Friday, April 14, 2017

Scorsese's Silence, post-screening, plus a baker's dozen of other films

You know that old, somewhat racist saying about how Asians all look the same? It ain't remotely true, but it inspired a fun online skill-testing quiz where you can apply your abilities to differentiate between Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, based  on facial features. Because my students tend to be amused by this sort of thing, I've shared this with more than one ESL classroom, including an EFL high school classroom in Japan, and found that, one semi-delinquent teenager named Kikuchi aside, no one does better than about 50%... although what's interesting is that most students will agree that the test is rigged: that sometimes the test designers choose people who look very much like one group who actually represent a different group, to trip you up and prove their point. That is, the students might not guess that student X is actually Japanese, but they will all agree that she looks Korean, which suggests that there IS some external standard they're applying, contrary to the prejudices of the test makers. If you haven't taken the test, take a minute now before you proceed... I've done it twice, years apart, and got around 50% each time myself.

However, while I don't think it is remotely true that all Asians look alike, or that even all Japanese (or Koreans, or Chinese, or whatever) look alike within their national identity, I do think that SOME Japanese look an awful lot like OTHER Japanese, just like some Canadians look an awful lot like OTHER Canadians. As a  particularly embarrassing example, there were two, unrelated teachers in the high school I worked at in Saitama: the first guy - in the science department, I think, because he often wore a lab coat - was tall, thin, bespectacled, with lank bangs and bad skin, and he looked so much like another Japanese teacher (also tall, thin, bespectacled, with lank bangs and bad skin, who I believe also wore a lab coat) that I spent a full year thinking they were the same dude. I was literally shocked and embarrassed when I saw them together for the first time, like some strange cellular division had occured. They didn't work in my department, so I do have a bit of an excuse; but even after I realized they were two people, telling them apart (or remembering which one had which name) wasn't so easy. I think my mistake was NOT a matter of racism, incidentally, but a matter of the way the brain sorts things out: we file people by category, based on superficial resemblances, which is why I believe I sometimes get mistaken for other noted fat guys around town (namely, back when I had long hair, for the guitarist for Aging Youth Gang, whom I myself have mistaken for Tad Doyle, and who has otherwise been taken, he tells me, for Gene Hoglan; and Geoff from Audiopile, who I in turn once mistook for Alex Varty. It's forgiveable: people look in the "fat guy with facial hair" file and start pulling out names until they get it right, just like I looked in the "lank-haired skinny Japanese guy with glasses" file for the guy above, not realizing there were actually two people in that file...).

That said, I have no excuse for not having recognized one of the Japanese actors in Scorsese's Silence. I have seen him acting in half a dozen movies, both his own and those of others. He was, for a time, one of the filmmakers I was most excited by - the Japanese Cronenberg, I believe I called him once or twice, though they're very different filmmakers, really; where Cronenberg is organic, this guy is mechanical, using robotics and wires and weaponry as metaphor for the effect of modern society on the male body (in particular). I simply wasn't expecting him in the film - it didn't even occur to me that Scorsese would cast someone of this stature, or that he would act as well as he does. Look at the bald dude in the photo below, of one of the Japanese Christian martyrs in the movie, meeting his fate:

I mean, I could still make excuses. I'm used to him with hair, and no beard. He's aged. I haven't seen him in anything for awhile - since I watched his two most disappointing films in his catalogue, back-to-back, which was a mistake (Tetsuo III and Hiruko the Goblin). But still: the bald dude is this guy, who I hope some of you will recognize: 

Yes, folks: Shinya Tsukamoto - I feel like I should write that as SHINYA FUCKING TSUKAMOTO!!! with three exclamation marks - has a major acting role in Martin Scorsese's Silence, and gives one of the truly outstanding performances in the film, alongside Issei Ogata (who played the Emperor in Sokurov's The Sun) and Yosuke Kubozuka (whom I haven't seen in anything else, but really enjoyed, playing a character, Kichijiro, who seemingly can't stop renouncing his faith, then seeking absolution for his renunciation; he appears to have spent some time studying Toshiro Mifune in The Seven Samurai, by way of prepping for his role, though he's a bit more spiritually scorched than that character, and a bit less in the way of "comic relief"). They're reason enough to see this film, especially if you're a Tsukamoto fan (and if you aren't, ferchrissakes, go watch the first two Tetsuo films, or Tokyo Fist, or  Bullet Ballet or Gemini or some of his acting work - Marebito, say, for a really creepy one, or Ichi the Killer if you're into excess - but make sure you get the uncensored version!). Scorsese gets excellent work out of all of his Japanese actors, and they somewhat steal the show - though missionaries Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver do just fine, too (I was a bit too distracted by the Liam Neesonness of Liam Neeson to appreciate his work here; you can only make so many action films before you lose the ability to pass as a character actor, you know?).

