Saturday, 28 February 2009

Closure: Lit Flicks & Companion Challenge

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Back in October I took up the Lit Flicks Challenge and it's Companion Challenge, the (combined) goal was to read 5 books that were turned into films, watch the films and write about them between September 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009. Starting a month into the challenges I thought this would be no sweat - 4 months for 5 books and 5 films? Sure thing, sign me up! My original post including book and film choices is here.

Oh my goodness, did I fail miserably! I did start of strong reading and seeing Memoirs of a Geisha. Loved the book. Loved it. In fact, if nothing else I am happy I took the challenge just to have read the book. I enjoyed but didn't love the film, which retrospectively I can see as the reasoning why I didn't review it. Especially as it is full of actors I love like Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe and Kôji Yakusho. The next book I tackled for the challenge was "Eragon", which I thought would be a fast read but nope it wasn't. I still haven't finished it, in part because I didn't love the writing style but also found the main character a little whiny and not that likeable. I still would like to finish it at some point.

There was one barrier I didn't anticipate for the timing of this challenge. Almost all the reading I do is while I'm waiting for or on the bus, streetcar or subway. Let's look at that timing again - October through February.... in Toronto. Let me fill in the blanks for you:

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Yeah, so - it like snows a lot and is cold here. My hands were often tucked away in my pockets and not holding a book to read. I'm not a read at home type so this totally dampened my progress. And once I felt like I wouldn't cross the finish line with flying colours I left the goals to the wayside.

Oddly, I did manage to make it through some other books including "New Moon", "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn" from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers. Enjoyed "New Moon" the most by fair. I've heard rumours that there is a fifth book in the works as well which was surprizing. I also read those at lightning fast pace, I haven't done that since I was a kid.

I also read "Dead Until Dark" by Charlaine Harris, the book the tv series 'True Blood' is based on. Fun book although it pretty much is the same arch as first season of the show. Keeping with the book to film theme I just finished "City of Ember" by Jeanne DuPlau and loved it - it's a kids book and another really quick read, finished it in a week on transit.

The last book I'll mention has no screen adaptation as far as I know but it's a fantastic book: "Beggars in Spain" by Nancy Kress. It's Sci-Fi but very accessible (i.e. not tech heavy) but brillant. I haven't read a book with that kind of wide eye curiosity of what would happen next since "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. Huge recommendation from me to you on that one.

So, here we are on February 28, 2009 and I only got though about 25% complete on the challenge. But, I am thrilled that I did end up reading a lot of great books and learning it's cold in the winter (duh). On the film side, although I didn't get to the 5 I thought I would I did manage to watch 114 during the time period. So, I'm good with that.

Last but not least, a big shout out to The Bluestocking Society and Bitchin' Film Reviews for hosting the challenges - they certainly challenged me!

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Friday, 27 February 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday February 27, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday February 27, 2009! Quiet week for releases this week with only 4 new films gracing theatres today. Take your pick from 2 French Canadians films which were selected for Canada's Top Ten 2008, a concert 'experience' or video game rebootin'. Psst... go for Canadian!

Speaking of, both our limited releases this are Canadian and films that explore very different family situations in Quebec. C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It's Not Me, I Swear!, based on the memoir by Bruno Hébert follows a trouble 10 year old as his family deals with change in 1968. Lost Song shows the strange and powerful journey of new motherhood and identity.

In wide release this week we have Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li based on the Street Fighter video games and starring Kristin Kreuk. Our last release of the week is Jonas Brothers: The 3D Experience concert film.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival
6th Annual film festival celebrating film about visual art and artists
Continues until - March 1, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Caribbean Tales Youth Film Festival
Continues until - 27, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Human Rights Watch
Continues until - March 5 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

World of Comedy Film Festival
February 27 - March 1 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

Shaun of the Dead &
Hot Fuzz double bill
Presented by director Edgar Wright on Saturday February 28, 2009 at The Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Almost Advance Screening

The much anticipated graphic novel adaptation, Watchmen will be released next Friday March 6, 2009 but various theatres have screenings Thursday March 5, 2009 just before, on or after 12midnight.

Friday February 27, 2009 Releases

C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It's Not Me, I Swear!
Dir: Philippe Falardeau (Congorama)
Cast: Antoine L'Écuyer, Suzanne Clément, Daniel Brière, Gabriel Maillé, Catherine Faucher
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Dir: Bruce Hendricks (Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour)
Concert film featuring the Jonas Brothers
USA
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Lost Song

Writer/Dir: Rodrigue Jean (Yellowknife, Full Blast)
Cast: Suzie LeBlanc, Patrick Goyette, Marilou Longpré Pilon, Ginette Morin
Canada
Limited Release
More info at: Telefilm Canada website, Domino Film, IMDb Page

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak (Doom, Romeo Must Die)
Cast: Kristin Kreuk, Chris Klein, Michael Clarke Duncan, Josie Ho, Neal McDonough, Robin Shou, Moon Bloodgood, Pei-pei Cheng
Canada/India/USA/Japan
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of February 27, 2009**

Thursday, 26 February 2009

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Dir: George Mihalka (Les Boys IV, Pinball Summer)
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Cynthia Dale, Don Francks, Peter Cowper
Canada, 1981

Seen: Jan 25, 2009 (original version) & Feb 21, 2009 (with deleted scenes)

Reason to see: It was one of the picks for February for the Final Girl Film Club. I chose it over the newly released with 9 or so extra seconds edition of Friday the 13th (1980).

I have no idea what compelled me to watch the original film instead of just going for the straight up uncut version. Perhaps because it is a film I likely would have seen in its original version, but hadn't, so thought original than uncut would be a more authentic experience.

The film is a lot of fun, I think what I appreciated the most about it was how Canadian it felt. Not in an artsy fartsy way, but how it felt like regular folk at their regular jobs who have fun after work and plan for parties on holidays. Yes, I'm sure this happens worldwide but there was certainly a homey quality that made it extra charming. That is until all hell breaks loose! It is a slasher movie after all, and it has all the classic elements required: creepy backstory, young people messing around, a 'nice town' and of course a menacing baddie in a crazy outfit and claustrophobic location. Seriously, whoever thought of using a mine as a location is a genius. And the miner mask? Jeepers, gives me the creeps!

The effects ranged from a few "what is that?" to "ewwwwwwww I know what that is!" but were always impressive, especially considering it's from 1981. The uncut version certainly gave you 'more'. More blood, more guts, more effect, more impaling, more everything for any scene that ended in someones demise. My only beef with that was watching it on DVD the quality of the image from the regular to the delete scenes was extremely obvious as it when from crystal clear to grainy. But! It made it clear to tell it was the extra footage and that it was going to get beyond bloody.

