Sunday, January 31, 2010

'Push' To Be Adapted Into a TV Series

E1 Entertainment, a Canadian distributor/studio, and Summit Entertainment, a studio that gave you a piece of trash called Twilight, announce that they will team up for the production of the TV version of the film Push. Besides these two studios, expect to see Dark Hero Studios to join the show.

There's not much details about the story of the TV series. However, one thing is sure: the show will be an extension of the film, a science-fiction centred on a group of people with paranormal powers. They band together in order to take down a corrupted government agency.

Moreover, screenwriter David Hayter (Watchmen, X2) will write the script of the pilot. As for the cast, no information regarding it has been released so far. Finally, Summit Entertainment and E1 Entertainment will jointly for the U.S. television license. As for the Canadian television license, it will be handled by E1.

'Scoop' Season One Coming Soon On DVD

Many Quebeckers probably remember that screenwriter Fabienne Larouche and sport columnist Réjean Tremblay used to form a couple. Together, they penned Scoop a TV series that ran for five seasons on Radio-Canada. Now, this TV network had announced that the first season, which was broadcasted in 1992, will come out on DVD on February 29, 2010.

The show takes place in the world of journalism and often shows it under an unfavourable day. Things are not going well for The Express, a newspaper in Montreal. Two young reporters try to make a name for themselves by working with The Express and by seeking the latest scoop on any given thing tat matters. Stéphanie Rousseau (Macha Grenon) doesn't get along with her dad (Claude Léveillée), who is the newspaper's owner. As for Michel Gagné (Roy Dupuis), he's sick of being stuck in the general news section.

Moreover, the show also stars Rémy Girard, Francine Ruel, Martin Drainville, Raymond Bouchard, Michel Barrette, René Gagnon, Andrée Lachapelle and Charlotte Laurier.

Finally, the TV series is already available for pre-order on Radio-Canada's shopping web site (English page here).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Education

I went into this film with high expectations. However, since the film was so boring (for me), it took a while for it to have an impact on me. After all, I live in a province inhabited by many people known for not favouring formal education that much ([1], [2] and [3]) and even an appropriate use of the French language.

The story takes place in the 1960s in London. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) attends an all-girl school and hopes that getting outstanding grades will help her to go to Oxford. While waiting at a bus stop in the rain with her cello, she comes across David (Peter Sarsgaard), who charms her into letting him drive her home and also who is also twice her age. As time goes by, David and Jenny will be more than just friends. Besides, compared to other boys she's met, David looks self-assured, mature, cool and seems smart.

This is why David makes a better impression on Jenny's parents than Graham (David Beard), a boy of her age who looks a tad childish. However, as her relation with David becomes more serious, her entry into Oxford becomes more uncertain. Furthermore, her parents believe that one way or another, Jenny will have to get married and become a housewife. All in all, as Jenny wonders what's the point of studying (when the society expects women to find a husband who can take care of them), she'll also try to figure out what's the best future for her.

As many people have said, An Education's main boons are the script by Nick Hornby and the direction by Lone Scherfig. Of course, the storyline is a little bit predictable if we judge it from the trailer. Nevertheless, Hornby's pen is more effective in giving us a view of the characters' mind than a pistol-grip drill. Speaking about the characters of David, we're surprised to see a character who sincerely cares about Jenny. However, Saarsgard's brilliance definitely manifests itself when he has to deal with the fact that David's life is built on something that will evidently break Jenny's heart.

As for Carey Mulligan, she certainly is a revelation in this film. Of course, I'm not going to regurgitate what other bloggers or professional critics have already said about her, for I doubt my wording is better than their. However, I'd still like to say that this British actress sure has a knack for displaying the right feelings as she effortlessly inhabits Jenny. Moreover, it's also nice to see Mulligan being supported by solid actors such as Alfred Molina, as her father, or Rosamund Pike, who plays Helen (David's intellectually empty friend).

In conclusion, the only weakness with An Education is definitely its slow pace. While watching the film, you may have the feeling that the ending (the part when David and Jenny have a short argumentation) really takes too much time to come. Other than that, enjoy it for the presence of many layers of subtlety in Nick Hornby's script and the performance by the cast.

Rating: 4.5/5

Origin:UK (2009)
Length:95 minutes
Screenplay:Nick Hornby
Director:Lone Scherfig
Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina and Rosamund Pike

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where the Truth Lies

It's hard to believe that this film by Atom Egoyan had been the object of a controversy in the USA. In fact, remember that the MPAA rated this film NC-17 for its few sex scenes. Aside from that detail, Where the Truth Lies is a seductive thriller that knows how to use each and every single asset of its script.

Vince Collins (Colin Firth) abnd Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) form an acclaimed comedy duo. At the end of the 1950s, they're at the top of their shape. The day before they perform at a telethon for children with polio (and survivors of it), Maureen O'Flaherty (Rachel Blanchard), a college student, is found dead in their hotel suite. Although Lanny and Vince are cleared, they call it quits and their career go into decline. Fifteen years later, Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman), a young journalist, plans to write a book on what happened to Maureen that very night. Besides, Karen's publisher is willing to pay Vince $1 million.

The obvious strength of this film is its ability to use all its assets from its script. It starts as a film noir and develops itself into a psychological maze. Although the few sex scenes seriously disturbed those pen pushers at the MPAA because of their explicitness, they sure play an important role in defining the characters. Since the film keeps all the elements of surprise at the end, one may use these scenes to understand how Maureen's death more than affected Lanny and Vince.

Speaking about the performance, I personally found Alison Lohman's performance decent. Did some people dislike her performance just because she's too young? Well, you just tell me. Anyway, as for Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, they're all excellent. Both of these men's performance allows us to truly see characters who have something to hide.

Finally, I won't go any further, because I don't want to give away too many details on the film. While the film leaves enough clues for us to understand the murder it manages to stay unpredictable and plausible at the same time.

