For the month of December, the folks behind The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard have increased the rental duration from 5 days to 30 on Vimeo on Demand. The independent film, directed by Jeremy Lalonde was completed in 2009 and is best described as, ”… a romantic comedy about the exploration…
The Returned is not a zombie flick. The people infected and “returned” are not zombies, as even Kate protests the label by anti-returned thugs as they hold a gun to her head. This film follows a new tradition forged by the 2002 movie 28 Days Later but unlike 28 Days Later the origin of the virus is never explored, as it isn’t the reason for the film. Instead the virus is the catalyst for the questions having those “returned” living with the unaffected population raise. The Returned also differs from other ‘zombie flicks’ since it is neither post-apocalyptic nor does it seem to use science or scientific experimentation as the cause for the outbreak. It is filled with hope that science would eventually save the day & it uses the idea of being “returned” as allegory for any disease with the potential to harm others. Does being a victim of a chance infection really make someone not as valuable as someone else? And who gets to decide who has value and who doesn’t? The answer each character comes to is what drives each of them through the story set in world with the realistic backdrop of what our reaction probably would be in such a world.
The movie takes place in Toronto and just north of the city in an unnamed rural get away but was filmed almost exclusively in Sudbury, where the movie was screened for their 25th annual Cinéfest. The story centers on Kate (Emily Hampshire), a doctor in the Returned Unit who has a tragic past and complicated present. Her husband, Alex (Kris Holden-Ried), is a music teacher who six years previous was infected with the virus that has the potential to turn him into a flesh eating rage monster if he doesn’t inject himself daily with a retrovirus that was created to keep another outbreak at bay, like the one described in the film as having happened in 1981 that resulted in over 100,000 dead. But rumors of a depleting stock of the virus combined with increasingly violent attacks by anti-returned groups leads the couple to go on the run with the help of Alex’s long time best friend Jacob (Shawn Doyle), and his author wife Amber (Claudia Bassols).
The story written by Hatem Khraiche was intelligently crafted with attention paid to all the threads, be they characters or objects, so that nothing is left to fray or be pulled by ponderous minds after the credits roll. Although it was dark, I appreciated how everything fit together without feeling too coincidental or asking for extra willing suspension of disbelief. The actors came across as natural and true to their characters’ personal histories. When Alex comments to Jacob about an event 25 years earlier I believed the two knew each other way back when. The characters actions reveal them more than any exposition so that what they do does not feel forced or necessary only for the story to advance. The pace of the film is relentless. There is a story to be told and it does not offer any breathing room as it is told; a reflection of the stress both Alex and Kate must be under as they attempt to flee their fate. The movie itself is intense and the music by Jonathan Goldsmith is perfectly matched to each moment, and the cinematography by Javier Salmones was remarkable in that it fit so well it never took me out of the story. I won’t spoil the ending, but the last few shots of the film take a sharp turn in tone that does feel disconnected from the rest of the movie but despite this seeming tonal shift, in the immediate moment right after the climax of the film, it does offer the audience closure.
The ending aside, the film never stumbled under plot or weighty exposition and the true horror of this not-zombie film wasn’t in the sudden shocks or over the top gore so favored in the genre but in decisions people make when faced with an incredible choice and the harrowing consequences of those choices. It asks the question of what is more important, friendship or love. And how far one is willing to go or willing to give up for either.
The Returned was released in Spain November 15th and will be released in the US on February 14th, 2014. No word yet on other countries but deals have been inked in Canada, Australia, the Middle East, India and Indonesia.
Mi nombre es NYPInTA, no hablo español. And that is the extent of my knowledge of the Spanish language. Which is a pity because the country of Spain looks gorgeous and they have that nifty tomato festival. They also have the new Kris Holden-Ried movie The Returned starting November 15th.The US has to wait until February 14th of next year. February 14th? Interesting Valentine…
Despite the wait I was able to see the movie when it was screened at the 25th annual Sudbury Cinefest. I flew up from Toronto to the small mining town where most of the movie was shot and wrote a review for the KrisHolden-Ried.com newsletter Wolf Bites. I was even on the same plane as KHR and Paul Amos. And while I was re-watching Sex After Kids (work work work) I saw The Returned co-star Emily Hampshire slip in just before the film started. I like film festivals. And I don’t like waiting. So if you don’t like to wait for my review, which I’ll post here next week, you can read it now by signing up for the newsletter at www.KrisHolden-Ried.com.
Sneak peak? Oh, if you insist:
The Returned is not a zombie flick. The people infected and “returned” are not zombies, as even Kate (Emily Hampshire) protests the label by anti-returned thugs even as they hold a gun to her head. This film follows a new tradition forged by the 2002 movie 28 Days Later but unlike 28 Days Later the origin of the virus is never explored as it isn’t the reason for the film. Instead the virus is the catalyst for the questions raised by having those “returned” living with the uninfected population. The Returned also differs from other ‘zombie flicks’ since it is not post-apocalyptic nor does it use science or scientific experimentation as the cause for the outbreak. It is filled with hope that science would eventually save the day…
The period piece is in pre-production and should start filming in Malta soon. Kris Holden-Ried plays Jordan. Other castmembers include Kyle Schmid, John Rhys-Davies, Brittany Bristow, and Callum Blue. Directed by Mario Azzopardi.
As Saul the Butcher, the stoning of Stephen shattered Saul’s faith in the Temple and its denial of Christ as the Messiah. His conversion to Christianity and baptism as Paul changed the history of the world.
A few questions with writer/director Jeremy LaLonde.
In January I was able to go the cast screening for Sex After Kids, (which I reviewed here), written and directed by Jeremy Lalonde, as I was an Indiegogo contributor. Part of my perks, along with the screening and the promise of a DVD copy of the film when available, I was to be able to see his previous film The Untitled Works of Paul Shepard online, (which I also reviewed here.) (If you don’t feel like reading the reviews, just know I loved them and I recommend them both. Highly.) And starting August 13th The Untitled Works of Paul Shepard will be available for streaming on Vimeo! Click HERE to purchase.
As well as writing and directing, Jeremy Lalonde has an ongoing pod/web cast called “5 Questions" (videos of the webcast can be seen on SmiteeTV’s You Tube page.) I sought to turn the tables and by the power of twitter, I was able to secure his OK to ask him a few of my own questions. (If you’d like to follow him, he’s @LaLondeJeremy . Don’t tell him I sent you though. Life needs mystery.)
The questions are, and his responses, below.
1) The Untitled Works of Paul Shepard was your first feature length film. What was the most surprising thing to learn while doing it?
That as hard as it is to make a film, it’s even harder to make sure people see it. For various reasons it’s been a struggle with this film to some degree. But my producing partner on it, Anthony Grani, and I decided to get control of it back to see what we could do with it on our own -that’s why we’re launching on Vimeo-On-Demand in August. We’re selfdistributing from here on out so any and all help is very much appreciated!
2) Chicken or the egg: There were some of the same actors for Sex After Kids that were in TUWOPS. Did you have some of them in mind while you were writing the script or did you create the characters as themselves and trust that you could find actors that could inhabit them and give you what you needed?
I almost always write with actors in mind - especially with Sex After Kids. I knew I was going to be drawing (mostly) from the very talented pool of Toronto actors, and so for that film about 80% of the roles were already cast before I wrote the film. This is not the usual way to make a film, especially not an indie. For TUWOPS it was actually the opposite. When I first set out to write it I didn’t know any of the actors that ended up playing the parts, so I was really reliant on the casting process and was really overwhelmed by a wealth of talent that exists inside of Toronto.
