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Wynonna Earp delightfully mixes uproarious laughter with uncontrollable sobbing

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Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Spoilers follow for Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 7, “I Fall to Pieces.”

Last week’s episode of Wynonna Earp had us all craving Christmas. This week continues the spirit of giving with a Wynhaught-heavy pairing fans eagerly asked Santa (AKA showrunner Emily Andras) for. Season three continues the tradition of featuring Wynonna and Haught spending time together during the seventh episode and honestly, what more could an Earper ask for? Season one had the duo drinking their sorrows away under Nicole’s desk while season two had the iconic sequence where the pair travelled to a strip club to confront (what they believed to be) Wynonna’s Revhead baby daddy.

“I Fall to Pieces” starts off with a bang – in the “coitus” sense of the word – as Wynonna and Charlie Fire Services heat up Purgatory’s fire hall. Can I just say, it’s incredibly rude that these two interrupted Wayhaught campaigning for Nicole’s takeover as sheriff? I love and understand Wynonna’s adult-womanly needs but Sheriff Haught takes precedence over everything on Earth. Nedley shows the duo a secret compartment in his office that he chose to bury any cases with supernatural elements in them, rather than create a sex cave we all knew he definitely had. They find various knick-knacks, doodads and, after violently breaking numerous artifacts, Wynonna chalks up this encounter as Nedley’s attempts to get the two comfortable with working together.

Haught goes up against someone genuinely named Bunny Loblaw. With a name like that, she really should’ve avoided any position involving work of any kind. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt whenever we initially meet them, but Bunny takes all that and throws it out along with Calamity Jane. As the scene went on, it clicked for me that the city councillor was portrayed by none other than Canadian music legend Jann friggin’ Arden, who in just about the briefest of moments manages to reach Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister-levels of manipulation wickedness. As Haught and Wynonna argue in the kitchen about who is more qualified to be sheriff (moot point, we all know Sheriff C. Jane would keep everyone safer than any human possibly could), Bun Bun faints at the sight of a heavily-bearded man wandering outside the house. Thankfully, they utilized the patented Lloyd Christmas/Harry Dunne method of assisting those in need, which involves shoving pills into the victim’s mouth.

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 7 - I Fall to Pieces. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 7 – I Fall to Pieces. Photo courtesy Bell Media

We are then led on a delightful sequence of events following Wynhaught as they attempt to get the keys to Haught’s commandeered police vehicle. The “big city” cool frat cats who drunkenly invaded Purgatory managed to Grand Theft Auto their way into Haught’s stalled car, bringing it to a revenant biker gang bar (because that’s where everybody knows your name). It wouldn’t be a Wynonna Earp episode if Wynonna wasn’t drinking in some capacity, so she offers up a drinking contest against the bikers, as opposed to a nice game of Golden Girls trivia to set the Pie Gamma Whatevers free and drive Bunny to the hospital.

I have to say, as someone who doesn’t drink and never saw Coyote Ugly (sorry Nicole), the whole spitting-your-shots-back-into-your-beer strategy is genius. As they waddle away handcuffed (and absolutely smashed, in Haught’s case), I had a brief realization that Haught drank every single one of those shots and kept them all down, unlike the lightweight biker Revhead. That’s some scarily impressive liver capabilities. After being rescued by the previously-seen heavily-bearded wandering man, a problem arises that is pure Wynonna Earp (takes deep breath). As it turns out, the man is married to a lady lawn gnome, who was destroyed when Wynhaught was rooting around Nedley’s secret compartment. This, of course, led him on a violent quest to find a new wife in either Nicole or Wynonna. However Waverly’s puzzle skills allowed her to piece back together his deceased wife, leading her to be revived and back in the arms of her beloved bearded beau. This is why I watch this show.

We weren’t given much in terms of Vamp Doc coming to terms with any newfound abilities he may have attained as a novice vampire in this episode, save for his hand burning itself whenever any ugly jewelry is placed upon it. The unlikely pairing of Doc/Mama spend the day together as Mama visits Ward’s grave and reveals Bobo told her Ward pushed Julian out of the Ghost River Triangle, where he has been missing ever since. Doc is rightfully taken aback when Mama reveals she has set him free, believing he could assist the Earps in the fight against Bulshar. Despite Doc’s objections, Mama ultimately decides to take a page out of her playbook and abandon her daughters in search of Julian, who she believes to be out there beyond the GRT.  Surely, this decision will not come back to bite him in the moustache. 

