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Shall We Dance?

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

Several weeks ago we ran a contest for free tickets to the remake of Footloose. To have a chance to win we asked you to tell us your favourite dance movie ever. There was a huge response to the contest with many titles suggested. So now I thought I would pass on what some of your choices were.....

Dirty Dancing came up time and time again. Our grand prize winner had this to say: It is my favourite ever because at that time it truly did step out onto the edge of risqué! Sultry dance moves both on and off the dance floor performed by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.....a coming of age movie that made such an impact on me and that I was proud to pass on to my daughter....a rebellious but feel-good-movie. It was made more perfect when I went on to read the biography of Patrick Swayze and learn that he was truly the gentleman that he portrayed in the movie.

Our second runner-up said: My favourite dance movie for now (and it was a close one) is Black Swan. While it was a twisted mind-turner, I watched it primarily for the ballet.... I thought it was just beautiful.... aside from the weird bits!

Other choices included:

The “Step-Up” franchise 1, 2, 3

The original Footloose with our 6 degrees of separation guy- Kevin Bacon

High School Musical 1, 2 , 3 from Disney

Fame the original series

Singing in the Rain- an oldie but goody with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Dennis Oconner

Shall we Dance- Richard Gere and J-Lo

You can check out some other recommendation from a previous dance post plus see all the many DVD’s you can take out that will show you HOW to dance. I enjoyed all your choices, and have to say I am pretty firmly in the Dirty Dancing camp. As for the new Footloose which I just saw---I couldn’t get too much behind any of the characters, particularly Ariel, but I thought the dancing was great..

The 6th Degree

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Sometimes I go crazy playing mini games of “Kevin Bacon is the Center of the Universe” inside my head. Only I never start with Kevin Bacon, because honestly, he creeps me out a little.

(too creepy!!!)--->

Instead, I start with someone I’m totally obsessing over at that moment. For example: Emma Stone.

And here we go!

Emma Stone is starring in the new re-hash of Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield, who was in The Social Network with Jesse Eisenberg who was in Zombieland with Woody Harrelson who was in Defendor with Kat Dennings who’s Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Co-Star, Michael Cera, was in Juno with Ellen Page who has been in two movies with Rainn Wilson (Juno and Super), who was in The Rocker with Emma Stone.

I know I could have killed that twice since Emma Stone was ALSO in Zombieland with Jesse Eisenberg, AND in Superbad with Michael Cera… but I try to keep it going until I think of an obscure movie to end with. I also like to see the patterns, like the fact that three of the movies I mentioned are about superheroes (or people who THINK they're superheroes), that people FREQUENTLY confuse Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg due to their similar dead-pan and awkward delivery styles, and that Zombieland and Adventureland, both starring Eisenberg, came out in the same year.

Now Adventureland also stars Kristen Stewart, whose rumoured relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson has been fodder for rags for over three years… Pattinson was in Harry Potter with… Okay, okay. I’ll stop. But it’s totally a riot. We’d LOVE to see the 6 Degrees of Separation you guys come up with!

by guest blogger Alex-

Silver Linings 2

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Our first offering of Silver Linings proved popular, so here is another round of movies that have elements that save them from being failures--- after all, if every movie was great we'd be so busy watching them again and again we wouldn't get anything else done.

Pandorum – An unremarkable sci-fi pick that straddles the B-movie line. It’s sometimes campy when it means to be serious and the hit-and-miss Dennis Quaid misses with this role. Fortunately, the always excellent Ben Foster turns in a performance that makes you forget how goofy the rest of the movie is. If you’ve seen Foster in “3:10 to Yuma”, “The Messenger” or “30 Days of Night” you’ll know just how powerful an actor he is

Jumper – Teleportation is cool! Despite that unquestionable fact, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson seem like they’re trying to suck all of the cool out of this movie with their leaden, ad-libbed performances. Despite that, teleportation is still really, really cool! This one will tickle your imagination; pure escapist fun!

