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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

One Movie, Five Views would like to wish all our readers a happy and safe Halloween!

October’s Overlooked Film

Chosen by: John C.

One Week

Release Date March 6th, 2009

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language

Running Time: 97 min

Michael McGowan (dir.)

Michael McGowan (writer)

Andrew Lockington (music)

Joshua Jackson as Ben Tyler

Liane Balaban as Samantha Pierce

Campbell Scott as Narrator


Overlooked Film: One Week

By John C.

For this month’s overlooked film, I am shining the spotlight back on the Canadian masterpiece One Week. We had reviewed this film when it opened in theatres on March 6th, and when it came on DVD June 16th.

This is one film that deserves all the publicity it can get. It’s my favourite Canadian film I’ve seen this year, and will hopefully pick up numerous Genie awards. If you haven’t already seen it, please do so as soon as possible.

Is there a film that you think is overlooked? Send the name of the movie to onemoviefiveviews@hotmail.com, or leave us a comment below.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Story of Pixar’s Up Presentation at OIAF

By E. Corrado

I was waiting until I got a moment to write what I thought about the Up event that I attended on October 17th, 2009 in Ottawa. One week ago, I wrote about the Making of 9 event, and posted a short interview with Kevin Adams, art director at Starz Animation. Now I have the pleasure of sharing with you a report from The Story of Pixar’s Up, (including a bit about Dug’s Special Mission), as well as a two part interview with Ronnie del Carmen and Peter Sohn. The first part of the interview will be coming soon.

About the presentation: The Story of Pixar’s Up was held at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the Ontario border from Ottawa as part of the OIAF. The presentation took place in their theatre there from 6:45 pm to 8:45 pm. The theatre used was very big and nice, and I would look forward to attending more events at this venue.

The event itself started with the Up trailer played on the theatre screen, and then Ronnie del Carmen, story artist at Pixar and presenter for the event, came out on stage to begin the actual presentation.

He started with two questions that are frequently asked of him: 1. Where do you get your ideas, and 2. How do you know if there’re good or not. The answers are endless and varying as you may well imagine, so much so, that to try to re-cap everything here, would be ridiculously long. Mostly though, he talked about ideas in general. They often come when you least expect them, or from a drawing, such as the picture that Pete Docter drew of a grumpy old man carrying a bunch of happy, colourful balloons. To those Pete Docter showed the picture, they wanted to know more... Was the thing that was intriguing about the picture the contrast? What was the story behind this character? What made him interesting? Because ideas have to be developed before you know if they are going to go anywhere.

The thing about being a story artist, is that you have to be a great storyteller. Not only do you have to be able to write a good story, you have to be able to communicate it to others, be it through speech, actions, or, as storyboarding artists do, drawing. If you want to be a storyteller, not only do you want to be able to communicate what you want, (or others want), through the drawings, you have to learn the art of pitching, or ‘telling’ the story that goes with the pictures. These skills are only really learned through practice - in front of an audience. Essentially, you improve on the job.

Think you want to be a story artist though? Well, as spoken about in the panel, you have to learn how to take constructive criticism well. You may work for hours, days, even weeks getting your storyboards pitch perfect, (perfect for pitching), only once you present them, everyone has ideas how to improve your, as you see it, ‘perfect’ idea. This is an inspiring lesson for all artists of any medium. Often, it is when others really like your work, that is when they want to help you make it even better. When many people believe in your project, they will want to help you. When you are getting constructive criticism, take it as a compliment to your work, everyone wants to help, and often, your idea will become better than you ever imagined because of it. You can’t really make a film that will touch a wide audience of people without letting a wide breadth of people help you develop the project to it’s full potential.

I found the whole presentation so inspiring. To finish his presentation, Ronnie del Carmen showed the way that even storyboards can touchingly convey a story, by showing a little short based on his childhood in the Philippines, in storyboards. Then to top the whole thing off, those of us who were there were treated to a sneak preview of Dug’s Special Mission! That’s the five minute short film that will be available on the Up DVD next month. I won’t spoil anything for you, although I will say that it is very funny, and you are in for a real treat when you get the DVD/BluRay. The short itself is done in the same style as Jack-Jack-Attack, and BURN•E, in the sense that it shows what takes place to a certain [group of] character[s] during the film, while we were watching something else.

To end, I will say this. Next year, those of you going to the OIAF, Pixar presentations are definitely worth it. I had a great time at this presentation. It was funny, smart, well put together, and didn’t feel even close to 2 hours long. I guess great story artists make great presenters. They have a way of keeping your attention.

UP NEXT: An interview with Ronnie del Carmen and Peter Sohn - Part 1...

...and while you're waiting, you can read a couple of reviews of The Art of Up here.

Trailer Watch: "Avatar" Trailer Now Online!

I reported on this awesome new trailer for Avatar after seeing it in theatres last week with Amelia. Yahoo! now exclusively has the online version. While the regular format version doesn’t seem to be working in Canada, you can watch the trailer anywhere by downloading the HD version. This is the one trailer that has gotten me incredibly excited for Avatar.

-John C.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens Halloween special to air tonight

Tonight at 8:00 PM EST (please check local listings), NBC will be airing Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space. The half-hour special will feature the monsters battling evil space pumpkins. If you liked the movie, than be sure to check out this Halloween special.

