Saturday, July 31, 2010

Three Canadian Films at the 67th Venice Int'l Film Festival

Telefilm Canada, a Canadian federal funding agency, announced ([1] and [2]) that three Canadian films will be screened at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, which will take place from September 1 to 11.

The first film is Denis Villeneuve's Incendies, an adaptation of a play written by Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad. It tells the story of Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette), two twins, who travel to Lebanon. After they had read their dead mother's (Lubna Azabal) will to find a father they thought dead and a brother they've never heard of with the help of Lebel (Rémy Girard), a notary. The film will be presented during the Venice Days, a parallel section of the festival

The second film will be Richard J. Lewis's anticipated film Barney's Version, an adaptation of Mordecai Richler's acclaimed novel. We follow Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), a Jewish from Montreal during his adventures in Europe. In the story, we learn that Barney feels in love for the first time in his life. This is why he'll be married to three different wives (Rachelle Lefevre, Rosamund Pike and Minnie Driver) at different periods of his life. Finally, the film also star Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Greenwood, Saul Rubinek, Clé Bennett, Macha Grenon, Ellen David, Mark Addy, the late Maury Chaykin and Harvey Atkin. Besides, it will be part of the official selection.

The third one will be Nicolás Pereda's Summer of Goliath, which will be screened as part of Orizzonti, a competitive section dedicated to new trends in world cinema. A Canada-Mexico-Netherlands co-venture produced by Enchinga Films (Toronto), the film was financed in Canada through the Canada Council of the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Blending fiction and documentary, Summer of Goliath portrays people suffering the effects of the loss of loved ones, broken promises, disconnection and eternal longing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cast and Producers of 'Durham County' Will Be at Toronto's FanExpo

The second season of Durham County has been out on DVD since July 27. Moreover, you'll have the chance to meet the cast and producers of this Canadian crime drama at this year's FanExpo in Toronto. This event will be held from August 27 to 29.

Have in mind that the featured guest for the show's second season will be will be Adrienne Mitchell, the director and executive producers; Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik, the writer, executive producer and co-creator; Janis Lundman, the executive producer; Greyston Holt, the actor who plays Ray Prager Jr.; and Michelle Forbes, the actress who plays Dr. Peneloppe Verity.

Finally, Durham County will return for a third and final season this coming October on HBO Canada, a Canadian premium cable network. For the moment, no U.S. premiere date has been announced for the third season on Ion Network, an American cable network.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

She's Out of My League (2010)

For a film that indolently uses all the tricks from many romantic comedies, She's Out of My League provides a good entertainment. The reason why the film may work fine with many people is because it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Kirk (Jay Baruchel) works as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Because he brought Molly's (Alice Eve) cell phone, which was found at the customs, back to her the day after her escapade to New York, Kirk is accepted by Molly as a friend. As Molly and Kirk become steady dates, she's starting to be into him, because she finds him nice. However, Kirk's friends - and also his family - wonder how can Molly, the girl of every men's dream, date a guy who is not that hot. Will Kirk manage to keep Molly even though his relatives and eventually himself have doubts?

Before we start going through all of She's Out of My League's flaws, let's talk about the goodies. For an American American comedy about sex and romance, She's Out of My League doesn't try to please to adolescents with vulgar jokes. Besides, some will find this film contains a message of hope for "average Joe" who don't feel too handsome. For that matter, the chemistry between Alice Eve, who looks really adorable, and Jay Baruchel can be felt when it comes to telling you that message by not overacting.

However, in its attempt to make us root for an "average Joe", She's Out of My League becomes too predictable, because it uses all the tricks that you've seen in other bland romantic comedies. In fact, in spite of the few moments when the relation between Molly and Kirk seems uncertain, we all know how it will end. All in all, talk about a film with a script without a personality of its own that can at least make us laugh with some lines that bite.

Finally, many will say that She's Out of My League provides a good moment of entertainment. However, the film is extremely formulaic with its story's structure. In fact, here's how it can be described: boy meets girl, she loves him, their dates make us laugh, things don't go too well and they get back together. Pretty simple, eh? While the supporting cast's talent is definitely wasted, the only good reason to watch this film is definitely Alice Eve.

Rating: 2.5/5

Origin:USA (2010)
Length:104 minutes
Genre:Romantic comedy
Screenplay:Sean Anders and John Morris
Director:Jim Field Smith
Starring:Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trailer of 'À l'origine d'un cri'

The trailer of Robin Aubert's À l'origine d'un cri has finally arrived online.

As for the story, the details that The Cultural Post has are few. It's said on TVA Films's web site that it's about a young man who feels compelled to travel with his grand-father. Indeed, the young man wants to find his father who ran away with the corpse of his ex-wife.

Moreover, the film stars Jean Lapointe, Michel Barrette and Patrick Hivon.

Finally, no release date has been announced for the film.

Teaser of 'Angle mort'

Remstar, a Canadian distributor, has released the teaser of the upcoming thriller Angle mort. This film directed by Dominic James and written by Martin Girard should come out in 2011.

