Movies Archives (195 posts)

What is Dolby Atmos?

Recently I’ve been seeing ads for Dolby Atmos on Rotten Tomatoes and was curious. I just purchased a home theatre receiver that has Dolby Surround 7.1 and now there is Dolby Atmos. Clicking on the ad took me a Dolby page but there was very little information that actually explained what Dolby Atmos is or does.

The video above put things into perspective. Dolby Atmos is more immersive than 7.1 sound by using overhead speakers and panning of sound from speaker to speaker. Check Dolby’s website to learn more about Dolby Atmos.

If you live in Toronto and want to hear what Dolby Atmos sounds like then head over to SilverCity Yonge-Eglinton Cinemas (Cineplex) and watch Life of Pi to experience the latest in cinema audio.

Posted in Movies and Technology at 9:06 PM


Letterboxd is a social network for film buffs. The site is currently in a private beta but iff you want an invite I can send you one.

I find that Letterboxd is a great way to keep track of the films you’ve watched and share that information with others. It’s also a great way of discovering new films. It helps that the site is beautifully designed and extremely easy to use.

Thanks to James for turning my attention to this great site. If you have an account you can see my profile page.

Posted in Movies at 1:20 AM

A Brief History of Title Design

A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

This is inspiring stuff if you’re looking for some creative ideas in your next design project. If you like this video then I suggest you head over to Art of the Title for more of the same.

Posted in Motion Graphics and Movies at 11:02 AM

Another Cracked DVD From

I’ve been a happy customer since 2005 but lately I’ve started to notice a few “cracks” in their service.

Last year I waited months to get my hands on a copy of The Wild And Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. When the DVD finally arrived in the mail it was cracked down the middle. said they would send out another but they never did. I suspect they only had one in their entire library (which is why it took so long to get to me in the first place).

Last week I received another cracked DVD called Italy Revealed that isn’t very easy to find. Note the crack on the left side of the disc below the DVD video logo.

Cracked DVD from

When I flipped the disc over I was surprised to see scratches and dirt on the disc as it was thrown on the ground and stepped on. You can’t really see it in the image below there a several indentations on the surface of the disc.

Scratched and dirty DVD

I think that should slow down a little and check some of their discs before they get sent out. Maybe they should clean their DVDSs once in a while and inspect them before sending them out. I would describe this as good service. Failure to provide good service can result in blog postings by unhappy customers. Sigh.

Posted in Movies and Observations at 5:52 PM

Contagion, Another Year, Black Swan and Fair Game

I watch a lot of films throughout the year but I also miss a lot of really good films. This week I’ve been trying to catch up a little, clean out the PVR, check off my Zip List, Netflix List and check out the new titles on iTunes.

Contagion (2011)

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time you’ll know that Steven Soderbergh is my favourite director. His latest thriller about a deadly virus has a stellar ensemble cast and reminded me a little of his earlier film Traffic, probably because he also shot parts of that film and Cliff Martinez provided the score as he does here.

After watching this film you will wash your hands a lot more often. You will try not to touch your face as often as you do (2-3 thousand times a day). You will agree with me that Jude Law’s fake teeth in this film are incredibly distracting and kinda funny looking.

jude law bad teeth

Why didn’t Soderbergh just cast Steve Buschemi in the role of a blogger with bad teeth?

Another Year (2010)

My friend Andy, hounded me for weeks to watch this film directed by Mike Leigh. The plot on IMDB describes it as “a look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.” Sounds boring doesn’t it?

The family and friends of this happily married couple are some of the saddest characters you will ever meet on your LCD/LED/Plasma screen and they are fascinating. Leigh’s script was nominated for an Oscar and Lesley Manville’s performance as Mary, the wine guzzling divorcee is fantastic.

Barbara Hershey

Black Swan (2010)

I’m not sure why I skipped this film last year. I loved Darren Aronofsky’s direction in The Wrestler and Natalie Portman is great in everything she does (unless George Lucas is directing her). I’m not a fan of ballet and that kept me from watching one of the best films from 2010.

Vincent Cassel is great as the outspoken artistic director. I mean who gets to talk to people like that other than Hank Moody (David Duchovny) in Californication?

Barbara Hershey spent years getting plastic surgery for her role as the creepy, controlling mother that should have been in Carrie. I found her to be much more frightening than Portman’s transformation into the Black Swan.

Fair Game (2010)

It’s no secret that Sean Penn can’t stand George Bush and the Republican Party. Making this film was his chance to speak out against the Bush administration in the guise of a slick political thriller. None of the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Cheney and his neocons are portrayed as liars hell-bent on going to war.

I knew nothing about this film before watching it and was surprised to learn that it was based on a true story. The way in which Liman ends the film is brilliant and nice done. One side note. It was really strange seeing Ty Burrell from Modern Family cast as a neighbour in a serious film like this.

Posted in Movies at 10:31 PM

What I’ve Been Watching

It’s been a busy year at JAK Media but I always find time to watch television and movies (instead of sleeping). The screeners and discs have been piling up while the PVR has been running out of storage. Here’s a quick look at what I’ve been watching in the last couple of months.

Armadillo (2010)
This is a great war doc that follows a Danish platoon for 6 months in Afghanistan. The camera work is beautiful and the unlimited access on the front lines creates some incredible tension at times. It doesn’t hurt that the film created controversy around the alleged “liquidation” of Taliban forces by the Danes during combat.

Homeland (TV Series 2011)
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis provided the best spy drama on television since Rubicon. Season one (12 episodes) ended a couple of weeks ago and the show was just nominated for a bunch of Golden Globes – best drama, best actor, best actress. Season two returns to Showtime in 2012. Official website

Boss (TV Series 2011)
I was a little skeptical until halfway through the first episode when Kelsey Grammer explodes with anger as Tom Kane, mayor of Chicago. The season finale was a tour de force and one of the best hours of television this year. Gus Van Sant is a series producer an directs a number of episodes. The series received Golden Globe nominations for best drama and best actor (Grammer). Unfortunately it only airs on STARZ in the US. Official website

Limitless (2011)
Bradley Cooper plays a struggling NY writer that comes across a mind expanding drug that gives him limitless possibilities on Wall Street. I found it entertaining and noticed that the film made it onto a few critics’ top 10 lists.

Revanche (2008)
This might be the best foreign film that I saw this year. Goëtz Spielmann directs a superb cast in this tragic thriller set in Vienna. Nominated for an Oscar – best foreign film.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
It was nice to see Michael Douglas reprise his role as Gordon Gekko but this sequel doesn’t measure up to the original. I didn’t like Shia LaBeouf’s character but was pleased to hear a soundtrack but David Byrne and Brian Eno. Worst cameo – Oliver Stone. Best cameo – Charlie Sheen.

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
What a great film! This doc about veteran New York City fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham will put a smile on your face. Cunningham at the age of 80 has the energy and enthusiasm of someone half his age. He’s also a bit of a mystery which adds to the appeal of this film.

The Goonies (1985)
I know. I’m all over the map here. This one was sitting on the PVR for months and I hadn’t seen the original in over 20 years. It was interesting to watch Josh Brolin in his first film but this movie and the video game was much better when I was 13 years old.

Battle Los Angeles (2011)
I thought this might be half decent for the special effects alone but no, it was pretty lame. Aaron Eckhart serves up some of the cheesiest dialogue of the year and guess what? The aliens lose this time but just barely. Phew! There, I just save you 116 minutes.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)
I didn’t grow up with The Beatles and the George Harrison tunes in my iTunes library were difficult to find. After watching Martin Scorsese’s doc for almost four hours I can now say that I’m a fan and George is in my regular playlist.

Drive Angry (2011)
I am a complete sucker for Nic Cage movies and if you like campy over-acting then this film delivers but it is William Fichtner that steals several scenes with the quirkiest performance of the year as The Accountant. Don’t ask.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
I still regret that I didn’t see this Werner Herzog documentary in its 3D glory. After watching it on Blu-ray I’m even more disappointed. The Chauvet caves in southern France are interesting subject but I expected the Herzog magic to take this film to the next level.

Food, Inc. (2008)
I wasn’t expecting much from this doc so I was very impressed at how disturbed I was at the content. It’ hard to believe how manufactured our food is and how much control a handful of companies have over our food supply. Everyone should watch this film.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)
I’m embarrassed to say that I watched this entire film. I can’t believe they made another one that is in theatres right now. I was looking for a mindless comedy and well, this fits the bill all too well. Do not watch.

Mesrine: Part 1 Killer Instinct (2008)
This is an interesting period drama about French gangster Jacques Mesrine played by Vincent Cassel. Part of the film takes place in Montreal during the 1970s. Now I have to track down Mesrine: Part 2 - Public Enemy #1.

Posted in Movies at 7:53 PM


Last month I received an email from that announced they were raising their prices and making some changes to their offerings that will improve their service. For example on most plans they will start charging a $1 fee for every Blu-ray title. Uh-oh!

I’m currently using their 2 DVD Unlimited plan for $19.95 – 2 DVDs out at a time with unlimited shipments/month. If I want to rent a Blu-ray they will charge an additional $1 each time. Any time a company raises their rates you have to review their service. has a great library but I almost never receive the DVDs I want when I want them. I put films on my ZipList queue and months go by. I just checked my list and removed 7 movies that I’ve watched on satellite TV – Casino Jack, The Mechanic, 44 Inch Chest and Bronson.

Half the time I get their discs and they sit on my desk for weeks before I get around to watching them. Lately I’ve been “backing up” the DVDs to my computer so I can watch the films later if I know I won’t have time. For now I’m going to remove all of the Blu-ray titles off my ZipList so I don’t get billed extra each month.

I have so many unwatched movies on my shelf that it is getting harder to justify spending $240/year on films I might watch from I attend some film festivals for free and often get screeners for review. Throw in the odd film I purchase from Amazon or the films sitting on my PVR and I probably have 50-75 films waiting to be watched!

Where am I going to find 100 hours to watch movies in the next couple of monhts? And you thought you had problems.

Posted in Movies at 10:25 PM

What’s New On

If you use then sometimes you just want a simple list of new films and TV shows that are now available. Visit What’s New on Netflix Canada to find out. (Thanks Andy)

Posted in Movies at 5:16 PM

Free Doc Screenings in Toronto

There are two free screenings of of some great documentary films tomorrow night in Toronto.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-75, directed by Göran Hugo Olsson is showing at 6:30pm – Hart House Library, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto.

Olsson compiles the undiscovered work of Swedish journalists who traveled to the United States in the late sixties to document the black power movement in America. This film was popular at Hot Docs earlier in the year and admission is free as part of the Conscious Activism Doc Series.

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson is showing at 7pm – NFB MEDIATHEQUE, 150 John Street (corner Richmond St. W).

Gunnarsson presents a biography of ideas featuring iconic Canadian scientist, educator, broadcaster and activist David Suzuki. At 73 years of age Suzuki delivered what he describes as “a last lecture – a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die.”

Posted in Movies at 10:10 AM

Rocky Mountain Express

Rocky Mountain Express

When was the last time you saw an amazing IMAX film with a Canadian theme? Rocky Mountain Express tells the incredible story of how Canada’s first transcontinental railway was laid. By retracing the original route aboard a restored steam engine, locomotive 2816 takes the audience back to 1885 when Canada was trying to build the longest railway in the world through the unmapped Rocky Mountains.

Creating a transportation route that joined the east to the west was critical in terms of nation building. There were concerns that competing American railroads would move north and claim the Canadian west. A Canadian route through the Rockies was considered impossible because of avalanches, deep canyons and treacherous mountain passes.

Veteran director Stephen Low uses incredible IMAX aerial photography and breathtaking vistas to put the audience into the landscape. Through archival photos and beautifully animated 3D maps you get a sense of how difficult it was to lay each mile of track. The film doesn’t shy away from the poor treatment of Chinese and Japanese Canadians that worked in under dangerous conditions in constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

Rocky Mountain Express

If you enjoy landscape photography as I do then you will absolutely love this film. In a Q&A with Stephen Low he revealed that the film was self-funded and took 5 years to make. At times he and his crew would wait weeks until the light was right for filming. Rocky Mountain Express is a labour of love and a pleasure to watch.

The sound design in the film is also first rate. How can you go wrong with a steam locomotive on an IMAX screen? I often felt like I was sitting beside the tracks when the train whisked by onscreen.

Train enthusiast will also love this film which goes into some detail about locomotive 2816 – CPR Empress. It’s one of only a few preserved CPR steam locomotives operating in North America today.

Rocky Mountain Express premieres at Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX Theatre at the Ontario Science Centre on October 1, 2011.

Film Website

Posted in Movies at 4:19 PM Review Using Bell Internet


I recently said that Netflix is the future of home video based on my experience of using the service here in Canada. I’m not surprised that 20 percent of primetime US bandwidth consists of Netflix traffic. The user experience is excellent. To borrow one of Steve Jobs’ favourite phrases, “it just works.”

How I Access makes it very easy to use their service in Canada by giving you a number of options. I access the service using:

  • a Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony Bravia TV (32-inch LCD)
  • a Mac Pro (Quad-Core Intel Xeon) with 27-inch LED Cinema Display
  • iPad

I should mention that I’m using Bell Internet’s Fibe 12 service with download speeds of up to 12 Mbps. The Netflix Tech Blog published some information on the top ISP networks in the US where the top HD streams were 4,800 kbps. Rogers leads in Canada with a very fast 3,020 kbps average.

User Interface

I like the simplicity of the Netflix user interface which seems to be fairly consistent from PlayStation to iPad to the website. You can browse movie titles by genre, new arrivals or by letting suggest titles for you that I found to be fairly accurate. Browsing seems to be fastest in a web browser and the iPad for me. Using the PS3 to navigate the screens and search for movie titles was a little clunky but that might have something to do with me being a 42-year-old and not an adolescent gamer.

Set Up

Setting up an account was fast and painless. I love that Netflix accepts PayPal for your monthly fee. Once you’ve confirmed your username and password you can use up to 6 unique devices for use with your account. This is where Netlfix has a huge advantage over similar movie services from the Sony PlayStation Store, and others – it’s not chained to specific hardware.

User Experience

The best thing about Netflix is the ease of use in the interface and the speed at which you can access movies. With my set up it takes about two seconds to stream a movie – no lengthy Blu-ray loading times, no annoying movie trailers, no DVD layer changes, no waiting. This is the number one reason that Blu-ray discs are already obsolete.

While watching movies and television shows I have never had a buffering problem or interruption (waiting for video to load and continue playing). I haven’t tested this while somebody else was using my home network to download a file or watch a YouTube video. My understanding of Netflix works is that it will adjust the quality of your video stream to ensure that it continues to play.

Scanning through a movie is easier and better than scanning through a Blu-ray and DVD in my opinion. Netflix displays thumbnail images of the frames that enable you to quickly find a particular scene.

Netflix scanning

If you don’t finish watching a movie or show, Netflix remembers where you left off and lets you resume watching at a later time. I never could get this to work properly on my Blu-ray player and it would aggravate me to end that I had to skip through the trailers and menus. I suppose that if I read the manual I could have figured it out but who reads manuals these days?

Netflix resume feature

Audio and Video Quality

The audio and video quality of most of the programming is excellent. Not everything streams in high definition but when it does it looks great. I’ve been watching the show Justified and if you look at the screen capture below, the quality is quite good.


Unfortunately when I watched Saturday Night Live: The Best of Christopher Walken the video was standard definition and the quality was horrible! The video was encoded poorly revealing jaggies. You can’t really see the aliasing in the video capture below but it is quite noticeable during playback on a television screen.

Christopher Walkin

No Extras

There are no extras. No director’s commentary track. No featurettes. No online games. Nothing. If you want extras then rent/purchase the disc.

When I find the time, I enjoy watching a favourite film with the director’s commentary. Sometimes I’ll watch the extras on a DVD or Blu-ray disc but most of the time the extras suck. The movie studio marketing departments often pass of featurettes and documentaries as value-added extra features to justify the inflated price of a $30 3-disc special edition. Most of us just want to watch the $10 discount bin version of the movie which could be why Blu-ray disc sales are on the decline and Netflix is enjoying huge growth in its subscriber base.

If you’re still not convinced that Netflix is for you then try it out for free. You really can’t lose. Thanks to Paul for asking about my Netflix viewing experience which led to this review.

Posted in Movies and Netflix and Technology at 8:49 PM

Best Movies Of 2010

Here is a list of some of the films (released in 2010) that I saw in the theatre over the past year:

  • Toy Story 3
  • Inside Job
  • Inception
  • The White Ribbon
  • Micmacs
  • Submarine
  • Disappearance Of Alice Creed
  • Buried
  • Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work
  • Shutter Island

Two of the worst movies I saw this year were The Tourist and I’m Not Here. In fact, I’m Not Here has earned a special place in my heart as the worst movies I have ever seen.

Be sure to check Toronto Screen Shots for a list of the top 25 releases of the year in the next week.

Posted in Movies at 7:27 PM

Women Are 4:3 And Men Are 16:9

What is the difference between men and women when it comes to watching movies?

Women Are 4:3


My wife was watching Devil Wears Prada on our 40” Sony Bravia HD television. I looked at the screen and the first thing I noticed was that the film was being presented in SD (standard definition) which has a 4:3 aspect ratio.

I also noticed that she was watching the film on the W Network, complete with commercials and edited down to fit into a two hour time slot.

Two things struck me as odd:

  1. She was watching a cropped SD version of the movie when we have it on Blu-ray in HD.
  2. We have several HD movie channels that are commercial free and unedited.

