Thursday, 30 April 2009

Film Reviews - Norway

Arn: The Knight Templar *
Big John / BLOD & ÆRE
Dead Snow / Død snø
Deliver Us From Evil / Fri os fra det onde *
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The / Män som hatar kvinnor *
Hunting Down Memory / Jakten På Hukommelsen
Imagining Emanuel
Man Who Loved Yngve, The
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale *
TrollHunter / Trolljegeren

*indicates co-production

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Film Reviews - Vampire

Love Vampire Films? Me too! Check out my Vampathon, Vampathon Vlog & Wrap Up and Episode 37 of the Movie Moxie Podcast where I take on Vampire Films as a Genre, discussing themes in vampire films, notable vampire films, my favourite vampire films plus review the film Priest (2011).

30 Days of Night
Black Sunday / La maschera del demonio
Blade II
Blade: Trinity
Bleeding, The (2009)
Blood & Donuts
Dark Shadows (2012)
Day Watch / Dnevnoy Dozor
Dracula (1931)
Dracula, Bram Stoker's (1992)
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
Fright Night (2011)
Interview with the Vampire
Let Me In
Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
Livid / Livide
Lost Boys, The
Midnight Son (2011)
Near Dark
Netherbeast Incorporated
Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
Priest (2011)
Queen of the Damned
Revenant, The
Shadow of the Vampire
Stake Land
Thirst / Bakjwi
Twilight Saga: New Moon, The
Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1, The
Underworld: Evolution
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Underworld Awakening
Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl / Kyûketsu Shôjo tai Shôjo Furanken
Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey

Back to Genre List

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Favourite Film Characters

I'm a little late to this party of celebrating Favourite Film Characters, but it's such a great topic I couldn't resist playing along. I had a lot of fun coming up with these lists and met with some interesting challenges along the way, such as differentiating characters from performances. One of the most interesting realizations was that often I would pick a man and a woman from the same film, but only once was it a couple and even then they were rarely seen on screen together.

Thank you Trista for tagging me, Film Squish for starting the madness, and also to Bob and Piper whose lists both reminded me to get this out in the world! Here we go.

The Men
Bucking with tradition, I'm gonna let the men go first here. The one challenge I found was needing to resist picking anything and everything from my favourite actors, just because I love them. I had to think long and hard about which characters shone through and why. There certainly were surprizes along the way, in particular to repeating characteristics.

From: Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor & Day Watch / Dnevnoy Dozor
Played By: Vladimir Menshov

Quote: "Every Night Watch officers must be proficient in combat. I don't need my people dying or killing anyone else"

The patriarch of the Night Watch, a organization of psychics, seers, shapeshifters and the like who have chosen the way of the light and to watch those who have chosen the dark. Powerful, wise, seasoned and can heal in a pinch. Can we say, awesome? Yes we can.

From: The Abyss
Played by Ed Harris

Quote: “When it comes to the safety of these people, there's me and then there's God, understand?”

As the head of an underwater oil rig, Bud is one tough cookie. He's got a job to do and a team that will get it done, but a character that can often be portrayed as a shouting, non-caring, all-for-the-money guy we instead get a strong leader and a loyal friend who is just as happy working along side his crew as he is taking charge. For those that know anything of the tarot, I remember my sister Jamie once describing Bud as the King of Cups which is absolutely perfect. Strong, yet caring - not something that is we see successfully done in film. Thankfully Ed Harris brought this to life beautifully.

From: Gladiator
Played by Russell Crowe

Quote “I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light.”

Not only is Maximus the definition of Alpha, what is more than that is he maintains his dignity through exceptional circumstances. Plus, he can kick ass.

From: The Professional / Léon
Played by Jean Reno

Quote: “No discussion.”
Yes, that is an actual quote.

Ah, Léon. Who knew a professional killer could be so kind? And so naive? A character as complex as he is simple, you have to admire his skill, adept intuition and how the blinders are kept completely on.

Scott Hastings
From: Strictly Ballroom
Played by Paul Mercurio

Quote: “I'm just asking you what you think of the steps.”

So, Scott isn't really the nicest of the bunch - but he can dance up a storm and learn more than just new steps. As an outsider of insiders, you just have to cheer for him.

From: Mirageman
Played by Marko Zaror

Quote – ah, Mirageman doesn’t say much

Vigilante with a heart of gold, Mirageman fights evil in a unique and not-always-adept take at crime fighting.

From: King Arthur
Played by Ray Winstone

Quote “Of course I'm coming! Can't let you go on your own, you're gonna get killed.”

Tough call here, I could have just as easily picked Tristan (played by Mads Mikkelsen) or Dagonet (played by Ray Stevenson), or any of the cast of the 2004 King Arthur. But there is something about Bors that rocks. He can be rude and rash but he always speaks his mind and gets the job done.

John Lee
From: The Replacement Killers
Played by Chow Yun Fat

Quote: “You're safer with me”

I didn't think I would have any hit men on my list, let alone two of them. Skilled, deadpan, cold but with a conscience. Gets me every time.

The Big Kahuna
From: Gidget
Played by: Cliff Robertson

Quote: "Don't you ever give up?"

Kahuna is that guy that everyone looks up to. He's relaxed and accepting, which always gives a calming and cool atmosphere.

From: The Matrix
Played by: Laurence Fishburne

Quote: “What was said was for you, and you alone”

Morpheus represents complete and utter devotion to the quest. He believes, and the power of belief is an amazing thing.

