RSS feed for Dan
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 2014

    ★★★ Watched 24 Nov, 2014

    As the first film to not have the games as a central framing device for the narrative (with tension ramping up to the games leading to a climactic finale), it's no wonder I've been hearing rumblings about how this film is "slow", "boring", etc.

    That said, as someone who has not read the books, I didn't find the first two-thirds of Mockingjay - Part I to be all that slow - or boring for that matter. Most scenes all contain…

  • Words and Pictures 2013

    ★★ Watched 23 Nov, 2014

    A fun but gimmicky set-up (it's english teach vs. art teach in a battle between which is more important: literature or art?) leads to a thoroughly uneven romantic comedy with moments of shining wit and tone-deaf bluntness.

    The central romance just doesn't really click when it finally happens, but the lead-up can be entertaining stuff. Plenty of head-shakingly lame teen-speak moments, and a final act that is really dreadful. It's also a bit too long. It's unfortunate, as there's a neat concept and a decent time-passer buried in here, but it's all just too muddled to fully work.

  • Class of 1984 1982

    ★★★★ Rewatched 22 Nov, 2014

    Made for an odd pairing with the Muppet Christmas Carol, but this Toronto-set duel-then-revenge flick is still one of my favs.

    Grittily shot, heavily tense plotting, and plenty of familiar faces. One of the better exploitation films of its era.

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol 1992

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Nov, 2014

    First time viewing on this one. It's A Christmas Carol, but with Muppets and Michael Caine. 'Nuff said.

  • Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd 2003

    Watched 17 Nov, 2014

    "The second 'R' is silent!"

    You know, they got two really fantastic new(ish)-comers for this who actually provide some really solid physical comedy work in addition to moments of spot-on impressions, and then they write and direct... this around them.

    Troy Miller brings a few Mr. Show-related people over, but even that can't save the picture from being an over-directed mess - Why do we need to zoom in and see Harry's brain getting frost-bite? Why do we need…

  • Back in Action 1993

    ★★★★ Watched 17 Nov, 2014

    HIIIIIIIIIIYA!!! - Billy Blanks, every time he closed-fist punches someone in the face.

    The first of two Blanks n' Piper starring actioners (why is this one titled Back in Action then?) serves up a piping hot platter of face-kicks, explosions, and hilariously inept dialogue.

    This Canuxploitation gem (Blanks walks around Yonge Street near Dundas looking for his sister, stopping everywhere from Sam The Record Man to Zanzibar) gives you just about everything you'd want from a movie like this, and…

  • Satisfaction 1988

    ★★ Watched 14 Nov, 2014

    Ironically enough, for a film titled Satisfaction, it doesn't really resolve any of the plot-threads it sets up.

    This fluffy 80s pop-band drama-comedy pretty much resolves nothing by the end of the film as they drive off screen and out of the movie, leaving the biggest performance of the band to play over the credits.


  • The Sleeping Car 1990

    ★★ Watched 09 Nov, 2014

    The Sleeping Car is a goof-tastic horror comedy starring David Naughton of An American Werewolf in London fame as a recently divorced mature student who moves into a decommissioned train home - but oops, The Mister, who narrowly escaped perishing in a fornication-caused train-wreck haunts the joint!

    Wait, what?

    Yes, that's what it's about for real. After a pretty hilarious set-up off the top of the film, The Sleeping Car eventually gets around to executing a few solid kills before…

  • Saturday Night 2010

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Nov, 2014 3

    Saturday Night is rough around the edges (what do you expect for a school project?), but fascinating and thorough look into the production of an episode of Saturday Night Live.

    Recommended for anyone who wants to peek behind the curtain - the writing process in particular is fascinating.

  • Critters 2 1988

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Nov, 2014

    Critters : Alien :: Critters 2: The Main Course : Aliens

    Okay, let me explain. Critters 2: The Main Course is a bigger film - it has much more action-action than the first, way more creature effects, a wider scope, and more. In comparison, it makes the first film much more pared back, overall.

    For some reason, I can't escape comparisons to films like Alien/Aliens and Terminator/Terminator 2 here. In the same way that the original films pretty much nail…

  • Demon Lover Diary 1980

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Nov, 2014

    This film should be shown in every film school ever, for the rest of time.

    From the same creative team that captured Seventeen, this earlier work follows their time on a low budget film called Demon Lover and the craziness that ensues. From poor actors, to muddled schedules, all the way through to a potentially deadly director armed with guns he has acquired from... Ted Nugent.

    Criminally underseen, and makes a perfect double-feature with the aforementioned Seventeen.

  • Seventeen 1984

    ★★★★★ Watched 08 Nov, 2014

    One of the most raw and intimate documentary ever, Seventeen tracks the lives and relationships of teenagers (and their families) in Muncie, Indiana in the early eighties.

    It's hilarious in moments, scary in others, but entirely essential. Not only one of the most unflinching portrayals of teenagers ever, but one of the best films about the realities of race-relations in American in the early eighties.

    Absolutely stunning.