The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
VIDEO: "Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story"
Stop whatever you're doing and watch this right now.
This charming documentary on the debt was created by Martin Durkin and aired on the UK's Channel 4 earlier this month. It is one big refutation of the Broken Window Fallacy, a crash course in the political economy of Frédéric Bastiat and Henry Hazlitt, and gives the lie to the popular notion that the Cameron-Clegg coalition are actually making reductions in state spending:
(h/t Trevor Loudon)
Friday, January 15, 2010
Communist Party of China official reviews Avatar
1. The first element of any war is human. Learn from the Na’vi, have a winning spirit, and don’t be afraid of any advanced weapons.
2. The Na’vi’s system of hereditary rule proves that democracy is not universally applicable.
3. Na’vi’s collectivism has won over capitalism.
4. Loyalty has to be put in the number place in any appointment of key personnel. Defeat of the human race is due to the irresolute thinking of Jake.
5. The human race’s army has not united resolutely under the leadership of Colonel Miles Quaritch, as a result there is internal struggle. Unity is iron, unity is steel!
6. Dr. Grace Augustine shows the weaknesses of intellectuals, which are not to be trusted.
7. Forced demolition in China is relatively civilized; we haven’t used the army yet.
8. Anyone watching Avatar for the second time will be subject to 20% luxury tax.
9. Increase our effort in research & development. Start Avatar programs in provincial / ministerial levels or above. What we need to emphasize is: useful idealism is materialism.
10. Planet Pandora is an inseparable part of our motherland.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Return of the "quota quickie"! (Cue ominious music)
Canada's arts community is pondering another swell idea. The folks that brought you compulsory Canadian content on Canadian TV channels at night, and "Can-Con" on radio, are kicking around a new concept, according to a recent news story.
Canadian filmgoers aren't going to art theaters and film festivals in large enough numbers to help the Canadian film industry. So, some in the industry are suggesting that one remedy would be to force your local multiplex to devote one or two screens to Canadian films.
Reporter Jay Stone paraphrases comedian Dave Foley as wanting this kind of quota system. Mr. Stone adds:
This isn't a new idea. Its most public champion is film director Carl Bessai (whose Normal was up for four Genies and won one for Callum Keith Rennie's supporting actor performance). In an essay written last year for Arts National Canada, Bessai said 88 per cent of Canadian movie screens are devoted to American movies, nine per cent to "foreign" films and only four per cent to Canadian. He suggested either a law that would force theatres to show more Canadian movies, or an independent movie chain that would feature our cinema.
The TV quota and "Can Con" are cited as examples to be followed. I'm not quite sure that they should be followed. (But, I suspect that Canadian actors and directors will push for it as they want their little government sinecure in the same way that Canadian artists on radio TV get their designated spots.)
For every "Corner Gas" on Canadian TV, it seems that there are 43 shows like "Little Mosque on the Prairie". Given that with technological changes, Canadians have lots of American alternatives if they don't like what's on the Canadian channels, lame Canadian content is only a burden on the taxpayer if grants and government funding is involved. If lame Canadian songs are playing on the radio, you can always try turning the dial to an American station. If you live someplace like Edmonton, you can use Internet or Satellite radio instead.
But, Canadians going to a movie theater under a quota system would be stuck--in a way that TV watchers and radio listeners aren't--if they wanted to see a full complement of American and foreign films. Yes, there are DVDs, but certain films may not make it to DVD any time soon, if ever.
A reserved-screens-for-Canadian-films-system would be a burden to theater owners too. I can imagine that the Canadian films would probably not draw well, cutting into their profits.
What sorts of Candian films would make it in onto those screens? Films that would not be "controversial" in the current Canadian context, probably. Movies that would tend to be "good for you", which are multicultural and politically correct. Think movies that would get "two thumbs up" from members of Human Rights Tribunals.
We can do more than guess that this would not be a good idea. We can point to the "quota quickie" In the late 1920s and 1930s, the British tried this idea of mandatory spaces in British theaters for English films. What the studios did to get around this was to make very cheap, very poor films designed to fill the quotas. (The studios made some of these films in Canada in an attempt to get them into the quota as "Commonwealth films".)
Canadians can make some good films. But what if American studios cater to a new "quota quickie" system, flooding the designated screens with technically "Canadian" films, driving out good Canadian films that can't take advantage of American economies of scale?
There's lots of reasons for "friends of liberty" to not like a "designated screen" idea, but the fact that we can point in history to when it didn't work would top my list.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Ruby Dhalla in Heritage funding controversy
Ruby Dhalla, current Liberal Member of Parliament, starred in a Bollywood production entitled "Kyon, Kis Liye," ("Who and for what?") a Hindi-language movie shot a year before Dhalla's election in 2003.
Dhalla is involved in a spat with the producer, arguing that images of her from the movie have been doctored, a charge the producer is denying.
Here's a CBC report on the spat, complete with excerpts from the movie:
More importantly, however, CTV News is reporting the following:
According to documents obtained by CTV News, Heritage Canada wrote at the time of the application that the film did "not meet any of the terms and conditions of existing departmental programs."
Despite this, a $13,000 grant was approved by then-Heritage Minister Sheila Copps - also a prominent Hamilton Liberal.
