Mar 31, 2015

Review: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem (2007)

Alien vs. Predator didn't cut it for me. While I appreciated the effort that was put into building a great looking set as well as the use of special effects that have aged quite well even by today's standards, the action scenes are a flurry of incomprehensible mush and the characters are more cardboard than cardboard itself. While I think a lot of blame falls on the studio for giving such a tight filming and post-production schedule as well as forcing a PG-13 rating, Paul W.S. Anderson isn't blameless in all this.

Colin and Greg Strause were brought in to direct this sequel and with plenty of experience in the special effects field, it seemed like a match made in heaven. Add in the R-rating that was approved and it'd be easily to think that they were out to address all the problems of AVP. There are some legitimate improvements in AVPR, but unfortunately the film as a whole takes another step back. We'll get into that though.

Mar 30, 2015

Review: In the Bedroom (2001)

Todd Field seems to be more of an actor than a writer/director if you go by his filmography, but I believe his true passion lies in the latter. After a string of short films through the early to mid-90s, Field penned In the Bedroom with Robert Festinger as an adaptation of Andre Dubus' short story Killings. He also directed it and was met with some very positive critical reception. Nominated in five categories at the Academy Awards, In The Bedroom unfortunately went empty-handed at the end of the night.

In the Bedroom might seem like a risqué title, but it's actually just a metaphor having to do with lobster fishing. The story is set in Maine where lobsters are a big deal. The title refers to the fact that lobster traps are really only made to house two lobsters at a time. Once a third one enters, a fight will most likely break out which is why lobster traps have to be emptied at least once a day unless you happen to like dead lobsters or ones with missing limbs. There's a scene early on in the film that talks about this and it's cleverly woven into the story. 

Mar 29, 2015

Review: Flowers and Trees (1932)

As the 29th entry in Disney's Silly Symphonies, Flowers and Trees is notable for being the first full-colour animated short film ever released. Technicolor had been developing a three-strip process as a one-up on their two-color process and successfully convinced Walt Disney to try it out. Disney was even able to strike an exclusivity deal with Technocolor until 1935 for the technology, leaving other studios in the dust. With brighter and more vivid animation, Disney took home the first ever Academy Award for Animated Short Subjects.

Mar 28, 2015

Review: VeggieTales: Madame Blueberry (1998)

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. If that's the case then I must be one of the strongest people I know. I've now forced myself through ten videos of VeggieTales, not including the Christmas-themed ones I skipped ahead to during this past December. After getting through Madame Blueberry, the bitter reality is that I may have won a battle, but the war is far from won.

Review: Maleficent (2014)

If I were a movie studio, I'd want to be Disney. Despite all the consolidation that they've been doing with Marvel, Pixar and LucasArts, they haven't stopped churning out their own products and making good chunks of change. It hasn't all been peaches and cream if John Carter is any indication, but Disney has never been more powerful than now. They've come to rule the animated and live action blockbuster circuits which the latter will become even more of a reality once the Star Wars movies start up. If I were Universal, Warner Bros. or MGM, I'd be shaking in my boots.

A re-imagining of Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is also a pet project of Angelina Jolie's. In addition to starring as the main protagonist Maleficent, she also served as an executive producer giving her quite a bit of say in the whole project. Disney shockingly went with rookie director Robert Stromberg which isn't so shocking when he happens to be one of the most accomplished production and visual effect designers in the business. With such a CGI heavy film, his experience could definitely prove valuable.

Mar 27, 2015

Review: Neighbors (2014)

Straight-up comedies are a touchy subject for me. I don't really like to say that I'm a comedy snob though because that doesn't sit right with me. I mean, I like the odd stoner comedy now and again and you can't say that a guy who likes Pootie Tang hasn't got an open mind. I just still couldn't help but feel a bit suspicious about Neighbors though, especially with Seth "love him or hate him" Rogan on board. So you can bet that I had Houston on speed dial before I started watching this.

