Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Alien 3 ~ Countdown to Promethues Vlog

Side Note: I've now started a You Tube channel called Shannon the Movie Moxie, and I have all the Aliens vlogs uploaded in their own playlist here. I will still continue to post the vlogs here as well as include the audio in the weekly Movie Moxie Podcast.

In anticipation of the Alien prequel film Prometheus I am am re-watch all four Alien films, and today we look at the not-as-often loved third film Alien 3.

Things I notice on this re-watch and mention in the vlog:
  • I mention the works of director David Fincher including Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Cast of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
  • I mention The Paradise Theatre as one place I saw Alien 3, although originally I saw it on VHS.
  • I think that the character of Clemens played mention Charles Dance may be one of my favourite characters in film. I also mention he was in the recent Underworld film Underworld Awakenings.
  • I mention the themes of leadership, control and power in the film as well as the idea of being helpless plus the added tension of being in a contained space, a prison and the gender dynamics create so much tension.
  • It does have different look and feel from the first two aliens films, especially the inclusion of point-of-view visuals.
  • I ponder on if uniqueness in a series is something that people don't look forward to, and wonder if
  • The only barrier to Alien 3 I could find that people may have a challenge may be the British accents if you don't quite have an ear for them yet.
  • I do find that I don't love Alien 3 with the love I have for Alien or Aliens, but I still really, really enjoy it.
  • You can also hear my Prometheus Countdown reviews as a part of the Movie Moxie Podcast
  • See my vlog revisiting Alien here and Aliens here
  • The Aliens Quadrilogy is very much part of my family history, especially with my siblings Jamie, Suzie & Jason, click through to see their sites and awesome adventures!
Prometheus hits theatres on June 8, 2012.

Up next: I'll continue the Prometheus Countdown hitting up Alien Resurrection next!

There is still time to play along!
I'm watching 1 film a week for the Alien films but you can still play along with 2 films a weekend:
  • Power through all four Alien, Aliens Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection on this June 1, 2012 weekend (or any combination of the films you want to revisit)
  • Then you'll be all ready for Prometheus on June 8, 2012!

Thunderball ~ Bondathon Vlog, Film 4

Side Note: I've now started a You Tube channel called Shannon the Movie Moxie, and I have all the Bondathon vlogs uploaded in their own playlist here. I will still continue to post the vlogs here as well as include the audio in the weekly Movie Moxie Podcast.

Mentioned in this vlog:
  • Thunderball stars Sean Connery as James Bond and is directed by Terance Young, and after watching the first four Bond films it's easily my favourite (followed by Dr. No, Goldfinger and then From Russia with Love)
  • See the original Bondathon post with schedule and film listing, and my introductory vlog about the Bondathon.
  • I *almost* mention the film Cannonball Run.
  • Water films I mention: The Big Blue, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Abyss.
  • I mention that part of the score for Thunderball is sample of a song I couldn't place but knew was either My Life with tLinkhe Thrill Kill Kult or White Zombie. I solved the mystery and it's Mood No. 6 by My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult from the album Sexplosion.
  • I mention that I recognized hearing the score of Goldfinger used in song 6 Underground by the Sneaker Pimps (I say Spin, Spin, Sugar but it was actually 6 Underground).
  • I mention that I was quite impressed with the action in the film and the fighting felt more believable, the devices were awesome and I loved all the underwater sequences and action.
  • They also make the villains more three dimensional, which makes them more interesting and accessible.
  • See my vlogs for previous films in the Bondathon with Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger.
  • You can also hear my Bondathon reviews as a part of the Movie Moxie Podcast

Up Next for the Bondathon: You Only Live Twice

The Aggression Scale (DVD Review)

DVD Review of the boundary-pushing thriller Aggression Scale staring Dana Ashbrook, Fabianne Therese and Ryan Hartwig

Image: Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

Dir: Steven C. Miller (Automaton Transfusion)
Cast: Dana Ashbrook, Fabianne Therese, Ryan Hartwig, Derek Mears, Jacob Reynolds, Joseph McKelheer, Boyd Kestner, Lisa Rotondi, Ray Wise
USA, 2012

Reason to see: Looked pretty intense and I was curious about the concept

The cover of the DVD for The Aggression Scale provides us with a definition of the terms being: "A psychological test measuring the frequency of overt aggressive behaviors that may result in physical or psychological injury to others" which quickly provides us with both the context and concept going into the film. It's interesting as often we see films about the breaking point at which someone would turn to violence, but The Aggression Scale goes past and starts with not when, but how often and how far people will go with aggressive behaviour.

