A & E






Newspapers & Magazines




Web / Tech

October 13, 2015

Justin Trudeau: Meaning of a Liberal Government for Canada

Justin Trudeau, Canada's next Prime Minister?Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at a campaign event in Vaughan, Ont., on Oct. 8, 2015. The election of a Liberal government in Ottawa could prove transformative for Canadians.

Although pollster Michael Marzolini states to War Room writer Warren Kinsella in an October 12th article in The Hill Times that support for the Conservatives is "extremely understated", that although support for the Conservatives is ...

"very weak among young voters, and amongst all the demographics that don't tend to vote, in hard numbers, when one factors in that Conservative support is almost exclusively among high turnout groups, including seniors (whose turnout rate is almost double that of voters aged 18-44)", at which point in the article, Mr. Marzolini ..."

... goes on to predict 37% Conservative support on election night, October 19th, to 32% support for the Liberals and 27% support for the New Democrats, VanRamblings will take as an article of faith that the Forum Research, Nanos Research, Angus Reid and the plethora of other reputable polling companies cannot possibly be understating support for the Conservatives by 9%, and that the distinguished Mr. Marzolini is dreaming in technicolour, and that next Monday, we will in fact elect a minority Liberal government. VanRamblings will proceed today to post about what the election of a Liberal government to Ottawa will mean for all Canadians across our land. In the meantime, we would plead with you to get out to vote, in order to stave off the potential for a soul destroying Tory victory.

In 2015, there are 650,000 Canadian seniors living in poverty

Moving Canadian seniors out of poverty. A central tenet of the Liberal platform involves increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors by $750 million annually, to lift more than 650,000 Canadian seniors out of poverty. The Liberals would also cancel the Conservative plan to increase OAS eligibility age to 67. In addition, Mr. Trudeau has stated that he would hold a First Ministers Conference with all of Canada's Premiers, and that he is open to the position taken by the Premier's Conference that over the next eight years, Canada would move to ensure that no senior would live on less than $2000 a month in pension benefits.

The Liberals party will boost employment for young people

Boosting youth employment. Youth unemployment is nearly twice the national average. A Liberal government will put in place a Youth Hiring Incentive for small and medium sized businesses: they'll pay no Employment Insurance premiums for any Canadian youth they hire. More importantly, perhaps, the Liberals will provide up to $100 million a year to create more than 40,000 jobs, paid internships and co-op placements for youth over four years, as well as spend $1.5 billion over four years on a youth job strategy to help 125,000 young people find a job.

In addition, the Liberals will create a Prime Minister's Youth Advisory Council, consisting of young Canadians aged 16 to 24, to provide non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister on issues facing the country.

Liberal Party of Canada: Committed to building and supporting affordable Co-op Housing

Funding affordable and co-operative housing. For those who live in the more than 2,000 housing co-ops in Canada, housing greater than 111,000 Canadians, a renewal of the $2 billion subsidy for tens of thousands of Canadians requiring a subsidy on their housing charge is absolutely mandatory; the Liberal party has made that commitment, the Conservative party — who have the worst record on housing of any Canadian government in the 148-year history of our nation — has not.

Liberal Party of Canada: What the election of the Liberal party will mean for Canadians

One can check which Liberal, or NDP, candidate will best be able to defeat the Conservative candidate in your riding by consulting Éric Grenier's — you can take it as gospel that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are not on your side.

What other changes will a Liberal government in Ottawa bring about that will serve the interests of the broadest cross-section of Canadians?

  • Unlike Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister will hold regular meetings with the Premiers to discuss and come up with resolutions to the important social, political and environmental issues of the day;

  • No longer will Canadians be subject to an imperial Prime Minister's Office, with decisions taken in secret, and forced upon Canadians without consultation with Members of Parliament, or Canadians across our land;

  • As has always been the case under Liberal regimes, a Liberal government will have strong, independently-minded Ministers of Government — the notion of an imperial PMO will thankfully be off the table, once and for all;

  • The Liberal party will reverse corporate tax cuts, which will serve to plough more than $5.2-billion annually into the Canadian economy;

  • Liberals will provide $380 million in additional funding for the arts, as well as undo Conservative funding cuts to the CBC;

  • Liberals will reduce wait times for a first EI payment to one week from two. In addition, Liberals will implement a new six-month family care employment insurance benefit similar to the EI parental leave benefit;

  • As every knows, the Liberal party will both, initially, decriminalize use of marijuana in Canada, and present legislation to Parliament that will legalize the administration and use of marijuana across our country.

