Saturday, October 31, 2009

Drag Me to Hell

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of horror films. Nonetheless, it was impossible for me to ignore this film which benefited from a big buzz during its release. As a film about bad spirits, Drag Me to Hell is more likely to make you roll your eyes rather than amaze you. Of course, the movie will sure find its audience, but I'm not part of it.


Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), an ambitious loan officer, wants to be an assistant manager at the bank where she works. In order for this to be reality, she has to prove to her boss what she can do. When an elderly lady (Lorna Raver) asks Christine a third extension on her mortgage, Christine says no despite having second thoughts. However, since the elderly lady can't take no for an answer, she passes on a terrible curse to Christine. If Christine doesn't get rid of her curse within three days, a spirit will come to her and drag her in the depths of hell.

Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) came back to what brought him in the movie industry: the genre of horror. I haven't seen Evil Dead, which is regarded as a cult film by many, but it looks like Raimi wanted to have fun while making Drag Me to Hell. Obviously, if your stomach is a bit weak, you may be impressed by Raimi's mastery of the special effects and his ability to keep you in the film's story so that you can see the amazing plot twist.

However, any praise for the film stops there. Between the beginning and the plot twist at the end, Drag Me to Hell looks like a complete parody of horror films. Despite being relatively entertaining and rightly acted, Drag Me to Hell, in its execution, looks a little bit dumb and amateurish. This is because the accumulations of incredible situations seem unnatural, so to speak. For instance, in the parking scene, many would be surprised to see that Christine still hasn't gone out of the parking while she thinks that the old lady is dead... All in all, the problem of this film is not entirely due to the way it's written; it's mostly its execution.

Finally, despite the obvious efforts the cast put in (especially the lovely Alison Lohman), Drag Me to Hell is definitely not going to enter History as one of the greatest horror films. Indeed, with the right dose of entertainment, Drag Me to Hell is a film that you watch if you're willing to turn your brain off for a while. However, the film is just worth watching for the spectacular ending.

Rating: 3/5



Origin:USA (2009)
Length:99 minutes
Genre:Horor
Screenplay:Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi
Director:Sam Raimi
Starring:Alison Lohman, Justin Long and Lorna Raver


Friday, October 30, 2009

News: Claude Legault and Julie Perreault In a Thriller


Quebec's loveliest on-screen couple is back together after having moved us in the award-winning TV series Minuit, le soir. According to the latest news ([1] and [2]), Claude Legault (Les 3 p'tits cochons) and Julie Perreault (Horloge biologique) will be back together. This time, they will play a couple in a thriller à la Alfred Hitchcock.


In January 2010, Legault and Perreault will head to Mexico and also Cuba to shoot this thriller called Angle mort (translation: Blind Spot). They will play a couple who travels abroad and they're harassed by a serial killer who has a serious problem of road rage. Besides, the budget of the film will be $4 million. Finally, no further information is available regarding the full casting of Angle mort for now.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

News: New Poster for 'Les sept jours du talion'!


Yesterday, a few months after the release of the trailer, Alliance Vivafilm publicly released the official poster for the thriller Les sept jours du talion (official English title: 7 Days), which will be released on February 5, 2010. For those who don't know, this film is adapted from an excellent novel by Patrick Senécal and stars Claude Legault, Martin Dubreuil and Rémy Girard in the leading roles. The following is a description of the story and the trailer.


The story:

Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault) is a surgeon who succeeded in life and lives in Drummondville, Quebec. He happily lives with Sylvie (Fanny Mallette), his wife, and Jasmine, their daughter. However, after Bruno let his daughter go play outside, Jasmine is found dead (and raped). When Jasmine's killer (Martin Dubreuil) is arrested and ready to go in court, Bruno has one idea in his mind: he wants to take the chance to kidnap the "monster". Besides, while in hiding (with the "monster" as a hostage), he tells to the police that he'll torture the killer for seven days and then kill him. Afterwards, Bruno plans to turn himself in to the authorities. Nonetheless, will Sgt. Det. Hervé Mercure (Rémy Girard) manage to arrest both Anthony Lemaire and Bruno as the clock is ticking?



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TV News: Teaser of 24's Season 8

Did you like the last season of 24? Well, the wait for the premiere of this show's eighth season is almost over! Apparently, 24 will premiere on January 17, 2010 on Fox. Besides, it appears that the story will take place in New York City. What follow are the description of the eighth season's synopsis and the teaser.


Synopsis:

After many years of working for the U.S. government, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) wants to live in peace with his daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert). Obviously, she has a child and Jack is willing to embrace a new role: being a grand-father. However, things get complicated in New York when a foreign leader is about to get killed at the UN headquarters. Besides, for another exciting day, Jack's help is needed.



News: Canadian Films at the 2009 American Film Market (AFM)

From November 4 to 11, the event of the American Film Market (AFM) will be taking place in Santa Monica, California, at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and Le Merigot Beach Hotel. While the AFM is not a film festival (despite having screenings), it's rather a place where distribution deals are closed on films of many nationalities.


So far, it seems that E1 Entertainment is the only Canadian distributor that will be at Santa Monica to present its portfolio of Canadian-made films. By the way, if you happen to work in the distribution industry, you will find E1 Entertainment at the office (or booth or whatever you call it) number 504 at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel during the AFM. By the way, the following links will lead you to each film's trailer. In the case of Year of the Carnivore, you will be led to the film's official web site, because the trailer is not online yet (as I was posting this). So, here comes the list of films:

Poster
Name of the film
5150 rue des Ormes (5150 Elm's Way)
Les 7 jours du talion (7 Days)

Cairo Time
Leslie, My Name Is Evil
The Timekeeper
Year of the Carnivore

Good luck to these Canadian films and may they find a distribution deal in the USA and other countries!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Victoria Day

If you're an aficionado of literature, you're probably aware that this is the feature debut of David Bezmozgis, an acclaimed author. I haven't read his book Natasha and Other Stories. Nonetheless, Bezmozgis is definitely a director to watch for the years to come because of his writing skills. The only problem I got was the cast's performance in Victoria Day because it's often soft at times.


1988: It's Victoria Day, school is almost over and the Edmonton Oilers (which had Wayne Gretzky at that time) were fighting in the NHL playoffs against the Boston Bruins. Ben Spector (Mark Rendall), a teenager from a Russian immigrant family living in Toronto, decides to attend to a concert of Bob Dylan with his two best friends. Once there, he runs into Jordan Chapman (Mitchell Amaral), the class jerk and Ben's annoying teammate in his amateur hockey team, who is five dollars shy of buying some drugs. Ben gives Jordan five dollars without enthusiasm. However, the next day, Jordan is absent from school and the hockey practice. As days pass, Jordan is nowhere to be found and Ben feels uncomfortable, especially when a romance between Cayla (Holly Deveaux), Jordan's sister, and him appears.