A friend of mine doesn’t watch anything unless it is in HD on his cable box. A year after he purchased his first HD television he still marvels at the quality of the beautiful widescreen picture.

Yesterday he confessed that his wife always watches the latest television shows in 4:3 standard definition using Roger On Demand service (streaming video). She could care less if her TV shows are in HD or SD.

Men Are 16:9

Most of my television viewing consists of HD channels. When I watch a movie on my PVR it better be widescreen, HD, and at the very least, Dolby Digital audio. I prefer to mute the audio on my television and use my AV receiver with a subwoofer to provide the audio.

If The Devil Wears Prada is on SD television I would likely change the channel. If it was on one of the HD movie channels I still wouldn’t watch it, but, if I had to watch The Devil Wears Prada I would most certainly grab the Blu-ray disc in our video collection and watch it in HD. Makes sense, right?

The Devil Wears Prada

I can’t help it. Most guys can’t help it. We’re all about specs, even when it doesn’t matter. Women don’t care if a television is 60 inches or 42 inches. Ask a woman if she prefers plasma, LCD, LED or rear projection and you might get a funny look or a slap in the face.

I probably sound extremely sexist but from my experience, most women don’t care about the technology behind the presentation of a movie or a television show. As long as the television works the way she would expect it to, my wife is happy.

For some people, what they are watching is more important than how they are watching it. The emotional connection to a film or show outweighs the aspect ratio.

I know that there are a lot of 4:3 guys out there as well but I’d be curious to hear from some women that care about the specs and given a choice, would rather watch HD content instead of SD content.

Note: the widescreen video capture above is actually 2.35:1 (anamorphic widescreen). Guys that are really uptight about the specs are 2.35:1 instead of 16:9.

Posted in Movies at 11:50 PM

Happpy 40th Dave King

Dave King, a good friend of mine turned 40 on September 23. I’m not a video editor but I often put videos like these together for friends and family. Dave is a Star Wars fanatic which explains the opening Star Wars text crawl. There are a number of inside jokes in this one including the ending. Wait for it. Rated PG-13.

The YouTube version of this video was blocked in Canada for copyright issues. Oddly enough you could watch it in the US. YouTube’s copyright management is flaky at best.

The Vimeo version above, is much higher quality and can also be viewed on iPads, iPhones, and other mobile devices that use H.264 video. I like the Vimeo interface a lot better than Youtube’s with its advertising.

Watch Dave Wars on Vimeo at full size.

Posted in Movies at 9:53 AM

Stan Lee at FanExpo 2010

Stan Lee

Stan Lee was by far the coolest guy at FanExpo 2010. You’ll never meet a nicer celebrity that is so accommodating to his fans. His panel was entertaining and funny. For a guy that is 88-years-old he has a tremendous amount of energy. Excelsior!

Posted in Movies at 8:23 PM

Richard Ayoade’s ‘Submarine’ at TIFF

Richard Ayoad

Richard Ayoade who plays Moss on The IT Crowd wrote the screenplay and directed the film Submarine. This is Ayoade’s feature debut and it gets a world premiere at TIFF next month.

I had to laugh when I read the description of the film on the TIFF website:

One boy must fight to save his mother from the advances of a mystic, and simultaneously lure his eczema-strafed girlfriend in to the bedroom, armed with only a vast vocabulary and near-total self-belief. His name is Oliver Tate.

It all sounds bizarre. I hope I get a chance to see the film and hope that it is half as funny as the premise. Ben Stiller is listed as one of the executive producers.

Posted in Movies at 2:28 PM

6 Great Docs On The Movie Network This Month

There are some great documentary films on The Movie Network this month (Canada only). I saw some of these films at Hot Docs and highly recommend them. The list below links to a description of the films and displays the times they are being broadcast this month.

You won’t want to miss Gasland. Like The Cove, it is the type of film that gets under your skin. You’ll wish that the film was pure fiction instead of real life.


Visit the film’s website to watch the trailer or read James McNally’s review over at Toronto Screen Shots.

Posted in Movies at 9:39 PM

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

Yesterday I launched a film website for Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel. I’ve always wanted to do a film website and never would have guessed that it would be a documentary film about Hugh Hefner.

The film opens in NY and LA on Friday. It opens in Toronto at the Cumberland the following week (Aug 6).

I’ve seen the film and can honestly say that it is a winner. Director Brigitte Berman did a great job of presenting Hef as a guy that has contributed so much more to American than Playboy. For example, I wasn’t aware of his involvement in the civil rights movement. Watch the film and I think you’ll be surprised.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel will be shortlisted for the Academy Award this year.

Posted in JAK MEDIA and Movies at 7:19 PM

Woody Allen Can’t Have An Opinion About His Films?

In late June, Woody Allen did an interview for The Times (which doesn’t want you linking to any of its stories) in which he listed his six favourite Woody Allen films:

For some reason people around the web were shocked or upset with some of Allen’s choices. Roger Ebert went as far as incorrectly tweeting “Woody Allen picks the six best woody Allen Films, and is wrong.”

Roger, Woody Allen listed six of his favourite films. This wasn’t a top six list of his best films. How can you say that Woody’s opinion is wrong? Ebert’s tweet has been retweeted hundreds of times and mislead a lot of people that never read The Times article.

Sure, some of the films Allen listed in the interview weren’t his strongest but he’s still allowed to call them favourites isn’t he? I’ve seen a lot of Woody Allen films and my six favourite Woody Allen films would be:

For the record, I really enjoyed Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Posted in Movies at 8:03 PM

Toronto Urban Film Festival Deadlines

The Toronto Urban Film Festival runs September 10-19, 2010. If you’re participating then you should be aware of two important deadlines that are approaching quickly:

Trinity Square Video (TSV) Pitch Award Deadline - May 15, 2010
Take advantage of $600 of in-kind support towards production and post-production of a TUFF film plus a one-year membership to Trinity Square Video. Filmmakers must send a one or two paragraphic pitch that describes their film idea, along with a CV to There is a maximum of 7 filmmakers accepted into the program.

TUFF Early Submission Deadlines - May 31, 2010
After May 31 the submission fee is $10.

TUFF has some fairly substantial awards…over $10,000 cash and in-kind for filmmakers. TUFF will also be offering an artist fee of $100 to each and every filmmaker selected to take part, this year, thanks to funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Good luck to all participants.

Posted in Movies at 1:10 PM

The Gift

The Gift

Have a look at Carl Erik Rinsch’s futuristic short film, The Gift. It is cleverly based on a feature length version of the film written and designed by Rinsch. When the movie studios learned of this, a bidding war began. Not a bad way to pitch a film idea, if it works.

To learn more about this project visit /Film. (Via Dave King)

Posted in Movies at 9:44 AM

Don’t See Clash Of The Titans in 3D

If you value your hard-earned cash, don’t see Clash Of The Titans in 3D. Ain’t It Cool News published a less than flattering review of the film saying that the post-production 3D version of the film is terrible:

Above all, this stands as THE defining moment we watched 3-D actually destroy a film and stand testament to the terrible, terrible idea of adding it in post-production.

The 3D hack job on Clash Of The Titans is so bad that it becomes distracting rather than immersing the viewer in the film:

I know half a dozen critics who watched half of the film blurry rather than subject themselves to the torment of this bastardized hack job of a 3-D render; the rest of us suffered in silence, occasionally checking out the shot composition by lowering our glasses for a moment, repeatedly. How bad is it? See it in 2-D if at all possible. Do not, under any circumstances, watch the 3-D version of this film.

It sounds like the film is pretty average to begin with - another excuse to recycle and old film and showcase the latest special effects. Most of the kids in the theatre probably don’t have any idea that they are watching a remake like most of the films these days.

You’ve been warned. Don’t waste your money on the 3D version of this film. (Via Ryan).

Posted in Movies at 8:19 PM

No Love For 3D Movies From Ebert, Bay Or Cameron

There is a lot of negative buzz right now about the movie studios converting 2D movies into half-baked 3D. Director Michael Bay, James Cameron and movie critic Roger Ebert have expressed their dislike for Hollywood’s latest 3D movie craze.

Alice In Wonderland and Clash of the Titans were shot in 2D. The studios have been converting these films to an inferior 3D version and charging moviegoers a premium. The box office success of Alice will guarantee that more movies will be converted to 3D.

In a story Michael Bay indicates that he is skeptical of 2D movies being converted into fake 3D versions:

I’m used to having the A-team working on my films, and I’m going to hand it over to the D-team, have it shipped to India and hope for the best? This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D. Studios might be willing to sacrifice the look and use the gimmick to make $3 more a ticket, but I’m not. Avatar took four years. You can’t just shit out a 3D movie.

James Cameron’s says that the success of Avatar (shot with 3D cameras), has encouraged a slew of cheap knockoffs:

Now, you’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.

Bay says that some of companies converting the 2D footage of his upcoming film, Transformers 3 “looks like fake 3D.” Why bother doing it then? Money. There’s no such thing as artistic integrity in Hollywood anymore. It’s all about the bottom line.

Roger Ebert jumped aboard the 3D backlash today and sent out several tweets that I found amusing:

3-D is a distracting, annoying, anti-realistic, juvenile abomination to use as an excuse for higher prices.
If Scorsese ever makes a movie in 3-D, that’s when we’ll know movies as we have known them are dead.
Studios go berserk about making EVERYTHING in 3-D. Good news for real movies. Intelligent moviegoers will flee to 2-D.

How can you not love Roger Ebert? Count me in the “intelligent moviegoers” camp that will flee to 2D films.

Posted in Movies at 9:27 PM

3D Movies And Greedy Movie Studios

There have been a lot of rumblings in the last week about 3D movies and Gizmodo has the lowdown on The Movie Studios’ Big 3D Scam. Movies such as Alice In Wonderland and Clash Of The Titans were never shot in 3D, whereas James Cameron’s Avatar was.

The money-grubbing movie studios have been converting films into 3D as way of squeezing more money out of the audience. If films like Clash of the Titans were truly 3D, then they would be shot with 3D cameras during production. Instead, Hollywood is converting many films into 3D during post production to maximize profits. The quality isn’t there and you’re getting scammed.

3D glasses

I’m going to boycott 3D films and urge you to do so as well.

I saw Avatar in IMAX 3D and I was truly impressed, except for the cheap pair of 3D glasses that were scratched up and looked filthy. I hate wearing 3D glasses and feel they get in the way of the viewing experience. They weigh too much and feel uncomfortable, especially after a long movie like Avatar.

Alexander Murphy at Gizmodo gets it:

The only time that I have felt it was worth it was Avatar and even then I wanted to yank the damn thick-rimmed glasses off my face every 3 minutes.

There is something wrong when you pay $18 to watch a $200 million movie in an expensive IMAX 3D theatre with a crummy pair of 3¢ glasses. If I see Clash of the Titans or Alice in Wonderland in the movie theatre it will be the regular 2D version of the film.

3D movies are like economic recessions. Every 20 years they seem to come and go. Until Hollywood figures out how to make 3D movies work without the glasses, I’m not interested. I think this is another fad that will eventually die off. I’d rather see a well-crafted film in 2D than an average film in 3D.

Posted in Movies at 6:52 PM

Cactus is in theatres today

Cactus photo by Lisa Tomasetti

Cactus (2008). Written and directed by Jasmine Yuen Carrucan

Jasmine Yuen Carrucan’s film, Cactus, finally gets a theatrical release today in Toronto. I saw it over a year ago at OzFlix and enjoyed it. For a first time director it’s not a bad film. Read my review and go see it.


Films are rated from 1 to 4 stars.

Cactus - Official Film Site.

Posted in Movies at 5:19 PM

50% Off Kinosmith DVDs

The Kinosmith DVD shop is having a 50% off sale for the entire month of February. Just use the promo code WELCOME2010 to receive 50% off of your order.

I saw The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins at Hot Docs last year and it was great. It had a brief theatrical release so if you want to see it again, you can for just $15.

Kinosmith also has L.A. Without A Map, directed by Mika Kaurismäki and starring avid Tennant, Vinessa Shaw, Julie Delpy, Vincent Gallo and Johnny Depp. I haven’t seen this but for $12.50 it is the other movie I would pick up during this sale.

Posted in Movies at 5:00 PM

New Judge Dredd Film Won’t Be Dreddful

Sorry, I couldn’t resist a headline like that. There is a new Judge Dredd film coming out and the creator of Dredd says that it won’t be as bad as the original which starred Sylvester Stallone.

Danny Boyle is producing the new film which is reportedly going to be a “high-octane” action film. I didn’t mind the original film but it will be interesting to see what Boyle and his screenwriter from 28 Days Later does with the material.

Posted in Movies at 1:45 PM

Wes Anderson’s Remake of “My Best Friend”

While I’m on the topic of unnecessary American movie remakes, Wes Anderson is moving ahead with a remake of Mon Meilleur Ami (2006). I wrote about the French version of Mon Meilleur Ami (My Best Friend) after I saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s a great film starring Daniel Auteil (Caché) and Dany Boon (Micmacs).

Wes Anderson’s latest script for the My Best Friend is being called “The Rosenthaler Suite”. George Clooney and Owen Wilson are rumoured to star. Ugh. Hollywood is so obsessed with profits that it continues to mine successful foreign films that it can remake for American audiences.

Why can’t Hollywood let American directors make their own films? There are a lot of great American independent films that are dying to get made. Instead, the accountants that run the studios insist on remakes of foreign films, older films or television shows in their search for a hit.

Remakes seldom work. Consider these flops: Planet of the Apes, The Pink Panther, Psycho, Godzilla or No Reservations (a remake of Mostly Martha).

Posted in Movies at 4:42 PM

Roger Ebert Tries To Solve They Mysteries of Caché

Roger Ebert recently published “Caché:” A riddle, wrapped in a
mystery, inside an enigma
- his theories on the mysteries of Michael Haneke’s film, Caché (2005).

Ebert’s analysis of the film provides a theory of what might have happened, but he admits that he is probably wrong. The discussion that follows in the comments of his blog entry is also really interesting.

I have to wonder if director Michael Haneke really made the Caché as complex as we tend to think it is. Did he every think that we’d be discussing his film 5 years after it was made?

Scorsese To Remake Caché

Why do American directors love to remake great foreign films for American audiences? Martin Scorsese has optioned Caché for an American version that may be released in 2012.

Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (1997) was remade by Haneke himself in 2007 for American audiences with American actors. The film isn’t nearly as good as his original.

I have to admit that I preferred Scorsese’s version of The Departed to the original but when something is as good as Caché, you just don’t mess with it.

Posted in Movies at 4:07 PM

Avatar in IMAX 3D

I just got back from watching Avatar and my hat is off to James Cameron. The movie and the experience is first rate. He deserves all of the praise that the film is receiving.

I watched it at the Scotiabank IMAX theatre in Toronto. All of the weekend screenings were sold out. I ordered my seats ahead of time (Friday afternoon) and went to the 10:30 PM screening, thinking it wouldn’t be busy.

I got there at 9:30 PM and there was already a line. Hasn’t this film been out for month already? Apparently this IMAX theatre is always sold out and does the best business in Canada for Avatar.

So, the film? It has a little bit of everything for everyone. There’s a love story, war, religion, environmentalism, terrorism, racial divides and the hero is a man in a wheel chair. There are a lot of messages wrapped up into a 3 hour spectacle like nothing you’ve ever seen.

I waited until now to see the film because I wanted to see it in IMAX 3D and I’m glad I did. I don’t think it would have been the same on a smaller screen. The 3D aspect of the film makes the computer generated landscapes and environments incredible. At times you really feel like you are physically in the film. You forget about the weight of the glasses on your ears and buy into the fantasy world on the screen.

Use Your SCENE Card

If you get a chance, watch this film in an IMAX theatre and book your tickets days ahead of time. Lastly, if you have a SCENE card, use it. A regular movie ticket ($10.50) requires 1,000 SCENE points. An IMAX 3D ticket ($17.50) requires just 1,000 SCENE points. That’s almost half price. Not bad.

Posted in Movies at 2:04 AM

Lost In The Air

Lost In The Air: The Jason Reitman Press Tour Simulator from director Jason Reitman. He made this short film while doing press for his movie Up In The Air starring George Clooney.

Posted in Movies at 9:33 AM

2009 List of Lists

James at Toronto Screen Shots has published his 2009 List of Lists. If you’re looking for some solid recommendations of films or documentaries to see over the next year then take a look. Load up your ZipList and Netflix cues now!

Posted in Movies at 10:59 PM

The Criterion Contraption

Matthew Dessem is in the process of watching all of the movies in The Criterion Collection and writing about them on his blog, The Criterion Contraption. In true Criterion style, he’s writing detailed reviews with plenty of screen captures and interesting notes about each film.

For #83: The Harder They Come, I was surprised to find out that there were three different attempts to remake the film. Between 2003 and 2006, Eve, Mos Def and Lauryn Hill were attached to star in a remake.

When Dessem started The Criterion Contraption in 2004, there were 250 films in The Criterion Collection and the tag line for his site was “I’m going to watch every last DVD in The Criterion Collection.”

As 2009 draws to a close, there are 511 movies in The Criterion Collection. Earlier this month Dessem wrote about All That Heaven Allows, film 95 in the catalog. 419 movies to go. By the time he finishes this quest, DVDs and Blu-ray discs may be obsolete! (Via

Posted in Movies at 8:25 PM

The Wicker Man Clips

Several people have told me that Nicholas Cage’s performance in The Wicker Man (2006) is awful. They’re absolutely right. In fact, this remake of the 1976 classic is so bad that it has become one of my favourite films.

