Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending May 5th

About 2 or 3 months ago I was cavorting with some friends, enjoying a pint or two of something tasty and, presumably, alcoholic. In between sips of some delicious local brew, someone suggested that we all do the Sun Run. “Sure, what the hell. Let’s do the Sun Run! It’ll be a dawdle!” I bellowed, not really thinking of what I was saying (no surprise there). Funny thing about that. Read more…

There won’t be a newsletter next week as I’m going to give it a bit of a make-over. Make it bigger, stronger, faster. More easily-digestible with fewer calories. That and there’s only one or two films new on the shelves next week. Man, the studios aren’t making it easy for us with a few underwhelming weeks of releases in a row. It picks up quite considerably after that though. Stay tuned.

This Saturday, drop on over to the Commercial Black Dog for some sweet sounds courtesy of local musical hero Jason Zumpano. World War JZ will be spinning some disks at 5pm to make your Black Dog experience that much better. Combine that with a tasty beverage courtesy of local beer heroes Bomber Brewing and life is quite good indeed.


New Releases for Tuesday April 29th


Bad Country – Gritty crime drama finds a heavily moustached Willam Dafoe teaming up with and even heavier moustached Matt Dillion to take on the mob. Much action and moustache stroking, I presume, ensue. It must be good as it has Tom Berenger in it, who also has a fat, honking moustache. Also on the Blu Ray.


Bastards – French film from acclaimed director Claire Denis (White Material) finds a sea captain delving into the sordid and scary world of French sex rings in order to save his sister and teenaged niece. Something tells me it doesn’t go to well for any of them. “A Punch-Drunk Nightmare” the box is telling me. Whatever that means.


Birder’s Guide to Everything – Coming of age tale about a young birding fanatic who thinks he’s made the discovery of a lifetime. I imagine that it’s a bird-related discovery. So he takes off on an epic road trip (road trips in movies have to be epic) to discover, not just a new bird, but what lies in his heart as well. I just made that part up. Did it make you kinda sick? Along the way they meet Gandhi, er, I mean Ben Kingsley.


A Field in England – Weird, trippy, psychedelic flick from the director of Sightseers and Kill List finds some deserters from a war in 1648 England getting all kidnapped and such by a cruel alchemist, forced to eat magic mushrooms and help him find some treasure buried in the titular field. Sounds crazy and neat. Black and white it’s filmed in, just to further mess with your mind. Also on the Blu Ray.


Labor Day – Kate Winslet takes escaped convict Josh Brolin into her home with her young song because, well I guess, she’s crazy? Or is it because he’s handsome? He has rippling abs? Maybe she’s bored, lonely and depressed? Maybe that big, gross moustache is a turn on? It seems that it’s moustache week! Romance soon blossoms but will Johnny Law come and interrupt the steamy proceedings? From the director of Juno and Thank You for Smoking. Also on the Blu Ray.


The Selfish Giant – Tough little British film about a couple of 13-year-old best friends from a rough neighbourhood who take up with a shady scrap dealer named Kitten. Things don’t go too well for our little heroes. Heard great things about this one. Think Ken Loach working class stuff and you’ll be in the right neighbourhood, whether you want to or not.

Coming Next Week

Veronica Mars Movie
Escape From Tomorrow

Coming the Following Week


Orange is the New Black Season 1

Eastbound and Down Season 4
Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?
That Awkward Moment
I, Frankenstein
Genius on Hold

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Selfish Giant
Date and Switch
Odd Thomas
Big Bad Wolves
Broken Circle Breakdown
Touch of Sin
The Great Beauty

That’s all for this week, kids. See you in The Future!

Black Dog Video

Copyright © 2014 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.


Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending April 28th

Just wanted to throw a big thank-you shout-out to all of you fabulous humans who reacted in such a generous and positive way to my “open letter” from last week (You can read it here if you missed it or want to relive the memories). Folks dropped into the store to lend their support, tweeted and messaged all over the internet – we received encouragement from many corners of the globe (yes I know that a globe can’t have corners)! We received lots of ideas on how to proceed and keep this boat afloat. Lots for our minds to chew on. Makes us feel like we have something good going on here. Let’s hope that this love can last for a long time to come. Cheers to you all!

We’ve got a cool thing happening in the future over at the Commercial store – local musical hero Jason Zumpano will be setting up some turntables and fancying us with select tunes and soundscapes on Saturday May 3rd at 5pm in the afternoon (as opposed to 5pm in the morning!). There will also be some delicious refreshments to be had courtesy of our good friends over at Bomber Brewing. Cool beans.


