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FanExpo Held At The Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

David Cronenberg Sunday 29th August 2010 FanExpo held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Toronto, Canada

Paris, Texas Review

There is a mysticism that enshrouds Paris. The grand cityscape of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe situated on the River Seine gives the city of lights its romanticism. But in Paris, Texas, there is only a desolate plot of land that holds the dreams of Travis Henderson. And though the earth is scorched and he has never seen the lot, except in a picture he carries with him, it is no less important. It's this dichotomy between the universal, romantic reminiscence of Paris, France, and Travis' Paris that drives him to reconnect with his 10-year-old son and estranged girlfriend.

Wim Wender's film opens with Travis wandering in a Texas desert. Lost for four years, Travis' brother, Walt, travels to Texas to claim him and takes him back to Los Angeles where Walt lives with his wife and Travis' son. Given Travis' absence, his son has all but forgotten about him -- causing Travis to clean up his act and get his life back in order. Given that Travis doesn't say a word for the first 20 minutes of the film, it's a little bizarre when the film focuses solely on him in the second and third acts -- turning a blind eye to Walt and his wife, who have been moving the story along for the first half.

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To Live And Die In L.A. Review

Tough as nails cop drama has an on-the-edge cop (Petersen) doing anything he can to take down the counterfeiter (Dafoe) who killed his partner. Extremely bloody and gruesome, To Live and Die in L.A. shows exactly how painful it can be to get shot, butchered, and burned alive. In other words, there's a whole lot more dying than living going on here... Music by none other than Wang Chung.

Long Day's Journey Into Night Review

Thanks to her natural trembling, Katharine Hepburn makes for a truly amazing drug addict, in this harrowing and devastation Sidney Lumet film, adapted from Eugene O'Neill's autobiographical story of his turbulent (to put it mildly) home life. In a nutshell: It's one horrific night when all sorts of dirt is dished: From mom's morphine addiction and resentment of son Edmund (Dean Stockwell) over the death of her third-born, to dad's (Ralph Richardson) alcoholism and distaste for mom, to more sibling rivalry from firstborn Jamie (Jason Robards).

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The Player Review

From the master of independent cinema, Robert Altman, comes the blackest of satires, The Player. Postmodern, intelligent, suspenseful, funny, brilliant. All of these very useful adjectives apply to this film. There is no way around it: The Player is great.The Player, as I stated, is a black satire from the director of Short Cuts, M*A*S*H, and Nashville. It follows Griffin Mills (Tim Robbins), a villain we love to hate, and, ironically, our main character. Mills is getting postcards. Each one is a threat on his life, and telling others, due to the fact that his position as a studio exec is threatened by up-and-coming producer Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher), is a threat on his career.At the beginning, Mills is charismatic, even likable. But he's quickly shown for the snake that he is. In the words of Tim Robbins, who deserved but was not even nominated for an academy award for his role, "he's manipulative, he's a son of a bitch." It's true, it's all true.The threatening postcards lead him to believe that a writer is sending them. A rejected writer. However, in the cruel industry of movies which kills more ideas than WWII killed people, this does not narrow it down. What does narrow it down is one of the more bizarre moments of the film. He's in the hot tub with Bonnie, story editor and girlfriend (and, by, the way, the only moral character of the movie), when he asks her about his own life. However, unable to formulate it into his own life, he explains it through movies. He gives her a pitch, asks her how long it will be before the writer-in-question becomes dangerous, and she narrows the selection of writers down by providing a five-month time period before danger arrives.Using this, he selects David Kahayne, hack-writer of the bubonic plague of Hollywood: the unhappy ending. David's what movie people call "unproduced", a writer who's a member of the WGA (Writer's Guild of America, which holds a fairly good monopoly on writers in Hollywood) but who hasn't sold a script. He calls his girlfriend June Gudmundsdottir (Gretta Scacchi, pronounced good man's daughter) and finds out where to find him. The surprise there, of course, is that his nickname is, according to June is "the dead man".Kahayne is in Pasadena, enjoying himself at the Rialota watching The Bicycle Thief. Mills confronts him about the postcards, and, in a fit of rage, kills him in a parking lot. Of course, fitting with the Hollywood that it satires so well, he didn't kill the right person. And now, Griffen Mills is being investigated by the police, is falling in love with June, is trying to secure his position as head of the studio, and, on top of it all, fearing for his life.The movie is artistically brilliant and interestingly postmodern. In a very ironic way, the ending is the beginning: a pitch by the mysterious psychotic writer of a movie called The Player, about the events you have just seen. It references itself: naming the record for a tracking shot in an American motion picture (formerly held by Orson Wells' Touch of Evil) while breaking it. Having a main character from D.O.A. being asked if he remembers the film. Talking about eliminating the writers from the artistic process the day after Mills has murdered the writer.There normally isn't much I can say about a film. In my life, there are maybe ten films I could go on and on about, and you have the luck to hopefully see this one. It makes statements. It predicts things. It was ironic at the time it came out and is ironic now.For instance, Griffin Mills is quoted as saying "movies are art, now more than ever" while, at the very same time in the real world, movies were flocking back to the existence of the art film. It is sheltered in a unique ambiguity: June discovers the Mills killed her boyfriend and doesn't care. The good are punished, the bad survive: Bonnie is fired and left for proverbial dead while June and Mills live happily ever after.This is the film for movie buffs. It makes you stop and think about what speeds in front of your face at 24 frames a second. It states things about the industry in a uniquely detached manner, where people talk about all the dark things of the industry as if they were drinking cappuccinos.For instance, another quote by Griffin Mills, asshole producer but satiric god, addresses the elements needed in a modern studio film: "Suspense, laughter, violence. Hope, heart. Nudity, sex. Happy Endings."It is brilliant. It is one that you have to own. It is the movie to watch.