How can you not love lines like this:

You little liars. Rowan Woodward is your classmate. Isn’t she. Isn’t she! That is her desk! And you’re the biggest liar of them all. I’m warning you. You tell me another and I’ll arrest you myself. That is a promise!

I can’t understand why director Neil LaBute agreed to do the remake. Many of the scenes are incredibly campy with Cage in the lead role. The dialogue is horrible and the plot is a mess. The film didn’t screen for critics when it was released and was genrally panned - it has a score of 36 on Metacritic.

How can Cage win an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, act so poorly in The Wicker Man, then perform so well in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans? They guy is all over the map but he makes me laugh every time he screams, “how’d it get burned? How’d it get burned? How’d it get burned?”

Posted in Movies at 10:07 PM

Bombippy’s Best Films Of 2009

2009 was a great year for film. I saw some fabulous movies at TIFF that won’t get a theatrical release until 2010 but here is a list, in no particular order of the best films I saw in 2009.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Nicolas Cage and Werner Herzog - it doesn’t get any weirder or crazier than this. Finally, Nic Cage makes a decent film.

Squirrel! Does Pixar ever make a bad film? Up has a great story and some of the most incredible visuals to date from Pixar Animation Studios.

Inglorious Basterds
Tarantino’s film was the best thing on the big screen this summer. And where has Christopher Waltz been all these years? His portrayal of a Nazi was incredible! North American audiences have been missing out, until now.

The Cove
I saw this at Hot Docs back in the spring. After the standing ovation, I knew I had just watched the Man On Wire of 2009. I missed a lot of great documentaries this year but this one is a must see. You’ll never watch a dolphin show at a marine park again.

Up In The Air
Director Jason Reitman can do no wrong. This carefully crafted film and the performances by George Clooney and Vera Farmiga are pitch perfect. Just go and see it already.

The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke’s black and white drama about the strange events in a German village before World War I is fascinating. It won the Golden Palme at Cannes this year and is a satisfying follow up to his last film, Caché.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
This was a tough film to watch about an overweight, sexually abused and illiterate teen from Harlem. The performances were incredible and the film is going to provide some serious competition at the Oscars. Highly recommended.

Is it possible to make a bad film about Mike Tyson? James Toback took a stab at it and the result is a fascinating and entertaining look back at the life of Mike.

District 9
This was the sleeper hit of the summer for me. I didn’t know what to expect and I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. A lot of people couldn’t stand Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) and didn’t see what all the fuss was about. I thought Wikus was awesome and loved the film. So did a lot of film critics.

The Hangover
This was my pick for best comedy of the year and guilty pleasure. I saw it twice and can’t wait to see it again on Blu-ray. Great fun!

Posted in Movies at 1:04 PM

70-Minute Video Review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Everyone knows that Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace sucked but do they know why? Mike from Milwaukee put together a 70-minute video review that you can watch on YouTube.

I just watched Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 1 of 7) and the review is hilariously spot on. The narrator sounds like a burned out film geek and has trouble pronouncing the word protagonist but don’t let that fool you.

Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof describes the video review as “astounding film making”. He’s right. It’s brilliant!

Posted in Movies at 2:18 PM

Scary Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi

I’ve always been a fan of Steve Buscemi but the man is getting downright creepy looking the older he gets (just turned 52). Take a look at this still from the trailer of his new film, Saint John of Las Vegas (2009). And this is with makeup!

It could be that he’s just a little tired from appearing in 7 films this year.

Posted in Movies at 12:41 AM

15 Docs, 5 Nominations, 1 Winner

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 15 documentary films that are competing for the 2009 Oscar. Only 5 of these films will be nominated.

Sadly, I’ve only seen one of the films, The Cove, which won the audience award at Hot Docs and Sundance. I’ll be able to watch Sergio and maybe Burma VJ but most of the films are difficult to find.

Have you seen any of the films on this year’s shortlist for the Oscar?

  1. “The Beaches of Agnes,” Agnès Varda, director
  2. “Burma VJ,” Anders Østergaard, director
  3. “The Cove,” Louie Psihoyos, director
  4. “Every Little Step,” James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors
  5. “Facing Ali,” Pete McCormack, director
  6. “Food, Inc.,” Robert Kenner, director
  7. “Garbage Dreams,” Mai Iskander, director
  8. “Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders,” Mark N. Hopkins, director
  9. “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors
  10. “Mugabe and the White African,” Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors
  11. “Sergio,” Greg Barker, director
  12. “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors
  13. “Under Our Skin,” Andy Abrahams Wilson, director
  14. “Valentino The Last Emperor,” Matt Tyrnauer, director
  15. “Which Way Home,” Rebecca Cammisa, director

Posted in Movies at 9:06 PM

Now Playing At A Theatre Near You

There are a few films that I saw earlier in the year at film festivals which now have a theatrical release. Blink and you might miss them. Here is a quick rundown with links to some earlier reviews:

Prom Night in Mississippi
Paul Saltzman’s doc about the first integrated prom in Morgan Freeman’s hometown. Freeman will be in Toronto tonight for the opening of the film at the Varsity theatre.

Inside Hana’s Suitcase
One of the best films at Hot Docs this year. It’s based upon the the internationally acclaimed book “Hana’s Suitcase” written by Karen Levine.

Lars von Trier’s controversial horror film that caused at least one member of the TIFF audience to vomit.

The Men Who Stare At Goats
This quirky comedy is based on a true story about psychic soldiers in the US Army and features a stellar cast - George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick and J. K. Simmons.

Posted in Movies at 10:42 AM

Hoop Dreams: The Great American Documentary

November 5, 2009 was the 15th anniversary of the film Hoop Dreams. Roger Ebert had this to say about the film:

Today, fifteen years after I first saw it, I believe “Hoop Dreams” is the great American documentary. No other documentary has ever touched me more deeply. It was relevant then, and today, as inner city neighborhoods sink deeper into the despair of children murdering children, it is more relevant.

I’ve only seen the film once and found it fascinating. It’s time to watch it again. If you’ve never seen this film then it’s time to get the Hoop Dreams DVD and see what all the fuss is about.

Posted in Movies at 1:07 AM

Eh!U European Film Festival 2009

Eh!U European Film Festival

Eh!U European Film Festival 2009 announced their 2009 lineup of international films. It runs from November 19 to December 3, 2009 in Toronto and all screenings are free of charge!

If you love film then the best place to be in Canada is Toronto. Now in its fifth year, the festival will feature 26 films from 23 European countries. At the top of my list is The White Ribbon directed by Michael Haneke. This played at TIFF back in September and was quite a popular film.

Visit for a complete list of films.

Posted in Movies at 11:01 PM

The Best Blu-ray Deals In Canada

Before you purchase any Blu-ray discs you have to check the Blu-ray Deals section on

Each week serves up the best prices in three different categories:

  • New Blu-ray Deals
  • Most Popular Blu-ray Deals
  • Biggest Price Drops

Amazon’s prices tend to go up and down like yo-yo so it pays to check. The Hot Deals Forum at the bottom of the page also has some great Blu-ray buying tips. (Thanks to Rob at SUPERHERO TV ).

Posted in Movies at 10:40 PM

The Matrix Movie Mistakes

The Matrix Movie Mistakes is a good overview of some continuity problems in the first Matrix movie. What makes this YouTube video worth watching is José Hidalgo’s voiceover. He has a crazy accent which makes this overview a lot of fun to watch.

Posted in Movies at 10:24 PM

MediaboyMusings Hates ‘Crank: High Voltage’

MediaboyMusings didn’t enjoy the movie Crank: High Voltage very much:

Crank: High Voltage is the worst movie I have seen in recent memory and is so bad it well might hold a place on a top 10 list of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my 39 years. While I normally resent reading movie reviews that give too many details and plot points away I feel no shame in doing so here. Hopefully it acts as a deterrent from inflicting this mess on even just one poor bastard out there.

The first Crank movie wasn’t very good but I guess it did enough box office that the bean counters at Lionsgate thought a sequel made sense. It boggles my mind that crap like this gets made while many great films struggle to find studio backing or distribution.

Posted in Movies at 7:44 PM

How To Get Tickets For TIFF

It’s that time of year again when the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) goes into full gear. It doesn’t actually start until September 10, 2009 but if you don’t act now then you might not be able to see any films.

At this point the 10 Ticket Package ($159.14) is already sold out! This is the package I always get but I’m a procrastinator so now it looks like I’ll be getting a Festival Package Lite ($386.25) which consists of 30 tickets.

I can’t see 30 films in 10 days so if there are some films that you want to try and see then leave me a list in the comments. The full list of films is now online. Do some research and send me your picks. I’m going to try and see 15-20 films depending on how many I can sell.

Tickets that I sell will cost $12.87 (plus taxes) and you’re limited to 1 ticket per film. I’ll need to know what films you’re interested in by Sunday August 30 as the ticket selections need to be dropped off by Monday August 31.

Ticket selections aren’t guaranteed and depend on a lottery which takes place on September 1. It’s important that you make some secondary choices in case you primary selections aren’t drawn.

The popular Hollywood films usually sell out first but there are a lot of great films at the festival that go under the radar. Half the fun is picking the sleeper hits or seeing films from other countries that you may never get a chance to see again. Many films don’t get a theatrical or video release in North America.

I can’t make any promises but let me know if you’re interested in individual tickets and I’ll do my best to get them for you.

Posted in Movies at 7:51 PM

Straight 2 DVD Movies

David Dylan Thomas just launched a new site called Straight To DVD Movies. It covers films that skip the traditional theatrical window and get released on DVD.

Lonely Street starring Robert Patrick as Elvis? Now that I have to see. Nice work on the site David!

Posted in Blogs and Movies at 10:28 PM

The Lack Of Original Ideas

Peter Jackson quoted in a recent interview for the Los Angeles Times:

I mean, personally I think that’s one of the most depressing things about the film industry generally today. The writers and directors should be blamed just as much as the studios because really everything seems to be a remake or adapting a 1970s TV show that was never particularly good… but at the same time I’m also aware that audiences are getting fed up with the lack of original ideas and original stories.

I hope that Jackson is correct in saying that the remakes and sequels are part of a cycle in Hollywood that will reverse it self and see a return to original ideas and films.

Wait a second, didn’t Peter Jackson do the third remake of King Kong (2005). It may have won 3 Oscars but it wasn’t exactly original.

Posted in Movies at 12:01 AM

BD-Live Is A Waste Of Time

I’ve had a Blu-ray player for over a year now and as far as I can tell, BD-Live is a complete waste of time.

No Web No BD-Live

If your Blu-ray player isn’t connected to the Internet then you can’t access BD-Live features. My Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray disc player doesn’t have a wi-fi connection and needs an ethernet connection to get online.

Wi-Fi Rules

My Wii has built-in Wi-Fi and makes it super easy to get online. If Blu-ray player manufacturers want consumers to waste their time with BD-Live then make it easy! Add built-in Wi-Fi to your players! There are a few Blu-ray players on the market now that have built-in wi-fi. Sony is just now releasing a Wi-Fi player but it won’t be available until August - Sony BDP-S560.

What is BD-Live?

It’s taken me over a year to really want to know what BD-Live is. Sony describes it on their site as:

a newly developed Blu-ray feature that enables you to access content via your internet-connected Blu-ray player. BD-Live can allow you to download a variety of up-to-date content (e.g., refreshed previews and exclusive special features), and can also enable an exciting state of the next generation possibilities, such as ringtone/wallpaper downloads, peer to peer interactions, live events and gaming activities.

Yawn. Apparently exciting state of the next generation possibilities means “IM friends while watching the movie and comment on your favorite scenes”. This is the one feature that is common discs for Ghostbusters, The International and The Da Vinci Code.

Useless Features

C’mon. Are you really going to use your remote and a crappy messaging interface on your TV to chat with friends? No. You’re probably going to pick up your BlackBerry or iPhone and communicate with them instead through text messages, tweets, email, or gasp, voice!

BD-Live wants to engage the user and put them at the center of the movie experience. My question is why? When did consumers start asking for this? Watch this rather unconvincing demo of BD-Live on YouTube. BD-Live is nothing more than a cheap gimmick to sell Blu-ray disc players and older movies in the studio catalogs.

If the studios want to sell more Blu-ray players and movies they should stop wasting their R&D dollars on BD-Live. Nobody wants useless “interactive features” when they watch a movie. Lower the price of the players, lower the price of the movies and sales will increase.

Posted in Home Theatre and Movies at 7:37 PM

The Hangover Does Big Box Office

Here’s a surprising little factoid - The Hangover Is The Biggest R-Rated Comedy Of All Time. It took 25 years for The Hangover to dethrone the previous record holder, Beverly Hills Cop.

I’ve seen The Hangover twice and it could be the sleeper hit of the summer. It’s the best comedy I’ve seen this year. Yes, I enjoyed it even more than Brüno.

July has been a lousy month for movies this year which is why I think The Hangover is doing so well. There isn’t very much to see at the theatres right now. I wish Mad Men began in July instead of August.

Posted in Movies at 10:14 PM

Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary

The National Filmboard of Canada created what looks to be an excellent documentary film called Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary It features Albert Maysles, Errol Morris, Werner Herzog and 35 other filmmakers discussing their craft. How did I miss the free screenings at the NFB last month in Toronto?

The film website also has over 4 hours of additional footage not in the feature film. This site is a documentary film lovers dream!

I love this quote from Kevin MacDonald on documentary film:

Real life is so much more interesting and so much more bizarre than anything you can make up.

I think this is why I love documentary film so much. Many of the films are unpredictable because they are are real and don’t follow a formula to make the greatest possible ratoe of return. Documentary films are often a labour of love that don’t generally don’t have line producers and studio executives telling a director how to make their film.

You can buy a 2-disc DVD from the NFB website or you can visit the NFB in Toronto and pick up a copy of the DVD at their gift store.

Posted in Movies at 3:12 PM

No Money For Moneyball

Sony got cold feet and killed Moneyball, a baseball picture that was to be directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Brad Pitt. The New York Times describes the whole mess in Money Worries Kill A-List Film at Last Minute.

Soderbergh modified the script to keep Major League Baseball happy but Sony didn’t like his creative direction which is a nice way of saying that the film wasn’t mainstream (simple, dumb, formulaic, a sure cash cow). It’s a wonder that any groundbreaking or unique films get made in Hollywood these days.

If you’re growing tired of the usual blockbusters then start attending film festivals because that’s where exciting films are being made these days — films that take risks and try to push the medium in new directions.

Posted in Movies at 1:37 AM

Trailer for It Might Get Loud

I saw It Might Get Loud last year at the Toronto International Film Festival and it was great. It gets released in select theatres on August 14, 2009. Watch the trailer then check out the movie later this summer.

Read the Bombippy review or visit the official movie website.

Posted in Movies at 4:22 PM

Did Chris Knight Actually Watch BBC’s Planet Earth?

This morning I read 3 film reviews of Disney’s Earth which is a recycled, watered-down version of BBC’s Planet Earth. I read the print editions but here are the links to the reviews:

  1. Chris KnightEarth: Bambi Reloaded (National Post)
  2. Peter HowellEarth: Takes recycling a bit far (Toronto Star)
  3. Stephen ColeA view of our planet that’s out of this world (Globe and Mail)

I started with Chris Knight’s 3-star review and I began to wonder if he ever saw the Planet Earth miniseries. Knight recalls the famous scene in Planet Earth where a great white shark leaps out of the water:

This last shot I recall from the Planet Earth miniseries, but very little footage has been recycled, and the film’s emphasis leans more toward simple awe rather than the TV show’s bio-scientific focus.

Really? Every clip I’ve seen from the TV commercials for Earth are clips from Planet Earth. The other reviews I read indicate that Earth is a simply a recycled version of Planet Earth. Peter Howell’s biggest complaint about Earth is that:

“The animals in Earth, the ballyhooed first theatrical release from the new DisneyNature label, have all been seen before.”
“Anyone going to Earth expecting something new, as I was, is bound to be a bit disappointed, although the photography still commands awe.”
“This is taking recycling a bit far, even for a movie opening on Earth Day.”

Stephen Cole from the Globe and Mail obviously saw both films and agrees that:

Much of the eye-opening nature footage has been repurposed from the Discovery Channel’s Emmy-winning 2006 mini-series Planet Earth.

Chris Knight was too busy writing clever jokes to realize that it was Sir David Attenborough and not Sir Richard Attenborough that provided the narration for Planet Earth:

While the miniseries featured the stern Shakespearean delivery of Sir Richard Attenborough, Earth the movie goes for the more family-friendly bass notes of James Earl Jones. (Morgan Freeman must have been busy.)

To be honest, I made the same mistake of mixing up the Attenborough boys but I’m not getting paid to write a review for a national newspaper! I haven’t seen Earth but thanks to Peter Howell’s solid review I won’t need to. I like the National Post but I won’t be reading another Chris Knight review after today.

I recently finished watching all of BBC’s Planet Earth on Blu-ray and have no interest in watching Disney’s kid-friendly version narrated by Darth Vader (James Earl Jones). Disney is a slick marketing machine but do yourself a favour and watch the real thing on DVD or Blu-ray — BBC’s Planet Earth.

Posted in Movies at 10:22 AM

2009 Toronto Urban Film Festival

oronto Urban Film Festival
The Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF), not to be confused with TIFF, is a 10-day long public film festival that runs from September 11 - 20, 2009.