With its qualities and its flaws, Victoria Day's story is intelligently built. While it doesn't just focus on Jordan's disappearance, the film brilliantly bothers to show us how the leading characters try to still live a normal life almost like in Tout est parfait. Therefore, while not being entirely about Jordan's disappearance, the film also deals with 1) the relation between Ben and his parents; 2) Ben's coming of age or 3) what is was like to grow up in the Toronto of the 1980s for instance. After all, as we say it, life must go on no no matter how much regrets we have in our life.

Besides, the storyline suggests between the lines that the characters feel that the disappearance of Jordan changes their life one way or another. As a matter of fact, it doesn't take a PhD in psychology to understand that Ben feels responsible for Jordan's disappearance. After all, should Ben have given to Jordan the five dollars he needed to buy "good drugs"?

However, as things are suggested between the lines of the script, the leading actors (Mark Rendall and Holly Deveaux) are a little bit disconnected from their character. Although their performance is taken to the level we want it to be in the film's last quarter, Rendall and Deveaux give us the odd feeling that their characters have a "business as usual" attitude through a soft performance after the character of Jordan is reported missing. Needless to say that we feel we're being kept at arm's length from the story. Hopefully, Rendall and Deveaux are well supported by good supporting actors - especially the ones who play Ben's parents and Jordan's father - who always strike the right notes with each of their spoken words.

Obviously, this goes without saying that Victoria Day is a film I was anticipating on DVD and I wanted to like because it wasn't released in Montreal during the summer. Still, for a feature debut, Bezmozgis shows us that his writing skills allow him to give us a movie that can't be easily labelled and that feels quite close to our daily life. Besides, with the years to come, there's no doubt that Bezmozgis will hone his skills to direct actors.

Rating: 3.5/5



Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:88 minutes
Genre:Drama
Screenplay:David Bezmozgis
Director:David Bezmozgis
Starring:Mark Rendall and Holly Deveaux


Friday, October 23, 2009

X-Men

While you've seen me express my opinion on "old" films I've seen for the first time, you've also witnessed me talking about films that were part of my childhood. When this film came out during the summer of 2000, I was done with elementary school and was about to begin high school. Obviously, the teenager I was - who was learning English at that time as a second language - liked the film. Now, nine years later, I find that X-Men can be lauded for other reasons besides the action scenes and the special effects.


In a not so distant future, evolution has forced homo sapiens (powerless human beings) to live with "mutants" (human beings with extraordinary powers). Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), a mutant who can read and control people's mind, and Eric Magnus Lansherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen), a mutant who can control metal and create magnetic fields, are two old friends who are on different sides of a battle. The former, who founded an organization called X-Men, believes that humans and mutants can peacefully coexist together.

As for Eric, he's categorically convinced that mutants must exterminate humans and this is why he founded the Brotherhood of Mutants, a terrorist and anti-human organization. After all, it's public knowledge that some humans like U.S. Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison) are advocates of a political system where mutants are closely kept under surveillance by the government. Since Magneto prepares a plan to destroy humankind so that the planet is only left with mutants, the X-Men must race against the clock and foil Magneto's plan.

While we look back at what has been done in adaptations of comic books, we can see that X-Men certainly stood out from most of its counterparts of the time like the two instalments of Batman that preceded Batman Begins. Of course, X-Men might not put a lot of focus on displaying special effects or action scenes. However, what the film lacks in entertainment, it makes up for it with Brian Singer's great focus on the development of the plot. As a matter of fact, with a simple script that gets right to the point about each of the leading characters' motives, X-Men sure knows how to maintain our interest until the very end.

Finally, I'm sure some will say that this film is not the best one in the X-Men trilogy. First of all, some might say that the film is not as entertaining as the second or - to a lesser extent - the third film. Secondly, other might reproach the film to focus too much on the fight between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. As a result of that, the film might leave a feeling that the topic of intolerance is explored in a very superficial way. Nonetheless, we can all agree that the first film did brilliantly pave the way to the sequel.

Rating: 3.5/5



Origin:USA (2000)
Length:104 minutes
Genre:Science-Fiction
Screenplay:David Hayter
Director:Bryan Singer
Starring:
Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ian McKellen, Famke Jansen, Halle Berry, James Marsden and Rebecca Romijn


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TV News: CTV's 'Hiccups' Begins Production

From a press release

  • CORNER GAS alum Nancy Robertson (photo) cast in lead role.
  • Brent Butt returns to helm his latest project as creator, writer, show runner, executive producer and co-star.
  • Production now underway in Vancouver, BC.


Vancouver, BC (October 19, 2009) – CTV, in association with The Comedy Network and Sparrow Media, announced today that principal photography is underway on the original comedy series, HICCUPS, in Vancouver, BC. From the star and mastermind behind CTV’s hit comedy CORNER GAS, Brent Butt returns to helm his latest project as creator, writer, executive producer and co-star. The 13-part, half-hour series stars the hilarious Nancy Robertson (CORNER GAS) as the lead character and will continue production through November. HICCUPS is the second CTV/The Comedy Network comedy series to begin production this month, the first being DAN FOR MAYOR, starring Fred Ewanuick (CORNER GAS, ROBSON ARMS).

In HICCUPS, Robertson plays the role of Millie Upton, a children’s author with anger management issues and other emotional “hiccups”, who seeks guidance from less-than-qualified life coach Stan Dirko (Brent Butt). It’s a case of the lost leading the lost, with the best of intentions and very little chance of success, which is a recipe for hilarity. The series regulars include Laura Soltis (THE GUARD), David Ingram (SMALLVILLE), Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps) and Paula Rivera (FLASHPOINT).

Millie is a wildly successful children’s author but socially unpredictable, prone to sudden outbursts of laughter, sadness, or rage, traits that her publisher Joyce (Soltis) tries unsuccessfully to keep under wraps. Her slick but useless agent (Ingram) is in way over his head, while Crystal (Perkins), the highly opinionated young slacker receptionist at Haddison House, doesn’t do much for the publishing company’s image. The good hearted Stan just wants to help people, while his wide-eyed and slightly confused wife Anna (Rivera) does her best to support his impractical dream of spontaneously becoming a life coach.

HICCUPS is produced by Sparrow Media in association with CTV and The Comedy Network. Brent Butt is creator, writer, show runner and executive producer. Executive producers are Laura Lightbown (DAVINCI’S INQUEST, INTELLIGENCE) and David Storey (CORNER GAS), who also directs numerous episodes. Producers are Nancy Robertson and Arvi Liimatainen (INTELLIGENCE). The Director of Photography is Ken Krawczyk (CORNER GAS) and the Production Designer is Matthew Budgeon (MEN IN TREES). Michelle Daly is the Director of Content, The Comedy Network and Susanne Boyce is President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. World-wide distribution rights are held by Thunderbird Films in association with Group M Entertainment.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Preview: 'Love & Savagery'

Poster of ‘Love & Savagery’

According to the latest news, we can now have a peak at both the poster and the trailer of the film Love & Savagery, which will be released in Canada on November 6, 2009. In case you were wondering, both the poster and the trailer were found on the web site of Morag Productions, the movie studio that is mainly in charge of the production of this film. By the way, the following is a detailed description of the film.


