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

Whatever happened to Jeunet’s The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet?


Remember that guy that directed some of your favourite French films including Amelie, Delicatessen and City of Lost Children? Ya, that guy. He made another whimsical sounding fun flick but then had endure the wrath of chop-happy Harvey Weinstein. Check out this article for the deets.


More “Bad” News.


Yeah! There’s more Bad Santa on the way! I loved the first one – it’s a great nasty disgusting Christmas movie that stars professional jerk Billy bob Thornton as a terrible thieving mall Santa. Don’t make the mistake I did and watch it with your mother-in-law.



In the Category of “Of course it will be terrible…”


I don’t know how many times I’ve said that Hollywood is pretty much creatively bankrupt. Most of the drivel that comes out these days is in the form of sequels, superheroes or remakes. It gets quite tiresome and very annoying. Most of the time I just role my eyes and move on but every now and then an announcement is made that really cheeses my goat. There are some films that just shouldn’t be even considered for a remake or updating or reboot or whatever the fuck they want to call it. John Carpenter’s cult classic  Big Trouble in Little China definitely falls into that category. I loved this move so hard when it first arrived back in 1986. It had so much going for it – monsters, mysticism, mayhem – all underscored with a playful sense of humour. It was a perfect film for my sensibilities at the time. Sigh. Even Kurt Russell is skeptical. Hollywood: Please Stop This Madness!