Sunday, 29 April 2012

Movie Moxie Podcast 69: Warriors of the Rainbow Seediq Bale & Hot Docs 2012







MP3 File






On this week episode of The Movie Moxie Podcast Shannon shares preview insight into Hot Docs and reviews theatrical release of Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale. More awesome included checking out April 24, 2012 DVD release and reviews of The Wicker Tree, The Divide and The Terrorist and as a special bonus podcast listeners are the first to hear of the upcoming epic marathon. It's over 20 films people. Did I say epic? Yes, I did. And it will be epic.

0:00 - 2:00 Intro
2:00 - 10:30 Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale Review
10:30 - 34:30 Hot Docs 2012
34:30 - 40:50 DVD Releases April 24 including reviews of: The Wicker Tree, The Divide, The Terrorists
40:50 - 46:30 Upcoming Marathon Announcement
46:30 - 48:45 Outro

Movie Moxie Podcast - A 100% spoiler-free film review podcast
You can also subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Subscribe through iTunes here.

Up next week: More Hot Docs 2012, hopefully a theatrical release, more details on the upcoming marathon and more DVD review goodness.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Divide (DVD Review) Uncut

DVD review of The Divide, the brilliant and harrowing post-apocalyptic thriller starring Michael Biehn, Laren German, Michael Eklund and Milo Ventimiglia; directed by Xavier Gens.

Image Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

Dir: Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), Hitman)
Cast: Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Eklund, Lauren German, Rosanna Arquette, Ashton Holmes, Courtney B. Vance, Iván González
Canada/USA/Germany, 2012

Reason to see: Exceptional cast, plus it's post apocalyptic

The Divide is a post apocalyptic thriller that delves deeply and darkly in the demise of the human spirit as it follows a group of people thrown together in the bowels of an apartment building sealed in against the unknown catastrophe that looms outside. I often have a hard time with post-apocalyptic films being a sunny side of the street kind of person, and in general can avoid them as they upset me but my first viewing of the film was during the Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011 and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see likely the highest profiled film at this years festival which has many guests in attendance including Michael Biehn (Bereavement, The Terminator, Aliens) & Michael Eklund ('Intelligence', Hunt to Kill, Tactical Force), Milo Ventimiglia, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and director Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), Hitman). The film mad a huge impact and it played to a completely sold out house. The energy in the room was electric and it's such a unique experience to see a film that is so focused on the power people can have over each other when you are literally surrounded by so many people. Who would step up and take charge? Would anyone challenge them, and if so - how much and how hard? When, or does, the human spirit crumble and is it inevitable that people will succumb to live in and live on the horror of the situation.

I actually found the film quite a challenge to watch but what makes it work so very well are the performances by an astounding group of actors that went pretty method here shooting in chronological order and even going through similar limitations to their characters. I was particularly impressed by the connection and chemistry between the characters played by Michael Eklund & Milo Ventimiglia who had an electric bond on the screen, plus Lauren German who plays a very subtle character who carefully and subtly tries to stay out of the power struggles that are inevitable. I also was very impressed with Michael Biehn who walks a fine, gray line with the power of the inadvertent caretaker to the group. It certainly wasn't an easy watch, but it was a hell of a powerful film and will stay with me for a very long time.

After re-watching The Divide on DVD I continued to be impressed with the films power to draw the viewer in, the exceptional performances and the fabulous score. It's a harrowing viewing experience that goes well past any comfort zones, but it does so with brilliance and abandon, and for that I greatly it. After listening to the commentary really reinforces just how trusting and giving the actors were to each other, it's extraordinary. I feel like it's watching the evolution and result of a masterpiece acting workshop.

DVD Extras:
  • Feature Commentary with director Xavier Gens and actors Michael Biehn, Michael Eklund and Milo Ventimiglia. Very entertaining and interesting commentary, they discuss shooting chronologically including how they didn't really know each other starting off and were on diets, notations to what wasn't in the original cut, changes in their characters from the original script put then with improv how the characters and film evolved and the amazing amount of creative freedom there was for the actors, character histories, insights and decisions, which scenes were their audition scenes including if people auditioned as different characters. It's interesting to hear actors ask Xavier Gens about decisions in the film and he also explains several of the effects shots on how, why and when they did them; there are some friendly scene stealing discussions as well as kudos on acting choices and even disagreements on character which was really interesting. Also discussion on what shots get reactions from crowds, themes of the film, involvement and working with writer Eron Sheean. They discuss how beautiful the film is and especially giving the limited locations, the changes between the acts, scenes that were taken out and/or put back into the film and the process that went along with it, film influences, nods & tributes. The audio in the film is pretty low, so it's definitely one you want to listen to after watching, but with 4 voices in the audio commentary there is already a lot of listen to so it's a good call.
  • Trailer
The Divide is available on DVD as of April 17, 2012. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

