Wednesday, 31 December 2008

2008 Films on Metacritic and IMDb

I always find it interesting to look at the films that make it onto different list. Metacritic gives a score (a weighted average of scores by critics) and IMDb list is based on user votes. So, looking at them together is like seeing the critics vs the average viewers.

Metacritic top score as of Dec 31, 2008:
1. Class, The
2. WALL-E
3. Man on Wire
4. Waltz with Bashir
5. Slumdog Millionaire
6. Christmas Tale, A
7. Milk
8. Happy-Go-Lucky
9. Trouble the Water
10. U2 3D
11. Tell No One
12. Rachel Getting Married
13. Dark Knight, The
14. Let the Right One In
15. Wrestler, The

2008 films that made IMDb's Top 250 as of Dec 31, 2008
#4 - The Dark Knight
#34 - WALL-E
#68 - Slumdog Millionaire
#70 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
#78 - The Wrestler
#172 - Milk
#192 - Gran Torino
#224 - Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
#234 - In Bruges

With 5 films in common: The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Slumdog Millionaire, Let the Right One In and The Wrestler. Fascinating set of 5 films, it really speaks to the unusual year we had.

Favourite Films of 2008

Ah, here we are at the grand exit of 2008. I had fun compiling my Favourite Films list this year. I don't feel the need to whittle it down to 10. I don't call it a 'Best of' as I didn't see all of the films released. I did see a fair amount of films though, getting out to see 90 of the 340 releases which is 26.4% (up from 14.6% in 2007). Of those 90 I saw 25/44 of the Canadian release which is 56.8% (up from 30% in 2007). Yes I keep those numbers. I even have a database for easy peasy querying, fun stuff! Anyhow, 2008 has been one heck of a year.

Just to be clear, the number 340 is the total number of films released in Toronto for at least 1 week theatrically. If you are a fan of lists you can check out all the titles either alphabetically or by release date.

We saw quite the jump in total films from 2007 which had 314 films. I think the two theatres we can thank are The Royal and AMC Yonge & Dundas. How different can the two theatres be? Completely! The Royal is a one screen theatre in Little Italy and the AMC Yonge & Dundas is a 24 screen multiplex in the heart of the city, but both show an impressive amount of Canadian, foreign, acclaimed and indie films. We also continued to see limited releases at the Carlton, Varsity and Bloor theatres. I admit when I want to see something on the big screen I do trek to Scotiabank. Yep, I do. A big shout out and thank you to all of the Toronto theatres for providing us with such an excellent selection of films! Three cheers!

Ok, ok but on to the films, no? I've already discussed the trends in film in 2008 but now it's about the faves! Bring out your faves!

The Good - Solid Entertainment
Hancock
Redbelt
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Sisterhood at the Travelling Pants 2, The
Starting Out in the Evening
Toronto Stories
Wanted
Young People Fucking

The Great - Thought Provoking and/or Beautiful
All Together Now
Amal
Global Metal
How She Move
Mamma Mia!
Planet B-Boy
Then She Found Me
Visitor, The

The Exceptional - Films That Go Above and Beyond!
Ashes of Time Redux
Continental, un film sans fusil / Continental, a Film Without Guns
JCVD
Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
Man on Wire
My Blueberry Nights
Rachel Getting Married
Son of Rambow
Twilight
Up the Yangtze/ 沿江⽽上

There are also a few great 2008 release that I saw in 2007 and that muddles up my lists a little bit. Here are some more stellar releases: Boy A, Encounters at the End of the World, Flight of the Red Balloon / Le Voyage du ballon rouge, My Winnipeg and SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO.

Surprized I Didn't See:
Ben X, City of Ember, Elegy, London to Brighton, Speed Racer, Youth Without Youth

Weirdest Occurance:
Seeing Postal in the smallest theatre I've ever seen, literally about 60 seats. I was not the only person there though. It was the most outrageous film I've seen this year.

Films that were challenging to make it though:
Savage Grace and Blindness

Favourite Trailers (both Festival films):
MirageMan - Chilean superhero/martial arts movie. Awesome.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird - I've watched this one more times than I can remember. I have huge regret for not seeing it at TIFF. Speaking of festivals....

Festival Madness!
2008 was a fantastic year for Film Festival here in Toronto. I had the opportunity to check out 9 of the 76 festivals in town during 2008. A lot of the festivals it was my first time going, such as when I went to the Toronto Singapore Film Festival which has a fantastic selection of high quality films, and it is only in it's third year! It was easily one of my favourite festivals. The Images Festival had an eclectic line up of films and performance pieces including one of the most intriguing experiences of the year: The Conversation, a.k.a. Everything is Everything a live video creation by Tasman Richardson and Kentaro Taki. The quality and selection of films at Hot Docs is astounding, the crowds at Inside Out are lively and the sheer volume and diversity of films at the Worldwide Short Film Festival is enough to make your head spin - in a good way! It was also great to see so much CanCon represented at the Canadian Film Festival.

This leaves us to the fall festivals, which I happily revisited yet again this year. I was one amongst the masses at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is an experience in it of itself where you just lend yourself over to the madness of 10 days of back to back films. I was thrilled to enjoy the superb quality of films, many with the filmmakers in attendance, at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. That leaves us to the one festival that really hit it out of the park and that was the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which brought us Swedish vampires, Chilean superheroes, organ repossessing undertakers, Japanese bloodbaths and boatloads of fantastic Canadians shorts including zombie curling. It also brings the funnest, frenzedest, zombiest crowd of them all.

More Highlights of 2008:
Here are a few special moments that don't quite fit into either theatrical nor festival settings.
Heroes of the East screening with Gordon Liu in attendance
Thing-Fest 2008: The Thing in 35mm, gallery & memorabilia and a Q&A with Thomas Waites
Getting scared silly at [REC]
Being a judge for the Toronto 48 Hour Film Project in November
Vlogging like mad through festivals

All That and More:
One of the greatest things about 2008 was meeting awesome film lovers, bloggers, online journalists, enthusiasts and festival guru's (you know who you are). Ok ok, stop pulling my rubber arm, I'll name drop! Here we go: Bob, James, Ryan, John, Kurt, Milton, Richard, Greg & Donna, Chris & Polly, Matt, Steven, Andrew, Trista, Sarah, Sarah's Mom, Rob and Adam. Y'all rock!