From: Constantine
Played by Tilda Swinton

Quote: “You chose a higher path. Look how well you're doing!”

Ah, Gabriel. Truthteller or naysayer? Someone you aren't ever sure if you really want them around but they always have something important to say, but will you listen to them? Perhaps, or perhaps not.

From: Harry Potter films
Played by Robbie Coltrane

Quote: “I shouldn't have said that. No more questions, don't ask anymore questions!”

How can you not love Hagrid? Bumbling, well-intentioned and sweet as all get out even if he isn't the best wizard or even qualifies as a wizard. He wears his heart on his sleeve, knows how to take care of any creature and doesn't judge anyone (or thing) on how they look. Gotta love him.

The Women
The women fall into completely different categories than the men in terms of favourites. There are the those that would be great to be and those that would be fantastic to be around. There are also a few that are a little volitile but one thing is for certain, they are all women you'd want to have on your side.

One challenge here was that there are more great female characters I considered included, like Ripley from Aliens or Sarah Connor from Terminator but I decided against it as they are characters that went through extreme circumstances and therefore in a different life than the one intended for them. Not wanting to have this be an influence, I decided to go with characters that chose their path, as opposed to make the most of what they ended up with.

From: Some Kind of Wonderful
Played by: Mary Stuart Masterson

Quote: “Ray, this is 1987. Did you know a girl can be whatever she wants to be?”
and “You want shallow, call Amanda Jones.”

Watts is likely the first female character I wanted to be. A tomboy, a drummer, a tough chick all around. I just never understood what the heck she saw in that Keith dude.

From: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Played by: Miranda Otto

Quote: “The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.”

I love the bravery of Eowyn, and how she doesn't give in to fear. Love her character, in the films and the books as well.

From: Excalibur
Played by Helen Mirren

Quote: “A nal nath rath, Uth as dey ta, Doth yen pen dray”

Morgana is power hungry, mischevious and shify. She's definitely a troublemaker but you have to admire her drive, craftiness and skill.

From: Pitch Black
Played by: Radha Mitchell

Quote: “I’m not your captain”

Fry certainly isn't flawless, but that is what makes her so fantastic. Vocal, brave and sometimes rash she's a real 'feel the fear and do it anyway' kinda character.

Mrs. Weasley
From: Harry Potter films
Played by: Julie Walters

Quote: “How about a spot of breakfast?”

If I had to choose any house to live in out of all the fictional worlds it would be the Weasleys. Sure it's no mansion with too many people and craziness but there is always an underlying abundance hidden there and at the centre of it is Mrs. Weasley keeping it all together. Besides, who else would make you a monogrammed sweater Christmas?

Tank Girl
From: Tank Girl
Played by: Lori Petty

Quotes: “Well, that’s a bore!” “It’s been swell but the swellings gone down” “Look at the sheer size of it” “I won”

Tank Girl is possibly the coolest character in the world. She dives in, never gives up and has a good time pretty much anywhere. Plus... great clothes.

From: The Matrix
Played by: Carrie-Anne Moss

Quote: “Are there any agents? Goddammit”

Trinity is another one of the characters that is cooler than cool. A multifaceted fighter that kicks butt, online and off. Disclaimer on this one though, I'd have to limit it only the first of the Matrix films.

From: Aliens
Played by: Jenette Goldstein

Quote: “Look, man. I only need to know one thing: where they are.”

The definition of the tough chick, Vasquez kicks a whole lotta butt. Strong, loyal and with a singular vision. I find her character very inspirational, the very definition of 'you can be anything you want to be'.

From: Underworld
Played by: Kate Beckinsale

Quote: "For those like me, the death dealers, they signal the end of an era. Like weapons of the previous century we too had become obsolete. Pity, because I live for it."

Fearless. Woman. Warrior. Vampire. Selene rocks.

From: Gidget
Played by: Sandra Dee

Quote: “All I want to do is surf. That's all."

The enthusiasm and openness of Gidget make her irresistable. She really does go headstrong into getting what she wants and she always believes she'll get it. Imagine that!

From: Night Watch / Nochnoi Dozor & Day Watch / Dnevnoy Dozor
Played by: Galina Tyunina

Quote: "Nice vampire you've got there"

Wise, assured and unusual, Olga is one powerful woman. She has a powerful calmness and confidence that I don't find we often see in female characters, at least not often enough.

From: Ginger Snaps
Played by: Emily Perkins

Quote: "United against life as we know it.”

The bond of sisterhood between Emily and Ginger in Ginger Snaps is so strong. Even though the film is a crazy horror film, it really captures how far sisters will to go help each other.

Abigail Whistler
From: Blade: Trinity
Played by Jessica Biel

Quote: "I brought you toys"

What I love about Abigail character in Blade: Trinity is that her physical prowness and strength is never questioned. Never.

Serafina Pekkala
From: The Golden Compass
Played by: Eva Green

Quote: "There are many universes and many Earths parallel to each other. Worlds like yours, where people's souls live inside their bodies, and worlds like mine, where they walk beside us, as animal spirits we call daemons."

I cried a little in The Golden Compass when Serafina Pekkala came on the screen. Oh, what I would give to have been a kid growing up with films with characters like her, powerful, wise, kind and she's a witch. I don't think it gets better than that. Beautiful.

So those are my selections for favourite characters. Continuing with bucking tradition of tagging anyone, I've decided to share some lists of others I've found along with way: Do You Have a Flag?, Film Crack, Cinema Fist and Ferdy on Film, etc. There are a couple fellow rule breakers as well: The Dancing Image and Film of the Year. Please feel free to play along!

