BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
BROWN GIRL BEGINS post-apocalyptic/Carribean film rethinks Black History — future now! here my mother ends, I begin.” – Here “Wlies a powerful message introduced at the inception of director Sharon Lewis’ debut full-length feature, Brown Girl Begins. Set in 2049, addiction has led to the segregation of the wealthy from the poor. The post-apocalyptic tale follows Ti-Jeanne, a young priestess faced with a life-altering decision. She must either risk resurrecting and surviving possession of the spirits responsible for the death of her own mother, or lay-witness to the demise of her people. The essence of Brown Girl Begins lies within Nalo Hopkinson’s award winning novel, Brown Girl in the Ring. When asked what ignited that inspiration, Sharon Lewis reflected passionately, “Its the first time I ever read a novel that was set in Canada – a dystopian novel that was set in Canada with Caribbean people. The idea that Nalo could take a city like Toronto in particular and paint it as a dystopia, and have this futuristic view of a place where I grew up blew my mind. I just was inspired by this idea that we could see a Canadian landscape on film in a whole different way.” Though easily warranting appreciation for the stunning visuals employed throughout, the film projects significant commentary. Lewis says, “It does speak to what’s happening now. And dystopia allows you to push it a little bit further. The kinds of polarization 5 FILMS TO SEE ... February’s must-see movies February is interconnected with the concept of love, which is shown in a variety of forms in films being shown this month. Grab a date (or yourself) to experience these classic noir/drama/thrillers firsthand at your local theatre. OSAKA ELEGY The first glance of Ayako Murai (Isuzu Yamada), in her slanted white hat, one may think she is the wife of a rich man. Kenji Mizoguchi brings to the screen the story of a switchboard operator turned prostitute to keep her father out of jail and brother in school. Murai becomes the mistress of her boss Sumiko Asai (Yôko Umemura) who has been pursuing her endlessly. Through this frank portrayal of sex work, we experience the tumultuous decisions Murai must make and the rejection she must accept. Espressokino presents Osaka Elegy at The Roasterie on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 8:00 PM Brown Girl Begins screens in Calgary as part of the Block Heater festival we’re seeing in politics right now could lead to segregation of the wealthy and poor. So that doesn’t feel that far out. “Detroit was the inspiration for Nalo, for the novel. Detroit is the city we are portraying. The idea that people have abandoned a city and the wealthy have fled, the little political governance. Detroit is on the mend now, but we’re seeing that in large American cities, portions of large American cities, and mugshots. The honeymoon phase ends abruptly when Ed is informed she cannot have children. The only logical decision? To kidnap a baby. H.I. takes pride in his new role of felon father by being chased and shot at for stealing Huggies for their abducted son, Nathan Jr. Raising Arizona screens at Eau Claire Market Cinema Friday, Feb. 2 at 9:15 PM KLUTE A tape recorder starts playing and the voice speaking creates a sense of familiarity. In this 1971 neo-noir crime-thriller, Jane Fonda plays call-girl Bree Daniels who lives in New York City. A picturesque family man goes missing and there is reason to believe Daniels is the only connection. John Klute (Donald Sutherland) plays a private detective who follows Daniels through the city built on her beguiling profession. As an audience we feel as lost in the labyrinth of sexual deviance and darkness as our leading characters who attempt to connect the dots. Calgary Cinematheque presents Klute at The Plaza Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7:00 BY BREANNA WHIPPLE what I want to do is wake Canada up to the fact that it could happen here. I think sometimes we feel very safe... but that kind of polarization in politics has been happening here in Canada, as well.” The message does not solely lie within the confines of the film, either. “Its opening across Canada but we’re doing it under a rebranding of Black History Month called Black Future Month,” explains Lewis. “We are really trying to challenge this idea of the way we look at black people in Canada, which is oftentimes to celebrate the history of blacks. Although we think that’s really important, we really, really want to push the gaze into the future.” The event in Calgary also includes musical performances by Comrade and A.Y.E., The Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Yolanda Sargeant, the latter which stars and sings in Brown Girl Begins. In summation, Lewis states her mission. “One – Let’s get woke as Canadians and see that these issues are here, not just south of the border. Two – I want young women, and women of colour to be inspired and to know that they have the power to change the circumstances that they’re living in.” Catch Brown Girl Begins at the Festival Hall during Block Heater on Saturday, Feb. 17. BY CHLOE LAWSON romance than a director/estranged husband demanding the leading star to terminate her symbolic red hair? In this film noir of smoke and funhouse mirrors Orson Welles plays Michael O’Hara who becomes spellbound with the striking blonde Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth) after her husband hires him as one of his seamen. Among the dark depths of the unpredictable ocean the two discover love, murder, and that everybody is somebody’s fool. The Lady from Shanghai will screen at the Globe Cinema on Tuesday, Feb. 20. STRANGER THAN PARADISE A young woman places her two bags down and turns on her cassette player. She continues walking down the desolate street as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins belts out “I Put a Spell on You”. This Jim Jarmusch flick tells the tale of Willie (John Lurie) who takes in his Hungarian cousin, Eva (Eszter Balint) in battered early ‘8os’ borough of NYC. Willie’s friend, Eddie (Richard Edson) joins them on a road trip to paradise, aka Florida. With dry amusement we watch human existence as this film takes us into its subjective realm. Like Eddie says, “You come someplace new and everything looks just the same.” Stranger Than Paradise screens at the Globe Cinema on Saturday, Feb. 24. RAISING ARIZONA Living by one’s true nature can be difficult due to upbringing and “screwed up” genes, according to felon H.I. McDonnough (Nicholas Cage). In this dark comedy Joel Cohen shows life through the revolving door of the justice system. H.I. meets THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI his wife, Ed (Holly Hunter) an officer who routinely takes his What way would better represent crippling Hollywood 16 | FEBRUARY 2018 • BEATROUTE FILM