What were your favourite films and film experiences of 2008?

I will leave you with two entertaining non-film yet very entertaining moving images from 2008:
I Get On (The TTC) - I Put On (For My City) for us in the T.Dot
The Guild web series for all the gamers out there

Three Way Split for the Holiday Weekend Box Office: Canada, North America and UK

The bucks have been banked and it's a total split for first place over the holiday weekend takings. Here in Canada the number one film was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett where as in North America the top dog was Marley & Me and over in the UK it was The Yes Man that took number one in it's first week.

Top 20 Movies in Canada, December 26, 2008 weekend
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Marley & Me
3. Bedtime Stories
4. Valkyrie
5. Yes Man
6. Seven Pounds
7. The Tale of Despereaux
8. Twilight
9. The Day the Earth Stood Still
10. The Spirit
11. Four Christmases
12. Quantum of Solace
13. Doubt
14. Bolt
15. Slumdog Millionaire
16. Le grand départ
17. Babine
18. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
19. Australia
20. Milk

Top 20 Movies in North America, December 26, 2008 weekend
1. Marley & Me
2. Bedtime Stories
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. Valkyrie
5. Yes Man
6. Seven Pounds
7. The Tale of Despereaux
8. The Day the Earth Stood Still
9. The Spirit
10. Doubt
11. Four Christmases
12. Twilight
13. Slumdog Millionaire
14. Bolt
15. Gran Torino
16. Milk
17. Quantum of Solace
18. Frost/Nixon
19. Australia
20. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Top 10 Movies in UK, December 26, 2008 weekend
1. Yes Man
2. Bedtime Stories
3. Australia
4. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
5. Twilight
6. The Day the Earth Stood Still
7. Ghajini
8. Inkheart
9. Four Christmases
10. The Tale of Despereaux

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Trending Film 2008 - It's More Than Comeback

This year we were a lucky lot to have 340 films released over 366 days (go, leap year, go!). With such a grand number of films, it is no surprize that there were common threads amongst the films. Here are the trends I found to be most interesting or notable in 2008.

The Year of The Vamp
Be they teenage, Swedish or southern, vampires hit the big and small screen in a big way in 2008. Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in, the Swedish vampire film that hit the festival circuit by storm also graced the regular theatres to many filmgoers delight. We also saw the screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's teen romance vampire novel Twilight which exploded in the theatres in November and was such a success that the next book in the series "New Moon" is going ahead to become a film as well. For more vamp fun, the HBO series 'True Blood' made its restless and racy debut on the small screen. Word is, 'True Blood' has been greenlit for season 2. Personally, this is one category where I loved each and every vampy delight.

Comic Book, Superhero and Animated Films Transcend to Legitimacy
Looking back at 2008 it would be amiss to not mention the phenomena that was The Dark Knight. Overall I would say this was the most talked about and most seen mainstream film of the year. It brought people out to the theatre multiple times, set a new precedent from a technological stand point by having action sequences in IMAX format. To top it all off it had one hell of a performance by the late Heath Ledger. It wasn't the only film to make waves though, right from the get go back in June we had across the board acclaim for WALL-E to the point of it breaking out being not only a great animated film but acclaimed to be one of the best film of the year overall. More notable comic book and superhero films from 2008 and the bad boys that are Hancock, Iron Man, Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Breaking more walls down in the world of animated film we have the war documentary Waltz with Bashir.

Docs That Rock You
What a year for documentaries. I cried, laughed and cheered my way thought this years fantastic documentary scene. What other year brought us not only one but two documentaries about Antarctica (Encounters at the End of the World and The Last Continent / Le Dernier Continent)? The other documentaries literally rocked out, showcasing artists & performers such as wirewalker Philippe Petit in Man on Wire, Sam Dunn's journey to discover the International heavy metal music scene in Global Metal, breakdancing troupe train and perform in the "Battle of the Year" competition in Planet B-Boy or enjoy time with the iconic Patti Smith in Patti Smith: Dream of Life. We also saw the envelope pushed this year with films that busted through the boundaries of what would be defined as a documentary with the 'docu-fantasia' film My Winnipeg and a rather meta slice of narrative with JCVD. Speaking of JCVD...

The Comebacks Kings (aka the men we secretly never stopped loving)
I don't know anyone who wasn't touched by Jean-Claude Van Damme performance in JCVD, the opening night Midnight Madness film at the Toronto International Film Festival which took people by storm and is one of the few films that was so good I saw it not only at the festival but went again for more at it's theatrical release. Of course the big news of the moment centring on comebacks is all about Mickey Rourke in the recent release of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke is truly astounding in the film, I thought I was seeeing Randy "The Ram" Robinson and not an actor at all. Quite a feat. If you think back to May of this year, you will find that there is one more name to add to this category. The charisma of Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man charmed the socks off of everyone in sight.

And finally, the underlooked trend of 2008:

Plants Gone Wild
Saying no more. That would be telling.

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Monday, 29 December 2008

My Week in Film

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Well here we are with the last Week in Film update for 2008! It's been one heck of a year and I'm still tweaking my favourites lists and thinking of all the awesome films that came out this year.

Once my holiday 'list of things to do' were done, I did get a few chances to make it out to the theatre to sneak in a few more 2008 films. First up was an advance screening of The Spirit, which is the first time in a long time that I've had to do a bag check. Night vision technology was certainly in effect. I wanted to wave to the security folks, but I have a feeling that would have given the wrong impression. The Spirit has a lot of awesome clothes in it for the ladies, and I certainly enjoyed it more than Sin City. The unique visual style wasn't consistent throughout, leaving long spaces of time with nothing but regular visuals which was unexpected. The audience was interesting though, it was like they didn't know how to react to the film, especially the humour. There was one glaring product placement that really turned me off. It made no sense in terms of the films setting or style, making it stick out like a sore thumb.

The very next day I headed back to the theatre to see Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood's latest film which he not only stars in but directs as well. I knew this film may be challenging for me to watch considering the main character is shown to be very racist, something that I can't stand. Overall it was worth it as the film takes a rather unique look at racism and relationships, although I would forewarn you that there are racial slurs rampant throughout the film used in negitive as well as endearing manners.

