You may remember Harrod Blank's Camera Van.
They want to meet new faces.
When they enter a community, they ask people who
would be interesting to photograph. In one
village, they find a lady who is the only person
still living in a series of row houses once
belonging to miners. The houses are slated
for demolition. Stories are told about the
miners of the past. JR climbs a scaffolding and
mounts a giant close-up of the lady on the row
JR is tall, Varda is petit.
At one point, we see them from the back sitting
on a bench. Varda's legs don't reach the ground,
so her lets swing back and forth. JR is slouched
on the bench. He is very tall. His legs spread
across the ground.
Another man shows an old family photo and says he had to kidnap his would-be wife in order to marry her. Her parents were against the marriage.
doesn't take long for people to start posting
the photos on social medial.
Sometimes group photos are taken. They aren't stiff photos... the people are asked to put their arms in the air.
One lady asks JR and Varda how they met. "We met on a dating site," JR jokes.
The film brings
life to quiet villages.
The Florida Project
Not everyone has a secure
childhood in a good neighborhood.
They are super-hyperactive.
Sometimes this gang of kids is three, sometimes two, when one leaves, then they add a new kid. They describe a motel room to her: "This man lives here and gets arrested a lot."
Bobby (Willem Dafoe)is the manager of the motel. As you can imagine, his job isn't easy. He has to be tough at times, but we quickly see he has a soft spot for the kids, despite the dead fish in the pool, balloons thrown at tourists, and a topless resident lounging near the water as the kids cheer. His performance is excellent.
It takes a while to figure out
which kids belong to whom. The main kid is
Moonee (Brooklynn Prince). She's terrific, as is
her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite), who is
super thin, laid back, and doesn't care what the
kids do. At times, you don't know who is
more of a child, the mother or the kid - like
when they have a picnic next to the nearby
helicopter port with helicopters constantly
buzzing overhead, but who cares....
At times, it’s difficult to take the constant problems that occur. It’s tiring because there doesn’t really seem to be a good solution.
The film leaves us wondering what will happen to Moonee. She’s a bright little girl who could have an interesting life and perhaps do good things if only she were given a chance. She certainly has the energy. Moonee is dedicated to her friends, and one helps her out when she can’t face the sudden changes that happen too quickly. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by Denny
Most people don’t realize that musicians didn’t always play their own instruments on recordings. Session musicians routinely recorded albums for ‘stars’ in the 1960’s – early 1970’s in Los Angeles. They backed dozens of popular acts with the swinging melodies on hits of the era. They were one of the most successful session recording players in music history.
“The Wrecking Crew” is a great music film about these behind-the-scenes session musicians who got their name because they refused to wear formal suits while playing. They wore jeans and T-Shirts and were accused by some in the business of “wrecking” the high standards of the industry. These excellent musicians focused on the music. That’s what they cared about. Six years in a row, 1960- the early 1970’s, the “Record of the Year” went to The Wrecking Crew.
The film is full of interviews with these talented studio musicians that tell their stories and is laced with photographs. You might recognize tunes from Bonanza, Mash, Ozzie and Harriet, Mission Impossible, Pink Panther, and The Partridge Family.
The Wrecking Crew would record four songs in three hours and do an album a day. They were a tight-knit group. Many of the musicians could play multiple instruments in all kinds of styles: rhythm and blues, pop, rock and roll… they created the arrangements. One lone woman, Carol Kaye on bass guitar, played a solid base line. “We put notes on paper, but that’s not the music – it’s what you put into it that creates the music… to make it swing,” she said. Kaye worked on over 10,000 recordings in a career spanning over 50 years. She also came up with the famous intro on Glen Campbell’s hit "Wichita Lineman.”
Some of the musicians couldn’t read music. Glen Campbell was one of them, but this didn’t stop him. He became one of the “hottest” studio musicians. They experimented by bending the strings for a new sound. California had a rougher, looser sound than New York.
When they started out, they were paid $10 a song. There were no credits on the records. The musicians were kept hidden.
The Wrecking Crew worked with some of the best – The Beach Boys – doing surfer films, Sonny & Cher, The Monkees, The Mamas & the Papas, The Byrds. The tunes were memorable - “Do Ron Ron,” The Crystals; “You've Lost That Loving Feeling,” The Righteous Brothers; “Only You,” The Platters;, “These Boots are Made for Walkin,’ Nancy Sinatra…lots of great songs. “If you love your work, it’s not work.”
