Sunday, October 31, 2010

1454 - Halloween II

Based on the last few films I've watched it would appear that I'm some kind of horror nut, which is not true at all. Tis the season though - and I was working on a draft of a horror comedy type script, so I've also been watching stuff for inspiration and to get into the mood - so there's that as well.
I've seen a bunch of the films in this series, but I haven't seen this one - and since Netflix had it... who was I to turn it down. It could be that it's a film that's almost thirty years old now, but I just found it a bit tiring, unmotivated. I got annoyed by the fact that Myers is obsessed with killing Strode, but yet he takes his sweet ass-time wherever he walks. The convenience of things drove me a little nuts as well. It's hard to be scared of a film like this when we've got decades of stuff in-between that's designed for more to shock. Geez, I wonder what kind of shit my son will be watching when he's my age if I consider this stuff tame.
Not horrible by any means, but I didn't care for it too much.
All right. Enough with the horror for now - time to get back to my usual fare!

1453 - Dead Like Me: Life After Death

I was a huge fan of this series and I was really excited when I'd heard about this - until I found out that Laura Harris and Mandy Patinkin weren't involved. I loved Ellen Muth in the series and I've always been surprised that she doesn't work more. Had a bit of a crush on her, I did.
In all honestly, I didn't really dig this. I felt like they didn't really tell the best possible story that they could have. This is a world that's just so damn rich in ideas and character and it just fell a bit flat. Britt McKillip was the highlight for me in this, and surprisingly so - she's really come into her own.
The series was such a treat that it feels like it's ended on such a down note filled with missed opportunities. I wasn't really expecting anything specific, but I was hoping for something a little better given what came before. If you're a die-hard fan of the series you probably owe it to yourself to check it out - but tread carefully...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Super Mario Galaxy

So I'm one of the last people on the Wii planet to play this game, I realize. I'm not a huge gamer but I'm a Mario-geek and I thought this was probably the best Mario game to date. It's challenging without being frustrating. As annoyed as I was with Paper Mario, I adored this - the game play was fluid and the thing just moved along with little to no pace-killers. It's a huge game, which makes you really feel like you're getting your money's worth - and even if you're good at it it takes a decent amount of time to play. Enough little things to really challenge you, but not in a way that makes it impossible. I've finished the game, but there are some extras to still unlock.
I don't play games a lot, except I often use them to cleanse my palette between drafts on something, or if I want to take a break from watching movies. I'll definitly pick up New Super Mario Bros and the sequel to this game at some point.... oh... hey.... now I know what I can ask for for Christmas...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sandman Vol 6: Fables & Reflections

As you can see I took a little hiatus from this series, and from comics in general. My life is a constant balance of reading, writing, and watching, and the balance was more towards watching - which is mostly because I haven't been taking the TTC for the last two month, which is where I do the majority of my reading - but now I'm back on a regular commute for a bit so I'll get a chunk of reading in again - and I've got a stack of comics and books alike to read, but first up to finish is Sandman, 'cause it's a loaner.
So I messed up and read volume seven before I read this one - not that it really matters, Sandman is kind of designed in a way that each volume is more or less standalone - however in the next volume a major story arc starts, and so I'm really looking forward to getting back into that. This book right here is what I like to call a hallway (a term I steal affectionately from Mr. Scott McLaren), it's in-between things. It's a lot of stand-alone stories, and for the most part they're fun enough - but this was one of my least favourite installments. There's a great story-arc near the end with Dream's son, but the rest is mostly just filled up with one-off stories that are entertaining and interesting enough on their own as he plays with history and how Dream is part of everything. I mean - that's what's fun about Gaiman in this series - you get a sense that he's a kid in a candy store playing around with different ideas and never feeling bogged down to a format or anything like that - and it works well for the series in terms of adding flavor, but I want stories that link, and this volume was just a little weak on that.
Favourite Quote: "without dreams there could be no dispair"
Highlight for me was seeing Dream and Death as children.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1452 - The Thing

