Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Without being necessarily perfect, the film pretends to offer more than its counterparts who excessively rely on CGIs. This might be slightly true. However, the story is fairly thin and we’re left with a simple and decent blockbuster. Nothing more. Nothing less.


Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is 1000 years old. With the help of Valentina (Lily Cole), his fifteen-years-old daughter, along with Percy (Verne Troyer) and Anton (Andrew Garfield), Valentina’s friend, Dr. Parnassus runs a travelling show. In this show, a member of the audience is invited on stage in order to be sent on the other side of a mirror. Afterwards, he/she will be plunged into his/her own imagination.

However, there’s no amusement behind this and the troupe is seriously poor. Many centuries ago, Dr. Parnassus made a deal with the Devil (Tom Waits). In exchange of immortality, Dr. Parnassus must promise he’ll give up to the Devil any child he has (in this case Valentina) by the time she reaches 16 years old. Obviously, the Devil tells Dr. Parnassus that he can keep Valentina only if he can bring five people on the other side of his mirror (without falling into the Devil’s grip). At the same time, the Devil tries to win against Dr. Parnassus by trying to “save” five people. Besides, in this race against the clock, Dr. Parnassus will also seek the help of Tony (Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell), a man with a shady past.

With a rather fascinating – albeit simple – story, director Terry Gilliam manages to keep us in despite a slow pace in the first half. As the film’s story progresses, we get to see a funny confrontation between Dr. Parnassus and the Devil. Obviously, we owe that to the magnificent performance of Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits. However, the most surprising thing about the storyline is its ability to stay smooth despite the decease of Heath Ledger, which could have jeopardized the production of the film. In fact, as many have pointed it out, the integration of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrell – who are all playing the three different transformations of Tony on the other side of the mirror – looks like it was initially planned.

Nevertheless, the end result of the film leaves us with a decent blockbuster. Despite his mastery of CGIs and directorial skills, Terry Gilliam seems more concerned with delivering an eye-candy film rather than a story with fleshes around its skeleton. For instance, although we know that Dr. Parnassus wanted immortality, we’re not apprised on how he intended to enjoy it. Besides, after going through the film, one wonders if Dr. Parnassus has ever felt psychologically torn when considering the eventuality of giving up any child he’ll have at their sixteenth anniversary to the Devil. After all, we, viewers, could have had a chance to see how Christopher Plummer’s character defined paternal love during his youth.

Finally, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a visual feast for anyone who wants to turn their brain off for at least two hours. Other than that, it's just a film that could have been better if more attention was paid to the script. Besides, this was the first film from Terry Gilliam that I've seen.

Rating: 2.5/5


Origin:Canada/UK/France (2009)
Length:122 minutes
Genre:Fantasy
Screenplay:Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown
Directed by:Terry Gilliam
Starring:Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits and Lily Cole


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nominees for the 2010 Globes de cristal

Yesterday, the nominees for the Globe de cristal were announced. The purpose of this event is to allow the French press hand out awards in arts and culture. The artistic domains in question are cinema, television, architecture/design, literature, music, fashion, cultural exhibitions (read: museums) and stage shows.


1. Cinema:
Best film of 2009:
* Un prophète, by Jacques Audiard.
* Welcome, by Philippe Lioret.
* OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus, by Michel Hazanavicius.
* Le concert, by Radu Mihaileanu.
* À l'origine, by Xavier Giannoli.

Best actress of 2009
* Isabelle Adjani in La journée de la jupe.
* Chiara Mastroianni in "Non ma fille, tu n'iras pas danser".
* Kristin Scott Thomas in Partir.
* Marie-Josée Croze in Je l'aimais.
* Maïwenn Le Besco in Le bal des actrices.

Best actor of 2009
* Vincent Lindon in Welcome.
* Tahar Rahim in Un prophète.
* Yvan Attal in Partir.
* Jean Dujardin in OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus.
* François Cluzet in À l'origine.


2. Television
Best TV series or TV film:
* Braquo, by Olivier Marchal (Canal Plus).
* Pigalle la nuit, by Hervé Hadmar et Marc Herpoux (Canal Plus).
* Reporter, by Olivier Kohn (Canal Plus).
* Un village français, by Frédéric Krivine (France 3).
* Kaameloot, by Alexandre Astier (M6).

Best TV documentary
* Apocalypse, by Jean-Louis Guillaud, Henri de Turenne, Isabelle Clarke and Daniel Costelle (France 2).
* Un mur à Berlin, by Patrick Rotman (France 2).
* 1929, by William Karel (Arte).
* Justice à Vegas, by Rémy Burkel (Arte).
* Les arbitres, by Yves Hinant (Canal Plus).

As you can see, since this web site talks about television and films, I've only gone through these two artistic domains. Obviously, if you want the full list of nominees for the Globes de cristal, go here (in French).

Finally, the event will be aired in France on Virgin 17 on February 8, 2010 at 8:50 PM.


Preview of 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'


Fans of Roman History, if you liked the HBO TV series Rome, you'd certainly consider watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The first season will premiere in the USA on Starz, a premium cable network, on Friday, January 22, 2010 at 10 PM. As for the Canadian premiere, it will be on Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9 PM on The Movie Network, a Canadian premium cable network.


Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) is separated from his wife, Sura (Erin Cummings) by the Romans. Both of them are forced into slavery by the romans and Sura is sold to a Syrian slaveholder. While in Rome, Spartacus - who is now a gladiator owned by Batatius (John Hannah) and his wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) - strives to survive in the arena where blood and death are primetime entertainment. However, Spartacus must also battle outside of the arena in order to become a legend.

Other members of the cast include:

* Manu Bennett as Crixus.
* Peter Mensah as Doctore.
* Viva Bianca as Ilithyia.
* Craig Parker as Glaber.
* Jai Courtney as Varro.
* Nick E. Tarabay as Ashur.
* Antonio Te Maioho as Barca.

Finally, here's the trailer.



First trailer of 'Funkytown'

A few days ago, the TV network V has released online the first trailer of Funkytown, a drama which was shot with a budget of CDN$7.3 million and directed by Daniel Roby (La peau blanche).


First of all, Funkytown stars Patrick Huard, Paul Doucet, Raymond Bouchard, Sarah Mutch, Justin Chatwin, Geneviève Brouillette and François Létourneau.

The story takes place in the 1970s in Montreal (Quebec), which was the wealthiest city in Canada at the time. Obviously, during this time, North America was having a love affair with disco. Besides, the film is set around the Limelife Discotheque, which was the place in Montreal for those who wished to be noticed or to meet stars like Donna Summer for instance.

Finally, the film will be in theatres in Quebec on December 17, 2010.



Monday, December 28, 2009

'Dead Walkers' Out On Dec. 31

Attention people from Calgary, Alberta! If you like shorts, know that Spencer Estabrooks's Dead Walkers will premiere at the Plaza Theatre, Calgary's oldest theatre (it was built in 1935), on December 31, 2009.


First of all, if we look at the trailer, we can see that the short is a mix of Western and horror (read: zombies). Here's how the story can be described according to the short's Facebook fan page:

Bounty hunter and gunman Jack Link has a knack for trouble, but when he stumbles into a town cursed with the undead, he might have bit off more than he can chew. Can he and his unlikely allies break the curse and make it out alive or will the evil in the old west consume them all?


Finally, if you don't know how to get to the Plaza Theatre, have a look at what Google Maps says. Secondly, here's the link to Dead Walkers's Facebook group page.



