Thursday, 31 December 2009

9 in 2009: Posters of All Film Seen Theatrically

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One of the 9 Challenges I posed to myself at the beginning of the year was to take a picture of the poster for all 2009 releases I see & create a slideshow of the images. I think one of the most interesting things about the process was to realize what isn't here as much as what is. A lot of the 2009 films I've seen I saw at festivals therefore don't appear here, and I sure do like seeing horror films at the theatre. There are a few oddball omissions of images of films I saw at rep theatres, nothing for films seen on TMN or DVD. Other weirdest includes no poster at the theatre when I saw Moon, literally not being able to find the image of The Fourth Kind, which is just creepy. And the biggest shock was one time I forgot my camera.

Favourite Films of 2009

It feels like the general tone of 2009 for film was that it was an okay year, but when I look back at the films I've seen, from the movie memories lists to festivalling to the favourites listed below, I think it was actually a pretty freaking awesome year. It was a real challenge to cull down my list to the 30 films below, and they are out pulled from the 104 films I saw out of this years 314 theatrical releases in Toronto. That's a new record for me, although several of the films I saw at festivals either this year or in years past. To make those 30 selected more clear, I've categorized them into 3 categories: The Good are solid entertainment choices which aren't necessarily flawless but I felt were enjoyable and often underrated, The Great are films that are all films that are not only great but also connect on an emotional level which gives them extra depth and The Excellent is reserved for films that I consider truly flawless. Titles are listed alphabetically under each list, and are linked to reviews if one is up.

Looking to make your own list? Check out list of 2009 releases alphabetically or by release date.

The Good
Fanboys
Orphan
Paranormal Activity
Push
Stone of Destiny
Terminator Salvation
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The Great
Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Bright Star
Coco avant Chanel
An Education
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
It Might Get Loud
Little Ashes
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Star Trek
Tokyo Sonata / Tôkyô sonata
Whip It

The Excellent
Bronson
C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It's Not Me, I Swear!
Every Little Step
The Hurt Locker
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
In the Loop
Moon
Pontypool
A Single Man
Up
The Young Victoria

Best Experience (Tie): Attending the World Premiere of Strigoi at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, an absolute gem of film, and later meeting director Faye Jackson and producer Rey Muraru at the pub. Also seeing Valhalla Rising at TIFF was a huge highlight of the year, and it had a fantastic intro and Q&A with director Nicolas Winding Refn and actor Mads Mikkelsen.

Funnest Screening: Best Worst Movie screening at Hot Docs 2009 with Bob and Trista. I'd not laughed that hard in a long time and the film had more than a few unforgettable moments, plus a great Q&A with director, cast & crew.

Favourite Film that didn't get a theatrical release here in Toronto: Outlander

Favourite Saying: "Curtains" - Watchmen

Disappointments: Gamer, The Princess and the Frog

Weirdest occurrences: My Bloody Valentine x 2. 1) Deciding not to go to the screening of My Bloody Valentine (1981), which turned out to be a good idea as that freezing cold night turned out to be the night of the West End Blackout. 2) Going to see My Bloody Valentine 3D to see if I could 'see' in 3D. If felt like I could, so I left and went to Taken instead but later while watching U2 3D I realized I only see a miniscule fraction of the 3Dness of 3D films.

2009 releases I'm surprized I didn't see: Rumba, Che, Sunshine Cleaning, TOKYO!, Departures, Cairo Time, The Informant, The September Issue, Pirate Radio and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Awesome festival films that I can't wait for people to see their brilliance: The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Loved Ones, Valhalla Rising, Strigoi, Black Dynamite, Hunting Down Memory / Jakten På Hukommelsen and My Greatest Escape / Ne me liberez pas, je m'en charge

More Festivalling Goodness: It feels strange that I got out to fewer festivals in 2009 but I did really enjoy all of them: Hot Docs 2009, Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009, Toronto International Film Festival 2009, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2009 and Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009

Great films seen in 2009 that are from previous years: The New World, Oceans Twelve, Persona, Into the Wild, Titus, No Country for Old Men, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Orphanage, Last Life in the Universe, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Onibaba, 3-Iron, The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974), Farewell My Concubine and Lust, Caution.

That was my year. How was yours?

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A Decade of Movie Memories: 2009

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This was the hardest year of movie memories to cull down by far. Not only is the year still so close in mind, but there are so many films I can't consider as they don't meet my own criteria of films seen theatrically (many 2009 releases I saw at festivals, often in previous years) and no series included. Oddly, because series aren't included that means I can't put going to the midnight and opening night screenings of The Twilight Saga: New Moon nor seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince all the way out in Nova Scotia while visiting my sister Suzie! I've also excluded many (but not all) films that I know will be on my Favourites of 2009 as this is about movie memories not favourites... although some of those paths do cross!

Curious as to what years past have brought in movie memories? Take a stroll down memory lane with me in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Also have a look at what others have to say in the past 10 years in film with the Films of the Decade Link List.