Through a bizarre twist of fate I ended up being part of a conversation about this film today and since I had never seen it I promised that I would check it out as-soon-as-possible - little did I know that I'd find it on Netflix and so here we are.
I found the beginning to be a bit slow. But I understand the desire to let it breath a bit at the beginning. In truth despite this being an older film it holds up extremely well - it's interesting, it's smart, it keeps you guessing. The only glaring thing is the make-up which, while amazing for it's time, is the only thing that, as a modern audience, I found pulled me out of it just a bit.
All in all it's well crafted, well acted, and especially well written film. If you haven't seen this and you're a horror fan than I strongly suggest you check it out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

1451 - Friday the 13th

It would appear as though I am on quite the horror spree these days - I blame it on a project I'm working on - but I should be shifting back to my usual fare soon and so I'll be able to take a bit of a break from this genre for now.
I grew up in the heyday of Jason and Freddy films and I've seen my share of them - not all, but most - I know the backstories, etc...
I was really impressed by the opening sequence of this film. It made me sit up and take notice. If I'm honest I'm not sure that they rest of the film ever lived up to it. It's okay, but it doesn't deliver on the intelligent, stealth Jason that they set up so wonderfully. For a horror film it delivers on the boobs and the high kill count as well as a few decent one-liners. The very ending I found a bit forced, but I understand the intention.
Overall I didn't find it scary or all that original. I'm curious to see if this was a one-off or if they plan on continuing the reboot past this initial one. Time will tell...

Three 2 Five Questions: Zoie Palmer

This is a new segment that I'm going to start doing on the blog and I was fortunate to have Zoie Palmer be my first guest and test things out. I just bought a new camera, the Canon Rebel T2i DSLR and I've been testing it out - so please cut me just a bit of slack as the focus isn't exactly perfect through-out the entire thing - and the audio is, well - it's what it is - the place we were in was loud and I didn't have proper sound gear - going to look into that for next time. Also I'm trying to work out the best conversion and way to upload to blogger with video (it looks a lot better than what's below) The idea is that I'll ask each person at least three to five questions somewhat related to what they do, because I won't give them the questions ahead of time they can chose not to answer a question if they'd like.
So like I mentioned, the first up is Zoie Palmer. For those of you who don't know Zoie she's a pretty damn fantastic girl. She's been all over Canadian television from Instant Star, The Guard, and more recently Lost Girl. But more importantly she's in my film The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard. These segments will be added pretty randomly and I hope to get a cross-section of the arts community in on them, not just actors. If there's anyone you'd like me to include, or if you yourself would like to be included, let me know and I'll see what I can do!
Also, I'm including the link to the music video Zoie referred to above. Click here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1450 - Doghouse

A horror comedy about a bunch of men looking to get away from their nagging female counter-parts for a weekend, only to end up in a town that's inhabited by female zombies. There's something fun in that idea alone. The film has a bunch of interesting ideas and gags, even if I do think that they missed a few opportunities. The film desperately wants to be Shaun of the Dead, but it's not funny enough, nor are the actors charming enough to really pull it off.
That being said, for those who are fans of the horror-comedy genre, I promise that there will be stuff for you to enjoy. In the very least it's a hell of a fun ride for the most part - just not as scary and funny as it should be.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1449 - Identity

I think I was expecting this film to be more of a horror than a psychological thriller and therefore I was in for a really lovely and truly unexpected surprise. There is a lot of talent behind (and inside) of this film and so it's no wonder that it's as engaging as it is. The film is full of plot twists and turns - a few I guessed correctly, and others I was delighted to have been duped by. I won't ruin any here, because figuring it all out is kind of the point of the film. Peet is lovely as always and Cusack does well with a bit of a tough guy act.
It's a pretty decent film and worth checking out if you're a fan of who-dun-its.

Steven Page Vs. the Barenaked Ladies

If you knew me in high school then one thing you knew about me was that I am a big Barenaked Ladies fan. At cabarets and school concerts I'd often perform in a duo with a friend of mine and more often than not we'd find ourselves performing a BNL song or two - I did my best Steven Page impression, and just loved loved singing those songs. I'm sure that's how the band felt at the same time.
I often think about how much more gratifying it must be to be a musician as opposed to a filmmaker. With music the gratification is more immediate. You can live in it over and over while playing live for your fans. It's different being a filmmaker. It's rare that you even get to connect with your audience in person, and they're never reacting to you in the moment. Also in our country our homegrown music has a strong venue and chance for international appeal - not unlike what BNL gets - and deservedly so. So yeah, I'm a fan - I still get starstruck just a little bit when I see them in real life around the city - I can't help it, they make me feel like I'm fourteen again :)

