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Mark Nov 9th on your calendars

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)


Oh man, I am so excited about this I am actually counting the days. On Nov 9th, two Cineplex Odeon Theatres in town will be re-releasing BEN HUR on the big screen.

If you have read some of my posts before, you know that I am one of these movie maniacs who when they find something they like will watch it over and over and over again. Ben Hur makes it onto my top 10 fave movies of all time. In fact, I just recommended it in April of this year in my post The Bible and the Epics. (excerpt from that post follows).

Grand daddy of them all - Ben Hur. This is one of my favourite movies of all time and I would not be exaggerating if I said I have seen it 30 times (at 3 hours and 32 minutes that's a lot of Ben!). And I've had the joy of seeing it on the big screen. The sets are real- no CGI's here and the chariot race really is Chuck and Stephen Boyd tearing around the track. Still considered one of the greatest action sequences ever captured, the race took 3 months to film and used 15000 extras on the largest set ever built (see the picture- that's a set - with real people- and I can't get the whole thing to fit!). It won 11 Oscars, equaled only by Titanic and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy- and think of all the CGI in those films. It is a brilliant movie.


Don't miss this one folks - take the kids, take the grandparents, take everyone you know. Did I mention that I am counting the days?

And tickets are only $5.00!


You think you know, but you don't know

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Don't watch all of these unsettling movies at once, but if you like puzzles and mind-bending films, you are sure to enjoy these. Cool special effects don't spoil the questioning of identity and reality. I promise not to give anything away in the following synopses:

Synecdoche New York

This is the cream of the crop for the staggering achievement of the set designers for their world with in a world within a world. Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as an actor who has less grasp on his Self than his stalker does.

The Machinist

Christian Bale (Batman) gets thin again for this tension filled look at a man who is disentegrating with each passing day. It's devastating but excellent.

Vanilla Sky

An American remake starring Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz follows a man who thinks he has lost the love of his life and his life appears to be slipping out of control, thanks to a sinister medical organization.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I think I've mentioned before that this is Jim Carrey's best role. Co-starring Kate Winslet (Titanic) this is a comedic and still troubling adventure of a man who decides to erase his memories of his ex-girlfriend thanks to yet another sinister medical organization.

by Mel

Redux- The Three Musketeers

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The Three Musketeers novel by Alexandre Dumas was first serialized in March of 1844. It recounts the adventures of a young man named D’Artagnan after he travels to Paris to join the Musketeers of the Guard. The friends he makes are the musketeers for whom the novel is named- Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The book was incredibly popular at the time and has proved even more successful as a movie. The first film I could find was 1903 and since then there have been dozens of retellings, re-imaginings, sequels, prequels, serializations, mini series and cross-overs. Some of the ones I found include Tri Mushketyora from Russia, Los Tres Mosqueteros from Spain, El forsane el talata from Egypt, Se tofangdar from Iran and Long men san jian ke from Malaysia. Obviously a good story knows no borders

CPL has no less than 9 versions:

1)We have the 1921 silent with arguably one of the world’s greatest swashbucklers, Douglas Fairbanks. If you have never seen Fairbanks in action, don't let the non-talkie put you off. In fact embrace the lack of words and just enjoy his amazing athletic ability 2) the 1939 with Don Ameche and the Ritz Brothers;

3) 1948 with Lana Turner, Gene Kelly ,Vincent Price and June Allyson-not so much swashing here as dancing; 4) from BBC in 1966 with Jeremy Brett of Sherlock Holmes fame;

5) The 1974 release is likely one you are familiar with. This had a huge and impressive cast with the big names de jour including Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee and Charlton Heston. This one comes as a double and has the Four Musketeers sequel. These are great fun.

6) Another one likely on your radar is 1993’s release with young guns Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt and Tim Curry.

7) 2004 from Disney- with Mickey, Donald and Goofy--- what inspired casting!!

8) Barbie and the Three Musketeers- animated of course. 9) and I can barely bring myself to mention this one- it’s with the Three Stooges.

A good cross over is The Man in the Iron Mask which blends two stories by Dumas. In this 1997 release the 4 amigos are trying to save the wrongly imprisoned “man” from the evil clutches of Louis the 14th. The dual role is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in one of the few things he’s done that I didn’t care for. But I enjoyed the older, wiser, and more careworn Musketeers as played by Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich and Gerard Deparedieu.

Now of course all things aren’t created equal so I leave you to pick and choose for yourself- my money is on Michael York (it made him a star), and Douglas Fairbanks. This brings me to the newest version in theatres now. I just saw this at a sneak preview and I have to say it is absurd, over the top, improbable and the most fun I have had at a movie in ages! Take the kids, take the grandparents----spend the extra bucks for the excellent 3D, suspend disbelief and just enjoy......