Blade Runner 2049 Geostorm It Jigsaw FILM The Battle of the Sexes The most sexist thing about sport is that female athletes pay double what men pay for steroids. Back in the ‘70s, however, the sport in this dramedy capitalized off that inequality. To prove superiority over women, and feed his gambling addiction, former #1 Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) comes out of retirement to challenge current top-female tennis player Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) to a bout. While initially refusing, the closeted King eventually agrees to face the chauvinist on the court. In the process, however, the marriages of both players disintegrate. With a comedic supporting cast on hand to facilitate its talented leads, this true story provides the backstory of the oddball pair that has always been missing from the much-ballyhooed match. Moreover, its socially conscience subject matter mirrors our current climate of social change. Lastly, men and women can be equal in sport so long as men don’t wear cups. Blade Runner 2049 The downside to having a robotic lover is that your romantic baths always end in electrocution. Smartly, the Blade Runner in this sci-fi thriller keeps his sex-bot on his frontal lobe. K (Ryan Gosling) is an engineered human employed by the LAPD for the purpose of tracking down and liquidating maverick replicates. When he learns of a replicate that reproduced, K’s superior (Robin Wright) orders him to kill the offspring before the manufacturer (Jared Leto) can exploit the glitch. K’s search for the lost lovechild finds him face-to-face with the Blade Runner who held his position previously, Deckard (Harrison Ford). A visual feast with absorbing concepts but measured pacing and a taxing runtime, this long awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s book is a worthy successor to the equally sluggish original. Incidentally, when delivering a mechanical baby make sure not to cut the wrong cord. Bright If magic were real than sawing someone in half would not end in a jail sentence. Fortunately, the alternate earth in this action-fantasy has seen a recent increase in enchantment. In a world where Tolkien-type creatures live in harmony alongside humanity, LAPD officer Ward (Will Smith) and his Orkish partner Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) are tasked with maintaining that delicate balance. But an elf (Lucy Fry) with a magic wand being sought by a dark elf (Noomi Rapace) - intent on reviving the Dark Lord - threatens that harmony. Now, the odd couple must protect the girl and the wish-granting wand whilst battling their own demons. A paint-by-numbers buddy-picture, Netflix’s first foray into blockbuster territory is a tepid one. While the concept is serviceable, the racial comparisons are bordering on offensive. Moreover, the action, dialogue and character designs are all questionable. Worse, the Orc’s rap album sold more than Will Smith’s last one. Geostorm Extreme weather isn’t global warming; it’s God trying to wipe out humanity again. Thankfully, this disaster movie has a Noah of its own to protect the wayward sinners. When a system of satellites he designed to control Earth’s climate begins to attack it, the ousted Jake (Gerard Butler) is asked to return to the International Climate Space Station by his replacement, his brother, Max (Jim Sturgess). Jake is hesitant to help his former employer until he sees the damage his creation is wreaking across the world. But when Jake discovers that the White House planted the glitch, his and his daughter’s lives are endangered. With a hokey premise that takes itself deadly serious, this super-nature thriller is a gentle breeze from being a movie-of theweek. Bad writing, ham-fisted acting and corny SPFX further feed this shit-storm. Furthermore, if humanity controlled weather then all wars would be fought over the thermostat. It The public is afraid of clowns because they don’t want to have to eat a Big Mac. Thankfully, the mischief-maker in this horror movie is not a corporate mascot. The summer after his brother vanished down a storm drain, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and his friends (Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer) head out in search of the body. Along the way they recruit more members (Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs) with knowledge of the town’s missing child epidemic. The gang eventually links the disappearances to a demonic clown (Bill Skarsgård) living in the sewer system. The first feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s infamous jester Pennywise, newcomer Skarsgård nails the creepy clown, making the scary moments even more so. Condensed THE VIDIOT rewind to the future BY SHANE SELLAR compared to the 1990 miniseries, this streamlined version is a flawless fright-fest. Incidentally, the only one powerful enough to defeat an evil clown is a kid’s party magician. Jigsaw The worst thing about taking hostages is that Stockholm syndrome obligates you to send them all Christmas cards. Even the killer in this horror movie has empathized with his victims over the years. The deceased Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back in action, welcoming new captors (Laura Vandervoort, Brittany Allen, Mandela Van Peebles) to his complex torture tests designed to draw confessions of past sins from each. As the hostages struggle for survival in captivity, dead bodies begin appearing around the city leading detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) to suspect that a copycat killer is responsible. Borrowing heavily from previous installments for its two major plot twists, this eighth chapter of the floundering franchise is predictable to anyone with a passing familiarity with the series. While Jigsaw’s traps are inventive, the largely Canadian cast is hammy. And remember the ransom for a Canadian hostage is half due to the exchange rate. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Wonder Woman was created because Batman hitting Catwoman didn’t look good. Ironically, this drama displays how the Amazonian Princess was forged from S&M. Fired from his teaching position for his relationship between a student (Bella Heathcote) and his wife (Rebecca Hall), William Marston (Luke Evans) draws inspiration from his feminist viewpoint, his fetish leanings and his invention – the lie detector – to create the first female super-hero. But when he and his publisher Max Gaines (Oliver Platt) are called before a decency commission for the BDSM imagery in the comics, Marston’s paradise comes crashing down. The kinky beginnings of an icon for female empowerment, this Wonder Woman origin story doesn’t exploit the creator’s lifestyle choices, but instead offers compassion. With dedicated performances across the board, this titillating true tale shines a whole new light on the 75-year-old warrior woman. And here everyone thought The Flash was DC Comics only sexual deviant. He’s a First–Class Clown. He’s the… Vidiot BEATROUTE • FEBRUARY 2018 | 17