The festival features seven different urban-themed programs of 1-minute silent films. If you want to see any of these films just look up when you are standing on a subway platform. The Onestop digital network has over 270 TTC subway platform screens at a station near you.

The festival is now in its third year and runs at the same time as TIFF. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker then why not submit a film. There will be a lot of film industry people in town this September. You never know who will be watching.

Visit to find out more about the festival and submit a film.

Posted in Movies at 11:48 AM

The Video Rental Market Is Changing

According to Reuters, 2008 was a record year at the box office for the movie industry:

Global box offices earned a record $28.1 billion in 2008, up five percent amid the gloomy economy.

So why is Blockbuster Inc., the world’s largest video rental chain staring at bankruptcy when movies have never been more popular?

Blockbuster enjoyed great success for years. Like Walmart, they invaded one town after another. They killed off most of the local video stores, yet now the company is struggling to turn a profit. The video rental market is changing and leaving Blockbuster behind.

No More Late Fees

Netflix changed the industry when it gave consumers the option of renting a DVD for an unlimited amount of time without having to pay any late fees. A lot of Blockbuster customers defected to Netlfix and haven’t looked back.

In 2005, Blockbuster stopped charging its customers a late fee on video rentals, sort of. They were sued for deceiving their customers with a lousy marketing campaign that promised the end of late fees. They continued to charge customers a late fee under the guise of a “restocking fee” until the lawsuits ended in several settlements.

Over the years, Blockbuster made a lot of money on exorbitant late fees. Customers were often charged late fees that were more than the cost of the video they rented. Now that the late fee revenue is gone, their profitability has taken a huge dip.

New Releases

Blockbuster retail stores focus on new video releases. Older videos take up valuable shelf space and most customers are only interested in the latest titles. Netflix and also have the latest titles but if you want your movies immediately then you’re out of luck.

I have never had very much luck obtaining new releases from when I want them. Instead, I’ve always relied on Blockbuster’s retail stores for the new disc of the week and for more obscure and less mainstream movies.

Blockbuster retail stores have an edge over Netflix and when it comes to new releases but I think that piracy poses a greater threat. A lot of people are happy to download a movie illegally and simply watch it for free.


Their have been plenty of arguments about piracy and just how much impact of an impact it really has on the industry. David Chartier at Ars Technica says:

Despite the MPAA’s continuing battle against film pirates and even a French group’s warning that piracy could kill the industry, domestic box offices are doing better than ever.

Piracy may not be hurting the domestic box office but what about DVD sales and video rentals? A staggering amount of Internet traffic consists of BitTorrents.

Adapt Or Die

Who would have thought that a website renting movies by mail would dethrone the mighty Blockbuster? When Netflix came on the scene and started to take a share of the market, Blockbuster copied the Netlfix model (poorly) with Blockbuster Online. In addition to running its costly retail stores it was doing a lousy job of trying to compete online.

To make matters worse, Blockbuster tried to buy Circuit City while Netflix was streaming videos and staying ahead of the curve. Last week Blockbuster announced a deal with TiVo to stream its digital library directly to your television.

While movie ticket sales are up, DVD sales are way down this year according to the New York Times:

But according to studios, sales for some new-release DVDs are down a jaw-dropping 40 percent, hammered by the recession, a saturated market (on sale now: the complete ninth season of “Murder, She Wrote”) and a shift to Internet downloads.

Surprisingly the video rental market is healthy despite the death knell for Blockbuster. Variety reported that the rental market will grow over the next year and continue to support the movie studios:

The rental biz - and all of the various platforms that generate such income - will keep studio homevid divisions afloat and even growing, analysts say.

Not suprisingly the two most innovative companies in the rental business are doing quite well:

Renting has become more convenient, with companies like Netflix and Redbox attracting customers through their DVD-by-mail or kiosk services that rent discs for $1 a day. Both saw subscriptions and usage surge over the past year. Netflix, which launched during the previous recession, signed up its 10 millionth subscriber in February.

Video-on-demand and download services are continuing to grow — Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Video On Demand, Hulu and others. I think that once these services mature, the Blockbuster retail stores will become distant memories. Soon, we’ll wonder why we ever used to drive to the video store to rent our movies.

Posted in Movies at 10:04 PM

Will Blockbuster Survive?


Uh oh. Blockbuster may be on its last legs. The company has been struggling and recently took out a $250 million dollar loan to help pay off some of its debt. This morning, PC World published a story with the headline, Blockbuster May Shut Retail Stores.

There are 7,400 Blockbuster video stores around the world that could close if the video rental giant can’t complete the financing deals it needs to survive. Now that would really suck. I love the convenience of being able to go down the street browse through the latest releases and rent the latest Blu-ray. is a good alternative to Blockbuster retail stores in Canada. The problem with is that you can’t always get your hands on the latest DVD. There’s nothing like walking into a store and grabbing a title off the shelf.

If Blockbuster does close its stores I think we’ll see video-on-demand take off. Unfortunately I think piracy will also take off but that’s another issue.

Posted in Movies at 2:57 PM


I used to love reading Norm Wilner’s column in Starweek magazine. His take on movies was closely aligned with mine. He stopped writing for Starweek years ago and now writes for MSN and Now Magazine in Toronto (I read neither).

I recently came across his blog called Wilnervision and quickly added it to my RSS reader. He’s got a great sense of humour and has some great information about film scene in Toronto.

Posted in Blogs and Movies at 11:18 PM

Blu-ray Premiums On DVD Rentals

Why do companies like Blockbuster and Netflix charge their customers a premium for renting Blu-ray DVDs? Earlier this week posted a story about Netflix charging their customers more money for renting Blu-ray titles - Netflix Shakes Down Blu-ray Renters… Again!

In Canada, the equivalent of Netflix is At the moment, Zip doesn’t charge a premium for renting Blu-ray titles but I have to wonder how much longer they will continue this policy. Canadian companies often copy what American companies are doing, for better or worse.

Blockbuster Online (in the US) doesn’t charge more for Blu-ray titles, yet Blockbuster stores in Canada do. As of April 3, 2009, Blockbuster Canada movie rentals are:

  • $7.22 for Blu-ray titles
  • $6.43 for DVD titles

Rogers Video movie rentals are a little bit cheaper:

  • $6.99 for Blu-ray titles
  • $5.99 for DVD titles

So why does anybody charge more for Blu-ray discs? Netflix will tell you that the movie studios charge higher prices for Blu-ray and they have to pass those costs on to the consumer. Blockbuster is fighting for its life and probably doesn’t charge more for Blu-ray discs just to stay competitive. Viacom owns Blockbuster and Paramount PIctures. I’m guessing that Blockbuster probably pays little to nothing for titles from Paramount Pictures. vs Netflix Pricing

The Official Netflix Blog has all the details on the new Blu-ray pricing and it isn’t really that bad when you compare it to its Canadia counterpart, offers:

  • 4 DVDs out at-a-time (11 per month)
  • Monthly plan cost: $24.95
  • Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: None
  • Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $24.95

Netflix offers:

  • 4 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
  • Monthly plan cost: $23.99 (USD)
  • Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $5
  • Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $28.99 (USD)

The plan limits you to 11 titles per month and costs $31.43 (USD). The Netflix paln is $28.99 (USD) and you get unlimited rentals. Canadians are also paying more tax on their movie rentals. Even with the premium pricing on Blu-ray discs, Netflix customers are getting a pretty good deal compared to their Canadian neighbours.

Posted in Movies at 12:06 PM

Benjamin Button DVD

Looks like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is going to get a Criterion DVD release in partnership with Warner. A commentary from David Fincher and some special effects featurettes will make this a Blu-ray must by for my collection. The release date is set for May 5th.

Posted in Movies at 12:38 AM

iTunes Movie Trailers on Twitter

Now you can follow itunestrailers on Twitter to get the latest updates on the iTunes Movie Trailers. I love that Apple keeps tweaking the page with Ajax goodness and minor improvements to the user interface.

Posted in Apple and Movies at 11:04 AM

Natasha Richardson dies in N.Y.

Natasha Richardson suffered a head injury while skiing in Mont Tremblant, Quebec on Monday. She was hospitalized in Montreal, then flown to a hospital in New York. She died earlier today of brain damage at the age of 45.

She was the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and married to Liam Neeson.

Posted in Movies at 11:45 PM

Broken DVDs From

broken dvd
In the past two months I’ve had a few broken DVDs arrive in the mail from I always panic when I realize the disc is cracked or in some instances, shattered. I’ve heard of stories where damaged DVDs are noted on your account if you report the disc as damaged.

I usually pop the DVD back into its envelope and quietly drop it in a nearby mailbox. I’ve never had a warning or complaint from but then again I didn’t break the disc. It arrived in my mailbox that way.

It’s a real drag when the broken disc turns out to be a film I really want to watch. Worse still, is when I receive the DVD in the mail and leave it on my desk for a week until I have time to watch it. I’ll make some popcorn, grab a drink, pull the disc out of the envelope and groan, “not again!”

I’ve been a member for 4 years, rented 277 movies and received only 3 broken DVDs. Not bad. A lot of customers have complained bitterly about the service but it has improved with time.

Some Netflix users have also been unlucky with broken DVDs arriving in the mail. Mike Adams at Natural News has a theory about broken DVDs from Netflix:

I personally suspect the mail people go postal on the DVDs and use them as drink coasters and frisbees for a day and a half, then they deliver the ones they don’t want to keep for themselves.

Overall I think is a good service and their catalog is second to none in Canada. Are there any or Netflix members that have received an increase in broken DVDs of late?

Posted in Movies at 11:59 PM

More Watchmen

The recent release of the film Watchmen has led to an endless supply of online articles related to the film. Here are a few that I found worth looking at:

Posted in Movies at 7:15 PM

The Godfather Wars

The March 2009 issue of Vanity Fair has an interesting article about the making of The Godfather. You can read The Godfather Wars on their website.

Posted in Movies at 12:01 AM

How To Edit A Scene

Film editing with Albert Brooks is a scene from the film Modern Romance that has been posted to YouTube. In the scene, Albert Brooks and Bruno Kirby are editing a film. Brooks makes a great cut that changes the scene and builds suspense. The director of the film (James L. Brooks) walks in, watches the scene and doesn’t like it. He wants it restored to the original cut that is dumbed down for the audience.

This is brilliant because it demonstrates what is wrong with so many mainstream movies. I’ve never seen Modern Romance but based on this scene alone I have to see this movie. (Via Kottke).

Posted in Movies at 8:27 PM

Top 10 Blu-ray Discs of 2008 by DVD Beaver

DVD Beaver has a list of their top 10 Blu-ray Discs for 2008. I love Casablanca and The Third Man but I don’t think I can bring myself to purchase them again on Blu-ray.

Posted in Movies at 11:41 PM

Contour Reality Capture Used in Benjamin Button

I’ve been wondering how David Fincher placed Brad Pitt’s face on different actors in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. A system called Contour Reality Capture was used to capture facial expressions, convert them into 3D and place them on the face of other actors. For more information have a look at How Contour Reality Capture Works.

Last summer’s The Incredible Hulk also used Contour Reality Capture on Ed Norton for character animation of the CGI Hulk used in the movie.

Posted in Movies at 12:03 PM

Benjamin Button and Final Cut Studio

Director David Fincher made The Curious Case of Benjamin Button using a tapeless HD workflow and Final Cut Studio. I love these articles about the filmmaking process.

Posted in Movies and OS X Software and Technology at 11:46 AM

AMC Theatres have terrible projection

Why do I have to visit a film festival or a home theatre to watch a movie projected properly? I’m sick of going to AMC Theatres and paying a premium for movies that are poorly projected.

AMC Kennedy Commons 20 is consistently bad when it comes to poor projection and they have the most expensive ticket prices in the city at $12.50 (CDN)! Last year I watched No Country For Old Men and their theatre and the experience was awful. The entire length of the film was slightly out of focus, projected on a five degree angle and had a bright flicker all the way through. One patron stood up and yelled that he was getting his money back.

I left the theatre to find a manager and complained about the projection as well. He gave me a couple of free passes and admitted that there was a problem with the projector. Instead of canceling the screenings until the projector could be fixed AMC just carried on like everything was fine and probably figured that the stupid public would never notice.

Yesterday I watched Valkyrie at AMC Whitby 24. The entire freaking movie was out of focus! What the hell is wrong with AMC? What’s wrong with the audience that they put up with this crap?

Disappearing Projectionists

Part of the problem is that most movie houses aren’t using projectionists anymore. According to Torontoist, AMC’s newest theatre at Yonge and Dundas has 24 screens with more people running the concession stand than the projectors:

Instead of projectionists, there are one or two non-union workers overseeing all 24 screens from a single console; their duties are essentially limited to pressing a “play” button and being aware of any error messages that might pop up.

To be fair to AMC, most movie theatres are guilty of poor projection and sound. I don’t know how many out of focus documentary films I’ve watched at the Bloor Theatre. They have a speaker on the east wall that has been crackling for the last 3 years as well. Maybe I should complain more but I don’t think the theatre owners care.

First Run Films

Why should I pay $12.50 to watch a film and another $10 for popcorn when I can watch a movie in Blu-Ray at home that has more clarity than anything I’ve seen in any movie theatre to date? First run films. I like to see movies when they are first released and unfortunately that means lousy projection at the cineplex. You might think that digital projection is the answer but read You Pay Thirteen Bucks, And What Do You Get?

I suppose I could download the screeners that are floating around on the BitTorrent sites but I prefer quality over crap. Most of the DivX movies that are “free” suffer from really poor quality, lack of surround sound and audio drift. I can’t watch a movie that sounds like a poorly dubbed marshall arts movie. And not to sound self-righteous but there is also the whole piracy thing. If people continue to steal movies the industry will continue to suffer but that’s another rant.

Posted in Home Theatre and Movies at 10:04 AM

Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes

You can watch Jon Ronson’s documentary film Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes on Google Video. Sounds like an interesting film to check out.

More4 on the film:

Stanley Kubrick’s films were landmark events - majestic, memorable and richly researched. But, as the years went by, the time between films grew longer and longer, and less and less was seen of the director. What on earth was he doing?

Posted in Movies at 6:46 PM

Cineplex Entertainment Gift Card

Looking for a simple gift idea for that special cinephile this Christmas? Why not get a Cineplex Entertainment Gift Card from

Buy a gift card for $30 and get up to $70 in free offers ($10 off at Chapters, $10 off at HBC, free popcorn, drinks and more). I’m even thinking of picking up a card for myself. I doubt that I’ll come close to using up all of the free offers but to me this card is a no-brainer.

Posted in Movies and Observations at 9:24 PM

The Criterion Collection and Blu-ray

Gizmodo has a great feature on The Criterion CollectionHow Criterion Hones Its Restoration Magic for HD. Criterion is getting ready to release some of their titles in Blu-ray but it sounds like it is going to take them a long time to transfer their entire library into the new HD format.

I was surprised to read that Criterion uses a PlayStation 3 as their reference Blu-ray player. Huh?

A friend of mine claimed the PlayStation 3 was the best Blu-ray player on the market and I thought he was kidding. Nope. It tops the list as the best Blu-ray DVD player reviewed by CNET. Please don’t tell my 9 year-old.

Posted in Home Theatre and Movies at 10:29 PM

RIP Jerry Reed

Singer-actor Jerry Reed dies at the age of 71. I loved Reed in the Smokey and the Bandit movies he did with Burt Reynolds. He also had some great songs. RIP Jerry Reed.

Posted in Movies and News at 12:39 AM

25 Best Documentary Films by IDA

Last year the International Documentary Association announced their list of the best 25 documentary films ever made. If you’re at all interested in docs then this list is a great place to start.

  1. Hoop Dreams (1994), directed by Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx
  2. The Thin Blue Line (1988),directed by Errol Morris
  3. Bowling for Columbine (2002), directed by Michael Moore
  4. Spellbound (2002), directed by Jeffery Blitz
  5. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976), directed by Barbara Kopple
  6. An Inconvenient Truth (2006), directed by Davis Guggenheim
  7. Crumb (1994), directed by Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb
  8. Gimme Shelter (1970),directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin
  9. The Fog of War (2003), directed by Errol Morris
  10. Roger and Me (1989), directed by Michael Moore
  11. Super Size Me (2004), directed by Morgan Spurlock
  12. Don’t Look Back (1967), directed by DA Pennebaker
  13. Salesman (1968), directed by Albert and David Maysles
  14. Koyaanisqatsi (1982), directed by Godfrey Reggio
  15. Sherman’s March (1986), directed by Ross McElwee
  16. Grey Gardens (1975), directed by Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer
  17. Capturing the Friedmans (2003), directed by Andrew Jarecki
  18. Born into Brothels (2004), directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski
  19. Titticut Follies (1967), directed by Frederick Wiseman
  20. Buena Vista Social Club (1999), directed by Wim Wenders
  21. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), directed by Michael Moore
  22. Winged Migration (2001), directed by Jacques Perrin
  23. Grizzly Man (2005), directed by Werner Herzog
  24. Night and Fog (1955), directed by Alain Resnais
  25. Woodstock (1970), directed by Michael Wadleigh

I’ve seen 21 of the films from this list. My favourite is Capturing the Friedmans and my least favourite would be Koyaanisqatsi (I kept falling asleep whenever I tried to watch it).

A few of my favourite films that weren’t on the list that I recommend are:

How many of these films have you seen and what are some of your favourites?