Synopsis:

Adapted from a novel by Des Walsh, Love & Savagery follows Michael McCarthy (Allan Hawco), a geologist and a poet from Newfoundland. In 1968, he travels to Ballyvaughan, in Ireland, to examine the “Burren” a geological wonder. Besides, he falls in love with Cathleen (Sarah Greene), a young woman who plans to be a nun. However, what will Cathleen choose? Michael or God? Or can she love both?

Further informations:

Director: John N. Smith
Americans (if not the world) probably remember him as the director of Dangerous Minds (1995), a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Besides, Smith has also directed acclaimed films such as The Englishman's Boy and The Boys of St-Vincent, a historical drama that takes place in Newfoundland.


Scriptwriter: Des Walsh
Also known as a poet and a playwright, Walsh wrote the script of Love & Savagery along with the original novel. In 1994, he won the Gemini Award for "Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series" for The Boys of St-Vincent.

Allan Hawco as Michael McCarthy:
This native of Newfoundland has played in the TV series ZOS: Zone of Separation and will be in the upcoming TV series Republic of Doyle, which will premiere on CBC this winter.

Sarah Greene as Cathleen:
This will be a second film for this Irish actress. Besides, Love & Savagery is her first Canadian film. So far, she played in the Irish film Eden. Let's just hope that her accent is easy to understand, because between you and I, the Irish accent is extremely hard to understand.

Shooting locations: Newfoundland and the village of Ballyvaughan in County Clare, Ireland.

Trivia: When the film's footage was sent in Montreal for processing, it was kept for days by border officials at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The reason? Because of the title, these officials believed that it was a porn film.



Sunday, October 18, 2009

News: Winners at the 38th Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC)


From a press release

Montreal, Saturday October 17, 2009 – The Festival du nouveau cinéma of Montreal is proud to announce the prize winners of its 38th edition:


LOUVE D’OR – Quebecor – Best first, second or third feature film in the International Selection with $15,000 cash
CANINE, Yorgos Lanthimos (Greece, 2009)

Jury’s Special Mention
THE RED RACE, Chao Gan (China/Germany, 2009)

Acting Award – Best actor in a feature film in the International Selection
Magaly Solier in FAUSTA : LA TETA ASUSTADA, directed by Claudia Llosa (Peru, 2009)

*Jury: Cameron Bailey, Lucie Amyot, Kim Massee, Mario Fortin and Kim Nguyen.



Daniel Langlois Innovation Award
SHOULD I REALLY DO IT?, Ismail Necmi (Turkey, 2008)

*Jury: Cameron Bailey, Lucie Amyot, Kim Massee, Mario Fortin and Kim Nguyen.

The winner will receive a trophy made by the sculptor Vasco Ceccon.



Focus – Cinémathèque québécoise Grand Prize (1,500$ cash and 3,500$ in services) – Best feature film in the Focus section

NUAGES SUR LA VILLE, Simon Galiero (Québec/Canada, 2009)

Jury’s Special Mention
CRACKIE, Sherry White (Canada, 2009)

*Jury: Yuri Berger, Pape Boye and Aleen Stein.



Loup argenté, Best Short Film Award
JALKEILAA TASS, Maarit Suomi-Väänäen (Finland, 2009)

*Jury: Lydia Champagne, Éric Bachand and Dave St-Pierre.



Grand Prix Focus Short Film (5000$ cash from CTV’s Bravo!FACT Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent)

DANSE MACABRE, Pedro Pires (Québec/Canada, 2009)

Jury’s Special Mention
LA VIE COMMENCE, Émile Proulx-Cloutier (Québec/Canada, 2009)

*Jury: Lydia Champagne, Éric Bachand and Dave St-Pierre



AQCC Award – Best feature in the International Selection
FAUSTA : LA TETA ASUSTADA, Claudia Llosa (Peru, 2009)

Jury’s Special Mentions
THE GIRL, Fredrik Edfeldt (Suède, 2009)
UNMADE BEDS, Alexis Dos Santos (United Kingdom, 2008)

*Jury: Mathieu Li-Goyette, Jorge Gutman and Claire Valade.

Temps Ø People’s Choice Award
AMER, Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani (France/Belgium, 2009)

The award winners will receive a wolf created and sculpted by Pierre Dupras.



See you all next year for the 39th FNC, which will be held from October 13 to October 24, 2010!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cairo Time

Poster of Cairo Time
Although many of us prefer fast-paced romantic movies like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, let it be said that Cairo Time is not a repulsive film. With its interesting premise about two people who don't want to openly confess their feelings for each other and a solid acting, this is a movie you should consider. However, this doesn't mean that Cairo Time doesn't have any flaws.


Juliette (Patricia Clarkson), a workaholic editor of a female magazine, has come to Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, to spend some time with her husband (Tom McCamus) who works for the United Nations (UN). However, once in Cairo, Juliette learns from Tareq (Alexander Siddig), a friend from her husband, that her husband can't be there because he's not done with organizing a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. As she spends some time with Tareq to keep herself busy, Juliette and him will gradually develop a love relationship. However, they both can't openly admit that they have feelings for each other.

With the fact that this film won the Best Canadian Film Award at the latest Toronto International Film Festival on my mind, I liked this film with a little reservation. Obviously, the thing that struck me the most was the skills of the duo formed by Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig. Given the premise of the film, both of them have no difficulty to make a transition between the formal dialogues - which might look very boring - and the display of repressed feelings.

This means that Juliette does love her husband. However, almost like the Juliette of Shakespeare's classic, the one played by Clarkson knows that her love for Tareq - which is mostly expressed through body language and eye contact - is forbidden because she feels that her husband will arrive at Cairo sooner or later. Besides, with their performance full of subtlety, Clarkson and Siddig makes you like Cairo Time as much as Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love. This also goes without saying that the leading actors give you the feeling that they were made to play in this film because of their chemistry.

Nonetheless, despite the good script and premise, the only reservation that many might have will certainly regard the film's slow pace. However, as the film advances, things become extremely interesting between the character of Juliette and Tareq. All in all, Cairo Time is a film that you must not miss if you like romantic films. Besides, despite being followed by a state censor while filming in Egypt, Ruba Nadda's film poses a good observation on the condition of women in Egypt and also inter-religious relations in this country.

Rating: 4/5



Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:88 minutes
Genre:Romantic drama
Screenplay:Ruba Nadda
Director:Ruba Nadda
Starring:Patricia Clarkson, Alexander Siddig, Elena Anaya and Tom McCamus


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crackie

Poster of Crackie
This is the second film I see at the Montreal's Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC). Once we get past the first half of Crackie, we get the feeling that it's interesting. In fact, Crackie is one of those rare films that deals with the inherent difficulties linked to life in a small town. Although the film might not win the Genie Award for best script, it would be a scandal if the cast's performance - especially Meghan Greeley's - is unnoticed.


