First off, let's raise a glass to the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) for bringing so many kickass flicks to town, including The Void a Canadian-made zombie-esque horror/sci-fi genre-blender that ought to revitalize the practical special effects aesthetic for a new generation the way Pumpkinhead acted as a sort of swansong for mine.
As a smaller market, Whistler only gets epic independent movies like The Void once a year, if we're lucky (thanks WFF), but keep an eye out for this one in Vancouver or online.
The good news is that other WFF flicks like Miss Sloane, La La Land and Lion are slated for wide release this month, so if you missed them over the festival you'll still get a chance to see these awards-season contenders. And watch for Switchback's The Highway when it drops online. It's a touching story with a true local flavour.
Congratulations are also in order for local writer-director Sharai Rewels winning the Canon Hi5 challenge with her short film Binary Lullaby. Find it on YouTube if you haven't already watched it due to the beg-for-"Likes" voting process (Film Fests need to cut that process out, social media is for commerce, not art), but regardless, congrats Sharai and her excellent team.
In the Village 8 this week, there's only one new flick opening. The good news is Office Christmas Party is a Christmas movie for adults with lots of sex, booze and foul language. The bad news is it stars Jennifer Aniston, but the good-bad news is this one looks to give her a sort of classy bitch role (she thinks she's soooo-phisticated), so we might see her have a little fun like she did in We're the Millers (her second biggest flick financially, right above the one with the yellow dog, Marley and Me.)
There were no pre-screenings for Office Christmas Party but we do know it is directed from the team behind Blades Of Glory, that funny-but-forgettable ice-skating flick with Will Ferrell and the guy who could never escape being Napoleon Dynamite. This one looks overstuffed, but since most Christmas movies are as appealing as hitting dogshit with your snowblower, this might not be that bad. If you want true grown-up holiday cheer, however, cue up The Night Before.
Arrival is also playing and it's likely the best sci-fi of the year (how much confidence do you have in Star Wars: Rogue One?), so be sure to check it out. Director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is Canadian, too.
The punk-rock documentary of the week is probably as hardcore as it gets. Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies is a Todd Phillips-directed (Old School, The Hangover) doc about the dude who seemed like he wanted to be more punk than punk. He used to stick things in his ass and take shits on stage, piss on his audiences and justify it by saying stuff like, "My body is a rock'n'roll temple, so my bodily fluids are a communion for the people."
Surely, the spectacle surpassed the music for all but the most gnarly and well-schooled punkers, but the spirit was definitely there. For this flick, a film-school project, Phillips combines raw concert footage, interviews from Allin's high-school teachers, and clips from a Geraldo talk show appearance, all in search of the question, why? Or perhaps, why not?
Allin will seem insane to most objective, rational people, but there is a pretty good chance he was just bored. And there's nothing worse/better than a bored punk rocker.
For all his originality, GG Allin died in rock'n'roll fashion — from a heroin overdose. But this is also a dude who repeatedly promised to blow his head off onstage at a show, so is the overdose a relief? In other news, U.S. guitar sales were up for 2015, reaching their highest point in over a decade. Good news except further research indicates that's because prices are higher, not that more units were shipped.
Stick it to The Man!