HAPPY CANADA DAY, OR, AS I LIKE TO CALL IT, "DOMINION DAY"!
Eh, come to think of it, "Dominion Day" is only called "Canada Day" because some people can't stand the concept of having a Queen, but, either way, today is Quebec separatist's least favourite day of the year, so, whatever you call it, it's all good.
July 1st is also known in Montreal as "Moving Day"
, as it's the traditional day leases expire, so tens of thousands of people move from one place to another, hoping that the other place has been vacated in time. It's a nightmare trying to get a moving company, so a lot of people go the "rent a U-Haul van or a trailer and bribe your friends with beer n' pizza" route. A few years ago, I think 1999, I was in Exeter, Devonshire, England on Canada Day and they actually showed a documentary on "Moving Day" in Montreal on the BBC (with a real asshole independent contractor mover), which was just bizarre, seeing a documentary about where I live some 1800 miles or so away.
My favourite Canada Day memories are 1992, when I went to a free show at the Old Port from Canada's 125th birthday, and the area in front of the stage was sealed off for VIPs, but, the crowd was so crushingly big that they had to let some of us sit on the ground right in front of the stage, and I got to see such single name Quebec védettes
as Kathleen, Virginie*, and, of course, Mitsou, the "Canadian Madonna"** most recently seen in Denys Arcand's Barbarian Invasions
. That was a lot of fun, and I think I even touched Mitsou's hand.
The other memoriable Canada Day I had was in 1998, when I was also in England, and I went to the Maple Leaf Pub, below Molson's European headquarters, on Maiden Lane near Covent Garden, and it was just neat being with a whole bunch of Canadians outside Canada. Not that I talked to anyone in particular. :( I think that was also the same day I went to the Tate Gallery which was then in Pimlico to see the Warhols, and I brought my photo of my lovely former pen-pal A____ _____*** because she liked Warhol, and I lost it in the gallery. Oh, and I was wandering around the less touristy residential part of Westminster near the Thames, and I was wearing an Oh My Goddess!
t-shirt and a girl with an American accent came up to me and asked where I got it and I told her that I ordered it from The Right Stuf in Des Moines, Iowa.
Yes, those were lame wandering anecdotes that go nowhere... but life isn't like TV and there usually aren't coherent story arcs.
* Virginie was a hot teenager, at the time, who sang this song called "Secrets Devoilés" with this video that they showed a fair bit on Musique Plus which I... erm... enjoyed watching by myself many times. She seemed to drop off the face of the Earth after 1992... I can't find anything about her on the Internet other than confirming the name of the song was indeed "Secrets Devoilés". Of course, it would be easier if I knew her last name.
** so named by Entertainment Tonight for her music video "Dis-Moi", set in a bathroom featuring nude models and Mitsou herself raised her arms at the end of the video to bare her boobs, except they were hidden by the back of a chair. What a fucking gyp!
STEPHEN STEPPING DOWN?
No, not me, duh. :P (If I ever didn't feel like doing this anymore, like I felt for a while from around May to July last year, I'd just stop without telling you guys. Goodbye messages are too self-indulgent for my tastes.)
Harper raises possibility of stepping down
"Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper suggests he is considering the possibility of stepping aside, after leading his party through a disappointing election campaign.
When asked Tuesday whether he was thinking of resigning, Harper responded: "I'm always willing to serve, so I'm going to take a little time with my family ... And obviously, I'm already talking to people across the country."
Harper said he will make a decision by the end of summer.
John Reynolds, who co-chaired Harper's leadership bid, said Harper should stay, noting no party won a majority.
While raising doubts about his future, Harper added he's proud that his party achieved one of the strongest oppositions in recent memory. "I think the Liberal Party will obviously now have to listen.
"My sense of it is our people are pretty happy of where we've come in a short period of time.""
I sure hope he doesn't step down. Unlike with Stockwell Day, who is probably a nice enough guy and probably a good MP but who was lacking a certain "gravitas" which you need to be an effective Prime Minister, with Stephen Harper, I didn't have to bite my tongue and pretend I didn't notice his weaknesses and gaffes for the sake of presenting a common front to the voting public since I haven't really noticed any such drawbacks with Harper. Even his alleged sins for allegedly questioning abortion rights and special rights for gays, if you actually look at what he's saying, he really only supports free votes for matters of the conscience rather than imposing a party line.
