Black Dog Video Newsletter November 23rd to 29th “Best Documentaries Ever Edition!”


Sorry I just like the name “Crested Butte”! Yes, I’m a ten year-old boy trapped in a fifty year-old body


We here at Black Dog Laboratories love documentaries. We also love lists. So we’ve gone ahead and made a list of, what we think are, the best documentaries ever made. Read more…

On another note, there’s been a slight change in the hours of operation over at the Commercial Drive location. From now on they will be as follows:
Sunday to Thursday noon until 10pm while Friday and Saturday we will remain open until 11pm. There will be NO change at the Cambie store.

New Releases


’71 – Intense political thriller finds a young newbie British army guy getting separated from his unit and lost on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Duck into the pub for a pint of Guinness would be my suggestion. (At Cambie and soon to Commercial)


American Ultra – Jesse Eisenberg and K-Stew are stoners and sleeper secret agents (I think this means that they don’t really know they’re agents, or that their powers revolve around sleeping) who are good at killing and stuff and are marked for termination by the powers that be. Violence, mayhem, some weed smoking and comedy, I presume, ensue.


The FP – Crazy fun odd weird post-apocalyptic dance movie about two rival gangs fighting for control of Frazier Park (The FP!) by competing in something called Beat Beat Revolution which is a deadly version of Dance Dance Revolution which, I presume, is a thing. Noted film critic Rob Zombie likens this cult classic to “The Karate Kid starring a redneck Snake Plissken versus white trash Clubber Lang against the backdrop of The Warriors set to a bumping disco John Carpenter soundtrack in the world of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo“. And we like all of those things, right? (At Commercial and soon to Cambie)


Inside Amy Schumer Season 3 – Season 3 takes you deeper inside hilarious comedian Amy Schumer.


Klown – Strange unsettling offensive Danish comedy about a guy who kidnaps his pregnant girlfriend’s nephew to help prove he’s ready for fatherhood. Good idea. Even better idea? Take him along on a debauched weekend canoe trip with his crazy buddy, Casper. Really looking forward to this one! It’s Klown spelled with a K! (at Commercial and soon to Cambie)


A Master Builder – A dude who’s been a jerk to everyone in his life – his wife, his mistresses, his employees – wants to make amends as he gets older and near the final curtain call. From Jonathan Demme and Henrik Ibsen and Wallace Shawn.


Rikki and the Flash – Meryl Steep plays a famous rocker who gave up everything to follow her rock and roll dreams. She the decides to return home to make amends with her friends and family. Not only does this sound weirdly like A Master Builder but it’s also directed by Jonathan Demme. That was the sound of my head exploding.


Shaun the Sheep Movie – Most excellent animated comedy from the Aardman folks finds the title sheep in trouble in the big city on his day off. Fun for the whole family or just you if you don’t have a family.


Yakuza Apocalypse – It’s about time that we got another film from Takeshi Mikke! It’s been, like, weeks! This fun tale is about a particularly nasty Yakuza boss who is also a blood-thirsty vampire. Let the bloody carnage begin!

Old Stuff Just In!

All Criterion:
Mulholland Drive – DVD and Blu Ray
The Black Stallion – DVD
French Lieutenants’ Woman – DVD
Day for Night – DVD

Coming Soon!

No Escape
Before We Go
Louie Season 4
Fear of the Walking Dead S1
Mississippi Grind
Mistress America
Roger Waters: The Wall
Transporter Refueled

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Walking Dead S 5
Beaver Trilogy
Duchess of Burghendy
The Gift
Utopia S 1
Peaky Blinders S1
Cop Car
Better Call Saul S1

For more fabulous recommendations click here!

Have a fine week, my lovelies. Stay warm, stay chilled. Keep watching.

Copyright © 2015 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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

Black Dog’s Top 100+ Documentaries You Should Watch Before The World Ends.

We here at Black Dog Laboratories love documentaries. We also love lists. So we’ve gone ahead and made a list of, what we think are, the best documentaries ever made. If you think of most Hollywood fare as a sort of fatty junk food then a good documentary is a nourishing bowl of amazing soup with a nice delicious broth and teeming with your favourite healthy vegetables. It’s good for the soul and good for the mind. The plan was to do up about 50 or so but with all of the staff’s contributions we couldn’t even keep it under 100! So many great docs out there and I’m sure that we missed a few of your favourites. So without further ado (enough ado already!) may we present to you good folks this swell list. It is categorized alphabetically for your convenience.