I am really not sure why some critics have declared that Silence fails as a film - maybe because they wanted to see Leo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill having a quaalude battle? This is a compelling, meaningful, and major work from Scorsese, about what it means to have to repress your faith, to live in a country where your religion must be kept secret, is actively dangerous to profess faith in. I mean, it is slow and restrained, sure. It probably won't be that meaningful to people who don't have any particular feeling for Christianity (the Globe and Mail critic, Kate Taylor, whose review is linked above, seems to particularly find fault on that level - the internal processes of faith are not made manifest enough for her). Hell, it might even merit a comparison to Kundun - Scorsese's other big Asian prestige project, which I also found quite lovely and watchable, and which most critics seem to agree is a bit of a snooze. But even if I'd rather be watching Mean Streets myself, this is still a) THE NEW MARTIN SCORSESE FILM; b) one of the most powerful films about missionary work shy of The Mission; c) visually gripping; and d) a very impressive feat of cross-cultural maneuvering, which takes a Japanese text about European missionaries - the Shusaku Endo source novel - and makes a major American film of the material. 

And that's where Scorsese really deserves praise. Though filming in Taiwan, he has done Japan, Japanese literature, and Japanese history justice, and made a grown-up, major film about the crossing of cultural boundaries. If you're interested in that, you'll want to see the film, regardless of how many jobbing critic say it fails (and who knows what Kate Taylor thinks counts as a GOOD film, anyhow?).  

Comparing this film with our other cross-cultural cinematic spectacle of recent days, Ghost in the Shell, would be instructive, in fact: that film, while managing to successfully fetishize the popular myth of hypertechnological urban Japan with some very striking backgrounds, mostly is notable for the bizarre trifecta of 1) casting an English-speaking American as an English-speaking white Japanese, 2) a Japanese-speaking Japanese as an English-speaking Japanese (ScarJo's mom in the movie), and 3) a Japanese-speaking-Japanese as a Japanese-speaking Japanese (Takeshi Kitano, who, presumably because of his star power, is granted the privilege of being the only full on Japanese Japanese in the movie, answering English questions in Japanese, and giving Japanese instructions to his seemingly English-speaking subordinates, which they understand without translation. It's a bit like having Clint Eastwood popping up in a Japanese-made Yakuza film, and responding to Japanese questions in English - and perhaps the most interesting thing about the film, idiotic though it may be). Ghost in the Shell certainly is the more ENTERTAINING film, the better popcorn movie, than Silence, if that's what you're looking for, and it more closely resembles my staple cinematic fare - heavy, in recent years, in exploitation, horror, SF and thrillers, and very light on arthouse cinema - but you still have to REGISTER THE DIFFERENCE. Silence is an important film, worth seeing and seeing again; the new Ghost in the Shell feature, on the other hand - however much you might find it more exciting - is TRIVIAL, not really worthy of serious discussion (unless it is along the lines of a discussion of its racism, say). I can't evaluate the anime it is based on, not having seen it - and it may interest people with a passion for that series - but ultimately what you get is Robocop meets Johnny Mnemonic, set in an overcooked, scopophilic, whitewashed version of future Japan; not much else of note, here, except that Michael Pitt is now using a middle name or initial or something (why?). It's pretty to look at - which even Taylor acknowledges about Silence - but it's A WASTE OF TIME, a spasm of the marketplace, a piece of cinematic junk food rather than a major work of art (and let us here admit that we still think, in our no-brow world, that that's an important distinction, right?). I mean, reading the Bible itself, or Shusaku Endo, or - fuck, I dunno, Dostoevsky, Dickens, any great work of literature - might count as boring to some people, too (maybe even me!). But what critic is going to publicly condemn such works as such without shame or fear of reprimand? What fucking NEWSPAPER WRITER - I say this as an occasional newspaper writer - is so shameless that they think in their hubris that they have the RIGHT to evaluate such works as "entertainments," having seen them once, because they were being paid to do so? Films like this deserve to be seen MULTIPLE TIMES and contemplated at length - and the filmmakers and their audiences know and understand this. True cinephiles will approach Silence in this light, and WILL be rewarded for the effort, and the question of whether the general readership of the Globe and Mail will care... is kind of irrelevant... 

