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.
 
 

InSECURITY (TV Series)

(2011-2012)   * * * ... * * 1/2   Natalie Lisinska ("Alex Cranston"), Remy Girard ("Claude Lesage"), Matthew MacFadzean ("Burt Wilson"), Grace Lynn Kung ("Jojo Kwan") Richard Yearwood ("Benjamin N'udu"), William deVry ("Peter McNeil") .....Comedy set at a Canadian spy agency.

On one hand, a nicely off-beat premise for a sitcom, in a TV landscape largely dominated by home/office slice-of-life comedies -- on the other hand, a risky one, as most comedies tend to stick to the safe ground of home/office slice-of-life comedies (other than "Get Smart" in the 1960s, there haven't been too many North American comedies to successfully milk the "parody" formula). As well, perhaps taking as its inspiration spoofing the recent CBC espionage series, The Border, the cases tend not to lampoon the more obvious over-the-top antics of James Bond. Yet like with a lot of recent Canadian comedies...it proves a lot wittier, and funnier, than it at first seems. Generally under-playing -- rather than overplaying -- the humour, it can be slyly funny even though an Old School slapstick farce. And with not just a solid regular cast, but with even the various guest stars settling easily into the comic rhythm. The first couple of episodes were only okay, yet it seemed to find its footing, becoming quite funny as it went along. At the same time, the principals remain more quirky characters than people we can kind of dig as people -- even sitcoms sometimes still need protagonists who can hook us emotionally (and being spys, and the gags occasionally veering into black humour, it's perhaps even harder to empathize with them). Lisinska is perhaps most intended that way, without quite achieving it. Still, the cast is good, with stand-outs being veteran actor Girard as the world weary senior agent, and Yearwood fun as an overzealous, slightly psychotic agent.

But perhaps feeling a "parody" formula can only stretch so far, the second season attempted to tweak the formula -- not dramatically, but skewing a bit more towards traditional character/office humour as opposed to the absurdism of espionage misadventures, though there still remained forays into farce (and possible the change might have been a budget necessity, too). Unfortunately, the shift may not have been for the best. The series is still witty, and sometimes quite cleverly (and slyly) so, but there was something refreshing about the wackiness of the first season. As well, the shift to more character-based plots could also make episodes a bit more rambling, lacking a clear A-plot in favour of, essentially, a collection of B-plots.

The series is also unapologetically Canadian -- not just because the milieu kind of requires making references to Canada, but even in the casting, with Francophone Girard (even muttering in French) when too few English-Canada series have French actors playing French characters, and Yearwood playing a Nigerian-born character (a nice nod to Canada's multi-culturalism that a Canadian spy, defending Canadian interests...isn't Canadian born). Of course, the overt Canadianisms will no doubt offend Conservatives, particularly in an episode where the agents take on the wacky family of a press baron who was clearly a joke on Conrad Black -- yet it shouldn't offend, the episode spoofing right and left both (the "villains" are right wingers, but their left wing target -- The National Arts Council -- is, itself, meant as a joke -- the absurdity that the NAC would be considered a significant target). And there's a definite fun in seeing Canadian icons spoofed in a Canadian series. Although not a comment on the series itself, one can't help but seeing in the character names a reflection of some of the problems -- and insularness -- of Canadian entertainment: namely that deVry's character name, "Peter MacNeil" is the same as a prolific Canadian actor, Peter MacNeill. Perhaps it was intended as an homage...but more likely, the makers just didn't know that (or care), but would an American TV series ever feature a character named, say, "Ed Asner"? Nyah, don't think so. Created by Robert de Lint, Kevin White, Virginia Thompson. Two seasons of half hour episodes on the CBC.  

Inside/Out see Short Films
 

INSIDE STORIES (TV Series)

(1988-1989)   * * 1/2  Cast: various.....Anthology with no underlying theme (sometimes comedies, sometimes dramas) except to tell stories focusing on characters from various ethnic backgrounds in Canada.

