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Borgen

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

If you haven't started watching Borgen yet, you're missing out on an excellent series. This first aired on Danish television in 2010 and CPL now carries all three seasons. It follows the rise to power of the first female prime minister and her struggles to keep her feet on the shifting sands of a barely stable coalition government. The episodes revolve around the PM and her spin doctor as they try to navigate through the corruption, changing allegiances, scandals and political dilemmas. Counter this with a relentless female reporter who digs deep to get to the truth behind all the spin. A third recurring story line includes a former MP who has turned into a truly reptilian tabloid editor. Machiavellian political machinations abound, there's plenty of sex and scandal and fine, fine acting! The PM, Birgitte Nyborg, is one of the most finely crafted female characters I have seen in years.

One of the things I have always loved about British, European, and Australian television, is that their series tend to be populated with 'real' people. They are not all cookie-cutter perfect like the characters in North American television, with an overabundance of white teeth, chiseled physiques and just-returned-from-the-hair-dresser hair. Although having said this, all the main characters in Borgen are pretty fine looking—plus they can show you really great ways to wear big scarves! But it's not their looks that are going to keep you coming back for more. It's the great acting, the au courant storylines and a look at a political system that makes me so glad we don't have six parties from which to choose.

Unless you speak Danish you will be watching Borgen with sub-titles, but it's worth the effort. This is a BAFTA award winner for the Best International T.V. series, a win for Mrs. PM in the best actress category plus numerous other international awards. I wish it was more than three seasons long and I hope that the U.S. networks leave it alone and don't try to re-imagine it for a North American audience, as they did with the fine British series, House of Cards. The Kevin Spacey version has proved popular but falls far short of the original.

Thanks Sue for bringing this one to my attention.

The One That Started It All

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

I’m a sucker for Godzilla, going all the way back to the 1954 Japanese original — ‘Gojira’. In 1956, it was re-released as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, which utilized much of the original film. This version featured newly shot scenes with Canadian actor Raymond Burr spliced into the original Japanese footage. We have a great two DVD set that features both of these titles for comparison.

In the early films Godzilla is used as a symbol to represent the horror of nuclear war and ever since the film's initial release, Godzilla has been culturally identified as a strong metaphor for the danger of nuclear proliferation.

Putting an actor in the Godzilla suit had actually been a last resort. The studio had been deeply impressed with the stop-motion animation method used in King Kong but it was considered far too costly and time-consuming. It was decided that the easiest way to go was a stuntman in a monster suit, and a scale-model of Tokyo. This also proved difficult. The first attempt at a Godzilla suit was far too stiff and heavy, & nearly impossible to use. They finally hit on a design that worked but that too was gruelling. The stuntmen would suffer numerous bouts of heat exhaustion and dehydration and the suit had to have a valve to drain the sweat from it. Also, in order to avoid suffocation, the suit could only been worn for three minutes at a time — some estimates put it at weighing in at 200 pounds.

CPL also has King Kong versus Godzilla, a 1962 Japanese Kaiju film produced by the same Toho Studios that first conceived the original Gojira. It was the third instalment in the Japanese series of films featuring the much maligned monster. There is also a Matthew Broderick Godzilla version from 1998 but don’t waste your time looking for it- it is marginal at best.

Kaiju , is a Japanese word that translates to "strange creature." Kaiju films usually showcase monsters of any form, typically attacking a major Japanese city or engaging another monster in battle. This concept was put to great effect in last year’s Pacific Rim, another movie I really liked and have blogged before. Put aside all your critical reasoning and just enjoy as you watch giant malevolent Kaijus battle massive robots called Jaegers. Good clean (if highly destructive) fun!

This post was inspired by the latest Godzilla currently showing in theatres. If you are a fan you'll like the homage they pay to the original concept and if you aren't, chances are good you'll like it anyway. Worth your time and your money and the first film in what looks like a fairly good summer season shaping up.

Disruptions to the Space Time Continuum

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

I do love anything to do with the bending of the space time continuum- even if it doesn't always make sense and often leaves me scratching my head. And the really bad ones have been known to leave me yelling at my tv that just wouldn't work!!! In fact I enjoy them so much I've devoted entire posts to just such movies.

Now fellow movie maniac Mat introduced me to this little gem from Spain---Los cronocrimenes---Timecrimes, and I must say it lived up to everything he said about it. Done without a bunch of CGI that leaves you looking for a quiet place to rest your eyes, this movie is lean, even sparse. No fancy sets, no high profile actors, just a nice tight sci-fi thriller. You aren't here to watch the special effects, you are here to try to figure out what happened and more importantly, could it work.

It won't be everyone's cup of tea but it sure worked for me. Even with English sub-titles.

The Pool

by Melanie - 0 Comment(s)

The Pool couldn't be more different from director Chris Smith's notorious documentary about amateur horror film-makers, American Movie.

This quiet, thoughtful film is set in Goa and stars Malcom Faria, Venkatesh Chavan, and Janghir Badshah.

Venkatesh spies a tranquil unused pool and garden from a tree near its high wall. As a hotel boy working to support his family who live in a faraway village, he doesn't have access to such luxuries. He moonlights with his homeless friend Janghir selling plastic bags in the marketplace. Janguir suggests that Venkatesh simply jump in, but he announces that he will go in the front gate, or not at all. That decision leads to his encounter with the pool's owner and daughter of the house.

Anyone who has every peered longingly at a pool will enjoy this film. It offers a glimpse into the street life of Indian children, realistic dialogue (Hindi, with English subtitles) and a moving look a young hero of everyday life. You may want to share this movie with your teens.