Posted in Movies at 8:33 PM

Wired talks to Chris Carter about the X-Files

Wired just posted Q&A: X-Files’ Chris Carter Talks Paranoia, Secrecy and the Element of Surprise. Go ahead. Click it. There aren’t any spoilers ahead. I can’t wait to see this movie on the weekend.

Posted in Movies at 12:42 AM

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog

Director Joss Whedon (Serenity, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has created the very funny Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog. It’s an online experiment for Whedon and I think it is fabulous.

It stars Neil Patrick Harris as a supervillain that always gets beat up by the hero (Nathan Fillion). The first two acts are online and the third will be available on Saturday. Watch them soon because they will disappear at midnight on Sunday.

The production value is fabulous for a low-budget short film. Harris is brilliantand the quirky nature of this supervillain musical is refreshing. Thanks to Dave King for the link.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog

Posted in Movies and Web at 10:50 AM

WALL•E Easter Eggs and Apple References

/film has a number of interesting WALL•E Easter Eggs that you’ll want to check out before you see the film again. The New York Times has a list of Apple references in a piece called Wall-E: An Homage to Mr. Jobs.

Posted in Movies at 3:15 PM

Hancock may be the second bomb of the summer

The trailer for Hancock gets full marks in my book. Will Smith as a washed up super hero looks interesting, quirkly, and original. The special effects in the trailer look top rate. Unfortuantely, the trailer may be the best part of Hancock. The early buzz about this film is bad.

The first bad sign is the runtime of 80 minutes. The Love Guru was 88 minutes. The trailer seems to have all of the funny bits as did The Love Guru. Then there is the negative buzz from people that have seen the film.

I really thought that Hancock was going to be a good film based on the trailer but I had high hopes for The Love Guru based on the trailer. Enough said.

Posted in Movies at 2:13 PM

Newsarama interviews Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz

The buzz about The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) is growing and Newsarama has a video interview with writer/director Chris Carter and writer Frank Spotnitz.

Via SuperheroTV where Rob Sinclair is almost as desperate as I am for more information on the film.

Posted in Movies at 9:33 PM

The Art of the Title Sequence

The Art of the Title Sequence is a fabulous site devoted to television and film title sequences.

A lot of films begin with a black screen and generic title sequence and sometimes this is appropriate. Occasionally a film like Thank You For Smoking or Catch Me If You Can comes along with a killer title sequence that captures the essence of a film in a creative and exciting way.

If you’re a creative professional and you need a little inspiration then spend some time watching these title sequences.

Posted in Motion Graphics and Movies at 10:07 PM

Tarantino Film Mashup

Paul Proulx from Hobnox put together this mashup of Tarantino films that I think is outstanding. He also put together a video montage of films by the Coen Brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson was so impressed with the video that he posted it on his own website.

Posted in Movies at 7:28 PM

The Love Guru trailer

The Love Guru (2008) is the movie that Mike Myers shot in and around Toronto last summer. I took a few pictures of the set at the Scarborough Bluffs and wrote about it here.

The official movie site for The Love Guru is one of the better movie sites that I’ve seen in a while. Generally, I dislike Flash websites but is an outstanding example of how Flash can be used to enhance a website experience.

It’s hard to tell if this will be a hit from the trailer. A few of the gags have already been used in previous Myers films. I don’t see it doing a lot of business but it’s good to see Mike Myers doing something other than voiceover work.

Posted in Movies at 11:01 PM

West Virginia outraged by casting director’s comments

The movie Shelter (2009) is filming in Pittsburgh where a casting call went out for inbred banjo people that look odd, freakish. It also called for people with physical deformities to play extras.

The good people of West Virginia are angry because the casting of these freaks is for a holler (small rural village) set in West Virginia. It didn’t help that the casting director, Donna Belajac, made these comments:

Some of these ‘holler’ people — because they are insular and clannish, and they don’t leave their area — there is literally inbreeding, and the people there often have a different kind of look. That’s what we’re trying to get.

The outrage over a casting call for deformed people went beyond West Virginia to Summerside, Prince Edward Island where Thomas Butler expressed his disgust:

There’s a special place in hell reserved for those who would mock other people’s physical deformities. Or (those who) promote the same.

The producers of the film fired Belajac and assured everyone that West Virginia wouldn’t be mentioned in the script. No word on whether deformed people would be cast as extras but it seems like a no brainer unless the production wants even more publicity.

Shelter is a supernatural thriller starring Juliane Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It now takes place in Anytown, Anywhere, USA.

Posted in Movies at 9:32 AM

New Iron Man Trailer Rocks!

The new Iron Man movie trailer just came out and it looks awesome! Robert Downy Jr. as the lead character looks to be cast perfectly. His sarcasm, wit and endless one-liners, not to mention some incredible CGI will make this the “coolest” super hero movie of the summer.

Thanks to Rob at SUPERHERO TV for telling me about the new trailer.

Posted in Movies at 12:23 PM

Flashing Lights

Film Junk has the music video for Kanye West’s latest single, Flashing Lights. At 2 minutes 47 seconds it’s short. The whole thing consists of 3 shots.

Spike Jonze co-directed this video which means that it is a little, different. I didn’t care much for the song Flashing Lights but having watched the video a few times, I can’t get the song out of my head.

There is a lot of buzz about the video. It ends abruptly. People want to know what it means. They want to know why Kanye is in the trunk of Mustang. A lot of questions and a lot of buzz add up to a great video in my books.

Posted in Movies and Music at 9:33 PM

Law + Depp + Farrell = Ledger

Poor Terry Gilliam is a little cursed when it comes to making films — Brazil (1985), The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (unfinished), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).

Heath Ledger filmed a bunch of scenes as the character of Tony in Gilliam’s upcoming film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). Filming ground to a halt last month when Ledger died of an “accidental drug overdose” Ledger was one of the principal stars and had many scenes to shoot in Vancouver.

The BBC News is reporting that Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell will now play different incarnations of Ledger’s character in the upcoming film. All of a sudden The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus became a lot more interesting.

Posted in Movies at 12:25 AM

Indiana Jones IV Trailer

I don’t know. I’ve been waiting weeks to see something, anything about the new Indiana Jones film. I wasn’t blown away by this teaser like I thought I would.

I love the shadow that reveals Indiana Jones and his trademark hat at the near the beginning of the trailer. The “I’m getting to old for this” cracks were expected but this trailer is definitely lacking something. The ending is terrible. The musical theme ends abruptly and makes the whole trailer look like a sloppy hack job in my opinion.

The quality of the HD trailer looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see this film.

Posted in Movies at 12:46 PM

Roy Scheider dies at 75

Best known for his role in Jaws (1975) Roy Scheider died Sunday in Little Rock, Ark.

The NY Times has an obituary.

Posted in Movies at 2:38 AM

Best Docs of 2007

David Dylan Thomas has a nice roundup of the best documentary films of 2007. Check it out.

Posted in Movies at 9:24 PM

One step closer to a Blu-ray world

By the end of the year, Warner Bros will be releasing all of its high-definition DVD content in the Blu-ray format. They will stop releasing HD DVD discs by May.

Warner Bros. currently released their movies in Blu-ray and HD DVD formats and say they wanted to give consumers a choice. A long drawn out format war continues is only going to confuse consumers and prevent them from investing in either format. President of Warner Bros. home Entertainment Group, Kevin Tsujihara feels that:

Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience.

I think this is a step in the right direction and hope that Hollywood can figure out this ridiculous HD format war in 2008.

Posted in Home Theatre and Movies at 5:29 PM

David Lynch iPhone commercial

Okay so maybe David Lynch didn’t make an official iPhone commercial but the YouTube clip David Lynch on iPhone is pretty funny. I think he makes a very good point about the small screen.

Posted in Apple and Movies at 4:26 PM

Vanity Fair on the upcoming Indiana Jones movie

Keys to the Kingdom is a Vanity Fair article on the upcoming Spielberg/Lucas/Ford collaboration — Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

Over 20 years in the making. I can’t wait to see this and really hope that it doesn’t suck.

Posted in Movies at 12:59 AM

The Dark Knight Trailer

The new trailer for The Dark Knight (2008) looks pretty amazing. View/download the trailer from this teaser site.

If you’re fast, you may be able to see the 6 minute preview that is being shown in IMAX theatres here before Warner takes it down.

Bottom line, the next Batman movie looks like another winner.

Posted in Movies at 1:21 AM

Bill Murray’s whisper revealed

At the end of Lost in Translation, Bill Murray whispers something into Scarlett Johansson’s ear. The audience isn’t meant to hear what Murray says.

Four years later, somebody has done some audio analysis of the scene and solved the mystery. I liked the ending better when I didn’t know what Bill Murray was saying.

Posted in Movies at 10:35 PM

Harold And Kumar 2 Red Band Trailer

The new trailer for Harold and Kumar was posted last week. I hope the movie is as funny as this trailer.

Posted in Movies at 10:08 PM

Cinematical’s 25 Lamest of 2007

Cinematical posted an interesting list of the worst things in the film industry for 2007. I couldn’t be any happier that they singled out, Hollywood hack, Brett Ratner.

Lame because: Director Brett Ratner came to Hollywood to get laid, stayed to get laid … and in between decided to make a crappy movie or five. This year, however, he took his slimy, perverted game to a new low by pimping himself out on eBay.

80s remakes, the HD format wars and Steve Carell’s movie choices round out the list of what was lame in 2007.

Posted in Movies at 9:44 PM

Pixar Character Cameos

Jim Hill Media has a really interesting overview of Pixar characters that appear in Pixar films. For example, did you know that the Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story has appeared in every Pixar film to date?

I was surprised by how many cameos I never picked up on. An interesting list.

Posted in Movies at 1:47 AM

New X-Files film out in July

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that the new X-Files film will begin production in Vancouver this month for a July release! X-Files creator Chris Carter is directing again and he’s written a script with Frank Spotnitz.

There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the plot but stranger still are some of the supporting cast choices — Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet and rapper Xzibit. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back as Mulder and Scully and I can’t wait.

Posted in Movies at 11:07 PM

The Key to Reserva

Director Martin Scorsese had 3 pages of a Hitchock film treatment that was never developed. So he took a stab at making the film like Hitchcock might have. I think it’s brilliant.

Watch The Key to Reserva

The way this short film integrates the behind the scenes making off the film is great. If you’re in need of a coffee break then watch the film. Best 10 minutes of my week so far.

Posted in Movies at 5:34 PM

Blu-ray or HD-DVD?

This HD format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD is heading into its second year and my gut feeling, is that Blu-ray is winning. As a consumer I tend to notice Blu-ray discs (Spider-Man 3, Ratatouille, Cars) more than HD-DVD discs.

Did you know that Blockbuster and Target are promoting Blu-ray discs and not HD-DVD? Steve Spielberg’ first film to be released in HD (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) is only available in the Blu-ray format. Disney, Fox and MGM have announced a slew of Blu-ray titles for next year (many of them exclusive to Blu-ray).

The Digital Bits endorses the Blu-ray format and advises people not to invest in an HD-DVD players and discs.

HD-DVD is not going to win this format war. In fact, one of two things is possible right now: Either Blu-ray will win, or neither format will win. But the best HD-DVD can hope for is to just keep hanging in the game as long as possible.

Industry rumours say that Microsoft is financially subsidizing HD-DVD losses for Toshiba and Universal. Microsoft has an HD-DVD player in the XBox 360 and HD-DVD uses a Microsoft video codec. Isn’t it ironic that Microsoft is backing the weaker system (think Vista).

The more I read about it, the more I think Blu-ray is the clear winner here. I’m going to hold off getting a Blu-ray DVD player but it is very, very tempting when it comes to purchasing new DVD releases. For now I’ll wait and see how things play out.

Posted in Home Theatre and Movies at 12:20 AM

Cineplex Entertainment 2007 Holiday Gift Pack

Available at, the Cineplex Entertainment 2007 Holiday Gift Pack looks like an easy gift idea with some great extras thrown in.

For $32 you receive:

  • 4 Cineplex admit one certificates.
  • Free admission on your birthday.
  • Free large Twizzlers with purchase of a large popcorn and a large soft drink
  • Free regular soft drink with the purchase of a large popcorn.
  • $10 off a $50 purchase at Hbc including the Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters.
  • $10 off a $50 purchase at Chapters, Indigo and Coles.

Posted in Movies at 7:10 AM

Wii, this is fun

I went to Future Shop to purchase a copy of Ratatouille (2007) on DVD — Pixar’s latest 3D film which is absolutely brilliant. I asked one of the sales people if they had any Nintendo Wii game consoles in stock. I wasn’t looking to purchase a Wii or even expecting the store to have any copies. The Wii is sold out everywhere. They had two systems in stock.

I started to get excited. I looked at my wife like an 8-year-old, half-expecting her head to turn disapprovingly from side to side. She didn’t say anything. Then I told her how difficult it is to get a Wii in North America. It’s outselling the Playstation 3 by a rate of 2-to-1.

The two Wii consoles this store had weren’t even on the shelf yet. They were hidden away in a brown cardboard box, hot off the truck. Another customer heard me inquiring about the Wii and wanted one immediately.

I turned around and quickly grabbed a Wii console out of the cardboard box. I’ve heard stories where people purchase multiple consoles and flip them for a profit. I didn’t want to take a chance. With the Wii console safely in my hands, my 8-year-old son was starting to freak out and so was I.

Before I knew it I was standing at the counter with my little Wii box and a couple of extra game controllers. My son kept making weird noises trying to contain himself but it was hopeless. My wife reminded him that this was an early Christmas present (like he’ll ever remember that on the morning of December 25th).

Once we had the Wii console set up and running I was having a blast. I used to spend days on my Apple II playing Lode Runner, days mapping out games on my brother’s TurboGrafx-16. I worried that I’m going to want to spend days playing on the Wii. I forgot that video games could be this much fun and I was only playing Tennis!

The Wii rocks! The graphics aren’t incredible and it doesn’t have a Blu-Ray disc but the game play is amazing. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one then you’ll see what I mean.

I’m afraid my productivity will be taking a dip in the next few weeks.

Posted in Movies and Technology at 10:39 PM

The Pixar Story

Leslie Iwerks directed/produced a new documentary film called The Pixar Story. It’s a behind the scenes look at Pixar — how Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter created a new animation industry with the film Toy Story.

The film is screening across the US in a few cities at the moment. Unfortunately Toronto isn’t on the list or I’d be there in a second. I’ll post an update if it gets a theatrical release any time soon.

The Pixar Story (2007) is a great topic for a documentary film and it has exclusive interviews with Jobs, Catmull, Lasseter, Brad Bird, Michael Eisner, George Lucas and more. I wonder when an Apple documentary will be released? Is anyone working on one?


The Reporter


Frames Per Second Magazine said that The Pixar Story will be showing at The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema (WFAC) next Thursday (Nov 15, 6:30 PM). Does anybody want to go?

Posted in Movies at 9:48 PM

Taste and Power — Mondovino Revisited

Jonathan Nossiter, a trained sommelier, produced, directed, shot and edited a fabulous documentary film about the wine industry called Mondovino (2004). I’m amazed at how many wine lovers I meet have never heard of the film. If you enjoy wine at all then purchase this film or at the very least, rent it!

3 years later, Nossiter is still on a crusade to tell us about the evils of the globalization of wine. He’s written a book called Taste and Power that continues to slam influential wine critics and the outrageous prices of some wines. Robert Parker and The Wine Spectator are favourite targets in Nossiter’s book and film. is reporting that Nossiter “attacks just about anyone involved in the production or sale of wine” which should make it a good read in my opinion. Love him or hate him, Nossiter has a lot of interesting things to say about the wine industry.

Posted in Books and Food and Movies at 12:56 AM

Pixar Short Films Collection - Volume 1

The Pixar Short Films Collection - Volume 1 (2004) DVD will be released on Nov 6, 2007.

If you’re in the US, you can buy it for $19.99 from If you’re in Canada, you can purchase the same DVD from for $25.89.

The last time I checked, the Canadian dollar was on par with the American dollar. So why does a DVD cost $5.90 more in Niagara Falls, ON than it does in Niagara Falls, NY?

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of being ripped off.

Posted in Movies at 9:52 PM

32 Hours 7 Minutes

Wired has a great story about Alex Roy’s quest to beat the legendary Cannonball Run record by crossing the US in under 32 hours and 7 minutes. The whole experience was documented and will be released as a film in the near future titled 32 hours 7 minutes.

Posted in Miscellaneous and Movies at 1:04 PM

Love Guru in the Bluffs

At the bottom of my street, Mike Myers is working on his new film, The Love Guru (2008). The Scarborough Bluffs is standing in for a village in India. A small village has been created on one of the beaches in Bluffers Park, Scarborough.

I have photos of The Love Guru set on Flickr.

By now you’re wondering what the movie is about. If you live in Toronto, you might know that the film involves the Toronto Maple Leafs, and stars Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley, Verne “Mini-Me” Troyer and Romany Malco. gives a good description of what the film is about:

In the comedy, The Love Guru (Mike Myers), Pitka is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by gurus. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality, specializing in settling intimacy issues between couples. His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between major league star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke’s wife starts dating the star member of a rival team, out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid — to the horror of the team’s owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer). Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on his game so the team can break the 40-year-old “Bullard Curse” and win the championship.

Only Mike Myers would find a way to work former Maple Leafs owner, Harold Ballard into a film. They’ve been filming at Pearson International airport, Riverdale and at the Air Canada Centre over the last few weeks. I think they are finished filming at the Bluffs for now.