See also:
Shannon's Overall View:
It's a brilliant film
It's a challenging watch, and hard to 'enjoy', but I do get a lot out of it every time I see it
I'd recommend it post apocalyptic fans and fans of strong acting

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011-12
Originally reviewed during the Toronto After Dark Film Festival Wednesday October 26, 2011

Friday, 27 April 2012

Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 27, 2012

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 27, 2012!


Images: Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Credit: Well GO USA); The Raven, The Lady and Safe Posters

In limited release this week we have 4 films to choose from, with a few telling personal stories and historical focus including the impressive and epic film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale / Sàidékè balái set in Taiwan and following clans of aboriginal warriors during a Japanese invasion and occupation. We also have The Lady, a biopic starring Michelle Yeoh as Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi; the film follow Aung San Suu Kyi and her Michael Aris (played by David Thewlis) and is directed by Luc Besson. Also out in limited release is the Darling Companion a drama following the relationship between a woman and her dog and her husband; plus the Canadian documentary Material Success with opens at the Projection Booth.

In wide release this week we have the theme of real continue with The Raven, which stars John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe in a gothic mystery following the puzzle of similarly themes crimes that appear very close to the ones in his books. We also have he action film Safe starring Jason Statham as a man who has to protect a young girl from baddies (this one is *so* a Shannon film). If claymation and pirates are your thing, you are finally in luck as The Pirates! Band of Misfits opens this weekend, and I have to admit it looks like a lot of fun. Rounding out the wide releases we have the comedy The Five-Year Engagement starring Jason Segal and Emily Blunt, directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Edit: the Bollywood film Tezz also was released on April 27, 2012.

This week we also have Hot Docs, Canadian International Documentary Film Festival, hitting theatres all over the city, bringing us documentary film from around the world and lots of Canadian docs to boot. I look forward to the festival each and every year. Be sure to check out my Hot Docs coverage here at Movie Moxie during this years festival.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Hot Docs
Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
April 26 - May 6, 2012 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday April 27, 2012 Releases

Darling Companion
Dir: Lawrence Kasdan (Mumford, Dreamcatcher)
Cast: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass, Ayelet Zurer, Sam Shepard, Kasey the dog
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Five-Year Engagement
Dir: Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Lady
Dir: Luc Besson (The Big Blue, The Professional, The Fifth Element)
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett
France/UK
Limited Release
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, Trailer

Material Success
Dir: Jesse Mann - feature film directorial debut
Documentary
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Dir: Peter Lord (Chicken Run) & Jeff Newitt
Cast: Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman, Jeremy Piven
USA/UK
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Raven
Dir: James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin)
Cast: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
USA/Hungary/Spain
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Safe
Writer/Dir: Boaz Yakin (Uptown Girls, Remember the Titans)
Cast: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, James Colby, Barry Bradford, Robert John Burke, Matt O’Toole, Jay Giannone
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale / Sàidékè balái
Writer/Dir: Wei Te-Sheng (Cape No. 7)
Cast: Lin Ching-Tai, Da-Ching, Vivian Hsu, Ando Masanobu, Umin Boya
Taiwan
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of April 27, 2012**

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

DVD Releases April 24, 2012

Time to take a look at a selection of DVD releases for Tuesday April 24, 2012!


Images: The Wicker Tree (Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment), Lost Girl (Courtesy eOne Film), Underworld Awakenings; Pariah & In the Land of Blood and Honey (Courtesy of Alliance Films)

