1. Double Happiness (Mina Shum, 1994) British Columbia/English/Cantonese
2. Hell at My Heels (Brett Kelly, 2011) Ontario/English
3. Rise of the Black Bat (Brett Kelly, 2012) Ontario/English
4. Dreamspeaker (1976) British Columbia/English
5. Surfacing (1981) Ontario/English
6. By Design (1981) British Columbia/English
7. Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. (Don Edmonds, 1975) (re-watch)
8. Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (Don Edmonds, 1976)
9. City on Fire (1979) Québec/English
10. King Solomon's Treasure (1979) Canadian-British co-production made mostly in Swaziland
11. Death Ship (1980) Québec/English
12. My American Cousin (Sandy Wilson, 1985) British Columbia/English
13. DEFCON-4 (Paul Donovan, 1985) Nova Scotia/English
14. The Dirties (Matt Johnson, 2013) Ontario/English
15. Waydowntown (Gary Burns, 2000) Alberta/English
16. Autumn Born (1979) Manitoba/English
17. Ladies of the Lotus (1987) British Columbia/English FIRST CHECK
18. Possession (1987) British Columbia/English
19. Empire of Ash aka Empire of Ash II (1988) British Columbia/English
20. Empire of Ash III (1989) British Columbia/English
21. The Bloody Brood (Julian Roffman, 1959) Ontario/English
22. Seul ou avec d'autres / Alone or with Others (co-directed with Denis Héroux and Stéphane Venne, 1962)' Québec/French
23. Réjeanne Padovani (1973) Québec/French
24. L'âge des ténèbres / The Age of Ignorance (2007) Québec/French
25. Le règne de la beauté / An Eye for Beauty (2014) Québec/Ontario/French/English
Rafal Zielinski - purveyor of generic 80s teen comedy schlock (25-29)
26. Screwballs (1983)
27. Loose Screws aka Screwballs II (1985)
28. Recruits (1986)
29. State Park (1988)
30. Last Resort aka National Lampoon's Last Resort (1994)
31. Starship Invasions (Ed Hunt, 1977)
more low-grade Canuck sci-fi
32. The Neptune Factor (Daniel Petrie, 1973)
33. The Shape of Things to Come (George McCowan, 1979)
34. Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (Damian Lee, 1990)
35. Replikator (Philip Jackson, 1994)
36. Cannibal Girls
(Ivan Reitman, 1973)
Future SCTV stars Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin play a young couple away for their first weekend together in wintry, snowy Ontario some ways north of Toronto. When their car breaks down near a small town called Farnhamville, they decide to stay the night while it's being fixed, and the old woman who runs the motel tells them a scary story about the three beautiful young cannibal women who used to live in an old farmhouse (now restaurant) on the edge of town... This is billed as a comedy-horror but it really doesn't have a lot of humor, despite the reputations of the director and stars. What it really reminds me of is something like The Cars That Ate Paris
- a town out in the middle of nowhere that preys on strangers. Of course that has comic elements too, and I'm not trying to suggest that this is an overly "serious" horror film, but it's unnerving and creepy more than it is humorous. And it's got one of the better usages of the it-was-all-a-dream
technique that I've seen. I guess I should read some of the bad reviews - this has a 4.6 on IMDb and I honestly don't know why; while it's not exactly great and might be a bit too repetitive, and some of the acting's fairly lame, it's intriguingly structured and overall pretty damn entertaining; in fact I'd have to say at the moment it's my favorite of the half-dozen films from the director I've seen.
(Ivan Reitman, 1979) (re-watch)
Probably 2nd viewing. I don't think I saw this when it was new, but I'm pretty sure I saw it no later than 1990 or so - my memories were almost non-existant apart from bits of Bill Murray's routines. Murray plays the second-in-command I guess of a group of summer camp counsellors - most of them 20something - at Camp North Star, a cheap camp for the kids who can't afford to go to Camp Mohawk across the lake. Typical set-up for a summer camp comedy; the most surprising thing about this film is that it's rated PG; in 1979 there were still plenty of cheesy soft-core comedies with this kind of setting, probably the majority actually, so a family-friendly film like this seems a little novel. It probably helped get Reitman's ticket to Hollywood though - showing that he could make both R-rated and PG fare - and it certainly helped Murray's career, showcasing his particular brand of anarchic, often improvised humor in a setting that he couldn't help but dominate. It's an all right film but kind of bland, and the plot with the young outcast (Chris Makepeace) just doesn't do it for me even though I kind of identify with him. Not that comedies have to make any real sense but this just feels very thrown together, which makes the sentimental/dramatic elements feel quite out of place. Like the soundtrack overall but that might just be nostalgia.