English/American Nicholas Stoller directed Neighbors and I've actually seen all of his movies besides his forgotten TV movie Entry Level. His directorial debut Forgetting Sarah Marshall was his best for sure. Also, if you don't hate Russell Brand (like me) then Get Him to the Greek is pretty fun and The Five-Year Engagement was quite good too, if a bit long. He's also written the screenplays of quite a few other movies that I liked, so Neighbors can't be all that bad right? Maybe I wouldn't have to make that call after all then...

Mar 25, 2015

Review: Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation has been on my list of "I'm Embarrassed I Haven't Seen This Film Yet" for quite some time. I mean we're talking about a movie that's been on the receiving end of an unbelievable amount of critical praise when it was first released and subsequently in more recent years. LiT most likely would've won Best Picture at the Academy Awards if The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King had come out any other year.

I've noticed that there does seem to be a difference between Sofia Coppola's earlier and later films. I haven't quite seen all her filmography yet, but besides The Virgin Suicides I've also seen The Bling Ring. While Coppola pays very close attention to her characters and her story in LiT and TVS, The Bling Ring in comparison feels relatively vapid if nice from a stylistic point of view. I get the impression that Marie Antoinette and Somewhere are more in line with TBR. I could be wrong, but that's just what I get. Anyway, I'm curious to see where Sofia's newer moves take her. She's got stylistic flair but also a talent for writing stories and characters.

Mar 24, 2015

Review: AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Alien vs. Predator was one of those movies that unfortunately spent much of its time in development hell. The whole idea of combining the Alien and Predator universes actually originated from a 1989 Dark Horse comic. Despite the popularity of the comic which spawned video games, novelizations and more, it took Paul W.S. Anderson literally pitching the idea to Fox executives before anything was actually done. The meeting went so well in fact that the project was pretty much greenlit on the spot.

Understandably there was some groaning from people involved with both franchises, though mostly from the Alien side of things. Ridley Scott, James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver weren't very pleased with the idea since they had their own "Alien 5" in development that was eventually reworked into Prometheus. Part of their negativity was to protect their own work of course, but I can completely understand their point of view. AVP sounds like studio laziness at its worst and who could forget Freddy vs. Jason which was released just a year earlier in 2003? I'd certainly like to anyway.

Mar 23, 2015

Review: A Night at the Roxbury (1998)

I can't tell you how many times it's happened where people around me have referenced A Night at the Roxbury and I couldn't do anything else but smile and pretend to go along with it. I had never seen the movie before and all I knew about it from the jokes was that it had some scenes with Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell bobbing their heads to the side to "What is Love" by Haddaway. Oh, and I've been familiar with this Bill Gates/Steve Ballmer "thing" for quite a while. I was just glad that I could finally be in on all the Night at the Roxbury jokes, even if I'm a bit late.

A Night at the Roxbury is one of several Saturday Night Live sketches that were adapted into feature length films. Besides ANatR, the late 90's seemed to be a particularly fertile time for SNL movies with four released films from 1998 to 2000. Only ANatR ended up being profitable and only slightly. It would take another ten years before another SNL sketch-based film came out and MacGruber just wasn't the answer either.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Genre: comedy
Directed by: John Fortenberry, Amy Heckerling
Produced by: Amy Heckerling, Lorne Michaels, Robert K. Weiss, etc.
Written by: Steve Koren, Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan
Music by: David Kitay
Running time: 82 minutes
Production company: Paramount Pictures, SNL Studios
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures, United International Pictures, National Broadcasting Company, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $17,000,000
Box office: $30,331,165 (North America)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Loni Anderson, Dan Hedaya, Molly Shannon, Dwayne Hickman, Maree Cheatham, Lochlyn Munro, Richard Grieco, Kristen Dalton, Jennifer Coolidge, Meredith Scott Lynn, Gigi Rice, Elisa Donovan, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Quinn, Twink Caplan

_______________________________________________________________________________III

Synopsis


Yemeni-American brothers Steve (Will Ferrell) and Doug Butabi (Chris Kattan) are hardcore clubbers who dream of getting inside the mecca of all nightclubs in Los Angeles, the Roxbury. If they ever want to open their own club comparable to the Roxbury, it's absolutely necessary that they actually get in first. Fed up of working for their bossy father (Dan Hedaya) in his artificial flower shop, the Butabi brothers vow that this will be the time they're finally let in.

