Saturday, 31 October 2009

Friday, 30 October 2009

Upcoming: Canadian Western Guns, Antichrist & Red Cliff Release Dates

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One of the things I love about going to the movie theatre is looking for new posters, and the moment I saw the above poster for Gunless I was intrigued. A western, called Gunless. Starring Paul Gross. Can you get more Canadian? Yes, yes you can! It's written & directed by William Phillips (Foolproof, Treed Murray) and here's the story: "A hardened American gunslinger is repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to mount a showdown in a friendly town in Canada where no one seems to understand or appreciate the brutal code of the American Wild West." (source). I can't wait, but I'll have to - but only until March 2010. The teaser trailer shows a comedic edge for sure, but story reminds me of this Canadian Heritage Minute.
See more about Gunless on it's Official Website with teaser trailer and IMDb Page.

Closer around the corner we have several exciting release dates. The controversial Antichrist (dir: Lars von Trier) will hit Toronto on Friday November 13, 2009. The film stars Willem Dafoe (Daybreakers) and Charlotte Gainsbouroug who won Best Actress at Cannes 2009. See more at the Official Film Site or watch the trailer.

Looking for some action, historic-style? How about a John Woo film? Sounds good to me! Red Cliff / Chi ba hits theatres on Friday December 4, 2009 and stars Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi and Chang Chen. Check out the trailer to get a taste of this one.

A buzz at TIFF'08, in part for still being 'in process', New York, I Love You finally hits theatres here on November 27, 2009. To job your memory it's an omnibus film featuring shorts from directors Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner, Fatih Akin & more. See more at the Official Film Site.

Film about theatre always gets my curiosity going, so hearing that Me & Orson Wells is coming to town on December 11, 2009 was good news. The film stars Zac Efron as a young actor participating in a production of Julius Ceasar directed by Orson Wells (Christian McKay). Add to that it's directed by Richard Linklater. I'm hooked! See the trailer at the official film site.

Looking for more upcoming movies? Check out the 2009 and 2010 Upcoming Film Release Lists

Film Fan Fridays for Friday October 30, 2009

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday October 30, 2009! With Halloween just around the corner you'd think we'd have lots of spooky releases, but.... we don't. Only one with The Collector, however the theatres still have scarefests playing with Paranormal Activity along with last weeks releases of Saw VI and the vampy Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant for still spooky but not so scary fare.

In limited release this week we have the majority of our releases with five films to choose from. First up is Bronson, from Valhalla Rising director Nicolas Winding Refn, a biopic on a man in prison who supplanted his own personality with that of Charles Bronson. Wonder if Nicolas Winding Refn well ever try out something light like a romcom, he always picks such harsh subject, but his films are so good. Next up is award winning (Cannes Film Festival 2009 and Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival 2009) Amreeka, a comedy/drama about the dreams of a better home that won. We also have the sport documentary More Than a Game following basketball's The Arkon Fab Five including LeBron James, Bollywood musical London Dreams and Australian drama Three Blind Mice.

In wide release this week we have just one film! The Collector marks the one horror release for Halloween and it's from "The Writers of Saw IV, V an VI!". That's a new one. It looks pretty creepy though and has a reverse home invasion feel to it. Also, released earlier this week was behind the scenes concert documentary Michael Jackson's This Is It!

Have a great weekend & a happy Halloween!

Shannon

Festival Watch

CMAST Pan-African Film & Literary Festival
October 30 - November 1, 2009 at University of Toronto, William Doo Auditorium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

International Diaspora Film Festival
Selections from a wide spectrum of diverse ethnicities and cultures from Eastern Europe, North Africa, Latin America and Asia.
November 1 - 8, 2009 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Regent Park Film Festival
A free event with complimentary childcare
November 4 - 7, 2009 at Nelson Mandela Park Public School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival
Films focusing on mental health and addiction
November 5 - 14, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Hispano-American Film Festival
Spanish language film festival featuring dramas, comedies, and documentaries from Spanish speaking countries
November 6 - 14, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Zombie Short Film Festival
October 30, 2009 at the Revue Cinema in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday October 28, 2009 Releases

Michael Jackson's This Is It
Dir: Kenny Ortega (High School Musical)
Michael Jackson musical documentary on preparation for London concerts
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Friday October 30, 2009 Releases

Amreeka
Writer/Dir: Cherien Dabis - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat
USA/Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Bronson
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy,
Valhalla Rising)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Matt King
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Collector
Dir:
Marcus Dunstan - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Josh Stewart, Daniella Alonso, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

London Dreams
Dir: Vipul Amrutal Shah (Waqt: The Race Against Time)
Cast: Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan, Asin, Om Puri
India/UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

More Than a Game
Dir: Kristopher Belman - feature film directorial debut
Documentary
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Three Blind Mice
Writer/Dir: Matthew Newton (Right Here Right Now)
Cast: Matthew Newton, Brendan Cowell, Alex Dimitriades, Bob Franklin, Barry Otto, Pia Miranda, Ewen Leslie, Toby Schmitz, Tina Bursill
Australia
Limited Release
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, YouTube Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of October 30, 2009**

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Week in Film Vlog

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Films Discussed
In Theatres: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
New Avatar Trailer
Random Watching: Frozen River, Jet Li's Fearless, Exiled
It Used to Scare Me Tuesdays: "V" (1983)
Vampathon:
Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned

I also saw Hello Mary Lou, Prom Night 2 and The Machinist but totally missed them on my list - hopefully I'll remember to talk about them next time!

