Archive for June, 2009

Director: Paul Gross
Writer: Paul Gross, John Krizanc and Paul Quarrington
2002

I only watched this because I thought it was going to be funny. I don’t remember laughing out loud at all, not even a chuckle, not that this film was horrible it was just weak. The storyline was typical (not that I minded – if done right, some typical storylines can be quite enjoyable), there was an unusual amount of sexual scenes and nakedness, and not enough comedy or curling. Being the writer/director, Paul Gross certainly gave himself the ‘best’ part and had this Canadian darling not been involved in the film it would have been swept under the rug to join the milieu of other forgotten Canadian films.  That said, if you are a fan of curling, Canadiana, or Paul Gross then by all means watch this one. But if you are looking for a funny Canadian comedy or aren’t a fan of any of the above then this film is not for you. Watch Strange Brew instead.

pop2

29Jun

In Bruges

Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
2008

I can say so much about this film, but I’d rather you stop reading and go see it for yourself. Seriously. That’s how great In Bruges is, it is ridiculously original, charming and a breath of fresh air in today’s cinematic world mostly dominated by monotonous generic “Hollywood” films. Colin Farrell gives one of his best performances yet in this one, and Brandon Gleeson is a wonderful addition and contrast to Farrell’s character and their onscreen camaraderie is just wonderful. Ralph Feinnes has a small yet memorable role of which I will not disclose because you really have to see this film for yourself to appreciate these three actors onscreen. All I can and will say is I highly recommend you see this film, and when I recommend a film, it’s serious business and I mean it. You need to see In Bruges.

pop5

29Jun

Mirrors

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur; Sung-ho Kim (Korean motion picture Into the Mirror)
2008

Poor Kiefer Sutherland. I think he will always and forever be associated with Jack Bauer and any other character of his will be expected to accomplish the same feats Bauer can. Every time he was angry I expected him to yell “Dammit!” But with that aside, Mirrors is an alright film, if you enjoy movies with creepy plots, and the supernatural. The main idea of this film is that the mirrors in an old fire damaged department store harbour evil spirits who follow those that come into contact with them, inevitably putting them and their families in danger. If only Kiefer could have tortured those damn mirrors he could have prevented their attacks. Especially the one on his sister (played by Amy Smart), and I’m only mentioning this because it’s important to prepare you for her scene in the bathroom. If you are queasy about blood, or even if you aren’t, please close your eyes. It’s an extremely long, unnecessarily gruesome and graphic scene that will make even the strongest stomachs cringe. Mirrors is a good watch if you aren’t sure what to pick from the video shelf, if you’re into horror, or if you want some cheap thrills. It does have a crappy ending though so beware.

pop2.5

29Jun

Igor

Director: Anthony Leondis
Writer: Chris McKenna; John Hoffman, Anthony Leondis and Dimitri Toscas (additional screenplay)
2008

This animated film was actually pretty entertaining and had a creative story. It’s about a place where only mad scientists, igors and all of their creations exist. Other than that, it follows the generic rules of most animated films – with it’s own ‘igorish’ twist:

Boy creates girl. Girl is not what boy expected but gains the heart of boy and his sidekicks. Bad guy wants girl for evil empire. Boy lies to girl. Girl leaves boy for bad guy who promises her everything she ever wanted. Boy and sidekicks venture out to save girl and the world from the evil doings of bad guy. Boy and sidekicks save the day. Bad guy is defeated physically, emotionally and psychologically. Boy and girl live happily ever after with sidekicks.

Igor is a good animated film for kids, and for fans of animation.

pop3

29Jun

Appaloosa

Director: Ed Harris
Writer: Robert Knott and Ed Harris; Robert B. Parker (Novel)
2008

I was going to give this film a rating of one, but then I remembered I gave Righteous Kill a one, and Appaloosa is not as terrible as that “film”. If you know Ed Harris directed this film then it all makes sense – he puts himself in the main role, he is always onscreen, and everyone and everything revolves around him. I know this film is based on a novel in the western genre, but I will never ever concede my opinion that this film is not in any way, what I would call a western. Set up the time period of the old west, put in some ubiquitous frontier shots of dry deserts, horses, sunsets and you’ve got yourself a western, right? Wrong. There is more to a western than commonplace costumes, locations and characters (ie, the good cowboy, the bad guy trying to run the town, the woman around town everyone know – if you know what I mean). Not for one second did I believe Jeremy Irons was the western archetypal bad guy.  He was more of a corporate bad guy, trying to run the town from far away, he did not engage in enough fights, and all he wanted was to buy the town and make it better. If that’s not wimpy I don’t know what is. Where was the violence? And the struggle of good versus evil? Drag a man by a horse, kill an entire family (a la Once Upon a Time in the West – now that Fonda was a bad guy!), ride through the town with your band of baddies pillaging, shoot it out in the streets, wreak havoc and make the town a worse version of Pottersville! What Appaloosa had was Ed Harris trying to woo Renée Zellweger whilst getting irritated that Jeremy Irons descends his hilltop fortress from time to time to cause a wee bit of trouble in the town. The small saving grace (but not saving enough) was Viggo Mortensen’s quiet, subdued character and had the relationship between he and Ed Harris’ character been developed more it could have saved the film. Yes, the book is a generic western, but that doesn’t mean the film has to be. It’s called an adaptation for a reason – it’s not meant to be a copy. A little creativity could have gone a long way in creating what should have been a pretty cool modern western.

pop1.5