Needless to say, I've been bumpin' around town sick as a dog since April 28th, and didn't think much of it, until the symptoms started making me unable to sleep - and until a piercing migraine started being my best friend. I thought it was funny that only one side of my face (the right one) would be affected. I would wake up with a sore throat, after having coughed all night, my teeth hurting, my eye feeling as if pierced by a needle, with a massive headache. One morning I felt as if someone had stabbed my right ear. I couldn't get out of bed until six, prefering to sleep through the pain.
I've been sick before, but not that much. Every Spring, I feel bad for a while, and then it goes away. I usually suffer from one bronchitis a year, towards the end of the semester, when I'm so exhausted that my immune system is fucked. But it's been a busy winter so far, and since I stopped taking the bus on April 1st, the weather has been terrible - I don't think that biking in the rain with cold winds has helped me at all.
I started taking Sinutab, thinking I was only congested because of a cold that wouldn't quit. It did the job for a while until I had ingested all 24 tabs. I went back to get Sudafed, which proved kinda useless - it didn't take away any pain and seemed to work on my sinuses only on the left side of my face. I spoke with my pharmacist, and he told me to get Personnelle "rhume + sinus" caplets, filled with goodies like ibuprofen & pseudoephedrine. 20 pills later - I had to take them two at a time, every six hours - I wasn't feeling any better. I decided to haul my ass to the clinic on Thursday, my only day off.
I got there around 3 and waited for an hour, trying to begin Jon Lee Anderson's THE FALL OF BAGHDAD while an old biker was complimenting me on my tattoos. My doctor, whose last name is Chéry, examined me for about three seconds, after I told him about my symptoms, and concluded I had an otitis - a good old ear infection. I used to have one a year when I was younger, and the cure was always some delicious banana-flavoured syrup. No such luck this time - I got stuck with Apo-Amoxi, whatever the fuck that is. A pill every 8 hours for 10 days. My doctor also told me to ease up on the painkillers, because it was bringing my blood pressure up. Except that if I don't gobble up these fuckers like candy, life's a bitch.
So I went from drunk to drug addict in no time.
Patrice Sauvé is the man we can find behind such TV series as GRANDE OURSE and he directed a few episodes of LA VIE, LA VIE. I have never seen what he's done, because as some of you might already know I am not the greatest television consumer in this world. Often, when a TV director jumps to cinema, it stinks. It looks like a 90 minutes TV show with a budget on steroids. Is that the case with CHEECH, Sauvé's first escapade for the big screen ?
Narrating the troubles of six inter-connected characters over one snowy winter day in Montreal, the movie focuses on Ron (a very hairy Patrice Robitaille), the boss of an escort agency that's just been robbed off its "book" - containing all of the agency's girls pictures. Ron is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and so is Stéphanie (Fanny Mallette), one of his female employees. His right hand man, a simpleton named Maxime (Maxime Denommée), is in love with Stéphanie and is trying to convince her to quit the biz. Meanwhile, another hooker from his harem, Jenny (Anick Lemay), struggles with an office day job, her customers (including a fat and midget-like moustache-wearing Luc Senay - I think he wouldn't be able to do the "split" nowadays) and the urge to switch agencies and go to Cheech's. Two neighbors, the apathetic Olivier (François Létourneau) and a supremely depressed guy (whose fictional name escapes me) played by Maxim Gaudette, exchange tricks & visits; Gaudette tells Olivier to call a hooker to make him feel better.
Of course, Ron will end up suspecting Cheech's agency of the break-in, and in the lusty and grey underbelly of Montreal, all these headcases will bump into each other and try to get through the day without cracking up. Amusing how a movie about an escort agency manages to slip through its 104 minutes running time without showing a single ounce of skin. The ladies stay dressed, and the men behave - cocks generally stay safely tucked in pants, except for one hilarious exception.
Patrice Robitaille does an honest portrayal of a man walking on a thin rope, stopping every now and then in the course of his day for "spirit moments", thoughts about life he whispers in his portable recorder, supposed to calm him down. He perfectly fits the role - his "tall pimp with messy hair and fancy but inappropriate shoes" number is funny and believable. Some of the script's coincidences are bigger than others, but overall it's a fun & touching movie, without any right-wing moral message (blush, MA FILLE MON ANGE) or redeeming finale. Among a landfill full of turds like NOUVELLE-FRANCE or MAURICE RICHARD, it is movies like this that keep Québec's cinematography well balanced, and prevents it from sinking into stinky, bottomless depths.
In 2003, Glen Morgan directed the Crispin Glover vehicle WILLARD. That was his first job as a director after jumping the boat first from his writer's seat, then from his producer's Ferrari. One of the pens & wallets behind the first & third volumes of the FINAL DESTINATION franchise, the man has struck again, this time with an uneventful and unnecessary remake of Bob Clark's fantastic BLACK CHRISTMAS, from '74.
The story remains the same : some sorority girls stuck in school at Christmas are celebrating together, but are being progressively slashed in the course of the day. That's a nice excuse to show pretty girls gettin' killed, and a house secluded by a snowstorm.
While I have seen the original some years ago, my memories of it have already faded, and I can't really compare, except that John Saxon is nowhere to be seen in this one ! Instead, we get a bunch of extremely good-looking "teenagers" (played by Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Lacey Chabert, etc...) who are disposed of by an insane guy freshly escaped from his mental institution. The psychopath has a rare liver disease that gives him a yellow skin - reminds me of something Frank Miller drew, no ? - and has been raised by a sluttly mother that he quite litterally ate after killing her, back in the good old days where matricide was still considered cool.
Insert some typical "girly" drama, family tensions, a local pretty boy who's boning two of the chickas - and even posting a saucy sex video on the internet ! - and you pretty much get a lil' 80-something minutes of good clean blood red fun.
The movie is well directed, and the gore is good - splattered here and there - but the violence is ingeniously suggested rather than graphically shown. The script doesn't make any sense, and even borrows some of its elements from Wes Craven's THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991). It contains everything : false shocks, red herrings, villains that don't really die, and uneffective police. As well as Crystal Lowe's best push-up bra. No nudity, though, which was a key in the original 80's slashers. I have mixed feelings; it's pure breed "teen" stamped junk, and at some level, I find it surprisingly entertaining. Go figure.