3) Like Woody Allen, your movies are of a personal nature with a touch of humor. But like him, is there a character that is a surrogate for you in TUWOPS and SAK? (Cameos do not count. But that’s very Hitchcock of you…)
All of them, in some way. Whatever you find beautiful in the characters in my films are taken from things that I find beautiful in people that I know. And when it comes to the ugly parts of characters, it’s generally from what I find ugly in myself. As you mentioned both films are very personal - The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard is about the struggle between yourself as an artist and as a person. Can being good at one justify being bad at the other? I struggle with that - I think any honest artist would admit that they do as well. Sex After Kids was my love letter to frustrated parents everywhere. But not just sexually frustrated, it’s hard raising kids for so many different reasons. I’m kind if dancing around the answer here. I think, most obviously, that the title character in Paul Shepardis close to me. In Sex After Kids while I identify with all of them, Jody and Larissa’s story is closest to my own.
4) What director would you want to make a movie based on your life?
I’m not just saying this to be humble, or typically Canadian, but my life would make a very boring film. So I’d need a very exciting filmmaker :)
Woody Allen would be the obvious answer - but if I had to pick someone… if it was a documentary I’d pick Werner Herzog and if it was a narrative… Jason Reitman…
5) It seems to me that in Canada it’s easier to secure funds to make a movie, however when it comes to distributing you are on your own. Do you sometimes wish there was a similar studio system in Canada as there is in the US that would make getting movies to the theaters easier
This is a very complicated answer, made even more complicated because the answer will be different in a month from now than it is as I type this. We are extremely fortunate in Canada to have funding agencies that give money to the development and production of feature films. However those places are only able to offer money at certain times of the year, and because getting that money is so competitive when the funds for that year are depleted you’re out of luck until the following year. The studio system in America is open year round, but they aren’t taking chances on small films the way that they used to. The studios are mostly looking to make tentpole blockbusters, or films by very established and celebrated filmmakers. It’s a tough time everywhere for filmmakers and we’re rewriting the rules for financing, production, and distribution with every project. It’s not especially hard to get a film in a theatre in Canada if you’ve got a distributor - it’s just hard to get people to come out and see it. It’s hard to compete with the marketing dollars of the American films. The system is broken almost everywhere because we live in a society where people can get most content for free if they put any effort into it. It’s hard to monetize in that landscape. Now, more than ever, it’s important for people to find ways to support the artists that they love - and sadly the easiest way to do that is to vote with your dollars.
6) What was the most surprising thing about raising funds via Indiegogo for SAK? And is having a gaggle of funders a help or a hindrance?
A help. A huge help. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of the people who contributed in various ways to the Sex After Kids crowdfunding campaign. As you might imagine I have quite a few thoughts on crowd funding - pros and cons - how to do it properly. It’s benefits. The biggest benefit outside of the obvious (getting the funds to make the film) was the fanbase we started for the film, before it was even finished shooting. I think the think what impressed me most was how people really rallied behind us. From all across the globe. And in most cases total strangers. It would probably surprise a lot of people to discover that the majority of funds came in from people who were not friends or family of the cast or crew - not fans of our cast - they were complete strangers looking to support an indie film that they could get behind and believe in.
7) I see listed on your IMDB page another short called Out. Is that something available to be seen soon?
Is that already up?! There are a few short film collectives in Toronto, and one of them, The Splinter Unit, asked me if I’d do a film with them. So I found an old short film script that I’d always wanted to do, and we shot it in the spring. It will be having it’s world premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival - so I’m pretty excited about that. Not entirely sure what Splinter Unit’s plans are for the film otherwise - I know my Canadian distributor for Sex After Kids wants it. I hope it’ll become widely available in some form. David Tompa, who is almost always in my films, plays the lead here. He’s so great - and we’ve got an awesome supporting cast including Tommie-Amber Pirie and Paula Brancatti.
8) I noticed on your twitter feed you mention playing a lot of board games. What board game would you make into a movie and how?
The best one has already been done ! CLUE. My son would probably want me to say MOUSE TRAP. I think some the games I really like to play (Strategy Games) would be boring to watch as a film (Agricola, Settlers of Catan, The Farming Game, etc…). I apologize for not having a great answer to this question. Wait. Balderdash. I don’t have a goddamn clue how you would turn that into a film - but that’s a great title and a great challenge. Sign me up for that.
9) Because this is for a Kris Holden-Ried centric blog… what is it like working with Kris?
It’s so tempting to just write a smart-ass answer, but I can’t even do that. I really lucked out with meeting Kris and having my casting directors for Paul Shepard recommend him. I was aware of him beforehand, but I never would have thought of him for the part otherwise - we grabbed lunch together and the rest, as they say, is history. I really enjoy working with Kris for a variety of reasons, and I know that he’s going to be someone I’ll want to continue to work with through-out my career. One of Kris’ gifts is how in the moment he is - Kris is incapable of a false moment because he’s always feeding off of whoever he’s working with - he’s not relying on just what he’s prepared and bringing to the table, but using it to build something with whoever he’s in a scene with. He’s very selfless in that regard. He’s not concerned with being likable or pretty - he wants the work to be good and the scene to be solid - and he’s not scared to speak up when he thinks something isn’t quite right. I’m a collaborator, and one of my biggest collaborators are the actors I work with. Kris’ instincts are superb. I’m really excited that people can finally see The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard, and I think fans of Kris are going to be surprised - first he’s physically very different than what they’re currently used to seeing him as - he’s almost boyish. I’m really proud of the work he did in that film, as well as the work he did in Sex After Kids. I remember after screening the film for the first time all the way through one of the first thoughts I had was “Shit. Kris is REALLY good in this.” Now that’s a film that’s full of stand-out performances, but again, there’s stuff with Kris in that film that I don’t think audiences have seen before. I think we were able to capture in that film what I really think is lovely about Kris himself as a person and a friend. He’s a hell of a person and this sounds like ass-kissery, but it’s an absolutely pleasure to know him.
News out of Cannes film festival (where The Returned is being screened for buyers) is that actor Kris Holden-Ried will be joining the cast of Cut-Throats Nine remake. It’s being reported that the movie, which has been in production since 2009, might finally be moving forward as “… the…
Kate works at the hospital in the Return Unit, helping those who have been infected by the virus that turns people into zombies. Kate’s dedication to her work is absolute, but few people realize that for her it is also a personal matter; Kate’s own husband, Alex, has been returned.
After various brutal and prolific attacks at the hands of Anti-Return groups and rumours that the “Protein” stock is running dangerously low, Kate fears for Alex´s safety. Suspicious of the government’s order that all the returned should report to a secure medical facility ‘for their own safety’, the couple decides to flee, taking with them all the doses of “Return Protein” they have. At no point does the couple imagine that the real threat is a lot closer than they think…”
I sent writer/director Garfield Lindsay Miller a few questions a while back that he was kind enough to answer. He is the writer of the movie A Stone’s Throw, (a favorite of mine), and wrote and directed the as yet unreleased movie The Last New Year.
Me: Having done one movie as the writer and another as the writer/director, which do you prefer? Are there advantages to writing a script and giving it to someone else to carry through to completion or do you prefer to have complete control over the story till the end?
GLM: I don’t know that I prefer either one, to be honest. They’re different. When you’re directing you of course have more control and you’re the once creating the world. It’s exciting, but, at the same time, there’s also a lot more pressure to get it right and make it happen on time and under budget. It can be super stressful and that can take away from the enjoyment.
As a pure writer, you’re more free to take your time and enjoy the process. The trick though, is to be able to write and then let go of your expectations — of what you want or think it should be. And that can be hard. Inevitably, things will change to your script, and you have to be okay with that or it can make you crazy.
Me: There are similar themes in both Last New Year and A Stone’s Throw in that each story seems to revolve around personal responsibility: either of people who have taken on the responsibility for the actions of others or of people who need to take responsibility for their own and how it effects others, as well as the theme of environmentalism (to varying degrees in each movie.) Are these personal philosophies that you felt compelled to explore?