Mitsy (Meghan Greeley), a girl from a small town of Newfoundland and Labrador, lives with her well-intentioned and oppressive grandmother, Bride (Mary Walsh), who earns a living as a whore. After all, ever since her childhood, Mitsy has been abandoned by her mom, Gwenny (Cheryl Wells), who only cares about drinking and sex. Besides, to top it all, Mitsy's mom lives in Alberta, a province from the Prairies. Therefore, in her daily life, Mitsy juggles with her studies in hairdressing, her attempt to take care of her puppy Sparky and her sexual relation with Duffy (Joel Thomas Hynes), a bad boy who works at the local take-out restaurant.


Just to get straight to the point, Crackie belongs to the huge repertoire of Canadian realism just like Tout est parfait (Everything Is Fine), a film that follows a teenager from a suburb of Montreal. Honestly, many might not love the former as much as the latter. As matter of fact, in the first half, Crackie's script keeps us at arm's length while its pace is okay. Furthermore, I felt that during the first half, I was following the daily life of a girl (i.e. Mitsy) who keeps everything for her, which made it hard for me to feel invested in the film.


However, in the end, patience is the best policy to adopt when you watch this film. Indeed, when Mitsy's mom, who's back from Alberta, is looking for a place to crash in the town, things get much more gripping in the second half. In fact, not only this is the moment when the cast - especially newcomer Meghan Greeley - takes its precise performance to a higher level, but it's also the moment when we see how life is complicated for the movie's heroine (which is the movie's premise) until the unpredictable end. All in all, while Mitsy's life at school still goes on, it's in the second half that we get to see who (between Bride, Duffy and her mom) Mitsy will value and, on the other hand, who really cares about her.


Finally, Crackie, which comes with its flaws, is a humane tale about solitude and relation. As the film implies, when life seems really hard, one of the most important things we have left is someone who cares for us (and vice versa). Of course, I concede that the film is not entertaining, but if drama is your cup of tea, then go for it.

Rating: 4/5



Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:94 minutes
Genre:Drama
Screenplay:Sherry White
Director:Sherry White
Starring:
Mary Walsh, Meghan Greeley, Cheryl Wells, Joel Thomas Hynes and Kristin Booth


Movie News: 3 Surprises Films In the FNC's Lineup!

From a press release

Logo of the Festival du nouveau cinéma

Staying true to form, the Festival du nouveau cinéma is proud to announce the addition of three surprise films to its lineup. Three works that will leave festivalgoers in awe over the final days of this 38th edition. There will be the much-anticipated The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke, Palme d’or 2009 at Cannes, as well as Rich Brother by Insa Onken, which will be preceded by the short Lost Dog by Sylvie Michel.


Thanks to the incredible collaboration of Métropole Films, the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) will finally be able to present a special preview screening of The White Ribbon by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke this Sunday, October 18 at 11 a.m. in eXcentris’s Fellini Theatre. In a village in Protestant northern Germany, on the eve of World War I, the children of a church and school run by the village schoolteacher and their families experience a series of bizarre incidents that inexplicably assume the characteristics of a punishment ritual. Who could be responsible for such bizarre transgressions? Distributed by Métropole Films, the film will be presented in its original German version with English subtitles.

Also offered up as a treat to festival attendees, a free screening of the film Rich Brother by German filmmaker Insa Onken this Saturday, October 17 at 11 a.m. in eXcentris’s Fellini Theatre. Ben, "The lion of Cameroon" has just succeeded in becoming a professional boxer, yet his goal is higher: not only does he want to become a champion but "the world boxing champion". That way he will have fulfilled his family’s high expectations. Without a title or money, Ben cannot go back to Cameroon. He was the one his family chose to send to Europe and he must return a success, bringing them money, gifts and business connections. Together with Wolfgang, a non-professional yet dedicated trainer from the former Democratic Republic of Germany, Ben bushwhacks his way through the tough jungle of the boxing world. Under the enormous pressure of achieving success, their friendship eventually breaks up. Ben must make his way alone and soon begins to lose matches. Disheartened, he is just about to give up boxing when a golden opportunity arises and he gets an offer to fight for the world title. At last he can afford to fly back to Cameroon and face his family: the ticket is booked and no matter how the fight goes, Ben will fly.

The film will be preceded by the short Lost Dog by Sylvie Michel. In the outskirts of Berlin called "Gropiusstadt", a fight between teenagers takes on a new lead when a black dog emerges. The challenge in this short film, which deals with the theme of violence, was to combine humour, suspense and sensibility.

The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is presented by Quebecor in collaboration with eXcentris and made possible by funding from SODEC, Telefilm Canada, Ministère du Tourisme; Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire; Ville de Montréal; Canada Council for the Arts; Tourisme Montréal; Conseil des arts de Montréal; and Canadian Heritage. The Festival also thanks its major partners the STM and Solotech, its official suppliers and all the distributors for helping to make this 38th FNC possible.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TV News: 3rd season of 'Durham County' Begins Shooting


From a press release

Principal photography on the third season of the award-winning series Durham County has begun in Montreal. Nominated for 13 Gemini awards, winner of 5, and praised by the New York Times as "entirely addictive," this six-part, one-hour drama series features returning stars Hugh Dillon (Flashpoint), Hélène Joy (Murdoch Mysteries), Laurence Leboeuf (Human Trafficking) and Greyston Holt (Smallville) and new cast member Michael Nardone (Rome) as Detective Ivan Sujic.


In the heart-stopping third season of Durham, Mike Sweeney's new task force investigates the brutal murder of two young boys along the 401 highway corridor, while one of their own officers struggles to bury a dangerous secret. Meanwhile Audrey and Sadie embark on a new chapter of their lives and Mike must push himself beyond his limits to overcome a sudden tragedy that may tear his family apart forever.

"The Durham County franchise is being recognized from New York to Paris to Sydney as establishing a new standard of dramatic excellence in television," says Executive Producer Michael Prupas (Human Trafficking, Ben Hur). "The 3rd season will build an even broader audience as it delves into the mind and memory of a military man who has witnessed the worst of human behaviour."

"In the 3rd season we're looking at the kind of violence that's sanctioned by the community. Our antagonist is a former soldier and the action takes place in a Durham that's imagined as a war zone," says Writer/Executive Producer/Co-Creator Laurie Finstad Knizhnik (Cold Squad, Bliss).

"Michael Nardone, who plays Mike's nemesis, Ivan, in season 3, has an incredible authenticity to him that stems from his life growing up battling gangs in the tough town of Fife, Scotland. He brings both a fierceness and compassion to a very deeply disturbed character. The chemistry between him and Hugh is spellbinding to watch," says Director/Executive Producer/Co-Creator Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bliss).

"This season the Sweeney's are all entering a new and exciting phase in their lives," says Executive Producer/Co-Creator Janis Lundman (Bliss, Drop the Beat). "But everything begins to spiral out of control and their lives will be turned upside down. It's going to be a terrifying but wonderful ride."

