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.

A LOBSTER TALE  * *  setting: USA.
(2006) Colm Meaney, Alberta Watson, Jack Knight, Graham Greene, Cliff Saunders, Joe Pingue, Eric Knudsen, Bruce McFee, Keir Gilchrist, Deborah Grover, Ken James, Aron Tager.....A poor American lobster fisherman (import Meaney) discovers a moss with magical healing properties...and suddenly finds himself and his family the centre of the town's attention. Comedy-drama has a fine premise, some good (and amusing) scenes, and a solid cast. And not just the principals, but even the supporting players playing the eccentric town's folk (all gamely adopting New England accents!) -- Greene is a hoot as the droll police chief...though doesn't appear much till the latter half. But it can feel a bit like it's unsure what to do with itself -- even whether it's a "family" drama or not (with two or three scenes maybe skewed older...including a narratively justified, but slightly shocking, early scene). With its Capra-esque premise, maybe it should've been a bit wackier, or more outlandish. As it is, it spins its wheels a lot, reiterating the same scenes, and where most of the ideas and plot twists...are basically what you can predict. It's a likeable effort...which is precisely what makes it disappointing. sc: Court Crandall. dir: Adam Massey. - violence; sexual content.- 95 min.

LA LOI DU COCHON  * * 1/2  setting: P.Q.
(2001) Isabel Richer, Sylvain Marcel, Catherine Trudeau, Jean-Nicholas Verreault, Stephane Demers, Marie Brassard, Zhenho Han, Christopher Heyerdahl, Christian Begin, Marie Gignac.....A woman with gambling debts (Richer) allows pot growers to grow a secret marijuana crop on her pig farm, but plots to double cross them, only to have her plans go awry. Noirish thriller benefits from the off-beat milieu and is kind of intriguing, watching the various twists and turns unfold (including her sister acting as a surrogate mother for a local couple). Fast-paced enough to keep your interest, but it borders on frenetic at times, never slowing down enough so that you actually get to know, or care about, these people (despite a sufficiently charismatic performance from Richer). But the movie's biggest flaw is that you just aren't sure if it's trying to be funny in spots...or whether some over-the-top scenes are just, well, over-the-top. It's not that it really succeeds in being funny...but it does border on silly at times, particularly villains Marcel and Verreault. Heyerdahl does a nice turn (speaking French with a Russian accent!) as a sinister underworld connection. Digital Video is the low-budget filmmaker's friend, lending a reasonably expensive look to low-budget movies...but nighttime shoots tend to betray its video nature. English title: Pig's Law. sc: Joanne Arseneau. dir: Erik Canuel. - violence, brief female nudity.- 96 min.

LOLA  * *  setting: B.C.
(2002) Sabrina Grdevich, Joanna Going, Colm Feore, Chris William Martin, Ian Tracey, Janet Wright.....Neurotic, directionless woman (Grdevich) meets up with a troubled free spirit (Going) and, through circumstances, assumes aspects of the woman's life. The core idea here isn't bad (not surprisingly, it's been done before in decidedly more mainstream flicks), and the movie boasts a fine cast all around (especially Feore and American import Going). But the extremely thin, slow-moving story meanders aimlessly, too self-conscious of its own pretensions (with lots of "hip" jump cuts and sped up film in place of story and characterization), not really putting much flesh on its bare bones. It's basically an excuse for a bunch of vignettes...with none of the vignettes being that interesting in and of themselves. The main character is neurotic and, occasionally, irrational (she gets knocked on the head, presumably so her actions don't always have to make sense), and, ultimately, fails to entirely bond with the audience -- a fault, perhaps, partly attributable to Grdevich, who's a decent actress, but not always an ingratiating one. And in a movie like this, if the audience isn't committed to the main character...there's nothing else to fall back on. sc./dir: Carl Bessai. - partial female nudity.- 98 min.

LOLA ZIPPER  * *  setting: other
(1993) (/France) Judith Reval, Jean-Paul Comart, Arielle Dombasle, Francois Perrot, Thibault De Montalembert, Tom Rack, Martin Neufeld.....To save his job, a down-on-his-luck Paris talent agent (Comart) bets he can turn a crude street teen (Reval) into a glamourous star.  Ill-conceived riff on Pygmalion (see that entry for a Canadian-filmed version) suffers from unlikeable characters.  It's too nasty and abrasive to be funny, but too contrived to be serious.  And the attitudes, whether reflecting an inability to update the ideas, or merely French sensibilities, are...uncomfortable.  sc./dir: Ilan Duran Cohen. - brief female nudity.- 95 min.

