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Canadian Weblog Awards!

August 18, 2011

2011 Canadian Weblog Awards

Here’s a surprise! One More Bullet has received it’s first award nomination. We are now nominated (three awards in fact!) for the Canadian Weblog Awards. I’m now in competition in the following categories:

“Best New Weblog”
“Humour”
“Pop Culture & Entertainment”

I’m a bit miffed by being overlooked in the “Best Weblog About Gardening” and “Best French Language Weblog” catergories, but I’ll be sure to cover each Luc Besson produced project next year to sweep the latter category. Dans la nouvelle annĂ©e!

Anyways, wish me luck! Let the most popular, and therefore most qualified win!

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Highland Cinemas is Awesome

August 11, 2011

When I was not blogging last month, I was about and about with my partner E where we took a trip to her old hometown. On recent trips there, she’s told me about a nearby cinema that we’ve always tried to get around to see, but never really found time to do. The last time we went in July, we got the time to do it and I see why she made such a big deal about it. Trust me the theater itself is far more impressive than the cinema’s website

Hightland Cinemas
It’s almost more of a cinema museum than a theater!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hobo With a Shotgun Review

June 17, 2011

Hobo With a Shotgun is a Canadian genre film. I have a general rule that unless your name is David Cronenberg or Guy Maddin, you should generally find the Canadian genre film to be pretty weak. To catch anyone up to speed on Canadian cinema, modern Canuck films fall into two camps, they are either French-language arty dramas made in Quebec or hard to stomach films that should’ve been made-for-tv such as Bon Cop, Bad Cop or Gunless. A unique third category are what I call the secretly Canadian, which includes films like Splice and Resident Evil: Extinction that are part Canadian part French and German productions respectively. But these films aren’t usually directed by Canadians nor do they prominently star Canadian casts so I don’t count them.

Having the Canadian tag attached to it, I walked into Hobo With a Shotgun with some hesitation. At first, all my worst fears came true. Camera work looked shoddy, the main villains in the film do not inspire me to hate the characters, but the actors portraying them. I was ready to slump uncomfortably in my chair when all of a sudden, something rare happened. It’s unusual for my opinion on a film to change midway through, but as soon as Rutger Hauer picks up his weapon of choice, my attitude towards the film took a total flip. The film felt tighter, and Hauer character lept into basass territory making watching the film a much easier experience. On top of Hauer, we have his sidekick Abby played by Molly Dunsworth who has minimal dialouge and screentime, but shines brightly in her role. The obnoxious villains get also get a backseat to a duo of robotic soldiers known as The Plague. They aren’t super interesting, but they also don’t talk making them infinitely superior to the other duo. Here’s a handy chart to hear what I’m all about.

Hobo With a Shotgun Molly and Rutger

Hobo does not avoid the Canuck trait of showcasing how Canadian it really is. I usually find these home country elements a bit forced, but there are some good injokes in Hobo. Let’s get the bad ones out of the way first with George Stroumboulopoulos, a former MuchMusic VJ and current CBC host making a cameo as a newscaster. This wouldn’t bother me so much if people didn’t cheer when they saw him in on the screen at the Mayfair. Next we have gratuitous use of hockey skates in the film. Oi. Do we have to fill in every Bob & Doug McKenzie stereotype? Doesn’t do it for me. Now let’s get to the better Canadian tropes.

First we have a obscure choice with this automobile:

Yes! A Bricklin! This retro-futuristic car fits perfectly with the tone of the film with it’s gull doors and a design that I only thought was only used on my Hot Wheels when I was 5! The car is a Canadian model and is used prominently throughout the film. The next Canadian reference hit me like a brick wall of nostalgia. It’s a total surprise if you are a Canadian of a certain age to hear this song playing in the background. It was such a weird surprise to me that I don’t want to spoil the song here. If you must know what it is, click here.

Despite the jump in quality in the middle of the film, there are still things that I should bring up. Hobo With a Shotgun‘s retro-aesthetic may strive for a John Carpenter and The Warriors style, but it comes off slightly miscalculated feeling more like a Troma film than Escape From New York with it’s over the top splatter and robotic villains. Some scenes in the film also make no sense and I can’t be sure if this was done purposely or not. One example is during a montage when the Hobo is taking revenge on the deadbeats in town. This scene involves Rutger entering a room with the shotgun barrell pointing in his mouth. He starts laughing. The villains start laughing. Then he pulls out the gun and shoots them. But what was going on? How did this work? What!? I’m not even going to mention the octopus tentacles.

