Friday, 14 March 2008

Film Fan Fridays for Friday March 14, 2008!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday March 14, 2008! We are still in the land of March uncertainty with releases. Upon first viewing I wasn't sure there was anything I would be interested in this week, but after more research and trailer watching I find I'm compelled to see over half of the films ! How about you?

In limited release this week we have CJ7, the latest from Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) and it's been strongly panned so far but I'm still going to give it a chance. One wonderful thing about Stephen Chow is he isn't afraid to genre hop. Sure, Kung Fu Hustle was a hit and certainly so due to the kung fu nature and fighting scenes but CJ7 feels more along the lines of Batteries Not Included, that doesn't mean it has no charm. Only a viewing will tell. Next up we have Sleepwalking, another film plagued with bad reviews but I think it looks like a quite the compelling tale of a morphing family dynamic. Last up we have Funny Games, a shot by shot remake by Michael Heneke’s of his own 1997 Austrian film of the same name. I know a lot of people eagerly awaiting this film and I do hope they enjoy it, however it appears too dark for me which is reinforced by imdb description of violence which is over 800 words long (typically longer than my own film reviews). I will say the film poster is amazing, and possibly the best of the year so far. Those that crave dark films will have this as a treasure in their midst this week.

Wide releases are a bizarre combination. It's a little surprizing to see Horton Hears a Who! released *after* March Break and all I can say is that feels a little sad. The trailer barely indicates anything like a rhyme, and it certainly doesn't show any charm. Fancy animation and one liners? For sure. Heart? Nada. I don't think the good Doctor would be proud. Our other two wide releases are certain to be action packed: Never Back Down and Doomsday. Can I hide in the corner as I say I will be happy to see both? Doomsday is brought to us by the director of The Descent which is ripe with strong female characters and his new endeavour promises no less. Never Back Down appears on surface to be the latest response to physical activities films that is of no association with dance, but in heart it maintains all the themes of a dance film with a different target market. The cheese factor is high, but I'm curious to what it will bring.

In theatre news, the Varsity & Scotiabank have announced early showings of films starting as early as 10am as of March 10/08. I hope that works out well for them!

Have a great week!


Festival Watch

Banff Mountain Film Festival
Celebrating films about mountain adventures
March 14 – 16, 2008 at The Bloor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

University of Toronto Film Festival
Films made by students for students
Continues until March 15, 2008 at Innis Town Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screenings

Them / Ils
Dir: David Moreau and Xavier Palud (The Eye)
Thursday March 20, 2008 at 9:30PM at The Bloor, presented by Rue Morgue

Friday March 14, 2008 Releases

CJ7 / Cheung Gong 7 hou
Dir: Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle)
Cast: Stephen Chow, Jiao Xu, Chi Chung Lam,
Hong Kong
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer isn't really describable, you just have to watch it to get it.

Writer/Dir: Neil Marshall (The Descent)
Cast: Lee-Anne Liebenberg, Rhona Mitra, Emma Cleasby, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell, Alexander Siddiq
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler-free until 1/2 way point

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
Dir: Jimmy Hayward & Steve Martino – directorial debuts
Voices: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Seth Rogen, Isla Fisher
Official Film Site (site has games!), IMDb Page, Trailer
Hard to say if this one is spoilery, has anyone not read the book?

Funny Games / Funny Games U.S.
Writer/Dir: Michael Haneke (Caché / Hidden, The Piano Teacher / La Pianiste, Funny Games <1997>)
Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart
Limited Release
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
I did not watch trailer - watch at your own risk!

Never Back Down
Dir: Jeff Wadlow (Cry_Wolf)
Cast: Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet, Djimon Hounsou
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film at the 1/2 way point

Dir: Bill Maher – directorial debut
Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Nick Stahl, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Hopper, Deborra-Lee Furness
Limited Release
Official Film Site & trailer, IMDb Page
You get the gist of the film at the 1/2 way point

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of March 14, 2008**


Suzie Ridler said...

I'm up early and going through your list of movies and thoroughly having fun watching the trailers for them on Apple's site. I can see the appeal of Doomsday but I am getting a little overwhelmed by the amount of movies about plagues, huge disasters... I like the female lead though, always have. Nice to see her jump from TV to film.

Funny Games looks unbelievably horrific. Truly for those who like the macabre, I am definitely not one of them.

I hope they don't add too many contemporary references to Horton like they tend to do with all the other kid movies out there. It's one of my favourite stories, I'm almost scared to see them screw it up.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Holy Moly you *are* up early! It's true we have been seeing a lot of disaster/apocoyptic films. I'm not sure if Doomsday will use all the normal conventions ore be more original but I'm willing to give it a chance.

Just the idea of what Funny Games is about makes me sick, it's not for me.

Anonymous said...

So disappointed that CJ7 is not opening until next week in Minneapolis.

The Funny Games thing still irks me. Why is the same director making a shot for shot remake of his own movie? It still seems pointless and a waste of time. I am anxious to see American reaction to this film. It is certainly one that will mess with their heads to no end and they generally don't like to be fucked with. Manipulated yes; tricked, no.

As for Doomsday, it seems the early reviews are that it's horrible. I saw it last night though and LOVED it! I had a ball with the nods and winks at other 80's genre pictures like "Mad Max" and "Escape from New York".

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Yeah, I don't get the Funny Games thing either.

I'm thrilled to hear you liked Doomsday! I was getting close to writing it off but it looks cool and now I'll be sure to check it out! Fun fun!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have the chance to see something Andrew can't see!!! ;) CJ7 actually opened in Vancouver today but I'm going to be hard pressed to squeeze it into the weekend. I AM squeezing in "Doomsday" and "Funny Games" though - along with a few others I've missed out on!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Seuss is classic; after seeing Horton Hears a Who i was reminded how much that guy can pack into a simple storyline... they didn't add much to the original story either except for the usual Jim Carreyisms.

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