The Movie Buffer

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More hype for the Transformers movie

Trying to take advantage of the internet hype that Snakes on a Plane enjoyed, the crew of the new movie Transformers (to be released July 4th, 2007) has opened a contest to include a fan submitted line into the movie. The winning line will be spoken by the chief robot himself, Optimus Prime. Seems like a great idea, right? Here’s the list of lines:

Many of them, like “Megatron must be stopped – No matter the cost”, “One shall stand …One shall fall” and “First, we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside”, though this one was one of Rumble’s lines (who was ready to stomp Perceptor and Blaster in the com station), are lifted directly from the Transformers animated movie or other movies, “I’ll be back” (Terminator) and “I must break you” (Rocky IV). Others are far too long or would be awkward, in my opinion, for Prime to utter (Would a four million year old, robot truck really say “It’s prime time!” or “Do a barrel roll”? That’s almost as strange as having him say “What-chu takin’ ‘bout, Megatron?” while making a pouty face). But there are a few stand outs that make this thing worth while. Unfortunately, the one line that would have been really easy to put in, the final line in the animated film “‘Til all are one” with all the Autobots, Junkions and humans working together, was left out. Unless, it’s already included in the script.

The submission contest was restricted to US residents only but as far as the voting process is concerned anyone that signed up for the site is eligible.

As for the designs of the new characters being non-congruent to the old series, you have to keep in mind Transformers was created to sell toys to kids and by using the old designs, though they were very good, Hasbro would not be gaining any new buyers. It would just be us old suckers looking to replace our collections with the newer stuff. Kids today wouldn’t want to own an Ironhide figure that’s a mini-van, he has to be a Hummer or an Escalade. Same thing with Optimus Prime, cab-over trucks are out and tough looking semi-trailers are in.

The Transformers webpage can be found here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Where are the TIFF flicks?

Since I was unable to attend any of the screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), though I doubt any tickets were available for purchase 15 minutes after the showtimes were announced, I am looking forward to catching a few of the films at the Bytowne Theatre here in Ottawa.

It’s a great theatre especially if you’re into old-timey, one-screen theatre houses. Not only do they have the regular projectors for 35 mm film, they have the equipment for 70 mm film, as well. Some of the great classic films, Lawrence of Arabia and 2001: a Space Odyssey for example, are shot on 70 mm, which has a sharper image and better sound quality compared to 35 mm.

Unfortunately, so far the only film that was at the TIFF that’s being screened at Bytowne is Shortbus, which looks like a more graphic and less interesting version of The Oh in Ohio. I was hoping for films like American Hardcore (limited release Oct. 13), Death of a President (limited release Oct. 27) and Pan’s Labyrinth (Release Dec. 27 release size not indicated) to pick up some steam and break out of the festival to wide releases. I guess I have to wait for the DVDs.

Shortbus kicked up a bug fuss at the TIFF for the provocative nature and graphic depictions sex in the film. I guess the filmmaker, John Cameron Mitchell, succeeded in grabbing some attention away from the bigger named films at the Fest. It also brought down a firestorm around CBC radio hostess Sook-yin Lee, who was going to be fired over participating in the films un-simulated sex and orgy scenes.

The use of un-simulated sex scenes has been used in other films to varying degrees controversy: British director Michael Winterbottom used this technique to underline a tempestuous young love in 9 Songs and in Lukas Moodysson’s A Hole in My Heart, graphic portrayals of sex are used both to shock and to enlighten a young man to the world’s morality and human nature.

I know there are people who are going to check out this film because of the sex scenes but for me the prospect of seeing Sook-yin naked and writhing around turns my stomach. My curiosity to see what the hubbub was about always brings me back to this point. I’m sure that makes me sound prudish, but it’s certainly the truth.

But hey, different strokes for different folks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DVD Review: Kinky Boots


Area is hot, small spoilers, reading you five by five!


“What would you do?” is the pivotal plot point and source of moral dilemma in the quirky British comedy, Kinky Boots.

Charlie Price (played by Joel Edgerton), who has tried to extricate himself from the family business by getting a job in London, is the last in a line of shoe makers. After his father’s death, Charlie is forced to manage the factory he has worked hard to leave behind. While diving into the business’s finances, he learns that the business has been going under for a long while and his father was covering it up. As the new manager, he has to fire a third of his staff, but not before asking each of them “what would you do?” and having a more than a few dirty looks shot his way. Charlie has to make some hard decisions - he needs to find a way to help his employees, who are his friends, and save the family business but no one is ready to help except for the charming Lauren (played by Sarah Jane Potts).

After a short stay in a pub, Charlie stumbles out into the street and he notices a woman being harassed by three large men. Being a nice guy and wanting to be a hero, he tries to stop the men but is quickly knocked down. This is when he has his epiphany: He is semi-conscious on the ground staring at a boot with a broken heel and a light bulb goes off.

The story about the boots is the first part of the movie, but it also has a more complex secondary story about acceptance and dignity. The foil to this otherwise plain story is that the woman, Lola (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), that was being harassed was actually a drag queen, whose life has been filled with hard decisions and obstacles. When she accepts Charlie’s offer to build a better boot for her, she again struggles to change the minds of the small town workers at the shoe factory.

Julian Jarrold is the director of this picture and though his pedigree lies in television his fluid style of transitions and his use of still shots was an excellent touch to add to the movie. Some of the shots were overly complicated and these shots would lead to confusing re-establishing shots. But as a whole the movie was directed with finesse and didn’t let the viewer down very much.

Not only were the characters well written and conceived, they were portrayed brilliantly by the actors.

Joel Edgerton (From Star Wars Episode 3 and King Edward) played the proud, anxious, good-hearted Charlie Price with both confidence and sensitivity. The way he tried to control is emotions in attempts to remain prim and proper makes the viewer both laugh and cry.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (from Serenity and The Inside Man) plays the drag queen Lola/ the man named Simon. The part required him to wear a huge wig, wear what appear to be 7 inch stilettos and act in two very distinct characters, all of which he succeeds in doing without making it look forced or cartoonish. Though, I bet the blooper reel was absolutely hilarious.

Sarah Jane Potts (from television shows like NYPD blue, Felicity and Keen Eddie) is a perky comedic consultant to Charlie’s new scheme. Though she wants to see Charlie succeed, she is always quick enough to knock him down a few notches if he needs it.

The notable cameo in this film was Nick Frost, of Shaun of the Dead fame. He played a rough around the edges steam-press operator, who is the first to take exception to the arrival of Lola and the first to fully accept her/him in to the factory brotherhood.

There were a few song and dance scenes but they all included lots of jokes and really added some context to Lola’s character.

Overall this movie was a great laugh, had enough back story to make the characters interesting and was thoroughly entertaining. There were a few flaws in the presentation of the film but nothing too displeasing or disruptive. This movie ranks a 7/10 or three and a half out of five star rating.