At the Corner of Lego and Saskatchewan

The Lego Movie: written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman; directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller; starring the voices of Will Ferrell (Lord Business), Chris Pratt (Emmet Brickowski), Elizabeth Banks (Wildstyle), Liam Neeson (Good Cop/ Bad Cop), and Will Arnett (Batman) (2014): Helmed by the writers responsible for the delightful 21 Jump Street movies with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, The Lego Movie is also a delight. It’s as post-modern as all Hell, and the background jokes sometimes whiz by too quickly to be seen by anything other than the sub-conscious.

I’d assume a great familiarity with Lego that I myself do not possess would make the movie even denser and funnier, as some of the jokes relate to the toy’s 60-year history and all its iterations. But the writing stands on its own. Is the ending perhaps a bit treacly? Hell, yeah. But it’s still tremendous fun for kids and adults, with terrific voice-work from everyone involved, most notably Will Arnett as a completely goofy version of Batman. One in-joke to note: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, from the aforementioned 21 Jump Street movies, voice Superman and Green Lantern, respectively. Highly recommended.

Corner Gas: The Movie: written by Brent Butt, Andrew Carr, and Andrew Wreggit; directed by David Storey; starring Brent Butt (Brent Leroy), Gabrielle Miller (Lacey), Fred Ewanuick (Hank), Eric Peterson (Oscar Leroy), Janet Wright (Emma Leroy), Lorne Cardinal (Davis), Tara Spencer-Nairn (Karen). and Nancy Robertson (Wanda) (2014): I think Brent Butt made a terrible decision in choosing to end the sitcom Corner Gas in 2009 after only five seasons. Subsequent projects from he and others from the show haven’t been particularly good. More importantly, Corner Gas still had a lot left in the tank when it went off the air.

This partially-crowd-funded movie seems to be an attempt to rectify that mistake. Released to Canadian theatres for five days before being shown on The Movie Network and then CTV some time in the New Year, it’s a solid continuation of the series that moves lots of things around while ultimately putting pretty much everything back in place for any future projects.

Dog River, that grumpy Mariposa of the Prairies, faces a financial crisis that seems to have only two possible outcomes: the decorporation of the town, or the transformation of the town into a giant warehouse to be used by Canadian restaurant chain Coff-Nuts. Will Dog River survive? What do you think? It’s all comfort food, anyway, though probably best viewed mainly by people who watched the original series. Of whom there are several million in Canada, admittedly, and apparently a lot overseas.

As an added bonus, Fred Ewanuick, who plays dimbulb Hank on Corner Gas, played a vampiric small-town sheriff on the episode of Supernatural that aired the same week Corner Gas was in the theatres. It’s a Hank-tacular! While I don’t think Brent Butt ever appeared on Supernatural, he did have brief spots on both The X-Files (a show that, in direct contrast to Corner Gas, stayed around too long) and Millennium. And the Millennium episode featured supernatural dogs. Ha! Recommended.

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