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7/10
Should have been played out more solidly
20 August 2003
Picture Claire is a good movie, with a good storyline and good acting. But when it didn't go into theatres and Bruce MacDonald himself thought poorly upon it, I had to wonder what was wrong with it. (And I wasn't the only one.) I bought it the first moment I saw it in stores. Basically much of the movie's elements aren't up to Bruce MacDonald's standards. Everything he uses to make a good story- the foreshadowing, the slight hinting toward something, the full circle- wasn't as clear in the movie as it was in others as say Hard Core Logo and Dance Me Outside. Some of the things should have been made clearer, such as the reference to the islands, the misogyny of certain characters and their expectations of Claire. The denument itself seemed to fall apart on him. It ended in quite a mess, but the very ending itself, the closing credits, I liked.

So the movie has flaws. Most movies do. And it's not up to MacDonald's standards. Does that mean his fans won't enjoy it. No, his fans will still enjoy it. People who aren't fans will still enjoy it. Though somehow it should have been done better it would still have been worth seeing in theatres.
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Stardom (2000)
5/10
Not your usual Denys Arcades
20 August 2003
This was the first Denys Arcandes movie I've seen, however I never realized it was his work when I first watched it. I've always heard such great stuff about his movies, I had to wonder why I never heard anything about this one. Now I know why. Most of his work is thoughful and leads others to think, as well as being very entertaining to watch through their standard type comedy which everyone can relate to and their (often) dramatic storylines. This movie was just a simple comedy with noting to it. The story wasn't up to his standard and all in all it was pretty boring.

So if you're interested in Denys Arcandes at all, then good. Watch Jesus of Montreal or the Decline of the American Empire, or his best so far- the Barbarian Invasions, but if you watch this one don't hold it against him.
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8/10
A Sophisticated look on sex and culture
20 August 2003
The Decline of the American Empire is a philosophical type look at sexual influence and how they effect culture. In all it's just a very good comedy with a seemingly sophisticated edge which urges you to ponder on what they are saying. Entertainment- wise there's little there, but artistically Arcandes does his job, with the exception of a scene near the end which was almost pornographic, but was really intended that way anyway.

As for one comment which stated this one was Canada's first great film, I'd like to point out that there were many great films which paved the way for this one- Goin down the Road and The Rowdyman just to name a couple. This is far from being Canada's first great movie, but it's a good movie nonetheless.
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7/10
More entertaining at least
20 August 2003
I never found Raiders of the Lost Ark very good. It wasn't very entertaining for me and the acting was bad. everyone seemed to shout and overact with the exception of John Rys-Davies. This one was more enjoyable from an entertainment perspective, and the acting is much better, but the adventure isn't as good and the sound of a woman screaming at the top of her lungs every five minutes is just too irritating for one to take. But still, Indiana Jones is still able to combine a fantasy-like adventure with a belief we hold to be true. Where most search for something made up, the makers of the series search for something said to be real. This is really the only good thing the series has to offer anyway.
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5/10
Lame and Overrated
20 August 2003
I tried to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark when i was young, but I was so bored within the first fifteen minutes I shut off the TV and did something worth while. I watched it again now to see what I missed. I didn't miss much. The acting is bad- horrendously bad. The actors annoyed the hell out of me. That and the action was so ludicrous I had to wonder if all the fanatics of the series ever watched an adventure movie in their lives. Other scenes were badly played out, such as when the professors were discussion the ark, and the really lame bid with the student who had I love you written on her eye lids. I kind of respect the series for combining an influencial hero and an adventerous plotline. You can see the influence in many more movies, stories, games, etc. But besides that, it's not really very entertaining. I just don't see what all the fans see.
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Little Dickie (2002)
8/10
A pretty funny musical
6 August 2003
Some people may be offended by this short film but it isn't really supposed to be offensive. It is just poking fun at people who say really stupid things to grab someone else's attention. Everyone has heard of a bad pickup line, has been on the recieving end, or has even said one themselves and thought afterward "what was I thinking!" (or more likely "what was I drinking"). It's not just a women's thing either, although the director has based it mainly upon stuff said to her. I can remember quite a few bad pick up lines from women. Either way, this has a weird but good sense of humour to it. It's also good to see Brian Downey in something new for a change.
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10/10
Paul Donovan's masterpiece
6 August 2003
The Donovan brothers have tried hard to keep a industry in the Maritimes. Michael Donovan has produced a number of hits with Rick Mercer. However, although Paul Donovan has made some popular movies such as Life With Billy and Buried on Sunday, he hasn't had anything really critically acclaimed up to this. Even watching Paint Cans you cannot tell this was made by the same person. Paul Donovan, with the help of Lex Gigeroff and Jeffrey Herschfeild, has created not only one whole Universe parrellel to our own, but a whole new unknown universe in which we reside in 9though it is not until the show that we figure out which is which). Brian Downey could replace Gordon Pinsent as the great actor from Newfoundland. He's been settling for small roles for far too long. He's very talented and one reason alone to watch the mini-series. Michael McManus as Kai is just as good. Even though I perfer Xenia Seeberg as Xev because she's funnier, Eva Habberman has more of that fierce energetic quality about her that Xev doesn't. A whole different twisted universe that is worth seeing even if you're not a fan of the show. Paul Donovan will probably be making some really great stuff after this.
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10/10
A 90 minute music video
6 August 2003
Although most great directors concentrate on the visual aspect of motion film and use music as background noise, if used at all, there is much more to film than the visual aspect. The visual textures do make up most of the film, whether it be camera angles, colors, etc. But since the early 1900's film has been made with sound, so there is that angle as well.

