Monday, 29 June 2009

New Moon Monday, Versus, Bets and Bitten

We are in a bit of a lull for Twilight news with the cast working on various other projects at the moment and Eclipse not yet filming. There are as always lots of photos floating around, like this great one of Kristen Stewert as Joan Jett for the upcoming film The Runaways. There has also been lots about fans going a little crazy.

Buffy Vs Edward
This video has been floating around the web for about a week and seems like everyone I know has seen it. Have you ? The Buffy vs Edward video from Rebellious Pixels is 1) hilarious and 2) interesting commentary on the question/reaction to if the character Edward is creepy stalker type 3) has Buffy kicking butt - which is what she does! It is put together really well and I'll admit it made me miss Buffy. What a great show. We need more kick butt women on TV.

Bella Vs Sookie
Interesting article over at MSNBC comparing the women protagonists Sookie of True Blood and Bella in
Twilight and also lightly touches on Buffy and the upcoming TV series The Vampire Diaries. Amazing how it seems that all the vampire/romance stories the women are human and the vampires are men. I wonder if we will see a different take on this at any point.
Source: Twilightology

Twitter Following = A Bet Peter Facinelli vs Rob DeFranco = Bikini Dance
A bet made on twitter between Peter Facinelli vs Rob DeFranco has now ended with Peter being victorious and therefore Rob
DeFranco will now dance in a bikini on Hollywood Boulevard while singing 'Single Ladies'. Tomorrow, June 30/09 at 10am. Vid of Peter thanking all the fans who helped him win is here. Weirdess news for New Moon Mondays so far!
Source: Examiner

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast
Episode 10 is now up. Head on over to Before the Dawn to listen or download the show directly here. This week Marina & I's discuss the News of the Week up to June 26, 2009 including above noted Buffy vs Edward video.

Daybreakers Gets A Trailer
Daybreakers trailer has arrived and the film gives us a slightly new spin on vampire lore set in a world where vampires outnumber humans. Set to release in early 2010 it stars Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Isabel Lucan and Sam Neill. Pictures have also been released, check out the poster image and still of Ethan Hawke. This one goes on the will be seeing list.

When Vampire Movies Bite, in a Bad Way
Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that TMN was having a bunch of vampire movies on in anticipation for True Blood Season 2 (which has been awesome so far)? Well, I revised Lost Boys which was a lot of fun as always. I also check out Bitten which was so bad I may write up a Non-Review for it. I made it about 40 minutes in but by then I had had enough of the gender crap, bathroom humour an general lack of anything redeeming. Sure, it's going for exploitation style and some of that worked but even so there was contradictory dialogue and unexplained solutions to things noted as problems. But, I don't think I'm the target market. I think it's for people who liked Species and also vampires. Or not. I wouldn't even say it's really a vampire film.

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 10: News to Week of June 26, 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 10 is up!

What's new in the Twilight World? Head on over to Before the Dawn to check out Marina & I's discuss the News to Week of June 26, 2009 including new pictures for New Moon and the Twilight Effect all around us from runaway teens to the Buffy vs Edward video from Rebellious Pixels. Oh, and more - of course!

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast is a weekly 1/2 hour podcast meeting all your audio Twilight needs!

Poll Results: Which is the Best Harry Potter Film? (so far)

The results are in and The Best Harry Potter Film (so far) is #4 The Goblet of Fire with 29%! I'm a little surprized, I really thought it would have been #3 The Prisoner of Azkaban which was right behind it at 27%. Although I'm currently revisiting the films and I haven't rewatched The Goblet of Fire but will today. I remember not liking it right off the bat but it really grew on me and it will be a treat to watch. The next best was going back to the roots with #1 The Philosopher's Stone at 20%, then the most recent release #5 The Order of the Phoenix with 15% and to no surprize #2 The Chamber of Secrets brings up the caboose at 6%.

Huge response on this poll, biggest yet in fact. Thanks to each and every person that voted!

Only a few weeks until we get to see the The Half-Blood Prince!

29% - #4 The Goblet of Fire
27% - #3 The Prisoner of Azkaban
20% - #1 The Philosopher's Stone
15% - #5 The Order of the Phoenix
6% - #2 The Chamber of Secrets

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Creepy Trailers All Around Us!

There is no shortage of creeping upcoming films for this year, and into 2010 as well.

We start in the summer with Orphan, and there ain't nothing like a horror movie with a creepy kid in it, eh? From the trailer (which feels like it shows way too much of the film) it certainly captures that creepiness well. I know I'll end up seeing it.

A different kind of creep factor is Surrogates with Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell return to the land of Sci Fi which in it of itself is awesome. The film seems to dance with actual concepts, ideas and moral dilemnas! Promising. Plot wise it looks like a combination of Total Recall meets "Neuromancer". The trailer did leave with some reservations because there a lot of ways to misuse virtual reality + host bodies that are awful. We'll see what director Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, U-571) does with it!

The Shutter Island trailer has been kicking around for a least week now showing us what is next from Scorcese. I'm admittedly not a Scorcese fan, and this one looks suspiciously like a horror film although classified as a 'drama'. Feels like it's jumping on the horror train to me.

Also not new to the roster of trailers but certainly fits with creepy is the trailer for The Road. Very strange that it is being released same day as Where the Wild Things Are (Oct 16/09), which is based on a (creepy) kids book, but more so everyone I know who is interested in one film is also interested in the other. The Road will be a biggie though, based on a fantastic but really harsh post-apocolyptic book by Cormac McCarthy ("No Country for Old Men"), directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and starring Viggo Mortenson. If this doesn't pop up at TIFF'09 I'll be shocked.

Last up is all vampires, literally. Check out the Daybreakers trailer for a slightly new spin on vampire story. Looked interesting enough to only watch the first 1/2 of the trailer.

And if you need something to wash off the creepy feelings, I suggest checking out the new Fame trailer (see Fame review here). Singing, dancing, talent, troubles and just a smidge of attitude. I can't wait!

Lists of 2009 and 2010 Upcoming Release have been revised to include new deets and of course tons of other upcoming releases.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday June 26, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday June 26, 2009! If last weeks start of Wednesday releases wasn't enough to let you to know it is summer, this weeks heat wave here in the T-dot is a reminder. Stay cool and outta the sun, and preferable in a nice movie theatre.