The entire Liberal party platform is available here.

Liberal Party of Canada: Restoring Veterans' Pensions, and Providing Support

Perhaps the single most despicable act of the Stephen Harper Tories involves sending Canadians troops into harm's way — in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Syria, and other war torn parts of the world — and upon arriving home from the theatres of war, denying our injured troops pensions, health programmes and support, cruelly leaving our veterans and their families to fend for themselves. One is left to wonder how Stephen Harper, the members of his party, and those who would deign to vote for the Conservatives manage to sleep at night knowing of the tragedies that have been created by their heartless, penny-pinching Tory administration.

Let's be clear: Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada will re-establish lifelong pensions for our injured veterans, as well as increase the value of the disability award; Liberals will invest $25 million to expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance; invest $40 million to increase the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 percent of pre-release salary; invest $80 million per year to create a new Veterans Education Benefit (in the U.S., it's call the "GI Plan") that will provide full support for the cost of up to four years of college, university, or technical education; invest $100 million per year to expand support for families of veterans; and, re-open the 9 Veterans Affairs service offices closed by the Harper Conservatives.

2015 Canadian Federal election: Vote for Change

The choice is clear. On October 19th, 2015 Canadians of heart and conscience will vote for the candidate in their riding who will best be able to defeat the Conservative party. As it happens, if the polls are correct, in upwards of 134 ridings across Canada, the candidate who will best be able to defeat the Conservatives is the Liberal candidate in your riding.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 2:30 AM | Permalink | Decision Canada 2015

October 12, 2015

Honky Tonkin' With Justin Trudeau, Canada's 23rd Prime Minister

CTV Nanos Research federal election poll results for October 11, 2015

On day seventy-two of Canada's 2015 marathon election, according to a consensus of more than 70 pollsters, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada have pulled away from the pack and now have a substantial lead over both the fusty Conservative Party, and the principled but hapless New Democratic Party. One week from today, we may have a new government.

As can be seen in the latest Nanos Research Poll conducted for CTV and the Globe and Mail, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada have opened an almost insurmountable seven-point lead over Stephen Harper's Regressive Conservatives, that lead in voter support finally — according to CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier's Polltracker — translating into a substantive seat count confirming a slim but workable minority government for the Liberals heading into Canada's 43rd Parliament, in the process ridding our country of the most malevolent force in federal Canadian politics in all of Canada's 148 years as a nation, not to mention the ten lost years of leadership at the federal level under a Stephen Harper-led government.

CBC Polltracker projected seat count, October 11, 2015CBC Polltracker | October 11, 2015 | projected Liberal minority government | 134 seats

As VanRamblings posted last Tuesday, reiterated by Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith this weekend, according to Éric Grenier's, the Liberals are now leading in 14 seats across British Columbia, a rise of 12 seats over the 2011 federal election results.

"When Parliament was dissolved, the Liberals held only two B.C. seats: Vancouver Centre (Hedy Fry) and Vancouver Quadra (Joyce Murray)," writes Smith.

"The ( website has the Liberals likely or in serious contention to elect the following candidates in addition to Fry and Murray: Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville), Terry Beech (Burnaby North-Seymour), Carla Qaultrough (Delta), Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South), Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver), Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast), Lawrence Woo (Richmond Centre), Joe Peschisolido (Steveston-Richmond East), Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre), Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey-Newton), Ken Hardie (Fleetwood-Port Kells), and Judy Higginbotham (South Surrey-White Rock)."

Grenier currently projects 10 seats across the Prairies for the Liberals, 62 seats in Ontario (representing more than half the seats in the province), 22 seats in Québec, and 26 seats in the Maritimes and the Territories.

2015 Canadian Federal election, ThinkPol results for Ontario indicate massive lead

Across Ontario, the Liberal Party of Canada has established what can only be described as a massive lead as the ABC (Anything but Conservative) strategic vote coalesces around Justin Trudeau in response to the NDP's support evaporating in Québec, according to a survey carried out by Google Consumer Surveys and commissioned by ThinkPol.

The Liberals currently sit at a solid 45% in voter support in Ontario, followed by the Conservatives at 27%, the NDP at 24%, and the Greens at 4%. In the ThinkPol survey, the Liberals dominated both genders and all age groups except the 65 and over group, which sided with the Conservatives, who came last behind the Greens for the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups. The Liberals also led in all income groups except the $24,000 or less group, which favoured the New Democratic Party.