LONELY KNIGHTS  * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1988) Dack Rambo, Jennifer Dale, Frances Hyland, Jeff Pustil, Donald Davis, Norma Dell'Agnese, Eric Murphy, Ken James, Barry Flatman.....Story of a reporter (Dale) who falls for a charity organizer (American actor Rambo), but becomes curious about his mysterious background -- while she's also working on a series abbout wealthy families. Modestly-budgeted Harlequin-style romantic drama tries to count on the camaraderie and badinage between the cast, particularly Dale and Pustil (as her camera man), to pad out the running time -- but what can be amusing for a scene or two is no substitute for a story. Shifts gears a few times -- from being a seeming sincere look at charities to a corporate take-over drama to, of course, a romance...except Dale and Rambo spend a lot of the movie without any scenes together! Bottom line, despite some good intentions, it's kind of tedious. One of those movies with dialogue indicating it's supposed to be set in the United States...even though Canadian flags crop up in the background! sc: Don Young. dir: Henry Less. - sexual content.- 96 min.

LONESOME DOVE: The Outlaw Years (TV Series)

(1995-1996)   * *  Scott Baristow ("Newt Call"), Eric McCormack ("Clay Mosby"), Kelly Rowan ("Mattie Shaw"), Paul Johansson ("Austin Peale"), Tracy Scoggins ("Amanda"), with Paul LeMat ("Josiah Peale"), Frank C. Turner ("Un-Bob"), others.....Western action/drama was really just the second season of Lonesome Dove: The Series (see that entry) but set two years later.  Newt (Bairstow), now a cynical bounty hunter, returned to a decadent Curtis Wells, Montana, ruled over by Clay (McCormack).  Rowan played an independent-minded lady gunsmith and mortician; Scoggins the new owner of a hotel.  Johansson and LeMat, reprising their roles from the first season (but with changes), played the hard-hearted Sheriff and puppet-mayor respectively -- both in "Mosby"'s pocket.  Turner played "Mattie"'s mentally handicapped assistant.

After middling ratings for the first season, the new series went for a darker, grittier ambience...but retaining the same virtues and vices (good-if-mostly-bland performances, expensive-look...and slow, lackluster stories) only peopled now mainly by unlikeable characters (only Rowan and Turner were without an unscrupulous side).  No matter how many times the episodes tried for morality tales, and showing the various characters' "hearts-of-gold", it couldn't get away from the fact that, fundamentally, they were pretty repellent.  Dark and gritty is all very fine, but the audience still has to care.  McCormack's performance remained the show's wanted to like him, but ultimately couldn't.  Ironically, Bairstow had been quoted during the first season as saying The Series' wholesome ambience matched his religious and ethical beliefs (I guess he didn't mind shooting), but with The Outlaw Years' emphasis on corruption, violence, and prostitution (most of the supporting female characters were prostitutes) one can imagine Bairstow was less-than-happy with the changes -- perhaps explaining why his character seemed to play a less-pivotal role than he had earlier.  But all the (arguably cynical) changes were for naught: The Outlaw Years faired no better than the first season and was canceled after one year.

Another interesting policy change was the addition of an American actor (Scoggins) to the regular Canadian cast, while tending not to import U.S. actors as guest stars. According to one source, there is an episode of this series that has never been aired in Canada (involving a teen-age couple taking the Sheriff hostage). Loosely inspired by the novel by Larry McMurtry.  One season of hour long episodes on CTV. 


LONESOME DOVE: The Series (TV Series)

(1994-1995)   * * 1/2  Scott Bairstow ("Newt Call"), Eric McCormack ("Clay Mosby"), Christianne Hirt ("Hannah Peale-Call"), with Paul LeMat ("Josiah Peale"), Paul Johansson ("Austin Peale"), others.....Western drama set in the 1880s in a fictitious small Montana town called Curtis Wells, focusing on a young cowboy (Bairstow) and his new wife (Hirt).  McCormack stole the show with a flashy performance as an ex-Confederate gentleman soldier and outlaw turned saloon owner, fixated on Hirt because she resembled his dead wife.  LeMat played Hirt's father who ran the local paper (where her character worked) and Johansson played her brother.