Who is Obsessed? Not Canucks who turn to 17, nor UK who takes it to the State: Canadian, North American & UK Box Office April 24, 2009 Weekend

It's another three way split at the box office for the April 24, 2009. Here in Canada the top film for the second week in a row is 17 Again, whereas the UK turns to the BBC series turned film State of Play and North America gets Obsessed. It's nice to see that the enviro-doc earth debuted in the top 5 in both Canada and North America, Fighting chimes in at #3 and The Soloist is not far behind. The UK top ten has include their debuts of The Uninvited and Observe and Report.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the April 24, 2009 weekend
1. 17 Again
2. Obsessed *
3. Fighting *
4. earth *
5. Monsters vs. Aliens
6. Hannah Montana: The Movie
7. State of Play
8. Fast & Furious
9. The Soloist *
10. Crank: High Voltage
11. I Love You, Man
12. Knowing
13. Observe and Report
14. Met Opera: La Sonnambula *
15. Adventureland
16. The Haunting in Connecticut
17. Duplicity
18. Dragonball: Evolution
19. Tera Mera Ki Rishta
20. Sunshine Cleaning

Top 20 Movies in North America for the April 24, 2009 weekend
1. Obsessed *
2. 17 Again
3. Fighting *
4. The Soloist *
5. earth *
6. Monsters vs. Aliens
7. State of Play
8. Hannah Montana: The Movie
9. Fast & Furious
10. Crank: High Voltage
11. I Love You, Man
12. Knowing
13. Observe and Report
14. The Haunting in Connecticut
15. Sunshine Cleaning
16. Adventureland
17. Duplicity
18. Race to Witch Mountain
19. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
20. Taken

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the April 24, 2009 weekend
1. State of Play *
2. Monsters vs Aliens
3. Fast & Furious
4. 17 Again
5. I Love You, Man
6. In the Loop
7. The Uninvited *
8. Observe and Report *
9. Race to Witch Mountain
10. The Boat That Rocked

* indicates opening weekend in noted location, red text indicates Canadian film release

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 02: Character Introductions

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 02 is up!

Head on over to Before the Dawn to check out Marina & I's favourite character introductions in both the book and film of Twilight. We also discuss recent news on the upcoming films The Twilight Saga: New Moon & Eclipse and various projects the current cast is involved in.

Star Trek: Insurrection


Dir: Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: First Contact)
Regular Cast: Patrick Stuart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis
Additional Cast: Donna Murphy, F. Murray Abraham, Anthony Zerbe, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Gregg Henry, Michael Welch
USA, 1998

Originally Seen: Like Star Trek: First Contact, this one I first saw from rented it on VHS. 1998 was just before I started getting back into film again, so I wasn't at the theatre much.

Revisited: April 19, 2009

Reason to Revisit: For the Countdown to Star Trek Movie Marathon

I went into revisiting Star Trek: Insurrection thinking it's one of the better films and that I enjoyed it. Then from scene to scene I realized I knew almost every line, every joke, every ditty and every catch phrase. And there are a lot of them. It's strange, as I know I have it kicking around on tape somewhere but I don't remember watching it all that often. It's possible that since it came out when I was an adult that the memories are clearer that that of films like The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country which I first saw as a kid. It made for an odd, but definitely fond, re-watching experience.

The time line that Star Trek: Insurrection is set in is a darker period of the Star Trek universe, one that is inferred to but creatively offset in Star Trek: First Contact, and in Insurrection they have a brilliant way of incorporating the light along with the dark. Although the film certainly has a fair share of action, adventure and cool effects it also works in bringing ideas and ideals to light in a time of conflict which in turn presents a moral struggle. For me, this was a perfect blend of bringing together many different aspects of the Star Trek world together from the action, comedy and camaraderie but also a question to ponder - all in one film sized portion. The crew certainly gets a chance to be a bit more jovial then we usually see in the films, which sometimes works better than others but is an huge improvement over Generations and a nice return from the darker side of First Contact. Donna Murphy is a lovely addition to the film as a part of the supporting cast playing the wise and calm Anij. All in all, it was a lot of fun and I look forward to putting Insurrection back in the regular rotation of films to enjoy over and over again.

Worf, again, steals any scene he is in no matter how briefly. How does he do it? It's a Klingon mystery.

Post film freak out moment: Artim, the kid that befriends Data, is played by Michael Welch whose recent film credits include playing Mike Newton in Twilight. I try not to think about how Insurrection was released when I was in college (the first time).

Shannon's Overall View:

I enjoyed it, a lot
I'll watch it again
I recommend it to Star Trek fans from casual to die-hard

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Monday, 27 April 2009

New Moon Monday: Wolf Pack, ET Coverage and Eclipse Director Revealed

Well it's another New Moon Monday here, let's have a look at what new information has been released about upcoming Twilight Saga.

Wolf Pack Pictures
Finally we get the first photo image released to promote The Twilight Saga: New Moon. I found the image first over at USA Today, but you can see it in a larger format at Twilighters Anonymous.

The Wolf Pack picture features from left to right Alex Meraz as Paul, Chaske Spencer as Sam, Bronson Pelletier as Jared and Kiowa Gordon as Embry. Notice anyone missing?

The only previous image we've seen is the title of the film. Notice that both wolf pack & title image embrace a warmer and golden pallette. This is a major change from the colour story of Twilight which was very pale and focused on whites and tints green, grey and blue. It will be interesting to see if this warmer pallette persists for all the imagery or if we will get multiple colour stories for the different character groups.