I'm thrilled to share that one of our limited release this week is the beautiful and subtle Japanese drama Tokyo Sonata / Tôkyô sonata which I had the opportunity to see at TIFF'08. If you want to hear a description of the film from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa himself you can see the introduction to the TIFF'08 screening here. Need more convincing? How about being at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and 5 star reviews in both NOW and Eye (Don't click through Eye one unless you've seen the film). So yeah, it really is that good. We also have the highly anticipated The Girlfriend Experience from Steven Soderberg starring adult film star Sacha Grey as a call girl who provides, you guessed it, the girlfriend experience. Not sure what the appeal is, but people won't stop talking about it. This weeks limited releases continue with the period romance Chéri starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend and Woody Allens latest Whatever Works starring Larry David.

In wide release this week we have a sole wide release with My Sister's Keeper starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin from The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes. Other then getting the impression it will be quite the tearjerker, the only other thing I've seen about it was Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin promoting it on the MTV Movie Awards and the memorable moment of Abigail Breslin saying "Everyone wants to be an adult film star like you Cameron". Um, not quite. May I direct you perhaps to The Girlfriend Experience?

In the neither here nor there category we have previously releaesd on Wednesday Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen which opened to dismal reviews citing everything from racial stereotypes to infantile plot to being way to long. My first question is anyone surprized at that? My next question is will most people still go see it? Likely no and yes. But, in other Wednesday news we have the Wednesday July 1st releases to look forward to including Michael Mann's dive into the period crime with Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp and Christan Bale. Also up for Wednesday release is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs which is playing some places in 3D and some in 2D so make sure to check your local listings if you have a preference.

Have a great weekend!


Festival Watch

Parkdale Film & Video Showcase
11th Annual celebration of artists & audiences of Parkdale. All screenings PWYC (Pay-What-You-Can) and family friendly
June 26 - 28, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ReelHeART International Film Festival
The Filmmakers Film Festival
Continues until June 27, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday June 26, 2009 Releases

Dir: Stephen Frears (The Queen, Mrs Henderson Presents)
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Rupert Friend
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

The Girlfriend Experience
Dir: Steven Soderbergh (Che, The Good German, Ocean's Eleven, Solaris, The Limey)
Cast: Sacha Grey, Chris Santos, Peter Zizzo
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

My Sister's Keeper

Dir: Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook)
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, Cameron Diaz
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Tokyo Sonata / Tôkyô sonata
Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pusle / Kairo, Retribution, Cure)
Cast: Teruyuki Dagawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Haruka Igawa, Yu Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki
Japan/The Netherlands/Hong Kong/China
Limited Release
Official Film Site: (UK, Japan), IMDb Page, Trailer

Whatever Works
Writer/Dir: Woody Allen (Vicky Christina Barcelona, Sweet and Lowdown, Manhattan, Annie Hall)
Cast: Larry David, Ed Begley Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Conleth Hill, Michael McKean, Evan Rachel Wood
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Wednesday July 1, 2009 Releases

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Dir: Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown)
Voices: Ray Romaro, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Simon Pegg
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Public Enemies
Dir: Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Ali, The Insider, Heat, Manhunter)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, David Wenham, Stephen Dorff, Elena Kenney
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of July 1, 2009**

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Dir: Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también, Children of Men)
Regular Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis
Additional Cast: David Thewlis, Gary Oldman, Robert Hardy, Emma Thompson, Julie Christie, Timothy Spall
UK/USA, 2004

Originally Seen: During the 2004 theatrical release, in IMAX at Paramount

Revisited: June 22, 2009 *

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third film in the Harry Potter series and it is the time things get a little shaken up and we see changes happening. First up, a change in director from Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) to Alfonso Cuarón whom at the time was best known for directing the racy Oscar nominated Y Tu Mamá También. I know that one had a lot of people taken aback. Then due to the sad passing of Richard Harris, the character of Albus Dumbledore needed to be filled and was with Michael Gambon who is not necessarily known for playing the 'nicest' of characters (see: Gosford Park and The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover) and that one had me a little worried. But, the fears were in vain as we ended up with one of the most well loved films of the Harry Potter series.

The film has a different look and feel from the first two, shrugging off the golden and warm colour scheme and favouring cool colours of white, black, silver, green and grey which give it a more edgy feel. Although all the films have situations and themes that involve danger, this one feels like the first time they demonstrate it in a more sophisticated manner. It literally introduces grey areas, just like the new colour scheme, where not everything is as it appears, people aren't necessarily what they seem and the solution isn't near at hand. They introduce more complex characters into the story where right and wrong it isn't clear cut. Also, the main characters of Harry, Hermione and Ron become more complicated themselves as they transition from reactionary & rudimentary magic to more active & advanced magic, which includes bringing in possible consequences for their active choices and actions. As with the second film, this is a great parallel to the world of being 13 years old where you do start to do things on your own (good or bad) as you gain independence and stronger taste of power.

Even though it branches out to new ideas and themes, it is the first of the series where I actively noticed patterns of the films. We see the introduction of new modes of transportation, new locations outside of school grounds, a new class, magical items/spells and as always new characters. This allows the viewers to gain continual but gradual knowledge of the world as a whole, but also is a great way of showing how the characters grow and become more responsible, capable and worldly every year.

One of the wonderful things about the third film is that the trio of actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint playing Harry, Hermione and Ron respectively, now feel really comfortable in their roles. I found in this film the characters and their relationships feel very flushed out, natural and believable. Speaking of characters we are introduced to a slew on new ones that heighten the enjoyment of the world including charismatic yet always tired Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the eccentric Divination instructor Professor Trelawney (Emma Thompson) and Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) himself. I continue to marvel at how perfect the casting is for these films, all three of the new characters are played brilliantly. Michael Gambon also does a great job bringing a new a different take as Dumbledore, even though his character is not on the screen much we do get a taste of his more hippy vibe and sage like manner which is an interesting choice from Richard Harris who had a more Obi-Wan/grandfatherly tone. It took me a while to warm up to but now I certainly can appreciate both takes on the character.

The film really has everything going for it, the story is interesting, there is great character development, we see new ideas, characters and creatures throughout. But, some of the most charming and memorable moments for me are barely there, yet provide great additions to the tone of the film. Things like the changing of the seasons at Hogwarts, often featuring the Whomping Willow. Or bonding between the guys of Gryffindor. Even the end credits are fantastic. It's the complete package with this film, it really has it all.

