The Great Canadian Guide to the Movies (& TV) Presents...


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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 Glace Bay Miner's Museum", the short story by Sheldon Currie was turned into a novel, a play, and the movie Margaret's Museum.

GLADIATOR COP   *  setting: USA.
(1995) Lorenzo Lamas, George Touliatos, Claire Stansfield, Christopher Lee Clements, Eugene Clark, James Hong.....A psychic American cop (Lamas), still plagued by dreams of an ancient swordfight, investigates a secret modern-day gladiatorial competition when Alexander the Great's magical sword is stolen.  Sick sequel to The Swordsman seems to have less money and is written and directed with all the coherence of a bad dream (scenes and dialogue sometimes don't seem to make sense) leaving only frequent bloody fights and "loving" close-ups of swords entering human bodies.  Distasteful to say the least.  The first film seemed a step up from Lamas' Snake Eater movies, but this one is right back with them.  sc: Nick Rotundo, Paco Alvarez, Nicolas Stiliadis. dir: Nick Rotundo. - extreme violence, sexual content, really brief female nudity.- 92 min.

The Glendower Legacy, a novel by Thomas Gifford, was the source for the movie Dirty Tricks.

THE GLITTER DOME  * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1984) (/U.S.) James Garner, Margot Kidder, John Lithgow, John Marley, Christianne Hirt, Colleen Dewhurst, Stuart Margolin.....Troubled L.A. police detectives (Garner and Lithgow) investigate the murder of a Hollywood film producer that leads them into the world of pornography.  Boring and somewhat seady are the best things that can be said about this film.  sc: Stanley Kallis (from the novel by Joseph Wambaugh). dir: Stuart Margolin. - sexual content, casual female nudity, violence.- 95 min.


(198 )   * * 1/2  Cast: various.....Dramatic anthology adapting literary Canadian short stories.

This TV series seemed too much like what it probably attempt by Global to deflect criticism of its lack of Canadian programs by presenting this high-minded, culturally approved series.  The episodes boasted fine actors and well-crafted episodes...but it all seemed too dry and formal and text book.  Many of the stories relied heavily on narration, rather than anyone really trying to adapt them to the more visual medium of TV.  A "Classic's Illustrated" of Canadiana.  Still, not by any means a bad program, just a little passionless.  Best bets: "Cages", with David Fox as a miner trying to keep his kids on the straight and narrow; others.  Half-hour episodes, originally on Global. 

GLORY ENOUGH FOR ALL (TVMS) * * * *  setting: Ont.
(1988) (/U.K.) R.H. Thomson, Robert Wisden, John Woodvine, Michael Zelniker, Martha Henry, Heather Hess, Tom Harvey, Kate Trotter.....Fact based story of the discovery of insulin in the 1920s and the maneuvering and backstabbing that went with it.  Engrossing drama with a strong cast, especially Woodvine, and Thomson is superb as Frederick Banting.  Earned nine Geminis, including Best Mini-Series, Actor (Thomson) Actress (Henry) and Script.  4 hours.  sc: Grahame Woods. dir: Eric Till.

GLORY! GLORY! (TVMS)   * * *  setting: USA.
(1988) (/U.S.) Ellen Greene, Richard Thomas, James Whitmore, Winston Rekert, George Buza.....Story of a naive U.S. televangelist (Thomas) who uses an amoral, atheist pop star (Greene) to sell religion.  Good satirical comedy/drama about hypocrisy works because the characters are three-dimensional, not just cliches.  Whitmore stands out.  4 hours.  sc: Stan Daniels. dir: Lindsay Anderson.
GODIVA'S (TV Series)