No offense to Kate Taylor, here. I don't actually disagree with much she says, in fact. I just don't think it's very important that she's saying it, and, really - to climax my rant - don't like critics very much, at least not of the "gatekeeper" variety, which is usually what you see working for mainstream media (the "analyst/ enthusiast" stripe of critic is just fine by me - be it locals like Adrian Mack or "stars" like Pauline Kael, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Robin Wood, etc; all of them manage to make interesting observations about the films they write about, even if you disagree with their assessements, because the point ISN'T that they liked or disliked the film - it's that they THOUGHT about it). 

Silence has ended its run at the Vancity Theatre, but plays the Rio on Saturday, actually just ahead of Ghost in the Shell, if you want a really unusual double bill. I see it is also now on the shelf at Videomatica.

Having dismissed critics' work, I will now play critic myself: here's thirteen other movies that I have recently consumed, in no particular order - because with a chunk of my tongue missing, and not much in the way of work besides housework, I've had a lot of time to catch up on movies:

Black Code (playing tonight at the Vancity Theatre): a Canadian-made doc taking on both spying technology and hacktivism in the 21st century. It globetrots more than I expected it to: while I had thought I was sitting down to a film about how we North Americans are being spied on by a malign state, with the help of privacy agreements, social media sites, and complicit cellphone apps, in fact Black Code is far more interested in stories from afar, including Tibet (where the Chinese spy on people virtually, target people who post things deemed dangerous online, and restrict access to information) and Brazil (anti-FIFA protests and on-the-streets, live cam-enabled activists). It's interesting, and ambitious, and probably has an audience out there - global citizens with an interest in tech? - but it's not a film that resonated deeply, for me. 

Let Us Prey (sic, HMV closeout purchase): crap that has fun being crap, that is even, if you will, smart crap, with Liam Cunningham - underrated and always watchable - as, basically, the Devil come to a small jail in Scotland, to mete out punishments on the occupants. It seems on one level to be a very silly movie, except as you get closer to the end, it starts feeling less like some newfangled variant on the "malign stranger" subgenre and more like some sort of humorous folktale (or perhaps a rather involved joke: "So the Devil goes to Scotland, and the first thing he does..."). The archetypal level of analysis can sometimes cause a lot of trouble for those of us who want to argue for the the highbrow/ lowbrow distinction in cinema, since it tends to presume a point of view that collapses such distinctions; but I'm pretty sure Let Us Prey is ultimately a lowbrow entertainment. Regardless, I totally enjoyed it, and declared it a keeper (something I am doing less and less often lately, hell I even traded in It Follows...).

Les Loups (The Wolves): another HMV closeout gamble that paid off, this is a moving, exquisitely shot Quebec drama about a young woman who comes to a remote seal-hunting village in northern Quebec in search of her estranged father. It's potently made - and takes in both sides of the controversies over seal hunting, giving a sympathetic and engaging portrait of the embattled villagers and their livelihood - though in a semi-documentary way, it includes some actual images of dead seals being gutted and skinned, so it's not an easy viewing (nothing is actually clubbed to death on camera, note). This is more on the highbrow end of the scale than the lowbrow or nobrow, but it's an compelling, powerful movie no less, as much about community and family as it is about animal rights (or animal slaughter). There are no wolves in it.

I have a penchant for films involving animal slaughter, actually. I think it is interesting and maybe useful to overcome the denial of the killing involved in eating meat; if you're going to consume it's flesh, you at least should have to SEE the death you're causing, not just pretend that everything is antiseptic and plastic-wrapped, waiting painlessly at the grocery store for you. I think Zev Asher's Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat was the film that planted the idea in my head. I sure hope that film surfaces again, someday; it's a very interesting, provocative, and sensitive movie (though some people will find it impossible to watch). RIP Zev.