-John C.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ice Age: Dawn of The Dinosaurs on DVD Today

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is releasing the highly enjoyable third-installment in the Ice Age franchise on DVD today. This is a fun animated film that the entire family can enjoy. The animals are cute, the story is sweet and the visuals are great. In particular a wildly inventive aerial chase atop pterodactyl's. Like in all the Ice Age films, the lovable Scrat provides some of the best moments. The new character Buck, voiced by Simon Pegg, is also hilarious. Here’s a link to our original theatrical reviews. Our consensus read:

“The newest installment in the Ice Age series, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has some of the best uses of 3D seen on screen so far. While the plot is simple, the visuals are great. This is one movie that will be a lot of fun for families this Summer. *** (Out of 4)”

The DVD is loaded with bonus features. The first disc includes filmmaker commentary, trailers and the most puzzling of the bonuses, a Marley & Me dog food commercial. The second disc includes about an hour of bonus videos, including both excellent previously-released “Scrat” short films (Gone Nutty & No Time For Nuts), a bunch of featurettes about Scrat, making-of featurettes and a short music video.

You can also get it as a three-disc set including a DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Copy of the film.

-John C.

Adoration on DVD Today

E1 Home Entertainment is releasing Atom Egoyan’s excellent Canadian film Adoration on DVD today. This is a fascinating film, that’s well worth seeking out on DVD. This is one of the best Canadian films of the year, and will hopefully pick up some Genie nominations and awards. Here’s a link to our original theatrical reviews. Our consensus was:

Adoration is a well made film that will definitely warrant a second viewing. Sharp writing, great acting by the cast, and a fitting score make Adoration a piece of art to watch. **** (Out of 4)”

The DVD comes packed with about an hour-and-a-half of bonus features. Including deleted scenes, making-of ‘s and an interview with Atom Egoyan.

-John C.

Assassination of a High School President DVD Review

Assassination of a High School President - An E1 Films Release

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2009

Rated 14A for coarse language and substance abuse

Running time: 93 minutes

Brett Simon (dir.)

Tim Calpin (writer)

Kevin Jakubowski (writer)

Daniele Luppi (music)

Reece Thompson as Bobby Funke

Bruce Willis as Principal Kirkpatrick

Mischa Barton as Francesca Fachini

Our reviews below:


Assassination of a High School President DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Assassination of a High School President is the story of Bobby Funke. A reporter for a high school news paper, who won’t stop until he uncovers the mystery of some missing SAT tests.

Assassination of a High School President has been compared to Rushmore and Brick. Those are perhaps the two closest films to compare it to, but it really is something totally original. Rushmore was a sweet dramady with a big heart, and Brick was a film noir.

This film is a near-brilliant comedy/mystery. It’s a very funny comedy, and a sharply written mystery that keeps you guessing through to the end. While it is too bad that this didn’t get a theatrical release outside of the Sundance film festival, this film is very much worth seeking out on DVD.

The DVD includes filmmaker commentary, alternate opening scenes, and extended and deleted scenes, all with optional commentary.


Assassination of a High School President DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

This is a film where a journalist tries to solve a mystery. Only he is 15 and writes for the school paper. The mystery to be solved? Who stole the SAT scores, and why...

The title is clever in many ways, as you will soon see if you watch the film. All of the actors here are well cast and believable in their roles. What I really liked about Assassination of a High school President is how smart it all is as it comes together. The story keeps you guessing, and has some good suspense throughout.

While the film has been compared to Rushmore, another high school film, having seen both, I don't know how much I would compare them. Both are very unique and enjoyable in their own ways.

Overall, while I hadn't heard much about the film before, I'm glad that I gave it a shot, because it was really enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this one.


Assassination of a High School President DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A


Assassination of a High School President DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A


Assassination of a High School President DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A


Consensus: ***1/3 (Out of 4)

Medicine For Melancholy DVD Review

Medicine For Melancholy - An E1 Films Release

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2009

Rated 14A for mature themes and coarse language

Running time: 88 minutes

Barry Jenkins (dir.)

Barry Jenkins (writer)

Wyatt Cenac as Micah

Tracey Heggins as ‘Jo

Our reviews below:


Medicine For Melancholy DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

After a one night stand, two people spend the day together in San Fransisco. How much actually happens over this 24-hour period? It depends on how you look at it. They go places, things are said, things are done. Like in a real day, some moments have more meaning than others.

Medicine For Melancholy is slow moving, but I never found it boring. This film feels genuine and real, and is basically a day in the life of two people. The writing is excellent, and the acting is very good. While this film isn’t going to be enjoyed by everybody, it is a very interesting one to see.

The DVD includes a trailer for the film, and an interview with writer/director Barry Jenkins.


Medicine For Melancholy DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

An interesting look at the lives of two people in LA the day after they meet at a party and end up 'together'. This quiet film focuses on just the two of them, both so different in their ideas about the world around them.

I quite liked this one. It had something nice about it, which I think was accentuated by the fact that the characters were both so likable, keeping the film light.

Medicine for Melancholy takes place over just two days, and shows us where that time span can take us and back. The title is interesting in the sense that throughout the film your perspective of who's helping who, changes. It is very easy to see the film from either side's perspectives. This one's worth seeing.


