Canada

review inch allah

We follow a woman wearing a backpack through a crowded street. Kids play around her, diners laugh and eat at a cafe, and a caged pigeon stares blankly at a little boy’s smiling face. And then the world explodes. Chloé (Evelyne Brochu) is a Canadian doctor straddling the Israeli/Palestinian border both in her daily activities and in her sympathies. She lives in Israel but works in a clinic on the other side of the concrete wall in the Palestinian city of Ramallah. In addition to the day job she’s taken on private nurse duties for a young, pregnant woman named Rand (Sabrina Ouazani) whose husband awaits sentencing from an Israeli judge. Chloé is equally friendly with Ava (Sivan Levy), a female soldier who lives one floor below her. They share the ride to work every day with Ava stopping at the border while Chloé continues past it. The film follows Chloé’s day to day experiences in a world where the cycle of violence is never-ending, and all the club-hopping, drinks with friends, and late night calls home to her mother in Canada can’t change that. She’s witness to the carnage left behind by terrorist bombings and the human rights violations, violent inspections and casual death that come as retribution, and like everyone else there’s not a damn thing she can do about any of it.

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review wrong

Note: Rob Hunter’s review originally ran during Fantastic Fest 2012, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Weirdness has its place in cinema. It can be a fun element in everything from comedies to horror films or used to add a lighter texture to serious topics, but the one thing it can’t be is the only thing. Quentin Dupieux‘s first feature, the innocuously titled Rubber, is one of the most absurd films of the past several years. Its core plot follows a tire that comes to life and begins exploding peoples’ heads via telekinesis, but it’s also an extremely smart commentary on consumer and audience expectations. The goofiness just makes it funnier. Dupieux’s follow-up is equally weird with random character dialogue and actions that make zero sense, visual gags that go unexplained and plot story threads that go nowhere in particular. A man wakes one morning to find his beloved dog is missing. His search for the pooch brings him in contact with neighbors, gardeners, policemen and more, and all of them without fail act incredibly weird. Why? No reason.

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Cold Blooded

In a year stacked with plenty of good crime flicks, you have to do something to make your film stand above the crowd. Fast-paced editing, well framed shots, stylized camera work and witty dialogue are all ways to help create a memorable film. While Cold Blooded does get a tad more brutal that most other films of its ilk, it’s just not quite enough to really make it stand apart. Cordero isn’t such a bad guy. He steals diamonds, sure, but he’s not hurting anyone. Insurance takes care of the people he steals from and hey, he’s a nice guy. But when his latest heist goes south, he ends up in a hospital bed with a cop at his door and a murder rap around his neck. He also happens to be the only one that knows what happens to the diamonds and it’s for this reason that his partner Louis Holland is very interested to speak with him. The only things standing in Holland’s way are the cop checking people in to Cordero’s wing of the hospital and the cop guarding his door. While a quick bluff with another doctor can him past the first, getting past Officer Frances Jane could prove a little more difficult.

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The Conspiracy

Conspiracy theories are a phenomenon capable of both intriguing and entertaining an audience regardless of actual belief. The key is in the ‘what if?’ scenario that the best ones present. Of course we don’t believe them, but what if? That tenuous line between fact and fiction nags at our imagination and pulls at the loose strands of doubt in our otherwise level-headed minds. It’s fertile ground for film and TV with some of the finer examples including The X-Files and Oliver Stone’s JFK, and now one filmmaker has come up with the idea to mix conspiracy theories with the faux documentary genre. Unfortunately that marks both the beginning and the end of the creativity Christopher MacBride applied to The Conspiracy. Jim (James Gilbert) and Aaron (Aaron Poole) set out to make a documentary about a man named Terrance (Alan C. Peterson) who spends his days shouting theories on a street corner and his nights discussing them in an online chat-room with other believers. Terrance disappears one day leaving no trace as to his whereabouts, and as the two men struggle with what to do with their doc Aaron (very quickly) finds himself picking up the pieces of Terrance’s obsession. He connects the dots between news clippings and historical events and discovers, wait for it… a motherfucking conspiracy.

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There’s something to be said for an incredibly fun movie with some not-so-small problems. The degree of that something most likely differs depending on the viewer, but enough good in a film can often overcome any amount of bad. Theoretically. Luckily for American Mary, that theory holds true as script and editing issues are partially overcome with wit, personality and gleeful audacity. It also helps that the film features two strongly addictive female performances, one lead and one supporting, that anchor the viewers’ attention and sympathies. Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) is a medical student heading towards a career as a surgeon, but her biggest challenge can’t be found in the classroom. It’s in her bank account… her empty bank account. Hoping to earn some quick cash she answers an ad for a strip club, but before she can even audition she’s cajoled into applying her med skills on a man in need of help. (He could also use a new eyeball.) That incident pays far more than stripping ever could, and soon she’s lining up patients looking for surgical help and body modifications that hospitals and the legal system don’t allow. Like taking away a woman’s exterior sexuality, adding devil horns to someone’s head or splitting a guy’s penis down the middle…

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A Little Bit Zombie

Steve and Tina are about to get married, a prospect that gravely disturbs Steve’s sister who–in addition to being married to Steve’s best friend–thinks Tina is as right for him as an angry hornet’s nest is for a family picnic. Much in that same vein, Steve thinks it wise to take the quartet to the family cabin for the weekend so everyone can learn to play nice. Adding to the incredibly tense proceedings is a mosquito who managed to feed on a walking corpse a few miles over. You see, a pair of expert zombie hunters were just wrapping up the last loose ends of an undead carnival when the pesky insect sneaked a bite and made his way over to the cabin. The mosquito bites Steve several times, and soon he begins showing the classic tell-tale signs of zombism. But can this nice-guy zombie be cured?