Largely hookless TV series was the most expensive Canadian one ever filmed in the west and it boasted great period detail, solid performances from both the principals and notable guest stars, and great ambience.  But the stories themselves tended to be flaccid with characters who were likeable but, except for McCormack, not especially interesting.  An O.K., hard-working show that was usually watchable, but not compelling enough to call you back on a regular basis.  Which, apparently, must have been the general consensus since in the season final, Hirt's character was killed off...opening the way for some significant alterations.  And since the second season was given a new subtitle (Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years), it is reviewed separately under that title.  Filmed in Alberta, but set in the United States with most episodes featuring a bigger-than-average American guest star.  Loosely inspired by the novel by Larry McMurtry (and the 2 U.S. TV mini-series).  Hour-long episodes, shown in Canada on CTV. 

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT   * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1986) William Hutt, Martha Henry, Tom McCamus, Peter Donaldson, Martha Burns.....A day in the life of the ultimate dysfunctional family: the Tyrones of 1912 Conneticut.  This film of American playwright Eugene O'Neil's dark and famous (and semi-autobiographical) drama, based on a stage version originally directed by Diana LeBlanc, is an O.K., critically heralded production.  But often it seems professional and respectful, rather than truly passionate and exciting, with Wellington's direction more concerned with style and mood than characters -- which is what the thing is about.  And the play itself, long and peopled by kind of bitchy characters, doesn't progress in terms of characters they way you'd like.  The third Act scene between Hutt and McCamus, both in terms of the performances and the play, is pretty electric though.  sc: the play by Eugene O'Neil. dir: David Wellington. 177 min.

The Long Journey of Lukas B., a German novel by Willi Fahrmann, was turned into the CBC mini-series By Way of the Stars

(2002) Sandra Oh, Valerie Tian, Ric Young, Chang Tseng, Tsai Chin, Russell Yuen, Alannah Ong, Donald Fong, Christina Ma.....A precocious girl (Tian), seeking to find a boyfriend (and happiness) for her workaholic, frustrated mother (Oh) starts experimenting with charms...which tend to have unexpected impact on others in her local Chinese-Canadian community. Ensemble comedy-drama veers effectively from whimsy and comedy, to genuine pathos, with some striking cinematography toward the climax (just taking advantage of Vancouver's rainy environment), and benefiting from textured, empathetic performances all around -- Oh is good, and Tian a delight, but Young probably makes the strongest impression as a man whose focus on his estrangement from his own father has led him to neglect his son's aspirations. It goes on a bit too long and the filmmakers juggle so many interconnected threads that, admittedly, it gets away from them in the end, with some threads seeming to be forgotten, or resolved unsatisfyingly. But, generally, an effective, amusing, inoffensive effort. Strangely, some criticized it for wallowing in false stereotypes or not being Chinese enough, while others felt the characters' actions were too weird and foreign. So here's the key: think of the characters as people -- nothing more, nothing less -- and it should all fall into place for you. sc: Dennis Foon, Mina Shum. dir: Mina Shum. 92 min.

THE LONG ROAD HOME * *  setting: Ont.
(1989) Denis Forest, Kelly Rowan, Gareth Bennett, Barclay Hope, Louis Tucci, Marvin Karon.....American draft dodger (Forest) arrives as a counsellor at a Canadian summer camp in '69 where he must sort out his conflicting emotions and ideals.  Forest is good, but the early part of the film suffers from being too disjointed.  Not bad, but despite the attempt, this still seems like just another summer camp movie (look below).  sc: Dan Dantree. dir: William Johnston. 84 min.