The Love Guru will be relased next summer on June 20, 2008.

Posted in Movies and Photography at 12:43 PM

50 Greatest Action Sequences

David Dylan Thomas has compiled a list of movies with the 50 Greatest Action Sequences. If you’re looking for some great action movie recommendations, then bookmark the site and check back daily. The description of the films and the video clips are excellent.

Posted in Movies at 11:00 PM

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Somehow I missed this in the last couple of weeks. Blade Runner: The Final Cut gets released on DVD on December 18. There is a two-disc ($20.97), four-disc ($34.99) and a five-disc ($78.92) ultimate edition. Oooh the choices. The four disc special edition sounds right.

The Digital Bits has some detailed descriptions of what comes in each version of the DVDs.

You can view some trailers and movie clips on Yahoo! Movies.

Posted in Movies at 11:40 PM

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) is a solid, action-packed thriller — a four star film all the way.

Somehow, director Paul Greengrass manages to maintain an unrelenting pace throughout the film. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne is constantly running from the CIA in a global game of cat and mouse. Even when he’s standing still, his mind is racing, eyes darting, as he anticipates the Agency’s next move.

Bourne is determined to figure out the mystery of his identity. The closer he gets, the harder the CIA tries to take him out and the action kicks up another notch.

While you’re watching the film, you don’t have time to catch your breath from the visual assault of rooftop chases, motorcycle chases, police car chases, and some of the most incredibly choreographed fight sequences to date.

Greengrass and his crew have done a fabulous job of pushing the envelope in the tired spy-thriller genre. Bourne Ultimatum is the best film of the trilogy and as good, if not better than the latest installment of the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale (2007). If you want to see what I think is the best film of the summer so far, then strap in and watch The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). ****

Films are rated from 1 to 4 stars.

Posted in Movies at 10:53 AM

Toronto Screen Shots at Hot Docs

Mr. McNally has been extremely busy this week, watching films at Hot Docs. He’s been writing reviews at a furious pace for Toronto Screen Shots:

  • We Are Together (Thina Simunye)
  • The Big Sellout (Der Grosse Ausverkauf)
  • Helvetica
  • Without The King
  • Protagonist
  • Billy the Kid
  • The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun

If you’re thinking of attending Hot Docs this year, then read some of these reviews. You have 48 hours to see some fabulous films before Hot Docs ends.

Posted in Movies at 12:48 AM

Grindhouse chopped in two

Never underestimate how dumb people can be. Guardian Unlimited is reporting that Grindhouse is going to be split into two separate movies after a bad opening weekend.

North American audiences thought Grindhouse was only one film and left after Death Proof, one of two films directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. I was surprised by how poorly Grindhouse did on the weekend but I guess it wasn’t marketed properly.

You try to give people two movies for the price of one and they can’t be bothered. Harvey Weinstein is banging his head against a wall somewhere. I better hurry up and see the films before the theatres start charging for each of them.

Posted in Movies at 11:55 PM

The use of X in The Departed

Movie critic, Rene Rodriguez has a series of screen captures from The Departed that are really interesting. They show how Scorsese used the letter X in various scenes to foreshadow death. Apparently Howard Hawks used this quite a bit in Scarface (1932).

If you haven’t seen The Departed (2006) then rent it on DVD. Great film. Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing had me watching several scenes again and again.

Posted in Movies at 10:53 AM

Toronto Screen Shots

James McNally of and I are writing for Toronto Screen Shots — a blog that covers the film industry from Toronto.

Both of us attend the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Doc Soup, and James gets down to SXSW each year. I guess one of us will have to pick up the slack and start attending Sundance.

I’ll continue to post about film-related information on BOMBIPPY but you can get twice as much film information on Toronto Screen Shots.

Posted in Movies at 5:13 PM

The Bridge will be on the Documentary Channel

A few of you have asked when The Bridge (2006) is going to be in theatres or on DVD.

From April 6-8, The Bridge will air on The Documentary Channel in Canada at 8 pm ET. If you were looking for a reason to add this channel to your cable or satellite subscription then this is it.

The Bridge was one of the best films I screened at Doc Soup in the last year. Don’t miss it.

Posted in Movies at 10:40 AM

Clark, the Canadian Hockey Goalie


Clark, the Canadian Hockey Goalie is a pretty funny short film by George Plamondon. Have a look and listen to Clark explain what a “hoser” is. Thanks to Manny for the link.

Posted in Movies at 11:30 AM

Some of my Hot Docs picks

Next month is Hot Docs — Canadian international documentary film festival in Toronto. I’m going to be seeing 10 films next month. Here are a few of the films I’ve picked.


This was my first pick. It’s described as “a film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture.” It screened at the the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this month and generated quite a buzz. If you’re a graphic designer then get yourself to Hot Docs to see this film.

Manufacturing Dissent

The tagline for this film is “Michael Moore doesn’t like documentaries. That’s why he doesn’t make them.” This doc takes a critical look at Moore’s filmmaking and examines how he went from filmmaker to politicial icon in the US.


This is a film I’m dying to see. It’s about the Parisian cemetery Père-Lachaise — a place I wanted to visit when I was in Paris two years ago. Many people go there to visit the grave site of a family members, or some of the famous people that are buried there. Others go for the peaceful serenity or to find inspiration.

I went to Cimetière du Montparnasse a couple of years ago and wondered around for a few hours taking photos. After I watch Forever, I know I’m going to want to visit Père-Lachaise.

Other films on my list to see at Hot Docs are Ghosts of Abu Grahib, The Big Sellout, Strange Culture, Let’s All Hate Toronto, The Devil Came on Horseback, and Yoga Inc.

Posted in Movies at 9:41 AM

A Very British Gangster not at Hot Docs

A Very British Gangster is one of the documentary films I picked for Hot Docs next month in Toronto. I went down to the festival box office and found out that A Very British Gangster has been cancelled.

There was no mention on the Hot Docs website that the film was cancelled or why it was cancelled. I contacted Dare Films in London to find out why the film won’t be shown in Canada (it was shown at SXSW in Austin last week).

Unfortunately there are some copyright issues that are still being resolved and will prevent Hot Docs from screening it next month. What a drag. A Very British Gangster looks like a great film from investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre. I’ll have to look for it on DVD or hope that the film gets a theatrical release in North America.

Posted in Movies at 9:24 AM



Okay, it’s time for some useful information. If you love going to the movies and have an account with Scotiabank, then joining SCENE should be a no-brainer for you. I just joined and it was pretty painless.

SCENE is a movie reward program from Scotiabank and Cineplex Entertainment. Follow these steps to get started.

  1. Sign up for a SCENE membership card at
  2. Go to any Scotiabank branch and exchange your ScotiaCard for a SCENE ScotiaCard
  3. Logon to and click on link accounts to link your SCENE ScotiaCard with your SCENE membership

You’re done and now you’ll have enough points for two movie tickets for joining. You accumulate point by making purchases with your debit card. I figure that I can’t lose and it will be nice to get something back from the bank other than outrageous service fees.

Posted in Movies at 4:22 PM


The documentary film Helvetica will be getting its Canadian premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs (April 19-29). It’s at the top of my list of films to see at this year’s festival.

I’ve been hearing bits an pieces about the film on various design sites for the last year. I just watched a short clip of the film on that features Erik Spiekermann. It looks very promising and should be inspiring to anyone who is a designer that works with type.

Posted in Design and Movies and Web Design at 2:32 PM

Ellen DeGeneres Please Retire

Was it just me or was Ellen DeGeneres really awful last night as the host of the Oscars? I just talked to a woman in my office and she also thought Ellen was incredibly dull.

I only watched the first 30 minutes of the show (I had a design deadline that kept me up all night). After watching Ellen’s opening monologue, I found myself flipping over to Dog Bounty Hunter on A&E.

Posted in Movies at 10:15 AM

Best Villains

Shiz tagged me for Best Villains: Discuss where there is a discussion on who are the best movie villains. My top five would be:

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs)
Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas in Wall Street)
Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs)
Alex Forrest (Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction)
Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman in The Professional)

Posted in Movies at 10:37 PM

What Does Marsellus Wallace Look Like?

What Does Marsellus Wallace Look Like is a brilliant interpretation of a scene from the film Pulp Fiction. Using nothing but text and some great animation you’ll be able to enjoy Sam Jackson yelling at Brett like you’ve never seen before. Turn the speakers down a little if you’re at work.

Posted in Motion Graphics and Movies and Web at 7:46 PM

Fincher’s Zodiac

The New York Times has an interesting article on David Fincher’s latest film, Zodiac. It’s been five years since his last film, Panic Room.

One of things that is generating a lot of buzz around Zodiac is that he made the actors do up to 70 takes for some scenes. Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t too crazy about this style of directing. The film opens Friday.

Posted in Movies at 4:11 PM

Universal to remake Mon Meilleur Ami

One of the best films I saw at TIFF last fall was Mon Meilleur Ami (2006). It was just released in France and hasn’t even played in North America but it’s reportedly going to be remade by Universal Studios (Brian Grazer to produce).

Monika Bartyzel of Cinematical sums up my feelings when she asks, “why on earth must Hollywood continue to re-make overseas films without giving them a chance here?”

Mon Meilleur Ami is a terrifci French film. Try to see the original if you can before it is remade with Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey or whoever Brian Grazer decides to cast. Hopefully an American version of this film never sees the light of day. My review of the film is here.

Thanks to James for the link to Cinematical — a great blog on the film industry.

Posted in Movies at 10:10 AM

Recently screened

If you’re new to this site and still finding your way around, don’t forget to check the sidebar under Recently Screened Films. This is where I post mini-reviews of movies.

I don’t always have the time to write detailed reviews of everything I watch so this is a good place to see what I’ve been screening in the home theatre of late.

Posted in Movies at 12:10 AM

Top 10 Films of 2006

In alphabetical order, here are my favourite films from the past year:

An Inconvenient Truth
The Bridge
Casino Royale
Jesus Camp
Little Miss Sunshine
Mon meilleur ami
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Queen
United 93

Posted in Movies at 1:58 AM

Steven Soderbergh does it ‘old school’

Steven Soderbergh tops my list of one of the most exciting director’s in the film industry. For every commercial film he makes (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen) he’ll make an unconventional, non-commercial film (Schizopolis, Full Frontal, Bubble).

His latest film, The Good German was made the way films were made in the 1940’s—black and white film, no zoom lenses, single camera set-ups, boom microphones, no digital back lots. The NY Times has an interesting story on the way this film was made. I can’t wait to see the end result.

Soderbergh is the only director I know that writes, directs, shoots, edits and produces his own films. At the moment he has 4 projects that he is directing and 11 projects that he is producing. Incredible.

Thanks to James for the link on the NY Times story.

Posted in Movies at 11:33 PM

Jesus Camp

Back in August, James mentioned a new documentary film called Jesus Camp that looked pretty interesting if not disturbing. A few days ago a clip called Bill Maher Discussion about Jesus Camp showed up on YouTube that is excellent.

The discussion allows for several different viewpoints that I found fascinating. I think that I’ll have to fire up Xtorrent and get the September 22 broadcast of Real Time with Bill Maher.

Posted in Movies and Television at 10:55 AM

Do the Bobble Thing

David Dylan Thomas in Philadelphia created a short film called Do the Bobble Thing on Current TV (Al Gore’s new network).

Posted in Movies at 2:17 PM

Donner’s Director’s Cut

Just saw a post on Jump Cuts about Superman II — Donner Gets Director’s Cut of “Superman II” After 26 Years. The DVD will include two versions of the film directed by Richard Lester and Richard Donner. Thanks to Jason for the link.

Posted in Movies at 2:06 PM

Steven Soderbergh Interview and Film

The August issue of The Believer has an interview with one of my favourite filmmakers — Steven Soderbergh.

Wholphin, a DVD magazine of unseen films, has a new short film by Steven Soderbergh titled Building No. 7. There is also an excerpt of Errol Morris’ The Movie Movie (new project?).

Posted in Movies at 11:18 PM

JCB and Renaissance


I just saw the music video for the song ‘JCB’ by Nizlopi. It came out last year and is brilliant because it features the animation work of Monkeehub (Laith Bahrani). His doodle style animation reminded me of Daniel’s Doodles.

While I’m on the topic of animation, check out the HD trailer for Renaissance. It’s similar to Sin City in terms of animation and style and it features the voices of Daniel Craig, Ian Holm and Jonathan Pryce.

Variety describes the film as “A sort of ‘The Third Man’ for the 21st century” which is all I need to know to go and see it. It will be in theatres in September.

Posted in Motion Graphics and Movies at 3:29 PM

Free Shipping to Canada has free shipping to Canada until July 31. Great prices and free shipping. What are you waiting for?

Posted in Movies at 11:36 AM

2006 Toronto International Film Festival

The 2006 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7-16 this year. 26 films have been announced so far. has a nice list of confirmed films that links to IMDB. There is also a list of unconfirmed films that might show at this year’s festival.

Copying Beethoven (2006) looks pretty interesting. Get a load of the wig on Ed Harris who plays Ludwig. Wow!

If you have any information on upcoming films then please leave a comment.

Posted in Movies at 1:48 PM

Original theatrical version of Star Wars coming soon

The Digital Bits is reporting that the original theatrical version of Star Wars is going to be released on DVD later this year. This is the version that George Lucas said didn’t exist, the version where Han Solo shoots first, the version you saw in the theatre as a kid (provided you’re over the age of 35).

I won’t be purchasing it but I know a few Star Wars fans that will. George Lucas must be running short on cash again. Look for a couple of HD versions in the next couple of years and probably some special, special, special editions after that.

Posted in Movies at 5:12 PM

Deal of the week

Walmart always has some decent DVDs in their discount bin. You have to sift through a lot of bad discs like Ford Fairlane and Hudson Hawk to find the good discs but sometimes its worth it.

For $6.88 I found a two disc special edition of The Osterman Weekend (1983). This was the last film that Sam Peckinpah directed and has a great cast. The movie is mediocre but it has a high definition film transfer and DTS sound. The second disc has a 78 minute documentary about the film.

The second disc that I found was The Gathering Storm (2002). It’s an HBO film that is a favourite of mine.

Posted in Movies at 7:25 PM

Hot Docs 2006

Next week Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival begins. I’ll be attending 10 films around the city. Below are my picks:

Fri Apr 28

Walking to Werner / 7:30P / Bloor Cinema

Sat Apr 29

What Remains / 2:00P / Isabel Bader Theatre
Heavy Metal Jr. / 4:45P / ROM Theatre

Sun Apr 30

Runners High / 2:00P / Innis Town Hall
Glenn Gould Hereafter / 9:30P / Isabel Bader Theatre

Mon May 01

Thin / 11:00A / ROM Theatre
His Big White Self / 9:30P / ROM Theatre

Wed May 03

The Beach Boys / 4:15P / Isabel Bader Theatre

Thu May 04

The World According To Sesame Street / 6:45P / Bloor

Fri May 05

Fu*k / 9:15P / Bloor

Posted in Movies at 4:33 PM

Empire’s 50 Greatest Independent Films

If your ZipList or your Netflix list is getting low then Empire’s 50 Greatest Independent Films is a great way to discover some gems.

I’ve seen 27 of the 50 films and added Buffalo ‘66, Two Lane Blacktop, Drugstore Cowboy, The Descent and In the Company of Men to my ZipList.

Posted in Movies at 12:15 AM

Oscar 78

The Oscars seemed a bit dull last night. Jon Stewart never really seemed to click with the audience but there were plenty of moments to make the show worthwhile.

The Western movie mash-up was one of the highlights of the evening. A number of Western movie clips were cleverly edited together with a Brokeback theme. With all the of the re-edited movie trailers circulating the web, I thought this was brilliant.

The most exciting part of the night occurred when Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar for Best Song In A Film — It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp. The acceptance speech was hilarious and part of it was bleeped out. The audience finally came alive and Stewart got a good laugh when he said “I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp.”

After winning the Oscar, Jordan “Juicy J” Houston of Three 6 Mafia had this to say,

I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t stand still. I had to run somewhere. I started to run somewhere. People thought the police was probably chasing me somewhere.

My favourite line of the night came from Jon Stewart when he made the following observation.

For anyone keeping record, Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars. For Three 6 Mafia, one.

Posted in Movies at 11:46 AM

Toy Story 2 Requiem

More movie trailer remixing. Toy Story 2 meets Requiem for a Dream. View trailer.

Posted in Motion Graphics and Movies at 9:40 AM

June 6, 2006

Wow! The studio heads at Twentieth Century Fox really out-did themselves this time. They’ve come up with 6.6.06 as the perfect date to release a movie about Satan. Brilliant! Clever! So original that it warrants a remake of The Omen (1976).

Sadly, the release of this film is more evidence that Hollywood is running out of ideas for original content. If you still don’t believe me then look at a few remakes scheduled for release this year.

Revenge of the Nerds
Adventures in Babysitting
The 39 Steps
Black Christmas
The Lavender Hill Mob
All Of Me
The Hills Have Eyes
All the King’s Men
The Secret Life of Walter Mitt
Vanishing Point
The Fly
The Evil Dead
The Hitcher
War of the Roses
The Omen

Robert Towne should be embarrassed for going ahead with his remake of The 39 Steps. Why remake a film that will fail to live up to the original? When has a remake of any decent film been better than the original?