GLM: To answer your bigger questions around continued themes in my work, I think some are conscious and others are not. The environment is something that I’m very interested in and concerned about, and so yes, that is a theme that continually shows up in my writing. Right now I’m working on another script, actually two other scripts that are specifically connected to environmental themes.
As for personal responsibility, I don’t know that I can speak to that. It may well be something that’s specific to my work, but if so it’s likely operating on a subconscious level.
Me: In both Last New Year and A Stone’s Throw there was a character by the name of Lia. Although in Last New Yearit’s spelled Leah (played by Margaret Evans) and A Stone’s Throw the love interest of Jack’s her name is spelled Lia (As played by Lisa Ray) in the credits, but they sound the same. I was curious if this was a coincidence or perhaps homage to someone?
GLM: I’ve known some great Lia/Leah’s in my life, but I think it’s coincidence. I hadn’t even noticed that until now.
Me: In Last New Year the character of Mo is never interviewed by the detective. She’s also the only one of the “Fools and Bastards” that doesn’t go to the party who was expected to be there. Was that intentional?
GLM: It was always intentional that she wouldn’t appear in the film. I imagine the detective did interview her in the course of his investigation, however, because she didn’t appear in the movie it didn’t seem right in include her in the opening scene.
Me: Do you think Last New Year will ever be available on DVD and is there anything fans could do to help make that happen?
GLM: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I would love to see it on DVD or even on iTunes, etc… There was a push to do that just last year, but things fell apart with issues around music rights, etc. If enough people were to contact the production company, http://www.thenightingalecompany.com then they might put in the effort to release it. Just don’t tell them I sent you ;-)
Me: What was it like working with Kris Holden-Ried?
GLM: Kris is a great actor and a good friend. I love working with him because he invests himself into the project and is an active contributor to the work. He’s not interested in just showing up and reading the lines, he wants to do whatever he can to make it as good as it can be. That’s exciting and challenging in the best possible way. I’d love to work with him again and hope to do so at some point.
Me: What are you working on now, or have coming up?
GLM: There are a couple things in the works, but sadly nothing I can talk about today. Ask me again in a month!
THIS post, is a WHO is in the Spotlight well needed to be done, especially because this particular individual was able to put the category of a person who you dont see physically, but can DEFINITELY be a…
Best, April. A short "about unrequited love in a connected world."
Getting cabin fever? Want to see something fun? May I suggest, if you are in the area, the Canadian Film Festival on March 20th-23rd. Especially the movie short Best, April a Diamonds to Bullets production. The movie stars Priya Rao, Kristopher Turner, Kris Holden-Ried (listed on their site as Kristopher Holden-Ried) and Shannon Barnett. Directed By Scott McCord, screenplay By Juli Strader & Priya Rao, produced By Priya Rao, Juli Strader, Christine Tyson, Best, April will be screened at the Royal Theater (the very same theater that Sex After Kids screened at in January).
"When thirty-something April falls for Matt, a charming British author, she believes she’s found ‘the one’ and envisions a future together. Instantly smitten, she begins a flirtatious yet awkward communication via text message. When Matt first replies, April assumes the adoration is mutual. Except it’s not. Her schoolgirl crush is blinding and April is clueless to the fact that he has no romantic interest in her at all and is merely being polite. In a world where texts are meant to be charming and flirtatious, it’s a hard reality for April when hers are interpreted as uninvited and a little stalker-like. "
“The Canadian Film Fest is a non-profit organization devoted to the celebration, promotion and advancement of Canadian filmmaking talent. By exclusively featuring Canadian films, our goal is to provide filmmakers with valuable showcasing and networking opportunities and to offer the public homegrown productions to view and enjoy.”
Thanks for the heads up @SuzanneMetaxas! :)
EDIT: I have been informed that Kris Holden-Ried provides his voice only in the short film. But what a voice it is.
I have a plan! And it’s not a lame one like the Cylons had.
Lost Girl is Canadian so I’m not sure how much ratings in the US really effect whether or not the show gets a fourth season but ratings are important if we want to be able to see it on our TVs here in the States. However, ratings are figured by Nielsen and how many people are Nielsen viewers? How many people here matter? And if one thing Lost Girl has taught me is everyone matters.
That’s Doctor Who.
Everyone does matter!
Unless your name is Martha…
So the only way to make yourself heard if you are not a Nielsen household is to make some noise, on something other than tumblr and twitter. The joyous kind. In letter form. Preferably the snail mail hand written kind. (And if the post office near you sells stamps that raise money for charity then it doubles the awesome, in my opinion.)
So what am I proposing?
I think it’d be great to do Team Badass a solid and when watching Lost Girl legally on the SyFy (I still hate the new name!) channel, take note of the advertisers and then pick one and write them a nice note telling them you saw their ad during Lost Girl and appreciate their support for the show and tell them how you’ll be using their product. You could include demographic information if you chose, such as age, sex, & median household income if you want. But this is something I think should be done weekly. Especially from everyone out there that has been watching the episodes before they air. You know who you are, you know what I mean.
Don’t make me send Bo over there.
I was lucky enough to attend a screening of the film Sex After Kids at the Royal House Theater on January 11th along with the film’s director, producer, many of the cast and crew, contributors, and fans. To be fair it was a film friendly audience, but also in the crowd were a few who went in with no investment in the movie at all and from them I found they had the same reaction as did the fans: it was hilarious.
The movie would be categorized as a comedy. But what does that really mean? According to Wikipedia, (the source of all knowledge, right?), a comedy is, “to amuse and elicit laughter from the audience.” Check, check, and check. Then it goes on to list a series of types and Sex After Kids doesn’t exactly fit any of them. It’s a bit of a romantic comedy, but also fits some of the criteria to be considered a “black comedy” except, quite frankly, it’s too sweet and earnest for the way it tackles the ‘taboo’ subjects to fit into that category completely.
It’s a similar to ensemble comedies such as Home for the Holidays, Beautiful Girls, and Something’s Gotta Give but the cast is loosely affiliated yet connected like in such movies as Love, Actuallyor New Year’s Eve. So I’d like to propose a new category. Since it’s an assembled ensemble comedy I suggest: Assenembled comedy. New phrase! You heard it here first.
Sex After Kids gathers a fantastic cast of six-degree-separated parents as they deal with relations after having kids. In some cases the issues raised are 20 years after the birth of their kids. It’s like a coming of age story for adults about a time in life no one ever seems to talk about. There are so many (too many?) movies about twenty-something brats transitioning from college life into being an actual adult. But what about everyone who has done that, since life doesn’t stop once you give up keggers, settle down, and have a family.
I thought the movie was funny, honest, even if some of the situations were “exaggerated for comedic effect” (thanks Wikipedia!) and ultimately sweet. Amanda Brugel is my new hero. Zoie Palmer and Paul Roger Amos made me cry. And Kris Holden-Ried did that thing where at one point he says a line but turns that line into a whole story. Also, it looked beautiful, the locations felt authentic to each character and not overly staged. And although the movie didn’t get into much detail about each character I still felt that we got a full sense of who everyone was as people.
I wish I could sum up the movie easily, but it’s actually the type of movie that after you see it for days later you and your friends will be talking about various scenes and laughing again as you go through the funniest bits you can recall to the ones you suddenly remember again.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy from the film’s co-writer and director, Garfield Lindsay Miller, (who also wrote the film A Stone’s Throw), a few months back. I meant to review it then but wanted to wait after I got a few questions answered by Mr. Miller. That didn’t happen. Why? Well, here’s the thing… to my complete horror I found my email to him with all of the questions sitting in my drafts folder. Since August.
