Recent Entries in Film

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Critics rank Michael Moore as one of the favourites to land the top prize at the Cannes film Festival after his blistering anti-Bush documentary won a standing ovation.

"Fahrenheit 911" is now firmly in line to be the first documentary to land the Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle's marine epic "The World of Silence" in 1956.

The documentary, launched in a storm of publicity after a row over its distribution in a U.S. election year, is a relentless tirade against Bush's handling of the Iraq conflict and the "war on terror."

Moore would dearly love to see Bush defeated in November's election and critics saw the emotive documentary as an effective rallying cry for his opponents.

Screen International, which takes the festival temperature every day, put Moore up with French director Agnes Jaoui's "Look at me" on Tuesday as one of the leading contenders.

The magazine asks critics from as far apart as Israel, Estonia and Canada to pick their favourites so far at the festival.

The influential Variety trade magazine called the film "a blatant cinematic 2004 campaign pamphlet" and said Moore could convince disillusioned and disenfranchised Americans to vote.

CANNES, France (Reuters) - American film-maker Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", a savage critique of President George W. Bush's handling of Iraq and the war on terror, has been warmly applauded by critics at its first press showing.

The fast-paced film by Oscar-winning Moore is a telling work of propaganda by a moviemaker whose zeal to deride Bush exudes from every frame.

Two years ago, the director's anti-gun lobby documentary "Bowling for Columbine" grabbed the headlines at Cannes and then went on to gross $120 million (68 million pounds) worldwide and win him an Oscar.

Fahrenheit 9/11 has already whipped up an international media storm after the Walt Disney Company barred its Miramax film unit from releasing such a politically polarising work in a U.S. election year.


CANNES, France (Reuters) - U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore says there was pressure from the beginning to stop him making his controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11".

The film focuses on how Americans and the White House responded to the September 11 attacks and traces links between the Bush family and prominent Saudis, including the family of Osama bin Laden.

The documentary, being screened at the Cannes film festival on Monday, has also sparked a war of words over the decision by the Walt Disney to bar its Miramax film unit from releasing it.

  Zombie Comedy at Cannes

Following the recent slew of zombie flicks and the zombie comedy Shaun Of The Dead, surely what we need right now is... another zombie comedy.

Boy Eats Girl is a Stephen Bradley film being touted at the Cannes Festival. It concerns a Dublin boy who's brought back to life by his mum, having died on the night he declared his love for his girlfriend.

The woman who he has to decide whether to eat or not is played by Irish star Samantha Mumba, who some will remember as a pop singer from a few years back.

This year's Cannes Film Festival got off to a controversial start with Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education as the opening film.

The Spanish director said about his film, which features paedophile priests: "It's not necessary for my film to be anti-clerical, the church is going through its own problems, for example destroying itself when it speaks to the press. At least in Spain the church's worst enemy is itself."

Comic actor Steve Martin will star as a new Inspector Clouseau in a fresh "Pink Panther" movie due out next summer, the film's makers have said.

Martin, who will be starring alongside Beyonce and Oscar-winner Kevin Kline, said he was intimidated at first by the thought of following in actor Peter Sellers' stumbling footsteps as the hapless Clouseau, but he got over it.

"They have different James Bonds," he quipped at a news conference on Friday.

Others in the cast of the MGM Pictures film that should reach movie houses by next summer include French actor Jean Reno and Tony Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government is seeking to appease angry show business workers threatening to disrupt the Cannes film festival.

Restaurant owners also plan separate protests in the Riviera resort because of fears they will lose business during the May 12-23 film showcase if demonstrators cause havoc.

The event's organisers were due on Tuesday to meet unions representing 60,000 to 100,000 part-time actors and technicians who plan protests against cuts in their welfare benefits.

Veronique Cayla, who is running the festival, said on Sunday there was no reason to fear it could be cancelled and hoped to find a platform for unions to express themselves peacefully.

Disney has banned its film company subsidiary from distributing controversial director Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which criticises President George Bush's handling of the September 11 terrorist attacks and connects the Bush family with Osama bin Laden's.

Disney chief executive Michael Eisner said yesterday the company "did not want a film in the middle of the political process where we're such a non-partisan company and our guests, that participate in all of our attractions, do not look for us to take sides".

Moore, behind the Oscar-winning Bowling For Columbine documentary that challenged America's gun culture, claimed The Walt Disney Co was worried the documentary would endanger tax breaks the company received from Florida, where Bush's brother Jeb is governor and where Disney World is located.

But Jeb Bush said: "What tax break? We don't give tax breaks, that I'm aware of, to Disney.

"I appreciate the fact that Disney creates thousands and thousands of jobs in our state."