Support for the NDP in MetroToronto and the 905 (the suburbs surrounding Metro Toronto) has all but vanished, as committed voters have moved to the Liberals as the Anyone But Conservative party. The remaining gains for the Liberals come at the expense of dwindling support for the Tory party.

Justin Trudeau continues to make his pitch to those voters who had previously cast their ballot for Stephen Harper's Tories ...

"At a rally held earlier today in the riding of Nepean in suburban Ottawa, the Globe and Mail reports, Mr. Trudeau said 'the Tories have a proud history,' before taking shots at Mr. Harper's promise to remove the Canadian citizenship of convicted terrorists with dual nationalities."

"Most importantly, Progressive Conservatives — Tories — can be proud that their prime ministers didn't base everything on wedge politics. They didn't divide Canadians over differences of religion or citizenship. Progressive Conservative prime ministers believed that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian," Mr. Trudeau said in front of hundreds of supporters."

"The Liberal Leader said that in the past, PC governments fought against poverty and helped to improve Canada's reputation on the world stage. "Those are values that haven't disappeared, they have just disappeared from the current Conservative Party and disappeared along with anything progressive about them," he said.

Six days to go until election day Oct. 19th, the last day of advance polling in the 2015 federal election today, with the Liberals trending up daily, second wave Trudeaumania in full on mode as VanRamblings wrote on September 30th, when we first predicted a minority government for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada and, finally, an end to the politics of division, and the election of a Canadian government that will reclaim the values that all of us who call our nation home may, once again, be proud.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 3:36 PM | Permalink | Decision Canada 2015

October 10, 2015

VIFF2015: Brooklyn Wins the Audience 'People's Choice' Award

Brooklyn, probable multiple Oscar nominee and the most powerfully affecting film to screen at the 34th annual Vancouver International Film Festival emerged as the overwhelming audience favourite at last night's VIFF 2015 Closing Gala, held at the Centre for the Performing Arts.

Adapted from the Irish novel by Colm Tóibín, and delicately adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby, Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), an Irish immigrant who travels to America in the early 1950s for a more prosperous life.

Brooklyn | Director, John Crowley | Starring Saoirse RonanBrooklyn | John Crowley | 2015 | VIFF Opening Gala | Ireland | 105 minutes

Impeccably crafted and gorgeously rendered, as Rodrigo Perez wrote for The Playlist earlier this year, when the film débuted at the Sundance Film Festival, Brooklyn offers "a heartbreaking and poignant story about choices, country, commitments, sacrifice, and love, and a superb, luminous, and bittersweet portrayal of who we are, where we've come from, where we're going, and the places we call home."

Brooklyn will open in Vancouver for its regular run on November 4th.

VIFF's most popular international documentary was Swedish director Stig Björkman's Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words.

Votes are tabulated through collection of comment cards made available to VIFF patrons, and as patrons submit their appraisal of films screened, through use of the VIFF app, available for both Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms.

Vancouver International Film Festival awards

2015 Vancouver International Film Festival Canadian Images and BC award winners

2015 Vancouver International Film Festival Canadians short film award winners
Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 3:56 PM | Permalink | VIFF 2015

October 8, 2015

VIFF2015: Cinema of Despair To Come to a Close in Mere Hours

VIFF 2015 comes to a close on Friday, October 9th

Yes, it's the final day for the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival films at Cineplex's International Village, and Friday is the last day of VIFF 2015 — we're verklempt (but, secretly, we're kind of glad, cuz we've got a scratchy throat, which for us is always a precursor to a cold or the flu) — except, of course, for the VIFF Repeats, which begin at 11:45am Saturday.

The above said, there are a great many films which will screen today and tomorrow that are worthwhile, or must-sees — you're simply going to have to take our word for it. The absolute must-see, change your schedule film:

Sparrows, screening at 2:30pm at the Vancity Theatre is, by far, the BEST film screening today; yes, it'll be difficult to fit in other films, but no other film is as great and important and memorable and worthwhile as Sparrows, a knock you on your ass film. 2:30pm, Vancity Theatre — be there.

Otherwise, if you haven't caught Albert Maysles' final film, In Transit (by far the BEST documentary at VIFF 2015), you'll want to make darn sure you catch the final screening of the year's best documentary at 2pm, Cineplex International Village, Cinema 10. Now, it's true — you can't fit in In Transit and Sparrows, cuz they're screening at competing times. If documentaries are your cup of tea, In Transit is for you, if knock you on your ass, world-class filmmaking is your cuppa, it'll be Sparrows you want to see.

