A group of washed-up Canadian punk rockers get back together for a road trip in memory of a dear friend who was supposedly shot, or so rumors imply. As they travel, they ignore the underlying psychological darkness within each other.
Callum Keith Rennie,
A story of life on a First Nations reserve in Ontario: Silas and Frank are trying to get into college to train to be mechanics but they find themselves having to deal with girls, family ...... See full summary »
Ryan Rajendra Black,
Six young friends on a road trip in Ireland run afoul of gypsies who curse them for accidentally running down an old woman. The curse takes the form of a terrifying flying creature that tries killing them all.
Alex is the film student forced by his college professor to stop making Jackie Chan "homage" films and make "something from the heart" in order to graduate. Lars is the painting student and... See full summary »
Ramona works in a concert agency and is sent after the rock band 'Children of Paradise' who have disappeared. Since she can't drive, she has to take the train and bus and eventually hitchhike. On her way through the Canadian back country she meets the weirdest people - and learns to drive, what leads to... roadkill.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Bruce McDonald originally conceived the film as a concert film focusing on the band A Neon Rome, but the band's lead singer, Neal Arbik, was uncooperative during the tour which the planned film was to focus on. Arbik eventually left the music industry before the film could get made as well as before his band's planned second album could even be recorded. Instead, the film became a fictionalized portrayal of A Neon Rome, depicting a band on the verge of collapsing in a similar manner. See more »
Russel, are you really a serial killer?
Well, I've never really killed anyone before, but that's what I'm shooting for. That's my ambition. I know it's a hard profession, and it's a competive field and getting tougher every year. You have to kill about 20 people now before you're taken seriously, But let's face it, what other options do I have? There's not a lot of opportunities up here for social mobility. I mean you can either become a hockey player or take up a life of crime. And I have weak...
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...hardly any animals were killed during the shooting of this movie... See more »
Rough and raw in the best sense. Delightfully quirky, damned funny, with the odd, faintly haunting moment worked in. My thought a few years ago, seeing it in a video store was, okay, I remember it got my attention first time round in the theatre, but this was ten years ago; what happens if I rent it and see it again?
Answer: it holds up quite well. Yes, the very raw (read 'cheap') production values shine through everywhere; this is part of the fun, after a while. The rough black and white footage makes rural Northern Ontario look properly bleak (and occasionally sinister -- hey, I grew up there; and trust me -- it's appropriate), and, at times, coldly beautiful. Buhagiar is deliciously bemused throughout as the stranger in a (very) strange land, and McKellar's wannabe serial killer is an absolute scream (listen for the line about upward mobility, hockey, crime, and weak ankles; I'll avoid spoiling it for you).
It's probably blasphemy to some fans' ears to say it (it's McDonald, it's rock 'n roll, and you're not really supposed to take any of these things too seriously), but on some levels, this is almost a film of substance despite itself, if you go looking for it. Again, it's partly the atmosphere: the melancholy question -- "whatinhell are we all doing here anyway, and exactly why are we bothering, again?" -- a question naturally posed by the area -- works its way in at the edges of the frame. The response of the lead singer of the fictional "Children of Paradise" -- to shut up entirely, and suffer the absurdity of it all without comment, from behind haunted, hollow eyes -- actually makes a fair bit of sense, given the environment.
The dialogue is weak through much of it, and not always much helped by the sometimes amateurish delivery, but there are some brilliant moments. Co-writer McKellar, who, in my view, hit his stride with the quietly apocalyptic (see it; I'm not explaining here) *Last Night*, was still working on his game here (and McDonald, honestly, I've always found a little lean this way). But there are definite flashes of great things to come.
The soundtrack's got an eclectic thing going for it. As with all three films in the loose 'trilogy' this one started (see also Highway 61, Hard Core Logo), this is a film about rock 'n roll, and is something of a document in this respect -- it features songs by the Cowboy Junkies, the Ramones, and Nash the Slash, to name a prominent few.
Overall, a strange sort of Northern Ontario travelogue -- but not exactly the Chamber of Commerce version. More the "come here if you like cold bleak scenery, and consider running over animals a sport" version. Highly recommended, if you're looking for something distinctive, memorable, and frequently, amusingly quirky.
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