Dhalla, who is currently travelling in India, contacted CTV News on Saturday and said that she had no prior knowledge of the movie's funding from Ottawa. She added that any federal funding for the movie was in no way connected to her.
Copps was unable to comment on the issue.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Prisoner, episode 1 (plus link to the rest)
Here's episode 1 of the 1960s television series The Prisoner (here's why this is getting posted):
And here's a link to the rest of the series which you can watch for free, online.
The creative mind behind libertarian-themed television series The Prisoner died Tuesday
Patrick Joseph McGoohan died Tuesday.
The two-time Emmy winning American-born actor starred in, and sometimes wrote and directed, the libertarian-themed television series The Prisoner about the destruction of individualism.
I watched all 17 episodes with a libertarian friend over a single weekend while a university student.
McGoohan also played the role of Edward Longshanks in Mel Gibson's Oscar winning epic Braveheart, another libertarian favourite. Longshanks was the King of England from 1272 to 1307 who oppressed the Scottish people.
Rest in peace, Patrick McGoohan.
Posted by Matthew Johnston
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
reason.tv's Just can't quit: How far will smoking bans go?
Smoking bans will go pretty far, of that I'm certain. Here's a video from the good people at reason magazine on the silliness and extremism of the anti-smoking lobby:
The Singing Revolution: The perfect gift this Christmas for your favourite anti-communist
It’s a documentary about the amazing story of how the Estonian people overthrew Soviet occupation and sang their way to freedom in the form of mass, peaceful, public civil disobedience. They literally sang on mass in the public square in defiance of Soviet rule.
The documentary is as powerful a portrayal of the effectiveness of passive resistance as I’ve seen on screen since Boycott, the story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott that sparked the civil rights movement and put Martin Luther King in the national spotlight. (There are probably better examples than Boycott, but not that I’ve seen.)
The Singing Revolution is the perfect gift this Christmas for your favourite anti-communist, and the Western Standard gets a piece of the action if you come through our website on your way to Amazon.com.
Posted by Matthew Johnston
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Video: Guy takes a photo of himself every day for 17 years
For 17 years. Every day. Unbelievable:
And here's Noah, who took a photo of himself every day for six years (so far):
Finally, here's Homer beating them all; taking a photo of himself every day for 39 years!:
Monday, September 08, 2008
Some thoughts on David Duchovny's sex addiction
By now it is no longer news that actor David Duchovny is in rehab for his sex addiction, but I’ve been meaning to comment on this story, so here goes:
First, it should not be much of a surprise that Duchovny, the narrator of Showtime’s soft-core porn series Red Shoe Diaries and the star of Californication, likes sex. Maybe it wasn’t a surprise.
Second, I’m not sure perfectly controllable behaviour, like the decision to have sex, should be considered an addiction or an illness. Just stop doing it, even if it’s difficult.
Third, is Duchovny really sex obsessed, or just obsessed with having sex with women other than his attractive Hollywood wife Tea Leoni? My guess is that Duchovny has been caught in one too many infidelities and is using this “sex addiction” thing as cover. Or are we really expected to believe that his wife just grew tired of his endless sexual advances toward her or his chronic masturbation and decided to send him to therapy and force him to make an embarrassing pubic statement about it? Nope. Duchovny likes "strange ass," as the kids say, and this sex addiction therapy nonsense was his wife’s ultimatum. I’m willing to bet on it.
Fourth, the only thing keeping most men from having multiple sexual encounters with beautiful strangers is opportunity and self control...but mostly opportunity. So the rich, famous and handsome – all of which creates opportunity -- Duchovny should just spend more time at home with his wife and children and limit the opportunities for infidelity, especially if he has no impulse control.
Like my recent advice on syphilis, this to is free. Of course, you get what you pay for in life.
Posted by Matthew Johnston
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Angelina Jolie doesn't Kill - Guns Kill
I suppose posters of Halloween would be ok.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Everyone Will Finally Be Equal
I am looking forward to this film like few in recent memory. Based on the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, 2081 "depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is finally equal..."
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Guns and a lady who hates them
Morgan Spurlock is famous for his brain-numbingly, left-wing, and bad documentaries. He ate McDonald's every day for 30 days, got fat, got sick, and was even told by a doctor that he had to quit early before he got really, really sick. So did, incidentally, Scott Coswell. He lost 20 lbs., was fit as a fiddle, and actually got healthier as a result of eating McDonald's every day. (The difference was: Spurlock ate burgers, and super-sized the fries and drink. Coswell chose sensible items from the McDonald's menu).
You can watch Coswell's documentary, entitled "Bowling for Morgan," entirely for free.
But recently, he's gone up a few notches in my book with his television show entitled "30 days." The concept is neat: Take someone who has firm convictions about a way of life, or a culture, or something, and have them spend 30 days with someone who represents what they most dislike. Given Spurlock's avowed lefty-ism, I expected his recent show on guns to be an utter disaster. Not only is it not a disaster, it's actually quite good. Enjoy:
(Incidentally, if you're not familiar with it, welcome to Hulu. Go check it out. It's on-demand television, and on-demand movies the way it's supposed to be. Especially for those of us, like me, who don't own a television.)
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
New Film: Not Evil, Just Wrong
"A lot of environmental activists still have not come to accept that the humans are also part of the environment."
From the email I just received:
"We need your help to get this film into theatres and schools across the country to defeat Al Gore's lies and exaggerations. Hollywood won't help. Al Gore is spreading near panic about carbon and asking all of us to dramatically change the way we live. His prescription- an end to all fossil fuels- will devastate our economies and cause millions of deaths in the developing world.
"Not Evil Just Wrong is the film Al Gore and Hollywood don't want you to see. For the first time in history we, the filmmakers, are asking ordinary people to help us raise US $3.5 million to get a film into 150 theaters across America by September. This will be an extraordinary campaign and every donation counts. Donors of US$1,000 or more will become Associate Producers of the film and their names will be added to the credits. Donors who give more than US$10,000 will be credited as executive producers.
"Al Gore has raised $US 300 million to bombard the world with his message that all the energy in the US should be renewable in 10 years. He is even running his ads during Sponge Bob Square Pants. Our children are watching this propaganda and are being forced to watch An Inconvenient Truth in their classrooms.
"Please help us as much as you can to get this film out now.
"Donations can be made through our website at www.noteviljustwrong.com."
Friday, July 18, 2008
The Emmy Nominations
Emmy nominations came out today. The first conclusion that I can reach, based on them, is that I probably watch too much television - of the eleven shows nominated for either Best Drama or Best Comedy, I saw every episode of eight of them ("30 Rock", "Entourage", "The Office", "Boston Legal", "Damages", "Dexter", "Lost", "House", and "Mad Men.")
Overall, for once, I'm fairly pleased with the Emmy line-up. The only changes I would make in the top-line categories are that I would dump Boston Legal from the Drama line-up for "The Wire." Though, frankly, I can understand the position - the fifth and final season of "The Wire" was a little bit flat but, frankly, I'd have voted to nominate it simply in honour of its place in television history - and all of the times that it's been previously robbed. "Breaking Bad" would, I think, have made it - or deserved to make it - if it had had a full season. Seven episodes is too few, especially given the relatively abrupt wrap-up, to snag a drama nomination.
On the Comedy side I'd have made more changes. I don't understand why anyone watches "Two and a Half Men." I'd take away its nomination and, if it had to go to a traditional sitcom, I'd give it to "How I Met Your Mother." I'd probably also, even though I am a regular viewer, strip "Entourage" (which had a bit of an off season last year, I think) of its nod and hand it over to "Californication."
I realize that some people will brush this aside and dismiss television as "all trash." But I strongly disagree - in my view, especially given the changes that the industry as a whole is undergoing (the growth of cable and other new content distribution channels) I believe that this is the golden age of gripping, writer-driven television. Indeed, frankly I think that television over the last few years is the most exciting thing to hit the world of entertainment since the stuff coming out of Hollywood in the 1970's.
Indeed, this is particularly significant in my own case since I would argue that television, rather than Jazz or Rock & Roll, is the single best and most significant American form of art.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Ric Dolphin Writes Again
Although loath to use another of those horrible words concocted by the geeks who, sadly, have inherited the world, there seems to be no avoiding it. I now have a "blog" which I shall endeavor to update at least every Monday and which you are
invited to visit at, ricdolphin.com
Be aware that, unlike when I wrote for Western Standard magazine, I am not being censored for language. I am also not specifically writing about politics, although the subject may be broached on occasion. Be assured, however, that I shall never use "blog" as a verb.
Posted by Ric Dolphin on July 9, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Books, Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, Current Affairs, Film, Humour, International Affairs, International Politics, Media, Military, Municipal Politics, Religion, Science, Television, Trade, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Western Standard, WS Radio, WStv | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The Singing Revolution comes to Alberta
I recently blogged about The Singing Revolution. It’s a new documentary film on the non-violent defiance of Soviet occupation by the Estonian people and the events which led to that country's independence and modern libertarian political culture.
According to the film and historic accounts, Estonians literally sang their way to freedom.
That got me thinking.
Yeah, I've got independence in my veins
Maybe it's my down home redneck roots
Or these dusty old Alberta boots
But like the chinook wind keeps coming back again
I'm Alberta bound
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
1080p Patton - a Revelation
So, this afternoon on my lunch I charged through the rain to go and buy Patton on Blu-Ray. While, up to the present time, I've been relatively indifferent as to the virtues of Blu-Ray discs as opposed to up-converting DVD's (the only other Blu-Ray's that I own are Spider-Man 3, Bonnie and Clyde, Almost Famous, and Season Three of Lost), I'd have to say that this single disc has opened me up to the potential of this format.
Done properly - this is really something. This is the fourth time that I've bought this movie (VHS, original DVD, special edition DVD, Blu-Ray) and, honestly, when I think of it I think of my washed-out video tape, watched over and over again. DVD, while an improvement over that, didn't bring all that much new to the picture. This, on the other hand, is very different - the colours on the screen pop out. The picture is sharp. The detail amazing. It's worth recalling that this movie was originally shot on 70mm film and required two projectors to screen.
It makes the movie look... New.
As for the movie itself... Well, if you've never seen it, you should be ashamed of yourself - especially as a conservative. It's one of three movies that I think that every conservative should see (the other two are "Network" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" - both movies which also deserve a full HD restoration like this one has). Respectively, I'd say that Patton is the practically-Randian story of personal courage in the face of institutional cowardice and perfidy. "Network" is a story of the madness of the modern world. As for the final choice - "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", in addition to featuring Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne directed by John Ford, conveys a powerful message about fate and legends. (To round out my five favourite movies would be films with little in the way of conservative message - Star Trek 2 and Back to the Future).
Lately, though, I've become fond of a relatively obscure British film from 1972, "The Ruling Class." Though it earned Peter O'Toole a Best Actor nomination, I'd never heard of it until very recently. Though it's obviously intended to be leftist propaganda, O'Toole's performance as a deranged British aristocrat who goes from believing himself to be Jesus Christ to believing that he's Jack the Ripper definitely makes it worth tracking down. It's probably a sign of psychological disquiet that I rather enjoy his speeches on the nature of society as the latter, but I attribute it to a leftist's urge to demonize the truth.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Beijing prostitutes--one, Sex in the City characters--zero
Last night I flipped back and forth on television between two things. One, a CBC documentary on the rise of prostitution in Communist China. It’s something Communist nations typically have a stranglehold over—being totalitarian and all--but the Communist regime there is turning a blind eye because of the rising numbers of single men. CBC did not mention this is because of sex selection abortion and the one-child policy.
The program went on to say that these young girls are lured from the rural countryside into the cities, and they know nothing about “safe sex.”
The other program I watched was a “documentary” on how Sex in the City came to be a program. Lots of men talking about how they realized that there had never been a show about women’s attitudes toward sex. And wouldn’t that be so interesting. To have men decide what women’s attitudes on sex are. And how avant-garde it all was, and how they weren’t even sure if they could call it Sex in the City…And could they convince Kim Cattrall? The tension was enormous, as you can imagine.
And I was left thinking two things. One, the women on Sex in the City don’t know anything about safe sex either. But still, the girls in China are one up on them. For at least they are getting paid. The characters in Sex in the City give it all up, over and over—sex, dignity, you name it—for free. Very avant-garde, indeed.
(cross-posted to ProWomanProLife)
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Yorkton to host film (and pork barreling) festival
Did you know that Yorkton, Saskatchewan is home to one of Canada’s most prestigious film festivals? Well, you would if you had read Sheila Thistlethwaite's report in the Western Standard on the Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival.
In “The biggest little film fest,” Thistlethwaite writes:
"OK, you film buffs: what do the Oscars, Emmys and Genies have in common with Yorkton, Sask.? If you answered that Yorkton is home to the Canadian film industry's most prestigious awards for films and videos under an hour long, you're savvier than most people. But did you also know that the Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival is the longest-running film festival of its kind in North America?"
Founded in 1950, another annual Festival is just around the corner. On May 22-25, film producers will gather in Yorkton to share their films and collect awards in categories including Aboriginal, Lifestyle, Nature/Environment, Best of Saskatchewan and many others.
As part of its Outreach Tour, Telefilm Canada has invited film producers to pitch their ideas at the Festival. Winning pitches will receive money from the agency, which is the primary federal cultural body responsible for providing financial support to Canadian film productions.
What kind of films receive financing?
In April, Telefilm Canada announced it had financed a successful pitch by the producers of Making Babies. The film, which received $134,862 in Telefilm Canada money, is described this way:
"Two adventurous women in love are desperate to have their own biological child. They take a chance on an experimental scientific process and make sperm from their own stem cells. Pregnant with humour and unexpected twists, their journey ultimately confirms that all life is a gift and all families are crazy."
I don’t know if all families are crazy, but what is crazy is forcing taxpayers to pay for a film about controversial subjects like same-sex relationships and stem cell experiments.
On April 16th, Canadian Family Action Coalition (CFAC) president Charles McVety appeared before the Senate committee studying Bill C-10. CFAC supports the proposed legislation that would deny tax credits to Canadian film and video productions that are offensive and contain messages and themes that are contrary to government public policy. McVety doesn’t like the idea that government money is being used to fund offensive films and wants the Heritage Minister to have the power to decide which films receive tax credits, and which do not.
But is a tax credit really the same as a government subsidy?
CFAC has raised an important issue, but they’ve taken aim at the wrong program. As I’ve written here and here, Bill C-10 would only make changes to the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit program...a program that allows private film producers to write off expenses related to the production of Canadian films. This tax credit program is a tax relief program designed to ease the tax burden on the fragile Canadian film industry.
Telefilm Canada, on the other hand, is a program that uses tax dollars to directly subsidies film and video productions...productions that are often offensive to conservative values.
So to allow a Canadian film industry to grow in Canada, the government should enhance its tax credit / tax relief programs and keep them free from ministerial interference. But to respect the values of Charles McVety, CFAC and countless conservative taxpayers, programs like Telefilm Canada should be scrapped.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Why I Love "30 Rock"
This post - and clip - from the Huffington Post pretty much sums up why, by far, 30 Rock is the funniest show on televison.