Shannon's Overall View:
I love it
I own it in glorious... widescreen!
I'd recommend to fans of magic, fantasy and adventure

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* in anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday July 15, 2009, I am doing a weekly countdown to watch & review of the first five Harry Potter films

Propose to the Transformers: Canadian, North American & UK Box Office June 19, 2009 Weekend

The Proposal takes the cake to the bank in Canada and North America debuting at #1 on both charts. The not-very-classy looking Year One started at #4 on both charts. In the UK Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen leads the charts, as it was released on Friday June 19. 2009 whereas it won't hit Canada and the States until today, June 24, 2009. So far the reviews have been rather grim. Speaking of, Whatever Works debuts on the North American charts at 20. Star Trek is still hanging on strong sitting in the top ten of all three charts over a month after it's initial release. We also have Canadian films in out top 20 here in Canada with À vos marques... party! 2 and J'ai tue ma mère, neither have been released yet here in Toronto but I will definitely be keeping my eye out for them in the future.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the June 19, 2009 weekend
1. The Proposal *
2. The Hangover
3. Up
4. Year One *
5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
6. Star Trek
7. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
8. Angels & Demons
9. Terminator Salvation
10. Land of the Lost
11. À vos marques... party! 2 *
12. Imagine That
13. Drag Me to Hell
14. Millenium
15. Under the Sea 3D
16. My Life in Ruins
17. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
18. Away We Go
19. J'ai tue ma mère
20. Easy Virtue

Top 20 Movies in North America for the June 19, 2009 weekend
1. The Proposal *
2. The Hangover
3. Up
4. Year One *
5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
6. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
7. Star Trek
8. Land of the Lost
9. Imagine That
10. Terminator Salvation
11. Angels & Demons
12. Drag Me to Hell
13. Away We Go
14. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
15. My Life in Ruins
16. Easy Virtue
17. Food, Inc.
18. 17 Again
19. Under the Sea 3D
20. Whatever Works *

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the June 19, 2009 weekend
1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen *
2. The Hangover
3. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
4. Terminator Salvation
5. Angels & Demons
6. Drag Me to Hell
7. Star Trek
8. Looking for Eric
9. The Last House on the Left
10. Last Chance Harvey

* indicates opening weekend in noted location, red text indicates Canadian film release

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 09: Where is Team Bella?

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 09 is up!

Looking for a Twilight fix? Head on over to Before the Dawn to check out Marina & I's discuss the all about Bella and where is or rather why is there a lack of love for our protagonist. We talk about her character in the context of all of the books so if you haven't read them yet please be aware that we will discuss them.

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast is a weekly 1/2 hour podcast meeting all your audio Twilight needs!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 Coverage


Pre-festival Coverage

Daily Coverage
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Reviews By Program
Opening Gala: Award Winners from Around the World
Official Selection 1: The Edge of Reason
Official Selection 2: Lust for Life
Official Selection 11: Tech-Neurological
Official Selection 12: 90-Minute Makeover
Celebrity Shorts

Reviews By Film
Acting for the Camera
After Tomorrow
Alter Ego
Black Dog's Progress, The
Bipolar: An Interview with Richard
Captain Coulier (Space Explorer)
Cold and Dry / Tørt og kjølig
Crap / Simonac
Everyday People
Gone Fishing
Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, The
Love You More
Made Up
Monday Before Thanksgiving
My Name is Dominic / Tous les enfants s'appellent Dominique
Next Floor
One of Those Days
Paul Rondin Is... Paul Rondin / Paul Rondin est... Paul Rondin
Sand / Zand
Secret Life of Beards, The
Sound-Shadows / Lydskygger
Spine, The
Survivor of the Hippocampus, The / Le rescapé de l'hippocampe
Token Hunchback
Tolibu Dibu Dauchyu
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Website is Down: Sales Guy Vs Web Dude, The

Post-festival Coverage
Wrap Up

The Worldwide Short Film Festival ran from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 - Wrap Up


The Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 has come and gone and we are now left with the memories of a lot of films! One thing I noticed this year, in particular with the Opening Night Award Winning program is a sense of 'it will be okay'. It feels like recently we have gone through a long period of a long period of dark and gritty = good, it was nice to see films where the whatever happened turned out fine. They didn't die, get attacked, fall, etc... it was just .. fine. It wasn't the case for everything of course but it's was a refreshing change of pace and I hope to see more of it!

Favourite Fiction:
Cold and Dry / Tørt og kjølig and Sand / Zand

Artistic Works of Wonder:
Next Floor and The Survivor of the Hippocampus / Le rescapé de l'hippocampe

Favourite Animated:

Tolibu Dibu Dauchyu

The wacky and the bizarre:

Favourite Program:
Official Selection 11: Tech-Neurological

Most Enthusiastic Crowd:
Although Opening Night was lively, the crowd during the Day 1 screening of Official Selection 1: The Edge of Reason was enthusiastic and very full. Front row-filled out full. That's impressive.

The films that caught my heart:
Paul Rondin Is... Paul Rondin / Paul Rondin est... Paul Rondin and Monday Before Thanksgiving

Challenging preconceptions, Embracing Weirdness

Still has me thinking:

Alter Ego, after seeing this film I had a really great discussion with my sister about it that went on for ages! It really made me think, the writing was fabulous and the the performances were spot on.

Sharing is good! Some Shorts are Available online:
Black Dog's Progress, The (3 min 15s)
Civilian (4 min 01s)
Crap / Simonac (10 min 23s)
Cutecutecute (1 minute)
The Website is Down: Sales Guy Vs. Web Dude (10 min 23s)

The Worldwide Short Film Festival ran from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 - Awards


The Worldwide Short Film Festival started with the Award Winner shorts screening, and now we bookend closing day with the annoucement of award winners for the festivals 15th year. For the Audience Awards, the audience rating all films from 1 to 5 after the screenings. Those ballots have been casted and counted and here are the winners of the Audience Award and Juried Awards for the 2009 Worldwide Short Film Festival. Top honours for Best Live Action Short goes to Nicolas Silhol for My Name is Dominic / Tous les enfants s'appellent Dominique which enables its eligibility for the 2009 Academy Awards. Congratulations to all the award winners and honourable mentions!

