Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending January 30th

I imagine by now that most of you have heard about the ongoing battle the fabulous Rio Theatre has had with the liquor control board. Well it seems that the powers that be have come one step closer to putting the famed theatre out of business. Soon after being granted the much sought after liquor license for the live shows and special events that they put on at the Rio, they were informed that they could not show films in the theatre ever again! The Liquor Control fools cited some lame antiquated law that states, for some reason, that one could not serve booze in a movie theatre. The thing is, besides the point that one should be able to buy booze at the moves, the Rio wasn’t planning on selling alcohol during movies times! I just don’t get why this is happening. The good folks at the Rio have taken up the fight and you can help out as well. Here’s a link to online petitions and where to send emails requesting that this utterly stupid law be reviewed and ultimately overturned. Please take a moment to help out the best movie house in town…

New Releases for Tuesday January 24th

50/50 – Cancer comedy and drama all rolled into one! Nothing says funny like cancer! Actually from what I hear this is quite an excellent little number. The always swell Joseph Gordon-Levitt finds out he has the cancer and with the help of his bumbling sidekick, Seth Rogan, sets out to beat the shit out of cancer. Filmed in town here – they did a scene outside of the Black Dog on Commercial but I don’t know if we have a cameo in it or not as I haven’t had a chance to check the film out yet. Also on the Blu Ray.

Buck – Acclaimed doc about a dude who’s a real “horse whisperer”. I tried being a “cat whisperer” once but all I got out of it was indignation, contempt and outright hostility from my cat (Pork Hand is one of her many names).

French Immersion – French Canadian comedy about some English speaking folk who find themselves somewhere in rural Quebec where nobody speaks the English. A clash of cultures, I presume, ensue.

Happy Happy – Comedy/drama form Norway (good stuff coming out of Norway lately) finds a bored lonely sexy housewife (do tell!) becoming infatuated with the new sexy neighbors who have just moved in across the street. Sexual hijinks and uncomfortable situations, I presume, ensue. This is going to be a hot renter just judging by the cover art. Come in to the stores and see what I mean.

Hell and Back Again – Heavy duty doc follows a dude back from Afghanistan (the war part that is) as he tries to adjust to relatively normal society. As the director describes it – “It is a masterpiece in the cinema of war.”

Paranormal Activity 3 – While I did enjoy the first two installments in this series, (I haven’t had a chance to see this one yet) but I’m afraid that these films might slip into the Saw franchise category – lots of films but who gives a rat’s ass? That said, I will watch this one because I found the first two quite frightening and quite effective although the premise is getting stretched a little thin – how many people set up that may cameras in their home for little or no reason?. Also on the Blu Ray.

Real Steel – Wolverine stars in this futuristic, inspiring tale about people who build giant robots to fight each other. Guess that there’s nothing better to do in the future. Now if the premise included the robots running amok and ripping people’s heads and arms off and stuff instead of teaching robots how to fight and dance and mix drinks I may be interested. I should get back to work making my butler robot, although I’m afraid that it may become self aware and rip off my head and arms.

Restless – This number finds a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII. How romantic. I imagine that there will be tears jerked out of your eyes while watching this. Also on the Blu ray.

Shut Up Little Man – Ever want to record sound bites you hear around the town? Well this doc finds some dudes who record the fights, squabbles and tantrums thrown by their neighbors. Good times.

Swastika – Gripping doc about Nazi’s and propaganda and what not. Ahhh, can we ever get our fill of Nazis?

Triple Tap – Hong Kong actiony thriller about cops and robbers and bad guys and good guys and their paths intersecting and a whole bunch of stuff we’ve seen in tons of Hong Kong actiony thrillers.

The Whistleblower – Heavy duty drama starring the lovely Rachel Weisz as a a Nebraska cop with a whistle who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and blows said whistle on the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal. Based on a horrible true story. People (men) are awful. When does the world end again? Also on the Blu Ray.

Coming Next Week

Into the Universe
Shades of Ray
Big Year
Dream House
Cell 211
The Thing
In Time

Recently Viewed and Recommended

The Last Circus
The Guard
Tuesday, After Christmas
Fish Story
Ides of March
Boardwalk Empire
An Idiot Abroad

Here’s an amusing little ditty on how Albert Brooks and Patton Oswalt are taking their respective snubs from the Academy Awards –,68204/

That’s it for this week, kids. Have a great week, stay dry and warm and watching something good. Or bad. Your call.