I never sent them.
I am a dolt.
I was so mortified that I spent two weeks trying to decide if I should (re)send them and hope he didn’t think I was a complete idiot. Fingers crossed!
Before I sent the questions (again) I decided to re-watch the movie and this time I cried at the end, which is strange because I hadn’t the first time I saw it. That wasn’t even close to my initial reaction, actually. Perhaps I was in a different frame of mind then, because when I watched it originally one of the first things I wrote down was, “I have a theory that the people you become friends with in High School you shouldn’t remain friends with because it’s a relationship based on mutual desire to get the hell out of High School alive and nothing more. And it’s nearly impossible to become the person you want to, or should be, if you surround yourself with people that refuse to let you forget who you were.”
That is vastly different than my reaction at the end after watching it the second time. This time I was more aware of the resolution and the forgiveness aspect of the film. It’s strange what time and events in ones life can do to ones perspective.
The Last New Year centers around a group of friends since High School that come together for an annual New Year’s Ever party dubbed “Fools and Bastards” by their now absent friend Richard. He disappeared months ago and questions of his fate permeate the evening as well as guilt, blame, bubbling resentments and a secret or two. Penny, Richard’s former girlfriend, nearly decides not to attend while another of the group, Mo, does decline to be at the party but sends her little brother Sebastian in her stead. I assume it’s in order to save her place as a member of the Fool’s and Bastards party since one of the rules is if you don’t make it to the party by midnight you are banned forever.
With tensions high and two new comers in the form of Sebastian and a late appearance by Eric, Penny’s fiancé (played by Kris Holden-Ried), the party goes on well into the early AM as secrets are eventually revealed, hopes for answers dashed, resentments hashed out, forgiveness not sought is given, and decisions finally made.
In all, the movie is an intimate look (both in tone and in the setting) at friendships, some that I still maintain might have gone on too long, with the group dynamic explored, torn apart, then put back together over the course of just one night. Events that might have just simmered right below the surface are exacerbated by the inclusion of the outsiders: one wanted, the other only partially welcome. Basically, the very presence of Sebastion and Eric force some in the group to confront their perceptions. And I was most impressed by the fact that a lot of what the actors had to convey was in what they don’t get to say. They all did it brilliantly.
The movie isn’t available yet on DVD but I sincerely hope it becomes so soon. But without everyone else having a chance to see it (yet) I can only review and describe and hope you trust my judgement in such things. I like to think of it as The Breakfast Club ten years later if the kids in that movie had had the guts to remain friends after their one day of detention. I also hope everyone will be able to decide if my description is apt by seeing the movie themselves. Perhaps, if I get answers to the questions I (finally) sent, Mr. Miller will tell us how we can help that hope become a reality. (Are your fingers still crossed? Mine are.)
The Titled Review for The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard.
Paul Sheppard is an asshole. I’m not being mean. He says so himself in the movie; and he’s not completely wrong. But he’s so sweetly deluded that you root for him anyhow as he goes on a self documented journey through his own love life. Paul, played by Kris Holden-Ried, enlists the help of his nephew, Phil (David Tompa), to be his cameraman. Ray (Alex Poch-Goldin), his producer, is tasked with being the sound tech since no one seems interested in financing the venture. Ray himself seems skeptical and keeps trying to get Paul to make a documentary about Pandas. Paul declines. Seems he has the same respect for pandas as I do. (See my ‘review’ for Girl’s Best Friend.)
There have been other films that revolve around one character tracking down former loves in an attempt to figure out their own life, but this movie is unique in that it keeps breaking the fourth wall as everyone in the movie seems to forget that they aren’t supposed to talk to Phil as he operates the camera. This, I guess you could call it “mockumentary” style, keeps the movie light, intimate, and interesting.
Inspired by his ex-girlfriend Sadie’s (Christine Horne) new poetry book, Paul sets out to make a movie about the modern relationship. His slant is that love and commitment are a matter of choice and unnecessary for fulfillment. Unfortunately for him no one else seems to be agreeing with his theory.
Per his plan Paul intends to interview three ex-girlfriends: Sadie, Haley Jones (Zoie Palmer), and Samantha (Mary Krohnert). Thanks to Ray’s meddling he also ends up interviewing his first ex-girlfriend, Lisa (Tricia Braun).
I don’t have a rating system, so I’ll just say I very much recommend this one if you can see it. During his pitch to Ray, he tells him that the film will be for “anyone who has ever dared to love.” Almost, Paul. You’re close. In actuality the movie is for anyone who has ever had their heart broken. And been an asshole about love. Who hasn’t?
Some random observations (that might be slightly spoilerish):
Paul’s hat was almost a character in itself.
Ray’s obsession with pandas was a hilarious. (If, in my opinion, misplaced.)
Loved the music.
After watching the movie I had to wonder, does one need their life condensed into a trailer to realize how fucked up they are? (If so, I’m totally screwed.)
This is a 17 minute short that as far as I can tell was only shown at two film festivals, VIFF and TIFF. To be honest I don’t understand the short film market. I’ve never seen a short that was released in theaters. Nor do I see many on TV. So I’m at a bit of a loss as to why they are made.
But I’m grateful that they are when they are this good.
Getting Uncle Navy was a goal. Yes I’m trying to watch everything, but this short was one I was focused on getting my hands on. I finally did just a few days before I went on vacation, (for my birthday), and when I pulled it out of my mail box I did an actual dance of joy in my foyer. Since then I think I’ve watched it at least 20 times. A few times was over the shoulder of whomever I was making watch it at work, home, and while on vacation… I think it’s safe to say I love this movie.
Uncle Navy (played by Kris Holden-Ried) is the second son in a series of second son losers. Every generation, for the past three at least, the second son is beset for his entire life with bad luck. Navy’s older brother Harry and his wife Patsy are about to have their second son, who is also guaranteed a life of misery and bad luck. The movie takes place in one day as Navy, with his nephew Hodgie in tow, tries to track down his lucky older brother on the golf course while Patsy is in the hospital about to give birth to the ill fated child.
After I watched it the first three times I began to think about bad days and everyone has had days where we all feel like we’re Uncle Navy. Nothing we do goes right, everything we try ends up pear shaped and it would be so easy just to give up. But like Navy, it’s important to just keep moving forward & to not give up hope.
Although it’s a short, everyone in it is just quality. The story is colorful, quirky, fun and heartfelt. There is a moment when Navy reveals just how desperate he is for a little relief from his constant bad luck and he becomes more than an object of a story length joke. I think that’s my favorite thing about the short. It could easily have been too ridiculous to really care what happens to Uncle Navy or anyone else. But it found that balance. However, I can’t find that balance in myself because completely randomly and devoid of anything in the short to indicate this I’ve decided that the therapist character is in fact the devil and he and Harry are playing a round of golf after a wager for either continued bad or some good luck for Navy. (And perhaps to avoid the curse carrying over onto Harry’s second son.) I have absolutely nothing to back this theory up. I just like thinking it.
If you want to make up your own mind about his evilness you can order a copy all for yourself! And I highly recommend that you do. Because you can’t find a copy of this short anywhere else. I know. I’ve tried.
To order a copy for 20.00 send an email to Deborah MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the producer of the short and she only has a limited number of DVDs available so order soon so you don’t miss out.
I’m finding it hard to review Habitat because that requires me to think about the movie and I don’t really want to do that having seen it. It’s like they found a porn film’s script but took out the sex and replaced it with homage to Swamp Thing. But to give the movie some conflict, they added the story of the new boy in town falling in love with the one girl in town he shouldn’t and that girl’s father doing everything, up to and including attempted murder, to keep them apart.
The movie was sticky, gross, odd, entandre-full, and incomplete. They actually had a story but it was so muddled with the sex analogy and the lack of thinking through the environment the characters should exist in that I can’t recommend this movie even for kicks.