Medicine For Melancholy DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A


Medicine For Melancholy DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A


Medicine For Melancholy DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

DVD Review N/A


Consensus: *** (Out of 4)

A Christmas Tale (Un Conte De Noël) on DVD Today

Today, E1 Films is releasing the French film A Christmas Tale (Un Conte De Noël) on DVD. As Halloween hasn’t even happened yet, it seems a bit early to start reviewing Christmas movies. Watch for our reviews of this film, and other Christmas and holiday titles, in November.

-John C.

Coronation St. Vol. 3 ‘63-’65 & Coronation St. - Out of Africa on DVD Today

This is the third in what has become a series of posts about Coronation St. on DVD. Today, I not only have a new volume of the show to announce, but also a DVD of a feature-length Coronation St. movie.

E1 Films is releasing Coronation St. Vol. 3: 1963-’66, on DVD today. This 2-disc set includes 8 selected classic episodes from the show, allowing fans to relive some of their favourite moments. The episodes are arranged in chronological order.

E1 is also releasing A feature length Coronation St. movie today titled Coronation St. - Out of Africa, on DVD today. The official plot synopsis is as follows:

“Scheming Cilla Battersby is back - and this time she’s got her eye on the prize. The selfish mother-from-hell is on

the verge of pulling off her most audacious scam to date, but there's one small problem… Cilla needs her family to join her in South Africa.

But after deserting them so many times before – she's going to have to go to extraordinary lengths to convince or cajole Chesney, Fiz and even Kirk to fly across the world and put aside their differences if they are going to hit the jackpot!”

Both these DVDs are worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the show.

-John C.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD

On October 6th, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the complete fifth season of the classic TV series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The three-disc DVD set includes all 24 episodes from the show that ran during 1974 -’75 season.

This DVD set is worth having if you’re a fan of the show, or a fan of classic television. It’s all nicely packaged in a regularly sized DVD case, so it doesn’t take up any unneeded space on your shelf. This would also make a great gift.

-John C.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Winners of our Land of The Lost prize pack contest!

Our Land of The Lost prize pack contest is now closed. Here are the names and favourite Will Ferrell lines of the five winners. Big congratulations to...

Melissa H. (Whitby, ON) - “Can we turn our beds into bunk beds? It would give us so much extra room to do activities!” - Brennan Huff - Step Brothers (2008)

Ann G. (Thorold, ON) - “ He must be a South-Pole Elf” - Buddy the Elf - Elf (2004)

Sarah W. (Toronto, ON) - Chazz: “Mind-bottling, isn't it?” Jimmy: “Did you just say mind-bottling?” Chazz: “Yeah, mind-bottling. You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?” - Chazz Michaels - Blades of Glory (2007)

Heather Z. (Whitby, ON) - “I’m not a baby, I’m a man...an anchor man” - Ron Burgundy - Anchorman (2004)

Robert V. (Toronto, ON) - Miles Finch: "If you're feeling strong, friend, call me elf one more time" Buddy the Elf: "He's an angry elf; You are an elf." - Buddy the Elf - Elf (2004)

...who have all won a very cool Land of The Lost prize pack, including a t-shirt, key chain/compass and a copy of the DVD.

Big thank you to Universal Studios Home Entertainment Canada for supplying the prizes. And thank you to everyone who entered.

-John C.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Amelia - A Fox Searchlight Pictures release


Release Date: October 23rd, 2009

Rated PG for some sensuality, language, thematic elements and smoking

Running time: 111 minutes

Mira Nair (dir.)

Ronald Bass (writer)

Anna Hamilton Phelan (writer)

Susan Butler (book "East to the Dawn")

Mary S. Lovell (book "The Sound of Wings")

Gabriel Yared (music)

Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart

Richard Gere as George Putnam

Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal

Christopher Eccleston as Fred Noonan

Joe Anderson as Bill Stultz

Hilary Swank as Earhart in Mira Nair's AMELIA - A Fox Searchlight Pictures release

(Photo by Ken Woroner)

Our reviews below:


Amelia Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Amelia is a bio-pic of Amelia Earhart, starring Hilary Swank, made in the classy style of an old film from the ‘50’s. It takes place in the 1930’s, and captures the era very well. This is a period-piece, right from the costumes to the archival news footage.

Visually, Amelia is just a beautiful film. The shots of classic air planes in flight, and aerial cinematography are just gorgeous. To achieve a classic look, real planes were actually used in the filming, rather than just being added in later on computers.

While Amelia is somewhat of a letdown in the sense that it’s not the Best Picture contender everyone was expecting. With that said, it is still a very good film, with good acting, including an excellent lead performance by Hilary Swank. This film succeeds because of it’s acting, good direction by Mira Nair, and sweeping musical score by Gabriel Yared.

If Fox Searchlight wants to push one of their films for any awards, then they should throw all their support behind (500) Days of Summer. While Amelia might pick up an acting nom for Swank, if Summer had been released in the Autumn instead of in July, it likely would have picked up some awards nominations, mainly for Best Original Screenplay.