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I make no effort to hide my love and appreciation for Seann William Scott. I’ve always thought he was hilarious and on top of that, he broke my journalism cherry. My first ever interview/junket experience was for Role Models where I was seated, along with two other journalists, and Seann William Scott. To put the sweet love icing on the cake, Scott complimented me while I sat there quietly, in a bit of audio I’ve kept ever since. Why am I telling you this? Just so you know, because I’m about to gush all over Goon. You can make your own judgement call whether or not my view is too tainted, but when you weigh this review against other reviews, you’ll find that in all likelihood, this is just a good movie. Goon currently has a 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Now that the unpleasant awkwardness of my manlove is out of the way, Goon is the story of very talented ass-kicker and mediocre hockey player Doug Glatt as he makes a bloody splash on the ice. Early in the story, Glatt moves from fan to fan who kicks a hockey player’s ass to low level hockey star to semi-pro star enforcer.

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A little over a year after jailing and banning their most famous filmmaker from making movies, Iran might win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It would be a first for the nation whose government seems to strongly dislike creativity and freedom of speech, but its entry this year, A Separation, almost seems like a sure thing. Come February, writer/director Asghar Farhadi and Iran might be standing on the winner’s podium. But it’s not a done deal yet. A Separation and 8 other films were announced last week as part of the Oscar shortlist – just one step away from becoming an official nominee. They include a Danish comedy set in Argentina, a masculine drama about the underground world of illegal bovine growth hormones in Belgium, and something marvelous from Wim Wenders. It’s, to say the least, a varied group. Except that almost all of them are dramas from writer/directors.  So, yeah. Subject matter-wise though, it’s a full spectrum. The final 5 will be announced tomorrow morning, but here first are the trailers from each of the 9 shortlisted movies from far off lands (like Canada):

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It’s 1993, Canada has become the most powerful country in the world, and their fair land is protected by the red and white spandex of Captain Canuck. It’s a world far different from our own, but the good Captain might be coming to save us from the repetition of the same superheroes getting reboots and more movies. Creator of the popular indie comic Richard Comely is claiming that he’s in talks with a Canadian production company to film a $15 million movie featuring the eh-grade super hero. Toronto-based Sinking Ship (which is a foreboding name if there ever was one) had the option up until last year, but according to the LA Times, it’s unclear which production company Comely is in talks with. The prospect of seeing Captain Canuck anytime soon is a slim one, but it seems logical to assume that the character’s continued appeal, coupled with the Captain America movie might have stoked the fires a bit. This news at least means that the character is one step closer (again) to hitting the big screen with his alien-granted powers. Although, it’s important to note that the comic book creator sharing the news is the worst possible source, so until a production company comes out and waves their intentions proudly, it might just be Millar-style bluster. On the bright side, it would be nice to see a hero being extra polite while kicking ass.

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There’s not much that warms our cold, cold hearts here at FSR, but whenever we get emails from our friends abroad who can’t watch trailers or rent movies we lovingly suggest, a little piece of us dies because sharing a love of film is what it’s all about. Fortunately, you can sound your victory trumpets because sharing that love just got easier, and it’s now ribbed for your pleasure. Movie rental overlords at Netflix have decided to conquer Canada after laying siege to Blockbuster. While the company won’t offer rentals by-mail (because it costs and arm and a loony to mail things up there), they will be offering the far superior Watch Instantly option which will continue to expand (and will probably be the only service offered in a few year’s time). Huzzah! Congratulations, Canada. Welcome to Never Going To Your Job Again.

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The Coroner

Like any horror fan, if you approach me with a movie that promises not only girls, but also bikinis, and also murder, I’m going to pop out of my seat with excitement. Such was the case with Bikini Girls on Ice, a Canadian film that snuck across the border and into my DVD player. Judging from the title alone I thought I was in for some sort of magical Icecapades type film only with more blood and more boobs. Little did I know that there was no ice skating rink, very few exposed boobs, and that most of the murder would occur off-screen.  This is normally the part of the article where I write the plot down, but even by horror movie standards, the story is thin – as thin as ice, hohoho. As near as I can tell, a bus full of girls on their way to a bikini car wash breaks down at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, so they do the only two logical things: have their car wash anyway and get murdered.

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Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; eat up while it’s still free! If you are unfamiliar with this column, congratulations on retaining all of your IQ points. Junkfood Cinema is where, every week, I bring the cinematic pain in the form of some truly bad films. While these movies lack a certain…everything, there are aspects of each of them that I can’t help but enjoy.

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Hot off success with The Brood, the shocking director has chosen psychic horror for his next. But what does that mean for Frankenstein?

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ff-truffe

After that damned Global Warming has messed up the environment, it’s also created a massive boon in truffles in Montreal where a new business has taken over. Unfortunately, supplies are finite, and a new company has moved in under the guise of a pelt-selling shop that, of course, is more intent on sending out furry mind-control drones to take over the wealth of the truffle-hunting biz. On the outskirts of the war is freelance truffle-miner Charles who has to struggle to make a living and not get choked by a muppet.

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ff-yesterday

Zombies, gunfights, camping, bullies, gingers, and bloody Canadians!

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bruce-mcdonald-1

FSR chats with the ‘Pontypool’ director about his unique, extremely entertaining zombie movie, currently in limited release and available for purchase in living rooms nationwide through IFC On Demand.

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Aaron Boone is a troubled young man who may or may not be responsible for a series of brutal murders…

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Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… Canada!

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Every once in a while a movie comes along that I know must be seen. ‘The Rocket’ is one of those types of flicks.

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Canada’s last domestically owned music chain has filed for bankruptcy. Damn you iTunes!

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