A Magical and Mild Adventure in Valencia

An ancient city inside a new one beckons Jay Stone to the surprise-filled birthplace of paella By Jay Stone VALENCIA, Spain — We came here by chance, the way people used to travel when they were in their 20s and it was all about moving and a destination was just a name to drop, a place to rest on the road. We came in that spirit. We stayed for the paella. It was invented here, in this bustling city on the south coast of Spain (the Valencia orange was invented in California). It’s delicious too, although I’m not the one to ask. It was delicious everywhere. I like to think I have good taste in movies, but I don’t have any taste in taste. So, Valencia: magical, all the more so if you don’t expect anything except a place to stop 3½ hours from Barcelona because 3½ hours is about all you want to do. An old city surrounded by a new one: outside, there’s the famous City of Arts and Sciences — an IMAX theatre, an aquarium, a science museum, an arts complex all in ...

Movie review: Hot Pursuit yields tepid results

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara do their best to inflate sagging entry in the bosom buddies comedy genre, but the results are tepid at best

Movie review: Going Clear — Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Alex Gibney's latest non-fiction film proves perfectly creepy as it strips L. Ron Hubbard's cupboard bare, and shows us Tom Cruise as marionette mascot

Movie review: Far from the Madding Crowd

Carey Mulligan and Danish director Thomas Vinterberg combine forces to bring the perfect practical touch to Thomas Hardy's pastoral classic, writes Katherine Monk

New on DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Fifty Shades, Mr. Turner, Selma and more

Dakota Johnson body-paints Fifty Shades of meh, Mr. Turner finds brilliance with Mike Leigh's detailed strokes, Anna Kendrick's Last Five Years feels like eternity and David Oyelowo leads slow march to selfhood. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Two stars out of five. Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Callum Keith Rennie. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Running time: 125 minutes. MPAA Rating: Restricted It’s bad – and not in that sexy, forbidden, taboo-breaking good way. This adaptation of E.L. James’s inexplicable bestseller features some of the most self-conscious sex scenes since Eyes Wide Shut, only without the rubbernecking thrill of seeing Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in boudoir mode. Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele, a college student who interviews a secretive billionaire in his soaring office tower in the first scene, only to end up on her back, front and side by the climax. It’s all endlessly kitschy and impossibly ...

Can’t anybody here hear this game?

Charley Gordon finds quiet the beauty of the moment amid the constant cacophony of mindless colour commentary By Charley Gordon Sports can be nice when nobody is talking. I had that realization a few weeks ago when I watched a professional golf tournament in Florida. My son and I had been given tickets. Not knowing exactly how these things worked, we walked through a gate, followed some people and suddenly were beside the third green, along with a handful of others. We saw some men walking up to the green and suddenly realized they were well-known golfers (whose names I now forget), along with their caddies. There was no spoken announcement of who they were, no shouts from the crowd. They walked, without fanfare, onto the green, where, I now noticed, two golf balls lay, and got ready to putt. It was mid-morning and the leaders of this tournament wouldn't tee off for a few hours, so the crowds were thin and a certain calmness prevailed. Part of the calmness was due to the ...

Movie review: Brett Morgen’s Montage of Heck

  The beautiful, broken life of the late Nirvana frontman is transformed into a creative examination of the artistic impulse and the soul-crushing force of fame in the new documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck    

Dispatches from Abroad: The Gentle Yens of Girona

Jay Stone explores an ancient Spanish city to discover a slow parade of humanity on cobble stone streets and the prosthetic digits of Edward Scissorhands By Jay Stone GIRONA, Spain -- There's a great lassitude that settles over Spain on a Sunday -- or perhaps, that settles over the visitor to Spain on a Sunday -- that is somehow ideal if you wash up in Girona. It's a medieval city just east of Barcelona whose historic district, all cobbled streets and narrow alleys, were built circa 1000. Little wrought iron balconies are set in the stone walls, and I saw an older couple sitting at a bistro table, having lunch together and each looking at their own cell phone. The stores aren't open, but the museums are free -- a mixed blessing -- and so you climb the steep steps behind the cathedral to the famous Jewish quarter, or El Call, one of the oldest in Europe. Once again, Jewish people have their historic roots on a hill all the better -- at least in this telling -- to come down ...

Disney boasts B.C. connection in Tomorrowland ads

George Clooney is on the B.C.-proud bus--literally. The movie star and pop culture icon will be featured prominently in new bus ads for Tomorrowland, the highly-anticiapted Walt Disney studios spectacle that started shooting in several different locations across eight different B.C. cities back in August 2013. In the ads, Clooney's figure looks out at a shiny new world created entirely through special effects, but if you look at the contours of the mountains in the background, the profile of Cypress Mountain is unmistakable. "While it's certainly not unique for a film to be shot in B.C., this is the first time that the province has been recognized in ad creative for the important role it played in production," said Greg Mason, vice-president of marketing for Walt Disney Studios Canada. "We're proud that one of our biggest releases of the year was shot on Canadian soil and this was our way of conveying that pride and saluting the province and the members of the local film ...

Canadian Must-Sees: Roadkill

No. 1 Canadian Must-See: Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar made Canadian history with this subversive story that pays vague homage to Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle, Hinterland Who's Who and the Canadian Shield ROADKILL, also known as MOVE OR DIE (1989)   4/5 Directed by Bruce McDonald Starring Valerie Buhagiar, Gerry Quigley, Larry Hudson, Bruce McDonald, Don McKellar, Shaun Bowring, Joey Ramone. Running time: 80 minutes. MPAA Rating: PG-13 Shot in grainy black and white, this satirical look at all things Canadian opens with a spoof of the Canadian wildlife service’s ubiquitous Hinterland Who’s Who film reels that featured 60-second vignettes on different animal species -- and a very melancholy flute line. The first thing we see is the furry face of a “northern cotton-tailed rabbit” twitching his cute little bunny nose, followed by the ominous sound of screeching tires and a honkin’ huge internal combustion engine. Valerie Bughiar stars as Ramona, a lowly ...