Contest: Win Passes to the Canada International Film Festival! [Vancouver]

Canada International Film FestivalWith the Olympics over, it seems as thought Vancouver, the city as a whole, is sobering up. Once we get there, in another week or so, we’ll be looking for something fun to do and what better than curling up with some great films at a great venue?

The Canada International Film Festival kicks off on March 19th and for three days, they’ll have on display a huge array of short films with a spattering of documentaries and feature films from around the world.

The festival, which is calling the Edgewater Casino home for the weekend, is offering up some great films and to one lucky reader, an opportunity to take in a few films in style. The organizers have graciously given us a double pass to any of the screenings taking place over the weekend. Aside from taking in some great films, you won’t be waiting in line and fighting people off for that primo seat. The lucky winner will be given access to the VIP seating area which features the best view along with the most comfortable seating as the VIP area features some plush seating. Not too shabby!

Considering we’re all still in detox, we’ll make the entry process easy. Simply email your name to marina@rowthree.com. That’s it.

One entry per person. Contest closes on Wednesday, March 17th at noon and the winner will be drawn that afternoon and contacted via email with details on picking up their prize!

Good luck everyone and don’t forget to check out the line-up of events!

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

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Based on my superficial knowledge of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice before watching it, I expected a swinger sex farce, taking advantage of the loosening mores and relaxed content restrictions of the late ’60s to portray two pairs of married friends who indulge in becoming something more. But it ended up being a lot more than that, to my pleased surprise.

bobcarol-retreat.jpgBob and Carol (Robert Culp and Natalie Wood) attend a self-discovery retreat, initially because Bob intends to make a film about it, but after a revelatory and emotional group counseling session, they become believers and want to share their new-found enlightenment with their best friends Ted and Alice (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon). But Ted and Alice aren’t quite ready for their friends’ touchy-feely gospel and being told that they should live in total openness and truth makes them more uncomfortable than anything. Here I expected the film to side with Bob and Carol unequivocally and paint Ted and Alice as hopelessly old-fashioned and out of touch. But actually, the film is more balanced and thoughtful than that.

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Corey Haim Bites the Silver Bullet

Teen stardom has a way of knocking a lesser man down a few pegs in their later years. This general rule of thumb could be attributed to both of the Coreys (Haim and Feldman); 80’s stars that worked on several, several films during that time and tag teamed on eight of those pictures; the most popular probably being 1987’s The Lost Boys.

But it appears that the practice of self medication finally took its ultimate toll on Haim as he was pronounced dead very early this morning at age 38; the victim of an apparent drug overdose.

Though The Lost Boys was always the film most talked about and revered among fanboys, I myself was always a big fan of License to Drive; thinking to myself that someday I’m going to have a night out on the town like that when I get my license and then drive home backwards. His earlier work with Charlie Sheen in Lucas was also a cable mainstay in our household.

Over the past ten years or so, the career of Haim has seen a lot of ups and downs (mostly downs), so I never had much time or interest in various projects from either of the Coreys. Not even a short lived, but apparently much watched reality TV show in called “The Two Coreys.” Still, I have fond memories of the Haimster from my childhood and it’s sad to see him go; especially in such a self destructive manner.

Corey Haim
1971 – 2010
R.I.P.

Row Three’s Annual Oscar Pool for 2010

Update: Ross Miller is the winner of the really cool Resevoir Dogs poster. Would Ross please send an email to john@rowthree.com with his mailing address. I’ve posted the scores for everyone in the bottom of the comments.

It is that time of year again and we are all getting ready for Academy Awards. Unlike some of the contributors here at Row Three I’m not a real big fan of awards show but I wanted to be involved so I decided to start running an Oscar Pool. This year we’ve got a special prize for the winner. Kurt has agreed to put up an Ibraheem Youssef designed Reservoir Dogs Poster (apropos of Inglourious Basterds being nominated for best picture) which is valued around $100 Canadian. The contest is open to anyone. (In the spirit of fun and bragging rights, the Row Three contributors will be submitting their picks but are not eligible for the prize.)

In the case of a tie we will start at the top of the list (ie Best Actor) and see if any one has it wrong and they will be both dropped out. If everyone has it wrong or correct then we will compare the next one down the list until only one person is left.

You may submit your choices in the comments. Please do not type them in yourself please copy and paste them in the exact same order as presented below. I will post a sample submission as the first comment for this post.

Submissions will be accept up until March 7 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. which just happens to be the start of the show.

Only one submission will be accepted for each person. No changes are allowed once you submit so please consider your choices carefully.
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Review: The Ghost Writer

Director: Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Knife in the Water, Death and the Maiden, The Pianist)
Story: Robert Harris
Screenplay: Roman Polanski
Producers: Roman Polanski, Alain Sarde, Robert Benmussa
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 128 min.

Though probably billed as a political thriller, I would categorize Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer as more of a political intrigue picture since there’s nothing I would describe as particularly thrilling happening throughout most of the movie. The vagueness with which this story is told, yet somehow maintaining its firm grasp on the internal wiring controlling our fight or flight senses is what escalates this picture to a higher level of playing field than your standard, Hollywood political/espionage tripe. The slow burn of a plot doesn’t so much unfold for us; rather it is like a hazy sea of odd mystery ad happenstance that we’re forced to swim through in order to get to the surface.
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Andrew’s Oscar Recap

 

The Hurt Locker didn’t win tonight; Avatar lost. This means I get to uphold my vow and still get to watch the Oscars next year. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning.