Hobo With a Shotgun won’t change anyone’s mind on these retro-themed films. Cinematically, it’s a basic low-budget revenge plot that contains acting and filmmaking of wildly uneven quality. Perhaps even feeling a bit like a film made by University students who managed to get a hold of Rutger Hauer. I had more fun with this film than the bg budgeted Drive Angry, but I’d recommend it mostly to anyone who either love Rutger Hauer, or was born in Canada between the years ’75 and ’85. As for myself, I’m more curious than excited to see what Jason Eisener is planning next.

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Where to Buy Films in Ottawa #2

May 12, 2011

Before we start, I did a mild site redesign. This include me creating a Facebook fan page. Click on the Like Button on the right-side banner for great joy. In the meantime, enjoy this mostly picture based post.

Invisible Cinema in Ottawa

Let’s start out with the facts. Netflix in Canada is currently kind of crap. Most items I’d like to watch are only available in the United States. Want to watch an episode of Twin Peaks? Well you are out of luck as it’s there, but unavailable for us. Personally, I like supporting things in my town that I enjoy. It’s not fun to go downtown and find that one of your favourite locations has become a Starbucks or torn down to make room for another condo. One example would be that one of my favourite record stores in Ottawa (Birdman Sound) has announced that they’ll be closing their doors in a new year due to rent issues. They plan to continue selling records outside their physical entitiy, but it’s sad to see something interesting replaced with a Shoppers Drugmart or whatever will go there. On that note, let’s be thankful for what we have. Here’s a quick tribute to my favourite rental joint in Ottawa: Invisible Cinema.

Asian films Ottawa
Anyone’s love for Asian cinema is covered. (Click to enlarge)

American action films
Failing that, here’s another collection. Note how only Death Wish 3 is available.

If you like to watch before you buy (which is what I’d recommend), than look no further than this collection here. If I have a small complaint, it’s that I get a bit lost looking for certain things in the collection. Most items in store are sorted by director, while others are by themes. It makes it a bit difficult to try and find if you are looking for Full Contact and wondering if they have a section for Ringo Lam or not. Other sections are sorted by genre. These include areas for films based on comics, French policiers, and Italian Poliziottescos and so on. Basically all your bases are covered.

Of course if you’d rather buy, they have a smaller but still impressive collection of keepers. Some of it is kept under locked glass. That’s fine, except the border on the glass obscures some of the DVDs and blu-rays they have for sale. Hope those are just doubles.

Criterion DiaboliqueSometimes they sell things before you should! As of the date of this post, this copy of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique is not for sale yet officially.

Inglorious Bastards soundtrack
Soundtracks for sale! I wonder if someone will buy this thinking it’s the Tarantino film when they take home the Casterllari soundtrack.


Even the items not behind the glass have a good selection.
Who doesn’t want their own copy of Light Blast?

Invisible Cinema also doubles as an art gallery with new works regularly displayed whenever I revisit. If gas wasn’t so expensive and if I didn’t live so far away, I’d visit more often but I try to support it if I can rent and return within my own schedule. If you live in decent sized city, I encourage you to seek out and support your local independent rental store. Keep your town less boring and remember that films like Light Blast are not available on Netflix.

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Karate Dog Review?

April 1, 2011

It’s fun to review new films and all, but it doesn’t hurt to take a second look at classics. Not everyone has seen The French Connection or The Killer or Bob Clark’s Karate Dog. This is the man who somehow manages to fit in Porky’s, Black Christmas , Baby Geniuses and A Christmas Story in a busy film career and finally gets to do something he REALLY wanted to do. It was finally time to create black-belt puppy film.

I’m not going to waste to much time as this film received all the acclaim in the world when it was released in 2004. But let’s take a look at one of the few examples when CGI was not an abomination.

Not only was it an audience pleaser, but a critical success. Roger Ebert sums up the critical reception in this Rotten Tomatoes blurb.

Ebert on Karate Dog

I’m sure that has enticed you enough to eagerly add this to your collection. The Criteiron bluray (3 Discs including stuffed Karate Dog plush) is only going to be released in November. For those who with the power to import, I’d insist on the DVD I’ve selected below. I’ve owned 8 copies of Karate Dog in search of the best transfer.

Weird Ass DVD Cover

Do not be fooled by bootlegs (which sell for over $110 on ebay). To absolutely make sure the one you are buying is the good version, ask the seller to send you an image of the disc.

Weird Ass DVD Cover
If your disc does not have the foil stamp of the P/K logo (as seen above) than you have the wrong disc.

I can’t fathom how this was not a smash in theaters as it contains bankable box office stars such as Chevy Chase who not only voiced Karate Dog, but also choreographed all the fighting himself. A masterpiece worthy of the date of review.

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