Éric (Sébastien Huberdeau) and Stéphanie (Karine Vanasse) are two Canadian tourists who spend their winter vacation in a South American country. Besides dealing with the militaries of the country, Éric and Stéphanie also have to deal with a serial killer (Peter Miller) who roams the roads of the region they're in.

'Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen' In Hong Kong's Theatres on Sept. 23

According to the poster of Donnie Yen's next film, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, the film will come out in Hong Kong and also mainland China on September 23, 2010.

The film's story, which takes place in the 1930s, can be described like this according to

Seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher's death (Huo Yuanjia) in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious stranger (Donnie Yen) arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. That man is a disguised Chen Zhen, who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese. Disguising himself as a caped fighter by night, Chen intends to take out everyone involved as well as get his hands on an assassination list prepared by the Japanese.
The film also stars Shu Qi, Anthony Wong, Yasuaki Kurata, Shawn Yue, Karl Dominik, Ryu Kohata, Bo Huang and Jiajia Chen.

Finally, before its theatrical release in Hong Kong and mainland China, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen will be screened at the next Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Besides, the latter will take place from September 9 to 19, 2010.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fantasia 2010: Sophie's Revenge (2009)

This is the tenth film review in the coverage of Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival. There certainly was a time when filmmakers from mainland China didn't dabble too much in making blockbusters. Obviously, Sophie's Revenge looks like score of other romantic comedies you've seen. However, it's a rather entertaining film.

Sophie (Zhang Ziyi), a comic book artist/writer, has been in relation with Jeff (Ji-seob So), a surgeon, for two years. While they were supposed to get married, Jeff falls for Joanna (Bingbing Fan), a movie star, after he had operated her. Obviously, Sophie is devastated and she doesn't want to face her mom who organized the mariage. With two months left before the day, Sophie will try to win Jeff back with the help of her two best friends, Lucy (Ruby Lin) and Lilly (Chen Yao).

Sophie also intends to publish a comic book targetting women. With this book, Sophie wants to teach to every women in the world the "scientific" way to win their loved one back. Besides, after she had met Gordon (Peter Ho), a photograph who personally knows Joanna, at a party, Sophie asks for his help. However, Sophie's quest for revenge against Joanna turns out to be harder than she thought.

Honestly, Sophie's Revenge will likely dismay fans of romantic films. Since the film uses many cheap tricks from other blockbusters, its storyline is very predictable in that we already know what will happen to Sophie at the end just by reading the synopsis. Besides, the use of plot twists near the end is an insult to one's intelligence, because it turns out that the screenwriter decided to stay the course no matter what. However, Sophie's Revenge isn't entirely bad, because it can definitely rely on the charisma of Zhang Ziyi, the film's leading lady. In fact, although she does some questionable things to win Jeff back, Zhang's charisma (and also charm) makes it easy for us to root for her.

Finally, one can't say that Sophie's Revenge is downright bad, because I'd rather watch this with my girlfriend rather than any given turd from the Twilight series. Although Sophie's Revenge dramatic parts fit into a soap opera, the film won't have any difficulty to make you laugh. Besides, Zhang Ziyi, in a romantic comedy, is certainly more likeable than many Hollywood actresses.

Rating: 2.5/5

Origin:China/South Korea (2009)
Length:107 minutes
Genre:Romantic comedy
Screenplay:Yimeng Jin
Director:Yimeng Jin
Starring:Zhang Ziyi, Peter Ho and Ji-seob So

R.I.P. Maury Chaykin (1949-2010)

According to CBC News, veteran Canadian actor Maury Chaykin passed away a few hours ago at the age of 61 years old. Despite being born in the USA, we'll definitely miss his passion for building the Canadian movie industry.

Fans of Canadian TV and films will tell you that his name definitely rings a lot of bells.

In films, we've seen him in acclaimed Canadian films such as Blindness, Adoration, Where the Truth Lies or The Sweet Hereafter just to name a few. Besides, he won a Genie Award (the Canadian Oscar) for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the film Whale Music.

As for television, he was recently seen in the half-hour comedy Less than Kind, a TV series from the Canadian premium cable network HBO Canada.

Finally, I'd like to send my condolences all those who worked with him and knew him, especially his wife Susannah Hoffmann, an actress, and their daughter, Rose.

Leading Cast Announced for 'Café de flore'

Today, Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria) announced the leading cast of his upcoming film Café de flore. This Canadian co-production will begin filming in Montreal from August 16 to September 24. Afterwards, the production will continue in Paris from October 18 to November 19.

Besides French actress Vanessa Paradis, the leading cast also includes singer Kevin Parent in his first film, Evelyne de la Chenelière, Evelyne Brochu and Hélène Florent.

The film follows two love stories. The first one takes place in Paris during the 1960s and the other in Montreal in 2010. As the film advances, both love stories share striking similarities.

Finally, the film will come out in 2011 in Quebec.

Canadian Remake of UK TV Series 'Being Human' Begins Production

Muse Entertainment Enterprises, a Canadian production company, announced that the Canadian remake of the British TV Series Being Human has begun production in Montreal.

The leading actors of the TV series will be Sam Witwer (Smallville), Meaghan Rath (The Assistants), Sam Huntington (Fanboys) and Mark Pellegrino (Lost).