Review


Even at a scant 82 minutes, there's no denying that A Night at the Roxbury stretches its material Reed Richards thin. I can see the Butabis as being very good subjects for a series of sketches, but it's asking a lot to make them the center of a feature length film. Most of the jokes are of the Butabi brothers being either stupid or ignorant which is the kind of thing that can get pretty old.

But you know what? There's something that's completely infectious about A Night at the Roxbury. Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan have some pretty good brotastic chemistry going on and while I'll admit there's not a whole lot going on in ANatR, I had a pretty good time. There's a lot of dancing and head bobbing and maybe a bit too much slapstick humour, but it all works relatively well. Well enough anyway to make me want to bob my head along with the Butabi brothers every time.

I can't lie that the humour is mostly hit or miss though. While what works and what doesn't depends completely on the person, for me personally I give a small margin advantage for the hit side. A lot of the humour is pretty childish though and the dumb bravado of the Butabis can only go so far. For me this is all about the comedic performances of Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan who give it their all as well as all the music scenes. 

There's actually a surprising amount of special appearances from actors like Loni Anderson, Richard Grieco and even Michael Clarke Duncan (???). Probably best of all though is Molly Shannon who does her best impression of a psycho female dog. It's not a particularly demanding role for her, but having Molly Shannon there is simply an example of good casting. She's an SNL alumni too which is nice.

The story isn't really anything to write home about. It sticks to a familiar narrative and has a pretty predictable outcome. Did anyone really expect something more though? This is an SNL sketch movie after all. It doesn't need to be deep or complex. The main goal here is to be funny and A Night at the Roxbury succeeds in doing that relatively well.

By tomorrow I'll probably have forgotten the story of A Night at the Roxbury. That really doesn't matter though because what will still be with me is Will Ferrell and Chris Katten dancing to "What is Love" again and again. Certain songs become synonymous with movies such as Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" with Rocky III and "Goodbye Horses" with Silence of the Lambs. It's the same thing with "What is Love" which will forever be associated with A Night at the Roxbury. In fact, "What is Love" IS A Night at the Roxbury.

Rating


6/10

Mar 22, 2015

Review: Three Little Pigs (1933)

Part of Silly Symphonies, Three Little Pigs is one of the most famed animated shorts that's come out of Disney in all of its glorious history. You could say that about a lot of their films, but it's definitely a tag that Three Little Pigs has earned. It was quite successful at the box office in its time and it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1934. It was also selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry. Simply said, Three Little Pigs is a big deal.

I've seen pretty much every Looney Tunes version of The Three Little Pigs and the best of all is probably Pigs in a Polka. Part of Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies, it's a spoof of Three Little Pigs and Fantasia put together. It's a brilliant little film, but you also can't forget The Turn-Tale Wolf and The Three Little Bops (my personal favourite) which are both worth seeing as well. Point is, it was about time I see Disney's take on the famous fairy tale.

Mar 21, 2015

Review: 22 Jump Street (2014)

Before it was released, no one had really high expectations for 21 Jump Street. After all, it doesn't take a cynic to know that Hollywood is always on the lookout for whatever's hot at the moment and 80's TV shows seemed to be the thing. The A-Team and G.I. Joe are some examples I can think of off the top of my head. While both performed quite well at the box office, they're definitely not movies I'd consider to be worth more than a watch. That especially goes for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra which funnily enough stars the soulless corpse of Channing Tatum.

Everyone who had doubts about 21 like I did was proven wrong once it was released. With a well-written script from Michael Bacall, clever direction from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as well as some of the most brotastic chemistry from Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, we had a winner. No way could the creatively titled 22 Jump Street match the awesomeness of 21 right?