Rating: 4/5

Origin: Canada/UK (2005)
Length: 107 minutes
Genre: Erotic thriller
Screenplay: Atom Egoyan
Director: Atom Egoyan
Starring: Alison Loham, Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, David Hayman and Kristin Adams

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Enduring Love

Although I sometime find Daniel Craig's acting style a little bit wooden at times, I'm personally a fan of his. Besides, since the film is based on an acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan, it's hard not to have high expectations. Just to get to the bottom line, while the film is okay, it also has its share of flaws.

Joe (Daniel Craig), an accomplished writer and professor, picknicks with Claire (Samantha Morton), his girlfriend. While they see a balloon gone out of control, Joe and a few other men who were in the vicinities try to pull it down. However, since the balloon kept going up, all the men managed to jump down in time except one. By losing his grip on the balloon rope's that one man fell down and died. From that day on, Joe's life has gotten out of control. Besides, Jed (Rhys Ifans), another man involved in that day, seeks Joe. In fact, Jed looks for consolation and a way to make sense of this tragedy. However, as time goes by, Jed becomes more and more obsessed by Joe.

Honestly, Enduring Love isn't as good as we want it to be. Of course, the film certainly excels in its ability to capture the characters played by Daniel Craig, Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans in their daily life. This means that the film doesn't have much difficulty to show how the balloon accident affects the leading characters. While Joe and Claire try resume their life, Jed, on the other hand, believes that Joe can guide him. After all, Jed admires Joe's composure.

Nonetheless, the idea about Jed's search for consolation (coupled with his homosexuality) is thinly developped at the point that it hurts the other sub-plots involving Joe and Claire. Indeed, on this matter, the film superficially explores Joe's feelings for Claire (he questions the dominant idea of "love" in his works) and his perception of Jed. Hopefully, the ending astonishes us for it shows us how Joe wants to get Jed out of his life once and for all.

Finally, Enduring Love might not have a solid script. However, one can't complain about the cast's performance, since Daniel Craig, Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans do their best to work wonders with what they have.

Rating: 3/5

Origin:UK (2004)
Length:100 minutes
Genre:Psychological drama
Screenplay:Joe Penhall
Director:Roger Michell
Starring:Daniel Craig, Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Teasers of Two Upcoming TV Series From HBO

With a little help from Jozef Siroka over at Plan d'ensemble, I've come across the teasers of two upcoming TV series from HBO, an American premium cable network. Besides, expect to see a few names that are normally associated to cinema be part of these upcoming projects.

The first one, which is called Boardwalk Empire, is adapted from a book by Nelson Johnson. The TV series is produced by [pause of 5 seconds] Martin Scorsese (he directed the first episode) and written by Terence Winter (The Sopranos). The story is set in Atlantic City in 1920, which means during the dawn of the Prohibition. At that time alcohol couldn't be distributed or sold. Therefore, the TV series chronicles the life of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), a man who was both a politician and a gangster. Moreover, the show also stars Kelly MacDonald, Michael Pitt, Stephen Graham and Michael Shannon.

The second TV series was created by David Simon (The Wire) is called Treme. This is the name of a famous neighbourhood of New Orleans which is known for its musical culture. The stars of the show will be Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters who respectively play a famous musician and a leader of "Mardi Gras Indians" tribe. Moreover, the TV series take place during the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, speaking about premieres, Boardwalk Empire will come to you in fall 2010. As for Treme it will come in April.

Erin Karpluk's Interview On 'The View'

First of all, I'd like to thank my fellow countryman Mike for finding this news story. Yesterday was a big day for Erin Karpluk. Not only was it the premiere of Being Erica's second season on SoapNet, but she also gave an interview on The View, a talk-show hosted by Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd.

For those who don't know, Being Erica is a Canadian TV series about Erica Strange (Erin Karpluk), a woman in her thirties, who come across Dr. Tom (Michael Riley), a mysterious therapist. He proposes Erica to go back into her past in order to fix her regrets and improve her personality. Of course, Erica doesn't talk about her therapies to her best friends (Vinessa Antoine, Paula Brancati and Sebastian Pigott), her boyfriend (Tyron Leitso) or her sister (Joanna Douglas) just to name a few of her relatives.

Obviously, CBC hasn't announced if it will renew this creation of award-winning creator Jana Sinyor for a third season.

Finally, here's the interview.

Starz's Half-Hour Comedies Premiere on April 23

Starz, an American premium cable network, announced yesterday that its two comedies series will premiere on Friday, April 23. These two TV series are Party Down (photo), which enters its second season, and Gravity, a dramatic comedy.

Obviously, while Party Down premieres on 10 PM, Gravity begins at 10:30 PM.

Party Down is a comedy about a catering crew from Hollywood. Its members (Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch, Ryan Hansen and Martin Starr) just work at Party Down while they wait for an opportunity to make a name for themselves in Hollywood. Moreover, Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) will join the cast as Lydia Dunfree, a middle-aged refugee from a lousy marriage who moves to Hollywood in hopes that her 13 year-old daughter will make it big.

As for Gravity (formerly known as Failure to Fly), it follows the sometimes comic, sometimes tragic exploits of a group from an eccentric out-patient program of suicide survivors. Lily Champagne (Krysten Ritter) is a twenty-something clinically depressed outcast looking for the love that her father never gave her. Robert Collingsworth (Ivan Sergei), an ophthalmologist, is despondent following the cancer death of his wife and becomes an internet celebrity when his suicide attempt goes comically awry. Miller (Eric Schaeffer), an NYPD cop, seems to be everywhere Lily is. Dogg McFee (Ving Rhames), the group’s leader and a former Major League Baseball player, is now confined to a wheelchair. Shawna Rollins (Rachel Hunter), a former spokesmodel and current life coach, is surprised to find herself attracted to someone much younger than herself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Season 2 of 'La galère' On DVD On Feb. 9

Yesterday, Alliance Vivafilm, a DVD distributor, announced the date of the release of La galère's second season on DVD. This show, which was created by Renée-Claude Brazeau, is a comedy and it aired on Radio-Canada. Moreover, Radio-Canada didn't announce if it will renew the show for a third season.