  • The Wicker Tree based on the book Cowboys for Christ, written by director Robin Hardy this follow up to the 1973 The Wicker Man is a fascinating dark comedy that blew me away. It's a refreshing to see characters on the complete odds of religious scale subtly go head to head, and on top of that it's really funny. I strongly recommend checking it out.
  • Lost Girl Season 1 Who doesn't love a succubus? If you haven't checked out this awesome Canadian supernatural show you certainly should! If follows succubus Bo with her human friend Kenzi as they fight through and with the fae under, over, and inner world(s) with a whopping helping of action, romance and comedy. It's a blast - and is a regular topic of conversation over at Hexed (see all posts & podcast on Lost Girl here). This is the first time it's out on DVD with just Season 1, although Season 2 just finished aired on Showcase this month. ((Not currently available on Amazon.com)
  • Underworld Awakening Fourth film in the Underworld series starring Kate Beckinsale as a vampire warrior in a world where vampires & lycans (werewolves) are mortal enemies. This on takes place in the near-future after the humans catch wind of the supernatural creatures; special features include a Filmmakers' Commentary (US release date is May 8, 2012). It's a great back-to-the-series roots vibe with lots of action and impressive visuals,
  • Contraband Mark Walhberg stars in this crime/drama of the one-last-heist variety, and I really enjoyed different setting of ships and it's pretty clever to boot.
  • Let the Bullets FlyPretty intense historical/action film with a western feel and surprizing amount of comedy as it follows the power struggles, impersonations and deception.
  • The Theatre Bizarre Horror anthology with a collection of shorts including works from directors Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Tom Savini and Richard Stanley.
  • 11-11-11: The Prophecy I'm always game for prophecy-centric horror films (is it faith? fate? fear? so many fun themes to play with) and this one is from director Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Saw II - IV) and stars Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn and Benjamin Cook - and this is not to be confused with 11/11/11 which came out on DVD last November.
  • Night Wolf This is definitely the wild card of the week but I'm picking it as it stars Tom Felton (from the Harry Potter series) along with Isabella Calthorpe, Gemma Atkinson & Joshua Bowman; and is from a producer of Dog Soldier. And I'm guessing it's a werewolf film. I want to see it!
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Sacred Star of Milos This is one releases I'm not quite sure if it's a film, part of a series, a special something in between. Animation continues to mystify me again and again!
  • Camelot: 45th Anniversary (Blu-ray) A 60's made Arthurian musical starring Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Harris and Franco Nero. It's amazing. And so 60's. But classic. I don't know how they did it. I only caught this one recently, but loved it.
  • Pariah Highly acclaimed personal journey film starring Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans and directed by Dee Rees. I really want to see this one.
  • In the Land of Blood and Honey (DVD/BluRay Combo) This war/romances set during the Bosnia war and is Angelica Jolie's directorial debut.
  • Titanic (mini series) With just passing the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship, there are many Titanic stories out there including this 4-episode miniseries starring Peter McDonald, Steven Waddington, Glen Blackhall and Ruth Bradley.

Titles on Amazon.ca(Canada):



Titles on Amazon.com (US):

Monday, 23 April 2012

May Book to Film Club Reading Selection: Comsmopolis by Don DeLillo



May 2012 Book to Film Club Reading Selection: Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo

This selection is hitting us with some amazing timing as the trailer for the film has recently popped up (heads up: it's rather explicit, so be aware of that for if/when/where you watch it). Even more exciting is that it has been announced that it is part of the line up and for the Cannes Film Festival 2012. Wow. And here I was freaking out that the trailer said May; I guess that means Cannes-May, not the rest-of-the-world May - which is a-okay as it will give us some time to read it.

I will admit I've become a bit leery of the inclusion of this choice and it feels like it has the old-school David Cronenberg stamp of the bizarre, in addition to the original eccentric vibe of the story of a guy living in/being chauffeured around in his car; but I'm sticking to the guns of the fact that it's one of our picks and that's that. No changes!

But there will be additions - I am hoping to announce the final 3 books for 2012 and the full schedule this month. Keep tuned for more news there!

That's it for now! I'll be checking in this weekend to see how we did with April's selection of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

Happy Reading!

Join the Movie Moxie Book to Film Club at any time. For title announcements, Book to Film Club news and monthly selections you can sign up for email updates here. Our final three books and entire year schedule will be announced very soon.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 20, 2012

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!


Images: A scene from COMIC CON EPISODE FOUR A FAN'S HOPE (Courtesy of eOne Films); posters for Chimpanzee & Think Like A Man

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday April 20, 2012!

In limited release this week / we have an impressive amount of documentaries including geek-centric Comic-Con: Episode IV - A Fan's Hope which proves that colons can be used in non-sequels and three-quels, plus the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema has a hold-out last record store documentary with Sound it Out as well as the Belcher Islands-set documentary People of a Feather following the connection between the people that live there, the elder duck and hydro dams. Keeping it Canadian we have the charming looking road movie I'm Yours which I definitely want to check out, as well as the historically set My Way that follows a Japanese and a South Korean man before and during WWII. We also have Damsels in Distress which I can't quite get a handle on - the trailer has a bizarre tone which makes sense once you know it's the same director as The Last Days of Disco and I love that there is tap dancing, but there is something so...odd. Curious odd though, and that's hopefully a good thing.