I think that I was just about as surprised as anyone when I heard about Page leaving the band last February. So many questions sprang to mind - will they add someone new - will they continue playing the old songs, in particular the ones that featured Steven in lead vocals. Let's not kid ourselves here - one of the most unique things about the band is their vocals and how different they are among the members. Steve is a trained opera singer and Ed is unpolished (in a good way). Together, it shouldn't work - but it always has. And then when you throw the other guys in for an occasional lead it's lovely as well. But having someone else from the group sub in for Steve just didn't feel like a good idea. Just a month after the break-up the, now, foursome performed, and subsequently released the recording from their concert at Universal Studios. I can only imagine that it was their attempt to show that they can keep-on-keepin'-on. … It was… weird. I mean, it's a live recording - so there's that. But it also didn't feel right. Needless to say I was really looking forward to hearing what their first sans-Steve album would be.

Now, like I said, I was surprised that Steve left but I wasn't shocked. The band started off as a two-man show with a really fantastic back-up. And that's what Steve signed up for. As the years progressed everyone in the band started to come out of their shells. With the exception of Ed they all released solo albums. Which is what I think lead to the other guys started to get more involved in the song-writing and the vocals. Which, obviously, left less room for Page. And then came aptly named The Vanity Project, co-written with Stephen Duffy, a long time contributor to BNL and Page. It was a really lovely album, but it made me think - why is Steve doing a solo album when he's got BNL, which lead me to the conclusion that he wasn't getting enough of himself out there. When their double album, Barenaked Ladies are Me/Barenaked Ladies Are Men came out a few years back it seem solidified that the band was moving in a new direction - one of complete collaboration with all of it's members - which is a really exciting idea… unless you feel like you have so much more to offer.

So I wasn't shocked that Page left - and I didn't blame him. I understand both sides of it - the band needed to grow in a new direction and he just didn't fit it. And it seemed simple. Amicable. And then BNL released All in Good Time. I think the band would be lying if they didn't admit to this being a break-up album. And that's understandable - hell that's what people expected. But… I mean... it's kind of vicious. They haven't come quite out to admit it, but they have said that some of it is based on what happened - but I think that's being a bit kind. I could pull a bunch of lyrics to illustrate my point, but I'd much prefer you check the album out for yourself. The bad feelings are sprinkled through-out but in the ones that stand out the most to me are "You Ran Away" and "Golden Boy".

And then, today, Steven Page released Page One his first official record since the split. I've been sampling the tracks online, and he's been pretty awesome about putting them up on his site to preview. I have to be honest - I like it a lot better than BNL's new album. What I always loved most about BNL was that it was fun and energetic music that had a heart and depth to it, and that's what Page One is. All in Good Time is moody and a bit… sad - and not in the good-sad way (if that makes any sense at all). A friend of mine compared it to elevator music - which is a bit drastic, but I can see their point. Very few of the songs really stand out - I know that now that I've had some time with it I do find myself singing along - but there's no song in particular I go to... Maybe that's a good thing. Whereas the first listen of Page One made me want to go back and re-listen right away. It's not so much a break-up album as it is a fresh-start album - but Page uses metaphor to cover up the nastier stuff. Although he's been speaking out in the press about being confused as to why the band didn't change their name - or why do they continue to perform his songs. To me the answer is simple, they're a brand. A successful one at that. And so long as they don't misrepresent themselves and people are aware that it's becoming something different then I don't see a problem with it.

In the end I think the world's going to benefit from double the music now that there are two factions. I believe that BNL needed to make this album, it's a hallway that will lead to something better. And I think Steven is finally revelling in the creative freedom that he's so desperately needed. If you've never been a fan of these guys these albums aren't going to convert you - but if you've been around and you've dug the ride, you'll continue to dig it. A road split in the wood, and I said fuck it - let's go both ways!

