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Sample: Title; rating (out of 4); principal setting; year of release; international co-producer (if any); cast; description; scriptwriter; director; content warning; running time.
 

THE DEBATERS (TV Series)

(2011)   * * 1/2   Host: Steve Patterson.....Comedy in which various stand up comics are set against each other to (humorously) debate, argue, and rebut various topics -- some sort of reasonable, some trivial or blatantly absurd! Each episode usually featuring two debates featuring two different pairs of comics, often boasting a who's who of Canadian comedy (as well as occasional American and other comedians).

Based on a CBC Radio series of the same name, this series seems an odd illustration of the differences in different mediums...because for some reason a frequently hilarious radio series ends up as more just an amusing TV show. Why? Same format, same host, same guests (indeed, I think in some cases these may be just filmed versions of the same debates). Maybe on radio it's edited a bit more tightly, not having to worry about reaction shots or double takes. Still, whatever the reasons, the TV version is certainly an agreeable enough half hour...but the radio version is the one that's worth seeking out. Half-hour episodes on the CBC. 

DEBUG  * *  
(2014) Jeananne Goossen, Adrian Holmes, Adam Butcher, Sidney Leeder, Kjartan Hewitt, Kyle Mac, Jadyn Wong, Jason Momoa.....In the future, a group of young-ish convicted computer hackers are assigned to scrub the data banks of a huge, derelict space ship -- only to find it's inhabited by a homicidal artificial intelligence (Momoa). Sci-fi/horror flick stretches its modest budget cleverly (since it's a space ship, the same sets double as different rooms and corridors -- a trick actor-turned-writer/director Hewlett may've picked up from co-starring in Cube) so that it actually looks reasonably good, with a capable cast. But as such you can't help but wonder what they could've accomplished if they had taken the same sets and the same cast, but given them something more ambitious to work with than a generic "haunted house in space" scenario (with a bit of "The Matrix" and, incongruously, "Kill Bill," added in!) Half the characters are kind of abrasive, though maybe that's because they are, ultimately, just there to fill a body count. It isn't that it's an especially bad effort -- just not especially good and a bit been-there-done-that. American actor Momoa used to co-star with Hewlett in the sci-fi TV series, StarGate: Atlantis. sc./dir: David Hewlett. - extreme violence.- 86 min.

DECEPTION  * *  setting: USA.
(2003) (/U.S.) Dina Meyer, Steve Bacic, Gary Hudson, Anna Silk, Cary Lawrence, Mark Comacho.....Struggling American actress (Meyer) works for a private eye (Hudson) acting as a temptress to get evidence on cheating husbands; but she falls for one of her targets (Bacic) and things become more complicated when she worries someone is trying to kill her. Suspense-drama is slick enough, with a capable cast, and wants to be one of those stories where it only gradually lays the foundation for its plot...so that it's not just about whodunit -- but where is all this headed? As such it's almost more a drama at times...without really being that interesting a drama. Worse, it strains credibility throughout, like having the heroine, who despises the cheating husbands she helps entrap, falling for a cheating husband! And that's kind of at the very core of the film! Though there are a couple of nude scenes, import Meyer remains demurely clad even in love scenes (though Silk, as her roommate, dresses more salaciously). A particularly stand-out piece of acting is, ironically, when Meyer is supposed to be acting, doing a reading from a play. a.k.a. Decoy. sc: Ed Silverstein. dir: Richard Roy. - partial female nudity, sexual content.- 90 min.

LE DECLINE DE L'EMPIRE AMERICAIN  * * *  setting: P.Q.
(1986) Dominique Michel, Dorothee Berryman, Louise Portal, Genevieve Rioux, Pierre Curzi, Yves Jacques, Remy Girard, Daniel Briere, Gabriel Arcand.....A group of intellectual friends spend a day in assorted groups discussing sex, love, sex, relationships and sex.  This frank serio-comic pic takes a cynical and cerebral look at how men and women view each other, and happiness itself.  Well acted and perceptive but ultimately...cold.  Won eight Genies including Best Picture, Script, Director, Supporting Actor (Arcand) and Supporting Actress (Portal).  Followed, 18 years later, by Les invasions barbares. English title: The Decline of the American Empire.  sc./dir: Denys Arcand. - sexual content, male nudity and partial female nudity.- 101 min.

THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE see Le decline de l'empire americain

DECOY  a.k.a. Deception

DECOYS  *  setting: N.B.
(2003) Corey Sevier, Stefanie von Pfetten, Kim Poirier, Elias Toufexis, Meghan Ory, Enis Esmer, Nicole Eggert, Richard Burgi.....University student (Sevier) realizes a couple of pretty co-eds are actually alien monsters and may be involved in a series of bizarre deaths around campus. Astoundingly dreadful flick seems to want to be "Species" meets "Animal House" and one suspects that's how it was sold to the financiers, by claiming it had something for everyone (it's a comedy! it's a drama! it's sci-fi! it's erotica! it's a frat house flick!) and the results aren't particularly funny, or thrilling, and are downright incoherent (even what the hero seems to think from scene to scene is unclear) with "boo" effects that are literally thrown in with no justification (the hero just keeps imagining things). Comparisons between this and TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" are not unlike comparing "Plan 9 from Outer Space" to "Citizen Kane". Even the title makes little sense! Toufexis, as the best friend (looking a little like a cherub-faced Elijah Wood), and Poirier, as the alien trying to seduce him, actually seem to put more into it than is required, and their scenes together can almost make you forget how bad it all is! American imports Eggert and Burgi play local cops. Still, it actually admits it's set in Canada, which is rare for these flicks. If you're watching this for sexiness, what little nudity there is is over and done with about eleven minutes into it. Followed by a sequel! sc: Matt Hastings, Tom Berry. dir: Matt Hastings. - extreme violence; sexual content; partial female nudity.- 95 min.

DEEP SEA CONSPIRACY *  setting: N.S.
(1987) Patricia Talbot, Peter Snider, Michael J. Reynolds, Tony Robinow, Bondfield Marcoux.....Marine biologist (Talbot) stumbles across mysterious happenings, a not-so-deserted deserted wreck and an espionage plot.  Slow moving, almost silly suspenser plays like (bad) "Nancy Drew" with a body count.  sc: Michael Brun, Robert Geoffrion. dir: Michael Brun. 94 min.

DEEP SLEEP   * * 1/2
(1990) Megan Follows, Stuart Margolin, Patricia Collins, David Hewlett, Damon D'Oliveira, Deanne Henry, Rob Roy, Margot Kane.....Emotionally unstable young woman (Follows) returns to her religious family and trys to find out the reason behind her father's mysterious death.  Well acted, good looking drama (and quasi-suspenser) starts out "arty" and strange but soon gives way to a more coherent narrative.  Overly slow but still interesting.  sc./dir: Patricia Gruben. 87 min.

DEEPLY  * *
(2000) (/Germany) Kirsten Dunst, Julia Brendler, Lynn Redgrave, Alberta Watson, Brent Carver, Peter Donaldson, Tara Rosling, Trent Ford.....Troubled German-raised girl (Brendler) returns with her mother (Watson), to the latter's island family home, only to befriend a local eccentric (Redgrave), who tells her a fairy tale set 50 years before, about a tomboyish girl (Dunst) and the town's mysterious curse. Drama (maybe youth-aimed) starts out pretty formulaic with the contemporary sequences, then shifts to the potentially interesting magic realism of the flashbacks -- where the filmmaker seems to see the ffairy tale nature as excusing any need to be credible, or even coherent, in either story or characterization. Has hints of a creepy, Lovecraftian horror story...except it's not a horror story; and by the end, you kind of go: "that's it?" The setting obviously evokes maritime Canada...but that's never explicitly stated in the dialogue, perhaps explaining the vague accents. Though American actress Dunst's affected southern drawl is completely out-of-place (one wonders if the filmmaker was so intimidated by her Hollywood "star" that no one had the courage to explain to Dunst that her accent was woefully inappropriate). Things like that just further undermine the film's ability to create any plausibility. sc./dir: Sheri Ellwood. 100 min.
 