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Queen of the Damned

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Dir: Michael Rymer (Perfume, "Battlestar Galactica" 2004)
Source Material: The Vampire Chronicles novels by Anne Rice
Cast: Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Aaliyah, Vincent Perez, Lena Olin, Paul McGann
USA/Australia, 2002

Seen: Revisited October 24, 2009 on DVD

Reason to Review: Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *

Queen of the Damned has several unfortunate barriers to reviewing it. The biggest being the tragedy that Aaliyah, one of the main actors, died in a plane crash after principle photography which makes it really hard talk tactfully about the film, especially because her acting in the film isn't that strong. Another barrier is that the film, in general, just isn't that great. It had a lot to live up to after Interview with the Vampire and seeing that none of the major players continued from one film to the other we should have seen it coming. Being someone that always looks for the good, it feels harsh to say those things, but in this case it's the straight-up truth.

Although this film is based on The Vampire Chronicles series as a whole, I don't understand why it's called Queen of the Damned and not The Vampire Lestat. It's obvious that Lestat is the main character and Queen Akasha is more like the big boss. It'd be like calling Gladiator Commodus instead. Even so, Stuart Townsend as Lestat is the big highlight of the film. His version of the character is much more alighted to the my impression from the books over how he is portrayed by Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire. The Lestat here is fame hungry, defiant and of course sexy as all get out. Throwing him into the goth & industrial world fits perfectly. That brings me to the two other things I enjoyed about the film: the clothes and the music. And, that's pretty much it.

As a vampire film, I enjoyed that we saw a number of different kinds of vampires and different styles from old world tradition to jumping into the current times. I also like the idea of a historical society that traces the vampires through history.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed parts of it
I own it
I'd recommend it as a fun throwback to late 90's/early 2000's goth/industrial stylings

Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the upcoming release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Interview with the Vampire

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Dir: Neil Jordon (The Good Thief, The Crying Game, We're No Angels)
Source Material: Interview with the Vampire novel by Anne Rice
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, Christian Slater
USA, 1994

Seen: Revisited October 24, 2009 on DVD

Reason to Review: Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *

This is where we get to vamp films where I have very strong memories of seeing when they first came out. At the time we were starting to see a resurgence of vampires in film with both Bram Stoker's Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer hitting theatres in 1992. Then here in 1994 we have Interview with the Vampire, which had pretty big hype around this film as the Anne Rice books were already very popular which led the big question of whom could fill such big shoes? The casting was very controversial, with Brad Pitt cast as Louis after only having a few big credits under his belt (Thelma & Louise, A River Runs Through It) and Tom Cruise as Lestat even though he's always the charmer was at the time still considered a star over being a serious actor, even though it was post Born of the Fourth of July he was still known better for roles in films like Days of Thunder, Cocktail and Top Gun. Controversy aside, both actors deliver bringing two very different vampires to life: the emotional and guilt-ridden Louis & the lively and decadent Lestat.

Revisiting the film now, I enjoyed it much more than the first time now. I really appreciated the complexities in all the various relationships, and it captures the consistent vampire theme of loneliness very well. Exploring the ideas of the creators and demonstrating the effects of different approaches with mentors we get very rich and complicated relationships. We also see the distinct separation of human society once anyone becomes a vampire. Very little crossover here between the two worlds of day and night.

Although the settings of New Orleans as well as Europe are fantastic backdrops, the strength of the film is in the characters themselves. There are very different personalities portrayed, giving viewers different portraits to latch onto. I've never been a big Louis fan, even though he's a lot nicer than anyone else in the film, trying to retain his humanity. Lestat is no angel, but his exuberance is compelling. Out of the performances, I continue to be astonished by Kirsten Dunst as the young vampire Claudia who comes alive on the screen. It's always a treat to see Antonio Banderas, as he perfectly cast as the old world vampire Armand. In fact, on of my strongest memories of this film overall is hanging out at a friends house as we watched the Pay-Per-View previews loop endlessly just to catch the few seconds of Antonio Banderas in the preview.

As a vampire film, it feels like a turning point in the genre where be begin to see the concept of a vampire resisting their vampiric and trying to hold on to or at least respect humanity. It brings up the interesting question of the choice to go with or fight against what is consider your nature.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it much more than expected
I ended up buying it
I'd recommend it as fans of vampire films, especially those who enjoy a historical flair

Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the upcoming release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The DVD has great extras including interviews, commentary with director Neil Jordon and behind-the-scenes documentaries. Even the menu is awesome as it features a fade in/out of the major characters of Lestat, Louis, Claudia and Armand:

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Fave Vamps / Pop Culture Vamps

My Cineplex recently placed their Top 10 Pop Culture Vamps. Curious to who they picked? So was I! This is their list (or click through to visit their site & see images of the vamps themselves!):

10. Eli - Let the Right One In
9. Selene - Underworld
8. Barnabas Collins - Dark Shadows
7. Edward Cullen - The Twilight Saga
6. Eric & Bill - True Blood
5. David - The Lost Boys
4. Count Orlok - Nosferatu
3. Angel and Spike - Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel
2. Lestat - Interview with a Vampire (novel & 1st film noted)
1. Dracula

Interesting choices. I have to agree with Selene from Underworld, especially since she made my favourite characters list, and I'm a big fan of many of the TV vamps like Eric, Angel and Spike and of course the original Dracula. What makes a vamp hit a fave list though? Do they embrace or resist their vampiric tendancies? Are they seducers? Are they saviours? Or are the bad ass?

Some of my favourite vampires are Darla from Buffy/Angel, Godric from True Blood, Victoria in The Twilight Saga, Kostya and his father in Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor, Boya from Blood & Donuts and Damon from Vampire Diaries.

Who are your favourite vampires?

Déjà vu Week: Canadian, North American & UK Box Office October 23, 2009 Weekend

I had a sense of déjà vu when looking up the new box office numbers as they are similar to last week with Law Abiding Citizen being #1 again in Canada and the same with Up being #1 in the UK. The #1 in North America did shift from Where the Wild Things Are to this week with Paranormal Activity. Looks like folks are getting revved up for Halloween scares! Saw VI follows suit and debuts at #2 in North America and the UK but only hits #5 in Canada. The more kid-friendly releases of Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant and Astro Boy both debut at in the #5-10 range, perhaps they were their own competition? Promising UK debut of Wes Anderson jump into animation with Fantastic Mr. Fox debuting at #3, it will be released here in Canada on Wednesday November 25, 2009 oddly for American Thanksgiving weekend.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the October 23, 2009 weekend
1. Law Abiding Citizen
2. Couples Retreat
3. Where the Wild Things Are
4. Paranormal Activity
5. Saw VI *
6. Astro Boy *
7. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
8. Zombieland
9. The Metropolitan Opera: Aida
10. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant *
11. The Stepfather
12. Amelia *
13. The Invention of Lying
14. A Serious Man
15. Surrogates
16. Capitalism: A Love Story
17. 5150 Elm's Way
18. Coco Before Chanel
19. An Education *
20. Whip It

Top 20 Movies in North America for the October 23, 2009 weekend
1. Paranormal Activity
2. Saw VI *
3. Where the Wild Things Are
4. Law Abiding Citizen
5. Couples Retreat
6. Astro Boy *
7. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant *
8. The Stepfather
9. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
10. Zombieland
11. Amelia *
12. A Serious Man
13. Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Double Feature in 3D
14. Good Hair
15. The Invention of Lying
16. Capitalism: A Love Story
17. Surrogates
18. Whip It
19. An Education
20. The Informant!

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the October 23, 2009 weekend
1. Up
2. Saw VI *
3. Fantastic Mr. Fox *
4. Couples Retreat
5. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant *
6. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
7. The Invention of Lying
8. Zombieland
9. Fame (2009)
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

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

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

"V" (1983)

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Writer/Dir: Kenneth Johnson ("Alien Nation", "JAG")
Cast: Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Jane Badler, Michael Wright, Evan Kim, Richard Herd, Robert Englund
USA, 1983 (TV)

Originally Seen: At home, sometime in the 80's
Revisited: October 24, 2009 on VHS! (197 minute Miniseries Part I & II)

Reason to see: Revisiting it for It Used to Scare Me Tuesdays

Whelp, I'm kinda cheating on this one as for the first time ever this is review of a TV Miniseries (197 minutes for Part I & II) and not an actual film. And, yes, I also wanted to revisit it for the upcoming TV series remake. BUT! It did used to scare me. And it is Tuesday. And I re-watched it just to review it. So.. that's enough, no?

Memories of the first viewing of "V" is a little foggy, and no doubt mixed in with the 80's TV series as well. I know it's foggy as I clearly remember some scenes and actors (Michael Ironside!) that weren't in this 2 Part Miniseries. But, putting that aside I still got a total kick out of revisiting it because now especially when I saw the obvious historical comments which I'm sure flew over my head the first time. I also loved it because it made me feel so nostalgic, as it was something that at home we all watched together. Yes, that is when the family would come together to sit down and watch TV together - for science fiction. Love that!

Seeing it this time round I was surprized at how few of the actors I recognized, except of course Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer) in a small but memorable role, but that added some mystery to it not knowing who would end up with who, or even who would make it to the end. Although we are bombarded by 80s fashion and technology, it isn't so distracting to stand out like a sore thumb as much as it can in other films. It actually gave it quite a cohesive feel in many respects as it was commented on and the differences between the two groups were often pointed out.

Although on the surface the film is a tale of aliens coming to Earth, the heart of the miniseries is really in examining freedom and the human spirit, which is a great theme for science fiction. It also questions morals, looks at the the pursuit of power and greed along with giving us great characters to latch onto along the way.

But, was it scary? Yes. What I remember previously that scared me was definitely the effects and they for the most part these practical effects hold up the test of time. But the effects are paired well with the idea behind the effects that strengthen the story and our perception, which makes them even better. Even moreso than the effects this time round, and like Dune, it was the ideas and concepts that are presented in general that are scary.

Now I'm all revved up to see the new miniseries started in November 2009!

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to SciFi fans, especially if you enjoy aliens-among-us stories

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

DVDs Releases: October 27, 2009

It's Tuesday which means it's time to look at this weeks releases on DVD! I snuck in one Blu-Ray as it's an awesome pick but the set doesn't come out til next week. Most titles have DVD and Blu-rays released on the same day for new releases. Looks like lots of Halloween choices this year with several creepy films to choice from.

Piquant Picks:
I'm thrilled to share that the fantasitc Finnish horror/drama Sauna is being released on DVD today. It's harsh, dark and moody and was so glad I had a chance to see it back at TIFF'08 and what a treat. There was even a Q&A with director Antti-Jussi Annila which you can see selection from here. Keeping with the horror picks, Orphan comes to DVD today and I found it to be one of the scariest of the horror films released this year (only trumped by Paranormal Activity). The DVD release also boasts an alternate ending, which has me very curious. We also have the French animated omnibus film Fear(s) of the Dark animation featuring selections the following six directors Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McGuire. We also have the festival fave biopic Il Divo based on Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, which won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2008. I also found a bit of a wild card this week with Afterwards, which I'd never heard of but this drama did hit a few festivals. I piqued interest with cast including Evangeline Lilly, John Malkovich and Romain Duris and being a France/Canada/Germany co-production.

It's Not Film, But....
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan hits DVD today, it's directed by Adama himself: Edward James Olmos, and is a feature length prequel to the Battlestar Galactica TV series from the perspective of the Cylons. More TV goodness with a Blu-Ray release of the 1967 TV series "The Prisoner" with Patrick McGoohan. Great timing here in case you want to get revved up for the 2009 re-make of the series by AMC that stars James Caviezel and Ian McKellan.

Blast from the Past:
So, looking for creepy alien slug-like zombie turning frat party madness? That can only mean one thing. 1986's Night of the Creeps is coming to DVD.

Big Wigs
And now for films you've already heard a lot about! The animated three-quel Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is being released, along with Woody Allen's latest Whatever Works starring Larry David. If you are feeling holiday centric there is the parody Stan Helsing which came out in the theatre just last week, or rev up for Christmas with Nothing Like the Holidays.

What goes on your wish list?

Titles on Amazon.ca (Canada):



Titles if available on Amazon.com (US):

Monday, 26 October 2009

New Moon Mondays - Bring on the Eclipse Imagery!

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Image source

Eclipse Gets Title Treatment
Although I love the warmness of New Moon, I am thrilled that with Eclipse it looks like we are going back to the flavour of the first film, Twilight in terms of look and feel. And ....blood. Sharp, shiny and deadly, it looks like we are in for one heck of a film. I've been trying to shy away from too much Eclipse pics until after New Moon comes out but being less than a month away it's getting harder and harder to resist!
Source: Twilight Twitter, Twilight Twitpic
P.S. - the image looks a lot better and larger over at the source

Twilight Halloween Costume Ideas Haven't decided what you want to be for Halloween? Looking to go as someone from Twilight? I know I am (pics next week if it turns out well....) If you are looking for help and inspiration you are in luck as there are boatloads of suggestions and guides out there. For the female characters Alice, Rosalie, Esme, Victoria and Jane check here at Twilight Poison. For the male characters check out general guide plus specific tips for Edward, Jasper, Emmett, Carlisle (regular & historical), James, Laurent and the Volturi. Also helpful are general makeup tips.
Once you've got that all together why not put it work and check out His Golden Eyes Costume Contest? Didn't find a Bella guide. Sniff'n'sigh.
Source: Twilight Poison, Twilight Lexicon, His Golden Eyes

Creatures on the Big and Small Screen As The Wolfman inches closer to it's Feb 12, 2010 release date we are treated to a second, and quite differently toned trailer released. Looks like they are going less historical-set feel and more ramped up (a la Sherlock Holmes) vibe. And, have to say that hooked me it makes it look ever more interested. On the small scene, good news for fans of the CW series, Vampire Diaries, the CW series got picked up for a full season.

I Want Some More: Vampathon
The Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon continues with reviewing vampire films and the most recent selection is Shadow of the Vampire, a fictional re-creation of behind the scenes filming of the 1922 Nosferatu from the perspective of is actor Max Schrek was in fact, and vampire. Up this week is double bill Anne Rice style, where I'll tackle Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned. Reviews will be up Wednesday October 28, 2009.

Orphan

Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax (2005), Goal II: Living the Dream).
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, Aryana Engineer, Jimmy Bennett
USA/Canada, 2009

Seen: August 11, 2009 at AMC

Reason to see: Horror movie with creepy kid? Of course I'm going to see it!

Evil kids. It's one of the funnest horror sub genres, and one that we keep going back for more. With Orphan, I was thrilled to go back for more. Not only is the film scary, freaky and builds great tension, but it does all this in what really feels like an everyday household. Although mixing the realistic with the horrific tends to be a formula, it's one because it can work so well as it did with Orphan.

I also will admit that bumped the enjoyment factor up a notch was that I didn't have it all figured out, even though I was convinced I knew it all from the trailer. So I waltzed in theatre thinking it would be some jump scares and creepy moments like most current horror films. Boy, was I wrong! First off, great acting by Isabelle Fuhrman as the orphan Esther who is totally creepy. I also really enjoyed Vera Farmiga performance, as well as the sheer fact that the two prominent characters were female characters. The family dynamics are completely believable, complex and well developed. I also loved how that one of the characters in the family is hard of hearing, and that it's treated so respectfully and incorporated naturally into the family and relationships.

I was surprized that they used quite a few jump scares and gore, but that really is the tip of the iceberg in comparison to tension and scare factors. What really makes this better than the average horror film is the psychological tension it brings, as well as creative ideas be they conceptual or actually shown. It's also refreshing to see characters are so interesting, diverse, and 3-dimensional.

It's also a film that it's better not to know too much about, so I'll leave it at that and encourage horror fans to see it if they haven't already!

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd buy it
I'd recommend it to horror and thriller fans

18 minutes of preshow including 4 commercials and 6 previews: The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story, Sorority Row, Jennifer's Body, Gamer, The Final Destination and Whiteout

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 24: The Vampire Diaries Revisited




A new episode of Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast is now available: Episode 24!

Back on Episode 19 we previewed The Vampire Diaries books and the (then) upcoming CW TV series. So, in this weeks episode Marina & I take another look at the series first five episodes and chat about our impressions, likes and concerns with the show. Are you a fan? Have a listen and have your say over at Before the Dawn!

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

Friday, 23 October 2009

People's Choice Awards 2010 Nominee Selections

Oh my goodness, is it awards season already? Let's start off light by having a look at the awards purely based on popularity! The People's Choice Awards now have their Nominee Selections for the 2010 Awards up and you can vote for who you want to be nominated making up to 5 selections per category. If your fave isn't included in the selections they have, you can add your own selection through the 'other' box. I had to do that a few times.

My favourite categories are the selections for Independent Movie and On Screen Team, but there seems a few odd things in the nominees. As much as I love Twilight, it's odd to see it here considering for favourite film it's a 2008 film. If memory serves they can be a bit looser than other awards, such as actors winning without having a film out that year. I'm also surprized to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Favourite Breakout Movie Actor, I could have imagined that the year of Brick but now? I mean people refer to him by acronym (JGL). You don't get an acronym unless people know you pretty well!

One last harp moment. Notice anything odd about Favourite Action Star and Favourite Comedic Star nominees. Looks like a boys only club there. What about Zoe Bell, Kate Beckinsale, Antje Traue, Emma Stone, Kristin Kreuk and Moon Bloodgood for Action Stars? And Kristen Wiig, Sandra Bullock, Zooey Deschanel, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Amanda Seyfried, Ellen Page and Jessica Biel for Comedic Stars? There are kick butt and funny ladies out there, folks!

The awards cover movies, TV and music. To see all Nominee Selections go here, but here are the selections from the movie categories:

Favourite Action Star
Channing Tatum
Chris Pine
Christian Bale
Clive Owen
Gerard Butler
Hugh Jackman
Liam Neeson
Paul Walker
Sam Worthington
Shia LaBeouf
Vin Diesel
Zachary Quinto

Favourite Breakout Movie Actor
Anton Yelchin
Chris Pine
Christoph Waltz
Ed Helms
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Sam Worthington
Sharlto Copley
Taylor Kitsch
Taylor Lautner
Zach Galifianakis
Zachary Quinto

Favourite Breakout Movie Actress
Abbie Cornish
Anna Kendrick
Carey Mulligan
Emily Osment
Gennifer Goodwin
Mélanie Laurent
Miley Cyrus
Moon Bloodgood
Naturi Naughton
Rashida Jones
Sofia Vassilieva
Zoe Saldana

Favourite Comedic Star
Adam Sandler
Ben Stiller
Bradley Cooper
Jason Segal
Jim Carrey
Kevin James
Paul Rudd
Ryan Reynolds
Sacha Baron Cohen
Vince Vaughn
Tyler Perry
Will Ferrell

Favourite Family Movie
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Coraline
G-Force
Hannah Montana: The Movie
Hotel for Dogs
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Monsters vs. Aliens
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Race to Witch Mountain
Up
Where the Wild Things Are

Favourite Franchise
Fast and Furious
Final Destination
Harry Potter
Ice Age
Night at the Museum
Saw
Star Trek
Terminator
Transformers
The Twilight Saga
Tyler Perry's Madea
X-Men

Favourite Independent Movie
17 Again
500 Days of Summer
Bright Star
District 9
He's Just Not That Into You
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Paranormal Activity
Sunshine Cleaning
Taken
The Time Traveller's Wife
Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail

Favourite Movie
Angels & Demons
Fast & Furious
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
The Hangover
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Inglourious Basterds
The Proposal
Star Trek
Terminator Salvation
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Twilight
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Favourite Movie Actor
Brad Pitt
Bradley Cooper
Christina Bale
Denzel Washington
George Clooney
Hugh Jackman
Johnny Depp
Robert Pattinson
Ryan Reynolds
Shia LaBeouf
Tom Hanks
Zac Efron

Favourite Movie Actress
Amy Adams
Anne Hathaway
Drew Barrymore
Jennifer Aniston
Julia Roberts
Katherine Heigl
Kristen Stewart
Megan Fox
Rachel McAdams
Sandra Bullock
Taraji P. Henson

Favourite On Screen Team
Vin Diesel & Paul Walker: Fast & Furious
Bradley Cooper Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis & Justin Bartha: The Hangover
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint & Emma Watson: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Paul Rudd & Jason Segel: I Love You, Man
Ben Stiller & Amy Adams: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds: The Proposal
Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto: Star Trek
Christian Bale, Sam Worthington & Moon Bloodgood: Terminator Salvation
Shia LeBeouf & Megan Fox: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner: The Twilight Saga
Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Eve & Kristen Wiig: Whip It
Hugh Jackman, Liev Shreiber & Ryan Reynolds: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The People Choice Awards will be air live on January 6, 2010 on CBS.

Film Fan Fridays for Friday October 23, 2009

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday October 23, 2009! A week before Halloween and we've got a few spooky releases set for this week along with a documentaries, biopic, coming of age and more!

In limited release this week we have An Education, a 1960's coming of age film starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard that's currently sitting at a 91% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Wow. That's piqued my interest, but not as much as The September Issue a fashion documentary following putting together the September issue of Vogue in 2007. Reverse-meta of The Devil Wears Prada, perhaps? Last for limited releases is a surprize to be limited as it's "From the executive producer of Scary Movie" and that is Stan Helsing. The limited release may be due to the fact that is is coming out on DVD next week on October 27, 2009.

In wide release this week we have pilots, robots, vampires and.. well, scares. First up is the biopic Amelia directed by Mira Nair (The Namesake) and stars Hilary Swank as the pilot Amelia Earhart. Animated robot film fans rejoice, this week we have AstroBoy a remake of the 1960's Japanese animated TV series "Astroboy". Also mildly family friendly is Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant a vampire adventure film in a circus setting based on the books by Darren Shan from About a Boy director Paul Weitz. Last but... well, the last film in the Saw series: Saw VI. At least they are *saying* it's the last one. They might not be my faves but 6 films in 6 years is still pretty impressive.

Also in wide release as of Wednesday October 28, 2009 is Michael Jackson's This Is It, a
music documentary based on Michael Jackson preparation for London concerts.

Two surprizes this week, with Ong Bak 2: The Beginning disappearing from release schedule after previously being anticipated to be released today. The other surprize is that Saw VI is a Canada/USA/UK/Australia co-production - that's a lot of places... Jigsaw must be a frequent flyer.

Of course it is more than just releases this week as we have two special screenings including a screening of the Oscar winning film Departures / Okuribito director Yojiro Takita and many festivals to enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Brazil Film Fest
October 22 - 25, 2009 at The Royal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Cine Cuba
More info on the screenings at Cuba In Toronto and The Revue websites
October 22 & 23, 2009 at The Revue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Est Docs
Estonian Documentary Film Festival
Continues until October 23, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Planet in Focus Film Festival
International Environmental Film and Video Festival
Continues until October 25, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screenings

A very special screening of the Oscar winning film Departures / Okuribito will be held this Monday October 26, 2009 at 7pm with director Yojiro Takita present for a post film Q&A and informal reception. Screening is at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, for more information on ticketing call 416-441-2345 (reception) or see JCCC website.

The Toronto Zombie Walk stumbles along with weekend and in celebration of all things zombie there is a zombie double bill at The Bloor this Saturday October 24, 2009. Selected films? Night of the Comet and Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2, aka Zombie. For more info check out Cinema of the Dead here.


Friday October 23, 2009 Releases

Amelia
Dir: Mira Nair (The Namesake)
Cast: Hilary Swank, Mia Wasikowska, Ewan McGregor, Richard Gere, Christopher Eccleston
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Astro Boy
Dir: David Bowers (Flushed Away)
Voices: Freddie Highmore, additional voice cast includes Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy, Nicholas Cage, Eugene Levy, Nathan Lane, Donald Sutherland
Hong Kong/USA/Japan
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Dir: Paul Weitz (About a Boy)
Cast: Chris Massoglia, John C. Reilly, Ray Stevenson, Jessica Carlson, Patrick Fugit, John Hutcherson
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

An Education
Dir: Lone Scherfig (Hjemve)
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Saw VI
Dir: Kevin Greutert - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell
Canada/USA/UK/Australia
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The September Issue
Dir: R.J. Cutler (A Perfect Candidate)
Documentary of the assembly of the fashion bible: The September issue of Vogue for the 2007 issue and follows the editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Stan Helsing
Writer/Dir: Bo Zenga - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Steve Howey, Leslie Nielson, Diora Baird, Desi Lydic, Kenan Thompson
USA/Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Wednesday October 28, 2009

Michael Jackson's This Is It
Dir: Kenny Ortega (High School Musical)
Michael Jackson musical documentary on preparation for London concerts
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of October 23, 2009**

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Poll Results: Any Oscar Worthy Films Out Yet?