Monday, October 18, 2010

1448 - Passchendaele

I'll keep this brief because I don't particularly enjoy being negative about films. And to be fair, I'm not big on war films - there are some really amazing ones out there - but there are some melodramatic pieces of shit too - and they usually follow a storyline that either demonstrates the horror of war or it glorifies it - sadly this does neither.
I appreciate that Gross was able to assmemble the cast that he did, but if I'm honest, the whole thing felt more like a made-for-TV movie to me - the acting felt more theatrical at some points than it did filmic. There's some really great stuff going on in the war stuff, so if you're into that you'll probably enjoy it. Me, not so much. I appreciate the passion and the scope though.

1447 - Mad Men: season four

In the age of event television it amazes (and delights) me that Mad Men does so well. Here is a show that is purely a character drama. Sure they have dramatic plots here and there - there are stakes involved, and there are good and bad things that happen. But they don't need to leave us on a huge cliffhanger to make us want to come back - we come back because we love these characters and we want to spend time with them (even some of the characters we may hate - I'm looking at you Betty...).
For me the heart of this series is the relationship between Don and Peggy (how much do I love Elisabeth Moss...). They have this mutual respect for each other that's simply delightful and I can't get enough of it. I could watch an entire series of just them. I've read some complaints that the finale was "nonsensical" and "nothing happened". I say if you really think that, you don't understand a damn thing about what makes this show so special.
I love this series, and I simply can't wait for season five next summer. What a horribly long time to wait...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

1446 - Vacancy

Working through a new draft of a horror-flick so I wanted to set the mood for myself. I might dig into a few other horror films in the next little bit. I always have a crush on Kate Beckinsale, but I like that here she's played like a pretty normal woman. It works well for her. Luke Wilson, who I normally don't care much for, is good here. There relationship has a dynamic and a history.
This film does a lot with it's premise. If you're a big fan of body count then you'll be happier with something else. But if you want a thrilling little creep-fest then this is probably the film for you. It's got some nice moments and set pieces and keeps it tense right up into the final moments. Far better than I'd expected!

1445 - Fathers & Sons

I was lucky enough to obtain a screener of this film, following having seen it at Edmonton's film fest. I couldn't resist watching it again with my wife, Emily, who I knew would dig it. I really admire this film and how it was made, especially because it's so goddamn good. I'm an anal son-of-a-bitch, but I'm hoping that one day I could get over myself enough to make a film in this style, off-the-cuff and loose. It's a smart, funny, and heartfelt film. I can't imagine a man alive that can't relate to this film in some capacity. Do yourself a favour and seek it out when the chance arrives. Not sure what their distribution plan is for the film just yet. Me, I'm seeking our Carl Bessai's former "Mothers & Daughters" and hope that he follows this up with a third-entry "Brothers & Sisters".

Friday, October 15, 2010

1444 - Easy

Okay, so Netflix has me on this indie kick. This is an interesting film. It's full of these little melodramatic nuggets that should ruin the film, but for some reason they don't. I think the reason is the lead Marguerite Moreau - she's fantastic. She's the kind of person who you probably couldn't hate if you tried. Despite some of the things going on with her, the character she plays, Jamie, is a pretty strong one. You fall in love with her instantly, and Moreau has one of those smiles that could be dangerous as hell - and it is. She is an immense discovery and the highlight of this film. I'm actually surprised that we haven't seen more of her. It's not really an amazing film by any means but it's worth checking out for Moreau's performance at the very least. Loved her.

1443 - Itty Bitty Titty Committee

Netflix again! And finally I got my Wii disc so I was able to watch it on my television - and I have to say - it looks pretty damn good for an internet stream.
I like Jamie Babbit, I think she chooses good projects. She tackles heavy themes but she keeps from being preachy, no easy task. I liked this - it was like a feminine fight-club to a certain extent. I thought that Carly Pope and Nicole Vicius stood out in the cast and elevated the piece.
I wish I had more to say. It's a nice little film, it's fun, it's smart.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1442 - Fling

Another thank you to netflix for another recommendation. I'm still forming my opinion on netflix Vs. zip, but I have to say - it's not looking great for zip :)
I'm a big fan of stories about people, couples, and this one caught my attention - I really don't want to ruin anything because there are some nice little surprises early on. Courtney Ford comes out of nowhere and commands the screen in a really lovely performance. This is the kind of film that's easy to recommend. I don't think I ever would have found it on my own. I imagine I'll revisit this film at some point, it really is a little gem.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eating Animals

It's hard to imagine that I'll read a more important book. Just this morning I asked my wife how much she thought it might cost to buy a crate of this book and give it to every single person I know. I want to be clear about something - the danger of a book like this is simply that it preaches to the choir and will never actually reach the audience it deserves. When repeating several of the facts to my mother-in-law she covered her ears and simply said "I don't want to know". This is not uncommon.