Halloween Movies

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

A big thanks to guest blogger Trevor who says he actually lost sleep over some of these movies. Now I call that a recommendation. I have to tell you that in spite of taking it home at least 4 times, I still have not had the nerve to put 'Paranormal' in my player and actually turn it on. Want to see some previous picks- just click on SCARY under tags on the left . Great fun for those who like their movies dark---just don't say we didn't warn you.Moe.

Not a typical haunted house film, Insidious flips the formula by having a haunted child instead. A very divisive film (I have friends who were so scared they cried and others who were laughing out loud throughout), Insidious is nothing if not unique. Horror fans should check it out for something new.

The Crazies – Residents of a small town start going kooky and, you guessed it, CRAZY and it’s up to the always excellent Timothy Olyphant to set things right. A tense and suspenseful zombie-esque flick. Fans of speedy zombies will be right at home.

Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 – You often hear the phrase “scariest movie since the Exorcist” and most of the time it is nothing more than a marketing ploy. In the case of the Paranormal Activity films however, it is undeniably true. In my opinion, these are the scariest movies on this list and are not for the faint of heart. Following the “found footage” trend that has become increasingly popular since the Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity tells the tale of a house menaced by a demon. The second film is actually a prequel which details the events leading up to the original and can be enjoyed regardless of your familiarity with the first film. The scares are simple (the first film only had a $15,000 budget) and aren’t the typical cat jumps into frame or phone rings loudly gotcha-moments that lesser films rely on. I’m not embarrassed to say that I lost sleep over these ones.

Let Me In is the American remake of the Swedish Let the Right One In. A lonely young boy befriends a lonely young girl (who also happens to be a vicious blood-sucker). While I haven’t seen the remake, I hear it’s a note for note adaptation that is just as chilling and thought provoking as the original (which happens to be my favorite vampire film).

Predators - Nostalgia is the best word to describe this film. It looks like the original Predator, it sounds like it, it feels like it, and it’s just as suspenseful when the new predators are hunting their unsuspecting (human) prey. Fans of the original will find much to love.

Day Breakers –Excessive blood and gore meets subtle consumerist satire in this tale of a vampire apocalypse. The twist: our protagonist is a vampire himself, living in a world of vampires, trying to find an alternate food source as the last of human race slowly wastes away.

Frozen – If you ski or snowboard, you just may want to avoid this film. I’m not too anxious to hit the hill after watching a trio of college kids get trapped on a chairlift, at night, halfway up the mountain, over a long weekend, in freezing temperatures, with no one to help them…did I mention there’s frostbite and ravenous wolves?

The Mist – Stephen King adaptations are hit and miss most of the time but thankfully this film is one of the hits. A thick, mysterious mist envelopes a small town. The mist contains hungry creatures and it’s up to Thomas Jane to keep his group of survivors safe inside the town’s grocery store. A tense and chilling flick, The Mist keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very satisfying conclusion.

Maureen here-thanks again Trevor. I have once more taken 'Paranormal' home with me for the weekend and this time I intend to watch it---really! And just in time, as Paranormal 3 is being released on Oct 21st.


The 'How To" on entering our Contests

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

There has been some confusion while trying to enter the contests for free advanced screening passes. We have been asked to clarify- so here’s what you need to know.

We run 2 types of contests here at MM. For one kind we invite you to enter through our CPL site by leaving your name and a phone number in COMMENTS. This information will never be published. If you win you will be contacted to pick up your physical ticket at a branch. These tickets come courtesy of Paramount Pictures, and they are not privy to any of your information..

The second type of contest is the one that people are most unsure of. In this instance we put up a link which directs you to an external website. This site asks for a name, PIN and an email address. The PIN is provided by MM in our post and is NOT your CPL PIN. All you need to do is cut and paste this pin from MM and insert it into the new site to which you are redirected. You do not even need to provide your real name -the name ’guest’ will work just as well and still get you a pass. They need an email because these are electronic tickets and they have to have somewhere to send them to for you to print off. If you wish, you can create an email specifically for this purpose. You can also use the PIN to get more than one set of tickets for that particular movie. Just remember that each new contest has a new site and a new PIN. These tickets are provided courtesy of Alliance Atlantis ---they provide the option of ‘opting out’ from their mailing list.

As with all things www you must decide for yourself what your personal comfort level is in providing information.

