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Once more unto the breach… 

Another crack at Crackie, plus Act of God and Daybreakers

Though I share some of Hillary’s sentiment about Crackie, I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as she did. I did like its grit and unglamourous view of life ‘round the bay. The performances were excellent, especially from Maghan Greeley in her first film role. Joel Thomas Hynes as bad boy Duffy reminded me what a charismatic presence he is on screen, and how compelling he was in last year’s Down To The Dirt, a film adapted by Crackie director Sherry White from Hynes's novel. (A creatively incestuous bunch this is.)

What Crackie shares with Down to the Dirt is that anti-romance for life in Atlantic Canada. When I spoke with White a few weeks ago she was chuffed when Crackie showed at a Czech film festival and the program compared the film favourably to the work of Ken Loach. I totally see that. In the end, though Greeley’s character does find some sense of herself she didn't have before, I didn’t have any confidence that she wouldn’t live to repeat the mistakes of her mother and nan. I found her frustratingly naïve. I think I was feeling a little trammeled by the relentlessly bleak plot and I needed a little more redemption than what was being offered. And, not to be contrary, but I think these characters do bridle under their disadvantages, and simply continuing to live is how they get through.

Jennifer Baichwal impressed the hell out of us in 2006 with Manufactured Landscapes, taking Edward Burtynsky’s epic and beautiful photographs of industrial desolation and turning them into moving pictures. It was a stunning translation of intent. This time out she takes her skill with imagery and transitions to the subject of lightning. Actually, it’s not really about lightning as much as about how people who have been struck by lightning, or had loved ones killed by lightning strikes, are changed, spiritually. The random, arbitrary nature of it all, etc. Even Paul Auster weighs in with a touching tale of his own. I will say that while Baichwal’s talent for gorgeous visuals has not deserted her, I was looking for a stronger narrative cohesion. When 75 minutes feels long, something’s not right.

Daybreakers. Including Thirst before the AFF began, and Suck, that’s three vampire movies I’ve seen this week. We might be experiencing a trend.

The entertainment value of this sure-to-be-a-hit flick can be summed up in its most midnight-movie, crowd-pleasing line of dialogue, as uttered by Willem Dafoe’s Elvis, a vampire hunter: “Being a human in a world full of vampires is riskier than bare-backing a five-dollar whore.”

Ethan Hawke did not appear at the screening, disappointingly. Late Shift programmer Andrew Murphy explained that he would have had more luck getting Hawke to show if he was in New York and had him flown up than he did with the Reality Bites star in Shelburne shooting Moby Dick, which doesn’t make much sense to me. I have it on good authority that Moby Dick doesn’t go to camera until Monday. Weak excuse, Hawke. Fun movie, though.
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