So, enjoy your summer, Steve, but please come back. You are still very much wanted as leader.
2004 FANTASIA FESTIVAL PREVIEW
(Image to come later, but Photobucket seems to be down today)
The complete listing of movies to be screened at Fantasia this year is up
at the Fantasia site
. From an anime standpoint, we have about as much as we get most years, but, this year, it seems to be more films that aren't too new. It's also at Concordia's Hall Theatre again rather than the Imperial Theatre, where it was held up to 2001... better seating, but not the same ambience. Oh well.
This is not a complete list of things showing this year, just things I am interested in discussing.
Angel's Egg, Mamoru Oshii, 1985:
I've seen this a couple of times at my now-defunct anime club, and, as you know, Mamoru Oshii's Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer
is my all-time favourite anime film, so I wanted to like Angel's Egg
, made soon after. But... AAUGH! Nothing much happens in this film! It's just a bunch of beautiful characters, designed by Final Fantasy
series character designer Yoshitaka Amano (though, yes, this film predates the first Final Fantasy
), standing around in a mysterious place full of symbolism and subtext, being deep and introspective, and not even talking all that much. Sorry, it's one of the most pretentious anime films I have ever seen and it bored me silly.
Band of Ninja, Nagisa Oshima, 1967:
Nagisa Oshima is a renowned Japanese live-action filmmaker, and Band of Ninja
is his one stab at pseudo-anime, with a camera panning over panels in a manga comic, for an effect presumably very similar to the "manga" sequences of FLCL
Cutey Honey, Hideaki Anno, 2004:
Out of everything this year, I'm probably looking forward to this the most. You just gotta love Hideaki Anno
... he makes one series, Neon Genesis Evangelion
, which is an above-average series, but it's full of pretentious symbolism, pseudo-intellectualism, and empty religious iconography
(and most of the second half of the End of Evangelion
film was just awful student film shite), so the Evangelion
fanboys wait for years for him to do something equally as "deep", and he follows it up with... His and Her Circumstances
(Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
), a romantic high school shoujo
series. SO the fanboys wait some more, and he directs this, a live-action version of Go Nagai
's seminal manga/anime series, Cutey Honey
, one of the few mahou shoujo
(magical girl) series to feature a sexy "adult" heroine, though, technically, she's an android so I don't know why the "magical girl" label applies, but, yes, Mayukh, since people widely recongize her as being a "magical girl", I call her a "magical girl". And, after making this, Hideako Anno is directing a brand new Cutey Honey
animated series! So the fan boys expect him to create another Evangelion
and Anno delivers a subtext-light live-action and animated "jiggle fest". That is just too cool for words.
Dead Leaves, Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2004:
The only one of 2004's big anime films to screen at the 2004 Fantasia Festival, and it's only an hour long. I don't know much about this, but, apparently, it doesn't look much at all like traditional anime, and it has a lot of hyperfrenetic FLCL
Gate to Heaven, Veit Helmer, 2003:
If you liked Steven Speilberg's The Terminal
, this might be up your alley; a German film about a Russian refugee (Valera Nikolaev) who escapes from the holding area at Frankfurt airport and gets a forged I.D. and begins a new life as a baggage handler who dreams of becoming a pilot and who becomes enamored after glimpsing an Indian cleaning lady (Masumi Makhija) who dreams of becoming a flight attendant. If only he could find her in a giant maze of 14 000 rooms that is like a strange country in and of itself.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV SERIES), Kenji Kamiyama, 2002:
Not to be confused with Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2
Mamoru Oshii's recent sequel to 1996's Ghost in the Shell
, this is the first four episodes of the 2002 TV series based on Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell
manga, with the cybernetic cop Major Motoko Kusanagi and the rest of Section 9 battling hackers and other computer-related crimes. Supposedly this has more comic relief than the films do.
Goldorak: Les grandes aventures (TV SERIES), 1977:
A few episodes from the French dub of Go Nagai's giant robot series, Grandizer
, which was popular in Quebec in the early 1980s as Goldorak
. Not that I watched it, but I didn't watch much French-language TV, period.
