All That Glows...

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Alan Rudolph's Afterglow (1997) strives to be the alt-romcom for people who look down on romcoms. It burns slowly, ends unhappily, and camouflages its trusty clichés under arch manners. Tinged with sepia and laden with flat ironies, it's a film to which datedness has been preemptively disallowed, but in its cultural context of nineties knowingness, the derivations and unsophisticated sexual politics make it feel immediately stale. Caught between voguish indie sensibilities and well-worn romcom quirks, it's a half-baked product that fails to rise.

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Photo © 1997 Sony Pictures Classics/Sandcastle 5 Productions

Just an Afterthought: Quebec's Jutras

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Winner of 9 Jutras on the award's inaugural year
(Photo Credit: impawards.com)

The Jutra Awards (La Soirée des Jutras) just turned 17. They aired on the 15th of March, from the Monument-National in the Quartier des Spectacles. The awards are not hugely popular, but the promise of prodige Montréalais Xavier Dolan in competition with--wait for it--himself surely drove viewership from all over Québec. The Jutras, after all, our film award: the highest honor our small but formidable film industry has to congratulate the talents through which it is sustained. Sadly, despite the fact that Québec Cinema has risen on the international scene, its Jutras have not, by association, gained in any measure of global status.

Steps to Take in the Building of a Great Film Collection

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The Island of Montreal is a wonderful cultural capital, harboring a multitude of centers, groups, institutes and special events organized around the medium of film. Montreal's vast film-cultural arena, favorable to the cause of cinephilia, can be entered into from any number of venues. Those looking to mingle among the cinematically inclined can join the Cinéclub Film Society, which meets at Concordia University's downtown campus. Those eager to experience classics as they were meant to be experienced can attend revivals at the Cinéma du Parc, one of the city's arthouse theatres. Those with an empiric's curiosity about the production of film can take guided tours of La Cité du Cinéma, our country's largest film production facility. Those with a taste for the fresh and exotic can obtain a "passeport" and arrange to see new releases at our annual International Film Festival, which is held in late August/early September. The list goes on and on.

A Chat with Pat

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Multi-threat Patricia "Pat" Dillon-Moore has led one of the most interesting professional lives this side of the Atlantic. Diversely experienced, with a repertoire of skills that includes writing and performance, Pat Dillon-Moore is a shining example of passion, prowess and personality. She has carried a film (1986's Sitting in Limbo, directed by John N. Smith); racked up notable theatre credits through the Black Theatre Workshop; founded a company (Black Arts Production); co-founded another (Amanda Jackson Communications); written and acted out a humorous monologue series (Clemmie Is Mi Frien'); and, in 1990, was appointed as station manager of CKUT 90.3. In her long-held position as a publicist for the National Film Board of Canada, she has inspired a great deal of admiration, and has even been hailed as one of the geniuses in the field by esteemed writer Christopher Moore.

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Deep Focus: Turning the Camera on Jean-Marc Vallée

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Montreal native Jean-Marc Vallée is held in un certain regard. A member of what has informally been termed the Quebec New Wave, which consists of French Canadian filmmakers on the ascendant,1he has a special talent for making films that resonate with audiences. Those resonances have carried through the global film industry and secured him a place on the map. What first put him there was the high-water success of LGBT-themed family saga C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005), a labor of love that he developed in collaboration over several years.2 Through precision filmmaking, he presented a somewhat grey-tinted perspective of Revolution-era Montreal, and conveyed a relatable sense of bildungsromanesque angst (authenticated by his own experience). However, contrary to popular perception, C.R.A.Z.Y. was not his first notable effort. In the nineties, his short films garnered him prizes from the Jutras, the Genies and the Yorkton Short Film Festival. In the mid-nineties, the now obscure legal thriller Liste noire also brought him a measure of distinction.2 At present, he merits of a closer look.

Movie-Struck

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By ...

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While assessing the audience of the 1973 film Day for Night, mordant film critic Pauline Kael reached deep into her arsenal of coinages and hauled out "movie-struck. All claws retracted, my respect for film critics runs very deep, and I admit unreservedly to being one of the movie-struck. I share with the medium of cinema a history and ongoing relationship that, mind you, is the subject of a decidedly uncinematic life-story. As a greatly contradictory individual with a particular outlook on people and behaviour, I can attest to various powers of the cinema--to shape, to illumine, to influence, to move.

Before it welded me into a mess of contradictions, cinema was merely a cultural product that struck my fancy. My most prized possession as a young'un was a library of VHS tapes, and all of my allowances were spent on movie going. I could, for the sake of convenience, attempt to isolate an instance of revelation in which it became clear that film would be the greatest and most enriching passion of my young life, but like the film reel that breaks a celluloid moment up into a series of frames, that wouldn't be possible.

My Cataclysmically Failed Attempt To Review jOBS.

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This movie is allegedly about the rise, fall, and re-rise of Steven Jobs. It starts with him as a jerky young man, and progresses until he is a jerky older man. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I only watched the first twenty minutes of this film. I feel that this was more than enough. You would too. This movie stinks. Don't watch it.

Let me explain... 

Godzilla - King of the Monsters

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Godzilla relaxing with Momoko Kôchi (star of the original 1954 Godzilla)
As Z Z Top says, "girls go crazy for a sharp dressed man"
Note: This article borrows heavily from the long-time research done by August Ragone, Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski and David Kalat (as well as The Kaijucast podcast). Gentlemen, we salute you (with floppy rubber claws). Also, for convenience, I will be using the name "Godzilla", rather than the original japanese "Gojira". My deepest apologies (and sympathies) if this offends you.

As we approach the May 2014 of the latest American re-interpretation of "Japan's Favorite Mon-Star", we figured it would be a good time to look back to the beginning... 60 years ago to the original 1954 Godzilla. And appropriately enough for giant monster, it began with a giant problem...

How to ruin a movie for yourself.

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Here's a simple ten step program to ensure that you'll never have enjoy a movie again. 

*Diamanda Hagan is a force of nature that occasionally reviews movies when not ruling over the free peoples of Haganistan with an iron fist. You can find her stuff here: http://diamandahagan.wordpress.com/ . All hail Hagan!

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Now I'm sitting here talking to myself... that's chaos theory!

"This is rumour control. Here are the facts." - Alien 3

This article, as are most of my articles on this area of the website, has been written as part of a professional writing course I am taking at Concordia University, Montreal. Lurking in the course outline, like Cthulhu napping in Ryleh, was "The Interview Assignment". And suddenly, without warning (other than the course outline but who reads those things?) the stars were right and The Interview Assignment came lumbering across the landscape directly towards us. It was suggested that since I have an interest in DVD collecting (creeping toward 2000 movies) I should interview somebody who collects movies. Unfortunately I don't know anyone else who collects. I had nobody to interview. I was all prepared to kiss those marks good bye and hope I didn't bring down the class average too much when the teacher suggested I interview myself.

I can do that.









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