The last trip to the theatre I found myself at a jam packed, sold out showing of The Wrestler. I'm talking the front freaking row was full. I'm still processing my thoughts on it, it was a good film and Mickey Rourke was exceptional. There is something about it that I can't quite put my finger on yet though, so that is all I will say on it for now.

Other than that I had a Kung Fu Christmas! Last Christmas I decided to snag and watch a bunch of Bruce Lee films and that was a lot of fun so I decided to keep it up. This year the I went with Fist of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection) one of the Bruce Lee films I hadn't yet seen and it was a lot of fun. Great action, strong story and even a sweet romance subplot. Perfect! Next up was The 36th Chamber of Shaolin which I've been waiting ages to see. I picked it up after going to the Heroes of the East screening back in July with Gordon Liu in attendance. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin was awesome, it's jam packed with action and has a beautiful story and message as well.

I also caught up with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless which I forgot I had already seen. Oops. Still a great film, I love the dialogue in particular. Also chilled while watching Out of Sight, I picked it as it was on some top list of something somewhere. Wow, that was articulate. Anyway, it had some good moments with George Clooney & Jennifer Lopez but the story wasn't all that interesting.

How was your week in film?

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Film Festivals in Toronto - 2008

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We had 76 film festivals in Toronto in 2008. Here is a complete listing of each and every one!

January 2008

No Festivals

February 2008

1st Annual Toronto-Romanian Film Festival
February 1-3, 2008 at Innis Town Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Reel Paddling Film Festival
Presented by The Complete Paddler, showing films on canoeing and kayaking
February 7th, 2008 at The Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Reel Politik Film Festival
Showcasing political films that address global concerns
February 7 - 9, 2008 at Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
1 Devonshire Pl, in the Munk Centre South House, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival

Film festival focusing on film about visual artists
February 21 - 24, 2008 at various locations, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Small Gauge Film Festival
Super 8 and small gauge films
February 22 - 23, 2008 at Trash Palace, 89B Niagara, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

OzFlix Australian Film Weekend
Showcasing Australian features, documentaries and shorts
February 22 - 24, 2008 at Royal Ontario Museum – Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre
100 Queen’s Park Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

March 2008

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
Human Rights Oriented films including Taxi to the Dark Side, Chop Shop and others
February 28 - March 5, 2008 at various locations, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

University of Toronto Film Festival
Films made by students for students
March 12 - 15, 2008 at Innis Town Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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

Queer 2 Fly Film Festival
Celebrating Canadian queer film
March 22 - 23, 2008 at Innis Town Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian Film Fest
Celebrating exclusively Canadian film
March 25 - 29, 2008 with screenings at The Carlton and Varsity, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie Coverage of the 2008 Canadian Film Festival

Female Eye Film Festival
Film festival of film made by women, seen by everyone
March 27 - 30, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MPENZI: Black Women's International Film & Video Festival
March 28, 2008
Medical Sciences Building Auditorium at the University of Toronto, 1 King’s College Circle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Cinéfranco
Annual celebration of international Francophone cinema
March 28 - Sunday April 6, 2008 at the Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

April 2008

Reelworld Film Festival
8th annual festival celebrating diversity in film, video, and new media
April 2 - 6, 2008 with screenings at The Carlton and Scotiabank in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Images Festival
21st annual Images Festival of independent film, video and other time-based media
April 3 - 13, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie Coverage of the 2008 Images Festival

Toronto Singapore Film Festival
3rd annual festival introducing Singapore film to Canadians
April 4 - 6, 2008 at Innis Town Hall, the University of Toronto's St. George campus
Movie Moxie Coverage of the 2008 Toronto Singapore Film Festival

Sprockets
Toronto International Film Festival for Children
April 12 - 18, 2008, at Canada Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Hot Docs
Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
April 17 - 27, 2008, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie Coverage of the 2008 Hot Docs

May 2008

Over the Top Fest
Film, music and art festival.
April 30 - May 4, 2008, film screenings at the Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Contact
Toronto Photography Festival
May 1 - 31, 2008
Films on Photography throughout festival at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Jewish Film Festival
May 3 - 11, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ryerson University Film Festival (RUFF)
5th annual presentation of films by the graduating class at Ryerson University
May 8 - 10, 2008 at the Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2nd Annual OCAD Video Festival
I Made This For Class
May 14, 2008 at 7pm at the Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian Sport Film Festival
May 14 - 17, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Inside Out
18th Annual Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival
May 15 - 25, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie Coverage of the 2008 Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival

Toronto Hispano-American Film Festival
Spanish language film festival featuring dramas, comedies, and documentaries from Spanish speaking countries
May 15 - 25, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 2008

Luminato
Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity
June 6 - 15, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 10 - 15, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie coverage of the 2008 Worldwide Short Film Festival

10th Annual festival presenting films from Italy and the Italian Diaspora
June 11 - 15, 2008 at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 12 - 15, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ReelHeART International Film Festival
The Filmmakers Film Festival
June 16 - 21, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Queer West Film Fest
June 18, 2008 at Good Catch General Store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Bicycle Film Festival
June 18 - 21, 2008 film screenings at the Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 19 - 22, 2008 at the Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto International Portuguese Film Festival
June 26 - 29, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Parkdale Video + Film Showcase

June 27 - 29, 2008 at various locations in Parkdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour
World Tour website, Toronto specific information
June 27 - 29, 2008 at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

July 2008

Beats, Breaks & Culture
Festival of electronic music and culture and events include dance, music, film and more
July 4 - 6, 2008 at Habourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

CaribbeanTales
Fokus Jamaica: A celebration of film and television from Jamaica
July 10 - 13, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mississauga Independent Film Festival
July 10 - 13, 2008 at various locations in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

3D Fest
Classic 3D films
July 11 - 17, 2008 at the Fox Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Masala!Mehndi!Masti!
South Asian Arts festival
July 25 - July 27, 2008, at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

August 2008

Island Soul
Celebration of Caribbean culture
August 1 - August 4, 2008, at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Filmi
South Asian Film Festival
August 13 - 18, 2008 at the Bloor Cinema and the Royal Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Fan Expo
Includes: Comic Book Expo 2008, SFX 2008 Science Fiction Expo, Rue Morgue Festival of Fear Horror Expo, 2008 CNAnime Expo, GX 2008 Gaming Expo
August 22 - 24, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ashkenaz Festival 2008
A festival of New Yiddish Culture
August 26 - September 1, 2008, films screenings are from Aug 30-Sept 1/08 at the Studio theatre in Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