It was my intention to see this at the January screening at the Bloor which would have been a 35mm print uncut for the very first time presented by Rue Morgue, and even had director George Mihalka in attendance! I was so excited. But, as it turns out it was a freaking cold day (January in Toronto can be like that), so I decided to call it quits. A blessing in disguise as that night the entire West End of the city fell under a blackout, including the theatre. So, I snagged the DVD from Best Buy of all places and watched from the comfort of home. Twice.

Warnings: Not for the faint of heart.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend for fans of classic slasher films

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Different Strokes All Around: Canadian, North American & UK Box Office February 20, 2009 weekend

It's a week of surprizes at the box office with different #1 Films here in Canada (Slumdog Millionaire), North America (Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail) and the UK (Bolt - for the second week). Also Canada has it's quietest number 1 at $1.10 million and North America has it's strongest at $42.12 million. Very few other films with a debut this week made high marks on the charts, Fired Up! popped on the charts around the 8/9 mark in Canada and North America and although Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail was number one in North America, it ranked 18th here in Canada. There definitely are a strong number of Oscar films still in the mix, it will be interesting to see the numbers next week since now the awards have been presented.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the February 20, 2009 weekend
1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. He's Just Not That Into You
3. Confessions of a Shopaholic
4. Taken
5. Coraline
6. Friday the 13th
7. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
8. Fired Up *
9. The International
10. The Pink Panther 2
11. Push
12. The Reader
13. Hotel For Dogs
14. Gran Torino
15. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
16. The Wrestler
17. Jag Jeondeyan De Mele *
18. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail *
19. Polytechnique
20. Milk

Top 20 Movies in North American for the February 20, 2009 weekend
1. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail *
2. Taken
3. Coraline
4. He's Just Not That Into You
5. Slumdog Millionaire
6. Friday the 13th
7. Confessions of a Shopaholic
8. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
9. Fired Up *
10. The International
11. The Pink Panther 2
12. Gran Torino
13. Push
14. The Reader
15. Hotel For Dogs
16. The Wrestler
17. The Uninvited
18. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
19. Milk
20. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the February 20, 2009 weekend
1. Bolt
2. Confessions of a Shopaholic *
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Hotel for Dogs
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
6. He's Just Not That Into You
7. Push *
8. The Pink Panther 2
9. Notorious
10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

* indicates opening weekend in noted location

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Monday, 23 February 2009

Spirit Awards

27th Annual Spirit Awards (2011 Films)
27th Annual Spirit Awards Winners
27th Annual Spirit Awards Nominations

26th Annual Spirit Awards (2010 Films)
26th Annual Spirit Awards Winners
26th Annual Spirit Awards Nominations

25th Annual Spirit Awards (2009 Films)
25th Annual Spirit Awards Winners
25th Annual Spirit Awards Nominations


24th Annual Spirit Awards (2008 Films)

24th Annual Spirit Awards Winners
24th Annual Spirit Awards Nominations

See more at the Spirit Awards Website

Poll Results: The Oscars are this Sunday. Where will you be?

Over 90% of us were watching the Oscar last night, the majority of us were at home (42%) or at a party or Oscar event (28%) or even the host of the event (7%). Only 14% decided to check in periodically and 7% were not going to watch.

There certainly was a different vibe this year and overall seemed to be received well. I was thrilled only 1 time did the music swell someone out of a speech (where there were 3 winners). Hugh Jackman was a great host but other than the musical numbers it felt like it ran without a host. My only big beef was that the 'In Memory' montage the camera was swerving all over the place on the montage. It's a montage - let the images speak for themselves and keep the camera static.

42% - Watching at Home
28% - At an Oscar Party/Event
14% - Checking in Periodically
7% - Hosting an Oscar Party/Event
7% - I'm Not Watching the Oscars

Thanks for voting!

81st Academy Awards (for films in 2008)

81st Academy Awards for films released in 2008 just came to a close and the overall the tally speaks to a sweep: Slumdog Millionaire 8, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 3, Milk 2, The Dark Knight 2 all other films that won were for 1 category. Many predictions people are happy but we certainly had a few surprizes. The winners themselves are certainly from various prediction polls but the main difference was the format of the show which included musical numbers and new montages for romance and action films.

The word on the street was that they were appealing to the younger crowd which explains the Zac Efron and Robert Pattison appearances. They also had a huge infusion of appreciation of non-nominated films. The biggest change I felt was to the introduction to acting awards, all the supporting and lead acting noms are introduced by previous winners who honour the nominees by describing their role in the film as well as film as a whole. It was also refreshing to see so few speeches cut off. A.R. Rahman winning right before performing and doing both so well!

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Sean Penn in Milk

Performance by an actor in a Supporting Role
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Kate Winslet in The Reader

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
WALL-E Andrew Stanton

Achievement in Art Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo

Achievement in Cinematography
Slumdog Millionaire , Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in Costume Design
The Duchess, Michael O’Connor

Achievement in Directing
Slumdog Millionaire , Danny Boyle

Best Documentary Feature
Man on Wire, James Marsh and Simon Chinn

Best Documentary Short Subject
Smile Pinki A Principe Production, Megan Mylan

Achievement in Film Editing
Slumdog Millionaire , Chris Dickens

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Departures, Japan

Achievement in Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Greg Cannom

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original Score)
Slumdog Millionaire , A.R. Rahman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original Song)
Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire , Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Slumdog Millionaire, Christian Colson, Producer

Best Animated Short Film
La Maison en Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato

Best Live Action Short Film
Spielzeugland, Jochen Alexander Freydank

Achievement in Sound Editing
The Dark Knight , Richard King

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Slumdog Millionaire , Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

Achievement in Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron

Adapted Screenplay
Slumdog Millionaire , Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original Screenplay
Milk, Written by Dustin Lance Black

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Jerry Lewis

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Tonight is the Night! Twittering through the Academy Awards

I'll be live tweeting through the the Academy Awards as of 8pm EST tonight. Feel free to login or join Twitter and to join the fun or you can see the Movie Moxie Twitter stream and just hit F5 for a refresher. I will also be dropping by the chat over at Row Three and chatting with the gang over there.

If you need to refresh your memory for whose is looking to hold that Oscar statue tonight, you can browse through nominee lists here.