Gorgeous

To all the fans of Jackie Chan, don't expect to see much action scenes. To all those who are looking for a seriously good film from him, well, you should consider skipping this one. In fact, although his skills in martial arts are impressive, the same thing can't be said about his competence as a scriptwriter and an actor.


Bu (Shu Qi) lives in a fishing village of Taiwan. One day, she finds a bottle in the sea. This bottle contains a message written by Albert (Tony Leung), a man who is asking his potential soul mate to come in Hong Kong in order to meet him. However, when she arrives in his apartment, Albert tells Bu that he was looking for a man. Eventually, Bu randomly runs into C.N. (Jackie Chan), a business man who likes to jump from one woman to another. Obviously, both C.N. and Bu bonds. Besides, Bu believes that C.N. is the one. However, does C.N. wants to be engaged to Bu?

Given the length of the film, Gorgeous doesn't contain a lot of fight scenes. However, the few that we're left with rock. Moreover, if you can turn a blind eye on the awfulness of the storyline, you're going to like the last two fight scenes, which involve Jackie Chan and Bradley James Allan. Without giving away too many details, expect to see a fight that look like kickboxing.

As for the storyline, it definitely couldn't be saved by Shu Qi's enthusiasm into this film. Besides being predictable to death like any worthless blockbuster films, the story offers bland leading characters. After all, how many times have you seen a woman who is desperately looking for the one? Besides, although I didn't see the temporary break up between C.N. and Bu (because C.N. did something that Bu couldn't take) in the film's third quarter coming, I knew that one way or another, they'll be back together.

Finally, if you forget how lame the script is, you'll be entertained by Gorgeous's fight scenes. Nonetheless, one can't forget that this film is a serious insult to intelligence. In fact, as a romantic blockbuster film, the two scriptwriters show us that they're a duo of lazy workers who just take the path set by other lame romantic films.

Rating: 1/5



Origin:Hong Kong/Taiwan (1999)
Length:121 minutes
Genre:Romantic comedy
Screenplay:Jackie Chan and Ivy Ho
Director:Vincent Kok
Starring:Jackie Chan, Shu Qi, Tony Leung and Emil Chau


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Corus Entertainment Finances 34 Canadian Films

Corus Entertainment announced the identity of its Corus Made with Pay Fund recipients. Of course, the recepients in question are actually 34 upcoming Canadian films.


By reading the press release, we can come to the conclusion that the high-profile upcoming films among the 34 recipients are:

  • King Leary, the novel from acclaimed screenwriter and author Paul Quarrington and Verite Films Inc., which follows the final adventure of old-timer Percival Leary, a one-time hockey legend, as he heads to Toronto to become the face of a marketing campaign. Quarrington’s previous works include Galveston, which was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Whale Music, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1989 and King Leary, winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal.
  • Author and screenwriter Miriam Toews’ The Flying Troutmans brings her hilarious and heartwarming novel about a family’s road trip across Canada to life in collaboration with screenwriter Semi Chellas and producers Ilana Frank and Daniel Iron of Four Seasons Productions.
  • Screenwriter for Nine Mile Productions Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, Katie Ford’s other writing credits include Miss Congeniality, Miss Congeniality 2 and episodes of Desperate Housewives.
  • Sienna Films producers Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny with screenwriter David Vainola for two projects, Everything Goes Black, and the adaptation of Karen Connelly’s novel The Lizard Cage, which is set in a prison in Burma in the 1980s. The Lizard Cage won Britain’s Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers in 2007.

Finally, here is the full list of 34 films.

Anti-Diva
Straight Edge Films and Submission Films Production Inc.
Screenwriter: Tamara Faith Berger
Toronto, ON

Call Forward
January Films Ltd.
Screenwriter: John McBrearty
Toronto, ON

Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis
Quadrant Motion Pictures
Screenwriter: Robyn Harding
Vancouver, BC

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
Nine Mile Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: Katie Ford
Vancouver, BC

Horse
Park Ex Pictures
Screenwriters: Darren Curtis, Pat Kiely, Matt Silver
Montreal, QC

I Met the Walrus
Walrus Films Acquisitions Inc.
Screenwriter: TBD
Toronto, ON

Involuntary Muscles
Devonshire Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: Merlin Dervisevic
Toronto, ON

Jack of Diamonds
Sepia Films Ltd. and Force Four Films Ltd.
Screenwriters: Dennis Foon, Vic Sarin
Vancouver, BC

King Leary
Verite Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Paul Quarrington
Toronto, ON

Little Cannibals
Trinity Works Entertainment Inc.
Screenwriter: Robert W. Gray
Vancouver, BC

Mass Critical
Phenomenal Films Inc.
Screenwriters: Noam Gonick, David McIntosh
Toronto, ON

Memetic
Digital Story House Ltd.
Screenwriter: Tim McGregor
Vancouver, BC

My Present Age
EMA Films Inc.
Screenwriters: John Hazelett, Karen Walton, Guy Vanderhaeghe
Montreal, QC

No Coins Please
Sudden Storm Entertainment Ltd.
Screenwriter: Scott Abramovitch
Toronto, ON

The Flying Troutmans
Four Seasons Productions Inc.
Screenwriters: Miriam Toews, Semi Chellas
Toronto, ON

The Lizard Cage
Sienna Films Inc.
Screenwriter: David Vainola
Toronto, ON

The Outlander
Strada Film Inc. and Triptych Media Inc.
Screenwriter: TBD
Toronto, ON

Everything Goes Black
Sienna Films Inc.
Screenwriter: David Vainola
Toronto, ON

Fight!
Friday Night Essence Inc.
Screenwriters: Robert Budreau, Chris Roberts
Toronto, ON

Hold the Sky
Mortimer & Ogilvy Productions Ltd.
Screenwriter: Roslyn Muir
Vancouver, BC

One Blood
Inferno Pictures Inc.
Screenwriters: Hubert Davis, Mike Derderian
Winnipeg, MB

Pink Box
Philms Pictures Inc.
Screenwriter: Brandi-Ann Milbradt
Montreal, QC

Prisoner of Tehran
Miracle Pictures Inc.
Screenwriter: Kari Skogland
Rockwood, ON

Recruiting Lindsay Morgan
Wings One Productions Inc., Angel Entertainment
Screenwriters: Tanya Henley, Paula Tiberius
Saskatoon, SK

Rheal & Rheaume
Sarrazin Productions Inc.
Screenwriters: Suzette Couture, Pierre Sarrazin
Toronto, ON

Smashed
Mad Samurai Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: Scott Parisien
Vancouver, BC

Stowaway
Oberon Films Inc. and First Generation Films
Screenwriter: Annmarie Morais
Toronto, ON

Sunbeach
Bunk 11 Pictures Inc.
Screenwriter: Benny Charles
Toronto, ON

That Burning Feeling
Resonance Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Nicolas Citton
Vancouver, BC

The Catherine Booth Story
Thunderbird Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Pamela Goosen
Vancouver, BC

The Chamber
Artifact Films Inc.
Screenwriters: Mark A. Lewis, Zev Tiefenbach
Vancouver, BC

The Republic of Nothing
imX Communications Inc.
Screenwriter: Scott Simpson
Halifax, NS

The Widow’s Club
Common Man Films Ltd.
Screenwriters: Jason Bourque, Sue Bourque
Vancouver, BC

The William Sherring Story
107859 Ontario Inc.
Screenwriters: David Devine, Malcolm Clarke
Toronto, ON

***

Finally, if you're a filmmaker, the next deadline for new applications for funding from the Corus Made with Pay Fund will be February 3, 2010. Details can be found here.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

Some may feel that the film is not groundbreaking as a romantic comedy and is cute at most. However, (500) Days of Summer is certainly one of the most fascinating romantic films I've ever seen because of the way the relation between the two lovers is presented to us.


Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a writer for a greeting cards company. His boss has hired a new assistant, Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Obviously, Tom immediately falls head over heels for her. Summer accepts to go out with him. However, when Tom wants to take their relation to the next level, she tells him that she just wants to be a friend. As a matter of fact, Summer cherishes her independence and doesn't believe that she needs a lover to be over the moon.

Honestly, I dug (500) Days of Summer because it's one of the most realistic depictions of women behaviour I've seen in films. In fact, most traditional romantic films offer us two heroes who inevitably fall for each other. However, (500) Days of Summer surprises us by offering us a female character (Summer) who slightly differs from - let's say - Cristina (from Vicky Cristina Barcelona).

Obviously, there's not much that viewers might learn about Summer herself. However, the most memorable thing about this character, is that while she's seen through the eyes of Tom, she takes part in his sentimental education, so to speak. After all, as the story asks us, can Tom's expectations (his desire to form a perfect coupe with Summer) become something that actually happens in the real world? All in all, some may say that Zooey Deschanel's character is thinly canvassed, but her character's presence seems to have one function: to lead us, viewers, into the mind and feelings of Tom. Guess what? Although the film is not perfect, that's fine for me.

Finally, I went into this film without knowing anything about it. After all, I occasionally bother to read the film section in newspapers (or even on the Internet). Now, to get back to the film, I got to admit that (500) Days of Summer has in store great performance from Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel.

Rating: 4.5/5


Origin:USA (2009)
Length:95 minutes
Genre:Romantic comedy
Screenplay:Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Director:Marc Webb
Starring:Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel

Buy it on Amazon (Canada)

Buy it on Amazon (USA):

Trailer of 'L'autre Dumas'


Sometimes, I should tell you that there are times when I wish I lived in France because of its cultural life. After all, I already know how to speak French so, I shouldn't have any difficulty to find a job and blend in. Anyway, yesterday, the trailer of the upcoming film L'autre Dumas (unofficial translation: The Other Dumas) has been released online and the film will be released in France on February 10, 2010.



Directed by Safy Nebbou, this film is a biopic dealing with the relation between French novelist Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet, Dumas's ghostwriter (or "literary Negro" as the French said it back in the 18th and 19th century). The film takes place in February 1848. Alexandre Dumas (Gérard Dépardieu?) is at the height of his fame. Besides, what would his novels such as The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte-Cristo have been without the help of Auguste Maquet (Benoît Poelvoorde)? However, Maquet decides to pass off as Dumas in order to seduce Charlotte Desrives (Mélanie Thierry), a fan of Dumas. Obviously, tensions will arise between Dumas and Maquet not just because of their love for Charlotte, but also because History. In fact, Alexandre Dumas is a republican while Auguste Maquet is a monarchist.

Other informations:

  • The film is an adaptation of the stage play Signé Dumas, which was written by Cyril Gély and Éric Rouquette.
  • Release date in France: February 10, 2010.
  • Also starring: Dominique Blanc and Catherine Mouchet.



Candidates for France's Best Hopes at the 2010 César

Ok, I know that I'm almost one month late. After all, the list of the candidates for the Best Male and Female Hopes has been public knowledge since November 25. Anyway, I just want to post the information since I'm a lover of French culture. Enjoy.


The 2010 César for the Best Female Hope:
Marie-Julie Baup in Micmacs à tire-larigot
Astrid Berges Frisbey in Un barrage contre le Pacifique
Agathe Bonitzer in Un chat un chat
Sophie Cattani in Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante
Judith Davis in Je te mangerais
Anaïs Demoustier in Sois sage
Mati Diop in 35 rhums
Pauline Etienne in Qu’un seul tienne et les autres suivront
Alice de Lencquesaing in Le père de mes enfants
Florence Loiret-Caille in Je l’aimais
Sara Martins in Mensch
Lola Naymark in L’armée du crime
Vimala Pons in La Sainte Victoire
Soko in A l’Origine
Christa Theret in LOL (laughing out loud ®)
Mélanie Thierry in Le dernier pour la route


The 2010 César for Best Male Hope:
Mhamed Arezki in Adieu Gary
Firat Ayverdi in Welcome
Abraham Belaga in Cendres et sang
Adel Bencherif in Un prophète
Mehdi Dehbi in La folle histoire d’amour de Simon Eskenazy
Yann Ebongé in La journée de la jupe
Cyril Guei in L’autre
Jérémy Kapone in LOL (laughing out loud ®)
Reda Kateb in Qu’un seul tienne et les autres suivront
Vincent Lacoste in Les beaux gosses
Julien Lucas in Qu’un seul tienne et les autres suivront
Alex Lutz in OSS 117 Rio ne répond plus…
Tahar Rahim in Un prophète
Vincent Rottiers in Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante
Samy Seghir in Neuilly sa mère !
Anthony Sonigo in Les beaux gosses


Of course, on January 18, 2010, the candidates will receive a tribute at a dinner. The latter will be held at the Hôtel Le Meurice.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Blood: The Last Vampire

First of all, I haven't seen this film's source material, which is the anime movie of the same name. Now, let's get straight to the point. This vampire action flick could have been way better. However, this film's problem is its short length, the lack of margin of manoeuvre for the cast and its excessive focus on sword fights.


Since the 16th century, Japan has been a feeding ground for demons. They live among mortals by physically passing off as human beings. Now, let's fast forward to the 1970s: Saya (Gianna Jun), the last being of human and vampire extraction on Earth, has lived as a loner for 400 years with one purpose. She seeks to kill all vampires, especially Onigen (Koyuki), the highest ranking and strongest vampire. Besides, Saya works for a secret organization known as "The Council". The latter sends her around the world to kill vampires and then she gets from it her needed dose of blood.

Afterwards, "the Council" arranges her enrolment at an American school near the Yokota Air Base, which is under U.S. command. Obviously, "The Council" sees it as an occasion for Saya to kill the vampires who attend the school and also to lure Onigen out of her hiding. Since she saved Alice McKee (Allison Miller), the daughter of an American general, from a myriad of vampires, a bond between both of them buds. Besides, it also leads Alice to try to help Saya in her quest.

Honestly, one might feel that this film is a blockbuster dish that is best appreciated with the brain turned off. Of course, Gianna Jun is far to be impressive in the fight scenes since she's not a martial artist by trade. However, the fighting scenes are okay even though I've heard some people complaining about the constant use of slow motions. The only problem that I had is that the CGI geysers of blood look so much like stones.

Other than that, the storyline seriously has a problem because of its short length and its focus on fights. By being like that, the story, which is interesting on paper, keeps us at an arm's length. As a matter of fact, both the characters of Saya and Alice are stripped from any psychological complexity. In all fairness, non-initiated people and initiated ones alike will have a hard time trying to understand Saya's surprising ability to control her violent thirst for blood (unlike other vampires) and by extension her care for humanity (if she has any).

Finally, to get to the bottom line, Blood: The Last Vampire is just a film that could have been better. Would a budget way higher than $16 million have allowed this film to have a better production value? Definitely. However, the problem with this film is that it throws in two competent - albeit unknown - actresses, Gianna Jun and Allison Miller, who are wasting their time because their characters are so flat. Of course, this is due to the very thin script.

