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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.
(1999) Juan Chioran, Roger Honeywell, June Crowley, Benedict Campbell, Michael Fletcher, Shawn Wright, Amy Walsh.....Recorded-for-TV version of the live stage show of the Canadian-made "chamber musical" about the infamous bloodsucker. Musical/pop-opera (lyrics by Richard Ouzounian, music by Marek Norman) is a bit hit and miss, done more as a highlights of the novel than a real, self-contained story, with songs that are pretty good and border on being catchy...but not quite and are a little too much the same. Still, interesting and certainly accesible. A play that, with a little tweaking, could become a semi-classic. First aired on TV Ontario. app. 110 min.
Difficult to call this TV series. It was well-put-together and briskly paced, but hardly riveting for adults and even for kids it's hard to say whether it was ever quite as spooky (or funny) as it needed to be (a hallmark of many Davis-Laurin efforts). Still, not bad. Filmed in Luxembourg. Developed by Glenn Davis and William Laurin. One season of half-hour episodes in syndication, and rerun, briefly, on YTV.
DRAGON BOYS (TVMS)
* * * * setting: B.C.
(2006) Byron Mann, Lawrence Chou, Tzi Ma, Eric Tsang, Steph Song, Derek Tsang, Christina Ma, Simon Wong, Darryl Quon, Joan Yoon, Lauren Lee Smith, Stefanie von Pfetten, Vincent Gale, John Cassini.....Sprawling saga of Asian-Canadian gangsters in Vancouver, the R.C.M.P. officer heading an anti-gang task force (Mann), and some innocents caught between. Slick, made-for-CBC drama-thriller starts out well produced and well acted, following a complex cast of characters, but though a well done riff on the crime-drama, other than the ethnicity of the characters, initially it is just a riff on the crime-drama...but gets better and better as it goes, delivering some emotional wallops and with a deliriously Byzantine (and, admittedly, sometimes confusing) tapestry of disparate plot threads that gradually weave tighter and tighter around each other, interconnecting in surprising ways, and with memorable characters who are nicely shaded and nuanced. Not an earnest "ripped from the headlines" docudrama, but a genuine suspense-drama ala Martin Scorsese. It's a noirish story of corruption and redemption, where noble characters can be tempted to the dark side, and villains reveal traces of nobility. It's what The Last Chapter wanted to be, and what Intelligence thinks it is. Kudos to everyone, particularly scripter Weir. Four hours. sc: Ian Weir. dir: Jerry Ciccoritti. - violence, sexual content.-
* setting: Ont.
(1989) Michael McNamara, Martin McNamara, B. Bob, Heidi Romano, Sheryl Foster.....Twin kick boxing champs (the McNamara bros.) are pursued on an isolated island by an old enemy and his gang of specialized killers. Touches of campy humour and an O.K. premise in this really low-budget pic, but it gets kinda nasty and never becomes exactly action-packed (it is an action movie, after all). But there's something refreshing about Canuck schlock that actually admits it's Canadian. Sequel to Twin Dragon Encounter. sc: Michael McNamara. dir: Charles Wiener. - violence.-
* 1/2 setting: USA.
(1984) (/U.S.) Kirk Douglas, James Coburn, Alexandra Bastedo, Graham Jarvis, Derek McGrath, Len Birman, Gerard Parkes.....Aging, former out-law (Douglas) gets forced into a shoot out in a small town, then holes up in a hotel while the town's folk send for a famous ex-law man (Coburn), now a drunk, who has had run-ins with him. Some funny moments in this western comedy/drama though it's uneven and a bit abrasive. sc: Stanley Mann. dir: Steven Hilliard Stern. - violence, sexual content.- 98 min.
THE DREAM BEGINS (TVMS)
* setting: P.Q.
(1993) Rene Gagnon, Annette Garant, Anne Bedard, Vincent Bilodeau, Marie Josee Caya, Louis-George Girard.....Chronicle of Alphonse Desjardins (Gagnon) who, for decades during the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, worked to establish a credit union in Quebec -- Les Caisses populaires. Badly doone, choppy docudrama is often hokey and seemingly too propagandistic, rather than an honest drama, and the actors seem too self-conscious. Only interesting for its facts, but even then it's not as lucid as it could be. Dubbed version of a 1990 Quebec mini-series. 4 hours. sc: Robert Malenfant. dir: Richard Martin.
(1996) Michael Pare, Tara Maria Manuel, Maria Shretas, Peter Wylde, Kevin Stapleton.....In a gone-to-hell future, where people escape from the miseries of reality in virtual reality games, a cop (Pare) investigates when an old flame (Manuel) -- a game designer -- is murdered and video game creations sstart popping up in reality. SF thriller has an annoying desire to be true, thought provoking science fiction, rather than just some lame, low-budget SF thriller. That's annoying because the movie still suffers from low-budget problems of sluggish pacing and a story that can be meandering and an incoherent mishmash of ideas -- even with three scripters, they neededd a real writer to come along and put the various ideas into a coherent package. A well-intentioned movie more than a successful one. Rates as high as it does for its ambition and the interesting (if repetitive) sets and costume designs. Produced by Danforth Studios (and it shows). a.k.a. Carver's Gate. sc: Doug Bagot, Timothy Lee, Sheldon Inkol. dir: Sheldon Inkol. - casual male nudity, brief female nudity, violence.- app. 85 min.
* * setting: USA.