It should be clear that Jonathan Safran Foer didn't write this book to convert people to vegetarianism, although it presents a strong enough argument to do so. What the book's intention is is to shed a light on factory farming - which in North America is 99% of the meat consumed by people. I am a vegetarian, and my reasons for being so align strongly with Foer's. The problem with factory farming isn't just simply to do with the health and welfare of animals, although that's certainly part of it, but to do with the effects it has on the entire planet. Factory farming is a serious problem that most people find it much easier to ignore, but the facts are that is contributes significantly to deforestation, global warming, pollution in general, depletion of oil reserves, not to mention public health. Factory farming isn't about feeding a hungry world - it's about making money. It's about turning food, meat, into a product. And in most industries that makes complete sense - but when the commodity is animals, the factory is the earth, and the product is consumed, then the stakes of that product are not the same, and the thinking behind it can't be either.

Foer is not asking people to stop eating meat. In fact large portions of his book are dedicated to family farmers and suggesting that, with more support and demand, how that way of farming and meat production can return. In truth it's only been a century since we've been doing it that way. In fact, according to the credible sources in this book, we'll eventually have to return to that method eventually anyway. The model in which factory farming exists isn't actually sustainable in the long term, both from an economic and environmental standpoint. The question is how much damage will we do to our planet and ourselves before that happens.

The beauty of Foer's writing is that he understands the important of eating and of food as more than nutrition. We sit at a table with others, and each have different beliefs and opinions. He's not anti-meat so much as he is pro-health and pro-sustainability. What he writes about matters. It's important. And he understands the different points of views and arguments. He's not making statements so much as he is asking questions and gathering information for us to consider.

I can't stress enough the importance of reading this book, and passing it along to others. Will it scare you? Sure, but I think more than anything it will confirm things you feared you already knew. Will it turn you off meat? It may - but it doesn't have to. That's not the point. The point is to realize where food comes from on a large scale, and the options available to you whether you're for or against eating meat. The point is also that there is no need to support factory farming in our day and age, despite how easy it is to do so. Foer originally wrote this book only because he was researching where food came from after his son was born. He wanted to know what he should feed him. And as a writer, once he obtained all of this knowledge he had to do something with it.

Please, please read this book. It's not expensive. It's widely available - I even saw copies at the airport bookstore which only stocks best-sellers. If you buy this book and read the entire thing and you don't find that it changes the way you think about food, If you think it was a waste of your time to read then I will personally purchase it back off of you. That's how strongly I feel about. It would be easier to not read this book. It's easy to not change. It's easier to do what we've always done. But the truth is that nothing great, nothing substantial has ever happened by refusing to act, by refusing to educate yourself with the knowledge available to you. So that's what I'm asking you to do, make an informed decision based on the information available. It's the absolute least you can do for yourself.

Friday, October 08, 2010

1441 - Bitch Slap

I knew about this film only because Carla Collins has a brief cameo in it and she was on set for the film while they were shooting the first season of Carlawood.
I'm trying to think of the nicest possible way to say this... I mean, I get that it's meant to be an homage to exploitation films, but there's a difference between being so bad that it's good and being so bad that it's, kinda/sorta, terrible.
This is the kind of film that makes me feel bad for the actors involved. The gratuitous nature of the copious amounts of slow motion boob shots/making out just makes you feel a bit awkward by the end. I think that the film relies to much on trying to be clever and stylish and never bothers telling any kind of story. The truth is that this film would have been far more interesting if they'd gone extra further and actually turned this into soft-core (or full-on) porn - I think that's actually what's missing, that extra step - if they had gone that much further with it, it could be just this side of brilliant. I'm sure that there is an audience for this film - there has to be. But I'm not it. The jokes feel a bit underdeveloped and in-jokey. When every line is a one-liner it's hard for the film to remain from being a bit tiring.
I'd love to talk to someone who absolutely loves this film and hear them out.