The Academy Awards will begin tonight, Sunday February 22, 2009 starting at 8pm EST on ABC. They've noted the first half hour to Red Carpet and the Awards from 8:30-11:30 but it has been known to go to midnight.

24th Annual Spirit Awards Winners

There was a lot of love for The Wrestler at the Spirit Awards, picking up best picture, male lead (Mickey Rourke) and cinematography. Seeing the truncated version on the AMC repeat of the awards almost all awards were shown and of them the most touching acceptance speech had to have been Melissa Leo for best female lead for her performance in Frozen River. The big surprize was how few surprizes there were, as the awards for the majority went to the favourites and wider distributed of the independant films. But, with such fine films to choose from I don't think anyone could complain with the results.

And the winners are....

Best Feature
The Wrestler

Best Director
Tom McCarthy - The Visitor

Best First Feature
Charlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel - Synecdoche, New York

John Cassavetes Award
In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best First Screenplay
Dustin Lance Black - Milk

Best Female Lead
Melissa Leo - Frozen River

Best Male Lead
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Best Supporting Female
Penélope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Male
James Franco - Milk

Best Foreign Film
The Class / Entre les murs

Best Documentary
Man on Wire

Best Cinematography
The Wrestler

Robert Altman Award
Synecdoche, New York
Charlie Kaufman (Director), Jeanne McCarthy (Casting Director), Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams

Piaget Producers Award
Heather Rae - Frozen River

Acura Someone to Watch Award
Lynn Shelton - My Effortless Brilliance

Lacoste Truer Than Fiction Award
Margaret Brown - The Order of Myths

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Spirit Awards - Update

I was looking forward to live tweeting through the Spirit Awards today at 5pm which will be 'Live and Uncut' on IFC at 5pm EST. Unfortunately it is not on IFC here in Canada so it will not be on TV in the Great White North until the repeat on AMC Canada at 10pm EST. If you need a refresher on the nominees check them out here.

So, as it won't be live I won't be live tweeting but will be sure to share thoughts on the show and the winners list after the (repeat) broadcast.

Update to update (4:45pm) - looks like it might be live streamed here. Well shall see if it keeps up during the show.

Update on previous update (5:08pm) - the live streaming is the press room at the awards, not the actual awards. I'm going to watch the edited version on AMC later tonight

Friday, 20 February 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday February 20, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday February 20, 2009! Holy smokes we have a lot to get to this week. 7 new releases, 4 festivals, 2 specials screenings and 3 awards shows including the Academy Awards! You couldn't see anything if you tried! Get your picky-choosy hat on and delve into the details of what is going on this week in Toronto and beyond!

In limited release this week we have the long awaited biopic Che from director Steven Soderbergh. Continuing with the historical theme, Cadillac Records is set in the 1950's and follows the stories of Chess Records including artists Etta James and Muddy Waters. Included in this weeks limited releases we have the Canadian The Necessities of Life / Ce qu'il faut pour vivre which has received 8 Genie nominations! I'll admit the trailer got me teary eyed and I couldn't even understand most of what was going on as I could only find a French & Inuktitut trailer.

In wide release this week we have the TIFF'08 Canadian closing night Gala: Stone of Destiny, a historical heist film where the object of desire is the Scottish Stone of Scone. We also have our first Tyler Perry film of the year with Madea Goes to Jail, which from the trailer feels like 2 films put into on as scenes with Madea character have a different feel from the rest of clips. We also have the teen comedy Fired Up about 2 football players who decide to go to cheer camp for a summer. Our Bollywood release of the week is Delhi-6.

I've forgone spoiler notations on trailers, 3 out of 7 of this weeks films are historically based and therefore fall into that odd place of 'it isn't a spoiler if you know the history' and I don't know if you know the history! Heck, I'm not sure I know this history! What I do know is in general, trailers are spoiler free for the first half, if you are really sensitive to spoilers only watch the first third. Or, be *wild* and just go see the film if it sounds interested! Old skool!

More than just releases, this week we also have three awards shows. Saturday is the Spirit Awards and the Razzies, and Sunday is one of the biggest nights in film of the year with Academy Awards. I'll be live tweeting through the Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards to keep you all up to date! Feel free to login or join Twitter and join the fun! Need nominations lists to refresh your memory. I got 'em: Academy Awards and Spirit Awards.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival
6th Annual film festival celebrating film about visual art and artists
February 26 - March 1, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Caribbean Tales Youth Film Festival
February 13 - 27, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Human Rights Watch
February 24 - March 5 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

World of Comedy Film Festival
February 27 - March 1 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screenings

Unspoiled Zombies
A blind double bill of zombie films!
Saturday February 21, 2009 at 7:30pm at Onofono, 193A Augusta Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

AMC Best Picture Showcase 2009
See all 5 of the best picture nominees at the AMC, Saturday February 21, 2009 starting at 10:30 AM. Toronto screening at the AMC at Yonge & Dundas in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
To find a location outside Toronto, check here

Friday February 20, 2009 Releases

Cadillac Records
Writer/Dir: Darnell Martin (Prison Song)
Cast: Beyoncé Knowles, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Cedric the Entertainer, Mos Def, Eamonn Walker
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Che
Dir: Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven, Traffic, Out of Sight)
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Julia Ormond, Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro, Catalina Sandino Moreno
Spain/France/USA
Limited Release
UK Film Site including trailer, IMDb Page: Part 1: The Argentine, Part 2: Guerrilla, Trailer

Delhi-6
Dir: Rakesh Omprakash Mehra (Rang De Basanti)
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Sheeba Chaddha
India
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Fired Up!
Dir: Will Gluck - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, David Walton
USA
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page, Trailer

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail
Writer/Dir: Tyler Perry (The Family That Preys, Meet the Browns, Daddy's Little Girls)
Cast: Tyler Perry, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ion Overman, Derek Luke, David Mann, Tamela J. Mann, Viola Davis
USA
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Necessities of Life / Ce qu'il faut pour vivre
Dir: Benoît Pilon (Nestor et les oubliés)
Cast: Natar Ungalaaq, Paul-André Brasseur, Éveline Gélinas
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site & French Trailer, IMDb Page

Stone of Destiny

Dir: Charles Martin Smith (The Snow Walker)
Cast: Charlie Cox, Billy Boyd, Kate Mara, Ciaron Kelly, Robert Carlyle, Peter Mullan
Canada/UK
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of February 20, 2009**

Thursday, 19 February 2009

My Week in Film - Last Push Before Oscar Night

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I'm in the last dash attempt to catch up with Oscar nominated films before the big day on Sunday. Breaking with tradition and posting midweek as I want to get my thoughts out there before the awards on Sunday. Enjoy the update!