Black Dog Newsletter November 17th to 23rd “Soggy Dog Edition!”


Sad Soggy Dog.

Ah, November in Vancouver! Is there anything else like it? The relentless icy rain unapologetically pelts your huddled frame, the cold seeps into your bones haunting your shivering soul, the steel grey sky dulls your senses taking away your will to live while sun sets at 4pm plunging us into darkness and despair at and unreasonable time. But all is not lost! We can help. What better way to stay warm in these dark frigid days then with a nice new Black Dog Video T-Shirt! That’s right, the 9th edition of our much sought after shirts will be hitting the market very soon. And,OK, while they might not shield your lovely body against the tortuous elements, you will at least look good as you freeze to death. Stay tuned for details…

Oh and I should also mention that over at the Commercial Drive Black Dog we’re extending our late charge amnesty till Wednesday. Bring in a donation for the food bank and we’ll destroy your outstanding late charges right before your very eyes!

New Releases!


The Beaver Trilogy – How to begin to describe this bout of weirdness? Filmmaker Trent Harris meets this kid, Groovin’ Gary, in parking lot and Groovin’ Gary invites Harris to the town of Beaver, Utah to check out a strange little talent show. Years later Harris films this original documentary but this time with a very young Sean Penn and then, if that weren’t enough, he films it again years later starring Crispin Glover. And there you have the Beaver Trilogy. This is something Black Dog has been wanting for many years and we’re proud to have finally got our grubby little mitts on it. Now you can to!


Best of Enemies – Fascinating documentary that puts together a series of debates from 1968 between conservative William F. Buckley and liberal Gore Vidal. Looks pretty interesting especially if your thing is watching two old white men talk in a room.


A Christmas Horror Story – Christmas horror anthology (no, it’s not a collection of my holiday family films) that stars William Shatner. Bonus points for that. A family brings home more than just a tree, a student documentary goes to hell and Krampus is there to deck your halls. I think I can get behind this.


Jimmy’s Hall – Latest from Ken Loach finds a guy returning to Ireland from 10 years in exile who attempts to re-open the dance hall that was the sight of his great shame. Politics, smart characters and dancing from Master Loach. Note – only available on Blu Ray for some reason.


The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies – Extra Long Edition – Ugh, come on Peter Jackson, why do you insist on doing this to us? It was one thing with the Lord of the Rings films to make them longer but the Hobbit? Considering the book is so slight and you had to make it into 3 bloated overly-CGI films already, why must you make them all even longer (5 dvds!)? Have mercy.


Man From U.N.C.L.E. – Fun-looking caper from Madonna’s ex-husband finds two spies (played by Superman and a guy who’s actual name is Armie Hammer) working together to stop some nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands. The early 1960’s setting should make for some pretty groovy undertakings.


Meru – Exciting adventure documentary that finds some climbers climbing a mountain known as Meru (ya, never heard of it either) in the Himalayas. I was always at a loss to understand the appeal myself (of climbing, not documentaries – I love those!). Because it’s there? I dunno. Just because that mountain of mashed potatoes is there doesn’t mean I’m going to eat the entire thing (or try to climb it for that matter).


We Are Your Friends – Zac Efron is a DJ attempting to soar to the heights of the DJing profession which seems to be mainly a guy who plays others people’s records for large crowds. Party.


Wild City – Director Ringo Lam brings you this noirish tale of a cop turned bar-owner who befriends a drunken woman only to find himself pursued by her former lover and his thug friends. Thug life. That’s what I’m all about.

Coming Soon!

American Ultra
Inside Amy Schumer Season 3
No Escape
Rikki and the Flash
Shaun the Sheep Movie
The FP

Recently Viewed and Recommended

The Gift
Utopia Season 1
Goodnight Mommy
Peaky Blinders Season 1
Black Mirror Season 1 and 2
Better Call Saul Season 1
Cop Car
The Honourable Woman

That’s it for this week kids. Stay warm and dry and remember, keep watching!