Amelia Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Amelia opens in the style of a classic old movie, with it's title cards and credits at the beginning while the quiet music plays. This style is kept throughout the whole film, something that I found rather fitting.

Amelia Earhart is played, in a wonderful performance, by Hilary Swank. She embodies this famous woman from history well, and is completely believable in the role. The other supporting actors also give fine performances as well.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about this film was the music composed by Gabriel Yared. It provides the right feel for the story. The cinematography is also quiet beautiful. Be it shots of clouds from above, or aerial shots of the vast and varying landscapes below, it is always a joy to watch.

This film will not be for everyone. It is quite well made, but it is also very low-key. The trailer, I find, shows the movie well, so you can judge from there. For those interested in history, particularly aviation, this movie is one that you should definitely go see.


Amelia Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Amelia is a classy, low key movie that follows one of history's most famous women, Amelia Earhart. Hilary Swank is perfect as Amelia Earhart.

The movie follows Amelia's famous flights, as well as her personal life. She loves her husband George Putnam, but a love triangle of sorts ensues when she meets flight instructor Gene Vidal, (His son Gore sees Amelia as a mother figure.)

There are a lot of beautiful moments in this film. The aerial shots over the African Savannah and the oceans are just amazing. The score by Gabriel Yared soars with the film.

Amelia Earhart was, and still is, an inspiration to women, or anyone who wants to follow their dream. The ending is tragic, but stays true to history. This film is a must see for anyone into history, aviation history, aviation, women's rights, or who just wants to see a film with an older feel. Amelia is a film that anyone, from 10 to 100, can enjoy.


Amelia Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

The story of female flier Amelia Earhart has always been an interesting one to many people. Director Mira Nair's bio-pic "Amelia" is a lovely interpretation of the story. This is a visually nice movie to watch. The aerial shots are beautiful and the costuming of the 1930's era is classy and authentic.

The real strength of 'Amelia' is Hilary Swank's portrayal of Amelia Earhart. Swank completely captures Earhart's adventurous, independent spirit and her quietly understated beauty. She is wonderful to watch in every scene. Richard Gere also gives a good performance as Amelia Earhart's husband, George Putnam. All of the other actors give solid performances as well, but it is Hilary Swank who carries this film.

Amelia is going to appeal to anyone interested in aviation history and/or the history of strong American women. This is also a wonderful travel story and period piece. Mainly it's the story of a woman who dares to pursue her dream and it's an inspiration for all ages.


Amelia Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Amelia tells the story of Amelia Earhart’s life as an aviatrix and inspiration to women, mainly during the Depression of the 1930s. Despite an affair with the aviator Gene Vidal (Ewan MacGregor) she remained devoted to her husband and backer George Putnam (Richard Gere), but maintained her free spirit to the end.

Directed By Indian-born Mira Nair, Amelia has an old-fashioned style appropriate to its era, shot on location in Canada and Africa using real vintage planes shot in the air without any computer tricks. Even the romantic scenes–fully clothed and fading out after the initial embrace–are consistent with the films of the period.

Hilary Swank is as good as expected, bearing a close resemblance to the real Earhart, not only in appearance but also her speech and mannerisms, as seen in archival clips. The rest of the cast is also fine, and the lush musical score by Gabriel Yared is a nice bonus.


Hilary Swank as Earhart and Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal - A Fox Searchlight Pictures release

(Photo by Ken Woroner)


Consensus: Though not the Oscar contender everyone was expecting, Amelia is nice bio-pic of Amelia Earhart, made stronger by an excellent lead performance from Hilary Swank, and beautiful aerial cinematography. *** (Out of 4)


Richard Gere as George Putnam in AMELIA - A Fox Searchlight Pictures release (Photo by Ken Woroner)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Interview with Kevin Adams, Art Director for 9

By E. Corrado

So, first off, when did start working at Starz Animation? 4 1/2 years ago I think. I was called in to fix problems on Everyone's Hero, which was a project that was done there. I was just about finished, just about to leave, and another project came along, and I helped them fix that one, and another project came along, so I kept thinking I was going to leave, because the studio didn't work the way that I wanted it to. I ended up thinking I'd stay around until we fixed things and it was finally the way I wanted it. But now it's fine, now I like it there.

What exactly do you do on the films? It depends on the film. I was the art director on some of the films, and on others I was the art director and director of cinematography. So I run the art department for the studio so I oversee the art for one whole picture, and then with cinematography, I oversee layout and the camera work as well.

Do you do any animation? I don't really touch animation except in how it affects all the other departments, but I do oversee design, the painting, the colour keys, planning, final lighting, the set dressing, any artistic elements that are put into the show. There'll be a department head for each individual department but I'll oversee all of them.

So, when did you know that you wanted to go into film and animation? When I was in the 9th grade. It was when I saw the Abyss, and I thought 'I want to do computer animation'. So I started then, when I was in grade 9, and I decided I was going to do that, so I looked around and found out that people who did classical animation where the best at the time, so I went through Sheridan's classical animation program and somewhere along the way, I got sucked into Disney. I never actually got to do 3D films, so I was at Disney for about 11 years and then eventually I got back into it through video games.

...and you're originally from Canada? Yes.