September 2008

Toronto International Film Festival
September 4 - 13, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie coverage of the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto Urban Film Festival
Collection of 1 minute silent films that will be shown on the TTC
September 5 - 12, 2008

Pomegranate Film Festival
September 25 - 28, 2008, at the Armenian Youth Centre, 20 Hallcrown Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Student Shorts Film Festival 2008
September 26- 27, 2008, at The Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Commffest
Community Film Festival
September 26 - 28, 2008, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Abilities Arts Festival
Disabilities arts organization, promoting inclusiveness and and diversity
Film Forum Schedule
September 27 - October 10, 2008, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

October 2008

Indie Can Film Festival
Indie Can is a film festival that screens non-judged independent films
October 1 - 5, 2008

Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival
October 7 - 10, 2008 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Celebrating works of Indigenous peoples from around the world
October 15 - 19, 2008, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Est Docs
Estonian Documentary Film Festival
October 17 - 24, 2008 at various locations, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Horror, Sci-Fi, Action & Cult Film Festival
October 17-24, 2008 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie coverage of 2008 Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Macedonian Film Festival
October 18-19, 2008 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Planet in Focus Film Festival
International Environmental Film and Video Festival
October 22 - 26, 2008 at various locations, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Palestine Film Festival
October 25 - November 1, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

November 2008

Toronto International Latin Film Festival
October 31 - November 8, 2008 at The Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada


International Diaspora Film Festival
Selections from a wide spectrum of diverse ethnicities and cultures from Eastern Europe, North Africa, Latin America and Asia.
November 5 - 9, 2008 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Moving Image Film Festival
This is the festivals first year and the focus of the festival is to welcome fusion and clash of different genres and the experimentation of moving images
November 5 - 9, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Regent Park Film Festival
November 5 - 9, 2008 at the Nelson Mandela Public School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto
November 6 - 9, 200
8 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival
Films focusing on mental health and addiction
November 6 - 15, 2008 at Workman Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
November 12 - 16, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Movie Moxie coverage of the 2008 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Voices Forward
Film & Culture about people from Israel & Palestine
November 12 - 16, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Reel Awareness
Human Rights Film Festival
November 13 -16, 2008 at the NFB Cinema , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

New Serbian Film Festival
November 14 - 16, 2008 at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Eh!U European Film Festival
November 16 - 30, 2008
at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mobifest
made-for-mobile-movies
November 18-25, 2008

aluCine
Toronto Latin Media Festival
November 20 - 29, 2008 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Breast Fest
The World's First Breast Cancer Film Festival
November 21 - 22, 2008 at the ROM in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

December 2008

No Festivals

Sunday, 28 December 2008

The 2008 Film that *You* Are Looking Forward To: Poll Results

The results are in and it's.... a tie! The 2008 film that people are most looking forward to is either The Curious Case of Benjaming Button or Gran Torino (both at 26%). Ironically taking in next place is The Wrestler at 21%. After that the pickings get a little slim with Marley & Me (8%), followed by The Spirit and Revolutionary Road (bumped to 2009 release) at 4%.

Other than that, 8% are already done with 2008.

Here are the hard numbers:

26% The Curious Case of Benjaming Button
26% Gran Torino
21% Wrestler, The
8% Marley & Me
8% None, I'm done with 2008!
4% Revolutionary Road
4% The Spirit

Thanks for voting! Be sure to check out the current poll on the right hand side of the page.

2008 Releases by Release Date

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Total number of films released in Toronto during 2008: 341
Click here to see alphabetical list of titles only

Friday January 4, 2008
One Missed Call
There Will Be Blood
Youth Without Youth

Friday January 11, 2008
First Sunday
For the Bible Tells Me So
Imitation
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Persepolis
Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, The

Friday January 18, 2008
27 Dresses
Cloverfield
Kurt Cobain: About a Son
Mad Money
Starting Out in the Evening
Steep

Friday January 25, 2008
All Hat
How She Move
Meet the Spartans
Rambo
Rape of Europa, The
Still Life / Sanxia haoren
They Wait
U2 3D
Untraceable
Waiter / Ober

Friday February 1, 2008
Eye, The
Hannah Montana & Mily Cyrus: Best of Both World's Tour
Honeydripper
Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
Love and Other Dilemmas
Over Her Dead Body
Strange Wilderness

Friday February 8, 2008
Fool's Gold
In Bruges
Normal
Up the Yangtze/ 沿江⽽上
Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

Wednesday February 13, 2008
Winter Tale, A

Thursday February 14, 2008
Definitely, Maybe
Jumper
Spiderwick Chronicles, The
Step Up 2 the Streets

Friday February 15, 2008
Ants, The / Ari no heitai
Band's Visit, The
Diary of the Dead, George A. Romero's
Garbage Warrior
Jodhaa Akbar

Friday February 22, 2008
Be Kind Rewind
Caramel / Sukkar banat
Charlie Bartlett
Taxi to the Darkside
Vantage Point
War Dance

Friday February 29, 2008
City of Men / Cidade dos Homens
Continental, un film sans fusil / Continental, a Film Without Guns
Counterfeiters, The / Die Fälscher
Other Boleyn Girl, The
Penelope
Semi-Pro
Viva

Friday March 7, 2008
10,000 B.C.
Bank Job, The
College Road Trip
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Friday March 14, 2008
CJ7 / Cheung Gong 7 hou
Doomsday
Funny Games / Funny Games U.S.
Horton Hears a Who!, Dr. Seuss’
Never Back Down
Sleepwalking

Thursday March 20, 2008
Duchess of Langeais, The / Ne touchez pas la hache
Paranoid Park

Friday March 21, 2008
Days of Darkness / L'Âge des ténèbres
Drillbit Taylor
Grand, The
Married Life
Meet the Browns, Tyler Perry's
Shutter
Snow Angels

Friday March 28, 2008
21
Run Fat Boy Run
Stop-Loss
Superhero Movie
Year My Parents Went on Vacation, The / O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias

Friday April 4, 2008
Kenny
Leatherheads
Nim's Island
Ruins, The
Sex and Death 101
Shine a Light
Under the Same Moon / La Misma luna

Friday April 11, 2008
Bella
Chaos Theory
Persepolis (dubbed in English)
Prom Night
Smart People
Street Kings

Friday April 18, 2008
88 Minutes
Ben X
Emotional Arithmetic
Forbidden Kingdom, The
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
London to Brighton
Young @ Heart

Friday April 25, 2008
Baby Mama
Deception
Forgotten Woman, The
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
It's a Free World
Singing Revolution, The / Laulev revolutsioon
Then She Found Me
Visitor, The
War, Inc.