Hamtaro et le club des Ham-Hams, Osamu Nabeshima, 2002:
. On the big screen. Dubbed in French. Ham-fucking-taro. Be still my beating heart. I wouldn't bother seeing this even if it were subtitled or dubbed in English, unless, of course, it had a sequence based on this spoof erotic Hamtaro fan-fic from SomethingAwful.com
with Hamtaro the hamster taking care of certain of Laura's "needs" in the most unorthodox of ways.
The Man Who Saved The World, Celtin Inanc, 1982:
The infamous Turkish Star Wars rip-off
, complete with pilfered footage and music.
One Missed Call, Takashi Miike, 2003:
Not that I'm personally a Miike fan, but this one sounds interesting. People start getting phone calls from themselves, three days in the future, screaming, and everyone that gets such a call dies just after making the call. So, Natsumi, who has received one of these calls, decides to get an on-air exorcism while her friend Yumi investigates what's behind the calls. If this one gets an American remake à la Ring
, expect Bob Larson
, of touring stage
"exorcism" and Christian radio infamy, to make it out to be a personal attack.
Paranoia Agent (TV SERIES), Satoshi Kon, 2004:
A few episodes of the television series from Perfect Blue
director Satoshi Kon, which is a suspenseful drama about people's paranoia over attacks in the Tokyo district of Musashino from a kid with a baseball bat. Or something like that. Offical Paranoia Agent site (Japanese.)
Speaking of Satoshi Kon, see the entry for Tokyo Godfathers
Porco Rosso, Hayao Miyazaki, 1992: Porco Rosso
is the last film Hayao Miyazaki made before making the two films, both severely overrated
, for which he is most recognized by North American critics, Princess Mononoke
and Spirited Away
. It's set in the 1920s and is about an aging pilot from World War I who falls in love with a cabaret singer and who finds himself at odds with the rise of fascism in Europe. Also, he's under some sort of curse and gets the face of a pig. This is the new Disney dub, with Michael Keaton providing the voice of Marco Porcellino, made for the Region 1 DVD, which was to be released in August but which has been delayed, presumably to coincide with the domestic release of Howl's Moving Castle
. I've seen it a couple of times, fan-subbed, but many years ago so I can't give that good an opinion, though I almost certainly do like it more than Spirited Away
and Princess Mononoke
. Definitely looking forward to seeing a theatrical print of that.
Tokyo Godfathers, Satoshi Kon, 2003:
This is a loose animated remake of John Ford's Three Godfathers
, and it's a Japanese Christmas through the eyes of three Tokyo vagrants; Miyuki, a runaway teenaged girl who found life under her police officer father to be too strict, "Uncle Bag", an aging transvestite, and Gin, a grizzled alcoholic, who find an abandoned baby and find themselves in an almost Seinfeld
-ian series of interconnecting events and comic misadventures, with an awful lot of unlikely conicidences, as they try and return the baby (who, rumor has it, is a reincarnation of Chiyoko from Millennium Actress
) to her parents. Montreal is getting this a year late. Satoshi Kon's first feature length film, Perfect Blue
, and second feature length film, Millennium Actress
, had their world premieres at Fantasia in 1997 and 2001 repsectively (and I was at the world premiere of Millennium Actress and got to see Kon in person
), but Kon premiered Tokyo Godfathers
at Big Apple Anime Fest last year, and the minimal theatrical release of Tokyo Godfathers
didn't even make it to Montreal and I didn't get a chance to see it until it was already out on DVD. And only now does a theatrical print finally make it to Montreal, after it's out on DVD. Just like with Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
last year. Anyways, it's a entertaining-enough film, but much more straightforward than Kon's other two films. Maybe I'll catch it anyway.
