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Komodo vs. Cobra (2005 TV Movie)
half-decent "B" monster movie
12 July 2006
keep your expectations set at "b-movie monster flick", and you can't go wrong with this as a rental. the f/x are no worse than episodes of "lost world", and the scenes of monsters pouncing on humans are priceless. the south seas locations are stunning, and while the plot is hokey and contains the occasional glaring inconsistency and bad bit of dialogue, the narrative moves along pretty well. one gets the strong impression that this film was one more draft away from being pretty good! see this if you want to kick back and have some good laughs at a contemporary monster b-movie, that invents nothing new, has a "B" cast (stars and executive produced by Michael Paré, in fact, whose performance seems to be the 'weakest link'), but delivers an attractive cast in a gorgeous location with big monsters whomping each other and eating humans. it's not like you'd be watching a monster flick for subtlety or art-house value, anyway! enjoy!
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Hunt for Justice (2005 TV Movie)
shot for story and a larger screen
6 April 2006
this was a thoughtful and well-shot and directed TV movie that took on a huge subject with precision and intelligence, and gives it a film treatment that would look great on a bigger screen -- the palette is a little muted for TV. if you're looking for a war action film or "bosnia lite", this isn't for you -- it's about an ordinary woman who took on an extraordinary challenge for humanity. if you want to learn more about the conflict and how the work of one woman influenced the world in a massive way, watch this film when it comes your way. i don't see that a lot of other TV films have dealt with the issue of genocide and ethnic hatred at this level. the story avoids obvious demonization of "the bad guys", and instead shows the denial and everyday hatred that resulted in deaths of thousands. i was moved at several points, and not in some manipulative Hollywood way with driving music and flashy mise-en-scene, but allowed to discover the horror and implications along with the characters. this is a film brave enough to let the content speak for itself, and keep the visuals understated to support it with dignity.

the actors do a helluva job at bringing the intense dramatic scenes to life. the scenes where victims give their testimony before the war tribunal are powerful, and Wendy Crewson, Stipe Erceg and Heino Ferch are excellent. William Hurt's British accent is awful -- no one else has given him a chance to play a Brit, and when he finally has it, he blows it! -- and although John Corbett's body was born to play a soldier/commando, he's a little too gee-whiz nice, although he does a good job.
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Murder Most Likely (1999 TV Movie)
A narc Mountie goes very, very bad...
25 March 2006
Riveting, chilling performance by Paul Gross -- who plays the creepily charming evil twin to the Due South incorruptible decent Mountie he played on TV for years. Did I say chilling? Also disturbing, without needing to have gratuitous violence or a serial killer in it! Based on the book about Patrick Kelly, a real undercover RCMP officer accused of murdering his first wife -- one of the only things they could even try pinning on him.

The story and performances are worthy of a feature film -- production values decent, too, so you won't be distracted by lack thereof, as often happens in MOW. The title is lousy, however -- this is anything but an Agatha Christie novel, although you will be wondering if, indeed, he "dunnit" or not. Worth your two hours.
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terrific understated original drama
24 July 2005
i just saw this film, and it certainly deserved the accolades it received at cannes.

the writing and acting are excellent, as we follow gerard/gerry, a barely dry journalist, hunt down the stories of those who died in the explosion that destroyed his apartment building. his alcoholism ups the tension as he tries to make meaning out of why someone like him survives the blast, while 'innocents' die. bernard emond has written a great film, and luc picard is especially terrific. the characters are great and overall, this film never even teeters near the edge of maudlin nor overblown drama -- it quietly and swiftly builds a film experience that feels authentic. this is rare in a music-video/cartoon-as-film world.

as a bonus for those who know montreal, emond is particularly true to neighbourhood socio-demographics, values, and locations.

i'm going to watch this one again, something i rarely do.
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