Friday May 2, 2008
Fugitive Pieces
Iron Man
Made of Honor
Standard Operating Procedure

Friday May 9, 2008
Babysitters, The
My Blueberry Nights
Previous Engagement, A
Redbelt
Son of Rambow
Speed Racer
Stone Angel, The
Unknown Woman, The / La Sconosciuta
What Happens in Vegas

Friday May 16, 2008
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The
Flight of the Red Balloon / Voyage du ballon rouge, Le
S&M: Short and Male
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden

Thursday May 22, 2008
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Friday May 23, 2008
Edge of Heaven, The / Auf der anderen Seite
Postal
This Beautiful City

Friday May 30, 2008
Mister Lonely
Planet B-Boy
Sex and the City
Strangers, The

Friday June 6, 2008
Children of Huang Shi, The
Finn's Girl
Go-Getter, The
Kung Fu Panda
Mongol
My Brother is an Only Child / Mio fratello è figlio unico
You Don't Mess with the Zohan
Sarkar Raj

Friday June 13, 2008
Dasavatharam
Foot Fist Way, The
Happening, The
Incredible Hulk, The
Irina Palm
When Did You Last See Your Father?
Young People Fucking

Friday June 20, 2008
Before the Rains
Family Motel
Get Smart
Global Metal
Love Guru, The
My Winnipeg

Friday June 27, 2008
Encounters at the End of the World
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Promotion, The
WALL-E
Wanted

Wednesday July 2, 2008
Hancock

Friday July 4, 2008
Brick Lane
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Savage Grace

Friday July 11, 2008
4th Life, The
Alice's House / A Casa de Alice
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Journey to the Centre of the Earth 3-D
Meet Dave
Silent Light / Stellet licht
Wackness, The

Friday July 18, 2008
Dark Knight, The
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Jihad for Love, A
Mamma Mia!
Space Chimps
Stuck

Friday July 25, 2008
Brideshead Revisited
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
Just Buried
Last Mistress, The / Une vieille maîtresse
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Step Brothers
X-Files: I Want to Believe, The

Friday August 1, 2008
American Teen
Closing the Ring
Last Continent, The / Le Dernier Continent
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The
Swing Vote
World According to Monsanto, The / Le Monde selon Monsanto

Wednesday August 6, 2008
Bottle Shock
Pineapple Express
Sisterhood at the Travelling Pants 2, The

Friday August 8, 2008
Amal
Baghead
Jellyfish / Meduzot
Man on Wire
Singh is Kinng

Wednesday August 13, 2008
Tropic Thunder

Friday August 15, 2008
Fly Me to the Moon
Mirrors
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris
Tkaronto
Vicky Cristine Barcelona

Wednesday August 20, 2008
Rocker, The

Friday August 22, 2008
Beaufort / Bufor
Boy A
Death Race
Elegy
Frozen River
Hamlet 2
Henry Poole Is Here
House Bunny, The
Longshots, The
Tuya's Marriage / Tuya de hun shi

Friday August 29, 2008
Babylon A.D.
College
Disaster Movie
Goal II: Living the Dream
Outsourced
Traitor

Friday September 5, 2008
Bangkok Dangerous

Friday September 12, 2008
Burn After Reading
Family That Preys, Tyler Perry The
Righteous Kill
Women, The

Friday September 19, 2008
Appaloosa
Duchess, The
Ghost Town
I Served the King of England / Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále
Igor
Lakeview Terrance
My Best Friends Girl
SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO

Friday September 26, 2008
Choke
Eagle Eye
Lucky Ones, The
Miracle at St. Anna
Nights at Rodanthe
Patti Smith: Dream of Life
Shoot on Sight
Tell No One / Ne le dis à personne

Friday October 3, 2008
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Blindness
Drona
Flash of Genius
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Rachel Getting Married
Religulous
Secret of the Grain, The / La Graine et le mulet

Wednesday October 8, 2008
RocknRolla

Friday October 10, 2008
All Together Now
American Carol, An
Body of Lies
City of Ember
Express, The
Quarantine

Friday October 17, 2008
Battle in Seattle
Flow: For Love of Water
Happy-Go-Lucky
Max Payne
Morning Light
Passchendaele
Sex Drive
The Secret Life of Bees
W.

Friday October 24, 2008
Changeling
Heaven on Earth
High School Musical 3: Senior Year
I.O.U.S.A.
Passengers
Pride and Glory
Saw V
Tiger's Tale, The
Towelhead / Nothing is Private
Who is KK Downey?

Friday October 31, 2008
Ashes of Time Redux
Filth and Wisdom
Haunting of Molly Hartley, The
Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
Made in Jamaica
Other End of the Line, The
What Just Happened?
Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Friday November 7, 2008
Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The
I've Loved You So Long / Il y a longtemps que je t'aime
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Real Time
Role Models
Soul Men
Synecdoche, New York
Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma
World Unseen, The

Wednesday November 12, 2008
Slumdog Millionaire

Friday November 14, 2008
Died Young, Stayed Pretty
JCVD
Quantum of Solace

Friday November 21, 2008
Ballast
Bolt
Growing Op
I Can't Think Straight
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Twilight

Wednesday November 26, 2008
Australia
Four Christmases
Milk
Transporter 3

Friday November 28, 2008
Christmas Tale, A / Un conte de Noël
Killer, The / Le Tueur
Restless

Friday December 5, 2008
Adam's Wall
Down in the Dirt
Frost/Nixon
Nobel Son
Punisher: War Zone
Touch of Spice, A / Politiki kouzina

Friday December 12, 2008
Canvas
Day the Earth Stood Still, The
Delgo
Doubt
Nothing Like the Holidays
Reader, The
Toronto Stories

Friday December 19, 2008
Gran Torino
Seven Pounds
Tale of Despereaux, The
Yes Man

Thursday December 25, 2008
Bedtime Stories
Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The
Ghajini
Marley & Me
Spirit, The
Valkyrie
Wrestler, The

Friday December 26, 2008
Waltz with Bashir

Please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada throughout 2008

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

DIY Entertainment Club / Star Trek / Trek-mas

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For this month I've picked something a little special for my DIY Entertainment Club. Call it a Christmas Present to myself as well as research materials. It's the Star Trek The Motion Pictures DVD Collection. Every single one of the Star Trek films that have been released to date.

