The Story of Film: An Odyssey
Written and Directed by Mark Cousins
Last year Mark Cousins in conjunction with the BBC brought us a 15 part epic series entitled The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Starting last weekend and continuing through to November The Hot Docs Bloor Cinema is presenting the entire series in 2 part chunks on Sunday nights with replays on Tues nights, only taking a break to present the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in late October. Starting from back at the turn of the 20th century, The Story of Film attempts to present the most complete version of the history of film production put forward. Not content to just focus on the Hollywood scene, Cousins spans the globes for the most influential films and filmmakers of their time and presents their stories in detail.
The first two episodes cover the start of film, from the…
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Bait 3D DVD
Starring Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Alex Russell, Phoebe Tonkin and Julian McMahon
Written by Russell Mulcahy and John Kim (with additional writing by Shayne Armstrong, Duncan Kennedy, Shane Krause and Justin Monjo).
Directed by Kimble Rendall
From the Gold Coast of Australia Anchor Bay Entertainment brings us Bait 3D on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film stars a cast of rising stars from Australia including Xavier Samuel (Loved Ones, Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Sharni Vinson (Step Up 3D, You’re Next), Alex Russell (Chronicle) and Phoebe Tonkin (TV’s The Secret Circle, Tomorrow, When the War Began). The cast is further rounded out with some veteran presence in the form of Julian McMahon. The question remains with the overabundance of Shark based thrillers out there is Bait more part Jaws or Sharktopus?
After a gargantuan freak tsunami hits a sleepy beach community in Australia a group…
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The Victim Blu-Ray (2012)
Starring Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, Ryan Honey, Denny Kirkwood and Danielle Harris
Written Reed Lackey and Michael Biehn
Directed by Michael Biehn
New this week from Anchor Bay Entertainment comes the directorial debut of 80’s action star and cult icon Michael Biehn, The Victim. Having written the film as a vehicle for his wife Jennifer Blanc and himself to produce under their new production label, after a rumored wayward promise to director Robert Rodriguez on the set of Planet Terror that he would direct his own film. The only question that remained was whether Biehn could take on all hats behind the scenes and deliver in front of it?
Annie (Blanc) is a dancer by trade and a party girl by nature, but one day her life is put in jeopardy after she’s witnesses the horrific murder of her closest friend Mary (Harris) at a party…
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Starring Heather Wahlquist, Sienna Miller, David Morse, Gena Rowlands, Melanie Griffith, Lucy Punch, Max Theriot, Ray Liotta and Daveigh Chase
Written by Heather Wahlquist and Nick Cassavetes
Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Mary (Wahlquist) is a substitute teacher who flounders through her days with nonsensical daydreams and sneaking out to her car to drink mini-bar sized bottles of alcohol and pop at least 30 pain pills a day. Her shrink, or so we believe him to be, thinks she’s over-medicated and her complaints of not being able to feel anything stem from this. When Mary disappears into a broom closet to have sex with the parent of a student during a PTA meeting, even she knows she has gone too far. Broke after being fired by the school, she packs up her car and sets out alone on a road trip back to see her family to confront old…
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Lola Versus Blu-Ray
Starring Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister-Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman and Debra Winger
Written by Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones
Directed by Daryl Wein
Currently one of Hollywood’s latest “IT” girls, the talented Greta Gerwig steps into one of her first starring vehicles in the new Blu-ray release from Fox Entertainment, Lola Versus. The story of an about to be 30 year old that goes through a life altering situation was written by co-star Zoe Lister-Jones and Director Daryl Wein seemingly with Gerwig in mind as it seems to be tailor made for her brand of “dramady”. But is Gerwig ready to be the main attraction?
When 29-year-old Lola (Gerwig) is dumped by her fiancé Luke (Kinnaman) just three weeks before the wedding, she embarks on an emotional, year-long adventure of self-discovery. Guided by the advice, good and bad, of her close friends Alice (Lister-Jones) and…
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Starring Liam McIntyre, Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Katrina Law, Lucy Lawless, Viva Bianca, Craig Parker and Nick E. Tarabay
Created by Steven S. DeKnight
From Anchor Bay Entertainment and Starz Network in the US, The Movie Network for us up here in Canada, comes the long awaited second season follow up to Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Vengeance. After the illness that sadly took the life of season one star Andy Whitfield, and the prequel production Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Liam McIntyre steps into the sandals of our lead Spartacus and throughout the course of the season leads a furious bunch of rebels out for revenge against the Romans after events of season one. But is McIntyre capable of taking over the iconic role?