Dune (1984) Review

Did you know David Lynch at one time considered directing Return of the Jedi? Legions of George Lucas fans are probably delighted that he never got the shot, because for better or for worse (probably for worse) it might have turned out like the bizarre sci-fi experiment Dune. I've sometimes been accused of defending Lynch even when he's not working at his best. That's clearly the case here, resulting in a compromised megabudget effort where Lynch attempts to indulge his graphic art sensibility and please a mass audience at the same time. It just doesn't fly.

But Lynch fans might find stuff to enjoy in Dune anyhow. After all, there's a floating bug monster that parlays with Jose Ferrer's space emperor in the early going, flanked by legions of somnambulant slaves in black raincoats that probably inspired the villains in Dark City. This is followed by Kenneth MacMillan's puss-faced Baron Harkonnen floating around on wires, plucking out the heart of an angel-faced boy-toy (who was planting Blue Velvet-style pastel flowers only moments earlier), and sharing some homo-erotic blubbering with his nephew Feyd (played by Sting, who can't act but lends the film his charismatic rock star presence). Even when the plot is difficult to follow -- some nonsense involving a trade war over different planets that all made sense in Frank Herbert's original novel -- there's enough giddy comic book theatrics to keep Dune interesting as it meanders along for nearly three hours.

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Buffalo Soldiers Review

Delayed from release for two years due to the world political climate, Buffalo Soldiers is a movie that is categorically worth the wait.

A dark comedy on par with Pulp Fiction, Aussie director Gregor Jordan (in his second film) transports us to Germany in 1989, on an American Army base during the waning days of the Cold War. These enlisted troops aren't your Officer and a Gentleman go-getters. They're criminals, offered the option to serve their country in lieu of staying in jail. But since there's no war on, getting in to trouble is the only thing to do. As our protagonist says, "There was nothing to kill but time."

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Air Force One Review

When one sees Glenn Close portraying the vice-president, one begins to realize just how much she looks (and can act) like Gerald Ford.

Frankly, I was shocked to discover how much I liked Air Force One. Yes, it has villainous Russians who can never see our good guy President (Harrison Ford) when he's hiding right in front of them (much less shoot him). Yes, it has Secret Service guys who die at the hand of the enemy like flies in a bug zapper. Yes, it has the cheesiest special effects this side of of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Yes, it features a rambling Gary Oldman in one of his clearly improvised looney-tune terrorist/psychopath roles. I could go on and on...

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The Dunwich Horror Review

Rather amusing but tepid and tiresome adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft classic, The Dunwich Horror is redeemed only by a wild-eyed and wild-maned Dean Stockwell as a campy half-demon dude obsessed with the occult and the summoning of the demon Yog-Sothoth from another dimension. Priceless green-red-blue color effects stand in for these otherworldly locales. Really quite silly and repetitious.