With the upcoming Star Trek film slated to release May 8, 2009 I've decided to revisit all the Star Trek films. Now, this is kind of strange endeavour as it starts with original crew but ends somewhere else, and the new film is a prequel with the characters of the original crew. I considered watching them backwards from Nemesis to The Motion Picture but I just can't do it. I've also written what the order in which I like the films from best to least, but I've sealed it up until I've watched them all again and reassessed. I'm very curious to see if my opinion will stay the same over time.

I'll be talking about the films up until the release of the new Star Trek in May. You are welcome to play along! If you don't have the films, there is a Trek-Mas Movie Marathon over at Space on December 25, 2008 showing each of the films starting at 6:30am EST. That is a lot of Trek. I'm going to savour them one film at a time.

I'll be starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture very early in the New Year which will be accompanied by a schedule of a countdown of all ten films.

Merry Trek-mas to all!

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

My Week in Film

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At the height of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I find myself avoiding watching films I've not seen before. Amidst planning, baking, shopping and chopping the time and attention it takes to watch something new seems like a bigger challenge than making a double batch of sugar cookies.

There is a lot of holiday fare that I could revisit. From classics like A Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life, to seasonal but non traditional favourites such as Going My Way or The Bishop's Wife. There are also many Christmas set films that aren't of the 'holiday' spirit like Die Hard and The Ref.

But, I've seen all them and it's not quite what I'm looking for. Give me something epic. Give me something magical. Give me something sweet. Give me something freaking long enough to make through wrapping these presents or baking all these cookies.

There are a few that fit the bill. First up is any and all of the Harry Potter films. I love the wonderful world of muggles, mystery and magic. There are always winter scenes with lots of snow which makes it feel ever more holiday like. I've already breezed through The Philosopher's Stone (first film) and The Order of the Phoenix (fifth film) but I've been saving The Goblet of Fire for later as it feels especially Christmasy.

There are a few odd ball one of's that I've been enjoying recently as well, such as Gidget. It's a film that is always high as a repeat viewer for me, I love Gidget's relentless energy and positive attitude. It never fails to bring a smile to my face from the rabble rousing surfers to the cutesy songs that come out of nowhere. Another film that brings cheer for me is King Arthur, which I saw for the first time on Christmas Day at my sister Jamie's house a few years ago. It's a film that I've actually not seen that often but I love it, especially the comraderay between the characters and a cast you just can't bet particular Mads Mikkelson, Ioan Gruffudd and Ray Winstone. It also has a pagan aspect to it so that fits right in with the seasonality!

But, the end all be all of this years holiday revisiting is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. For three lovely years it was a winter tradition to trek out theatre and see how Frodo and the gang would get into or out of trouble. This year, The Fellowship of the Ring saw me through the second haul of cookies. The Two Towers kept me company down to the last present was wrapped with the last piece of tape. Now, I hear Return of the King calling my name to keep the chopping of vegetables and making of dip a breeze to get through. Wish me luck, I haven't seen it since going to the theatrical release in 2003 and I cried like you wouldn't believe. Hopefully the veg will be done before then.

Epic. Beautiful. Ensemble casts. Magic. Now that is what I call true holiday spirit.

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Apparently Gollum is not interested in cookies.

It's a 'Yes!' at the Box Office in North America, while UK enjoys the Twilight

Box Office Results for Canada, North America & UK for weekend of Dec 19/08 are in! The Canadian and North American results are pretty consistent this week with the same five films sharing the top 5 and first up is Yes Man starring Jim Carrey coming in at number one with Will Smith in Seven Pounds not far behind. Twilight has it's UK release and it is no surprize that debuts at number one.

Top 20 Movies in Canada, December 19, 2008 weekend
1. Yes Man
2. Seven Pounds
3. The Day the Earth Stood Still
4. Four Christmases
5. The Tale of Despereaux
6. Twilight
7. Quantum of Solace
8. Bolt
9. Australia
10. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
11. Slumdog Millionaire
12. Le grand départ
13. Milk
14. Role Models
15. Transporter 3
16. Babine
17. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
18. Doubt
19. Frost/Nixon
20. Changeling

Top 20 Movies in North America, December 19, 2008 weekend
1. Yes Man
2. Seven Pounds
3. The Tale of Despereaux
4. The Day the Earth Stood Still
5. Four Christmases
6. Twilight
7. Bolt
8. Slumdog Millionaire
9. Australia
10. Quantum of Solace
11. Milk
12. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
13. Nothing Like the Holidays
14. Transporter 3
15. Doubt
16. Role Models
17. Cadillac Records
18. Gran Torino
19. Frost/Nixon
20. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Top 10 Movies in UK, December 19, 2008 weekend
1. Twilight
2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
3. Four Christmases
4. The Day the Earth Stood Still
5. The Tale of Despereaux
6. Inkheart
7. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
8. Changeling
9. Quantum of Solace
10. Transporter 3

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Friday, 19 December 2008

Film Fan Fridays Special Double Issue - December 19 & 26, 2008

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

We have a special double issue with the end of year releases including both Friday December 19, 2008 and December 26, 2008! How does the year go by so quickly? When you add up all the releases it doesn't seem so quick considering we've had over 300 films grace the Toronto screens in 2008.

This weekend we have four films coming into release, the one limited release is Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino which looks quite compelling as a war vet deals with aging, but I do wish the trailer held back just a tad. Our wide releases this week include the animated The Tale of Despereaux with a star studded cast of voices and it looks pretty cute, however it also looks like a combination of Ratatouille meets The Secret of NIHM. Will Smith and Gabriele Muccino are back presenting another end of year pull at the heart strings film with Seven Pounds. I have to say with this film I'm impressed at the trailer - it gives you enough to get a sense of the film but doesn't reveal, the reveal. I commend it for that, we don't see enough of it. Our last wide release has Jim Carrey starring in Yes Man and although it looks goofy I have a feeling it will also be inspirational.