Copyright © 2015 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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

Missing John

Today (the 12th of November) marks one year since the passing of our beloved friend and colleague John Skibinski. Such a terrible thing to lose a great guy and good friend so young. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t think of John and his wit, his charm and his intelligence. And it goes without saying that he’s always on my (and most everyone’s) mind when were at the Cambie store. He was a big part of the Black Dog family and he is sorely missed. It sucks getting old.


That’s 70 in Dog Years! Black Dog Commercial Drive turns 10!

With all of the hullabaloo surrounding this year’s International Independent Video Store Day these past few weeks I totally forgot that Black Dog’s little brother – the Commercial location  – hits 10 years old this Saturday. We’re usually not into huge celebrations and this year won’t be any different. We’ll offer a nice deal for all of you fine loyal customers – rent 2 and get a third of equal or lesser value for free! Nice. We will also be offering our famous late charge amnesty! Just bring in a donation for the food bank and we will destroy any outstanding late charges you may have right before your lovely eyes! Don’t be cheap, I want to see lots of tasty morsels for the less fortunate of those among us. This offer is only good at the Commercial Black Dog. Hope to see you out tomorrow!

Not too sure what to bring in? I can’t really help you there (obviously something non-perishable) but I can give you a couple of examples of what NOT to donate…

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Remembering Remembrance Day.


The day is November 11th, Remembrance Day. It’s a day to reflect and think about all of those fine young (and some old) men and women who fought (and died) for our freedom against the evil forces that be. There are still lots of wars raging around the planet but today most seem to be fought for different, nefarious reasons. I’m not going to go into any type of rant against the military industrial complex or just how damn lucky we are to live in this amazing part of the world. I’m here to recommend some films that shed light on what many had to go through in battle and during wartime throughout various times in history. In no particular order (except alphabetical) here’s a sampling of Black Dog’s favourites:

All Quiet on the Western Front

Apocalypse Now

Army of Shadows

Au Revior Les Enfants

Best Years of Our Lives

Black Book

The Big Red One

Born on the Fourth of July

Bridge on the River Kwai


Casualties of War

Come and See

Das Boot

The Deer Hunter

The Dirty Dozen


Dr. Strangleove

Forbidden Games

Full Metal Jacket



Germany Year Zero


The Grand Illusion

The Great Escape

Inglorious Basterds

Ivan’s Childhood

Letters From Iwo Jima


Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Night of the Shooting Stars


Paths of Glory


The Pianist


Rome, Open City

Saving Private Ryan

Schindler’s List

Thin Red Line

The Tin Drum

Three Kings

Black Dog Video Newsletter Week of November 9th to 15th “Anniversaries Edition!’


We’ve come a long way in the past 10 years!

Anniversaries are an odd thing. For some reason we feel the need to celebrate doing something or being around for a certain amount of time but they can also make us sad remembering good times gone by. We tend to put more emphasis on anniversaries that end in 5 or 0 more than other numbers. I feel bad for the poor lonely 3 and the silly, embarrassing 8. Anyway, this week we have two anniversaries on our doorstep, one good and one terrible. This Saturday we will be celebrating the 10th year that the Commercial Drive store has been around. Man, it’s been 10 years already! It seems like both a long time and a short one for some reason. Not too sure why. We’re not going to throw a big party – we’ll save that for our 13th – but we will have a few nice things such as rent 2 get a third for free, our famous late charge amnesty (if you bring in a donation to the food bank) and we might even have a balloon or two! Good times. Commercial location only.

On the other end of the spectrum the 12th of November also marks the one-year passing of our much-loved friend and colleague, John Skibinski. There is rarely a day goes by when I don’t think of John and every time I work at the Cambie store I half expect him to come waltzing in the door with a pithy brilliant remark. I miss that guy.

New Releases


Amy – An amazing, heartbreakingly sad and insightful doc that probes the beginning and end of Amy Winehouse and that incredible voice. George Burns nailed it when he said, “Show business is a hideous bitch goddess”.


Better Call Saul – Remember that sleazy lawyer Walter White hired on Breaking Bad? Well now he has his own show! It’s a wacky sitcom that finds Saul and his voluptuous Latin American wife raising their witty and precocious teenagers while navigating life’s ups and downs. Just kidding. It’s a prequel of sorts to the Breaking Bad events and brings back some of your favourite characters including Mike Ehrmantraut. I hear it’s actually pretty damn great.