It's clearly a disturbing idea, and creates a lot of unnerving situations with great tension as it mashes together stories and people on both sides of a stolen money situation. One of this that I really enjoyed about the film is that it doesn't play the morality card. It barely even touches on the subject at all, and instead just goes for the throat with indifference and at times witty humour. Normally, indifference and violence totally put me off but here they made it work from using the perspective of it being a job, or greed, or the wisp of a dream that glimmers in someone's eye. And it wasn't completely heartless, there was some real heart in it to. I don't know how they made it work but they did. It's wild.

I thought it was interesting to use a newly blended family with a fair amount of tension as a group to follow as they are rather awkward with each other creating interesting dynamics and a fair amount of mystery to each characters back story. We don't get quite as much insight to the band of thugs after them, but I was floored by Dana Ashbrook who is fantastic as Roy, aka the lead thug and just trying to get a job done. I also loved the focus on planning, foresight and execution in the film that gave it an almost heist-like format where you get to follow along and try to see, interpret and wonder if everything will go as planned.

I would have loved to see the pacing tightening up just a bit in bridging the stories together quicker, just a moment or two where you can tell it's likely a lower budget film in terms of the locations but I wouldn't hold that against it. The idea is interesting and they explore it well, and it pays off big time. Fair warning for folks that are put off by violent films as The Aggression Scale will probably put you over the edge, but for those that like blood, shock and violence in your entertainment than this is definitely a film to see. The make-up was very impressive as well. Gruesome, but amazing. It also has a pretty warped sense of humour at times which was a great balance to the tense theme.

The Aggression Scale suprized me way more often than I was expecting, and not just with the tension and boundary pushing, but with the story as well. The character dynamics were unusual and I especially like how they used a blended family trying find their new feet with each other and their new space as a focus. Overall it was a very solid thriller and I'd strongly recommend it for thriller fans and anyone who can take the violence & blood. It's well worth checking out.

DVD Extras:
  • Making Of The Aggression Scale (14 minutes) behind the scenes of filming plus footage of the location, cast & crew and interviews with director Steven C. Miller, producer Travis Stevens, writer Ben Powell and actors including Derek Mears, Dana Ashbrook and Jacob Renyolds, about the theme and inspiration of the film, the quick pace of filming as it relates to the adrenaline packed tone of the film, the chemistry and cast combinations of the two groups of characters in the film, what it's like to work together and the process of filming. There is a subtle playful quality to the behind the scenes as they including things like the oh-so glamorous jobs the producers, and showcases the community spirit and bonding during making the film.
The Aggression Scale is available on DVD as of May 29, 2012. Check it out over at &

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I strongly recommend it to thriller fans and folks who enjoy films that push boundaries

Return to Film Reviews, see more DVD Reviews or my Vlog review of The Aggression Scale here.

© Shannon Ridler, 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

DVD Releases for May 29, 2012

Time to take a look at a selection of DVD releases for Tuesday May 29, 2012!

Images: Aggression Scale (Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment), Goon (Courtesy of Alliance Films), True Blood Season 4 (©2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.); and We Need to Talk About Kevin & Rookie Blue (Courtesy of eOne Films)

  • Aggression Scale (DVD review) Psychological thriller exploring the idea of aggressive behaviour of as it relates to injuring others. This one had a really interesting story and perspective and definitive boundary-pushing in a unique way.
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin drama starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller about a family dealing with a son who is seems to become more and more vicious as he grows up. I've heard such excellent things about this one and I really wanted to see it.
  • Goon Canadian hockey comedy starring Seann William Scott as a hockey player taken on to provide fights as entertainment in the games, this looks pretty funny to me and it's just so Canadian I can't help but see it. It also stars Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber and Jay Baruchel.
  • UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson in Japan! I'm still in the very early stages of understanding all the UFC goodness, but this DVD looks jam packed with additional fights of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Ryan Bader and Yoshihiro Akiyama in his welterweight debut vs Jake Shields; and of course plus main event of Frankie “The Answer” Edgar vs Benson “Smooth” Henderson.
  • Fightville (podcast review) MMA documentary following promoters, trainers and fighters (including the formidable Dustin 'The Diamond' Poirier) in Southern Louisiana as they but their blood, sweat and tears into the sport (Available on as of July 10, 2012).
  • True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season What antics will this risque vampires in plain sight get up to in it's fourth season? I'm not sure as I haven't even seen it it! Although I do mention in the vlog that I podcasting through season 3 of True Blood over at Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural & you can check out those discussions here.
  • More TV to enjoy including the Canadian choices of cop drama Rookie Blue Season 2 and historical mystery show Murdoch Mysteries Season 4.
  • Apnea This Greek film is definitely my wild card pick of the week, with a tagline of "The deeper you dive, the deeper you breath." and it's made the festival circuit and has a thriller feel centred on a swimmer, I'm completely curious. See more are the films IMDb Page.
  • Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies Not to be confused with the upcoming film Abraham Lincolm Vampire Hunter! This one is direct to DVD and stars David Alexander, Raed Ali and Bernie Ask and is directed by Richard Schenkman and looks pretty similar to the idea of Vampire Hunter.
  • Jules Verne's Mysterious Island this one recently aired on SyFy and stars Gina Holden (Harper's Island), Lochlyn Munro and Pruitt Taylor Vince and is based on, you guessed it Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island from 1874.
Titles on