(2005-2007)  * * 1/2  Erin Karpluk ("Kate"), Stephen Lobo ("Ramair"), Sonja Bennett ("Daisy"), Leah Cairns ("Jenna"), Noel Fisher ("TJ"), Neil Grayston ("Martin"), Matthew Currie Holmes ("Stick"), Michael McMurtry ("Cordell"), Carmen Moore ("Simone"), Rick Tae ("Victor"), with Rebecca Jenkins, others.....Serio-comic drama about the diverse twentysomething employees at a trendy Vancouver restaurant. Karpluk plays the perky new manager, Lobo the dashing, talented, but arrogant head chef (inheriting the position after the previous chef died). Fisher plays "Godiva"'s troubled son, who works at the restaurant; Moore the suave bartender who is, herself, a recovering alcoholic; Tae a Chinese immigrant doctor forced to work as a dishwasher, but begins to secretly provide back alley medical care, etc. Jenkins plays the owner -- Godiva herself, who is never seen, buut only heard on the phone (calling from various exotic locales). 

Arguably another of those kind of "neither fish, nor fowl" series Canadians turn out (comic sub-plots that are light-hearted without quite being funny, serious story lines that aren't quite dramatically involving). The characters started out a bit abrasive and unlikeable, but seemed to be softened up (a bit) after an episode or two, and the cast itself was quite good, and the episodes professionally mounted and well-paced. Nor does it mind admitting it's set in Canada. The result, once you get into it, and appreciate the characters, is a decent series that can draw you back for more than one episode...without really being that riveting. Like a lot of non-network Canadian series, this went the "adult" route of employing nudity and profanity. Created by Julia Keatley, Michael MacLennan. Two seasons totalling about a dozen episodes on the Canadian Bravo! station. 

GOIN' DOWN THE ROAD * * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(1970) Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Jayne Eastwood, Cayle Chernin, Nicole Morin, Pierre LaRoche.....Story of two maritimers (McGrath and Bradley) who blow into Toronto looking for success...and don't find it.  Reverentially regarded film is well-done and very well-acted but a little like its main characters...a bit aimless.  Benefits from the quintessential Canadianess of its premise (Easterners heading west for work) but aspects have been done before and since (Nobody Waved Goodbye, The Rowdyman)...better.  Music by Bruce Cockburn.  Followed by a sequel some 40 years later! The "by Donald Shebib" credit at the beginning is a bit odd, since "by" usually refers to someone who has written the entire script.  Written by William Fruet, sc: Fruet and Shebib. dir: Donald Shebib. - brief female nudity.- 90 min.

GOING BACK  * *  setting: other
(2001) Casper Van Dien, Jaimz Woolvett, Bobby Hosea, Joseph Griffin, Carre Otis, Kenneth Johnson, Daniel Kash, Austin Farwell, Jason Blicker, Jason Cadieux, Deborah Zoe.....At the behest of a documentary filmmaker (model Otis), a group of middle-aged American Vietnam veterans return to modern Vietnam, still with a wedge driven between them and their former c.o. (Van Dien) by a particular, controversial mission. While, through flashbacks, we see some of their war time experiences, building to the incident in which many of their number were killed. Surprisingly, not some quickie action-flick, but a seeming sincere attempt to do a thoughtful Vietnam War drama ala "Platoon" and a zillion others. Despite a tight budget, the combat scenes are elaborately staged and the on-location filming adds a lot (though the "jungle warfare" looks more like "park warfare"). The filmmakers have clearly done their homework as regards the jargon and the milieu, but somewhere between the chaotic, overlong, combat flashbacks and the modern scenes of the characters looking pensive and choked up while visiting various memorials, someone forget to really put flesh on the characters. The actors try hard, colouring them as best they can, but there's little in the script to turn them into people we care about, rather than ciphers. It seems like it may've been a much longer film, ruthlessly chopped down to two hours, given that there are aspects curiously undeveloped, like American actor Martin Kove in flashbacks as the unit's padre, who only seems to have a half dozen lines. The actors emote like crazy when called for, and one can appreciate the energy levels and commitment needed, but like the combat scenes, those scenes can blow up out of nowhere and go on too long. The climax, with everyone screaming and sobbing for what seems like ten minutes, starts to slide toward silly. a.k.a: Under Heavy Fire. sc: Greg Mellott (story Furie). dir: Sidney J. Furie. - extreme violence, partial female nudity, sexual content.- 118 min.

