Arts & Entertainment

Putting down the pen

 | September 28, 2012

After nearly six years of writing Rave Reviews for SPIN, I’m putting down my proverbial pen. In September, I started a new position that required me to give up my volunteer commitments for a year. While I’m excited about my new role, I’m sad to say goodbye to the SPIN crew. In this edition of Rave Reviews, I give you some reflections on six years of movie watching, along with one more little film for you to pick up.

Since my first column with SPIN, there have been a number of changes in the movie industry. If I had to choose, I’d say the demise of the neighbourhood video store has had the biggest impact. With large movie rental chains no longer in the picture, smaller companies had the opportunity to fill a gap, but only if they were willing to offer something that movie fans couldn’t get via download. Many of these small shops shuttered their windows, but Kamloops has been lucky, with Movie Mart still going strong providing an opportunity for people to browse aisles for their old favourites. On the digital side, the infrastructure for comprehensive movie browsing and renting isn’t there. I know of no online site where Canadians can download new releases, old favourites, and obscure classics, all in one place.

If you love watching movies like I do, you’ll have to get creative. This year, one of my film-watching goals is to take in at least one classic foreign film a month. The Vancouver Public Library has a large stock and for those of you with a Kamloops library card, you may be able to access this collection too. I’ve also taken to ordering old favourites online for my personal collection. A recent order brought home one of my best-loved B movies, Poolhall Junkies.

But, if you’re living in Kamloops, take advantage of your local video store. You can start by picking up a copy of Jesus Henry Christ. This cute indie flick follows the life and times of Henry (Jason Spevack), a sperm-donor baby born a genius to Patricia (Toni Collette), his militant, protest-loving mother. Henry adopts his mother’s penchant for disobedience, something Patricia finds endearing until Henry decides he’s going to find his father. When his grandfather gives Henry some clues about who his father might be, Henry goes hunting and turns up not only his father, Dr. Slavkin O’Hara (Michael Sheen), a disgraced academic, but a could-be half-sister, Audrey (Samantha Weinstein). The quirk factor in this movie is high, and it occasionally falls into tangents. However, the relationship between Henry and Audrey is played perfectly by Spevack and Weinstein. The modern family absurdities are sure to appeal to those of you with an off-beat sense of humour.

Many thanks to you, reader, for picking up SPIN and turning to the movie column. I have enjoyed writing for you, and hope you’ve enjoyed reading about, and watching, the many films described in these pages.