Monday, 31 December 2012

Most Enjoyed / Fave Films of 2012

Hey Moxie Moxie Readers, Listeners and Watchers!

Long time no post, eh?

It's the time of year that I usually am furiously listing, categorizing and re-iterating the films I've seen, the ones I've loved or made a huge impression on me plus reminisce of fave festivals experiences, surprizes and disappointments. In other words, it's the time of year where I think about My Year in Film. But this year was very different for me. For the first time ever I took a break from the site and that was not intended to last very long, but it rolled into my current indeterminate hiatus (for health reasons) which feels like it's lasted forever, and in such I've missed months out of year year when it comes to film. It makes me very sad that I haven't been around here and also haven't been able to attend festivals in the last half of the year, it's not only challenging and it also feels really *weird* not to be here.

That being said, I couldn't let the year go by without sharing my faves / most enjoyed films of the year. And in true Movie Moxie fashion I've kept up my totally not-on-purpose tradition of changing how I do the list (See best/most enjoyed list of 2011, Perfect list of 2010, Faves Films of 2009, Faves Films of 2008, Faves Films of 2007 and Faves Films of 2006). Sigh. I love consistency, but this process keeps changing it and I just have to go with it.

I don't know what's in store for the for the site, but I'm sharing my film journeys right now over on my YouTube channel and I do have some fun things planned for the new year. Please swing on by and say Hi or keep in touch over at Facebook as that's where I can be found most these days.

I hope 2012 was good to you, and that you saw many awesome films and had many wonderful film experiences.

Take care,

Shannon the Movie Moxie's Faves/Best/Most Enjoyed Films of 2012
Click through for review (if I reviewed it!)

Special Mention to Awesome 2012 Releases Seen Prior to 2012:

Honourable Mentions for 2012 Releases:

Faves/Best/Most Enjoyed Films of 2012 (chronological viewing order):

Left: Safety Not Guaranteed

If you are trying to find me these days, subscribe to my YouTube channel, keep in touch over at Facebook or check out my personal blog.  Have a Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Gone Fishing!

Hey Everyone!

I'm taking a break. I've never done this before, but after 5 solid years on this site and 1040 reviews I've decided I'm due. Likely well overdue. So it's time to relax. I'm not sure if I'll actually end up fishing per se, but you never know :)

We can still connect in other places. Find me on Facebook or Twitter, or check out Under Our Willow Tree... The Ridlers Drinking Tea, a collective photo blog with my sisters Suzie & Jamie. And for all the paranormal TV fans out there you can listen to Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural Podcast.

Take care!

P.S. For the Book to Film Clubbers, we are reading Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie this month - Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Man with the Golden Gun - Bondathon Film 9

Time to check in on our ninth film of the Bondathon: The Man with the Golden Gun

Mentioned in this vlog:
Up Next for the Bondathon: The Spy Who Loved Me *

* I am going to take a hiatus for a week but will be back in 2 weeks for more.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Mirror Mirror (2012) DVD/BluRay Combo Review

DVD/BluRay review of Tarsem's interpretation of the Snow White fable in Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins

Image Courtesy Alliance Films
Legal Line © 2011 Relativity Media. All Rights Reserved. © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved. Licensed for private home exhibition only. All other Rights Reserved.

Dir: Tarsem Singh (Immortals, The Fall, The Cell)
Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mark Povinelli, Jordan Prentice, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark, Sean Bean
USA, 2012

Reason to see: I've been a fan of Tarsem Singh since The Cell and couldn't resist him diving into the world of fables

I was quite looking forward to Mirror Mirror as we don't get that many fables and this one not has women in the forefront with the youthful Snow White (played by Lily Collins) and The Queen (played by Julia Roberts). The film stays pretty close to the story in terms of The Queen being interesting in staying the fairest one of them all, and having Snow White herself be pretty resourceful although in ways that do stretch the branches of to some new places of the forest. With both The Queen and Snow White vying for the same Prince, Mirror Mirror leads us somewhere that feels a bit strange. The Queen wants to retain her power and resources, and Snow White seems to be falling for the first time but oddly I found that there wasn't much chemistry going on between the characters. Lively quipping and cute interactions, sure, but chemistry? Not so much. And fair warning for Sean Bean fans, even though he's pretty highly billed on the film he is actually not in it very much.