Titles on (US):

Monday, 28 May 2012

My Week in Film: May 28, 2012

Oh man, a monkey walked into my wrench works of the Week in Film post! I totally get confounded by wanted to always have this up on Monday morning, yet not wanting to write it on Sunday. I apparently want to shimmy a hole in the space time continuum to write it somewhere mystically between the two. Alas, until I do that (and I will!) I'll just be a little later this week than I'd like.

That was the first monkey of the week. The second was that I haven't seen any new theatrical releases since last week. I had all the best intentions of check out some special screenings but more monkeys flew into those plans. But, that doesn't mean I didn't see anything. When monkeys try to play with your life, just clear them away and take a crack at the good old Owned/Unseen pile. That's what I did and got through two choice selections from my pile including Indonesian action flick/journey film Merantau & science fiction drama Code 46.

First up Merantau (dir: Gareth Evans, Indonesia/2009), which I was really looking forward to as it stars Iko Uwais and is directed by Gareth Evans who brought us the absolutely fantastic film The Raid (now The Raid: Redemption) which I fell in love with after seeing it during TIFF 2011. It was the Midnight Madness opener, but I opted to see it during the day (which actually ended up being pretty awesome - see why here), and since then I wanted to see their first film Merantau. Now, I've not had the best track record when I go back to watch earlier action films as I find you usually get great action and everything else can be, well, not so great. So my expectations were pretty low, just hoping for the good action.

Low and behold I should have held those expectations higher as it's an overall great film with a wonderful journey story of coming into ones own, which is what the title of Merantau means. So, and action film and a journey film. Shannon was a happy film watcher, that's for sure. I loved the sentiment of the story and the whole do-good attitude, even when faced with trouble and turmoil. Yep, I'm going to buy that every, single time. Every time. Of course you are probably wondering about the action aren't you? About seeing more of the gorgeous martial arts form of Silat, yes? It was awesome. And plentiful. And daring. All of the action is very believable, incredibly skillful and fantastically entertaining. I was actually kind of worried at a few of the stunts, but thankfully the DVD has a lot of extras to explore which after the fact calmed down my "omg, did they just like DO that?" freak-out moments. Extremely impressive and very entertaining, Merantau way exceeded my expectations. Iko Uwais is unbelievable, so fluid and powerful as a martial artist and also a strong actor. Fans of The Raid will also recognize Yayan Ruhian who plays Eric here, and Mad Dog in The Raid who is also fantastic. Be sure to check out the extras on Merantau for lots of behind the scenes, production journals, delete scenes, stunt work and choreography to screen fight comparison. Great film. Enjoyed every minute of it.

Switching gears completely I then took in the science fiction/drama/romance Code 46 (dir: Michael Winterbottom, UK/2004), and I'm not all that sure where I heard about this one first. It's high-concept science fiction but in a very accessible/near future-like world so I'm thinking it's one of those ones that hit festivals and rippled through all my science fiction-y film friends and I'm glad it did as it was excellent. It stars Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton and as a lot of it is about the concept, I don't actually want to say too much, but it definitely works with the power and perception of rights and freedoms as well as choice, fate and risk. There is also a beautiful and daring feel to the film, one that's hard to pin down and place but is ever present. There is also a truly worldly setting that is intriguing and curious. I'd highly recommend it to any fans of science fiction, speculative fiction and/or themes of choice, fate and destiny.

Those two where a bit of a bizarre pairing, but their common factor beyond going from unseen to seen was that they were both awesome. Now my 2012 Owned/Unseen List is up to 5/20 seen. One quarter of the way there, and not yet halfway way through the year. Not bad. But more importantly, I loved the films.

Countdown Update: Bondathon and Countdown to Prometheus

I also continued my marathons this weekend taking another chip off the Bondathon with Thunderball and continuing to Countdown to Prometheus with Aliens 3 (or CUBED as my family calls it). With the Bondathon I was starting to get a little leery only 3 films in after not liking From Russia with Love and being unimpressed with Goldfinger, but Thunderball gets everything back on track in the best way. I should admit to the fact that I love water and therefore was over the moon (or under the sea) happy to see how much of Thunderball uses water and has a substantial amount of scenes underwater. Totally cool. Plus, some great action as well in a more traditional sense so it reeled me right in and kept me glued to the screen for the entire 2+ hours. Then I headed out into space with Aliens 3 and wow, I really love this movie too. I've seen it many times, and it's extremely tense but it's so good. It's much grittier than the first two Alien films but it's also gutsy and different, both visually and story wise, and it has one heck of a different setting and cast of characters. I know it doesn't get as much love, and I'm not quite sure why although often when you go 'different' you lose some of the flock. I can imagine the fact that the majority of the cast has strong accents may be a barrier for some ears, but the acting os so good you surely get the sentiment of what these fellas are trying to convey. It does lead me over the bump of the films in the series that I like though, and sadly just leaves me with Alien Resurrection to watch, which I am not particularly fond of. Hopefully the revisit will spark something new to enjoy. As always, I attempt to remain eternally hopeful.