In wide release this week we have more documentaries including the nature doc Chimpanzee following the very cute baby chimp Oscar, as well as Canadian do West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson centred on the celebrated Canadian artist. Also out in wide release we have The Lucky One starring Zac Efron & Taylor Schilling based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, comedy Think Like a Man and Bollywood comedy Vicky Donor about a sperm donor. I kid you not!

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

Hot Docs
Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
April 26 - May 6, 2012 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Images Festival
25th Annual festival of independent film, video and other time-based media
April 12 - 21, 2012 at various locations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TIFF Kids International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth
Continues until April 22, 2012 at TIFF Lightbox in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday April 20, 2012 Releases

Chimpanzee
Dir: Alastair Fothergill (African Cats) & Mark Linfield (Earth <2007>)
Documentary
Tanzania/USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Comic-Con: Episode IV - A Fan's Hope
Dir: Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me)
Documentary
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Damsels in Distress
Writer/Dir: Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco)
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Hugo Becker, Ryan Metcalf, Adam Brody
USA
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

I'm Yours
Writer/Dir: Leonard Farlinger (All Hat)
Cast: Rossif Sutherland, Karine Vanasse, Don McKellar, Nicolas Campbell
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

The Lucky One
Dir: Scott Hicks (No Reservations, Snow Falling on Cedars)
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Jay R. Ferguson, Blythe Danner
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

My Way
Dir: Kang Je-Kyu (Shire)
Cast: Jang Dong-Gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bingbing
South Korea
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

People of a Feather
Dir: Joel Heath - feature film directorial debut
Documentary
Canada
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Sound it Out
Dir: Jeanie Finlay (Nottingham Lace, Teenland)
Documentary
UK
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Think Like a Man
Dir: Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Barbershop)
Cast: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J, Jenifer Lewis, Romany Malco, Gary Owen, Gabrielle Union, Keith Merryman, David A. Newman
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer

Vicky Donor
Dir: Shoojit Sircar (...Yahaan)
Cast: Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana
India
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, Trailer

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson
Dir: Michèle Hozer & Peter Raymont (Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould)
Documentary
Canada
Limited Release
No Official Film Site Found, IMDb Page, Trailer

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of April 20, 2012**

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Movie Moxie Podcast 68: Lockout and The Cabin in the Woods



Short & Sweet podcast this week chatting recent releases of Lockout and The Cabin in the Woods as well as DVD reviews of Shame and 7 Below. All spoiler-free, of course! The reoccuring, pondering question of the week is definitely about the relationship about enjoying a film and how that plays into (if at all) if it's a good film. It is a very curious experience indeed.






0:00 - 0:50 Intro
0:50 - 7:20 Lockout Review
7:20 - 13:20 The Cabin in the Woods Review
13:20 - 15:00 Moth Diaries Mentioning
15:00 - 16:05 DVD releases for April 17, 2012
16:05 - 20:15 Shame DVD Review
20:15 - 23:15 7 Below DVD Review
23:15- 24:50 Outro

Movie Moxie Podcast - A 100% spoiler-free film review podcast
You can also subscribe to the Movie Moxie Podcast here:
Subscribe through iTunes here.

Up next week: Hot Docs 2012 and Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Safe Movie Passes Giveaway (Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa & Winnipeg)


Image courtesy of Alliance Films

Want a chance to win movie passes and see up the upcoming action flick Safe starring Jason Statham as a down and out-er who wants to save a smart girl for big bads? How can you not? Statham! Kicking butt! Protecting an awesome smart little girl! Soudns all good to me! If you are in Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa or Winnipeg then you are in luck as I have passes to giveaway for advance screenings.

Safe Synopsis: "A second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit, Luke Wright lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change…until the day he blows a rigged fight. Wanting to make an example of him, the Russian Mafia murders his family and banishes him from his life forever, leaving Luke to wander the streets of New York destitute, haunted by guilt, and tormented by the knowledge that he will always be watched, and anyone he develops a relationship with will also be killed.

But when he witnesses a frightened twelve-year-old Chinese girl, Mei, being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, Luke impulsively jumps to action…and straight into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war. Mei, he discovers, is no ordinary girl, but an orphaned math prodigy forced to work for the Triads as a "counter." He discovers she holds in her memory a priceless numerical code that the Triads, the Russian mob and a corrupt faction of the NYPD will kill for.

Realizing he’s the only person Mei can trust, Luke tears a swath through the city’s brutal underworld to save an innocent girl’s life…and perhaps even redeem his own."