Although I didn’t like the movie at all, I will say that the actors involved certainly seemed to take their jobs seriously. And for those curious, all I will say about Kris Holden-Ried is that in this I think he was fearless. To save yourself the trouble of watching the movie, there is a YouTube video of all his scenes. But be warned, the movie’s badness permeates everything. As for the other actors, I never get the sense that anyone was walking through their part because they knew the movie was going to be bad. (I’m still looking at you, Sean Connery in Highlander II. You’re disdain for that movie was obvious as you slept walk through the ‘inspiring speech’ scene. Jesus. You couldn’t even try, could you?)
Ah… back to Habitat.
Usually I link to where you can purchase a movie, but I’m not going to here. Google is usually your friend. But in this case if you find the movie Google has betrayed you.
Without hesitation I will recommend anyone watch this. I want to describe it as sweet, but there are definitely many not sweet moments. A few times I became infuriated and rolled my eyes, but it lasted only seconds and those moments were necessary for the story. The folks of Kansas don’t come out looking so good at times. (But it’s not like mob mentality or fear of the outsider is unique to small towns in the mid-west.)
A foreign exchange student arrives in the US thinking he is going to stay with a host family in Kansas City, but upon his arrival he is greeted by a housewife and her twin daughters from a town about 120 miles away. His host family had a fire and last minute arrangements had to be made. So off our hero goes with the kind family to their farm far away from his preferred destination. The eldest son, Charlie, is played by Kris Holden-Ried with such natural charm, is very glad to have another guy in the house his age.
Like Habitat, this story is about the new boy in town falling in love with exactly the wrong girl. But unlike Habitat, even the most outlandish of characters behaves in believable ways. And this movie has the added benefit in the form of Michael Ironsides as the wary sheriff of the small town. There are a few people that guarantee something will be better than it reads on paper, and he’s one of them. Despite his over protective nature towards his daughter and his apparent obliviousness to what an asshat the boy he wishes she would date is, you still feel sympathy for him and by the end are rooting for him as the hero.
The new boy, Mikko, is played by Mikko Nousiainen. Whenever an actor and character have the same name and have another talent that is showcased in a movie, for instance a great singing voice and guitar playing, which he does in one scene at an out of town bar, I can’t help but think that the entire movie was written for the sole purpose of showcasing the other talent than it was to tell a story. In this case, I don’t much care. He’s charming as a slightly put upon kid from Finland making the best of an unexpected situation and believably smitten with the exact girl he shouldn’t be.
The DVD I bought is PAL, Region 2 but it played on my laptop without a problem. It’s in English but does have subtitles. And the back cover is in (I think) Finnish.
I put the year in parenthesis because there is another movie that is also titled Gossip that I have reviewed below.
This movie stars James Marsden and Leena Hedley as college students that are in a journalism class together that start a false rumor as an experiment for their thesis. With their genius artist roommate, played by Norman Reedus, the three college students have to deal with the aftermath of their rumor when things take a deadly turn. Also starring is Kate Hudson and Joshua Jackson as the targets of the rumor.
I recall when this movie was released and I had seen the trailers that I felt that it would be the kind of movie that would tick me off, and I was right. I actually had to stop the movie about halfway through because I was so tense. Gossip and rumors are frustrating things. We think that truth is a tangible. Those events as they transpired are the ultimate proof of any situation, but without physical evidence to back up any memory, nothing is immune to motivation. And that drives me bonkers.
Eventually I turned the movie back and finished it up. The ending was a relief. And I don’t know what more to say. This movie is a drama, suspense thriller, and murder mystery rolled into one so anything I say would be a major spoiler. Once I allowed the story to play out I can admit that the movie was quite good. It raises valid points, told the story in a way that makes you question everything, and when it’s all done it made sense. What else can you really ask of a movie?
To those wondering, Kris Holden-Ried plays Bruce, and he’s mostly in the background. He’s there at some club where the rumor originates and he’s in a multi-person heated classroom debate, but that’s about it. So, if you want a good drama, thriller, murder mystery than I recommend this movie. If you’re looking for copious amounts of KHR, then seek the other movie also called Gossip that is reviewed next.
This was another Lifetime movie that arrived in the same packaging as Girls Best Friend. I’m starting to suspect that Lifetime movies creates a DVD from scratch when one is ordered rather than have a bunch done waiting for someone to want one. So they burn a disc and slap it in a box with nothing more than the title and a description on back. I supposed as long as they have the original file the movie will always be available, so that’s cool. But really, they couldn’t spring for some cover art? So if anyone wants to create some alternate DVD covers for either movie, I’d be grateful. To buy the movie: Click Here for the DVD or watch it on Amazon Instant.
The movie stars Kelli Williams as a soon to be divorcee that returns to her adorable sea side home town with her tween-aged daughter in tow looking for a place to stay with her brother and his pain in the ass, but well-meaning wife until she can get her life in order. Thinking she has found a port in the storm that is her life instead she discovers that her brother’s neighbors include her college boyfriend, played by Kris Holden-Ried, a man whom she left during a tumultuous time in his life and has regretted it ever since. (Because, well duh.)The shock of seeing her holds his tongue but as the movie progresses it becomes harder for him to tell his wife that the girl that broke his heart in college she has befriended and lives next door.
Like the other movie, gossip is frustrating and alters lives just by existing, whether or not it’s based on fact. But rather than be a movie about how gossip can be destructive, this movie seems to focus more on living your life despite what others might say or think. But that sometimes even the most secure can doubt their loved ones if enough stories about them are told. Unlike in the above Gossip, no one in this movie intends to do anything wrong. There is no deception by design. Just reaction and ill-advised keeping of secrets that turns into gossip fodder for some seriously bored townsfolk. But it wasn’t the rumor spreaders that I had the most distaste for. The sister in law drove me up the wall. She meant well, but at one point in the film, she practically demands to know details of a situation that is none of her business, and not being satisfied that she is getting the truth, she pushes things to a breaking point. Then has the nerve to situate herself between mother and daughter. She was very stressful to watch whenever she was on screen so it was a relief when the main character finally put her foot down. Unsurprisingly eventually secrets are revealed and everyone has to deal with the aftermath, but being a Lifetime movie you know that everything gets settled by the end without too much carnage.
But after watching two movies with gossip as the central mechanism for events, I have to say that gossip just sucks. And don’t do it. But do watch the movies. I think they are both suited to watch when stuck indoors due to weather. I call those movies “autumn flicks”. Good for viewing just as the weather starts to turn although the light still lingers late into the evening, but it’s not nice enough to spend all day outside. So why not curl up on the couch, wrapped in a comfy sweater, and watch other people work through some angst while living in either a picturesque town on the coast of the ocean or a too cool for school college town?
…a registered charity dedicatedt o advancing the art and appreciation of film, television and new media production in Canada for the benefit of Canadians.
So the money is going to a good use. For Canadians. And even though I’m not Canadian I’m OK with that. ;)
I told them there was a lot of interest. Don’t make a liar out of me. But in light of the fact that Big Girl is available for sale, I’m taking down the YouTube copy that is on this blog. The quality of the You Tube version isn’t that clean anyhow and the movie is adorable enough that I think it’s worth buying. Girls Who Say Yes isn’t exactly what it seems. In case anyone is wondering, it does not include any graphic depictions of sex. The clips I’ve seen on YouTube do kind of hint that it does. Just an FYI.
I bought this DVD off of Amazon.com used for about 44 cents, plus 2.98 for shipping and handling. It arrived about a week later in a clear plastic DVD case. For 3.42 I got a broken heart.