Films listed in the chronological order in which I saw them at the theatre. As always this is a movies memories list not a favourites list - but don't worry those will be up soon enough.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
I'm still a little mystified about Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, because overall I found it to be a fun adventure-ish film but I was stumped on who the target audience was supposed to be. Considering it had a young female lead who does martial arts I thought it would be young women but there were a few things would make it think it wasn't that - one of which was that there was no romantic interest but for some reason I don't think it was done for the same reasons I appreciated.

Watchmen
I'm no fan of this film but seeing it with a theatre full of guys that were over the moon was quite the experience. Right before the previews started a really excited teen came in with his granddad, which I'm sure that had nothing to do with the 18A rating ;). Although I certainly was not the target audience it was nice to see a film that was really made for and appreciated by the fans.

Star Trek
I'm a huge Star Trek fan, and watched all the films in my Countdown to Star Trek Marathon in anticipation of the new Trek film. That kept me busy as I had avoided all the previews, trailers and images from the film as I had hoped I could so I was seeing it with completely fresh eyes. I went to a late night screening the day before opening (during Hot Docs no less), listened to my iPod on full in line and while waiting for the film. I wouldn't let anyone tell me anything about the film at all... even if it took physically walking away. Oh the lengths I will go to for Trek. Thank goodness the movie was good after all that!

Little Ashes
I really enjoyed this film, and I even saw it twice in the theatre and both had memorable experiences. The first time I actually had a conversation with an audience member after the film about art (the film is about the artist Salvador Dalí, the writer Federico García Lorca and filmmaker Luis Buñuel) and it was very pleasant - and I normally don't do that. The second time I saw it with my Mom at the Carlton. We were 2 of 4 people there. The other 2 guys sat 2 rows directly ahead of us (?) and one guy often randomly raised his hand / arm in the air. It was so weird.

District 9
This film is one that definitely had the most interesting advertising for it with posters everywhere with a phone number to inform on illegals and such. It was pretty amazing to see a foreign film kick butt at the box office and get people in seats but I didn't love it, in fact I was rather disturbed by not just the violent but literally the crowds reaction to it which included cheering. It's one of those cases where I don't understand how people can't see the flip side of the story, especially in this example, but feel free to cheer along with the action and play oblivious to any commentary at all.

Whip It
Previously I've sited films like The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters on my 2007 list for being experiences where I felt I was in the audience of my peoples. Whip It is a film where I felt I was with my tribe. It really speaks to a current culture of women, and it's refreshing to see a femme film that isn't a romance, features active women, has a cast with a fair age range with characters in different situations. And it has a lot of heart. I'm still miffed it opened the same weekend as Zombieland and almost everyone I know went to see that instead. Also has the best line of the year: Be Your Own Hero.

Fame (2009)
This one is way more about the experience than the film itself which didn't really hold a candle to the original. But, I got to see it with all the ladies in my family while Suzie was visiting, so her, Jamie, my Mom and I all treked out to the theatre together. It was also the first time I saw The Twilight Saga: New Moon trailer on the big screen and I think, I might have yelped. Sigh.

The Fourth Kind
I saw this film before I'd heard any big brouhaha about it being not authentic with the 'found footage' and I'll tell ya - it scared the crap out of me in a way no film has in years, like wake up in the middle of the night scared. To be honest, I was happy to find out it wasn't true because that would have been just way to much. This also makes it a particularly unique experience as I can't go back and see it that way again because the moment is gone. I wonder what I'd make of it on a second viewing.

Ninja Assassin
I still giggle when I think of how much I loved this film and the reason is - it's exactly what you would expect it to be ... but more. The trailer gives a great sense of what it's about but doesn't tell you everything which is in my eyes, perfect. I also am completely inspired and in awe of the work Rain did to get into the physical condition he's in during the film. It's amazing.

Invictus
It's always a joy to see rugby on screen, but to see a film that shows the 1995 World Cup - which I remember watching as I was playing rugby at the time was a very special and unique experience. Add that it's about Nelson Mandela bringing a country together? I couldn't really ask for more than that. Was inspirational and nostalgic all at the same time.

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Late night screening of Star Trek at the AMC was one of the highlights of the year

Box Office #1 in 2009 - Canada, North America and the UK

Taking a look back over the year through the eyes of the Box Office is an interesting way to see what the year was like. There were the big films throughout - Watchmen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Avatar, there were the surprizes: Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, Zombieland and the Blind Side, and I'm sure there were bombs too but this is a look at the #1's.

Canadian Box Office
Only one film claimed the fame of three straight weeks running and that was The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and we knew the film would do well but that is extraordinary. On the flip side to that one of the biggest surprizes was Paul Blart: Mall Cop sticking out the #1 for not only it's first but also it's second week. Strong word of mouth films came were The Hangover landing the #1 spot in its 2nd week and Inglourious Basterds took the #1 spot on it's 1st and 3rd week. Longevity award goes to Slumdog Millionaire which topped the charts in it's 15th & 16th week which was the weekend before and after the Oscar Awards where it sweeped, winning 8 awards. Out of the years 52 weeks, 36 times the #1 spot went to a film in it's debut week.

