Dispatches from Abroad: The Picasso Museum

  Jay Stone pays a visit to five stone mansions filled with sun-faced ceramics and sunburned tourists taking in once-outré art, now made safe by fame By Jay Stone Barcelona, Spain -- Among the many things the savvy traveller must do, once he has wiped the tapas crumbs out of his beard, is to tour the Picasso Museum, situated in the colourful El Born neighbourhood. El Born is reminiscent of Old Montreal: cobbled streets, ancient buildings, gentrified restaurants, the same duality of language. In Spain, Catalan is the language of the oppressed minority, and Spanish cereal boxes come with instructions in both Spanish and Catalan. My morning museli has "5 frutas" and "5 desecadas" and everyone's happy, especially me. But you were asking about Picasso. The artist (1881-1973) lived in Barcelona during his teenage formative years, and the museum, spread across five old stone mansions linked with cool courtyards, traces his early history. There's also a lot of stuff he did ...

Dispatches from Abroad: Jay Stone watches his wallet in Spain

When in Barcelona, be Barcelonan, or is that do as the Barcelonese? It can be hard for a foreigner to figure things out in the land of architecture that conjures thoughts of The Phantom of Opera's mask Barcelona, Spain: Say you're going to Barcelona, and everyone has a story about how their pocket was picked or, in some cases, their passport stolen right out of their purse while they were buying something - a soccer T-shirt, perhaps, or one of the Dali ashtrays that made to look is as molten as one of his clocks - and not watching their wallet. Someone had their purse stolen right from under a restaurant table. Someone met a guy who had ketchup and mustard poured on him out of squeeze bottles and, while he was wiping it off, lost all his luggage. It's something of a relief, then, to report that I arrived from the airport with pocketbook intact, perhaps due to the fact that my passport and cash were tucked into a money belt that fit nicely just over my underwear. The only way to ...
4Score

Ex Machina dangles a divine equation

Movie review: Ex Machina Writer Alex Garland makes an impressive directing debut retooling Greek tragedy with silicon parts, writes Katherine Monk    

Fusing foodie fare with fancy film houses: A recipe for disaster – and salad

By Charley Gordon One of those fancy movie houses has opened in Ottawa, where you can order food and wine and have them brought to your seat. Many people, not thinking it through, think this represents sophistication, but it doesn’t. It represents doom. And not just for the reasons you think. Drunkenness will be a bit of problem, but more of an inconvenience than anything. It just means that when people say: “What did he say?” they’ll say it louder, and similarly with: “Hey that’s the guy who was in that other movie, with the that woman who ran off with that other guy!” There may be bit of vomiting too but you’re probably used to that by now. There are published assurances that all is working well. You can believe those if you want. It is reassuring that for some movies, you can avoid the so-called VIP experience if you choose, and just watch the movie in the traditional way, without wine and calamari. It’s also reassuring that the wine-and-calamari ...

PROFILE: Bruce McDonald

BRUCE McDONALD Born May 28, 1959, Kingston, Ont.   He’s made a lot of movies, but Bruce McDonald will go down in history as the man who announced he would buy “the biggest chunk of hash” he could find after winning the $25,000 prize for best Canadian feature at the 1989 Toronto International Film Festival (then called Festival of Festivals).  “What can I say,” says McDonald. “I’ve never been all that interested in doing what’s expected of me.” A true Canadian maverick, McDonald’s career started in documentary and gradually shifted into narrative features after a solid stint as an editor on such films as Atom Egoyan’s Speaking Parts and Ron Mann’s Comic Book Confidential -- not to mention crewing on Norman Jewison’s nun story, Agnes of God. A proud Canadian, when McDonald originally set to work on his first road movie, Roadkill, he wanted to make sure it was a Canadian take on the romantic genre and made sure his characters pointed north -- ...

What did Singapore’s late patriarch do during infamous UBC sit-in?… He just sat there…

Rod Mickleburgh reveals little-known encounter between Lee Kuan Yew, Jerry Rubin and hordes of hippies in the hallowed halls of The University of British Columbia - back in the day By Rod Mickleburgh So, farewell then, Lee Kuan Yew, grand patriarch of Singapore, who never saw a critic he didn’t want to jail or sue, or a gum chewer he didn’t want to fine. Much has been written extolling the great man, beloved of entrepreneurs and capitalists for creating a safe, uncorrupt haven for their money and by hordes of ex-pats in Asia for providing a tiny, perfect oasis for a few days’ R and R, coupled with a chance to down a Singapore Sling at the famed Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. But none of the lengthy obituaries has included one of the more remarkable confluences of Lee’s long career. That occurred, of all places, on the scenic, normally placid campus of the University of B.C., where he encountered an invasion of raucous ragamuffins imbued with the heady, counter-culture ...
4Score

Movie review: Monsoon gently sweeps viewer away

Canadian director Sturla Gunnarsson's new documentary finds a comfortable, first-person approach to examining the dynamic between humans and the forces we can't control  

PROFILE: Gary Burns

GARY BURNS Born 1960, Calgary, Alberta   A former construction worker who turned to filmmaking at the age of 30, Burns remains something of a lone wolf on the Alberta landscape howling at the moon. A guy who generally works alone and steers clear of the “film scene,” Burns makes movies that appeal to his own personal brand of darkly comic wackiness. ``I don't really know what's going on in Alberta from a film standpoint. I'm not a part of it. I'm not really part of anything. I don't crew. I don't work in the industry. My friends have nothing to do with the film business. I don't even go to see movies. I'm guess I'm just another alienated Canadian filmmaker,'' says the man who used to sandblast oil-rig equipment. A graduate of the University of Calgary’s drama program, Burns decided to enroll in the film program at Concordia University in Montreal in the hopes of turning his passion for storytelling into a career. After graduating from Concordia in 1992, he ...

@Home releases for April 21

Maps to the Stars navigates Tinseltown with Cronenberg's broken compass, Jennifer Aniston has her Cake, Marion Cotillard faces unemployment while Paul McCartney carries the weight of the week's DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD releases.   By Katherine Monk Maps to the Stars (2014) Three and a half stars out of five. Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, Robert Pattinson, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams. Directed by: David Cronenberg. Running time: 111 minutes. Julianne Moore may have won the best actress Oscar for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimers in Still Alice, but she deserves a rodeo buckle for her turn as Havana Segrand, the grown daughter of Hollywood royalty and central figure in David Cronenberg’s latest freak show. Havana has been riding the bull of showbiz since she was just a kid, but now that she’s getting older, she’s getting thrown – which only makes her want to hang on tighter. It’s a desperate move, but ...
2.5Score

Movie review: Boychoir sings same old song

Dustin Hoffman's natural warmth brings random notes to Canadian director Francois Girard's textbook excerise, writes Jay Stone