Remember to check out my Bondathon and Countdown to Prometheus Vlogs which are posted on Wednesdays, or listen to my reviews on Fridays on The Movie Moxie Podcast.

This week I'm hoping to get out to the extreme tourism/horror flick Chernobyl Diaries. Let's hope that happens!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Guest Podcast: Alien Tornado on The Saturday B-Movie Reel

I recently had the honour of guest co-hosting on The Saturday B-Movie Reel to chat about Alien Tornado recently with host Kevin Bachelder and fellow co-host Jon from Boise. I had a blast talking with the guys about this disaster/science fiction/conspiracy/b-movie that follows small towners, random government agency, weather bloggers and blogstars as they encounter an Alien Tornado. This one was a heck of a lot of fun with some interesting ideas and a great amount of cheese and great effects. Check out our chat about it here over at Tuning into SciFi TV.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Movie Moxie Vlog: Battleship Review & May 25, 2012 Releases

Movie Moxie Vlogs... Battleship! It's crazy, bombastic & loud and I loved it. I also share details on this weeks releases of what's hitting the Toronto theatres on May 25, 2012.

Show Notes

Rather listen that watch? This vlog is including in the weekly Movie Moxie Podcast. You can subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Or subscribe through iTunes here

Interview with Bridget Mendler, Voice of Arrietty in The Secret World of Arrietty

DVD Cover Image: THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY © 2010 GNDHDDTW, © 2012 GNDHDDTW. All Rights Reserved.

I have a special treat for Movie Moxie readers, an interview with Bridget Mendler who voices the role of Arrietty in The Secret World of Arrietty which was released on DVD/BluRay earlier this week. The film is based on the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton which was our January 2012 reading selection for the 2012 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club. The film is a wonderful translation of the book bringing to life a family of tiny people who live under the floorboards in a house of humans, and at the heard of it is young girl Arrietty who looks forward to her first borrowing. Let's hear from Bridget Mendler who voices the role of Arrietty on what it was like to bring this adventurous character to life.

You can also hear this interview on Episode 72 of The Movie Moxie Podcast.

Shannon: My first question is, the film is such a wonderful film I really enjoyed it, and I was curious what drew you to the project?

Bridget Mendler: I was really attracted to working with Studio Ghibli because I’ve been a fan of a lot of their movies for a while. I loved Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away, and I think that they do such beautiful animation. So watching the animation they did for The Secret World of Arrietty, it was really beautiful and it seemed like something I definitely wanted to be a part of.

Shannon: And so the film was already created when you jumped on board, right?

Bridget Mendler: Yes, it was already animated.

Shannon: Was that a challenge or restricting at all, to work with a predetermined visuals in terms of your creative input?

Bridget Mendler: I thought that actually it was kind of fun. It is a challenge of course, but it’s kind of cool to be able to have the animation to work with. It was an odd balance of feeling like I was in the movie, and part of making the movie the same time. So having visuals to bounce of off really helped me get in the moment.

Shannon: The audience gets to sees the secret world through Arrietty’s eyes but also through her relationships. I was wondering with the other characters in the film can you share how you created those bonds?

Bridget Mendler: I think the dialogue really helped for that, and working with how they interacted with each other on screen. Som my job was just to put the emotion into it and the sentiment. Unfortunately I wasn’t working with the other actors so I didn’t have that to work with or interact with.

Shannon: Oh wow.

Bridget Mendler: But I feel like it came together really well. I think I was one of the first ones to record so I think people that came in later were able to hear me talk. So, that probably helped for having things get synced up well.

Shannon: That’s amazing, I would have no idea that you weren’t in the same room at the same time. The energy between the characters and the relationships feels so strong.

Bridget Mendler: Isn’t that bizarre?

Shannon: It’s amazing! Well, if you recorded first, then I’m sure they are receiving from you and the Arrietty character is so wonderful and so adventurous. That’s a gift for them to start with.

Bridget Mendler: Oh, thank you.

Shannon: You’re welcome. I was curious if you have read the book the film is based on (The Borrowers by Mary Norton)?