GOING HOME   * * *  setting: other
(1987) (/U.K.) Nicholas Campbell, Sioned Mair, Milan Cheyloff, William Hope, Albert Schultz.....Story of Canadian soldiers in England at the end of W.W. I and how their frustrated desire to go home results in paranoia and, ultimately, a bloody mutiny; and of a shell-shocked war hero (Campbell) who trys to stay out of it.  Good, gritty made-for-CBC TV drama, suggested by real events, is hurt by ambiguity (since some of the facts are still "classified" -- at least so the filmmakers claimed) which robs it of some potential force.  Still, Campbell's superb performance makes up for most of its flaws.  sc: Christopher Green. dir: Terry Ryan. - violence, sexual content, male nudity and partial female nudity.-

GOING THE DISTANCE  * * 1/2  setting: CDN.
(2004) Christopher Jacot, Joanne Kelly, Shawn Roberts, Mayko Nguyen, Ryan Belleville, August Schellenberg, Katheryn Winnick, Matt Frewer, Andrew Airlie, Lynda Boyd, Jason Priestley.....Determined to propose to his fiancee, who's taken a job at Much Music TV in Toronto, a young man (Jacot), his goofball buddies, and two pretty hitchhikers (Kelly and Nguyen) head off on a cross-Canada road trip...with various misadventures ensuing. Raunchy, vulgar teen comedy is familiar turf for Canadian filmmakers (heck, Canadians helped start the first wave of such films in the 1980s with Meatballs and Porky's). But whereas most such films have pretended they were set in the U.S., this one -- in the patriotic aftermath of Men with Brooms -- was an attempt to make one that admitted it was Canadian, with plenty of beautiful scenery in the backgrounds, and with good production values behind it. Critics, of course, hated it, and it didn't exactly set the box office on fire -- but in a strange way, it's not as bad as you might think. The cast is exceptionally good for this kind of material, from the young actors to old pros like Schellenberg, bringing a kind of dignity, even class, to the crude sex jokes and "shock" humour, underplaying, rather than overplaying -- even Frewer, who hams it up in a way more typical for the material, is more controlled than usual. Airlie and Boyd are particularly amusing as the hero's bohemian parents. Even some of the raunchy gags can be (mildly) amusing, like a scene with a randy farmer's daughter that gets a (moderate) chuckle because of an unexpected twist. Ironically, the sourest note is struck in the nominal climax, as the characters arrive at the Much Music Video Awards, and the humour reverts to typical mean spirited, unpleasantness, with real life pop stars like Avril Lavigne and Swollen Members playing "themselves" as boorish sadists...and apparently thinking this will make them look cool to their fans! It also seems a little too self-serving: the movie is co-produced by CHUM Enterprises...the company that owns Much Music! Jackie Burroughs, Jay Brazeau and Andy Jones appear in bit parts. Since this is a racy comedy, it's worth noting that there is nudity, but as for the leads, Kelly keeps her clothes on, while Nguyen does doff her a long shot (the three heroes also flash some skin). Ironically, Jacot and Kelly, here cast as romantic leads, played siblings in The Bay of Love and Sorrow. sc: Kelly Senecal, Eric Goodman. dir: Mark Griffiths. - sexual content; partial female and male nudity.- 93 min.

GOLD: A Fistful of Gold   * * 1/2  setting: other
(1991) (/New Zealand) Yannick Bisson, Jeremy Ratchford, William Kircher, Paul Gittins, Desmond Kelly, Lucy Bayler, Andy Anderson, Francis Bell, Trevor Sai Louie.....Two gold prospecting Canadian brothers (Bisson and Ratchford) arrive in New Zealand at the turn of the century and, unwittingly, become involved in an outlaw's revenge.  First episode of the TV movie series is a bit loosely structured, but not bad and boasts some good performances.  sc: Chris Hampson. dir: Chris Bailey. - violence.- 93 min.