In this movie, Donald Shebib plays with all sorts of textures: the color, the visual, the audio, etc. The music is used in the foreground in places while the movie shows the story instead of constantly dragging it on and telling it. I also find that the soundtrack in a movie can sometimes ruin it by interrupting what the director sets up, but in this film it belongs.

Of course, this just happens in some points of the movie, which is what makes it unique for the time. The rest of the movie involves a great story superbly acted out. My main point is the irony of this movie as the "great Canadian Classic" in that Donald Shebib included the music score purposely to link the parts of the movie. I am reminded that in the sixties and up to the point of this movie, Canada had a poor music industry. Besides a few bands such as the Guess Who and Bruce Cochburn, radio stations would say they were "reaching into the beaver bin for some droppings" whenever they were forced to play a song from a Canadian band by Ottawa to promote the industry. Our film industry was just as poor. However, because of Ottawa pushing to promote our music industry we now have great bands like The Tragically Hip, The Headstones, Great Big Sea, so on and so forth, and the world recognizes them. However, look at our film industry: does the world recognize Guy Maddin? Does the whole country anticipate a new movie from Cronenberg or Egoyen? Does Bruce MacDonald get much recognition south of the border? And this is the Great Canadian Classic, how many people do you know that has seen it? This is a movie worth seeing by people of any country. But if only our film industry was supported like the music industry was, we could make movies even better than this.
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Escape from the Newsroom (2002 TV Movie)
10/10
Fans of Finkleman will enjoy it.
18 July 2003
Most of Ken Finkleman's work has an acquired taste. You have to like his will for artistic creativity and also understand his satiric outlook. The acting is great, though I wish Mark Farrell was in it. But the one thing that sets this apart from the regular Newsroom series is that he goes further to play with satire and reality, this time using his surrealist approach. This is what I'd say to be the best part of the movie, though others who do not accept Ken Finkleman's art over his satiric comedy may be bothered by it. Basically, if you just like the Newsroom series and probably haven't heard of anything else Ken Finkleman has done, you might not like this one. It's not the Newsroom, but just as the title says, it's an escape from it. Others who appreciate Finkleman's body of work, and would probably pay to see him direct a jean commercial if he ever did one (ya right), it is they who would get the most from this.
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Like a bridge over concrete
28 June 2003
Firstly, I don't mind Open Mike, and I have respect for what Mike Bullard is trying to do. But with the show being played on two networks five days a week, with one network playing to at least three times a day (unless you have satellite such as I and therefore have both Comedy channels, in which case it is doubled), there really is no need for a Best Of show. Secondly, most people would say there really is no best of the show. In fact, you can probably fit every really memorable moment on one 90 minute episode. Thirdly, anything that is shown on Open Mike, because of it's exposure, would already be seen by the same people who would watch this edited version which the Comedy Network plays on weekends. It's enough they play "The Warm Up Show" too, but there is no need to waste money giving the public an edited version of something they've already seen or tried not to see in the first place. The only accomplishment that does is remind us that we probably shouldn't be watching so much television. The money would be better spent making another good show or improving the original (which anyone would agree needs improving). My advice is don't bother taking the bridge, the view from the ground is much more scenic.
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Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1998–2007)
The last nail in the coffin
28 June 2003
When this show first came on it more popular than when the British version ended. It was hilarious for the first couple seasons, but it went down fast.

