Maple Leaf Mentions – The Captive


If you’re looking to support Canadian film get out and see The Captive this weekend.  Written & Directed by Canadian legend Atom Egoyan it was shot in Sudbury, Ontario in the middle of winter.  It stars Vancouver’s own Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman from Toronto and Kevin Durand from Thunder Bay.  It’s about a little girl who goes missing and eight years later her parents (Reynolds & the Killing’s Mireille Enos) start to get clues that maybe she’s still alive.  Opens nationwide today.

Devil’s Knot Trailer + Poster: Colin Firth Investigates The West Memphis Three

Devil's Knot

In 1993 three young boys went missing and were later found murdered. A short time later three teenagers were arrested and charged for the murders after one of the teens, a kid with an IQ of 72, confessed that they had killed the three boys after twelve hours of interrogation with no parents of lawyers present.

The teens were tried with the prosecution asserting that the killings were part of a satanic ritual and the teens were found guilty despite evidence they may not have been involved and a potential alternate suspect who was not pursued.

This is exactly the type of difficult subject matter that Canadian film maker Atom Egoyan excels at making.

Continue reading “Devil’s Knot Trailer + Poster: Colin Firth Investigates The West Memphis Three”

Not Awesome: World War Z Superbowl Spot


Most of the Superbowl Ads will be going up, you know, during the Superbowl but for some reason the new 30 second spot for World War Z went up yesterday. So lets take a look.

You know when I first heard about this movie I was excited but the more I see the more I get the feeling it’s going to suck. I kind of dig that he running zombies act like a massive insect colony might, but at the same time they don’t look very good. Hopefully that’s just unfinished CG.

The trailer itself doesn’t really tell us anything more than we already know. In fact there’s only one new shot in here that I can see and it doesn’t add anything whatsoever. You’d think with a Superbowl ad, potentially seen by all of the people, they’d want to tease a little more and get us more interested. That they haven’t isn’t exactly reassuring.

The jury will be out on this one until I see it, but so far I’m not holding out much hope.

Review: Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad

Ryan Gosling. Sean Penn. Josh Brolin. Emma Stone. Robert Patrick. Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, and Michael Pena. Directed by Reuben Fleischer in a post-World War II cops vs. Gangsters story. This is a movie I wanted to see from the moment I heard about it.

Set in Los Angeles and facing off against famed mob boss Mickey Cohen, the players form an elite and off the books squad of cops who at the behest of the Chief of Police (played by Nick Nolte) take the battle against organized crime right to the head honcho. They hit him hard and where it hurts.

Does this sound familiar? Yeah, it sounds a lot like The Untouchables. It’s too bad it’s nowhere near as good as The Untouchables.

Now, that’s not to say that this is a truly terrible movie, just that it’s not very good. The problems are twofold, first there’s the issue of balance.

Half the time, it seems to be a serious cop drama complete with “Are we doing the right thing?” moments, and the rest of the time, it’s trying to be Dick Tracy 2, complete with characters who are either stereotypes or caricatures (more on that in a moment).

Seriously. Sean Penn plays Cohen so over the top that he’s hard to take seriously, and Troy Garity is his main henchman with a scar over his face that damaged his eye, and is credited simply as “One Eyed Assassin”. Meanwhile, Josh Brolin is the tough-as-nails, uncompromising lead detective, and Ryan Gosling is the sardonic, morally grey detective who must decide whether he’s really in the game. The problem here is that the movie never commits to one tone. Is it light and fun, or is it dark and serious? The answer is neither because it seems to try so hard to meet in the middle.

If any of this is starting to sound familiar again, it’s because of the second problem: there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before. There are two deaths on the squad, and usually, I’d consider that a spoiler, but if you can’t tell who it’s going to be after each of their introductory scenes (and what the immediate follow-up is going to be), then you’re probably watching a different movie than I was.

The film has other problems as well. A one liner here and there is good, several one liners during every sequence is silly. The rest of the dialogue is pretty bad, too. Even the lines that sounded cool in the trailer fall flat in the movie itself, and the writers are trying so hard to make every character cool that none of them get any actual development. Everyone ends up just being a pastiche of others you’ve seen before. The Hard Ass, the cowboy, the tech guy, the minorities struggling for acceptance, and the old man police chief.

Worse yet, none of the actors have any chemistry together. Sure, Josh Brolin and Mireille Enos have some, but the home story is a subplot, and Josh Brolin talking to almost anyone else feels forced. Even Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone don’t seem to connect despite having done so in other films.

There’s a lot to like here in the small details, though. The movie looks fantastic, from the sets to the costumes to the hair and makeup. The story isn’t bad, and we all know Reuben Fleischer loves his slow-motion shots. In the end though, the looks are just window dressing, the story is told with little nuance and terrible dialogue and the slow motion (and sped up) stuff just makes the pacing of the big final action sequence fall to pieces.

The scenes that play well are the action scenes (not sped up or slowed down) but almost feel like a different movie.

Gangster Squad was one of my most anticipated films of the year. Maybe because of that context, I am being hard on it, but I don’t think I am. It seems to be a movie made to make a great trailer. There are lots of one-liners to choose from, beautiful people in beautiful clothes on beautiful sets, and lots of action (and it does have a great couple of trailers). The problem is that they didn’t seem to be able to figure out what kind of movie they wanted to make or how they tried to play it, and the result is that the finished product is just a hot mess.