Eventually, studio musicians weren’t used because bands were asked to play their own music. The bubble popped… and recording dates diminished: What do you call a trombone player with a beeper…. Answer: an optimist.
completed in 2008, “The Wrecking Crew” film
wasn’t released until 2015, a result of problems
with music licensing rights. It took a
Kickstarter campaign to raise the $200,000 to
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by Vanessa Gould
Who would have thought that a
film about obituaries could be fascinating.
The great care that the writers
take in selecting people to feature, and the
After selecting a subject to
feature, for example, NASA Engineer Jack
Kinzler, the guy who saved the Sky Lab by
developing heat shields, the writer
contacts relatives for detailed information.
The next assignment might centre on a belly
At first, obituaries mostly spotlighted white men. That was the reality of culture 40- 60 years ago. Manson Whitlock, Typewriter Repairman, Dies at 96. "For eight decades, Manson Whitlock kept the 20th century's ambient music going: the ffft of the roller, the ding of the bell , the decisive zhoop...bang of the carriage return, the companionable clack of the keys. Over time, he fixed more than 300,000 machines, tending manuals lovingly, electrics grudgingly and computers never." (Margalit Fox)
Obits are usually
between 600- 900 words. The subjects have
to be newsworthy. There is always a photo, and
the size is dictated by the person. James
Brown, "The Godfather of Soul" - large photo.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Actor of Depth,"
merited many photos.
One individual became history: the bombardier who dropped the 9,000 pound bomb on Hiroshima where 80,000 Japanese were instantly killed. That was Thomas Ferebee from a small town near Winston Salem, North Carolina.
The obituary section of the paper
is known as "Siberia" - the last stop on the way
Directed by Terence Davies
A solitary life is not an
easy one. Sometimes our talents become our worst
enemies. We are compelled to live a certain way.
Poet Emily Dickinson was an extraordinary writer
- recognized as the most important poet of the
19th century, but her life became increasingly
It soon becomes clear that Emily
is a rebel and doesn't want to be saved. The
film becomes a portrait of attitudes of the
times. Emily's best friend, Miss
Buffam (Catherine Bailey), is a seemingly
liberated female with a great sense of humor.
She insists that going to church is like going
to Boston. You are only happy when you go home.
She states that a marriage proposal by mail
would be fine. A failed marriage could be
blamed on the U.S. mail.
Emily lived a secluded life... eventually hiding in her room.
"We become the very thing we dread," Emily says. "Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me."
Emily was not recognized in her own time. Upon her death, her family discovered forty handbound volumes of nearly 1800 poems.
Review by Lois Siegel
Hell or High Water
Directed by David
you find yourself initially rooting for the bad
guys in a film. This
One robbery is unusual. They steal a small amount of money plus a truck. They pay a shady car dealer to let them steal the truck. The deal is that the truck won’t be reported stolen until the end of the week so that they can get away.
The younger brother wants to give the ranch to his kids. He tells them “Don’t be like us. Whatever you do, you do it different.”
lives become two brothers vs two rangers.
The brothers decide to separate. Ranger Hamilton is contacted and joins the chase. He wants to catch these guys before his impending retirement.
The older, crazier brother has a machine gun.
There’s a very strange ending….
The River of My Dreams:
Directed by Brigitte
If you've seen Canadian films in the past, you
have almost certainly experienced the amazing talent of
actor Gordon Pinsent. His films span many
decades: The Thomas Crown Affair (1968);
John and the Missus (1987) - director, writer,
actor; The Shipping News (2001 - actor; Away
from Her - actor (2006); The Grand Seduction -
Through out the film we hear him recite by memory speeches from Keats, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, and even a hilarious spoof on Justin Bieber featuring Pinsent as the voice of Bieber that played on "This Hour Has 22 Minutes." Bieber's main focus in the piece is on grilled cheese and girls.
The film doesn't shy away from more emotional
moments, revealing past marriages and children.
Pinsent first married at a very young age, and
this had consequences. He divorced and
left his wife with the kids. This took a toll on
everyone. He then married actress Charmion
King, who had a career that spanned 60 years:
stage, radio, television and film. Pinsent
quips," I met her acting in a play...and she had
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by Theodore
West Virginia - we are introduced to a young,
grade school girl
We meet three ladies who are working in the colored section. One of them is Katherine. The other two are Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson, (Janelle Monáe).
Colored workers were segregated from white workers in the "West Area Computing" unit - where an all-black group of female mathematicians resided. They also had separate dining drinking fountains, and bathroom facilities. Even the library had a colored section.
the center for Project Mercury. The goal was to
Russia's Yuri Gagarin was the first man in
space. The Americans were lagging behind. The
space race was on.
