You got a law against loud music?
Kevin Bacon asks that in the 1984 classic Footloose before he punch-dances his way through a town full of tight-assed hillbillies to save the day. And yet now, 31 years later, the town of Taber, Alberta, has enacted a bylaw that would make even Kevin Bacon shake his head.
Just a few hundred clicks south of Calgary, Taber is home to about 8,000 poor suckers whose elected town council just passed a bylaw that makes it illegal to "allow or permit any electronic equipment, musical instruments, vehicles or any other devices to be sounded or used in any area of the Town of Taber, that may, or is likely, to disturb others." It's life imitating art, only worse.
The law also prohibits more than three people (adults, kids, anyone) to gather anywhere at anytime and establishes an 11 p.m. curfew for anyone under the age of 16. It also outlaws swearing and spitting, criminalizes bake sales as "panhandling" and if a 10-year-old kid gets caught writing graffiti his parents are on the hook for $2,500 bucks, the first time — a third offence will cost $7,500.
Town officials don't seem ready to talk to the media yet, but the bylaw looks to be a pretty obvious violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and probably won't last long. In the meantime, everyone is waiting for a Bacon-esque hero to saunter in off the prairie and save the day with a nifty country-ballet punch-dance fusion and a no-surrender attitude. As such, Footloose is the download of the week. I prefer the 1984 original because it has Bacon and Chris Penn but the 2011 remake was actually a decent update with Julianne Hough playing the kind of bad-girl country princess who can also tight-jeans dance her way right into your heart.
At the Village 8 this week, another sort of princess hits the screen with Disney's Cinderella, a live-action take on the classic tale starring Lily James (Downton Abbey) in the title role, Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There) as the wicked stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club) as the Fairy Godmother.
It's obviously aimed at kids (the story has never been overly complex, and no one severs their own toes in this one either) but Shakespearean director Kenneth Brannagh infuses the film with enough colour and faith in the source material that it works as a straight-up fairy tale. I wouldn't call it a feminist landmark but Cinderella totes the value of human kindness and has been crafted well enough to be worthwhile.
Also opening, Run All Night is the latest Liam-Neeson-kicks-a-bunch-of-ass movie. There were no pre-screeners for this one but the trailer lays it out fairly well. Neeson plays a mob-hitman who has to protect his estranged son from a super-pissed-off crime kingpin played by Ed Harris (A History of Violence, Apollo 13).
It's a no holds barred single night of mayhem, fury and slow-motion gunplay. It's unlikely Run All Night will bring anything new to the action genre but director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, Unknown) is no stranger to shoot-em-ups and this is his third consecutive Neeson action flick so you have to suspect they have a pretty decent handle on things. To build tension Collet-Serra employs a trendy "ending-first" frame structure to add tension and early word is Run All Night is inspired by Michael Mann's Heat, so that's promising. Expect this one to be worthwhile.
On a much sadder note, the local film community lost one of our best last weekend as musician, sound engineer and all-around king of radness Ryan Tapp passed away in a house fire outside of Nelson, B.C.
Ryan's incredible behind-the-scenes talents helped Conrad Schapansky win "Best in Show" at the 2013 WSSF Filmmaker Showdown with the film Katch Up. There was no dialogue in that flick so Ryan's music and sound work played a huge role in the victory. He was also the sonic backbone of numerous entries in the Heavy Hitting HorrorFest and Ryan's creativity, generosity and inspirational spirit will be sorely missed.
So please, pour some on the block and crank up the music this weekend for a beautiful soul taken way too soon. Ryan Tapp, we love you.