400 block Richards Street – east side

https://changingvancouver.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/400-block-richards-street-east-side/

These two images, although thirty five years apart, appear almost identical. On the corner is a building on a site acquired by one of Chinatown’s merchants, the Sam Kee Company, run by Chang Toy. Sam Kee acquired two 25 foot lots at the corner of Pender and Richards in 1904, and the Empress Rooms were completed in 1906. In 1905 it was put up for sale for $20,000 and acquired by William Walsh, a lawyer who owned quite a bit of property in this part of the city. He spent $25,000 to build the Grant and Henderson designed building, and apparently cashed in nicely in 1909 selling for $200,000 to an Oakland investor. These days it’s the home of MacLeods Books. In 1981 the second store in the building, down the hill, was the All Nations Stamp and Coin Co; today it’s an Antiques and Collectables store, with

The other half of the block is Century House, built in 1911 for the Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation. The building was designed by J S D Taylor, an architect trained in Scotland. Canada Permanent operated at Century House until 1951. Since then, it has been home to an insurance company, a trade school, an antique store, a book store and a restaurant. Today it appears on the internet as a recording studio. The exterior is made of cut granite stone, except for two beavers and a lighthouse cast in concrete, which crown the buildings. It’s the emblem of the building’s developer.

Best Teen Movies of the 80s

Teen films is a film genre targeted at teenagers and young adults in which the plot is based upon the special interests of teenagers, such as coming of age, first love, rebellion, conflict with parents, teen angst or alienation. Often these normally serious subject matters are presented in a glossy, stereotyped or trivialized way. For legal reasons, many teenage characters are portrayed by young adults. Some teen films appeal to young males while others appeal to young females. Films in this genre are often set in high schools, or contain characters that are of high school age. Sexual themes are also common, as are crude forms of humor.

Artistic Cinema and Quality Filmmaking are Nearly Defunct

A still from Red Desert (1964), directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

Initially, I wasn’t going to see The Batman (2022). When information appeared about this film and its release, I had almost no interest in it. I didn’t care about who played the role of Bruce Wayne. When it comes to superhero movies, DC Films has a bad track record. Therefore, I wasn’t going to waste my time and money on another DC blunder. But then, about a week ago, when I was taking out the trash late in the evening, something very unusual happened. When I was walking back to the house, I heard a familiar laugh. At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I turned around and began walking toward the nearby bushes, where I thought that the laughter is coming from. The darkness was illuminated by only a few nearby lights. The familiar laughter and giggling continued on and off. Finally, when I was close to the bushes, one of them ignited, but the flames weren’t consuming it. The burning bush spoke, and I realized that the laugh and the voice belong to the one and only Rich Evans, the god of bad movies. Rich, speaking through the burning bush, said, “You will see The Batman.” In my amazement, I said, “Rich, no. Please. It’s like 3 hours long. I don’t think that I’ll be able to withstand seeing such an atrocity.” Rich said, “Silence! You will see The Batman, and you will tell everyone you know about how bad it is.” After that, the flames and the voice of his holiness, Rich Evans, disappeared. I mean, I couldn’t defy a god. Therefore, I decided to see The Batman on home video. I definitely wasn’t going to pay the price of a ticket to see it in a theater. But I must admit that I was a little curious to find out how bad the film really is. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the Batman comics. I like the Batman films that were directed by Tim Burton a lot. His Batman films are still the best by far. I can even put up with watching Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, with all of their flaws. But The Batman is something else. It’s a modern film, it’s a film by a different director, and it’s a film by DC Films, a studio that just can’t make a good superhero movie. After seeing The Batman, I understand why the god of bad movies wanted me to review it. This film really is a new level of low. It’s a film that has no reason to exist except to make money, to make the dumb masses throw away their earnings only because the bought and paid for film critics told them to do so and because it’s a new film. This fact makes me weep for the human race, for how misguided and foolish people are. Anyway, The Batman is a mish mash of elements from other, better films. It’s clear that the director, Matt Reeves, wanted to make a kind of film noir, but he doesn’t have the skills or the knowledge to do this well. The detective story in The Batman, around which the clunky plot is structured, was clearly taken from Seven (1995). Seven is a superb film, but The Batman rips it off in a lame way and doesn’t do anything original with the detective story. The cinematography by Greig Fraser is so dark that I couldn’t see what was going on a third of the time. The music by Michael Giacchino is passable but certainly nothing special. The costume designs are bland and forgettable. There’s little action. The action scenes are brief, simple, and not memorable. The characters are poorly developed. None of them stand out. Robert Pattinson does almost nothing as Bruce Wayne. He has the Batman suit on for almost the entire run time of the film. We’re informed that Wayne is a philanthropist, but we don’t get to see him doing any philanthropy and we don’t get to find out what kind of philanthropy he’s involved in. Gotham City in this film is an uninteresting and grungy place that’s stocked with uninteresting people and sights. Like Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, The Batman features certain propaganda from the establishment, but I won’t get into explaining what this propaganda is. If you want to check what this propaganda is about, see this badly-directed and badly-conceived film for yourself. In conclusion, The Batman is incompetent, modern filmmaking at its most obvious. I just hope that the god of bad movies doesn’t make me go through a trial like this again.

Now that I’m done reviewing The Batman, let’s get to the good stuff. In the last several months, I’ve seen some very enjoyable films on home video. Seeing just about any film that got made before the 2000s is a pleasure for me. Even the so-called bad films that got made in the 20th century now appear to be good if they get compared to modern films. The film that I enjoyed seeing the most is The Shooting Party (1985). I had no idea what it’s about before I began watching it. I picked it up only because it’s a film from the 1980s. This British drama film turned out to be a delight. The clothes and the makeup for the actors in this film were perfect. The acting is excellent. In short, it’s a well-made historical drama. Like so many other films that got made before the 2000s, it has an artistic touch, which is something that almost all films that got made after the 1990s lack. Another memorable British film that I got to see recently is The Wicker Man (1973). This is an unusual film. It’s usually advertised as a horror film, but it’s not really a horror film. I’d call it a detective story, though the twist at the end of the film overturns the expectations of the viewer. The main thing that makes The Wicker Man work well is Edward Woodward’s excellent performance in the leading role. The other cast members delivered good performances as well. I had heard of this film many times before deciding to see it, but the film’s poster had always put me off from seeing it for some reason. Well, now that I’ve seen it, I can say that it’s definitely worth seeing. Another horror film that I got to seeing is Altered States (1980). This film is one of my favorites from the 1980s. There’s a lot to like about this science-fiction horror film. Now that I’ve see it again, I can point out that the direction by the famous director Ken Russell is very good. There’s a good cast, good acting, good special effects, good dialogue, and a good music score by John Corigliano. It’s just an all-around high-grade and memorable picture. Another film from the 1980s that I watched recently is The Prince Of Pennsylvania (1988). This film didn’t make it on my list of the 50 best teen movies of the 80s, but this was perhaps a mistake because The Prince Of Pennsylvania has some good scenes, especially at the end. Since it’s a film from the 1980s, I can watch it from beginning to end without any problems, but it’s still not a bad film by any means. I was surprised because it has some good comedy, a good cast, some memorable scenes, and it’s definitely worth seeing. I certainly enjoyed seeing the Poltergeist trilogy again. The first film, Poltergeist (1982), is known as a so-called classic horror film. It deserves this honor because it really is a well-made film with many memorable scenes. The cast, the acting, the special effects, the music, and the story in it are all good. It’s one of the most well-known films of the 1980s. So, what about the sequels? The sequels were made in order to cash in on the popularity of the first film. But are they bad? Not at all. They’re competently made and enjoyable films. The cinematography in the sequels is also often beautiful. The acting is just fine. The special effects are good and inventive. Some people criticize the sequels for not making much sense and for being cash grabs. But this doesn’t make them bad films, and I had a pleasure watching them. Like so many other so-called bad films from the 1980s, they now seem good if they get compared to modern films, which are bland and have no artistic touch. I’d rather watch the Poltergeist trilogy than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, for example. I’ve already pointed out in one of my posts that I like to watch Westerns now. The Western that I liked seeing the most recently is Arizona Bushwhackers (1968). Like many other Westerns, it’s set during the American Civil War, which is a war that I became interested in after listening to Webster Tarpley talk about it almost a decade ago. It was a big and bloody war. It’s quite interesting to read about it, as it turns out, and, therefore, I recently acquired a book, ‘Battle Cry of Freedom’ by James M. McPherson, in order to learn more about this war. I began reading this book only recently, and I don’t yet know how good it is, but I have to start somewhere. It’s a book from the 1980s, and it’s critically acclaimed. So, I have a feeling that it will be a good read. I watched Arizona Bushwhackers because Yvonne De Carlo had a role in it. Another famous actor who had a role in it is Howard Keel, who also had a role in Dallas from 1981 to 1991. Well, I’d recommend seeing every Western that I’ve seen so far, but Arizona Bushwhackers is the one that I enjoyed seeing the most recently. Another film from the 1960s that I decided to see is Red Desert (1964). Since I’m not against seeing foreign cinema, I’ve already seen many films from overseas, like European, Soviet, Japanese, and Hong Kong films. I got to see many foreign films when I was in my teens and early twenties. For the last several years, however, I’ve been focusing on seeing Hollywood films that I haven’t seen before. I like Red Desert very much, and I think that it’s a memorable film, though it hasn’t become one of my favorite films. There’s a certain artistic quality to it, but it’s clearly not a film meant to entertain. It’s a film for adults because it was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. Antonioni and cinematographer Carlo Di Palma managed to make Monica Vitti look quite attractive in this film. Richard Harris also had a role in this Italian film, but I didn’t know that he’s in it until I looked at some info about Red Desert on the internet. Red Desert is definitely worth seeing for those people that like foreign films or artistic films.

Marvel Studios stumbles in Phase Four, but still makes good films

A still from Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022), directed by Sam Raimi

It seems that I had made an entire post about the recent happenings in Ukraine, but that I completely forgot to mention that I had been to Ukraine. I had been there once as a tourist, and the place where I went is the Crimea, when it was still a part of Ukraine. The climate of this peninsula is sunny and warm. Therefore, I understand why the Ancient Greeks decided to establish settlements on this peninsula. However, I didn’t go to Chersonesus, which is the most famous Greek colony on the peninsula. The place where I went is called Gaspra, where the Swallow’s Nest is located. By the way, there’s an entry about Athens, the famous Greek city, in one of the books that I own, which is ‘Encyclopedia of the World’ (in Colour) by Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, published in 1978. “Athens is the capital of modern Greece. Athens lies in the plain of Attica by the 500 foot (152 metres) high Acropolis and has 2.5 million inhabitants, if its seaport, Piraeus, is included. This metropolis controls the country’s industry and commerce, and much of the marketing of the agricultural produce – tobacco, coriander, raisins and olive oil. It is also responsible for the import of petroleum, timber and manufactured goods. The modern city dates from the 1830s, from the rebirth of the Greek nation. On the Acropolis stand remains of temples, amphitheatres and statues from ancient Hellas, whose classical civilisation both spread into, and later inspired, the western world in its development of democracy and culture. The most imposing remains are those of the Parthenon, symbol of the glory that was Greece. This white marble temple, surrounded by 46 Doric columns, was built during the ‘golden age’ of Pericles and dedicated to Athena, the city’s patron goddess. Athens reached the peak of her glory in the 5th century B.C., after defeating the Persians at Marathon. Democracy flourished under Pericles, and the names of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato are for ever linked with the city and its culture. The rivalry between Athens and Sparta led to the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) in which Athens was temporarily subdued, but the city’s power did not finally wane until the Macedonian conquest of Greece in 338 B.C. By the middle of the 2nd century B.C., Athens had declined to the status of a Roman dependency. It remained within the Byzantine Empire until the Crusades, then came under Turkish rule in 1458. The archaeological relics together with the sunny climate have led to the growth of a tourist industry which attracts many visitors to Athens.”

The people that follow my blog have probably noticed that I’m again watching all of the films by Marvel Studios in order. This is my third time doing this. I began doing this by accident and out of curiosity at the end of March, mostly to see how well the films from Phase One of the MCU fare against subsequent films in the MCU. The films from Phase One are a little special to me because I got to see them in theaters at a time when I began going to theaters more often than I had before. Moreover, I saw these films in theaters that no longer exist. One of these theaters was called Empire Granville 7 Cinemas and the other was called Cineplex Cinemas Esplanade. Seeing a film in these theaters definitely added to the enjoyment of seeing a film because their auditoriums were built in the old style and their decor was appealing. For example, I remember that after I finished watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is one of the best films in the MCU, in one of the auditoriums of Cineplex Cinemas Esplanade, in the spring of 2014, I came out to the well-designed foyer on the second floor and stopped to look around for several minutes and to look through the large windows at the scenery outside. It was sunny and warm outside, the trees were blooming, and the strong sunlight was beaming through the windows of the foyer. So, I took a moment to stand in the sunlight and enjoy the view. There were also no people around me at that time. The closure of the two theaters saddened me. Cineplex Cinemas Esplanade was the last one that was closed, in 2019. Since then, I haven’t been going to theaters as often as I had before because the experience was no longer the same. The theaters that got built in the 2000s are simply bland. At that time, I also finally came to the conclusion that movie studios in the West can’t make films as competently as they did before the 2000s. Almost all of the films that got made after the 1990s have no replay value. Anyway, I got to see all of the films from Phase One for the first time in theaters. I remember in which theater I saw each film, what the weather was like on that day, and even what happened on that day. I got to see Iron Man (2008), the first film from Phase One, at Cineplex Cinemas Esplanade. This is also where I got to see The Incredible Hulk (2008) a little later on. Of course, at that time, I had no idea what the people at Marvel Studios were planning, that they had an idea of creating a cinematic universe. The film from Phase One that I liked seeing the most at that time is Thor (2011). It’s still my favorite film from Phase One. Admittedly, it’s not the best film from Phase One. That honor goes to Iron Man or The Avengers (2012). But it is my favorite because I got to see it in my favorite theater, Empire Granville 7 Cinemas, on a sunny day, at the end of spring. And the films featuring Thor have remained some of my favorite films from the MCU ever since. I still get excited when I see the Bifrost travel sequence in the first Thor film. There’s also the fact that I like the characters, the action, the music, and the comedy in this film. I’d like to point out that I like all of the films that got made by Marvel Studios. I don’t consider any of them to be bad. I like seeing some of them more than others, but I consider all of them to be enjoyable. I know that I criticized Avengers: Endgame (2019), but I still like this film a lot. Perhaps the film that stood out the most to me this time is Iron Man 2 (2010). I like it more now than I used to. There are some really neat touches in this film. The MK V armor is my favorite Iron Man armor. It looks fantastic. The comedy in Iron Man 2 is quite effective. Sam Rockwell, in particular, is very funny in some scenes. The dialogue is good and so is the action, especially the fight at the end involving Black Widow. The only letdown is the music, which isn’t very memorable, but this isn’t a big problem. One thing that I have noticed when seeing the films from Phase One again is that they’re not geared toward children as much as the films from Phase Four. The films from Phase One are more serious and edgy than subsequent MCU films. They even contain a few horror elements. The Incredible Hulk, in particular, contains a few scenes that can be called scary. I think that after Marvel Studios got acquired by Walt Disney Studios in 2015, MCU films began to be geared mostly toward children, and the typical Disney messages began to appear in MCU films. The one film so far where this is most obvious is Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021). I enjoyed seeing this film, but not as much as I thought I would. The film is clearly geared toward children because it features many cute mythological creatures and childish comedy. At times, it even seemed like a Disney animated film because of all of the CGI action and characters in colorful costumes. Even the presence of Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who looks good as usual, and the cool-looking rings can’t distract from how lightweight this film is at times. But I’ve got to say that the return of Trevor Slattery was a welcome surprise. Moreover, the short All Hail The King (2014), in which this fake Mandarin appears again, is a must-see film, as I’ve recently discovered because I’ve never seen it before. I enjoyed watching Black Widow (2021) and Eternals (2021) about as much as Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. These films are good, but they’re not my favorite MCU films. I like Scarlett Johansson’s performance in Black Widow and I like the action. Natasha Romanoff is much more appealing as a character in this film than in any of the previous MCU films. In Eternals, I like the CGI and I like the action. When it comes to characters in this film, I think that the character interactions are hit or miss. The big surprise of Phase Four for me so far was Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). I waited to see this film on home video because I couldn’t go to a theater when it was released in theaters. It’s because vaccine mandates were still in effect at that time. The films in the MCU featuring Peter Parker as the main character have never been my favorites. They’re good, but they just don’t click with me as well as other films in the MCU. May Parker, played by Marisa Tomei, is not an interesting or appealing character at all in the Spider-Man films. She didn’t have much screen time anyway. Tom Holland was the right age to play Peter Parker, but he’s not all that good in the role. Tobey Maguire remains the best Peter Parker for me because he’s a better actor. Anyway, while Tobey is as good as ever in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the real surprise is Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker. Andrew delivered a very appealing performance, and he’s better in this film than in the two awesome (terrible) Spider-Man films that he starred in. I mean, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Paul Giamatti delivered a simply majestic performance as the Rhino. How can you top that? So, the inclusion of the three Peters and the fact that their friendship was filmed well elevated this film to my favorite film of Phase Four so far and to the best Spider-Man film in the MCU so far. But this is how I felt before Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) was released in theaters. I got to see Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness several days ago. I can easily say that this film is now my favorite film of Phase Four so far. The reason why this is the case is because I enjoyed watching it from beginning to end. The previous films in Phase Four, even Spider-Man: No Way Home, were hit or miss for me. But Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness isn’t only a feast for the eyes from beginning to end. It also features good performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, and Rachel McAdams. Some critics criticized the inclusion of the Illuminati, but I actually enjoyed seeing this group of superheroes. I found Earth-838 to be very appealing visually. Even the Earth of the destroyed universe looks incredible. By the way, Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch, looks better in this film than in any other film in which she has appeared. Her makeup and costume look perfect. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is by no means a perfect film. The plot and the characters can be criticized. America Chavez didn’t have to appear in this film, and she was included only as a way of finally introducing this character in the MCU. But I don’t expect to see The Godfather (1972) or Gandhi (1982) when I go to see a film by Marvel. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is simply an entertaining, delightful, and well-directed film, and this is good enough for me. So, while Phase Four has suffered somewhat from interference by Disney, I don’t think that MCU films are bad now. For example, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness have become some of my favorite MCU films. In order to keep up with what’s going on in Phase Four, I finally got around to watching the series that Marvel has put out since 2021. WandaVision is the first show that got made, and it’s also the best show from Phase Four so far. I wasn’t expecting much from this show. This is why I got around to watching it only a few months ago. But I was pleasantly surprised by the time the show came to an end. I don’t like absolutely everything about this nine-episode series. For example, the idea of having the town of Westview and its residents change their appearance in almost every episode is interesting, but it wasn’t executed all that well, in my opinion. Sure, Wanda and Vision get to wear different clothes, but little else is done with this concept. At least this concept is somewhat important to the character of Wanda because she enjoyed watching some American shows from different decades when she was growing up. I did like the performances of Olsen and Paul Bettany. They definitely contributed to making WandaVision as good as it is. Where this show really shines is the second half, especially the last few episodes. Some of the scenes are truly memorable, and they contributed to making Wanda and Vision much more appealing characters than they had been previously. When it comes to The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and Loki, I don’t have much to say about these shows. I think that these shows are good, and I enjoyed watching them for the most part, but they have their flaws. The Falcon And The Winter Soldier can be noted because it features some impressive action scenes, though they’re sometimes cut so quickly that it’s difficult to see what’s going on. Loki can be noted because it features some impressive visuals. So, there you have it. I somehow ended up making another post about films by Marvel Studios. I didn’t plan on doing this, but I guess that I just had to share my thoughts.