Audience Award
Paul Rondin Is... Paul Rondin / Paul Rondin est... Paul Rondin, directed by Frederick Vin (See review on Day 2)

Best Live Action Short
Winner: Nicolas Silhol for My Name is Dominic / Tous les enfants s'appellent Dominique (See review on Day 4)
Honourable Mention: Joost Van Ginkel for Sand / Zand (See review on Day 4)

Best Emerging Canadian Filmmaker
Winner: Aparna Kapur for Amma
Honourable Mention: Joseph Johnson Cami & Ayelen Liberona for Becoming

Best Cinematography in a Canadian Short
Winner: Cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak for The Water
Honourable Mention: Director/Cinematographer Pedro Pires for Danse Macabre

Best Animated Short
Hanna Heilborn and David Aronowitsch for Slaves

Best Canadian Short
Ky Nam Le Duc for Land of Men / Terre des hommes

The Best Experimental Short
Winner: Pedro Pires for Danse Macabre
Honourable Mention: Servane Phillips and Nathalie Robison for Inscape (See review on Day 2)

Best Documentary Short
Rhys Graham for Skin

The Best Performance prize (Female)
Leora Rivlin for Wind Chimes

Best Performance Prize (Male)
Jack Wouterse for Sand / Zand (See review on Day 4)

Best Performance Prize (Ensemble)
Kil-ho Kim & Tae-hoon Lee for Auld Lang Syne

Screenplay Giveaway Prize
Kate Hewlett for She Said Lenny

The Worldwide Short Film Festival ran from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 Day 4 - Friday June 19/09


Day 4 was all Cumberland, all day! I caught 2 programs Official Selection 11: Tech-Neurological and Official Selection 12 90-Minute Makeover. I always wonder what the process is like for putting the films together in groups, I enjoy looking at the different themes and it's a big factor in deciding what to head out to. Official Selection 11: Tech-Neurological is a great example of where the theme really matched the films shown, in theme and in spirit with short films that used or were even creations in response to technology. Official Selection 12 90-Minute Makeover wasn't quite as comfortable as a fit, but the films were did have a central theme of studying identity and often the about challenging perceptions and prejudices which is an interesting subject, but not quite as uplifting as makeovers tend to be.

Official Selection 11: Tech-Neurological

My Name is Dominic / Tous les enfants s'appellent Dominique
Dir: Nicolas Silhol
Cast: Lou Bus Lot, Violaine Fumeau
France, 20 minutes

A sensitive touch was used with this short film that brings up the question of how well do people really know their children. Is a white lie normal, or something more? Who makes that call? The true highlight was the gracefully transition of how we can be influenced by an outside opinion to question what we never would have before. A fascinating look at relationships, behaviour and parenting.

Dir: Clemens Kogler
Austria, 2 minutes

Bizarre and hilarious short film that showed rather cutting images through animation with a strong critical commentary but with a happy dappy sing-along style soundtrack. Reminded me a little of something out of Funky Forest.

Sand / Zand
Dir: Joost Van Ginkel
Cast: Jack Wouterse, Veerle Witkop
The Netherlands, 22 minutes

A stand out in the program, although only loosely ties to tech this is a beautiful but harrowing short of a father/daughter relationship. Sensitive with stellar performances the screen brings the world of a sand truck driver together with a visitation from his daughter. Rough elegance shows the rough but true love of family.

The Website is Down: Sales Guy Vs Web Dude
Dir: Joshua Weinberg
USA, 11 minutes

This one really fits in with as a tech category film. I originally came across this film last year after Devindra Hardawar twittered about it and have watched it many times since, it's a great one if you need a bit of a gigglefest. Anyone who has been involved a tech support call (for either side) can appreciated the humour and realism of what really happens when we pick up that phone. You can watch it online, however ironically it is a little NSFW (Not Safe For Work) - depending on where you work, that is.

Highlights from the Q&A with The Website is Down: Sales Guy Vs Web Dude director Joshua Weinberg:
-A lot of the jokes came from chatting with buddies over years so he knew they would have longevity to them
-Although he isn't a IT Help Desk Survivor (great term!), he has worked in IT for a many years and a lot of the film is based on things that actually happen, for example how solving the problem does not actually solve the problem
-Was not concerned that watching a computer screen not keeping peoples attention, but that is one reason why they would change from program to program. The voices are also sped up to make it shorter overall.

Joshua Weinberg director of The Website is Down, Sylvain Lavigne director of Crap / Simonac and Angie Driscoll, Festival Programmer

Crap / Simonac
Dir: Sylvain Lavigne
Cast: Sylvain Lavigne, René-Pierre Bélanger, Anaïs Favron
Canada, 11 minutes

A crime-comedy on the inadvertent misadventures of Guy on a one night stay at his sisters. A seemingly innocent morning turns into a disaster. Some days it may be better not to answer the phone!

Highlights from the Q&A Crap / Simonac Director Sylvain Lavigne:
-Decision to make the film available online immediately was because friends where impatient to see it.
-The film is meant to be funny, and it is also meant to be violent. It's all about the character who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
-It is being developed and expanded to 6 1/2 hrs for a 13 episode TV series.

Tolibu Dibu Dauchyu
Dir: Boris Despodov
Bulgaria, 5 minutes

Great short film showing the access, influence, and reactions to pop culture. Who knew a Music Idol audition of an interesting phonetic translation would end up being the #1 Bulgarian hit? The joy and love of the new rendition of the song is a welcome change of our current YouTube world.

See the Original "Ken Lee" performed by Valentina Hasan on YouTube
and the Extended Version of the Pop Hit

Official Selection 12 90-Minute Makeover

Dir: Louis-Alexandre Martin
Canada, 8 minutes

A great study challenging perceptions, and through the use of a puppet we hear a story we might not have heard, or rather listened to, otherwise.

Everyday People
Dir: Edna Hughes
UK, 5 minutes

Fantastic idea using interviews with 'everyday people' with famous names like George Lucas, Julia Roberts, Tom Jones and Michael Douglas. It poses and interesting question about identity and individuality if every time your introduce yourself people automatically think of someone else.