Upcoming sequels:
Basic Instinct 2
Mission: Impossible III
Final Destination 3
Clerks II
Superman Returns
Behind the Mask: Young Hannibal

Posted in Movies at 11:17 AM

New DVD Releases

There are some recent and upcoming DVDs that I’m looking forward to viewing in the next little while.

I have never seen Delicatessen (1991), a French film from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement). Several people have told me over the years that this is one of those films you have to see. It gets released on May 2.

The Boondock Saints (1999) is a film I watched recently. Unfortunately it was a 4:3, Letter Box version—almost unheard of these days. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000) is another disc that is guilty of the same sin. The Boondock Saints: Unrated Special Edition will be released on May 23. I’m looking forward to a proper anamorphic widescreen transfer and some 5.1 Dolby Digita. An audio commentary with writer/director Troy Duffy and actor Billy Connolly should be pretty interesting as well.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) just came out in a two-disc special edition. This is the third time that this film has been released on DVD. The first DVD was a Criterion Collection edition that has been out of print for some time now. I saw the second release, a bare bones MGM disc. Walter Murch is the editor on this film and is featured on a new commentary with writer/director Philip Kaufman.

Posted in Movies at 11:09 AM

2005 Film Critic Top Ten Lists

Take a look at the 2005 Critics’ Picks compiled by Metacritic. The Squid and the Whale and A History Of Violence are big favourites that were overlooked by Oscar.

Posted in Movies at 12:39 AM

Brokeback to the Future

More movie trailer remix fun. Have a look at Brokeback to the Future.

Posted in Movies at 12:33 AM

Grumblings about

A week ago announced a major change to its membership plans. The announcement was, “the honeymoon is over.” No more “unlimited” DVD rentals or you’ll be penalized.

A lot of people I talked to said they were going to cancel their memberships. I wasn’t happy about the announcement either. I felt like Rogers had something to do with this catastrophe ( now powers Rogers’ online DVD rentals).

Should I be mad? Should I cancel my membership? Hold on a second! Let’s take a look at this and see how it will affect most of us.

If you’re on a 4-DVD Plan like me, this meant that you could have 4 DVDs out at a time. If you watched them all in one day, you could return them in the mail and get another 4 DVDs in a few days. Sounds great! I could watch 20 DVDs in a month and only pay $1.43 per DVD rental!

Here is how my plan works now (as indicated in the email I received from

4-DVD Plan: Free shipping on your first 11 DVDs per month*, with a shipping+handling surcharge of $2.49 applied to the 12th and subsequent rentals.

At first glance this looks bad. $2.49 for a rental! What the hell is Zip trying to pull here?! But wait, let’s take a second look at this.

  • Blockbuster charges $5.19 per rental
  • In December I rented 10 DVDs from Zip
  • The most DVDs I’ve ever rented in one month from Zip is 13

If you’re actually watching the DVDs you rent from Zip then it is still a fabulous deal (even with the new surcharges). If you’re stealing hoarding copying all the DVDs you rent from Zip and not watching them then you might feel like you’re getting ripped off.

If you’re watching more than 11 DVDs per month then you must be unemployed, or you aren’t married, or you have a terrible social life. You really need to get out more.

I love watching movies but I find it hard to watch more than 11 in one month. I barely watch TV which means I should have even more time for movies but I don’t.

If you’re still not convinced that Zip is still a good deal then you can always go to Blockbuster or Rogers. There is probably one around the corner from you. Their selection isn’t as good and it costs more money to rent their DVDs.

Posted in Movies at 5:55 PM

The 5 Blows

The other night I watched Touchez pas au grisbi (Hands Off the Loot!) and was a little surprised by how much slapping occured throughout the film. Some alternate titles for this film could be Hands Off the Face! or The 5 Blows.

My wife will be shaking her head and rolling her eyes when she sees this. Here are the 5 slaps from Touchez pas au grisbi for your amusement.

The 400 Blows

Posted in Movies at 3:15 PM

Not coming to a theatre near you

I’m not sure where I came across not coming to a theatre near you but it is a site I now visit frequently. For that reason it gets a link in the sidebar of the homepage. describes itself as a site that reviews “older, often unpopular, and sometimes unknown films that merit a second look”. The reviews and features from these film buffs are interesting and will hopefully introduce you to some of the great films that are out there.

Posted in Movies at 9:35 PM

A Brief History Of Pixar

Apple Matters has an interesting story on the Disney/Pixar deal called How To Turn 10 Million Into 7 Billion: A Brief History Of Pixar. Steve Jobs comes out a big winner after inking a deal with Disney earlier this week.

Toy Story 3 has been cancelled as a result of this deal. Thank goodness! Last year Disney announced that they were going to make their own sequel to Toy Story without Pixar.

If you’re looking for more information on the history of Pixar then check out these links:

Pixar History
The Pixar Story
Alvy Pixar History Page

Posted in Movies at 9:04 PM

Re-edited movie trailers

I was blown away by a couple of movie trailers that have been re-edited. If you’re familiar with the films mentioned below then you’ll get a chuckle out of these new versions.

The first example involves Fight Club (1999) starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. You might remember it as a violent film, full of male testosterone and rage. This new trailer makes it look more like Brokeback Mountain (2005). Brilliant!

Fight Club (re-edited movie trailer)

Next up is Stanley Kubrick’s classic, The Shining (1980). Who can forget Jack Nicholson’s performance as a writer who goes insane at the haunted Overlook Hotel? Take a look at this version of the movie’s trailer and you’ll see how the film might look like as a Disney picture.

Shining (re-edited movie trailer)

Posted in Movies at 9:55 PM

Top 5 Films of 2005

If it’s not too late to still be wishing people a “happy new year” then it’s not too late for a 2005 list or two. Here is a list of the top 5 films I saw theatrically or on DVD.

  1. Why We Fight
  2. Cinderella Man
  3. Thank You For Smoking
  4. Capote
  5. New York Doll

Other films that really impressed me over the last are Syriana, Serenity, Batman Begins, Masculin, féminin, The Squid and the Whale, War of the Worlds, and A Very Long Engagement.

Posted in Movies at 5:16 PM

Hollywood is running out of ideas

After visiting Apple’s Movie Trailer site, I’m beginning to wonder what year this is. Michael Mann should be embarrassed for rehashing Miami Vice.

Miami Vice (2006)
Mission Impossible 3 (2006)
The Pink Panther (2006)
Big Momma’s House 2 (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (2006)
The Producers (2006)
X-Men 3 (2006)
Ice Age 2 (2006)

How paranoid or greedy will Hollywood become in the next few years? When will they stop making boring, recycled products and come up with some original film ideas? Last year was a great year for film but this year looks like it is off to a bad start.

Posted in Movies at 5:40 PM

More Zip Value

I was just looking at my account to see how many movies I’ve watched in the last few months. Part of the reason is to see how much value I’m getting out of the service.

I pay $28.70/month to have out 4 DVDs at any one time. Here’s what I found:

  • September – 7 rentals ($4.10/DVD)
  • October – 7 rentals ($4.10/DVD)
  • November – 13 rentals ($2.21/DVD)

Now that my work load has returned to normal I should be able to average about 8-10 rentals a month. I still think the service is outstanding. I always know what is coming in the mail but there is something nice about getting “real mail” delivered to your door.

Posted in Movies and Web at 4:01 PM

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Reissued

I recently watched The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1998) on DVD (the bare bones MGM version) and just read that Warner Home Video is rereleasing the film in a 2-disc special edition with an audio commentary and a documentary. My main interest in the film is editor Walter Murch who contributed to a new commentary with director Philip Kaufman and co-star Lena Olin.

I never purchased the now out-of-print Criterion DVD (wish I had) or the first Warner release (glad I didn’t). So the special edition from is welcome news. Release date: February 7, 2006.

Posted in Movies at 10:58 AM

Superman Returns Teaser

The Superman Returns teaser trailer has been posted by Warner Brothers. So far it looks pretty good. This is the first movie site where I’ve seen options for the trailer in PSP and iPod formats. Very cool.

Director Bryan Singer has a section on the site called Bryan’s Video Journals which gives you an inside look at the film. These are also the videos that Warner Bros. will probably package on the second release of the Superman Returns DVD in 2007.

The first DVD release will probably be a bare bones edition. The studio will likely have second and third DVD release that is stuffed with featurettes, documentaries and video journals. Oh, and look for another release of the original Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, George Reeves and throw in a box set or two of Smallville for good measure.

And Hollywood wonders why some people are downloading movies illegally.

Posted in Movies at 10:41 AM

The BLOCKBUSTER Canada eStore®

Well, this is the moment all of you Canadian, card carrying Blockbuster members have been waiting for. The BLOCKBUSTER Canada eStore® is now open for business! I just received an email alert about this.

Why does Blockbuster have an eStore you ask? So you can pre-order DVDs or games for purchase!

I know what you’re thinking. Why would I want to pre-order a DVD from Blockbuster and pay full price it. Why not go to FutureShop or Walmart and get it for the sale price? Actually, I wondered the same thing.

Here is Blockbuster’s BIG reason for pre-ordering movies:

Just in time for your holiday shopping, here’s the latest innovation from your home entertainment headquarters: the BLOCKBUSTER Canada eStore®. Now you can pre-order upcoming movies and games online. When you pre-order a movie or game, you’re ensuring that you’ll be among the first to enjoy it just as soon as it’s released.

Wow! I’m all excited. Pre-ordering movies online for purchase! Way cool! I bet Amazon FutureShop or haven’t thought of this! Wicked! Blockbuster is the best!

Posted in Movies and Web at 10:29 AM

Apocalypse Then: A Second Look at the First Gulf War

Walter Murch is featured in the Pro/Film section of Apple’s website. He edited the film Jarhead in HD using some Power Macs with Final Cut Pro HD. Full story.

Posted in Apple and Movies at 2:10 PM

Behind the Seen

Last week I finished reading a book called Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema, written by Charles Koppelman.

If you’ve ever done any video editing or have an interest in how films are made then you’ll find this a fascinating read. There are also a few amusing stories along the way about movie producer Harvey Weinstein—how he falls asleep during screenings of Cold Mountain then asks what the film is about.

Most people have never heard of Walter Murch unless they are in the film industry. Many of the films he has worked on as film editor or sound editor have been nominated for Oscars—Cold Mountain, Ghost, The Conversation. He’s won Oscars for The English Patient and Apocalypse Now.

Wired magazine has a small story on Murch and mentions that he used Apple’s Final Cut Pro to edit Jarhead (2005)in HD. Jarhead is the latest film by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) and comes out this Friday. I’m looking forward to seeing this over the weekend.

Posted in Books and Movies at 4:33 PM


Movie posters galore! Original, rare and vintage film posters can be purchased from Posterman Dan. Even if you don’t want to purchase a poster this online gallery is amazing to look at.

Posted in Movies at 4:40 PM


Apple’s Movie Trailers page has been redesigned and there is a lot of content now available in High Def.

Posted in Apple and Movies at 1:47 PM

Revolver (Original Soundtrack)

A couple of days ago I purchased the soundtrack to Thumbsucker from iTunes. This morning I was poking around the Soundtrack section on iTunes and noticed that Revolver was released over a week ago.

Revolver is Guy Ritchie’s latest film that I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival. It doesn’t get a North American release until next January but you can enjoy the original soundtrack from iTunes.

Posted in Movies and Music at 9:48 AM

Thank You For Smoking (2005)

Thank You For Smoking is wickedly funny! Jason Reitman hit a home run in directing his first feature film.

I just got back from the Ryerson Theatre where Reitman introduced the film and did a Q&A afterward. I can’t believe that he’s still in town!

The film is an intelligent comedy about a tobacco industry lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart. His character, Nick Naylor, is charming, ruthless and hilarious as he goes about defending the “big tobacco” companies.

In the Q&A following the film, Reitman said he wanted to make a film about industry lobbyists. He felt that the tobacco industry was by far the most interesting. Christopher Buckley’s novel, Thank You for Smoking was a perfect fit. Reitman adapted the screenplay from Buckley’s book which is supposed to be even funnier than the film.

The cast is terrific and includes Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Sam Elliot, Todd Louiso, Katie Holmes and Maria Bello. This film is going to be a sure hit when it is released next year.

The opening title sequence is fabulous—the best I’ve seen all year. The credits are written on colourful cigarette boxes that playfully animate. Why can’t all movies be this creative with their titles?

Jeff Wigand’s name is listed in the credits. Russell Crowe played Wigand in the 1999 film, The Insider. Wigand was a whistle blower against big tobacco. During the Q&A it was revealed that Wigand was a consultant for the film.

When Jeff Wigand was shown the script he didn’t really say if he liked it, but he sent it back to Reitman with a lot of notes concerning inaccurate information. It’s rumoured that Wigand never consults for a film where the actors smoke on screen. In Reitman’s film, nobody is shown smoking.

The Toronto International Film Festival is now over and I’m happy that I was able to end it with this film—probably my favourite.

Posted in 2005 TIFF and Movies at 11:59 PM

Film Reviews at has some interesting reviews of films that are playing at the Venice Film Festival and at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Some of the reviews include Bubble, Wah Wah, Capote, Brokeback Mountain and Elizabethtown.

I was surprised to read that Steven Soderbergh not only directed Bubble, but also shot the film under the name Peter Andrews and edited under the name Mary Ann Bernard. Can’t wait to see this film on Sunday night.

Posted in Movies at 1:56 AM

Final TIFF Picks

On Labour Day I went down to pick up my Film Festival tickets. 8 out of the 10 films I picked were available. This meant I had to run over to the TIFF box office and line up for 3 hours and pick a couple of alternate choices.

TIFF Box Office

Here are the ten films I’ll be viewing at the festival with show times. If you’re seeing any of the same films then look for me in line.

  1. The Well — documentary film directed by Kristian Petr
    (Fri, Sep 9/05, 1:30 PM, Paramount 4)
  2. Sketches of Frank Gehry — documentary directed by Sydney Pollack
    (Sat, Sep 10/05, 12:00 PM, Elgin Theatre)
  3. Capote — directed by Bennett Miller
    (Sat, Sep 10/05, 3:00 PM, Elgin Theatre)
  4. Bubble — directed by Steven Soderbergh
    (Sun, Sep 11/05, 7:30 PM, Varsity 8)
  5. Revolver — directed by Guy Ritchie
    (Mon, Sep 12/05, 12:30 PM, Ryerson Theatre)
  6. Mary — Abel Ferrara
    (Tue, Sep 13/05, 11:30 AM, Cumberland 2)
  7. Thumbsucker — directed by Mike Mills
    (Tue, Sep 13/05, 9:00 PM, VISA Screening Room—Elgin)
  8. 51 Birch Street — documentary directed by Doug Block
    (Wed, Sep 14/05, 8:30 PM, Cumberland 3)
  9. Why We Fight — documentary directed by Eugene Jarecki
    (Thu, Sep 15/05, 4:00 PM, Cumberland 3)
  10. Thank You For Smoking directed by Jason Reitman
    (Sat, Sep 17/05, 9:15 PM, Ryerson Theatre)

Posted in Movies at 10:52 PM

TIFF Picks

The Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner. I’ll be seeing ten films this year. Below is a short list of films that I’d like to see.

  1. Bubble — directed by Steven Soderbergh
  2. Tideland — directed by Terry Gilliam
  3. The Well — documentary film directed by Kristian Petri
  4. Why We Fight — documentary film directed by Eugene Jarecki
  5. Capote — directed by Bennett Miller
  6. Dave Chapelle’s Block Party — directed by Michel Gondry
  7. Mary — Abel Ferrara
  8. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story — Micahel Winterbottom
  9. Wah-Wah — Richard E. Grant
  10. A Conversation with Basquiat — directed by Tamra Davis

Posted in Movies at 12:06 PM

Chu It Up… Spit It Out!

Somehow I forgot to mention that a friend of mine has a new blog. Jason Chu has some great DVD and film reviews at Chu It Up… Spit It Out! I’ve seen a lot of films but Jason always surprises me with a great recommendation by some director I’ve never heard of.

Filling up your ZipList or heading out to Blockbuster? Check out Chu It Up… Spit It Out! for something new.

Posted in Movies and Web at 1:54 PM


I’ve been wanting to attend the Toronto International Film Festival for years. This year I’m finally going. Between September 8-17, I’ll be seeing at least 10 films, unless of course Lissa sees a film that she would like to see. I’m looking forward to it.

With any luck I’ll be able to see Terry Gilliam’s new film, Tideland (2005).

Posted in Movies at 11:41 AM

Is Anybody Making Movies We’ll Actually Watch In 50 Years?

An interesting article over at Newsweek.

Posted in Movies at 9:29 PM

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry

DVD cover.
Finally! I’ve been checking the DVD sites for a couple of years now, hoping that this movie would be released on DVD. It comes out on June 28.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) is being released by Anchor Bay Entertainment in what they are calling a “Supercharger Edition” with a few extra features. One is an all new documentary with cast and crew interviews.

As cheesy as it is, this is one of my favourite movies. It’s one of the original car chase films from the early 70s that gave way to the Smokey and the Bandit series. The ending of the film was used each week in opening credits of The Fall Guy (1981-1986) television show, starring Lee Majors and Heather Thomas.

It’s been out of print since the 80s making it a cult favourite by many. The only way to get it was through some “sketchy” archive companies in LA and Texas. I bought a copy several years ago on VHS. It will nice to finally see it in its original format and with Dolby Digital sound.

Posted in Movies at 12:14 PM

Revenge of the Sith

Yesterday I went with the boys to see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) at Festival Hall. It’s a good thing we went to the 4:20 PM show because the crowds were brutal for the next show.

