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Looking a lot like Christmas- but after

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We posted this a while back, but thought you might enjoy it again. Hey you've seen It's a Wonderful Life a few times, right? This post lists some films that the holiday movie lover can sneak past the co-habitants with seasonal burnout. Speaking of bah humbug, I was previewing a new gadget and the tech told me that its bonus feature is that you can text and watch a show at the same time. "What if you disagree with that in principle?" I asked. To his credit, he didnt' back away slowly. One of the great joys of the season is going out and catching the new releases. Let's leave our holiday lights on the tree and out of the theatres. Please turn off your smart devices. Okay, that's enough grinch for now. Happy Holidays Everyone!

You can't get enough of the holiday's but your family is fed up...Try these non-Christmas movies with snowy Decembers and holiday settings...

The Holiday: Two couples, a house exchange, and unrequited love. Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law star.

Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason starring Renee Zellweger ends in the wintry English countryside, especially timely since there's actually been snow there in recent Decembers.

Love, Actually a huge cast of British actors star in this charming look at relationships from multiple perspectives. Hugh Grant stars as the British Prime Minister. If you're not a fan, don't worry, this is a "vignettes" film.

Trading Places: For those who prefer a belly laugh, Dan Ackroyd and Eddy Murphy in their 1980s heyday star, and they are great together. Corporate sabotage forces Ackroyd's character out of his executive role and homeless Murphy into the big kahuna position.

Your family won't notice the holiday themes...Besides, Ukrainian Christmas is not until the 6th!

Just in time for the end of the world

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Movies abound with end of the world scenarios and quite a number of them feature destruction by asteroids, comets or meteors. Just think of Deep Impact, Armageddon and Day of the Triffids. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a different take on this theme. There are no near misses nor lucky survivors, no space miners sacrificing themselves for the rest of mankind. We know going into this movie that destruction is inevitable.

Dodge and Penny are an unlikely couple thrown together to try to navigate their way through the last days before the end. They manage to do so with charm, humour and grace. I enjoyed this way more than I expected and thought that Steve Carell and Keira Knightley hit all the right notes.

If you are a believer you only have a few days to watch this...

 

 

 

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED. When this ad appears in a newspaper, three investigative journalists set out to see what's what.

This is another movie that I found quietly compelling. Part comedy but with a serious note running throughout, coupled with some very engaging characters. Plus it is not weighed down by any of the space/time paradoxes that often leave me yelling at the tv ' oh yeah, that wouldn't work and here's why...'. A quirky and satisfying ending.

 

Just a little interesting side note I came across in the news today: 93 people in China were arrested for spreading Mayan calendar doomsday fears.

Comedy and Contract Killing

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Another fun post from our frequent guest blogger, Trevor. I had seen all of these except for Wild target, which I immediately placed on hold and enjoyed immensely. I had more than one laugh out loud moment at the absurdity of it all. Thanks for the recommendations Trevor!

Much as our society abhors killing and murder, there is still something inherently fascinating about assassins. Hiding patiently in the shadows, pulling the trigger at the perfect moment, and then nonchalantly escaping the scene…in terms of pure coolness, a well planned assassination is second only to walking slowly towards the camera while an explosion goes off in the background. These are not your typical hitman films however. Quirky, untraditional, and neurotic, they put the humor back into contract killing.

In Bruges is a film that balances between whimsy and melancholy. After a bungled hit leads to the death of a child, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson have to lay low in the quaint, fairytale-esque town of Bruges. What follows is a hilarious romp that involves midgets, soul searching, shootouts, romance, and a great deal of profanity.

Grosse Pointe Blank

Not many high school yearbooks have a category for those “most likely to become paid killers” but if they did, few people would have voted for Martin Blank (John Cusack). Yet here he is, returning to his home town for his 10 year high school reunion, with a hit contract on the side to take care of as well. Equal parts comedy, action, and nostalgia, Grosse Pointe Blank hits its mark. Cusack actually has a black belt in kick boxing, so the fight scenes look great.

The Whole Nine Yards

What do you do when your new neighbor is a mob hitman turned mob snitch? Do you play it cool and relaxed? Or do you head to his old hunting ground on behest of your greedy and spiteful wife, search out his former employer, and try to collect a finder’s fee? As you might expect, this course leads our mild mannered protagonist Oz on a laugh-filled downward spiral of murder, mayhem, and mobsters. With Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry.

Wild Target features the always excellent Bill Nighy as an aging perfectionist assassin. His orderly, lonely existence changes however, when he not only fails to kill his beautiful and intriguing mark (Emily Blunt), but kills the killer sent to replace him. Quirky and absurd in a way that only British comedy can manage, Wild Target shows us that one need not have a cold heart to be a cold hearted killer.