Durham County is developed and produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises Inc. and Back Alley Film Productions Ltd. with Corus Entertainment's Movie Central and Astral Media's The Movie Network. The series is produced with participation from the Canadian Television Fund. It is being distributed internationally by ITV Global Entertainment Media.

The third season is directed by Adrienne Mitchell and Charles Binamé (Flashpoint). Joining the production team are Line Producer Claude Paiement (Durham County), D.O.P. Éric Cayla (The Dead Zone), Production Designer Donna Noonan (Bliss) and Costume Designer Janet Campbell (Swamp Devil).

The series airs on The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Movie Central (Western Canada), on ION Television in the US, as well as over 100 territories worldwide.

For more information please contact:
Betty Palik, Director of Communications, Muse Entertainment,
Tel: 514-866-6873 bpalik@muse.ca; www.muse.ca
or
Anisha Rangi, Publicity Coordinator, Muse Entertainment,
Tel: 514-866-6873 arangi@muse.ca; www.muse.ca


TV News: Season 1 of 'Flashpoint' Now On DVD!

Here's some good news that should cheer you up provided that you're a fan of cop dramas. The first season of Flashpoint - a Canadian TV series that is a hit both here in the Great White North (on CTV) and the USA (on CBS) - comes out today on DVD and Blu-Ray!


Synopsis:

The show takes place in Toronto and follows the Strategic Response Unit (SRU), a fictitious tactical unit that is, in actuality, modelled after the real-life Emergency Task Force (ETF). Sgt. Greg Parker (Enrico Colantoni), an experienced negotiator, and his team must "keep the peace" on cases that ordinary cops can't handle. All in all, the SRU deals with hostage situations, bank robbing, bomb defusing and any other things you can name! However, Parker and the members of the SRU - Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon), Jules Callaghan (Amy Jo Johnson), Sam Braddock (David Paetkau), Lewis Young (Mark Taylor), Kevin Wordsworth (Michael Cram) and Spike Scarlatti (Sergio Di Zio) - always have to deal with the psychological aftermath of an operation no matter how it ends.


Quick review:

For anyone who doesn't know how the world of policing works, Flashpoint, at worst, might look like a TV series implying in a very idealistic way that Canada's peacekeeping values reflects on how our major cities are policed (i.e. through intense negotiations). However, Flashpoint gets its charms from its attempt to reinvent the wheel when it comes to following a tactical unit. In fact, this is not a show in which each episode contributes to make the body count grow. Obviously, expect a show that: 1) documents the psychological effect a given operation has on members of a tactical unit; 2) shows us that lethal force must be used when all options have been exhausted. All in all, needless to mention that the characters seem quite real and are well played.

What's included in the DVD?
  • All the 13 episodes.
  • Behind the scenes of Flashpoint.
  • Director's commentary on the pilot episode.
  • "The Human Cost of Heroism" Featurette.
Source: TVShowsOnDVD.com



Monday, October 12, 2009

The Cultural Post Turns One

A birthday cake

One year ago, I decided to drop political blogging.* In doing so, I combined my love for writing (or should I say my desperate need to improve my English), movies, television and the Internet in order to deliver the second version of the blog (i.e.: Anh Khoi Do and Movies) that you're reading. One year later, I'm honoured to tell you that I'm keeping the course with my blog and I changed its name because I'm afraid that someone out there (except my acquaintances and my close friends from my daily life) might mispronounce my full name.


Obviously, one of the most wonderful moments was my discovery of the LAMB and its myriad of great movie blogs. Secondly, my main lowlight was this: after I saw Naked Lunch, a film directed by David Cronenberg, I didn't bother to write a review of it because I couldn't understand it.

Finally, since I have one exam to go through today and a book to finish for my class of history of literature after I get home, my next movie reviews should come Thursday and Saturday.

*Note: The reason why I'm still following politics, it's because I have to perform the duties any law-abiding citizen must do, which are: 1) having opinions for myself; 2) noticing how politicians make me want to bury my face in my hands; 3) voting for the next MP in my riding who deserves the honour to transform the House of Commons into a daycare centre; and 4) getting shocked when American presidential candidates talk about their religious life in public since, in the USA, the separation between the church and the state exists in compliance with the first amendment and the article 6 of the U.S. constitution. Come on! Laugh a little bit! I was just kidding.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Q&A: Jacob Tierney and Emily Hampshire on 'The Trotsky'


Yesterday, yours truly went to the screening of the comedy The Trotsky (my review here) at the Cinéma du parc, which was organized by the Festival du nouveau cinéma. Obviously, before the screening started, a lady came to the front of the room and told to the audience (which was quite big) that a Q&A period will be hosted by Jacob Tierney, the director of The Trotsky, and the lovely Emily Hampshire, one of the film's stars, after the presentation of the film.


Obviously, besides telling us how the ideas about this film fell into place for him, Tierney also talked about other projects that we should be expecting.

1. International release:
Whether you expected it or not, the first questions that were asked by some people was whether the film will get an international release (read: USA and Europe). First of all, Jacob Tierney told us that he hopes that the film will get an American release, which could imply that he's working on it. As for an European release, he added that the first foreign movie distribution company ever that got interested in The Trotsky hailed [pause from me for a dramatic effect] from Russia.

2. Film festivals and other projects:
Later on, someone asked if the film toured other film festivals besides the Festival du nouveau cinéma. In order to be brief, Tierney said that the film was presented at the latest Toronto International Film Festival. Afterwards, he mentioned that after the FNC, his film will be presented at the next Tokyo International Film Festival and that will be all. In fact, he confided that he intends to work on his next film called Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, which is a name of a borough in Montreal. What is this film about? Well, so far, we know that the film is a dark comedy that takes place during the referendum of 1995 on the separation of Quebec.

3. The origin of The Trotsky's script:
Apparently, Jacob Tierney grew up in a more or less leftist family and he spent some time of his childhood in China. Other than that, Tierney wrote the first draft of the film's script when he was 20 years old. Why a film on Leon Trotsky? Well, Tierney talked about his interest on the real Leon Trotsky's life per se (not necessarily about his political views).

4. Shooting location:

Anyone who saw the film could tell that the film was shot in Montreal. However, there was one question hanging: what school did the filming crew use? Apparently, the scenes in the school of the character of Leon were shot at Lakeside Academy, a high school located in the borough of Lachine in Montreal (which was renamed Montreal West High School in the film). Of course, a handful of students from this school were there during the screening of the film.

5. Canadian release:
The film will be in theatres in 2010 and the Canadian distributor (Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm) is working on the marketing of the film. Apparently, the release will probably be during the summer or the back-to-school period.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

TV News: 'UnStable' to Premiere on Oct. 29 on CMT

From a press release

New CMT original series premieres with two back-to-back episodes on Thursday, October 29 at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT

(Toronto, Canada) When friendship is bruised by a struggling business, how are best friends and business partners Tammy and Allie going to make it? Follow two young women as they risk everything, including their friendship, to start a world-class equestrian facility, when Corus Entertainment’s CMT presents UnStable, premiering with two back-to-back half-hour episodes on Thursday, October 29 at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT.