Moore said he officially found out on Monday that Miramax Films, owned by Disney, would not be allowed to distribute the film, but his agent learned this a year ago.

"They had told my agent last year -- Eisner himself told my agent, Ari Emanuel -- that there was no way they were going to release this film, and he told him why. Because he did not want to anger Jeb Bush in Florida," Moore told The Associated Press.

"He wasn't going to let a little documentary upset the Bush family."

But Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein wanted to go ahead with the film, and spent �4 million finishing it, Moore said.

"Harvey thought he'd change their minds. We went ahead and made the movie anyway," he said.

Moore said only when it was announced that Fahrenheit 9/11 would make its world premiere as one of 18 films screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, which begins on May 12, did Disney "finally decide to deal with it".

Shock jock Howard Stern is set to produce a remake of Porky's, the 1982 gross-out comedy that is Canada's top- grossing English-language film.

Although no director or actors have been attached to the project, Stern has drafted screenwriters Craig Moss and Steve Schoenburg to pen the script.

The original, which followed the sexual misadventures of a group of teenage boys, was made during Canada's tax- shelter era on a budget of $4 million US. According to the Internet Movie Database, it pulled in over $105 million in North America alone.

"It's the highest-grossing Canadian film ever," Don Carmody told CBC News Online Wednesday. Carmody, along with director Bob Clark, produced the original Porky's.

  The Core (2003)


Directed by Jon Amiel

I wasn't sure I wanted to see this in the theatres. There was something fishy about the trailers -- there were two distinct trailers: one which played on the whole "journey to the core of the earth" fiasco; and one which was much more interesting, touting the whole "government weapon conspiracy which wrecked the world" angle. I was more partial to the second one, and there wasn't really much of this in the film. It was mostly about putting together enough duct tape logic to get a machine that could travel inside the Earth. Unfortunately, the film played a little rough and tumble with the science, using it only when it suited them, and sweeping it under the carpet in other circumstances, hoping no one would notice.

Case in point: they go through great lengths to explain how this gadget will destroy all rock and metal which gets in its way, then come up with a fantastic new element which resists this laser drilling mechanism. Later, they find out that this drill can't get through diamonds (or for that matter, amethysts). Why not just build a ship out of diamonds? We can mass produce these now -- why not just take the existing science a step further.

Case number two: this miracle metal, "unobtainium", has the fantastic capability to absorb heat and convert it into energy (somehow ... I presume they mean electricity). So later, while swimming in 9000 degree molten nickel, they use a blowtorch (!) to solder copper cables to it. There's obviously two things wrong here. #1, shouldn't this guy get electrocuted by standing so close to the bulkhead? #2, how could a blowtorch make the bulkhead hot enough to take the solder? This thing is holding back 9000 degree metal on the outside. Every calorie of heat from the blowtorch would be converted into "energy". I won't even go into the whole idea that heat IS ENERGY! This drove me nuts every time they mentioned it.

There's dozens of these bad science examples running throughout the film. But really, I don't care what kind of science you use, as long as you at least keep it consistent throughout.

What was even funnier about this film was the fact that they took the greatest minds in the world of geophysics, and simply dropped them into the molten mantle of the planet. Why would you do this? I'm surprised none of them dies during training... what if they were all to die instantly? Wouldn't it be a better idea since they had a RADIO UPLINK TO THE SURFACE to have some Navy/Air Force/Space pilots drive the vessel?

As much as I hate to say it, I liked Armageddon better than this film. And I absolutely hated Armageddon. But at least it had a little star power, a little campy humour, and some personality to the characters (and you got to see Bruce Willis die). No offense to Aaron Eckhart (who plays Dr. Josh Keyes), but seriously -- your best friend gets trash compacted by a green space cadet, and you're crying your eyes out. You don't come back 10 minutes later with a big goofy grin on your face.

The film ends with not one, but two (count 'em, two) clichés. First is the classic "will they find the heroes?" trick, where someone who didn't get enough lines earlier gets to yell "I know where they are!"; Second is the less common "I'll hack into the system one last time to get the truth out to the world".

I want desperately to go out and see a good film. I want to wash The Core off.

Never mind that "Game Over," the new animated sitcom on the UPN Network, isn't very good. Perhaps disappointed viewers can produce something better. UPN is giving them the tools for the task, in the form of a free video game that's more than a game. It's also an introduction to "machinima," a gaming-inspired technology that may become as vital to filmmakers as colored ink was to Walt Disney.

As for the TV show that inspired the game, let's just say that it's one of those ideas that probably sounded great at 6 a.m., after an all-night computer gaming party fueled by endless rounds of Red Bull.

What if the characters in video games were really working stiffs, killing monsters and punching out ninjas for a paycheck?

