Sunday, 23 September 2018

Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse



Canadians can now rest easy in the event of a zombie apocalypse, according to a recent article in Narcity.

The Zombie Research Society (!) recently ranked countries with over 5 million in population to determine which ones would be most able to handle a zombie pandemic. According to the article: "They took into consideration several factors, including population density, climate, topography, gun-ownership rate, military capability, natural resources, and public infrastructure." Canada came in second with first place going to Australia.

For the full text of the article, please click here



Sunday, 9 September 2018

I Am Not a Witch

Judging from the 100 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes and the trailers I have seen, I Am Not a Witch looks like an amazing film. It is set in Zambia and is a fictional story based on an African reality: witch camps in which accused women are imprisoned, marked with white scars, and tethered to white ribbons so they will not fly. It is filmmaker Rungano Nyoni’s debut film and the UK entry in next year's Oscars for  best foreign language film.

The following is an excerpt from The Daily Beast which describes the film:


From th[e] opening salvo alone, it’s apparent that something is terribly amiss here, and that only becomes clearer when an unknown young girl (Maggie Mulubwa), wearing an out-of-place T-shirt emblazoned with the message “#bootycall,” is spotted by a woman carrying water, and promptly brought to authorities and accused of being a witch. The reason for this charge? As one adult tells the less-than-convinced female cop on duty, things haven’t been right in the area since she arrived. Then another man steps up and says that the girl chopped off his arm, only to confess that he just dreamed this took place (which is still proof, apparently!). No matter the silliness of such allegations, the girl’s refusal to admit or deny that she’s a black-magic woman—instead, she faces this madness with staunch silence—convinces regional government official Mr. Banda (Henry B.J. Phiri) that the 9-year-old is, in fact, a witch.

Thus the kid is sent to live at a camp, where one elder gives her the name “Shula,” which in Zambian means “uprooted.” No sooner has Shula been welcomed into the community and given customary tribal scars on her face—as well as informed that cutting her ribbon will turn her into a goat—then she’s whisked away by Banda to a municipal trial held at a dusty outdoor 'court.' There . . . Shula is asked to use her otherworldly powers to determine which of the suspects has committed theft. Given that ... she’s not actually a witch, she defers to her elders, who via cell phone give her loads of nonsensical advice. (Choose the nervous looking one! Or the one looking up! Or the one looking down! Or the one who’s darkest!) Yet when she randomly fingers one man, and he shortly thereafter turns out to be the culprit, her credentials are firmly established.

All is not well with Shula, however, as I Am Not a Witch movingly elucidates. A prisoner of a system that demonizes women, segregates them from the rest of the population, and then has them toil on gigantic farms—all when they’re not presiding over criminal trials or trying to bring much-needed rain to the arid countryside—Shula is an innocent victim. And an isolated one too, given that she’s decades younger than her compatriots. . . .

Intrigued?

For the trailer, please click here.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Mandy

In the lead-up to Halloween, there are a number of new horror releases scheduled for September and October. There are horror comedies, vampires and alligators, re-makes and sequels, and even a horror musical. One of the films that seems to stand above the rest is Mandy, which earned excellent reviews at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has very high ratings in both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

The film is directed by Panos Cosmatos, an Italian-Canadian director and screenwriter. It stars Nicolas Cage, whom I haven't seen in a movie for quite a long time. Cage is a good actor-- although in my view he tends toward histrionics in many of his roles--but he's had the misfortune of being cast in a lot of unmemorable films. Apparently, however, his acting in this movie is getting rave reviews, one critic even calling it "the performance of a lifetime".

The film is set in the Pacific Northwest in 1983 where two loners, Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) have fallen deeply in love and now enjoy a quiet, peaceful existence together. Miller's life is destroyed when a band of "ravaging cultists and supernatural creatures" invades his home and kills Mandy. He now lives for one thing only: to hunt down this band and exact revenge.

I must admit that I'm not fond of revenge films, and this is a particularly bloody one. But if you're not squeamish, you might want to catch this movie, which may well become a cult classic.

To view the trailer, please click here.

The film is in theatres on September 14.