Bridget Mendler: I haven’t but my grandpa has. So it was cool because he was really excited for me to do the project and work on something that was a part of his childhood. It’s kind of neat how it’s able to span generations like that.

Shannon: It’s impressive the story translates so well even though it’s from many, many years ago.

Bridget Mendler: Yeah, I thought that that was pretty neat.

Shannon: Your character Arrietty has a wonderful adventurous spirit. Can you tell us a little bit more about your character and the choices you made bring her to life?

Bridget Mendler: I think that my choices were partially based on my own interpretation of the character and wanting to convey that she’ really adventurous and excited and youthful, but also real and grounded and impacted by the people around her. But at the same time I’m working with the animation and the interpretation that the Japanese animators had on the dialogue, so there is a balance. So you can’t really deliver a line sadly if the characters face is lighting up. You have to true to that material at the same time. I think that we found a good balance within that, I’m happy with it.

Shannon: That’s wonderful. I’m wondering with the film dealing with interesting themes, some heavy and some light, from adventure into the unknown from fear to the being overwhelmed by your surroundings, but Arrietty remains very curious and open minded. Where do you think she gets that from ?

Bridget Mendler: I think she lives a very unique life and a big part of it is being outdoors and exploring the world around her. That’s how she learns about things, is through interacting with her environment like that. Additionally, there is this mysterious job that her dad has and she completely idolizes him and so when she’s invited to be a part of that journey she’s over the moon to go and explore this mysterious place that she’s never known about. And of course she’s a little bit bothered by her mom’s protectiveness because she doesn’t understand the gravity of what could happen if something went wrong. So I think she’s kind of excited to rebel against her parents a little bit and trying to do some stuff on her own .

Shannon: It’s very inspiring to see young female character play such a strong role. Often female characters tend to be supporting roles but Arrietty really is in the spotlight here. How did it feel to play such a prominent role?

Bridget Mendler: It was super flattering. I got the offer to be a part of this movie. It wasn’t an auditioning process, and it’s something I would have been happy to audition for and fight for on my own. To know that Disney believed in me and that they wanted me to a part of this movie and that thought of me, was so flattering and I was just very excited to represent Studio Ghibli in this project.

Shannon: And you not only got to star in the role but also wrote the song “Summertime” for the film. Can you share a little bit about what was that creative process like?

Bridget Mendler: Yeah, it’s funny I wrote the song I think 2 years before the movie.

Shannon: Wow.

Bridget Mendler: It was something I was jamming out in the dressing room with some of the other cast members and it kind of came about. I wrote it completely before the film came up and they wound up producing it to fit the movie. So it’s kind of nice that they were able to work together like that. I would have never expected my song to land in the movie like that, so that was very exciting for me and it’s awesome that they believed in me and wanted that to be part of the film. I was flattered.

Shannon: It’s a wonderful fit with the sentiment of the films as well.

Bridget Mendler: Thank you.

Shannon: You’re welcome . I was wondering what do you hope people take from seeing The Secret World of Arrietty?

Bridget Mendler: I hope that they pick up on the imagination in it and that they are impacted by it. I think it’s a different sort of animated movie that what people see a lot nowadays; it’s slower paced and the story line is kind of simpler. It’s a very different experience than what you get from a lot of other movies, and that’s not to knock on the other films I think there are great animated movies that come out these days, but it’s awesome that Studio Ghibli was able to make something so different and enable it to be really positively received.

Shannon: It has a wonderful timeless coming of age and learning about life quality to it that I think is very wonderful and accessible.

Bridget Mendler: Yeah, thank you.

Shannon: So the film comes out on BluRay and DVD May 22nd, 2012, What’s up next for you?

Bridget Mendler: I’m working on my album right now. It’s pretty much all recorded at this point, it’s all written. I went through a brief bout of vocal nodule drama, which disabled me from really using my voice for a bit. We’re still trying to get through that and figure out how move forward, but I’m so excited to release my first album and share it with everybody. I hope that people like it.

Shannon: Well especially considering that you are having some vocal nodule drama, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today!

Bridget Mendler: Of course.

Shannon: And I’ll look forward to hearing the album. it’s a wonderful film and I enjoyed the song and all the very best.

Bridget Mendler: Thank you so much.

The Secret World of Arrietty came out on DVD/BluRay on May 22, 2012, and has extras from the film including Bridgit Mendler's "Summertime" Music Video and The Making Of "Summertime". See my DVD/Blu-Ray review of the film here. You can also listen to my interview with Bridget Mendler on Episode 72 of The Movie Moxie Podcast.

Film Fan Friday for Friday May 25, 2012

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday May 25, 2012!