Flavourful but uneven TV series had some good episodes and some not-so-good ones, but as one of the first series in the this country to acknowledge (let alone embrace) the concept of multiculturalism, it certainly deserves respect.  Some stories used the ethnicity and focused on racism or culture clashes, while others told more generic stories simply using characters from specific groups.  The sad part is that we would even need a show like this.  Best bets: "Welcome Home Hero" (a drama with Tom Jackson), "the Comic Book Chase" (comedy), others.  About 24 half-hour episodes on the CBC and re-aired on Vision TV. 


 
INSTANT STAR (TV Series)

(2005-2008)  * * 1/2  Alexz Johnson ("Jude Harrison"), Tim Rozon ("Tom Quincy"), Barbara Mamabolo ("Kat Benton"), Laura Vandervoort ("Sadie Harrison"), Kristopher Turner ("Jamie Andrews"), Simon Reynolds ("Mr.Stuart Harrison"), Jane Sowerby ("Mrs.Victoria Harrison"), Tracy Waterhouse ("Georgia Bevans"), Andrea Lui ("EJ Li"), with Matthew Brown ("Shay"), Wes Williams ("Darius Mills").....Comedy/drama about a teen pop singer (Johnson) who, landing her first record contract, must negotiate the twists and turns of the music biz. Rozon plays her producer, a former teen pop star himself. Mamabolo and Turner her best friends (he with an unrequited crush on "Jude") and Vandervoot "Jude"'s vampy sister. Reynolds and Sowerby play her parents. Waterhouse plays the owner of the record company (G-Major) and Lui her perky assistant. Brown cropped up as a hot rap star who "Jude" became romantically involved with, and Williams (real life Canadian rap star "Maestro Fresh Wes") his manager. 

With the success of TV's Canadian Idol (the reality show/talent contest where the winner is awarded a recording contract) it's not surprising a producer would jump on a fictional premise exploring that same idea (while glorifying it more: one's impression is that Canadian Idol winners don't get the same creative freedom as this show's heroine). And it's made for the same network as airs Canadian Idol -- what a co-inkydink! The result is a reasonably entertaining mix of comedy and drama, with a strong emphasis on the various romantic entanglements, requited and unrequited, though with the threads involving her best friends (as they briefly begin a relationship) threatening to be more involving than the stuff involving the main heroine. Though certainly adult-friendly, and tackling some admirably tough issues (her nice guy dad has an affair), it's geared primarily toward young teens (perhaps moreso than the earlier Catwalk). However, isn't there a moral qualm about a series, squarely aimed at teeny bobber girls, in which the core romantic tension is between a fifteen-going-on-sixteen year old heroine and her adult producer? I mean...eeyuwh! An accompanying CD, featuring songs sang on the show (Johnson does her own performing), has also been released. Created by Linda Schuyler. Half hour episodes on CTV. 

INTELLIGENCE  * *  setting: B.C.
(2005) Ian Tracey, Klea Scott, Matt Frewer, Jon Cassini, Sabrina Gredvich, Chris William Martin, Michael Anthony Rawlins.....Story of departmental conflicts and jurisdictional rivalries among Vancouver police departments as they run intelligence and surveillance operations on a local crime lord (Tracey). Brooding drama and sort of suspenser is by the same people behind DaVinci's Inquest, mimicking its understated style, and will probably please fans of that show...and continue to leave non-fans unimpressed. Intended to be gritty and real, evoking early 1970s Hollywood procedurals, but just dosen't pull it off. Worse, by focusing on the style, the narrative seems wanting, as we basically have not very interesting people doing not very interesting things. The promos emphasized how big the cast was and how many scene changes...but better they have fewer characters and scenes, but put more effort into them. Picks up a bit in the second half, as a clearer plot emerges (the cops' files, including on their undercover operatives, gets stolen). The under lining point seems to be that the crooks may do bad things...but they're nicer people than the cops! Still, it's all in the mood and atmosphere and, as noted, fans of DaVinci should like it, others, not so much. Experimental music score (where the music literally sounds like it's being chewed up in the tape machine) is an interesting idea...but more annoying than effective. A (better) series followed. sc: Chris Haddock. dir: Stephen Surjik. app. 90 min.
 