Rating: 1/5



Origin:Hong Kong/Japan/France (2009)
Length:91 minutes
Genre:Action/Fantasy
Screenplay:Chris Chow
Director:Chris Nahon
Starring:Gianna Jun, Allison Miller, Liam Cunningham and Koyuki


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - Contest


Believe it or not, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the most anticipated Canadian film of this year, will be in theatres on December 25, 2009, in Canada! For the occasion, E1 Films, the film's distributor in Canada, organized a video making contest. The following are the details of the contest.


In order to win, you must make a very imaginative video that represents your own "imaginarium". Of course, you may put anything you want in the video. Afterwards, you upload your video on YouTube. By the way, when you fill the contest's form, paste your video's URL. Finally, Terry Gilliam himself, the film's director, will view the 10 best videos and select the winner!

1rst Prize
MacBook Computer, along with a DVD of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus AND receive feedback on your video from Terry Gilliam himself (what more could a budding filmmaker like yourself want?!?)!

2nd Prize
16 Gig iPod Nano and a DVD of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

3rd Prize
Posters from the movie along with a DVD of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Finally, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus will be in theatres in Canada on December 25, 2009. Good luck for the contest!


PS: When E1 Films asks you in the contest form how did you hear about the contest, just paste this blog post's URL.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: Hell.com

There's no point in denying it: as he advances in his career, Patrick Senécal, a novelist who is often compared to Stephen King, masters more and more his style. In fact, one can look back on Senécal's brilliant career and daresay that his previous novels were a warm up.


Daniel Saul is the CEO of a real estate company and one of the wealthiest businessmen in North America. He's in his early forties, beautiful, tough and intelligent. Besides, Daniel is ruthless against people he regards as "losers" and his competitors. One day, Martin Charron, a freelance investor and former schoolmate, proposes him to become a member of Hell.com, a secret and criminal website that allows its members to do everything they wish in real life. Obviously, Daniel feels that he can't refuse Martin's offer because he considers himself as one of the world's most powerful people. However, as Daniel's curiosity leads him to take part in more and more different activities offered by Hell.com, his life is starting to be full of problems.

As you flip the first pages of Patrick Senécal's latest novel, you somehow want to hate it. Just like in Le vide (which was superb), the leading character of Hell.com is nothing but a caricature of a businessman. As it's suggested in the story, Daniel is not a law-abiding businessman (hint! hint!). He has no empathy for homeless or poor people. He has a relatively aristocratic conception of society in that it has castes. Moreover, he's convinced that his son, Simon, will follow his steps by becoming the next CEO of Saul Inc, Daniel's company.

However, as we go further in the story, Senécal offers a somehow insightful exploration of what it means to search for power. In fact, the website Hell.com is a metaphor that pushes Daniel to see the society as hell. In fact, in this society, Daniel sees himself (along with the other members) as a "devil" who wants more power. While the story efficiently frightens us with the most terrifying myths about Internet, Senécal wonders through his story if a powerful man like Daniel will notice that his search for pleasure and power through Hell.com will make him fall into dementia.

As a result of that, Senécal's latest novel is definitely his best (followed by Les sept jours du talion). Where will Senécal go for his next novel?

Rating: 4/5


Monday, December 14, 2009

'Largo Winch' In Theatres on Jan. 15

Guess what? Hollywood doesn't own the monopoly for cinematographic adaptations of comic books. In fact, Largo Winch, a French film adapted from a comic book penned by Jean Van Hamme and drawn by Philippe Francq, came out in France in 2008. Now, depending of where you live in Canada (preferably in Quebec?), the film will hit theatres on January 15, 2010.


Synopsis:

Nerio Winch (Miki Manojlovic), a billionaire, is found drowned. His death seems suspect given that he's the founder and the majority shareholder of the W Group, an economic empire. Although the other shareholders haven't got wind of any inheritors designated by Nerio, he has a secret: he has a son, Largo (Tomer Sisley), who was taken from an Eastern European orphanage. However, despite being innocent, Largo is thrown in a jail located in the Amazonian jungle for drug trafficking. Therefore comes this question: do the assassination of Nerio Winch and the imprisonment of his son hide a conspiracy from someone who wants to take over the W Group?

Also starring: Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélanie Thierry, Gilbert Melki and Karel Roden.

Directed by: Jérôme Salle (Anthony Zimmer).



Friday, December 11, 2009

Blindness

With a film like Blindness, the genre of dramatic catastrophe is far to be exhausted. In technical terms, director Fernando Meirelles's adaptation of the acclaimed novel of José Saramago deserves two thumbs up. However, although Blindness is itself a quite enthralling roller coaster, there's just a minor problem in the script by Don McKellar.


In an unknown metropolis, a man is struck with blindness. The optician (Mark Ruffalo) that he saw tells him that this kind of blindness is unusual. However, most people in the society becomes blind except the optician's wife (Julianne Moore). Despite being okay, she pretends to be blind and decides to follow her husband in a quarantine building under military surveillance from outside. Once there, the internees are left to their own device and the building is divided into three wards.

Things go awry in the building. In fact, a man (Gael Garcial Bernal) declares himself the king of the third ward. This will lead him and his mates to take over the food store since he's got hold of a handgun. Besides, they distribute foods to the other two wards in exchange for jewelry and, afterwards, sex. Since she's fed up with the situation, the optician's wife decides to take matters in her hands.

Obviously, as many have observed, Blindness had everything to be superb. The film has an incredibly competent cast who can play either characters that we care for (those interned in the first ward) or we just hate (those in the third ward). With a social resonance slightly reminding Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, Blindness wonderfully - yet disgustingly for the film's sake - shows that catastrophe either gets one's inner wolf out of the woods or their good conscience.

No one will certainly complain since the cinematography and the editing brilliantly captures the catastrophe. However, despite being interesting and entertaining, the script is excruciatingly long. In fact, in the film's last quarter, we feel that Blindness got to its point. As a matter of fact, the ending, which is a little bit weird, certainly didn't need to be overstretched.

Rating: 3.5/5


Origin:Canada/Brazil/Japan (2008)
Length:120 minutes
Genre:Drama
Screenplay:Don McKellar
Director:Fernando Mireilles
Starring:Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga and Danny Glover


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'Death Comes to Town' Premieres Jan. 12 on CBC

To all the fans of the Kids in the Hall (Alex, Norma or anyone else): this comedy group will be on a TV near you for the winter in an eight-parts 30 minutes one-time series. Besides, the Kids in the Hall come back to the TV network that has allowed them to make their name, which means on CBC.


According to CBC, the story goes like this: Death gets off a Greyhound bus in the small Canadian town of Shuckton. The whole town is drawn in when one of its most distinguished is discovered murdered. As a suspect is arrested and the trial begins - the town's dark secrets begin to tumble out.

Although I've seen a few sketches of the Kids in the Hall on YouTube, I really don't know this comedy group (made of Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson) well. However, watching Death Comes to Town should allow me to discover the Kids in the Hall and who knows, maybe it'll give me the envy to buy their old show on DVD.

Death Comes to Town will air on Tuesday at 9 PM on CBC.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Trauma' Premieres Jan. 5 on Radio-Canada


Quebec knows Fabienne Larouche for penning Virginie, a daily (and uninteresting) soap opera taking place in high school. Now, since many months, it has been announced that Radio-Canada will come up with a medical drama written by Larouche. For what I know, we shouldn't expect to see an imitation of Grey's Anatomy or ER.


Shot with a budget of $710,000 per hour (which is a lot for the French Canadian market) for 10 episodes, the series follows Dr Julie Lemieux (Isabelle Richer), is the head of the St-Arsène Hospital's traumatology wing. Each week, this dramatic TV series explores different facets of life as a surgeon when it comes to professional ethics, their reaction when a patient dies or their own personal weaknesses. In fact, Dr Pierre Meilleur (James Hyndman) drinks too much. Sophie Léveillé (Laurence Leboeuf), the young intern, does too much mistakes.

The show also stars Jean-François Pichette, Catherine de Léan, Yan England, Christian Bégin and Gilbert Sicotte.

Finally, the show will be aired Tuesday at 9 PM on Radio-Canada.

Source: La Presse.


Canada's Top Ten 2009 Films Announced


Canada's Top Ten, an annual event created by the Toronto International Film Festival, just announced the ten best Canadian films of 2009. In this case, we're talking about Canadian films that were released in theatres or have been screened in film festivals in 2009. Besides, the films will be shown at the Cinematheque in Toronto in January.


Here are the ten best Canadian feature films of 2009:

Cairo Time: A journalist (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Egypt in order to find her husband (Tom McCamus). However, she learns from her husband's friend (Alexander Siddig), who welcomes her, that he's still held up in Gaza. Directed by Ruba Nadda.

Carcasse: This film centres on Jean-Paul Colmor, a man who works in a junkyard of rural Quebec. He welcomes four teenagers with the Down syndrome. Directed by Denis Côté.

Crackie: A girl (Meghan Greeley) from Newfoundland and Labrador lives with her grandmother (Mary Walsh) who earns a living as a whore. In her daily life, this girl juggles with her studies in hairdressing, her attempt to raise a puppy and her love relation with the local bad boy. Directed by Sherry White.

Defendor: During the night in Hammer Town, Defendor (Woody Harrelson), a vigilante, tries to fight criminals. During the day, Arthur, who is Defendor, works in a workshop of a construction company. Directed by Peter Stebbings.

La donation: An old doctor (Jacques Godin), who has been working in the remote town of Normétal for years, becomes old and ill. This is why he advertises for a replacement and he finds it in a younger doctor (Élise Guilbault). Directed by Bernard Émond.

J'ai tué ma mère: A boy (Xavier Dolan), who's about to become an adult, can no longer stand his mother (Anne Dorval). In fact, although her mother doesn't understand why he no longer wants to talk to her, this boy doesn't know what his mom intends to do to put him "back on track". Directed by Xavier Dolan.

Passenger Side: An ex-junkie (Joel Bissonnette) asks his brother (Adam Scott) to drive him around Los Angeles. During their journey, they will come across many people and will find themselves in all sorts of situations. Directed by Matthew Bissonnette.

Polytechnique: The film retells, in a relatively fictitious way, the Montreal Massacre of 1989 through the eyes of three students of the École Polytechnique (Karine Vanasse, Évelyne Brochu and Sébastien Huberdeau) and the killer (Maxim Gaudette). Directed by Denis Villeneuve.

The Trotsky: An upper-class teenager (Jay Baruchel) from Montreal believes that he's the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, one of the fathers of Soviet communism. This is why he tries to replicate every aspects of Trotsky's life. Directed by Jacob Tierney.

The Wild Hunt: In a dark forest, a battle is brewing between the power-hungry Celts, the rampaging Vikings, the secretive wood elves and a mysterious shaman who’s about to unleash his latest fiendish scheme. Directed by Alexandre Franchi.

Finally, these are the feature films. For a complete list that also includes short films, you can go on the Canada's Top Ten web site and also on Movie Moxie.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

'Mirador' Premieres Jan. 6 on Radio-Canada


Now that CBC had unveiled its winter 2010 schedule grid, Radio-Canada, the French-language sister channel of CBC, is now doing the same thing through TV spots. The story of this very anticipated TV series is about a public relation firm offering help for people who are stuck in a scandal.


When scandals break, things get out of control and media storms start raging, it’s time to bring in the firm’s top-notch crisis management team, led by Philippe Racine. With every episode centring on a scandal, Philippe and his team are assigned the difficult task of bolstering the client’s tarnished image and using every trick in the public relations book to help him triumph in the court of public opinion, come hell or high water. At the same time, Philippe is at a turning point in his own life, desperately seeking to find meaning in his work.

The show stars Patrick Labbé (Durham County), David La Haye (Nuremberg), Gilles Renaud (René Lévesque), Pascale Buissières (Le coeur a ses raisons), Catherine Trudeau (Les invincibles), Sébastien Delorme (Le 7e round), Marie-Ève Milot and Steve Laplante (Aveux).

Finally, Mirador airs on Wednesday at 9 PM on Radio-Canada.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Telefilm Canada Finances 10 Films In French

Two days ago, Telefilm Canada had announced that 10 of 27 upcoming films will be in French. What follow is the list of these films.


L’appât – Comedy, Quebec-France co-production, directed by Yves Simoneau and written by Yves Simoneau and William Reymond. Poirier is a particularly inept detective, none of whose colleagues want to work with him. However, the French police, in concert with the Sureté du Québec, assign a very unusual officer, Marc Ventura, to work alongside Poirier... (Producers: Josée Vallée and Jean-Pierre Guérin; distributor: Alliance Vivafilm). The project is also receiving Telefilm support through the performance envelope.

Café de Flore – Drama, Quebec-France co-production, written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. This is first and foremost an incredibly beautiful love story between a man and a woman, as well as that between a mother and her son. (Producers: Pierre Even and Jean-Marc Vallée; distributor: Alliance Vivafilm).

En terrains connus – Drama written and directed by Stéphane Lafleur. Maryse works in a factory, where she witnesses an accident. Shaken by the incident, she slowly withdraws into herself. Benoit is Maryse’s younger brother. A man comes to see him, claiming to be a time-traveller from seven months in the future. He tells Benoit that his sister Maryse must not rent a car: she would be the victim of a fatal accident. (Producers: Luc Déry and Kim McGraw; distributor: Seville Pictures).

French Kiss – Romantic comedy directed by Sylvain Archambault and written by Josée Fréchette. Fred, aged 35, works as a broker with his friend Elliot. He’s happy living for the moment, and his love-life is pretty dull. Juliette, also 35, a librarian, lives her ordinary life by fighting, not very successfully, against her allergies and her solitude. One day, their paths cross in the street. (Producers: Lorraine Richard and Luc Martineau; distributor: TVA Films). The project is also receiving Telefilm support through the performance envelope.

Marécages – Drama written and directed by Guy Edoin. On a dairy farm in the Eastern Townships, during a drought, an event turns the life of the Santerre family upside down. Forced to confront one another, they will also have to learn how to forgive one another. (Producers: Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal and Félize Frappier; distributor: Métropole Films Distribution).

Memories Corner – Drama, France-Quebec co-production, written and directed by Audrey Fouché. A young reporter from France, Ada Servier, is sent by her editor to Kobe, Japan to cover the ceremonies commemorating the 10th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in that city. (Producers: Pierre Beaudry and Jérôme Vidal; distributor: Christal Films Distribution).