GOLD: The Merchants of Venus* * *  setting: other
(1991) (/New Zealand) Yannick Bisson, Lucy Bayler, Andy Anderson, Francis Bell, Peter Chin, Edward Campbell, Bridget Armstrong, Peter McCauley, Sarah Smuts-Kennedy.....While Johnny (Bisson) is hustled by the rougish Garrick (Anderson), Lily (Bayler) finds the traveling theatre troupe she's joined has a sinister underside.  Second instalment of the series is a well-done, and quite funny, adventure comedy-drama.  One of the best.  sc: Greg McGee. dir: Chris Bailey. 93 min.

GOLD: The World's a Play* *  setting: other
(1991) (/New Zealand) Yannick Bisson, Lucy Bayler, Andy Anderson, Ilona Rogers, Cedric Smith, Catherine Disher, Edward Campbell, Bridget Armstrong, Peter McCauley.....Johnny and Lily (Bisson and Bayler) arrive in town and get mixed up with a theatre company, gambling, and a lover's triangle, unaware that baddies are closing in.  Third instalment can be confusing if you aren't familiar with the previous episodes, and is rambling, choppy and clumsy even if you are, with an uncomfortable blend of humour and violence.  Disher and Smith are good.  Followed by a least two more episodes.  sc: Martyn Sanderson, Dean Parker, James Griffin. dir: Peter Sharp. - violence.- 93 min.

"Gold Diggers", the non-fiction book by Charlotte Gray served as the inspiration for the fictionalized mini-series Klondike

"The Gold Hunters", a story by James Oliver Curwood, served, in part, as the source for the cable TV movie Warrior Spirit

GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN  * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1971) Elizabeth Suzuki, Percy Harkness, Leon Morenzie, Derek Lamb.....A couple (Harkness and Suzuki) go hiking in the woods; he kills things, they have existential discussions about violence, love, etc., they make love, then they (eventually) get on the wrong side of a couple of travelling musicians. Extremely slow-moving, low-budget drama kind of makes you go...huh? A mix of early '70s Art flick with "Deliverance" (except the city guy initiates the conflict) and it's probably intended as a parable about something (machismo, violence). The actors are better than their bewildering characters and material. Nice folk music, though. a.k.a. Caged Terror sc: Barrie Angus McLean, Kristin Weingartner. dir: Barrie Angus McLean. - female nudity, sexual content, partial male nudity, violence.- 85 min.

THE GOLDEN EGG see The Adventures of Smoke Belliou

GOLDEN FIDDLES (TVMS)   * * * 1/2  setting: other
(1992) (/Australia) John Bach, Kate Nelligan, Rachel Friend, Cameron Daddo, Charles Mayer, Pippa Grandison, Hamish Fletcher.....During the Depression, a poor Australian farming family receives a great inheritance, moves to the city, but discovers that money can't buy happiness.  Family drama is obvious, trite, hokey...and thoroughly likeable and engrossing.  Good performances.  4 hours.  sc: Sheila Sibley (from the novel by Mary Bruce Grant). dir: Claude Fournier.

THE GOLDEN SPIDERS * * 1/2  setting: USA
(2000) (/U.S) Timothy Hutton, Maury Chaykin, Saul Rubinek, Mimi Kuzyk, Colin Fox, Gary Reineke, Beau Starr, Bill Smitrovich, Robert Bockstael..... Housebound private eye Nero Wolfe (Chaykin) and his wise-cracking legman Archie Goodwin (Hutton) investigate a series of seemingly unrelated hit-and-run murders in the '40s. Made for A&E (an American cable station), this is a spritely, faithful version of Rex Stout's eccentric private eye, though the performers are having a little too much fun, bordering on camp in their attempt to evoke fast-talking private eye films of the period. And Wolfe stories are always more fun getting to the solution, than the solution itself which, as here, tends to be lame. So why doesn't it rate higher? 'Cause of the sound mix in the version I saw, with background hisses and snatches of dialogue literally drowned beneath the music and sound f/x. Depending on your ears and your patience, those technical problems (assuming they're consistent with all prints and not just a flaw with that particular broadcast) might drop it down to only **. A shame. Whether this qualifies as Canadian or is simply an American movie filmed in Canada, I don't know. Certainly, the prominence of Canadian actors is atypical for a solely American film (only Hutton and Smitrovich as Insp. Cramer are American...and Starr, but he seems to have been adopted as quasi-Canadian these days thanks to his work on Due South). Actually, the prominent roles given Canadian actors, including Chaykin, is unusual even for a Canadian movie! Curiously, since the movie is faithful in most respects, why balk at the one-way glass in the front door? Followed by a Nero Wolfe series. Trivia note: Rubinek, here cast as Saul Panzer, has had a past association with the Nero Wolfe stories, having provided the narration on a few audio book versions. sc: Paul Monash (from the novel by Rex Stout). dir: Bill Duke. app. 90 min.

