Hard Core Logo II
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Hard Core Logo II

Bruce McDonald's unlikely sequel is his best film in years.

Bruce McDonald (Canada, Masters)

Tuesday, September 13, 10:15 p.m.
Scotiabank Theatre 4 (259 Richmond Street West)

Saturday, September 17, 12:45 p.m.
AMC 3 (10 Dundas Street East)

A sequel to 1996’s seminal mock rock road movie may seem like an impossible sell, given that its star, troubled punk rocker Joe Dick (Hugh Dillon) blows his head off in the film’s final frames. The elaborate work-around here puts “Bruce McDonald” (Bruce McDonald) in the centre. In the wake up Hard Core Logo, the fictive McDonald is living a Canadian filmmaker’s dream, directing crap American television in Los Angeles. Fifteen years after the first film, he finds out that Care Failure, lead singer of real-life T.O. blah-rockers Die Mannequin, is channeling the spirit of Joe Dick. Intrigued, McDonald sets out with Wiccan video artist Liz Moore (Shannon Jardine) to get the scoop. They end up trailing Failure and Die Mannequin from Florida to snow-swept Saskatchewan, where the band holes up to record an album with Joe Dick’s former icon and gaunt patriarch Bucky Haight (Julian Richings).

Where the original Hard Core Logo looked outwards, to the bygone landscape of Canadian punk rock, II turns in, bringing McDonald (in his fictional and real incarnations, though the film is keen to blur the distinction) to the centre. Hard Core Logo II is a punk rock Barney’s Version, an unflinching analysis of its maker’s move from sneering rock ‘n’ roll filmmaker to chubby old dude in a trademark straw cowboy hat. It’s this introspection that impresses, proving that McDonald has not only aged, but matured, while also channeling the flair and polish of his earlier features. And more than all this, it’s genuinely, strangely affecting: something a Bruce McDonald film hasn’t been since, well, ever.