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Toronto International Film FestivalóA Thumbnail Sketch

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The partyís over and the stars have gone back home. The Festival has ended and now itís time to take a look back at what happened. This wasnít the best Festival Iíve attended. There seemed to be no overwhelming hits and there seemed to be little agreement among festival goers as to the best films. Personally, I didnít see anything that really blew me away. I saw a number of films that I liked, and I saw a few that I didnít like, but most of the films I watched were just OK. So letís take a quick look at what I did see. I wound up watching about 42 films, which is a few more than last year. Many of these films will be in theatres within a short time. In fact, a couple of them are already in the theatres. Hereís is a rundown of what I saw and a very short statement of what I thought about them. Iíll try to give a more definitive review when they arrive at the theatres.

The Academy Awards

Monday, March 5, 2007

Although most of the main categories went exactly as predicted, there were a lot of surprises at this year's Academy Awards. Although Best Picture ("The Departed"), Best Director (Martin Scorsese for "The Departed"), Best Actor (Forest Whitaker in "The Last King of Scotland") and Best Actress (Helen Mirren in "The Queen") were all easily predictable, some of the other awards brought a little bit of spice to the event. Everyone expected Eddie Murphy to win the award for Best Supporting Actor for his marvellous work in "Dreamgirls". Instead, Alan Arkin took home the prize for his beautifully nuanced role in "Little Miss Sunshine". Arkin was perfectly cast in this film as the crotchety grandfather who insisted on telling the truth (as he saw it) no matter what the consequences. The award for best animated film also was a bit of a surprise. Everyone believed that "Cars" would win the award in this category. It was a beautiful film, but the heartwarming appeal of "Happy Feet" carried it to the top in its category. How can anyone resist the charm and humour of penguins singing and dancing?

The Genie Awards

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Despite the worse snow storm of the winter hitting the GTA last Tuesday, Feb. 13th, the Genie Awards show was a star spangled event with the biggest names in Canadian cinema in attendance.

The big winners at the Canadian version of the Academay Awards, were two films made in Quebec, The Rocket and Bon Cop, Bad Cop.

But for one of the first times in my memory, both films succeeded in reaching a broad general audience throughout Canada.

Films & DVD's--2006

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Now that 2007 is here, we can look back at a very good year for the film and DVD industry. There were some excellent films and DVDs to enjoy throughout the year and I’m going to share some of my favourites with you right now. There are three lists of my Top Ten favourites and I’ve classified them under Films, DVDs, and Canadian DVDs. For simplicity, I have decided to list them in alphabetical order.

Apocalypto

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Technically, Apocalypto is an excellent film. It has some beautiful cinematography, the acting is good; and all the technical aspects are first rate.

But--and this is a big but, many of the other elements are seriously flawed.

Volver

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Oscar buzz has begun. As we approach the December holiday period, more and more prestige films are being released. These are the films the studios believe have a chance for Academy Award nominations and which they have been holding back for a December release so that they will be fresh in the minds of members of the Academy when they vote for the films that should be nominated this year.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Borat is probably the most controversial film that will be released this year. It is outrageous; it is offensive; it is also one of the funniest films in a long time.

T h e L a s t K i n g o f S c o t l a n d

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A p o w e r f u l p e r f o r m a n c e b y F o r e s t W h i t a k e r p r o p e l s t h i s f i l m i n t o t h e f o r e f r o n t o f A c a d e m y A w a r d n o m i n a t i o n s .

W h i t a k e r p l a y s I d i A m i n , t h e m a d d i c t a t o r o f U g a n d a d u r i n g t h e 1 9 7 0 s w i t h a n a m a z i n g l y s u b t i t l e a n d s k i l l f u l p e r f o r m a n c e . W h i t a k e r s h o w s A m i n 's s e n s e o f h u m o u r a n d p l a y f u l n e s s , w h i l e a t t h e s a m e t i m e g i v i n g f u l l e x p r e s s i o n t o A m i n 's c r u e l t y a n d t h e l a c k o f v a l u e h e p l a c e d o n h u m a n l i f e .