Review: Bicentennial Man (1999)

I don't believe that I've ever seen Bicentennial Man in all of its entirety before now. If I'm not mistaken, I think I saw part of it in elementary school where we only ended up seeing like half the movie. I must've been a movie guy when I was younger too because boy did I hate when I didn't get to see a movie in its entirety. The first half of this Isaac Asimov/Robert Silverberg adaptation definitely seemed very familiar to me anyway, so I've seen it somewhere for sure.

So here we have Chris Columbus directing Robin Williams again after the massive success that was Mrs. Doubtfire from five years earlier. Can't blame anyone for wanting to try and catch lightning like that again. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan and Bicentennial Man fizzled at the box office. BM almost broke even, but to Hollywood accountants a flop is a flop, no matter how mild it may be. 

Mar 19, 2015

Review: Nowhere (1997)

Nowhere is the final film of Gregg Araki's Teen Apocalypse Trilogy. All about the teenage angst of the 90's, it follows very closely in the thematic footsteps of Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation. Content to remain very much on the fringe with tons of violence and sex, teenage alienation is the main subject it tries to tackle. James Duval also returns to play a new main character as he always does for these Araki films.

What's interesting about Nowhere is how it completely loses its mind with all the cameos. All the adult characters are played by actors or actresses who were once in famous American sitcoms or comedies from the 1970's and 1980's. You got Beverly D'Angelo of Vacation fame who plays Dark's (James Duval) mother for example. I'll admit that a lot of these cameos went over my head since I've never been a TV guy, but I do get the significance.

Mar 18, 2015

Review: The Safety of Objects (2001)

Based on several A. M. Homes short stories, The Safety of Objects is an independent film directed and written by Rose Troche. It's one of those ensemble cast drama films that feature intertwining stories with a host of different characters, so you better be ready with that concentration cap if you plan on watching it. I was a bit wary of the low critic score before I started watching it, but I was pretty interested in seeing what Glenn Close could do.

One of the more notable features of this film is that it's Kristen Stewart's big screen debut as a child actress. Well, as a credited child actress anyway. I mean, it's not like being "Ring Toss Girl" in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas is all that important to her or anyone else. She's moved on to bigger and better things such as starring in young adult vampire film franchises and winning big, blocky César Awards.

Mar 17, 2015

Review: Predator 2 (1990)

Everyone knows that Predator is a classic as far as the action genre goes. If you somehow don't, get on that. It wasn't a big hit with the critics at the time, but it did make a lot of money. Critics eventually warmed up to Predator as they sometimes do and now it looks like it will continue on as one of those infinitely re-watchable flicks. I mean how good does an 80's actioner with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the jungle along with his commando buddies trying to survive being hunted down by a technologically and physically superior alien species sound? Like the purest of symphonies to me.

So how come Predator 2 is never really talked about? Where did it go wrong? Well, probably one of the biggest problems of Predator 2 began in pre-production. The producers wanted the budget of Predator 2 to be the same as Predator which made it impossible to hold onto director John McTiernan who had just come off arguably the greatest action movie ever made in Die Hard or Arnold Schwarzenegger who was still at this point a rising star. Both would obviously have higher salary fees and unfortunately, the producers didn't want to pay up. The budget ended up being higher anyway but probably still not high enough to retain two extremely popular talents.

Mar 16, 2015

Review: Regarding Henry (1991)

Who doesn't love Harrison Ford? Gruff on the outside and probably just as gruff on the inside, he's a walking legend. He'll be forever remembered as Han Solo, Dr. Indiana Jones and to a lesser extent, as Rick Deckard from Blade Runner. His modern work is perhaps a bit lacking besides the film 42 where he played Branch Rickey who was the first executive of the MLB to sign an African-American to play in the MLB. Still, everyone can agree that the 80's and the 90's were his playground.

I'll admit that I've never really heard of Regarding Henry before watching it. It's not a movie that's brought up when you talk about Harrison Ford, but that's certainly no fault of its own when Star Wars and Indiana Jones overshadow pretty much anything put out by Hollywood in all of its history. It's interesting to note that this was J.J. Abrams' second screenwriting project and his first real solo job. Of course this was back when he was going by Jeffrey instead of J.J. funnily enough.