A Canadian original production, this six-part half-hour series documents Wendigo Farms’ business manager Tammy, her 12 year-old daughter Alexandra, its coach and trainer Allie and barn manager Megan as they attempt to steer their business into prosperity. Pitted against established industry giants while balancing the realities of daily life and motherhood, UnStable takes viewers on an emotional journey that reveals the desire in each woman to follow their dreams.

“It’s exciting for CMT to bring its viewers a series that audiences can connect with on so many levels,” said Ted Ellis, Vice President, Programming, CMT Canada. “These women are not only dealing with the challenges of building a successful business, but they’re balancing everything from being a single parent to the complexities of maintaining their friendship.”

UnStable will also have a strong web presence with a video podcast post-show, behind-the-scenes extras and Twitter® feeds from Tammy, Allie and Megan at CMT.ca.


TV News: Production Underway on 'Dan for Mayor'

From a press release
  • CORNER GAS’ Fred Ewanuick leads comic cast currently shooting in Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo, ON.
  • Creative team helmed by three of Canada’s most-respected writers.

CTV and The Comedy Network, in association with Sad Glasses and QVF Inc., announced today that production is underway on the original Canadian comedy series, DAN FOR MAYOR in Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo, ON. Starring CORNER GAS and ROBSON ARMS alumnus Fred Ewanuick as the lead character Dan, the 13, 30-minute episode series will continue principal photography through November.


Dan (Ewanuick) is a 30-something bartender who lives and works in the fictional city of Wessex, ON. Dan’s had the same friends since grade school, his most prized possession is a vintage Ms. Pac-Man game and his last serious relationship was with a girl who is now engaged to someone else. His life seems to be firmly on the path to more of the same… until a chance comment suddenly puts him in the running for mayor of Wessex.

Starring alongside the Gemini Award-winning Ewanuick is Mary Ashton (JEFF LTD; Degrassi Goes Hollywood) as Dan’s newly engaged ex-girlfriend Claire who has moved on to a more sensible, grown up relationship; and Paul Bates (Welcome to Mooseport; The Tuxedo) as Jeff, Dan’s best friend who Dan ropes into being his campaign manager.

DAN FOR MAYOR charts Dan’s voyage of self-discovery as he, along with ex-girlfriend, Claire, and best friend, Jeff, stumble their way towards election night and beyond.

DAN FOR MAYOR, produced by Sad Glasses and QVF Inc. in association with CTV and The Comedy Network, is created and written by three of Canada’s most respected comedy writers and producers – Executive Producers Mark Farrell (CORNER GAS; THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES), Paul Mather (CORNER GAS; THE RICK MERCER REPORT) and Kevin White (CORNER GAS; THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES). Susan Murdoch (Doomstown) is Producer. Ron Murphy (BEING ERICA; REGENESIS) and Brian Roberts (EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND; THE DREW CAREY SHOW) are the Directors. Michelle Daly is the Director of Content, The Comedy Network and Susanne Boyce is President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

For more information:
Renée Dupuis Macht, CTV Inc.
416.384.3154 or renee.dupuis@ctv.ca

Beverly Warren, Unit Publicist, DAN FOR MAYOR
416.726.4771 or vebco@rogers.com


The Trotsky


Although the Festival du nouveau cinéma commenced two days ago, this is the first movie from this festival that I review. To be honest with you, I wasn't necessarily attracted by this film since I'm not a fan of teenager comedies. However, despite a few weak spots here and there, you won't regret buying tickets for The Trotsky if you're in for a funny comedy.


Leon Blonstein (Jay Baruchel) is a son of a rich factory owner (Saul Rubinek). Moreover, Leon firmly believes that he's the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, one of the founding fathers of the Soviet Union. Because he motivated the workers of his dad's factory to go on strike, Leon is temporarily kept under custody by the police. Later, to get problems solved, his dad decides to take him out of a boarding school in order to send him in a public English-speaking high school from the West of Montreal helmed by Henry Berkhoff (Colm Feore), the school's authoritative principal.

However, once there, Leon will try to convince his schoolmates that all students from the school must unionize. Outside of school, Leon is also courting Alexandra (Emily Hampshire), a 27-years-old chick who recently got her PhD in Law from McGill University, whether she likes it or not. Besides, Alexandra already has a boyfriend and loathes Leon because he looks phony. After all, Leon can't even get students from his school to get interested by the fact that they're being poorly treated by their teachers.

Obviously, as a comedy, The Trotsky is as funny as (if not funnier) a Hollywood comedy mostly because it avoids to be vulgar. Given that Jacob Tierney, the scriptwriter and the director of the film, wanted to make you laugh through the dialogues, he can say: "Mission accomplished". This goes without saying that the exchanges between Leon and those who are opposed to him (his dad or his school's principal to name a few) are among the best illustrations of antagonistic relations I've ever seen in a film.

Besides, the director is so lucky to get a rising star like Jay Baruchel. With the good support from other members of the cast, Baruchel, with his enthusiasm, manages to carry the whole film on his shoulder. In addition to that, although his character may seem antipathetic (because of his fascination for a man who contributed to the birth of one of the most brutal political regime), Baruchel manages to bring to the surface Leon's desire to prove that he's animated by the true spirit of a revolutionary.

Unfortunately, the problem with The Trotsky is that its love story is cheesy. However, one can forgive the clumsiness of its elaboration by Tierney. In fact, this love story is cleverly used in order to make us see whether Alexandra will come to respect Leon or not. Besides, the movie doesn't lose focus despite having a love story. The second problem is that the film complacently portrays the true Trotsky by leaving aside the fact that he contributed in building a brutal political regime. However, you may consider forgiving the film since it's just a comedy meant for entertainment.

Rating: 3/5


Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:113 minutes
Genre:Comedy
Screenplay:Jacob Tierney
Director:Jacob Tierney
Starring:
Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Saul Rubinek, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Jesse Camacho, Michael Murphy and Colm Feore


Friday, October 9, 2009

News: Festival du Nouveau Cinema and Kino celebrate 10 years of independent filmmaking

From a press release

Over 60 filmmakers from the Kino network will take over Montreal from October 8th to 17th at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema to write, shoot, and edit cinematic works in under 48 hrs.


Countries that will be represented during this unmissable event of spontaneous creation include: France, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia, Burkina Faso, USA and Canada.

This electrifying event is the turning point of the year to mark Kino's 10th anniversary. It will reflect Kino's longstanding motto: make good with nothing, make more with little, and do it now.

Over 180 directors, technicians, actors and other creatives have already signed up for the cabaret and Kino invites other artists to sign up.

Kino is a movement that started in Montreal in 1999 whose aim is to encourage the production and distribution of original and independent cinematic works.