Sound-Shadows / Lydskygger
Dir: Julie Engaas
Norway, 7 minutes

I found this film a fascinating experience as it through audio shares the perspective of someone who is blind. Often the descriptions are visually interpreted in interesting ways but I kept thinking what an odd choice to 'show' us the story as well as tell it. Do we need to be visually engaged to 'get' it or to keep our attention? I kept wondering what it would be like just to listen to the story, but then - it wouldn't be a film. Engaging and questioning it did keep me thinking.

Tim Reckart director of Token Hunchback with Myrocia Watamaniuk, Senior Programmer

Token Hunchback
Dir: Tim Reckart
USA, 7 minutes

Stop motion animated short that follows the actor, who happens to be a hunchback, as he talks in between takes about the limitations and stereotypes of the roles he receives. There is an interesting idea there and some cutting commentary but still faces the challenge of using stereotype to comment on stereotypes.

Highlights from the Q&A with Token Hunchback director Tim Reckart:
-the idea came from a comment made about the commercial within the film that featured a hunchback, and that comment was if he was worried that anyone would be offended which is how he started looking into it.
-all the voices are from non-actors and friends of the director from Harvard and the role of the director in the film is actually the directors voice.

Myrocia Watamaniuk, Senior Programmer with Cedric Prevost director of Alter Ego

Alter Ego
Dir: Cedric Prevost
Cast: Christine Farenc, Jeremy Azencott
France, 20 minutes

Fascinating exploration on preconceptions and stereotypes using an online dating site as a starting point for 2 unlikely strangers to meet. Who do we show our real selves to, or share our real dreams with? What constitutes a lie - changing, embellishing or omitting information? What does it take to take a step and trust someone? All of these ideas are explored and more in 20 minutes with our two leads the cultured Ester (Christine Farenc) and young Nadir (Jeremy Azencott) whose authentic performances push back and forth on judgment, conformity and the possibility of love. Engaging and memorable, a truly beautiful film.

Highlights from the Q&A Alter Ego director Cedric Prevost:
-inspiration for the film came from 2 themes: the possibility of finding love on the net and changing identity
-both actors are previous students of the director, who has been a drama teacher for 9 years
-the process of the film involved creating a script which was given to the actors to read once, and then they filmed improvisations. Another script was written, rehearsed and then filmed on location. Overall, it was 15 days over 2 months.
-the location ended up working out perfectly as the was really bad weather and rain, but when the rain cleared up no one was in the park allowing for almost always having actors being in the shot

The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 Day 3 - Thursday June 18/09


I love the little festival program boxes that you find at the festival venues. They are so cute! Day 3 was a day that was a bit of a different choice, I went to one screening: Celebrity Shorts. Think program is made up of shorts by familiar names, but instead of seeing them on screen they are directing. On average the shorts are longer than other programs, mostly American and every single one is live action, fiction with no experimental films. It's all narrative here. No Q&A but the screening certainly had a full house of smart dressers whom responded very well to the program.

Thankfully with this grey weather the line at the ROM is inside (via the South Entrance). If was a busy night - were you there?

Dir: Natalie Portman
Cast: Lauren Becall, Ben Gazzarra, Olivia Thirby
USA, 22 minutes

Exploring the faces we hide behind and from, tempered by nostalgia and loss we find ourselves riding alongside a third wheel in a day between grandmother and granddaughter. I enjoyed the blending and awareness the two had of each others lifestyles and habits, however the repeated attempts and deflection from a real connection kept the tone unfulfilled.

Monday Before Thanksgiving
Dir: Courteney Cox
Cast: Laura Dern, Courteney Cox, Rosemary Harris
USA, 19 minutes

Adeptly light handling of complex life events and choices, we are introduced to Theresa a woman who has chosen to live her life alone and how this affects her friendships and family. Laura Dern stars in a refreshing outlook for those who chose to walk down a different path.

One of Those Days
Dir: Hattie Dalton
Cast: Derek Jacobi, Joanna David
UK, 14 minutes

I was glad that the opening credits included a BBC Comedy notation, which let me know it was ok to laugh at this short that follows the administrative process of Judgement Day. If all the deeds in your life were jotted down on paper, how accurate would they be? Strong performances and great art direction made this short quite the enjoyable ride.

Dir: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cast: Carla Gugino, Eric Stoltz, Xander Berkeley
USA, 24 minutes

A strong story and performances made this short really stand out. Carla Gugino in particular was fascinating to watch as the possible arson suspect to her own house. But what could be the motive? Eric Stoltz plays the private eye determined to find out. An interesting combination of straight narrative injected with weather-reportesque visual depictions to fill in the blanks, this short certainly keeps you guessing what is really going on.


The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Film Fan Fridays for Friday June 19, 2009

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday June 19, 2009! Its a week filled with releases from near & far, limited & wide. Even though May was crawling with big blockbuster releases it feels like the new trend is it isn't summer until we start seeing all the Wednesday release dates. Don't worry you haven't missed anything, it wasn't this Wednesday but next. But first let's see what is in limited release.

This weeks limited release are filled with Canadian content. The Baby Formula follows a lesbian couple looking for independent procreation, Victoria Day is set in late 80's Toronto over one fateful May 2-4 weekend and The Green Chain is a drama loggers vs environmentalists. You could probably tell those were Canadian just from the descriptions, eh? Rounding out the limited releases are the Russian Wind Man, American food industry documentary Food, Inc. and Olivier Assayas latest and highly acclaimed film Summer Hours.

In wide release this week we have Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy The Proposal as well as Jack Black and Michael Cera comedy Year One.

The biggie doesn't arrive until mid-next week, with the Wednesday openings of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a.k.a. Transformers: ROTF. Seriously, did no one in any meetings noticed that acronym? Really? Anyhow, if you just can't wait for Wednesday it is playing a few spots around town on Tuesday night at midnight-ish. Make note that it's a long one, clocking in at 2h 27min.

Be sure to check out my daily coverage of the Worldwide Short Film Festival here at Movie Moxie continuing through to June 21, 2009.

Have a great weekend!