On Friday, the very, very last day, it'll be gone forever, there'll be no more VIFF 2015, you'se either gotta see 'em now, or ... well, you know ...

James White is the keeper on Friday, screening at SFU Woodwards at 1:30pm. Accused is the second must-see the last day of VIFF 2015, screening at 6pm at The Cinematheque.

Friday, if you fail to take in the 9pm screening, at The Playhouse, of I Saw The Light, well, you're just plum loco, yer jes out of yer cotton pickin' mind. I mean, why wouldn't you want to go out on a high note at VIFF 2015?

Hank freakin' Williams — Mr. Despair himself (and isn't that what our film festival is all about, the cinema of despair? ... yer darn tootin' it is), and Mr. Despair is paired with the dishiest dish in Hollywood (and she's durn talented, too, that ...) Elizabeth Olsen, and she could very well pick up a Best Supporting Actress Oscar on Sunday night, February 28, 2016, too.

Believe you me, if you ain't at The Playhouse on Friday night to see I Saw The Light, you're just gonna be singin' those lovesick blues til the cows come home — and you wouldn't want that to happen, would ya?

Vote for your favourite VIFF film using VIFF's smartphone app

There'll be no coverage of VIFF on Friday, cuz we need a break (and then there's that scratchy throat thing-a-ma-jiggy).

On Saturday, you will find the list of winners that were announced at VIFF 2015's Closing Gala, at The Centre for the Performing Arts. At some point next week — in the midst of what will be daily coverage of Canada's 42nd national election — we'll publish a column on the audience favourites, as tabulated through your votes on the VIFF app, or on those sweet cards that VIFF volunteers were handing out.

We will likely publish a column reflecting on VIFF 2015, prob'ly next week.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:55 AM | Permalink | VIFF 2015

October 7, 2015

VIFF2015: Holdovers & Repeats at the Vancity Theatre


With the 34th annual Vancouver International Film Festival quickly wending its way to a close, the fine folks at VIFF have planned an additional week of screenings at the Vancity Theatre, on Davie Street and Seymour. As in past years, Festival passes, ticket packs and complimentary vouchers will not be accepted for the VIFF Repeats series. Attendees will need to purchase an individual ticket for each show. Tickets are available by clicking on the highlighted title links below, through, or at the Vancity Theatre box office during regular box office hours.

I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced

Saturday, October 10th

11:45am, Rams. In this enchanting Icelandic export, two estranged, unmarried brothers are reunited after 40 years when an infectious disease threatens to decimate their prized flocks of sheep. As they face financial ruin and emotional devastation (their love for these animals is endearingly evident), Grímur Hákonarson fashions a richly detailed tragicomedy concerning idiosyncratic vocations and immediately relatable sibling dynamics. "Wonderfully wry, charmingly understated ..." — Variety

1:45pm, I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced. One of VanRamblings' Festival highlights, this must-see film is set in 2009, and tells the true story of Yemeni preteen Nojoom Ali's bid to legally extricate herself from an abusive, arranged marriage to a much older man, a story which made international headlines. Khadija Al-Salami has beautifully adapted the non-fiction bestseller into an emphatic drama featuring a wondrous performance from Reham Mohammed as the young Ali, and a striking backdrop of Yemen's astonishing mountain villages and ancient "skyscrapers." "A powerful, moving and provocative debut drama ..." — Screen

4pm, A Ballerina's Tale. Some ascents to stardom are meteoric. Others are a gruelling marathon. Ballerina Misty Copeland learned early on that not everything comes easily for a teen prodigy. Especially when you're African-American and racial homogeny is part of ballet's exclusivity. Nelson George's inside look at the art and industry of ballet invites us to marvel at Copeland's courage and grace but question what goes on behind closed curtains. Most importantly, it gives us a real-life heroine to root for with all our hearts. "Inspirational doesn't begin to describe it." — Rolling Stone

6:15pm, Umrika. Rama (Life of Pi's Suraj Sharma) is flushed out of rural life when he learns that his brother is missing in Mumbai. As a search for answers thrusts him into the metropolis' chaos, he forges letters from his sibling to his mother in hopes of sparing her heartbreak. In turn, Prashant Nair crafts a moving story about devotion and discovery. "The film's takes on immigration, country-city contrasts and youthful dreams of the future are lovingly detailed..." — Hollywood Reporter