In limited release this week we have and interesting variety of films to choose from, I've got my eye on documentary Indie Game: The Movie that follows video game developers and just played during the Hot Docs. More documentary goodness witn Last Call at the Oasis looking and the diminishing supply of water. We also have the Canadian film Barrymore, a film adaptation of the play starring Christopher Plummer as John Barrymore in preparation of 1920 Broadway production of Richard III. Keeping it historical we have Hysteria, a romantic comedy set during the invention of the vibrator. More comedy this week with the Lebanese film Where Do We Go Now? and smart kid looking for his father in Jesus Henry Christ.

In wide release this week we have just two films to choose from including the extreme tourism horror flick Chernobyl Diaries (I'm so seeing that...) and science fiction comedy three-quel Men in Black 3 (in 3D, naturally).

Have a great weekend!


Festival Watch

Inside Out
22nd Annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival
Continues until May 27, 2012 in various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

Overheard 2
Reel Asian presents Overheard 2 in celebration of Asian Heritage Month
Friday May 25, 2012 at 7:00PM the Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St West in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Free Admission / No Advanced Ticketing; tickets will be handed out beginning 6:00PM on May 25, 2012

Friday May 25 2012 Releases

Writer/Dir: Erik Canuel (Bon Cop, Bad Cop)
Cast: Christopher Plummer
Limited Release
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, Trailer

Chernobyl Diaries
Dir: Bradley Parker - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski, Olivia Dudley, Devin Kelley
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Dir: Tanya Wexler (Finding North, Ball in the House)
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett, Felicity Jones
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Indie Game: The Movie
Dir: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky - feature film directorial debut
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Jesus Henry Christ
Writer/Dir: Dennis Lee (Fireflies in the Garden)
Cast: Jason Spevack, Toni Collette, Michael Sheen, Samantha Weinstein
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Last Call at the Oasis
Dir: Jessica Yu (Ping Pong Playa, The Living Museum)
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Men in Black 3
Dir: Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Men in Black II, Get Shorty)
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Where Do We Go Now?
Dir: Nadine Labaki (Caramel)
Cast: Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Layla Hakim, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf, Antoinette Noufaily
Limited Release
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of May 25, 2012**

Movie Moxie Podcast 72: Bridget Mendler Interview, Battleship, Goldfinger & Aliens

This week on the Movie Moxie Podcast we have a special treat with and interview with Bridget Mendler who voices the character of Arrietty in our Book to Film Club selection The Secret World of Arrietty, which comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray this week. I also review The Secret World of Arrietty and the recent bombastic scifi/action film Battleship. The Bondathon continues with Goldfinger and we keep trucking along through our countdown to Prometheus with re-visiting Alien. It's a jam-packed podcast! Enjoy.

0:00 - 1:00 Intro
1:00 - 7:00 Battleship Review
7:00 - 11:00 The Secret World of Arrietty Review
11:00 - 20:35 Interview with Bridget Mendler from The Secret World of Arrietty
20:35 - 24:15 The Woman in Black Review
24:15 - 27:18 More DVD Releases for May 22, 2012
27:18 - 36:45 Bondathon 3: Goldfinger
36:45 - 48:10 Prometheus Countdown 2: Aliens
48:10 - 52:14 This weeks releases May 25, 2012
52:14 - 54:25 Outro

Show Notes

Rather watch than listen? Check of my DVD Release Vlog, Goldfinger vlog and Aliens vlog.

Movie Moxie Podcast - A 100% spoiler-free film review podcast
You can subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Subscribe through iTunes here

Up next week: Reviews of Chernobyl Diaries, Thunderball and Alien 3 (cubed!).

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: June Reading Selection

As we are closely approaching the end of the month (how on earth did that happen?) and that means it's time to share our next Book to Film Club Reading selection. For June 2012 we will be reading:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Like our March 2012 selection Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is in epistolary-style (collection of documents which can include diaries entries, clippings, letters, etc), but is set in the early 1990's high school following the letters of "Charlie".

I'm really curious about this one, and I'm a fan on non-traditional narratives so the letter format totally caught my eye. The high school setting lends itself to coming of age themes, something we've not often tacked for the Book to Film Club so we are spreading our wings here! I hope you enjoy the book, I can't wait to dive in.

The film version is scripted and adapted by the author Stephen Chobosky and stars Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief), Emma Watson (Harry Potter series), Nina Dobre ('The Vampire Diaries') and Paul Rudd (I Love You, Man).

The film The Perks of Being a Wallflower is scheduled to be released Sept 21, 2012.

Join the Movie Moxie Book to Film Club at any time. For title announcements, Book to Film Club news and monthly selections you can sign up for email updates here.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Aliens ~ Prometheus Countdown Vlog

In anticipation of the Alien prequel film Prometheus I am am re-watch all four Alien films, and today we look at the phenomenal sequel Aliens.