GOLDEN WILL: The Silken Laumann Story * * 1/2  setting: CDN./other
(1996) Nancy Anne Sakovich, Dylan Neal, Cedric Smith, Susan Hogan, Kate Trotter, Eugene Robert Glazer, Amanda Tapping.....Story of Canadian rower Laumann (Sakovich), her dysfunctional family life, her various triumphs and tragedies, and culminating in her comeback from a near-crippling rowing accident.  Made-for-TV bio starts out dramatic as it focuses on some of the things that drove her on, but quickly becomes a run-of-the-mill docudrama with episodic highlights that never quite form a narrative whole.  Still, O.K. and Sakovich heads a good cast.  sc: Joy Fielding. dir: Eric Till. - violence.- 97 min.

GOLDENROD   * * 1/2  setting: Alt.
(1977) Tony LoBianco, Donald Pleasence, Gloria Carlin, Will Darrow MacMillian, Ian MacMillian, Donnelly Rhodes.....Overbearing rodeo champ (imported LoBianco) must adjust to trying to raise his two sons alone after being wounded and driving his wife away in 1952.  Forced but O.K. made-for-TV drama has its moments.  Pleasence stands out.  Ed McNamara's voice was dubbed by Murray Westgate.  sc: Lionel Chetwynd (from the novel by Herbert Harker). dir: Harvey Hart. 100 min.

GOOD GOD (TV Series)

(2012)  * 1/2  Ken Finkleman ("George Findley"), Jason Weinberg ("Doug"), Steven McCarthy ("Allen"), John Ralston ("Danny McClure"), April Mullen ("Kathy"), Jud Tylor ("Tory"), Doug Murray ("Charlie"), Brendan Gall ("Brendan"), Lolita Davidovich ("Virginia Hailwood"), Samantha Bee ("Shandy Sommers"), Christopher Shyer ("Tony"), Alex Poch-Goldin ("Bill"), Stephanie Anne Mills ("Christine"), others.....Comedy/satire set at a conservative/right-wing TV news network (ala the U.S. Fox News or Canada's Sun Media) -- albeit with the jaded news producer (Finkleman) himself apolitical, simply doing the job for the money. He was given the job by the owner, the father of (one of) his girlfriends -- played by Davidovich. Weinberg plays his affable friend, McCarthy his assistant. Tylor one of "George"'s mistresses. Ralston plays the owner's hatchet man with a strong Newfoundland accent (the joke being the accent is an affectation). Bee (ironically a regular on the liberal American news/comedy program, "The Daily Show"), Shyer, and others various on and off camera personnel. Some of the characters are hard right conservatives, some, like "George", just doing it for the money.