1440 - Ghost Town

I'll watch pretty much anything that Ricky Gervais is involved in - you throw Tea Leoni and David Koepp into the mix and I'm in for sure. The premise of this film is a lot of fun - it's by no means original to tell a story about people that can hear ghosts - but putting it under the guise of a romantic comedy gives it a fresh spin, and using this cast does wonders for it. The film itself is filled with such great characters, dialogue and a sweetness that just creeps up and takes over you. Despite how horrible the main character is, Gervais makes you want to spend time with him. I knew I'd enjoy this film, but I wasn't expecting to love it like I did. It's a bit formulaic sure, but goddamn if it isn't entertaining, and if it doesn't just hit that sweet spot.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

1439 - The Visitor

I'm a little embarrassed that it took me this long to get around to watching this film. I loved McCarthy's The Station Agent and so I was primed for whatever he was up to next. Richard Jenkins is one of the great character actors and his starring role is long deserved. This is a simple story about a man learning that it's okay to live simply. It feels real and honest, and that's what McCarthy does well as a storyteller. He makes you feel like you're in these scenes with these people - you believe the injustice of whatever happens. I'm sure it happens hundreds of times every day across North America. This isn't the kind of film that you ever really need to revisit, but you enjoy it while it's going on. In fact, I think this is a story that isn't told nearly enough. If you like real stories about real people - you'll dig it.

Jeremy's Film Fest Awards 2010

Over the course of twenty days I saw thirty-seven films at four international film festivals (Toronto, Sudbury, Edmonton, and Calgary) Obviously I have omitted my own film (which in addition to the thirty-seven films I saw four times as well) from below. Hopefully this helps you seek out the best of the best from my own festival experience.

Best Picture

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Rabbit Hole
Made in Dagenham
Jack Goes Boating
At World's End

And the award goes to… Rabbit Hole
This film was a surprise to me. I knew little about it outside of the premise and it just took me by storm. I consider myself a pretty movie savvy person so it takes a lot to get me to forget I'm watching a film and really get emotionally involved - it takes a hell of a lot more to make me sob like a little baby in a movie theatre. And this film does it without being manipulative. It's just a solid awesome film.

Best Canadian Film

Barney's Version
Good Neighbours
Le Divan du Monde (Everybody's Couch)
Fathers & Sons

And the award goes to… Fathers & Sons
Another film that took me by surprise. I haven't seen this film's predecessor Mothers & Daughters (but I will now). You'd have no way of knowing that this film was improvised and, more or less, unscripted. It's funny and heartwarming and I think the themes in it are about as universal as you can get. I pray that this film gets the attention that it deserves. I loved it.

Best Actor

Aaron Eckhardt - Rabbit Hole
Will Ferrel - Everything Must Go
Michael Angarano - Ceremony
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Jack Goes Boating
James Franco - Howl

And the award goes to… Aaron Eckhardt
I've loved Eckhardt for a long time but this is him at his best. If he's not nominated for an Oscar this year it will be a crime. The rest of the people in this category were really good, but Eckhardt was great.

Best Actress

Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Kat Dennings - Daydream Nation
Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
Tracy Wright - Trigger
Sally Hawkins - Made in Dagenham

And the award goes to… Sally Hawkins
This is a role and a film that is designed for you to love, but Sally's performance goes above that. You root for her, of course you do, but it's so much more than that. It goes without saying that usually once someone has played a role it's hard to see another actor playing it - I dare say it's impossible here. She's perfect.

Best Supporting Actor

Vincent Cassel - Black Swan
Lee Pace - Ceremony
Bob Hoskins - Made in Dagenham
Jay Brazeau - Fathers & Sons
Michael C. Hall - Peep World

And the award goes to… Jay Brazeau
I got lucky enough to get to know Jay a bit at the Edmonton Film Festival, but I promise you that that's not why he wins this. He wins this because he took a role that could have been such a cliche, or gone for just pure absurd laughs, and he made it human. I laughed at this fool, and I wanted to hug him at the same time.

Best Supporting Actress

Mila Kunis - Back Swan
Rebecca Hall - Everything Must Go
Molly Parker - Trigger
Sarah Silverman - Peep World
Amy Ryan - Jack Goes Boating

And the award goes to… Amy Ryan
This is a fine category full of fine women in fine performances, but Amy takes it. Not only is she a phenomenally versatile actress, but when she's playing an underdog outcast, you can't help but love her more. Love her.

Best Director

Ben Affleck - The Town
Carl Bessai - Fathers & Sons
John Cameron Mitchell - Rabbit Hole
Woody Allen - You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Jack Goes Boating

And the award goes to… Carl Bessai
This is not just because Carl is the only non-actor in the category - although it's funny how that happened. Because of how this film was made, and because of how tight it feels I can only imagine that this was a film that he lived and breathed tirelessly and all from the heart and the gut. I'm not saying that anyone else in this category put any less of themselves into their project - but this one feels special to me and so therefore I think it deserves to be awarded for that and for Carl in particular.

Best Screenplay

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Everything Must Go
Rabbit Hole
Jack Goes Boating
At World's End

And the award goes to… Rabbit Hole
This is a story that could easily be a movie-of-the-week but it's not, and that boils down to the strength of the script and the care put into it. If this film doesn't just explode on it's own then I'll be pushing people into the theatre. It's fantastic.

1438 - TiMER

So a little pre-amble before my thoughts on the film. After a lovely conversation with a friend of mine on the phone I decided to do the "free month test" at which, if it goes well, will probably cause me to cancel my account. At the end of the month I'll try to gather my thoughts together on the pros and cons of both. The big pro of netflix right now, it seems, it the price as well as the immediacy of watching what you want, when you want. The con to zip is that it takes time to get the film you want via the mail, and you don't always get what you want right away. I think my big worry about netflix is that it has the potential to change/destroy our industry. So I'll enjoy my free month and see what I think by the end of it.
So to the film. This was my first film on netflix. I saw the trailer for it some time ago and was intrigued. The premise being that you can get this thing called the TiMER installed in your arm and it will tell you when you are going to meet your soul-mate (providing your soul-mate also has a TiMER). Great premise. AND they do some pretty clever things with it. I think that they could have explored the premise a little bit more, but I also respect keeping it simple and focused on an individual. I really liked this film - it explored the idea of love in a fresh way but with universal ideas. I especially liked the female leads in the film both Michelle Borth, and the lead Emma Caulfield, who has a Mary-Louise Parker thing going on (which is NEVER a bad thing).
For anyone who likes smart romantic comedies that ACTUALLY explore the idea of love and how it effects people, this is your film. Despite having seen it on netflix it is the kind of film I would pick up in a heartbeat on DVD/bluray.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

1437 - The Social Network

I love this poster. In fact, I'm a big fan of their entire marking campaign for this film. I think that the entire world at this point more or less knows about Facebook. It's a site designed to bring people together, but what this film about is how people are torn apart. They don't shove the irony into your face, but it's right there. The performances are riveting in their simplicity. I've loved Eisenberg in everything I've seen him in, and he's great here - not knowing anything about Zuckerberg he felt like a person and not a characature. Justin Timberlake is equally wonder and I really enjoyed everytime he came on scene. The script, by Sorkin, is fantastic. Sorkin is one of our great writers working today. But the biggest surprise to me is the restraight that directed David Fincher shows. FIncher is often a flashier director and he's got a lot of tricks in his bag, but here he just tells the story, and it's elegant in it's simplicity.
I'm really looking forward to re-visiting this film. It's a gem. Some have said that it's the Citizen Kane of our time, and we'll see if time treats it that way, but at the very least it's a damn fine film. Whether you love or loathe Facebook, this film is well worth your attention. It's not just about a website. It's about a culture. It's about us.

Friday, October 01, 2010

1436 - This Movie is Broken

I'm only a casual fan of Broken Social Scene (which will probably change now) but I loved the idea and the trailer for this film, and since it was playing on my flight home from Calgary I couldn't pass up the chance to watch it. I love how Bruce is turning out films these days, but his quality doesn't suffer do to it. The love story here is pretty simple, and the film actually plays, more or less, as a concert doc that has this side love-story going on with it. The film cleverly using music to enhance the emotional impact of the relationship - some would call it a crutch, but I think it's intentional and serves it well. It's beautifully shot and you feel like you're at one of those most amazing unique concerts ever. I'll definitely be putting an effort into listening to more Broken Social Scene now. With the exception of a sequence later on in the film that doesn't feel like it fits at all to me, this is a pretty lovely film. Check it out.