Daily Archives: February 9, 2017

Watching the Weird: ‘Big Meat Eater’

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Radioactivity was all the rage in the 1950s. In Burquitlam (a fictionalized version of the small town between Burnaby and Coquitlam, British Columbia), it’s all about the chemicals. Here, the local butcher’s cast-offs mix with the sludge in the septic tank to create Balonium, a chemical that is apparently highly sought after by aliens.

It’s also desired by teen scientist Jan Wczinski (Andrew Gillies) who is building a cyclotron, a contraption he describes as a power source for common household appliances: “Can openers, space ships, knife sharpeners. That sort of thing.” Wczinski and his Moldavian family live above the butcher shop, and when he discovers the radioactive green chemical he vies for the prize against the aliens who have reanimated the town’s mayor in an effort to obtain it themselves.

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Made by a small group of young filmmakers in British Columbia near the end of Canada’s tax shelter era, Big Meat Eater is a weird blend of musical, sci-fi, horror and comedy, and the result feels like something a bunch of friends put together to compile their strangest ideas. Ideas like a city hall run by people named Alderman Sonny the Weasel, a reanimated corpse singing about its rebirth and a mother recommending her daughter stuff pierogies down her top before going on a date. But for a film that reads like a random mash, it all blends together really, really well.

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‘Dancer’: Portrait of the Artist as a Frustrating Mess

Sometimes a talent is so oversized it’s like a bomb waiting to go off. One look at ballet’s enfant terrible Sergei Polunin and you can see the talent, his mesmerizing form crackling with electricity. You don’t need to know anything about ballet as Polunin launches his wiry frame impossibly high into the air to know that this kid’s got it. Dancer, the documentary from Steven Cantor (loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies) follows Polunin’s evolution, from child prodigy to hard partying success to burnt-out superstar. It’s an interesting if conventional portrait of an artist with tremendous gifts, lacking the tools to sustain a career.

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