INTELLIGENCE (TV Series)

(2006-2008)  * * *   Ian Tracey ("Jimmy Reardon"), Klea Scott ("Mary Spalding"), John Cassini ("Ronnie Delmonico"), Matt Frewer ("Ted Altman"), with Bernie Coulson ("Michael Reardon"), Camille Sullivan ("Francine Reardon"), Andrew Airlie ("Don Frazer"), Eugene Lipinski ("Martin"), Alana Husband ("Sweet"), Shane Meier ("Phil Coombs"), Ona Grauer ("Katarina"), Lauren Lee Smith ("Tina"), many others .....Crime drama following parallel worlds of a Vancouver (nice guy) crime boss (Tracey) and an ambitious law enforcement chief (Scott) who's trying to reform the moribund intelligence agencies by creating a network of contacts and informants, and who establish a symbiotic, intelligence sharing relationship together. Cassini plays "Jimmy's" right hand man and who runs his strip club. Frewer "Mary's" conniving underling, seeking to undermine her. Coulson "Jimmy's" reckless brother, Sullivan "Jimmy's" unstable ex-wife, etc. 

This TV series, from the people behind DaVinci's Inquest/City Hall, takes the same style, but marries it with a slightly more off-beat, ambitious premise -- and a more soap opera-y/character based story. Begun as a TV movie, the weekly series is more effective and compelling. None of the episodes are really meant to stand alone, being part of the overall, on going story arcs. It's well acted all around and like with DaVinci's City Hall, there's a low-key, almost hypnotic rhythm to it that makes it easy to watch -- even when there are murders and violence it never really becomes "exciting" per se, more about the cool, unflappable characters engaged in various machinations. But despite the "soap opera" aspect of following a large cast of characters around, it also remains kind of coolly aloof, where you observe the characters more than become emotionally involved with them -- many being kind of unsavoury (and not just the crooks!) and, like Haddock's DaVinci series, there can be an aspect of a shaggy dog story where plot threads -- many that weren't that interesting to begin with (like "Jimmy" pondering moving into the ATM market!) -- just seem to ramble on indefinitely, andd where characters have basically similar conversations about the same topics, meeting in the same dark cars, week after week. The verisimilitude is also questionable -- a Canadian intelligence chief who wants to build a world class spy network divorced from the Americans? A nice guy drug lord who doesn't carry a gun? Ultimately, if given a chance, it's an easy series to watch...and can be habit forming (if moreso than emotionally compelling) -- but might be just as easy to walk away from. Fans of the series cite its cancelation as an example of network neglect (or even a conspiracy) but the truth was the ratings were poor all along (and had been slipping for Haddock's previous series, too) -- and as for network "neglect", the CBC kept it on for two seasons (plus the original TV movie) and at one point was airing it twice a week in an attempt to woo viewers! Funnily enough, a few years later a Canadian co-produced international production came along called Rogue that it could be argued bore a passing similarity to this series (shot in Vancouver, it even had some of the same actors cropping up) -- but pulpier, more raw. Created by Chris Haddock. Two seasons of hour long episodes on the CBC.