Wonderful Days, Moon-saeng Kim, 2003:
This is the film that anime boards and the Rotten Tomatoes forum were all agog about at the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 because of one cool-looking trailer, and many people were thinking that it would do to the popularity of Korean animation in North America what Akira
and Ghost in the Shell
did to the popularity of Japanese animation in North America; maybe not quite make it mainstream, but certainly create a niche for the stuff. Then the film hit the screens in Korea with kind of a thud, and word started filtering out from people who had seen it that the film's only merit are its visuals, and the characters and story are completely uninteresting, and the buzz for this film kind of evaporated. I may still give it a chance, but that picture they use in most publicity, including the page for this film on the Fantasia site, with two characters holding their guns in a kewl
"Mexican standoff" in front of a kewl
stained-glass window kind of reeks of them trying to make it "kewl" like Cowboy Bebop
, and I'm not particularly into things which I might have found "kewl" a few years ago.
I was hoping that we'd get to see Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy
concurrent with the Japanese release on July 17th, but that was kind of a pipedream. I'm a lot more surprised that we aren't getting Mamoru Oshii's Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2
, which has been out in Japan for several months and will soon be getting a limited release in North America through Dreamworks. And, speaking of things that were screened at Cannes this year, I was also kind of expecting 2046 from Wong Kar-Wai
, the film that, from what I hear about it, should have won the Palme D'Or except that the judges and audience were Eurotrash and Hollywood liberals who hate George W. Bush. I was also hoping that they'd screen OH! Mikey
, the bizarre Japanese live-action comedy with a cast composed entirely of mannequins, which Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons glowingly reviewed at SomethingAwful.com here
. I was going to ask AnimeNewsNetwork.com editor Christopher Macdonald (Tempest
) about looking into getting that for Fantasia but never got around to it. Oh well. I wonder if anyone asked them to show Fat Girls' Club from Studio DEBU
? That one might be a little hard to find, for reasons I won't repeat here.
Tickets go on sale July 6th. Check the Fantasia festival site
KEN JENNINGS UPDATE...
Regarding recurring Jeopardy
winner Ken Jennings, who I discussed yesterday,
, tonight, on Jeopardy
, during the contestant interview segment, Ken Jennings decided to play show-and-tell and showed off... a small plush Totoro! As in the cat-bear-thingie from Hayao Miyazaki's classic 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro
, my second favourite Miyazaki film after Kiki's Delivery Service
! And he bought it in Japan!
All I can say is... look out, Pierre Bernard
! Should the Totoro make another Jeopardy
appearance, domestic anime geeks might have a new hero of the month!
TO ALL LOYAL, NON-TREASONOUS, FEDERALIST CANADIANS IN THE VAUDREUIL-SOULANGES RIDING...
From Elections Canada:
Bloc Québécois: Meili Faille 23,289 43.8% X
Conservative: Robert Ramage 4,384 8.2%
Green Party: Julie Baribeau 2,034 3.8%
Liberal: Nick Discepola 20,808 39.1%
Marijuana Party: Charles Soucy 553 1.0%
N.D.P.: Bert Markgraf 2,085 3.9
Total number of valid votes: 53,153
Polls reporting: 240/252
Voter turnout: 53,153 of 84,880 registered electors (62.6%)
While I'm very upset that a seditionist traitor got elected in a federalist riding, and it is indeed a fucking tragedy, all I can say to you Liberal voters is... don't blame me. While I liked Nick Discepola as an MP just fine, I have never voted Liberal in my life, therefore my vote wasn't Nick Discepola's to lose. It's Paul Martin's fault that he called the election while still tainted by this sponsorship thing (and you can get my nuanced position on that here
, though, in short, I think some degree of federalist propaganda is unfortunately necessary to counter the best part of three decades' worth of separatist propaganda from the Quebec government). And he called the election for June 28th, which I don't think was a terribly good idea, just four days after "Saint-Jean Baptiste", the day of the year when nationalistic feelings are at their peak. Since only about 63% of the registered voters in this riding actually voted, I would hope that the Liberals in this province get their act together next time and get more of your base out and voting, since I'm not part of your base and you can't expect me to vote for you guys as the anti-separatist option. Since it is a minority government, the next election may not be too far off.
AS FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY...
Meh... just, meh. The Conservatives, while still making gains, didn't quite get enough seats, meaning that they won't form a minority government and dismantle the meddlesome CRTC, letting me watch Cartoon Network and Fox News without a C-Band satellite dish at long last
, and also meaning that Canada won't bring its dilapidated armed forces up to scratch, letting Canada join the Coalition of the Willing to defeat the global Islamofascist terrorist menace, and more liberation for the Middle Eastern people, and leading to more fractuous relations with the United States until the next election, unless that waffling pussy Kerry wins down south, of course, in which case the United States would get closer to Canada in terms of appeasing terrorists. And the Liberals, with their minority government, have to form a coalition with the NDP, forcing the Liberals further to the left, so who knows what wacky Idiotarian policies are in the wings?