What would they do the rest of the time? Would they have "real" lives, with friends and families?

According to "Game Over," they do. Alas, their "real" lives are as dull and unfunny as any served up on the typical sitcom. The myth that only adolescent boys play computer games is alive and well at UPN, to judge by the sexual innuendo and flatulence jokes on offer here.

Sydney, Australia -- Police shut down a public screening of a U.S. movie banned in Australia because of its explicit sex and violence, sparking outrage from free-speech advocates.

"Ken Park", a provocative film by "Kids" director Larry Clark and Edward Lachman, catalogues the dysfunctional lives of teenage skateboarders in the suburbs of Visalia, Calif.


Bullet Time was just the beginning. F/x guru John Gaeta reinvents cinematography with The Matrix Reloaded.

You'll be seeing a lot of Agent Smith this year. Neo's man-in-black nemesis returns on May 15 in The Matrix Reloaded, the continuing story of a young hacker who learns that the apparently real world is an elaborate computer simulation. In November, a second sequel, Matrix Revolutions, will take up where Reloaded's nail-biting climax leaves off.


Directed by Peter Mettler

(Not enough gambling or LSD for my taste)

While the movie description is "a transcendental film by Peter Mettler," it incorrectly states "transcendental" instead of "boring". This docu-diary, was shot by Mettler in his globe-trotting journeys between 1996 and 1999. While soul-searching, is more than an hour longer than it needed to be. It clocks in at over three hours, and in that time, Mettler takes us to four main locations (Toronto, Las Vegas, Switzerland, and India, respectively), all the while shaking the camera like a monkey with A.D.D. and a bout of seizures. Harsh? Try sitting through three hours of this. And yes, I understand it was a hand camera doing a world tour, although there was at least one scene which looked steady-cammed.

He thematically manages to tie all the different scenes together in a thread of death, hopelessness and sex-toys, but leaves the actual questions (and answers) up to the viewer. Very little is trying to be said with this film, except that travel films aren't all that exciting, unless you were there. A friend of mine went to Las Vegas recently, and he really enjoyed the Las Vegas portions of the film, but didn't think anyone else would, since we wouldn't be able to confirm the wackiness of the Vegas society. He was correct.

The narrator, rather than being helpful to the story, spoke in a soothing radio voice, and spoke in riddles which couldn't be answered, and didn't appear to be relevant to the images on the screen. He only spoke occasionally to us, and often to people he met in a cinema verite documentary style. However, there also didn't appear to be any point to his questions. Often the scene began with the subject talking about his or her hobby (auto-erotic machines, heroin, God, etc), and then the narrator would ask some non-sequitor, such as "have you ever been in a war?" with no lead in, and no follow-up.

Additionally, there were some artistic, but pointless scenes, such as fast-forwarding a sunset, or fast-forwarding a drive down a vertigo-laden mountain highway, or watching a building being demolished (in reverse) over the hips of a tattooed nude. While this is all well and good, it detracts from the greater meaning of the film (if any) and cheapens the overall experience, not to mention taking away countless minutes from my precious life.

Given a few days to buffer the experience, I can give it a more favorable review, since it was visually stunning in some spots, and drew a nice juxtaposition between devout Indian worshippers going on a pilgrimage, and kooky Christians going on about how they *just* spoke with Jesus, and are now shaking on the floor of a cheap hotel conference room. I mean, why is it some of us feel the Indian worshippers with their paper idols and straight-razor haircuts, are more pious and authentic, and others think that rolling around on the floor of a hotel, "slain in the spirit" while rock ballads are playing, is a religious experience.

Unfortunately, the film maker failed to draw more of Gambling and LSD into the film (a full two-thirds of the film's title), even though there was plenty of heroin talk. As a result, we are unsure of his meaning: What part does LSD play? Good or bad? Is LSD simply a metaphor for the zany way in which we live our lives? Or is it conveyed in the pointless artistic experiments and camera work? Should we gamble more or less? Are we gambling our souls away by worshipping? Should we?

Regardless of the answers to un-asked questions, I knew there was going to be trouble when Mettler asked himself when film "started making itself." Films shouldn't be making themselves. They don't know how to edit.

  Life after Moses Znaimer

Even when he's nowhere near the building, he's still the biggest newsmaker at the CHUM Television nerve centre on Queen St. W.

Moses Znaimer officially relinquished his various roles at CHUM Ltd. on Friday . from an undisclosed location, outside of town . bringing to a close speculation about his future with the company he helped build from a small regional broadcaster to a burgeoning, innovative national network with an international profile.

He'll continue to be associated with CHUM as director, chairman and executive producer of Learning Skills Television and The Learning Annex in Alberta, obscure properties he and CHUM jointly own.


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