Mar 15, 2015

Review: VeggieTales: Josh and the Big Wall! (1997)

There's not much for me to say before I begin my review of what is the ninth video in the dishearteningly long VeggieTales series. Maybe it's time I just give up. That would be the easy thing to do, but I just can't. I've come this far already and I'm not about to let a bunch of vegetable driven Bible story re-tellings stop me. 

I suppose the only thing of note here is that Josh and the Big Wall! was the final time Chris Olsen was involved with VT in some capacity. His time with VeggieTales all started with The Toy That Saved Chritmas as a co-director and a producer. Continuing in the same positions from then on, He was basically only around for a year. I never really noticed that much of a difference with him or without him, so it's a non-issue I guess.

edit: I've noticed that Chris Olsen still has some more VeggieTales projects that he's involved in. He just simply neglected to make his IMDb profile as complete as it could be. 

Mar 14, 2015

Review: Polytechnique (2009)

There's no question that the École Polytechnique Massacre is one of the saddest chapters in all of Montreal and Quebec history. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a knife, Marc Lépine went on a rampage through École Polytechnique and shot 28 people, killing 14 women. After ending his own life, it was later discovered that his attack was motivated by a hatred of feminism and women whom he blamed for his less than desirable life. One still can't help but wonder how someone could become so full of hatred to commit such an act.

The decision to make a movie based on these events was quite controversial at the time before the film's release which is understandable given the circumstances. I mean, is it right to make a film based on a national tragedy for commercial purposes? According to Denis Villeneuve, "It's something that caused a lot of anger here, that caused a lot of pain, and the idea that you can't talk about it? I think that's really immature." I side with Villeneuve on this one personally.

Mar 13, 2015

Review: The Doom Generation (1995)

Gregg Araki's Totally F***ed Up is far from your every day movie and that goes way beyond its eye-catching title. Whether it was from its pseudo-documentary format or its at times shocking imagery, it's certainly memorable. It wasn't a perfect movie by any means and it may not have held my attention the whole way through, but I definitely admired it for its ability to stand out on its very limited budget.

In The Doom Generation, Gregg Araki continues the themes he introduced in Totally F***ed Up. These two films as well as the 1997 film Nowhere constitute what is the Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy. They're not follow-ups to each other story-wise, but are all the same extensions of one another. They all feature ostracized teenage characters who reject anything to do with normalcy. Oh, and James Duval happens to be in all of them as well.

Mar 12, 2015

Review: Totally F***ed Up (1993)

I'm familiar with Gregg Araki's more modern work such as The Mysterious Skin and some other titles that I haven't seen yet like Kaboom and White Bird in a Blizzard. Totally Fucked Up, or Totally F***ed Up since swearing in a title isn't all that marketable, is my first foray into 90's Araki which is a big deal. The first movie in the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, Totally Fucked Up is one of the early works that contributed to New Queer Cinema.

New Queer Cinema can be thought of as a queer-themed independent film movement that began in the early 1990's. A common theme throughout is the rejection of heteronormativity, or that men and women each have their own roles and that's just how things are. Totally Fucked Up and the rest of the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy are well known entries in this movement that has since culminated in mainstream hits like Brokeback Mountain, Milk and The Kids Are All Right.

Review: It's Complicated (2009)

Nancy Meyers seems to specialize in these middle-aged romantic comedy movies. Her first directorial job was a remake of The Parent Trap which even though has a young Lindsay Lohan, it's all about a pair of twins getting their mother and father back together again. After that, it's been nothing but smooth sailing in the sea of middle-aged romance ever since with only The Holiday straying just slightly from that course.

There's definitely nothing wrong with targeting this demographic. I mean not everyone is interested in superheroes and Hollywood blockbusters after all. My concern is that despite having good casts in all her movies, Meyers seems to bloat things out of proportion. From What Women Want to The Holiday, that's probably my biggest complaint for all her movies. Does Nancy Meyers manage to avoid that problem with It's Complicated?

