Ellen, yeah

Tara Thorne rounds up the best and brightest of the year just past.



The biggest in dopeness this year is one of the tiniest adults we’ve ever met—Ellen Page, whose fierce performance in the uneasy two-hander Hard Candy won her raves all over North America, a feature in Premiere and the cover of The Coast. Hard Candy was supposed to beat X-Men 3, Page’s supposed big-time picture—check out her imdb page to see photos of the actor in Cannes—to theatres after debuting at Sundance in 2005, but things worked out better this way. The actor will be back in Park City in the coming weeks to promote her latest film, An American Crime, opposite Catherine Keener. In the can for 2007 are The Stone Angel, with Ellen Burstyn, Bruce MacDonald’s The Tracey Fragments and, filming in Pittsburgh, Smart People with Dennis Quaid. Best of all—and despite a move to Brooklyn and back, with LA on the horizon—the unassuming Page could be seen all over town this year, hanging out like the teenager she is at Bob and Lori’s and the Farmers’ Market.

Boys’ club

A banner year for Trailer Park Boys began in Charlottetown at the East Coast Music Awards gala, hosted by Jean-Paul Tremblay (Julian), Robb Wells (Ricky) and Mike Smith (Bubbles). Posters for Trailer Park Boys: The Big Dirty, the Ivan Reitman-produced feature film, found their way to walls at Empire in the BLIP, promising “Summer 2006.” The film, boringly retitled Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, eventually opened October 6, boasting the highest English-language opening weekend ever in this country. Though it has yet to recoup its reported $5 million budget, grossing close to $4 million in a nine-week Canadian run, the difference should be easily made via DVD in February and US distribution next year. The Trailer team also filmed the seventh season of the TV show, rumoured to be the last.

Space vikings attack!

Bob Weinstein sightings began rolling in during the Atlantic Film Festival as the former Miramax and current Weinstein Company honcho assumed exec producer duties on Outlander. Budgeted officially at $42 million—we hear it’s more—this sci-fi extravaganza has been sapping every film resource in the city, especially bearded men. It’s been shooting since October in Electropolis and on location in Nine Mile River, which is our neck of the woods—we took Chito-ryu lessons at the community centre there in junior high—and where they built a Viking village. Because the movie is about Vikings being invaded by aliens. From space. Who will save them? Why, Jesus, of course! Jim “Passion of the Christ” Caviezel is the lead (as “a man from a far-off world”) and, we hear, puts the “arse” in “star.” (Dude, you’re not really Jesus. And you’re in a movie where Viking times and outer space collide, where you fight the aliens by “fusing advanced technology with the Viking’s Iron Age weaponry.”)

The reading, not laughing, kind

Halifax’s stupid huge comic scene got even bigger with strong showings from Steve McNiven and Hope Larson. May 3 saw the release of the first issue of Civil War, a seven-part Marvel series illustrated by McNiven. Larson had high-profile appearances in the New York Times (August), at the Small Press Expo in Maryland, where she received an award for most promising talent (October) and as the publisher of Rebecca Kraatz’s House of Sugar collection in November.

Quick hits

Halifax’s writing community got a lot hipper this year with Vagrant Publishing’s call for its first anthology of short fiction, due out in early 2007, and the creation of Invisible Publishing, which will release the collection Transits and Stephanie Domet’s novel Homing next year. … Alicia Silverstone, John Stamos and Tom Selleck all shot uniformly terrible Movies of the Week here. … David B. Smith succeeded Paul Greenhalgh as president of NSCAD University. … Scott Burke succeeded Hans Böggild as Artistic Producer of Eastern Front Theatre. … Thom Fitzgerald curated the inaugural Reel Out Film Festival during Pride Week. … Halifax was represented at the Toronto International Film Festival by Ann Verrall’s short The Wait and Camelia Frieberg’s feature A Stone’s Throw. Both also played at the Atlantic Film Festival. … CBC canned the Halifax-produced Street Cents on October 1 after 17 years, seven Geminis and an International Emmy.

Sum it up, send it in. Email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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