The story:

In the first season, Stéphanie (Hélène Florent), Mimi (Brigitte Lafleur), Claude (Anne Casabonne) and Isabelle (Geneviève Rochette) move together in a big house with their seven children in order to evacuate their frustration. In the second season, the four women must deal with the absence of a nanny for their children. Of course, Isabelle can take things into her hands, but her career as a lawyer makes it hard for her (and by extension all single mothers who are lawyers).

Stéphanie is wondering if the Prime Minister of Quebec (Denis Bernard) will be the one for her. At the same time, she has to deal with her ex-husband, Michel (Daniel Parent), who tries to give himself a new image toward Hugo (Pierre-Luc Lafontaine), her son. Claude doesn't miss a chance to show her contempt for Chanel, her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. Moreover, she'll also try to conquer the heart of Antoine. Mimi is still single and really wants to find love. She wants to have a child, but she doesn't know with who? This is why she'll be looking for someone with who she can have a child even if it that person will only serve that purpose for her.

Additional informations:

The show also star Catherine Proulx-Lemay, Patrice Godin, François Chénier and Jeff Boudreault.

This DVD box has three discs and includes all the 10 episodes of the second season. Speaking about the special features, we should expect to see a photo gallery and three songs from the TV series: the opening theme, "Your Beautiful Eyes" and "Don't Misunderstand Me". Moreover, the show is already available for pre-order on Radio-Canada's online shop.

Title on Amazon (Canada):

First Thoughts On 'Mirador'

Is public relation your way to earn your bread? Have you ever wondered what are all the things we hear about people working in PR? If you live in Canada and can speak French, there's a funny TV series waiting for you on Radio-Canada.

Philippe Racine (Patrick Labbé) has been abroad, because he was disgusted by all the lies he spreaded as a PR. He comes back in Montreal in order to work for Mirador, a PR firm that was founded by his father, Richard (Gilles Renaud). Moreover, to Philippe's surprise, the firm's crisis management unit has been helmed by his brother, Luc (David La Haye). With Philippe's return, Luc feels - and with reason - that the father's pet is back in the house. After all, the patriarch gives Luc's job to Philippe out of trust. However, can Philippe find a way to combine honesty and his dedication to his work as he deals with clients who want to clear their name?

Given that virtually all Quebecker TV series are inferior (that's just the truth) to most of their English Canadian and American counterparts, Mirador was one of my most anticipated TV series. After we've seen the first two episodes, we see that the dialogues are somewhat well-written. This means that we can't really complain about the well-chosen cast's performance.

However, Mirador looks more like a platform used by its creators to promote urban legends on the industry of PR. With that said, has a PR professional ever contributed to spread lies in any country's history? Yes. Does the PR industry obey to the jungle's law? Definetly not. As a matter of fact, Mirador has a serious lack of depth. This means that the show presents a world in which the code of ethics of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) doesn't even exist! In short, the bottom line is this: as much as we want an entertaining TV series, can we have one that has a minimum of realism?

Besides, making a TV series about the world of PR without referring to the CPRS' code of ethics is like making a TV series on military indiscipline without talking about martial courts.

My verdict: An entertaining show at most.

Finally, Mirador airs tonight at 9 PM on Radio-Canada. In the upcoming episode, Philippe must help a hockey coach from a junior league who is in hot water. Indeed, some players have discovered this coach's homosexuality and want to tarnish his reputation.

27 Films Get Support from Astral Media

Astral Media The Harold Greenberg Fund has revealed the list of upcoming films that will get financial support through its Script Development Program and Equity Investment Program.

The list reveals all the 27 films (chosen out of 139 applications), which are either in production or pre-production period, that will get some financial backing.

Story Optioning

The Flying Troutmans
Four Seasons Productions Inc.
Screenwriters: Semi Chellas and Miriam Toews

King Leary
Verite Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Paul Quarrington

The Outlander
Strada Films Inc. and Triptych Media Inc.
Screenwriter: TBD

First Draft

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet
Hand Picked Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Richard Bell

The Diary of Laura’s Twin
pUNK Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Laura Phillips

Don’t Talk To Irene
Alyson Richards Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: Pat Mills

King Leary
Verite Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Paul Quarrington

The Lizard Cage
Sienna Films Inc.
Screenwriter: David Vainola

Queen Kristina
Triptych Media Inc.
Screenwriter: Michel Marc Bouchard

Second Draft

Dot’s Will
Playmaker Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Scott Simpson

The Flying Troutmans
Four Seasons Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: Semi Chellas and Miriam Toews

Bad Astronaut Inc.
Screenwriter: Andrea Dorfman and Jennifer Deyell

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
Nine Mile Productions
Screenwriter: Katie Ford

Kush Kush in the Bush: Bollywood Comes to the Trailer Park
Buffalo Gal Pictures Development Inc., Femmina Films Inc. and Diamonds to Bullets Enterprises Inc.
Screenwriter: Rebecca Sernasie

Rhéal and Rhéaume
Sarrazin Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: Suzette Couture

Sam I Am
Ichi Ni San Films Inc.
Screenwriter: Chris Smets

Productions Caramel Film Inc.
Screenwriter: Domenic Salvaggio

Final Draft

Emotion Pictures Inc. and Opolo Pictures Inc.
Screenwriter: Jason Buxton

Dead Tired
Productions The Gates Inc.
Screenwriter: Geoffrey Uloth and Jean-Francois Da Sylva-La Rue

The Great Seduction
Max Films
Screenwriter: Michael Dowse

NuShu – The Secret Sisterhood
Filmarto Inc.
Screenwriter: Allen Hatcher

Javelin Pictures Inc.
Screenwriter: Karl Richter

Mad Samurai Productions Inc.
Screenwriter: John L'Ecuyer

Polish & Packaging

Kosher Sexy
julijette inc. and Jonas Chernick
Screenwriter: Jonas Chernick

January Films Ltd.
Screenwriters: Andrea Blundell and Claudia Casagrande

Take This Waltz
Joe's Daughter Inc.
Screenwriter: Sarah Polley

Equity Invesment Program

Hockey The Musical
Mulmur Feed Company
Screenwriter/Director: Michael McGowan

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Discover 'Riese'

Since web series enjoy a lot of popularity these days, why not talk about another one? This time, we'll be hearing about a Canadian fantasy web series called Riese.