INTERN ACADEMY  * 1/2  setting: USA.
(2004) Christine Chatelain, Ingrid Kavelaars, Pat Kelly, Viv Leacock, Jane McLean, Peter Oldring, Carly Pope, Lynda Boyd, Dave Thomas, Dan Aykroyd, Dave Foley.....Episodic misadventures of a group of medical interns at a teaching hospital. Comedy not only isn't funny, but seems to have trouble deciding on its own tone. On one hand, it's of the modern vulgar, gross-out school of comedy, where laughs are based less on timing than on "shock" as everything from blood to excrement might be flung about for a "gag". But then it also seems to want to be a comedy-drama, where we're occasionally supposed to take the characters and their situations seriously...even as little effort has been put into shaping believable, consistent characters. And sometimes it wants to be both in the same scene! Most of the young actors playing interns seem better than their material, though, ironically, many of the veteran comic actors (Aykroyd, Foley, Thomas himself) are less effective. Extremely episodic, like an extended sketch comedy (perhaps reflecting Thomas' background with SCTV) and the modern, gross out humour seems as though he's trying a type of comedy he hopes will appeal to the teen audience...without really feeling it himself. Even decades after his archly- Canadian MacKenzie brothers, Thomas still seems convinced the road to success is to do a movie pretending it's set in the U.S. Perhaps the funniest joke is the litany of production partners listed as being involved in producing this...what, all those suited executives read this script and laughed their heads off?!? Saul Rubinek, Maury Chaykin and Matt Frewer all appear in bit parts (and look for Shaun Johnston as a guy with a head injury near the end). sc./dir: Dave Thomas. - extreme violence; sexual content; partial female nudity; male nudity.- 99 min.

THE INTERROGATION OF MICHAEL CROWE  * * *  setting: USA.
(2002) (/U.S.) Ally Sheedy, Mark Rendall, Michael Riley, John Bourgeois, Rosemary Dunsmore, Karl Pruner, Chris Owens, Jonathan Whittaker, Hannah Lochner.....Story of an American family who is shattered, first when their daughter is murdered in their own home, then when police focus in on their son as the culprit...despite a highly suspect case. Stark, compelling drama, very well acted by all, is a notch or two above most "shocking true story" made-for-TV movies. It's perhaps even more effective if you're unfamiliar with the case, so that you can't be sure where it's headed (hint: the police don't come out looking too good). Riley received the Best Actor Gemini, and American actress Sheedy received a nomination. The closing captions relate some facts involving some of the issues the movie raises, but they're American facts, meaning that for a Canadian audience this (partly) Canadian movie provides little insight into the wheres and hows of their own legal system -- kind of muting its relevancy. sc: Alan Hines. dir: Don McBrearty. 90 min.

INTO THE FIRE * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(1987) Art Hindle, Susan Anspach, Lee Montgomery, Olivia d'Abo.....Drifter (American Montgomery) arrives in a small town and becoms involved in a couple of affairs and a murder plot.  Nice looking but badly executed film noirish thriller ambles about disjointedly without establishing either character or mood.  Still, nicely off-beat winter setting (these films are usually set during a heat wave).  sc: Jessie Ballard. dir: Graeme Campbell. - sexual content, extreme violence, partial female nudity.- 97 min.

LES INVASIONS BARBARES * * *  setting: P.Q./USA/other
(2004) (/France) Remy Girard, Stephane Rousseau, Marie-Josee Croze, Marina Hands, Dorothee Berryman, Johanne Marie Tremblay, Pierre Curzi, Yves Jacques, Louise Portal, Dominique Michel, Isabelle Blais, Mitsou Gelinas, Roy Dupuis.....A conservative capitalist (Rousseau), estranged from his hedonistic, left-wing father (Girard), reluctantly returns to his side when the older man is hospitalized with terminal cancer, and tries to make his final months better by reuniting some of his old friends, and befriending a junkie (Croze) to help secure pain-relieving heroin. Sequel -- after a fashion -- to the hit Le decline de l'empire de americain (though you don't have to have seen that earlier film to follow it) achieved international acclaim at Cannes (where Croze picked up the Best Actress award) and was the first Canadian movie to win Best Foreign Language Film at the American Oscars. It's a quirky mix of comedy and drama (but rarely maudlin), but seems a bit like an idea in search of a point. It's a bit aloof, and more clever than truly intelligent, with supposedly intellectual characters who, as in the previous film, spend more time discussing sex than politics. For a movie about ageing lefties, the movie's politics actually seem slightly right-wing (taking swipes at medicare, unions, and seeming to see the U.S. as the promised land) -- perhaps explaining why the leftist "intellectuals" come across more as bimbos. And is it just me, or are there actors listed in the opening credits who don't actually appear in the film -- suggesting some pre-release editing? Use of footage of the World Trade Centre attacks seems in poor taste. Arcand (who appears as one of the union thugs) tosses in nods to some of his other films, such as having Gilles Pelletier in a bit part as a priest -- like he played in Jesus de Montreal. Received six Genies including for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Girard), Supporting Actor (Rousseau) and Supporting Actress (Croze). English title: The Barbarian Invasions. sc./dir: Denys Arcand. 99 min.

