Sonja Bennett’s big trip to Preggoland

Interview: The Vancouver-based actress says she turned to writing to kickstart her acting career, but found a whole new passion for putting words on the page when she started to explore society's 'bizarre' worship of breeding   By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER – “I was turning into the actress cliché,” says BC actor Sonja Bennett, offering up a full confession of her life before Preggoland, the new movie from Jacob Tierney that she not only wrote, but also stars in alongside James Caan and Danny Trejo. “I could feel myself becoming very ungrounded. I was spinning and was feeling all these things that I never felt before – like jealousy towards my peers, and I thought: Oh god. I can’t be that person. Yet I am turning into that person.” Before she was overwhelmed by self-loathing, Bennett did something drastic: She stopped. Putting a halt to the career she’d spent the last decade building since her breakout performance in 2002’s Punch, written and directed ...

Milk: The New Mushroom Cloud

Facing the white menace: Life was so much simpler when our biggest fear was nuclear Armageddon instead of the fat, systemic antibiotics and the now-intolerable lactose in once-benign moo-juice... and we didn't even mention the dairy board conspiracy By Charley Gordon If you truly want to know what’s dangerous in the world, you have to read the Style and Living section of the newspaper. The dangers in the rest of the paper are predictable. They haven’t changed in centuries — war, flood, earthquake, pestilence, terrorism and undercooked pork. But the other dangers are changing all the time, particularly the ones that attack you in your home and in unfashionable restaurants. Keeping track of them is a bit of a chore, but worth it. Otherwise, there are diseases and syndromes that would catch you unawares. Plus, there are new letters every day that follow LGBT and you don’t want to seem insensitive. * If you want to know what’s hot now in the list of things to be wary ...

New to DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Paddington, The Gambler, Inherent Vice

Cuddle up with Paddington, puff and pass on Inherent Vice, make a bet on The Gambler and watch Alec Baldwin kick butt in Topsiders: @Home entertainment for the week of April 28 By Katherine Monk Paddington (2014) Three and a half stars out of five. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Waters and the voice of Ben Whishaw. Directed by Paul King. Running time: 95 minutes. Teddy bears are so much more than stuffies. They are personal mascots, true blue friends and a magical savings bank for childhood memories. Pick up your old bear and you’ll be swimming knee-deep in nostalgia, so if you happened to cuddle a bear in a duffle coat and a red hat back in the day, Paddington will prompt a welcome regression as it offers up the origin story of the little bear who lives in London. Taking us back to deepest, darkest Peru, we learn Paddington comes from a rare line of bears that can talk and befriend humans. Tragedy forces Paddington out of the family tree, and in a bid to ...

FORGET SPANDEX, IT’S SUIT TIME!

We thank the tailors for making these Age of Ultron superheroes look so dapper, but if we look back at the birth of the stretchy suit, we have to thank the tailor's son and a 'super fabric' called nylon LONDON -- Isn't it time superheroes dressed like men instead of Russian figure skaters from the '70s? We give full marks to the elegantly tailored Paul Bettany (above) and the ever-dashing Chris Evans for shaking it up at The Avengers: Age of Ultron premiere, but we also realize without all the flashy NASCAR paint, it's hard to figure out which guy in a suit stopped an evil artificial intelligence from taking over the universe. When Canada's own Joe Shuster created the whole, hyper-fitted look of the modern superhero with Superman's first appearance in Action Comics back in 1938, he not only offered up a protagonist with an identifiable brand and logo, he may have been inspired by the invention of a brand new, manmade fabric called nylon. The first entirely synthetic ...

Rod Mickleburgh writes of Blythe spirit

Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie leaves a latent impression on the Canadian film landscape after playing the sweet-natured soul perpetually burned by the flinty Anne... of Green Gables By Rod Mickleburgh Social media reaction to the unexpected death this month of Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie, who so memorably played Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables, came almost entirely from the distaff side. Not too many guys were fans of the movie, I guess. Well, I’m a fan. A big one. Like many of my gender, it seems, I was originally pretty dismissive of the whole Anne of Green Gables thing. Who cares about the adventures of some spunky 11-year old orphan girl in turn-of-the-20th century Prince Edward Island? She hates her red hair. Boo hoo. Bring on Anna Karenina. But my mind was changed when I went to what I had hoped would be a party at a friend’s house, only to discover all the women heading into the TV room to watch Anne of Green Gables. Thinking they couldn’t ...