Things I notice on this re-watch and mention in the vlog:
  • I mention that before I even got to see the film I had memories of it from hearing my sister Suzie talk about seeing it in the theatre, and how scary it was.
  • I mention the word Quadrilogy and stumble on remembering the term "nonce word" which is a word used to meet a needed and not expected to reoccur.
  • Aliens is a film that really changed my thinking about film, about analyzing genres, comparing films in series and also starting to think about and search out actors and directors in other films; I now can see that this is part of where my love of film began
  • I have done a written review of Aliens, it was done many years ago and was part of a list of The Most Influential Films Films to Me that was originally posted back during my first year of blogging on my first ever blog
  • I mention that I love the ensemble cast of the film, and continue to love that in many more films to come and how that can often films that have a military group; other ensemble cast films that I love and mention include King Arthur (2004) and G.I. Jane
  • It's hilarious that you can't actually hear it but there was a knife sharpener that went by while I was recording
  • Aliens sets an unusually high precedent by having a sequel that is generally accepted as on par as the original film in terms of quality, especially with a director change
  • I mention getting to meet and interview Michael Biehn (who plays Hicks) last year at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival for the film The Divide; you can read the interview here or listen to it here
  • I continue to be impressed by the use of time, especially when used countdowns as real time, in Aliens.
  • Like Alien, even though I know the film very well, I noticed new things on this re-watch, including picking up on how young the character of Gorman is.
  • You can also hear my Prometheus Countdown reviews as a part of the Movie Moxie Podcast
  • See my vlog revisiting Alien here
  • IThe Aliens Quadrilogy is very much part of my family history, especially with my siblings Jamie, Suzie & Jason, click through to see their sites and awesome adventures!
Prometheus hits theatres on June 8, 2012.

Up next: I'll continue the Prometheus Countdown hitting up Alien 3 (or as my family likes to call it, Aliens Cubed) next!

There is still time to play along!
I'm watching 1 film a week for the Alien films but you can still play along with 2 films a weekend:
  • May 25, 2012 weekend watch Alien & Aliens
  • June 1, 2012 weekend watch Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection
  • Then you'll be all ready for Prometheus on June 8, 2012!

Goldfinger ~ Bondathon Vlog 3

Time to check in on our third film of the Bondathon: Goldfinger

Mentioned in this vlog:
  • I mention the Skyfall trailer has been released (also embedded below)
  • Goldfinger stars Sean Connery as James Bond and we switch up to a new director with Guy Hamilton in the directors chair.
  • We have a huge total change in the films with this one going to the more ridiculous side of things as well as having a lot of it set in The States
  • I mention the Austin Powers movies, and especially the connection with Austin Powers in Goldmember
  • The high-society events/sports continue in Goldfinger, this time with playing golf
  • It's interesting to see the differences of the times as Bond isn't so keen on hearing about the gadgets, which feels not aligned to our current tech-heavy time
  • See the original Bondathon post with schedule and film listing, and my introductory vlog about the Bondathon.
  • See my vlogs for previous films in the Bondathon with Dr. No and From Russia with Love.
  • You can also hear my Bondathon reviews every Friday as a part of the Movie Moxie Podcast

Up Next for the Bondathon: Thunderball

Skyfall Trailer

The Secret World of Arrietty (DVD+Blu-Ray Combo-Pack) Review

DVD+Blu-Ray Combo-Pack Review of animated film The Secret World of Arrietty adapted from the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Secret World of Arrietty Blu-Ray/DVD Image © 2010 GNDHDDTW, © 2012 GNDHDDTW. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, David Henrie, Carol Burnett, Moises Arias
Japan, 2012

Reason to see: It's a selection for the 2012 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club, based on the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton which was our January 2012 Reading Selection

I absolutely adored The Secret World of Arrietty. I know I'm not the first person to jump out of the gate for animated films, but this one truly spoke to my heart. It follows Arrietty, a young girl in a family of 'borrowers', who are tiny people who 'borrow' things from humans like sugar and such, but need to remain unseen by the human eye. Arrietty is an adventurous and brave young girl who is very much looking forward to her first borrowing.

The film is based on the children's fantasy novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and was our first book in the 2012 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club. I love started the year off with a kicks book, and this one was a wonderful way to start the year as it has a lovely sense of wonder and nesting. The film does a great job of maintaining that sense of wonder and inventiveness, but shakes up the narrative style. In the book it's more of a story-within-a-story, and in the film we get to see the world purely from tiny people's perspective of Arrietty (voiced by Bridget Mendler) and her mom Homily (voiced by Amy Poehler) and dad Pod (voiced by Will Arnett). From them we see the different perspectives of their day to day lives which include the excitement of possible adventure from Arrietty, the day-to-day gathering of Pod and keeping the home fires burning with Homily. But as time goes on, it's time for Arrietty to learn the skill of borrowing from her dad Pod, and see that not only adventure, but danger, lies ahead.

