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Archive for July, 2012

Midnight Son DVD

Entertainment Maven

Midnight Son (2011)

Starring – Zak Kilberg, Maya Parish, Jo D. Jonz and Tracey Walter

Written and Directed by Scott Leberecht

Last October heading into the Toronto After Dark Film Festival I remember looking at the lineup and seeing the title Midnight Son slotted into the last slot on Sunday of the fest. Not knowing much about this film I watched the trailer online and was not blown away, in fact it was a little underwhelming. Despite this I decided to take a chance on the film based on the programmer’s recommendations and the film did not disappoint. Mongrel Media’s recent release of the film on DVD allows me to happily revisit what was my most pleasant surprise of TAD 2011.

Jacob (Kilberg) is not your typical 24 year old male. Working as a night security officer in an office building, Jacob has become a creature of the night not…

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The Watch Review

Entertainment Maven

The Watch

Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Will Forte and Billy Crudup.  

Written by Jared Stern, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.

Directed by Akiva Schaffer

The film originally known as Neighbourhood Watch (it was shortened to The Watch after the Trayvon Martin incident earlier this year and had all of its bullet-ridden original advertising pulled) finally arrives in theaters from Fox this week. Perhaps being extra cautious due to the circumstances surrounding the Martin incident back in February, The Watch enters theaters with a lot less advertising and fanfare than you would expect from a film with this kind of star power. But can the combined comedic chops of Stiller, Vaughn, Hill, Ayoade (director of last year’s brilliant Submarine) and Forte along with director, and one-third of the comedy troop of The Lonely Island, Akiva Schaffer, deliver the comedy of the year?

Evan (Stiller) seems…

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Joffrey: Mavericks of AM Dance

Entertainment Maven

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance

Written and Directed by Bob Hercules

Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino were the two visionaries behind the creation and innovation of the Joffrey Ballet. Narrated by Mandy Patinkin, Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance tells the history behind the Joffrey Ballet and the story of these two men. Through archival footage and interviews (both men have passed on) director Hercules attempts to lay out the history of the influential ballet company.

Co-founded in 1956, the then titled “The Robert Joffrey Ballet” was a touring company of six dancers traversing the US in a borrowed station wagon with Joffey choreographing and Arpino as lead male dancer. Eventually Arpino would move into the choreography role himself as the company grew in size and talent. The to men started a school of dance where they insisted on classical ballet proficiency but would then add many other contemporary styles into…

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Shinsedai Fest Wrap

Entertainment Maven

Shinsedai Cinema Festival 2012

Shinsedai’s fourth year came with a change in venue from the Japan Canadian Cultural Center (JCCC for short) up in the north part of the city down to the heart of Toronto’s west end at the Revue Cinema (just off the Bloor/Danforth subway line at Dundas West station). The move provided record attendance for the fest and a flexibility to program films that previously had been unavailable for Chris Magee and Jasper Sharp, such as the Pink double-bill.

This year’s line-up proved to be strong in diversity, showcasing many different elements of independent Japanese cinema. Opening night gave us the engaging Ringing in their Ears, while the second night brought a couple of bizarre entries in Ghost Cat and the Mysterious Shamisen, and Zero Man vs The Half Virgin. On day three I caught most of the Yubari Fanta shorts with the fascinating Student…

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UFC 143

Entertainment Maven

DVD Review UFC 143

Diaz vs Condit

February 4th, 2012. Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Nevada

We here at Entertainment Maven, in our attempt to bring you informed reviews of theatrical releases, home entertainment and special events, have decided that it’s time to acknowledge one of the largest growing forms of entertainment in the world. Of course what I am talking about is Mixed Martial Arts, and in particular the UFC. Now we will not be getting into live event coverage, there are plenty of avenues which cover the live events as they happen or shortly after, and while we do cover events we have decided they will be film related only at this time. So why are we going to be reviewing UFC DVDs?  Because there are only a handful of sites out there doing reviews of the actual DVD releases from UFC. Many fans can’t afford to…

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Shinsedai Tentsuki

Entertainment Maven

Shinsedai Film Festival 2012 (Toronto)

Tentsuki

Starring: Taku Manabe, Natsumi Seto, Ryuzaburo Hattori and Akaji Maro

Written by Masafumi Yamada and Takeshi Miyamoto

Directed by Masafumi Yamada

Tentsuki is a strange little film. Clearly inspired by the likes of David Lynch and the more obscure works of Takeshi Miike, Yamada’s Tentsuki takes place in a rural part of Japan that is inhabited by the quirkiest of characters and scenarios. But is there enough of a cohesive plot to carry the film forward?

Noburo (Manabe) is having quite the string of bad luck. After losing his job when his boss closes the company and runs away during the night, Noburo goes back to the company office and breaks in as he now needs a place to live. Shortly after breaking in Noboru receives some visitors in the form of the local Yakuza looking for their payout. Seeing Noburo in the office…

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Shinsedai – End of Night

Entertainment Maven

Shinsedai Film Festival 2012 (Toronto)

End of the Night

Starring Kuniaki Nakamura, Nami Komiyama, Masayuki Shionoya

Written and Directed by Daisuke Miyazaki

When it came time for Daisuke Miyazaki to make his directorial debut, after directing second unit for director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, he decided to look to the past. Inspired by the rich history of yakuza/hit man films from Japan, especially the works of the great Takeshi Kitano, Miyazaki has created a hit man saga of his own.

Hit man Tamegoro (Shionoya) is sent to kill a young couple. After performing the deed Tamegoro discovers a young baby in a crib. After calling his mother, Tamegoro decides to bring the baby home and raise him as his own. We flash forward to the now teenaged Akira out on his first assignment with his “father” Tamegoro in which they are assigned to take out a family, much like his…

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