DEEPWATER BLACK (TV Series)

(1997-1998)   * *  (/U.S.) Gordon Michael Woolvett ("Reb"), Nicole de Boer ("Yuna"), Kelli Taylor ("Gret"), Jason Cadieux ("Bren"), Julie Khaner ("Gen"), Craig Kirkwood ("Zak"), Sarah Sahr ("Lise").....Science fiction about a spaceship, Deepwater, and its crew of young adults, cloned from pre-existing people but with incomplete memories, who are awakened five hundred years after a plague wiped out the human race.  Their mission: return to earth and repopulate it.  Woolvett was the level-headed engineer and leader; de Boer the hot-headed pilot; Taylor the scientist; Kirkwood (the only American in the otherwise Canadian cast) the computer expert; Sahr the medic; and Cadieux the military man.  Khaner played the ship's holographic computer.

The problem with fantasy/SF TV series aimed at young people is that kids tend to gravitate to adult SF, and don't really need a kiddie version...nor do any potential grown-up viewers.  The reason the British kids series "Dr. Who" ran for decades was because it was aimed as much at adults as kids.  Which may be beside the point, because this series' juvenile ambience may have been unintentional. Various aspects were grown-up enough (even the characters are older than they were in the source novels), so maybe it was just a flaw in the presentation: performers that seemed inexperienced (despite the fact that many weren't) and unsure -- likewise a problem with the direction and scripts.  Sometimes filmmakers do young people series, not out of any artistic desire, but because they figure they can get away with a sloppy job.

Most of the characters (except Woolvett's) came across as smarmy, perhaps the influence of executive consultant Richard Manning who worked on TekWar, another series that got mired in the obnoxiousness of its characters.

Still, it had its devotees and there are various fan sites dedicated to it on the internet.  Based on young adult novels by New Zealand author Ken Catran.  In the U.S. it was known as Mission Genesis.  12 half-hour episodes, shown in Canada om YTV. 

DEF-CON FOUR   * * *
(1984) Tim Choate, Kate Lynch, Maury Chaykin, Lenore Zann, Kevin King.....Astronauts land on earth after a nuclear war and are taken captive by a maniacal army brat and his followers.  Good SF adventure/thriller is highlighted by fine performances and a quirky sense of humour that off-sets the film's somewhat intense atmosphere.  sc./dir: Paul Donovan. - violence.- 89 min.

DEFENDOR  * * 1/2   setting: Ont.
(2009) Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings, Elias Koteas, Michael Kelly, Sandra Oh, Clark Johnson, A.C. Peterson, Ron White.....Mentally handicapped man (Harrelson) who dresses as a super hero and fights crime with a quirky, home-made arsenal, befriends a teen hooker (Dennings), and seeks to bring down a crooked cop (Koteas) and his mobster boss (Peterson). Though coming around the same time as some other revisionist masked vigilante comedies ("Kick-Ass", "Super") this isn't quite the same animal. Though very funny, it's actually a sometimes bittersweet comedy-drama (and though gritty...not quite the hard "R" those other movies are). Actor-turned-writer/director Stebbings (that's him in the cameo as a doctor) gets great performances from Harrelson and Dennings...but also fine performances from all, including a supporting cast and walk ons that includes such recognizable faces as Lisa Ray, Graham Abbey, Kristin Booth, Charlotte Sullivan, Tatiana Maslany, Lyriq Bent, David Gardner and others. Visually rich, with a great use of colour and lighting (belying a modest budget), and with some clever scenes in service of a strong basic premise. But...the actual plot could've used beefing up (or else the running time tightened up), with even some of the character scenes feeling a bit as though we establish the characters...then just hit repeat (and with some of that aforementioned great cast under-utilized, like Johnson as the police chief). It's a good movie that could've been a great movie. Harrelson, Dennings, and Kelly are all American imports. sc./dir: Peter Stebbings. 101 min.

DEFY GRAVITY   * *  setting: CDN.
(1991) R.H. Thomson, Chapelle Jaffe, Simon Reynolds, Tracey Moore, Juno Mills-Cockell, Karen Saunders, Justin Louis, Damir Andrei.....Troubled teen (Reynolds) gets his penchant for flights of fancy from his abusive dreamer father (Thomson).  Seemingly well-meaning drama -- with neat directing tricks -- about domestic violence never comes together in story or characterization, with scenes and performances that are too broad.  Moore's good as a concerned teacher but 2nd billed Jaffe is given little to do.  sc./dir: Michael Gibson. - violence.- 87 min.
 