Cq Review

Am I supposed to be excited that Francis Ford Coppola's son is directing his first film? Apparently everyone else is. Maybe Roman Coppola will become the genius director his father is. But if he wants to prove it, he's going to have to do a bit better than CQ.

CQ stars mostly people you've never heard of in a movie about making movies that were never actually made. Don't worry, it's really not that confusing. Boring, yes, but certainly not confusing. Jeremy Davies plays Paul, a struggling young director, who funds his personal film by working as a film editor on a cheesy, big budget science-fiction movie. But his director doesn't have an ending, and eventually Paul finds himself gifted with the job.

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Mr. Wrong Review

Ellen DeGeneres's subsequent sexuality announcements make her appearance as a single woman desperate for a man in Mr. Wrong more than a little humorous... and that's about it. Her schtick doesn't come across here, the jokes obvious from a mile away. And that's if you consider them "jokes." Bill Pullman is always a pleasure, but not even his fantastically dry wit can salvage this slow-motion train wreck.

Song Of The Thin Man Review

It wouldn't be Hollywood if they didn't wring too much out of a good idea, an axiom proven with Song of the Thin Man, the none-too-memorable conclusion to the six-film Thin Man series which started in 1934. Things start off nicely on the boat S.S. Fortune, which has been rented out for a swank gambling benefit and has a hot jazz band scorching up the stage. Nick and Nora are there, of course (apparently back on the sauce, though moderately), enjoying the rare night out away from their child Nick Jr., played by an 11-year-old Dean Stockwell, who is delightful in his absence from a majority of the film. The bandleader, in trouble with some bookies and needing money, gets shot in the back. Though we're in the dark as to who did it; this is a film that dates from an era when you could still have a gun slowly appear from behind a door and shoot somebody without us ever seeing the person holding it. It's also the kind of film that hearkens back to an earlier era of film where the cops still all have brogues and are named Clancy or Callahan.

For most of the film, Nick and Nora are chasing about after the killer(s) and getting a quickie introduction to the jazz world, one strangely uninhabited by African-Americans. The dry-martini duo get dragged to a number of kuh-raaaaazy daddio hepcat happenings, which juices things up somewhat, as the mystery here is somewhat of a klunker and one that you quickly stop trying to bother figuring out.

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The Manchurian Candidate Review


Director Jonathan Demme's remake of "The Manchurian Candidate" is eerily effective in bringing the 1962 masterpiece of chilling dark satire and dangerous political corruption up to date for a world in which corporations seemingly pocket candidates, terrorists threaten freedom and fear-mongering has virtually become a campaign platform.

In this new film, the original's stiff, communist-brainwashed war hero and would-be presidential assassin Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) has become an unstable war-hero vice-presidential candidate (Liev Schreiber) made very susceptible to suggestion by a defense-contracting conglomerate (modeled on the Carlyle Group and Halliburton). And his controlling, calculating, daunting and devious behind-the-scenes mother (the brilliantly ominous Angela Lansbury in '62) has become a bulldozing, hawkish senior senator in her own right (played slightly more shrill by Meryl Streep).

An obligatory girlfriend role filled by Janet Leigh 42 years ago is refashioned into someone altogether more pivotal to the plot (a seeming good Samaritan played by Kimberly Elise). And Maj. Bennett Marco, the nightmare-haunted central character (then Frank Sinatra, now Denzel Washington) who pieces together a startling conspiracy, has become a victim of Gulf War Syndrome and at times hangs onto his own sanity by a very thin thread.

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Cq Review


At once an homage to and a spoof of two signature styles of late 1960s cinema, "CQ" is an enjoyably eccentric entry into feature filmmaking by a writer-director who has the art form in his blood -- Roman Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola's son.

The title refers to an old Morse Code and ham radio signal sent to seek any kind of response ("seek you"), and it's reflective of the movie's main character. An ambivalent aspiring filmmaker (Jeremy Davies) seeking inspiration in 1969 Paris, he's torn between his desire to make a conceptual, black-and-white New Wave art film and his day job editing a studio's cheesy, sexploitive "Barbarella"-like B-movie.

Gritting his teeth over silly science fiction by day, he spends his nights locked in his bathroom, burning through miles of "borrowed" film on rambling autobiographic monologues while his live-in girlfriend frets in frustration. Davies' dilemma comes to a head when the manic director of the sexy sci-fi flick (played with comedic panache by Gerard Depardieu) is fired over creative differences.

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