ET spots
Last week there were two days where ET had New Moon coverage including being on the set and interviews with Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and very briefly a moment with director Chris Weisz. Overall, it's only about 6 minutes of coverage from 2 shows and doesn't give us a whole lot to chew. But it's still a first glimpse which is exciting nonetheless. For the spoiler sensitive, take note that the content of the film is discussed as well as creative solutions to the "how will the film that??" moments from the book.

April 23/09 Clip 1 (1m 49s), Clip 2 (2m 10s)
April 24/09 Clip 1 (1m 50m)

Eclipse director confirmed: David Slade
Summit Entertainment has confirmed that the third film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, will be directed by David Slade. There have been rumours galore in the past few weeks on who would be the director of Eclipse, but what a relief that the truth is out and we are now treading in known territory. David Slade is a fascinating choice for the film, his previous works feature films are both dark in nature, Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night.

Can't get enough of Twilight? Be sure to check out Marina & I's podcast: Before the Dawn.

Vlog - Week in Film & 101 Films - Going Classic


Films Discussed: missed seeing Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (so sad!), but did see Sunset Blvd., The Thing From Another World, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Onibaba and Clash of the Titans.

Link to 101 Films List
Clash of the Titans is set to be remade in 2010 by director Louis Leterrier. See more at the films IMDb Page.
Upcoming: Hot Docs 2009!

I may not have seen the film but I did get to see the poster!

Some of this weeks selections:

I saw The Thing From Another World on Scream Television, a channel that has some of the best TV spots, including this one:

Hot Docs 2009 Preview


It is almost upon us, the 16th annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival begins this Thursday April 30/09 and runs until Sunday May 10/09. The festival spans 11 days over numerous locations in downtown Toronto and is one of the biggest film festivals of the city. This year brings another stellar line up from homegrown films like the festival opener, Act of God, to films from around the world. This year the the country in focus for the 'Made In' program is South Korea and we have numerous South Korean films to explore and enjoy.

Before you head out to the festival, I recommend planning wisely. There are already numerous screenings that are rush only so to avoid disappointment, plan ahead! Check the online schedule and purchasing FAQ (including rush only explanation) to see how it all works.

When you are putting your schedule together, there are a few things to consider for timing. I recommend that you always give yourself extra time in between films if you are planning back to back screenings, especially if you don't want to be rushed off your feet. All films are listed in the program, but consider that the films are always introduced by festival staff, may be presented with a short film and often have a Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening. Q&A's are one of the things that make the festival experience special, so it's well worth planning in some extra time to make sure you get to stay for them.

Another consideration is the distance between the theatres. All the locations are in downtown Toronto, but some are very close but other quite the trek. The theatres that are walking distance from each other are Isabel Bader/ROM/Cumberland, but others it depends on your pace, method of transport and of course the weather how far you consider them from another with Innis on U of T campus, the Bloor at Bloor & Bathurst and the The Royal in Little Italy. Check out full information on venues here.

One important date during the festival to make note of is the last day, Sunday May 10, 2009 is Mother's Day! So, remember to spend some time with your Mom - why not even bring her to a film? This is also a historically busy lunchtime day around town!

One last note before getting to some film choices - always, always, always check the weather. I know it will be May during most of the fest but here in Toronto in the past few weeks we've had snow, thunderstorms as well as beautiful patio like days. Let's hope it's all sunny skies ahead.

This years festival features documentaries of every kind and on the Hot Docs site you can check out the titles by Program Categories. When I was looking through the films, I noticed a few distinct groupings of films. Here are some trends.

For the Genre fans: Zombies, Stunts and Space!

Zombie Girl: The Movie
Dirs: Aaron Marshall, Justin Johnson & Erik Mauch
A 12 yr old girl creates a zombie film. Let's see how.

Best Worst Movie
Dir: Micheal Paul Stephenson
Fan of Troll 2, the notorious Worst Movie of all time? Sure you are! Find out how such a 'bad' film became famous.

Action Boys
Dir: Byung-Gil Jung
South Korea
More behind the scenes film goodness as we get to see inside of world of Seoul Action School.

Another Perfect World
Dir: Joreien van Nes, Femke Wolting
The Netherlands
I'm a sucker for films that explore any kind of gaming, this one looks at the virtual worlds of Second Life and EVE.

Dir: Pavel Medvedev
Montage of previously unseen footage from the archives of the Soviet space program.

Rawr! Films for Sport & Strength Fans

Big John
Dir: Håvard Bustnes
A father & son, coach & professional boxing life.

Big River Man
Dir: John Maringouin
Chronicle of the attempt of an endurance swimmer to swim the Amazon river.

Dir: Zachary Levy
Just as the title says, the story of a Strong Man Stanless Steel.

Animals & The People that Love them

Cat Ladies
Dir: Christine Callan-Jones
You guessed it, it's all about crazy cat ladies! Meow!

The Tiger Next Door
Dir: Camilla Calamandrei
Following a man who breeds big cats in his backyard.

The Cove
Dir: Louis Psihoyos
Another one of the big buzz films of the festival, The Cove looks at the intervention to end dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.

The Biggies - The films everyone is talking about:

Act of God
Dir: Jennifer Baichwal
Opening night selection, explores the experience of those touched by lightning.

Dir: James Toback
Portrait with the one, the only, Mike Tyson.