Wynonna adorably threatens Bunny Loblaw with the prospect of demons hanging out on her front porch if she doesn’t back Haught for sheriff. That is true love right there. The final few moments of the episode made me curl into an uncontrollable bawling mess. We first gain some insight into Wynonna’s initial hesitancy to accept Nicole for fear that she’d break Waverly’s heart, and then we learn about Nicole’s jealously of Wynonna. As if their bonding wasn’t touching enough, it’s revealed that the person who saved a tiny Haught after the Bulshar massacre was a young Nedley?! As I mentioned in a previous recap, this season has had Nicole Haught backstory insights sprinkled throughout, and I adore all of them. Rather than giving us an exposition-heavy moment in just one episode, we can witness the development of this character as her journey progresses, which ultimately makes it all the more satisfying.

The episode ends with something I never like to see – Waverly in a state of unhappiness. Mama left behind a letter for each Earp sister and Wynonna’s letter basically lets the bat out of the bag. Wynonna learns Doc is a vampire and that Kate turned him. The two engage in a devastating back-and-forth argument that ultimately ends with a method I learned is stupidly serious in the vampire world thanks to my True Blood dedication years ago – Wynonna does not welcome John Henry Holliday into her home. In an episode filled with quips, gags and hilarity, the concluding moments grab onto your heart and refuse to let go even after the credits roll. Yet… another… day in Purgatory? Excuse me while I cry into my Timbits.

There are many remarkable characters in Wynonna Earp viewers would like to see go on adventures with each other, and Wynhaught is at the very top of that list. From Haught claiming Wynonna is not qualified enough to run a Chipotle (“Guac-A-Cuse me?”) to Wynonna interpreting Haught’s tactical hand signals as dick motions, Melanie Scrofano and Kat Barrell work brilliantly off one another. Besides the obvious hilarity these two bring together (Nicole: “The bullet could ricochet and hit Bunny.” Wynonna: “I’ll take that risk.” Nicole: “Or us…” Wynonna: “…okay.”), Bunny Loblaw also had some hysterical moments I did not see coming. I had to pause and rewind multiple times her screaming at the top of her lungs – “YOU ARE SOME KIND OF MORON, HAUGHT!”

My 3 Favourite W’s of the Episode

I would now like to turn your attention to my 3 Favourite W’s for this episode of Wynonna Earp. These consist of favourite Wynonna Insult, Wayhaught Moment and Waverly Expression – the three pillars of any Wynonna Earp episode.

Wynonna Insult: “You want a wife but you need a mint.”

Wayhaught Moment: Wayhaught was every viewer watching when Wynonna claimed her and Doc were “never a thing.”

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 7 – I Fall to Pieces. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 7 – I Fall to Pieces. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Waverly Expression: 

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 7 – I Fall to Pieces. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 7 – I Fall to Pieces. Photo courtesy Bell Media

What did you think of “I Fall to Pieces”? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.

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Honey Bee is a revealing look at human trafficking in Canada

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Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.
Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival. Photo courtesy A71 Entertainment

Honey Bee director Rama Rau may be known to Canadian audiences mostly due to her acclaimed work in documentary, including League of Exotique Dancers (2015) and No Place to Hide (2015) – the former profiling aging burlesque dancers and the latter taking a focus on the world of cyberbullying.

But though Honey Bee marks Rau’s narrative feature debut, her instincts honed in documentary filmmaking remain essential, as much of the film is shot as though it were a documentary feature.

“I think that was key in telling the story, for me,” Rau said. “The actors were never acting – they were always in that state.”

Much of the film’s dramatic power is supplied by lead actress Julia Sarah Stone, who plays Natalie, an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.

“She was literally the crux of the film. She was everything,” Rau said. “When I saw her audition, and I looked at a lot of auditions, I really wanted her to be in my film.”

Rau spoke with The Mutt about Stone, transitioning from documentary filmmaking and the too-infrequently discussed prevalence of human trafficking in Canada. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: So tell me about Honey Bee.

RAMA RAU: It’s about a girl groomed from the foster home system and put into a human trafficking ring. She thinks the person grooming her is her boyfriend. That’s how they get young girls from the foster care system in Canada. Then, she’s caught in a police raid and sent to a farm and the movie really begins there, her coming to terms with what has happened. A lot of it is her finding herself.

TM: What were your first thoughts when you initially read the script?