8:30pm, 100 Yen Love.The fraught and very possibly doomed romance between a dumpy 32-year-old woman and a failing boxer gives 100 Yen Love its storyline, but the film's focus is on its unlikely heroine, a chronic underachiever who finally discovers something worth getting out of bed for. Take's command of image and mood couldn't be better; Ando Sakura is stupendous in the lead — Tony Rayns. Japan's nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Sunday, October 11th

4:30pm, Requiem for the American Dream. Noam Chomsky and his unassailable arguments about how economic inequality has become an entrenched part of western life are front and centre in Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott's superbly reasoned documentary, one part analysis and one part call to arms. The interviews with Chomsky were shot over four years and show that none of the 86-year-old's fight has gone out of him. "This short, sharp, smart essay-film makes excellent use of Chomsky's insights..." — Hollywood Reporter

6.15pm, Sabali. When her boyfriend stops making love with her, Jeannette (Marie Brassard) begins an affair with a young co-worker (Francis La Haye). Alas, it turns out that her heart problems are physical as well as metaphorical. When Jeannette inherits the heart of a deceased Malian woman, she's stalked by the donor's son (Youssef Camara) who's convinced that she's the reincarnation of his late mother... Ryan McKenna's stylized and nuanced film is sure to delight.

8:15pm, The Lobster. The pressures of courtship are pushed to absurdist extremes in this outrageous comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth). Confined to an isolated resort, singles (including Colin Farrell) must take a mate within 45 days or be transformed into animals. As Farrell falls in with a band of rebel loners (who count Rachel Weisz among their members), Lanthimos wrings much pathos from his outlandish premise. "A wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving satire... Perversely romantic..." — Variety

Monday, October 12th

Noon, Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven. Phyllis Ellis' documentary is equal parts mystery, history and adventure. Algoma's tangled wilderness and Lake Superior's expansive North Shore inspired The Group of Seven in their formative years - young artists searching to articulate the Canadian landscape. Now, three modern-day adventurers canoe across lakes, bushwhack through untamed forests and scale cliffs to seek out the vistas that inspired these artists. Seeing the iconic paintings side by side with the astonishing locations that inspired them is a reminder of art's power and this land's majestic beauty.

1:45pm, Rainbow Island. One of the most astonishingly exotic films in this year's festival has to be Khosrow Sinai's drama. The title refers to the island of Hormuz, with its extraordinary multi-coloured soils, ancient Portuguese forts and folk-art traditions. How much are the custom-bound villagers willing to welcome the outside world? Enter Dr. Ahmad Nadalian, a highly educated interloper from Tehran who proposes a radical plan to transform the islands assets into a thriving cultural destination.

4pm, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict. Peggy Guggenheim not only amassed one of the world's most impressive collections of contemporary art but also rightfully earned a reputation as the consummate bohemian. In her wildly entertaining follow up to Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, Lisa Immordino Vreeland explores how Guggenheim forsook her bourgeois birthright in favour of a villa in Venice, crashing international art scenes, and discovering the likes of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko in the process. "[With] so many love affairs and ego clashes Art Addict never feels a bit like a history lesson." — Hollywood Reporter

6:15pm, Sleeping Giant. Andrew Cividino's remarkable debut is a story of friendship, confusion, betrayal and peer pressure. Fourteen-year-old Adam is enduring a dull summer in a small Lake Superior beach community when he meets local boys Foster and Rizzo. "The cast and filmmakers illuminate not just the wit and charm of young men, but also the callow cruelty of youth, driven by a killer combination of naïve idealism, solipsism, poor self-esteem and raging hormones." — Hollywood Reporter

The Royal Tailor. The term "costume drama" takes on a whole new meaning in Lee Wonsuk's sumptuous period melodrama, which centres on the rivalry between the official tailor to the king's court and a handsome young upstart with new ideas and techniques. Their conflict plays out amid a welter of fabrics, passions and protocols, with several top stars adding dramatic weight. The attention to the details of tailoring is awesome — Tony Rayns.