For films available on DVD I caught up with Kung Fu Panda and Tropic Thunder. I really enjoyed Kung Fu Panda, in part it was so beautiful on my new TV I almost wanted to cry but also the story was much sweeter and inspiring than I had expected. I thought it would be all jokes and silliness, which there was lots of and it was fun, but it had a lot of heart. Tropic Thunder had, not so much heart unless you consider of the blowing up variety. I'm still surprized I watched it at all because it held no interest to me but it certainly had entertaining meta commentary of the film industry. I also have to admit, that Robert Downey Jr. was phenomenal. There, I've admitted it. That makes 2 more films for the vault. Big thank you to my sister Jamie & her honey for lending them to me!

I also trekked out to the theatre on the new 'Family Day' holiday for a triple bill! I saw two of the biggie Oscar nominations: Milk and Frost/Nixon. It's interesting that there are both historical, Americana, issue-focused and set in the 1970's. I enjoyed both of them but have to say that Frost/Nixon showed too much of the good stuff in the previews. Milk definitely touched the crowd and I was very impressed with the performance by Sean Penn. It was great to see pretty substantial houses for both the films, people are getting out there! Yay!

I can't say so much for the other film in the triple bill: Friday the 13th (2009). Oh my. I don't know why I went or what I was expecting but it was ... well to be fair it was a slasher film. I expected more, who knows why! It was a really quiet house, about 10 folks in there at the noon-ish screening and 2 of them walked out.

Other non-Oscar films that fit my screen were Johnnie To's Sparrow (now struck off my owned but unseen list!) which was very sweet. It's the first Johnnie To film I've seen and I'd hazard a guess that sweet & quirky isn't his usual style but it worked very well. Nothing like a group of misfit pickpockets to brighten the day. Last but not least, only because Friday the 13th takes that cake, was Never Back Down. As I expected this teen fight-clubesque film is a testosterone in training version of a dance movie. If I had more time I would to a side-by-side comparison to Never Back Down and Step Up 2: The Streets because they are so similar.

I am planning on seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before the Oscar ceremony on Sunday night to round out seeing all the Best Picture nominees. How are you doing on Oscar nominations seen?

I'll be live tweeting through the Oscars and will also drop by the chat over at Row Three. Feel free to join the fun!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Jason vs Bolt! Canadian, North American & UK Box Office February 13, 2009 weekend

Well, Jason wins 2:1 as Friday the 13th takes the top spot in Canada & North America and the cute Bolt races to 1st in the UK. Both films are in their first week of release in respective locations as is often the case with the top dog. I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I shelled out my cash to see Friday the 13th, however since I went on Monday it didn't go to the weekend total. It is surprizing to see The International's debut lower on the scale at the 7 to 8 mark in Canada and North America considering the long and wide promotions. Most of the top contenders for the Oscars are still coming in with strong numbers as we head into the last few days before the big event this Sunday February 22, 2009.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the February 13, 2009 weekend
1. Friday the 13th *
2. He's Just Not That Into You
3. Confessions of a Shopaholic *
4. Taken
5. Coraline
6. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
7. The Pink Panther 2
8. The International *
9. Slumdog Millionaire
10. Push
11. Hotel For Dogs
12. Gran Torino
13. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
14. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
15. The Reader
16. The Uninvited
17. Polytechnique
18. The Wrestler
19. Revolutionary Road
20. Billu Barber *

Top 20 Movies in North America for the February 13, 2009 weekend
1. Friday the 13th *
2. He's Just Not That Into You
3. Taken
4. Confessions of a Shopaholic *
5. Coraline
6. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
7. The International *
8. The Pink Panther 2
9. Slumdog Millionaire
10. Push
11. Gran Torino
12. Hotel For Dogs
13. The Uninvited
14. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
15. The Reader
16. The Wrestler
17. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
18. My Bloody Valentine 3D
19. New in Town
20. Revolutionary Road

Top 10 Movies in UK for the February 13, 2009 weekend
1. Bolt *
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. He's Just Not That Into You
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Hotel for Dogs *
6. Friday the 13th *
7. Notorious *
8. The Pink Panther 2
9. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
10. My Bloody Valentine

* indicates opening weekend in noted location

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Friday the 13th (2009)

Dir: Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder)
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Derek Mears, Aaron Yoo, Travis Van Winkle
USA, 2009

Seen: February 16, 2009 at AMC Yonge & Dundas

Reason to see: Ah, retrospectively I'm not sure why I went to see this. Interest in the horror genre I suppose.

Is it sad to start this review off by saying I expected more from this film? I wasn't expecting anything spectacular but I thought it would at least be scary. The film does get the series back to it's roots by selecting Crystal Lake as the setting from the first film, and although it does have a few interesting ideas the majority of the film reads like Part II where there story is basically the setting and the focus is on creative kills, gore and nudity.

For fans of the series, there is a fair amount of homage love from music to props to even just being back at Crystal Lake. I also would have to say the performance by Travis Van Winkle as 'the jerk boyfriend' Trent was spot on.

I might be done on slasher movies with this one. We shall see.

Warnings: Violence, gratuitious nudity

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I wouldn't watch it again, although curious to check out earlier ones in the series
I'd recommend it only for horror fans of the slasher variety

15 minutes of preshow including 6 previews: Race to Witch Mountain, Watchmen, The Last House of the Left, Obsessed, Observe & Report and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

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Dir: Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 3 Men and a Baby)
Regular Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig
Additional Cast: Catherine Hicks, Majel Barrett, Mark Lenard, Robin Curtis, Brock Peters
USA, 1986

Originally Seen: I definitely saw this one in the theatre when it came out

Revisited: February 15, 2009

Reason to Revisit: For the Countdown to Star Trek Movie Marathon

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home came out in 1986 which means we are getting to films where I strongly remember seeing them during their theatrical release and this one I certainly saw in the theatre. Upon re-visiting it was wild to see that I only remembered in parts of the film. In fact, if I saw the beginning section out of context I wouldn't be able to tell which Trek movie it was, especially as aesthetically it had a lot of similarities to the Star Wars universe with numerous aliens and a strong military and/or court settings shown. But, that really is just the set up as the majority of the film is set in San Francisco in what translates to 'current day' for 1986.