THE INVESTIGATION * * *  setting: B.C.
(2003) (/U.K.) Nicholas Lea, Lochlyn Munro, Reece Dinsdale, Paul Coeur, David Warner, Michael Hogan, Duncan Fraser, Shaun Johnston, Hrothgar Mathews.....Fact-based account of the investigation into Clifford Olson, Canada's first (known) serial killer, focusing on the jurisdictional confusion, departmental rivalries, and budget shortfalls within the R.C.M.P. that hobbled the case. The Olson case had long been considered for a TV movie, and for just as long rejected by programmers as being too sensationalistic and lurid. This CTV movie seems to have found a way around that by focusing less on Olson (played by Coeur, whose face is, chillingly, rarely seen) and more on the police handling -- and mishandling -- of the case, with Lea and Munro as two llow level cops who, separately, peg Olson as a suspect in separate crimes, but run into bureaucratic stubbornness when they try to pursue it. Extremely gripping and well done, thanks to the filmmakers finding a narrative focus to the story, rather than just a paint-by-numbers "shocking true story" dramatization, even if they might be tarring some of the police excessively. At the same time, the movie ends rather unsatisfactorily (a result of the case itself) where you come away from the movie not really feeling you know much more about the case than you did going in. sc: Bruce Smith. dir: Anne Wheeler. 92 min.

INVITATION  * * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(2001) Stefan Brogren, Balazs Kaos, Don Chameroy, Amy Price-Francis, Sandra Caldwell, Stephen Chamberlain, Siobhan Power, Jennifer Markle, John Tallon, Julie Venerus, Anais Granofsky.....Roommates throw a massive house party but complications arise, like a recovering addict (Brogren) starting to unravel when he suspects his girlfriend is cheating on him. Energetic serio-comic flick is nicely -- and convincingly -- acted all around, especially by Brogren and Price-Francis, but the movie spends a little too much time establishing its pseudo-documentary style, meandering about, showing the party, as we cut between snippets of (intentionally) pointless conversations; improves as it goes, as the plot threads and character arcs involving the principals come more to the foreground. Worth sticking with. Granofsky, Brogren's old Degrassi co-star, is good in the small-but-pivotal role of his AWOL girlfriend. Despite the opening blurb, and the documentary style, this is a work of fiction...as should be obvious. sc: Stefan Brogren, Julie Venerus, Jennifer Markle. dir: Samir Rehem. - sexual content, casual male nudity.- 81 min.

IRON EAGLE II   * *  setting: other
(1988) (/Israel) Louis Gossett, Jr., Mark Humphrey, Stuart Margolin, Maury Chaykin, Jason Blicker, Sharon H. Brandon, Clark Johnson, Alan Scarfe, Colm Feore.....A joint U.S.-Soviet strike team is formed to destroy an Arab nation's nuclear capabilities...only to have cold war prejudices threaten the mission before it even begins.  In name only sequel to the American-produced "Iron Eagle" has some O.K. character stuff, but the action scenes are incomprehensible -- and not only because all the planes look alike.  Good cast.  Followed by an American sequel ("Aces High: Iron Eagle III") and then another Canadian one.  sc: Kevin Elders, Sidney J. Furie. dir: Sidney J. Furie. 98 min.