Black Dog Video

Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending January 23rd

What a weekend. I managed to get out of town for a 4 day hockey tournament up on top of Apex mountain. Great fun indeed – outdoor hockey, hot tub, way too many beers, great food, great friends. Too bad it took such a toll on my poor old body – I have a cold, haven’t slept much, my face skin (does that sound weird?) is so dry I may have to wear a balaclava layered with vaseline and moisturizer for a while (don’t freak out if you see a guy wearing a vaseline soaked balaclava working behind the desk this weekend).

I just noticed that the fames Sala Thai restaurant on Cambie is no more. They were my first introduction to Thai food when I moved here 17 years ago and I loved it. Sad to see them go. Looks like another Thai place will be opening up in that location. I can’t remember the name – Me and I Thai? Thai Me Down? Itchy Thai? Something like that. Have to give them a try when they open.

Pretty mixed bag of flicks hitting the shelves this week, a couple of really good ones, a couple of really awful ones and some anime. There ya go.

New Releases for Tuesday January 17th

Abduction – That plastic waxy looking werewolf guy from the Twilight films attempts to become a plastic waxy looking leading action figure in this crappy looking thriller. Don’t know what it’s about (I’m guessing someone gets abducted and the Ken-doll has to rescue them) and I don’t really care. Abduction checks in with an impressive 4% on the Rotten Tomatometer. Also on the Blu Ray. I imagine that this will be near the top of people’s worst of lists. Right behind our next film.

Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star – If you like to read people’s worst of the year picks, I will bet the farm that this abomination will be among the top contenders on many a list. It’s the painfully unfunny (hey look the painfully unfunny Adam Sandler was one of the writers!) tale of some loser who wants to be a porn star. Let the laughs begin. We have two copies at each store which is probably two too many. Comes in with an impressive 0% on the Rotten Tomatometer!

Dirty Girl – Juno Temple (who?) stars in this comedy drama as a high school “dirty girl” (not too sure what that means, but I can guess) who decides to go on a road trip with a fat gay guy named Clarke and a bag of flour named Joan. That’s about all I can tell you about this except that it has graphic nudity in it. I’m not even exactly sure what graphic nudity consists of – naked ladies? loads of penis? Who knows?

First Squad – Cool sounding anime set during WWII that finds some Soviet teenagers with extraordinary abilities who have to fight an SS officer attempting to raise from the dead a supernatural army of crusaders from the 12th-century Order of the Sacred Cross and enlist them in the Nazi cause. Say that without taking a breath!

Ides of March – Topical political thriller starring The Clooney who also writes and directs (show off). Also has the ubiquitous The Gosling and The Giamatti. Supposed to be quite a good little flick. I’m a sucker for the political thriller so I have high hopes for this one. Also on the Blu Ray.

Killing Bono – A fantasy to some maybe…but this is a serious comedy/drama based on real events about a couple of dudes who form a band in Ireland the same time as some band called U2 was getting going. Jealousy abounds, I presume.

Poetry – A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class. Holy moly does this sound like something I’d never want to see. But that’s just me. I hear it’s actually pretty good. Just not for me. But you may like it. I doubt that I would. You should check it out.

Redline – The other anime released today deals with some sort of deadly racing tournament. Love those! Looks like my car has been in a few deadly racing tournaments.

Thorne: Sleepyhead – Don’t know a lot about this except that it’s supposed to be a very good thriller about a detective after a serial killer. Could be any of a thousand flicks. I think it’s based on a book or something written by someone.

Coming Next Week

The Whistleblower
Hell and Back Again
Real Steel
Paranormal Activity 3
French Immersion
Happy Happy
Shut Up Little Man

Recently viewed and Recommended

Boardwalk Empire
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Season 1
Tuesday After Christmas
Fish Story
Mildred Pierce
The Guard
An Idiot Abroad
Primeval Season 3

That’s it for this we folks, stay warm, eat well, drink lots (you don’t actually have to drink lots) and keep watching…

Black Dog Video

Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending January 16th

Unconfirmed reports are telling me that something called Mario’s Pizza will be sliding into the spot once occupied by Alpha Video on the Drive. I believe it may be a chain and may even be that East Side Mario’s with all those great commercials on the TV. I certainly hope not but I guess that we’ll have to wait and see. It’s such a great location for something cool but this sounds like it just may be quite the opposite. If anyone has any other info lease let us know. I noticed that Marcello’s is beefing up their outside seating arrangement maybe to get a jump on the next door competition. As mentioned this is still unconfirmed but my source usually knows what’s going on around the hood. The Drive definitely needs more (or even one) really good restaurant as it’s a bit of a wasteland over here.