In the film, we follow our main characters as they find ways to advance in the system, despite ridged laws. One goes to night school at an all-white institution. Another moves to an IBM computer section.
Our ladies are delightful. They are not
easily discouraged and
Kevin Costner plays Al Harrison, the boss. He's excellent as a gum-chewing leader who understands what he sees in Katherine. He admires her skills and protects her from insensitive, prejudiced co-workers, like Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons - as in the "Big Bang Theory nerd.
Not only is she a woman in an all-white office, but she's also black.
It's a great story based on true events that
most of us never knew existed. This
'adventure' leads us to Cape Canaveral where
John Glenn is ready prepping to be the
first man in orbit. Suddenly, a glitch in the
system occurs. When no one else has come up with
a solution, Glenn insists that Katherine check
the numbers or it's a 'no go.' Katherine uses
old math to find a solution.
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by John Lee
Persistence: that’s what makes Ray A. Kroc (Michael Keaton) tick. He learned this from a self-help record. When we first meet him, it’s 1954. He’s a failing milkshake mixer salesman from St. Louis, Missouri who makes cold calls on fast food joints. One problem is that the mixers he sells are too big for the average mom and pop outfit. Suddenly, an order comes in from San Bernardino, California for multiple mixers. He can hardly believe it. Kroc drives off across country to find out who these buyers of eight machines are.
He discovers two brothers,
Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll
Lynch) who found a way to automate the delivery
of food with amazing speed: 30 seconds from
order to take away. Their business has no car
service, just a window, so there’s lots of
loitering teens around, and their limited menu
is the key to fast service. Their machines are
custom built, designed by them. They
choreographed a layout for their business on a
tennis court in chalk, using their workers to
walk through the motions of the process of
making the food – a kind of pantomime to the
terrific tune of “Music for a Found Harmonium”
by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Kroc is
impressed. He’s determined to be involved with
this operation, and he’s a fast learner.
Franchising is his vision. He starts with one ‘McDonalds,” and then expands. There’s no limit to what he wants to do. “If you increase supply, demand follows,” he insists. And it’s his idea to exploit the brother’s Golden Arches – something people will remember. He pretends he created McDonald’s, but he merely takes the brothers’ ideas and runs with them.
Time warp: Hamburgers are
$15 cents. People smoke in movie theatres.
McDonalds is like the New American Church, open
seven days a week.
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by Mike Mills
Annette Bening is outstanding as Dorothea in this unpredictable film featuring the lives of three women and one 15-year-old boy. Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) is trying to find out what life is all about and how he should 'live' with these women. He questions his approach to sex. Its 1979, and the world is changing. Dorothea, Jamie’s mother, is overbearing and smothers him with concern. The opening scene: Santa Barbara, California. Dorothea's car catches fire. She invites the firemen to dinner - strange, but a nice gesture. She lives in a big, old, decaying 1905 mansion with her son and with people who rent or constantly drop in. There's William (Billy Crudup) a good-looking, ex-hippy who is renovating her house and Abbie (Greta Gerwig) an arty photographer punk who wears a Lou Reed shirt. She saw the film "The Man Who Fell to Earth" by Walter Tevis and dyed her hair red right after. Then there's Julie (Elle Fanning), Jamie's best friend, who climbs up the outside scaffolding of the house to sleep with him... but sleeping is all they do, no sex. Julie is victimized by her therapist mother who forces her to attend group sessions. This has distorted Julie’s view of life.
Dorothea is anything but conventional. We learn that she had Jamie late in life - at 40. "She smokes Salems because they're healthier, wears Birkenstocks because she's contemporary, and she never dates a man for very long." She's divorced, and Jamie only hears from his father on birthdays and Christmas.There's humor throughout the film. When Jamie was in grade school, Dorothea would make up great excuses for his frequent absences. “Please excuse Jamie from school this morning. He was doing volunteer work for the Sandinistas.” The secretary looks incredulous, but files the note and let’s Jamie head to class. Different Day: Jamie walks in, hands over a note. “Please excuse Jamie from school this morning. He was involved in a small plane accident. Fortunately he was not hurt.”
There are also serious moments. When the Fainting Game becomes popular (intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain with the goal of inducing temporary loss of consciousness and euphoria) Jamie decides
to try it. He collapses, but doesn't wake up and is rushed to the hospital.
It takes him a half-hour to return to consciousness. Kids do stupid things. The attending doctor warns Dorothea that this kind of stunt can cause brain damage. Jamie's excuse to his frantic mother - "Everyone was doing it."