DEFYING GRAVITY (TV Series)

(2009)   * * 1/2   (/U.S.) Ron Livingston ("Maddux Donner"), Malik Yoba ("Ted Shaw"), Laura Harris ("Zoe Barnes"), Christina Cox ("Jen Crane"), Florentine Lahme ("Nadia Schilling"), Paula Garces ("Paula Morales"), Eyal Podell ("Dr. Evram Mintz"), Dylan Taylor ("Steve Wassenfelder"), with Karen LeBlanc ("Eve Weller-Shaw"), Andrew Airlie ("Mike Gross"), Zahf Paroo ("Ajay Sharma"), Maxim Roy ("Dr. Claire Dereux"), Ty Olsson ("Rollie Crane"), others.....Science fiction/drama set in the mid-21st Century about an eight person crew (and the earth-based mission control team) supposedly exploring the solar system, but where there's actually a secret agenda involving a mystical, otherworldly artifact...intercut with flashbacks to five years earlier during the training and recruitment process. Coming amid the mini-wave of Canadian series picked up by American networks (Flashpoint, The Listener) this was the flip side: an American-conceived series that became a Canadian co-production. The result is a goodly percentage of the cast are Canadians, though there was little effort made in the scripts to reflect any kind of bi-nationality. It wasn't ignored entirely -- in the ground control board room a Canadian flag was displayed next to an American one -- but not incorporated into the story or dialogue. North American accented characters were generally just not identified as being from one country or the other.

A rare example of a "hard" sci-fi series on a major network, it tried hard to distance itself from that "stigma" by billing itself as being "Grey's Anatomy" in space (creator Parriot had worked on that popular -- and racy -- US medical comedy/drama) while borrowing "Lost"'s use of flashbacks, and basically being marketed as science fiction for those who don't like science fiction. Which is actually a problematic conceit (would anyone do a western...and then try and distance themselves from that genre?). The problem with bad science fiction isn't that it's science fiction...it's that it's bad. Anyway, "Defying Gravity" boasts decent performances, a good budget making for nice sets and f/x, but was hurt by its very "non-fantasy" approach -- that is, (mostly) eschewing aliens and strange new worlds (or even many guest stars), it's just the same characters in the same environment episode after episode -- broken up with flashbacks to, well, the exact same characters in another environment. It could get repetitious partly because, for all that it was a "character drama". the characters themselves weren't that intriguing (or, conversely, were a little too cartoony -- I mean, Lahme as an oversexed nymphomaniac? Really?). And despite the "Grey's Anatomy" comparison, it didn't ape the comedy aspect -- there was some light-heartedness, but not laugh-out-loud comedy. Nor did the cutting between past and present really offer too much intrigue so you wanted to see how the characters would evolve (ie: maybe having characters who hate each other in the flashbacks be best friends in the contemporary scenes). And ultimately, for a series pretending it was more sophisticated than regular SF, it shamelessly borrowed from "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Solaris", "Babylon 5" and others (without the same stylistic panache). It just took longer to cover the same ground. Which was another fatal flaw shared by so many modern series -- it was set up as an epic story arc (the space mission was supposed to take six years) without having a premise, either involving the characters or the fantasy/sci-fi mystery, seeming like it could sustain such a lengthy telling. The main American (ABC) and Canadian (CTV) networks dropped it in mid-season, while the sci-fi specialty channel, Space, at least aired the remaining episodes that had been filmed. It was cancelled quickly, but it wasn't a bad series, per se: you could kind of like it for its strengths, even as you couldn't love it for its flaws. But maybe had it been presented as a limited series, with a clear beginning, middle and end, it might have been more appealing. Created by James D. Parrott. One season of hour-long episodes.  