After the bloody escape from the House of Batiatus that concluded Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the gladiator rebellion has erupted and begun to…
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Starring Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg, Jillian Morgese, Fran Kranz, Reed Diamond, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Riki Lindholme, Tom Lenk and Ashley Johnson
Adapted by Joss Whedon, based on the play from William Shakespeare
Directed by Joss Whedon
Claudio (Kranz) and Benedick (Denisof) have just returned home to Messina after a successful campaign abroad. When Claudio confesses his adoration for the lovely Hero (Morgese), daughter of Messina’s governor Leonato (Gregg), Don Pedro (Diamond) vows to woo Hero in the vocally clumsy Claudio’s stead. Benedick’s scorn for love is matched by that of his long-time nemesis and verbal sparring partner Beatrice (Acker), Leonato’s niece. Determined to ruin the affair is the villainous brother of Don Pedro, Don John (Maher). As the love-struck Claudio and Hero make plans to marry, Benedick and Beatrice resume the “merry war” of insults they have long waged all while Leonato, Pedro…
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Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Starring – Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Boris Kodjoe, BingBing Li
Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Coming back to the Cineplex, from Allliance films, this weekend for the 4th follow up to 2002’s Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Retribution goes back to its roots. Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson brings back characters from all of the previous films, including Michelle Rodriguiez’s Rain from the first film, and this time around takes us to the iconic Racoon City. But will this Resident Evil be the fun joyride of the first or continue the lacklustre trend of its follow ups?
Retribution starts directly from the end of Resident Evil: Afterlife with Alice (Jovovich) managing to escape the carnage of the incoming onslaught at the end of Afterlife, only to end up in The Umbrella Corporation’s custody, barely alive and breathing. The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus…
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Kirk here, aka Movie Junkie TO. I recently had the chance to sit down with some of the guys responsible, Director Scott Leberecht and Producer Matt Compton, for the unique and daring indie drama/horror Midnight Son and ask some questions about the film. The DVD Review is available at the above link, but for now let’s get on with the interview.
Movie Junkie (MJ) – It’s great to able talk to you again Scott and Matt, it’s been a while since Toronto After Dark last year. Congrats on the DVD release.
Scott Leberecht (SL) – Thanks Kirk, I had a great time partying with you at TAD. If you don’t remember anything, it’s okay, I only remember the mornings. Been a long ride to finally get to this point! Seeing Midnight Son being made available to so many people all around the world is very rewarding.
Matt Compton (MC) –…
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The Matchmaker (2012)
Starring Tuval Shafir, Adir Miller, Dror Keren, Bat-el Papura, Dov Navan, Maya Dagan, Tom Gal and Neta Porat
Writen and Directed by Avi Nesher, based on the novel by Amir Gutfreund
This week sees a small Israeli film that played at TIFF back in 2010, The Matchmaker, open in Toronto for a highly exclusive engagement. This coming of age story set in the backdrop of late 1960’s Israel is a little charmer that deals with a lot of serious matters under the surface but maintains a quick witted exterior to help keep the audience enthralled.
As young Arik Burstein (Shafir) is out playing and goofing around with his friends on a summer afternoon the group stumbles upon a strange man. Yankele Bride (Miller), a Romanian survivor of the Holocaust with a scarred face and a noticeable limp, is a relentless matchmaker that specializes in difficult cases. He…
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TIFF 2012 Capsule Reviews
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrom and Susse Wold
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Set in a small suburban town, Lucas (Mikkelsen) is a divorced daycare worker who is hoping to win custody of his estranged teenage son Marcus (Fogelstrom). Well-liked and easygoing, Lucas has lived in the town all his life and formed lifelong friendships with Theo (Bo Larsen) and Bruun (Lars Ranthe). Beloved by the children under his care, Lucas also has a special bond with Klara (Wedderkopp), the young daughter of Theo and his wife Agnes. When Klara kisses him on the lips one day, a shocked Lucas rebuffs her, telling her that only mommies and daddies should kiss in that way. Hurt and angry, the child tells the unprepared and incompetent head of the daycare Grethe (Wold) that she has seen things she shouldn’t have. This…
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Kirk here, as the Toronto International Film Festival begins I’m here to spotlight my top picks for the fest and perhaps fill those leftover vouchers or last minute gaps in the schedule with some films that have definitely caught my eye. I will be brief in detail to avoid spoiler type material, but for further info on all titles go to the TIFF website by clicking on the titles below.
Painless – Dir. Juan Carlos Medina
Spanish Horror Thriller about a man who slowly unravels the truth about his origins, and a series of experiments conducted on children at the dawn of the Spanish Civil War.
