No Such Thing

Several years ago — and I’m sure this is meaningless to non-Vancouverites — there used to be a little theatre downtown, under Royal Centre. I loved that place. It had several tiny, shoebox cinemas. Some of them only had about 30 seats. And unlike most “Famous Players” theatres, they showed new films that were just a little off the beaten track.

One of my favourite evening activities was to show up there not knowing what film I’d see, and pick one almost at random. In those shoebox cinemas, I accidentally saw The Girl in the Swing, Withnail and I, Europa, and several others that I might not have seen otherwise.

When Royal Bank took over the property and renovated it to expand its offices, Vancouver suffered a great loss. I sometimes try to do the same thing at the Hollywood Theatre on Broadway, but it’s really not the same. Nobody else in town has a half-dozen living room sized cinemas.

In the same spirit, when I rent a video, I sometimes like to grab one that I haven’t heard of and avoid reading the synopsis on the back. How could a synopsis do anything but ruin your appreciation of a movie? And how could it really provide you with any meaningful way to judge the difference between one movie and another?

For example: “A man with super powers is willing to sacrifice himself to save the world.” Now is that movie Superman, or is it The Last Temptation of Christ?

Anyway, as I came home from work on Friday, I grabbed a movie almost at random so that I could have one of those Royal Centre surprise movie experiences. Was it a comedy or drama? No idea — all I knew was that it starred Sarah Polley, and if I can confess to something, I’ve developed a bit of a crush on Sarah, so that probably played some part in choosing it.

The movie was No Such Thing, written and directed by Hal Hartley. All I can say is, go out and rent it now. It’s not your regular movie. Neither is it too weird to digest. Sarah Polley is utterly brilliant (though maybe a little typecast) as the pure, innocent girl, and Robert John Burke is perfect as the embittered monster. But I won’t attempt to provide a synopsis for you. That would ruin it. Just go grab it. Watch it. Preferably late at night. Let me know what you think.

Oh, and much of it is set in Iceland. Wonderful place. It looks so desolate and moody. I’d love to spend time there being all melancholy by the sea and stuff. I’m sure that’s a national Icelandic pastime.

Laughing out loud in the early morning

At about 3:30 this morning, I found myself staring intently at the ceiling without the slightest urge to close my eyes. Argh. So I wandered over to the TV and let my thumb flip up and down the channels. Then I landed on the arts channel, Bravo, which was showing Buster Keaton in the General.

Buster Keaton in 'the General'

What an amazing movie! Even though I’d seen it before, it was absolutely hilarious. That guy was a genius. The only actor (in my humblest of opinions) who has come even close to Keaton’s mastery of physical comedy is Jackie Chan. I was quite disappointed to see it end, since it was much more entertaining than staring at the ceiling. Heck, it would take at least a thousand ceilings to top that movie.

Anyway, this is an aimless blog entry today, so I’ll just finish up with this.

It’s the Cheops Show, tonight at 8 on Fox!

4,500 years ago, the Egyptian pharoah Cheops had the Great Pyramid built. Inside the pyramid, at the end of a long, steep shaft that is too narrow for human passage, there is a stone door. The door has remained closed for thousands of years, but tonight the seal will be broken on a live television broadcast. (Article on

Should some doors remain closed? This strikes me as a dangerous game. I’m not referring to the curse of the pharoah. I mean broadcasting the event live is a risky business, as Geraldo Rivera can attest to. So many things can go wrong in the brief two hour broadcast — the least of which could be the discovery of an empty chamber beyond the door.

If I were to be cynical for a moment… er… for another moment, I would predict one of these outcomes:

1.) The robotic probe breaks down or gets stuck before finishing the job.

2.) The door turns out to be far thicker than the measly 7.6 cm they detected.

3.) Should they manage to drill through the door, it will be too dark to see anything.

4.) They discover that it’s just a really elaborate cat door.

But will I be watching? Abso-freakin-lutely! I first heard about this mysterious door a few years ago while watching one of those educational (and entertaining) documentaries about the mysterious shaft. I was hooked — I love a good mystery.

I hope they brought Brendan Fraser with them, because the dreaded mummy of Cheops’ cat may not like being woken from its nap.

6:00 – “Run, runner!”

The continuing story of my Linux installation…

In desperation (and ignorance), I’m restarting the installation. AGAIN!

To pass the time, I’m playing my Logan’s Run DVD. Wow. It’s been a year since my palm started flashing. I keep looking over my shoulder to see if Michael York is after me.