DEGRASSI HIGH see Degrassi series

DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH see Degrassi series
 

DEGRASSI series (TV Series)

* * 1/2   Pat Mastroianni, Stacie Mistysyn, Anais Granofsky, Stefan Brogren, many others.....Three TV series made through-out the eighties for the CBC, The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, and Degrassi High following a large and relatively consistent group of fictional kids from childhood through to teen-age years and wrapped up with the TV movie School's Out. The series was then revised, this time on CTV, in 2001 as Degrassi: The Next Generation, with a whole new cast of kids (well, teens, including actor-turned-hiphop artist, Drake, prior to his music career stardom) and with some of the original cast (Mastroianni, Mistysyn, etc.) returning as their original characters, now parents. This changed some of the focus of the series, as instead of being exclusively about the kids, the new series weaves plot threads about both the kids and the adults (in that sense, more reminiscent of other "family" dramas, including the concurrent U.S. series like "Gilmore Girls", "The O.C.", etc.

Critically revered, award-winning series was known for its willingness to tackle difficult issues, but was less sure technically with uneven performances, writing and directing.  Improved (not surprisingly) with each series. The most recent incarnation -- Degrassi: The Next Generation -- is the most slick, professional, and eexpensive looking of the lot, and has proved an enduring success -- at least with some caveats. It enjoyed a long run on CTV, but some argued that was more because of its prestige (and its success on a U.S. cable station) than because its uneven CTV ratings actually warranted its renewals. Eventually CTV dropped it...but it moved over to MuchMusic, perhaps a better forum given its intended demographics. Among the cast of new kids was Drake -- who would shortly go on to international stardom, not as an actor, but as a rap/hip hop artist! Interestingly enough, the various series, often tackling "taboo" topics and issues, has found more than a few episodes deemed sufficiently risky that they've been challenged, and even pulled from airing, in the United States and elsewhere...yet rarely seem to cause so much as a ripple of controversy in Canada. American filmmaker Kevin Smith, a long time fan (even dropping references to the series in movies like "Chasing Amy") offered to write or direct for the new series, but was instead offered an on screen part for a three episode story arc where he (and frequent actor Jason Mewes) play themselves, filming one of their Jay and Silent Bob movies on the school grounds. Canadian rock star Alanis Morrissette also had a cameo in the first of those episodes.  The series (in its various incarnations) has also spawned a few TV movie specials. Half-hour episodes, originally on the CBC and/or CTV. 

DELETE (TVMS)  * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(2012) (/U.S.) Keir Gilchrist, Erin Karpluk, Ryan Robbins, Gil Bellows, Matt Frewer, Janet Kidder, Andrew Airlie, Blu Mankuma, Seth Green, Theresa Russell.....A computer program achieves sentience and starts to maliciously interfere with global systems, threatening the human race, and while American government security experts seek a solution, an American teen hacker (Gilchrist), a reporter (Karpluk) and an F.B.I. agent (Robbins) team up to investigate on their own. Sci-fi/thriller actually boasts solid performances from all, dialogue and scenes that generally avoid lame lines or implausible motivation, and direction (including cinematography, editing, etc.) that clearly wants to be a bit stylish (with flares on the lens, rolled focus) in an attempt to belie a presumably limited budget -- in short, no one seems to be just collecting a pay check. Yet it never becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps it's because it doesn't find anything fresh to bring to the cyberthriller/rogue computer sub-genre (dating all the way back to movies when cautionary warnings of ominpresent technology seemed prescient like "War Games", the Canadian-made Hide & Seek, and even "Colossus: The Forbin Project") or perhaps it's because the characters never really become more involving, or better developed, than just protagonists to move the plot along. Maybe the fact that the main heroes are a teen and two adults means the filmmakers weren't quite sure if they were making a teen adventure or an adult thriller. Still -- a decent watch. American imports Green and Russell are only in small parts -- Green has a slightly pivotal role, but Russell has barely more than a cameo as Gilchrist's mom. 4 hours. sc: Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie. dir: Steve Barron. - violence.-