Any doubts that you may have about George Lucas’ ability to make a decent film can now be put to rest. Revenge of the Sith is a good film. I walked out of the theatre feeling completed satisfied. I was so pumped that I wanted to go home and watch the original Star Wars.

The entire film is rich with detail, incredible special effects and plenty of dazzling action. Gone are the goofy characters like Jar-Jar and the lame attempts to sell toys with cute little Ewoks. This a much more serious movie as far as Star Wars films go.

The transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader is awesome. It was also interesting to see how the hair styles became more 70s like near the end of the film. The uniforms worn by the Empire were beginning to look a lot like 1976 all over again at the end of the film. I thought Lucas did a nice job of wrapping up the Star Wars franchise and blending it with the first one.

I will definitely be going back in line to see this one again.

Posted in Movies at 3:01 PM

A bunch of dummies

On my way to work the other day I noticed that Birchmount Stadium had a lot of people in the stands. Then I noticed the familiar white movie trucks. The extras didn’t seem to move very much. When I got closer I realized why—they were a bunch of dummies.

ESPN is shooting a TV movie called Four Minutes (2006). It’s a story about Roger Bannister who broke the four minute mile on May 6, 1954. CBC has some great archival footage of the whole race here.

I took some more photos from behind some trees while they were filming—security asked me not to shoot any pictures earlier so I had to be a little more discreet. Below is a shot of some guys crossing the start-finish line.

Posted in Movies at 4:30 PM

Must watch more movies

I’m still working 7 days a week and keeping insane hours which means, I haven’t watched a movie in what seems like an eternity. So over the weekend I stayed up until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday to catch up on a few popcorn flicks.

National Treasure 2004 is a dumbed-down version of The DaVinci Code. It’s your basic, over-produced, Bruckheimer popcorn movie. Lots of action, mediocre story and quite predictable.

The Forgotten (2004) made me realize how much I miss the X-Files. Aliens, government conspiracies, abductions, mystery! Another popcorn movie but much more satisfying than National Treasure.

The sound editing in this movie is excellent! This is a DVD you’ll want to turn up and jump out of your seat at certain points. This was the best movie I watched this weekend.

Suspect Zero (2004) is the last movie I watched. I felt like I was watching another version of Seven that was only half as good. This was an average serial killer movie at best. I was hoping for a lot more in Ben Kingsley’s character but was disappointed when it was over.

Posted in Movies at 9:16 PM

Soderbergh’s Bubble

Director Steven Soderbergh has started work on his next film, which will be called Bubble. This will be the first of 6 low-budget films, shot in HD and simultaneously released in theatres, television and DVD in an effort to combat piracy.

If that isn’t radical enough, the film will contain a cast with no previous acting experience. I love that Soderbergh is trying to be creative and make films like Truffaut and Godard did in the 60s.

The Guardian Unlimited website has more information.

Posted in Movies at 4:38 PM

Life After Darth

There is a great article in WIRED magazine this month about George Lucas and what he plans to do next in terms of filmmaking. Part of this article makes reference to several Canadian filmmakers that had a strong influence on Lucas in the 60s.

Of particular interest was Canadian director, Arthur Lipsett. He made a short film called 21-87 which had a great influence on all of Lucas’ early films. References to 21-87 appear in THX-1138, American Graffiti and Star Wars.

Another WIRED article takes a look at Lucas’ new gaming/effects factory called Letterman Digital Arts Center. This one is available online—The New Heart of the Empire.

If you’re a Star Wars fan (Dave King) then this is compulsory reading.

Posted in Movies at 1:36 PM

Free screening of Millions

You can sign up for a free screening of Danny Boyle’s latest film, Millions. I signed up for Thursday March 10 at the Varsity Cinema in Toronto. Anyone interested?

Posted in Movies at 3:17 PM


allcity is a London-based design firm that creates some amazing movie posters for the UK and international markets. Their website is full of examples and design notes.

allcity also designs DVD covers and creates animated menus. Check out their showreel for more.

Link via Newstoday®—a great resource of links to interactive design, motion graphics, design books and more.

Posted in Design and Movies at 9:49 PM

Re-release of 12 Monkeys

I can’t stand when the greedy number crunchers at the Hollywood studios do this. Universal Studios has decided to re-release 12 Monkeys as a special edition disc. This will be the third release of this film on DVD.

The new disc will have a digitally remastered picture with some of the extras from a previously released Collector’s Edition (The Hamster Factory documentary and a director commentary with Terry Gilliam). Universal is also releasing this movie on HD-DVD in the fall.

Miramax is working on a special editions of Kill Bill due out in August. Meanwhile Dreamworks is working on yet another special edition of Gladiator with all new features and an extended version of the film.

Who do the studios expect to purchase these discs when people already own them? What is going to happen when HD-DVD or Blu-ray becomes a standard? More special editions? Like I said, I can’t stand the money-grubbing weasels in Hollywood.

I’m not purchasing any new special editions of movies that I already own. I hope that others do the same and Hollywood stops this pathetic practice.

Posted in Movies at 3:14 PM

DVD Collection and Home Theatre Setup updates

My DVD Collection is back online and almost up to date. A couple of DVDs that arrived yesterday from have also been added to the list. is the best place to purchase Criterion Collection DVDs online (and probably offline as well). Last week they had free shipping to Canada. They always list the value of their packages at $10.00. Why? So I don’t have to pay GST and duty to the nice people at Revenue Canada. That always makes my day.

The Home Theatre Setup is now online and provides some technical information about my home theatre.

I Hung My Head is also back online.

Posted in Bombippy and Movies at 1:55 AM

Limited New Releases

I’ve been using for about a month now and have enjoyed their service, for the most part. Their selection of DVD titles is great but I’m discovering that their new releases are limited. It can take a couple of weeks to receive a new title such as The Village (mine arrived this morning after two weeks of waiting).

Limited New Releases.

There is a feature on that lets you specify which movies are sent to you next. You can flag two DVD selections as ASAP so that they ship before any other titles in your queue. This feature rarely works, unless the titles you’re flagging are older releases.

This complaint aside, provides tremendous value to the average movie junkie. In the month that I’ve signed up, I’ve watched 15 DVDs for $24.95. If I went the Blockbuster route, my 15 DVD rentals would cost $77.85 (a little less if I was a rewards member).

Not all of the DVDs I rented in the last month were new releases. At Blockbuster, these older titles would cost less than the standard $5.19 rental price (Blockbuster raised their prices 20 cents/rental). Then again, Blockbuster doesn’t have a comprehensive selection of movies.

Some of the movies that I’ve watched recently aren’t available at Blockbuster and can be purchased for $40 or more (Criterion Collection DVDs). Some specialty DVD rental stores that are downtown, carry these titles but aren’t close by. For convenience and cost, this makes a much better alternative to Blockbuster and Rogers Video.

If would beef up their new DVD releases I would be completely satisfied. It’s frustrating to have to wait for several weeks just to watch a new release. Blockbuster has spoiled us with their ability to purchase hundreds of copies of new DVDs for rental. seems to be responding to the complaints of its users and hopefully we’ll see even better service in the coming weeks.

Special thanks to my Vancouver editor for alerting me to some embarrassing grammatical errors!

Posted in Movies at 1:53 PM

And on the 8th day, Blockbuster converted the rental to a sale.

THE END OF LATE FEES. Maybe you’ve seen the posters plastered all over your local Blockbuster. As of Jan 29, 2005, Blockbuster Canada is no longer charging late fees for DVD rentals.

What’s the catch? You still have to return your rentals by the due date on your receipt. In fact, you can keep your rentals for an additional 7 days if you like. On the 8th day after your due date Blockbuster will assume you want to purchase that unreturned DVD. Your Blockbuster account will be billed for the full amount of the disc.

The good news is that Blockbuster will put your rental fee for the DVD toward their inflated sale price. Lucky you! If you decide that you really don’t want to purchase the DVD, that you thought you could keep it for as long as you like (no wait, only lets you do that) then you can beg, pay a $1.75 restocking fee and they will allow you to return the DVD.

So what we’ve learned here is that late fees have been given a flat rate of $1.75 and rebranded as restocking fees.

Posted in Movies at 10:59 PM

Some of the worst movies of 2004

I’ve been watching some of the top 10 worst movies of 2004 and they’re not so bad in my opinion. Ebert hated The Girl Next Door (2004) whereas The DVD Journal loved it and chose it as one of their top 10 DVDs for 2004.

It’s basically a 00’s version of Risky Business staring Emile Hersh and Elisha Cuthbert with an Old School feel to it. In other words, it’s a mindless comedy that had me laughing in a lot of scenes.

On Friday night I spent 3 hours watching Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2003). It’s a tad on the long side but I found myself getting into the film by the halfway mark. It’s unusual in that the whole thing is filmed on a large sound stage with very few props (chalk outlines are used to show where walls would be).

The longer I watched the film the more I sympathized with the lead character—Grace (played by Nicole Kidman). I found that I was drawn into the story, wanting revenge for Grace’s appalling treatment by the people of Dogville. When revenge comes it’s more shocking than a Tarantino film. I was completely surprised by the ending, drained, left cold. I’m not sure if this is the reaction that von Trier wants to leave the audience with but I was impressed by it’s ability to move me. I think it’s a gutsy film that is worth seeing at least once.

Next up is White Chicks (2004) which I can’t believe that I rented but I’m told that it is quite funny. We’ll see.

Posted in Movies at 11:01 PM

My Ziplist

Below is a list of the DVDs (in no particular order) that I have selected for rental from I’m constantly amazed at the selection of DVDs in their library.

Super Size Me
The Forgotten
Blowup (1966)Ed Wood
The Decalogue (1989)
Touching the Void
Control Room
Paris, Texas (1984)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Breaking the Waves (1996)

Many of these films are only carried by a few specialty video stores around the city so I’ve never bothered to rent them. Occasionally they’re shown at rep theatres or film festivals, but I never seem to be able to block of time for these events.

So for me has made a lot of great films much more accessible. I’m also saving a lot of money buy not having to purchase these DVDs in order to view them. Bombip is lovin’ the Zip.

Posted in Movies at 1:26 PM

Top 10 Favourite Films of 2004

The Incredibles
Before Sunset
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Kill Bill Vol. 2
Spider-Man 2
The Passion of the Christ
Fahrenheit 9/11
The Door in the Floor

Posted in Movies at 7:32 PM

Edge Codes

Edge Codes: The Art Of Motion Picture Editing is a documentary film, directed by Alex Shuper. It features interviews with George Lucas, Norman Jewison, Thema Schoonmaker (editor for most of Scorses’s films), Sarah Flack (The Limey, Lost in Translation) and others.

The film is available now on DVD but there will be a Toronto premiere at The Royal in Toronto. Director Alex Shuper will be on hand after the screening for a Q & A. The screenings are Feb 18-20. I’m going to check this out on Feb 19 at 7 PM if anyone is interested. Check Festival Cinemas for more details.

Posted in Movies at 2:02 AM

Meet The Lucky Ones

Meet The Lucky Ones is a brilliant video. I don’t know if it will help Mercury sell any cars though.

Posted in Movies at 8:32 PM vs. Blockbuster

I started using this week won’t be renewing my annual Blockbuster Rewards membership ($9.99). The Blockbuster Rewards program has been getting lamer each year with fewer freebies and incentives. The only reason Blockbuster is going to drop late fees and extend viewing periods is because of the online competiton from the likes of and this is a good thing.

So why dump Blockbuster for Why give up the convenience of being able to visit a local Blockbuster store and grab the latest disc whenever you want?


If you watch a lot of movies each month then is cheaper.

  • Blockbuster movie rentals are $5.74 (tax included)
  • rentals are as low as $1.79 (tax included)

I have a ‘4 Out’ Membership with that costs $28.69/month (tax included). This allows me to have 4 DVDs out at a time. Delivery costs are free. The more movies I rent, the cheaper it becomes. Consider the following:

  • 4 rentals/month costs @ $7.17/rental
  • 8 rentals/month costs @ $3.59/rental
  • 12 rentals/month costs @ $2.39/rental
  • 16 rentals/month costs @ $1.79/rental

Even if I only watch 8 movies for the entire month, I’m still ahead. If I were to rent 8 movies from Blockbuster I would be paying $45.92. 16 movie rentals from Blockbuster costs $91.84

Selection has a better selection of movies—over 25,000 titles to choose from. Blockbuster has a good selection of current movies but quite often they carry only the fullscreen version of a film (Lost in Translation (2003), Intolerable Cruelty (2003) and others). Sometimes they only carry the VHS version of a film—try and find a DVD copy of Willard (2003).

Blockbuster also has a nasty habit of pulling DVDs from their shelves if they don’t rent every 3-6 months. Last summer I went to several Blockbuster stores to rent a copy of Days of Thunder (not exactly an obscure film). They didn’t have it. has a great selection of DVDs including The Criterion Collection. Films like 8 1/2, The Battle of Algiers and Down By Law are easy to find.

No late fees

You can keep you DVDs for as long as you like. Watch all of the extra special features or listen to the director commentary if you like. The movies don’t have to be back before noon. mails the DVDs to you and you just drop them in the return envelope when you’re done with them. Shipping is free.

If you tend to binge on movies and watch 5 or more over the course of a weekend then is not for you. If you have sudden urges to watch Rob Schneider or Adam Sandler movies at 10:30 PM then you better stick to Blockbuster. They will probably have those titles in stock.

Lastly, if appeals to you and you’re thinking about signing up then just click on one of the links on!

Posted in Movies at 7:25 PM

Goodbye $5.74 rentals. Goodbye 2-evening rentals due back before noon. Goodbye late fees! Goodbye Blockbuster! Hello

I finally joined. Signed up today. Actually, I signed up for VHQ Online first for a free trial. Then I took another look at which was recently redesigned.

After browsing around for 5 minutes I signed up. Next, I cancelled my VHQ Online account for the following reasons:

  • has 25,000 titles
  • VHQ Online doesn’t tell you how many titles they have
  • had every Criterion Collection disc I searched for
  • VHQ Online couldn’t find any of the Criterion Collection discs I searched for
  • has several AFI Lists to help you pick great movies

I also registered for’s affiliates program. If you’re thinking about trying out their service then click on the sign up link in the sidebar or click on the one below.

Posted in Movies at 7:42 PM

The DVD Journal Top 10

The DVD Journal has posted their top 10 DVD releases for 2005. Their number one pick was The Rules of the Game release by The Criterion Collection. Having never seen a Renoir film, I rented this in the fall and enjoyed it. I didn’t have enough time to go through all of the extras and there are plenty.

Kevin Costner’s Open Range was their fourth pick—a movie I completely overlooked and will definitely view over the Christmas break.

Posted in Movies at 8:05 PM

What is Anamorphic Widescreen?

Confused about terms like widescreen, 1:85:1, and anamorphic widescreen? Find out what they mean by visiting DVD Web. Oh, and if you have an HDTV or HD projector, don’t be an idiot like me and forget to set up your DVD player properly.

In my haste to see how great the picture looks I forgot to tell me DVD player that I was using a 16:9 display and not a 4:3 display.

Posted in Movies at 3:23 PM

VHQ Online just saw it’s market share shrink. VHQ is the new competition and they have Air Miles reward miles as an added incentive. 10 Air Miles for signing up and 3 Air Miles per month for using the service.

Posted in Movies at 3:30 PM

Fantastic Four is coming

I didn’t know this movie was being made. Check out these images:

Fantastic 4
Dr. Doom

Hopefully this movie is well done. There was a really bad version made in the early 90s that never got released.

Posted in Movies at 7:30 PM

Disney will make Toy Story 3 without Pixar

CNN is reporting Toy Story 3 in the works. Disney is setting up their own 3D animation studio in California. Two things. I predict that Toy Story 3 will suck and that Disney can add Pixar to its list of bitter rivals.

Posted in Movies at 7:34 PM

Trade in your old DVDs at Blockbuster

My local Blockbuster is taking part in a trial program that allows customers to trade in their old DVDs for store credits. Located in Scarborough, Ontario, this Blockbuster store is the second store in Canada to take part in this program.

I traded in a two-disc special edition copy of Lord Of The Rings for $8.50 (I have the 4-disc extended edition). I can use this $8.50 credit to pay late fees, rent movies or purchase used/new DVDs. The minimum trade in value for a DVD is $5. Not bad. If the title is more popular it may be worth more money.

Posted in Movies at 5:27 PM

The Iron Giant

November 16, 2004 is when The Iron Giant DVD is being released. If you enjoyed The Incredibles then you’ll want to see what director Brad Bird did five years ago with this film.

There are some great extras on the DVD—8 never-before-seen additional scenes, an alternate opening sequence (cool!), and a 13 mini-documentaries. This could easily be one of the best discs of the year.

Posted in Movies and News at 5:38 PM

Grumpy Rex Reed

Movie critic Rex Reed is grumpy.

He loathes David O. Russell’s new film, I ♥ Huckabees. Here is the first line of his latest article for the New York Observer:

Kneeling at the trough of psycho-gibberish that has come to symbolize contemporary movies, a piece of crap called I ♥ Huckabees sinks to new depths of incoherent pretentiousness.

He also has a dislike for all the new Hollywood hacks—Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson.

I think Rex is probably confused, tired and probably needs to retire. Link via opus—a website tailor-made for bombippy with movie reviews, links to nicely designed sites, music reviews and more.

Posted in Movies at 5:07 PM