The Guardian and the Flyboys

By Larry Anklewicz

Saturday, October 7, 2006

The Guardian is the action packed story of the Coast Guard's rescue teams who risk life and limb to save people at sea. It doesn't matter what the conditions--raging hurricanes or blinding blizzards, the rescue teams are constantly on call and prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives in danger.

Toronto International Film Festival Ends

By Larry Anklewicz

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I 've just spent a few weeks watching over 40 films shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. These included a few very good films, some mediocre films and even a couple of films that I walked out of in the middle. This is not something I do very often.

I can 't give you a rundown of every film I saw. I described a few in my last column and I will go through some of the better films now.

Toronto International Film Festival Begins

By Larry Anklewicz

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Well, the 31st edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is under way and it is time to take a look at some of the better films I've seen so far. If you haven't booked your films yet you might want to take a look at these suggestions.

Toronto International Film Festival

By Larry Anklewicz

Friday, August 25, 2006

Festival Time Just Around the Corner

What do Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz, Pierce Brosnan, Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hanks have in common? All of them are expected to attend this year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Little Miss Sunshine

By Larry Anklewicz

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

If you saw the trailers for Little Miss Sunshine, you would presume that this was a silly comedy that you wouldn’t be interested in seeing. You would have been Wrong! The trailers give a completely distorted impression of this film.

Little Miss Sunshine is a funny film. It is entertaining and heart warming and contains lots of little truisms.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

By Larry Anklewicz

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The original Pirates of the Caribbean was a big hit, therefore plans moved forward to produce a sequel--Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Everyone thought that the sequel would be successful, but this new film has already exceeded all expectations. It enjoyed the biggest opening weekend in film history and it passed the $200 million mark within 8 days of its release.

Superman Returns

By Larry Anklewicz

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superman Returns!

Cars

By Larry Anklewicz

Friday, June 16, 2006

Once again, Disney and Pixar have come up with the winning formula.

Cars is a magical animated film that will delight children and adults alike.

Over The Hedge

By Larry Anklewicz

Friday, June 9, 2006

Over The Hedge is another excellent film from the animators at Dream Works. This is a film that will entertain the kids and their parents and also has a certain amount of educational value.

United 93

By Larry Anklewicz

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

After hanging out at film festivals for a while, it’s good to get back to regular film watching and trying to catch up with all the releases I’ve missed.

Today I want to tell you about two films you should catch before they disappear from the theatres--United 93 and Akeelah and the Bee.

United 93 is an exceptional film. It had me on the edge of my seat all the way from beginning to end. And what makes United 93 even more incredible is the fact that it is true. It really happened!

Film Festival Time in Toronto

By Larry Anklewicz

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

It’s film festival season. Sprockets festival of films for children has just ended; Hot Docs is in the middle of its run; and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival is about to begin.

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

By Larry Anklewicz

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Few people are aware that there were small opposition groups at work inside Germany during World War II.

Genie Awards 2006

By Larry Anklewicz

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Genies went C.R.A.Z.Y. at the annual presentation held on March 13th in Toronto.

This celebration of Canadian films is put on every year by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and seeks to recognize and reward the best in Canadian film.

Academy Awards 2006

By Larry Anklewicz

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Surprise is the name of the game and some surprise winners at the recent Academy Awards served to shake up a rather staid and dull evening.

Neil Young: Heart of Gold

By Larry Anklewicz

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Neil Young fans will love this concert film that celebrates the life and career of this legendary rock and roll troubadour.

The film was shot during two concerts held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee in August of 2005.

Glory Road and NCAA Basketball

By Larry Anklewicz

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Just another sports movie? Not quite! Glory Road is the true story about a college basketball coach, who broke tradition and changed the colour of the game forever.

Munich and Best movies of 2005

By Larry Anklewicz
Sunday, January 8, 2006

The events were horrifying. And what made it even worse was the fact that the entire world was watching on television.

In September of 1972, the Olympics games were held in Munich. These were the first games to be held in Germany since the end of World War II and the Germans were determined that these would be the most peaceful, tranquil games in history.