DELUXE COMBO PLATTER * * *  setting: B.C.
(2004) (/U.S.) Marla Sokoloff, Jennifer Tilly, Monika Schnarre, Barry Watson, Dave Thomas, Jonathan Cherry, Marnie Alton, Len Doncheff, Frank C. Turner.....Story of small town life and secret agendas involving a "plain" waitress (Sokoloff) with a long time crush on a local guy (Watson) who sees her as a friend, and he has an eye for the enigmatic, big city beauty (Schnarre) who's arrived in town...and is really a lesbian, attracted to the waitress! Comedy was derided by some critics as just a glorified TV movie (well, a somewhat risqué TV movie) but, um, since 99 percent of its audience is only going to see it on TV...is that a bad thing? As a comedy, it's funny, as a story, it's kind of off-beat, and the three top billed ladies (including Tilly as the heroine's sassy best friend) are particularly good, helping to anchor the characters. Probably the biggest weakness is Watson's character...he's supposed to be a romantic interest, but he and his buddy are such boors for the first part of the film that it's hard to see why she's attracted to him! Sokoloff and Watson are American imports. After years of languishing in B-movies, this is arguably Schnarre's best role (and she even briefly doffs her top). a.k.a. Love on the Side. sc: Brigitte Talevski. dir: Vic Sarin. - partial female nudity.- 102 min.

LA DEMOISELLE SAUVAGE * *  setting: other
(1991) (Switzerland) Patricia Tulasne, Matthias Habich.....Troubled woman (Tulasne) on the run in Switzerland becomes involved with a dam inspector (Habich) living in the country.  Slow drama will appeal to fans of Pool's work, but will just seem slow and a pretentious to others.  Nice scenery, though.  sc: Lea Pool, Laurent Gagliardi, Michel Langlois (from the novel by S. Corinna Bille). dir: Lea Pool. - partial female nudity.- 99 min.

DERBY   * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1995) (/U.S.) David Charvet, Joanne Vannicola, Len Cariou, Felton Perry, Dean McDermott, Darren McGavin, Wayne Robson.....Young American woman (Vannicola) finds herself reluctantly inheriting her father's (Cariou) debt-ridden horse ranch, with her only hope being to win the Kentucky Derby.  Made-for-TV flick is slickly put-together, if you like your drama low-key, and benefits from Vannicola's usual charm, but the romantic angle suffers because McDermott, as her fiancee, and import Charvet, as her true love, are both kind of obnoxious characters.  Director Clark plays the auctioneer.  Filmed in South Africa, but set in the United States.  sc: Charles Rath, Joseph Pipher, Heather Conkie (story Rath and Pipher). dir: Bob Clark. 92 min.

LE DERNIER HAVRE  * * 1/2  setting: P.Q.
(1986) Paul Hebert, Louisette Dussault, Claude Gauthier, Robert Rivard, Benoit Arsenault.....Aging fisherman (Hebert), fascinated by the sea and unhappy with retirement, begins to secretly repair a boat he's found.  Gentle little drama is helped by a light, humourous touch.  English title: The Last Haven.  sc./dir: Denyse Benoit (from the novel by Yves Theriault). 81 min.

LE DERNIER SOUFFLE * *  setting: P.Q./USA.
(1999) Luc Picard, Julien Poulin, Serge Houde, Linda Singer, Lorne Brass, Michel Goyette, Sean Devine.....When his neo-Nazi brother is murdered, a Montreal cop (Picard) investigates, taking him to Arkansas and back, getting him involved with right wing militia and the F.B.I. Suspense drama starts out well, but doesn't sustain the tension consistently; what danger and suspense is generated in Arkansas is kind of eroded by the more plodding Montreal scenes -- seems almost like it was edited together from a mini-series at times. The movie is also confusing in spots (if you assume the filmmakers know what they're doing) or illogical (if you assume they don't), like why is the American F.B.I. wandering about in Montreal, claiming they have jurisdiction? And for a movie tackling such incendiary material (neo-Nazis) the politics are rather muted. The dialogue is a mix of French and English. English title: The Last Breath. sc: Joanne Arseneau. dir: Richard Ciupka. - violence, brief female nudity.- 104 min.

DESERT BLADES a.k.a. Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper

DESERTERS   * * 1/2  setting: B.C.
(1983) Alan Scarfe, Barbara March, Dermot Hennelly, Jon Dryden, Ty Haller, Robin Mossley, Bob Metcalfe.....In 1969, an immigration official brings an American deserter (Scarfe) and a draft-dodger home to stay with him and his wife for the night, but all is not as it seems and things soon get out of hand. Psychological drama about hypocrisy is contrived in its twists but still intriguing.  Good cast.  sc./dir: Jack Darcus.

