HE WAS A QUIET MAN: THE FILMS OF JOHN PAIZS Rating: NNNN
Feeling stifled by the conventions of genre films? Looking for a change from the usual stuff? Well, you’re in luck. The Royal Cinema is mounting a one-day salute to Winnipeg filmmaker John Paizs tonight (Thursday, April 10).
Imagine the playful whimsy of Guy Maddin without the fetish for old silent films and you’re on your way to understanding Paizs’s sensibility. His features offer straight-faced deconstructions of film noir and 1950s sci-fi tropes, with characters operating on just the wrong side of self-awareness as they navigate increasingly bizarre situations. Oh, and they’re funny.
Paizs’s 1999 B movie goof Top Of The Food Chain (7 pm; Rating: NNNN) tracks the efforts of particularly inept “atomic scientist” Karel Lamonte (Campbell Scott) to thwart an alien infestation in the tiny hamlet of Exceptional Vista. The material gives Paizs licence to unleash the genre’s grotty id, adding impressive amounts of gore and uncomfortable sexuality to the usual slime-spewing monsterisms.
The ultra-arch 1985 comedy Crime Wave (9:15 pm; Rating: NNNN) casts the director himself as a writer determined to pen the best crime movie ever.
There’s just one problem: he can’t write middles, just beginnings and endings, which are acted out in stark, silly vignettes for our entertainment… until a mysterious doctor offers our hero a chance to realize his dream, for a price.
Crime Wave screens with Paizs’s 1981 short Springtime In Greenland. The filmmaker will be in attendance for Q&As after each feature.
Screens Thursday (April 10) at the Royal Cinema.