Jack to C.C. (Edie Falco), his Democratic congresswoman squeeze: "I love when women have ambition. It's like a dog wearing clothes."
Jack, responding to C.C. telling him that the orange-tinted kids suing the Sheinhart Wig Company had settled for $5 million: "$5 million? That's NBA sexual assault money,"
Liz to Jenna on how she coddles her wildly: "I have to because you're so insecure you get jealous of babies for their soft skin." Jenna: "And how much attention they get."
Toofer to Frank, wearing long hair and a trucker hat: "I can't keep dressing like you, the New Yorker Festival is next week!" (I love that Toofer got some play here. Kevin Powell is cute.)
Tracy to Shaquille O'Neil in a clip from their animated family film clip: "Is what we did last night considered sex?"
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Just back from watching The Kingdom at the movies. Awesome movie and you won't be sorry after you are out of the theater. Worth the money and great action. Plus, it is one of the few Hollywood made movies where anti-American, anti-everything is non-existent. It's actually a "pro-war on terror" movie. You'll definitely love it!
A review of the movie
Friday, March 09, 2007
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Theatre critics to receive piledrivers after negative reviews
Fans of Bret Hart, the famed Canadian wrestler, may be interested to know that he's doing some acting. He's in the musical Aladdin, which hit Vancouver this week.
(I've put a link to an interview with Mr. Hart about the musical in the continuation of this post.)
The Province has a story about Mr. Hart, and the fun he is having with his new role, here:
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Shotgun readers may be pleased to learn that that anti-Bush mockumentary Death of a President will probably be a flop.
What do I base that on? The fact that when I went to go see it on Saturday evening in Vancouver, on the second day of release, there were only 47 people in the theatre. (I counted.) When said theatre seats over 600 people, I think that the film will be pulled quickly.
The film is wrongheaded on so many levels.
(Warning...possible spoilers in continuation of post)
The film makers have tried to make the point that they are trying to make some serious points about American politics. That said, the structure of the film, with its dramatization of the sitting of the current U.S. president, leads me to think that the filmmakers were sympathizing with their character who says in the film that President Bush deserves to die as a war criminal. Or that they are trying to save on advertising by creating a needless controversy that draws people to the theatres.
I'll put on my "left-wing filmmaker hat" for a moment. It's said that the 2008 Presidential elections will be the most wide-open in years. Had I been a Michael Moore type, I would have set the film in 2010 and made the fictional sitting President who gets shot an anti-war Democrat who is replaced, after he dies, by a fictional Vice-President who intensifies the Middle East conflict. That way, I would concentrate on the Very Important Liberal Points to be made about the militarization of the U.S. and such, and thus avoid having people think that I just want to daydream about a President that I hate being blown away.
Death of A President already uses computer manipulated news footage. Why not spend a bit more money and insert two fictional politicians into the footage, and thereby deflect criticism that the film is just anti-Bush?
(I also found it hard to believe that the convicted suspect in the film could attend an al-Quaeda traing camp in Afghanistan, and treat it afterwards like a visit to a glorified summer camp. ("Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah. Here I am at...Camp Al-Quaeda!"))
Monday, August 14, 2006
World Trade Center
Friday, July 07, 2006
Superman is back
Politics can wait for a minute. It is time for some movie discussions.
Has any one seen new Superman yet?
Saturday, May 27, 2006
...and that's why the MGM studio cafeteria always had poutine on the menu...
Yesterday, Canada Post issued a set of four stamps honouring famous Canadians in Hollywood.
Fay Wray, Lorne Greene, Mary Pickford and John Candy are now on 51 cent stamps.
(Shotgun readers recently had a bit of a dicussion at this post here...
...about which Hollywood figures from north of the border should be honoured)
For my part, I think that these are good choices. Local press stories that I have seen on the stamp series note that philately boffins are arguing that it's about time that Canada started honouring entertainment celebrities on stamps. (The U.S. Postal Service sold millions of stamps featuring Elvis and Marilyn Monroe and banana republics have been issuing such stamps for decades.)
I think that John Candy is worth putting on a stamp. Colby Cosh (for one) would probably want to clobber me with a box of stamp hinges for writing this, but I would have preferred that another figure from the Golden Age of Hollywood (such as a Mack Sennett) would have been honoured before Candy. But, putting John Candy on a stamp will help sales of the entire series and thus lead to more such stamps, which is worth consideration.
Who should be honoured on future stamps?
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Klaatu Barada Nikto!
Rewatched this on the weekend. Forgot how great it was, if somewhat schlocky. It is always worth it, to watch Patricia Neal. But more than that, watching this movie again made me realize how little times change. The movie was an exercise in Hollywood preaching, and Hollywood heavy-handedly telling us that our governments are exploiting our fear, and that the media is not interested in reasoned commentary, only sensationalism. (Plus ca change.)
Of course, far and away the biggest advantage to watching The Day the Earth Stood Still, is that we learn what to say to prevent our planet from being obliterated.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Mohammed cartoons, round two?
Following the recent fuss about *those* cartoons, I have to suspect that there will be some kind of furore when Flight 93 hits theatres next month.