New Releases for Tuesday Aril 22nd

photo copy 3

Bag Man – Remember a few weeks ago how I was going on about the cover art for Grudge Match and how God-awful it was? Well we have a new contender for worst box art of the year (or maybe ever). Bagman! It looks like I tried to draw John Cusack after drinking a bottle of Absinthe, going blind from said Absinthe and then having my hands mangled in a thresher. It’s just that bad. As for the film – Cusack plays a guy holding a mysterious bag for DeNiro after killing a bunch of people for some reason. Another straight to video release for DeNiro and Cusack. Man these guys are a long way from home. On the plus side it has Crispin Glover and something called Sticky Fingaz in it. Also on the Blu Ray.


Big Bad Wolves – Pretty cool, intense, grim drama/horror number from Israel that finds a disgraced cop and the father of a murdered girl “interrogating” the main suspect. If the films Prisoners and Hostel had a some sweaty, grimy, blood-soaked sex that produced baby, not only would that be weird and really gross, but you might end up with something like this flick. Recommended! Tarantino’s favourite film from last year (but he also had Lone Ranger on his list). Also on the Blu Ray.


Broadchurch Season 1 – Fantastic British TV show (one of Johns favourites!) looks into the lives of folks in a small coastal town in England that are torn apart after the murder of a young boy. Has the fine British actor David Tennant among it’s fine cast. Highly recommended.


Date and Switch – Rom-com that finds a couple of high-schoolers (judging by the box art, these “teenagers” look like they are in their early 30’s) looking to lose their virginity before prom. Things take an unexpected turn when one of them reveals that he’s gay. Lame cover (again), hello Drinking Buddies. Not too sure why I ordered this. I must have been drunk.


Interior. Leather Bar. – Rumour has it that there’s a section – 40 minutes or so – that were cut from that Al Pacino/William Friedkin flick Cruising (1980) to avoid the dreaded X-Rating and those 40 minutes have gone missing. So James Franco and another guy took it upon themselves to re-imagine what those 40 minutes might have looked like. Lots of sweaty gay sex is my guess. They use this as a jumping off point to explore the topics of sexual and creative freedom. Enjoy.


Scandal Season 1 and 2 – Very much enjoyable TV show that finds Kerry Washington leaving her job as a White House Communications Director to start her own crisis management firm only to discover she hasn’t left the past behind. Much intrigue and, dare I say it, scandal ensues! Season 1 is rented as an old title ($3 a disk for 1 week) and Season 2 as a New Release ($4 a disk for 2 nights). Season 2 has yet to arrive at Commercial as well. Soon, my pretties, soon.


Vikings – Season 1 – Fine, gritty TV series about the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok.You remember him. Famous viking. The series tells the saga of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family as they cavort around the bleak landscape, fighting and loving and doing whatever it is that Vikings do.

Coming Next Week

Bad Country
Labor Day
The Selfish Giant
Space Battleship Yamato
Escape From Tomorrow

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Broadchurch Season 1
Big Bad Wolves
Wolf of Wall St.
Odd Thomas
Enough Said
Blue is the Warmest Colour

Here’s something from Buzzfeed to smile about that’s not a quiz telling you what kind of pizza topping you are or what’s your spirit dinosaur…

Have a great week Hope to see y’all soon.

Black Dog Video

Copyright © 2014 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:

Black Dog Video
Cambie Street and/or Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC


Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending April 21

So it’s no surprise that video stores have fallen on hard times and many have disappeared over the last several years. Besides Black Dog, there might only be 2 or 3 left in town. It’s been a struggle the past number of years to keep this boat afloat. I’m not one to usually talk about numbers but our rental revenue has decreased by about 40% over that past few years. This isn’t a huge surprise—obviously technology has been moving this direction for some time—but the decline has been more dramatic than we had anticipated. We’ve responded by doing everything we can within the limited scope of this business. We have fabulous deals almost every day of the week, we offer a money-saving punch card for frequent renters, and we have reasonable rental periods and cheap late fees on which we’re almost always willing to cut you a break. Having such small stores we aren’t able to move into sales or offer any other services like coffee, ice cream, booze or sex toys so we have to rely on you fine folks to keep us doing what we love to do – provide a unique and well-cultivated selection of cinema served to you by seasoned staff who are passionate about film.

I’ve been putting off writing this “open letter” for a while now as…read more

New Releases for Tuesday April 15th


Better Living Through Chemistry – Fun looking comedy with a fine cast – Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Ray Liotta, Jane Fonda – about a straight-laced pharmacist who hooks up with a attractive customer who takes him on a bender fuelled by drugs, sex and maybe even murder! I like all of those things. Also on the Blu Ray.