Every year I find it bizarre that there are always films released, often acclaimed films, on Christmas Day. This year six films will open on Dec 25/08 and only one is a limited release, the highly acclaimed and fan favourite The Wrestler from Darren Aronofsky and starring Mickey Rourke. I'm really looking forward to The Wrestler after missing it at TIFF. It is also one of the few 2008 releases to break into the IMDb top 250 (currently sitting at #213). Our wide releases are highly book influenced including the family friendly fair Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler, Marley & Me that chronicles family life with a new dog is also based on book. The book theme keeps going with The Spirit. This leads us to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which got a few early panned reviews but has be kicking up a storm for nominations for awards near and far. The last release on Christmas day is Valkyrie from Bryan Singer (X-Men) starring Tom Cruise in a historical war film.

The lone Boxing Day film is the limited release of Waltz with Bashir, another award winner. Like last years Persepolis uses animation to re-tell a personal story about war and has been deemed one of the most important films kicking around.

Have a warm, safe and fun holiday season!

Shannon

It's a Wonderful Life
The annual holiday film celebration at the Bloor is this Friday December 19, 2008 at 7pm (refreshments at 6pm)
Free with Membership, $3 to purchase membership

Friday December 19, 2008 Releases

Gran Torino
Dir: Clint Eastwood (The Changeling, Letters from Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Heartbreak Ridge)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Brain Haley, Geraldine Hughes
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
You get a sense of the film within the first third of the preview, spoiler heavy afterwards

Seven Pounds
Dir: Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness)
Cast: Will Smith, Rosario Dawon, Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper, Elpidia Carrillo
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 3 is spoiler free

The Tale of Despereaux
Dir: Sam Fell (Flushed Away) and Robert Stevenhagen - directorial debut
Voices: Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline
UK/USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Yes Man
Dir: Peyton Reed (The Break-Up, Bring it On)
Cast: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Terence Stamp, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, John Michael Higgins
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 1 is spoiler free

Thursday December 25, 2008 Releases

Bedtime Stories
Dir: Adam Shankman (Hairspray, The Pacifier)
Cast: Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Lucy Lawless, Courteney Cox
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dir: David Fincher (Zodiac, Fight Club, The Game, Se7en, Alien³)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Faune A. Chambers, Elias Koteas
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer sight unseen - could be spoilers

Marley & Me
Dir: David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada)
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Eric Dane, Kathleen Turner
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer and has really cute dogs), IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point, but after that it shows a lot of content

The Spirit
Dir: Frank Miller (Sin City)
Cast: Gabriel Macht, Jaime King, Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Balfour, Samuel L. Jackson
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Valkyrie
Dir: Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard
USA/Germany
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Spoiler free for first have then spoilers galore!

The Wrestler
Dir: Darron Aronofsky (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, Pi)
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Even Rachel Wood
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is sight unseen - spoiler sensitive beware

Friday December 26, 2008 Releases

Waltz with Bashir
Writer/Dir: Ari Folman (Made in Israel, Clara Hadedosha / Saint Clara)
Voices, as themselves: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ronny Dayag, Dror Harazi, Ari Folman
Israel/Germany/France/USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of December 26, 2008**

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Poll Results: December Is the Month When...

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The results are in and even with holidays around the corner, the majority (88%) of us are still thinking about film whether its new ones out (37% for All the best films come out and 12% for It's all about Christmas at the theatre) or cozying up at home (37%). On the film side, 12% of us are too busy this month for watching film. Here are the individual results:

37 % All the best films come out
37 % It's cocoon time to watch films at home
12 % It's all about Christmas at the theatre
12 % Too busy for film watching

I've never actually spent Christmas at the theatre, but I was going to trek out (literally) this year to see Star Trek before they shifted the release date until May 2009. Considering the we got quite the snowfall today, I would be very inclined to be part of the cocoon tribe!

Make sure to check out the new poll up at the sidebar to your right!

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Toronto Film Critics 2008 Awards

The Toronto Film Critics have announced their 2008 awards with Rachel Getting Married as the big winner winning 3 awards (Jonathan Demme for Director, Rosemarie DeWitt for Supporting Performance Female and Jenny Lumet for Best Screenplay) and Wendy and Lucy picking up 2 awards (Best Picture and Michelle Williams for Best Performance, Female). I do love that Jean-Claude Van Damme was a runner up for Best Performance, Male in JCVD but the award goes to Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler.

There is one more award announced, the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which will be announced at the presentation of all of the awards on January 6, 2009 in Toronto. The three pictures nominated for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award are: Continental: A Film Without Guns (dir: Stéphane Lafleur) My Winnipeg (dir: Guy Maddin) and Up the Yangtze (dir: Yung Chang). Wow, that will be a tough call - all three films are excellent.

Update January 7, 2009
: Rogers Best Canadian Film Award goes to: My Winnipeg (dir: Guy Maddin)

Congratulations to all the winners!

BEST PICTURE
Wendy and Lucy

Runners-up:
Rachel Getting Married
WALL*E (Disney/Pixar)

BEST PERFORMANCE, MALE
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Runners-up:
Sean Penn, Milk
Jean-Claude Van Damme, JCVD

BEST PERFORMANCE, FEMALE
Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy

Runners-up:
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Meryl Streep, Doubt

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE, MALE
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Runners-up:
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey, Jr, Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE, FEMALE
Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married

Runners-up:
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt

BEST DIRECTOR
Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married

Runners-up:
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Andrew Stanton, WALL*E

BEST SCREENPLAY
Jenny Lumet
, Rachel Getting Married
Runners-up:
John Patrick Shanley, Doubt
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Ballast
, directed by Lance Hammer
Runners-up:
The Band’s Visit, directed by Eran Kolirin
Frozen River, directed by Courtney Hunt

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
WALL*E
Runners-up:

Kung-Fu Panda
Persepolis
Waltz with Bashir

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Let the Right One In

Runners-up:
A Christmas Tale
The Class
I’ve Loved You So Long

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Man on Wire

Runners-up:
Standard Operating Procedure
Up the Yangtze

Curious as to which films qualify?
"Under the TFCA’s new guidelines, contenders eligible for the awards include films released in Canada in 2008 plus films that qualify for the 2008 Oscars and have Canadian distribution scheduled by the end of February, 2009." (source)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Oscar 2008 semifinalists for Visual Effects

The semifinalists for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 81st Academy Awards have been announced!