DESIRE  * *  setting: Man.
(2000) (/Germany) Katja Riemann, Zachary Bennett, Elizabeth Shepherd, Joost Siedhoff, Graham Greene, Alberta Watson.....School teacher (Riemann) becomes involved with a troubled lounge pianist (Bennett), even as the local community is torn with fear over a possible child murderer. Drama (and sort of suspenser) is not uninteresting, but is slow moving, wandering to a kind of pre-ordained resolution. Riemann, who should be the protagonist, isn't really used that way. And the film's insight into human psychology seems more like it's cribbed from other movies rather than from real life. Decent performances, including former child actor Bennett. Though Greene has only a small part, and Watson's amounts to a cameo as a waitress. sc./dir: Colleen Murphy. - female nudity, partial male nudity, sexual content, violence.- 97 min.

DESIRE IN MOTION see Mouvements du desir

DESOLATION SOUND  * * *  setting: B.C.
(2005) Helene Joy, Jennifer Beals, Ed Begley, Jr., Lothaire Bluteau, Ian Tracey, Glynis Davies, Emily Hirst.....Wife and mother (Joy) living on a rural island and dealing with family problems is visited by an enigmatic and troubled friend (Beals) -- with death resulting. Mix of moody drama and film noirish thriller is slow moving but atmospheric, with some nice scenes, beautiful scenery and an involving cast, especially Joy in an eye-opening performance. Doesn't fully develop all its ideas, and is a little too oblique with plenty of dysfunctional/vaguely creepy characters, but generally intriguing. Prominently billed American actress Beals, though good, has a relatively small part. sc: Glynis Davies. dir: Scott Weber. - partial female nudity, sexual content.- 100 min.
 

DESTINY RIDGE (TV Series)

(1993-1995)   * 1/2  (/German) Richard Comar ("Don Jenkins"), Raoul Trujillo ("Sam Whitehorse"), Nancy Sakovich ("Julie Fryman"), Elke Sommer ("Anna") (1st), Rebecca Jenkins ("Linda Hazleton") (2nd), Arnold Brauss ("Peter") (1st), Scott Hylands ("Jack Kilbourne") (1st), with Michael Tayles ("Walt") (1st), Shaun Johnston ("Rich Dearden"), Cheryl Wilson ("Molly Dearden"), Esther Purves-Smith ("Merle Owen"), Laurie Holden ("Darlene Kubolek") (2nd), Philip Granger ("Frank Kubolek") (2nd), Peter Yunker ("Const. Jerry McNeal"), Kavan Smith ("Clay Roberts") (2nd), Ken Camroux ("James Hazelton") (2nd).....Drama/soap opera (ala North of 60 and others) set in the fictional tourist town of Argent, Alberta.  Comar was the ex-cowboy Chief Park Warden; Trujillo another warden who, in the 2nd season, became a guide; Sommer a motel owner; Sakovich a warden into environmental causes; Brauss a guide; and Hylands a greedy developer.  Tayles played a guiless, New Age warden; Johnston a shifty bar owner who was abusive toward his wife, played by Wilson; Purves-Smith was a teen who worked at Sommer's motel, then at the warden station; Yunker was the local Mountie.

The first season, co-produced with a German company, suffered from thin stories, bad dialogue and uninteresting characters doing uninteresting things, and -- despite a comic-relief bare (male) backside -- a generally juvenile ambience.  When the Germans pulled out, the Canadian producers claimed they could do the show they had wanted to do all along, underplaying the park aspect and dropping some characters while adding Jenkins as a single mom doctor/rancher; Granger as an entrepeneur and Holden as his beautiful, extremely promiscuous wife; Camroux as Jenkins' domineering father who lived in Edmonton but owned her ranch; and Smith the sinister stud of a ranch hand.

