Turkey Day! (2009 Bottom 10) (2009 Nov 26)

The year's not over yet, but let's pretend. Thanksgiving, with its image of turkeys, is just too good a day to pass up for reflecting on the junk of the past year. Let's reserve late December for remembering what was good about the year gone by (...

The NEW MOON Gender Gap (2009 Nov 24)

An email sent to me yesterday read: "James, See that you loved NEW MOON as much as I did. You gotta check out the imdb rating splits. It will blow your mind."First, a word about IMDb ratings: they have their uses but to rely too heavily on them for...

Permutations of Change (2009 Nov 22)

"A change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon…" So spoke Colin Baker at the end of "The Caves of Androzani," the actor's late-inning introduction to the role of Doctor Who. Those words might just as easily apply to the American Presidency...

Backlash (2009 Nov 17)

It happens every year. Critics see a film and praise it. Early audience response is rapturous. Adulation pours in from every corner. The director and stars are interviewed and the photogenic ones find themselves in a paparazzi-generated fishbowl...

The DVD Blues (2009 Nov 12)

Home video sales haven't gone as expected in 2009. Is it the economy or is the cause more fundamental? Only a few years ago, studio executives were dancing in the streets because of the torrid rate at which revenue was pouring in from DVD sales. ...

R.I.P. Miramax (2009 Nov 05)

To be 100% accurate, Miramax is not "dead," meaning it has not ceased to function as an entity. But, after recent cutbacks by Disney have left the art house subsidiary with only a skeleton crew of 20 and almost no operating budget (about four titles...

Staying Home (2009 Oct 18)

Roger Ebert once commented that he believes a movie good enough to warrant a recommendation for home viewing is good enough to see in a theater. A recommendation considers only the movie, not the situation in which it is viewed. If only it was that ...

All the Best (Pictures) (2009 Oct 11)

When it comes to reviewing older movies, I'm at my best when some kind of "series" is involved. So, after completing my nostalgic journey through the '80s, which resulted in my watching about 90 movies and reviewing a little more than a third of ...

Isolation (2009 Oct 06)

And now for something completely different…It's the afternoon of Sunday, September 1, 1985, and I'm feeling strange. Outside, there's the bustle of a Sunday afternoon in a city. The temperature is mild but not unbearable, recalling the heights of...

From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled and Captured' (2009 Oct 01)

Originally, I wasn't going to write anything about Roman Polanski's capture in Switzerland. It seemed to be a relatively minor news story. After all, his detainment and future extradition (or lack thereof) doesn't impact me directly. He's an old ...

TIFF #11: Lights Off, Lightbox On (2009 Sep 20)

The Varsity is once again showing mainstream fare. The Elgin and Roy Thompson Hall are quiet. The airport is buzzing as the lasts guests and festival-goers wait for their planes. The critics are dotting the final i's and crossing the final t's of ...

TIFF #10: All the Rest (2009 Sep 19)

Before every showing in Toronto, an anti-piracy message is displayed for about 10 seconds. The language is fairly familiar - a reminder that viewers are about to see a copyrighted work and any unauthorized duplication will result in ejection from ...

TIFF #9: Crime & Punishment in the U.K. (2009 Sep 18)

There's nothing quite like a U.K. crime thriller to get the blood flowing. They're a little different than U.S. pictures from the same genre - grimmer and grittier, usually. Less romanticizing of things. More brutal. More bloody. This year's ...

TIFF #8: Deceptions (2009 Sep 17)

Curious random thought: Having spent some time staring at the huge screens in the (relatively) new Scotiabank and AMC theaters, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that they are as large (or larger) than the screen in the supposed "IMAX" ...

TIFF #7; Lies, Damn Lies, and Capitalism (2009 Sep 16)

It's getting to that time in every festival when things start winding down - midweek. The bloom is off the rose, so to speak. The best and biggest films are in the rearview mirror. Crowds are dwindling. There are no longer lines at the box office. ...

TIFF #6: Surreality (2009 Sep 15)

Film festivals have a reputation as being places where dramas and documentaries dominate. While there's some truth to this, there are plenty of opportunities for those who prefer films outside the realm of traditional festival fare. The Midnight ...

TIFF #5: Dante, Portman, and Hicks Disappoint (2009 Sep 14)

It seems like forever since we've heard from director Joe Dante. Back in the '80s, he was one of the kings of teen-oriented thrillers, with titles like Gremlins and Innerspace on his resume. He continued working into the '90s but with increasingly ...