Sage stars Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, James Colby, Barry Bradford, Robert John Burke, Matt O’Toole and Jay Giannone; and is directed by Boaz Yakin.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Toronto Screening Details:
Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2012; Showtime: 7:00 PM
Location: AMC Yonge & Dundas 24, 10 Dundas Street East in Toronto, ON M5B 2G9
Click here for Toronto Screening & Enter PIN of SAFEWITHMOXIETO

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Halifax Screening Details:
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2012; Show Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Empire 8 Park Lane, 5657 Spring Garden Road in Halifax, NS B3J 3R4
Click here for Halifax Screening & Enter PIN of SAFEWITHMOXIEHALI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ottawa Screening Details:
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2012; Show Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Empire 7, 111 Albert Street in Ottawa, ON K1P 1A5
Click here for Ottawa Screening & Enter PIN of SAFEWITHMOXIEOTT

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Winnipeg Screening Details:

Date: Thursday, April261, 2012; Show Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Empire Grant Park 8, 1120 Grant Avenue, Unit 127 in Winnipeg, MB R3M 2A6
Click here for Winnipeg Screening & Enter PIN of SAFEWITHMOXIEWIN

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are a limited number of passes for the screenings, so act quick!

Missed your chance? See Safe in theatres when it opens in wide release on April 27, 2012!

Want to increase your chances for next time? Sign up for any of the Movie Moxie Newsletters as subscribers get first chance at any contests or giveaways. You can sign up here.

Thank you to Alliance Films for the movie passes giveaway - huzzah!

Safe Trailer:



Mei (Catherine Chan) and Luke Wright (Jason Statham) in SAFE. Photo credit: John Baer


From left to right: Detective Mears (James Colby), Detective Benoit (Barry Bradford), Captain Wolf (Robert John Burke), Luke Wright (Jason Statham), Detective Lasky (Matt O’Toole) and Detective Kolfax (Jay Giannone) in SAFE.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Shame (DVD/BluRay Combo) Review

DVD/BluRay Review of Shame from director Steve McQueen starring Michael Fassbender & Carey Mulligan.

Image Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line © 2011 New Amsterdam Film Limited, Channel Four Television Corporation and The British Film Institute. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: Steve McQueen (Hunger)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie, James Badge Dale
UK, 2011

Reason to see: Huge acclaim & kudos, especially for Michael Fassbender's performance

Shame certainly feels like one of the powerhouses films from last year. I had seen the emotional heartbreak of Hunger from director Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender, I thought I would be prepared to dive in to one of pairings again with this New York set drama. Retrospectively, I'm not sure that anything can really prepare you for Shame. What could really prepare you for following sex obsessed/addicted Brandon (played by Michael Fassbender) during the film? I really don't think anything can. There is something really unnerving about the character of Brandon in so many ways, not just the addiction but the fact that people can so easily be charmed over by him or in the case of his sister (played by Carey Mulligan) heavily rely on him, and although we see him baring all he often remains a huge mystery.

Shame is one of the films where I feel like a putz that I wasn't taken by it, a film that I would rather just agree with folk on it's brilliance but I can't. Not that it isn't brilliant, but that's not what I took away from the film. Are the performance astounding? Yes they are. Is it talking about something taboo? Yes it was. Was it gorgeously shot? Yes it was. Did I care about ...anyone? A-ha. There we go. For me, that was the missing ingredient. There were moments that I felt for Brandon, but mostly empathetically to his current emotional states of being as opposed to his obsession/addiction/situation. I felt the weight he was baring, and therefore empathized, but outside of near-breaking point moments I had no patience for his plight. It was a quite strange experience, and this is my personal reaction to the film which brings me farther the point of knowing to trust my gut that films of almost purely emotional hardship are not for me. For the high drama fan though, Shame is a great fit as it hits all the marks you'd want and expect for a powerful, emotional journey with striking performance and a haunting sense of realism.

