The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up out of nowhere and proved to be a smart and funny hit. Sadly, this sequel kind of misses the point of what made the first movie such a favourite: it opts to focus on corny gross-out gags rather than humour that's firmly rooted in the characters and story. And it also turns people who were complex and surprising into one-note cliches.
After five years, the beloved dimwit Doug (Seann William Scott) has been made captain of his Halifax hockey team, just as he meets his match in the shape of bullish newcomer Anders (Wyatt Russell), who happens to be the son of Doug's new team owner Hiram (Callum Keith Rennie). Sidelined by injury and with his wife Eva (Alison Pill) pregnant, he decides to retire and get a real job, no matter how soul-crushing it may be. But when Hiram makes Anders the new team captain, Doug can't sit by quietly any longer. To get back in shape, he turns to his former arch-rival Ross (Liev Schreiber), and they opt to train on the Bruised & Battered circuit, which features hockey fights without the game itself. Then when the team gets in trouble, they want Doug back.
Of course, what follows is a series of confrontations that are never as surprising as they should be. Instead, they are merely staged to provide a mix of violent thuggery in the rink tempered by some emotional fireworks at home. But the humour is never more than cartoonish, and the emotions are far too sentimental to believe. Characters feel soft and oddly safe for a film that needs to be a lot more anarchic. All of the lusty sex is gone, replaced with violence and macho posturing. At least the cast members still give it their all.
Continue reading: Goon: Last Of The Enforcers Review
John Kramer - aka Jigsaw - may have been dead for ten years, but that does not mean the game is over any time soon. A series of sensational and gruesome murders have taken over the city, all of which match the serial killer's brutal modus operandi. Plus, a number of clues linking him to the deaths - audio recordings of his voice, his blood under a victim's fingernails - are scattered over the crime scenes, which means a copycat murderer cannot yet be assumed. But it looks like Jigsaw's latest group of victims have a lot more strength than they ever have before, and some of them are prepared to take on his gory game of life and death and come out a winner.
Continue: Jigsaw Trailer
Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist Chet Baker, combining the achingly soulful music with an equally resonant performance from Ethan Hawke. Sometimes, the film's artistic flourishes seem to strain to cover up the usual narrative of a musical artist's life. But Baker's story has a striking emotional layer to it that holds the attention. And by focussing on a pivotal period in his life, Budreau draws out some lovely themes.
It opens in 1966 Los Angeles, where Chet is starring in a movie about his life. One actress, Jane (Carmen Ejogo), is playing all of the women he loved, and of course he's now pursuing her as well. There's also the problem that he's not quite sure if he's still a heroin junkie or if he's just playing himself when he was one. Then he gets in a street fight in which thugs knock out his front teeth, and everyone tells him he will never play his trumpet again. But he tenaciously sets out to regain his embouchure, even as his parole officer (Tony Nappo) refuses to give him a break. He decides to take Jane to visit his parents (Stephen McHattie and Janet-Laine Green) back home in Oklahoma, and rebuild his life from there. Then back in California, he approaches his music producer friend Dick (Callum Keith Rennie) to help him make a comeback.
Hawke brings a terrific earthy charm to the role, conveying Baker's effortless musical gifts as well as his inner steeliness in the face of injury and addiction. The darker sides of Baker's personality simmer in the background, increasing his allure. And Ejogo is terrific opposite him. Jane is a woman who sees everything that Baker is, and she knows that she has limits to what she will let him get away with. It's easy for the audience to root for them to succeed as a couple, even though every other musical biopic has told us that a happy ever after probably isn't on the cards.
Continue reading: Born To Be Blue Review
When Chet Baker first made a real name for himself in the music industry he was labelled as 'The James Dean of Jazz', he was cool and everyone wanted a piece of him. The trumpeter from California soon became the next big sensation and played clubs all around the US. Ten years on, Baker had developed a heroin addiction, had been incarcerated for drug possession in Italy and he was far from the high life he was living years earlier.
When Baker was asked to star in a film about himself, it implanted ideas of a comeback, a new shot at glory, that accompanied by a new romance with his co-star spurted Baker into recording a new album. Whilst battling addiction, we see Baker at one of the most crucial times of his life.
Born To Be Blue is an anti-biography, it's based on the life of Baker but whilst the actual film Baker was making in the 1960's (with producer Dino de Laurentiis) didn't come to light, Robert Budreau's version of events sees Baker's film be made, a decision he made to help show the true 'improvisational nature of jazz'.
When reserved college girl Anastasia Steele meets mysterious businessman Christian Grey for an interview, she ends up feeling rather foolish, fearing that she's messed up the opportunity. Mr. Grey doesn't see it that way however; on the contrary, he develops a strong romantic fixation with her. Anastasia is flattered, but soon realises that this guy isn't the sort to take her to take her out for romantic meals or shower her with gifts. Nonetheless, he is an enigmatic presence in her life that she cannot hope to resist, and she soon finds herself treading deeper and deeper into this man's life. As their relationship progresses, he reveals his unusual sexual desires which involves Anastasia signing a written document in order to give him permission to do whatever he likes with her. Enchanted and seduced by the sense of unknown that lies ahead, she agrees.
