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Showing posts from September, 2010

Empire List #500: Ocean's Eleven

The early 2000’s were exciting times to say the least. Terrorist attacks, war, and fear spreading faster than you can say Y2K. Luckily for moviegoers, by the end of 2001 we could all relax and watch one of the coolest cast ever assemble rob a Las Vegas casino in Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” number 500 on Empire magazine’s 500 Greatest Movies of all Times list.
I watched the first instalment of the Ocean trilogy in theatres with my brother and our friend Louise in Santiago, Chile. If I recall well, my brother and I were still living in Lima, Peru, but we were visiting Louise whose parents had moved to Chile. The time might have actually been early 2002 since the release dates for American movies are not the same in South America.
The other thing about mainstream movies shot in English but released in a Spanish market is the fact that you get to see George Clooney explaining how he will rob millions from Andy Garcia with Spanish subtitles. It’s actually a pretty good way to learn…

John Carpenter's The Ward

“The Ward” is John Carpenter’s first movie since “Ghosts of Mars” nine years ago. This new movie is a classic horror tale set in a spooky locale on a dark and stormy night featuring a vengeful ghost. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel.
The movie opens on a dark and stormy night at a mental institution. Inside one of the rooms, a young female patient is pretty sure that there is someone or something creeping outside her room. As she stands to take a look through the door’s window, she is strangled from behind by what can only be a ghost, since the door was locked from the outside.
The following morning another young girl (Amber Heard) is running through the countryside. She finds an empty house, whose address was written on her hand, and immediately sets fire to the curtains thus burning the house down. The police find her collapsing at the scene and she is immediately taken to the asylum where the first girl was taken.
Once there she tells nurse Lundt (Susanna Burney)…

Seeing "Monsters" at TIFF

Yesterday I had the chance to watch “Monsters” a low-budget science-fiction movie at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was the first time I saw a movie in this context and overall it was a memorable experience. Plus, the movie was memorable.
I arrived at the Scotiabank theatre for the 8:30pm showing about an hour and a half ahead of schedule. It wasn’t a bad idea since there were already a few people in line. On the other hand I probably should have brought something to read or at least my iPod. By 7:30pm the line was full. Most people were dressed casually (it was a monster movie after all) but some wore expensive clothes. I guess it was somewhere between a Comic-con crowd and just another Friday night at the movies, except there were also one or two members of the press waiting in line.
Now, as to the actual movie…
“Monsters” is first and foremost, just like the title says, a film about monstrous creatures. The premise is somewhat reminiscent of last year’s “District 9.” Th…

Purchasing Movie Tickets at TIFF

What a day. When I woke up the plan was to go to Toronto and buy tickets for films that will be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. I left the house armed with a backpack, a wallet,  food, water, a festival program that comes with a map of festival hotspots, sunglasses, my hat, and my camera in case I would see something worth photographing. Boy, did I ever.

While reading my festival program on the train between Oakville and Toronto, I read that today was the opening of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a sort of movie museum sponsored by influencial people from the movie industry in Toronto including Jason and Ivan Reitman. Since the opening would include an outdoor show from noon til four in the afternoon and I had nothing but time after I bought my tickets, I thought "why not?" I may as well make the most of my day.

After buying the tickets for Monsters next Friday and John Carpenter's The Ward next Sunday, I walked in front of the newly constructed building and n…

TIFF for the First Time

Ever since I created this blog I have only written amateur movie reviews. I am just one of thousands of film fans, nothing special. Until Wednesday of last week I was limited by the fact that I was living in Quebec City where most of the movies are dubbed in French, which I hate. Great movies are made in Quebec, but because it is mostly Francophone town, they prefer to dub any foreign movie. Since I learned how to speak English when I was around six years old, I can tell that something is often lost in translation. Hence I was always eargerly awaiting  the week-end to see which movie might be shown in its original language. This summer I missed a lot of wide releases and mostly watched movies made in Quebec or France. Which brings me back to last Wednesday, when I moved to Oakville, a small town outside of Toronto.

After I obtained my B.A in English Studies, I did not see myself going anywhere hence I decided to go to Sheridan College where I was accepted in post-graduate program call…

Piranha 3D

Today I went to see Piranha 3D with good expectations, but left with a bittersweet feeling. The sweet part was the overt the top violence, the Richard Dreyfuss cameo, and the unapologetically gratuitous nudity courtesy of a some real-life porn stars. The bitter part was realizing that I had paid to watch innocent people get butchered for my own entertainment.
Just as the title indicates, this movie is about piranhas who swim at the audience in 3D. It is spring break in the fictional town of Lake Victoria and thousands of college and high school kids have invaded the town for beer, fun in the sun, and sex. This gives Sheriff Julie Foster (Elizabeth Shue) and Deputy Fallon a major headache, but little do they know that a recent earthquake has opened a crack in their lake, allowing million-year old piranhas to feast on anything that moves in the lake.
Also out on the lake that week-end is Foster’s son Jake (Steven R. McQueen) who is giving a tour of the lake to a sleazy producer of a popu…

Mesrine: Public Enemy Number 1

Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One is on the one hand very similar to its predecessor, Mesrine: Killer Instinct. It follows the exploits of gangster Jacques Mesrine who robs banks, kidnaps millionaires, escapes from prison, and has women falling for him despite a career that will most likely end with his body filled with lots and lots of bullets. Yet, the character himself has changed and embraced the change. Jacques knows he is famous and loves it.

To be fair, this guy was famous for a reason. Early on in the movie he escapes a courthouse by taking a judge hostage with a gun that was hidden in the bathroom. I guess The Godfather hadn’t come out yet, otherwise the cops escorting him might have been wiser. When he is arrested again he not only chooses to defend himself in court, but to defend his lifestyle. He takes a jab at the justice city by demonstrating how corrupt it is and wins the public’s affection with humour. In the prison he is furious to see that he is not front page news be…