Bletchely Circle Season 2 – More crime-solving shenanigans from the WWII code-breaking women from Season 1. Heard some swell things about this show. It’s on my list. My long, long list.


Flowers in the Attic – Evil Granny Ellen Burstyn keeps her grandchildren locked in the attic of her house where they’re forced to live and “come-of-age”, if you get my drift. And I know that you do because my drift is strong! Heard that this adaptation of the novel of the same name veers into “so bad it’s good” territory. I might be up for a watch. Who’s in?


The Invisible Woman – Dang, I was hoping this was going to be a kind of sleazy comedy where a woman finds out she can turn invisible and then does some crimes and goes in men’s locker rooms and stuff like that because that’s what an invisible guy would do, right? Anyhoo, this film, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, is about Charles Dickens and the his secret lover, who may or may not be invisible. Also on the Blu Ray.


Pervert’s Guide to Ideology – That crazy (crazy in a good, smart, amusing way that is) Slavoj Zizek attempts to uncover the hidden meaning of many Hollywood films by applying psychoanalytic theory to film interpretation. We are responsible for our dreams. This is the ultimate lesson of psychoanalysis – and fiction cinema and so forth. Good times for your head.


Philomena – Dame Judi Dench and funny guy Steve Coogan go on a road trip to Spring Break where they fall into the wrong crowd led by a crazy James Franco who makes Dame Judi Dench “look at his shit” as they go on a coke-fuelled rampage through the party towns of Florida. I think that this is the synopsis. Either that or Coogan plays a reporter who helps Dame Judi Dench track down the child she was forced to give up decades ago by a crew of evil nuns. Lousy nuns. Also on the Blu Ray.


Nut Job – No it’s not some sleazy, ball strewn porno outing. Perverts. It’s some animated family affair about some squirrels and some nuts and a job of sorts.


Ride Along – Ice Cube (you’re a long way from NWA, dude) is a cop who takes his sister’s boyfriend on a “ride along” in his police jalopy to see if he’s worthy of dating her. That’s a weird thing to do. My guess is that it starts out with the guy, tiny Kevin Hart, bumbling and being a smart aleck but he proves himself to the Cube later on, earning his respect. Some comedy and, probably, gunplay factor in here as well. Also on the Blu Ray.


Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Hit-and-miss Ben Stiller directs and stars along some special effects in this fine tale (don’t know if the movie is any good, but I like the story) about a guy who fantasizes a lot about a bunch of different things but then gets the chance to explore the world. To me it seems like it might be a cross between Eat, Pray, Love and Forrest Gump that targets emotionally stunted man-children. Hijinks and sappy life-lessons, I presume, ensue. I imagine I’ll be taking a pass on this one. Also on the Blu Ray.


Touch of Sin – Our newest rookie, RJ, (this was his favourite film of last year) chimes in with this little review/synopsis – Taken from the actual news headlines in China, Jia Zhangke weaves four bloody stories of explosive violence. A Touch of Sin asks how does an ordinary non-violent criminal suddenly become entrenched in violence? Is corruption so rampant that society has lost all humanity, or is there something else going on? Stylish and scathing, Jia Zhangke has taken social critique to a highly entertaining form. Good job, rookie!


Wrong Cops – Sequel of sorts to Quentin Duplex’s weirdo, surrealist flick, Wrong, from last year. This one stars that deadpan cop, Mark Burnham, who, along with some other bad cops, look to dispose of a body that one of them accidentally shot. I much enjoyed Wrong and with some inspired casting – Marilyn Manson, Grace Zabriskie, Eric Wareheim and Eric Roberts – this one should be a hoot.

Coming Next Week

A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Bag Man
Big Bad Wolves
Broadchurch Season 1

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Touch of Sin
The Great Beauty
Wolf of Wall Street
Odd Thomas
Blue is the Warmest Colour
American Hustle

Oh there’s a big Easter Egg hunt in the Cambie Village this Saturday. Stop by for some Easter treats!