The Speak: finally cracked open this found footage horror film I bought at Halloween 2014 at HMV for $5. A group of somewhat obnoxious young filmmakers and their cohorts gain access to a haunted hotel where they propose to perform a Native American ritual that will bring them in contact with GHOSTS! It is not especially original, but entertaining and spooky enough, if you like found footage films (I do). The Native American ritual is nowhere as cheesy or cliched as these things usually are; and Tom Sizemore, who has top billing and a supporting role, is always fun to watch (except on reality TV, that is: we have yet to catch his "celebrity rehab" work, and intend to keep it that way). It was worth every penny of the $5 I spent on it, and not a penny more. 

Life: really gripping SF suspense/ horror film with Jake Gyllenhaal (whom we like) and Ryan Reynolds (whom we find kind of annoying, but don't actively dislike, unless he's playing Deadpool) among the crew of a ship battling a malign hitchiker. It plays more like a dead serious The Green Slime than Alien, and ends up seeming less than the sum of its parts - because while the film is very suspenseful, has solid performances and a pretty startling ending, it kind of vanishes from your mind as soon as its over, seeming neither worth revisiting or discussing much. Worth a look, once, however, especially on the screen. One of the stars dies super early!

Kong: Skull Island doesn't vanish in your mind as soon as it's over. No: it vanishes in your mind WHILE IT IS STILL GOING ON, as the next set-piece replaces the scene you were watching, captivates you, and then disappears into the next. I'm pretty sure that kind of brainless surfing from moment to moment is the right way to watch it,  as it is the right way to watch so much of the shit that makes the multiplex these days... though as mindless cinematic spectacle goes, Kong: Skull Island is very fun, is full of people I enjoy watching work (Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, Shea Whigham... oh, hell, even Tom Hiddleston is enjoyable). It further has some great effects (Kong attacks helicopters, batting them out of the sky!). There were obviously some smart people working behind the scenes (including co-screenwriter and presumed "name hire" script doctor Dan Gilroy, brother to Michael Clayton's Tony Gilroy and himself the writer and director of the important neo-noir Nightcrawler). To be honest, the most impressive detail for me was, in fact, the most trivial one: set during the tail end of the Vietnam war, it has a scene where a needle drops on a record, and you wait for the first song on the album to start playing. Since they show you the label, in this case the old bluegreen "butterfly Elektra" one, if you're at all like me, you'll be waiting to hear if the band they play is in fact a band that released an album on Elektra, and before the end of the Vietnam war, when they still HAD the butterfly label, and if the song is in fact the first song on either side of the record they choose. While we're at it, if you're at all like me (or, hell, if I'm like you), you'll also be guessing what band you're about to hear (I was expecting the Doors, practically gritting my teeth in my conviction that it WOULD be the Doors, in fact, which would have filled most of the conditions above). I had a pretty large shit-eating grin when the song proved to be "Down on the Street" from  the Stooges' Fun House, a GREAT song to put in a King Kong movie (and indeed, song one on side one of an album released on Elektra before the end of the Vietnam war: check, check, check, and CHECK, and a big check for inspired soundtrack moves).

Even if that trivial detail was in fact the height of my fun during Kong: Skull Island, I don't want to discount offhand that it might merit some discussion afterwards, if you get into the whole Vietnam/ Heart of Darkness/ Apocalypse Now angle, since it's very clearly a conscious decision on the part of the filmmakers to work in that field, naming characters Conrad and Marlow, and building further on all the disturbing Conrad references in the Peter Jackson King Kong (which, by evoking a text long criticised as racist, radically cranks the volume on the racism inherent in the original story, which you could kind of "fail to notice" in the 1933 version). There might even be an argument made for saying that in THIS version of the story, Kong is himself the Kurtz figure (I had never thought of that in watching any other variant of the film).  Not sure if it manages to erase the racism in past versions of the film, or compound it, by making Kong's equal-and-opposite human force a black man; not sure that it actually amounts to anything at all besides brainless entertainment, in fact, but it is an accomplishment of some sort that hey manage to tell a King Kong story that provides a very familiar variant on Kong origin myths already filmed, while reworking and even abandoning very important elements. (Kong doesn't get captured, doesn't go to New York, doesn't abduct a woman, doesn't climb a building. Will he be allowed to live? Will there be a sequel? (Other than the one hinted at in the post credits sequence, mind you, which doesn't appear to feature Kong at all...). 