Drew Carey is funny, and he is a good host, but can't do improv (admittingly), and in the last couple of years he has lost any edge he had-in both his shows. In the past few seasons, all the good games have been either taken off or used very little. The ones they probably should use the least are over done- such as Wayne Brady's singing. Other games have been changed so that the audience gets even more involved- even though it is obvious they don't want to be. Most of them are so embarrassed they can't do anything but look at the floor and smile blushingly. The worst example of this is in sound effects when the audience member tries to make a sound and Ryan and Colin make fun of it. It's not like they know what they're doing!! But by far the worst thing is the jokes. They make fun of each other constantly now. It was cute at first, but we can't go a minute without being reminded that Colin is a bald Canadian and Ryan wears fashionable shoes.

ABC has put the last nail on the coffin of the British Classic. The show, once witful and uproarious, is now degraded to consisting of a bunch of middle aged men, on the verge of being replaced by performers half their age when they first started themselves, poking fun at each other and drooling over any women who appears on the show. Some whosers may cry now that the show's cancelled, but this one says it's about time.
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Not that bad- good for late night when there's nothing else on TV.
28 June 2003
A lot of people hate Mike Bullard- others love him. To me he's alright- Canada has had better and will have much better in the future. Mike Bullard is somewhere between an insult comic and Johnny Carson, though he is only about as funny as Jay Leno (not that that's a huge accomplishment). The reason I would give this show any credit is because I see Mike Bullard more as a host than as a comedian. He has an abillity to give light to the obscure and the interesting, while keeping a good place for celebrity interviews as well. As far as jokes are concerned, recycling the same Michael Jackson joke just isn't funny. The monologue is worth seeing but needs to be much sharper. But it wasn't until the sixth season he got really good anyway. It opened with an episode consisting of Loydd Robinson leaving in the middle of an interview to "crash" Mike's show and an interview where Dave Foley read off mock congratulatory letters to Mike. Later in the season, there were more memorable shows such as Mike's mock interview with Paul Cellucci over the telephon about not joing in the war with Iraq, and the last episode where Loydd Robinson broke in the middle of Mike's desk bit to "announce" he signed a new contract stating he is allowed to interrupt any show he wants and to wish Mike a happy birthday. Hopefully the seventh season will be even more of an improvement with even more memorable moments. And hopefully when this show ends, it will create an even better late night show spin off. Canada needs more entertainment trying to make our industry work.
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The Drew Carey Show (1995–2004)
From best to worst
28 June 2003
This show used to one of the best satires of office life, ironically being aired the same year The Kids In The Hall ended. But at some point I watched it and said to myself "what happened?". It was innovative as a comedy, especially the shows where they purposely had something wrong. It was by far the best sitcom I've ever seen, which is saying a lot because I'm not much of a fan of American comedy. But mixing it with Whose Line Is It Anyway ruined it for both shows a bit. Then it became all the things it was set out to make fun of in the first place. Drew accidentily became a bygamist which led to Kate leaving- which is irritatingly stupid of the writers because in the same episode she would not quite belly-aching because she knew Drew would do something foolish. What, she wasn't expecting that?? The worst was the total change in the company. Now that it is the new millenium, it is no longer a satire for office jobs in the nineties, but office jobs in the new millenium. So it changed to having teen owners and Drew having no idea what his job really is. This was where it became the worst sitcom, because it didn't have any good ideas anymore. It used plots which were used by most other sitcomes that didn't even last two seasons: Steve cheated on Mimi, the new owners were fresh out of college, Drew went looking for marriage... on and on. It lost its edge and it stopped being funny. Drew Carey is one of my favorite American comedians, but he really needs to take a break and get that edge back or else his career will be on a decline.
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Seinfeld (1989–1998)
The worst sitcom ever
28 June 2003
I admit I used to watch this show and think it was a little funny. But it just became so irritating, and so horrible, I could not stand another moment of it or any of the cast members. Jerry Seinfeld just isn't funny. His jokes are stupid enough I'd say a thirteen years old misanthropist girl wrote them. In the opening of each episode it shows him in a night club act telling a joke. Some of the worst ones I can remember are something about men wearing underwear until they're lint and men honking their horn at women to get they're attention. Men don't do that! Jerry Seinfeld has started the tradition of bad comedians telling man jokes that just aren't funny. Besides that, it is supposed to be a show based solely on real life and nothing else. "A show about nothing". But the jokes are just so ubsurd you can't possibly believe people go through this stuff. And again, apart from being absurd, it's just too dumb to be funny. People eating candy bars with forks, a soup nazi that holds power over his customers, the last episode... I could go on. The show is just rediculously stupid I can't believe so many people wasted their time watching it.
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Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1988–1998)
A classic that should have stayed in Britain
28 June 2003
Without this shoe, Colin Mochrie would probably not have much of a career, which is ironic seeing as he didn't get the job the first time he auditioned. I would recommend this show over the American Broadcasting Coprpration's version because the guests are better, the games are better, and Clive Anderson is much more rounded as the host. Also, even though Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles participated the most after the first few seasons, the improvisors were changed a lot more which made it more entertaining. But in the last few seasons when they filmed in the US, it declined because, apart from Clive and Colin, everyone on the show was American. Instead of having the variety of people from Britain, America, Canada, and other places, which the show was known to do, it lost the feel of having so many people who would not ordinarily work together just coming up with stuff off the top of their heads. Without that it just became another American show, as it is now.
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High Stakes (1986)
Not much to see
28 June 2003
There's nothing remotely worth seeing about this movie except for maybe Jackson Davies and Dave Foley. Given, the first part is actually funny, and I sort of wish the makers of the film had concentrated on that aspect more than the Nazi thing. Dave Foley is great in this as a first in a line of starring roles. Although, he did a similar characterization, though better, in The Wrong Guy. I'd recommend that one over this. But if you like Mike MacDonald's Mr. Nice guy, you may like this. It lacks the slap stick and MacDonald's great humour, but it's good for fans of relatively poor movies.
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Bizarre (1980–1985)
Only one word can really describe it
28 June 2003
This show is one of a kind. Though i don't really like the show myself, I have to admit there's something about it that keeps you glued. It's one of those shows you can watch and say to yourself "this is so stupid and disgusting... I'll just finish watching it..." it's great to have something so low brow and so politically incorrect actually work. Unfortunatley, it rarely worked since. BTW, if ány of you are still looking for it, get a satellite and get The Comedy Network. They still play it all the time.
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The Exorcist (1973)
7/10
The funniest movie of all time!
28 June 2003
I'll give this film that it's still pretty creepy. The new effects make it better. But some of the things that made it the "scariest movie" back then look silly now. Linda Blair bouncing repetively on her bed- I still do that when I can't get to sleep. It's a movie worth seeing, if not to be chilled out than to laugh at.
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Watership Down (1999– )
A poor attempt which rather ruins the story
24 June 2003
It is still better than nothing, but it may leave fans of the book unsatisfied. It would have been a great idea to turn the movie's adaptation of the novel into a show, and it could have worked, but they have messed around with it too much. Blackberry should not have been turned into a doe. Some say it was to be politically correct. However, this is not politically correct or factually correct. It was an important part of the story that no does had come on the journey, and therefore they needed to go and find some. They could have written the story to have more does. But the bigger problems are with the characterizations. They are more disney like and made to appeal to more to the younger generations, which is the opposite of what the movie did. A significant aspect of the characters is that they are not disney like. and although I am usually opposed to senseless violence, it ruined the story to lighten the violence on this show too. The dialogue is also dumbed down. However, it does give a much more broader look on the story it is based on, and additional stories they made up from the novel. This makes it worth watching. Other than that, let your children read the novel if you want them to experience Watership Down.
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6/10
Fair as a movie, bad as a sequel to the original
24 June 2003
Unfortunately, I've never seen any version of the play except for the original movie, so I have little idea about the original play and the shows. But to me this movie is exactly like every other movie Matheau and Lemmon did since 1990, and it lacks the simplicity of the 1968 original which made them popular as a comedy/film duo. While the original was mainly performance and character driven, which is what made it so innovative, this one has little to do with the actual characters of Felix and Oscar and their bad chemistry together. It is more plot driven, which is what kills it. In fact, it could have been any two people with the exact same plot and nothing would change, whereas in the original the character's behaviour would have effected the plot a bit. Not only that, but there's no more satire and comments on marriage and divorce except the little bit at the end, which I felt was out of character for the play. You would think there would also be a comment on growing old and dying together, but there isn't because the plot gets in the way. Some may say that movies now have to be more plot driven and not as simplistic as they were 50 years ago, but I'd have to say they're wrong. A plot can still ruin a movie while one which is simply performance based can still make it today. Anyhow, the original is still much more popular.
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NewsRadio (1995–1999)
adequate
24 June 2003
I can sum up this show with one word, the same used to described Bill McNeal: "adequate". Don't get me wrong, the show is pretty funny. But it's not that funny. The only thing that really pulls it off are the actors. Everything else about it isn't really worth watching it for. Maura and Dave were great together, and I especially liked Phil Hartman, Stephen Root, and Vicki Lewis. Notice that they always had to have at least one cast member for SNL and KITH.