The show is written and executive produced by husband-and-wife duo Jeremy Carver (Waterfront, Supernatural) and Anna Fricke (Dawson’s Creek, Everwood).

The series follows the lives of three, otherworldly roommates: a vampire (Witwer), a ghost (Rath) and a werewolf (Huntington), all desperately trying to live as human beings. They help each other navigate through complex double lives while struggling to hide their dark secrets from the world.

Finally, once completed, the show's 13 one-hour episodes will be broadcasted on Syfy and Space, which are two cable networks dedicated to science-fiction respectively from the USA and Canada.

Second Poster of 'Le poil de la bête'

Les Films Séville, a Canadian film distributor, has revealed the second poster of the upcoming blockbuster Le poil de la bête. Moreover, this film directed by Philippe Gagnon will be released in Quebec on October 1, 2010.

The story, which was penned by Stéphane J. Bureau and Pierre Daudelin, takes place in 1665 in New France at a time when a part of Canada was colonialized by France. Joseph Côté (Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge) escapes from a prison in order to avoid death by hanging. Moreover, while some colonial soldiers are chasing him, Joseph takes the identity of a jesuit and hides in the seigneury of Beaufort where most men are waiting for "daughhters of the king"(French women who were sent to Canada in order to find a husband).

At night, Joseph finds out that there are werewolves that terrorize the village. Besides, things get complicated when he falls in love with Marie Labotte (Viviane Audet), a "daughter of the king" that no one wants to marry. All in all, by simply trying to protect his life and Marie's, Joseph will end up fighting against the werewolves.

The film also stars Antoine Bertrand, Patrice Robitaille, Marc Beaupré, Martin Dubreuil, Marie-Chantal Perron, Mirianne Brulé, Gilles Renaud, Gilles Renaud, Sébastien Huberdeau, Michel Barette, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, Patrick Drolet and Benoît McGinnis.

The story was penned by Stéphane J. Bureau and Pierre Daudelin.

Finally, the film was made with a budget of $4.5 million CDN.

Monday, July 26, 2010

'Les sept jours du talion' on DVD in France on Sept. 21

According to, the Canadian thriller Les 7 jours du talion, an adaptation of Patrick Senécal's acclaimed novel, will be released on DVD in France on September 21.

Here's the description of the synopsis taken from a review I wrote:

Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault) is a surgeon by trade. He happily lives with Sylvie (Fanny Mallette), his wife, and Jasmine (Rose-Marie Coallier), their daughter. During one day, Bruno allows Jasmine to go outside in order to deliver invitation cards for her upcoming ninth birthday. Of course, he'd like to accompany his daughter, but he's too exhausted by his job and neither can Sylvie. However, as times goes by, Jasmine is unaccounted for. In the evening, Jasmine is found dead in the woods after she had been raped.

When Jasmine's killer, Anthony Lemaire (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. Afterwards, Bruno plans to turn himself in after he had killed Lemaire. Nonetheless, will Sgt. Det. Hervé Mercure (Rémy Girard) manage to arrest Bruno as the clock is ticking?

'5150 rue des Ormes' on DVD in France on Sept. 21

According to, a website that allows you to buy DVD online, the Canadian thriller 5150, Rue des Ormes (5150 Elm's Way), an adaptation of Patrick Senécal's bestselling novel, will be released on DVD in France on September 21.

Here's the description of the synopsis taken from a review I wrote:

Yannick Bérubé (Marc-André Grondin) just got accepted at a cinema school. After he had moved in an appartment, he begins to film his first film project for school. While he was bycicling in a residential neighbourhood, Yannick falls of his bike. Because of the scratches on his hands and his elbow, he asks Jacques Beaulieu (Normand D'Amour), a cab driver who is not on a shift, to call a cab for him.

Since he has to wash the blood off his hands, Yannick does the mistake of entering Jacques's house. Furthermore, because he discovered an agonizing man kept in an empty room, Yannick will get locked in this room by Jacques for the time being. Obviously, Jacques's family looks normal on the surface. However, Jacques is, in actuality, a psychopath (he kills people "who deserves it") who believes he's the last of the Just Assassins (a reference to Albert Camus's play?); Michelle (Mylène St-Sauveur), the teenager, looks more dangerous than her father; Maude (Sonia Vachon), Jacques's wife, blindly obeys to him and is a Jesus freak. As for Anne (Élodie Larivière), the youngest daughter, she's mute.

While he has always tried to escape, Yannick will receive a proposal from Jacques. The only thing he has to do is to beat Jacques once in chess.
Here's what included in the special features:

  • Interview with the cast and crew.
  • Picture gallery.
  • Theatrical trailer of the film.
  • Internet links.

Fantasia 2010: Fatso (2008)

This is the ninth film review in the coverage of this year's Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. If you expect to see a dumb comedy, Arild Fröhlich's Fatso will prove you that your expectations were wrong. In fact, the Norwegian film Fatso is one of the few comedies about sex that, on the surface, looks vulgar, but hides many layers of depth.