It's the first fictional film, to my knowledge, about the events of 9/11. The trailer, which I saw tonight, is very cryptic. However, I gathered that it will be about the "Let's Roll" passengers of that flight, who forced their way into the cockpit in an attempt to seize the plane back from its hijackers. The plane then crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside.
I can make one prediction that I know will come to pass. Unless the film-makers take gross liberties with the events of that day, expect right-leaning bloggers to embrace this film, making the viewing of Flight 93 a badge of honour.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Ha Ha Ha America
This is hilarious, I LOL'd throughout the whole thing. I've forgotten most of my high school Mandarin, but thankfully can still string together:
"Wo shi Jianada ren, Wo ai Zhangwao(sp?)"
Monday, February 06, 2006
Ready for its Oscars
Is Brokeback Mountain pro-gay propaganda? Not explicitly so, writes Stephen Hunter in this fascinating essay, published a few days ago in the Washington Post. However, Hunter continues in somewhat contradictory fashion by pointing out that filmmaker Ang Lee does choose, arrange and film his images in such as way as to show homosexual love in a positive way, while portraying all heterosexual relationships in a negative light (rather like Thelma and Louise painted all males as evil, I might add).
Here's a taste of Hunter's writing:
In fact, generally, the movie is cruel to family. It seems to think family is a bourgeois delusion; Ennis's poor daughter ends up in a gaudy Trans Am owned by her fiance, a harbinger of roughneck disaster to come. Jack's boy is simply forgotten about; his ultimate pain -- and it will be considerable -- is not commented upon.
The movie also misses the deepest joy of family, which is that sense of connection to the great wheel of life. Giving birth to, educating and loving a kid are among the profound joys of human existence. "Brokeback Mountain" cannot begin to imagine such a thing; that reality simply is not on its radar, and if you looked at the story from another vantage -- the children's -- it would be a different tale altogether: about greedy, selfish, undisciplined homosexuals who took out a contract in the heterosexual world, and abandoned it. They weren't true men; they failed at the man's one sacred duty on Earth, which is to provide.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy
Saw Walden Media's production of "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," distributed by Disney. As suggested in the pre-launch reviews, it's the sort of story that people will appreciate irrespective of their faith commitments.
When I was eleven, I discovered it on the bookshelf of our church's interim minister. It was, er, a revelation. Here was literature that combined the biblical narrative I had heard from my earliest days with a magical world of mythical imagery and allegory. Here was children's literature that conveyed many of the deep, theological truths and ideas of the Christian Scriptures with freshness and verve.
Viewing the movie brought home the reality of the consequences of betrayal. "Edmund" is not so different from us in his trading a trifling "Turkish Delight" for what is truly important. And like us at our best, Edmund's redemption by Aslan impels him to sacrifice his own life for his brother, "Peter." Peter's judgmentalism and his tentativeness in assuming leadership, Susan's intellectual snobbery in the face of the mythical land of Narnia and her compassion, and Lucy's gullibility and childish trust of others represent, together, the all-too-human predicament of mannish and womanish frailty. Yet -- and equally characteristic of being human -- we are created "a little lower than the angels," set on thrones as queens and kings of Creation. Truly:
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
--Psalm 8 (NIV)
Go see the movie.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
It is a truth universally acknowledged
Barbara Kay makes the point in the National Post: Breaking Faith with Jane Austen, that the actress Keira Knightley playing Elizabeth Bennet in a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is simply too beautiful to be believable.
What makes Elizabeth unique is her satiric perspective and her courage in voicing it, a compensatory gift associated with lesser, not greater beauty. Better, she is a woman who can laugh at herself as well as mock the pretensions of society's hypocrites -- of her own class and those above her station, for status is no guarantee of behaviour. But edginess, considered social capital for Elizabeth's successors, today's comic romantic leads, was a huge social risk for Elizabeth.
I agree. However, Kay puts way too much emphasis on the time period. She could have easily added that Helen Fielding so successfully borrowed Austen's plot for Bridget Jones's Diary because of the satiric perspective and everyday plainness or non-commercial beauty of her heroine.
Friday, October 28, 2005
The Vancouver Sun has just published a Washington Post review of the new George Clooney movie Good Night, and Good Luck (Clooney stars, directs and shares writing credit). Read it and cheer. Finally, someone in the mainstream media has shined a light on Hollywood's propaganda machine. The movie, as reviewer Stephen Hunter points out, omits more than a few pertinent details about the McCarthy era and its key players -- details which undercut Hollywood's traditional black-hat, white-hat view of that troubled time.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Ticket To Paradise
Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of the numerous Germans who collaborated in its production (the film is distributed by Constantin Film/Munich). He would have praised in glowing terms the fact that the German taxpayer ponied up an essential contribution to the production costs. The materials for discussion of the film in German schools authored by a federal authority from the Central Office for Political Education (BPB) would have met with his grinning approval.
Our first posting dealt with the plot. In summary, young Palestinian men gratefully accept a command from a Palestinian terror group (my interpretation, not the film’s) to assassinate Israelis in Tel Aviv. After a few false starts one of the men carries out the assassination – a suicide attack in a bus.