LONGING FOR ETERNITY see Portion d'eternite

LOOKING FOR ALEXANDER  see Memoires affectives

LOOKING FOR LEONARD * * 1/2  setting: P.Q.
(2001) Kim Huffman, Joel Bissonnette, Ben Ratner, Justin Pierce, Darcy Belsher, Molly Parker.....An unemployed immigrant (Bissonnette) strikes up a relationship with a young woman (Huffman) who robs convenience stores with her boyfriend and his brother...only to have an accidental murder complicate things. Serio-comic, film noirish romantic drama is enjoyable, somewhat amusing, but a touch slow-moving and kind of meandering, with a few too many scenes that are meant more to be vignettes (with characters sitting before a stationary camera, having quirky conversations) than pieces of a whole. And for a movie that wants to act like it's tackling weighty themes of right and wrong, and moral choices, there's a certain nihilism underlining it all -- the heroine is, after all, an armed robber and shop lifter! But Huffman and Bissonnette have enough charm and talent to carry the thing -- in fact, Bissonnette has been an under-rated actor for years (why does it take his brother to give him a leading part?!?) The title refers to Leonard Cohen, but it's not clear why -- they couldn't even afford to put some Cohen songs on the soundtrack. Instead, there are occasional inserts of clips from the 1960s documentary Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Leonard Cohen, and Huffman is reading Cohen's novel, Beautiful Losers...neither of which are clearly identified with the "Leonard" of the title. Go figure. sc./dir: Matt Bissonnette & Steven Clark. 87 min.

LOOKING FOR MIRACLES   * *  setting: Ont.
(1989) (/U.S.) Greg Spottiswood, Zachary Bennett, Joe Flaherty, Patricia Phillips, Noah Godfrey.....Story of the uneasy relationship between two brothers (Spottiswood and Bennett) at a summer camp in the '30s, where the older is a counsellor under false pretenses.  Nice looking made-for-TV CBC comedy/drama has trouble handling the relationship between the two brothers and ends up being just a collection of scenes -- some work and others don't.  Flaheerty received the Best Supporting Actor Gemini. sc: Kevin Sullivan, Stuart McLean (from the book by A.E. Hotchner). dir: Kevin Sullivan. 104 min.

Loon, by A.W. Plumstead, was adapted into That Beautiful Somewhere.

(1993)  * * 1/2  Arnold Pinnock ("Pastor Dwight Gooding"), Dennis 'Sprangalang' Hall ("Pastor Cuthbert Stevens"), Leonie Forbes ("Sister Hope McCauley"), Debbie Young ("Crystal"), Rachel Price ("Desiree Gooding"), Shawn 'Singlefoot' Singleton ("Kent"), Russell Peters ("Ryan Varma"), Louis Negin ("Father White"), Gary Farmer ("Marty C. Marten").....Sitcom set at Mt. Zion, a small Caribbean-Canadian protestant church in Toronto. Pinnock plays the newly arrived youth pastor, with go get 'em enthusiasm and a more conservative bent; Hall the established pastor, more unconventional and seeming as enthusiastic about his rum and dominoes as preaching; Forbes the prim and proper church secretary; Young her rebellious, atheistic teenage grand daughter and Singleton her grand son, torn between religion and living the life of the 'hood; Price plays "Pastor Goodings" over sexed wife, at once flaky and the voice of reason; Peters plays "Goodings" best friend, a hedonistic East Indian he knew from his wild youth; Negin plays "Pastor Stevens'" drinking buddy, a rather loose Catholic priest; and Farmer the native Indian handy man. 

Though flawed, Lord Have Mercy emerges as one of the more promising comedies to come out of Canada in a long while. Unabashedly mainstream in its ambitions, and yet, oddly off-beat and quirky in its characterizations, it's both conventional and creative. Though made for Vision TV (Canada's multi-faith religious channel), the series isn't reverent in tone -- in fact, it's liable to put off some religious thinkers with its send-up/criticism of the overly pious and its sometimes ribald humour. Despite these secular leanings, another strength of the show is its (seeming) familiarity with its milieu, allowing the series and characters to seem well rooted. A strength and weakness is the unconventionality of its approach to characters -- normally, you would expect Pinnock to be the straight man, the level-headed, slightly radical newcomer. Instead, he's rather neurotic (seeming overly obsessively in love with his wife) and his conservatism makes him the "villain" in some situations...even as we are meant to empathize with him in others. In fact the series tries an ambitious -- and not always successful -- juggling act of making no character wholly sympathetic, or wholly unsympathetic. Structurally the series struggles with plot. Although employing its big cast to add to the complexity, there's too much of denouements that come out of nowhere, or characters who poke their heads into a scene just to deliver a punch line, and an inconsistency to characterization from episode to episode. It's still in need of fine tuning, but it accomplishes the first goal of comedy: it's amusing. Not always, with some jokes awkwardly delivered, or unfunny to begin with, and sometimes more amusing than out-and-out hilarious, but it succeeds more often than it fails, benefitting also from earth tones and subdued lighting giving it a visual cosiness. 