Rino (Nils Jørgen Kaalstad) is a fat and lonely man living in an appartment. When he's not translating instruction manuals from German to Norwegian, Rino likes to watch pornographic films and jerk off. Besides, in his wildest dreams, Rino also sees himself as a sexually hungry rhinoceros named Captain Cock, a comic book character Rino created. One day, Rino gets a new roommate in the form of Malin (Josefin Ljungman), a beautiful Swede who came to Norway to study. While Malin treats Rino like a friend at most, Rino wants to achieve his dream: to finally get laid by Malin.

Unlike Canadian comedies about sex, Fatso certainly doesn't opt for subtlety. In fact, like most of its American counterparts, Fatso doesn't hesitate to display all stereotypes about fat people's loneliness. However, despite looking vulgar on the surface, Fatso definitely offers an analysis, with no holds barred, on how "normal" and obese people interact with each other. With a rather unapologetic use of female sexuality - if not nudity - Fatso deals with the topics of solitude, timidity, arrogance, our obsession to have the perfect body and sexual obsession with a crude - but definitely smart - honesty. Besides, the film has a knack at making you laugh you either pity Rino with an ounce of sympathy for him, find Rino dumb or are dismayed by the behaviour of the other characters towards Rino.

Finally, I can't add further thoughts on the film, because I don't want to give away too many details regarding the plot twist at the end. Other than that, besides being a nice feel-good comedy, Fatso is a diamond in the rough that explicitly and smartly underlines the most absurd traits of human behaviour when it comes to sexuality.

Rating: 4.5/5

Origin:Norway (2008)
Length:91 minutes
Screenplay:Arild Fröhlich, Lars Gudmestad and Lars Ramslie
Starring:Nils Jørgen Kaalstad, Josefin Ljungman, Kyrre Hellum and Jenny Skavlan

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fantasia 2010: Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

This is the eighth film review in the coverage of Montreal's 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival. The least we can say is that Teddy Chen's Bodyguards and Assassins announces us that gone is the time when Hong Kong didn't know how to make good blockbusters.

In October 1905, four days before Sun Yat-Sen, a Chinese revolutionary, arrives in Hong Kong, Chinese empress Cixi had sent assassins. They are led by General Yan Xiao-Guo (Jun Hu) and their job is to kill Sun, because his opposition to the monarchy makes him a "traitor". While he has always financed Li Yue-Tang (Xueqi Wang), the owner of a pro-revolution newspaper, decides to openly declare his full involvement in the revolution. In fact, the British authorities in Hong Kong closed his newspaper, the China Daily and his revolutionary friend, professor Chen Xiao-Bai (Tony Leung Ka Fai), got captured by the assassins.

Moreover, before the arrival of Sun Yat-Sen in Hong Kong, Li Yue-Tang rallies a handful of men and a woman. This team is made of a group of rickshaw pullers, the daughter (Yuchun Li) of a former Qing general (Simon Yam), a beggar (Leon Lai) who comes from a rich family, a former policeman (Donnie Yen) and a former monk of the Southern Shaolin monastery. They must protect Sun Yat-Sen while he's being transported to his ailing mother's house. However, the Sun Yat-Sen in question is actually Li Chung-Guang (Bo-Chieh Wang), Li Yue-Tang's son. Indeed, Chung-Guang acts a decoy to lure the assassins while the real Sun Yat-Sen attends a political meeting and leaves Hong Kong safely.

Obviously, Bodyguards and Assassins knows how to be a good blockbuster in the tradition of Hong Kong and a nice period drama. While one might wonder if the events in Bodyguards and Assassins are mostly accurate, the film succeeds in showing the confrontation between pro-Qing Chinese and revolutionary Chinese. In fact, although the "nice guys" seem to demonstrate the kind of excess of patriotism you see in some Hollywood films, have in mind that nationalism - which is a Western ideology - made its way in China because of many Chinese who got educated in the West at that time.

As for the blockbuster part, the film certainly doesn't break new grounds. In fact, with its depiction of the characters who are bodyguards, the film sticks to the narrative formula that makes these bodyguards perform their task and, above all, search for redemption. For instance, the woman in the group wants to avenge the death of her father at the hands of Qing assassins; the former policeman wants to prove to himself that he's not some stupid gambler; the former Shaolin monks hopes to reintegrate the ranks of Shaolin after his mission and so on.

Not really original, eh? Well, director Teddy Chen certainly knows how to use this formula at the film's advantage. In fact, even though few time is spent on developing the characters of the bodyguards, the film feature a gallery of heroes who fight for their individual cause. Besides, the film adopts a rather balanced approach to make these characters quite believable in that some care less about China's march towards republican democracy than their job as a bodyguard. All in all, Bodyguards and Assassins is a film that has no shame in using the tricks from the blockbuster handbook and it does it smartly.