And last but not least, what happens when killing for money starts to lose its lustre? When hits don’t bring the same happiness that they used to? When the thrill of the hunt isn’t quite so thrilling? These are the questions that Julian, an aging and jaded hitman, is forced to ask in this funny and engaging tale starring Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan (who’s much more interesting as an aging hitman than he is as a prim and pressed British spy). The Matador.

Crowfoot Movie Night

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Join us on Thursday December 20th for our final offering for 2012. We have shown some great films these past months and this selection is no exception.

The film runs a little longer so we will be starting it at 6:00 in the program room.

It is rated PG 13. As always licensing restrictions prevent us from printing what it is, but please call us at 221-4122 and all will be revealed.

Hopefully we'll see you on the 20th.

Hell on Wheels

by Melanie - 0 Comment(s)

I know we’ve mentioned this new TV western series in passing. In case you missed it, we have Hell on Wheels Season One on DVD. Fans of Deadwood will definitely enjoy this one.

Hell on Wheels is filmed partly in Canada but follows the violent, filthy movable camp that exists alongside the construction of part of the American transcontinental rail line in the years after the Civil War.

The main character is an ex-soldier bent on avenging his wife’s death. He’s being tracked by the camp’s enforcer “The Swede” and befriended by the surveyor’s widow. Hell on Wheels also follows the freed men working on the rail line, the prostitutes, the local native community, and the dodgy speculator running the whole project. And then there’s the enigmatic juggernaut changing all of their lives: the train.

Peter Jackson

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

The world premiere of The Hobbit took place in Wellington New Zealand last night. The capital city spent over one million dollars to host the event, with fans lining up in costumes days ahead. As to the movie itself there's not really much that I can write about The Hobbit that you won't be able to read elsewhere. It's either on your radar or it's not. So let's take a look instead at Peter Jackson. He's actually been at this awhile, although most people only started hearing about him with his epic achievement of bringing the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the big screen.

Also in his filmography is Heavenly Creatures, a truly bizarre film of a bizarre event that took place in the 50's in New Zealand. Two teen girls become so obsessed with the fantasy world they have created that it leads to a real world murder. Want more bizarre? One of the girls grows up to become international best selling mystery author, Anne Perry. I kid you not!

District 9- another bizarre movie- this one's about Aliens forced to live in detention centres on earth. ET as the protagonist and mankind as the heavy.

Lovely Bones- Peter Jackson's attempt to bring the very popular Alice Sebold novel to the big screen. Wasn't my cup of tea, but then neither was the book.

King Kong- now this one I did like. Over the top, excessive and just a huge amount of fun. I'm a sucker for the big ape, and have seen him in all his incarnations.

And of course the Lord of the Rings trilogy: Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King.

CPL also carries a biography, fetchingly titled Peter Jackson: from Prince of Splatter to Lord of the Rings.

Is The Hobbit on my radar? You better believe it. This time last year we were on a touring holiday of NZ when we stumbled upon a Hobbit set. We got a pretty good look-albeit from quite a distance-before we got chased away by security. Can't wait to look for it in the film.

Free Advanced Screening Passes

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Log onto your Gofobo account to receive a free double pass to an advanced screening of Hitchcock. If you don't have an account yet, you will need to create one. This is an external site so you will need to judge your personal comfort level in providing the information they are asking for. Many people create a gmail account for such purposes. ID is not required at the theatre, you just need to present the ticket for redemption and admission.

Already have an account....here's what you need.

RSVP Code: CPLMM3SXW

Summary: Hitchcock is a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville. The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie Psycho. Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, James D’Arcy, Michael Wincott, Richard Portnow, Kurtwood Smith.

Thursday, December 6

Eau Clair Market

7:00 PM

And one last thing- if you request a ticket and find you can't use it, you can go back onto Gofobo and release it for someone else to use. Enjoy!

Les Mis

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Way back in November of 2009 I did a post called Redux. This was the first in a stream of posts that features movies that have been done over many times. We know Hollywood does this with increasing frequency — just think of this summer's remake of Spider-Man a mere 5 years after the last of the Tobey Maguire offerings.

The film I chose to feature then was Les Miserables—easily one of my favourite stories of all time, not to mention absolutely my favourite musical. This is a story that has been retold many times on film—in fact, going all the way back to 1909!

Unless you have been living on Mars, if you are a fan of musicals you know that in December the big screen adaptation of the very successful stage musical will be released to the world. The cast is wonderful with some of the choices more than a little surprising but nonetheless inspired. Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean—yes all you X-Men fans, not only can the man lay down a serious butt kicking, he also sings like a dream. Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen are but a few more in lead roles and it is being directed by 2011's Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech). They have thrown a lot of $$ at this and the returns should be huge. If you've been fortunate enough to catch a trailer at the theatre you know how glorious it looks. If you haven't there are only about a billion sites. If you live in Hong Kong you can see it on Dec 20, Japan on Dec 21, but if you are Canadian you have to wait until Christmas Day. Some of you are thinking Christmas is coming too fast—for me and millions of others, it can't get here soon enough.