Dir: Gary Hustwit
This film has been getting huge hype on the festival circuit already. Documentary examining Industrial Design, from the director of everyones favourite font film, Helvetica.

We Live in Public
Dir: Ondi Timoner
What would it be like to literally, live on camera for 30 days with other people? This film chronicles the experiment.

Prom Night in Mississippi
Dir: Paul Saltzman
Morgan Freeman offers to fund the first integrated prom in his home town.

These are just a drop in the bucket. Check out the Hot Docs website for info on all titles as well as a Film-by-Subject Guide and Searchable Online Film Schedule. For more information locations and tickets, check out Venue Information, Ticket Information, Box Office FAQ. You can also purchase tickets online or find out more about online ordering at the online ticketing FAQ.

You can also check out the scheduler for Hot Docs from B-side to help organize your films!

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from April 30- May 10, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday, 24 April 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 24, 2009

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 24, 2009! It feels like a quiet week when we only have 5 releases, and most have a sad or trying undertone - which feels like the tone of the moment. I swear something must be in retrograde because holy smokes everyone seems to be a bit down. Hopefully one of these films can cheer you up!

In limited release this week we have two films, both with a focus on relationships. The Canadian film Only shows use the subtle strength of friendship and Three Monkeys / Üç maymun the 2008 Cannes winner for Best Director (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) shows the strain of relationships in trying times.

In wide release this week we certainly have people facing some struggles. In Fighting, Channing Tatum is a streetwise fighter who gets a glimpse at something more. We also have Obsessed starring Ali Larter who is... wait for it... obsessed with her boss, Idris Elba. Last up we finally have the release of The Soloist starring Jamie Foxx as a near forgotten Cellist until he finds a friend played by Robert Downey Jr.

Along with regular releases, we also are full on in festival season. I'll be attending Hot Docs which opens next Thursday so be sure to check out daily coverage here at Movie Moxie from April 30 - May 10, 2009.

Have a great weekend!


Festival Watch

Hot Docs
Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
April 30 - May 10, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto International Film Festival for Children
Continues until April 24, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Jewish Film Festival
Continues until April 26, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday April 24, 2009 Releases

Dir: Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints)
Cast: Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard, Zulay Henao, Luis Guzmán
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Dir: Steve Shill - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Ali Larter, Idris Elba, Beyoncé Knowles
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Simon Reynolds & Ingrid Veninger - feature film directorial debuts
Cast: Jacob Switzer, Elena Hudgins Lyle, Ingrid Veninger, Simon Reynolds
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

The Soloist
Dir: Joe Wright (Atonement)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Tom Hollander
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Three Monkeys / Üç maymun
Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates / Iklimler, Distant / Uzak)
Cast: Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan, Rifat Sungar, Ercan Kesal, Cafer Köse, Gürkan Aydin
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of April 24, 2009**

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Writers/Directors: Simon Reynolds & Ingrid Veninger - feature film directorial debuts
Cast: Jacob Switzer, Elena Hudgins Lyle, Ingrid Veninger, Simon Reynolds
Canada, 2009

Reason to see: Compelled by the premise of two kids just around teenager age forming an unlikely friendship, and missed it at TIFF'08

Only was inspired by Northern Ontario in the 70's, a vibe that you can certainly feel in the film but the beauty of it is how it transcends time and place and lands on a chance friendship that could happen anytime or anywhere.

The young leads played by Jacob Switzer and Elena Hudgins Lyle give strong performances showing how different we can be depending on who we are with and what our relationship is with those around us. Who brings out the troublemaker in you and or who are you around when you get to be truly yourself. We learn from the two protagonists, Daniel & Vera as they learn from each other about their worlds, their thoughts and experiences in a way that rings true to friendships that crop up in unlikely but beautiful places.

Only is fantastic exploration of friendship through everyday adventures and how they can make the world special. The quiet pace and gentle tone of the film give a naturalistic feel that is easy to relax into and relate to. The music fits in perfectly, bridging characters in a unique way.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I recommend it

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

On the Edge of 17, Again: Canadian, North American & UK Box Office April 17, 2009 Weekend

17 Again tops the Canadian and North American box office charts on it's opening weekend. This makes the second week in a row of top honours going to the younger crowd with last weeks opening of Hannah Montana: The Movie. State of Play did land in the top 5 for both in it's debut week, whereas Crank: High Voltage only came in 6th in Canada and North America, and 5th in the UK. Fast & Furious and Monsters vs. Aliens are both holding on strong settling in the top tier of the charts.

In the Loop which debuted in the UK at #8 is a political comedy starring Tom Hollender, Steve Coogan and James Gandolfini got a stellar review on the Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Review podcast from April 17, 2009 (which also confirmed my suspicious when it described Crank: High Voltage as a film that 'hates women'). In the Loop is set for a limited US release on July 24, 2009 but no info yet for a Canadian release. Fingers crossed we will see it in theatres here this year.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the April 17, 2009 weekend
1. 17 Again *
2. Hannah Montana: The Movie
3. Monsters vs. Aliens
4. State of Play *
5. Fast & Furious
6. Crank: High Voltage *
7. I Love You, Man
8. Observe and Report
9. Knowing
10. Met Opera: Madama Butterfly *
11. Dragonball: Evolution
12. The Haunting in Connecticut
13. Adventureland
14. Duplicity
15. Tera Mera Ki Rishta
16. Sunshine Cleaning
17. Watchmen
18. Under the Sea 3D
19. Taken
20. Two Lovers