The movie stars Susan Sarandon and Christopher Plumber as a married couple, Melanie and David Winters, living in eastern Quebec province on what is possibly the most gorgeous farm I have ever seen. Living with them is their adult son Benjamin, played by Roy Dupuis, and his son Timmy. Melanie, a woman obsessed with recording the details of atrocities the world over, invites a man, Jakob Bronski, (played by both Max von Sydow and Kris Holden-Ried), that she knew when she was a child while in Camp Drancy, a French concentration camp erected after the Nazi occupation of France in 1942. Accompanying Jakob is Christopher Lewis, played by Gabriel Byrne, Melanie’s childhood friend who had also been in the camp despite not being Jewish.
The entire movie takes place over the course of just two days and centers around a feast being prepared by Benjamin, a gourmet cook, and ends the next morning. In that time Melanie, Christopher, and Jakob have to deal with emotions as memories, hopes, old resentments and confusion are resurrected and all of them are confronted with their horrific past. And Melanie finally realizes that Michael and Benjamin have had to deal with how that past has affected them as well.
I must not watch movies the way critics do because I found this movie to be beautiful and haunting as well as emotionally moving. Many reviews I’ve read don’t agree as much, saying either that the movie “plays out in a series of predictable events” or that it’s “too obvious” and “a little familiar” or “the feelings involved are never conveyed in this film. It’s all brain and no heart…” I wonder if maybe I’m dumb when I like a movie that critics don’t. But after I had watched the movie I had trouble sleeping that night because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and while at work the next day I had to keep getting up to go in the ladies room on the verge of tears because I kept thinking about Jakob and what he did for Melanie and Christopher and what it cost him and I didn’t want my co-workers to think my cat had just died or something. Doesn’t that mean that the movie damn well succeeded in conveying the feelings involved? I think so.
What specifically was it that affected me so? Jakob. And Benjamin. Although there is no way for me to ever comprehend what it was that Jakob, Melanie, and Christopher went through, I felt I could identify completely with Benjamin on two levels. The first being I understood what it was like to be an adult child of an unstable parent and also taking care of aging parents that despite having all their faculties about them that might not be so keen on taking care of themselves.
But Jakob… his character is one that I cannot, and quite frankly hope I never have to, identify with. I do understand both Melanie and Christopher’s near worship of him. Because I find he is the most admirable of men. And although he might not be real, history has taught us that there were hundreds of Jakobs. Thousands even. And they came in all sizes and both sexes. Men and women that put themselves in harm’s way to save another after being placed in that position due to nothing more than ideology. Jakob had his entire life stolen from him and for what? Because someone could put a fabric gold star on him. So what he did he do? He used any opportunity that he could to do good. To help others, no matter the cost to himself. And he considered it a gift to be able to do so.
Kris Holden-Ried plays Jakob as a young man in the French camp and we only see him in flash back from Melanie’s perspective. “Her Jakob” is all that we see. We don’t see him at the other camps he was sent too. We don’t see him in the gulag or the psychiatric hospital where he undergoes shock treatments for being an “incurable psychopath”, a label he earned after killing a guard in the gulag who was raping female prisoners. Despite the movie sparring us the imagery of what he went through, I think it might have made it more horrific to hear it spoken of in such a beautiful setting. And maybe that was on purpose. No matter how far we get from the ugliness of what humanity can do, it’s always there. It’s always true.
It’s not an easy movie, once it’s over. It’s easy to watch though. I don’t understand the critics. I never felt like I was watching an emotionless re-tread of a subject that has been covered before. I was awed by the beauty of the location, and I felt the characters were all real and completely believable, and they broke my heart. Not sure I’ll be watching it again, however.
I kind of like the original title, Textuality, so I’m not sure why it’s name was changed to Sexting (presumably) for the US market. Especially since no one does any actual sexting the entire movie. There is a lot of communicating via moble devices that they use as a running theme as well a gimmick to get from one scene to the next, but that’s not sexting. That’s just technology.
Romantic comedies aren’t my forte. Mostly because they usually rely on ridiculous things like a meet cute and some large demonstration of intent (usually by the guy) after one or two misunderstandings. There’s also a wisdom spewing friend who is usually more messed up than the protagonist and in many there’s an old person to offer perspective. This movie had all of that. However the players, both main and bit, are likable enough that it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does.
On paper, some of the characters suck. But, because we get to know them their transgressions are more easily forgivable. Simone, played by Carly Pope, has her gaggle of men that she calls for sex, but not one of them is under the impression that they are exclusive or in a relationship with her, and they all even know about each other. Which I think is how, if you are the kind of person that is OK with multiple partners and casual sex, it should be done. Where she fails is because of Clive. He’s a married man that she is also seeing that, unlike the others, she’s in love with. At the beginning of the movie she tries to break it off with him, again, but to no avail. Apparantly she just can’t quit him. Whatever.
Part of her “three musketeers” is Colin, played by Kris Holden-Reid, the most adorable pot head delusional musician I think I’ve ever seen on screen. While suffering the munchies he proclaims, “this is the best fucking egg salad sandwich I’ve ever had,” and you just want to hug him because he’s like a large dumb sweet Great Dane puppy. Then I remembered that I know that guy. I dated that guy. And the jerk still owes me money. Then there is Jacob, a germaphobe that gels up with antibiotic lotion every time he and Simone get together, and Marcus, a 26 year old NBA player. Despite the fact that she genuially seems to like all three of them as friends as well as for sex, she gives them all up after her meet cute & subsequent dates with Breslin.
Breslin, played by Jason Lewis, is a finance guy. He works at an investment firm with an office that has a window, so he must be pretty good. Except that the movie starts six months after he is left at the alter by Erin, a character that we never actually meet other than through pictures during the opening credits. He’s in a funk and losing clients. If he wasn’t sleeping with his immediate boss, he probably would have been fired months ago. He also has a trio of beauties, but unlike Simone he decides not to tell any of them about the rest. This on the advice of his paper boy best friend, Michael. Yeah, that’s going to turn out well. Breslin is a nice guy, except for the roster of women that don’t know about each other. But I am going to give him a pass on that since he was left at the alter. That’s a pretty devastating blow, emotionally. So even a nice guy can be forgiven for not responding by being a saint. The main problem I had with Breslin was that his voice sounded dubbed. I don’t know what it was about the way he talked, but it just sounded like it was coming from a recording while everyone else was live. It was disconcerting.
Among his roster is his boss Kara, Heather, whom he takes shopping mostly, and Dani, who teaches art. Dani seems to be his main gal as she stays over quite often and even asks him why he hasn’t updated his status on facebook from single. Of his roster, she is the one I feel the most for when things blow up.
But my god. This movie is like an ex-rated Brady Bunch.
Eventually Simone and Breslin get their acts together and despite bad behavior by both previously, you root for them.
Girls Best Friend *One Spoiler & my thoughts on Pandas*
I bought this DVD direct off the LIfetime site and got it six days later in a non-descript white envelope. Once opened out slide a non-descript DVD case in almost all back except for the red LIfetime logo on front. It looks vaguely Playboy Channel like. I don’t know what to think about that.
The movie is not something that would ever air on the Playboy Channel. It’s about a cantankerous 30 something music critic, played by Jenane Garofalo, that is trying too hard to not get hurt to the point of refusing to even acknowledge that Jake, played by Kris Holden-Ried, is her boyfriend let alone that he lives with her even though he’s been sharing her apartment for eight months. To avoid another argument about the status of their relationship, she agrees to a burdensome task given by her sister of driving her mother’s Pepto Bismal pink car across the country from Wisconsin with her mother’s beloved dog Binky as her co-pilot all the way to her mom who is being forced to stay at her sister’s house in Boston. Hijinks and emotional growth ensue.
I tried writing out a review but ended up doing that thing where I just re-cap the movie and give it all away. (Kind of like the “trailer” on You Tube. Warning: if you come across it, do NOT watch it. It’s less a trailer and more of a summary that tells the entire movie, only it makes it seem less good than it is.) So, I opted instead for a Q and A format.
Q: This movie isn’t your cup of tea, is it?
A: No. Actually, I don’t even like tea. Usually I go for movies with loads of ass kicking and pretty pretty explosions.
Q: Did you like it anyhow?
A: Very much so yes.
A: I could relate to Mary. I think emotionally we are the same. (And yes, that makes me sad. But I am taller than her. So go me.) Plus, at no point was there a “self-improvement” montage where the heroine has to undergo some kind of change in her physical appearance that included eyebrow plucking or structured underwear. Oh, and it’s funny.
Q: But she does cut her hair in one scene?
A: Dude! Spoilers! Well, yes. But it’s near the beginning and it was done out of boredom and what woman hasn’t done that at least once in their life? Except she just grabs small chunks, twists them tight, and hacks away at her hair with crafting scissors. Only people with curly hair can get away with that. If I had done the same I’d be asked about the horrific weed whacking accident I endured and how my face escaped any damage.
Q: Anything about the movie you’d change?
Well. Wait… would it have killed Mary to run a brush through her hair every once in a while? But, seriously, other than that no.
Q: Would you recommend the movie to others?
A: Yes. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen two people so comfortable together as Mary and Jake. Although I have to say that Jake has the patience of a saint to put up with all of Mary’s issues for as long as he does. So… where can I get one?
Q: Best thing about the movie?
A: Kris Holden-Ried holding a guitar.
Q: Worst thing?
A: The DVD cover. It has no art. And lack of anything else on the DVD itself, like a menu, chapter selection, specials, making of… nothing! It’s as if Lifetime put the absolute barest amount of effort into the DVD. Kind of like Mary and her hair. (It’s as if my frustration with her hair has turned me into my mother!)
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: I actually do not like pandas. Sure, they’re cute. But they are seriously stupid. The only reason they aren’t extinct is due to human intervention because they don’t seem to want to help themselves. They need medical science in order to breed and even after they have the baby panda they’re more likely to roll over on it while sleeping and smother it or ignore the thing in favor of lounging around eating whatever it is they eat & being dumb. This does relate to the movie. Honest.
So, if you want to find out for yourself how pandas fit into a slice of life movie about a music critic driving a dog across country, and trust me you want to, you can purchase it here.
True story about me: I’m kind of a sucker for the 'disaster flick'. This is basically any movie where humans are put in danger due to spectacular circumstances, like an unusually strong storm, a volcano that erupts where no volcano was before, earthquakes, asteroids, hurricanes, brush fire, ect. If a movie ends in an exclamation point, I will probably watch it with glee. My favorites are the ones with crazy scientists that are ignored but of course are completely right and by the end of the movie are vindicated when they save the world. But sometimes I like a good old “every-man vs. the weather” type story.
With that in mind, I watched Deadliest Sea this past weekend. This is The Perfect Storm, but in the Bering Sea instead of the Atlantic Ocean. And instead of Clooney and Walbergh, this has Peter Outerbridge & Greg Bryk, both of whom I watched & enjoyed on ReGenisis. This movie, according to IMDB, is based on a true story. So being curious I had to google and I found one site that speculated it was based on the St. Patrick, a boat where the crew abandoned ship when they became afraid it would sink, only to have the ship be found still afloat after the storm sometime in the ’80s. Some of what I found: Link. Link. Link. Sounds about right.
Basically this movie is about desperate people (mostly men) doing dumb things and getting themselves into trouble. The audience’s in is through Tommy, a newbie to the Kodiak that has flown in for ‘adventure’ on the high seas. His voice over offers some philosophical bull about men finding themselves through trial or challenge or whatever. Seriously, men, stop thinking this crap.
Kris Holden-Ried plays “Bear”, the genius mechanic that keeps the St. Christopher afloat with used parts, swearing, and skill. At the very beginning of the movie he does a walk through of the ship to go from the engine room to the captains… perch.. or whatever you call it, and along the way he makes several observations before he finally gets to the captain and utters the classic Star Wars line, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” and as it turns out, everything he says comes true. He complains about the crane not being done right. It breaks away later and causes much damage. He bitches about the antenna not being fixed properly. It breaks later and the crew can’t call for help at a critical moment. He tells the captain he won’t be able to keep the boat running with the crap parts he has available. The boat breaks down. He’s like the crazy scientist of the movie. But he doesn’t save the world, sadly.
There’s the captain, having marital issues. His trusty second in command, “Stubbs” that’s a third generation fisherman, so he pretty much thinks everyone else is a poser and that he’s magically better at the job than anyone else. He likes to give crew a hard time by being a hard ass as if it’s a virtue. Whatever.
There is a crew member that Stubbs love to harass the most: a former rodeo clown. I didn’t like this guy. He was just one of those guys that screws around and ruins things and when you yell at them for it think saying sorry makes it all OK and then they just go right back to screwing around. I’m blaming him for everything. I didn’t like him so much I didn’t even bother to remember his name. He dies. Good.
To round out the crew is the token woman, there to demonstrate how hard it is to be a woman in that world, even though of the 6 men on the boat, only one is a dick to her. As it turns out (as it does in almost every disaster flick I’ve seen) she’s pregnant! I’d very much like it if they would stop doing that. Stop making women “interesting” only because they are in the family way.
And there is also a token black guy and this is his final run. He’s got a job waiting for him in Kentucky and a daughter to put through law school. He was basically just a nice guy.
The movie was OK. It was pretty much what you expected. Bad boat, bad storm, bad ending. Most of the time the cast spent yelling over high winds and having buckets of water thrown on them while being tossed about. That can not have been fun. I sincerely hope that at least the water that was being tossed on them was warm. Luke warm at least. And apparently this was made by the same producers that make Deadliest Catch, the reality show about fishing off the coast of Alaska that airs on the Discovery Channel. I supposed they needed a ‘true story’ to maybe amp up the danger the crews they were following were in on a daily basis? So if you’re a fan of disaster movies or Deadliest Catch, give it a go. Otherwise, watch something else.
ETA: In the beginning of this post, I said that the movie was based on a true story. I think I mispoke. It’s more inspired by a true story. I feel the need to clarify, because being based on a true story would mean that they were at least attempting to depict what probably happened to actual people in a dramatic fashion, using some poetic license to do that. Being inspired by a true story means they took an actual event but put completely made up people in that situation and are not in any way implying that a real former rodeo clown killed everyone because he ate the damn lucky pie. (Or let go of the life raft. Or failed to do his job so that the radio wouldn’t work when they needed it most. So this movie is a bit like James Cameron’s Titanic. Yes, the Titanic did actually sink, but there was no Jack or Rose or priceless sapphire heart that rode around in the pocket of a woman that was determined to prove that money doesn’t buy happiness. Which, by the way, is crap. Because sometimes money pays the rent and guess what? Not being able to pay the rent isn’t happiness either. WHY DID SHE THROW THE DAMN THING OVERBOARD??
Uh, which has nothing to do with Deadliest Sea. Except that maybe I’m starting to think that people on the ocean do dumb things as if it’s an acutal rule.
As I mentioned in my semi-review, I paid a lot for my copy of the DVD on Amazon.com, even for a used copy. I assumed the price was so steep because they weren’t making them anymore. After watching the movie (a few times) I realized I might want to have more copies to maybe give out as gifts for a large gift giving holiday in mid-winter. (This is not confirmation anyone is getting one. Just sayin’.) (I’m lying. Many people so totally are getting a DVD for the holiday that is celebrated completely coincidently around the time of the Winter Solstice.) (But act surprised, m’kay?) So I contacted the company listed on the DVD about the high price and if they would ever have it for streaming. (Because on their website, a lot of their movies are available for download.) This was the response I got back:
"Thank you very much for contacting us. We only distribute the film in Canada, so we don’t sell to Amazon.com, but rather Amazon.ca. You can get it on Amazon.ca for about half the price: here’s the link.