Since I don't want to describe the synopsis in my own words, I'll just leave it to the creators' words. Ready? Here's the description.

Riese is a world of moral ambiguity and political intrigue. A decimated land populated by characters from dreams and nightmares. Loyalties are ever in question, suspicion in the minds of all. The realm, however, was not always so cruel. Everything began with a peaceful nation called Eleysia.

The Kingdom of the Wolf, Eleysia was once prosperous due largely to the influence of Empress Kara and Emperor Ulric. This all changed when a coup d’etat, orchestrated from the shadows by a religious cult, brought about a total regime change.

Taking the throne was Amara (Sharon Taylor), the Empress’s cousin. A power-hungry tyrant, Amara immediately utilized Eleysia’s wealth and power to begin colonizing the world, crushing nation after nation in order to unite the people under one banner. Even as she assaulted the world, an ominous, enigmatic group clearly wielded power over her. Called The Sect, they purported themselves to be the official religion of Eleysia, and began to spread alongside Eleysia’s borders.

Since the coup, the land has begun to die, resources are dwindling and compassion is fading. Humanity itself is seen as impure. People have grown restless, almost feral. Rituals and mythology have resurged, and the darker side of mankind has begun to reveal itself.

The true horror of the world is not in how it ends, but what will become of mankind as it fractures. And yet, despite the impending doom, a single beacon of light shines in Riese (Christine Chatelain). A mysterious wanderer, she travels with her wolf Fenrir across this barren land. Branded as heretics by The Sect, Riese and Fenrir will pause to aid those in need as they travel, but they must evade capture at all costs. As she flees, she’ll piece together her past and her destiny, in a conflict that will hold the fate of this world in the balance - and the once peaceful kingdom of Eleysia will be the battlefield.

This is the world of Riese.

Okay, so that's the end of the story's description. I'd like to add that the web series also star Emilie Ullerup, Patrick Gilmore, Ben Cotton, Ryan Robbins, Alessandro Juliani and Allison Mack.

Finally, here's the first episode:

Recap of the Premiere of '24'

For those who still haven't seen the premiere of 24's eighth season on Sunday, here's a way to get up to date.

In this season, which is set in New York City, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is thrust back into action when Victor Aruz (Benito Martinez), a former informant on the Salazar case who is being pursued by killers, knocks at his door. Victor tells Jack that an assassination plot against Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), a president of a Muslim country, is about to happen at the United Nations (UN). As a matter of fact, some people want Hassan dead because he's about to sign a treaty with the USA stipulating that his country gives up its nuclear ambitions and financial support for terrorist groups. As for President Alison Taylor (Cherry Jones), she's now divorced (her husband made the first step) for sending her daughter in prison (see season 7) and she wants this treaty to be signed in order to leave a good political heritage behind for the world.

Obviously, 24 is not the kind of show you watch the same way you'd watch Six Feet Under or Durham County. However, with its premiere, the eighth season promises to deliver the goods when it comes to the cast's performance. Besides, I'm really happy to find Canadian actress Nazneen Contractor's appearance (as president's Hassan daughter) in this show is fitting since she was a regular in the first two seasons of The Border. As for the script, although it reflects Westerners' wildest geopolitical dream (I'm looking at you, Iran), we can always sense the minimal effort from the writers to develop the characters.

Finally, 24 will air next week in its regular time slot, which means on Monday at 9/8 PM central on Fox.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Deadline: Submit Your Project to the Canadian Television Fund

Today, the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) has announced that the deadline is approaching for applications to be part of two of its programs. These programs are the Digital Media Program and the Versioning Assistance Stream.

First of all, the deadline for the submission of a project to the CTF's Digital Media Program is on February 1, 2010. If you're a Canadian and that you plan to produce a web series or even a web documentary for instance, here's your chance to get some financing. After all, given the success that this program had last year (2008-2009), it was renewed for the year of 2009-2010 with a budget of $10 million. Finally, for more information on the Digital Media Program, you can go there.

As for those who would like to present a project for the Versioning Assistance Stream, the deadline is on February 16, 2010. By the way, don't ask me what on Earth versioning is. I'm just not the right person to provide you the answer.

Moreover, if you have further questions about the application process, go here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Images of 'Shattered'

The Canadian Press, a news agency, has released the first production images of the upcoming TV series Shattered, which was created by Rick Drew. Besides, these pictures can also be found on the Facebook fan page of Callum Keith Rennie, the TV series' leading actor.

Billed as a cross-over between A Beautiful Mind and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the TV series introduces us to Ben Sullivan (Callum Keith Rennie), a homicide detective from Vancouver, B.C. with a Multiple Personality Disorder. In the first moments of the series, Ben is bonded in blood to his tough, beautiful partner Amy Lynch (Camille Sullivan). While they work to solve the murder cases that cross their desk daily, Ben copes with the fascinating complexities of his secret disorder, and the uncertainty of never knowing which alternate personality will surface, or when.