I've never been a huge fan of when they go 'historically similar to earth' planets on The Original Series, but this one charmed me over. There is a lot of goofy humour with misunderstanding current culture as well as with Spock's re-education and overly literal translations, both of which are rather charming. There is great chemistry between the cast although the focus is strongly honed in on Spock and Kirk.

It stands up on its own as a film, but in terms of the Star Trek universe it seems to have 'forgotten' about The Prime Directive of not interfering with the development of a culture, perhaps it was overlooked as it was a past Earth as opposed to another culture. This concept is used heavily in Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond, however it was used a part of The Original Series in the episode The Omega Glory.

They didn't tackle that concept but there are numerous other issues that were brought into the larger picture including environmentalism, conservation (save the whales) and reinforcing the idea of medicine being vastly improved in the future. All of these can leave the viewer feeling like the the world was pretty messed up at the time, but the beauty of Star Trek is that it leaves us with a glimmer of an optimistic future.


Shannon's Overall View:

I enjoyed it more than expected
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as fun film

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Monday, 16 February 2009

My Week in Film

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The big news around here is getting a new TV. It's almost as big as me! Well the box is almost as tall as me. That being said, I didn't even make it out to the theatre this week! I've been gazing misty eyed at that screen for days. I wish I could share a pic of how clear it is but y'know... copyright is there for a reason.

Since I didn't see anything new, we can double back a bit to Canada's Top Ten as a bit of catch up. It's perfect timing with the Genie nominations as there is a lot of crossover. Out of the top then films I loved Maman est chez le coiffeur / Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s, which turns out that it is based on the same family as C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It’s Not Me, I Swear!. Both films are based on memoirs family members so there are similar themes between the film but they hold up as their own stories as well. It was great to see the full house for Adoration, followed by a Q&A with director Atom Egoyan. There were quite a few Q&A's over the series including after Pontypool, the small town Ontario zombie-ish film with director Bruce McDonald in in attendance. Many of the films now have 2009 release dates, you can check out the upcoming film schedule here.

This week is all about the mad dash to see what I can left for Oscar nominated films. I have been resisting this year, feeling more drawn to 2009 releases. But, I can't imagine not seeing at least all the best picture nominees and since I'm only at 2/5 that is the task of the week to see the remaining 3 (Milk, Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

If you need to catch up and are free on Feb 21 you are lucky lucky as AMC theatres are showing all 5 of the best picture nominees at a steal of a price: $30. If you have a Movie Watcher card it's only $25. Either way you get to see all the films plus unlimited refills on a free large popcorn. More info on that here.

Poll Results: What is Your Favourite Feature Creature

We are going classic as well as shiny new with Vampires taking the blood cake as your favourite feature creature with an impressive 41%. Zombies are attacking with a slow walk behind them at 20%. Werewolves are lining the fringes of the forest at 13%. Aliens hover silently at a measly 10% (perhaps they erased some memories) and Androids/Robots tag along with mutations at a 6%.

Here are the numbers:

41% - Vampire
20% - Zombie
13% - Werewolf
10% - Alien
6% - Android/Robot
6% - Mutation

Thanks for voting!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

101 Films to See

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I love lists. Making lists, carrying around lists, revisiting lists and especially crossing things off lists when they are complete! About three years ago I made a great list: 101 Films I Can't Believe I Haven't Seen and the plan was to see them all in 1001 days, which was completed just before midnight of the last day. Overall it was a great experience, so I'm going for round 2 and this time it's literally a 'Films to See' list. I drew inspiration from a variety of sources, the nominees list for the 31 Flicks That Give You the Willies list for filling in some of the blanks for horror films, the Movies You Should See Top 1000 Movies You Like list, the Stephen Jay Schneider book "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", the IMDb Top 250 and of course I threw in a bunch of stuff I just want to see as well as the inevitable 'films people always talk about'. Once I filtered out all the films I had seen from those lists I was left with just over 1000 films. It was a challenge to narrow it down to 101, but I excluded films I already own (that is a different challenge), would be near impossible to find and anything I've already requested either from zip.ca or the library. Time to embark on another fun film adventure!

Start Date: February 15, 2009
End Date: November 13, 2011

Films Seen 71/101

Incomplete, but finished - see my post on the experience here.