About the movie 9. How early did you come onto the project? As soon as it came to Starz? A little bit before it came to Starz, because you know, they were having trouble getting the film done and there were people that were going around with them saying 'oh we want to go find out where you are going to do it next, to make sure that you can do it so that you don't waste our money'. So they're coming in, even before it came to the studio, and decided the place they wanted to go, and I had to tell them how I thought they could do the film and prove to them they could actually do it.

So did you meet with Shane Acker at that point? Yeah, he came in, as did some focus executives, and Jinko Gotoh, who is one of the producers, she came as well. They came very early on.

Was there anything that really stood out, as one big challenge on 9? Just the time. Trying to get it done in the amount of time, and not have the quality suffer. That was the constant thing that kept happening over and over.

How long exactly was the film at Starz? I think 12 months? I may be wrong if you're going to quote this, but it was around 12 months, and then we did that pass, where we asked 'these are the things we would like do', and then we came around a little bit later and did '9 plus', which is the extra material to put into the show. So they give a little bit of extra money and we added to it. So I think it came out around 14 months all together.

Is there anything else you'd like to add today? I think that covers it... Thanks for coming.

One Movie, Five Views thanks Kevin Adams for taking the time to for an interview this past weekend.

UP NEXT: The Story of Pixar's Up - coverage of the masterfully put together presentation with Ronnie del Carmen...

The Making of 9 Presentation at OIAF

By E. Corrado

The event, titled The Making of 9, happened at 3:00 pm Saturday, October 17th, at the OIAF. The event itself was held in the Ottawa Arts Court Theatre, although I must say the Arts Court is not my favourite place for events. I found it too crowded...

Now, about the presentation: Before talking about the film in-depth, presenter Kevin Adams, art director from Starz Animation, tried to show a short clip from the original short film, (which unfortunatly wouldn’t stream properly), and then showed parts of the theatrical trailer from the film. For fans of the movie 9, there were some interesting bits of information here about the hidden aspects of the world they created. Showing concept art, it really made you realize that this film needs to be examined more closely the second time around...

One interesting thing that he talked about was the fact that many of the set pieces for 9, as complicated as they were, had to be built in copied sections, much the way you would a real set. In the scene at the scientists house for example, the set painters were told exactly were the camera would be, and how close-up the shot would be. In this way, they were able to only put real detail into the actual shot, (e.g. not the ‘fourth wall’), and use only minimal detail unless there was going to be a close up shot. Also, in the scenes with piles of junk, or piles of books, they just made a small pile that could be copied several times over and modified with paint to save time. These kinds of things helped them meet their tight time constraints, as well as cut down on rendering times.

He also talked a bit about how the movie didn’t start out at Starz, and how by the time it came to them, they had to get it done in just over a year. While it may not seem that hard, considering that the film was already in development elsewhere, they had to start practically from scratch in order to make the models work with them, as well as the sets.

Overall, it was an informative presentation. The whole thing was about an hour long.

UP NEXT: A short interview with Kevin Adams...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New “Avatar” Trailer!

I attended a screening of Amelia tonight, (reviews coming Friday), and much to my pleasant surprise they showed a brand-new trailer for the hugely-anticipated Avatar. This over 3-minute trailer has gotten me more excited for the film than the original teaser-trailer and 16-minutes of “Avatar Day” footage put together. It explains the story very well for those who don’t already know what it’s about, has a very classy type-font that looks like something right out of a ‘70’s blockbuster, and best of all reminds people of James Cameron’s impressive filmography.

The trailer plays (exclusively?) in theatres starting this Friday with Amelia, and according to MarketSaw 3D (The best online source for all Avatar related news), will be online next Thursday, October 29th. Admittedly, I was slightly let down by the previously released footage, but let me tell you, this awesome trailer alone has gotten me incredibly excited for the film.

-John C.

Winners at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2009

The Ottawa International Animation Festival ran this past weekend. Coming up this week, I will have coverage of a couple of the events there as well as interviews.

-E. Corrado

For now though, the 2009 winners at the OIAF are as follows:

Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature:

Mary and Max, directed by Adam Elliot, Australia

Honourable Mention:

My Dog Tulip, directed by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, USA

Nelvana Grand Prize for Best Independent Short Animation:

Kaasündinud Kohustused (Inherent Obligations) - by Rao Heidmets, Estonia

HIT Entertainment Grand Prize for Best Student Animation:

Laska (Chick) - by Michal Socha, Poland

Grand Prize for Best Commissioned Animation:

Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, A Journal Diary) - by Bastien Dubois, France

Best Animation School Showreel:

Rhode Island School of Design (USA)

Best Narrative Short:

Please Say Something - directed by David O’Reilly, Ireland and Germany

Honourable Mention:

Köögi Dimensioonid (Kitchen Dimensions) - directed by Priit Tender, Estonia

Best Experimental/Abstract Animation:

Peripetics - directed by Jamie Raap and Henrik Mauler, UK

Honourable Mention for Passionate Art Making:

Myth Labs - by Martha Colburn, Netherlands

Adobe Prize for Best High School Animation:

Did U See That - by Yuri Rhee, Ha Jung Kim, Paul Kim, and Hyun Jung Lee, Korea Animation High School, South Korea

Best Undergraduate Animation:

The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! - directed by Jake Armstrong, School of Visual Arts, USA