IRON EAGLE IV  * *  setting: USA.
(1995) (/U.S.) Louis Gossett Jr., Jason Cadieux, Al Waxman, Joanne Vannicola, Max Piersig, Karen Gayle, Ross Hull, Rachel Blanchard, Dominic Zamprogna, Marilyn Lightstone, Victoria Snow, Dean McDermott, Sean McCann, Chas Lawther.....Retired U.S. General "Chappy" Sinclair (Gossett Jr.) returns....this time running a flight school for delinquent teens and uncovering a rogue military plot involving chemical weapons -- not to mention reuniting with Doug Masters (played here by Cadieux), who was believed killed at the beginning of Iron Eagle II.  Whew!  Fourth instalment in this unusual, underbudgeted action series (and the second Canadian-produced one) trys hard to be smarter than it ultimately is, but it's all over the map (misfit teens, army conspiracy, Cadieux's psychological scars from being in a Soviet prison) without taking the time to develop any of the story lines properly.  Decent cast, particularly Gossett, and nice score by Paul Zaza.  Jason Blicker crops up playing a different character than he had in II.  sc: Michael Stokes. dir: Sidney J. Furie. 95 min.

IRON ROAD (TVMS)  * * *  setting: B.C./other
(2009) Sun Li, Luke MacFarlane, Sam Neill, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Gao Yun Xiang, Kenneth Mitchell, Peter O'Toole, Ian Tracey, Serge Houde, Charlotte Sullivan .....Story of the building of a Canadian railroad through B.C. utilizing Chinese labour, focusing on the feisty Little Tiger (Li), a young woman who disguises herself as a teenage boy and is seeking word of her father who disappeared years before. Historical drama is unabashedly old fashioned and, admittedly, kind of corny, but is enjoyable on that level, mixing aspects of a serious historical drama (portraying the use of Chinese labour on the railroad) with pulpy storytelling....albeit sometimes going a bit too far (the very occasional sliding into Hong Kong action movie style fights is a bit jarring). Li holds the screen, projecting a lot of spunky charm, and O'Toole steals more than a few scenes (though, unfortunately, is gone by the second half). For all its "serious" pretentions, it's as much fancy as fact (the railroad itself seems a fictional line, there are some historical inaccuracies, and it's highly doubtful working at a fireworks factory would really make someone an expert at demolitions!) Though for a movie that so shamelessly mines pulp fiction staples (cross dressing, lost fathers, forbidden romance, criminal skulduggery, etc.) it maybe doesn't quite go far enough, with a plot that can actually be a bit simple, and twists that are more surprising to the characters than to the viewer, and with a kind of wishy washy, problematic ending. Still, mostly succeeds as an old fashioned, historical spectacle. 4 hours. sc: Barry Pearson, Raymond Storey. dir: David Wu.