Le sens de l’humour – Comedy directed by Émile Gaudreault and written by Émile Gaudreault and Benoit Pelletier. Luc is an extremely talented stand-up comic who can’t connect with his audience. Marc is a good-natured humorist who’ll do anything to get a laugh. During their show one evening, they pick relentlessly on someone in the audience; the next day, the two comics find themselves locked up in a cage. (Producers: Denise Robert and Daniel Louis; distributor: Alliance Vivafilm).

La trace – Drama, Quebec-France co-production, written and directed by Rodrigue Jean. In a town in Haiti, Samuel’s peaceful life is shattered when the army comes for his father, a reporter. (Producers: François Landry, Sandra-Dalhie Goyer, Thomas Verhaeghe and Alain Benguigui; distributor: K-Films Amérique).

Le vendeur – Drama written and directed by Sébastien Pilote. Marcel Lévesque, 67, lives his life according to a well-established routine; a widower, father of Maryse, he has been liked and admired by all during the course of his 16 years as sales champ at the car dealership. But an incident soon turns his life upside down... (Producers: Bernadette Payeur and Marc Daigle; distributor: Seville Pictures).

La vérité – Drama written and directed by Marc Bisaillon. Gabriel and Yves, both 17, are friends. Following a night of drinking, they break into a house, ransack it, but are caught in the act by a neighbour, who tries to contact the cops. (Producer: Christine Falco; distributor: Filmoption Internationale).


Telefilm Canada Finances 17 Films In English

Telefilm Canada
For this week, Telefilm Canada had announced the 27 films that it will support for 2010. Among these films, 17 will be in English. Of course, rest assured: some of the films will have a commercial nature and some will be low-budget independent films. The following is the list of films.


Beat the World (Ontario & Nunavut Region; BTW Productions Inc.; Executive Producers: Alfons Adetuyi, Amos Adetuyi and Robert Adetuyi; Writer/Director: Robert Adetuyi; Distributor: E1 Films Canada Inc.; Telefilm investment: $3.2 million) takes a look at three dance crews - one Latin American, one European and one from Windsor, Ontario – as they prepare to do battle at the international Beat the World competition in Detroit. Along the way, they struggle with personal issues ranging from gambling debt, bad break-ups and their own egos. In the final showdown to become world champions lifelong hopes, dreams and even lives, are at stake.

Fubar II (Western Region; FU2 Productions Ltd. & Cardinal Film 11 Inc.; Producers: Shirley Vercruysse, George Baptist, Jennifer Wilson, Michael Dowse, Dave Lawrence & Paul Spence; Director: Michael Dowse; Writers: Dave Lawrence, Paul Spence, & Michael Dowse; Distributor: Alliance Films Inc.; Telefilm Investment: $1.9 million). In this sequel to Fubar, headbangers Terry and Dean are tired of scraping by so they head north to make sweet cash working on the pipelines. Their buddy Tron hooks them up with jobs and soon they're rolling in good times. Terry falls for Trish, a waitress at Peelrz. When Terry and Trish plan to move in, Dean can't watch his best buddy swap the banger life for domestic captivity. Dean starts to spiral out of control ultimately ruining his friendship with Terry. Dean must fight for the things that mean the most: life, love, friendship and Christmas.

Hockey: The Musical (Ontario & Nunavut Region; Mulmur Feed Co. Ltd.; Executive producer: Richard Hanet; Producer: Michael McGowan; Writer/Director: Michael McGowan; Distributor: Mongrel Media Inc.; Telefilm investment: $2,245,753) is the story of 17-year-old Farley Gordon, who is plucked from obscurity and goes from shinny legend to prospective first pick in the NHL draft in only a matter of weeks. The film takes our national game and pairs it with fantastic music while chronicling Farley’s transition into the sometimes boorish world of Junior A hockey.

The Kate Logan Affair (Quebec Region; Gala Films; Producers: Arnie Gelbart; Writer/Director: Noel Mitrani; Distributor: E1 Films Canada Inc. /Les Films Seville Inc.; Telefilm investment: $1.3 million) tells the story of Benoit Gando, an innocent man mistaken by Kate Logan, a young policewoman, for a wanted rapist. Annoyed that he reveals her mistake to his superiors, Kate tries to seduce Benoit who succumbs to her advances. This innocent flirtation takes a turn and Gando realizes he is caught in a relentless machine changing his life forever.

The Whistleblower (Ontario & Nunavut Region; Gen One Films Inc.in co-production with Barry Films GmbH (Germany), with the participation of Voltage Pictures and Perfect Corporation; Executive Producers: Amy Kaufman, Celine Rattray & Nicolas Chartier; Producer: Christina Piovesan; Writers: Ellis Kirwan & Larysa Kondracki; Director: Larysa Kondracki; Distributor: E1 Films Canada Inc.; Telefilm investment: $2,635,000) is a tense political thriller based on the harrowing true story of a single woman’s quest for justice from within an organization that is facilitating the very crimes they were created to stop.

Wrecked (Western Region; Wrecked Productions Inc.; Producer: Kyle Mann; Director: Michael Greenspan; Writer: Christopher Dodd; Distributor: Alliance Films Inc.; Telefilm Investment: $1,650,000). A badly injured man is trapped in a car wreck at the bottom of a steep ravine. He’s lost his memory and there’s a dead man in the back seat and another body just outside of the wreckage site. The man must find a way out of the car, discover his identity, and overcome enormous obstacles in order to survive.

The Future is Now! (Western Region; BFL, Future Inc. in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB); Producers: Shirley Vercruysse, George Baptist (BFL, Future Inc.) & Bonnie Thompson (NFB); Writer/Director: Gary Burns & Jim Brown; Telefilm Investment: $382,848). A journalist meets the Man of Today, a representative everyman who has closed himself off from society along with any hope or optimism for the future of mankind. The journalist, aka Woman of Tomorrow, decides to take this man under her wing with the goal of turning around his worldview. To achieve her goal she introduces the Man of Today to a variety of the world's great minds in the arts and sciences, with the hope of opening his eyes to the possibilities that the future has to offer.

Rain Down (Western Region; Rain Down Pictures Inc.; Executive Producer: Alyson Drysdale; Producers: Alyson Drysdale & Johanne Gregory; Director: Garwin Sanford; Writer: Alyson Drysdale; Telefilm Investment: $249,000). Carla Springer, 28, ekes out a living on her ranch by training reining horses and barrel racing riders. Tall, lean and taciturn, Carla has successfully shielded herself from meaningful human contact after an abusive upbringing and a divorce. But the unexpected arrival of her 5 year-old niece who clearly needs her help, followed shortly by the reappearance of her felonious ex-husband, and the pressures on her carefully constructed world exacerbated by a government with plans to expropriate her ranch, all force Carla to face her past and take drastic measures to save that which is most precious.

Red Coat Justice (Ontario & Nunavut Region; Travesty Productions Inc.; Producers: Phillip Daniels & Michael Vernon; Writers: S. Wyeth Clarkson, Grant Sauve & Charles Johnston; Director: S. Wyeth Clarkson; Telefilm investment: $612,500) is a Western drama that takes place in 1894 in Canada's Yukon Territory just before the gold rush. Wade Grayling an N.W.M.P., who began a promising career, was dishonourably reassigned to the most desolate area of the Yukon to survey land for a new garrison. Instead, he finds himself sitting down to eat with the leader of a small Russian pioneer community while a limp body hangs from a nearby tree. Wade soon finds himself in the midst of an opium dispute with a murder to solve.