North American Box Office
In terms of North American Box Office, all but 13 weeks were the same between the Canadian and North American Box Office #1, three of those 13 weeks went to Tyler Perry films, and many others went to films in their debut weeks where there #1 persisted in Canada for two straight weeks. Out of the years 52 weeks, 39 times the #1 spot went to a film in it's debut week.

UK Box Office
Watching the box office over in the UK has been really interesting and often the same films end up at number one but not all are released on the same weekend. It's also a great opportunity to get an idea of UK films to look forward to when they make their release over here on this side of the pond. It also had a three week running box office topper with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Out of the years 52 weeks, 33 times the #1 spot went to a film in it's debut week.

Click through on date to see box office detail for the individual weeks. To see list of 2009 Box Office #1 by Weekend Gross click here.

Canadian Box Office #1's for 2009
Jan 2, 2009 - Marley & Me (2nd week)
Jan 9, 2009 - Bride Wars (1st week)
Jan 16, 2009 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (1st week)
Jan 23, 2009 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2nd week)
Jan 30, 2009 -Taken (1st week)
Feb 6, 2009 - He's Just Not That Into You (1st week)
Feb 13, 2009 - Friday the 13th (2009) (1st week)
Feb 20, 2009 - Slumdog Millionaire (15th week)
Feb 27, 2009 - Slumdog Millionaire (16th week)
March 6, 2009 - Watchmen (1st week)
March 13, 2009 - Watchmen (2nd week)
March 20, 2009 - Knowing (1st week)
March 27, 2009 - Monsters vs. Aliens (1st week)
Apr 3, 2009 - Fast & Furious (1st week)
Apr 10, 2009 - Hannah Montana: The Movie (1st week)
Apr 17, 2009 - 17 Again (1st week)
Apr 24, 2009 - 17 Again (2nd week)
May 1, 2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine (1st week)
May 8, 2009 - Star Trek (1st week)
May 15, 2009 - Angels & Demons (1st week)
May 22, 2009 - Terminator Salvation (1st week)
May 29, 2009 - Up (1st week)
June 5, 2009 - Up (2nd week)
June 12, 2009 - The Hangover (2nd week)
June 19, 2009 - The Proposal (1st week)
June 26, 2009 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (1st week)
July 3, 2009 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2nd week)
July 10, 2009 - Brüno (1st week)
July 17, 2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (1st week)
July 24, 2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2nd week)
July 31, 2009 - Funny People (1st week)
Aug 7, 2009 - G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (1st week)
Aug 14, 2009 - District 9 (1st week)
Aug 21, 2009 - Inglourious Basterds (1st week)
Aug 28, 2009 - The Final Destination (1st week)
Sept 4, 2009 - Inglourious Basterds (3rd week)
Sept 11, 2009 - 9 (1st week)
Sept 18, 2009 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1st week)
Sept 25, 2009 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2nd week)
Oct 2, 2009 - Zombieland (1st week)
Oct 9, 2009 - Couples Retreat (1st week)
Oct 16, 2009 - Law Abiding Citizen (1st week)
Oct 23, 2009 - Law Abiding Citizen (2nd week)
Oct 30, 2009 - Michael Jackson's This Is It (1st week)
Nov 6, 2009 - Disney's A Christmas Carol (1st week)
Nov 13, 2009 - 2012 (1st week)
Nov 20, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (1st week)
Nov 27, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2nd week)
Dec 4, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (3rd week)
Dec 11, 2009 - The Princess and the Frog (1st week)
Dec 18, 2009 - Avatar (1st week)
Dec 25, 2009 - Avatar (2nd week)

North American Box Office #1's for 2009
Jan 2, 2009 - Marley & Me (2nd week)
Jan 9, 2009 - Gran Torino (5th week)
Jan 16, 2009 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (1st week)
Jan 23, 2009 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2nd week)
Jan 30, 2009 -Taken (1st week)
Feb 6, 2009 - He's Just Not That Into You (1st week)
Feb 13, 2009 - Friday the 13th (2009) (1st week)
Feb 20, 2009 - Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (1st week)
Feb 27, 2009 - Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (2nd week)
March 6, 2009 - Watchmen (1st week)
March 13, 2009 - Race to Witch Mountain (1st week)
March 20, 2009 - Knowing (1st week)
March 27, 2009 - Monsters vs. Aliens (1st week)
Apr 3, 2009 - Fast & Furious (1st week)
Apr 10, 2009 - Hannah Montana: The Movie (1st week)
Apr 17, 2009 - 17 Again (1st week)
Apr 24, 2009 - Obsessed (1st week)
May 1, 2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine (1st week)
May 8, 2009 - Star Trek (1st week)
May 15, 2009 - Angels & Demons (1st week)
May 22, 2009 - Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (1st week)
May 29, 2009 - Up (1st week)
June 5, 2009 - The Hangover (1st week)
June 12, 2009 - The Hangover (2nd week)
June 19, 2009 - The Proposal (1st week)
June 26, 2009 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (1st week)
July 3, 2009 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2nd week)
July 10, 2009 - Brüno (1st week)
July 17, 2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (1st week)
July 24, 2009 - G-Force (1st week)
July 31, 2009 - Funny People (1st week)
Aug 7, 2009 - G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (1st week)
Aug 14, 2009 - District 9 (1st week)
Aug 21, 2009 - Inglourious Basterds (1st week)
Aug 28, 2009 - The Final Destination (1st week)
Sept 4, 2009 - The Final Destination (2nd week)
Sept 11, 2009 - Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself (1st week)
Sept 18, 2009 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1st week)
Sept 25, 2009 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2nd week)
Oct 2, 2009 - Zombieland (1st week)
Oct 9, 2009 - Couples Retreat (1st week)
Oct 16, 2009 - Where the Wild Things Are (1st week)
Oct 23, 2009 - Paranormal Activity (1st week)
Oct 30, 2009 - Michael Jackson's This Is It (1st week)
Nov 6, 2009 - Disney's A Christmas Carol (1st week)
Nov 13, 2009 - 2012 (1st week)
Nov 20, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (1st week)
Nov 27, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2nd week)
Dec 4, 2009 - The Blind Side (3rd week)
Dec 11, 2009 - The Princess and the Frog (1st week)
Dec 18, 2009 - Avatar (1st week)
Dec 25, 2009 - Avatar (2nd week)

UK Box Office #1's for 2009
Jan 2, 2009 - Yes Man (2nd week)
Jan 9, 2009 - Role Models (1st week)
Jan 16, 2009 -Slumdog Millionaire (2nd week)
Jan 23, 2009 - Slumdog Millionaire (3rd week)
Jan 30, 2009 -Slumdog Millionaire (4th week)
Feb 6, 2009 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1st week)
Feb 13, 2009 - Bolt (1st week)
Feb 20, 2009 - Bolt (2nd week)
Feb 27, 2009 - Slumdog Millionaire (8th week)
March 6, 2009 - Watchmen (1st week)
March 13, 2009 - Marley & Me (1st week)
March 20, 2009 - Marley & Me (2nd week)
March 27, 2009 - Knowing (1st week)
Apr 3, 2009 - Monsters vs. Aliens (1st week)
Apr 10, 2009 - Fast & Furious (1st week)
Apr 17, 2009 - Monsters vs. Aliens (3rd week)
Apr 24, 2009 - State of Play (1st week)
May 1, 2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine (1st week)
May 8, 2009 - Star Trek (1st week)
May 15, 2009 - Angels & Demons (1st week)
May 22, 2009 - Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (1st week)
May 29, 2009 - Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2nd week)
June 5, 2009 - Terminator Salvation (1st week)
June 12, 2009 - The Hangover (1st week)
June 19, 2009 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (1st week)
June 26, 2009 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2nd week)
July 3, 2009 - Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (1st week)
July 10, 2009 - Brüno (1st week)
July 17, 2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (1st week)
July 24, 2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2nd week)
July 31, 2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (3rd week)
Aug 7, 2009 - The Ugly Truth (1st week)
Aug 14, 2009 - The Time Traveller's Wife (1st week)
Aug 21, 2009 - Inglourious Basterds (1st week)
Aug 28, 2009 - The Final Destination (1st week)
Sept 4, 2009 - District 9 (1st week)
Sept 11, 2009 - District 9 (2nd week)
Sept 18, 2009 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1st week)
Sept 25, 2009 - Fame (2009) (1st week)
Oct 2, 2009 - Fame (2009) (2nd week)
Oct 9, 2009 - Up (1st week)
Oct 16, 2009 - Up (2nd week)
Oct 23, 2009 - Up (3rd week)
Oct 30, 2009 - Michael Jackson's This Is It (1st week)
Nov 6, 2009 - Disney's A Christmas Carol (1st week)
Nov 13, 2009 - 2012 (1st week)
Nov 20, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (1st week)
Nov 27, 2009 - The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2nd week)
Dec 4, 2009 - Paranormal Activity (1st week)
Dec 11, 2009 - Disney's A Christmas Carol (6th week)
Dec 18, 2009 - Avatar (1st week)
Dec 25, 2009 - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (1st week)

IMDb Top Rate Films of the New Millenium

More Top lists of the not just decade here, but the new Millenium although technically for the time being that encompasses the same period of time. It's an interesting list - the IMDb Power of Film: Top Rated Films of the New Millennium, the url rotates between different lists overtime so I've added the criteria and responses below.

Criteria: "What hath this new century wrought? In our latest Power of Film feature, we chronicle the The Top Rated Films of the New Millennium, looking at the 15 films made since 2000 that our users have rated as the best of the new millennium. Despite the prevalence of a certain trilogy and a particular comic book hero, there are surprises to be had, from independent films to non-English language films to even two animated favorites, one from just this year."

15. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
13. Spirited Away (2001)
12. The Pianist (2002)
11. The Lives of Others (2006)
10. The Departed (2006)
9. Amélie (2001)
8. WALL·E (2008)
7. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
6. Memento (2000)
5. Up (2009)
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
3. City of God (2002)
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
1. The Dark Knight (2008)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Avatar, Avatar and Alvin Canadian, North American & UK Box Office December 25, 2009 Weekend

Avatar did well in both Canada and North America over the holiday weekend, in both cases making almost as much as it did in it's first weekend of release - which is very unusual. Sherlock Holmes debuts 2nd in both cases but 3rd spot in the UK whose top place went to none other than Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel which I never would have guessed. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus had it's debut week here in Canada and landed at #12. It's strange to see that it's the last weekend of the 2009 year, it's certainly been an interesting year.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the December 25, 2009 weekend
1. Avatar
2. Sherlock Holmes *
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel *
4. It's Complicated *
5. Up In the Air
6. Nine *
7. The Princess and the Frog
8. Did You Hear About the Morgans?
9. Invictus
10. The Blind Side
11. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
12. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus *
13. 3 Idiots *
14. The Girl Who Played With Fire *
15. 2012
16. Disney's A Christmas Carol
17. The Young Victoria
18. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
19. A Single Man
20. Old Dogs

Top 20 Movies in North America for the December 25, 2009 weekend
1. Avatar
2. Sherlock Holmes *
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel *
4. It's Complicated *
5. The Blind Side
6. Up In the Air
7. The Princess and the Frog
8. Nine
9. Did You Hear About the Morgans?
10. Invictus
11. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
12. 3 Idiots *
13. Disney's A Christmas Carol
14. Brothers
15. 2012
16. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
17. Old Dogs
18. The Young Victoria
19. The Road
20. A Single Man

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the December 25, 2009 weekend
1. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel *
2. Avatar
3. Sherlock Holmes *
4. 3 Idiots *
5. St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold
6. Nine
7. Nowhere Boy *
8. A Christmas Carol
9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
10. Law Abiding Citizen

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

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

DVD Releases: December 29, 2009

Well here we are at the last set of DVD releases for 2009. From the onslaught of horror and thriller titles you'd think it was the last Tuesday in October, not December - but I'm not complaining as a bunch of them are on my to see list!

New Horror & Thrillers Titles!
First up for DVD releases is the little indie movie of 2009 that could: Paranormal Activity - we demanded, we went, we shrieked and we loved it. It was definitely one of the creepiest movies of the year. Also up this week is Carriers starring Chris Pine (Jim Kirk in this years Star Trek) and Piper Perabo, this horror flick has that 'infection' vibe all over it and I'm quite saddened and surprized that it never hit regular theatres here in the T-dot, especially because I remember seeing a preview or two for it. Wait a moment, another movie with another Kirk in it? Yep - A Perfect Getaway starring Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk in Star Trek) along with Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn, Kiele Sanchez and Marley Shelton in this thriller from director David Twohy (Pitch Black). But the boys don't get all the fun, Jennifer's Body directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried hits DVD today. Last up for horror is Lesbian Vampire Killers, which I found much less interesting when found out the vampires were lesbians and being hunted. Why couldn't the hunters be lesbians kicking vampire butt? Also, it appears that the US DVD title is simply Vampire Killers and both version the cover art looks very Zombieland-esque.

I've Heard of That!
Non-horror (depending on how you look at it) titles this week include Michael Moore's latest documentary Capitalism, A Love Story along with Bubbles & the boys getting into trouble in Trailer Park Boys 2: Countdown to Liquor Day aka Trailer Park Boys 2.

Wildcards
These really are wildcards this week, so much so that Princess of Mars is listed on IMDb as still 'in production'. Other than that we can gather it stars Traci Lords, Antonio Sabato Jr. and is Sci Fi (hence the 'Mars'). We also have Death Warrior which centres on a deadly game played by 5 MMA fighters.

Non-Film
I can't resist but spread the Glee love with the release of "Glee Season 1, Volume 1: Road to Sectionals". Although I'm no fan of .5 releases on DVD but I can see the excitement especially considering we aren't going to have any new episodes until April 13, 2010.

Titles on Amazon.ca (Canada):


Titles on Amazon.com (US), if available:

Monday, 28 December 2009

A Decade of Movie Memories: 2008

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2008 really doesn't seem that long ago to me. Although there are clear movie markers like the overall love for festival sweetheart film Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in, and being coined the year of 'the comeback' with several actors popping up back on the screens to much love (Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD) I still feel it's too close behind us to get a sense of what kind of year it was. There were many great films, and there certainly is crossover on this movie memory list with my favourite films of 2008, but as a year it's hard to pin it down what it was about. But, the memories still hold strong.

As with previous years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 the parameters or the list are films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. This is a list of favourite movie memories, not a best of list.

Up the Yangtze/ 沿江⽽上
Haunting documentary about the relocation of people for the huge dam built. The stories of the families hold still in my mind and heart as is the vivid imagery I can literally still feel in my body almost two years after seeing the film. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should.

Then She Found Me
Kudo's to my buddy Danette for suggesting we go see this fantastic film. It also shook me up to realize I hadn't considered going to see it myself which made me feel like a total jerk. Since then, I've been way more conscientious about seeing films from women directors and / or with female protagonists.

My Blueberry Nights
First time I got to see a Wong Kar-Wai film in the regular theatre and I was in heaven. I wanted to lick the screen. Was that an overshare? Anyhow, I loved this film as I've loved all of his films for their emotional expression and personal journeys. It was a slightly bizarre, but fitting, double bill night where I also saw Son of Rambow.

Postal
One of my few treks out to The Rainbow theatre because the film was in such limited release. I really thought I would be the only one there and brought my knitting with me. But - I wasn't, there was at least 4 other people but it was the weirdest floorplan on seating .... about 60 seats total but none of the rows had the same number of seats. Very strange screening. Very strange.

Mamma Mia!
Another Danette recommendation and oh wow, I had no idea how much I would love this movie! And I believe it was the first film I saw at one of the big theatres at AMC Yonge & Dundas (likely #6 which now is close to if not my favourite theatre in Toronto). I almost wanted to singalong with the film (ABBA's just like that), but resisted singing, but did end up seeing it three times in the theatre with all the lovely ladies in my family (because the movie is like that). One of the funnest films that I'd seen in a long time.

Rachel Getting Married
Like the Squid and the Whale back on my 2005 list, Rachel Getting Married makes the list not only for being an excellent film with fantastic performance, but for also having that oh so familiar dysfunctional family feeling. And I cried and cried and cried. Pools of tears settled in my clavicles. I had no idea I would have such a reaction to it but oh nelly I did.

JCVD
Okay, this is a bit of a cheat because I saw it at TIFF'08, but I went again to see it at the theatre - the big one at AMC Yonge & Dundas as it happens. There are many festival films that hit regular theatres, but you usually know which ones those are and this one I hadn't anticipating to do so which is what made seeing it at the regular theatre so special, especially as it had a pretty good freaking audience during the screening. That made me so happy that people were getting to see this great film.

Twilight
There is no doubt that seeing Twilight was one of the highlights of the year. Being in the packed house on opening night with my sister Jamie was surreal, from people wearing Team Edward shirts (which I didn't know what that meant at the time), got getting free bookmarks, to seeing all the nervous laughter and cheering throughout the film. It's been wild to watch the effect of the phenomenon as it continues to stretch out wider than I ever would have ever imagined. The film also got me into podcasting by cohosting a Twilight Podcast - Before the Dawn. And I love the film.

Quarantine
This is by no means a good film, but on that particular day I just needed to see something and this was the choice so I took it. In that sense, it made for a good laugh as there is no reason to remake the film it's based on [REC] as it is fantastic in it's own right. But, from the posters and publicity I was curious about if they were showing what I thought they were showing - and they are, which totally should put them in the publicity hall of shame.

Ghajini
Another in the list of 'got out of work early - lets see what's playing at the theatre' and so I headed out for this Bollywood adventure which I didn't realize was actually pretty much a version of Memento. That aside, the performances were pretty strong and Aamir Khan went through amazing physical transformation for the role which I found very inspiring. The soundtrack was the first one I've bought of iTunes and has severals song by AR Rahman - whom also did several songs on Slumdog Millionaire including "Jai Ho".

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Week in Film Vlog: December 27, 2009

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Theatrical: Sherlock Holmes
101 in 1001:
The Hustler, Yi Yi
Random: The New World, Brødre (review of US version), Court Jester
Holiday Viewing: Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Every Little Step, The Forbidden Kingdom

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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 25, 2009

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday December 25, 2009! I'm sending this out to everyone a bit early as my family celebrates today, on Christmas Eve and I don't really plan on doing much tomorrow! It's a one in 7 years save leap year interference that we actually have new releases on Christmas Day. I've still never been to the theatre on that particular day but if that is your tradition it looks like you have some stellar choices this year!

There are no limited release this week, all four films that are opening are opening wide! Options of the week included the fantastical wonder that is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus which I highly recommend. We also have the musical Nine which is a new version of Fellini's 8 1/2, the romantic divorce comedy It's Complicated and then of course we have the highly anticipated redux of Sherlock Holmes from Guy Ritchie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Also already in theatres since Wednesday is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

They certainly is something for everyone this week and whether you cozy up inside or visit the theatre I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!

Shannon

Wednesday December 23, 2009 Releases

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Dir: Betty Thomas (28 Days, John Tucker Must Die)
Voices:
Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Friday December 25, 2009 Releases

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Dir: Terry Gilliam (Tideland, Twelve Monkeys)
Cast: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Tom Waits, Andrew Garfield
Canada/UK/France
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

It's Complicated
Writer/Dir: Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give)
Cast: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinski
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Nine
Dir: Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha)
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson, Stacy Ferguson, Daniel Day-Lewis
USA/Italy
Official Film Site,
IMDb Page, Trailer

Sherlock Holmes
Dir: Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels)
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong
UK/USA/Australia
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of December 25, 2009**

A Decade of Movie Memories: 2007

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2007 was an awesome year for me with regards to film. I launched Movie Moxie, covered several film festivals (TIFF, Toronto After Dark and Reel Asian in 2007), started hanging out with other film folks and on top of all that it was an excellent year for film. Unlike my 2006 list, several of these films haven't been reviewed, probably because the number I saw increased dramatically as well as festivalling. I normally wouldn't even post on Dec 24 because that's we my family celebrates Christmas but looking at the fantastic films of 2007 it feels like sharing & remember them is gift like in it of itself.

As with previous years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 the parameters or the list are films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. This is a list of favourite movie memories, not a best of list.

Control
Beautiful black & white biopic on Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division in a powerful performance from Sam Riley - someone from this film alone I will see anything he's involved it. Fantastic. Was also a reminder to not listen/read reviews of biopics when I don't know what happened - because not everyone does, and it's rather inevitable people will talk about what happens in the film like fact, because in essence, it is. That's likely the reason I never reviewed it!

Enchanted
I asked my Mom to so see this with me at the Bloor one afternoon as I know she enjoys animation (this is only partly animated) and I had the day off. But - *lots* of people had the day off as it was the new "Family Day" holiday in Ontario and the theatre was packed with families who brought the little girls in their lives. The film started mucho late as they usually clear the popcorn line so long, which was almost to the outside doors, but I didn't care at all. To be in a theatre full of kids that were that excited and attentive was quite the site. I had my issues with the film itself, but the experience was lovely.

Fido
Canadian zombie-drama-comedy-commentary. Really, do you need to know any more? It's freaking awesome.

300
I remember debating with my sister Jamie about whether or not we wanted to see 300 or not, we sent emails back and forth throughout the day and only decided on the last minute. On the one hand it looked like a lot of fun, epic and rah! But, it also felt like it had the potential for lots of gender crap. We decided to gamble it and thankfully it was a lot of fun without gender crap. So oddly, the experience was more a relief than anything else.

After the Wedding / Efter brylluppet
Here's the teary one of the year. My goodness this film is absolutely fantastic, I went to see it purely because it was nominated for best foreign film at the Oscars but I had no idea what I was in for. It's a straight up drama but the story is compelling, the characters real and the acting is spectacular. Secured that I will see anything by Susanne Bier, and anything that stars Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, King Arthur, Valhalla Rising). It's also one film that I feel strongly about recommending it to anyone, anywhere - it's completely universal.

Let's All Hate Toronto
It was a unique experience to see this film at the NFB with a full house. It's a documentary where a guy literally travels Canada to try and discover why everyone ... hates Toronto. It has lots of Canadian and regional references but also a larger message. I also do love seeing cultural reflection as well being a proud Torontonian.

Sunshine
This was my birthday pick for the movies, going with my Mom, sister Jamie and her husband. We saw it at the Cumberland but weren't at the screening with the Q&A with Danny Boyle (how did I miss that?). We sat pretty close and I can still remember seeing all the images so big and the connection of the sound to the image and how it really felt like you were in space. This one is a big re-watcher for me, I watch it all the time.

Hairspray
Since Moulin Rouge! in 2001 we seemed to get about 1 really big musical per year and for 2007 it was Hairspray. I didn't know the story at all before going in and ended up loving every minute of it. I loved the earnestness yet politeness of the main character, the fact that it actually had a message, and the over the top enthusiasm over all.

The Golden Compass
What a beautiful experience seeing this film was, earlier in the year it was awesome to surrounded by all the enthusiastic girls at Enchanted but for me if I was a kid I would have loved to see The Golden Compass. Not only is it a fantasy film, but one with an adventurous female protagonist. Not a sister, or a friend but she is actually the protagonist. We don't see this enough. But even more than that I loved the character of Serafina Pekkala who made my Favourite Characters list because I would have loved being a kid getting to see a character like hers on screen - powerful, mysterious and brave. Wow. This one was actually Jamie's birthday pick and after the film we went and had dinner over on Baldwin. Good times.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
I was in such a rush to get to the theatre to see this that I actually missed the beginning of it, it was at The Bloor and they don't show previews. I really really wanted to see it so braved being late, which I hate doing. I ended up sitting near the back and it was quite the experience. A matinee with a pretty good house but the funniest thing was that I knew I was with my peoples as this felt like the sweetheart film for genre folk of the year. A documentary on the epic battle for high score of Donkey Kong between Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe, which also looks at the history of the game and score keeping. The dialogue is unforgettable, it's absolute documentary gold - you couldn't get better if you tried. One of the few times I've actively bought a DVD on the day of it's release and I've rewatched it more times than I care to admit. Brilliant film.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A Decade of Movie Memories: 2006

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2006 is the year when my movie memories become very solidified. I started writing about film online at the first blog I ever tired and it was there the newsletter Film Fan Fridays found an online home there 2006. I also started reviewing film, my first was In the Heat of the Night for my first 101 in 1001 list and man, it was a short review! I also reviewed current films and made the conscience effort to see Canadian films in the theatre. As it happens, it was a freaking awesome year for Canadian film and I was thrilled to get out to so many of them. I was about to revel in the fact of how much more film I see or write about now, then I realized I did review all of the 2006 films on this list and I'll be surprized to see if that will happen with my 2009 picks. But now my reviews tend to be a tad longer. I own very few of the films from 2006 because at that time I was focusing on paying off debt and didn't start buying DVDs until later on. Ah, it's interesting to see how things change over time.