In fact, Andy Dick is irritating, and I could not figure out what was up with Catherine Duke. She had barely any lines and seemed to go slapping everyone around with for no reason at all. even when she left I didn't know why she pulled that prank on Joe and Bill. Some of its most hated critics call it a WKRP ripoff, but the only thing, besides the obvious that they're in a radio station, is the references to odd characters because they seem to be duplicates: The boss with all the answers (Jimmy James, Arthur Carlson), the director able to keep everyone under control (Dave Nelson, Any Travis), the sleazy guy who tries to have everything go his way (Bill, Herb) the weird guy with a strange attachment to the sleazy guy(Matthew, Les), the woman in which the weird guy feels he has a competition with (Lisa, Bailey). Other than the characters, theres nothing that really ripped off WKRP. Still worth watching, when there's nothing on the other channel anyway.
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10/10
A Classic And Touching Story
24 June 2003
Watership Down remains as one of films top animated classics. With the great vocal talents of John Hurt, Richard Briers and Michael Graham Cox, you can feel the relationship among the rabbits as they search for a better place. Though the movie is fast paced in respect to the book, it is still worth the watch.'[I'd recommend seeing the film before reading the book and again after finishing the book. That way you'll see what is missing but still enjoy it.] It also stands out in the 1970's experimentation in the art of animation. This is what brings Fiver's thoughts so alive, which is a significant trademark of this movie. Something that was not copied in the 80's movie on the Richard Adam's book "The Plague Dogs".

Of course, everyone warns this movie may be to gory for children, especially children under 8 years of age. So see it for yourself first and decide before letting your child see it. However, chances are they've by now seen so many people being pointlessly killed on television that they won't really seem to mind.
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9/10
Guys, this could be YOUR marriage life!
24 June 2003
A perfect look at what happens when two friends, no matter how close, move in together. With classic and innovative performances. It's the characters which make this particularly funny. Oscar and Felix are total opposites and totally embody the two ways people live: either carelessly or picky. In addition, the jokes about divorce and marriage apply even more today. That's what really makes this a classic in American comedy. If your thinking of moving in with your sweetheart or your best friend, watch this first.
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7/10
High on satire, low on laughs
15 June 2003
Dave Foley has his first special, and he's right about one thing- it sucks. He knows it sucks and it's suppose to suck, and that's all good, but there's just so much left to be desired. You'll watch it expecting a laugh but instead... nothing. Just a little bit of slapstick would even make it better: snow falling on Dave's head as he's trying to get back in, etc. Mind you, him falling out the window was pretty funny, and there's still a bit of small laughs in it, but no real big jokes. What he has as entertainment is good: Jann Arden's singing, Dave Thomas and Joe Flahtery doing impersonations which I guess fans of SCTV would enjoy but I found rather boring. Mike Myers didn't even seem to want to give eye contact. It seemed like he didn't even want to be there.

Actually, the only part which lived up to expectations was the part with Kevin McDonald, who is always hilarious anyway. That sequence presented the joke which was given throughout the show: people feeding themselves on artificial interaction by watching these specials (only they didn't even have to watch it.) I would recommend this show for that part alone. So unless Bowser and Blue's "Two Nuts Roasting Over an Open Fire" isn't on, this is good enough to spend the 45 mintues watching. It's also too short.
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10/10
Classic Kids
7 June 2003
Basically the whole tour show (well, not the whole thing I guess, but the best parts). The DVD contains bonus footage which is worth getting: a seven minute version of Joymakers with a twist ending, plus a song from Bruce and some stuff from Craig Northey. It also gives you a chance to see what happens behind stage. Same Guys New Dresses gave us sneak peaks of the tour shows and a look behind the scenes, this gives us the reverse.

All in all, I think they will mostly be remembered for their stage shows. It's what they do best. They even ran their show as one half hour stage show, as if they were playing live. Only, while they tour their sketches are cut off at appropriate moments or punchlines. Their show usually gave time for the sketches to have an ending, but this wouldn't work on tour because there's no mix between sketches. The show usually gave an quiet ending to the sketches just for the sake of having an ending, while the live shows now end in a laugh. Either way, it's still good to see them together again. Their performances still keep getting better. Even when they crack up it's still funny.
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