DVD/Blu-Ray Extras:
  • Q&A with Michael Fassbender (35 minutes) from the Hackney Picturehouse - January 2012 with Dave Calhoun; Film Editor, Time Out. Film clips and Q&A (including audience questions) discussing his filmography, working with director Steve McQueen, the draw to the film, his first reaction to the idea of the film, the duality of the character of Brandon vs being an addict, working with Carey Mulligan and the setting of New York.
  • Interview with Michael Fassbender (3 minutes) discussing the character of Brandon, on sex addiction, the challenges of the film and on working with Steve McQueen and Carey Mulligan.
  • Interview with Carey Mulligan (2 minutes) discussing the character of Sissy, on preparing and getting the role and on working with Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender.
  • Trailer
Shame is available on DVD as of April 17, 2012. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I'd watch it again for the performances
I'd recommend it drama fans, especially for the emotional journey

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2012


Michael Fassbender in SHAME


Michael Fassbender in SHAME


Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan star in Shame

7 Below (DVD Review)

DVD Review of the supernatural thriller 7 Below starring Ving Rhames, Luke Goss, Rebecca de Costa & Val Kilmer


Image Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line © 2011 SBZ Productions. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: Kevin Carraway (The Fear Chamber)
Cast: Ving Rhames, Luke Goss, Rebecca da Costa, Bonnie Somerville, Brianna Lee Johnson, Matt Barr, Val Kilmer
USA, 2012 (DVD Release)

Reason to see: Horror flick with a supernatural feel will always draw me in

7 Below starts with some classic elements to horror films including following a group of semi-stranded folk where only some know each other, the elusive 'is he creepy or helpful?' local and a creepy location with unknown history plus a natural (or is it?) event to keep them from leaving. I should totally make a list of films that meet those parameters, but it may not fit as a post title. In the bunch, we has some pretty good actors including Val Kilmer as a not-so-nice husband and Ving Rhames as the local guy as well as Luke Goss (Hellboy II, Blade II, Death Race II) and Matt Barr ('Hellcats', Harper's Island) as brothers, and Rebecca da Costa and Bonnie Somerville and Brianna Lee Johnson.

I liked the idea of 7 Below and its setting, but had a hard time believing some of the situations - oddly the practical ones like a storm over the more far-fetched horror/thriller story line that brought the film together. The concept itself was pretty interesting but I kept feeling myself pulled out of it by the practical, which isn't something I usually have a problem with.

Watching 7 Below kept me guessing, not so much about what has happening in the film but what kind of film it was. I watch a lot of B-Movies and a fair amount of direct to DVD horror and it had elements of both, but fell somewhere in between them but not with the halves I personally enjoy. With B-movies, I enjoy when they really go for the cheese factor - and they got some of that in here with some crazy lines and far fetched ideas, but rarely was anyone acting like they were in a B-Movie (except for a few moments where Ving Rhames totally nailed it). And for the direct to DVD horror I love when they go with crazy concepts and a real make-it-work attitude, but here it just felt a little thin on ideas and not enough punch to keep me hooked. I did think there were a few choice moments and it certainly had a creepy idea so there was some good creativity going, I just wish they tightened it up with better pacing and less inconsistencies, but they did give us some stronger and interesting characters. I was particularly impressed with Luke Goss who did a solid job, and this was the first dramatic role I saw him in and would like to see more; I'm going to keep my eye on him.

DVD Extras:
  • Trailer
7 Below is available on DVD as of April 17, 2012. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I wanted to enjoyed it more
I'm not sure I'd watch it againt
I'd recommend for the b-movie completeists of the horror variety

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2012

DVD Releases for April 17, 2012

Time to take a look at a selection of DVD releases for Tuesday April 17, 2012!


Images: Shame, Freerunner, 7 Below (Courtesy of Alliance Films), Girl Fight & Skins: Season 1 (Courtesy of eOne Films)

  • The Divide DVD Review (BluRay/DVD Combo and DVD Available) Harrowing post apocalyptic film directed by Xavier Gens which played at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2011 at which point I had the opportunity to interview stars Michael Biehn and Michael Eklund - you can hear that interview here, or read the transcripts here: Michael Biehn interview and Michael Eklund interview.
  • Shame (BluRay/DVD Combo Review) Greatly acclaimed film starring Michael Fassbender as a sex-addicted man who lives in New York, directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger). Formidable acting, but this one didn't quite speak to me.
  • Hunger (BluRay) If you love the combo of Michael Fassbender starring in Steve McQueen film it's a great time to pick up their first foray on BluRay (Amazon.ca only)
  • 7 Below (DVD Review) Supernatural/horror of the straight to DVD variety starring Ving Rhames, Rebecca da Costa, Val Kilmer and Luke Goss. Not quite as good or as goofy as I had hoped but interesting story and I was impressed by Luke Goss - will keep an eye on him.
  • Freerunner Parkour action films always are on my radar so I'm looking forward to seeing his one with a heist flavour; it stars Sean Faris (Never Back Down) Danny Dyer (Doghouse, Devil's Playground (2010) & Rebecca De Costa, directed by Lawrence Silverstein.
  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol One of the big action films of our past holiday season, Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt and I can't believe I didn't see it! Heard great things about it, although mostly about the impressive stunts. Which honestly, is way more than enough for me.
  • If nature documentaries are your thing you have a few options this week including the film Born to Be Wild and the gorgeous looking series Frozen Planet: The Complete Series.
  • Keeping the TV theme we have several TV option this week including the Lifetime original movie Girl Fight starring Anne Heche; plus the following series: Skins (North American Version) Season 1, Ice Road Truckers - Season 5 and Treme: The Complete Second Season.