Today there are over 60 chapters of Kino in over 15 countries on four continents.

For more information or to sign up: www.kino00.com/kabaret

FREE TO SEE THE FILMS

RÉUNION DE LANCEMENT
QUAND : Mercredi 7 octobre à 18h
OÙ: L'Alizé - 900, Ontario Est - métro Berri/UQAM

BLOC 1
Réunion de production : Jeudi 8 octobre à 9h30 au KinoLab
Projection publique: Samedi 10 octobre à 20h30 au FNC

BLOC 2
Réunion de production : Samedi 10 octobre à 9h30 au KinoLab
Projection publique: Lundi 12 octobre à 21h00 au FNC

BLOC 3
Réunion de production : Lundi 12 octobre à 9h30 au KinoLab
Projection publique: Mercredi 14 octobre à 20h30 au FNC

BLOC 4
Réunion de production : Mercredi 14 octobre à 9h30 au KinoLab
Projection publique : Vendredi 16 octobre à 20h30 au FNC

ADRESSES
KinoLab : La Baraque - 928, Ste Catherine Est - Métro Berri/UQAM
FNC : Agora du Coeur des Sciences de l'UQAM - 175, Av. du Président Kennedy - métro place des arts


Thursday, October 8, 2009

TV News: New DVD Artwork For Season 1 of 'The Border'?

Spotted on the Facebook fan page of the espionage TV series The Border. Apart from telling you how much I actually like the show (despite a small presence of unrealism), I'm also throwing at myself this question: should we actually expect the DVD cover of the first season to get a make over? There's nothing confirmed for now, but in case you want to look at the first season current DVD artwork, well, here it is.



Monster's Ball

Are you looking to forget Quantum of Solace's (which was directed by Marc Forster) lack of lustre? Then this film must be your choice. On the surface, Monster's Ball might look like a film you'd like to throw in the garbage. However, it's an interesting and, above all, subtle film about love and redemption.


Set in Georgia, the story follows Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton), a racist correction officer of a penitentiary. He works with his son Sonny (Heath Ledger) and together, they guard Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs) in the Death Row. Leticia (Halle Berry), Lawrence's wife (and eventually widow), is gradually losing her house and has to take care of her son. When Hank and Leticia both lose their own son on their own side, their life will collide, which will lead to a love affair. After all, Leticia works as a waitress at the restaurant where Hank likes to take a bite. Besides, when Leticia's son was hit by a car, it was Hank who brought Leticia at the hospital. Will Hank manage to overcome his racist prejudice?

Honestly, it may take while for the film's impact to actually reach you. In fact, if no analysis is made, Monster's Ball looks like a slow and boring film. Add to that the dialogues which seem as interesting as hearing someone asks another person to give him/her a bottle of salt during a supper. However, director Marc Forster directs this film in such a brilliant way. As a result of that, the film leaves us to realize that Monster's Ball, behind its false veneer of insipidity, hides many layers of subtlety through its premise.

In fact, with the accurate performance from the cast, we get to follow a leading character (Hank) who reconsiders his complex racial bias. Obviously, Thornton portrays a character who does that being torn between his father who fondly recalls a historical period that is better left behind and his son who embraces racial tolerance. Besides, things in the story get even more interesting when the characters of Hank and Leticia become more and more connected since we get to see how Hank starts to gradually recognizes that love has no colour.

Finally, story-wise, one can forget Monter's Ball for being a little bit predictable since we know that the bond between Leticia and Hank will not necessarily be smooth in the third quarter of the film. However, thanks to the brilliant (and subtle) exploitation of the premise and the accurate performance from the cast (especially from Halle Berry), Monter's Ball will be easy to watch provided that you're patient.

Rating: 4/5


Origin:USA (2001)
Length:112 minutes
Genre:Drama
Screenplay:Milo Addica and Will Rokos
Director:Marc Forster
Starring:Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Heath Ledger


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

News: The 38th Festival du nouveau cinéma Begins!

From a press release


The 38th Festival du nouveau cinéma Rolls Out Blue Carpet For Opening Night!

Montreal, Wednesday October 7, 2009 – The 38th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma officially gets underway tonight with the world premiere screening of Ladies in Blue by Claude Demers. Michel Louvain and the ladies in blue await you on the blue carpet as of 7 p.m. at the Imperial Cinema (Sandra & Leo Kolber Centre, Salle Lucie & André Chagnon) for an emotion-packed evening.


*Blue attire strongly encouraged!

Over 250 films from 48 countries will make up the bulk of 10 uninterrupted days of festivities where prestigious international guests and local filmmakers alike will present their works to Montrealers. The festival takes off on Thursday October 8 with the opening of its Focus and Temps Temps Ø sections at the Imperial Cinema (Sandra & Leo Kolber Centre, Salle Lucie & André Chagnon) with the films Nuages sur la ville by Simon Galiero at 7:30 p.m. and Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam by Omar Majeed at 9:30 p.m., respectively.

The tickets presale began last weekend and continues today at FNC’s HQ, the Agora Hydro-Québec, Cœur des sciences Building, UQÀM (175 President-Kennedy Ave. at Jeanne-Mance). As of tomorrow, festival attendees will be able to obtain tickets at the FNC’s HQ, but also at the different screening venues: Imperial Cinema, eXcentris, Cinéma Parallèle, Parc Cinema, Cinémathèque québécoise and Goethe-Institut. They are also available online at www.nouveaucinema.ca or by phone at 514.844.2172 / 1.866.844.2172 or at TicketMaster at 514.790.1245 / 1.800.361.4595 / www.admission.com

The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is presented by Quebecor in collaboration with eXcentris and made possible by funding from SODEC, Telefilm Canada, Ministère du Tourisme; Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire; Ville de Montréal; Canada Council for the Arts; Tourisme Montréal; Conseil des arts de Montréal; and Canadian Heritage. The Festival also thanks its major partners the STM and Solotech, its official suppliers and all the distributors for helping to make this 38th FNC possible.

Media Contact:
Michael-Oliver Harding / Brigitte Chabot (Communications)
514.802.2055 oliver@loadedpictures.ca


Monday, October 5, 2009

Movie News: Screenings and... Conferences at the Festival du nouveau cinéma

From a media release


10 days of encounters, live action art and over-the-top projections

Montreal, Monday, October 5, 2009 – It’s a cross-platform world out there, and the digital data are flying. The revolution in production and distribution has started and it’s time to rethink image-making modes. The FNC Lab offers an exploration of the potential for reconsidering archival images, and an examination of the avenues opening up for the films of tomorrow. It’s an event-packed program, unfolding free every day from October 7 to 18 at the FNC Headquarters (Agora Hydro-Québec, UQÀM’s Cœur des Sciences Building, 175 President Kennedy Ave.).


"TAKING IT BACK” ENCOUNTERS"

Hear guest artists in conversation about the latest technologies and the promises they hold.

