Café Canadien Sampler Platter

Saturday, 4 December 2004 — 5:16pm | Film

If the rigorous movie analyses and Scrabble game logs at this establishment are the scrumptious sushi selections on the menu, posts like the one you are about to read would be the assorted tempura.

There isn’t much on my Christmas wishlist this year, but on it is the 1950-1952 volume of The Complete Peanuts, which is already on shelves. Schulz’s early work that sprung off his Lil’ Folks panels, when the characters were even younger than how we have come to know them, has in the past seen very little in the way of publication. Now is as opportune a time as any to start collecting the entire run of Peanuts in tandem with this project.

Geoff Pullum picks on Dan Brown again, and as always, echoes my own feelings in a far more eloquent manner. “The great thing about filming Dan Brown’s novels,” he says, “will be that it will get rid of his execrable expository prose.”

On some of their vintage DVD releases, Warner Brothers includes a feature entitled Warner Night at the Movies, which attempts to re-create the way movies used to be presented; the main feature is preceded by a trailer, newsreel, animated short, and live short, all selected from the same year as the film’s release. It’s a commendable mode of presentation, and film buffs should appreciate such classics as The Adventures of Robin Hood and Yankee Doodle Dandy being given such a respectful treatment.

I mention this because local readers may find some amusement in this tidbit: on the DVD of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the included newsreel features one segment on a fire-eater delighting the kids of one Edmonton, Alberta. The footage is brief and contains nothing that identifies the city in a way one could distinguish today, but it’s there.

The next set of films to get the Warner Night at the Movies treatment is the Warner Gangsters Collection to be released in January. It’s hard to get a hold of these pre-Maltese Falcon pictures where Bogart is in his early phase as a supporting hoodlum while Cagney is in his first-billed prime, so these restorations are much appreciated.

Speaking of box sets, put this on my Christmas list as well: the Criterion Collection Akira Kurosawa: Four Samurai Classics (The Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo and Sanjuro). So many DVDs, so little time.

Today I saw Happnin’, the U of A Jazz Choir, perform their Fall Concert. To put it succinctly, I would see them again, and so should you; there are more performances to come next year, including their Spring Concert (2 April) and an appearance at the Rocky Mountain Music Festival in Banff (14-17 April).

David Yates is as good as confirmed to be sitting in the director’s chair for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Personally, I think Jeunet shouldn’t have turned it down, but he would have been better for one of the early films anyhow. And it’s a shame nobody caught on to just how perfect Terry Gilliam is for this particular chapter in the Potter saga, but with both The Brothers Grimm and Tideland on his plate, it hardly fits into his schedule anyhow.

On a final note, my television is tuned to a channel emulating a fireplace and playing easy-listening music. Weird.

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