Finally, if you're in for the action scenes, have in mind that most of them are at the end of the film. However, many will wonder - and with reason - why wires were used (in a rather subtle way) in the film. After all, wireworks are suited for a film like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or House of Flying Daggers, because they're not historical films, but rather films with a little bit of fantasy. Other than that, Bodyguards and Assassins give us the pleasure to see established stars from Hong Kong (ex: Donnie Yen, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Eric Tsang, Nicolas Tse and Simon Yam) as well as emerging ones (Li Yuchun and Wang Bo-Chieh) play with such a marvellous chemistry.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:Hong Kong (2009)
Length:139 minutes
Genre:Historical drama
Screenplay:Tin Nam Chun, Junli Guo, Bing Wu and James Yuen
Director:Teddy Chen
Starring:Xueqi Wang, Tony Leung Ka Fai and Donnie Yen

[Video] Jay Baruchel and Jacob Tierney on 'The Hour'

In this video, actor Jay Baruchel (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) and director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky) are interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos, the host of the Canadian talkshow The Hour. During this visit on the set of this show, Baruchel and Tierney talks about growing up in Montreal, being an Anglophone in Quebec, their latest film The Trotsky and the upcoming Canadian film Good Neighbours.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fantasia 2010: Accident (2009)

This is the seventh film review in the coverage of Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival. Although I've seen other great films, this is, by far, the best film I've seen this year at Fantasia. In fact, like other films from this century, Pou-Soi Cheang's Accident adds itself to the world's great list of audacious crime thrillers.

The "Brain" (Louis Koo) - a cold man obsessed with details - leads a group of professional assassins who are specialized in staging murders that, in actuality, look like accidents. His team is made up of these assassins: an old man nicknamed Uncle (Shui-Fan Fung), a pretty woman (Michelle Ye) and Fatty (Suet Lam). The group's assassination method is so groundbreaking that even their clients nor the victims haven't seen any of the assassins. Besides, to top it all, Hong Kong's police has never catched the four assassins, because their "accidents", in the first place, have never raised any suspicion in the public opinion. However, after a mission that nearly failed, one member of the team dies. This is why Brain wonders if this was a pure accident or the work of someone who wants Brain's team out of the business?

Without a doubt, Accident is the best Hong Kong thriller since Infernal Affairs. Unfortunately, because of its slow pace, which is used smartly, Accident won't necessarily the same mainstream popularity that Infernal Affairs had. In spite of that, Accident is still a film that knocks your socks off because of its originality. Besides, you can tell that the money used for the film was well spent, because the story is not used as an excuse to pile up as many scenes of "accidents" as possible.

With its slick visual, its elegantly slow pace and Xavier Jamaux's music, the film is rather a brilliant study of Brain's transition from lucidity to paranoia. In fact, in a career-defining performance, Louis Koo's cold performance brilliantly underlines Brain's fragility. With Koo, the character looks so assured. However, as the film's advances, we get to see that in reality, Brain's paranoia just needed a moment to come to the surface. Moreover, Koo is also well supported by extremely competent actors who knows how not to overact even though their lines may sound bland.

Nevertheless, any reproach to the film should be made to its short length. In fact, with all the momentum that the whole film had built, Accident unfortunately doesn't take the time to illustrate how Brain builds his logic when it comes to trying to find the person who ordered the killing of his team. Other than that, Accident is a great film that will keep you on your seat more effectively than any Hollywood blockbuster. Besides, going through the film despite the slow pace is quite rewarding, because the plot twist at the end will blow you away.

Rating: 4.5/5

Origin:Hong Kong (2009)
Length:89 minutes
Screenplay:Kam-Yuen Szeto and Lik-Kei Tang
Director:Pou-Soi Cheang
Starring:Louis Koo, Michelle Yen, Shui-Fan Fung and Suet Lam

Details On the Script of V's New Original Series 'Prozac'

V, a French Canadian TV network, has revealed the details of the script of its new original series Prozac, which was created by Sophia Borovchyk and Karina Goma. The show is currently in production in Montreal and will premiere this September.

In Prozac, we follow Philippe (Patrice Robitaille), a columnist who's living large until the day he's got fired because of a faux pas. Besides, when his friends and relatives learn that Philippe contemplates suicide, they implore him to seek help.

While he's at the end of the road and approaching his fourties, Philippe decides to join a group therapy for depressed people. The group is made of Marie (Sandrine Bisson), a morally naughty woman, François (Jean-Pierre Bergeron), a depressed crooner, and Mireille (Louise Portal), a patient with a Mother Teresa syndrome (i.e. wanting to help people at all cost even when they don't need it). Mathieu (François Létourneau), an economic journalist and Philippe's best friend, supports Philippe. However, Philippe's downfall will take its toll on the two men's once friendly relation. After all, Mathieu's career will soar right after Philippe had been laid off.

Moreover, the leading cast also includes Isabelle Blais and Louis Morissette. As for the supporting cast, it also includes Gilles Renaud, France Castel, Martin Laroche and Sophie Cadieux.

First Trailer of 'Dexter' Season 5

At last, Showtime, an American premium cable network, has released online the trailer of Dexter's fifth season. The procedural drama will premiere on Showtime on September 26 at 9 PM.