I did quite enjoy the story and lives of the dwarves played by Mark Povinelli, Jordan Prentice, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba and Ronald Lee Clark; who show one of the many after effects of The Queen's reign of the land which leaves them as outlaws. They bring an interesting look at the outsider looking in perspective, of which Snow White is also in a similar boat, making them unconventional friends with a similar yet different goal.

I was captivated by the films lively colours, fabulous art direction and a huge array of costumes. In true Tarsem fashion the world explodes on the screen using the power of extremes in volume and colours bringing everything to life. It feels like a storybook of beautiful imagination and is vivid and alive. I thought it was quite interesting to have The Queen live in a world so bright and full of zest, but that brings into play that a lot of the film is filled with humour. That was one thing I wasn't expecting as much, fable and humour together which give it a more kid-friendly feel on paper, although they still deal with a fair amount of harshness of deceptions, plots against peoples lives as well as the crazy zany adventures in the forest.

Overall I thought it was interesting to mix fable with comedy but I'm wasn't always pleased with the result which often lead to silly fun, but not quite with the punch I felt the story deserved. I did enjoy some of the themes in the film such as injustice with the dwarves, but the primary story of Snow White vs The Queen felt a little soft and surprizing that it was more about getting the guy than living their own lives. Although I did love the art direction and costumes, I was hoping with a little mystery with the whimsy in Mirror Mirror; but as a family friendly film I think there is a lot to enjoy.

  • DVD Extras include: Looking Through the Mirror, Prince and Puppies and Theatrical Trailer
  • BluRay Extras include: Deleted Scenes, I Believe I Can Dance & Mirror Mirror Storybook
  • Plus: the Mirror Mirror DVD/BluRay combo also comes with Digital Copy and Limited Edition Colouring Book

Mirror Mirror is available on DVD as of June 26, 2012. Check it out over at &

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, but I wanted to loved it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as light fantasy or to whimsical fable fans who enjoy a dash of light comedy

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2012

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie: July 2012 Book to Film Club Reading

Happy July! With the turning of the month it's time to look at our July 2012 reading selection:

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

I know very little about this one other than it's got both historical elements and magical realism, and spans the time from when India gained independence from England. I'm quite curious about it and also really excited as it will be our first film adaptation that's directed by a woman. I'm a little surprized that took over a year but we keep covering more ground each month with the Book to Film Club.

The film version of Midnight's Children is going to be adapted by Salman Rushdie himself and will be directed by Deepa Mehta (Earth, Water, Fire, Bollywood/Hollywood), and will star Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor and Shabana Azmi.

The film Midnight's Children is scheduled to be released October 26, 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.

Perks of Being a Wallflower: June Reading Wrap Up

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

I was really impressed with this book, I loved the stream of consciousness rhythm to the writing and the fact that it's in the format of letters. It's certainly one of the more contemporary choices of the Book to Film Club being set int the 90's and set in high school. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did! What did you think of the book? I would love to hear your take on it.

Here are some
things to ponder on the reading experience:
  • Did you enjoy reading it?
  • Was it what you were expecting?
  • What did you know about the book before reading it?
  • What did you think of the style and tone?
  • Did you enjoy the recent time period?
  • What did you take away from reading the book?
  • Is there anything you would change about the book?
  • Who would you recommend the book to?
  • Did you feel about the characters & their challenges?
About the upcoming film adaptation:
  • How do you feel about the casting of the film?
  • What tone do you think they'll take?
  • What do you hope to be the focus of the film?
  • What do you think is essential to keep from the book in the film?
  • What do you think they can trim away from the book to the film?
  • What do you think the challenges of the adaptation may be?
  • Do you have any hesitations on the adaptation?
  • What are you most looking forward to about the film adaptation?
If this was a re-read:
  • How did reading it this time compare with your previous time reading it?
  • Did you notice anything different this time round?
  • Did your interest and focus stay on the same characters and moments, or shift?
Film Adaptation
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), Ezra Miller (City Island), Nina Dobrev ('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 ook to Film Club news and monthly selections you can sign up for email updates here. Our final three books and entire year schedule have been announced: see the details here.