It's a resounding 79% that Yes, there are A Few Oscar Worthy Films Out Yet and I have to agree with the results, I've certainly seen a few films I anticipated and/or hope to hear make it to the nominations. The films that come to mind are The Hurt Locker for film, direction and acting (Jeremy Renner) and Up for Animated Film. More acting performances I would love to see recognized are Juliette Lewis for supporting for Whip It, Sam Rockwell in Moon and Stephen McHattie in Pontypool.

Here are the complete poll results:
79% - A Few
8% - One
8% - Not Yet
4% - Lots

What films that have been released do you think are Oscar worthy? Need a refresher of 2009 releases? Check out lists of releases by date and by title. Or, do we need to wait for films that are upcoming in the last months of the year like The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Up in the Air and Nine?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Three Way Split! Canadian, North American & UK Box Office October 16, 2009 Weekend

No consensus for the top spot this week with #1 in Canada going to Law Abiding Citizen, #1 in North America is the adaptation of beloved children's book and Where the Wild Things Are and Up takes #1 in the UK. I'm a little surprized that Where the Wild Things wasn't #1 in Canada, and will be curious to see how it does once it is released in the UK on December 11, 2009. Landing in the #3 spot in the UK is the phenomenal The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus on it's debut week. It will be released in Canada on December 25, 2009.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the October 16, 2009 weekend
1. Law Abiding Citizen *
2. Where the Wild Things Are *
3. Couples Retreat
4. The Stepfather *
5. Zombieland
6. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
7. Paranormal Activity
8. The Invention of Lying
9. Surrogates
10. Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Double Feature
11. Whip It
12. Capitalism: A Love Story
13. The Informant!
14. Fame (2009)
15. 5150 Elm's Way
16. Inglourious Basterds
17. A Serious Man *
18. Cairo Time
19. Coco Before Chanel
20. Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day

Top 20 Movies in North America for the October 16, 2009 weekend
1. Where the Wild Things Are *
2. Law Abiding Citizen *
3. Paranormal Activity
4. Couples Retreat
5. The Stepfather *
6. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
7. Zombieland
8. Toy Story & Toy Story 2 Double Feature
9. Surrogates
10. The Invention of Lying
11. Whip It
12. Capitalism: A Love Story
13. The Informant!
14. Fame (2009)
15. A Serious Man
16. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself
17. Love Happens
18. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
19. Good Hair
20. Bright Star

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the October 16, 2009 weekend
1. Up
2. Couples Retreat *
3. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus *
4. The Invention of Lying
5. Zombieland
6. Fame (2009)
7. Triangle *
8. Halloween II
9. Love Happens
10. Blue *

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

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Shadow of the Vampire

Dir: E. Elias Merhige (Suspect Zero)
Source Material: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Cast: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Keir, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack, Eddie Izzard
UK/USA/Luxembourg, 2000

Seen: Revisited October 16, 2009

Reason to Review: Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *

The premise of Shadow of the Vampire is brilliant. It's a creative take on the process of filming Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) from the perspective of if Count Orlok actor Max Schreck blurs the lines between method acting and reality. As a film fan, it's always a treat to see metafilm in action, and with this film even moreso considering only recently revisiting Nosferatu (1922) and so many other vampire films for the Vampathon.

I had seen it before and remembered it fondly but not that well. The film has a great blend of behind the scenes drama with actors and crew as well as creating a genuine creepy tone around the mysterious Max Schreck who undoubtedly makes people very uncomfortable. John Malkovich is stellar in his role of the singular focused on results director and we see beautiful transitions between staging, shooting and finished product of the film. Willem Dafoe is absolutely perfect as Schreck, and was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars (the award went to Benicio Del Toro for Traffic) and the film was also nominated for Best Make Up (but lost to How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and is one of the few vampire films I can recall being recognized by The Academy. Although, technically it's a pretty non-traditional vampire film and can flip between being tongue-in-cheek to scary. After the acting, one of the things I most enjoyed about it was the art direction and how well it captured the feel of the original Nosferatu (1922) in tone and style. Such a treat!

I did have a funny revelation this time while watching Shadow of the Vampire, as I realized when I first saw it in the early 2000's I hadn't even seen Nosferatu (1922), yet still really enjoyed and appreciated the film.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it fans of vampire films as well as film buffs

Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the upcoming release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

DVDs Releases: October 20, 2009

When I was checking out what films are headed to DVD this week, I realized it is great info to share with folks especially considering how many films only have limited release or play only at festivals. So let's take a look at what is new to DVD for October 20, 2009.

