Cast: Clement Metayer, Lola Creton, Felix Armand, Carole Comes, India Salvor Menuez, Hugo Conzelmann, Mathias Renou, Lea Rougeron
Director & Screenwriter: Olivier Assayas (SUMMER HOURS; CARLOS; IRMA VEP)
122 min., France, 2012
During May of 1971, suburban Parisian high school student Gilles (Clément Mettayer) is a passionate political activist struggling to balance his revolutionary ideals, along with his artistic aspirations for painting and filmmaking. After a botched protest while defacing his high school, Gilles escapes with his new girlfriend Christine (Lola Creton) and their leftist colleagues to rural Italy for the rest of summer. There, they live out a rebellious carefree bohemian life of endless parties, casual sex, folk music, psychedelic drugs, political rallies and left wing movie screenings,
I find this award-winning international film festival favourite SOMETHING IN THE AIR a very refreshing alternative to Hollywood’s continual forage into boring ‘let’s get laid at any expenses’ type of teen exploitation flicks. At least for me, this film feels more lively, organic and earthy. The ensemble youthful cast is uniformly likeable and three dimensional. Although feeble at times, these liberal characters acts and reacts like real teenagers with strong views, convictions and concerns. They are not cartoonist at all like some of their American cinematic counterparts.
The film’s soundtrack enhances the viewing experience even more with selected late-sixties and early seventies essence Euro & American classics such like Green Onion, Terrapin, Ballad of William Worthy, Fantasia Lindum/Celestial Light and Abba Zaba. The soundtrack album can be purchased via CD Universe ~~ http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=8951709
I also admire French writer/director Olivier Assayas’ deliberate leisurely pacing, framing and sense of nostalgia. It’s the early 1970′s after all. It gives the characters time and space to explore their delicate issues. Youth in Europe tends to be a little more didactic and lacklustre at times. To North American audiences, this film may be too tedious and slow moving for today’s internet ready standards. For me, the film is like a young bud of spring, it needs that perfect balance of continuum and melancholy curiosity to develop one’s late teen awakening… for better or for worst. Bravo to both director Assayas and his creative team to resurrect this lost era!
SOMETHING IN THE AIR is now available on DVD & Blu-Ray with English subtitles, Netflix, Pay Per View cable programmings, and via various online digital sources. Don’t miss this wonderful sleeper of a French imported hidden gem!
Watch the official trailer here ~~ http://youtu.be/RXimuzHv6Ek
Need a music stocking stuffer this holiday season? Well, you’re in luck! Here’s my suggested gift idea #1.
Travis Gaetz is an emerging Calgary-based composer, musician & recording artist. Travis has just released his debut self-titled EP album ‘TRAVIS GAETZ’ online today! You can preview and purchase his digital tunes directly off iTunes, CD Baby or Travis’ official personal website ~~ http://travisgaetz.com/music
BTW, if you would like a “Physical DVD copy’, you can also buy it off CD Baby’s website ~~ http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/travisgaetz
Engineered & Mixed by: ERIC ANDREWS & DAVID KEAN
Recorded at AUDITIES STUDIO.
Mastered by: MCC STUDIO.
Photography by: KAITLYNN BODY.
Artwork by: SOLOMAN MEDIA.
All song’s & Lyrics were originally written by TRAVIS GAETZ ©2013 by TRAVIS GAETZ.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence (THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, WINTERS BONE), Josh Hutcherson (BRIDGE TO TEABITHIA; JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH; CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT), Liam Hemsworth (THE LAST SONG), Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci
Director: Francis Lawrence (I AM LEGEND; CONSTANTINE)
Screenwriters: Simon Beaufoy (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE; THE FULL MONTY) & Michael deBruyn (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE; OBLIVION), based on the novel by Suzanne Collins
Length: 146 min., USA (2013)
Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have returned home after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Now they embark on a ‘Victory Tour’ of all the districts. Along their journey, Katniss senses a rebellion brewing behind the cheers and pageantry. However, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) prepares the Capitol for an upcoming 75th Annual Hunger Games called ‘The Quarter Quell’ where previous winners must compete against each other.
Rarely has a sequel stands on solid ground as well or even better than the original version. Although this film generates a much darker, bleaker and more political tone, THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is a surefire action packed sequel. The characters become more three dimensional as well. I must admit though that Peeta is less engaging in this chapter. He has less business and motivation to shine on screen this time around.
This second act is already a mega blockbuster hit around the world within 2 weeks of its release, now I have to wait for another 12 months before catching the explosive third instalment, the rebellious rise to glory by our celluloid hope for humanity ~ Katniss Everdeen!