Secondly, series regulars include actors Karen LeBlanc (Defying Gravity, ReGenesis) as Sergeant Pam ‘TC’ Garrett, Clé Bennett (Barney’s Version, The Line) as John ‘Hall’ Holland a young, handsome and ambitious detective, Molly Parker, as Ella (Ben's wife), and Martin Cummins (Dark Angel) plays Terry Rhodes, Ben’s best friend and ex-partner.

Finally, in Canada, Shattered will be broadcasted on Showcase at some point in 2010. Moreover, the show is being shopped to American TV networks.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First Trailer of 'Chloe'

Attention to all the fans of Canadian director Atom Egoyan! The first trailer (I'm not talking about a short clip) of Chloe - which stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried - has finally arrived online.

First of all, Chloe is a remake of Nathalie, a French film directed by Anne Fontaine, and its screenplay is written by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary). Moreover, the film was shot in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and is a coproduction between Canada, the USA and France.

The story goes like this: Catherine (Julianne Moore), a married woman, suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) of cheating on her. This is why she hires an escort named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried). Chloe's job will consist in seducing the Catherine's husband (and by extension spying on him). However, it appears that Catherine will regret hiring Chloe.

Finally, the film will be released in select cities in Canada on March 26, 2010.

Kreativ Blogger Award

I'd like to sincerely thank The Flick Chick for granting this award to me and for all her words of encouragement. The rules of this award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Number 4: Believe me, I'm not an interesting person.

  1. I want Canada to be a republic led by an elected president (either directly by the people or indirectly by the House of Commons); not a country in which the head of state is a foreign monarch who is represented here by a Governor general who should rather re-invent herself as a stand-up comedian.
  2. I never read the movie section in Canadian newspapers (go figure out why). Besides, if you look carefully in every corners of this page, you may find out how I keep myself up to date.
  3. Unlike most Canadians, I never had any complex of inferiority towards Americans (and by extension other nations) when it comes to films (or culture in general).
  4. I'm fluent in French. Although I started to learn English at 12 years old, it was at 16 years old that I could speak and write it as correctly as any native English speakers.
  5. I'm against fighting in hockey. However, this doesn't mean that I can't deliver a clean and legal open-ice hit or a hit against the board.
  6. When I was twelve years old, I learned how to skate by taking figure skating lessons for one year. This means that I can skate better (I didn't say "faster") than most NHLers.
  7. I enjoy playing chess. Besides, I have Chessmaster installed in my laptop.

Now, here comes the best part where I name seven blogs that you should read:

Japan Cinema
I read this blog because I'm not an expert in Asian cinema. Moreover, don't just expect to see reviews of martial art films.

The Film Cynics
Although the two hosts of this blog and I sometimes don't see eye to eye on certain things, it's always a pleasure to discuss TV series or films with them. Besides, don't miss their podcasts.

Bitchin' Film Reviews
I've always like this blog because Blake is not afraid to tell it like it is although I haven't seen some films that he talks about. Moreover, he also provides some news on films by posting trailers.

Film du Québec
Honestly, this blog rocks more than any newspapers or movie sites from Quebec. In fact, Charles-Henri thoroughly covers with passion (and dedication) what's going on in Quebec's movie industry. Besides, unlike many Quebecker journalists and bloggers, he bothers to talk of Quebec-made films not just in French, but also in English.

The Flick Chick
I've been a big fan of this blog for two years. Norma elegantly writes reviews that clearly indicate whether a film is worth watching or not. Besides, if you're looking to know a little bit about Canadian or foreign films, here's a blog to read.

La clique du plateau
I've just discovered this blog recently and I enjoy reading it. Of course you don't read this blog to take those cultural bloggers seriously. After all, it's okay to laugh (in the good sense or the bad one) of what's going on in Quebec's cultural industry once in a while.

Learn Canadian French
This is certainly not a blog that I read in order to know French as it's spoken in some regions of Canada (ex: Quebec, New Brunswick). I just like the dedication that the host of this site has in his attempt to make English speakers discover French.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Top 10 Films of 2009

First of all, I apologize for not having the time to see films like An Education, Thirst, Bright Star, The Road (hey, I'm reading the novel) or Moon just to name a few films that were lauded by critics. Nonetheless, here are my choices for 2009.

#10: Inglourious Basterds

I certainly didn't put it there because of the quality of its script. In fact, I found it as simple as - minus the violence - a comic book for children (the fight of the good against the evil). However, let's render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's: Christopher Waltz, Mélanie Laurent and Brad Pitt rock!

#9: In the Loop

What happens when you give a comedy to an aficionado of politics like me? You get an aficionado of politics who wish he did In the Loop, despite its few flaws, in order to laugh at politicians regardless of their nationalities. After all, are you tired of politically correct politicians (I'm looking at you Michael Ignatieff, Jean Charest, Pauline Marois, etc.)? Now, when will I get a film that pokes fun of political journalists?

#8: Le bal des actrices

Well, let's recognize Le bal des actrices for its potential. In fact, although the film superficially explores the problems that strike actresses in the movie industry, it straightforwardly addresses these problems such as plastic surgeries or even the pressure to wear the most beautiful dress at a big-shot event, for instance.

#7: Crackie

I'm not particularly fond of realistic films that bring you in the daily life of a character. However, Crackie was to my liking for I've rarely seen a film that depicts so well a small-town person (wonderfully played by Meghan Greeley) who has to simultaneously juggles with her ambition and her personal problems.

#6: Cairo Time

This is not just a "postcard film" that makes you see how exotic Egypt might be. If you're looking for a nice film about forbidden love, just consider watching this one. Moreover, even though I've read someone writing that the film is "sorely lacking in tension", I wasn't turned off by the film. In fact, with its quality the film makes you wonder if Patricia Clarkson's character will let herself love Alexander Siddig's character.

#5: (500) Days of Summer

Honestly, I haven't seen the trailer or read the reviews of this film in the media while it was in theatres. However, it was a review from Norma that actually convinced me to see it. Besides, what a good film it was! Although the character of Zooey Deschanel might seem incomplete, it's certainly a realistic depiction of nowadays' women who know what they are looking for in life.