The film’s action, especially the dialogs and discussions between the main characters, portrays the conflict between two positions. First position:
The Israelis are criminal occupiers who oppress the Palestinians. They must be combated with assassination and force.
The Israelis are criminal occupiers who oppress the Palestinians. They must be combated with peace activists’ non-violent demonstrations.
The film leaves open which of the two positions is the right one. The only thing certain in the film is the guilt and malice of the Israelis, the “occupiers”. It’s not worth going into detail about the film’s striking polemics against the Israelis. No attempt is undertaken anywhere in the film to explain the Israelis’ position. Almost all of the Israelis appear in the film as soldiers - intimidating, menacing, anonymous, occasionally with sadistic impulses.
How did the "human rights" watchdog, Amnesty International respond to the film? With an award and a 25,000 Euros in prize money for the director.
I'm sure the CBC can hardly wait to get their hands on it.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
"They still hate him -- and we still love him"
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Van Gogh Killer Sentenced
Pieter Dorsman remembers Theo Van Gogh.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
James Doohan RIP
Most everyone knows that Star Trek alumnus William Shatner is Canadian. But many people probably weren't aware that James "Scotty" Doohan, who died today, was born in Vancouver, raised in Sarnia, and served in the Canadian army during the Second World War. In fact, according to the Internet Movie Database, he lost the middle finger of his right hand during D-Day.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Politics In Reel Life
This is the same Hollywood that can't figure out why fortunes are declining.
"There is a tremendous drive in Hollywood to exculpate Islamofascist terrorists," Michael Medved says. No movie has been made about the terrorists since 9/11, nothing on al Qaeda, the Taliban, Daniel Pearl, Saddam Hussein, the USS Cole, the embassy attacks, the daring and impressive attempts to track down terrorists. Nothing. Not even a movie about heroic action after 9/11- the firemen who ran upstairs to their deaths to save others in the twin towers, the people who drove all night from Texas and the South to help New Yorkers cope with the disaster.
But wait. Help is on the way. Hollywood is still reluctant to irritate terrorists, but a few movies about 9/11 heroes are on the way. And whom did Paramount pick for the highest- profile one? Oliver Stone, the unhinged director/screenwriter who refers to 9/11 as a justified "revolt" against the established order and the six companies he thinks control the world. At a panel after 9/11, Stone said that the Palestinians who danced at the news of the attack were reacting just as people responded after the revolutions in France and Russia. He thinks 9/11 may have unleashed as much creative energy as the birth of Einstein. Internet commentators are going berserk over the idea of a wacky pro-terrorist paranoid directing the first big 9/11 movie.
What next? A movie about the Khadr family?
Sunday, June 26, 2005
"Christian cabal conspires to 'corrupt' Hollywood with Conservatism"
That's the gist of James Ulmer's piece, "On the Right Side of the Theater Aisle," here, in today's New York TImes. Walden Media, slated to distribute its film version of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia through Walt Disney, also made the biopic, Ray, with Jamie Foxx last year.
For some really entertaining background on Ulmer's agenda in writing this piece, go read the blog posts on this from one of the people he interviewed for the piece, here and here. I think the New York Times's reporter met his match in Nicolosi . . . but, then, it doesn't really matter, since the Times gets to decide the agenda and, then, only print what fits -- not "All the news that's fit to print," as they claim on the masthead.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
H.G. Wells' Hegemonic Neomartian Quagmire
Ian at Inoperable Terran asks;
"Can we just nuke Hollywood now?"
Saturday, June 18, 2005
"Why Not Use A Tractor?" and other neat archival Canadian films
Yesterday's Vancouver Sun has an interesting story on a new Library and Archives Canada project. Their Virtual Silver Screen website allows internet browsers to watch 25 silent Canadian film shorts, dating from 1903 to 1940, online.
The archivists thought that these films (which include footage of Canadian troops at Vimy Ridge, a film on Ontario farming made in 1917, and a 1918 travelogue about Banff and Lake Louise) might be interesting to a wide audience. The story notes that they hope to put more films online as resources become available.
The website is here:
Friday, June 03, 2005
Fans can start lining up!h/t
Monday, May 09, 2005
Lights, Camera, Iraq!
Filming on Baghdad's streets unwittingly produces some form of cinema verite, and directors such as Kamel are confronting the challenges as they try to revive Iraq's battered entertainment industry.
After decades of government censorship and a two-year U.S. occupation, actors, filmmakers and television producers are embracing new artistic freedoms to tell stories about Iraqis — before and after Saddam Hussein's overthrow — for an increasingly housebound audience.
A dozen new private TV channels are pumping out soap operas, sitcoms, reality shows and dramas, with a distinctly Iraqi flavor. For the first time, Iraqi television is tackling issues of social injustice, government corruption and, on occasion, life under Hussein.
The nation's first postwar feature-length film is "Underexposure," which focuses on a lost generation of young artists coping with the U.S. occupation. It is now debuting at international film festivals.