Our July Selection is: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Shannon's Take on The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

Friday, 29 June 2012

Juan of the Dead & The Pact: Toronto After Dark Summer Screening Day 1

It was so much fun to have a slice of Toronto After Dark goodness this week, instead of having to wait all the way until October! Don't worry - the festival still will be in October (October 18 - 26, 2012 to be exact) which makes this festival goer happy as I've always favoured the fall and rev-up to Halloween with scary film goodness. But this Wednesday we had a taste of scares, blood and glory with the double bill of Cuban zombie film Juan of the Dead / Juan de los Muertos and supernatural horror of The Pact with Toronto After Dark Summer Screening Day 1 all at The Bloor Cinema. I'm still not quite used to the Bloor for festivals screenings yet, although one great edition they have for festival goers is that they can project on the big screen people on the stage (see pictures below), which is a great thing given that the balcony has seemed to become the seating area of choice. It also works nicely for video introductions, which the audience got treated to with The Pact writer/director Nicholas McCarthy who sent us a message expressing the thrill of having his film playing as a double bill. Pretty freaking awesome. We also started the night off with a great short animated film called The Ward that was full of creepy ideas and imagery following a man trying to escape a hospital ward. It may be the first short animated film that totally felt like an action version of a Twilight Zone episode, which made it totally awesome.

Speaking of films, let's get to them! Rather watch than read? Check out my Vlog!

Toronto After Dark Film Festival Founder and Director Adam Lopez introduces the Summer Screening at the Bloor

Juan of the Dead / Juan de los Muertos
Writer/Dir: Alejandro Brugués (Personal Belongings)
Cast: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorría, Jazz Vilá, Eliecer Ramírez, Blanca Rosa Blanco

What a way to charge into the double bill with the Cuban zombie film Juan of the Dead / Juan de los Muertos, full of zombie goodness and a heck of a lot of humour. The film stars Alexis Díaz de Villegas as Juan, our relaxed and very capable protagonist whom is oddly unnerved by the craziness of people attacking and eating each other. Why let it stop him living life? Instead, it's an opportunity to let him hone in on his survivor skills. He's not alone either as we have the faithful Lazaro (Jorge Molina) and his son California (Andros Perugorría) as well as outgoing China (Jazz Vilá) rounding out the mix of the band of misfits in this crazy journey. Zombie films are easily know for blood, brains and beheading and Juan of the Dead / Juan de los Muertos stays true to even more zombie roots as it throws in a healthy dose of social commentary to jazz up the setting and character motivations, and even combines them by showcasing their resilience to pretty much everything and anything you can throw at them. There is a fountain of creativity at work here, not only with an awesome new spin on the zombie film but with all of the great humour that had the crowd laughing and cheering along with the kills, the little victories and the ingenuity at every turn. Juan of the Dead / Juan de los Muertos was an undead treat and a great addition to the zombie genre.

The Pact (2012)
Writer/Dir: Nicholas McCarthy - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner, Mark Steger, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Sam Ball

I was really excited to see The Pact, with it's haunted house vibe and generally creepy feel I was totally stoked even before the film but it just got better as the story actually follows a pair of sisters with a tumultuous pass that starts to stir again after the passing of their mother. I really loved as Caity Lotz as Annie, she's a great tough girl that stares into the face of challenges and doesn't take any crap, but also is easily relatable when things start to get freaky. I loved the sense of mystery in the film and was very impressed by the storytelling that how things unravelled throughout and it even had me guessing which is very impressive given that I watch a heck of a lot of supernatural and horror films. There are lots of scary moments and ideas in the film and it reads just as well as a thriller as it does as supernatural horror. The characters are compelling and nicely stray off the beaten track not only with the aforementioned Annie, but also in the haunting Stevie played by Haley Hudson who adds and elemental edge to the film; plus Casper Van Dien does a great job in the local law enforcement role. The Pact was fabulous, it really kept me off balance in a good, engaging way and had some great stares but behind it all was a fantastic mystery that unfolded at the perfect pace. I can't wait to see it again.