Mar 11, 2015

Review: Another Froggy Evening (1995)

In 1955, Chuck Jones directed one of the greatest animated shorts of all time in One Froggy Evening. That's how we were all introduced to Michigan J. Frog, otherwise known as the frog with the greatest singing voice in history. Did we really need a sequel? Did we even want a sequel? Whether it was Chuck Jones who made the call or someone else at Warner Bros., we got one anyway forty years later as a sort of anniversary present. Well to be fair, Another Froggy Evening is in fact a prequel that aims to give a bit more back story to the origins of Michigan J. Still, Jones took a big risk with this one.

Mar 10, 2015

Review: Predator (1987)

I think everyone can agree that there are few movies are as manly as Predator is. How manly is it really? Well, it's enough to probably increase the hair per square inch on any man's chest. It's manly enough to even pump up a regular man's biceps into 20-inch monsters by the end of it. That eight month-old baby boy learning how to crawl over there? It honestly wouldn't be surprise me if he instantly turned into a mini body builder after watching ten or so minutes of Predator. Seriously, that's how manly this movie is.

But seriously, I love Predator. It wasn't my first experience with Arnold Schwarzenegger which all began with Conan the Barbarian, but it was another chapter in his greatness for me personally. The story isn't anything all that special, but that's what you say if you don't think a group of commandos going into a jungle on a rescue mission and running head first into a hostile alien is cool.

Mar 9, 2015

Review: The Babadook (2014)

All summer I've heard talk of Australian horror film The Babadook and I was intrigued to say the least. I'd say that there are only a handful of legitimately good horror films released in a year and it really looked like TB was one of them. All I knew about it was that it involved a children's book as well as a mother and her son. I made sure to keep it that way too because nothing spoils a movie like knowing way too much about the story, especially for horror movies.

How director/writer Jennifer Kent got around to doing The Babadook is pretty interesting. She originally started out as an actress before falling out of love with it. After seeing Dancer in the Dark, she was inspired to write to Lars von Trier, asking to learn under his personal tutelage. Amazingly, she was invited to assist him during the filming of Dogville. Kent's first work was actually a short called Monster in 2005 which eventually formed the basis of The Babadook.

Mar 8, 2015

Review: Blue Jasmine (2013)

Most people who follow business news or news at all have heard of Bernie Madoff. Convicted of fraud in 2009, he became the poster child of what's wrong with the financial world after hurting a lot of people to the tune of several billion. Hal Francis who is played by Alec Baldwin reminds me quite a bit of Madoff and I'm sure that's what Woody Allen was intending. Although Madoff story and the Great Recession of 2008 were some years ago, financial scandals, ponzi schemes and golden parachutes are still on everyone's minds today which makes the story of Blue Jasmine quite relevant.

Blue Jasmine is probably mostly known for Cate Blanchett's powerhouse performance that netted her the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role as well as many other accolades. Her co-star Sally Hawkins also recieved some recognition as a supporting actress. What I find funny is that Blanchett is Australian, Hawkins is English and they're both playing American characters. This thing of having a Brit playing an American is getting to be such a common occurrence these days so it's probably not even worth the comment. 

Mar 7, 2015

Review: 21 Jump Street (2012)

I don't think that anyone really expected 21 Jump Street to be as successful as it ended up being. It's based off nothing more than a fading memory of the late 1980's, dredged up by Columbia Pictures. Despite that, it made over $200 million worldwide at the box office and was received quite positively by critics against all odds. The 21 Jump Street TV series itself originally ran from 1987-1991 over five seasons and it's what gave Johnny Depp his real start in Hollywood.

The success of 21 Jump Street has of course spawned the inevitable sequel and is another feather in the caps of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. I think everyone wants this duo to be directing their comedies these days and it all began with the surprise hit of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It's also pretty cool to see that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum executive produced 21 Jump Street with Hill also co-writing the story with screenwriter Michael Bacall.