The cast -- a mixture of Canadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, and Jamaican-Canadians -- is engaging, with Forbes a particular stand-out (according to Vision's web site, she's a first lady of Jamaican theatre), although Hall's accent is so thick it's often difficult to make out his lines. 

Another plus is the series' refreshing evocation of pluralism and multi-culturalism. Not just in its predominantly black cast, sprinkled with a few other ethnic groups, but even the black cast reflects a diversity of people (some Canadian, some Caribbean, some religious, some agnostic, some old, some young) -- best of all, it pulls it off with an unself-consciousness. You don't believe they're doing this to win a grant, you believe they're doing this because -- hey, man, this is modern, big city Canada. Get used to it. When the series first aired, all episodes were aired as a three night marathon in honour of Black History Month, before being re-shown as a weekly series. Created by Vanz Chapman, Frances-Anne Solomon, and Paul de Silva. Half-hour episodes on Vision TV. 

LOST   * * * *  setting: B.C./other
(1986) Kenneth Welsh, Helen Shaver, Michael Hogan, Linda Goranson, Richard Donat.....An atheist (Hogan), his wife (Shaver) and his religious fundamentalist brother (Welsh) decide to sail down to Costa Rica and wind up capsized and lost during a storm -- and tempers flare, particularly when the brother decides God is testing their faith.  Extremely gripping and powerful suspense-drama, with excellent performances from the three leads, especially Hogan.  Grim, provocative and definitely not to be missed.  Based on a true story.  sc./dir: Peter Rowe (from the book by Thomas Thompson). 94 min.

LOST AND DELIRIOUS  * *  setting: P.Q.
(2001) Piper Perabo, Jessica Pare, Mischa Barton, Jackie Burroughs, Mimi Kuzyk, Graham Greene, Emily Vancamp, Caroline Dhavernas.....A newcomer to a girl's boarding school (Barton) befriends her roommates (Perabo and Jessica Paré) and becomes aware of their secret lesbian affair; but when the affair becomes public knowledge, one breaks it off, and the other spirals out of control. Drama has its admirers, and it starts out reasonably O.K., if flawed, not entirely fleshing out the romantic relationship, and with Perabo's character (as written and performed) kind of over done. But when the break-up occurs, and Perabo's character has her meltdown...the plot and the characters just kind of stop in favour of scene after scene of Perabo making a public display. And the supporting characters seem under-utilized. In a country where Art House filmmakers indulge in icy, aloof films, one about out-of-control passion is refreshing, and it could've been -- should've been -- truly great, but isn't. There's too little development, and too much cloyingly heavy handed -- even silly -- symbolism, and little that's unpredictable (maybe an unexpected twist would've been if it's the wild girl who breaks it off, and the straight-laced girl who freaks out -- just a thought). By using Barton as thee focus, Perabo and Pare -- the characters the movie should be about -- are kind of short-changed. It's the sort of movie that is disappointing just after you've watched it...and downright maddening when you've had time to think about it. Despite Perabo and Pare looking like supermodels, and one sex scene, this isn't an "erotic" drama. Maybe it should've been. Because without greater intensity given to the relationship -- emotionally or physically -- the fall out from the break up isn't given much grounding. And although it's nice to see the filmmakers trying for modern style pop-references, Doctor Spock is the baby doctor; Mister Spock is the emotionless "Star Trek" character. Barton and Perabo are Hollywood imports. Director Pool's first English language feature. sc: Judith Thompson (loosely based on the novel The Wives of the Bath by Susan Swan). dir: Lea Pool. - partial female nudity, sexual content, violence.- 101 min.