Piquant Picks:
First and foremost we have Dead Snow / Død snø, a film that when it played at Toronto After Dark in 2009 what everyone was saying is "Who doesn't love Nazi zombies?" Too true, and it placed top honours there and won 1st place in the Audience Choice Award. After a limited release here in Toronto in September, the Norwegian film heads to DVD just before Halloween. Perfect.

I've been looking forward to seeing more on The Tournament since seeing the trailer over at The Film Stage and hoped for a theatrical release of the UK assassin thriller. No luck there but it is now on DVD. The Tournament stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, "Stargate: Universe"), Kelly Hu, Ving Rhymes and Iam Solmerhalder ("Lost", "The Vampire Diaries").

Blood the Last Vampire, a Japan/Hong Kong/France co-pro featuring Gianna as Saya, a vampire/covert government operative in post WWII Japan. Amazing how they fit in schoolgirl costume for that... but still. Vamps & kicking butt always have definitely interesting possibilities.

We also have The Stoning of Soraya M., based on a true story and although this one looks really harsh I'm always interested in seeing Shohreh Aghdashloo's work and she is in the lead role here. Also stars James Caviezel and Mozhan Marnò.

Blast from the Past:
Trains, Planes & Automobiles (Those Aren't Pillows Edition) starring John Candy and Steve Martin. I haven't seen this one in ages but do remember if fondly and I know this John Hughes film is on many favourites lists.

It's Not Film, But....
Two non film releases that I couldn't resist this week. The complete series for the TV show "Homicide: Life on the Streets" centred on the homicide investigation unit in Baltimore. Amazing show, I was a huge fan of it for the fantastic stories of the characters and spectacular acting of Andre Braugher, Kyle Secor, and Yaphet Kotto to just name a few. And now, I know why I recognize Melissa Leo, she was on the show as well. In a complete 180 turn in tide, the other non film release this week that's got my attention is the New Moon soundtrack.

Big Wigs:
So here are the big wigs, films you've likely already seen or heard about! The romantic comedy The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, period rom-com Chéri from director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Mrs Henderson Presents) starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates and Rupert Friend. Last up but... ah, you fill in the blanks.... one of the worst reviewed yet highest grossing film of the year: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

What do you have your eye on this week?

Titles on Amazon.ca (Canada):




Titles if available on Amazon.com (US):

Dune

Photobucket

Dir: David Lynch (Inland Empire, Mulholland Dr., Blue Velvet)
Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Jürgen Prochnow, Francesca Annis, Kenneth McMillan, Virginia Madsen, Sean Young, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Linda Hunt, Brad Dourif, Max von Sydow, Dean Stockwell
USA, 1984

Originally Seen: At home, sometime in the 80's
Revisited: October 18, 2009 on VHS! (Original 127 minutes version)

Reason to see: Revisiting it for It Used to Scare Me Tuesdays

This is a less traditional choice for It Used to Scare Me Tuesdays (I've only done 2 so far - but that's enough to set a tradition up, no?) as it is science fiction and not horror and I don't think many people would consider it scary. But, I remember viscerally reacting to the film and being completely freaked out, yet barely remember what it was about except 'The Spice', the hovering/flying guy and the fact that Sting was in it. The moment I looked it up and saw it was directed by David Lynch, it started to fall into place why it would be scary as the atmosphere and tone could really come into play.

Revisiting Dune was easy, as for some bizarre reason I own it on VHS. It wasn't long before I realized why I couldn't remember that plot in detail as we quickly are drawn into a whole other world with governments, planets, families and power systems. I could barely keep everything straight this time and you can feel that the film has a weighty task of condensing the world of the book therefore uses the tactic to introduce, clarify and sum up key points using voice overs throughout the film.

Dune has a lot going for it, the huge world and epic power struggle are obvious highlights but what I found more interesting than the plot or setting was the design of the world and the actors. And I say actors intentionally as I didn't connect to many of the characters, but it sure was a treat to see performances by Jürgen Prochnow (Das Boot, The Seventh Sign), Dean Stockwell ("Quantum Leap", "Battlestar Galactica"), Patrick Stewart ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Linda Hunt (The Year of Living Dangerously), Brad Dourif ("Star Trek: Voyager") and of course Sting. I didn't even realize until after the fact that that the main character Paul Atreides is Kyle MacLachlan ("Sex in the City") in his first role. Wow. The design of the world in the film is spectacular, even 25 years after the fact. There were a few things that effects wise may not be what we are used to now but the key is in the fascinating ideas which really hold the test of time. I also enjoyed the sheer scale used, they certainly weren't afraid to go big! The inclusion of psychics in regular society was wild to see, especially considering how powerful they were and how it highlighted a Matriarchal subculture.

But, was it scary? Yep, it was. Originally I primarily found the scenes with the character Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan) were the ones that scared me. He is portrayed as literally bubbling over in grossness, overbearing, mean and creepy. What was more scary this time was the corruption and greed in the Harkonnens who are willing to do awful things in order to attain power, from general meanness to the enthusiasm for terrorizing others. It's not the traditional scary things, but it still bothers me whether it is conceptual or shown on the screen.

Shannon's Overall View:
It was better than I remembered
I'd watch it again, but not often
I'd recommend it to fans of epic films and science fiction

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012