My good friend is working on her Ph D. at the moment and is conducting a survey on Digital Photographs Accessed and Stored in Social Media Platforms. If you have the time and/or interest please fill out this little survey. It’s for a good cause. http://

And after you’re finished that, laugh at this…

Black Dog Video


Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending April 14th

As some musician once sang (I think it was Gino Vanelli) “The times, they are a changing”. And it seems lately that it’s usually for the worse. Case in point – Gary, owner of the Cambie General Store, recently found out that his landlord decided not to renew his lease and will be forced to close soon (I believe it may be the end of this month). Such a shame as he’s a swell guy who’s been there for so long and is an icon in the neighbourhood. I don’t know what will go in there instead but I’ve heard rumours of a bar/nightclub thing, and underground fight club (humans, dogs, monkeys, chickens, jello) a brothel, a designer hammer and nail boutique, a pankration studio, a laser-gun eye surgery clinic, a pet rock store, and the dumbest idea of all, a DVD rental shop! All kidding aside, it will be sad to see our friend and great neighbour go. Good luck, Gary, wherever you end up. After all as, I believe it was, Cory Hart once sang, “We’re all just dust in the wind”.


Just hold still. This won’t hurt a bit!

The DVD sale is over at Cambie but I just added one last pile of flicks to the bins at Commercial. $3 each or 2 for $5. They’ll be there for a week only so get yer buns on down while the bun-getting is good.

The Cambie Store is looking to hire a good, film-smart, people-smart, hard-working person to fill in on (moslty) weekends. If you think that you have what it takes to join the Black Dog family, drop off a resume at the Cambie location.

New Releases for Tuesday April 8th


August: Osage County – One of those talky, dramatic stage play films with a bunch of well regarded actors – think Streep, Roberts, Cooper, Mulrooney, McGregor + bunch of others. I keep wanting to think that this is about a family of sausage makers (I see sausage when I see the word Osage. Actually I see sausage everywhere) that reunite to discuss some sort of family crisis. Despite the lame Canadian art-work on the cover (I’m going to have to do a piece/rant on this subject) I’ve heard good things about this. Here’s the Canadian one (the one above the words is the original American design). Also on the Blu Ray.


Lame amright? They’re not even looking at each other. What are they looking at? Tell me! Terrible photo-shop.


Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded – More stories of cowboys hopped up on goofballs. Either that it or it’s the continuing saga of a family of drug kingpins. I like family films.


The Great Beauty – Stunning Italian flick (and winner of the best foreign film Oscar) finds a playboy, who’s lived a decadent lavish lifestyle for years, turning 65 and reflecting back up his life of debauchery. I’d love to, a) make it to 65, and b) have had a debauched (well more debauched) life to look back upon. Also on the Blu Ray.


Grudge Match – Holy shit! Look at this cover. What’s going on here? Are these two old, broken down men have a pooping contest? Are they constipated or being anally probed for some reason? DeNiro, oh how far you’ve fallen. And Stallone, well it seems kind of par for the course for you these days. If you must know – this “comedy” is the tale of two washed up boxers who step back into the ring to settle each other’s hash for some past digression. They should have just smoked said hash and got on with their day. Also on the Blu Ray.


The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug – Second part of the over-blown Hobbit trilogy is better than the first one (it has a talking dragon!) with some entertaining, eye-popping (well I hope that’s just an expression) set pieces. But the story just meanders and staggers all over the place and by not having any of the wee dwarfs and hobbitses put in any real peril, there’s no real tension or sense of danger. Still, if you buy the ticket, you take the ride. Also on the Blu Ray.


Nurse – For some strange reason, this is the film I want to see most this week. Is it because it’s about a sex-crazed, clothing-adverse homicidal nurse and has “brutal violence” and “sexual situations” warnings? Probably. Also on the Blu Ray and the 3-D Blu Ray.


Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – It seems that the Paranormal Activity kids needed to take the stale haunted house idea out of the house and toss it into an apartment building. After a creepy old woman neighbour dies in her apartment, Jesse starts to experience weird and disturbing occurrences. Is he one of the Marked Ones (dun-dun-dun!), whatever a Marked One might be? I liked the Paranormal films so I’m hoping for good things here. Also on the Blu Ray.


Snake and Mongoose – What sounds like an awesome martial arts flick (judging by the title and the title alone) is actually a fine little bio-pic drama type dealy about Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, two drag racers and rivals from way back in the day.

Coming Next Week

Better Living Through Chemistry
Bletchley Circle Season 2
Confessions of Murder
Flowers in the Attic
The Invisible Woman
Nut Job
Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Ride Along

Recently Viewed and Enjoyed

Wolf of Wall Street
The Great Beauty
Hobbit 2: The Hobbiting
August: Osage County
American Hustle
Anchorman 2: The Anchoring
Zero Charisma
Out of the Furnace
Odd Thomas

Smile. I think that I may have found my favourite internet!

Have a great week, my lovelies. Keep us in your dreams and your hearts.