Festival Watch

Continues until June 21, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Queer View
A Series of Seminal Queer Films Presented by Queer Artists
June 21 - 25, 2009 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ReelHeART International Film Festival
The Filmmakers Film Festival
June 22 - 27, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Worldwide Short Film Festival
Continues until June 21, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 19, 2009 Releases

The Baby Formula
Dir: Alison Reid - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Angela Vint, Megan Fahlenbock, Rosemary Dunsmore
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Food, Inc.
Dir: Robert Kenner - feature film directorial debut
Documentary on the American food industry
Cast: Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

The Green Chain
Dir: Mark Leiren-Young - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Tricia Helfer, Babs Chula, Tahmoh Penikett, Brendan Fletcher, Jillian Fargey, Scott McNeil, August Schellenberg
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, No Trailer Found

The Proposal
Dir: Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses,
Step Up)
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Summer Hours / L'heure d'été
Writer/Dir: Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep, Boarding Gate, Noise)
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob, Dominique Reymond
Limited Release
Official Film Site, Trailer, IMDb Page

Victoria Day
Writer/Dir: David Bezmozgis - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Holly Deveaux, Mark Rendall, Scott Beaudin, John Mavrogiannis, Melanie Leishman
Limited Release
Trailer on YouTube, IMDb Page, No Official Film Site Found

Wind Man / Chelovek-veter
Dir: Khuat Akhmetov - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Igor Yasulovich
Limited Release
No Official Film Site or Trailer Found, IMDb Page

Year One
Dir: Harold Ramis (Analyze This, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack)
Cast: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, June Diane Raphael
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Wednesday June 24, 2009 Releases

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Dir: Michael Bay (Transformers, The Island, Bay Boys II, The Rock)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Isabel Lucas, Hugo Weaving, John Turturro
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of June 24, 2009**

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 Day 2 - Wednesday June 17/09


Day 2 at the Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 was full of varied programs and audiences. Started off with Official Selection 1: The Edge of Reason which had a huge audience for a weekday matinee screening, likely from having not 1 but 2 films from Academy Award winners with Chris Landreth (Ryan) latest The Spine and a Wallace and Gromit animated short. Next up was Official Selection 2: Lust for Life which delves into various truths of love be they nostalgic, bizarre and sometimes uncomfortable. Last up was the evening screening of Sci Fi: OUT THERE and they certainly were out there ranging from experimental, animation, faux-documentary and a fair shake of parody. The ones that realky hit the mark though were the old school science fiction based in grounded well thought out ideas that actually made you think: Cold and Dry / Tørt og kjølig (dir: Kristoffer Joner) from Norway and The Survivor of the Hippocampus / Le rescapé de l'hippocampe (dir: Julien Lecat in attendance) from France. It was also a treat to see The Attack of the Robots from Nebula-5 again, which has played at various festivals including the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2008.

Below are a selection of reviews from each of the programs including highlights with Q&As with directors in attendance.

Official Selection 1: The Edge of Reason

The Black Dog's Progress
Dir: Stephen Irwin
UK, 4 minutes

Very clever animated short that bridges the idea of flip books to a unique boundary centric yet shifting landscape. The screen becomes so filled with activity it felt like you could build your own experience by choose (actively or inadvertently) what to watch.

Bipolar director Gabriela Betschart with Angie Driscoll

Bipolar: An Interview with Richard
Dir: Gabriela Betschart
Switzerland, 13 minutes

A unique film that chronicles one mans journey into, around and with Bipolar disorder. The film captures a wide range of stages and responses to the disorder from how it can feel freeing to confining and the battle to maintain balance. A very human and sensitive approach that still presents the bigger questions.

Highlights from Q&A with Gabriela Betschart, director of Bipolar: An Interview with Richard:
- The choice to work with an actor was she was looking for someone in her mind that doesn’t look like Richard himself but had something specific in terms of age and also sympathetic, normal .
- In response to why it a hybrid style instead of a typical documentary was a few reasons, the person it is about is he is working at a company and not everyone knows about the illness. As you can’t control who knows, she didn’t want to create a stygma or show him. Also wanted to make a film that is like the illness, where you question what is real, a dream.
- Richard has seen it, he really liked it and wants to see it again.

After Tomorrow
Dir: Emma Sullivan
Cast: Kika Markham, Claire Hackett, Joseph Mawle, Anthony Taylor
UK, 16 minutes

After Tomorrow was a bit of a genre hopper in terms of tone which pushes audience to continually make, and correct assumptions. An interesting story but it was really the strong acting that kept me on my toes wondering what was really going on.

The Lady Who Swallowed a Fly director Byrd McDonald with Angie Driscoll

The Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Dir: Byrd McDonald
Cast: Catherine Grimme, Micah Nelson
USA, 11 minutes

A haunting short that follows a mother driving with her 2 kids, or is she? The balance of reality of blurred using tonal shifts into horror and thriller influences by recreating what feels like hazy memories.

Highlights from Q&A with The Lady Who Swallowed a Fly director Byrd McDonald
- In response to what kind of conflict the director gave the actor, is that the actor came up with a elaborate back story for her character in her head, including an imaginary friend named David that she would talked to. This wasn't planned but some of her talking to ‘David’ ended up being worked into the film during post.
- In response to if there was a worry to too much information being given to the audience, he said that they decided to take out anything that would give too many specifics of the story therefore the audience would have to project on to the character

Angie Driscoll with The Spine director Chris Landreth and voice actor Robert McCarrol during prescreening Q&A

The Spine
Dir: Chris Landreth (Ryan)
Voices: Gordon Pinsett, Alberta Watson, Patrice Goodman, Robert McCarrol
Canada, 15 minutes

If you enjoyed the animation style of Ryan, you will be pleased to see The Spine which definitely has a similar feel to it. The story follows a couple whose emotionally responses have manifested to become their physical entrapments. Visually stunning and sometimes jarring it leaves us wondering about if things are beyond 'fixing'.

Highlights for Q&A with The Spine director Chris Landreth and voice actors Robert McCarrol and Patrice Goodman
Robert McCarrol discussed if if preparation for voice acting different by saying that you always find the intention. I made up a voice (does imitation) and Chris said, why don’t you just use your own voice? Chris gave different tactics to get to where I had to go but also gave freedom to improvise.

Chris Landreth on if there crossover with Ryan because of the invented style has grown to a visual storytelling style. Do you think you have innovated it even further? He responded that this film is more experimental than Ryan because that was a documentary and this is a fictional. There was more freedom to express themes with this visual style.

