Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trailer-Incredible Hulk

The trailer for the new film is out!!! And well, it's incredible!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Emotional Arithmetic

First off, Las Vegas was amazing!!! We even came back with money.

All right, The Kingston Canadian Film Festival 2008 edition was a success. Thought we'd get a chance to see more films, but did manage to see one, Emotional Arithmetic.

It's a film about three people who reunite after forming a bond in a prison camp during World War Two. It stars Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Byrnes, Roy Dupuis and Max Von Sydow.

Emotional Arthimetic has its heart in the right place, but somewhere loses the momentum.

Christopher Plummer is outstanding as David Winters, Melanie Lansing Winters(Susan Sarandon)husband. Other than his performance, it seemed like the other stars just drove up to Canada, filmed their scenes, picked up their pay cheques and drove home.

It wasn't their fault. The screenplay was weak. Certain scenes didn't pay off and others were there just to be there. For example, Roy Dupuis' character, Benjamin Winters still lived at home while raising his son. The script mentions his wife, but fails to mention that maybe she died, divorced, whatever. It didn't work. He's a chef in the film, but his food preperation skills never connected to the plot.

A quarter of the way into the film, Melanie Lansing Winters starts taking her meds. It should have been introduced before, like the first time we see her.

Gabriel Byrnes character, Christopher Lewis is Irish. He has an accent. When they show flashbacks, he's a child without an accent. In fact, as Mary Beth pointed out; everyone had accents in a film set in the Eastern Townships. The problem? nobody spoke French.

Max Von Sydow's Jakob Bronski fires a gun. David hears the rifle going off and confronts him. Later, he tells Melanie that he sees death in Jakob. When you see the film, you'll understand why this doesn't make sense.

Finally, screenplays have three acts. This film had four. Another example of a four act film was Pollock. Really, a four act film has bookends that carry on for twenty more minutes, thus dragging out the film and adding more information that should have been spread out through the first three acts.

The film wasn't horrible, but with an incredible cast and an intriguing story, it could have been tighter and well, better.

** (out of five)

Sunday, March 2, 2008


The Reel Cafe will be closed until March 8th 2008

PS: We're going to Las Vegas!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Thought I'd like to share my thoughts on my favourite film, Unforgiven.

Without a doubt, Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood's finest achievement. It's a masterpiece that embodies everything Eastwood has done before. It's also a tribute to Sergio Leone and Don Siegal. Quite possibly a bookend to Eastwood's westerns.

Clint Eastwood stars as William Munny, a retired gunslinger and now a down on his luck pig farmer. When a younger gunfighter The Schofield Kid, rides onto the farm, he tells William about a reward for the "Cutting of a Whore". William refuses saying he's retired, but the pig farm is suffering and he's got two young children to feed. William has no other choice.

William Munny is a complex character. Not only is he a retired Gunslinger, but a reformed alcoholic. He says this periodically throughout the film. "My wife cured me of my wicked ways"

Morgan Freeman plays, "Ned" William Munny's partner. Ned is content working his own farm and married to Sally Two Trees. In many ways, Ned is the character that William should be. Content, practical and logical. Ned is a changed man at the beginning of the film. He doesn't need any transformation. However, he is William's old riding partner and he will help out his friend.

Each character has their own complexities. Even the Schofield Kid. He's the young desperado. The one who sees the legend in William but wants to take his crown. He wants to be the next one. What the Kid lacks though, is experience.

Gene Hackman portrays Little Bill. Now, there's a reason why Gene Hackman won an Oscar for this role. Little Bill is the Sheriff of Big Whisky. He's mean, tough and a killer. He upholds the law and believes in his system. No right or wrong. Justice. He explains to a Mr. Beauchamp, a biographer chronicling the life of English Bob(played outstandly by Richard Harris) about the workings of firing a gun,

"It's cold ain't it?"

Little Bill is everything that William Munny, Ned, English Bob and The Schofield Kid are not. On the flipside, Little Bill is every character combined.

He's what William Munny used to be. He's building a house which is the peacefulness of Ned. He has the built up legend of English Bob and he's got the wide eyed enthusiasm of the Schofield Kid.

In the most poignant scene in Unforgiven, The Schofield Kid and William Munny are waiting by a tree for one of the prostitutes to bring them their reward money. The Kid says to William,

"I shot him five times while he was taking a piss" which William responds,

"You sure shot the hell out of that fella."

"Yeah, well, I guess he had it coming."--The Kid

"We all got it coming, Kid"

Unforgiven is not a western, it's not an anti gun film. Sure, it has some of these themes, but really, it's a story of regret, loss, sorrow, doubt and pain. or in this quote,

"I don't deserve to die like this..."

"Deserves got nothing to do with it."

Watch Unforgiven. It is an incredible film.

***** (out of five)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Wrap-Up

Amid all the glitz, glamour and hoopla; there were awards presented last night. First off, Jon Stewart is an amazing host. Hope he's back next year.

On that note, I hope Ben Mulroney of E Talk Daily is not back next year. That is one horrible host with a really bad haircut.

I'm glad The Coen Brothers cleaned up. Again, if you haven't seen No Country For Old Men; see it. Then, see it again. It was also kind of fitting it won Best Picture(read the post on No Country For Old Men to find out-I love you Mary Beth).

Here are the winners:

Best Picture: No Country For Old Men

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard

Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem

Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton

Director: The Coen Brothers

Original Screenplay: No Country For Old Men

Adapted Screenplay: Juno

I would have liked to see some Canadians win at the festival, but proud of the winners anyways. If you get the chance, check out the short film, Madame Tutli-Putli. It'll be at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival next week.

Check back at The Reel Cafe for full reviews of the Festival.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Michael Clayton

Remember when George Clooney was the bobble headed caped crusader chasing a frost bitten Arnold Schwarzenegger through the streets of Gotham City? Or how about Jo's boyfriend on Facts of Life? Now wait, I'm putting my finger to my lips on this one: Kevin Stark on the ill fated Street Hawk?(I loved that show!)

Apparently, neither does George.

I was skeptical of Mr. Clooney for the longest time, but over the last ten years, he's proven himself to be an exceptional actor and director(Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

Which brings me to Michael Clayton.

Michael Clayton is the fixer of a law firm. The man who everyone turns to when they need a mess cleaned up, but when the firm's top lawyer, Arthur(played by Tom Wilkinson)becomes a whistleblower, Michael is called in. However, his life is on the line and this mess may be too much for Michael to clean up.

It's not a bad film, but I've never been into Court Room dramas, but George Clooney is great in this film.

Sometimes a little confusing and other times set ups aren't pay off for example, Michael Clayton being the single father falls flat. The gambling addiction never seeks counselling either.

Other than that, Michael Clayton proves to be another great George Clooney film.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Oscar Weekend Pool

Just a reminder to make your picks for this year's Oscars. Having an Oscar Party or Pool? Here is a PDF list of the nominees:

So just for fun, make your picks and come Monday we'll award the inaugural Reel Cafe Oscar Pool. A few posts ago, I made my picks, so now it's your turn.