Watch the trailer to CATCHING FIRE here ~~ http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1541646617
Cast: Judi Dench (SKYFALL; NOTES OF A SCANDAL; THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL), Steve Coogan (THE TRIP; TROPIC THUNDER; TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY)
Director: Stephen Frears (THE QUEEN; DANGEROUS LIAISONS; HIGH FIDELITY; MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDERETTE)
Screenwriters: Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope, based on a book by Martin Sixsmith
Length: 98 min., UK (2013)
Synopsis: Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) conceived a baby out of wedlock at an Irish-Catholic convent during the late 1950′s. The nuns then sold the boy to a wealthy American couple. With the help of a disgraced former BBC news anchor/reporter Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), Philomena embarks on a personal journey of self discovery and to contemporary United States in search of her long lost son.
Based on Sixsmith’s own investigative book THE LOST CHILD OF PHILOMENA LEE, the film explores life’s many unpredictable turn of events, often hilarious and emotional, as well as a social commentary on spirituality, humanity, mutual respect, and the act of unconditional forgiveness. PHILOMENA is presented as the labyrinth of a mystery thriller, similar in the juxtaposition format of flashback storytelling by the likes of Orson Wells’ CITIZEN KANE, Costa-Gavras’ MISSING, and Paul Schrader’s HARDCORE. Under the assured direction of British filmmaker Stephen Frears, this film is a true surefire delight. The script by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope is also worth mentioning. As they prove, a little humour and character interaction escalates the value of its medium.
Acting wise, Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan both deliver a well balanced portrayal of two individuals at odds with themselves. Despite her unforgiving predicaments, Philomena is a very reserved firm believer in faith; Sixsmith is a world travelled cynical journalist who was also a former Catholic alter boy. Life performs miracles when the two distinctive characters team up as a formidable team. A little soul searching goes a long way.
I also like the film’s cinematography where close ups on the two characters enhance our viewing intimacy with their predicaments. The greys and muted colours exemplify the constant gravity of its melancholy milieus. Overall, I must recommend to you all that PHILOMENA is an endearing experience not to be missed on the silver screen. Come Oscar time, I guarantee that this film is a major contender to all top prizes!
You can watch the official movie trailer here ~~ .http://youtu.be/rG3QP8foCvg
Click here to watch an English languaged savory dim sum intro video from Hong Kong:
Eating dim sum, or more precisely “Yum Cha”, meaning drinking tea and eating ‘little bit of hearts’, is a traditional tasty Cantonese Chinese breakfast or luncheon with portions of steamed meat, seafood, veggies, sweets and unique delicacies served in bamboo steam baskets, bowls or plates. Lately, Calgary has extended its dim sum hours well into after-midnight for the culinary adventurers in Chinatown. There are an abundant choices of almost everything you can find at an old Hong Kong tea house. However, in Calgary, the most popular and well recognized dishes are shrimp dumplings (Har Gow), pork dumplings (Sui Mai), steamed chicken with fish maw and Shiitake mushroom (Gai Jat), stuffed meat rice crepes (Chung Fun), steamed Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), or a healthy broth of rice porridge with meat or seafood (Jook).
In Calgary, there are numerous restaurants that serve daily budget-minded breakfasts, regular priced luncheon brunches and over-priced midnight dim sum. Here are a few locations that I have visited while searching for that perfect ethnic culinary hearts.
CENTRAL GRAND RESTAURANT1623 – Centre St North, 2nd floor inside the Grand Central Mall)Food: 4.5 out of 5Service: 3.5 out of 5
GOLDEN CENTRAL CHINESE (5016 – Centre Street NE)Food: 4 out of 5Service: 3 out of 5
GINGER BEEF BISTRO HOUSE 00 – 388 Country Hills Blvd NE)Food: 4 out of 5Service: 3 out of 5
00 – 9650 Harvest Hills Blvd NE)Food: 4 out of 5Service: 3 out of 5
328 – Centre St South, 3rd floor inside Dragon City Mall)Food: 3 out of 5Service: 4.25 out of 5
- 314 – 10 St NW, in Kensington)
Food: 4 out of 5
Service: 3 out of 5
223 – Centre St South)Food: 4 out of 5
Service: 2.75 out of 5
Bon appetite, everyone!
Cast: Ranveer Singh (BAND BAALA BAARAAT; LADIES vs RICK BAHL), Depka Padukone( CHENNAI EXPRESS), Suiya Pathak (SHANGHAI; DELHI 6), Richa Chadda, Barkha Bisht, ulshan Devaiah, Abhimanyu Singh, Priyank Chopra
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM; DEVDAS; ROWDY RATHORE)
Screenwriter: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Siddarth-Garima
Length: 155 min., India (2013), in Hindi with English subtitles
Synopsis: Based on William Shakespear’s ROMEO AND JULIET, GOLIYON KI RASLEELA RAM-LEEA is set in the lawless tribal areas of Gujarat in Northern India. Gunrunning, rival feuds and honor marriages run uninhibited in this chaotic fictional township. Ram (Ranveer Singh) and Leela (Depka Padukone) are the star crossed young lovers born to the opposite households. Despite their families, the two just couldn’t keep the hands and mouths off each other. The chemistry and sexual attraction between Singh and Padukone are animistic and euphoric. Their dialog, delivery and dance moves seem to peel off each others’ skins. This is rarely seen displayed on screen from a South Asian film.
Overall, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali keeps the first half of the movie sassy, opulent, and colorful. I haven’t seen such glorious Bollywood mise-en-scene since Bhansali’s days of DEVEDAS (2002) and HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM (1999).
The item songs and background music score are also loud and melodic. They kept my toes tapping throughout the movie. The larger than life dance choreography is done with flair and style. The Gujarati Garba dances are lively and highligt the flavors of the its ethnic milieu as well.
However, after its interval, RAM-LEELA becomes heavy handed and political for my own taste. I dislike the recent direction of many Bollywood productions that feel they need to attach left-wing politics to their films. Enough already!
So, if you want to see a cinematic taste of Northern India with great acting from its leads and supportive characters, this movie is a must see!
Watch the official trailer to the film with English subtitles here ~~ http://youtu.be/YQPfeinXxcA
Mazel tov and happy Bar Mitzvah! The 13th Annual Beth Tzedec Jewish Film Festival concludes this weekend with the screening of the French feel-good rom-com PARIS MANHATTAN.
PARIS MANHATTAN is the debut feature length film by screenwriter-director Sophie Lellouche. It tells the story of lonely French Jewish pharmacist Alice Ovitz (Alice Taglioni) who is a die hard Woody Allen film buff since an early age. Each night, she talks to the American filmmaker on a huge poster. Meanwhile, Allen talks back to Alice only using famous dialogue quotes from his renowned movies. Alice is thirty something spinster whose sister has married the same man that Alice is in love with. The family tries hard to find another suitable groom for Alice. One day, she actually meets the real Woody Allen on the street of Paris. There, Allen gives Alice some personal advice that may affect her future romances.
Film festival director Harvey Cyngiser welcomes everyone to another exciting line-up of outstanding films – from delightful comedies and edge-of-your-seat thrillers to stirring dramas and thought-provoking documentaries – that explore and illuminate the Jewish experience in all its richness and diversity.
In addition to the artwork of Lily Rosenberg, Bezalel, a group of local Jewish artists, will also have their art on display throughout the festival. The JCC’s Jewish Book Fair will be there with a selection of books, and Milt Fischbein will also be on hand during the festival with his handcrafted jewellery, Judaica and metal sculpture.
You can view this year’s selection of award-winning and critically acclaimed film lineup on the BTJFF of Calgary on their official URL ~~ http://www.bethtzedec.ca/filmfest
Here is the online map to the film festival venue ~~ http://www.bethtzedec.ca/filmfest-event-location.
Advanced tickets and further info are here ~~ http://www.bethtzedec.ca/filmfest-ticketsales
*** Please vote for your favorite host country’s movie(s) at the bottom of this page! ***
The 2nd Annual Calgary European Film Festival is nearly upon us. This year, movies from Bulgaria, Romania, France, Poland, and the Czech Republic will be presented with an exquisite moviegoing experience of European throughout its three day event.
This year the festival is organized through a partnership between the Romanian Canadian Cultural Association of Calgary (RCCAC), Calgary Bulgarian Society (CBS), cIneMAGINE Society and Alliance Française de Calgary, Polish Canadian Cultural Centre, and Czech Business Association of Canada. This festival has started two years ago, as the Calgary Romanian Film Festival.
“For the second year, Calgary European Film Festival will present a collection of extraordinary movies, unique films that bring multicultural flavor and values. We hope that movie lovers in Calgary will be joining us in applauding the European cinema for three days in November, at Globe Cinema, as a tribute to arts and heritage’’, says Mariet Mintchev, representative of the Calgary Bulgarian Society.
Tickets are $10 per movie, per person (+ S & H, which covers the transaction fee), and Festival Pass for 7 movies is only $50 (+ S & H, which covers the transaction fee). A Wrap-Up gala will be held on Sunday, November 17. Here is the schedule for the 2013 CEFF.
Visit the 2nd Annual CEFF’s official URL ~~ http://calgaryeuropeanfilmfestival.ca
Friday, November 15:
|6:00 pm – “Love Building” , Romania (2013). Details at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2792332/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1Details and trailer: http://www.cinemagia.ro/filme/love-building-578095/|
|8:00 pm – “Footsteps in the Sand” / “Stapki v pyasaka”, Bulgaria (2010). Details at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1670703/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1|
Saturday, November 16:
|4:00 pm – “La cage dorée”/ “The Gilded Cage”, France (2013). Details at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2261749/|
|6:00 pm – “Innocence”/ “Nevinnost”, The Czech Republic (2011). Details at: http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1808331/|
|8:00 pm – “Sweet Little Lies”/ ” Minte-ma frumos” , Romania (2012). Details at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2374002/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1Details and trailer: http://www.cinemagia.ro/filme/minte-ma-frumos-578094/|
Sunday, November 17:
|4:00 pm – “80 million” / “80 milionów”, Poland (2011). Details at: http://m.imdb.com/title/tt2056501/|
|6:00 pm – “Mission London”, Bulgaria (2010).Details at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1127702/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1|
8:00 pm – Gala Party at GLASS RESTAURANT, 815 7th Ave SW (the entrance is from the 8th Ave.
On Nov. 3rd, many of my South Asian friends and colleagues celebrated their annual traditional Hindu centric autumn holiday called DIWALI, aka Divali, Deepavali or “Festival of Lights”. It signifies the triumph of good over evil; light over darkness. Apart from India, other countries that participate include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji. During this five day holy festival, people would clean their houses, light lamps, explode firecrackers, dress in new clothes, buy new cookwares, pray a lot, exchange gifts, as well as cooking up a storm of savory culinary dishes.
Just the other evening, I had the pleasure to participate in the Diwali festivities as hosted by the Gujarati Mandel of Calgary at the Coast Plaza Hotel in northeast Calgary. I had the pleasure of sampling three vegetarian appetizers served: Hara Bhara Keebab, Malai Tikka and Papri Chat. They were outrageously delicious and exotic at the same time!
1. Hara Bhara Keebab: Green colored deep fried patties made of mashed potatoes, peas and spinach. They are topped with cashews, and diced red & green peppers. It was served with a side garnish of spicy green chutney.
2. Papri Chat: Crisp fried white flour dough wafers served with chilies, yogurt, tamarind chutney, chat masala and sprinkles of sev.
3. Vegan Malai Tikka: Deep fried stuffed corn & potato dumplings, served with tikka masala sauce and diced green peppers.
Cast: Chris Temple, Ryan Christoffersen, Zach Ingrasci, Sean Leonard, Chino, Rosa, Anthony
Director: Chris Temple, Zach Ingrasci & Sean Leonard
Length: 56 min., USA (2013), in English and Spanish with English subtitles
Synopsis: Armed with only a video camcorder and a hunger to live first hand the lifestyle and resiliency of third world country poverty, four American college friends embark on a challenging personal journey to rural Pena Blanca in Guatemala on a luxury budget of a single dollar per day for 2 consecutive months. Their living conditions include E.Coli, disease, financial pressure, as well as a shortage of available food and water. Survival isn’t easy, and daily hardship persists.
I usually don’t like documentary films but this social conscious video project was very insightful and heartbreaking. The sincerity of these dudes trying to learn from their Latino neighbors like Chico, Rose and Anthony really tugged at my hearts and mind with a message. Their daily challenges affected everyone, including the filmmakers and uneducated viewers like myself! Daily existence may be the shits for these third world inhabitants but life goes on with fun, humor and a positive outlook. People find happiness and learn to adapt against the elements.
Although the four filmmakers only equipped themselves with a small digital camera, cinematography was exquisitely shot and edited. Sound was well recorded as well. Originally broadcasted online to unexpected viral popularity, the filmmakers managed to string together some of their best episodes as a one hour feature. For me, this process video project was definitely an eye-opening enlightenment! It brought both awareness and inspiration to help others around the world through cinematic socialism to change our world. Three cheers!
LIVING ON ONE DOLLAR has garnered several prestigious prizes at various film festivals. The latest was winning the “Outstanding Directorial Debut Film” Award at the Washington West Film Festival. This documentary is now available globally via iTunes and other online services.
You can watch a number of the filmmakers’ online videos and blogs here ~~ http://www.youtube.com/user/Livingononedollar
You can purchase their digital video on the official LIVING ON ONE online website can be found here ~~ http://www.livingonone.org
You can also join their fan site on Facebook too ~~ https://www.facebook.com/LivingonOne