Titles on Amazon.ca(Canada):


Titles on Amazon.com (US):

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Movie Moxie Podcast 67: The Hunger Games & Fightville




On this weeks episode of the Movie Moxie Podcast, Shannon chats about films with a lot of fight in them including this year's box office toppler The Hunder Games and MMA documentary Fightville.








Timecoding:
0:00 - 1:00 Intro
1:00 - 11:00 The Hunger Games review
11:00 - 16:00 Fightville review
16:00 - 17:45 DVD release for April 3, 2012
17:45 - 22:15 DVD release for April 10, 2012
22:15 - 23:15 This weeks release
23:15 - 24:05 Outro

Show Notes

Movie Moxie Podcast - A 100% spoiler-free film review podcast
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Up next week: Lockout and The Cabin in the Woods

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Guest Podcast: 2-Headed Shark Attack on The Saturday B-Movie Reel



I recently had the honour of guest co-hosting on The Saturday B-Movie Reel to chat about 2-Headed Shark Attack on an edition of 'Could B Syfy' with host Kevin Bachelder and fellow co-host & shark film enthusiast Jeff Long from The B-Movie Shelf. Although the film isn't the deepest of the shark works out there, is sure is a heck of a lot of fun with a high-cheese factor and lots of chomping. Check out our chat about it here over at Tuning into SciFi TV.

You can also check out my DVD review of 2-Headed Shark Attack here.

The Three Musketeers (2011) DVD Review

DVD Review of the adventure film The Three Musketeers starring Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson and Luke Evans adapted from the book by Alexandre Dumas


Image Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line (C) 2011 Constantin Film Production GMBH, NEF Productions, S.A.S and New Legacy Film LTD. All Rights Reserved By Constantin Film Verleih GMBH. Distributed Exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Death Race (2008), AVP: Alien vs Predator)
Cast: Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Mads Mikkelsen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christoph Watlz, Orlando Bloom, Freddie Fox, Juno Temple, James Corden
USA/UK/France/Germany, 2011

Reason to see: 2011 Book to Film Club Selection plus it was on my list of Most Anticipated Films of 2011 (#21)

I wasn't quite sure what to make of The Three Musketeers (2011) before heading in, as it's a highly noted classic adventure story that has been adapted in to so many films over the years and then to have the man who brought us the Resident Evil films, Paul W.S. Anderson directing, I was even more dumbfounded. But the trailers looked fun and I adored the cast (Mads! Milla! Ray! Oh my...), so I picked it for the Book to Film Club and said I was going to give it a chance.

Now, I do have to admit that getting through the book The Three Musketeers was a HUGE challenge. It was the hardest read (but I didn't dislike it) and the biggest challenge of the 2011 Book to Film Club because it was so long and so dense. Thankfully, the film is a lovely adaptation trimming away oodles and oodles of things I didn't miss and keeping all the adventure, including main story and the spirit of all of the characters. Before reading the book I was mostly excited because of the casting. I'll see anything that Mads Mikkelsen (After the Wedding / Efter brylluppet, Valhalla Rising) & Ray Stevenson (King Arthur, Kill the Irishman) are in, especially together, and I continue to love Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief) , Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil Series) & Luke Evans (Tamara Drewe, Immortals). Plus, now I have to know where the heck Matthew Macfadyen has been hiding (period films?) because he in instantly going on my to-watch list as he is an excellent actor.

I know that is a lot of names, but that is because the film has so many delicious characters from our young protagonist D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) who is off to prove himself and quickly becomes entangled with the Three Musketeers of Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Lucas Evans) who although highly skilled are not really needed anymore and come to odds with the Cardinal's (Christoph Watlz) guards lead by Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) and pretty much rule the place even though it's in the hands of a very king Louis (Freddie Fox). And then of course we have Milla Jovovich as the cunning Milady, whom is highly skilled in many ways.