Black Dog Video

Copyright © 2014 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

Black Dog Newsletter for Week Ending April 6th

I’m always sort of maybe kinda excited to see a new business pop up on either Cambie St. or Commercial Drive. I’m usually hoping for a new delicious food place, drinking hole or some kind of business that I’d be interested in frequenting, say like a designer doily place. But in these troubled times I am increasingly disappointed to see what is springing up. Case in point – the crappy dive bar Avanti’s recently closed on the Drive and it’s rumoured to be replaced by one of those bland characterless corporate Donnelly-Group pubs. Yawn. And over at Cambie, some coffee shop just closed and has been replaced by a Subway. How lame is that? We have all these nice little independent eateries (with the exception of Starbucks and Flying Wedge – but they’ve been there forever) and now the landscape is blighted by a Subway. It’s terrible food and an ugly store. Although, I am amused by their slogan “Eat Fresh”. Why am I amused? “Fresh” is what we used to call dog shit back in the day. Sounds about right.

Last week to take advantage of our DVD sale. Still lots of fine titles left to be had. $3 a pop or 2 for 5 bones. Sweet deal that is. Speaking of good deals on used DVDs and Blu Rays – every Tuesday we load up the bins with fresh New Releases that we no longer need. Lots of fine titles to choose from – $10 ea, 2 for $16 or 3 for $20! (That’s like buy 2, get one free!)

Oh! And don’t forget to fill out a ballot for a chance to win tickets to an upcoming screening of a couple of fine Cronenberg films at the Cinematheque. Dead Ringers = Cambie. The Fly = Commercial Drive.

New Releases for Tuesday April 1st


47 Ronin – Canoe Reeves is back! It’s like he never even went away. Here he’s a “half-breed” who sets out with some other samurai to avenge the death and dishonour of their master. Love me a smashing revenge tale but I haven’t heard too much good about this one. But it has dragons. Go with Reeve’s Man of Tai Chi. Much better for your eyes. Your pretty pretty eyes. Also on the Blu Ray.


Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – I actually quite enjoyed this dumb comedy. If you liked the first one, you’ll enjoy this one as it’s more of the same but with more of the same. I felt that the great supporting cast wasn’t fully utilized to their full potential though. That Paul Rudd guy is quite funny and Steve Carrell is good for a laugh. His and Kirsten Wiig’s scenes together were the best thing about the flick. The Blu Rays offers you 3 different versions – theatrical and unrated on one disk (I watched the theatrical) and a separate disk with, what they refer to as, a Super-Sized Edition that has over 743 more jokes. Or so they say.


(Sorry, couldn’t find an image for this film)

A Few Hours of Spring – French drama follows a trucker, fresh out of prison for doing some crime, who’s forced to move in with his mom. Then she discovers she has a tumor and wants to legally off herself. Let the laughs begin!


Knights of Badassdom – A bunch of nerdy LARPers (Live Action Role Players – for all you non-nerds out there) played by Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Summer Glau and Peter Dinklage accidentally summon up real live demon while out in the woods LARPing around. Being a nerd not required to enjoy this, I’m told by nerds.


Norman – Comedy/drama finds a troubled high-schooler (are there any other kinds? Especially in the movies) who pretends that he has terminal cancer for some reason. Then he meets his new girlfriend’s dad who is actually dying of cancer. Might get awkward, me thinks.


Zero Charisma – Interesting little indie drama that centres on an aging nerd (man the nerds are taking over the world. At least for this week) who is, what some call, a Game Master of some sort of fantasy board game thingy. He is a hard to like misfit living with his grandma while trying to have some authority in a world that has made him a middle-aged teenager. When a hipster joins his game, everything falls apart. Damn hipsters, always ruining everything. Heard very good things about this flick.

Old Stuff Just In


Archer Season 2 – Man I love me some Archer! Funny stuff. Not for kids. Not really.

Coming Next Week

August: Osage County
Cheap Thrills
Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded
The Great Beauty
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Snake and Mongoose

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Anchorman 2
Zero Charisma
Knights of Badassdom
Out of the Furnace
Wolf of Wall Street
American Hustle
Archer S 1 and 2
Man of Tai Chi
Broken Circle Breakdown
Inside Llewyn Davis
Odd Thomas
Veep S 2

If you’re also interested in some movie reviews by Josie, the manager at Commercial Dr. check out her musings here…

Talk at y’all next week. Be safe. Be happy. Be.

Copyright © 2014 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Black Dog Video
Cambie Street and/or Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC V6H 3J1