views from canada’s left coast

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Southland Tales (2/4)

I watched Southland Tales last night, the latest film from Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame.  The film received an incredibly poor reception at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and I can understand why.  The plot is confusing at best, and many times downright incomprehensible.  The film looks good, has some funny moments, and even a couple of good performances.  The movie is kind of a sci-fi, comedy, action, mystery, thriller, spoof, sorta thing.  In other words it does not really seem to know what it is, or maybe it does and the audience is just not smart enough to figure it out.  I am convinced that there is something going on in this movie, something that could have been great, but it is just too confusing to pick much out of the film.

I watched this movie on DVD where the version is apparently 20 minutes shorter than the one that was shown at Cannes.  The re-cut version is supposed to be more clear by cutting out some characters and plot lines, but it is still extremely confusing.  Perhaps there will be another version of this film one day, one where Richard Kelly can make the film as long as he would like, perhaps long enough to explain a little more what is actually going on in the film.  It seems unlikely that a film that has already had two version that no one liked would be released in yet a third version, but that is exactly what happened with Oliver Stone’s Alexander (which went from long, to to shorter, to much longer versions).

One thing worth noting is that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was again passable in this movie.  The Rock continues to put in workable, passable performances in a variety of roles.  Normally passable is not very high praise, but for an action star it is often the best that you can hope for.  I have great hope for The Rock, he is not a terrible actor, presumably can get better, has a great look for an action star and some decent off-screen charisma.

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March 18, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , | 2 Comments

boxing vs mma, a draw in my opinion

These days it is hard to find any true boxing fans, especially in Vancouver. I have plenty of friends who are sports fans, and many of them follow mixed martial arts, primarily through the UFC, but none of them are real boxing fans. I can understand some of the appeal of MMA and the UFC. The top selling point is that top fighters are continually matched up against other top fighters. A loss is not a crushing blow to the career of an MMA fighter, whereas and undefeated boxer can lose most of their luster with a single defeat. What confuses me about most MMA fans, and their general apathy towards boxing is that the most popular fighters and the best fights tend to involve strikers and big knockouts. Boxing is all about punching, it is all that you can legally do in a fight. Most exciting MMA fights involve two guys who stand up and throw punches with perhaps a flying knee or a head kick thrown in.

I am not saying that MMA fans are wrong for liking the sport. What I am saying is that MMA fans should give boxing another shot. I think that largely due to the popularity of MMA boxing promoters have been forced to put on better fight cards. Top boxers are now facing other top boxers with increasing regularity. Last year was an outstanding year for boxing, and so far this year has been plenty entertaining as well. Pacquiao-Marquez II this past week was action packed, bloody, and brutal, a great fight. Even the generally lacklustre heavyweight division (which is still my favourite) put on a decent show between Sam Peter and Oleg Maskaev.

I think that boxing and MMA fans should stop arguing about which sport is better and start watching each other’s fights. I prefer boxing, but MMA offers a different brand of fighting that can be very exciting. For MMA fans who tire of too many long drawn out fights taking place mostly on the ground they should check out some of the big name boxing matches that have been and are continuing to take place. Even the heavyweight division, long the star of the boxing world, should get more exciting this year than in years past. Sam Peter now holds the WBC title and is due to fight Vitali Klitschko; they are both big punchers and Peter lacks almost any ability to avoid a punch. With fighters like Peter and Wladimir Klitschko at the top of the division there are bound to be some good slugfests coming up in the division.

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , | Leave a comment

When 3 out of 4 is kinda bad

The Liberals managed to win 3 out of the 4 by-elections held tonight, March 17th.  It was largely expected that the Liberals would win the 3 ridings that they did, but the result in Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River is a disappointment.  Joan Beatty, Dion’s handpicked candidate is going to lose by about 16% to the Conservative candidate.  Granted by-elections do not always reflect the results that would happen if the vote were during a general election, but losing so big in a riding that was so close in 2006 has to be seen as a rather big disappointment.  Further, if Dion had allowed David Orchard to run in the riding instead the result might have been quite different tonight.

Even more disappointing than Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River is the result in Vancouver Quadra.   Joyce Murray, the Liberal candidate, is going to win, but only by about 3 percent.  Stephen Owen thoroughly dominated the field when he held the riding.  It is understandable that the Liberal numbers would slip somewhat, but to go from about 49% to about 37% is a pretty big, and potentially worrisome drop off.  The Liberals cannot afford to lose any of their BC seats in the next election.  If there is any hope for a Liberal victory in the general election it will have to mean that they hold what western seats they have now while hopefully adding some seats from Quebec.

While there are some disappointing results for the Liberals tonight overall they will spin the results as a victory.  The additions of Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay to the Liberal front benches should be a boost for the party.  Bob Rae in particular forms a nice contrast to both Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff.  Adding Martha Hall Findlay strengthens the Liberal message and image of working hard to include women in the party.  Joyce Murray also helps with the Liberal gender message.

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment