How old are you?
39 and older than 38...if
where???!! Saskatchewan? Where the flip is that?
||Okay gang, it's time to play
CANADIAN GEOGRAPHY, for the not-so-wise (you know who you are, Yankees!).
Let's pull out our trusted map of our favorite Northern country:
I know what your thinking:
Big country, eh? As you can see, I live in the large
rectangular slab province in the lower middle that looks like a somewhat
truncated monolith from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Basically, Saskatchewan
is directly above the border of NORTH DAKOTA and MONTANA, and we have a name
so friggin' big that we can't even fit it on the map of the province itself!
Saskatchewan is large and vast, and our provincial tagline is "land of
the living skies", which is a socio-geological euphemism for "our
province has no other discernable features outside of the flat prairies and
wheat fields." Oh well, I love it all the same!
How long have you been
running this site?
||Since July of 2004...my
gosh...has it been so long?
Are you a professional
||That is a label that I would like to
achieve and hope to in the near or distant future. In short...no.
Do you really see all of
the films that have been posted on this site?
||But of course!
Do you get paid to see
movies and write about them?
||Sadly...no. I am an amateur critic
and go to see and write about all the movies that have been discussed on
this site so far...on my own LOONIE, thank-you very much. (That's
"dollar" to all you Yanks out there)
So, how many movies do you
see a week?
||Completely depends on my cash flow and
time. Usually about two to three theatrically (if I am lucky) and a
few on DVD or the splendid new kid on the block, Blu-Ray. It just all depends.
How to you find the time?
||Being single helps, and not having much of
a life. Hey...all you single ladies, my number is...
What is your
personal record for most films seen in the shortest period of time?
||Yikes. Lemmie think.
If we are talking viewing at home on DVD, then I would probably say 6 in one
day. I went through the entire STAR WARS SEXTET in one 12 hour plus
marathon. In terms of seeing films theatrically, I saw 5 films in a
span of 2 days. Needless to say, that was a tiring 2 days.
How long does it take you to
write your individual reviews?
depends. Most normal reviews of recent releases - from the point of
writing, editing, and publishing them - takes about 90 minutes or so.
My RETRO reviews take a bit longer due to research and the fact that they
Why does it
take you so long to publish your reviews? Why are they
oftentimes published later than other sites?
||Again, since I am not a
professional I don't have the privilege of seeing advance screenings.
Thus, this is the main reason why reviews of new films (that are usually
released on Fridays) don't see the light of day on my site in review form
until usually Saturday or Sunday. Lately, some of the reviews don't
hit until well after the weekend. Sorry, folks.
Why do you
chose to review some films over others? I notice that there are many
films that are AWOL on your site?
||Well, a lot of that has to do
with money and time. I work full time at a day job
beyond my gig here so that preoccupies much of my time. Plus, with
films costing anywhere between $9.00-11.00 to screen, I have to be somewhat
selective in what I see. I try my hardest to see as many films as I
possibly can. Another reason has to do with availability in my home town.
Many films (like 2005's
and GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK) did not
have theatrical showings here until several months after their initial
So, if you are not a
professional film critic, what do you really do?
||By day I am a mild mannered
commission sales associate at a major metropolitan retail company, and by night I am CrAiGeR,
film critic extraordinaire. I do not wear tights and a cape for the
||I both graduated from high
school and attended University here in Saskatoon. I graduated with
Great Distinction (shameless plug) in History and Fine Art. I was
halfway towards finishing a Bachelor's of Education until I realized that
teaching little hellions was not what I wanted to do with the rest of my
Where do you
like to sit in a theater?
||Sweet spot for me would
definitely be about nine or ten rows back, in the middle.
What kind of
home theater system do you have?
||I take this very seriously.
Trying to re-create a theatre environment at home is crucial to watching
movies as they were meant to be seen. I have a 48" widescreen CRT RPTV
with an upconverting DVD player (this is a must until HD-DVD or BLU-RAY
DVD's become the standard) as well as a full Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
System. On top of that, I have a few relics (like my VCR and Laser
Disc Player), some new toys (my HDTV PVR cable box is my favorite new addition)
and I also have an X-BOX 360 to toy around with on those lonely nights.
I have just recently added a
HD-DVD and a BLU-RAY player to my home theatre arsenal. HD is via the
X-BOX 360 external drive and BLU-RAY is via PLAYSTATION 3, the latter which
I use just as a dedicated BLU-RAY player. I HIGHLY recommend the PS3
as a BLU-RAY player; the next cheapest option is over $1000, and the PQ
quality is identical between the P3 and the higher priced models. The
360 add-on drive also works sensationally.
I now have updated my system to
include a 46" Sharp 1080p LCD flat screen and have replaced my old 5.1
receiver with a new 7.1 receiver capable of reproducing just about every
[UPDATE 3] I now
have updated my system to a 52" Samsung LCD flat screen, which was
Consumer Report rated #1 in its class when I purchased it. I have
also improved my Blu-Ray player to a Panasonic model which also provides
streaming You Tube content. Quite nifty!
[UPDATE 4] Just
added a new home theater receiver, which is capable of producing every HD
sound field, like DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital True HD, and so
[UPDATE 5] Just
added a new full-array backlight LED HD TV with my 52" Sony XBR and a
Panasonic Full HD 3D Blu-Ray player: its Netflix streaming quality is
among the best I've seen.