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival Summer Screenings return in just under 2 weeks on July 11, 2012 with Detention and V/H/S. See more about the screenings here, see more information at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival website or Buy Tickets to the Summer Screenings Here.

In between screenings I had the rare chance of capturing the new Bloor sign with a beautiful dark blue sky behind it. Just beautiful!

Film Fan Fridays for Friday June 29, 2012

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday June 29, 2012! Leading into this holiday weekend we have a whopping 8 films to choose from, plus the summer classic of Jaws playing at Lightbox and continuing the summer superhero rush with The Amazing Spider-Man out early next week.

In limited release this week we start with 2 documentaries to enjoy including Flamenco, Flamenco from director Carlos Saura who also brought us the dance film Fados and our second documentary is Town of Runners centred on a group of runners from Ethiopia. Our third limited release of the week is Dark Horse from director Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime) following love of late bloomers. Plus, if you are a fan of shark films and loved to be scared check out Jaws playing at Lightbox all week.

In wide release this week we have five films chose from and what better way to start Canada Day weekend thank with a Canadian film? The Canadian film of the week is most definitely Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby, and I think it looks very interesting. We also have Magic Mike from Steven Soderbergh starring Channing Tatum as a stripper, drama People Like Us starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, comedy Ted starring Mark Whalberg and a teddy bear (who else is confused???) and Tyler Perry's latest with Madea's Witness Protection.

And after your weekend fun has come to a close, next week we have the mid-week release of The Amazing Spider-Man (in 3D) on Tuesday July 3, 2012. Superhero film bookending the North American holiday weekends. That's going to be a big pick for folks this week I'm sure.

Have a great weekend!


Festival Watch

Italian Contemporary Film Festival
Continues until July 1, 2012 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ReelHeART International Film Festival
The Filmmakers Film Festival
June 27 - 30, 2012 at The Projection Booth in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Korean Film Festival
Continues until July 1, 2012 at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday June 29, 2012 Releases

Dark Horse
Writer/Dir: Todd Solondz (Happiness, Life During Wartime)
Cast: Justin Bartha, Selma Blair, Mia Farrow, Jordan Gelber, Christopher Walken
Limited Release
Film Facebook Page, IMDb Page, Trailer

Flamenco, Flamenco
writer/Dir: Carlos Saura (Salomé, Goya en Burdeos, Fados)
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Magic Mike
Dir: Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, The Informant!, Che, Haywire)
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Riley Keough, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

People Like Us (2012)
Dir: Alex Kurtzman - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass, Michelle Pfeiffer
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Take This Waltz
Writer/Dir: Sarah Polley (Away From Her)
Cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman
Film Facebook Page, IMDb Page, Trailer

Dir: Seth MacFarlane - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Seth MacFarlane
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Town of Runners
Dir: Jerry Rothwell (Donor Unknown, Heavy Load)
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection
Writer/Dir: Tyler Perry (Madea's Big Happy Family, For Colored Girls, Why Did I Get Married?)
Cast: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Romeo Miller, Tom Arnold, Doris Roberts, John Amos, Marla Gibbs
Film Facebook Page, IMDb Page, Trailer

Tuesday July 3, 2012 Releases

The Amazing Spider-Man
Dir: Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer)
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of June 29, 2012**

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Toronto After Dark Summer Screenng 2012: Juan of the Dead and The Pact

Taking a look at the first night of the Toronto After Dark Summer Screening with Cuban zombie films Juan of the Dead and haunted house flick The Pact.
  • I mention the Canadian zombie-comedy film Fido
  • I mention the book Down a Dark Hall, in particular the font that the title is in on the book cover.
  • I mention Starship Troopers, has it really been 15 years since then? Really?
  • I share that my You Tube Channel went like just a few weeks ago, feel free to check out more vlogs there.
  • If you are into the supernatural and paranormal, feel free to check out Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural a paranormal TV podcast I co-host with my sister Suzie and we chat all about fiction and non-fiction paranormal shows.
See more about the screenings here, see more information at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival website or Buy Tickets to the Summer Screenings Here.

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