When Finkleman returned to Canada to write and star in the comedy/satire, The Newsroom, it was a bracing breath of fresh air, shaking up the moribund Canadian sitcom. Twenty years later -- and it's just tiresome. There are occasional amusing jokes, occasional edgy zingers -- but mostly not. Finkleman hasn't evolved as an artist -- nor is he trying to, his various series basically covering the same material, in the same style, and with him usually playing a narcissistic, neurotic TV news producer generally bedding women half his age, and generally named George (whether he's supposed to be the same character, or simply an archetype, is perhaps for fans to debate). It's all supposed to be sly and edgy...yet too often seems obvious and cartoony. The scenes are directed with a pseudo-documentary vibe, and with rambling, unstructured plots...yet at the heart of it is cartoony, one note characters, acting out rather obvious farcical gags. It can feel directionless, as if even Finkleman isn't sure what to do with the concept, or how to develop the characters -- often as if he's just emulating by rote some other show he's seen. It's a huge cast, but to little effect, and presented without empathy -- yet even when satirizing characters it helps to acknowledge their humanity. And the comedy can be contradictory: on one hand, "George" is the voice of reason, recognizing the insanity of those around him -- yet other times, he is the self-absorbed figure of ridicule (a running joke about his obsession with wanting a private washroom seeming to be a variation on the bran muffin shtick from The Newsroom). Even the political satire seems tepid -- simply having right wing characters say right wing things isn't, in itself, funny...or thought provoking (the show doesn't try and dig out any insights into the characters or their views, which surely is the goal of satire). And it can sometimes be the very thing it purports to criticize: racist, sexist, etc. (Tylor's bimbo character is arguably as insulting to women as anything the right wing characters say or do). Watch an episode of this, then watch an (early) episode of The Newsroom, or a contemporary episode of, say, the U.S. series "Veep" and make the comparison. Half-hour episodes on HBO Canada (and other cable stations). . 

GOOD NEIGHBOURS   * * 1/2   setting: P.Q.
(2010) Jay Baruchel, Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire, Micheline Lanctot, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Diane D'Aquila, Gary Farmer, Xavier Dolan, Jacob Tierney.....Story of the strange relationship dynamics that evolve between a young man (Baruchel), just moved into an apartment building, and two of his neighbours -- an enigmatic paraplegic (Speedman) and a misanthropic cat-lover (Hampshire), while a serial killer plagues their Montreal neighbourhood. Quirky film has a bit of trouble fully establishing a tone. Because of the serial killer backdrop, you assume it's a thriller...except for the first part, it's more just a serio-comic character drama, then in the middle act it becomes an increasingly odd character drama (as you realize all these character are perhaps stranger than you assumed)...before, indeed, veering fully into a black comedy thriller in the final act. It's well acted (especially by Speedman who is nicely unsettled) and the scenes, on their own, are good scenes that hold your attention, but the whole can feel a bit meandering at times, as though relying on an off-kilter ambience that isn't fully being generated. The first two/thirds could've been tightened and the final third stretched out to occupy more of the film. Still, worth sticking with -- though even then, feels a bit like it's missing an epilogue. Set in 1995 against the backdrop of a Separatist referendum...although to little impact. Jessica Pare appears in a deleted scene included with the DVD release. sc./dir: Jacob Tierney (from the novel Chere Voisine by Chrystine Brouillet). - female nudity; violence; sexual content.- 99 min.

GOOD RIDDANCE see Les bons debarras

THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME   * *  setting: USA./other/CDN.
(2009) (/U.K.) Kelly Rowan, Rupert Graves, Vincent Walsh, Rosemary Dunsmore, Diana LeBlanc, Aaron Abrams, Ali Craig, Marilla Wex, Duncan Regehr, Conrad Coates, Grey Bryk, Serge Houde.....A lawyer (Rowan) suing a corrupt politician (Regehr) finds herself unwillingly confined to a rehab centre for addicts and alcoholics. Well intentioned made-for-TV drama suffers from, arguably, too much ambition. It starts out seeming like a thriller, where we're not quite sure what's going on or what to believe, but gradually turns into a rehab drama (as we discover Rowan's character does have issues) while still trying to maintain the thread of the court case plot. But despite a good cast, some decent scenes, and a genuinely clever way flashback are repeated from new perspectives, the mix doesn't quite gel. It's implausible, particularly in the beginning, and even as the background gets filled in, things remain vague, or unclear, or unconvincing (including lingering questions of admissibility of evidence). Taking an average-bordering-on-middling rehab drama and grafting it with a weak court room drama doesn't really mean it becomes greater than the sum. And though it's refreshing to have Rowan's character actually be identified as Canadian, it feels tacked on since her work and relatives are in the U.S., and she ends up in a British facility -- presumably to work in all the primary broadcast markets! sc: Cris Cole. dir: John L'Ecuyer. app. 90 min.