William Peter Blatty – The Exorcist | Review

https://www.danecobain.com/reviews/william-peter-blatty-the-exorcist-review/

“Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men’s eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed.” When a book begins like this, you know it’s going to be good.

William Peter Blatty’s tale of a possessed little girl and a mother who will do anything to save her is probably best known as one of the greatest horror films ever made, and the novel is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be – it really is a phenomenal tale, extremely well-written and full of little details that didn’t survive the transition to the cinema screen.

It’s terrifying, too – remember that episode of Friends where Joey puts The Shining in the freezer? That’ll start to seem like a good idea, although the book is so demonic that I can’t help but wonder whether ice or flames could even damage it.

The characterisation is also much more explicit in the novel than in the film, and by the end of the book I felt like Father Karras was… well, a father to me. In fact, all of the characters are much more believable, and it’s easy to feel both empathy and horror towards young Regan, often at the same time.

Perhaps it’s so believable because parts of the novel are based on real events – Father Merrin is based upon Gerald Lankester Harding, a British archaeologist who excavated the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. In fact, Harding and Blatty met each other in Beirut, and Blatty himself has confirmed that the character was based on his real-life acquaintance.

It’s also thought that the novel is based on the actual exorcism in 1949 of a young boy in Maryland, known under the pseudonym of ‘Roland Doe‘. Blatty himself studied at a Jesuit school in the 1950s, and it was there that he first heard Doe’s story.

It’s Blatty’s Jesuit influences that allow him to write so convincingly on a subject that most would look upon as religious fiction – I’m a thoroughbred atheist, so why was I so terrified by a story about possession?