Aside from one or two jokes (The Jew Hunter being one of them) the duo of Martin and Baldwin was pretty yawn inducing. Actually, it was more cringe worthy, as I expected the pair to really bring down the house. Can no one see that an Oscar host needs at least 2 years in a row to get warmed up and comfortable with the position? Jackman got luke warm reviews last year, but he was much more charismatic, charming and fun than these guys. Heck, even Jon Stewart got really hot in the second half of his hosting duties a couple of years ago. But in all honesty, the Academy should do all it can to just bring back Billy Crystal. Steve, where was your banjo? Seriously. Not funny = boring. Neil Patrick Harris opening the show with a Broadway-esque bit of comedy was semi-delightful and at the very least much more in the spirit of the Oscar ceremony aura. Maybe they should’ve just stopped there and let NPH continue on with the hosting duties? It couldn’t have been much worse than what we got (and maybe Joss Whedon could help out with some of the scripting?). But hey, Alec and Steve were only on the television for a total of what, 45 seconds after their opening monologue dialogue? So let’s focus on some of the other, more fun aspects of the evening (what there were of them) shall we?
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Neill Blomkamp’s TEDx Talk

Now that the Oscars are done and considering District 9 (review) has now been on DVD for months and is soon to become a sci-fi film that we’ll look at fondly for years to come, I thought it might be nice to post this talk which I recently discovered of Neill Blomkamp talking at TEDx Vancouver.

If you’re not familiar with TED and the famous TED Talks, you’re seriously missing out but you can educate yourself here.

Back to Blomkamp’s talk. Admitedly, it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the film directly but I found the research that went into the story of the film fascinating. The talk itself is a sort of re-hash of the science and ideas that Blomkamp was considering when he created the aliens in his film and the back-story that got them to earth in the first place. It’s a very interesting talk and one I really enjoyed. Who knows, maybe one of the other District 9 fans will appreciate it too.

Video after the break.

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Film on TV: March 8-14

Them!
Them!, playing on TCM late Friday, early Saturday

The Oscars are over for another year, but Film on TV continues apace, and it’s another quite good week with a bunch of quality films across the board. Among newly featured films, TCM has a Kurosawa mini-marathon on Tuesday night through Wednesday morning – I’ve only seen a few Kurosawa films myself, so I’m hoping to catch up on a few myself. We’ve also got the first film with synchronized sound, The Jazz Singer and Ellen Page’s breakout film, Hard Candy – how’s that for a near-double feature? Friday’s got some real B-level treats, including The Collector (yes, the one recently featured on the Cinecast – see how awesome the Cinecast is? It affects TCM programming choices!), Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2, and one of my absolute favorite 1950s atomic creature-features, Them!.

Monday, March 8

4:00am – TCM – The Bad and the Beautiful
Vincente Minnelli directs Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell, and Gloria Grahame in one of the best dark-side-of-Hollywood noirish films this side of Sunset Boulevard.
1952 USA. Director: Vincente Minnelli. Starring: Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell, Gloria Grahame.

6:15am – IFC – Broadway Danny Rose
It’s lesser Woody Allen, but it’s still Woody Allen. Danny Rose (Woody) is a theatrical agent whose clients always leave him when they start becoming successful. His current client, a has-been tenor trying to make a comeback, gives him further grief by having an affair with a young woman (Mia Farrow) with gangster connections. Not very substantial, but enjoyable.
1984 USA. Director: Woody Allen. Starring: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte.
(repeats at 12:05pm and 5:30pm)

8:15am – TCM – The Band Wagon
There are many reasons to consider The Band Wagon among the best movie musicals ever made. The satirical plot involving a Shakespearean director who tries to turn a lighthearted musical into a doom-and-gloom version of Faust, the bright yet sardonic script and score by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (who basically appear in the film as the characters played by Nanette Fabrey and Oscar Levant), the last really great role for Fred Astaire (maybe Funny Face is a contender, but barely), and of course, the never-surpassed beauty of dance numbers like “Dancing in the Dark” with Fred and Cyd Charisse. But even if it didn’t have all that, I’d still rank it among my favorites for the epic “Girl Hunt Ballet” number spoofing hard-boiled detective fiction.
1953 USA. Director: Vincente Minnelli. Starring: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabrey.
Must See

9:35am – IFC – Bride and Prejudice
Laugh at me if you must for recommending Chadha’s Bollywood-infused version of Pride and Prejudice, but I love it. It’s silly, it’s beautiful, it’s a fun exercise in adaptation of literary classics, and it’s only slightly weighed down by Martin Henderson’s woodenness.
2005 UK. Director: Gurinder Chadha. Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, Naveen Andrews, Alexis Bledel.
(repeats at 3:30pm)

4:00pm – TCM – Silk Stockings
The musical version of Ninotchka, about a staid, repressed Communist woman who goes to Paris on a mission, only to get loosened up by a Western guy. You’re better off with Ninotchka, honestly. Silk Stocking substitutes Cyd Charisse (who’s really only ever convincing when she’s dancing), Fred Astaire (who’s fine, though a bit on the old side by 1957), and adds Cole Porter music, which is really the major reason to check this version out.
1957 USA. Director: Rouben Mamoulian. Starring: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre, Jules Munshin, George Tobias.

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