Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Let us take a trip back to the mid 1980's. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had just re-cast American cinema into a big-budget-popcorn-munching mentality. It was really a short step from Jaws to Starwars and Indiana Jones, all three adventure stories taking place in the realms traditional pulp heroes: Battling nature on the high seas, princess rescuing space-cowboys, and battling baddies in jungle caves and ancient temples.
Ghostbusters came at the special effects blockbuster using a completely new angle: a prankster-styled comedy tested out in Animal House, sculpted in Stripes and somehow perfected as a New Yorker 'scientist vs ghost' story played for broad laughs. Many of those who doom the simplicity of '80s summer blockbuster mentality and pine for the gritty, cruel and nihilistic films of the 1970s (Scorcese, Coppola, Friedkin) fail to grasp the sugary taste of the peculiar cocktail of SCTV and SNL alumni doing science-fiction-comedy. Ostensibly an ensemble film featuring a slew of sketch-comedy talent (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis) and featuring the odd-ball choice of Alien action-queen Sigourney Weaver, but Ghostbusters is pretty much the Bill Murray show.
Featured is the classic Murray character: a cynical, slacker with an endless supply of dead-pan wise-cracks who manages to show some leadership quality when push comes to shove while still retaining his detached irony. Ghostbusters is the perfect vehicle for Murray because he's never taking anything very seriously and always winking at the audience as if to say...It's ok, this isn't The Godfather or 2001, relax, enjoy the pyrotechnics, I won't tell if you don't.
Is there a meaning here? Is there anything to talk about after the movie is over? Nope. But nearly every gag and joke works (and they fly at you pretty fast) and the characters are realized quite well insofar as the movies internal logic goes. And damn it, it has a 100 foot tall marshmallow man. I for one am not willing to throw Ghostbusters on the blockbuster scrap-heap.

Has my apologist wankering thrown you off wanting to revisit this sci-fi comedy classic? Didn't think so...Come by at 8:15pm for drinks and a 8:30pm showtime.

To put it far better than I can, and into a GenX cultural perspective, follow the link and read this humourous piece by Mary Ann Johanson.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


KBT Proudly Presents one of the very few Sci-Fi Western Musical Comedy Space Operas you are ever likely to see. A film from the avant garde performance band The Billy Nayer Show, the American Astronaut is a delightful collection of set-pieces and non-sequitors thrown together with visual gusto. The plot is simple enough. Samuel Curtis, a space courier (who has probably never made the Kessel Run in 7 parsecs) makes his living by transporting oddities around the solar system. His current mission, given to him by the Blueberry Pirate while delivering a cat to a run-down bar on an asteroid off of Jupiter, is to take a clone-embryo of a 'real, live girl' to Jupiter in exchange for the 'Boy-Who-Has-Actually-Seen-A-Womans-Breast' (and entertains the all male worker-population of Jupiter with the story on a nightly basis to keep morale up) so he can exchange him to the women on Venus who won't give up the corpse of their old 'stud' until he is replaced with a living man. The body of the stud (Johnny-R) can than be taken to Earth for a princely sum of money. This would be easy and all, if not for the evil Professor Hess chasing Curtis around the solar system killing everyone who he has had contact with, Okies holed up in a barn drifting in space, and the occasional need to break into song for no apparent reason.
The black and white cinematography is gorgeous and gritty, the comedy is dry and dead-pan, and the musical numbers are toe-tapping (with the possible exception of one called "Rio Yeti" which is grating and one of the only flaws in the film). It is likely, (if anyone shows up for this film at all), that I may never have a KBT audience again after this...The film is that weird...But for fans of the Sci-fi adventure genre (Star Wars and Buckaroo Banzai in particular) there are many mocking, some of them quite subtle, nods and there is a creative zest and performance zeal which has certainly been lacking from the typical high-budget, glossy SFX adventures of late.

Come by at 8:15 pm for drinks and home-made pizza. Show time begins at 8:30pm with a brand spakin' new trailer for Sin City as well as a short programme on the evolution of the CGI post-apocalyptic epic Robota, which may or may not ever make it to the theatres but is impressive nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


This is the third film screened by KBT sight-unseen by the screener. For the record the other two were Bob Fosse's gorgeous musical, Cabaret and Chan-Wook Park's surreal violent masterpiece, Oldboy. Therefore, I do not have a lot to say about tonites screening of The Fearless Vampire Killers (or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck) except that it is directed by Roman Polanski, who also plays a supporting role. His wife, Sharon Tate is in the lead female role, two years before she was murdered at the hands of the Manson Family.

The Fearless Vampire Killers is an affectionate parody of the castle and vampire horror films coming out of Britian in the 60s: the so-called Hammer Horror Pictures, most of them starring Chirstopher Lee, who is not in this film.

From the IMDB Plot Summary: The old bat researcher, professor Abronsius and his assistant, Alfred, go to a remote Transylvanian village looking for vampires. Alfred falls in love with the inn-keeper's young daughter Sarah. However, she has been spotted by the mysterious count Krolock who lives in a dark and creepy castle outside the village...

The film was somewhat hard to find until recently it was made available on DVD. Hopefully it will be the vampire equivalent to Young Frankenstein, another classic parody of the genre.

Come out for drinks at 8:15. Trailers and Screening at 8:30pm.