Suspense

12 Years a Gravity Hustle

12 Years a Gravity Hustle
Tonight is the Oscars, ask the biggest film award ceremony in the world. Like some of the nominated features, this year is proving to be a nail-biter. It's unusual to see such a dead heat; Gravity, 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle are all considered Tinseltown's favourites to win. We all have our personal picks but ultimately the Academy will choose what it chooses. So, to break it down further here is my two cents regarding some of the top contenders tonight. Read More »

TIFF 2012 Highlights: Sightseers

Sep 17, 2012
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TIFF 2012 Highlights: Sightseers
Ben Wheatley is a relatively new director from the UK. He wowed the TIFF audience last year with Kill List, rehabilitation a gruesome, read more often brilliant and completely controversial horror movie. This year he comes back with a decidedly funnier and less gruesome (albeit extreme when the violence happens) film, Sightseers. Read More »

The Best 11 of Two Thousand-11!

The Best 11 of Two Thousand-11!
We are well into the new year and there are a lot of great films I'm looking forward to (can you say, order "The Dark Knight Rises"???). But, troche lately I've been busy recalling all the different movies I saw this past year. So, salve with this post I'd like to celebrate what I considered to be the best of the best of 2o11. Unfortunately, I was not able to see all the films I wanted to. So this list represents my 11 favourite films of 2011, that I actually watched (and in no particular order)... Read More »

Kevin Smith made this movie?

Nov 20, 2011
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Kevin Smith made this movie?
Earlier this fall a little know film, pharmacist Red State, healing showed up on DVD and VOD. Popular filmmaker, Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc...) has garnered a fair bit of attention this year with his controversial little film. So, what's it about, you ask? Well, allow me to share. Read More »

“The Prestige”

Mar 28, 2011
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Back in 2006 there there were two highly acclaimed films that centred around magicians in the 19th century. One was remarkable, discount the other remarkably disappointing. My friends and I retitled the latter as "The Boring-ist". It featured Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti (both great actors), but was so poorly executed. So, I won't bore you with a review on that one. Rather, allow me steer you in the direction of the far superior movie - The Prestige. This Christopher Nolan, period-piece is exceptional across the board. We journey back and forth through the timeline of a long and sour history between two feuding magicians played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. I don't want to give away too much because this is the kind of film you really need to experience firsthand. But let me just say, our tale begins with Borden (Bale) accidentally killing the wife of Angiers (Jackman). This, of course, creates a fairly immense wedge between the two men. Borden is a smart but cocky young magician who obsesses over creating the most deceiving illusions. This gains him some local celebrity and his career as an outstanding magician begins. This, however, is slowed down as Angiers, full of grief and revenge, sabotages one of Borden's tricks in front of a live audience. The result is that Borden loses a couple of fingers. Not a good thing for a man who's career is slight of hand. Borden takes Angiers' wife. Angiers takes Borden's fingers. Tit for tat, right? Well, not really. And Angiers knows it. Borden finds a lovely bride, they have  child together and Angiers' anger festers as he remains a widower and childless. At the same time Borden continues to build a successful magic show. The highlight of his show is a trick, The Transported Man, in which Borden steps into one box and reappears instantly in another box across the other end of the stage. It's breath-taking. The crowds love it! And Angiers becomes obsessed with finding out his trick. Without giving away the rest of the plot, the film builds on this foundation of anger, jealousy, obsession and pride. The interplay between Jackman and Bale is wonderful. Bale plays the cocky character perfectly, while Jackman develops this heart-broken shell of a man with slow intensity and emotion. And both are driven by their respective obsessions. Christopher Nolan is responsible for the brilliant pacing and use of flashbacks. The whole film has us jumping back and forth through a period of about 10 years, telling us this tale of mystery and passion in a way that keeps us eager to see what's around the next corner. He won't show you anything until he wants you to see it. Just like a great magician. It's actually quite profound. Here is a film about magicians and Nolan, as the director, approaches the making of the film as a magician himself. Brilliant. There is so much more to the story and other fantastic characters. Michael Caine plays the wise mentor, Scarlett Johansson plays the sultry assistant/mistress and David Bowie plays the one historically true character, Nikola Tesla (renowned pioneer of electricity). All of these actors are a delight, particularly Caine. I'd love to share more about the story but I really don't want to give too much away. In the film, they explain how there are three acts of a trick; the Pledge, the Turn and finally, the Prestige. The last act is the "WHA?!" part of the trick. It's the thing you can't believe, you never thought possible. Like the Prestige in a magic trick, this film has a fantastic final act. And that is why I really can't say anymore about the film's story. So, go get the DVD or download it from iTunes or Netflix or whatever. Just find a couple of hours this week and treat yourself to this finely crafted film. It's like a great magic show; mysterious, captivating and mind-blowing.