Everyone’s favourite neighbourhood webslinger is back in theatres this week with an animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Marvel Comics has been dominating movie screens for almost two decades now but considering that Marvel has been around for 79 years or so it has taken a very long time for Marvel to get their superheroes to the big screen. Spider-Man, who debuted in the comics in 1962, made it on to TV in the form of a cartoon in 1967. The shows theme song is still remembered today and while the animation was extremely limited the show is entertaining. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Spider-Man”
I have previously covered 2001: A Space Odyssey for Sunday Matinee but with movie opening at the Kramer IMAX theatre for the month and having watched it there I had to revisit it.
The movie is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and what a way to celebrate the movie. I love this movie. It’s brilliant and amazing and it has to be seen on the big screen. Shot in Super Panavision 70 the movie was made to be seen on the big screen. And it looks phenomenal. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: 2001: A Space Odyssey”
Roeg worked as a cinematographer for most of the 1960s and he was brought on to Performance again for his cinematography skills. First time director Donald Cammell was Roeg’s co-director. Cammell would go on to direct Demon Seed while Roeg would go to direct some brilliant movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Performance”
Among the many qualities of the Wreck It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, the attention to detail is at the top, alongside an age-appropriate message against co-dependence. The film places the leads –the titular Ralph and Sugar Rush’s champion Vanellope von Schweetz– in the world wide web. The hectic vastness of the internet is impressively represented, both the seemingly infinite number of offerings and corresponding visitors.
For a year and a half, animator Benson Shum worked mostly on the Ralph character (allowing him to ‘act’ and ‘emote’), but also participated on the rest: “Even if it’s a background character, you want to animate it as well as the front ones.” Vanellope presents additional challenges, as she glitches and pops up at a different side of the screen within a second: “We have to anticipate her movements. There is a lot of thought into how we get her from this side of the screen to that side. We have a tool that makes glitch lines, pixilation in between.” Continue reading “Ralph Breaks the Internet, from the Inside”
Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95 on November 12. Stan Lee for many was the man who created Marvel Comics – which he did with a lot of help from co-creators Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto (who also sadly passed away earlier this year).
When superhero comics first appeared in the late 1930s they took the world by storm but by the 1950s the genre was almost dead – only DC Comics were keeping the genre alive. Stan Lee started working for Timely Comics in 1939 for owner Martin Goodman as an office assistant. He would soon start writing back up stories for comics, he took the pen Stan Lee (his real name was Stanley Lieber) because he wanted to be a real writer and comics were looked down on. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Stan Lee”
Original aired on the ABC channel in 1975 as the Movie of the Week, this little horror anthology from director Dan Curtis (Night Stalker) features three stories all from acclaimed writer Richard Matheson (I am Legend).
A very dark chapter in Canadian history took place between 1914-1920. Supposedly driven by security concerns arising from World War I, the Crown made over 88,000 East European immigrants (most from Ukraine) register with provincial governments. Even worse, 8,500 men ended up imprisoned in camps across Canada, many of whom lost all their possessions.
The shadiness of it all doesn’t end there. These families were initially lured to Canada with the promise of farmland, a pledge that seldom materialized. A few decades later, in 1954, records of these internment operations were destroyed. Only in the ’80s did a concerted effort to reconstruct that history begin to take shape. Calls for recognition from the government and reparations would follow.
That Never Happened does a remarkable job researching the subject. The talking heads assembled by director Ryan Boyko — historians, archeologists, descendants — all have valuable information to share. Limited archival footage is complemented by location visits, where remains of these camps can still be found.
The documentary’s shortcomings are mostly technical. Clocking in at 78 minutes, there is plenty of room for the film to breathe. Nonetheless, That Never Happened bombards the audience with information without allowing enough time to absorb it. The uneven cinematography (not even the interviews are uniformly shot) becomes distracting after a while.
From a scholarly perspective, there is undeniable value in collecting and organizing the material. And the chronological approach gives the film a structure to lean on. But the human connection is lacking. In the rare instances where That Never Happened personalizes the consequences of the internment camps — unintended, yet severe — the film soars. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far in between. Two prairie dogs (out of five).
That Never Happened plays this Saturday and Sunday at 7pm at the Rainbow Cinema (Studio 7).
Another 31 Days of Horror has come and gone and while I was doing a best of / my favourite list – I missed so many more films that I wanted to mention.
In fact I didn’t really list anything from more recent years or some of the bigger classics. There is just too many awesome movies from last 100 years of cinema to squeeze into a mere 31 days. Anyway here is a few more movies that are awesome too! Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: 10 Years of Fear Wrap Up”
International casts present a unique challenge to both viewers and filmmakers. The absence of a unifying language can be distracting, as well as the actors’ different rhythms. An archetypical example is a terrible horror movie from 15 years ago called Darkness, for which Spanish director Jaume Balagueró cast Anna Paquin (Canada), Lena Olin (Sweden), Iain Glen (Scotland) and Giancarlo Giannini (Italy) as your average American family to hilarious effect.
Bel Canto knows better. The film uses the language barrier between the protagonists for its benefit, a challenge they have to overcome in order to survive. While the movie works well as a romantic drama, it doesn’t as a thriller, a bit of a problem when you are dealing with a hostage situation. Continue reading “REVIEW: Bel Canto Sings, but Doesn’t Hit the High Notes”
Happy Halloween! Here we are at the end of 31 Days of Horror: 10 Years of Fear. I decided to end this year with Psycho — the movie that got me hooked on horror as child.
Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) has just stolen a large sum of money from her boss and is driving out to California to meet her boyfriend Sam Loomis (John Gavin). Sam has massive debts and can’t marry Marion, so she took the money to help them. Along the way she switches cars at a dealership and then continues driving into the night. Tired and in a rain storm she stops at an unremarkable little place called the Bates Motel. Continue reading “31 Days Of Horror: Psycho”
I had a lot of trouble trying to come up with a best horror movie list. The best I could do was just randomly list my favourites, although it feels like I’ve missed some — actually I’m sure of it. My other problem was coming up with a movie to end this year’s 31 Days of Horror on.
I was originally going to end with The Exorcist. It’s one of my favourites, it’s still terrifying and it’s universally considered one of the best horror movies of all time.
“We’re gonna to get you! We’re gonna to get you! Not another peep — Time to go to sleep!”
Ahhh, The Evil Dead. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s first film. Shot on a puny $350,000 budget, the film became a huge success and spawned two sequels, a 2013 remake and a recently ended TV series.
Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend, Linda (Betsy Baker), Ash’s sister, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), their friend Scott (Hal Delrich), and his girlfriend Shelly (Sarah York) are heading out for the weekend. Their destination: a creepy-looking cabin way out in the wilderness. The only way to it is to cross a rickety bridge that’s off the main road. Hopefully nothing horrible will happen at this remote shack that’s so far away from any help!
On June 20, 1975, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws changed the summer movie season forever. And yet Jaws is more than just the first summer blockbuster movie — it’s a genuinely scary thriller.
John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife Laura (Julie Christie) are working in Venice after the drowning death of their daughter Christine. Their child’s death has hit the couple very hard and as they are dealing with it John is working on restoring an old church.
Today is the 40th anniversary of John Carpenter’s Halloween. The film helped kick start the slasher film craze of the 1980s and had has 11 installments – nine sequels and a remake that had it’s own sequel.
On Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Meyers murders his older sister. Fifteen years later on October 30, Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence) arrives at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where Michael is kept. Dr. Loomis notices that the inmates are loose. Michael Meyers has escaped and is on the loose. Continue reading “31 Days Of Horror: Halloween”
The more I rewatch John Carpenter’s The Thing the more I love the film. It’s a brilliant horror film. A group of men isolated in the Antarctic find themselves being attacked by a mysterious alien creature that can make itself look like anyone of them. The film is terrifying.
Today is the 23rd so let’s take a trip to room 237. Stephen King might not have liked this adaptation of his novel but Stanley Kubrick’s film has stood the test of time.
Released in 1980 The Shining stars Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who has taken a job as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, a remote isolated hotel in the mountains. Jack brings along his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his young son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Continue reading “31 Days Of Horror: The Shining”
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you any more, I’m going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive – a show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World.”
There have been a lot of adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. There are currently over 100 filmed versions and the best of the lot is the 1931 version.
I would hope that most folks would know at the least basic plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Good Dr. Jekyll has been experimenting trying to isolate the good and evil in all humans. His experiments bring out his inner evil side, Mr. Hyde who wrecks all sort of havoc. Continue reading “31 Days Of Horror: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde”