience straight into … Continue reading

The Oscars Project: Week 8 — The Sound of Music

For 82 years, the Academy Awards have purported to choose the year’s best film. For the next year, I’ll be watching one best picture winner per week, starting 52 years ago and working up to The Hurt Locker. Some of the films are rightly regarded as classics. Others, decidedly less so. But each of them … Continue reading