To get your fix prior to the 25th try any of these very good Les Mis productions:

1935 and 1952 This is one DVD that has two versions included. Side A is with the incomparable Charles Laughton as Javert and Frederick March as Jean Valjean. Side B is the Michael Rennie interpretation. Both are good.

1934 Widely considered one of the greatest film adaptations of the story, this 5 hour film is in French with English subtitles.

1998 Geoffrey Rush as Javert, Liam Neeson as Valjean and Claire Danes as daughter Cosette. I rank this one right up there.

2000 A mini series of Les Mis from our French DVD collection which I have not seen. It features Gerard Depardieu and rather surprisingly John Malkovich as Javert. Surprising only in that until this post I did not now that Malkovich was fluent in French, having lived and worked there for nearly 10 years.

The musical version of Les Misérables opened at the Broadway Theater on March 12, 1987 and ran for 6680 performances, making it the third longest running show on Broadway. We have two versions of the musical—the 10th anniversary Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall and the 25th anniversary Concert. Experience the event of a lifetime with this spectacular 25th anniversary celebration of one of the most popular musicals ever written. Honoring 25 years of this incredible show, this momentous film captures the excitement of two magnificent sold-out performances that were watched live around the world. With a phenomenal all-star cast and a company of over 500 additional artists and musicians.

They are both excellent productions. The tenth features a wonderful tribute wherein all the Jean Valjeans from around the world march onto the stage singing in their native language.

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Head Scratchers Part One

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

Thanks to guest blogger Trevor, who as always provides great insight into the movies he recommends. Even if as he says, he's not entirely sure he understands them all....

I consider myself a fairly intelligent filmgoer. I enjoy complex plots and don’t mind having to scratch my head for a while until I figure things out. There are however, some films where I continue to scratch my head long after seeing it. I’m not talking about the films that are needlessly convoluted or confusing due to poor writing. I’m talking about the films that leave me with the disconcerting feeling that I am simply not smart enough to understand them.

Donnie Darko is a teenage tale of metaphysical existentialism. If that sentence confused you then you’re all set for the film. When a being in a ghoulish bunny suit tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, the stage is set for quantum-physics fueled conundrums. Exceptional performances and excellent writing make it a film I’ve enjoyed all 10 times I’ve seen it. I still don’t get, but I can’t stay away.

Tree of Life is the film that sparked the idea for this post. An undeniably beautiful film with some of the most interesting cinematography I’ve ever seen. At its most basic, it is the story of a childhood spent under a domineering father. Look closer however, and it is a poignant philosophical examination of nothing less than the very meaning of life. The film left me with the feeling that I was tantalizingly close to discovering a deeply important secret. If only I could wrap my head around it!

2001: A Space Odyssey is a true sci-fi epic. The film details the evolution of humanity from our crude apelike origins to space-faring astronauts. Though the majority of the movie is fairly easy to understand (neanderthals develop tools, astronauts journey to Jupiter, artificial intelligence tries to kill astronauts, etc.) the last moments of the movie confound the mind with a psychedelic trip into pure metaphysical abstraction. I was left with a feeling that something momentous had happened, I just wasn’t sure what.

Inception: With great acting, superb direction, and excellent action, “Inception” is a film that works on many levels. It is also a film that is about many levels. As we delve to deeper and deeper levels within the film’s dreamscape, following our characters further and further in the rabbit hole, we ourselves begin to lose track of what is real. We don’t quite remember where reality is; unsure whether what we are seeing is dream, memory, or perhaps something in between the two. An ambiguous ending leaves us head-scratching, wondering whether or not we’ve truly woken up. This one truly warrants a few re-watches, perhaps with a diagram or map to guide us through.

Synecdoche New York:Perhaps the most baffling film on this list, Synecdoche New York features a disillusioned playwright (played by the excellent Philip Seymour Hoffman) trying to find meaning in his life by creating the ultimate play. He rents a city sized warehouse to contain a city sized set populated by millions of actors all playing regular citizens. He hires an actor to play himself in the play, then he hires another actor to play that actor, then he hires an actress to play him as director, then he takes on the role that actor previously played and then he…I could keep going but I think you get the picture. With more layers and depth then you can shake a stick at, Synecdoche New York certainly fits the list.

If you can conclusively say you understand any of these films, add a comment. I’d love to stop scratching my head about them.

Join us at Crowfoot for our monthly movie night

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Crowfoot's monthly movie is showing at 6:30 on November 15th. As always, copyright considerations prevent me from naming the title in this post, but a quick phone call to 221-4122 and we will be happy to tell you what it is. Typically we show new release fiction but this time our movie will be a multiple award winning documentary. Its' run time is 77 minutes.

You can actually see it at several locations besides Crowfoot this time. Catch it at Shaganappi on Nov 14th at 7:00, Central on Nov 25th at 1:00 in the John Dutton theatre and Signal Hill on Nov 26th at 7:00.

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