Alternatively, if you live in Canada, you should be able to find it at your local HMV.
The film is not available digitally and there are no plans for a digital version.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else.
I’m pretty sure this was a made for TV movie and it felt like it was based on a character from a series of books. I don’t know this for sure, but it just had that kind of vibe. The main character was a cop but quit the force and became a journalism professor. Naturally when a friend is found dead in a seedy motel, she sticks her nose into the investigation to the irritation of the detective on the case.
As far as a murder mystery goes, it was alright. Except that I started to have issues with her attitude about her deceased friend who was a philandering asshat, (sleeping with both college students and colleague’s spouses), when she was talking with the people he hurt the most. She seemed almost oblivious to how his behavior would effect them, like they should have somehow just accepted that his sleeping around was a quirk in his personality.
But I did appreciate that the put upon detective and the former cop/journalism professor came to the identity of the killer independently. It bugs me when the cops have to be lead by the nose to the killer by an outside person.
Kris Holden-Ried played a college student that was friends with another victim and the main suspect. He drinks, he defends his friend, he wears loud shirts, and he turns out to be a nice guy. If you like murder mysteries, this would be an OK one. It’s not too dated either, despite being 10 years old. It’s available on Netflix.
I took a bit of a leap of faith with this movie since I could only find it on Amazon.com and it was the most expensive DVD I’ve purchased that wasn’t a multi-disc set with 6 hours worth of extras. A new DVD was priced at 69.99. I bought one used, and even that was 39.99. Despite the steep price I’m so glad I bought the DVD because I do not want to give it back to anyone.
I’m not a reviewer. They have a tendency to speak to things that I either don’t care about or even notice. Such as the director’s intent, scale of things, themes, or more tangible items I don’t really notice like how many times you can see a ceiling in a shot and they’ll say how that indicates someone’s world is “closing in around them” or maybe they’re “outgrowing their world”. (Actually, I don’t think anyone has ever said the latter. But next time I see a lot of ceilings in a movie, that’s what I’m going to assume… unless it takes place on a submarine or spaceship. Because, well, yeah.)
Instead of a long drawn out review with lots of metaphors and flourish, I’ll just say I loved this movie. F-loved. I’m writing this on Saturday evening. I got the DVD Friday. I’ve watched it twice already. And it may or may not be playing while I’m typing this… (It is.)
And now we’ve come to the part of any post where I don’t know how much to say about the movie because I don’t want to just recap the entire thing but I really do wish as many people as possible see it; even if it was released 6 years ago. Sometimes good things take time, I guess.
So I’ll steal (I mean quote) the blurb on the back of the DVD: “Set in the achingly beautiful world of rural Nova Scotia, A Stone’s Throw follows the journey of photojournalist Jack Walker, who arrives unannounced in the remote seaside town where his sister, Olivia, lives a carefully constructed and insulated life with her two children. Jack, charming but guarded, is reticent about both the reason for his visit and the secrets of his recent past.” And that’s all I want to say about the plot. So now I’ll just bullet point things I scribbled down while watching:
· Jobs vs. environment debate on the radio. What good is having a job if you can’t breath?
· Hmm. He ignored her mentioning their dad’s death.
· I hate wooden wind chimes.
· Everyone is focused on looking at things. Cameras, telescopes, ect.
· That is an EPIC sweater!
· The silent moments aren’t empty. (BTW, I’m not sure what I meant when I wrote this.)
· Love the music. So fitting.
· Why is it people with kids in movies have the narrowest view?
· Was kind of hoping the ending didn’t have to happen. But of course it did.
I also live tweeted it, so there are more random observations there too. I’m sure they’re all just as insightful as the above. (That’s sarcasm, by the way.) Search #KHR56 if you’re curious.
After the movie was over I went to IMDB to see if the woman that directed it, Camelia Frieberg, had done anything else. She’s produced a lot of movies, but only directed this one full length movie and one short back in 1988. I’m mildly disappointed about that. I was hoping she had more.
Not sure how to close this post. So I’m just going to stop typing and watch the rest of the movie. Again.
This is a self imposed “project” where by I attempt to watch every single item listed on IMDB for Lost Girl actor Kris Holden-Ried. I quote project, because other than getting the various movies, TV episodes, ect. I really don’t have to do anything other than sit on my ass and watch. Real projects should involve more effort in order to really earn the word. So, if anyone has an alternative…
I’ve already seen quite a few items on the list thanks to the copious linking by other @KrisHolden_Ried followers on twitter. They just love finding stuff and I am grateful. One woman had all of his scenes from his time on the Canadian teen soap (that’s what it is, right?) Degrassi. There was a video on You Tube of all his scenes from the pilot episode of The Bridge, a cop drama starring one of the Final Five cylons. He played a dirty cop and even though his character was pretty much a complete dick, he was still the most compelling person on my tiny little 3.5 inch screen. But he freaked me out at the end of the episode when it became clear his character was going to be brought in under arrest while still in his uniform. There was this tone in his voice, of panic, fear, and anger that actually haunted me for days. So I’m not sure if I’ll seek out the other two episodes he is in. Or if I do, I’ll have to immediately watch his episodes of The Listener again, a cop drama that features a main character that can hear what everyone else is thinking. (Which is my kind of procedural. I love the shows with that kind of quirk.) He played the ex-husband of a main character that is asked to help out on a case involving a high stakes game of poker. The main word that comes to mind when I think of those episodes is swagger. Dude’s got it.
I got A Touch of Pink from Netflix months ago. I haven’t returned it yet. One, because I’m lazy and two, it’s an adorable movie. I think it was the first non-Lost Girl thing I watched of his. I came across it because the trailer for the movie came up during a YouTube search and I was curious. (Plus, Kyle Maclaughlin was in it. The Kwisatz Haderach! How could I not watch it?) First thought I had as soon as he (KHR, not Kyle) appeared on screen? That’s not Dyson. Well, duh. He wasn’t supposed to be. He was Giles. But, I think it was one of the first times where I saw an actor in something different than what I know them from and they were a completely different person, not just a different version of someone I already ‘knew’. I hope that makes sense. I watched the movie three times more since then.
Once I came up with the idea for this “project”, I immediately set to Netflix to fulfill as much of the list as I could. Turns out, Netflix doesn’t have that much. Then I hit Amazon.com. Same story. Ebay? Uh, nope. Total wash there.
Hmm. I think I have given myself a more difficult challenge than I anticipated.
And that just gets my Irish up. (And maybe my German too. They’re a stubborn lot, no?) Because now I’m annoyed. And when I’m annoyed, I become more determined. Seriously, it’s kind of a stupid way to be. But that’s a challenge for another day.
I don’t really have a plan or a schedule. Mostly because I can’t keep to one if so much of what is on the IMDB list becomes hard to nearly impossible to get and watch. I guess I’ll have to call this project a “vague goal”. I have a feeling that at some point it’s going to turn into an extremely annoying scavenger hunt.
But in my typical love-to-catorgize-everything fashion I am considering starting an Excel Spreadsheet, just to keep track of certain things like how many times does he die, or kiss someone, (because, seriously, he seems to do a lot of that), or if it’s a period pieces vs something contemporary and then… pie charts! Shut up. They’re fun.
Tonight I’ve got the movie A Stone’s Throw to watch, thanks to Amazon.com. I might live tweet it, so if you want to follow along, I’m at @NYPinTA and I’ll use the hashtag #KHR56.