1. 400 Blows, The (seen August 27, 2009, Vlog)
2. Aguirre, Wrath of God (seen May 25, 2009, Vlog)
3. Amarcord (seen Oct 17, 2009, Vlog)
4. American Psycho (see Apr 17, 2009, Vlog)
(5. Amores Perros (turned off) removed) *
6. Apartment, The (seen Feb 28, 2009, Vlog)
7. Barry Lyndon (seen Feb 4, 2011)
8. Barton Fink (seen Oct 30, 2009, Vlog)
9. Battle Royale
10. Beast Cops / Yeshou xingjing
11. Before Sunset (seen June 1, 2009)
12. Belle et la Bete (seen Oct 17, 2009, Vlog)
13. Black Christmas (1974)
14. Black Sabbath (seen October 28, 2009, Vlog)
15. Blow-Up (seen January 9, 2010, Vlog)
16. Bob Le Flambeur (seen April 5, 2009, Vlog)
17. Boondock Saints (seen October 22, 2010)
18. Bride of Frankenstein (seen March 21, 2009, Vlog)
19. Brides of Dracula, The (seen January 23, 2010, Vlog)
20. Brood, The (seen Apr 12, 2009, Vlog)
21. Carnival of Souls
22. Cat People (1942) (seen September 17, 2010)
23. City of God (seen October 15, 2010)
24. Conversation, The (seen March 7, 2009, Vlog)
25. Cool Hand Luke (seen March 10, 2010, Vlog)
26. Day for Night (seen May 20, 2009, Vlog)
27. Dellamorte Dellamore / Cemetery Man
28. Dracula (1931) (seen Apr 18, 2009, Vlog)
29. Duck Soup (seen January 9, 2010, Vlog)
30. Earth (1998)
31. Eat Drink Man Woman
32. Eraserhead (seen January 20, 2010, Vlog)
33. Farewell My Concubine (seen June 4, 2009)
34. Faster, Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill!
35. Freaks
36. Ghost and Mrs Muir, The (seen April 4, 2009, Vlog)
37. Giant (seen March 10, 2010, Vlog)
38. Godzilla / Gojira (seen August 9, 2010)
39. Grand Illusion (seen June 4, 2009)
(40. Grave of the Fireflies) removed *
41. Great Silence, The
42. Hana-Bi
43. Hanging Garden, The (seen Oct 17, 2009, Vlog)
44. Happy Together (seen January 23, 2010, Vlog)
45. Harold and Maude (seen)
46. Harvey (seen May 23 2009, Vlog)
47. Hiroshima Mon Amour
48. House of Wax (1953) (seen April 18, 2010, Vlog)
49. Hustler, The (seen Dec 26, 2009, Vlog)
50. I Walked with a Zombie (seen Sept 13, 2010, Podcast)
51. If… (seen Feb 28, 2009, Vlog)
52. Infernal Affairs (seen November 20, 2010)
53. Iron Monkey (seen September 25, 2010)
54. Kaidan
55. Kes (seen July 3, 2010)
56. Kiltro (seen August 2, 2009, Vlog)
57. Kissed
58. Last House on the Left (1972)
59. Laura (1944) (seen June 21, 2009, Vlog)
60. Layer Cake (seen April 10, 2010, Vlog)
61. Léolo (seen Nov 7, 2009, Vlog)
62. Linda Linda Linda
63. Lonely Are the Brave
64. Love and Human Remains
65. Mad Detective (seen October 15, 2011)
66. Man from Laramie , The (June 30, 2009, Vlog)
67. Margaret's Museum (seen December 5, 2010)
68. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (seen May 23, 2009, Vlog)
69. Mon oncle Antoine (seen January 16, 2010, Vlog)
70. Night Tide
(*) Nosferatu (1922) (seen April 10, 2009, Vlog)
71. Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) (seen October 10, 2009, Vlog)
72. Onibaba (seen Apr 25,2009, Vlog)
73. Out of Africa (seen Nov 26, 2009, Vlog)
74. Papillon (seen July 10, 2010)
75. Passion of Joan of Arc , The (seen February 7, 2010, Vlog)
76. Persona (seen June 12, 2009, Vlog)
77. Phantasm
78. Possession (1981)
79. Possible Worlds
80. Quadrophenia
81. Rebecca (1940) (seen December 2, 2010)
82. Red River (seen March 21, 2009, Vlog)
83. Requiem For a Dream
84. Safe (seen December 5, 2009, Vlog)
(*) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
85. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (seen May 19, 2009, Vlog)
86. Sleuth (seen Apr 18/09, Vlog)
87. Star Is Born, A (seen August 8, 2009, Vlog)
88. Sting, The (seen October 10, 2009, Vlog)
89. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (seen November 25, 2010)
90. Sunset Blvd. (seen Apr 24,2009, Vlog)
91. Tale of Ugetsu, A
92. Tales from the Gimli Hospital
93. Tampopo
94. Tetsuo
95. Thing from Another World, The (seen Apr 23, 2009, Vlog)
96. Time of the Gypsies / Dom za vesanje
97. Vampyr (seen August 29, 2009, Vlog)
98. Westerner, The
99. Yi Yi (seen Dec 27, 2009, Vlog)
100. Zatoichi (seen March 7, 2009, Vlog)
101. Zodiac (seen November 25, 2010)

*replacements:
Amores Perros and it has been replaced with Nosferatu (1922)
Grave of the Fireflies has been replaced with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Friday, 13 February 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday February 13, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday February 13, 2009! This week is full of possible themes including Family Day for us Ontarians and Valentine's for the love birds. If your are tired of romcom Valentine's suggestions, check out my Untraditional Valentine's Day suggestions. It's doubly fitting as we don't even have a romance out this week!

In limited release this week we are in documentary fans dreamland with 3 docs coming out. First up is the Oscar nominated Trouble with Water about the Katrina aftermath. We also have 2 of the sea inspired films, Saving Luna about a whale who bridges the animal / human connection and Under the Sea 3D an IMAX adventure that shares the underwater world. Our last limited release is Billu Barber, a limited release Bollywood film which was hard to find info on but stars heavy hitters Shahrukh Khan and Irfam Khan.

In wide release this week we the timely release of Friday the 13th (2009), don't let the name fool you though it isn't a remake of the 29 year old original Friday the 13th but in a film in a long line of sequels. It does look very scary and I'm very tempted to check it out. Also out this week is The International, a thriller with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts but I'm more interested in seeing it solely for Ulrich Thomsen an astonishing Danish actor whose performance in Fear Me Not / Den du frygter at TIFF'08 blew me away. Keeping up with the idea of money themed films, our last wide release of the week is Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the novels by Sophie Kinsella.

Also in film news with week is the nominations for Genie Awards have been announced. Those who attended Canada's Top Ten 2008 got a chance to see many of the top nominated films such as Ce Qu'il Faut Pour Vivre / The Necessities of Life and Maman est chez le coiffeur / Mommy is at the Hairdresser’s. The Genies will take place Saturday April 4, 2009 in Ottawa.

Have a great Valentine's Day and "Family Day" long weekend.

Shannon

Festival Watch

Caribbean Tales Youth Film Festival
February 13 - 27, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

OzFlix
Australian Film Weekend
February 13 - 16, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2nd Annual Toronto-Romanian Film Festival
February 13 - 15 2009, at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

The Dark Night of the Scarecrow
When: Thursday February 19, 9:30pm at The Bloor
Screening of the 1981 made-for-tv horror classic.
Writer J.D. Feigelson will be in attendance for a Q&A.
This screening is presented by Rue Morgue as a part of their Cinemacabre Movie Nights

Saving Luna screenings at Yonge & Dundas Square on Friday February 13th, 2009 will have the filmmakers in attendance for Q&A's.

Friday February 13, 2009 Releases

Billu Barber
Dir: Priyadarshan (Kanchivaram, Bhool Bhulaiyaa)
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Irfam Khan
India
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailers, IMDb Page

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Dir: P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding, Muriel's Wedding)
Cast: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, Kristen Scott Thomas
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Friday the 13th (2009)
Dir: Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder)
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti, Danielle Panabaker, Derek Mears, Aaron Yoo, Travis Van Winkle
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer sight unseen, watch at own risk for spoilage!

The International
Dir: Tom Tykwer (Perfume: Story of a Murderer,
Run, Lola Run, Heaven)
Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Ulrich Thomsen, Armin Mueller-Stahl
USA/Germany/UK
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free until 1/2 way point

Saving Luna
Dir: Suzanne Chisholm & Michael Parfit - directorial debuts
Documentary on the whale Luna
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer is spoiler free

Trouble the Water
Dir: Tia Lessin (Behind the Labels) & Carl Deal - directorial debut
Documentary on the aftermath of hurricane Katrina
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Under the Sea 3D
Dir: Howard Hall (Deep Sea 3D)
Documentary on the underwater world, narrated by Jim Carrey
USA/Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer is spoiler free

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of February 13, 2009**

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Oh the Horror!