How they flushed out all of the characters so well is a huge feat in it of itself, I'm a big fan of ensemble casts in action/adventure films and they are able to create and hone the characters including their own unique set of skills, they interpersonal relationships, histories and motivations all without feel like it's being telecasted to you. And I didn't go in super knowledgeable reading the book - I could barely tell the Musketeers apart! But here, it was easy and delightful to know who was who; and what trouble they are getting into. And there is a lot of trouble to get into, the film is full of plots and trickery and the mystery of solving your counterparts motivations and the meticulous planning to work on and through the deception. Honestly, the planning won me over more than I anticipated. But the art direction and styling was also gorgeous, although they certainly took some liberties with devices which gave it a fun vibe and you really just have to go with it.

I loved watching The Three Musketeers, it is literally one of the most fun out of all of the movies I have seen all year. It's outrageous, outlandish and over the top but it's backed by a solid plot, a fantastic set of characters and a brilliant cast. I really enjoyed the performances of each and every person in the film who breathed in the joy, romance, adventure and life into the film. Absolutely wonderful!

DVD Extras:
  • Feature Commentary with director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer discussing the draw to the film, the influences which run the gambit from classic Hollywood to current games, a fair amount of character & character dynamics especially in reference to how close they tied them to how they are depicted in the book including the age of D'Artagnan, lots of detail on the locations especially the amazing amount of real locations (including a private castle) as well as what (if anything) was changed/altered/enhanced by visual effects. They also chat the sword work including the fact almost everything is done by the actors with real swords and the individual fighting styles, the elaborate costumes, the influences that developed the look and feel of the film, the different romance stories in the film, the conscious choice to ensure the characters and struggles were relatable to a current day audience, the appeal of the film to a large audience, challenges (and luck) with the weather and the authenticity of many of the weapons and creations at least conceptually to the time. It's quite an informed and entertaining commentary, and I loved how well they know and note the book, and share which moments are straght from the book as well as reasons behind changes made - it was great to hear their perspective.
  • Cast and Crew (20 minutes) behind the scenes, film clips and interviews withdirector Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt & on the actors and their connection to their character; the actors discussing bringing their characters to life and also the connection of the characters to the book and the different takes they took to other ways the characters have been portrayed in other Musketeer films. Really great character bios on each of Althos (Matthew Macfadyen), Milady (Milla Jovovich), Aramis (Luke Evans), Porthos, (Ray Stevenson), D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman), Richelieu (Christoph Watlz), Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen), Planchet (James Corden) & a look at them as Paul W.S. Anderson's Three Musketeers.
  • Achieving the Look (15 minutes total) 4 Featurettes on the Costumes (5 minutes), Production Design (4 minutes), A New Dimension of Musketeers on the film being in 3D (5 minutes) and Uncovering France in Germany (2 minutes) with behind the scenes, concept art, on set & on locations footage, film clips and interviews with director Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt, costume designer Pierre-Yves Gayraud, production designer Paul Denham Austerberry, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Nick Powell and actors Matthew Macfadyen, Orlando Bloom, Mads Mikkelsen, Freddie Fox, Gabriella Wilde, Milla Jovovich, James Corden, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Logan Lerman.
  • 17th Century Action (10 minutes) 5 Featurettes on different action elements of the film from Fencing to specific fight & action sequences and new concepts/combinations used for the film including re-invisioning Milady. Includes interviews with director Paul W.S. Anderson, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Nick Powell and actors Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Mads Mikkelsen, plus behind the scenes on shooting, rehearsals with fencing instructor Imke Duplitzer, plus discussing individual styles of the fighting styles of the different characters, the fact that the actors trained & did their own fights,plus the huge sets and amazing locations for the and the impressive amount of actual sets over green screens which are used more for enhancement
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (12 scenes, 13 minutes) really interesting added footage, and I absolutely loved that they added an 'extended footage' watermark for the extended scenes to indicate what had been added.
The Three Musketeers (2011) is available on DVD as of March 13, 2012. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it; I grin from ear to ear for the entire time, every time I watch it
I'll own it
I highly recommend it to fans of adventurous and fun-spirited films

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews


(Left to right) LOGAN LERMAN (white shirt), LUKE EVANS, RAY STEVENSON (back to camera) and MATTHEW MACFADYEN star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS, an Alliance Films' release.


(L-R) CHRISTOPH WALTZ and MILLA JOVOVICH star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D, an Alliance Films release

(L-R) ORLANDO BLOOM and CHRISTOPH WALTZ star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D, an Alliance Films release.

© Shannon Ridler, 2011 - 2012
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - November 28, 2011
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012