(1998) (/U.S.) Timothy Busfield, Lisa Jakub, Jennifer Dale, Brennan Elliott, Dan Petronijevic, Cameron Graham, Pam Hyatt.....American computer designer and his family move into a prototype computer controlled house; complications arise when his estranged daughter (Jakub) shows up with a hidden agenda and the computer goes the Hal-route and starts to go crazy. Made-for-TV SF thriller has a good cast and some decent character stuff (though the behaviour isn't always plausible). But it's pretty familiar ground, with a climax that seems like a montage of ideas from other people vs. computer stories. sc: Jim Makichuk. dir: Graem Campbell. app. 90 min.
A Dream Like Mine, the novel by M.T. Kelly, became the film Clearcut
DREAM MAN *
1/2 setting: USA.
(1995) (/U.S.) Patsy Kensit, Bruce Greenwood, Andrew McCarthy, Denise Crosby, Jim Byrnes, Cameron Bancroft, John Cassini, Jay Brazeau, Armin Shimerman.....Psychic U.S. cop (Kensit) starts to fall for the suspect (McCarthy) in a high society murder. Good looking mystery-suspenser suffers from poor dialogue and the fact that, if you can't guess who the killer is, you just haven't seen a film in the last ten years. The movie's main original idea (involving the manipulation of the heroine's ESP) is intriguing, but too preposterous to credit in the largely realist setting -- better to have used it in a blatantly science fiction milieu. Notable only for the chance to catch Denise ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") Crosby in the buff. Kensit, McCarthy, Crosby and Shimerman (another Trekoid) are all imports. sc: Michael Alexander Miller. dir: Rene Bonniere. - partial female nudity, violence, sexual content.- 95 min.
DREAM STORM *
* setting: N.W.T.
(1991) Tina Keeper, Tracey Cook, Peter Kelly Gaudreault, Gordon Tootoosis, Dakota House, Tom Jackson, Lawrence Bayne, William de Vry, Michael Horse.....A mysterious death on the cusp of a new pipeline deal presages strange, supernatural occurrences in the town of Lynx River. Third TV movie based on the popular CBC TV series, North of 60, is, as to be expected, moody and slickly put together with some strong core performances, but the atypical turn toward the supernatural is awkward in a, usually, realist series. Thin, disjointed plotting allows plenty of room for just hanging with the familiar characters, which might appeal to hard-core fans, but to a more general audience, the movie is slow and meandering, veering from soap opera-y drama, to humour, to the (nominally) suspenseful, without really tying the stuff together enough to make for a satisfying, take-it-on-its-own movie -- eventually arriving at a simplistic, ghost story cliché solution. Tootoosis (as a ghost) and Jackson have just small parts. sc: Andrew Wreggitt. dir: Stacey Stewart Curtis. 91 min.
DREAM TO BELIEVE a.k.a. Flying
DREAMLAND: A History of
Early Canadian Movies 1895-1939 * * *
(1973).....Donald Brittain narrates this NFB documentary about early Canadian cinema. Its strengths and weaknesses stem from the same source: a lot of the movie is just showing clips from long ago films, with Brittain providing synopsis of the films. Which is great, actually giving you an idea of what the films were about...but it also means a lot of the movie is just one synopsis after another. Some interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes, but not as many as you'd like, plus some look at the political and business pressures at work. Interesting, and particularly recommended to those unfamiliar with Canadian film history. Followed by Has Anyone Here Seen Canada?. sc./dir: Donald Brittain. 86 min.
DREAMS BEYOND MEMORY*
* setting: CDN.
(1987) George Touliatos, Lisa Schrage, Leslie Yeo, Maruska Stankova, Piotr Lysak, Tony Nardi, Jackie Richardson.....Sixty-something war veteran (Touliatos) becomes infatuated with his much younger new neighbour (Schrage) who resembles his war-time fiancé, but as they develop a relationship, he begins to question what's real and what's a dream. Generally decent performances in this low-budget drama, but though it has some interesting scenes, it's not that interesting in and of itself. It needed more of a story...or else would've been better as a half hour short. sc./dir: Andrzej Markiewicz. - partial female nudity.- 91 min.
* setting: B.C.
(1976) Ian Tracey, George Clutesi, Jacques Hubbert.....Emotionally disturbed boy (Tracey) runs away from hospital and is taken in by a kindly old Indian (Clutesi) and his mute companion. Overly grim drama that doesn't seem to have much of a point. Made for the CBC anthology series For the Record. Won five Etrogs including screenplay and Best TV movie and it was subsequently turned into a short novel by its author. sc: Cam Hubert (a.k.a. Anne Cameron). dir: Claude Jutra. 75 min.
DRIFTING UPSTREAM see Entre la mer et l'eau douce
DRIVE, SHE SAID *
(1997) Moira Kelly, Josh Hamilton, Sebastian Spence, Jim Byrnes, Lori Triolo, Peter Stebbings.....A bored-with-her-life American bank teller (American Kelly) is kidnapped by a friendly bank robber (American Hamilton), and ends up travelling with him willingly. A good cast all around in this comedy-drama, and some good dialogue, but it's thin on plot and the over-used premise fails to be...convincing (though given the occasional forays into whimsy and surrealism, maybe realism wasn't high on the agenda). You aren't convinced Kelly'd go with the robber, you aren't swept up (as she's supposed to be) in the giddy rush of the "adventure", and the veer towards melodrama near the end is awkward. A muddled mishmash. Sluggish tempo, too. sc./dir: Mina Shum. 81 min.
DRIVE TIME MURDERS a.k.a. Breakfast with Dick and Dorothy
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