Death Race –I thought that I knew everything to know about this film from the trailer: a testosterone fuelled Jason Statham action flick with plenty of fast cars, pretty girls, and explosions. The movie really isn’t too far off from that description. It hits all the notes you’d expect from a cliché action movie but somehow it all comes together into a heart pounding thrill ride.

Reign of Fire – This dark tale of a dragon caused apocalypse wasn’t very well received by critics and fans. Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey turn in decent performances but perhaps the movie was just too bleak for its own good. Whatever the reasons for its lacklustre receptions, “Reign of Fire” succeeds in one area: the dragons. The beasts are realistically visceral, and are far more entertaining than traditional monster movie fare. Not many movies feature dragons nowadays but Reign of Fire will make you wish for more.

Thanks to Guest Blogger Trevor for another list of Silver Linings. Let me add that we now have Reign of Fire in Blu-Ray, and as in all things Blu-Ray, it looks great! Bit of trivia-trying to place the woman/mom at the beginning? It is the talented Alice Krige, who played the Borg Queen in Star Trek, First Contact- my 2nd favourite Trek movie after Wrath of Khan.

School Daze

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Easy A movie posterNever remiss to the needs of kids, Movie Maniacs have asked Services for Children, Teens, and Families to post a list of Back-to-School movies for the age range of those who are ACTUALLY going back to school! For all you older kids who are still wearing out the tape on your fave John Hughes movies, you might be interested in some of these *cough* newer *cough* titles as well.

The first recommendation is Easy A – starring the delightful Emma Stone (who we’ll be seeing frequently on the big screen this year) and quite a few other familiar faces (Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church and Malcolm McDowell for the older crowd, and Teen T.V. perennials Penn Badgley, Cam Gigandet and Amanda Bynes for the younger). Olive is a high school bookworm whoNapoleon Dynamite Movie Poster studies Nathaniel Hawthorne in her favourite English class. When she helps a socially-challenged friend rank a little higher in the pecking order by lying about their romantic exploits, the rumor mill runs rampant. She embraces the Scarlet Letter that Hawthorne's character never could, until things start to backfire. Surprisingly intelligent, hugely entertaining, and truly heartfelt, this movie gives a fresh and fun nod to the classic teen flicks of the 80s while remaining totally original. PG-13

There’s not a lot I can say about the next film on my list, Napoleon Dynamite. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, and you’ll know within the first twenty minutes whether its deadpan style is for you. If you missed this 2004 release the first time around, it’s worth a borrow, if only because this highly quotable movie is the source of a lot of pop culture references today. Heck yes! It's flipping sweet. PG

Mean Girls Movie PosterAnother [slightly] oldy-but-goody is Mean Girls, also from 2004. Scripted by 30 Rock’s hilarious Tina Fey, this fictional movie adaptation of the non-fictional Queen Bees and Wannabees stars Rachel McAdams and Amanda SeyfriedSuperbad Movie Poster (before they were anyone) and Lindsay Lohan (before she was… well… just too much for anyone). While it views like a regular teen-chick flick, full of the fashion and backstabbing that is so overproduced by MTV these days, it is actually incredibly insightful and genuine. I wonder if the High School experience of these girls resonates as deeply with everyone as it does with me. PG-13

Superbad: An inappropriate and side-splitting story of underage underdogs trying to make all thier dreams come true at the last High School party before graduation. Rated R and it deserves it, but if you can make it through the language it’s extremely entertaining and oddly, kind of lovely.

And just for the 13 and unders, here are a couple of the fun and totally PG movies available at Calgary Public Library starring real children, not just adults pretending to be teens:

Nancy Drew (with Emma Roberts)

Harry Potter (the epitome of school days movies -- on blu-ray and DVD)

Sky High (fun for the whole family)

School of Rock (check out Miranda Cosgrove! She's like ten!!!)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (we love the graphic novels because they get kids reading, but the movie had me in stitches!)