On the Road With Bruce McDonald
Bruce McDonald - rarely if ever seen without the straw hat - was born in 1959 in Kingston, Ontario, and graduated the film program at Ryerson University, Toronto, where he has mostly made his home since. His first feature, Knock! Knock!
appeared in 1985 and seems awfully obscure; in the intervening 35 years he's made 15 more features and directed dozens of TV episodes. While his loose road "trilogy" and some other early films mark him as a chronicler of punkish outsiders moving around, trying to find a place to fit in, he's also made several horror films and a couple of highly experimental films. One thing most of his films have in common is large casts, and typically no easily-defined single protagonist, with a loose feeling for narrative/plot.
Valerie Buhagiar plays a young woman, sort of an intern I guess though the nature of her job is never precisely clear, sent on the road up north to find a band of loose cannons who aren't bothering to show up for their gigs. Along the way she runs into a would-be serial-killer, a much younger teenager who she has a one-night stand with and who gives her his car, and various other odd examples of humanity, all the while finding then losing the band multiple times. This is a weird little fairly plotless film, shot in black and white and very cheaply, that is probably going to remind many people of Jim Jarmusch's or Wim Wenders' early films, with their emphases on musically-inclined weirdos and outsiders. And that seems fair though I have no idea where McDonald actually draws his influences - and credit needs to also be given to screenwriter Don McKellar, who also plays the wanna-be Travis Bickle character. It's a quirky little film that I had mixed feelings about for most of it's run-time but which rather grew on me at the very end, and in thinking about it later.
39. Highway 61
Buhagiar and McKellar star again in this second of the road trilogy (the third is Hardcore Logo
, the best and best-known probably, which I saw a couple of years ago), with McKellar acting again as a screenwriter (along with director McDonald and Allan Magee). Here we find McKellar as a shy and introverted small-town barber with a sort of Robert Smith haircut who gets mixed up with Buhagiar, a criminal who's intent on smuggling drugs to New Orleans with the help of a handy dead body - masquerading it as her brother. As the title suggests it takes place along Highway 61, the "Blues Highway" which runs from Bob Dylan's home state of Minnesota, through Robert Johnson country and down to the Big Easy. And given that Robert Johnson is an unmentioned but potent presence in the story, it wouldn't be right if we didn't have the Devil (Earl Pastko) on their trail for the soul of the departed, would it? This is more structured than the previous film, and I think that's actually a bit of a problem. Buhagiar's character is so unlikable, and the two male characters so one-note that it becomes a bit stale over it's 102 minutes, though there are several fun individual scenes and as one would hope. some great music from such luminaries as Tom Jones, BTO and The Ramones (Joey had a bit part in Roadkill
). No Dylan or Johnson though - probably too expensive for this low budget production. Overall for me worth seeing but only just.
40. Picture Claire
I had no expectations for this at all and that might have been a good thing, as I was really pleasantly surprised by this noirish fish-out-of-water/mistaken identity crime pic. Juliette Lewis is the titular Claire, a Montréal native who speaks no English whatsoever, who is forced to leave her apartment after it's burned down (why and by whom we'll learn later), travelling to Toronto to meet up with a guy who it seems is a boyfriend. When she gets to his apartment though he's not around, and she soon finds out that he's not really waiting for her; meanwhile she's also being mistaken for a similar-looking young woman (Gina Gerson) who's just committed a very violent crime. Modern noir, in the USA or Canada at least, tends to follow one of two major influences from what I've seen - David Lynch weirdness and narrative complexity, or Quentin Tarantino violence and snappy dialogue (and also sometimes some narrative tricks). With it's split screens and an uneasy opening I thought at first this was going to go more in the Lynchian mode but it really ends up being much closer to QT's wheelhouse in the end. There are plenty of little plot twists and turns and I love the wave McDonald uses the physical landscape of the city - the feel of back allies, bright boulevards and big old apartments is more palpable here than in most films of this type, in this day. Lewis is surprisingly good and believable in her part - no idea if she studied French or grew up speaking it, but having spent a lot of time around native Montréalers I'd say she does better than I'd expect a native Californian here; there's a bit where she's talking to herself ans slouching along actually where she totally reminds me of my sister-in-law who's from Québec, and Gerson and the rest of the cast, including Callum Keith Rennie in the most Tarantinoesque role, and Mickey Rourke in a short but memorable bit, are all fine as well. Not a great film or anything and certainly nothing all that new apart from it's language subplot (part of the reason the story gets more complicated being that Claire keeps making strange choices because she doesn't understand what's going on), but it kept me interested for sure.
That's all for me, thanks for hosting again Ferg!