Author: Brandy Dean

Review: The We and the I

Michel Gondry, unleashed from the commercial shackles of oh, say The Green Hornet , returns a bit more to form with The We and the I . Basically plotless, the film takes a bus ride through the Bronx with a group of teenagers, on the way home after the last day of school before summer break. Gondry lets his non-professional cast have free rein here and he lets the narrative ramble, but in a compelling way. Details tease out slowly and characters come into sharper focus as the bus empties. This is less a movie, and more a nature...

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Media Impact: the Ken Burns effect (or why Ken Burns deserves a swift kick in the balls)

Oh Ken Burns, how I loathe, ye. For over 30 years, you’ve been painting American history with a saccharine brush and I’m beginning to wonder when our collective teeth are finally going to rot and fall out from the over-consumption of your sugar. You, sir, are just as toxic as high-fructose corn syrup and making our brains as obese as our bodies. If you, Canadian reader, think that seems a little harsh, I urge you to stop and think about it for a moment. Did you see The Civil War ? I did. As an adolescent in the American...

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Cinema Revisited: who is Lina Wertmüller?

Lina Wertmüller is a conundrum. The Italian filmmaker (she gets her umlauts from aristocratic Swiss descent) was the first woman to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award for her masterful 1975 movie Seven Beauties . She’s not exactly prolific, but she does have 23 feature films to her credit. Hell, even Madonna made hubby Guy Ritchie remake (at gun point I imagine) one of Wertmüller’s film, resulting in the abysmal Swept Away (2002). Yet when I mention Wertmüller’s name, even at roundtable of film snobs, I get nothing but blank stares. What’s up with that? Wertmüller gets many...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: Bon Cop, Bad Cop

Still Canada’s reigning domestic box office champ, Bon Cop, Bad Cop is hailed by some as an important move towards trying to join the francophone and anglophone film industries within Canada.  The film is entirely bilingual and takes on the concept of mixed cultures and languages – something you’d think would be more common in a mixed language country like ours. Fun facts about Bon Cop, Bad Cop : the entire movie was filmed using 2 scripts – one written in French and one written in English; the language used in each scene was decided upon during the editing...

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Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Yippee ki-yay motherfuckers! John McClane is back for another round in the fifth installment of the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard . It goes without saying that the Die Hard series is a fan fave and one of the few franchise operations to get better with each installment, not worse. The question on everyone’s mind ahead of the Valentine’s Day opening of number five – does it live up to its predecessors? The answer is both yes and no. A Good Day to Die Hard finds John McClane, older, grayer, and more weary, travelling to...

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Why do French Canadian films thrive, while English Canadian films struggle to find an audience?

It’s a fact. The French Canadian film industry booms, while the English Canadian film industry limps and struggles. Speak to any English Canadian filmmaker and you’ll encounter much hand-wringing, hair-pulling, and just flat out sorrow. What’s really going on here? Why do French Canadian films thrive when English Canadian films do not? Does French Canada just care more than English Canada? Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes… and no.  It’s not that French Canada cares more – it’s that French Canadian films make more money. A brief history of Canadian filmmaking Canada prominently figured in some very early filmmaking. The...

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Spotlight On: The Jutra Award (Prix Jutra)

The U.S. has the Oscars. Canada has the Genies (now known as the Canadian Screen Awards). But Québécois  filmmakers, while technically part of Canada and thus eligible for the Genies – er, Canadian Screen Awards – have their own annual awards, the Jutra Award (or Prix Jutra or La Soirée des Jutra, take your pick). The Jutra Award debuted in 1999 and was designed to honor the movers and shakers in and behind mainly Francophone cinema in Québec. Winners not only get kudos, but also a sharp, modish statue designed by sculptor Charles Daudelin. I know what you Genie...

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