I loved how the film blended the sense of adventure with the everyday, the inventiveness of creative re-purposing the borrowers do with the human items but it also acknowledges the challenges and dangers they face. There is an amazing relatability of what they go through, and I love how Arrietty gets to opportunity to grow, learn and develop new skills in this big wide world that's above them. And I absolutely adored the animation, it gives a great sense of the scale and vastness of the world and brings to life all creatures be they big or small, happy or cranky or even a bit of both. Truly magical.

It was great to see such a wonderful adaptation that maintains the spirit of the film, but also is brave enough to take liberties as well. A bold move that pays off and enriches the viewer's experience. I was happy to see that the DVD/Blu-Ray release includes a Japanese audio with English subtitles, which was very interesting to watch as well the differences between the versions and how the sentiment can change ever so slightly with different words, but always maintains the same spirit in the film and the journeys of the characters. I truly loved The Secret World of Arrietty, it was joy to see this wonderful world come to life and to see an spirited young female character take centre stage braving adventures in the big, wide world. Easily one of my favourite films of the year by far.

DVD Extras:
  • Bridgit Mendler "Summertime" Music Video (3 minutes) film tie-in video including film clips
  • The Making Of "Summertime" (2 minutes) music video clips, behind the scenes on filming the music video and interview with Bridgit Mendler including the inspiration for the song, the process of making the music video and
  • Audio Options: English, French or Japanese Audio
  • Subtitle Options: English, English for the Hearing Impaired and French
Blu-Ray Extras:
  • All DVD Extras (noted above) plus: Storyboard presentation of the film; Trailers - Original Japanese and Television Commercials and “Arrietty’s Song” Music Video The films theme song, performed by singer, songwriter and harpist Cécile Corbel
The Secret World of Arrietty is available on DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Combo as of May 22, 2012. Check it out over at &

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I can't wait to watch it again
I widely recommend it

See also:
© Shannon Ridler, 2012

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

DVD Releases May 22, 2012

Time to take a look at a selection of DVD releases for Tuesday May 22, 2012!

Mentioned in Vlog:

Images: Secret World of Arrietty (© 2010 GNDHDDTW, © 2012 GNDHDDTW. All Rights Reserved.), Woman in Black (Courtesy of Alliance Films), The Grey, (Courtesy of eOne Films) and Sherlock Season 2 (Courtesy of Warner Home Video)

DVD and BluRay releases for Tuesday May 22, 2012:
  • The Secret World of Arrietty (DVD/Blu-Ray Review) Awesome animated film based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton which was our January 2012 Reading Selection and February 2012 Film Selection. Fabulous film with adventurous female protagonist in a family of tiny people set in the world of humans beings being huge.
  • The Woman in Black Another Movie Moxie Book to Film Club and this one we actually back in October 2011 Reading selection and was released in February 2012, it's a supernatural drama starring Daniel Radcliffe as a young lawyer to settle the affairs of a woman who has passed (see review in vlog above).
  • Teen Wolf: Season 1 I've really enjoyed this summer TV series starring Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, Colton Haynes and Crystal Reed that used the premise of the 80's Michael J. Fox film of a teenage werewolf but updates it to current day and keeps the teen angst, comedy and uses the supernatural elements very well. I chat about it over at Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural, with my sister Suzie; see those chats here and an episode-by-episode rundown of season 1 here.
  • The River Complete Season First Season from the folks that brought us the creepy Paranormal Activity we get this creepy drama with a strong POV and found footage feel as a family looks for their lost-in-the-wilderness wilderness documentary father.
  • American Warships not to be confused with the just released Battleship, this is a mockbuster (or as I often mispronounce as a 'mock-u-bluster', this one actually aired on Space over the weekend and was previously titled American Battleship.
  • Sherlock Season 2 I know many people are huge fans of this UK series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the sleuth to be reckoned with. I still need to check it out.
  • Flashpoint: The Complete Third Season This is really odd flip here as it's a new to DVD in Canada (and a Canadian series) but this season already came out in the US last year! Bizarre! Stars Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon and Amy Jo Johnson.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Second Season More TV Goodness (wow, summer season must be right around the corner!) as with this femme doctor/detective duo procedural series starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
  • The Grey Survivalist action thriller starring Liam Neeson and Frank Grillo
  • This Means War The battle to win Reese Witherspoon lies in the tactics between Chris Pine & Tom Hardy. I don't like the premise, but dang I like the cast.
  • Red Tails historically set during WWII and follows African American pilots who have yet to be given the chance to show what they can really do.
  • Haunted Anthology Amazing anthology with many awesome supernatural horror films: Insidious, The Blair Witch Project, The Last Exorcism, The Others and 1408 (Canada only).

Titles on

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