Voice actor Patrice Goodman described working around a visual image by saying that Chris would paint the entire picture for you so you just vocally fill in the blanks. She got involved with the project after from being friends with Chris for 12 years and his partner runs a theatre company that I work in. Knew he was looking for people and offered to help. Originally was doing the scratch track and ended up in actual film.

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Dir: Nick Park
UK, 29 minutes

Confession time - I've never seen any Wallace and Gromit before. I can see what all the fuss is about though, cute animation and great play on with a smart and not-so-smart duo plus lots of physical humour in a richly created world. Audience had the giggles big time through this tale of life, love and bread.

Official Selection 2: Lust for Life

Dir: Servane Phillips, Nathalie Robison
Canada, 7 minutes

This experimental film shows contortionist Jinny Jessica Jacinto perform extraordinary movements with a calm strength and grace. I particularly enjoyed the more abstract compositions where it was hard to even tell what exactly was being shown.

Highlights from Q&A with on of Inscape directors Nathalie Robison
- Discussing challenges of the film included that they primarily had 1 day, with no rehearsal, no choreographer and only did 1-2 takes as each move required 45min to 1 hour for the contortionist to warm up.
- After doing a casting call for auditions and almost settling on a male contortionist, because that is something you don’t normally see, but the next day she got a late email from someone including pictures and you tube footage. Turns out the pictures and footage were of Jinny Jessica Jacinto, and that footage was the initial inspiration for the director to create the film in the first place.

Inscape director Nathalie Robison with Myrocia Watamaniuk, Senior Programmer

Dir: Daniel Lundquist
USA, 4 minutes

Boris uses a very organic animation technique that gives the film a relentless feel as the image expand and collapse from pre-existing images on the screen. The story itself is voiced over and shown literally about a boy named Boris who really loves his drum. Relentlessly. At 4 minutes it is the perfect length for the bizarre tempo of the excursion.

Made Up
Dir: Owen Eric Wood
Canada, 5 minutes

Identity, desires, likes, stereotypes and judgements are all explores in this 5 minute short. The beauty of it is that the timing and pace of the film is perfect, it is subtle enough to get the point across but also provided the opportunity to check in on moments where you think "but didn't I just see...?" A sensitive touch to a button pushing topic provides a safe space to listen, think and explore judgement without feeling judged. Quite a feat, this film is a rare gem.

Highlights from Q&A with Made Up director/writer/actor Owen Eric Wood
- In response to question regarding inspiration and previous work, there is a connection to the first video the director created which used a similar method of turning his own image to that of his Dad who looks exactly like him but 30 years older. It essentially aged him and brought up the question that as much as we want to be individuals we can't deny our family or genetics.
- With regards to what he hopes people take away from the film is that they don't believe all of the things said in the film, although he likes creating tension and blurring there lines but there are things said that he doesn't believe.
-The film is about change process and converting. It's an analogy of coming out to breaking out of the social norms but then faced with the gay community that has another set of social norms that you are expected to conform to that is contradictory in terms of breaking out of the first, like a paradox.
- Next project is performance art on the street/bus called “The Clothes That Make The Man” as a part of the Montreal International Festival of Art in July.

Made Up director Owen Eric Wood and Myrocia Watamaniuk, Senior Programmer

Paul Rondin Is... Paul Rondin / Paul Rondin est... Paul Rondin
Dir: Frederick Vin
Cast: Francois Berland
France, 10 minutes

A lot of people take their work home with them. But what if you took it around with you - everywhere you go, and what if your work was being 'the voice' in movie trailers? Often socially awkward but always delightful, this great short film is a must for film buffs and anyone who walks to the beat of a slightly different tune.

Acting for the Camera
Dir: Justin Nowell
Cast: Joe Urla, Mallory June
USA, 14 minutes

Imagine an acting class where you are get the restaurant scene from When Harry Met Sally. Now imagine the acting teacher is a bully to the female student but also throws around phrases like "This is a safe place for you". Uncomfortable throughout, and although there is an argument in there that there is a 'message', I don't particularly know was to benefit from it. It's listed as a comedy, and there was laughter in the audience, some nervous, some not, which overall just made it more uncomfortable.

Love You More
Dir: Sam Taylor-Wood
Cast: Harry Treadaway, Andrea Riseborough
UK, 15 minutes

Fantastic and feverish short set in 1978 with two teens faced with a solitary copy of the new Buzzcocks single. Amazing blend of curiosity, tension and passion it's no suprize this short received a 2009 BAFTA nomination for Best Short Film for films in 2008.



Dir: Seaton Lin
Cast: Richard Lund, Mari Stamper
USA, 4 minutes

Interpretive re-enactment of 1960s hypnosis sessions that indicate an abduction. Interesting idea, and had the creepy factor going but somehow felt longer than 4 minutes.

Dir: Ryan Nagata
Cast: Mike McCafferty, Justin Roiland, Dean Pelton
USA, 15 minutes

Sci fi parody that successfully plays with classic Star Trek and B movie geekdom in some new and creative ways. Unfortunate that one off colour joke pulled the charm out. So close to being 100% enjoyable.

The Survivor of the Hippocampus / Le rescapé de l'hippocampe
Dir: Julien Lecat
Cast: Juliette Noureddine, Jean-Pierre Martins, Frans Boyer, Simon Buret
France, 13 minutes

Brilliant short film that manages to visually bring the unimaginable to screen with a bizarre story, creative art direction and a sense of humour to boot. This is great science fiction at work, giving us a fantastic story that feels ludicrous yet works in every way through moments of wide eyed surprize, laughter and sorrow. Beautiful.

Highlights of Q&A with The Survivor of the Hippocampus / Le rescapé de l'hippocampe director Julien Lecat:
-the project was really fast as it was for a contest and chosen in September and by January, 4 months later, everything had to be in place financially and with the locations
-the location was in France where they make cognac, this ties in as the character drinks alcohol it was interesting to have this setting.

Andrew David Long, Festival Manager with Julien Lecat director The Survivor of the Hippocampus

Cold and Dry / Tørt og kjølig
Dir: Kristoffer Joner
Cast: Jeppe Laursen, Ingar Helge Gimle, Edward Schultheiss
Norway, 12 minutes

Perfect Science Fiction. The story is based in an idea that is completely thought out, interesting, believable but still makes you think. It is social commentary presenting a sad what if? scenario however includes well placed humour and in between we gently ponder big questions like the meaning of life, living and everything. A true stand out film.