GOOFBALLS   * 1/2  setting: other
(1987) Ben Gordon, Ron James, John Kozak, Wayne Robson, Cynthia Belliveau, Laura Robinson, Ilana Linden.....Entertainment director (Gordon) at a resort in the Bahamas trys to accommodate one set of mobsters, by setting up a phoney golf tournament, while running afoul of some others.  Really awful comedy.  Really!  "Yuk Yuk's" comedy-club manager Mark Breslin has a cameo.  sc: Skip West (story Dale Falconer). dir: Brad Turner. - casual female nudity.- 86 min.

GOON   * *   setting: CDN./USA.
(2012) (/U.S.) Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber, Alison Pill, Marc-Andr Grondin, Kim Coates, Richard Clarkin, Ricky Mabe.....Story of a good-hearted but dim-witted bouncer (Scott) who, despite limited skating ability, finds his calling as a minor league hockey enforcer -- a "goon" -- whose job is to brawl with the other team more than score goals. Seriocomic flick is deliberately violent and profanity-laden (ala the earlier Hollywood film "Slap Shot"), and also well acted, slick-looking, and mildly interesting for a bit...but soon the minimalist nature of the "plot" becomes obvious (more a string of moments and incidents, on and off the ice) and with potentially interesting relationships (romantic, platonic, and adversarial) barely developed. Though a comedy, the filmmakers clearly approve of goon hockey, and the movie can be a bit like a hockey brawl itself...pointless and shallow. Some movies can be set within a particular milieu (sport, music) and tell a story that appeals even to those with no interest in that idiom...and some appeal only to die hard fans who enjoy simply revelling in the milieu and don't really care that much about things like "story" or "character" or "big laughs". And this kind of falls into the latter camp. Loosely based on a true story. Scott and Schreiber are American, and quite good...Schreiber inparticular in a relatively small part as another goon player on his way down. Other notables in small parts include Eugene Levy and Nicholas Campbell (as the coach of the first team). Co-star/co-writer Baruchel also produced. sc: Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg (from the book by Adam Frattasio, Douglas Smith). dir: Michael Dowse. - violence, sexual content, brief female nudity.- 96 min

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN   * * 1/2  setting: other
(2003) (/U.K.) Henry Ian Cusick, Daniel Kash, Richard Lintern, Stephen Russell, Greg Bryk, Alan Van Sprang, narrated by Christopher Plummer.....The story of Jesus (Cusick), literally adapted from the Gospel of John. Handsomely mounted, atmospheric biblical film, benefitting from Cusick delivering a charismatic, unusually dynamic interpretation, and Plummer's rich, textured narration. At the same time, because it is what it sets out to be -- a faithful filmed version of the gospel (with the voice over narration frequently just describing what's being enacted, and monologues that can be repetitious as characters tend to just repeat the same things two or three times) it doesn't maybe emerge as too much more than a lengthy Sunday sermon, as opposed to becoming a true movie. Which is kind of too bad because Cusick is really very good. As such, though a well done production, it will be of more interest to those already religious (or are curious) rather than something liable to win over a secular audience (the gospel of John isn't even as controversisally political as, say, the gospel of Luke with its vaguely communist/anti-wealth passages). Made at the same time as Mel Gibson's "The Passion", but deliberately less sensationalistic and lurid, de-emphasizing gore, and even beginning with a disclaimer reminding viewers the original gospel was written at a period of tension between Jews and Christians. sc: John Goldsmith. dir: Philip Saville. 180 min.

The Governor General's Bunny Hop, a book, was the inspiration for the short-lived CBC sitcom, Not My Department

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