Sometimes, a single favour to a friend can end up changing you entirely. When a young literature student, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) attends an interview on behalf of her sick friend, she is totally unaware of the consequences. Steele meets with the illusive, enigmatic and intimidating young billionaire businessman, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), and almost immediately finds herself wildly attracted to him. Grey is insistent on controlling every aspect of his life, business and personal feelings, yet Steele represents a problem for him: he, too, is attracted to her, yet it is because of her free nature. As the couple clash, their futures are thrown into jeopardy with the revelation that neither of their lives will ever be the same again.
Budding journalist and college student Anastasia Steele has never been the adventurous type in any respect, so when she is faced with the prospect of interviewing the handsome and frighteningly mysterious young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she is more than a little nervous. The interview doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, but it seems Christian has other interests in her. While he doesn't pander to the usual expectations of romance in a relationship, there's something utterly captivating and addictive about him that Anastasia just can't resist - even when he reveals to her his innermost unusual sexual desires. Thriving on the feeling of being in control, all he wants to do is tie Anastasia up and introduce her to a whole new world of sensual experiences. But is she curious enough to sign away her body to a stranger?
Continue: Fifty Shades Of Grey - Extended Trailer
Anastasia Steele is a shy college student who is forced to interview an enigmatic entrepreneur named Christian Grey. Their first meeting doesn't go as well as planned and subsequently she is shocked when it appears that he has a seemingly romantic interest in her. He's not the sort to go out on drunken nights or make any of the usual romantic gestures, but Anastasia remains captivated by the intense sense of mystery surrounding him. Some of that mystery is unveiled, however, when he reveals his sexual desires to her, but it seems even then his wishes are not of the usual kind. Christian asks Anastasia to sign a document in order for them to be intimate, and that coupled with the rope and tape he recently purchased starts to make her realise just what sort of sensual adventure she's about to experience.
Continue: Fifty Shades Of Grey Trailer
When young college student Anastasia Steele meets a mysterious wealthy businessman named Christian Grey, she had no idea she'd be embarking on the sexual adventure of her lifetime. While he makes it clear that he's not the type for wild nights of drunken laughs or even for a bunch of flowers and chocolates, Ana can't help but feel irresistably intrigued by the beguiling sense of unknown surrounding her new obsession. Soon though, all is revealed when Christian insists she sign a document before they enter into any kind of intimacy, and putting that together with the bunch of rope and masking tape she saw him purchase at the hardware store, she starts to realise that she's about to enter into a relationship that is more out of the ordinary than she could ever have possibly imagined.
Continue: Fifty Shades Of Grey Trailer
As he did in Amelie, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet tells a simple fable with witty visuals, colourful characters and a warm heart. It's an utterly winning story of tenacity that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in their own family. Which is pretty much everyone. So even if it feels a bit light and goofy, it has a strong emotional kick.
On a sprawling Montana ranch, 10-year-old TS (Kyle Catlett) couldn't be much different from his twin brother Layton (Jakob Davis). While TS questions the laws of nature, Layton is a boyish cowboy like their dad (Callum Keith Rennie). And their teen sister Gracie (Niamh Wilson) and insect-obsessed mother (Helena Bonham Carter) are just as individualistic. So no one notices when TS enters his perpetual-motion machine into a competition and wins a top accolade from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. But the competition official (Judy Davis) hasn't a clue that TS is only 10, or that he has run away from home to hitchhike cross-country to accept his award.
Based on the Reif Larsen novel, the story has a whiff of the fantastical about it, only occasionally reflecting the real dangers the young and prodigious TS would face on his epic journey. But that's not the point: told through TS's limited perspective, this is a story about discovery. TS may think he's capable of anything a grown-up can do, but there are some very hard truths waiting both on the road and back home. And he's also about to learn that there might actually be some benefits to being a little boy.
Continue reading: T.S. Spivet Review
Callum Keith Rennie Wednesday 7th September 2011 The 26th Gemini Awards - Press Room Toronto, Canada
The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...
Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...
When Chet Baker first made a real name for himself in the music industry he...
Azeroth is a beautiful and civilized kingdom, it's human inhabitants are goverend by their much...
When reserved college girl Anastasia Steele meets mysterious businessman Christian Grey for an interview, she...
Sometimes, a single favour to a friend can end up changing you entirely. When a...
Budding journalist and college student Anastasia Steele has never been the adventurous type in any...
Anastasia Steele is a shy college student who is forced to interview an enigmatic entrepreneur...