RR: I was a bit shocked, to be honest. I was stunned that these things happen in Canada. I wondered if I wanted this to be my debut feature. But it’s never frightened me to go into the underbelly of society. But films have the power to open up areas that we don’t normally talk about. I also said as a woman director I can bring a certain perspective to it. And I found my way into the story, and said, “This is how I’m going to do it, and if you’re OK with it, I’m happy to work on this film.”

TM: What were those specific elements you wanted to bring to the film?

RR: I knew I wanted it to be totally told from the perspective of Natalie, from her POV. I knew I wanted it to be a very personal film. In documentary, we use handheld cameras a lot. We literally run behind our characters. I wanted that sense of urgency in this film. We kind of blurred the lines between fiction and fact. I wanted to go so deep into the story, so the audience never knows, “Is this a real story, or is this a person acting? Does this really happen in Canada?”  [There was a scene where] and we ran behind [Natalie] like we were a camera crew.

TM: This film is obviously so based on character and Natalie’s experience. Do you think approaching things with that documentary mentality, did that help you capture small character moments?

RR: Yes, absolutely. I think that was key in telling the story. For me, the actors were never acting, they were always in that state. I encouraged them to be that way for as long as we were filming. I think they really took that to heart. They really lived their characters, and that was so rewarding for the camera because the camera picked up every little twitch of the cheek and movement of the eyebrow. I think that really lent to the authenticity. I even told Ryan (Steven Love), I want you to not talk too much to the women and I want them to hate you by the end of the film. So it’s really beyond method acting, it’s really living and being that character for that period of time.

TM: Having someone capable in the lead is obviously very important, because you need someone who is able to deliver that authenticity. How important was it having Stone in that role?

RR: Oh my god, she was literally the crux of the film. She was everything. I know she did so much research. I think she really carries the film on her shoulders. That’s why I had to choose such a strong actor like Martha to offset Julia’s stunning performance. I got so lucky in getting such great actors. God knows what I would have done if Julia wouldn’t have been able to deliver, because the film is totally based on every nuance of her face.

TM: Why would you recommend people check out the film?

RR: I think human trafficking in Ontario is not talked about enough. I think people watching this film will find a way into thinking about it. It’s not a news item. It’s more of a story of a girl who has been through the sex trade and has been bartered like a piece of furniture. I think we need to give these girls a voice. Since documentaries on these subjects can’t be made because it brings a lot of danger to their lives, these sort of films based on social issues is what opens up peoples’ minds to these sorts of issues. That’s why I think this film is crucial for people to watch if we have to tackle things like human trafficking in Ontario.

Honey Bee opened in select theatres on Sept. 20 and will be available on Video on Demand on Dec. 10.

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Director Rob Grant on the tension (and dark comedy) of HARPOON

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From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Photo courtesy CUFF
From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival April 28. Photo courtesy CUFF

Adrift on the seas on a luxury yacht, three friends find themselves stranded without food or supplies and quickly realize their survival is less than assured. An official selection at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019, Harpoon made its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) April 28. The film will release on VOD in Canada on October 15.

The Mutt spoke with director Rob Grant prior to the film’s screening at CUFF 2019. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of Harpoon?

ROB GRANT: I had a great relationship with my producers (Knuckleball director Michael Peterson and Kurtis Harder) from a film called Fake Blood. I pitched Mr. Peterson on this idea that was a mix between Polanski’s Knife on the Water but by way of Seinfeld characters on the boat. I grew up in Vancouver, and the original idea was, “Well, I spent a lot of time on a boat, we could go take a boat out to the ocean and try to isolate ourselves out there.” Once a budget came into play and the idea grew, suddenly we were shooting the interiors of the boat in a set in the middle of freezing winter in Calgary, and shooting the exteriors on a boat in tropical Belize down south.

TM: Was it difficult for you to balance those comedic elements and still find a way to ratchet up the tension?

RG: It was very difficult, and there were a lot of discussions about that. When you have to give the elevator pitch, you have to say: “This is the genre and this is what it means.” But I subscribe to the logic that in life you can feel in one moment that you’re in a love story and the next minute in a horror movie, and that’s the way real life actually works. But it seems a little more rigid in movies. We were aware of potentially disrupting viewers’ experiences of watching the movie. (We thought) a movie could, or should, be multiple things at once. We’re willing to accept that there’s going to be some audience members that are going to reject that as a movie experience, but we wanted to try it.

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

TM: Can you tell me more about those influences you mentioned? I’m curious about how you mixed something like Seinfeld with more traditional thriller elements.