Goddamn, today's results fucking suck.
Well, the Liberals didn't lose my vote, since I have never voted Liberal in my life so it wasn't theirs to lose, and I wasn't seriously expecting my man, Conservative Robert Ramage, to win here, but it seems that the treasonous Meili Faille from the Treason Party, the Bloc Quebecois, will be our new MP if these numbers hold up...
Hmm... it seems that she was indeed elected. So, in a spirit of amicable democracy and graciousness, I would like to tell 43% of voters in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges riding to suck it, and, to Ms. Faille, enjoy living in Ottawa, the proud capital of Canada in which Quebec is a province, you stupid, treasonous, [okay, writing out the b-word is a bit too harsh, but I mean it, and, by "b-word", I mean "Bloc-head"... what else could I mean?].
Sorry... actually, no, I'm not sorry; the Bloc Quebecois bastards are trying to break apart my country and are crowing about separation tonight, which they flat-out lied to the Quebec public about not being an issue this time around, and that's how I feel and I'm just being honest and I'm not watering down my emotions to make them palatable to politically-correct ears. I'm loyal to Her Majesty and hate that a treasonous separatist is now my representative in the house of Parliament.
Well, enjoy these pictures, which I shall post in a minute.
The flag of people who aren't traitors.
Future map of the Banana Republic of Quebec and the Canadian Province of West Quebec.
Getting Toronto Maple Leafs sweaters by mistake is cool.
I am, you know I am. I am Canadian!
Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog
ALEX TREBEK HAS MET HIS MORIARTY!
Alex Trebek has met his Moriarty, and his name is Ken Jennings, a software engineer from Salt Lake City, Utah,
, who has, as of this evening's episode of Jeopardy
, has has an unprecedented 19 episode winning streak, with total winnings of $622 760 big American greenbacks
used to have a five-day limit for winners, but they lifted that at the beginning of the current season, which runs until July 23rd.
Alex is running out of things to ask Ken about during the "contestant interview" segments after the first commercial break.
How much further can Jennings go?
Well, these episodes were filmed in February, so some people out there must know.
And some alleged information has leaked out.
At least if this Google Groups post by someone whose name appears to be Cathy Wells is to be believed.
While Ken Jennings himself, currently at home in Utah, isn't talking at all, possibly because of some non-disclosure agreement, Alex Trebek apparently, again, if the post I linked to is to be believed (and I have no way of confirming that), he said how many games Ken Jennings had won to some of the Tournament of Champions contestants.
I won't say exactly how many, but, let's just say, get used to Ken Jennings, because you'll be seeing him for quite a while yet.
And, for the people who would complain about "Game Show spoilers", geez, why did you think I was pressing ENTER so many times? I don't need to say the S word. They shouldn't tape these things months in advance because of the possibility of a continuing returning contestant like Ken Jennings, because you know people will start talking.
ON CANADIAN ELECTION DAY, AN EARTHQUAKE ROCKS OTTAWA!!!
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 NUMBER ONE? WHOOP-DE-FREAKING-DOO...
Assuming the weekend estimates are accurate, three million people saw Michael Moore's hate-Bush tinfoil-hat Indymedia wacko "What REALLY happened" conspiracy fest diatribe-cum-"documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11
(yes, I am trolling for BLOGDEX hits, thank you very much).
'Fahrenheit 9/11' Ignites Box Office Passion
by Brandon Gray
June 27, 2004
HOLLYWOOD (Box Office Mojo) ·Around three million people elected Fahrenheit 9/11 to be the No. 1 movie of America.
Incensing as many as it's entrancing, writer-director Michael Moore's Bush bash celebrated over the weekend with an estimated $21.8 million at 868 theaters, Lions Gate trumpeted on Sunday along with co-distributors IFC Films and the Fellowship Adventure Group -- the latter quickly formed by Miramax chiefs Bob and Harvey Weinstein to release the $6 million picture after buying it back from corporate parent Disney. Less than $10 million was spent on prints and advertising, less than a third of the average Hollywood release.