It's almost cliché to point out when a US horror film is a remake. It sure feels like there are a lot of remakes out there but that makes me wonder if that is just the impression we get or is it the truth.

The only way to find out is to look! So I'm going to look, track and share - what's a remake and what isn't. Horror also has a long standing history of sequels and continutations so I'm going to look at that as well. Lets see if instincts hold true.

It's no surprize to any film fan to hear of an American remake of a foreign horror film, how many have there been since 2002 with Ringu remade as The Ring? There afterwards we had Ju-On: The Grudge and The Grudge. While Japanese films are often the source for remakes, we have also seen the brilliant Spanish horror film [REC] remade as Quarantine, the South Korean Janghwa, Hongryeon / A Tale of Two Sisters turned into The Uninvited. Even Canadian horror isn't safe with both Prom Night and My Bloody Valentine being remade in recent history. If this trend looking to the Great White North for inspiration wasn't enough, the beautiful Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in is scheduled to be remade with a 2010 release date. Memory and research can unveil a lot but let's bring this back to the present. Let's keep an eye on our friends to the South and see what they get up to this year. For all of 2009 I'm going to keep track of all the American horror films released, and specifically to their inspiration. As horror also has a long standing history of sequels and continutations so I'm going to look at that as well. Lets see if instincts hold true.

Tally of American Horror films for 2009*: 47% Original / 53% Unoriginal

10 Original (47%)
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - based on book series by Darren Shan
Collector, The
Drag Me to Hell
Fourth Kind, The
Jennifer's Body
Orphan
Pandorum
Paranormal Activity
Unborn, The - an original!
Zombieland

6 Remakes (29%)
The Haunting in Connecticut - Based on a 2002 TV Documentary
The Last House on the Left - Remake of Wes Cravens 1972 The Last House on the Left
My Bloody Valentine 3D - Remake of the 1981 Canadian My Bloody Valentine
Sorority Row - Remake of the 1983 House on Sorority Row
Stepfather, The - Remake of the 1987 film of the same name
Uninvited, The - Remake of South Korean Janghwa, Hongryeon / A Tale of Two Sisters

5 Sequels/Continuations (24%)
Final Destination 3-D, The - 4th installment and 1st 3D film of this horror film chain.
Friday the 13th (2009) - One of a long line of sequels to the original Friday the 13th (1980)
Halloween II - Sequel to Rob Zombie's 2007 remake of the 1978 John Carpenter classic horror film, however not a remake of Halloween 2
Saw VI - 6th and final film in the Saw series
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - 3rd release of Underworld Series (prequel)

_____________

Alphabetical List of 2009 US Horror Releases
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Collector, The
Drag Me to Hell
Final Destination 3-D, The
Fourth Kind, The
Friday the 13th (2009)
Haunting in Connecticut, The
Halloween II
Jennifer's Body
Last House on the Left, The
My Bloody Valentine 3D
Orphan
Pandorum
Paranormal Activity
Saw VI
Sorority Row
Stepfather, The
Thirst / Bakjwi
Unborn, The
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Uninvited, The
Zombieland

*includes all US horror from films released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2009

Friday the 13th (1980)

Dir: Sean S. Cunningham (A Stranger is Watching, DeepStar Six)
Cast: Adrienne King, Jeannie Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Mark Nelson, Peter Brouwer, Betsy Palmer
USA, 1980

Seen: Sometime in the 80's, recently revisited January 3, 2009

Reason to see: In anticipation of the upcoming Friday the 13th to be released in February 2009

It was wild to go back and revisit this film, after not seeing it for over 20 years. Spawning a plethora of sequels, remakes and tie ins with other horror films we start with a very classic horror story. A bunch of camp councillors are prepping a camp, with a mysterious history for a re-opening. So, you have a setting of the great outdoors and a set of late teens with the opportunity of getting into mischief and things go awry. A simple enough premise, no? Simple and effective, which is why it's been used over and over again not only in the sequels, but in countless other horror films. It is a gem of a horror film and even breaks some new ground and included very effective use of 1st person camera work. The effects, for the most part, have held up extremely well over times and it certainly has a fair share of scares but also goofiness. Overall, I impressed. And.. it had Kevin Bacon in it!

Shannon's Overall View:
I was entertained
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as a fun horror flick

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Friday the 13th, Part 2

Dir: Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part III, House, Halloween H20, Lake Placid)
Cast: Amy Steel, John Furey, AdrienneKing, Kirsten Baker, Stuart Charno, Russell Todd
USA, 1981

Seen: revisited Jan 8, 2009

Reason to see: It was on the same DVD as Friday the 13th (1980)

A world of lame. As Friday the 13th was a classic horror film that got ripped off a lot, Part II trend sets the standard for bad horror sequels. It uses a fair amount of footage from the first film, basic premise, then ditches the tension but ramps up the display of skin and bad acting.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I'd not likely watch it again
I'd recommend it as for fans of campy horror

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

9 in 2009 - Get a New TV!

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I just brought a new TV. It's been a long time coming and believe me I have loved my dear lil old 13" TV for many years. But the time has come and I went a little crazy going wit a 40" flatscreen. I don't understand all the features and need to figure out how to tone down those reds but it's nice to read subtitles in wide screen again! I went with a Toshiba 40" 1080p LCD HDTV (40RV525U). And, as a bonus this completes one of my New Year's Resolutions on my 9 in 2009.

The box for the new one took up almost all my floor space in my kitchen:
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Assembly was easy but lifting that sucker to place on a shoulder high surface was not!
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Check out the comparison pics!

Old TV at it's old spot:
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New TV:
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Me & Old TV:
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Me & New TV, arms aren't long enough to get whole image in there!
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Romantic Takes the Top: Canadian, North American & UK Box Office February 6, 2009 weekend

February starts with romance as He's Just Not That Into You takes the top spot this past weekend at the Canadian and North American Box Office and comes in 2nd in the UK. It's exciting to see Polytechnique hit the charts at 13 in Canada as the first Canadian film on the 2009 Box Office Top Listings. Across the pond, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button opens at number one and family friendly fantasy The Secret of Moonacre debuts at number seven.