RG: Hitchcock’s Lifeboat was definitely in there, as well as Polanski’s Knife in the Water. But I had to still find the dark humour in it, and Seinfeld came up specifically because as much as we all find the Seinfeld characters enduring, they’re very much in it for themselves. They’re worried about their own outcomes. So I tried to use a lot of that. As much as these people like to say they’re looking out for each other, the second it becomes a survival story they’re all kind of in it for themselves. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia was another one, not only for mixing drama and humour, but definitely because the narration was less focused. It sets up what’s going to happen without speaking to much on the nose about what you’re about to see.

TM: I understand there’s some great gore and effects in Harpoon. What was your approach to that, and what effect do you think that has? 

RG: I’ve explored the effects of violence in cinema with Fake Blood, and this was an extension of that. The entire movie, these people speak very casually and aloof about the things that potentially will need to be done without actually considering what that entails until suddenly when it happens. I felt like it would be a good idea to make sure that was extremely violent and horrible, not only because we’ve been teasing up to this moment, but I do believe there’s a certain element that people do not consider the actual realities of having to do something like that. So it’s very shocking, very brutal, it’s like, “ha ha ha this was all funny to discuss” and now that it’s happened it sucks the wind out of you. That was a very intentional decision.

TM: What do you think Harpoon does in a unique way when compared to other similar films? What do you hope the audience walks away with?

RG: I hope when people leave the cinema that it wasn’t the movie they were expecting, that it was a little bit of a different take. I do think it’ll challenge them depending what their expectations are. I just hope they’re expecting something interesting in the genre, and that they’re along for the ride.

Harpoon will be released on VOD in Canada on October 15.

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There Are No Fakes is a shocking journey into the world of art fraud

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Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions
Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Some of the best documentaries of the past two decades involve hard left turns – films that begin in one direction but end in another due to events that unfolded during production. There Are No Fakes, directed by Jamie Kastner, joins that select company of documentary as its comedic opening slowly morphs into something much darker.

There Are No Fakes centers on the work of Norval Morrisseau, the Indigenous Canadian artist of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation, sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Morrisseau, who died in 2007, sought to remove forgeries of his art from the marketplace, establishing the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society in 2005.

After Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies fame) buys one of Morrisseau’s paintings, he starts to doubt its authenticity and discovers a bizarre feud consolidated around Morrisseau. It’s this conflict, and the dark secrets hidden beneath it, that form the backdrop of There Are No Fakes.

Kastner (The Secret Disco Revolution, Free Trade Is Killing My Mother), who was friends with Hearn in high school, learned through conversation about Hearn’s ongoing lawsuit surrounding the Morrisseau paintings. It became clear to Kastner that such a story would be perfect for his next project.

“It was almost unbelievable. There was so much crazy stuff in this story, I couldn’t quite believe it,” Kastner said. “I told him if I was going to proceed with it, though we were friends he would have no editorial control. As a journalist, I would be talking to both sides, and he agreed.

“I went off on my own doing my own kind of digging and research. Lo and behold, everything he told me and then some turned out to be the case.”

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the "Picasso of the North". Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

As the story unfolded and as Kastner continued to meet a succession of larger-than-life characters, he found himself shocked at what he uncovered. Bringing footage back to his editor provoked a similar reaction.

“He’d say, ‘Holy f***!’ Then I’d do another one, and he’s quite an even-keeled guy, and he’d say ‘holy f***,’” Kastner said. “So it was a series of ‘holy f***’ moments. I tried to recreate that experience for the audience.”

Documentaries can often unfold much as expected, with a known story dictating the outcome of the production. But given the fluid situation surrounding the events of There Are No Fakes, Kastner followed the story as it led him, knowing he had been handed an incredible gift.

“It’s definitely a privilege and a responsibility (to tell this story). You’re dealing with the legacy of one of our most important artists,” he said. “You wind up dealing with very serious issues of abuse of different kinds, so I felt a real responsibility.

“You have to handle it very carefully as a documentary filmmaker. It really is so unique and unusual and special and horrific and inspiring and a whole range of things that you don’t usually get in one film.”

There Are No Fakes made its world premiere at Hot Docs 2019, receiving highly positive reviews. Kastner said the film provided fascinating insight into the legacy of Morrisseau, touching on multiple problems still at play in Canada.

“It’s a very dramatic story. People can’t believe that they’re real people. They seem like characters out of some HBO series or something,” Kastner said. “I think it’s a very entertaining, edge of your seat, jaw-dropping type of story that happens to be a documentary.”

There Are No Fakes will screen at multiple locations throughout Canada in July 2019. For more information, click here.

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