#4: J'ai tué ma mère

As my fellow Quebecker Charles-Henri pointed it out, I was a little bit harsh in my review. However, forget the few flaws from this film. Just think about the solid performance from Xavier Dolan and Anne Dorval which can, at times, make you laugh and move you. All in all, just think about the scene in which Dolan and Dorval both talk simultaneously while in a car!

#3: Pontypool

Forget the visual and special effects! Most of the film is about people who are scared of something that they hear about (a virus that contaminates people through the use of English language) in the "discomfort" of a radio booth; not something that they actually see.

#2: Polytechnique

Certainly not an easy film to watch whether you're a Canadian or not. However, Denis Villeneuve's direction is an unforgettable tribute to all those fourteen women from the École Polytechnique who were murdered without reason for being women.

#1: The Hurt Locker

A film that keeps our attention for two reasons: it feels pretty real and the performance of its leading trio (Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty) literally blows you away. All in all, I feel that this film raises the bar for war films.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Canadian Premiere of 'Les sept jours du talion' on Feb. 1

Alliance Vivafilm, the distributor of Les sept jours du talion (7 Days), had announced that this thriller directed by Daniel Grou (Minuit, le soir) will have a red-carpet treatment on February 1rst, 2010. Afterwards, the film, which was adapted from an acclaimed novel by Patrick Senécal, will be released in Quebec four days later.

The premiere will be in Montreal at the Cinéma Impérial. Besides, let's hope that Claude Legault, Fanny Mallette, Martin Dubreuil and Rémy Girard, who are all the stars of the film, will be there.

Here's the address of this movie theatre:

1432, Rue De Bleury,
Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
H3A 2J1

View Larger Map

Finally, if you want a description of the film's story, go here. Other than that, here's the trailer:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Production Underway for Season 3 of 'Mafiosa'

Canal Plus, a French premium cable network, announced that production is underway for the third season of Mafiosa. Moreover, the shooting of the show will end in June 2, 2010.

The network announced that French viewers should expect to see, for the first time, a TV series that is shot in Corsica. After all, the show is about the world of mafia in this region of France.

Jean-Michel Paoli (Thierry Neuvic) woke up from a coma while everybody thought that he was missing. With that said, how will he and his sister Sandra (Hélène Fillières), with whom he jointly leads a mafia clan, coexist together? Besides, a group of young hoodlums will try to take advantage of the chasm between the two Paolis even if it means provoking them.

Finally, the third season of this show will star: Hélène Fillières, Thierry Neuvic, Éric Fraticelli, Frédéric Graziani, Phareelle Onoyan, Joey Starr, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Reda Kateb, Héléna Noguerra and many more.

Showtime Picks Up 'The Big 'C''

Showtime, an American premium cable network, gave the green light for the production of a new TV series starring three-time Academy Award® nominee, three-time Emmy® winner and SAG® and Golden Globe® Award winner Laura Linney. Besides being the show's leading lady, she'll also be the executive producer of The Big 'C' (working title), a half-hour dark comedy.

Linney plays a reserved suburban wife and mother whose recent cancer diagnosis forces her to shake up her life and find hope, humour and the light side of a dark situation. Besides, she also has to deal with her immature but well-meaning husband, played by Oliver Platt. The Big 'C' will begin shooting 13 episodes later this spring for a fall 2010 debut.

Moreover, the show was created and written by Darlene Hunt, who will serve as executive producer, along with Linney, Neal H. Moritz and Vivian Cannon.

Jesus Camp

Since there's always a first time for everything, I'm going to review before your eyes a documentary. Honestly, Jesus Camp has always given me the feeling that it could have had much more depth. Nonetheless, despite its flaws, the film can be seen as a good exploration of the American evangelical movement provided that you have a good knowledge of American history and laws.

Shot during George W. Bush's second presidential term, Jesus Camp is centred on a group of born-again children. They attend to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire Summer Camp" where they're indoctrinated taught to become dedicated Christian "soldiers in God's army". Moreover, these children are expected to be the adults of tomorrow who will play an active role in American political life.

The first thing many might like about Jesus Camp is the fact that directors Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing don't judge evangelical Christians. By mostly letting Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard, the children and their parents speak, the documentary eloquently shows these people's perception of the American society. We can see it through their contempt for freedom of conscience (the right to be a "non-Christian"), American pop culture (ex: Hollywood, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, etc.), the right for abortion (which is protected by the Roe v. Wade ruling) and the government "who took religion out of schools". In short, expect to see a good exploration of the Evangelical Christians' political mentality.

However, the fact that Ewing and Grady stays on the sidelines can be a little liability to Jesus Camp. In fact, the subject of the separation between the state and the church in the USA (guaranteed by the first Amendment of the Bill of Rights) is not thoroughly dealt with in Jesus Camp despite a few remarks we hear from Mike Papantonio an advocate of secularism in the USA. As a result of that, we have the feeling that the two directors let the Evangelical Christians comfort themselves in: 1) their own ignorance about politics; and 2) their doltish belief that the USA is a "Christian kingdom" instead of a secular republic. This means that the best thing to do was to interview political scientists, lawyers and historians besides some Evangelical Christians and Papantonio.

Finally, I didn't find Jesus Camp as "provocative" (Indiewire) or "shocking" (Variety) as I expected it to be. Since the documentary is made with an obvious objectivity from Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, anyone will conclude that Thomas Jefferson or James Madison (just to name these Founding Fathers) would roll over themselves if they saw how invasive religions are in American political life. However, the two directors seemed too afraid to go into technical details related to law and politics.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:USA (2006)
Length:84 minutes
Director:Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Starring:Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard and Mike Papantonio

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Canadian Expertise In 'The Book of Eli'

These days, Canadian expertise is on demand in Hollywood. No, we're not talking about acting. We're talking about giving you an unforgettable experience at the movie theatre provided that you're going to see The Book of Eli, which comes out on January 15, 2010.