This original series from Showtime takes place in Miami, Florida. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is a forensics expert for Miami's police department. However, he's also a serial killer who, behind the curtains, is after criminals at large. In the fourth season, Rita (Julie Benz), Dexter's wife, got killed. As a father, he has to deal with three children (he had one baby with Rita). However, after Rita's death, Astor (Christina Robinson), Dexter's daughter, holds a grudge against him.

Moreover, the show also stars Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas, James Remar, C.S. Lee, Preston Bailey and Desmond Harrington.

Finally, the fifth season of Dexter will premiere on Showtime on September 26 at 9 PM.

Preview of 'Flashpoint' Interactive Game

Yesterday, CTV, a Canadian TV network, released online a video that gives you the preview of the interactive game that is available on Flashpoint's official web site. The goal of this game is to give you a look of how it feels to be in a member of an elite tactical unit.

For those who don't know, Flashpoint is a Canadian drama about a team of the tactical unit of Toronto's police department. It stars Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paetkau, Enrico Colantoni, Sergio Di Zio, Michael Cram and Olunike Adeliyi.

Finally, the show's third season will premiere in Canada on August 6 at 10 PM on CTV. Moreover, a fourth season has been ordered by CTV and no American premiere date has been confirmed for Flashpoint's third season on CBS.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fantasia 2010: Neverlost (2010)

This is the sixth film review in the coverage of Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival. While film festivals try to raise awareness on budding directors, it doesn't mean that you'll like all the films you'll see. This goes without saying that I personally didn't like Chad Archibald's Neverlost. However, I'm sure Archibald does have some potential as a director.

Josh Higgins (Ryan Barrett) is a scriptwriter from Guelph, Ontario, with a writer's block. Since he has been married to Megan (Jennifer Polansky), Josh has been living a banal life. In fact, the state of his apartment leaves to be desired, he's jobless and his relation with Megan is tense. As a result of that, Josh is an insomniac. However, Josh receives from his doctor a box of blue pills meant to fight insomina. Obviously, Josh becomes addicted to these pills because they allow him to escape in a perfect fantasy land that is the total opposite of his depressing reality. In fact, these "dreams" allow him to live with Kate (Emily Alatalo), his college sweetheart he lost a few years ago in a firehouse a few years ago.

As I said it earlier, Neverlost is far to be my cup of tea. However, I recognize that the film has its qualities. As a matter of fact, by combining the use of colours (dark ones for reality and light ones for the dreams) and Ryan Barrett's simple performance, Archibald brilliantly canvasses Josh's despondency and search for happiness in a make-believe world. However, as we get to see Josh's possibility to get the blue pills (and by extension to live in his perfect dream) reduced, Neverlost becomes a little bit predictable. Despite that, I don't see how the film could have ended and that's just fine.

Finally, many people who are targetted by this film would definitely like the combination of drama, romance and dark comedy. However, even though I have a certain patience, I didn't like the few moments when the film's pace slows down. Besides, I'm not much of a fan of films in which most things happen in the head of the leading characters.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:Canada (2010)
Length:104 minutes
Screenplay:Chad Archibald
Director:Chad Archibald
Starring:Ryan Barrett, Jennifer Polansky and Emily Alatalo

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Peepers (2010)

Once again, Peepers, a film I saw on Sunday at the Just for Laughs Film Festival, is a proof that in Canadian cinema, there are no taboo topics. As a matter of fact, Peepers adds itself to the growing list of smartly written Canadian comedies that deal with sexual desire.

A group of peeping toms led by Steve Sherman (Joe Cobden), a loser who lives in his mom's basement, enjoys taking Montreal's chilly rooftops during the night. Through the unshuttered windows, they want to have a glimpse at a “hottie hookup,” a “panty party” or a “big booty buffet”. However, the peeping toms' life is about to change when Annette Fulvish (Janine Theriault), an academic interested by "male gaze", enters the domain of peeping, which is dominated by men.

At the same time, some members in the group begin to question their interest for peeping. Bobby (Ricky Mabe), the youngest member of the group, wonders if there's a new way to explore one's sexual desires. As for Neal (Howard Bilerman), he's contemplating dating Vivian (Quinn O'Neil), a woman living across his apartment that he's peeped. As for Steve, he feels that he has to fight against Annette for rooftops supremacy in the activity of peeping.

For a comedy about sex and "male gaze", Peepers surprises, because Seth W. Owen, Daniel Perlmutter and Mark Slutsky know how to talk about sex without making idiots of themselves. In fact, nowadays, it's pretty hard to find a comedy that brings us into the desires of the leading characters with a certain effectiveness. While the story has no difficulty to put it plainly that Neil wants to date a woman for real, it has some difficulty to expose Steve's and Bobby's psyche for anyone who's not specialized in psychology. After all, what would Steve be only interested in watching beautiful women? Is it because he has difficulty to seduce any women? In a nutshell, Peepers is what you'll get if you unite Atom Egoyan, one of Canada's greatest directors, and Canadian scriptwriter/actor Mark McKinney.