Taking Back the Archival Image: Speaker Rick Prelinger (USA, archive.org) talks about The Archive We Don’t Know, a light-hearted, purposeful exposé of why ephemera from the past are increasingly important. Presented in partnership with Dazibao, October 9th at 5 p.m.

Taking Back Political and Social Space: A panel of filmmakers talk about Making Engaged Films in the Digital Age as part of the 2009 Quebec Social Forum, Sunday, October 11. Another must-see: Wapikoni Mobile 2009 short films, Tuesday, October 13th at 5 p.m.

Taking Back Urban Space: Featuring Émmanuel Sévigny (Playmind, Montreal), creator of the Montreal streetscape projections that will open this 38th FNC, Wednesday, October 7. Also: Beyond Locative Media: Mapping the New Public Sphere with Steve Dietz (USA) and Michelle Teran (Toronto) introducing some of the new mobile devices that are changing how citizens relate to the built environment, Monday, October 12 at 5 p.m. The Regroupement des Producteurs Multimédia (RPM) explores the theme of the city as narrative canvas, on Wednesday, October 14 at 2 p.m.

Taking Back the Film Industry. New business models, new ways to write scripts, new languages, new production modes… Participatory Production (October 10) and Interactive Scriptwriting and New Production Modes (Frank Boyd, UK, October 16) bring us up to speed. In partnership with INIS. Meanwhile, KINO celebrates its 10th birthday with a special Cabaret, Wednesday, October 14 at 9 p.m.

Finally, John Scheele (USA), long-time SFX artist (Tron, Blade Runner), will give us an inside look at what the new digital equipment and cameras are likely to do to every level of the film industry, Friday, October 16 at 3 p.m.

CINEWILD: A-V PERFORMANCES CELEBRATE THE MARRIAGE OF MUSIC AND FILM

Giving audiences a “wider screen” cinema experience:

A tribute to the great electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, in tandem with Kara Blake’s documentary The Delian Mode, an improv encounter between pianist Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven (Belgium) and videographer Jean Detheux (Montreal), presented in partnership with Vidéographe; an Abattoir Cinéma Special “Love and Terrorism”; All Tomorrow’s Parties (presented with Pop Montreal); The Tune of Terror, a horror film remix concocted by Ouananiche. Music and film, bonding in every key and to every beat.

Did we mention the always delirious She-Wolf Parties? Nuit Bleue. Taqwacore Muslim Punk Blow-Out. 10 Years of Take It Short! TechnOmatic. And closing things out, Bonobo!

The FNC Lab is presented by Videotron. The Encounters Program is presented by Vision Globale.

The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is presented by Quebecor in collaboration with eXcentris and made possible by funding from SODEC, Telefilm Canada, Ministère du Tourisme; Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire; Ville de Montréal; Canada Council for the Arts; Tourisme Montréal; Conseil des arts de Montréal; and Canadian Heritage.

The Festival also thanks its major partners the STM and Solotech, its official suppliers and all the distributors for helping to make this 38th FNC possible.

www.nouveaucinema.ca

Media contact:
Michael-Oliver Harding / Brigitte Chabot
514.802.2055
oliver@loadedpictures.ca

TV: Thoughts On 'Battle of the Blades'

Whether you've been waiting for it or didn't expect it, here comes the time to express my thoughts on Battle of the Blades, a reality show shining by its presence alongside another reality show called Dragons' Den in CBC's schedule grid.


For those who don't know, the show (hosted by Ron Maclean and Kurt Browning), which is recorded live at the Maple Leafs Garden in Toronto, is more or less formatted like Dancing With the Stars and Dancing on Ice, a British reality show in which celebrities are paired up with a figure skater. Moreover, eight former NHL stars are paired up with eight female top figure skaters. Each week, Canadians decide which couple survive after the first performance (Sunday at 8 PM) and which ones go in the bottom 2 the following day (Monday at 8 PM) in order to perform for their survival.

By the way, before I start telling my opinion, let me tell you that I'm not a fan of figure skating.

First of all, I heard about the show during the summer by reading a press release of CBC. How much does the description of the show's concept initially make you laugh? A little bit, because it was easy to doubt during the summer that the former NHLers would take the competition seriously. However, Battle of the Blades does truly look like a competition that you, as a viewer, can take seriously while politely laughing a little bit. Besides, you can tell that the former NHLers - despite not having a background in figure skating - put a lot of enthusiasm and efforts as much as an actor who wants you to believe that he is playing the role of a figure skating student in a movie, for instance. However, this is doesn't mean that Battle of the Blades easily avoids near-disasters when you think that former New Jersey Devils player Ken Daneyko's final lift of Jodeyne Higgins was shaky.

Thoughts on last night's performance

Best performances (no order of preference): Tie Domi/Christine "Tuffy" Hough-Sweeney (alhtough I, as a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, grew up loathing Domi who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs); Glen Anderson/Isabelle Brasseur; Ron Duguay/Barbara Underhill; Claude Lemieux/Shae-Lynn Bourne (okay, Lemieux lacked finesse while he was shaking his hips).

The fairest of all the figure skaters: Kristina Lenko and Shae-Lynn Bourne.

Finally, the results of the votes will be revealed tonight at 8 PM on CBC.


***

Don't forget these:

Tuesday, October 6: Release of the second season of Blood Ties, a TV series following a female cop who bonds with a vampire, on DVD.

Thursday, October 8 at 9 PM: The premiere of both The Border (season 3) on CBC and Le gentleman (season 1) on TVA. Both TV series are cop dramas for your information.

Tuesday, October 13: Release of the first season of Flashpoint, a TV series based on Toronto's SWAT-like Emergency Task Force (ETF), on DVD and Blu-Ray.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Web Series: 'My Pal Satan'


For the first time in this blog's history, I'll talk about web series. After all, since Internet has changed a little bit the way we live our cultural life, why not share with you my discoveries in the department of web series? Let's start with something that will attract people who are deeply religious and those who like humour.


Synopsis:

Created by Dennis Heaton, My Pal Satan follows Donna (Rachel Wilson), a young woman who tries to make ends meet in the city and she lives in an appartment. Moreover, her roommate is Satan (Jefferson Brown) himself who turns out to be extremely unsympathetic at times. Through various situations, Donna will face her animosity toward him along with the bond between Satan and her.

Thoughts:

Although I'm not particularly familiar with the way web series work (a script's structure and all that thing), I actually liked My Pal Satan. However, I'd like to say (with the few knowledge I have on the world of web series) that if you like sitcoms, you WILL adore My Pal Satan. In fact, for a web series that work pretty much with the same premise of a 22-minute sitcom, My Pal Satan doesn't just rely on the awkwardness of situations or even the laughableness of a performance (like in The Big Bang Theory) to make you laugh. All in all, this web series is a must because it's well written and acted. For that matter, congratulation for Rachel Wilson and Jefferson Brown for making you feel the chemistry between them. By the way, what do you think about this web series?

The web series's official web site: http://www.mypalsatan.com



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