Sunday, March 31, 2013

1822 - The Other Guys

I watched this sometime last week and seem to have forgotten to write about it here.  The premise is a lot of fun and I won't get into the details of the first act 'cause there's a great surprise moment there that I wouldn't want ruined for anyone else.  Wahlberg and Ferrell make a wonderfully unlikely comedy team and the story itself reminds me of all those buddy movies I watched as a kid in the 80's.  What's really wonderful is that the film takes itself seriously as an action comedy - the action is pretty fantastic, but played realistic in the sense that people don't easily walk away from the pain endured.
This has been out for awhile, and I believe it's on netflix - it's a fun flick if you want some solid popcorn entertainment. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

1821 - The Trotsky

I've been wanting to revisit this film for some time now and figured tonight was as good a night as any.  This film is just chalk full of actors that I absolutely love Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Tommie-Amber-Pirie, Jessica Pare, Michael Murphy, Saul Rubinek, the list just goes on and on and on. 
This time around I watched it with the commentary which just made me like Jacon Tierney all the more.  It's an honest, casual commentary with his editor and well worth the listen.  Made me want to revisit the film with the actual sound (which I very well may do).  If you haven't seen this film it's an absolute must see!  A contemporary classic, if you will.  I hadn't planned to make this a week filled with Canadian cinema, but so be it - there are much worse ways to spend my viewing times by far, and this was a great one to go out on.  Be a good person - watch some Canadian films this week!

1820 - Please Kill Mr. Know It All

I went to see this as part of the Canadian Film Fest that's going on in Toronto right now.  It's a film with a solid title and a pretty great premise.  An advice columnist starts to become popular and has to create a face for her alias so she steals it from a man she sees in a movie theatre - although it turns out he's a hit man and having a recognizable public face isn't something that's desired by a man whose job it is to blend in.
For me the stand-out here was Lara Jean Chorostecki.  She's delightful in almost every scene, and you buy in to the usual rom-com tropes because of her.  The film has a bunch of great moments and that alone makes it worth checking out, I'm not sure what it's distribution timing is though.  Keep an eye out for it.  It's by no means a perfect film, but if you're a sucker for an interesting rom-com, you've found one right here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

1819 - Ferocious

I'm just on a Canadian film rampage this week.  Huzzah for that!  I always find it a celebration when my friend's features get a theatrical release.  Last night I was lucky enough to check out this film while it's in its theatrical run.  Ferocious is the story of a small town girl who left and made a name for herself as a tv star, but has come back to tie up some loose ends.  It, largely, takes place in all one location and while I'm sure that was a budgetary consideration it never once feels like it.  They make an amazing use of their prime location and it feels like a world unto itself.  Kim Coates does what he does best and comes off as a dirty creepy son-of-a-bitch, and my buddy Katie Boland plays a fantastic comic relief (in a good way).  This film charmed me quite a bit, and it's easy to recommend it.  It's got a great vibe to it.  There are a few tropes that you just have to buy into with this sort of tale, but you do so easily and are able to just dive in and enjoy the ride.  If I had to give a complaint, I suppose I just wasn't all that invested into Amanda Crew's character - everyone else popped in a really great way, but her character was slightly under-developed for my liking - which sadly is easy to have happen when your character is meant to shoulder a film like this.  Over all, good stuff Robert Cuffley!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1818 - Amy George

The two guys that made this film (Yonah Lewis & Calvin Thomas) were part of what inspired me to make Sex After Kids through crowd-funding.  I contributed to their new film and part of that was the DVD for this one, which arrived today much to my excitement.
I'm not going to get into how awesome it is that two people as young as these filmmakers not only made something but got it into TIFF.  That's been written about.  If you head over to the film's website they self-describe it as a "dimly-lit, glacially-paced movie experience", and while that description isn't wrong, it doesn't do the film justice (and points to them for realizing that their film fits into a niche). 
The film is about a young boy at the age where young boys aren't all that likeable.  And here they've got a tremendous performance out of Gabriel del Castrillo Mullally.  The idea of working with someone this young would terrify most filmmakers, but this film wisely builds a performance around it.  I loved the real-life-couple parents played by Claudia Day and Don Kerr. 
Visually the film is lovely, and the soundtrack flows wonderfully along with it.  I can't say that this is the type of film that I generally love, but when I'm in the right mood it can be just the right thing.  This is also the kind of film that I think requires a few repeat viewings to enjoy the subtleties.  It's not easy subject matter, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's worth checking out and I hope it gets a wider release.  I look forward to seeing what Yonah and Calvin pull off with their next opus.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1817 - One Week