Screening Sat Sept 8th, Sun Sept 9th and Sat Sept 15th
Berberian Sound Studio – Dir. Peter Strickland
A British sound engineer (Toby Jones) starts a descent into madness when he starts to work for a flamboyant Italian…
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I must start with the fact that I have been very torn about writing this article. With the news now out that the Toronto Underground Cinema will be closing its doors for good on Sunday Sept 16th, my prediction from when the Cumberland went away in May has unfortunately come true: another member of Toronto’s immensely populated Repertory Cinema scene has fallen, and this time it’s personal. The main reason as to why I have struggled with what to say is that the Underground is not merely a cool little place in the heart of the city with tons of history and an awesome vibe – it’s also populated and run by friends.
Opened in 1977 under the tent pole of the Golden Harvest film production company, the Golden Classics cinema as it was then known, highlighted the best in classic Golden Harvest Kung Fu films in a very crowded…
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High School Blu-Ray Review
Starring Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Yeardley Smith, Curtis Armstrong, Mykelti Williamson, Michael Vartan, Adhir Kalyan, Alicia Sixtos and Michael Chiklis
Written by Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg and Stephen Susco
Directed by John Stalberg
The stoner comedy field is a tricky one to master, trying to delicately balance the material for pot smoker and non-pot smoker alike. For every Dazed and Confused and Harold and Kumar there is a plethora of awful attempts to bring “pot culture” to screen through comedy. Out this week from Anchor Bay Entertainment is the Sundance and Toronto After Dark fan favorite from 2010, High School, another film in the same vein, but on which side of the argument will it land?
High School is the story of soon-to-be valedictorian Henry Burke (Bush), who, after taking a hit of the chronic for the first time provided by his…
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Donovan’s Echo DVD Review
Starring Danny Glover, Bruce Greenwood, Natasha Calis, and Sonja Bennett
Written by Jim Cliffe and Melody Krieger
Directed by Jim Cliffe
Out this week, an exclusive release from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada, is the Canadian production Donovan’s Echo. After a run on the festival circuit that included stops in Calgary and Edmonton, Donovan’s Echo, the Danny Glover semi-supernatural thriller is now available to take home. But is it something you need to buy, rent or pass on?
Set in 1994, Donovan Matheson (Glover) returns home after a 30 year absence to discover events from his past are replaying out with astonishing accuracy. Plagued by the idea of déjà vu, Donovan is convinced his young neighbour Maggie (Calis) and her mother Sarah (Bennett) will be killed on the 30th anniversary of his own wife and daughter’s death. Struggling to unlock the pattern, Donovan tries to convince his…
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Fan Expo 2012
So another Fan Expo is in the books and it’s time to do some reflecting. This year was my first time with a media pass for the fest and thus I attended two of the four days, Thursday night and Sunday afternoon. Thursday became my walkabout day as the main hall was pleasantly less crowded and easy to maneuver, while Sunday was a work day as I attended some panels and conducted some interviews. The interviews will be along very shortly but for now we’ll start by focusing on Day 1.
My first stop after attaining my pass was to go directly to visit my great friends at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and find out what their first 10 films announced for the 2012 festival would be. The announcement should be live online at the link above by the time you read this, but at…
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For a Good Time, Call…
Starring Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller, James Wolk, Mark Webber, Justin Long, Sugar Lyn Beard, Don McManus and Mimi Rogers
Written by Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon
Directed by Jamie Travis
Back in 2002 a raunchy comedy came along that was supposed to be the truth about what women were really like when they got together, this movie was called The Sweetest Thing and starred Cameron Diaz. Going almost exclusively for the raunch, The Sweetest Thing failed to hit big with audiences and critics alike and the ‘chick flick’ seemed to retreat back to the sappy predictable mess it was prior almost overnight. That was until last year’s mega smash Bridesmaids. Now the ladies are back with the raunch in a big way, a prime example being this week’s sex phone operator comedy For a Good Time, Call… from Alliance Films.
The reserved Lauren (Miller)…
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The Possession (2012)
Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Natasha Calis, Grant Show, Matisyahu
Written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White
Directed by Ole Bornedal
Late August has long been a staple for horror film releases, and also a dumping ground for lacklustre fare like last week’s The Apparition. Trying to buck the trend this year is the newest releases from Alliance Films, The Possession. Produced by Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures, The Possession was an idea Raimi had been pursuing for years, now finally coming to realization through director Bornedal. Featuring a fantastic poster and creepy trailer, the question remains, does The Possession deliver on its promise?
Supposedly based on a true story, The Possession is the terrifying story of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. Clyde (Dean Morgan) and his recently divorced ex-wife Stephanie (Sedgwick) see little…
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