The final word: these are advanced screening passes and they always give away more than the theatre can hold- this is because they know there will be no-shows. If you get tickets either way, take it to the theatre, go to the box office and exchange it for a regular admission ticket. Then you are guaranteed a seat. I usually try to arrive 45-60 minutes ahead of posted show time-- I have ALWAYS gotten in. There will be several contests coming in the next few weeks- please remember to check in at TEEN ZONE blog also.

Japan Film Festival

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October 14th 6:00 PM --- Mt.Tsurugidake/ 139 Mnutes/ Daisaku Kimura/ 2009

8:30 PM --- Always: Sunset on Third Street 2/ 146 Min/ Takashi Yamazaki / 2007

October 15th 5:00 Shindo / 120 Min/ Koji Hagiuda / 2007

7:15 Linda Linda Linda /114 Min/ Nobuhiro Yamashita/ 2005

Free Admission at The Plaza Theatre

1133 Kensington Road NW

by Moe


Girls Night Out Prize Package

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What a response---a whole lot of interest in this movie and prize package! Thanks to everyone who entered and congrats to Margo our grand prize winner. Amanda, Jasmine and Sepidar will also be going to the movie, courtesy of Movie Maniacs and Paramount Pictures.

This is so sweet I can hardly bring myself to give it away--- after all, who wouldn't like a miniature disco ball, nail polish, candy, glow in the dark bracelets, makeup, mugs AND four free passes to Footloose---that way you don't have to stress over which friends to take !!!

So come on ladies of all ages- enter for a chance to win this prize by telling me your favourite dance movie ever. And as always, remember to leave me your name and a contact number. You will also need to come up to Crowfoot branch to pick up your prize. The tickets are for Wednesday the 12th at 7:00 at Chinook theatre.

And a big thanks to Paramount for the passes and lootbag!

Pillars of the Earth

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If history is written by the victors, then the victors apparently are screenwriters with a passion for costume drama, and bring it on, I say!

I recently viewed the adaptation of Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. Like most library dvd fans, I waited to watch it ad-free from the library. Who could resist such an all-star cast, including Canadian favorites Donald Sutherland and Gordon Pinsent and Ian McShane as the eyebrow lifting corrupt cardinal and Matthew McFayden (from the MI-5 series) as the compromised priest? As blogger Moe pointed out, this one has all the elements: romance, battle scenes, and a little mystery.

The series follows cathedral architect Tom Builder in his quest to build the first gothic cathedral with abundant light within. Swirling around him are real historical figures battling for the crown during the 12th century: Queen Maud versus King Stephen. Troops plough the priory and villagers while the higher- ups cut off or reinstate funding for the cathedral willy nilly.

This series took me back to the excellent Cadfael mystery series, set near the Welsh-English border during the same time period. See our earlier review of Derek Jakobi roles under "Spotlight" in the link menu to your left.

For these historically based series, I enjoy brushing up on history by going to our e-library on this website and searching the Encyclopedia Britannica for more information on Wales, cathedrals, or Queen Maud (also named Mathilda), for instance.

New and Notable

- 3 Comment(s)

If you are one of those people who can't wait to see the latest release, you are probably already quite familiar with how to search our on-line catalogue to see what's new. For those of you who don't know, just pop onto our homepage, go to "search the Catalogue" and from there click on "New Arrivals". Or easier still, if you already have a title in mind just enter it into the quick search box and add DVD to eliminate other formats like books and book CD's. Even if we don't physically have any copies yet, if it turns up in the catalogue you can place holds.

Some of my own fave new releases include:

Source Code- Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga---An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. Excellent CGI's.

X-Men: First Class--- I'm a big x-Men fan-in fact, along with Iron Man they are the only superhero franchises I enjoy. There are 3 previous X-Men with the original cast, but now they are giving the more popular characters their own back stories. There was Wolverine in 2009 and now First Class, which gives us the genesis of Professor X, Magneto, Beast and Mystique. A trifle long, but def worth a watch. Watch for Kevin Bacon in an excellent turn as a bad guy.

Hanna--- a 16 year old female assassin? Probably shouldn't have liked this one as much as I did given the premise, but it works. Cate Blantchett and Eric Bana as arch rivals fighting over the young girls destiny.

Lincoln Lawyer--- I usually go out of my way to not watch Matthew McConaughey, but playing a sleezy lawyer works for him. Whether or not you are a Grisham and Mat M fan, chances are good you'll enjoy this.

Adjustment Bureau---love story/sci-fi/thriller/space time continuum paradox---? I thought I had this one pigeon-holed early on, but it has a good twist.

And now after tempting you with these new releases I have to admit their are numerous holds on these titles. Hang ini there.

by Moe