Tuesday, October 13th

1:30pm, Landfill Harmonic. In Latin America's largest landfill, a garbage picker uncovers the raw materials for makeshift musical instruments. As cellos and violins are fashioned from stray detritus, a group of local children are likewise transformed into the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura. Reminiscent of VIFF '10 standout Waste Land, Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley's documentary is an inspiring tale of resilience and transcendence. "A secret treasure... A story of the dull throb of existence gleefully recalibrated by the thundering heartbeat of music." — Austin Chronicle

4pm, Hannah: Buddhism's Untold Journey. In the late 60s, India experienced a Western invasion as outsiders flooded over the border in hopes of finding enlightenment. The Beatles may have been the highest profile pilgrims, but Hannah Nydahl, a young Danish woman, was ultimately the most influential. She and her husband were the first westerners to study under His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and then spread his teachings abroad. Part biography, part adventure film, Adam Penny and Marta György-Kessler's documentary celebrates a true pioneer. "Visually, the film is a pleasure..." — Village Voice

6:15pm, The Devout. After his terminally ill daughter (Olivia Martin) claims to have had a past life as an astronaut, a Christian teacher (Charlie Carrick) experiences a profound crisis of faith. Obsessively seeking answers, he risks his marriage and his remaining days with his child to determine whether she's lived before... and might live again. Reflective and provocative, Connor Gaston's debut is one of the year's most unique Canadian features.

Wednesday, October 14th

2:30pm, Jumbo Wild. Nick Waggoner's gorgeous, gripping documentary captures a decades-long struggle over the future of Jumbo Valley, deep within the raw, rugged Purcell range of B.C.'s Columbia Mountains. Exploring a tug-of-war between a proposed (and long-delayed) $450-million ski resort near Invermere versus community members, conservationists and the Ktunaxa Nation and Shuswap Indian Band who are determined to see Jumbo kept wild, Waggoner's film documents the fierce ideological battle surrounding how we value land.

4pm, Palio. Siena is one of the world's most picturesque cities and the Palio is its crowning glory. Held twice a summer, this often ruthless bareback horse race brings pageantry and unparalleled intensity to the tight turns of the medieval town's Piazza del Campo. Cosima Spender's breathtaking documentary centres on a young upstart intent on making his mark in this cutthroat competition. "A remarkably concise and clear explanation of a complex, ancient tradition... How can something like this still exist? And how can one film capture it in such elegant detail?" — Vanity Fair

6:15pm, Racing Extinction. Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) returns with another enviro-doc that doubles as a top-flight thriller. Racing against the clock to stave off a mass extinction, Psihoyos' undercover activists infiltrate underground marketplaces trafficking in endangered marine life and immerse us in oceans turning toxic from our energy consumption. The stakes couldn't be higher, resulting in a film that unfolds with uncommon urgency. "A mesmeric entertainment and enlightenment... A chilling call to action to stop ocean poisoning before it results in destruction of the planet." — Hollywood Reporter

8:30pm, No Men Beyond This Point. In a world where women procreate asexually, male babies have become passé and an entire gender faces extinction... What's a guy to do? Well, the youngest man alive (Patrick Gilmore), who toils as a housekeeper for a West Vancouver all-female family, is unaware that he's about to become a key player in a battle for survival. Camera Shy's Mark Sawers is at the height of his satirical powers with this wry speculative mockumentary.

Thursday, October 15th

6:30pm, Marshland. One of the big hits at VIFF 2015, and winner of multiple Goya Awards, for VanRamblings Marshland was a note for note ripoff of Cary Fukunaga's Season 1 HBO series, True Detective — same music, same marshland, same two detectives. Not to mention that: if we never see another movie where socially and economically disadvantaged girls and young women are tortured, raped and sexually mutilated as a narrative device, ever again, it'll be too soon. Attend at your peril.

8:45pm, Magallanes. Another one of VanRamblings' favourites, we'll quote VIFF passholder Ken Tomilson on this watchable and important film: "a Peruvian film where the lead (Magallanes) and his friends were once military personnel fronting the war against the Shining Path with too much power in their hands. Now, 15 years later, their lives are insignificant but their past comes back to haunt them in the form of scandals that could destroy them. Well written and acted and very entertaining." star.jpgstar.jpgstar.jpgstar.jpg

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 10:16 AM | Permalink | VIFF 2015

October 6, 2015

Justin Trudeau is to Vitaminwater, as Stephen Harper is to Poison

Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party leader of CanadaMake it happen: Justin Trudeau, federal Liberal Party leader, as Canada's next Prime Minister

VanRamblings does not live for film alone, for there is a critically important federal election going on, that we've somehow managed to follow with alacrity. So, it's back to writing about the 34th annual Vancouver International Film Festival tomorrow, and a column today as to why it is necessary to — 13 days out from Canada's 42nd federal election — give serious thought to voting Liberal in key ridings across Canada, even if it costs seats to the New Democratic Party or Elizabeth May's Green party.