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by John
are scarce. Families have to make tough
Conor's older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor), a
stoner, gives him advice on what vinyl records
to listen to and girls..."No woman can truly
love a man who listens to Phil Collins."
Review by Lois Siegel
There lives a fascinating world beyond what we
Review by Lois Siegel
Where to Invade Next
Directed by Michael Moore
It's been six years since Michael Moore released a film. According to Moore, "Where to Invade Next" was shot entirely outside the USA. The exception is stock shots from archives.
This is definitely one of his
films you should see. You will learn some
interesting things about how other people live
in other countries: extensive paid vacations,
paid honeymoons, two-hour lunches for factory
workers, education alternatives (serious sex
talk), and no homework for students.
Brains have to relax. Some institutions have
even banished standardized tests. In one city,
all schools are the same. No private schools. In
the U.S.A., Moore insists, school is a business.
Moore says he wants to take the best ideas he discovers abroad back to America.
One enticing idea is unveiled in Normandy, France. Gourmet food is served at tables set with real china in an elementary school cafeteria. There's camembert cheese and lamb skewers or chicken; scallops with sauce, or fillet of cod, and fruit for dessert. There are no vending machines.
In Slovenia, students at one college have no debts. Essentially, education is free. Some U.S. students have caught on to this and are attending. One hundred courses are taught in English.
In Germany, a pencil factory actually has windows, letting in good light. The owner doesn't want ill workers. His employees are on the Board of Directors and often propose good ideas for change. "That's the key to success," he says.
Moore states that the U.S. hides from their sins. It's a country built on the backs of slaves.
And we are shown a prison in Norway that focuses on rehabilitation. Prisoners are not locked in. We see a murderer making food in a kitchen where there are knives on the wall. He's using one. There are 115 inmates with only four guards who don't carry guns. The prisoners' punishment is a loss of freedom, but they are being helped to return to society. The 'residents' take classes. There's a library and a recording studio. Creativity is encouraged. Prisoners also have the right to vote. In the States, Moore, explains, 80% of prisoners are re-arrested. In Norway, only 20% are.
It doesn't matter if you are a fan of Michael Moore or not. This film is worth seeing. It's good to discover there are other ways of doing things.
Review by Lois Siegel
A Perfect Day
Directed by Fernando
Leon de Aranoa
If you work for "Aid Across
Boarders," you don't carry a gun,
Military convoys are targets for attacks. You have to stay away from them. "Cities" have been bombed out, walls are inscribed with nice sayings, such as "Welcome to Hell," and there are young kids with guns.
The centre of the story is an obese corpse in a deep well. It will contaminate the water that people need if it isn't removed, but this is not an easy feat. There are few supplies. It's even difficult to find a length of rope. But the people in the countryside need help. They become your family, so you go to great lengths to do exactly that.
"A Perfect Day" received a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes. That should tell you something.
The music in the film is timely
and perfect for each setting.
Review by Lois Siegel
Directed by Tom
Boston 2001, the church was feared and
respected, so evidence of wrongdoing was
routinely disregarded. The Globe’s new editor,
Marty Baron (Liev
wanted to change this and
went after the church. This was a
risky move since 53% of their readers were
Running time: 128 minutes
Review by Lois Siegel
The Big Short
In 2007, thousands of people lost
their homes during the U.S. mortgage housing
crisis. The banks gave almost anyone a loan,
even though they knew this was risky. Bad loans
were hidden inside prime quality bonds, assuming
that the banks behind the bonds were “too big to
fail.” Greed ruled. Some people started to
realize that this bubble would burst. They
recognized that the banking system was unstable
and widely corrupt, so when nobody would listen,
they placed bets against it, making millions of
Using humor, the film helps us comprehend what happened. Despite the complications of understanding all the details of the transactions in the film, the basic story is clear. We become involved with the characters. One of the most interesting individuals is Michael Burry (Christian Bale), an eccentric. He’s an ex-doctor and a Capital hedge fund manager who wears shorts to the office, doesn’t wear shoes, and plays a mean set of drums.
The story of these fraudulent systems is like Chicken Little – the sky is falling, but most people refused to believe it. When millions lose their homes, reality hits. We see them living in their cars or tents. It’s painful.
Despite years of unethical and criminal behavior, only one banker went to jail, and the others were bailed out. The regulations that led to this have not been substantially changed. It might happen again.
The acting and editing are excellent. This is one of the best films I’ve seen this year.
Oscar nominations: Best Picture,
Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Best
Director (Adam McKay), Best Film Editing, and
Best Adapted Screenplay.