Stained (Western Region; Goonworks Films Ltd. & Angel Entertainment Corporation; Executive Producers: Karen Lam & Bob Crowe; Producers: Katie Weekley, Wally Start & Bob Crowe; Director/Writer: Karen Lam; Telefilm Investment: $350,000). Isabelle & Jennifer have been friends since childhood. When Isabelle rekindles a romance with an abusive ex-boyfriend, Jennifer is the only one who can save her. But does Isabelle really need saving?

The Year Dolly Parton was My Mom (Quebec Region; Palomar & Buffalo Gal Pictures; Producers: Barbara Shrier & Liz Jarvis; Writer/Director: Tara Johns; Distributor: Mongrel Media Inc. / Métropole Films; Telefilm investment: $800,000) is a charming and funny coming of age story. It’s 1976 and Elizabeth is just your average 11-year-old living in the suburbs of Winnipeg when she discovers her whole life has been a lie. With only her imagination and an Ouija Board to guide her, Elizabeth runs away in search of her true identity. Her adoptive mother, Marion is then forced to go after her daughter. This leads to a cathartic cross-country trek by a mother searching for a daughter who’s searching for a mother – both of them really searching for themselves.

Billy (Western Region; Winesto Films Inc.; Producer: Winston W. Moxam & Ernesto Griffith; Director: Winston W. Moxam; Writers: Ernesto Griffith & Winston W. Moxam; Telefilm Investment: $15,000). A young journalist arrives at a retirement home to interview Billy, a 94 year-old Black man. Billy tells him the story of his eventful life, dating back to his early recollections of a time when he left the United States to move to northern Manitoba. He recalls his struggle as a homesteader, the racism he endured, his love of a woman, and his gift of photography. Billy is the story of one man's constant search for acceptance.

Excited (Western Region; Slewfoot Productions Inc.; Producer: Bruce Sweeney; Director: Bruce Sweeney; Writer: Bruce Sweeney; Telefilm Investment: $200,000). This film is about the nature of sexual dysfunction, the difficulties of intimate relationships, and unwanted parental intrusion. Kevin Staal, 36, is a successful businessman. He's divorced and has been single for 8 years, but he's finally met someone he likes. Hayaam, 39, has two degrees and works in a shoe store. They date and things look promising until his sexual problem stalls the relationship.

Fathers & Sons (Western Region; Raven West Films Ltd.; Executive Producer: Laura Lightbown; Producers: Carl Bessai & Jason James; Co-Producer: David Lee; Director/Writer: Carl Bessai; Telefilm Investment: $200,000). "Fathers & Sons” follows the lives of four very different families as they confront a pivotal moment in their relationships; the film celebrates those unchosen bonds that shape our lives, the blessings and burdens.

A Gun to the Head (Western Region; ASAP Films Inc.; Producer: Oliver Linsley; Director: Blaine Thurier; Writer: Blaine Thurier; Telefilm Investment: $100,000). Reformed criminal-turned-bored husband Trevor leaves his wife's awkward dinner party to get some wine. He reunites with his coke-dealing cousin, Darren, who entices him into making the rounds. Trevor finds himself descending into his dark past of drugs and street fights. When he learns Darren's life has been threatened by a local gangster, Trevor tires to broker a deal, only to be abandoned by his cousin. The gangster's thugs hold his wife's dinner party hostage until Trevor can produce Darren. Trevor's desperate effort to fix his mess only makes things worse until the inevitable happens.

Modra (Ontario & Nunavut Region; PUNK Films Inc.; Producer: Ingrid Veninger; Writer/Director: Ingrid Veninger; Telefilm investment: $135,000) tells the story of a 17-year-old girl and boy at a crossroads. It captures the longings and confusion of a precise moment in our lives, when adulthood has not yet arrived, but childhood has already long vanished.

A Night for Dying Tigers (Western Region: Dying Tiger Films Inc.; Producers: Terry Miles & Sidney Chiu; Director/Writer: Terry Miles; Telefilm Investment: $200,000). In 24 short hours, Jack goes to prison for five years. Tonight, for the first time since the sudden death of their parents one year earlier, the family is summoned to their ancestral home for Jack’s farewell dinner. What begins as a civil, if not joyful, reunion filled with food, drink, and acerbic conversation, quickly devolves into a morally questionable whirlwind of regret, reveals, reversals, and revelations. As they duke it out in a half-savage, half-civilized fashion, these characters and the truths behind their long history of conflict and tragedy, are slowly and surprisingly revealed. “A Night for Dying Tigers” is a dark, heartfelt and ultimately revealing portrait of a family on the edge of disintegration.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Five Canadian Films at the Sundance Film Festival


As you all know it, the Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 21 to 31, 2010 in Park City, Utah. Just like last year, Canada will be represented. This year, five of our films will cross the border. What follows is a short presentation of these films.


Les sept jours du talion (7 Days)
Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault), a surgeon, peacefully lives in peace with his daughter and his wife (Fanny Mallette). One day, he finds his daughter raped and murdered. He plans to capture the killer (Martin Dubreuil) and torture for seven days. Afterwards, Bruno will turn himself in to the police.

Splice
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are young, brilliant, and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered has made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Two West Virginian hillbillies go on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin, but their peaceful trip goes horribly awry.

Last Train Home
Getting a train ticket in China proves a towering ordeal as a migrant worker family embarks on a journey, along with 200 million other peasants, to reunite with their distant family.

Grown Up Movie Star
After her mother runs away, a teenage girl, determined to grow up fast, is left to care for her hopelessly rural father.


U.S. Promo for 'Being Erica' Season Two


Dear American readers, according to Vlada over at Staying In, SOAPnet, an American cable network, has just unveiled the promo for Being Erica's second season. This dramedy (no, it's not a soap opera!) will premiere in the USA on January 20, 2010 at 10 PM on SOAPnet.


The second season begins right where the first season's finale left us. Will Dr. Tom (Michael Riley) still be Erica Strange's (Erin Karpluk) therapist? In her daily life, Erica Strange still works for a publisher, has a boyfriend and still has past regrets to fix. Besides trying to help herself through time travelling, Erica also wonders if she can help other people around her like her friend Jenny (Paula Brancatti) or even Judith (Vinessa Antoine), for instance. Of course, Erica doesn't want to talk about her therapy to people she knows.



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Let's Make Love

This was the first time I've seen a film featuring Marilyn Monroe. Let's cut the embellishments: the film is certainly worth your time if you're into musicals (which I'm not). Other than that, Let's Make Love's romance story between the two leading characters suffers from a serious lack of elaboration.


Jean-Marc Clément (Yves Montand) is a billionaire. His PR specialist (Tony Randall) apprised Jean-Marc that according to an article in Variety (my reaction: it's that old??!!?), he'll be parodied in an upcoming theatre production. By going to the production's rehearsal, Jean Marc snags a role as... himself. Furthermore, the show's cast didn't recognize him and this is why he goes around by using another name and by pretending that he's not a billionaire. However, Jean-Marc has a crush on Amanda Dell (Marilyn Monroe), his co-star. Will improving his stage skills make him win Amanda's affection?

Let's say straightforwardly that this is not the best comedy you'll see. The good thing about Let's Make Love is that the film certainly contains average comedic performance by French actor Yves Montand and Marilyn Monroe. While the latter's undeniable charisma makes this film somewhat easier to bear, Montand surprises us by his ability to portray a man who is a good businessman but a very bad stage actor. In short, expect a few moments of smile or laughter.