Get Out, meanwhile, cannot be watched EXCEPT as a film explicitly about racism. It's about as overt, paranoid and over-the-top as LeRoi Jones - that is, Amiri Baraka's - famous play "Dutchman", so much so that I really don't blame Armond "Troll" White for having dismissed the film as a "trite get-whitey movie." (The internet briefly rolled their eyes when he proved to be the only negative reviewer of the film on Rotten Tomatoes, breaking the movie's rare 100% score, but that's an interesting, thoughtful review he's written). If I can agree with White, I also have to say that it's also a very entertaining film, a timely and welcome provocation, and that if it further reveals that not much has improved in the realm of race relations since the time of "Dutchman," that surely isn't the film's fault. While it IS suspenseful, I couldn't help feel that it maybe is best viewed as a comedy, rather than a horror film - especially since people are more receptive as seeing comedies having social messages. It's the sort of film that could be used productively in a classroom to spur on a discussion about racism in America. Hell, I bet there's already been a few hundred term papers written about it, depsite it still being in the theatres.

Logan, on the other hand, while engaging while it was in front of me, left absolutely no mark on me, and kinda peaks when Patrick Stewart says, unexpectedly, that he needs to pee. That's not saying much for the film (though it increased my fondness for Patrick Stewart).

Dog Eat Dog: what the hell happened to Paul Schrader? Why does he spend so much of this film trying to adopt a Tarantino-esque visual aesthetic, when he had a perfectly developed aesthetic of his own - one he'd even written a fucking BOOK (or two?) about? Is it really just desperation for money and relevance? And while we're abusing him, is his ego so distorted and confused that he thinks he can cast himself in his own movie and get away with it - like it will be welcomed by anyone? (Maybe he was just trying to save money on casting?). There's enough talent involved in the film - especially a Willem Dafoe, who has plenty of fun with a meaty role, and Christopher Matthew Cook, who I didn't know previously - that it remains watchable throughout (Nic Cage is merely Nic Cage, and in fact a rather restrained version of himself). Trouble is, part of that "watchability" is "waiting for it to get good,"and when it strays most obviously into Bad Film Territory (which, unfortunately, it does in its opening set up, and several times thereafter) it is a matter of "waiting for it to get better." It never fully wins your trust, never convinces you that you're going to feel rewarded for the effort you're investing, and in the end, you kind of feel annoyed with yourself for having stuck it through (assuming you do), because no, whatever faith you had in it does NOT really pay off, since the ending is the weakest part of the film. Paul Schrader should be BETTER THAN THIS, shouldn't he? (Or was he always kind of a bad filmmaker? What went wrong, here?). Incidentally Dog Eat Dog was adapted from a crime novel by cult writer Eddie Bunker - also known as the actor who played the bearded thief in Reservoir Dogs - but so far, neither of the films I've seen adapted from Bunker's books (the other being Steve Buscemi's disappointing second directorial turn, Animal Factory) have inspired me to want to read his stuff. I think it is fair to say that if a film adaptation of a book doesn't make you want to read the book, it has failed. Another HMV closeout purchase, soon to be on the "used" shelves at Videomatica (Willem Defoe fans might still want to check it out).

At least BJ paid me $2 for it in trade.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe: I honestly had expected to like this. I like Brian Cox, and will watch him in anything - which is lucky for him, because he's obviously willing to ACT in anything, if there's a paycheque. (He still manages to do some great work, despite this; see his work in the adaptation of Jack Ketchum's Red, if you haven't). Even more than liking Cox, though, I thought The Autopsy of Jane Doe would be a film about the real actions of forensic pathologists, who, in cutting up a corpse, find all sorts of clues to the mystery of how the person died, who they were, etc. When I heard the film described - only briefly - I leapt to assuming/ hoping/ expecting that it would take this very interesting topic seriously, as a sort of big screen "crime science" horror movie, which to my knowledge - despite the popularlity of such shows on TV - has never been really done; how cool would it be to tell a whole story around an autopsy, solving a crime without leaving the autopsy room? I don't know where I got that idea in my head. Instead, The Autopsy of Jane Doe turns all too quickly into another supernatural horror movie where there's no real effort to help suspend your disbelief, and no really satisfying explanations arrived at. As all sorts of increasingly implausible, then impossible things happen, while all pretext of bringing "science" to bear is abandoned, and things leap out of the darkness to "boo" you with increasing frequency. The movie in my head was so much more interesting than the movie I found myself watching...