Amazon.com: DVD available for Pre-Order.
Review by Lois Siegel
Dean Kamen is best known as the inventor of the Segway, a Personal Transporter that has two wheels and is a self-balancing electric vehicle controlled by shifting body weight.
Many people think it’s just a luxury toy like the go-kart, but it’s not. When I was a guest speaker at St. Andrew’s College, Laurinburg, North Carolina, I was surprised to see a physically challenged kid zoom into class on a Segway. Only then did I realize one of the outstanding uses of the Segway: Physically challenged kids were able to move around the campus with ease and speed.
likes technology and machines… it’s their
efficiency. They deliver.
He certainly doesn’t know the different between work and play. It’s one and the same to him. He says you have to be lucky to find work you love.
eccentric and extremely interesting. He lives in
a house with secret passages and hops into his
helicopter in the morning to ‘drive’ to work. He
also flies his own jet. His closet is
jam-packed with blue denim shirts and pants. He
wears the same-looking clothes every day. This
must make his life easier because he doesn’t
have to think about what he is going to wear.
Kamen dedicates his life to creating machines that help people in need. He has over 440 patents. His inventions include a prosthetic arm, a home dialysis machine, and a pharmaceutical system that delivers insulin. He has also started a robotic program for students.
How does he do this? “You have to take a big intellectual leap,” he explains. “Every decision is a compromise.” He realizes that people accept new ideas very slowly. Kamen survives because he is an optimist, despite the fact that innovation is a difficult and frustrating process.
He is obsessively focused on his work. He doesn’t have children. His inventions are like his children.
This is a film everyone should see. It’s inspiring to learn about this very unique man.
Running time: 88 minutes
"Await The Freight"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 07.02.2011
NATIONAL CAPITAL TO BE MOVIE SET OF NEW DARK COMEDY
•Quiet Revolution Pictures, Majika Pictures and Denmark's Fridthjof Films with the support of
Telefilm Canada and The Danish Film Institute will be filming the feature-length dark comedy,
"Eddie" in the Nation’s Capital.
Photo by Lois Siegel
• Starring Thure Lindhart (Angels & Demons, Into The Wild), Georgina Reilly (Pontypool, This Movie is Broken), Al Goulem (18 to Life, The Trotsky) and Dylan Smith (300, Love & Savagery).
Production is scheduled to begin February 7, 2011.
Ottawa, ON Canada, February
7, 2011 –the Nation’s
Capital is being transformed into the set of a twisted, dark-comedy
movie entitled "Eddie." The satirical story is about a once-famous
painter who rediscovers inspiration after he befriends a
sleepwalking cannibal. Telefilm Canada and the Danish Film Institute
have partially funded the project to be directed by Boris Rodriguez
(Havana Kids, Beso Nocturno) and produced by Ottawa native
Michael A. Dobbin (The Devil’s Curse, Powerful: Energy for
Everyone, The Maiden Dance to Death) and Ronnie Fridthjof (Armadillo,
Tempo). “The National Capital Region is the ideal setting for
this movie. I’m really looking forward to working here,” says Boris.
Director Boris Rodriguez is a graduate of Concordia University and the Canadian Film Centre. Boris’ films Beso Nocturno (Night Kiss) and Perfect both had premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Beso Nocturno was selected for a retrospective at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York.
Michael’s past work as a producer includes Toni Harman's debut horror entitled The Devil's Curse (aka Credo), (currently available through Lionsgate and iTunes), David Chernushenko’s Powerful: Energy for Everyone as well as Endre Hules' The Maiden Danced to Death. Michael was mentored by BAFTA-winning producer of East is East, Leslee Udwin. He’s an alumnus of the film programme of Ryerson. In October 2006, Michael founded the ‘Just Watch Me!’ Canadian Film Festival and as a story editor, script doctor and lecturer is in steady demand on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 2007-2008 edition of the Registry is available.
Visit our web site or call us to order your copy today.
1386 Richmond Rd., P.O. Box 32114
Teen Filmmaker First Local to Win
at Ottawa International Animation Festival
Inrig's short, animated film
This is his first animated film and
tells the story of a humble shepherd
Inrig gained significant attention last
summer with his debut feature documentary film
The film is inspired by his younger brother
who has been diagnosed with severe autism.
Inrig is mentored by Order of
Canada recipient Alanis Obomsawin,
Inrig's first dramatic feature about an
enigmatic alien landing in northern Ontario,
"The Depose of Bolskivoi
Hovhannes" was made as part of