How many films have you
seen in your life?
||That's tough to determine. I really
started to develop an interest in my early to mid-teens and have really
increased over the last decade. If I had to guess...maybe 3 or 4000.
Do you collect DVDs/Blu-rays?
||Do I ever! My collection, which I
take pride in just how eclectic a mixture I have, has just eclipsed over
1200, including HD-DVDs and BLU-RAYs. I am slowly starting to have difficulty
moving through my living room...and I love it!
What are your favorite films of all-time?
||If I had to narrow it down to one, I would
cheat, to a degree, and say the STAR WARS saga. I have seen EPISODE
IV at least a hundred times and it remains fresh with each viewing.
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
||Again, hard to pinpoint down, but I have
always greatly admired Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando,
Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford, and Denzel
Washington to name a few. Vince Vaughn crushes just about
everything he's in; he's hilarious even when he's in crap.
Who are your favorite directors?
||Definitely Steven Spielberg, George
Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, David Fincher, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles,
Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Ang Lee, Christopher Nolan,
Sam Mendes, Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Quentin Tarantino, PT
Anderson, and Alexander Payne. On the documentary
side, Michael Moore's work has always impressed me.
In terms of newer directors that
have impressed me over the last few years: Noah Baumbach is an
emerging and strongly assured director, as is Jason Reitman. The
team of Ryan Beck and Anna Bodem are also emerging as filmmakers
that manage to successfully subvert the genres they tackle. Craig
Brewer is enormously underrated. Paul Greengrass is also
a director that may be one of the best pound-for-pound craftsmen in the
industry, as is Alfonso Cuaron. And, let the hate mail flood
in, Zach Snyder has made three films and two of them have garnered four star
reviews from me, so I really like what he's doing.
What do you think of
director's cuts, as a general rule?
||I am extremely open-minded to the concept
of director's cuts, but have experienced decidedly mixed results over the
last few years. Some films have greatly enhanced themselves from
their original theatrical cuts (ie -
whereas others kind of eluded me (ie - I thought that the original cuts of
THE LORD OF THE RING films were fine to begin with).
What do you think of the
current state of films?
||Again...like the previous question, I will
answer it with a note of ambiguity. I think some truly great and
some truly awful films have emerged over the last few years, but every
decade has had their share of stinkers. I do think that Hollywood is
too busy at times constantly regurgitating the same tired formulas and
ideas when fresh and offbeat ones seem to escape them. I guess its
all a matter of how hard the lay film going public looks for the films
How do you justify or
arrive at your individual star ratings for the films you see? Could
you explain, for example, how you could give films like ROBOTS and PULP
FICTION four stars. Do you think that they are aesthetic equals, or
||This is the problem with being a film
critic - how to give a film a rating of some kind. It's not as
arbitrary as you think it is. Keep in mind, I am not saying that
is as good as
PULP FICTION, or
vice-versa. What I am saying is that my star ratings are relative,
not universal, benchmarks of a film's worth. If you use star
ratings universally, then you've got a lot of explaining to
do. So, in essence, what I mean by this is that, relative to the
genre of the film, ROBOTS is an exemplary computer animated
film. Just like, say,
is great relative to its genre, that of the crime thriller, or that of
MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, which is in the genre of not only the suspense
thriller, but also is a remake. So you see, a four star (or any star
rating, for that matter) is a measure of a film's worth relative to the
type of film that it is trying to be. I mean, my God,
LIST is not
STRIKES BACK, but both are four star films, in my view, for different
and more intimate reasons. Hope that clarifies it.
Who are your favorite film critics?
||Roger Ebert for sure, and despite
the fact that I have strongly disagreed with his views as of late, there's
no denying his influence on me, especially with this site. I also
enjoy reading James Berardinelli, a great online critic. Some
of the reviews on Ain't It Cool News are often hilarious. I
also enjoy the work of Michael Phillips and Peter Travers.
Prequel or Sequel trilogy?
||Both have their strengths...but asking me
that is like asking whether I liked the New Coke better than
Classic. No matter what, trying to recreate the magic is impossible!
Boxers of briefs?
||Okay...that's a bit too personal.
Are you and
Dante from CLERKS one in the same?
||You be the judge...I get this
all the time:
Mmmmkay....it's a close call...but I'd
have to say "no". Dude on the left is much more appealing.
McDonald's or Burger King?
||Hmmm...I can answer that. I try to
have broad based tastes when it comes to fast food...but I do like the
taste of a good burger...mmmm. I like them both a bit equally.
Burgers go to KING, fries go to McD's.
Popcorn or candy at the theater?
||Actually, I never eat anything at
the theatre. Saves me more money to see more films, and believe me,
one popcorn and a drink costs as much, if not more, than seeing a film
Is it proper etiquette to
talk during the commercials and trailers before the main feature?
||I would say yes and no. Yes to
commercials (nothing more damning than paying to see ads) and no to
trailers...I like to experience my first glimpse of a new film without
annoying chatter. And definitely, DEFINITELY not during the feature.
Cell phone users that text during the feature should be whipped
mercilessly afterwards. Have they no shame?
What is the worst trend in
contemporary filmgoing right now?
||Two easy ones come
to mind: First, 3D surcharge gouging by the film studios, especially
for films that have been hastily upconverted and were not shot in
3D. Second, which relates directly more towards the act of seeing a
film in a theatre, is cell phone usage, particularly texting. All of
those bright screens are like dozens of flashlights being turned on, and
it's inanely distracting.