Finally, although Peepers is the baby of three men, the film doesn't put white gloves when it comes to casting a glance on the rapport between many men and their sexuality. For that matter, expect to see a honest script that uses men's (and women's to a lesser extent) flaws in order to make you laugh.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:Canada (2010)
Length:90 minutes
Screenplay:Seth W. Owen, Daniel Perlmutter and Mark Slutsky
Director:Seth W. Owen
Starring:Joe Cobden, Howard Bilerman, Paul Spence and Janine Theriault

'Jo pour Jonathan' Will Be Screened at the Locarno Int'l Film Festival

Canadian director Maxime Giroux is preparing to present to the world his second feature film, Jo pour Jonathan. This independent film made with a budget of $90,000 will be presented in competition at the Locarno International Film Festival in the Concorso Cineasti del presente (Filmmakers of the Present Competition) this coming August.

The story was penned by Giroux himself and Alexandre Laferrière.

We follow Jo, a guy who lives in the shadow of his big brother. They are both juvenile criminals who are interested in illegal street racing. Eventually, they'll get into it.

The film stars up-and-coming actor Raphaël Lacaille, as well as Jean-Sébastien Courchesne and Vanessa Pilon. A longtime collaborator, Director of Photography Sara Mishara once again joined forces with Giroux on this project.

Finally, no release date has been confirmed, but the producers say that it should happen in early 2011.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Season 3 of 'Flashpoint' Premieres Aug. 6 on CTV

At last, CTV, a Canadian TV network, has announced that Flashpoint's third season will premiere on Friday, August 6 at 10 PM. Moreover, the network has also revealed juicy details about the first two episodes of Flashpoint.

This Canadian show follows a tactical unit of the Toronto's police department (Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paetkau, Enrico Colantoni, Sergio Di Zio, Michael Cram and Olunike Adeliyi).

In the first episode entitled "Severed Ties", Maggie Perrello (Kelly Rowan) was the perfect mother until an addiction to prescription meds spiraled out of control. It cost Maggie a stint in jail, and the loss of her beloved daughters Becky and Riley into foster care. Now she’s out of jail, clean and sober, and yearns to bring her children home but when Maggie discovers that she can’t have her kids back, she turns desperate and kidnaps Becky and Riley.

In the second episode called “Follow the Leader”, the tactical unit launches a high-stakes raid on a white supremacist compound after a former insider, Danny Butler (Brendan Penny, Whistler), alerts it to an imminent attack. The team shuts down the militant camp but nearly loses one of its own in the battle. When the dust settles, the team discovers that the group’s leader Victor (Adrian Hough, Defying Gravity) escaped with Danny’s brother Trent (Tyler Johnston, Less than Kind) and another accomplice and they’re all carrying concealed bombs. Parker must enlist Danny’s help in a race against time to stop the bombers and save hundreds of innocent lives.

Moreover, CTV has also revealed that other guest stars throughout season will include Lauren Holly, Victor Garber, Devon Bostick, Michael Eklund, Colin Cunningham and Stacey Farber just to name a few.

Finally, Flashpoint has been renewed for a fourth season by CTV before the start of the third season. Moreover, no American premiere date on CBS, a TV network, has been confirmed.

Teaser of 'Sortie 67'

While French Quebecker mainstream films - which are mostly shot in Montreal, mind you - keep pretending that ethnic minorities don't exist, it's a blessing that our independent films take the time to look at them. As a matter of fact, the teaser of Bastien Jephté's first film, Sortie 67, is already online.

The film takes place in St-Michel, a poor district of Montreal also known for its problems of criminality. Ronald Paquet (Henri Pardo), a young mulatto, saw his dad murder his mom when he was eight years old. This is why he waits for the day when he can finally avenge his mom's death. However, before the release of his dad, Ronald had always been tied to a violent street gang. In fact, this is why he's trying to make a choice: remain a criminal or pull himself together.

The film also stars Benz Antoine, Natacha Noël, Alain Lino, Mic Eli Bastien, Edouard Fontaine, Fabienne Colas, Sophie Desmarais, Natacha Noël, Anthony Clerveaux, Lansana Kourouma and Scott Jimmy Beaubrun.

Obviously, Sortie 67 is currently being screened at Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival. The (limited?) theatrical release of the film in Quebec is scheduled for fall 2010.

Finally, you can stay posted on the film on its Facebook and Twitter page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fantasia 2010: The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010)

This is the fifth film review in the coverage of Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival. With all the abduction thrillers out there, The Disappearance of Alice Creed can be considered as a pretty basic film that took all the good elements of the thriller handbook. Nonetheless, it's definitely a worth watching film if you just want to satisfy your curiosity. Period.

Two men (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan) fortify an appartment and soundproof its bedroom so that it can be used to lock a hostage. Afterwards, they head to an unidentified British suburb, abduct Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), the daughter of a millionnaire and tie her on the bed of the apartment's bedroom. Obviously, the two men's objective is to have Alice's father pay them a ransom of two million Sterling pounds. While she's intimidated at first, Alice decides to make her kidnappers' plan go awry by fighting them.