Top 20 Movies in North America for the April 17, 2009 weekend
1. 17 Again *
2. State of Play *
3. Hannah Montana: The Movie
4. Monsters vs. Aliens
5. Fast & Furious
6. Crank: High Voltage *
7. Observe and Report
8. Knowing
9. I Love You, Man
10. The Haunting in Connecticut
11. Dragonball: Evolution
12. Adventureland
13. Duplicity
14. Sunshine Cleaning
15. Race to Witch Mountain
16. Taken
17. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
18. The Last House on the Left
19. 12 Rounds
20. Sin Nombre

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the April 17, 2009 weekend
1. Monsters vs Aliens
2. Fast & Furious
3. 17 Again
4. I Love You, Man *
5. Crank: High Voltage *
6. The Boat That Rocked
7. Race to Witch Mountain
8. In the Loop *
9. Knowing
10. Marley & Me

* indicates opening weekend in noted location, red text indicates Canadian film release

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

One Night Only - Iron Maiden: Flight 666

Tonight is the night! It's a one night only worldwide event with screenings of Iron Maiden: Flight 666, a documentary on Iron Maiden 2008 World Tour tour from directors Sam Dunn and Scot MacFadyen (Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Global Metal). It's hard to decipher what is cooler, the fact that it captures a 45 day world tour, the concert footage, the music or getting to see what goes on behind the stage. What really throws me for a loop is that they have a customized airliner flown by Bruce Dickinson himself. Fan-freaking-tastic.

How can you resist?

In Toronto, the screening is tonight Tuesday April 21/09 at 7pm at the Scotiabank Theatre.
Check here for worldwide screening information.

Monday, 20 April 2009

New Moon Monday: Casting Details

On April 15, 2009 casting details were announced regarding The Twilight Saga: New Moon bringing many new names on board to fill spots for Volturi and Quileute characters.

I have to say that the casting of the Volturi members is stellar, bringing familiar faces and new players to the film, however all feel that they will settle in nicely as old world vampires of the Italian coven. First up we have Michael Sheen cast as Aro, the Volturi leader and I am thrilled with this choice. I have been impressed with Michael Sheen from the first Underworld film where he plays Lucian, the head werewolf. He reprised the role of Lucian for both Underworld: Evolution and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, but don't fret if you think he's stuck in a genre pigeon hold. He ain't. Other credits include Tony Blair in The Queen and Frost in Frost/Nixon and every performance was spot on. Two more familiar faces are Jamie Campbell Bower who is cast as Caius and Cameron Bright as Alec, both fantastic choices as they have successfully brought eerie or otherworldly performances in previous roles. Jamie Campbell Bower played the love struck Anthony in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Cameron Bright was the compelling Young Sean in Birth.

Further Volturi casting includes Charlie Bewley as Demetri, Daniel Cudmore as Felix, Christopher Heyerdahl as Marcus and Noot Seer as Heidi. Casting for the Quileutes includes Graham Greene as Harry Clearwater and Tinsel Korey is Emily.

We also have confirmation on the following returning cast from Twilight for New Moon: Billy Burke as Charlie Swan, Peter Facinelli as Carlisle, Elizabeth Reaser as Esme, Ashley Greene as Alice, Nikki Reed as Rosalie, Kellan Lutz as Emmett, Jackson Rathbone as Jasper, Edi Gathegi as Laurent and Rachelle Lafevre as Victoria.

Previous announcements included confirmation on returning cast from Twilight for New Moon are Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. New to the saga are Dakota Fanning as Jane and at the helm we have director Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass).

Source: Summit Entertainment Website (News Tab, 2009 Press Releases & News, April 15 — NEW MOON Start of Production)

Want more?
The IMDb Page for The Twilight Saga: New Moon has been updated if you want to click around complete filmographies. For the photo inclined, I would recommend checking out Twilight-Headed for a full rundown of pictures of the new cast members.

Sad New Moon Monday, Halt in New Moon Production (edit: Debunked)

I was just settling in to share the The Twilight Saga: New Moon casting (which came out last week) when I was shocked to see the reports of a halt in the production?

"Producers have been forced to halt production of the highly anticipated Twilight sequel amid accusations of plagiarism aimed at author Stephenie Meyer. Meyer’s former college roommate, Heidi Stanton" (quote: myCineplex).

This could throw a huge wrench in the works for the upcoming films, The Twilight Saga: New Moon just started filming last week and is currently scheduled to be released November 20, 2009 and third film of the saga, Eclipse is planned for release in 2010. What would this mean for the films? Only time will tell.

Fans of the books and films know that the inspiration for the "Twilight" came to Stephanie Meyers in a dream.

No word about the situation at either at the Stephenie Meyer site or Summit site, but I'll be sure to update when there is.

Sources: myCineplex, Dose.Ca, The Sun UK all from April 20, 2009

Update April 20/09 10:26 pm EST

Both Twilight Lexicon and Access Hollywood report that Summit Entertainment indicates the information about any delay in production as well as claims of plagiarism is not true.

I wanted to take this post down, but it goes against my values. I read every quoted and link very carefully, all the info appears clear, informed and in good faith on all the reports. There is a some crafty wordsmithing about in the initial reactions and even the quoted responses.

Always source the source.

A treat for those who stuck it out for this crazy story - check out these happy fan vids from people who actually got hugs members of the cast including Peter Facinelli and Jackson Rathbone. Isn't that much better news?