Captain Coulier (Space Explorer)
Dir: Lyndon Casey
Cast: Conor Casey, Cody Gear, Dillon Casey, Rachel Petrie, Jay McCarrol
Canada, 13 minutes

The audience was in stitches over this Canadiana space parody that played with the question of what a captain would be like if nothing really happened in space. Interesting idea, however fell back on reinforcing gender stereotypes for comedy.

Highlights of Q&A with Captain Coulier (Space Explorer) director Lyndon Casey:
- two of the actors in the film are his older brothers and Second City trained
- there was a script and they had intention for every scene but there was also a lot of improvisation
- they were several different endings
- they hope to make more films with the characters

Lyndon Casey director of Captain Coulier (Space Explorer) with Andrew David Long, Festival Manager

The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 08: News to Week of June 12, 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 08 is up!

What's new in the Twilight World? Head on over to Before the Dawn to check out Marina & I's discuss the News to Week of June 12, 2009 including the MMVA's, interviews in Metro News, Nurse Jackie, New Moon Trailer breaking records and more.

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast is a weekly 1/2 hour podcast meeting all your audio Twilight needs!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Dir: Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Only the Lonely)
Regular Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis
Additional Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, Toby Jones, Shirley Henderson, Bonnie Wright, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, Hugh Mitchell
2002, UK/USA/Germany

Originally Seen: I believe originally seen at what-was-then the Paramount, and then a second time at the Revue

Revisited: * June 14 & 15th, 2009

The second film in the Harry Potter series is a lovely extension of the world we are introduced to in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Where the first film allowed us to see a magical world the second provides us with an opportunity to get more grounded in it.

The friendships between Harry, Hermoine and Ron are strengthened, and we also have the growing tension with Draco and the Slytherin house by the introduction of many of their family members who may have only had brief or no screen time in the first film. This is a brilliant way to keep the film and characters real as that is what happens with actual friendships at that age. It also provides the view with the opportunity to see various dynamics of the magical families. I will admit my favourite one is the Weasley’s. Who wouldn’t want to live at their crazy house? Molly Weasley is on my favourite film characters list but after seeing this one I am a littlee sad I left off Ron's father Arthur from the list. I love his earnest and strongly curious nature and of course his openness and sense of adventure.

Although we are introduced to various new things about the wizarding world, the second year at Hogwarts doesn’t feel too much different from the first. It has a gentle progression of the world, new ways of getting into trouble and a lot of disruption. The plot is strongly tied to a mystery element, and even though the first film does the same thing, I wonder if that is one reason why people don’t tend to like the second film so much. I think it is even safe to say that it is the least liked of the series, but not for me. Perhaps it’s the age as second year is all about being 12, a very awkward age of not really a kid but not yet a teen and that is mirrored by themes of planning, patience and needing help. Again, no favourite or fun things in that list for many. The trio is still are very young, and I think getting to true darkness would be too early for those still in the land of crushes and branching out to only a few new experiences.

The trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione is well played in this film and they really feel like a solid group friends at this point and it is great to see that friendship grow. We are also introduced to some wonderful new characters in this film, and one of my favourites is the charming and smug Gilderoy Lockhart as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher played by Kenneth Branagh. Wow, what an infusion of light and goofy energy this adds to the film. He has a sense of ease and confidence but so superficial. As a polar opposite we get to see Lucius Malfoy (played brilliantly by Jason Isaacs) as Draco’s father whom sheds light to families whom aren’t quite as good natured as say, The Weasleys. A few notes on the smaller but beautiful casting choices with Shirley Henderson as the shrill Moaning Murtle and Hugh Mitchell as ever enthusiastic photographically inclined Colin Creevey.

I think I like the second film more than most and it was a treat to revisit. In fact after the film was done I left the DVD running in the player and just the menu music is soothing.

Shannon's Overall View:
I love it
I own it in glorious full screen DVD
I'd recommend to fans of magic, fantasy and adventure

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* in anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday July 15, 2009, I am doing a weekly countdown to watch & review of the first five Harry Potter films

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 Day 1 - Tuesday June 16/09


Day 1 of the Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009 started off with a fantastic collection of shorts. The program that opens the festival is Award Winners from Around the World which brings award winning films to the screen from as far away as France, Australia, UK to homegrown and more. The lineup at the Bloor Cinema started early and once everyone was settled in the theatre it had that great sparkling energy of opening night. Having Norman Jewison was in the house helped, as did the seven spectacular shorts.

Slawko Klymkiw, Executive Director of the CFC Introduces the Evening

Eileen Arandiga, Festival Director

Next Floor
Dir: Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique)
Cast: Jean Marchand, Simon Chevalot
Canada, 12 minutes

It's not often I'd rave over a darkly, delicious and grisly film but Next Floor hits all the right marks. Perfectly crafted and balances being way past the line of what is comfortable but always wanting to see what will happen next. A triumph.

Dir: Julius Avery
Cast: Tristan Burke, Walter Currie
Australia, 14 minutes

A day in the life of a few scuffy kids, at the age where your enemies can still be your friends. What trouble will they get into today? Only time will tell but it is certain kids will be kids. There was an odd sense of calm in this film that showed a fair amount of turmoil, which I appreciated as it felt like it gave the audience permission to relax and just see what happened next.

Gone Fishing
Dir: Chris Jones
Cast: Devon Murray, Bill Paterson
UK, 13 minutes

Gone Fishing took me by surprize. I could tell it was going to be sentimental from the setting and music but it got to me emotionally. Very touching but refreshingly and funny look at life, family and going fishing.

The Secret Life of Beards
Dir: Melanie Levy
USA, 6 minutes

Initial reaction to this short was that it was a pretty literal documentary about men with beards. After sitting with it for a bit I realized it touches on a huge array of topics from gender, power, religion, preconceptions, presumptions and stereotypes. All in 6 minutes. The crowd loved it.

Dir: Jeremy Clapin
France, 14 minutes

This short knocked my socks off, 91cm to be exact. Brillant animated film about a fellow who inadvertantly becomes 91cm away from himself. Verbal description doesn't do it justice as it is a visual play on bizarre idea. Toying with practical solutions to an uncanny situation we are treated to spectacular display of creativity that you can't help by admire and honour through laughter.

The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs from June 16-21, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012