The films in alphabetical order:
Australia
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The
Cloverfield
Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The
Dark Knight, The
Day the Earth Stood Still, The
Hancock
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Incredible Hulk, The
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Iron Man
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The
Quantum of Solace
Spiderwick Chronicles, The

Out of the 15 films on the semifinalist list, we have 5 superhero, 3 adventure, 2 disaster, 2 kid friendly, one action, one odd ball and one epic film. Want to play the match game? No? Okay, I'll break it down for you:

5 superhero: Dark Knight, Hancock, Hellboy II, Hulk, Iron Man
3 adventure: Indiana Jones 4, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Mummy 3
2 disaster: Cloverfield, Day the Earth Stood Still
2 kid friendly: Narnia, Spiderwick
1 action: Quantum of Solace
1 odd ball: Benjamin Button
1 epic: Australia

Curious on trending? The past five Oscars for Visual Effects went to:
Golden Compass, The
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
King Kong
Spider-Man 2
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The

Which film would get your vote?

What happens from here...
In January 2009 the list will be narrowed down to seven.

On January 15, 2009 "all members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration" (source)

The 81st Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan 22/09 at 5:30am PST/8:30am EST. The awards will be televised February 22/09 on ABC.

Box Office Results: Canada, North America & UK for weekend of Dec 12/08

A weekend of consensus for top spot at the box office in Canada, North America and the UK with the biggest box office going to the release of The Day the Earth Stood Still. It's interesting to not that Gran Torino starring Clint Eastwood appears to be released in the US already coming in at 20 in the North American results. It looks like books coming to life is charming some hearts as Inkheart placing in 4th in the UK over the weekend.

Top 20 Movies in Canada, December 12, 2008 weekend
1. The Day the Earth Stood Still
2. Four Christmases
3. Twilight
4. Bolt
5. Quantum of Solace
6. Australia
7. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
8. Transporter 3
9. Milk
10. Role Models
11. Punisher: War Zone
12. Slumdog Millionaire
13. Babine
14. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
15. Frost/Nixon
16. Nothing Like the Holidays
17. Changeling
18. Doubt
19. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
20. Rachel Getting Married

Top 20 Movies in North America, December 12, 2008 weekend
1. The Day the Earth Stood Still
2. Four Christmases
3. Twilight
4. Bolt
5. Australia
6. Quantum of Solace
7. Nothing Like the Holiday
8. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
9. Milk
10. Transporter 3
11. Slumdog Millionaire
12. Cadillac Records
13. Role Models
14. Punisher: War Zone
15. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
16. Delgo
17. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
18. Frost/Nixon
19. Doubt
20. Gran Torino

Top 10 Movies in UK, December 12, 2008 weekend
1. The Day the Earth Stood Still
2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
3. Four Christmases
4. Inkheart
5. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
6. Transporter 3
7. Changeling
8. Quantum of Solace
9. Body of Lies
10. Lakeview Terrace

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Canada's Top Ten 2008 Announced

Canada's Top Ten 2008 films have been announced, including 10 features and 10 short films. After catching up with all the features from last years Top Ten, I found them to be some of the best films I've seen in the past year therefore this is one list to keep an keep handy as a recommendation films.

Having already had a chance to catch up with C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It’s Not Me, I Swear! and Pontypool during TIFF'08 I can say we are in for a treat with the remaining 8 features.

The films will be shown at Cinematheque in Toronto from January 30 - February 7, 2009.
Prices: All 10 features + 2 shorts screenings: $65*
Single Tickers to film, shorts programme or panel: $8*
* plus services charges

Not in Toronto? Have no fear, a selection of the films will tour to Vancouver’s Pacific Cinematheque and Ottawa’s Canadian Film Institute in early 2009.

Tickets are available for purchase online, by phone at 416-968-FILM (toll-free 1-877-968-FILM) or at the year-round box office’s new location at 2 Carlton Street (West Mezzanine, operating hours are Monday to Friday, 10AM to 7PM).

For more information check out the Canada's Top Ten website.

List of Canada's Top Ten 2008 (Feature Film)

Adoration
Dir: Atom Egoyan
Anticipated Release Date: May 2009

Before Tomorrow
Dirs: Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu
Anticipated Release Date: February 2009

Ce qu’il faut pour vivre / The Necessities of Life
Dir: Benoit Pilon

C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It’s Not Me, I Swear!
Dir: Philippe Falardeau

Fifty Dead Men Walking
Dir: Kari Skogland
Anticipated Release Date: Spring 2009

Heaven on Earth
Dir: Deepa Mehta
Toronto Release Date: October 24, 2008

Lost Song
Dir: Rodrigue Jean

Maman est chez le coiffeur / Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s
Dir: Léa Pool

La Mémoire des anges / The Memories of Angels
Dir: Luc Bourdon

Pontypool
Dir: Bruce McDonald
Anticipated Release Date: March 2009

List of Canada's Top Ten 2008 (Short Film)

La Battue - Guy Édoin
Block B – Chris Chong Chan Fui
Drux Flux – Theodore Ushev
Ghosts and Gravel Roads – Michael Rollo
Green Door – Semi Chellas
Next Floor – Denis Villeneuve
Nikamowin / Song – Kevin Lee Burton
Passages – Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre
Princess Margaret Blvd – Kazik Radwanski
Mon nom est Victor Gazon – Patrick Gazé

Canada's Top Ten was established in 2001 by the Toronto International Film Festival Group to honour excellence Canadian film.

Who chooses the films?
Films are chosen by national panels of filmmakers, journalists, programmers and industry professionals.

Feature Film panel: Ann Marie Fleming, Cameron Bailey, Camelia Frieberg, Damon D'Oliveira, Glenn Sumi, Jim Brown, Joanne Senécal, Jody Shapiro, Matthew Hays and Yung Chang.

Short Film Panel: Alex Rogalski, Daniel Cross, Deco Dawson, Gisèle Gordon and Katherine Monk.

What kind of films are they?
Features and shorts are selected among narrative, documentary, animation, and experimental films.

What films qualify?
Each film must have either premiered at a major Canadian film festival or obtained a commercial theatrical release in Canada in 2008. The filmmaker must be a Canadian citizen or resident and have a history of working in Canada or on Canadian-financed films.
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