Update April 21, 2009 6:20 pm EST

Stephenie Meyer has posted on her website with an update confirming none of the above story is true, which is a relief! She als indicates that the filming is going well and gives kudos to the fansites that debunked the story days ago. Awesome!

Poll Results: All about going to the Theatre

Well we have a landslide on both polls about going to the theatre. First up is When do you plan to arrive at the theatre - with a stellar 73% response of 15 minutes early - you are the folks I like! 19% of you like to arrive 5 minutes early, not bad at all and 8% like to arrive 5 minutes late! Bad bad! I hope you are quiet sit downers!

Second question was When do you like to take your seat at the theatre? I admit after seeing the sweeping result of 79% picking Early enough to settle in I realize that was not a greatly defined response. Don't we all want to settle in? Most of us do! However 15% are fine to sit down just before show time, and 6% are fine to plunk down after the previews.

Overall, sounds like we have a on-time and considerate bunch! Those are the people I like to see at the theatre.

Thanks for voting!

When do you plan to arrive at the theatre?
73% - 15 minutes early
19% - 5 minutes early
8% - 5 minutes late
0% - Tie: At show time & 15 minutes late

When do you like to take your seat at the theatre?
79% - Early enough to settle in
15% - Just before show time
6% - After the previews
0% - Tie: At show time & After the commercials

Vlog - Week in Film & 101 Films - A Week of Errors


Films Discussed: Two Lovers, Chunghyang, In A Lonely Place (reason to see Bob's post over at Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind 10 Characters Meme), American Psycho, Sleuth (1972), Dracula (1931) and Wolf Creek.

Sleuth (1972) *is* currently at 180 on the IMDb Top 250 list.

Link to 101 Films List

Oops, I didn't make it through all of these! One left to go...

That's a lot of Dracula options!

No poster was up at the theatre for Two Lovers - so sad

Friday, 17 April 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 17, 2009

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 17, 2009! Last week being all about the limited releases and this week we are back on an even keel of three limited and wide releases each.

In limited release this week we have Fred Durst directorial debut with The Education of Charlie Banks starring Jesse Eisenberg and the well received baseball but not-you-regular-inspirational-baseball-film Sugar from the directors of indie powerhouse Half-Nelson.

In wide release this week we have Zac Efron same-person-time-travel-film 17 Again, journalism/political thriller State of Play starring Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams and last (and on my list, least) the new Jason Statham unlikely sequel to Crank, Crank: High Voltage.

A mid week release comes next Wednesday April 22 on Earth Day, we have the limited release of Earth, which appears to be a feature length documentary from the footage from the TV Series.

Have a great weekend!


Festival Watch

Reelworld Film Festival
9th annual festival celebrating diversity in film, video, and new media
Continues until April 19, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto International Film Festival for Children
April 18 - 24, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto Jewish Film Festival
April 18 - 26, 2009 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screening

Iron Maiden: Flight 666
Tuesday April 21, 2009, 7pm at Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Ontario Canada
Documentary on Iron Maiden 2008 World Tour tour from directors Sam Dunn and Scot MacFadyen (
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Global Metal).

Friday April 17, 2009 Releases

17 Again
Dir: Burr Steers (Igby Down Under)
Cast: Zac Efron, Thomas Lennon, Leslie Mann, Michelle Trachtenberg, Matthew Parry, Allison Miller
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Crank: High Voltage
Dir: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor (Crank)
Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Clifton Collins Jr., David Carradine, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Corey Haim
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

The Education of Charlie Banks
Dir: Fred Durst (The Longshots)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, Eva Amurri, Gloria Votsis, Christopher Marquette, Sebastian Stan
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

State of Play
Dir: Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren Rachel McAdams, Robin Penn Wright, Ben Affleck
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Dir: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson)
Cast: Algenis Perez Soto
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

Wednesday April 22, 2009

Dirs: Alastair Fothergill ("Planet Earth"), Mark Linfield - feature film directorial debut
Documentary following a year in the life of animal families
Narrator: James Earle Jones
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of April 22, 2009**

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Vlog - Week in Film & 101 Films


Films Discussed: Fanboys, Before Tomorrow (3rd in the trilogy of Atanajurat: The Fast Runner and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen), The Necessities of Life / Ce qu'il faut pour vivre, Nosferatu (1922) and The Brood.

The Necessities of Life / Ce qu'il faut pour vivre
won 4 Genies
Nosferatu *is* 87 years old - go go mental math!
Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast
Vids from The Brood screening with Edgar Wright and Art Hindle

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast - Episode 01: The Appeal


I'm happy to announce a new venture, and it's all about Twilight. The phenomena started with the books by Stephenie Meyer and in 2008, the Twilight Universe came alive on screen with the film adaptation of Twilight directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Now the second book New Moon, is currently being film and third is in the works as well which lets us know we are in for one long and fun ride to all things Twilight. With the Twilight world taking people by storm, Marina & I stop to ask, ponder and reveal what is it that draws us to this world of love, vampires and so much more on our podcast: Before the Dawn: A Twilight Podcast.

In our first episode we discuss The Appeal of the Twilight world with a focus on Edward & Bella's relationship in the books and film. We also touch on the GQ Article interview with Robert Pattinson and Adventureland starring Kristen Stewart.

You can listen to our first first episode here.

For those unfamiliar with the series, we do talk about the content of the film Twilight and first two book "Twilight" and "New Moon" in detail. I encourage Twilight and non-Twilight fans alike to have a listen and take part in the discussion - you can leave text and voice comments over at the Before the Dawn website and you can subscribe to the cast as well.