However, once you read the story on the DVD back cover, you might feel that the story is predictable. Therefore, I don't think that I'm giving away much details if I tell you that the two leading characters, Jean-Marc and Amanda, will fall in love with each other. Besides, one might feel that the film leaves out so many important details about how the relation between the leading protagonists develops itself given that Amanda is not really attracted by rich men. After all, when Amanda finds out that Montand's character is a billionaire, how does her principles evolve? Well, the only answer we have is that she loves the man.

Finally, despite having convincing performance (especially in the musical scenes), Let's Make Love's script is just too light. Had it been a little bit longer, this film starring the Blonde Bombshell, as we call Monroe, would have been cuter from the perspective of those who like romantic comedies.

Rating: 2.5/5



Origin:USA (1960)
Length:119 minutes
Genre:Romantic comedy
Screenplay:Norman Krasna
Director:George Cukor
Starring:Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, Tony Randall and Frankie Vaughan


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Movie News: Teaser of Jackie Chan's Epic Drama


Those of you who follow Twitch and Blogging the Reel World are aware that Jackie Chan's next film will be an epic drama. This film will be titled Little Big Soldier. Besides, this film's teaser has just been released online.


First of all, the story goes like this according to Tood Brown over at Twitch:

It was the darkest of times in China, when ruthless warlords waged battles to satiate their endless aggression. Millions of lives perished, and those who survived had only two choices - kill or be killed.

The battalions of warring states Liang and Wei collided in a bloodbath that lasted from dawn until dusk. Only two men were left standing - a FOOT SOLDIER from Liang (Jackie Chan) and the rival GENERAL from Wei (Wang Leehom). The Soldier survived because he is an expert in playing dead, with a device strapped on his body which protruded like an arrowhead for added realism.

The Soldier captured the wounded General, hoping to use the enemy as his ticket to freedom - by handing the General to the Liang warlord, the Soldier could be honorably discharged and return home to his peaceful life. The young General, though taken captive, was condescending towards the Soldier. The two men were often at loggerheads during the long and winding journey.

Besides, this will be Jackie Chan's second epic drama after The Myth, which I saw in Grade 11. For all I know, Little Big Soldier will be in theatres in February 11, 2010 in Hong Kong. Besides, don't ask me if this film will be better than The Myth. All I can tell you is that the latter was complete piece of [unknown expletive], because the parts in the modern time was so useless and their presence made it too hard for the scriptwriters to develop the parts in the Ancient China.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Movie News: Teaser of 'Le journal d'Aurélie Laflamme'


TVA Films, a distribution company, released the teaser of the upcoming teenage film Le journal d'Aurélie Laflamme. In case you don't know what the film is about (neither do I), here's some informations. It's adapted from one of the six books (the first one to be more precise) from a teenage novel written by former columnist India Desjardins.


Meet Aurélie Laflamme (Marianne Verville), a girl who believes that she was abandoned on Earth by aliens. Now that she's in high school, she doesn't connect, so to speak, with most people around her. Since her dad died, she finds her mom (Édith Cochrane) dull. In school, Aurélie thinks that Kat (Geneviève Chartrand), her best friend, has a numb mind since she's found love. This is why Aurélie is not interested to have a soul mate. However, can Aurélie escape from love?

In case you're a fan of the novels, have in mind that Aliocha Schneider, the brother of Niels Schneider (Tout est parfait), will be Nicolas and Jérémie Essiambre will be Truch. Finally, the film is shot with a budget of $4,135,000 and will hit Quebec's theatres in April 2010 according to the trailer.


The books' and film's official web site: http://aurelielaflamme.com/


Friday, November 27, 2009

News: The SODEC Backs 12 Feature Films

The Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), Quebec's cultural sponsor for the film industry, announced the 12 lucky feature films that will be subsidized. Speaking of homegrown films, eight will be in French and one will be in English. The rest of the films are co-productions.


Homegrown films in French:

BO$$É: Directed by Claude Desrosiers, this film is a satirical comedy about financial scandals seen through the eyes of a corrupt man, Bernard Bossé. The film will be scripted by André Ducharme, Luc Déry and Yves Lapierre. The film is produced by Les productions Équinoxe and will be distributed by Alliance Atlantis.

Décharge: A criminal who found redemption randomly meets a prostitute. However, the meeting, brings back in the criminal things from his past. Written by Benoît Pilon and Pierre Szalowski. Directed by Benoît Pilon (Ce qu'il faut pour vivre). Produced by Forum Films and distributed by Remstar Distribution.

La peur de l’eau: In the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, a cop tries to find the killer of a young girl. Besides, the film is adapted from On finit toujours par payer, a novel from Jean Lemieux. Written by Marcel Beaulieu and Gabriel Pelletier. Directed by Gabriel Pelletier. Produced by Go Films and distributed by Remstar Distribution.

Café de Flore: This film combines the themes of love, desire and reincarnation. Written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.). Produced by Item 7 and Films Crazy. Distributed by Alliance Vivafilm.

Marécages: A family living on a farm is facing a drought and a shocking event. Besides, the member of this family will have to learn to forgive each other. Written and directed by Guy Édoin. Produced by MaxFilms and distributed by Films Métropole.

Le sens de l’humour: Two popular humorists are captured by a serial killer. In order to avoid torture, these humorists teach the serial killer the art of humour. Written by Émile Gaudreault and Benoît Pelletier. Directed by Émile Gaudreault. Produced by Cinémaginaire and distributed by Alliance Vivafilm.

Lance et compte: This film is based on a hit TV series, by the way. The story goes like this: After a bus accident, the Quebec City National, a pro hockey team, loses most of its players. Marc Gagnon, its coach, has to rebuild the team. Written by Réjean Tremblay. Directed by Frédérick D'Amours. Produced by Gaéa Films and distributed by Les Films Christal.

Le colis: During a kidnapping, a delivery worker, who is struck by huge debts, finds out through his victim that he's richer than he thought. Written by Gaël d'Ynglemare (who also directs the film) and Jean Marie Corbeil. Produced by Productions Thalie and distributed by Les Films Séville.

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Homegrown feature film in English:

French Immersion: The story follows a herd of English-speaking people who can't speak French. In order to learn this language, they swarm the small French-speaking village of Saint-Isidore-du-Cur-de-Jésus. Written by Jefferson Lewis and Kevin Tierney. Directed by Kevin Tierney. Produced by Productions Park Ex and distributed by TVA Films.

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Co-productions:

Memories Corner: Ada, a young French journalist, goes to Kobe, a Japanese city, in order to write a report about an earthquake. When she meets Kenji, a local, her life will be changed. Written and directed by Audrey Fouché. Produced by Les films Zingaro and distributed by Les Films Christal.

Queleh: In 1985, in Somalia, Queleh, an 11-years-old boy, tries to find his dad who got kidnapped by military rebels. However, he also has to deal with the fact that he's the man of the family and he has to take his dad's responsibilities. Written by Roelof Jan Minneboo and Abdi Jama. Directed by Abraham Haile Biru. Produced by Les Films Camera Oscura and distributed by Filmoption Internationale.

Buddha's Little Finger: Pyotr Pustota is having hallucinations. He wakes up in a prison during the coup d'État in Moscow in 1991 and then during the rise of communism in Russia in 1918. Written by Tony Pemberton and William Jennings. Directed by Tony Pemberton. Produced by Amérique Films and distributed by Atopia Distribution.


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