With $21.958 million in the till since its record-breaking debut in New York City on Wednesday, Fahrenheit 9/11 is already the highest grossing documentary of all time -- excluding large format, concert and other non-"apples-to-apples" sub-genres ·surpassing Moore's own Bowling for Columbine's $21.6 million lifetime gross.
Eh, I'll admit that the turnout exceeded my expectations. I was expecting it to do well in the liberal meccas but flatline in "flyover country". I guess I didn't take into account that the scattered anti-Bush fringe outside of the top five markets would drive long distances to get to the one of the few theatres in most states playing this thing. Well, at least I get the satisfaction out of knowing that, if so many people had to drive long distances to see it, they had to burn a lot of Middle East-drilled gasoline to do so while risking getting crushed by much larger vehicles in their high-mileage-but-deadly-in-crash-tests "econo-boxes", knowing the sort of cars Moore supporters must drive. Not counting the Volvo-driving sub-nacene of liberalism, of course... they burn more fuel but are protected by a nice steel cage (so, if they get in an accident, they live but feel guilty about the mileage).
As a proud Canadian fan of the great president
, George W. Bush, I'm not overly concerned, seeing as how the sort of people who would see a Michael Moore "documentary" generally wouldn't be Bush-supporters to begin with. At least not the bulk of the audience. It's about 1% of the American population going out to see this thing and I'm easily willing to bet that if you were going to take a poll of the voting intentions of people going in, of those that are even going to bother voting in November, it will be either for Kerry or Nader or someone more wacko than them. Plus, a lot of theatres are waiving enforcement of the R-rating, letting teenagers in, many of who won't be 18 in November.
All it means that the Bush war room and all professional Bush apologist columnists and pundits, plus those of us unprofessional "digital brown shirts"
(hmm... I should buy a few more brown shirts just for Al), need to be a little more proactive in countering the conspiracy theories, but we still have three months with which to do so. And the popularity of this film is very much a double-edged sword for Moore supporters since it will also bring Moore critics like Michael Wilson (director of Michael Moore Hates America)
, David T. Hardy
, Jason Clarke of Moorelies.com
(who co-authoured Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man
along with Hardy), and Jim and Lee over at Moorewatch.com
, who will come to the limelight to debunk Moore's conspiracy-spinning. Moorewatch.com has been getting so much more traffic over the past couple of days that it had to switch to a backup server
. (Great review, guys
With a wider release, the per screen average is going to drop drastically, and I et the majority of people who were going to see this have seen this by now. In any event, it was a weak weekend at the box office with no real blockbusters opening, and it will be buried alive by Spider-Man 2
over the 4th of July holiday weekend next week.
Even though the previous Howl article is directly below this one, I'll put this link since it will be archived on a different page.
Hmm... Rotten Tomatoes forum poster seba_boi
corrected me about one mistaken perception I had about the Howl's Moving Castle
trailer in this thread
Ah... Howl isn't the character that looks like Haku from Spirited Away
, which Darwin's Beagle
thinks is some character called "Michael". Howl is, in fact, the blonde girl I thought was one of Sophie's stepsisters! Yeah, I guess it would make sense including the title character in more than one brief shot in the trailer, unless Miyazaki was pulling an Akira
, wherein the title character is in a bunch of jars in a research facility.
Well, that certainly explains why the blonde girl looked significantly different from most of the other girls Miayzaki draws. And why he looks gentle in some scenes but mischevous in others.
In other words, Hayao Miyazaki created an actual bishounen
) character, and a very attractive one too. My anticipation for Howl's Moving Castle
just went up a notch! And I think I just might have to add another character to the list of anime characters I'll admit to having gay crushes on (which also includes, of those I'll admit, Bridget from Guilty Gear XX
and Yuki Sohma
and Kyou Sohma
from Fruits Basket
That factor alone almost ensures I'll enjoy Howl's Moving Castle
more than Spirited Away
Also, Lawrence Lin of Nausicaa.net
has put the trailer here
(.avi format). Please right click to save.