Looking for a different kind of romance? Check out my untraditional picks for Valentine's Day films.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the February 6, 2009 weekend
1. He's Just Not That Into You *
2. Taken
3. The Pink Panther 2 *
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
5. Coraline *
6. Slumdog Millionaire
7. Push *
8. Hotel For Dogs
9. Gran Torino
10. The Uninvited
11. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
12. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
13. Polytechnique *
14. The Reader
15. Bride Wars
16. Revolutionary Road
17. New in Town
18. Inkheart
19. The Wrestler
20. My Bloody Valentine 3D

Top 20 Movies in North America for the February 6, 2009 weekend

1. He's Just Not That Into You *
2. Taken
3. Coraline *
4. The Pink Panther 2 *
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
6. Push *
7. Gran Torino
8. Slumdog Millionaire
9. The Uninvited
10. Hotel For Dogs
11. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
12. New in Town
13. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
14. The Reader
15. The Wrestler
16. My Bloody Valentine 3D
17. Revolutionary Road
18. Bride Wars
19. Defiance
20. Inkheart

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the February 6, 2009 weekend
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button *
2. He's Just Not That Into You *
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Valkyrie
5. Revolutionary Road
6. My Bloody Valentine (2009)
7. The Secret of Moonacre *
8. Role Models
9. Seven Pounds
10. Doubt *

* indicates opening weekend in noted location

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Un-Traditional Valentine's Day Film Suggestions

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So, I've never been much of a romantic with regards to films or otherwise. Last February I took a crack at challenging myself to watch a bunch of acclaimed romances from The Notebook to Pride and Prejudice to Atonement and let me tell you it was not fun times. Are they good films? Yes. But did I enjoy them? Not so much. Then yesterday I got a timely reminder of my untraditional views after receiving my February DIY Entertainment Club*. Being torn between wanting to write a themed list of films for Valentine's Day but not having the heart to fudge about recommendations of films that I don't enjoy, I decided to share some untraditional choices for celebrating this holiday.

Creatures From Near and Far

The Hunger (1983) Any film that opens with the song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" works for me, add that it is a vampire film and the cast includes Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon and David Bowie and you are in for a smokin' good time.

Blood & Donuts (1995) Canadian vampire film, much of which takes place at a donut shop and has David Cronenberg as a crime boss. Donuts. Vampires. Cronenberg.

Ladyhawke (1985) Michelle Pfeiffer and Rugter Hauer star as cursed lovers. Ok, this one is kinda romantic. But.. cheesy 80's soundtrack quells any real romance, no? Also stars Matthew Broderick and the lovable thief.

Cat People (1982) Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell star as siblings, or cats or well what are they exactly? Let's just say this one is pretty unique. Awesome soundtrack to boot.

Underworld (2003) More action-y than creature-y but how can you go wrong with vampires vs werewolves, lots of action and everyone looking awesome? You can't go wrong with that.

Horror

My Bloody Valentine (1981) Check out the original for some heart stopping horror. Pretty freaking gory at time but fits the holiday theme perfectly.

Ginger Snaps (2000) Culty femme werewolf Canadian genre genius. Doubles as a creature film but hey, I couldn't have just one pick for horror!

Futuristic/Sci Fi

Blade Runner (1982) I think Blade Runner is good for any holiday! It definitely has themes of love and partnership in there so it fits.

Logan's Run (1976) What is more romantic than a living for the moment in a short lived life? Plus, feathered hair & flowy outfits. I still find Carousel scary as all get out though.

Serenity (2005) Again, this film can fit any occasion! It also does have some great relationship moments.

Barbarella (1968) Guilty pleasure, fab outfits, Pygar, big hair, and one hell of a fun time.

Arthurian
Nothing says romance like films that bring up issues of monogamy! Also, you can spark the everlasting debate on whether Lancelot is a blonde or a brunette. But seriously, hunky guys riding on horses, saving people or fighting people but also have the unrelenting drive and loyalty to their King? All sounds good to me. Take your pick:

Excalibur (1981) The classic. Nicol Williamson feels like the one true Merlin. Seems like every viewing unveils a familiar face in the stellar cast from Patrick Stewart to Gabriel Byrne to Liam Neeson. Is it too geeky tomention remembering the words to the spell Helen Mirren casts?

King Arthur (2004) I continue to be surprized that people underrate this film. It's a total repeat watcher, compelling story, great characters, action and freaking awesome cast including Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Mads Mikkelsen, Ray Winstone, Ray Stevenson, Hugh Dancy and Joel Edgerton. Oh, and Keira Knightley.

Tristan + Isolde (2006) This one is the most romantic of this set although focuses on characters slightly off the beaten path. Stars James Franco and Sophia Myles.

Treading Close to the Line of Tradition
Here are some fall back choices for films that are romance-centre, but show it in a unique light.

In the Mood for Love (2000) Wong Kar Wai directs Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as neighbours in Hong Kong in one of the most beautiful films in the world.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Martial arts + romance = perfect date movie.

3-Iron (2004) I finally caught up this film by Kim Ki-Duk just a few weeks ago and continue to be amazed at his tender, touching approach to human sorrow and healing. Beautiful.

* Inspiration brought to you from DIY Entertainment Club selections of the month: John Carpenter's The Thing, Ginger Snaps, Tristan and Isolde and the Soundtrack to Twilight.

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29th Genie Awards Nominations - film list (titles & # of nominations only)

List organized by most nominations, then alphabetical. Documentaries and all shorts listed separately at the end as the categories lend themselves to only have 1 nomination per film.

See also: film list with nominations detailed or full nominations list

Ce Qu'il Faut Pour Vivre / The Necessities of Life (8)
Tout est Parfait / Everything is Fine (7)
Amal (6)

Fugitive Pieces (6)
Maman est chez le coiffeur / Mommy is at the Hairdresser’s (6)
Passchendaele (6)
Le Banquet (5)
Le piège américain / The American Trap (5)
Borderline (4)
Emotional Arithmetic (4)
Normal (4)
The Stone Angel (4)
This Beautiful City (4)
Heaven on Earth (2)
C’est pas moi, je le jure! / It’s Not Me, I Swear! (1)
La Ligne brisée / The Broken Line (1)
Real Time (1)
Who is KK Downey? (1)
Young People Fucking (1)

One Nomination by the Nature of the Category
The Answer Key
La Battue
Can You Wave Bye-Bye?
Drux Flux
The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow
Infiniment Québec
Mon Nom est Victor Gazon
My Winnipeg
Next Floor
Sleeping Betty
Up the Yangtze

TBA:
Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in Make-up
Golden Reel Award
Claude Jutra Award
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012