I am also hoping to share more podcasting news in the future so stay tuned!


Hannah Montana and Fast & Furious debuts for the win! Canadian, North American & UK Box Office April 10, 2009 Weekend

Hannah Montana: The Movie take the top of the charts in Canada and North America for the box office on the April 10, 2009 weekend, and Observe and Report comes in fourth. Last weeks release of Adventureland hangs in pretty steady only dropping a few places from it's number six debut. Fast & Furious races its way to the to top of the chart in the UK with its debut weekend. Talk about resilience - isn't it is pretty awesome to see that Slumdog Millionaire is still on the Canadian and North American charts even though it's already out of DVD?

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the April 10, 2009 weekend
1. Hannah Montana: The Movie *
2. Fast & Furious
3. Monsters vs. Aliens
4. Observe and Report *
5. I Love You, Man
6. Knowing
7. Dragonball: Evolution *
8. Adventureland
9. The Haunting in Connecticut
10. Duplicity
11. Race to Witch Mountain
12. Watchmen
13. Tera Mera Ki Rishta *
14. Taken
15. Sunshine Cleaning
16. Slumdog Millionaire
17. Under the Sea 3D
18. Dédé, à travers les brumes
19. Two Lovers
20. The Last House on the Left

Top 20 Movies in North America for the April 10, 2009 weekend
1. Hannah Montana: The Movie *
2. Fast & Furious
3. Monsters vs. Aliens
4. Observe and Report *
5. Knowing
6. I Love You, Man
7. The Haunting in Connecticut
8. Dragonball: Evolution *
9. Adventureland
10. Duplicity
11. Race to Witch Mountain
12. Sunshine Cleaning
13. Taken
14. 12 Rounds
15. The Last House on the Left
16. Watchmen
17. Sin Nombre
18. Under the Sea 3D
19. Slumdog Millionaire
20. Hotel For Dogs

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the April 10, 2009 weekend
1. Fast & Furious *
2. Monsters vs Aliens
3. 17 Again *
4. The Boat That Rocked *
5. Knowing
6. Race to Witch Mountain *
7. Marley & Me
8. Dragonball Evolution *
9. The Haunting in Connecticut
10. Paul Blart: Mall Cop

* indicates opening weekend in noted location
Red text indicates Canadian film release

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Star Trek: First Contact


Dir: Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Regular Cast: Patrick Stuart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis
Additional Cast: Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, Alice Krige, Neal McDonough, Dwight Schultz
USA, 1996

Originally Seen: Wow, I'm not entirely sure the first time I saw this. Looking at the release date in 1996 that was a time I wasn't going to the theatre a lot and since I was disappointed with Star Trek: Generations I likely waited to rent it on VHS.

Revisited: April 12 & 13, 2009

Reason to Revisit: For the Countdown to Star Trek Movie Marathon

Star Trek: First Contact marks an awesome return to the Star Trek film world after not so exciting Star Trek: Generations. First Contact is directed by Jonathan Frakes who also directed a number of The Next Generations episodes as well as Insurrection, the follow up to First Contact. I enjoy his direction as it often shows a great combination of action and humour but also always has an emotional element that is truthful and tender. This is certainly the case with First Contact which really brings the films back to the action/adventure genre with a big enemy to face and numerous problems to solve along the way.

The true charm of the film lies in the relationships. But, a new spin is taken on this as the focus is not between the relationships of the main crew members but with the fantastic supporting cast played by Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, Alice Krige and Neal McDonough. New and historical elements are featured and all fall into place perfectly. There are even moments of pure whimsy contrasted by characters being challenged in such a way that out of context would be hard to believe.

The beauty is, we get all that humour and character depth along with the adventure and action elements. Kudos to the cohesiveness of the film, which is impressive given the fact that at times there are three distinct plot and timelines being followed. First Contact really has it all, including one of the most cunning action sequences in the history of Trek.

Bonus: The big A-ha!
Now I know why I recognize Neal McDonough in every film I see him in (The Guardian, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Walking Tall, Minority Report, for starters). In First Contact he plays Lieutenant Hawk.

Shannon's Overall View:

I loved it
It is a repeat watcher
I'd recommend it to anyone familiar with the Star Trek universe

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Brood - The Wright Stuff Screening with Edgar Wright and Art Hindle

I attended a screening of David Cronenberg's The Brood last night as a part of The Wright Stuff series at the Bloor curated by Edgar Wright (dir: Hot Fuzz). What a fantastic night, the film was awesome (and it knocks one more title of my current 101 Films to See list), the crowd was lively and as a special treat Art Hindle, the main actor from The Brood was at the screening. Below are some vids of the introduction of the film (the IMDb keywords is my fave, although it is big spoiler-ville) as well as selections from the post film Q&A.

The evening also featured the short film Canadian Apocalypse by Justin Decloux, an awesome hommage to Canadian horror. You can see it on YouTube here.

FYI the first two vids are a little fuzzy at times and most of them discuss content of the film so those for are spoiler sensitive please take note.

Edgar Wright introduces the evening of the last night of The Wright Stuff screening:

Edgar Wright discusses David Cronenberg, horror films, working in the genre and the current state of horror:

Edgar Wright introduces The Brood via IMDb keywords (spoilers):

Edgar Wright introduces Art Hindle:

Post screening Q&A with Art Hindle, including discussing what it is like working with child actors when dealing with heavy subject matter (spoilers):

Post screening Q&A with Art Hindle, including discussing some of the challenging experiences during filming (spoilers):
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012