Make no mistake, VanRamblings is a dyed-in-the-wool Dipper, always have been, always will be (we believe in the fundamental maxim, "Ya dance with the one that brung ya."). Even so, in this too-close-for-comfort election, it is necessary to cast a ballot for the party that has the best chance of defeating Stephen "I'm a xenophobic, fear-mongering racist" Harper, and that party would be the Liberal Party of Canada, and the first-rate, should win candidate running for the Liberal party in your home riding (at least in close races, anyway — and, please, do vote NDP where that party is way ahead, or vote Green where it won't make a darn bit of difference to the outcome of the election — otherwise, vote Liberal, vote Liberal, vote Liberal).

The 2015 national election is not about voting with your heart, but is all about ridding Canada of the most malevolent national political force ever to take office at the federal level, in the 148-year history of our glorious land.

CTV Nanos Research federal election poll results for October 5, 2015

As VanRamblings predicted last week, second wave Trudeaumania has gripped the nation as — according to CTV and pollster Nik Nanos — Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party have gained one point in the polls each day since that column was published, catapulting from 29.3% support to the 35.6% support you see in the three-day rolling poll results above. Meanwhile, the NDP would appear to have dropped out of serious contention for government, losing 12 points in the Nanos poll over that same period, plummeting from 34.6% support to the paltry 22.8% above.

Unfortunately for Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberal Party, the much-increased support of Canadians for the Liberal plan, and the Liberal leader, has failed to properly and fortuitously translate into the necessary projected seat count increase in the upcoming 43rd Canadian Parliament, a seat count that will ensure the defeat of Stephen Harper and the (not progressive, but regressive, George Bush-like) Conservative party.

Globe and Mail seat projection, October 5, 2015

Only 9 more projected seats than the Conservatives when the Liberal Party has a 4.6% polling advantage? Clearly, the Liberal Party has some work to do to convince an increasing number of Canadians that it is the Liberal Party alone, that can defeat Stephen Harper on election day, Monday, Oct. 19th. Consult to see which candidates are doing well in your riding.

In British Columbia's 1996 provincial election, Gordon Campbell's Liberal party garnered 41.82% of the popular vote to the NDP's 39.45%, yet the NDP gained a majority in the BC Legislature, winning 39 seats to the Liberals' 33 seats. On the national level in 2015, Canadians cannot allow a similar scenario to play out in the current federal election.

In British Columbia in 2015, all 13 of the winnable Liberal seats must, in fact, go to the Liberals. As we've written previously, there are half a dozen BC ridings that are a lock for the Liberals (Vancouver Quadra, Vancouver Centre, Vancouver South, North Vancouver, Surrey-Newton, Vancouver-Sunshine Coast) but, if the Liberals are to form government in the next Parliament, the Liberal party will need to take the winnable seats of Vancouver-Granville, Surrey-White Rock, Delta, Steveston-Richmond East, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Richmond Centre, and Burnaby-North Seymour.

At the moment, Eric Grenier's projects 12 seats across the Prairies for the Liberals, 51 seats in Ontario (which will have to climb to 60, representing half the seats in the province), 20 seats in Québec, and 26 seats, or better, in the Maritimes and the Territories.

Despite the late election Trudeaumania wave, the seat projections above represent a best case scenario for the Liberals, and even if the projections above prove accurate, the Liberals will end up electing only 131 members to Parliament, for the slimmest possible minority government.

Contrary to the ads the Conservative party has run ad nauseum the past couple of years that Justin Trudeau is "not ready", if you've seen Mr. Trudeau on the hustings, in the debates, and on the nightly news television clips, it is clear to any thinking, rational human being that Justin Trudeau, and the Liberal Party, are indeed ready to form government, and that the ads are so much codswallop. Co-operating with the NDP post election night, together the two progressive parties at the federal level will work to undo the damage of Canada's lost years under the mean-spirited, not on your side, secretive and corrupt Stephen Harper-led government in Ottawa.