It's pretty common for Canadian filmmakers to shy away from Canadian content, mostly because of the fear that doing so limits a sale of their film to other territories around the world.  Michael McGowan is clearly not of that mindset.  You could almost go through a laundry list of Canadianna and find a lot of it in this film.  From Stanley Cups to roll-up-the-rim from Tim Horton's, it's all here - at least from Ontario through to the west.
I went back to look at my thoughts when I first watched this film and it's interesting how things shift and change.  I still enjoyed it - it's beautiful and really does show off just how gorgeous Canada is.  I'm not sure I'm in love with the narrative devise - there are moments where it's really wonderful, and others where it just felt a tinge precious.  I feel badly saying that, 'cause I think it's an interesting choice - I'm just not sure it works all the way through.  I had a tougher time with Joshua Jackson's character this time - he's a man who is told he has stage four Cancer, and decides to be selfish and go off on a road trip by himself before he has to go through becoming a patient.  I can only imagine what goes through your mind when you're dealing with the potential of death, but I still felt like he was a bit selfish to an unlikeable degree - and outside of that I guess I just didn't find the character all that compelling for the bulk of the film.  It's starting to sound like I disliked the film, but I assure you that wasn't the case.  I'm really quite surprised that I've had such a different reaction this time around.  Just imagine how I'll feel when I watch it down the line a third time...
So it's on Netflix in Canada if you haven't seen it - not sure how to view it outside of Canada.  If you haven't seen it, you absolutely should - if nothing else it's a beautiful postcard to the country I call home, and that I love more than any other.

Monday, March 18, 2013

1816 - No Strings Attached

This is the second time checking this one out.  I'm a fan of Elizabeth Meriwether's New Girl, and I forgot that Jake M Johnson was in this.  I think he's pretty goddamn great.  I like this film despite the fact that it falls into the usual rom-com plot tropes.  The cast is pretty stellar and is full of a lot of people I like.  The characters are all solid and unique, the dialogue catchy.  It's not the kind of flick that's going to change your life, but it's pretty solid popcorn romantic entertainment.  It's on netflix and well worth the time.  Boyfriends, you'll enjoy this along with the girlfriends.  Portman is pretty delightful here and Kutcher ain't too bad himself.  Lake Bell is sexy/funny as well.  Man, I really could just laundry list this entire cast... I won't - just watch the damn thing!

1815 - Girls: season two

The first season of this series was easily one of my favourite things about television last year.  It was one of those things that made me jealous to my core.  It had a language, a style, that I was envious of.  Whenever I thought of a series I wanted to create I'd often ask myself "What is MY 'Girls'?"

And then this second season happened.  And… well… I don't know… If I'm honest I'm not sure that I entirely recognize this show right now.  It's characters just felt like they wanted to be angry and terrible to each other for an entire season only to become happy again at the VERY end.  A lot of reviewers have commented that this seasons end doesn't feel earned and I'm inclined to agree. 

There is so much about this series that I love still.  I'll still be tuning in when season three comes around.  I adore Adam Driver, and all the other guys on this show.  The women are a bit frustrating for me.  Hannah's, out of the blue, OCD, just felt like another crutch for a character who's entire existence appears to be about making excuses for why she isn't further along with life.  She's, clearly, a self saboteur, and we know that - and while I admire Lena's decision to do that with her character, it makes you not like her a whole hell of a lot. 

It's a series that is not for everyone.  I loved the first season, and found this one enjoyable in parts and frustrating in others.  I remain cautiously optimistic about the next season.  I want to love the shit out of it.  I really do.  I hope this review doesn't turn anyone off.  That's not my intention whatsoever.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

1814 - Suck

I feel badly that it took me this long to get around to this film.  If you're into Canadian comedy then you're hopefully aware of Rob Stefanuik and his previous film, Phil The Alien.  This time out it's a rock opera about a band that'll do anything to become famous - including selling their souls and becoming vampires.  Outside of Stefaniuk in the cast there's also the amazing Jessica Pare, Dave Foley not to mention some fantastic cameos by rock legends such as: Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, and Moby. 
As usual I don't like giving much away, and I won't here.  But this is something unique and special.  It's fun, funny, and it looks goddamn great.  If you like dark comedies, vampires, and rock and roll then you really can't go wrong with this one.  Shit tonnes of fun.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

1813 - Silver Linings Playbook

I normally don't go heavily into details about new releases, but I feel compelled to do so here, so please if you haven't seen this there will be some spoilers below...


So let's get it out of the way - there's some really great things about this film.  Jennifer Lawrence is pretty fucking fantastic as is Bradley Cooper - and DeNiro gives a performance we haven't seen in years from him.  The first two thirds of this are a really well layer and performed character drama - and then all of a sudden it takes a hard turn into becoming what felt like something else entirely.  Like it's lead, the film itself was bipolar with how much it shifted from character to plot motivation.  Like their final dance it started off so promising and just hit a wall near the end that left a bad taste in my mouth.  Tonally and structurally it felt like an entirely different film.  I'm not sure I buy that Tiffany fell in love with him or that he'd really earned it - it felt more like a plot device than anything.  I'm actually somewhat surprised at how well received the film is given the ending.  I'm going to have to dive into reviews for it to see if I was just crazy and missed something crucial or if I'm just a jerk for not getting caught up in it all.

Still worth seeing, absolutely, but hopefully erase the hype from your mind first.  My expectations going in were pretty high and that's never fair for any film.