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Prom Night (1980)

Prom Night (1980)“For a guy so fast on the disco floor, you sure are the slowest.”

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This original Prom Night was a bit of a surprise. I had no idea it was filmed in Don Mills, where I’ve lived the majority of my life. Perhaps it comes of not being a fan of horror, or at least slasher flicks.

A stretched effort of uneven pacing, there’s not even much slashing in it. Its deadliest weapon might actually be the boredom. For most of its duration, I amused myself by imagining its headline stars — Leslie Nielsen and Jamie Lee Curtis — gallivanting around my neighbourhood.

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Tribute to Wolf Koenig: Free TIFF Event

Tomdalyatsteenbecksmaller“Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth.”

God, we love TIFF. Particularly the TIFF events that celebrate Canadian cinema. This Saturday, Oct. 11 we are going to miss an event that is worth every red-blooded Canadian film fan’s time.

It’s a retrospective of the great Wolf Koenig, a pioneer of Canadian cinema and National Film Board legend held at 3:30 p.m. at the Bell Lightbox.

We curse the turkey that is luring us out of Toronto and away from this event.

Koenig was unflinching and uncompromising. Last year, we schlepped around Ottawa from library to library on the hunt for early and ground-breaking Canadian films. We caught Lonely Boy, a documentary made about the young Paul Anka by this ground-breaking Canadian director.

This was no Justin Bieber Never Say Never. No fluffy confection for the teeny bopper set here. It was a grainy, at times, unflattering look at the heat-seeking ambition missile that was Anka – complete with talk of Anka’s nose job and dental work.

Director, animator, cinematographer and producer, Koenig was an honest man.

Here in Toronto, there’s an overwhelming number of awesome events celebrating the glory of CanCon. Sometimes we find ourselves frozen by the abundance of choice.

Thanks TIFF for another great event, and we are sorry. We promise the turkey will pay.

The Thing (2011)

Thing (2011)

“Story by autopsy”

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In university, I had a professor who demonstrated the problem of originality. He pointed out how many new ideas were simply combinations and juxtapositions of earlier elements. My mind was on him, for better and worse, as I watched 2011’s The Thing.

Initially, I didn’t know what to expect when I loaded up this locally coproduced feature. I’m a massive fan of the original film, 1951’s Thing (From Another World), but not as big on John Carpenter’s take, 1982’s The Thing. It could have gone either way.

Unfortunately, it went over to the latter.

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Five Favourite Moments of TIFF 2014

Hacker Renders
I don’t know if it qualifies as a “guilty pleasure” exactly, but the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival was certainly a mixed-blessing experience.

We’ve both had some previous exposure to what I’ve never stopped thinking of as “The Festival of Festivals”. However, this was our first time being so involved, so immersed, so overwhelmed.

Over the course of two weeks, we went, we saw, we felt conquered. As a pair of avowed introverts, neither geek nor goth were entirely prepared for the lines, the waiting, or the socializing, but we managed to come away a bit wiser and refilled with fond memories nonetheless.

Here are just five . . .

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Lucy (2014)

Lucy_2014Dedicated to Anastasia

“Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what you can do with it.”

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Hey kids!

Want to be smart, efficient and learned? Try Luc Besson’s patented ‘Whole Brain Program’ that lets you unlock the power of your entire brain quickly and easily.

It is simple! ….How you ask?

Drugs! Lots of them!

Just shove fistfuls of what appears to be Walter White’s large-format blue meth crystals into your face and …Blammo! You are using your *whole brain* to do fun stuff.

What kind of fun stuff, you say? Fun stuff like shooting a cab driver in the leg for not being able to speak English!

Shooting a dude on an operating table. It’s cool because he was going to die anyway!

Don’t forget to stab people. Lots of people. Stabbing is awesome too. Speak in a creepy monotone! Feel how people’s kidneys are functioning from the outside! And sure you might be killing 100s of innocent pedestrians and motorists in Paris by starting a wholly unnecessary high-speed car chase but remember this is a Luc Besson joint!

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Five Favourite Swiss Picks

Hacker RendersHot on the heels of July’s Canada Day is another Summer “first” I enjoy: Swiss National Day, which kicks off August. While I most often celebrate the land where I live, like August Schellenberg, I’m actually Swiss-Canadian. And though I take considerable pride in recognizing the pop culture of my home-away-from-home, there’s less of it which is familiar, to be sure.

Still, we’ve covered several works which could qualify, being set or shot in — or simply paid for by — Switzerland.

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Drying Up The Streets (1978)


“Ain’t nothing shaking but the leaves on the trees.”

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My posts on this blog lately have been, to put it charitably, rather sporadic. I would like to be able to share a really cool excuse for my months’ long hiatus.

Like… maybe I was doing deep undercover to break up an international drug ring.

No, that’s a lie.

The truth is duller. Full of suburban, white-collar, first-world agonies.

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