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The Raid: Redemption Review

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

We know Guest Blogger Trevor like his movies gritty, so on offer is his review of an upcoming theatrical release. If you like martial arts movies they are very well represented at CPL- in fact, too well represented to name them all. So to find all the titles just go to either our new catalogue or the classic catalogue and use Martial Arts DVD as your search term and you pull up a list of over 75 titles! In the new catalogue you have the further advantage of being able to use 'limitors' to select for language, audience, pub date, etc. Have some fun and play around with the new catalogue to find exactly what you are looking for. With over 70 titles, there is something for everyone.

The Raid: Redemption

I had the chance to see the advanced screening of the upcoming action flick The Raid: Redemption. It was without a doubt the best choreographed, most exciting martial arts movie I've ever seen (and this is coming from a lifelong fan of the Matrix). Though the screening I saw was unfinished and lacked subtitles, and though I had next to no idea what was going on plot-wise, the action was so intense and gratifying that it easily leapt to the top of my favorite action movie list (yes, I have a list for every genre). It's about a swat team that invades a slumlord's 30 story apartment complex. Things inevitably go bad and the cops (mainly just one incredibly skilled cop) have to fight through hordes of gun and machete wielding thugs to escape the building. Like many foreign language films, this movie may only see a limited release. If you even slightly consider yourself an action fan, you owe it to yourself to see this one. Just be warned, the violence is brutal, visceral and pulls no punches.

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

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IIFA

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The Indian International Film Academy Awards just took place this past weekend in Toronto. Now in its 12th year, the festival is famous for promoting Indian movies, culture and fashion and Toronto marks the North American debut. This is truly a global event with previous venues being London, Sun City, Malaysia, Jo'burg, Singapore, Amsterdam, Dubai, Yorshire, Thailand, Macao and Colombo. The expected global audience is estimated in excess of 900 million and the event will draw huge crowds into Toronto for the four day event.

If you are a fan of Bollywood films you know they are anything but boring. They are exuberant, flamboyant, full of song, dance, drama, action and just plain entertaining. Bollywood turns out thousands of movies a year, nearly 3 times as many as Hollywood and their actors are as famous or more throughout the world. And very prolific. The next time you are playing trivia and someone (like us) tries to tell you that Gene Hackman seems to be in a heck of a lot of movies, you can smile knowingly and say 'well Adoor Bhasi has been in over 600!

To get a glimpse of what Hindi movies CPL has to offer, use dvd fiction Hindi as your search term in our on-line public catalogue to see some of the more that 400 titles we carry.

by Moe

Check out our Chinese dvds

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You don't need to speak Chinese to enjoy the Chinese dvds in our collection. Many have English subtitles.

Zhang Yimou/Yimou Zhang's films are poignant with universal themes. He is best known for Raise the Red Lantern, a concubine's story and Shanghai Triad and more recently House of Flying Daggers, a spectacular swordfighting epic. If you liked the latter, try Hero, which is also a romance. Try to see Not one Less: a young schoolteacher goes to a rural area and her reluctance turns to devotion to her pupils and her dedication to finding a missing student. To Live follows a family's difficult choices through the revolutionary years.

Skip Eat, Pray, Love and go directly to Eat, Drink, Man Woman by Ang Lee of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame. A chef with three daughters cooks his way through their different life choices. Another to see is The Wedding Banquet : A couple who don't have parental approval enlist a tenant's help in creating a wedding.

by Mel

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Irish Once a Year

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If you're Irish once a year, like many folk, or even all year-round, enjoy these 3 lucky movies...

Secret of Roan Inish

A magical tale of a young girl seeking answers about her family's past and her missing brother on the island the family abandoned. Expect the selkie.

In the Name of the Father

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a strong performance as Gerry Conlon, a man imprisoned for an IRA bombing that he did not commit.

Waking Ned Devine

A villager dies and then his lottery win is announced. No point in letting all that money go to waste, decide his friends, in this funny film.

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Spotlight on Marion Cotillard

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Open any celebrity gossip or fashion magazine, and you will see glamorous Marion Cotillard featured. Don't miss her in CPL's dvds.

She looked familiar to me and sure enough, I had seen her spectacular performance as Edith Piaf in Academy award winning movie La Vie en Rose (whose alternate title is La Mome or The Passionate life of Edith Piaf). Cotillard is perfect as France's best-loved chanteuse from her rise from the street as a child singer to her last days. She is so much like Piaf, you won't recognize her.

Equally comfortable in English-language films, she has starred more recently in Public Enemies which depicts bank robber Dillinger's last days and the rise of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. Johnny Depp stars, but the show stealer is Cotillard. She plays Dillinger's soulful girlfriend who, as in the song "Leader of the Pack" believes Dillinger (who never robs or shoots civilians in the film) is not bad; "he's just sad."

Cotillard also plays romantic co-star in A Good Year (2006). In a nutshell: Boy (Russell Crowe) is a stockbroker run amok. Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy tries to sell family vineyard. Provence + fine wine + misunderstandings + romance = a pretty good movie formula.

Most of Cotillard's earlier performances were in French film and tv, but she had a cameo role as Josephine, in Big Fish (2003), Tim Burton's somewhat surreal movie starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, and Helena Bonham Carter. A dying man recounts his life and his wooing of his wife through the proverbial "big fish tale" including giants, circus acts, witches, and incredible luck.

So far, so good. I think she's in for the long haul...

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