Honourable Mention:

Mak the Horny Mac Daddy - by Ian Miller, University of the Arts, USA

Best Graduate Animation:

Lebansader - directed by Angela Steffen, Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemburg, Germany

Best Promotional Animation:

Nick Indents - by Ljubida Djukic, Ole Keune, and Bettina Vogel, Dyrdee Media GmbH & Co. KG, Germany

Best Music Video:

Nullsleep “Dirty ROM Dance Mix” - by Stieg Retlin, USA

Best Television Animation for Adults:

Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, A Journal Diary) - by Bastien Dubois, France

Best Short Animation Made for Children:

Nicolas & Guillemette, directed by Virginie Taravel, France

Honourable Mention:

Enter the Sandbox, directed by Kevin Adams, Canada

Best Television Animation Made for Children:

Lost and Found, directed by Phillip Hunt, UK

Honourable Mention:

Tom and the Slice of Bread with Strawberry Jam & Honey ‘Tom’s Band’/’Tom and the Nice Family’ (Tom und das Erdbeermarmeladebrot mit Honig), directed by Andreas Hykade, Germany

The National Film Board of Canada Public Prize:

Madagascar, A Journey Diary (Madagascar, carnet de voyage), directed by Bastien Dubois, France

Canadian Film Institute for Best Canadian Animation:

Le Tiroir et le Corbeau (The Drawer and The Crow) - by Frédèrick Tremblay, Canada

Honourable Mentions:

Vive La Rose, by Bruce Alcock

The Art of Drowning, by Diego Maclean

The Paper Prince, by Hamish Lambert

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Interview with Richard Marvin, composer of the music for Surrogates

By E. Corrado

When did you find out that you would be doing the score for Surrogates? I found out in July 2008, which is quite early on for movies, although I didn’t actually start work on it until around April or May 2009.

What was it like working on this project? It was one of the most straight ahead projects, in that the music came very easily. I was approached by Jonathan [Mostow] quite early on. Because of the extra time I was able to spend a lot of it on themes, so by the time it got to temping the movie, they used a lot of my themes on it rather than other music, which was good.

Have you seen the finished film? Yes, many times in fact. It’s a really good film; I was delighted the way the music plays in the final mix.

Do you think it is the kind of movie that becomes clearer on consecutive viewings? Yes, I do. I’ve spoken to people who’ve seen it several times, and they often say that on the second viewing they finally get it a little bit more. Why more people didn’t go, I don’t know, but I found the ad campaign, with all of the billboards, (at least here in LA), was a bit confusing for people as to what the film was actually going to be about.

What were the challenges that you faced while working on Surrogates, if any? The greatest challenge I would say was maintaining the human emotion and isolation in the story while creating music that would propel the action.

When did you know that you wanted to compose music? I didn’t really know right away. I’d already been in LA, where I was doing synth work for TV shows. I was working with big names such as Mike Post, helping him compose some of his many TV shows. Then I started doing composing work myself, and slowly started getting more of it. I’ve been doing it for 17 years now.

Where did you study music? I went to school in Indiana at Bloomington. I was a jazz piano major, with aspirations to do that, but recording was what I pursued once I was in LA.

Would you ever want to get back to piano? Maybe if I get some time I’ll get back into it.

When composing music, do you have a favourite instrument to write for? Well it’s not one instrument, but actually the whole orchestra. On TV, I’m by myself mostly with all of the instruments on a synth board. Sometimes they bring in 1 - 2 real musicians on TV, but that’s about it. When working with the orchestra, it’s just so different. I also love all of the strings. It’s great to hear all of the string instruments playing together.

What kind of computer programs do you use for writing/synth work? My principal writing is done with digital performer, although I also use Pro Tools. For all of the instrument sounds, I have 12 computers connected through Pro Tools when I’m writing.

So you lay out what each instrument will be playing beforehand? I’m playing the parts on the computer, and I use samples of those early on. Like when I was writing for Surrogates, I make up samples using the computer that sound pretty much accurate to what the orchestra will be playing, so I have already assigned each of the instruments. These are used for the director and everyone to hear before we actually go to recording.

I’ve noticed that most movies don’t list the individual orchestra members - do you know why that is? I assume it’s a precedent that they have. For example, on Surrogates, that would have been 120 names added on the credits. Occasionally, I’ve noticed that they do list a main guitar player, or someone who did a special type of instrumental solo.

I guess it would get long... Especially with a movie that has a lot of animators on it for effects. Exactly. And, no one seems to watch the credits...

Next question: do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on? Yeah. It’s one for TV, called Six Feet Under. I really related to it and it was one I enjoyed doing.

If you could do any project, what kind would it be? I think I’d love to do another action-thriller. I’ve been doing mostly dramas for TV recently. What I would definitely love to do is one like I Am Legend, for example.

What about a favourite movie to write for? Surrogates was a great favorite of mine. Another one would have to be U571, which was also a Jonathan Mostow movie. The movie takes place in WWII, and it was a real challenge to do. The music had to be very old style, big huge sounds, and very patriotic sounding and large scale. I am very proud of how that one turned out.

