Issue: July 2015 - Blockbusters

Bringing horror back to the multiplex: Blumhouse Productions and mainstream horror

Many people these days will associate Blumhouse Productions with the horror genre, since the company has been responsible for hit films, such as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Purge. While Blumhouse Productions isn’t entirely dedicated to horror, as evidenced by Jason Blum being a producer on last year’s Oscar-nominated film Whiplash, it can generally be agreed that Blumhouse Productions has all but monopolized the mainstream horror market. Blum founded Blumhouse Productions in 2000, with the company’s mandate being to produce high quality micro-budget films. Considering the limited audience for horror films, those low budgets allow for greater profits. A big budget R rated film...

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Fake it ’til you make it: the myth of the blockbuster

When you try to define what a blockbuster is, you may find yourself a little confused. Before Jaws arrived in 1975, a blockbuster was a film that gained traction through word of mouth, eventually going on to make plenty of money. That makes perfect sense. Calling a film a blockbuster suggests that the film has found a huge audience, and has made a healthy profit. It’s after Jaws that things become complicated, and the word blockbuster suddenly loses all meaning. By exploring the evolution of the films that have gained the moniker of blockbuster, as well as the marketing and the...

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Knowing what to expect: actors who are always the same

Since the days that people began to actually care about who created the films we watched, we also started making assumptions based solely on who is starring in, writing, or directing the newest films. Audiences knew what to expect if Charlie Chaplin was making a new movie, and very little has changed since those times. If I told you that Liam Neeson had a new film coming out this summer, you would probably assume that it was an action movie about a man who is seeking revenge against somebody. You would also probably be right. Many times that boils...

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Wild world: the Crocker family on All the Time in the World

Every summer, a large number of Canadians and their families retreat from bustling metropolises to rural, wooded, or lakefront cabins and islands with hopes of recharging their batteries and getting away from the daily grind and weekly stressors. In this day and age, however, most of these retreats are still relatively plugged in and wired to the outside world, and the amount of time spent at these idyllic retreats is often harshly regulated by never having as much time to spend there as one would hope (or in rare cases, too much time spent around bickering relatives). There’s probably more than...

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Responsible choices: director Josh Rothstein on his film, Dukale’s Dream

Dukale’s Dream documents Hugh Jackman’s journey to Ethiopia in order to learn more about the birthplace of coffee, immerse himself in the rigorous process of coffee farming, and be inspired to make a change revolving around fair-trade products. The film has become a passion project for director Josh Rothstein, who spoke with us following the release of his film on July 14, 2015, as well as learning he had much in common with Jackman regarding human rights issues. “I met Hugh Jackman in 2009 when he was preparing to host the Oscars and I was doing a short promotional documentary...

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Buster Keaton: silent era blockbuster star

Buster Keaton is hardly whom anyone thinks of when they think of blockbuster stars, but Keaton was exactly that in the heyday of silent films. Not only were his movies fitfully funny, but Keaton established himself as a respected actor, director and gag man for comedic and parodic pieces. He continues to be celebrated today as one of the best actors and directors in the history of film, and that high praise is not without warrant. Movies fans gobble up Keaton’s filmography today, but few fail to stop and consider that he was to the silent film era what Bruce...

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Learning to move on: actress Katherine Barrell on My Ex-Ex

Learning who we are, what we want, and what we deserve in life is an ongoing process. Nobody understands that better than Katherine Barrell, star of the Canadian romantic sex comedy, My Ex-Ex. Barrell’s bio explains how she always dreamed of becoming either a star basketball player in the WNBA, or the voice of Disney characters. “It’s always been split all my life. I realized early on that the WNBA is probably not going to happen.” Barrell says with a laugh as she speaks to me over the phone on her one day off in between projects. Obviously acting...

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