Promising a "new attitude on the ridge", they threw in (TV approved) sex, with actors wandering about looking sultry and macho, muttering silly innuendos, and everyone sleeping with everyone (obviously this town never heard of social diseases)...but the characters remained just as dull and, despite attempts at relevancy, the plots seemed more appropriate for a sitcom than a drama.  And Destiny Ridge no longer had a ridge, fateful or otherwise.  The first season was filmed in Bamf, the second just outside Edmonton (though set in the same town).  The actors were competent, but none managed to rise above the blah material...though some, like Trujillo, came close.  It foolishly ended its 2nd season on a cliffhanger -- with Jenkins' character accused of murdering her father -- but was cancelled before a solution coould be presented.  Created by Larry Raskin, and Seaton McLean, Daphne Ballon, Jeremy Hole.  Two seasons of hour long episodes (approximately 24 in all) on Global. 

DESTINY TO ORDER * * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(1989) Stephen Ouimette, Alberta Watson, Michael Ironside, Victoria Snow, George Buza, Denis Forest.....Pulp novelist (Ouimette) finds his life, and his identity, threatened when his characters come to life and the villain (Ironside) starts to do a rewrite -- on reality itself.  The off-beat premise and ideas are frustratingly better than the execution in this comedy flick, but still interesting and amusing and the cast is good (especially Ouimette).  That isn't Hrant Alianak's voice.  sc./dir: Jim Purdy. - violence, partial female nudity.- 94 min.

DETECTIVE MURDOCH MYSTERIES a.k.a. Murder 19C A series of TV movies about novelist Maureen Jennings Victorian-era Toronto police detective, William Murcoch, played by Peter Outerbridge. So far, three have been filmed: Except the Dying, Poor Tom is Cold (both with a U.K. co-producer) and Under the Dragon's Tail. Followed by a weekly, one hour TV series (with Yannick Bisson replacing Outerbridge as Murdoch) called The Murdoch Mysteries.

DEUX ACTRICES  * * 1/2  setting: P.Q.
(1993) Pascale Bussieres, Pascale Parolssien, Francois Delisle, Suzanne Garceau, Louise Latraverse.....Story of a woman (Bussieres) who is united with the sister (Parolssien) she never knew she had -- a woman who turns out to be a tad unstable -- interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage of the actors discussing life and their characters.  More watchable than it sounds, though the dual nature of the film seems like the result of too-little story rather than genuine artistic intent...particularly as the two don't really complement each other.  And the movie fizzles out without much of a resolution.  English title: Two Can Play.  sc./dir: Micheline Lanctot. 94 min.

DEUX FEMMES EN OR * *  setting: P.Q.
(1970) Monique Mercure, Louise Turcot, Marcel Sabourin, Donald Pilon, Francine Moran, Vincent Fournier.....Two suburban housewives (Mercure and Turcot) decide to enliven their dull lives by sleeping with anyone they can: milkmen, repairmen, etc. Erotic comedy seems almost more interested in being a satire of suburban, middle class mores than a sex farce, without really putting enough effort into the characters or the plot to pull it off. There's more nudity as it goes along, and then it gets completely absurdist in the climax. Only Sabourin, as the milktoast husband, evokes much empathy. English title: Two Women in Gold. sc: Claude Fournier, Marie Jose Raymond. dir: Claude Fournier. - female and male nudity, sexual conent.- 89 min.

2 SECONDES  * *  setting: P.Q./USA.
(1998) Charlotte Laurier, Dino Tavarone, Pascal Auclair, Yves Pelletier, Andre Brassard, Jici Lauzon, Louise Forestier.....Over-the-hill -- in her twenties! -- perpetually wide-eeyed professional bicycle racer (Laurier) can't give up her passion for riding, so takes a job as a courier instead. Whimsical flick meanders about in all directions, frequently being quirky, even silly (without necessarily actually being funny), with plenty of eccentric characters, and occasional forays into surrealism. But it never really becomes enough of anything to hang your hat on. The scenes between Laurier and Tavarone as an acerbic bike shop owner with whom she develops a grudging friendship are the high points. Ultimately, a movie that seems mainly aimed at hard core bike enthusiasts. a.k.a Deux secondes. English title: Two Seconds. sc./dir: Manon Briand. - female nudity, sexual content.- 101 min.

THE DEVASTATOR a.k.a. Hostile Takeover

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