I don't WANT to be like that, mind you: I've always thought that a duff move for a critic to make, and if I were writing a "how to be a critic" manual I would include as one of the rules, "review the film that is, not the film you were disappointed it wasn't" - which was a really bad habit of Roger Ebert's, for one. But I can't get over my reaction, unfortunately. If you walk into The Autopsy of Jane Doe expecting and wanting crap like, I don't know, Insidious or Sinister - also "boo" movies that are more about stringing cheap shocks on a pretext than developing or doing justice to ideas - then you might really ENJOY The Autopsy of Jane Doe. I did not. Ah well... another $2 towards my Rabid blu-ray, thanks BJ. 

Lights Out: As you might gather, I have a negative attitude to what I call "boo" movies - horror movies that hinge on shock scares and sudden close-ups of horrifying monster-faces, rather than unsettling ideas and the buildup of suspense. There's too many of them to count, these days, and people seem to be eating them up (Insidious, an earlier film by James Wan, was a particularly egregious example, with all sorts of horror fans, including paid film critics I talked to about it, giving it positive reviews. I loathed it, felt my intelligence insulted at every turn). Based on this prejudice, I avoided Lights Out  - an obvious "boo"fest - for quite awhile, then to my surprise, liked it. There are ideas! There are some interesting characters and solid performances, including Maria Bello from A History of Violence, as a toxic Mom with a disturbing secret in her past. The "ghost" is a novel creation, an interesting monster, kind of redolent of the ghosts in Japanese horror movies; and there's a lot of suspense and craft, balancing out the (admittedly occasionally cheap. "boo"ish) scares. It's a good little horror movie, lean-and-mean, if you're in the mood for that sort of thing - one of the better "boos" I've seen.

But so is The Other Side of the Door. One of the mysteries of sites like Rotten Tomatoes is why a film like Lights Out gets a high rating (something like 76% when I checked) and a film like The Other Side of the Door gets a negative one (about 25%). Almost everything I liked about Lights Out applies here: The Other Side of the Door is lean and mean, balances out its "boos" with plenty of suspense, and has plenty of ideas to it - here about mourning and death and our relationship to the dead. It also has a solid central performance - from Sarah Wayne Callies, who played Lori in The Walking Dead; and has something that very few other films have (except maybe Jennifer Lynch's delightful, under-rated Hisss, not to be confused with Sssssss): a successful, engaging use of South Asian locations, religious beliefs, and myth in an American-made horror movie. There's only one thing about Lights Out that marks it as a better film: you can't dismiss it (as I did by likening Ghost in the Shell as Robocop meets Johnny Mnemonic) by comparing it in one sentence to another film. Nothing quite like Lights Out exists, whereas The Other Side of the Door is (spoiler, but an obvious one) "Pet Sematary goes to India."

Personally, that's not enough for me to be willing to give it a bad review.

Oh, somewhere in there my girl and I watched the Eli Roth/ Quentin Tarantino-related film by (and starring) RZA, The Man With the Iron Fists. As you might expect if you know the cinematic tastes of the Wu Tang Clan, it is obviously steeped in sincere and knowing love of kung fu cinema, and has some pretty striking, inventively choreographed and shot fight scenes. It also has a nice acting turn from former wrestler Dave Bautista, better known as Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. Fans of Drax will probably be amused by The Man With the Iron Fists, as will fans of the Tarantino-Roth-Rodriguez approach to genre. RZA is probably giddily proud of this, and it deserves a fan base of sorts - maybe among people who actually own Wu Tang records? Personally, I didn't care at all: and after it was over, I kinda felt like I did after Kill Bill or Django Unchained or Death Proof or The Green Inferno, that I would have been better off just watching the movies it pays homage to, rather than having my cinema pre-chewed, digested, and regurgitated warm for me by some self-aware, winking genre fan. (Actually RZA doesn't wink THAT much but the point still holds). Soon to be on the used shelves at Videomatica! 

By the by, the Metrotown HMV - the last one standing, as far as I know, at least in BC - is now closed for good, I went by yesterday and they were shuttered. Robson, Coquitlam, Langley and Guildford all closed weeks ago - and with them vanished any reason at all for me to shop on Robson Street, at Coquitlam Centre, Willowbrook, or Guildford (unless Sunrise Records does something worthwhile at any of those locations; I'm dubious that they will). Goodbye, HMV. You weren't actually that bad at what you did, and probably deserved better.

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