Mr. Holmes – Sir Ian McKellen stars as famed well-endowed porn actor John Holmes in this explicit take on…oh wait I mean Sir Ian McKellen stars as famed well-endowed investigator Sherlock Holmes who is now fighting a bit of dementia as he tries to solve One Last Case! Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes?! Yes please!


Peaky Blinders Season 1 – Excellent gangster show from Britain about a tough, notorious gang who were famous for sewing razor blades into their caps for some reason. I guess this could come in handy if you wanted to share your apple or pear with your friends but didn’t have a knife to divvy it up. Maybe I should do the same with Swanson’s cap? Hmmm.


Self/Less – Sir Ben Kingsley transfers his consciousness into Sir Ryan Reynolds body (pretty good upgrade me thinks – have you seen those abs!) but things don’t go quite as planned in this dystopian-future sci-fi thriller. But really, do they ever go as planned? At least you’ve still got those abs!


Terminator Genisys – Yet another Terminator movie. At least this one has Ahnold as an aging wrinkly Austrian accented murderous cyborg sent from the future to save or kill all of humanity. I haven’t seen it so I’m not too sure. I hear it’s better than number 3 and 4 but not as good as 1 and 2 but better than the TV show and the comic books but not as good as the Cirque De Soleil production or the interpretive dance mime troupe version.


Trainwreck – Hilarious (if not overly-long but, after all, it is a Judd Apatow film) comedy that finds commitment-phobic Amy Schumer trying to figure out what to do when she meets an actual nice guy. Word has it that there are still a few of those left out there. Many guffaws and awkward situations, I presume, ensue.


Utopia Season 1 – Most excellent TV show from Britain about a group of online friends who come into possession of a comic book manuscript that seems to have predicted some of the worst disasters in recent memory. Suddenly they all become targets of a shifty organization know as either “The Network” or “Fun Happy Wonderful Unicorn Days”. I can’t remember. Watch and find out!

Coming Next Week

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies: Even Longer Edition
Jimmy’s Hall
Man From U.N.C.L.E.
We Are Your Friends

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Utopia Season 1
Peaky Blinders
Cop Car
The Honorable Woman
The Gift
Inside Out
The Jinx

For more swell things to watch you can check out our expanded list of recommendations here if it pleases you.

And I’ll leave you with an amusing little ditty that I found on the intranets…


Copyright © 2015 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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

For Those Who Love to Love Love


Hairy 80’s chest.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching (?) here’s an interesting infographic detailing romantic couplings in films. Rom-coms aren’t high on my list of favourite genre films but there are some great ones out there. Some of my favourites include Casablanca, Punch Drunk Love, Valley Girl, Harold and Maude and Amelie. Yours?

Halloween or Bust


I’d love it if this was my kid…err..his Halloween costume that is.

I’ve always been a big proponent of Halloween. Is that even the right word, proponent? How about I’ve always fucking loved Halloween! That sounds better. But this year something went wrong. I wasn’t up for the challenge. I opted out of Halloween and instead decided to play hockey. I told myself that it’s not big deal, that maybe some residual effects from the trip encouraged my apathy towards the big day. To be honest I haven’t been interested in doing much for whatever reason since being home from our adventures. You’d think it would have been the opposite.

But Swanson, my sprog, was all over Halloween. Of course he was, he’s 10. He did his best to try to change my mind – “Dad, who would you rather let down, your hockey team or your son?” Ouch. Up to that point I was like, well he’s going out with his friends and all I would do is stay home and give out shitty candy to all the “wonderful children of the neighbourhood” as he puts it. I had many rationalizations and much like many rationalizations, they were bullshit. I think I came up with them because I had a game scheduled (and really, what cruel knob schedules a hockey game for 7pm on Halloween night? Knob.). So I went to hockey. I should have listened to him because pretty much immediately after I left for the game I felt I had done the wrong thing. And especially after getting home and him telling me how much fun he had, I felt pretty terrible.  I apologized for being a bad dad. He was OK but he also told me, “I knew you’d regret it, Dad. That’s why I tried to talk you out of going”. When did he become smarter than me? Anyways, I did learn a valuable lesson about not being such a selfish jerk (I rarely am by the by) and doing stuff that really matters.