Do you have a favourite movie from the last ten years? I don’t know about choosing a favorite, but I’m trying to remember. This year, District 9 was really, really good, as was The Brothers Bloom. Further back, I’d have to say American Beauty, Fatal Attraction, and Jacob’s Ladder, to name but a few...

Can you tell me about any upcoming projects you’re working on? Well, there are none for film right now, but for TV I’m working on a new show for CBS called Three Rivers.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? I appreciate your taking the time to help promote music in film.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are


Release Date: October 16th, 2009

Rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action, and brief language.

Running time: 94 minutes

Spike Jonze (dir.)

Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, John Carls, Maurice Sendak, and Vincent Landay (prod.)

Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers (Screenwriter)

Based on the book by Maurice Sendak

Karen O and Carter Burwell (music)

Max Records as Max

Pepita Emmerichs as Claire

Max Pfeifer, Madeleine Greaves, Joshua Jay, and Ryan Corr as Claire’s Friends

Catherine Keener as Mom

Steve Mouzakis as Teacher

Mark Ruffalo as The Boyfriend

Wild Things

James Gandolfini as Carol (voice)

Vincent Crowley as Carol (suit performer)

Paul Dano as Alexander (voice)

Sonny Gerasimowicz as Alexander (suit performer)

Catherine O’Hara as Judith (voice)

Nick Farnell as Judith (suit performer)

Forest Whitaker as Ira (voice)

Sam Longley as Ira (suit performer)

Michael Berry Jr. as The Bull (voice)

Angus Sampson as The Bull (suit performer)

Mark McCraken as The Bull (additional suit performer)

Chris Cooper as Douglas (voice)

John Leary as Douglas (suit performer)

Lauren Ambrose as KW (voice)

Alice Parkinson as KW (suit performer)

Garon Michael as KW (additional suit performer)

MAX RECORDS as Max in Warner Bros. Pictures’, Legendary Pictures’ and Village

Roadshow Pictures’ adventure film “Where the Wild Things Are,” a Warner Bros.

Pictures release.

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Our reviews below:


Where The Wild Things Are Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

In adapting a book for the screen as popular as Maurice Sendak’s 1963 classic “Where The Wild Things Are”, it’s almost impossible to please everybody. And this film is definitely not for everyone. Even if this film had been made before readers had embraced the book as their own, a lot of people still wouldn’t have liked it. Having grown up with the book, I personally loved this movie. It’s hard to say how other directors would have handled this material, but one things for sure. There will never be another film quite like Spike Jonze’s vision of the story.

The CGI faces, that were put on to the Wild Things costumes in post-production, are just amazing. The facial expressions are beautifully emotional. A close-up of Carol’s face as he starts to break down, is one of the most heartbreaking and moving images in the film. I really cared about the Wild Things.

Being the only human on-screen for almost the entire movie, young Max Records, who was also excellent in the brilliant prologue to The Brothers Bloom, gives an amazing performance here. Rarely is there a performance by a child actor that hits all the right emotional notes. Max Records is a total natural.

The music by Karen O, of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is very well done and fits the mood of the film. The songs all beautifully fit over their scenes in the film, in particular the cover of the Daniel Johnson song “Worried Shoes” and “All Is Love”. Though I was slightly disappointed that the Arcade Fire song “Wake Up”, used in that beautiful first trailer, is not featured in the actual film.

Parents of young kids need to take caution. This adaptation of a classic bedtime story could very well induce nightmares. Some people have described it as a movie about childhood for adults, and that is a spot on description. I wouldn’t recommend taking anyone under, maybe 10. But honestly, you just have to judge your kid.

My only real complaint about the film is the shaky-cam. I didn’t mind it here as much as I have in other films, but it does make some of the action sequences a bit hard to follow.

Admittedly, Wild Things was not quite the masterpiece I was expecting, but that’s not saying it isn’t some sort of masterpiece. I think I’ll have a better idea about this upon second viewing. So for now I'll just go with "great movie".

This is a movie that doesn’t tell the audience what to think, and is almost stronger for it. It’s hard to make a film that’s going to please everyone, when the main character on-screen is so emotionally unsettled.

I think some people will love this film, some will hate it. I’d personally fall into the former category. It’s incredibly emotionally effecting, visually stunning, and at times just beautiful. It’s destined to become a classic, no matter how split people’s opinions are. Whatever you think of the finished product, whether you’ll start a rumpus out of love or hate, this film is every bit worth going out to see.


Where The Wild Things Are Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

The movie version of Where The Wild Things Are adds more backstory to the original book, giving us a reason for Max’s emotional meltdown the ‘night he wore his wolf suit’. While many may be shocked at just how dark this film is, I found it worked. We can understand what makes Max feel the way he does, and his conflicted feelings about how to deal with everything that is happening.

When he runs away, (a variation from the original book, where he was sent to his room), he ends up at the waters edge, where a boat is waiting. It is here that he sails away, at least in his imagination, to ‘where the Wild Things are’. The Wild Things themselves all represent a part of Max and the people around him in a way. They too have anxieties and fears, hopes and dreams, yet do not know how to appropriately deal with all that’s around them. It is here that Max is able to see his behaviour in others, and maybe truly begin to understand himself better?

I don’t really have much complaint with the fact that the world of the Wild Things is not a really happy one. After getting as upset as he did, Max’s imagination clearly took him to a place where he could examine and try to sort out what just happened. His trying to force that place to be what it isn’t, (trying to make it happy instantly), he realizes just doesn’t work.

The Wild Things are played by actors in wonderful costumes, which have amazingly emotional animated faces. The voice actors for each of them also do a great job. Max Records, the young actor who plays Max, also deserves recognition for his performance in this film. He plays Max genuinely, and believably - most of the time while acting alongside people in suits with not yet animated faces... The soundtrack to the film also works really well, with a combination of songs and original score tracks.

The only thing I found distracting was the shaking camera throughout many of the scenes. I look forward to seeing this again, but not so close to the screen this time. Still, a stedi-cam would have been welcomed here. Yes, a sense of Max’s mixed up and unsettled emotions may have been what was trying to be conveyed through the shaky-cam, but a technique only works if it is not so distracting that the audience blatantly thinks of it as just that - a technique. Especially a dizzying one...

This film takes a risk with how it presents itself. Does it succeed? Well, it depends who you ask, but forming your own opinion is probably the best bet. I think it is going to be personal whether people like the film or not. This being said, go see this one, but don’t bring young kids. It is as good as it is dark. With beautiful cinematography shot in Australia, this is an interesting film to see in theatres.


Where The Wild Things Are Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Where The Wild Things Are is a unique, well made, but very dark take on Maurice Sendak’s classic tale. We see the series of events that lead up to Max’s wild outburst, and are brought to a land where Wild Things abound. All the monsters from the original book now have names, and each of the characters resemble an aspect of Max’s emotional life. The Wild Things are both frightening and believable. Played by actors in furry suits, these creatures are beautiful, and at times terrifying to watch. Their world, consisting of earthy browns and grays, adds a sombre, organic feel to the film. The acting in this film is amazing. Young actor Max Records plays his troubled character disturbingly well. The Wild Things too, are well cast.

However, this film is not for everyone. I enjoyed it, but I can expect this movie to get mixed reviews. This film can be disturbing at times, and would not be suitable for children under at least 10. Also, in the film, Max runs away to the Wild Things home. (In the book, he dreams or imagines the Wild Things while in his room.)

Where the Wild Things are is worth seeing. Just leave the young kids at home.


Where The Wild Things Are Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Any parent who has witnessed a child have a major meltdown knows Wild Things really exist. Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” made us believe in wild things. Spike Jonze’s movie adaptation of this classic story brings the wild things to life.

The strength of this film is the wonderfully done puppetry and costuming of the Wild Things creatures. Each of the Wild Things are believable and emotionally engaging. The scenes with the creatures are impressive to watch. There is a lot of beautiful scenery in this movie showing the gentleness, strength, and even rage that can exist in nature all at the same time. My favorite visual scenes were the ones with Max and Wild Things walking across sand dunes. The other strength in this movie is the superb performance by young Max Records playing lead character, Max. Considering that most of his scenes were done with costumed creatures he gave a completely believable and very emotionally vulnerable performance.

As much as I enjoyed “Where the Wild Things Are” there were flaws that distracted me from enjoying it fully. My main complaint is with the shaky-cam technique used in many of the action sequences. I suppose the intent may have been to show the instability in Max’s world, however it just made me dizzy. This is also for the most part an emotionally - dark film. Max’s behavior and the behavior of the Wild Things are disturbing to watch. Parents beware - this is not a children’s adventure movie. It is a drama.

If you are a fan of Maurice Sendak’s original story, you will want to check this one out. The Wild Things look great on the big screen.


Where The Wild Things Are Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Written in 1963, Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are left a lot to the reader’s imagination. Director Spike Jonze has updated and filled out the story, giving voice and personalities to the individual Wild Things that many, particularly younger children, may find disturbing. The strong suggestion in the book that all adventures are confined to the boy Max’s bedroom dream is confused in the film when Max runs away before supper and gets into the boat where the dream presumably occurs. Max is given a backstory–an overworked mother courting a new boyfriend, an older sister too busy with her own friends to stand up for him when they crush his snow fort on top of him, and anxiety over his teacher’s prediction of the sun’s demise without mentioning the billions of years it will take. The various conflicts in Max’s life are brilliantly reflected in the ways the various Wild Things relate to each other and to Max.

The Wild Things are impressive–with their expressive CG faces they are never too scary to look at despite their horns and other monstrous features. In an excellent performance as Max, Max Records deserves the top billing he gets, supported by a fine cast. Unfortunately, the shaky handheld camera work, particularly in the opening snow scene, is not up to the level of the special effects. The musical score by Karen O and Carter Burwell provides a good accompaniment to the actions and emotions on the screen.


MAX RECORDS as Max in Warner Bros. Pictures’, Legendary Pictures’ and Village

Roadshow Pictures’ adventure film “Where the Wild Things Are,” a Warner Bros.

Pictures release.

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


Consensus: Where The Wild Things Are is an interesting film, albiet a very dark one. This is a drama worth seeing for much older kids, teenagers and adults. ***1/2 (Out of 4)


MAX RECORDS as Max and CATHERINE KEENER as Mom in Warner Bros.

Pictures’, Legendary Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ adventure film

“Where the Wild Things Are,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Photo by Matt Nettheim