A Little Princess (it never gets old, but I like this 1995 version best)

Thanks to our Guest Blogger Alex for the above list. This is a niche I tend to avoid because often I just can't make it through the current teen offerings. But I have seen several of the above, and I know she has seen them all, so have a look. While you're at it, drop in to the TEEN ZONE BLOG where they have myriads of book recommendations, some great contests and are just generally plugged into all things kids and teens. Thanks Alex.

by Moe

Silver Linings

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Just as every cloud has its silver lining so too does every film. Even the most mediocre of movies can have a spot of greatness if you watch with an open mind. This post is dedicated to the not so great films that nonetheless have some pretty great elements.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace---though Episode 2 and 3 share many of the same problems as “The Phantom Menace”, neither was quite as disappointing as this long awaited prequel. The questionable acting, convoluted plot, and the Jar Jar Binks fiasco certainly brought the movie down. The faults don’t seem quite as large however, when you’re watching the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul and the two Jedi heroes. Great action even by today’s standards.

50 First Dates---this is another typical, mediocre Adam Sandler romantic comedy. There’s nothing terribly special or memorable about it except for the final scene. Sandler sings a humorous and touching ballad for his true love which completely validates the rest of his childish antics.

King Kong (2005)---Peter Jackson’s long, self-indulgent homage to the 1930’s classic is at times quite yawn inducing. Kong’s epic fight against the two tyrannosaurs however, is more than enough to wake you up. That scene alone justifies the price of admission.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence---this science fiction tale about an artificial boy who wants to be loved is unfortunately a bit of a mess. Likely due to the fact that Kubrick began production 30 years before Spielberg finished it. Despite its less than logical plot and story progression, the film’s final moments are so heart-achingly, tear jerkingly wonderful that you immediately forget any complaints you may have had.

Lady in the Water, condemned by critics for being pompous and pretentious, was M. Night Shyamalan’s first real failure. Though this fairy tale film does have its faults, it also has some truly great characters. Freddy Rodriguez plays a lopsided muscle man who only exercises one side of his body, Bryce Dallas Howard plays an ethereal nymph named Story, and little known Bob Balaban plays a hyper-cynical movie critic.

Speed Racer---Coming from the same minds that brought us “The Matrix”, Speed Racer nonetheless proved a disappointment for many. It stayed true to the anime cartoon that inspired it, right down to the annoying pet chimpanzee. Immature though it may be, the film still has spectacularly entertaining racing sequences with cars flipping and battling through the air at ridiculous speeds. Plus it stars Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, and Susan Sarandon which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Thanks to our guest blogger and fellow movie maniac Trevor for this post.

Transformers review

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So here is what one of our lucky contest winners had to say about the movie:

"I'm a little ashamed to say that I genuinely enjoyed Transformers. It was the most entertaining movie I've seen all year.
The film is easily the best Transformers. It cuts out nearly all of the slapstick that plagued the first films and is geared to a more mature audience. The action keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time and there are more than a few jaw dropping moments. It's still a Michael Bay movie and it still has it's faults. But unlike the last two films the good parts vastly outweigh the bad. Anyone who wrote off the series after the first or second films owes it to themselves to see this one."

Thanks for the review Trevor.

Super 8 Contest winner reviews the movie for MM

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I'd been so thrilled to win the movie passes and was even more thrilled once I'd seen Super 8. The movie was worth one hour and 45 minutes of your time, that's for sure. It was like The Goonies meets Transformers. The best thing was the character development and the script. Phenomenal job on that part. The witty dialogue was fabulous! The few action scenes were amazing. It was also nice as it's not like every other movie out there. As someone who grew to adulthood in the 80s, it was cool that the movie took place in the early 80s so you saw cereal boxes, Big Gulp cups, cars, clothes, and everything else from back then. That was cool. I'd give it two thumbs up!

Thanks for the review Toby !

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