As with previous years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 the parameters or the list are films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. This is a list of favourite movie memories, not a best of list.

The Rocket / Maurice Richard
I said I went hyper Canadian this year and you can't really get more Canadian than a biopic on the hockey player Maurice Richard. It's an absolutely spectacular film and sweeped the Genies that year including picking up 9 awards including 3 for acting: Stephen McHattie (Pontypool) for supporting actor, Julie LeBreton for actress, and Roy Dupuis for actor in the role of Maurice Richard. There is a calm beauty and strength to this film that makes it so special.

Babel
I'm breaking my rules a little bit here as I know I saw Babel in 2007 - on Superbowl Sunday to be exact. You see, the pipes froze in my house and I woke up and it was 10C in my apartment. So I got the flock outta there to give my landlord time to get it fixed. So, in doing so I went to see Babel at the Carlton which was warmer than my place. The film wasn't what I expected, but made me wonder if the 2000's would become known for the format of having lots of different stories told concurrently and then manage to come together. Regardless, it was warm there and I got one more film knocked off the 'to see for awards season' list.

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey
A documentary that looks at the history of Metal music from an anthropological point of view. Un-freaking-believable and again another fantastic Canadian film of 2006. The music is awesome, the interviews are not only entertaining but also informative. It's a beautiful combination of love for the music but also the drive to see who loves it and why. Brilliant.

Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor
Fantastic fusion of current day with the fantastical/paranormal to bring a vision that is epic and accessible. There are a few things that bring this film to new heights for me - there is a familiarity to the European aesthetic with the characters from sensibility to physicality and the art direction drives me over the top. I love everything about it, and how you can tell that care was everything in every decision made, even the subtitles go the extra mile. It also accomplishes the amazing feat of having the created world make sense in it of itself so it doesn't have to be 'explained' directly to the audience. Having the opportunity to see this one the big screen over at Scotiabank (then Paramount) was amazing, I mean a Russian fantastical sci-fi esque film... in the theatre? Unforgettable.

District B13 / Banlieue B13
How often do you see a futuristic sci fi action crime movie? Not often enough I say! That description was enough to get me in the theatre, another trip to Scotiabank on the big screen, and although I wouldn't ever classify District 13 as Sci Fi but that's okay because it still rocks. It was the first time I'd ever seen parkour (which we saw later in 2006 in Casino Royale) and I was blown away! The action sequences are beyond believe and it's wild to see them set to French rap music. Freaking awesome. What's even better is that it has a great story, interesting kick butt characters, a message and stars the founder of parkour himself, David Belle.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop
Another great Canadian film of the year and this one is unique because it bridged the divide between English and French by making it a inadvertent Ontario/Quebec buddy cop action/thriller. Yep, and it's pretty freaking funny to. Promo'd as a bilingual film it has it's fair share of language jokes, and it played with different subtitles depending where in Canada it was shown.

The Devil Wears Prada
This one is on my list for a few reason, firstly it was the 2nd film in the past 10 years that was actually sold out the first time I tried to see it. I remember being dumbfounded at the theatre. Sold out? That even happens anymore? And it was like a Tuesday or something. Anyway, the second time I saw it I had lots of reservations about it, not the film itself but the main character and her choices. But, over time I've come to change my mind and I always get hooked to watching it if it's on TV. I do love the cattiness of Emily Blunt's character and I also think it's also the first performance of Meryl Streep's that I enjoyed.

Conversations With Other Women
This was one in several films that were 'race to the Cumberland after work to see a matinee' films, and it really stuck with me. It's not the style of the film, which is memorable and interesting but that wasn't what really did it. There is literally one line in it that is such a moment of truth that I will always remember it just for that.

The Fountain
Is it awful to say that before seeing The Fountain I didn't realize that Hugh Jackman could act? I had seen and loved the X-Men films but in this.. I mean, that man can really act! I loved this film for taking on grand big life questions and concepts and putting them all together and all over the place. I wouldn't hazard to say I understood it all but I was marvelled by it, conceptually, visually and theoretically.

Dreamgirls
What a joy it was to see Dreamgirls in the theatre with my sisters Suzie and Jamie. I remember listening to the soundtrack of the Broadway show at home and singing along - I knew each and every word to it. But, I had never seen a production of the show so in essence I had no idea what the story was at all. So seeing the film was a bizarre experience in familiarity and revelation. But seeing it with my sisters was the best, there were lots of tears shed at that screening!
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012