Dispatches from Abroad: 4 Cats, one full stomach

Jay Stone fills up on Barcelona's rich culinary history, where 4 Cats on the menu isn't a PETA call to action, but the promise of tasty delights served on lampshades By Jay Stone BARCELONA, Spain -- The two big things to do here are to eat and to go to art galleries, and if you can eat where the painters used to hang out, it's a huge time-saver. This comes in very handy when siesta runs over its limit. And so we arrive at 4 Cats, a famous cafe on a little alley called Montsio, just off the big Portal de L'Angel, one of the city's main streets. 4 Cats is 118 years old, although it was closed now and then for civil wars, artistic revolutions and so on. Still, it's pretty legendary: a charming bistro with a coffee room in front, a tiled bar in the middle, and a big room in the back with apricot-coloured walls, rows of tables on the floor and a wooden mezzanine that fills up at every meal. It was opened in 1897 by four painters who were paying homage to Le Chat Noir cabaret in ...

Brett Morgen on Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Interview: The outspoken director spent eight years sifting through a 'cold empty storage unit hidden from the world' to find relics of Cobain that 'were still breathing' By Katherine Monk PARK CITY, UTAH -- A homemade cassette featuring a cover of a Beatles love song, the story of how he lost his virginity, and countless hours of home video created with Courtney Love: For 20 years, these relics salvaged from the wreckage of Kurt Cobain’s life remained unseen, and unheard, until now. Compiled and delicately edited into a vibrantly creative portrait of the late artist by filmmaker Brett Morgen, these once-hidden fragments of a shattered soul make Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck more than just another documentary about another dead rock star. Sifting through the contents with the careful hand and brush of a paleontologist uncovering an unknown bone, Morgen’s film shows us a different version of the now-mythical figure who's been condensed into a souvenir of grunge, plaid and ...
3.5Score

Movie review: Black Robe

BLACK ROBE (1991)   Three and a half stars out of five. Directed by: Bruce Beresford. Starring Lothaire Bluteau, Tantoo Cardinal, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg, Billy Two Rivers. Running time: 100 minutes Set against the backdrop of an as yet uncolonized Canada, Black Robe tells the story of the first Jesuit missionaries to set foot in the New World with hopes of converting the Aboriginal peoples to Christianity. Lothaire Bluteau (Daniel in Jesus of Montreal) reprises his role of the saintly martyr as he plays Father Laforgue, a man of God who fears nothing -- even when he should. Believing he is on a mission from the Almighty Himself, Laforgue heads up-river with his Algonquin guide in search of his proselytizing brothers who have built a mission in the midst of this vast, empty landscape. Realizing too late that he was leading his Algonquin friends into hostile territory, Laforgue is forced to watch as the Iroquois close in with deadly consequences. ...

Launch Journal: Let the ride begin…

After a whirlwind beginning to our soft launch, we take a look back at our first three weeks of ups, downs, and complete system crashes... April 26, 2015 The hardest part is starting. And that’s over. It’s been three weeks, and we’re a bit of a hairy beast. But we’re alive, and we’re standing… wet-nosed and a little wobbly, but also wide-eyed and full of wonder at the new landscape. Digital has lots of neat bells and whistles that make the whole endeavour feel like a video game, where suddenly it’s not about the writing, but about the clicks. There’s this thing called analytics, which have nothing to do with Freud at all. It’s just one of those IT words for data, presented in histogram form. And who knew histograms could be so exciting? Watching the roller coaster of consecutive lines unfold on the top of the screen was positively addictive in our first ten days: So many peaks. So many valleys. So many more peaks! So many more valleys… We were getting ...

Dispatches from Abroad: Miro Museum will be happy to see you

Jay Stone stops to smell the flowers, and use the washroom, en route to the Miro Museum, where he was greeted by the likeness of E.T. with an erection By Jay Stone Barcelona, Spain -- There's a mountain on the west side of Barcelona that would probably be the signature site in most cities, but is kind of afterthought in Barcelona. It's called Montjuic, and all it has is a castle, the Joan Miro museum, the stadium from the 1992 Olympics (the one where Ben Johnson almost won a medal), a terraced park filled with flowers and wild parrots, and the Catalan art museum, with its attendant waterfalls and dancing fountains. At the bottom is the old bull ring which has been converted to a shopping centre now that bullfighting has been banned in the city on the grounds of animal cruelty. We say "olé!" to the city fathers, and award them two ears and a tail. Oops. Wait a minute... Montjuic means "Mount of the Jews" for reasons I can't easily determine. However, it seems that Jewish ...