"Departure," a groundbreaking television serial, which debuted in April, chronicles a gangster family that thrives after the fall of Baghdad by peddling stolen antiquities. Think "Sopranos" with an Iraqi twist. A character on the show lands in jail days before the U.S. invasion after getting drunk and insulting Hussein. It marks the first time that an Iraqi entertainment program has negatively depicted life under the dictator.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
I remember some time ago seeing a list of "conservative movies" in the National Review. I suggest that The Aviator be added to the list. I must admit that I was late in seeing this film due to the fact that I am typically suspicious of Academy Award-nominated pictures and doubly suspicious of anything starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I did, however, come out of the theatre with a renewed optimism about the cinema. The film was brilliant. It wasn’t brilliant because of the acting. Albeit good, DiCaprio’s portrayal of Howard Hughes’ eccentricity, which bordered on insanity, was a little over the top. It was brilliant for many other reasons but the one that stood out for me was the story itself – the story of Howard Hughes.
However eccentric, Hughes’ life epitomized the struggle for freedom, creativity fostered by free enterprise, and the accomplishments of the human ego. His immense contributions to aviation (and the cinema) were a result Hughes’ need to satisfy his ego without much regard for people who stood in his way. As he cut through red tape, fought corrupt government intrusion and industry competitors who relied on their "friends in Washington" for prosperity, Hughes reminded me of Hank Rearden, owner of Rearden Steel, in Ayn Rand’s classic novel Atlas Shrugged. My favourite scene occurs at the home of his girlfriend Catherine Hepburn’s parents. Hepburn’s aristocratic family members, who proudly announce that they are socialists, make light of Hughes’ industrial initiatives while declaring; "we don’t care about money around here." "That’s because you’ve always had it", responds Hughes before he walks out of the room.
Two thumbs up for Martin Scorsese.
Monday, February 28, 2005
A Thousand Dead Gap Employees
Goldstein responds to Chris Rock's Oscar monologue; "He started a war,³ that's cool, support the troops, he started a war. Now just imagine you worked at the Gap. You're $70 trillion behind on your register, and then you start a war with the Banana Republic… 'cause you say they got toxic tank-tops over there.
³Well, in the sense that he ordered the invasion, Bush certainly started the fighting, though to say he started the war is a stretch. To wit: what Rock neglects to mention is that GAP employees had been fired upon daily in the employee parking lot by Banana Republic staffers for twelve years following the GAP's repulsion of Banana Republic from Abercrombie and Fitch (which it tried to take over by force in 1991. After the GAP and its allies from Cinnabun, Panda Express, Bad Bath and Beyond, etc repelled the invading Banana Republic volley, Banana Republic signed a cease fire agreement, which it then proceeded to violate; additionally, Banana Republic's longtime CEO planned an assassination attempt on a former GAP president-who just happens to be the father of that same George Bush who supposedly "started" the war).
The rest of the The Annotated Chris Rock. While you're at it, be sure to catch today's (Lebanon) installment of "Chimpy McHitlerBurton's smirky rodeo ride through history" with a bonus link to Den Beste in Bill Quick's comments *section.
The lefties hate Bush because Bush is unapologetically nationalist, unapologetically American. Clinton and Kerry were at least willing to apologize for their nation; Bush won't. Bush thinks America is a force for good -- and to lefties who are invested in the idea of world governance, that is the worst threat imaginable. Because they cannot establish a world government unless they somehow convince the majority of Americans that the United States as a nation and the US Constitution as a political experiment are utter failures which must be abandoned and replaced by something better -- i.e. by world governance and the emerging socialist utopia predicted by the sainted Marx.
Vintage Den Beste. How I wish he were still blogging.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
January 25 is November 2 all over again
Michael Moore's "documentary" Fahrenheit 911 didn't get an Ocscar nomination for either best picture or best documentary. I am sure that this will be grist for the Moore conspiracy mill, perhaps for a flick or book The Academy is a Bunch of Stupid, Bush-loving White Men or something.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Is it true what they say about the Kettles?
For those of you out shopping, Feb. 22 is the DVD release date of the film Is It True What They Say About Ann? You might recall Kathy Shaidle profiled the makers of the film in the 27 September 2004 issue of the Western Standard. You can pre-order the DVD through Amazon in Canada by clicking here, and in the U.S.A. by clicking here. FYI: As Amazon customers know, each product page has an interesting feature titled "Customers who bought this [book, DVD, etc.] also bought". I find this glimpse into the shopping habits and interests of others fascinating, and believe the feature is a stroke of random, automated marketing genius. Anyway, as I located the American Amazon page where the Coulter DVD is sold it listed "Customers who bought this DVD also bought: The Adventures of Ma & Pa Kettle - Volume 2 DVD".
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Hypocrisy Doesn't Get Any Better Than This
"Democrats need to embrace Hollywood because this is where they need to come to learn how to tell a story." - Michael Moore*
Filmmaker Michael Moore's bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night..
Police took Patrick Burke, who says Moore employs him, into custody after he declared he was carrying a firearm at a ticket counter. Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California, but not in New York. Burke was taken to Queens central booking and could potentially be charged with a felony for the incident.
Moore's 2003 Oscar-winning film "Bowling for Columbine" criticizes what Moore calls America's "culture of fear" and its obsession with guns. - Foxnews
hat tip - Instapundit
update - the story has been updated. It appears that Mr. Burke was a former Moore bodyguard.