Christmas is coming. I doubt that there’s anyway of getting out of that! But I’m surprised at myself because I’m actually looking forward to that festive season more than I have in a long time. Maybe I missed Christmas travelling the world – we had a lovely time over the holidays in Thailand last year but it’s really not the same. “Shut-up!”, everyone’s saying, “You were in freaking Thailand!”. Maybe I’m just getting old and nostalgic in my advanced years. But there is much to enjoy about season. Most folks are in a good mood, the seasonal stouts abound in all directions, I get to cry at A Christmas Carol again while sipping on some Schnapps, Drambuie or some other strong brown liquor by the twinkling lights of the tree we murdered and dressed up to put in the corner of our living room. It’s all good. I just hope that there’s no hockey scheduled.



Black Dog Video Newsletter November 2nd to 8th, “The Day After The Day After Edition!”


“Oh my Gawd! Look at all that bad candy!”

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween! The rain stopped just in time for all the little kids (and some big ones) to get out, collect terrible over-packaged candy and shoot fireworks at each other. When did fireworks become a thing on Halloween? I don’t remember them being part of Halloween when I was a kid growing up in Ontario. It sounded like the fall of Saigon on Saturday night. For those of you who love scary movies, I hope that you got your fill over the weekend. I watched Rosemary’s Baby, which I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it was still great – not particularly scary but just a great creepy film with amazing performances. Love Ruth Gordon. We also finished off Black Dog’s list of great horror films to watch for the festive season, 31 days of Halloween. Check it out here if you like.

New Releases


Backcountry – A nice couple get lost in the woods while being hunted by a mean black bear. Another testament to the horrors of nature and why you should never leave the house.


Black Sails Season 2 – More pirates to shiver your timbers, matey!


Dark Places – Charlize Theron was only 8 when her family was brutally murdered and now she’s revisiting the crime to get to the gist of the truth of what went down that bloody night 30 years ago. I read the book, from the author of Gone Girl, which was far-fetched but entertaining none-the-less so I will give this one a go.


The Final Girls – Pretty disappointing send-up of the 80’s slasher films. I think that it was trying to be this year’s Cabin in the Woods or Scream but it’s neither funny, scary or as clever as it thinks it is but it is pretty boring so it has that going for it.


The Gift – Not to be confused with the excellent Sam Raimi film of the same name (The Gift), this one finds a dude from Jason Bateman’s past dropping off a bunch of mysterious gifts containing a horrifying secret to him and his nice family. I like gifts. Who doesn’t like gifts? Unless it’s like a head in a box or something.


Inside Out – Pixar’s latest slice of excellence finds a young girl who moves to a new city but has her emotions manifest into cute little animated characters all fighting on how to control her as she figures out what’s what. Sigh, if only life were that easy. And interesting.


She’s Funny That Way – The latest flick from Peter Bogdanovich (Last Picture Show) finds a love triangle forming between folks working on a play. Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots (love that name, so much fun to say!) and Jennifer Aniston are along for the good times.


Vacation – Ed Helms is Chevy Chase’s grown up kid and Chevy Chase is Ed Helms old doofus dad in this new take on the old classic.


What We Did on Our Holiday – A nice British family goes on vacation to visit the relatives (first mistake). There the kids reveal dark (well dark for a family comedy movie) secrets about the parents (with hopefully a head in a box). Much hilarity and embarrassment, I presume, ensues.


The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet – Latest from imaginative French visionary dude Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Delicatessen) is a fantasy epic about a 10 year old smart kid who secretly travels across the country to receive an award at the Smithsonian. I love this guys films but where did this come from and why wasn’t I notified? Oh ya, the Weinsteins got their mitts into the pot. What am I talking about? Read what I’m talking about here.


Zipper – Patrick Wilson is a handsome man who can’t keep it in his pants (his penis). This causes some problems for his wife and family as you can imagine.

Coming Next Week!

Best of Enemies
Better Call Saul S1
Mr. Holmes
Peaky Blinders
Terminator Genisys
Utopia Season 1
Wild City

Recently Viewed and Recommended

Masters of Sex
The Honourable Woman
Inside Out
The Jinx
The Editor
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau
The Wolfpack
Black Mirror
Going Clear: Scientology
Cop Car

That’s it for this week my lovelies. I’ve started a little bloggy blog on the website if you’re interested in some extracurricular reading. There’s movie news, reviews, musings on the weird and wonderful and much more. Check it out here if you like.

Copyright © 2015 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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