Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Fierce Light – World Premiere at VIFF


The Vancouver International Film Festival is hosting the world premiere of Velcrow Ripper‘s latest opus Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action. It’s the 2nd in the trilogy of spiritually motivated, earth worshipping, cinematographically rich documentaries which started with Scared Sacred. While Scared Sacred took us to the “Ground Zeroes” of the world to find if there is still hope in the places of the world’s darkest disasters, Fierce Light unites us with those engaged in compassionate activism around the planet. I always ask Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy: “which film in this year’s VIFF will change my life?” This year it’s Fierce Light.

Fierce Light – Wednesday October 1, 7 pm, Empire Granville 7.

or catch it soon on Super Channel.


Remembrance of Film Fests past…

September, with its back-to-school vibe, always makes me nostalgic. Tonight, with the opening of the Toronto International Film Festival, I look back on great moments in my film fest history.

TIFF 1989: Canadian premiere of Atom Egoyan‘s “Speaking Parts“. Lights dim, movie starts, head credits roll, lights go up, flurry of activity from the back of the cinema, Egoyan seen scurrying out. The lab printed the wrong reel after the credits. Egoyan fetched another print from his downtown Toronto office and taxied back to the theatre. The show went on. (Note: The print of “Speaking Parts” also caught fire in Cannes that same year.)

VIFF 1994: Krzysztof Kieslowski premiered Three Colours Red and was a special guest of the VIFF. I think they also showed a few of his Decalogue films in a special presentation. That year I was a film school drop-out and volunteered at the Hospitality Suite.

TAOS 2002: Room, the short film I produced, directed by Cameron Labine, played at the Taos Talking Picture Festival. It was the first festival I travelled to and I met amazing people, including Chip Hourihan, producer of Frozen River. Have to say it was a thrill being at a party when Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon were in the next room.

FilmExchange 2006: My first feature, “Love and Other Dilemmas“, directed by Larry Di Stefano and written by Deb Peraya played this intimate Canadian festival. It felt like coming home because LAOD had been selected by the NSI’s Features First program. I discovered that Terry David Mulligan is a gracious host and wine connoisseur.

Check this space for an exclusive blog for SuperU from TIFF 08 by Marguerite PigottSuper Channel’s Creative Development Representative for the province of Ontario. In addition to her work for Super Channel, Marguerite is also an independent consultant focusing on script development and project marketability.

Frozen River – see it before it melts

Frozen River is a gripping and hard-hitting movie about the smuggling of illegal aliens into New York State from Mohawk territory in Canada. Two women – Melissa Leo and Misty Upham – are brought together out of financial need and form an unlikely team. Those who’ve seen it – I’m going on Sunday – call it a “suspenseful yet tenderhearted thriller” with “killer performances and heart-in-mouth tension”. Oh, did I mention that it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2008? Frozen River is the first feature by writer/director Courtney Hunt. I met her when she was pitching it at the IFP in 2006 with her producer (my friend) Chip Hourihan.

Frozen River opens today in Vancouver at Tinseltown and Toronto at the Varsity. Go!

The Femme Fatale on a hot August night


“Never has a woman been so beautiful, so exotic, so dangerous to know!” (the tagline for Laura 1944).

Only a woman as duplicitous, manipulative, predatory, mysterious and gorgeous as the Film Noir Femme Fatale could inspire such sentiment.

Beginning tonight, the Pacific Cinematheque begins its wildly popular summer series of Film Noir classics. You can see all the femme fatale greats Gene Tierney as “Laura”, Lana Turner in “The Postman Always Rings Twice“, Barbara Stanwyck in “Double Indemnity“, Veronica Lake in “This Gun for Hire“, and Lauren Bacall in “Dark Passage“. This series has always been a guilty pleasure for me – a hot summer night, buttery popcorn, cheesy dialogue and hard-boiled detectives make the perfect combination.

If you can’t make it down to the Cinematheque, check out the line up of Film Noirs on – our Homage to Film Noir contest is up. There’s still time to post your tale of bleak alienation, moral ambiguity, corruption and evil, but make it in black & white, please!

Tracey Re-Fragmented

Director Bruce McDonald released footage from his Ellen Page starring, Berlin Fest fav, arthouse movie “The Tracey Fragments” and invited filmmakers to re-process and re-invent the film. He invited music videos, trailers, or an entirely new film. The winner made by Joel Norn was a thrilling and tight trailer which was featured, along with the top four, on the DVD. Check the official site for lots of extras, too. 

The Tracey Fragments 

What movie did I just see?

I saw this headline in a local paper about people who left stuff in their car and had it stolen. Boring! What if this story was about amnesia, targeted memory erasure, or aliens? Now, that would make a great movie. I immediately thought of “50 First Dates”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. Each of these films explores the esoteric nature of memory, truth, and love.

What are your favourite movies about memory loss?