Pretty good week for releases this week with the addition of some of the more highly acclaimed films and TV shows that were out on screen last year. Enjoy.

Unthank Cinema’s weekly Wednesday night showings of the fabulous and strange have been put on hiatus until further notice. Sorry.

New Releases for Tuesday January 10th

An Idiot Abroad – Very funny and fun show that follows idiot Carl Pilkington, friend of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant who send the poor sap around the world to visit stuff he really has no interest in seeing. Good stuff.

Boardwalk Empire Season 1 – Wow. Just watched the first couple of episodes and, wow, what a great show! It’s much better than I anticipated it would be but I shouldn’t be surprised as the it’s created by one of the driving forces behind The Sopranos and the first episode was directed by Scorsese and it stars some of my favorite actors – Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Kelly McDonald, Omar from The Wire and Dabney Coleman. Atlantic City in 1920, prohibition has just come into effect and all that it entails. Awesome awesome show. Also on the Blu Ray.

Fish Story – Bizarre Japanese flick that deals with such weighty topics as the end of the world (a comet is about to destroy the earth), the healing powers of punk rock, Japanese game shows, time travel (I think) and a myriad of other important topics. I’ve read great things about this film. Here’s a gushing review from one of the Ain’t it Cool guys –

Higher Ground – The lovely Vera Farmigna (Source Code, Up in the Air) makes her directorial debut with this heavy drama about a woman’s life-long struggle with her faith. Hopefully it’s a lot better than it sounds. Go Atheists! Also on Blu Ray.

Killer Elite – Actiony type number starring a bunch of manly men – Statham, Clive Owen, DeNiro who all play hit men at various stages of their careers who probably have to do “one last job” before they can retire or something like that. Good cast, hoping it’s a pretty good time waster. Also on the Blu Ray.

Moneyball – The writer of the fantastic Social Network penned this film about the baseball team known to some as the Oakland A’s and their unorthodox manager who attempts to build a successful team based on computer statistics. I hear this one is pretty good with fine performances by Mr. Angelina Jolie and Jonah Hill. If the writer can make such an exciting, absorbing film about the creation of a computer program I imagine he can do the same with one about, yawn, baseball. Also on the Blu Ray.

Primeval Season 3 – Season 3 of the fine British sci-fi show about dinosaurs who’ve managed to come through time somehow into modern day England and it’s up to a crack band of scientists or zookeepers or whoever they are to fight and control the beasts. Good fun. Too bad this isn’t a documentary. Might be cool to have giant lizards roaming around although it would make walking the boy to school a little more challenging.

The Tempest – The second Tempesty film that came out last year. This is the one you’ve been waiting for though – directed by Julie Taymor and starring Helen Mirren, Russell Brand and a bunch of other actors acting all Shakespearian and what not. Also on the Blu Ray.

Old Stuff Just In

Citizen Kane – Blu Ray
Little Shop Around the Corner
Can’t Hardly Wait

Coming Next Week

Thorne: Sleepyhead
Ides of March
Dirty Girl
Killing Bono
First Squad
Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Boardwalk Empire
Mildred Pierce
The Guard
A Better Life
Ip Man 2
An Idiot Abroad
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Justified Season 2
Tree of Life
A Somewhat Gentle Man

I have a funny feeling we’ll be seeing this film come Oscar time next year….

That’s it for this week, folks. Stay warm, eat well, drink if you must and remember, keep watching.

Black Dog Video

The Dangerous Kitchen

Gus: “That haunted frying pan better not be on the porch when I get home or I’ll be super mad!”

I Don’t want to go to Disneyland.

Gus asked when we could go to Disneyland. I suggested that maybe he could go without me. I told him that I’m too old for that place. He says to me; “Well you could just stand around. Or sit. You’re good at that. Maybe have a couple of drinks, a bite to eat…”

Lazer Blades

So I says to Gus, “But what if I had razor blades in my pocket?” Gus says back,”You don’t have lazer blades in your pocket!”

Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending January 9th

Well 2011 is finally behind us. Whew! It was quite a tough and challenging year for us in the video world (I also live in the real world on occasion). We saw an insane amount of good stores close and good people facing career change and an uncertain future. In just the past twelve months we saw the passing of such fine establishments as Independent Flicks, Happy Bats, Videomatica, Alpha, Applause, Bird Dog in Calgary and, of course, our little brother Black Dog in Toronto. We were not immune to the changing nature of how people get their entertainment. The proliferation of illegal and legal downloading, Netflix, Video on Demand, the Canucks in the playoffs and just a myriad of other distractions on and off the computer almost sunk us as well. As the months passed by, we persevered and business actually took an upswing at the end of the year. Many customers from the graveyard of dead video stores (including Blockbuster and Rogers) made there way to our shores. Welcome, ya’ll! Here’s hoping this trend continues for 2012 and beyond. As long as you lovely patrons keep coming, we’ll be here to provide you with the best selection of films in town. Cheers!

Over at Cambie Street we are going to continue to stay open until 11pm every night. If deemed successful we’ll keep those hours. If it is not we’ll be sliding back into the 10pm closing Sunday to Thursday. I will keep you posted.

New Releases for Tuesday January 3rd

Contagion – Matt Damon (MATT DAMON!!) tries to fight an outbreak of some disease killing everyone everywhere. I’m hoping that he employs all of those sweet hand-to-hand fighting techniques he learned when he was Jason Bourne. Big cast including Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hawkes and the uber lovely Marion Cotillard all join in the battle to save humanity for some reason. Why bother, the humans could use a bit of a culling, don’t you think?Also on the Blu Ray.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – Unnecessary remake of a pretty good horror number from 1973 finds a young girl moving into an old creepy mansion with old creepy Katie Holmes and discovering that small horrible monsters live in the basement and they like to eat peoples teeth. I guess they subsist on a calcium based diet. Also on the Blu Ray.

The Guard – Excellent dark comedy starring the awesome Brendan Gleeson as a sleazy Irish cop that enjoys drugs and hookers who teams up with the awesomer Don Cheadle’s FBI agent to solve some drug smuggling operation or something like that. Also on the Blu Ray.

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Tedious comedy/drama about a successful career woman who has a face like a horse and must overcome some obstacles to balance work and family life and the fact that she has a face like a horse.

Justified Season 2 – Season 2 of this excellent crimey series starring the dreamy Timothy Olyphant and the wonderfully named Walton Goggins. Good show. You should watch this.

Love Exposure – Strange and long (4 hours!) and ,from what I hear, very good Japanese flick about a guy who’s dad is a preacher guy who’s having an affair with a parishioner. But wait, that’s not all! The son has a fetish for taking up-skirt photos and is also a virgin. I doubt I’m doing this any justice with this simplistic, yet hilarious, review. You’ll have to check it out yourself. Here’s a link to Rotten Tomatoes for ya….

Mildred Pierce – Fabulous (looking anyways) mini-series about a woman (Kate Winslet) living in LA in 1931 who decides to open her own restaurant and has a tumultuous relationship with her daughter. And a bunch of other stuff happens as well. Be hard to erase the memory of the Joan Crawford version. Also on the Blu Ray.

Shark Night – Computer enhanced sharks feast on some unsuspecting bouncy coeds. Sharks love coeds. Who can blame them?. Also on the Blu Ray.

Snow and Ashes – A war correspondent wakes up from a coma to discover that his buddy and photographer didn’t make it home. So it’s back into the shit with him.

Transfer – German sci-fi number where people can transfer (hence the title) their mind to another body when things start to break down. Sheesh I wish that were reality. I’d be changing bodies on a weekly basis.

Coming Next Week

What’s Your Number?
Fish Story
Killer Elite
Boardwalk Empire Season 1
Higher Ground
Primeval Season 3
A Turtles Tale
An Idiot Abroad Season 1
Triple Tap
The Tempest

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Final Destination 5
A Better Life
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Tree of Life
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
The Girl
A Somewhat Gentle Man
Margin Call
The Future
Dale and Tucker vs Evil

And last and definitely least, here’s some awesomely bad Christmas cards…

Have a safe and happy beginning of 2012 and remember, keep watching,

Black Dog Video