Yesterday, D-Box Technologies Inc. (DBO.A on the TSX Venture Exchange), a leader in innovative motion technology for the entertainment industry, announced its involvement in a fifth film made with Warner Bros. Moreover, this is D-Box Technologies Inc.'s tenth film overall since its world premiere back in April 2009. With that said, D-Box Technologies Inc. offers a product called D-BOX MFX. This seat is fully-equipped with individual and adjustable intensity settings. It's said that this seat moves during the action scenes and remains relatively still during dialogue scenes.

Theatres in the USA equipped with D-BOX MFX seating include: UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley in San Diego, California; Santikos Theatres Silverado 19 in Tomball, Texas; Wehrenberg Theatres Ronnies 20 Cine in St. Louis, Missouri; Emagine Entertainment Canton Theatre in Canton, Michigan; Emagine Entertainment Cinema Hollywood in Birch Run, Michigan; Mann Chinese 6 Theatre in Los Angeles, California; Theatres at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota; Galaxy at the Cannery in Las Vegas, Nevada; Galaxy Highland Theatre in Austin, Texas; UltraStar Cinemas in Surprise, Arizona; and UltraStar Apple Valley in San Bernardino, California. As for Canada, you can find D-Box MFX seating in Cinéma Beloeil, in Beloeil, Quebec and Cineplex Odeon Queensway Theatre in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Finally, the film stars Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis.

'High Life' In Theatres on Jan. 15

If you like films about bank robberies, you're probably waiting for the release of High Life. The film will come out in some Canadian cities on January 15, 2010.

The story is set in 1983 right after the birth of Automated Teller Machines (ATM). Dick (Timothy Olyphant) just got fired from his job as a janitor at a downtown hospital. With his buddies Bug (Stephen Eric McIntyre), Donnie (Joe Anderson) and Billy (Rossif Sutherland), Dick plans to rob ATM machines. Besides, he wants the job to be done without violence. However, things don't go according to plan.

Finally, High Life is directed by Gary Yates (Seven Times Lucky) and written by Lee MacDougall, who adapts his own play which won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play. Moreover, the film features the music of Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival and April Wine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trailer of 'L'enfant prodige'

Alliance Vivafilm has released online the trailer of L'enfant prodige (aka André Mathieu - Le dernier des romantiques), a biographical drama about the Canadian pianist André Mathieu. The latter will be played by Patrick Drolet (Le grand départ).

The film is shot with a budget of CDN$6 million and is directed by Luc Dionne (Monica la mitraille).

It follows the life of the Montreal-born André Mathieu (1929-1968) who was referred to as "the little Canadian Mozart". Given that he composed his first musical work at three years old and had an obvious talent in piano, his father, Rodolphe Mathieu (Marc Labrèche), will be his first teacher. Furthermore, as he gets older, André Mathieu will travel to Europe to study the art of playing piano with the greatest masters such as Jacques de la Presle (Patrice Coquereau) or Arthur Honnegger (Marc Béland) just to name a few. However, Mathieu died at 39 years old and finished his life in solitude and alcohol.

The film also stars:

* Macha Grenon, as Mimi Mathieu (André's mother).
* Itzhak Finzi, as Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninov.
* Benoît Brière, as Canadian maestro Wilfrid Pelletier.
* Karine Vanasse, as Camillette Mathieu (André's sister).
* Mitsou, as Vivianne Jobin (André's mistress).
* Albert Millaire, as Marcel de Valmalète (a director of a concert agency).

'The Pacific' Premieres March 14 on HBO Canada

Since last year, we've known that HBO was preparing a "sequel" of Band of Brothers with Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman as executive producers. Now, the wait is almost over. This means that The Pacific, a miniseries produced with a total budget of $150 million, will premiere on HBO (in the USA and Canada) on March 14, 2010.

This epic ten-hour miniseries tracks the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines – Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazzello) and John Basilone (Jon Seda) – across the vast canvas of the Pacific during the Second World War (1939-1945). The extraordinary experiences of these men and their fellow marines take them from the first clash with the Japanese in the haunted jungles of Guadalcanal, through the impenetrable rain forests of Cape Gloucester, across the blasted coral strongholds of Peleliu, up the black sand terraces of Iwo Jima, through the killing fields of Okinawa, to the triumphant, yet uneasy, return home after V-J Day.

Finally, the miniseries is based on the memoirs With the Old Breed, from Eugene Sledge, and Helmet for My Pillow, from Robert Leckie.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

L'armée des ombres (Army of Shadows)

Many might find L'armée des ombres extremely boring. In fact, for a film about the French resistance against Nazi occupation during WWII (1939-1945), the film pratically doesn't have any action scenes. However, if you're patient enough, you'll appreciate L'armée des ombres (which is adapted from a novel of Joseph Kessel) that explores the bottom of the leading protagonists' heart.

Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura), an engineer and a suspected resistant, is put behind bars by the French police. Afterwards, he's handed to the Gestapo's headquarters in Paris because he knows a lot of things. Philippe manages to escape and flee to Marseille in order to meet with fellow resistants. Moreover, he'll eliminate the traitor who caused his imprisonment. However, the Gestapo will try to not only arrest Philippe, but also his companions.

Let's be honest: the pace of Jean-Pierre Melville's film is really slow from the beginning to the end. Besides, looking like a day-to-day observation of what some French resistants did could've killed the film. However, if you're armed with patience you'll find this film to your liking. Although L'armée des ombres is not about acts of sabotage or killings, Melville's approach surprises us for it doesn't judge French collaborators nor glorify resistants. Indeed, when asked why he ratted Philippe, the traitor remained silent before he got strangled to death. After all, no matter what the character would've said, treason is unspeakable.