Obviously, The Disappearance of Alice Creed combines two of the most essential ingredients of a film about kidnapping: 1) moments when the abductee (Alice in this case) nearly manages to escape and 2) a few plot twists. However, while the film is quite entertaining, it's very likely to divide the audience, because it's hard to decide how to react after we had seen the film's plot twists. Given that these plot twists are references by the two kidnappers to their original plan and that they've been witheld from viewers from the beginning, one might wonder if these plot twists are cheap shots. I personally thought that these plot twists fitted in the story, because Martin Compston's and Eddie Marsan's performance, from the beginning to the end, makes these surprises somehow believable.

Despite that, The Disappearance of Alice Creed is an entertaining film and it's really well acted. While Gemma Arterton never overacts in her part, the most surprising actor in the cast is definitely Eddie Marsan. As Vic, Marsan pulls out a performances that makes you believe that he's one tough guy you just don't want to mess with.

Finally, despite having plot twists that might divide the public, The Disappearance of Alice Creed remains a decently executed film and also an entertaining one. While it doesn't renew the genre of abduction thrillers by blending other genres like Twisted Seduction, The Disappearance of Alice Creed hopefully has a leg to stand on. In fact, the most enjoyable moments are definitely the ones when Alice and each of her two kidnappers psychologically confront each other.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:UK (2010)
Length:100 minutes
Screenplay:J Blakeson
Director:J Blakeson
Starring:Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan

First Images and Teaser of 'Norwegian Wood'

The teaser of the upcoming Japanese film Norwegian Wood has finally been released online. While the North American release date and distributor haven't been confirmed, this film helmed by Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran will come out in Japan on December 11, 2010.

The film Norwegian Wood is an adaptation of a hit novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. The story takes place in the 1960s in Japan. Watanabe (Ken'ichi Matsuyama) is a literature student (with an interest in American literature) in an university of Tokyo. During a day, he randomly comes across Naoko, a childhood friend with whom Watanabe commonly shares a painful memory.

In fact, when they both were in high school, Kizuki (Kengo Kora), Naoko's boyfriend and Watanabe's friend, committed a suicide. Since then, Naoko has been psychologically fragile. Moreover, Watanabe is in love with her, but their relation can't be taken to the next level. At the same time, Watanabe gets in a relation with Midori (Kiko Mizuhara), a classmate of his and also an outgoing girl.

Now, while I'm not a fan of director Anh Hung Tran because of his abusive reliance on a slow pace, I'm looking forward for the release of this film in Canada. After all, I really loved the novel when I was in Grade 11.

Finally, here's the teaser.

Sources: Wildgrounds, The Playlist and the film's official web site.

Production Underway for 'Le bonheur des autres'

Since July 5, the upcoming Canadian romantic comedy Le bonheur des autres from director Jean-Phillipe Pearson has been in production in Montreal. This will be the case until August 13, 2010.

Twenty years before the events in the film's story, Jean-Pierre (Michel Barrette) left his wife, Louise (Louise Portal). At that moment, Marion and Sylvie, Jean-Pierre's two children, were respectively 10 and 8 years old. Moreover, since then, Louise has been raising her children all by herself. Eventually, Jean-Pierre will come back to his family and he believes that his past mistakes were forgotten.

During Sylvain's (Marc-André Grondin) 29th birthday, Jean-Pierre announces to his family that he's dating Evelynne (Julie LeBreton), a beautiful woman of 30 years old. Obviously, tensions between Jean-Pierre and his family get to the surface. While Louise sees this as an injustice, Sylvain complains about the absence of his father. As for Marion (Ève Duranceau), she has been trying to have a child for two years, but will face an unexpected pregnancy. This goes without saying that Jean-Pierre's happiness is regarded as the source of Marion's, Sylvain's and Louise's pain. At the same time, this happiness of Jean-Pierre might fade given that Evelynne hesitates to have a relation with Jean-Pierre, who is quite old.

The film also stars Germain Houde, Claude Despins, Stéphane Breton, Christiane Pasquier, Isabelle Vincent and Normand Daneau.

The film was shot with a budget of $3.7 million.

Finally, you can stay up to date on Le bonheur des autres's production on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

First Images of 'Die'

Les Films Séville, a Canadian film distributor, has released on its web site the first images of the upoming Canadian thriller Die. It should be make its theatrical debut on September 1rst, 2010.

This is what the story looks like as provided by the distributor:

Six people, each of them is on the road to self-destruction. They wake up in cells in a surreal facility, without knowing how they got there or why. Are they in denial? Are they crazy? What happened? As they try to figure things out, a mysterious man forces the six abductees to participate in a distrubing experiment called the Trials. During the experiment, the unwilling participants will come to face disturbing truths about themselves and decide each others' fate in a game of dice. As the storyline unfolds, we discover that something greater connects them all.
The story of this Canadian-Italian co-production was penned by Nick Mead and Domenico Salvaggio. The film will be helmed by Canadian director Dominic James.

The stars are Emily Hampshire, Elias Koteas, John Pyper-Ferguson, Caterina Murino, Patricia McKenzie, Patricia McKenzie, Karl Pruner, Simone-Elise Girard, Fabio Fulco, Peter Miller, Alexander Bisping, Ruth Chiang, Larry Day, Jayne Heitmeyer, Debbi Larkins, Elliott Larson, Vincent Messina and James Stevens.

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