Upholding the rights of Canadians, the Supreme Court of Canada

VanRamblings would have preferred a Tom Mulcair-led New Democratic Party government in Ottawa — but that ain't gonna happen, folks. Let's be clear about what's at stake in this election, which is — in case you didn't realize it — the very soul of our nation, and any notion of responsible government that serves the interests of the broadest cross-section of Canadians, on all of the important issues of the day, ranging from health care to affordable housing, to upholding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the consequent respect for the 9 Justices who sit on the Supreme Court of Canada (a respect Stephen Harper has sorely lacked), and the building of a full-employment economy that will allow our nation to once again thrive, as it had prior to the election of Stephen Harper as Prime Minister, and as it will again under the leadership of Justin Pierre James Trudeau, held to account by Mr. Mulcair & the federal New Democratic Party.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Decision Canada 2015

October 5, 2015

VIFF2015: The Must-See Best of the Fest Films Still to Come

2015 Vancouver International Film Festival must-see films

Well, here we are in the final days of the 34th annual Vancouver International Film Festival as VIFF regulars (also known as VIFF cinephiles) prepare for the end of this year's glorious cinematic wonderment, awaiting the announcement as to what films are available for holdover at the Vancity Theatre following Friday's fest end. All in due time, dear & constant reader.

In this final week there are two more must-see films to be screened over the course of the next four days — one from Lithuania, one from Iceland — both unlikely to return to our shores, tremendous films that are more than worthy of your limited time, and given your wearied state, your attention.

The Summer of Sangailé | Dir. Alanté Kavaïté | Julija Steponaitytė, Aistė Diržiūtė | Lithuania

The Summer of Sangailé (Grade: A): Achingly beautiful and intoxicating, director Alanté Kavaïté won Best Director at Sundance earlier this year for her erotic and lyrical depiction of a young girl's sexual awakening, an at times roiling coming of age tale that explores the wounded psychology of the main lead (a voluptuously enchanting Julija Steponaitytė, her character a provocative mix of naivete and ripe, unbridled sexuality), in one of the most dreamily tender yet near terrifying depictions of first love ever captured on screen. Gorgeously lensed, sun-kissed, alluring, intimate, affecting, memorable, beautifully universal, hypnotic and at times blazingly intense, the film's dreamlike mood is set through music, and the rapturous soundtrack written by Jean-Benoît Dunckel, one of the lead members of Air. Skilfully melding gesture, poetry and innocence into the slow-burning emotional and physical realms of romantic love, The Summer of Sangailé emerges as one of the year's best films, and another VIFF 2015 must-see. Final screening: Wednesday, October 7th, 6:30pm, in Cineplex's Cinema 9.

Sparrows, award-winning film from Iceland screening at VIFF 2015

Sparrows (Grade: A): Breathtakingly intense, Rúnar Rúnarsson's sad, delicate Icelandic coming-of-age tale quietly observes a lanky teenage boy, Avi (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson) who we first meet singing counter-tenor in a boy's choir in Rekjavik. When Avi's mother is hired to supervise a research project in Africa, the boy is sent to live with his estranged father in the distant western fjords of the country, where the locals medicate the ills of a declining economy with alcohol; small town life proves anything but charming. Avi's potential love interest, young Lara, carries the fatalism of a girl who settles for the local bully, while Kjeld, Avi's kindly grandmother, is the exceptional figure who lives with a simple dignity. As Guy Lodge writes in his Variety review, " this outwardly conventional coming-of-ager rewards viewers' patience, delivering a late narrative jolt that is bound to stir heated post-screening conversation in its chilly wake." Fortunately, the film saves a tiny dose of sentiment & redemptive humanity for the film's final moments. Final screening: Thursday, October 8th at 2:30pm, in the Vancity Theatre.

Additional VIFF Must-Sees Before The Festival Wends To Its End

The double bill of VIFF 2015: Wednesday afternoon you'll want to take in a screening of VIFF 2015's best feature film, Sylvia's Chang's Taiwanese stunner Murmur of the Hearts, 4:15pm in Cineplex's Cinema 10, followed by VIFF's best documentary, Albert Maysles' In Transit, also in Cinema 10.

Son of Saul, a film from László Nemes

Upcoming must-sees: Son of Saul, One Million Dubliners, there's good buzz on Zinia Flower and The Measure of a Man, I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced is a must-see, while there's good buzz on The Competition, folks have been raving about Accused, and James White. Schneider vs Bax also has quite a following, as does Peruvian director Salvador del Solar's Magallanes, which screens for a final time Tuesday at 3:30pm in Cinema 9 at Cineplex's International Village. Lots to see as VIFF 2015 wends to a close.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 11:03 AM | Permalink | VIFF 2015

back to top