Secondly, the film takes its distance with Hollywood, because Melville's film can be seen as a reflection on heroism. What we see are characters who, for security's sake, keep changing their name and their adress. Hence, the title of the film. Are these characters interested in getting future or posthumous glory? While this question is not philosophically brought up in dialogues, the film leaves this to our discernment. Besides, as the film suggests it through the cast's performance, the most beautiful thing about patriotism is to sacrifice ourself for a noble cause even if it means being in front of difficult choices.

Finally, this was my first experience with Jean-Pierre Melville. Although I found the dialogues are little bit dry, I got to admit that they give to the characters a depth greater than we think.

Rating: 5/5

Origin:France/Italy (1969)
Length:144 minutes
Genre:Historical drama
Screenplay:Jean-Pierre Melville
Director:Jean-Pierre Melville
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet and Christian Barbier

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Le bal des actrices (The Actress' Ball)

Being a movie enthusiast can be depressing for women, especially when "majors" believe they only adore romantic films and, to a lesser extent, comedies. Despite a few plot holes, Le bal des actrices is worth your time. In fact, the film tries - by taking the form of a documentary - its best to address the difficulties that actresses face in the movie industry.

A female movie director (Maïwenn Le Besco) is making a documentary about what it means to be an actress in France with an HDV camera. In the process, Maïwenn conducts interviews actresses that are either well-known, more or less known and unknown.

Mélanie Doutey, a blockbuster actress, receives a lot of script to read, clothes/jewels from fashion companies (ex: Chanel) to wear at big-shot events and deals from magazines that want to put her face (note from the editor: and what a lovely one!) on their cover. Besides, she wants to take a break.

Karin Viard, a winner of two César Awards, has achieved great popularity in France. This is why she feels ready to head to Hollywood and hires a coach to learn English (and also the North American, British and Irish accents).

Marina Foïs is sick of being stuck with a label the same way George Reeves was sick of being always associated with Superman. Besides, she believes that in order to fit in the movie industry, she has to cope with some surgeries whether she likes it or not.

Linh-Dan Pham, who won the César Award for best young female hope with Indochine, knows that she wants to make a living with acting. However, her Vietnamese parents are a little bit ashamed of her because they have no esteem (thanks to their Vietnamese upbringing) for actors and actress as a whole.

Karole Rocher nabs an acting offer from time to time. However, she has to work part-time as a waitress and stand an insufferable acting coach from a workshop.

Estelle Lefébure is aware that she got in the movie industry because she was a model. However, she works as hard as possible to display a talent to be reckoned with.

Romane Bohringer, a winner of a César Award, always wonder if she'll get some work (film, television or advertisements). She thinks that producers, directors and execs will not want her because she's either "too famous" or "not famous enough".

Muriel Robin thinks that she's spent a lot of time in the movie industry and tries to find some work on stage. However, she believes that the latter industry is rough on women.

Julie Dépardieu wonders what it's like to have a child.

Jeanne Balibar is a prima donna.

Charlotte Rampling tries to deal as serenely as possible with ageing while trying to find some work.

With this film (or should I say fake documentary), you no longer need to read some testimonies of actresses in magazines to know how hard it is to be a woman working in the movie industry. While the film explores some interesting facets of life as an actress, Le bal des actrices learns us nothing new about the pressure from the industry to get some surgeries (the segments with Marina Foïs), the necessity to take a break (Mélanie Doutey) or the bad temper of some actresses (Jeanne Balibar). However, for the very fascinating parts, the film only stays on the surface with the segments featuring Linh-Dan Pham, Romane Bohringer, Muriel Robin, Karole Rocher, Estelle Lefébure and Karin Viard. In fact, by refusing to thoroughly interview these actresses as if they were real human beings going through any specific situations, we have the feeling that Le bal des actrices keeps us at an arm's length. For instance, when Linh-Dan Pham's parents said that acting is a job for buffoons, I'd have liked to see their reaction when told that movies, in Vietnam, is a popular form of mainstream entertainment just like anywhere else in the world.

Finally, Le bal des actrices is far to be a perfect film. However, what saves this film is definitely the natural performance of all the actresses. Besides, even though it stays on the surface on certain matters, Le bal des actrices has the merit of avoiding any complacent depiction of the relation between women and the movie industry.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:France (2009)
Length:105 minutes
Screenplay:Maïwenn Le Besco
Director:Maïwenn Le Besco
Maïwenn Le Besco, Julie Dépardieu, Jeanne Balibar, Charlotte Rampling, Mélanie Doutey, Marina Foïs, Muriel Robin, Linh-Dan Pham, Romane Bohringer, Estelle Lefébure, Karin Viard, Joey Starr, Nicolas Briançon and Yvan Attal

'Durham County' Season 1 on DVD in the USA on Jan. 19

Americans, you no longer need to cross the border (literally or on the Internet through to express your appreciation toward Canadian culture! In fact, the season 1 of Durham County will arrive on DVD on January 19, 2010 and is distributed in the USA by Well Go USA. Besides, it's already available for pre-order on (purchasing) and Netflix (renting).

The story

Mike Sweeney (Hugh Dillon) is a homicide detective from Toronto. With his wife, Audrey (Hélène Joy), along with Sadie (Laurence Leboeuf) and Maddie (Cicely Austin), his two daughters, Mike decides to move to Durham County, a suburb of Toronto, after the death of his partner. However, Mike is surprised to find that his neighbour is Ray Prager (Justin Louis), his former high school friend.

Eventually, Durham County's police department becomes busy when Nathalie Lacroix (Kathleen Munroe), Sadie's English teacher and Mike's mistress, is found dead in a lake. Obviously, while he's on the investigation, Mike tries to bury his relation with Nathalie in his garden of secrets just to make sure that he won't be considered as a suspect. Besides, he viscerally believes that the suspect is Ray Prager.

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