Irvine Welsh's ECSTASY  * *   setting: other
(2011) (/U.K.) Adam Sinclair, Kristin Kreuk, Billy Boyd, Carlo Rota, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Natalie Brown, Stephen McHattie, John Digweed, Olivia Andrup.....Story of a part-time drug courier and full-time druggie and clubber (Sinclair) and his friends (and gangsters) in Scotland's club scene, who falls for a slightly more restrained Canadian girl (Kreuk) -- restrained in that clubbing and drugs are more a recreation than a lifestyle for her. Mix of drama, comedy, crime and romance struggles in part because "drug culture movies" aren't really a robust genre like, say, westerns, or courtroom dramas. After one or two (hey, I recall liking The Rubber Gun), the novelty wears off and the primary audience is reduced simply to people who are -- or at least were -- part of that scene and enjoy it vicariously...while most everyone else is left scratching their heads, trying to understand why they should care about the scenario and the characters. The movie is slick-looking, but just feels like an homage to past movies, from the stylistic (bright colours, sped up shots where car lights blur into streams, montages of the lovers holding hands in lieu of actually developing their relationship) and conceptual (he owes money to gangster, he has a tragic home life, with McHattie as his clinically depressed, alcoholic dad) so that little happens that you can't predict ahead of time, without really convincing you these characters exist outside of the frame. It wants to play with themes conflating chemical highs with spirituality and romantic love, without doing so particularly effectively. Might have been more interesting to focus on Kreuk's character, as the straight-laced girl flirting with the culture, rather than focusing on a character already embedded with it. The movie "Trainspotting" -- a seminal film in the "drug culture" oeuvre -- was also based on a novel by Welsh. Many of the cast are actually Canadians putting on Scottish accents. sc: Rob Heydon, Ben Tucker, with Matt MacLennan, Paul McCafferty (from the novel by Irvine Welsh). dir: Rob Heydon. - partial female and male nudity; sexual content.- 100 min.

ISABEL   * * *  setting: P.Q.
(1968) Genevieve Bujold, Marc Strange, Gerard Parkes, Ratch Wallace, Elton Hayes, Al Waxman.....Troubled girl (Bujold) returns to her hometown for her mother's funeral and is confronted by things both real and imagined.  Atmospheric, though meandering and overly self-important psychological drama.  Fine direction and strong performances, especially from Bujold who carries the film.  Won four Etrogs including Best Actress (Bujold's first) and Actor (Parkes).  sc./dir: Paul Almond (his first feature). - brief female nudity.- 108 min.

THE ISLAND see L'ile

ISLAND LOVE SONG   * *  setting: N.S.
(1987) Gordon Clapp, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Leueen Willoughby, Gregson Winkfield, Joan Orenstein.....Young man (Clapp) returns to his Cape Breton home for a visit and falls for a young woman (MacDonald).  Inoffensive made-for-CBC TV film is interesting to a point but marred by a lack of any real plot, an unsatisfying ending and uneven performances.  Nice folk music.  MacDonald and Orenstein are particularly good.  sc: Jeannine Locke. dir: Vic Sarin (his directorial debut). app. 100 min.

ISAAC LITTLEFEATHERS   * * * 1/2  setting: Alt.
(1984) William Corbut, Lou Jacobi, Scott Hylands, Lynda Mason Green, Tom Heaton, George Clutesi.....Story of a hot-tempered young metis (Corbut), raised by a Jewish store owner (Jacobi), growing up in 1960s Alberta and his run-ins with the law and racism.  A fine and effective made-for-CBC TV comedy/drama that is both moving and very funny.  Clutesi steals the show in a small part.  sc: Les Rose, Barry Pearson, John Katz. dir: Les Rose.

IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME   * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(1975) Anthony Newley, Stefanie Powers, Isaac Hayes, Lloyd Bochner, Yvonne DeCarlo, Henry Ramer, Lawrence Dane, John Candy, Robert Silverman.....A free-living anarchist (Newley), sabotages a party thrown by his ex-wife (Powers) for a conservative politician (Bochner), then fakes her kidnapping...ultimately with her help.  Comedy's title seems oddly appropriate for a film that may have looked better on paper.  Really broad attempt at a slapstick comedy that has only about one real laugh (Hayes, when a statue seemingly comes to life).  Dane and Candy (in his film debut) as a couple of cops, returned in Find the Lady.  The trio of top-billed stars are all imports.  sc: David Main, John Trent, from an original screenplay by Claude Harz and John Trent. dir: John Trent. - partial male and female nudity.- 105 min.

Ivanhoe, the classic British novel by Sir Walter Scott, was the uncredited inspiration for the cable TV movie Young Ivanhoe

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