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Category Archives: review

aka Cave Chicks

I just saw The Descent. I’ll probably write more about it later, since it’s the kind of film I love discovering and recommending.

In short, fantastic. Probably the best movie I’ve seen this year (though my cinematic consumption has been way down in ’06). It’s smart and original and filled with subtle references to other films and unexpected twists. It’s one of the few horror/thriller movies that actually got to me — even before things get really hairy at the halfway point, there are moments of truly heart-pounding tension. In fact, there’s a scene early on with a woman squirming through a cave that is so freaking claustrophobic, I had to close my eyes. But it’s not just scary and intense, it’s also really good, which is also exhilarating in itself. It’s like watching Jaws. Not that’s it’s quite at that level, but it’s the same kind of feeling. Oh, and the photography is amazing — almost all of the movie takes place underground, lit my flashlights and flares, and it really feel like it.

All that, plus smart, ass-kicking, blood-splattered ladies in spelunking gear. And who doesn’t dig that?

Twitch City finally coming to DVD

Twitch-CityHey, the 1998 CBC TV series Twitch City is finally coming out on DVD! I managed to find some poor-quality rips from VHS online, and showed them at my movie nights, but it’s always kind of frustrated me that I couldn’t get a decent-quality version anywhere.

I really like Twitch City, and not just because I have a longstanding crush on the freckly and always slightly-off-kilter Molly Parker (she’s played a rabbi, a prospector’s wife, a prostitute and a necrophile; not at the same time, but still, that’s pretty hot). The show came out in the late 90s, in the wake of the indie movie revolution, and it has a very strong indie-slacker aesthetic, thanks to Canadian indie auteurs Bruce Macdonald — who directed — and Don McKellar — who wrote and stars as Curtis. Curtis is an amusingly amoral TV-addicted slacker, who tries to hit on his roommate’s girlfriend (Parker) by offering her expired oysters and her boyfriend’s cognac. In the first episode, the roommate is arrested for accidentally killing a homeless man with a can of catfood, and the rest of the series is about Curtis rotating through a series of weirdo roommates while his old roommate goes through the Canadian legal system. Is that a brilliant concept or what? Combine that with wintery Toronto location shooting (in Kensington Market) and McKellar’s deadpan writing and line delivery, and supporting performances from Callum Keith Rennie, Valerie Buhagiar, two of the Kids in the Hall (playing the same character), and pretty much every other actor working in Canada at the time.

Actually, not to disparage the mother corp too much, but it kind of surprizes me that the CBC ever actually made and showed a series like this. How much cooler would they be if they had made more BBC/Channel4-style cultish sitcoms like Twitch City? A Guy Maddin show about a hockey-playing Icelandic-Canadian family in Winnipeg! A David Cronenberg version of MPD: Psycho! A headbanger sitcom by Michael Dowse!

  • Twitch City on (if you buy from this link, I get a kickback, but I don’t really mind if you support your local video store and rent it there instead)

never one to turn down a chance to express an opinion

My me-time this past weekend wasn’t a total waste for the rest of humanity. I made a lot of changes to the site, and worked on the redesign. Tough questions were asked, like do I put a picture on my front page like an nerdy academic, or remain faceless, like a trendy blogger? In the end, I compromised, by putting up a picture that doesn’t look all that much like me. I’m a bit more of a CHUD in real life.

The big change, though, is that I used a few of the huge number of WordPress plug-ins to add info about my media consumption habits. Now you can see what I’ve been listening to, reading, and watching. I actually kind of dig it when I can go to other people’s web sites and find out stuff like that, so hopefully some of you out there will dig it here. I’m especially looking forward to having a forum to write glib little mini-reviews of movies I’ve seen, since I tend to do that on a pretty regular basis anyway.