Mar 6, 2015

Review: Snow Cake (2006)

Before watching Snow Cake, I knew pretty nothing about it besides the fact that it starred Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. That was probably a good thing because I soon discovered that Weaver plays a character who has autism. If I had known that beforehand, I'd have probably been a lot more skeptical about the film. Movies with mentally handicapped characters seem to have a habit of being a little too emotionally cloying for my taste so it was definitely in my best interest not to have known this beforehand.

Anyhow, this independent Marc Evans helmed piece is a Canadian/UK co-production filmed on location in Wawa, Ontario, Canada. I love it. I'm of the opinion that there are few things as satisfying as when a movie is filmed on location. Snow Cake ended up getting some pretty major attention at the 27th Genie Awards which recognize the best Canadian films of the year. Sadly, I don't know of too many people in Canada who care about our national movie award shows. That's why they later merged with the Gemini Awards in 2012 to form the Canadian Screen Awards for good reason. Better to consolidate than fail alone.

Mar 4, 2015

Review: The Wedding Date (2005)

My girlfriend wasn't feeling too well last night so she wanted something easy on the eyes, ears and most importantly, the head. This called for a cheap chick flick and The Wedding Date certainly fit the bill. It clocks in at a generous 90 minutes since in reality it's only 78 minutes if you forget about the credits which no one watches anyway. Based on "chick lit" writer Elizabeth Young's Asking for Trouble, this is a "migraine movie" if I ever saw one.

I'm not much of a Debra Messing connoisseur since she seems to be more of a TV person. Having the titular role of Grace in Will & Grace doesn't mean anything to me since I've never seen more than a few seconds at a time of the show during channel surfing sessions when I actually used to watch TV which was years ago. I've seen her in a handful of other movies, but can't really recall anything noteworthy about her performances. This is her chance to prove herself to me, but I suppose all that really matters is that she finds some chemistry with her co-star Dermot Mulroney and creates a few laughs.

Mar 3, 2015

Review: Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien: Resurrection has always been a chapter of the Alien series that I wish didn't exist. I know that's a pretty harsh line to open a review, but it's the unfortunate truth. While Alien 3 for me is OK despite having a whole slew of problems, there are some elements about it that I actually like. I can't bring myself to say the same thing about Alien: Resurrection though. Even just the title bothers me in its attempt to educate film goers that everyone's favourite alien killer Ellen Ripley is back in action.

It's nice all the same that Sigourney Weaver is back and she is surrounded by a pretty competent team. French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet had done two impressive films in Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children as a co-director before he was offered the job to directing Alien: Resurrection and I think there's a pretty good match there. He also brought along his director of cinematography Darius Khondji who had worked with him on those films. With Joss Whedon, one of the screenwriters for wildly successful Toystory along for the ride, what could go wrong? Apparently a lot.

Mar 2, 2015

Review: Blitz Wolf (1942)

Digging up old movies that are considered to be in poor taste today is always pretty interesting and there's no question that Blitz Wolf fits into that category. Blitz Wolf was even considered to be in poor taste back when it was released due to its over the top "portrayal" of Adolf Hitler. Since no one really knew who would win the war, it was maybe not the best thing to do. Still, seeing Hitler as the Big Bad Wolf is something you just got to see to believe. This cartoon has been shown outside of the WWII time period, but censored of its more racist elements. Still, you can find an unaltered copy of it on Internet Archive thankfully.

Mar 1, 2015

Review: And So It Goes (2014)

Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton have both had illustrious careers and no one can really say otherwise. While I've never been one for Diane Keaton personally, she's got some big movies to her name and her typical high-strung performances do at times fit in very nicely. I'd definitely call myself a Michael Douglas fan though.

What I've begun to notice about Douglas and Keaton is that they're starting to be in movies I'd term as "old-timer" movies. Meant to attract the 50 and over crowd, they usually end up being pitiful tributes to once better times. Last Vegas is definitely one of these and The Big Wedding to be fair tries to be a movie for young and old by assembling an ensemble cast of young actors not trying and old actors not caring. Point is, Douglas and Keaton aren't getting the offers they once were. I'd rather they skip out on projects like this, but when there's bacon to be taken home it's a different story.