THE LOST DAUGHTER (TVMS)   * *  setting: CDN./other
(1998) (/Switzerland/Germany/Australia) Richard Chamberlain, Helmut Griem, Christoph Ohrt, Susanna Simon, Clare Sims, Charles Powell, Andreas Apergis, C. David Johnson, Blaine Hart.....When his estranged daughter (Sims) disappears after a religious cult's mass suicide, a Canadian business man (Chamberlain) goes to Switzerland trying to discover if she's alive or dead, only to have cult members trying to stop him.  Suspense-drama obviously started out as one of those executive-driven, "based-on-the-shocking-true-story" affairs, but instead tries something a little more ambitious by doing it as out-and-out fiction (though still clearly inspired by the Solar Temple suicides).  Unfortunately, the results are uneven.  American import Chamberlain is O.K., but the film suffers from Cardinal's usual clunky direction, uneven supporting performances, and a story that, other than the fate of the daughter, runs out of questions and twists half-way through.  The pulpy thriller side of the story doesn't go far enough, and the earnest, docudrama aspect (flashbacks to cult life, etc.) fail to really give you insight into the whys and hows (and use of "holograms" undermines credibility -- 'cause outside of science fiction, holograms don't exist!).  It aired in Europe in 1997.  Four hours.  sc: Peter Palliser. dir: Roger Cardinal.


(2010-2015)   * * *   Anna Silk ("Bo"), Kris Holden-Ried ("Dyson"), Ksenia Solo ("Kenzi"), with Richard Howland ("Trick"), KC Collins ("Hale"), Zoie Palmer ("Lauren"), Cle Bennett ("The Ash").....Fantasy/mystery about a woman (Silk) who discovers she is really a succubus -- a supernatural being who drains the life out of anyone she has sex with, as well as with the ability to seduce anyone...and is super strong, etc. She also learns there is a whole supernatural sub-cultural embedded in human society -- the Fae -- divided between the Light and the Dark clans. Refusing to join either side, she becomes a private eye specializing in "weird" cases...while also seeking answers to her origin and her real (Fae) parents. The mystery of "Bo"'s past, and the true identity of her mother, was teased along as an ominous sub-plot. Holden-Ried plays a police detective, who is also Fae (in his case, a werewolf-type creature), and with whom she has a kind of Friends With Benefits relationship as she can have sex with him without killing him (and needs to drain some of his energy to heal when injured...and she gets injured a lot!). Solo plays her best friend and sidekick, a feisty, wisecracking, human street kid she takes under her wing. Rowland an enigmatic Fae Elder and bartender. Collins plays "Dyson"'s detective partner...and also Fae. Palmer plays a human doctor who works with the Light Fae. "Bo" is bi-sexual, allowing for a romantic triangle formed by her, "Dyson" and "Lauren". Although first and foremost a mystery/adventure series, it's meant to be an "adult", edgy cable series, with profanity, and its core racy -- and randy -- concept. Although it's all still generally PG -- it's raunchy for the gratuitousness of the sex, and the risqueness of the bisexual aspect, more than the explicitness (though it can push the limits). Though a Canadian series, made by and starring Canadians, it seems to go for an "Anytown, North America" vibe. In the opening episode, "Bo" refers to being from the "midwest" (an American more than Canadian phrase), yet a driver's license glimpsed briefly in another episode listed the "Ministry of Transportation" (Ministry being more a Canadian designation, than an American one), and an episode involving a death row inmate referred to her being across the border (Canada doesn't have capital punishment) -- yet a viewer could infer that as a state border as easily as a national border.

This TV series joins a rather long list of fantasy series in recent years -- remove the sex and it's kin to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Birds of Prey", Blood Ties or a number of other shows. That isn't to say the series doesn't have its own hook -- namely that it's more set within the Fae culture than the human one (as opposed to being basically set in the "real" world where the supernatural intrudes -- in that sense, think of it as an adult version of Harry Potter!) and her clients are often the supernatural creatures themselves. And it does a surprisingly good job of creating a sense of a sub-culture comprised of various strange and mysterious beings. It's atmospheric and the cast is solid all around, including the supporting players and even with memorable guest stars (like Aron Tager as a Dark Fae bookie) -- Silk is good, though ironically, Solo and Holden-Ried are arguably more the scene stealers ("Bo" maybe too much of a blandly generic character). Silk had earlier guest starred in an atypically racy episode of Being Erica playing a lesbian that got a lot of notice (well, as much notice as the modestly rated Being Erica gets). This series had a strong pilot, had a few middling (but not terrible) episodes, but seems to have found its footing quite well, mixing quips with drama, mystery with action (fantasy and SF being a genre too easily mucked up by creators who don't really "get" it). Some aspects are a bit forced (succubus or not, why would a drifter/ex-bartender suddenly prove such a natural private eye?) and yeah, the sex stuff can be a bit self-conscious...and sophomoric (it's not actually that sensual or erotic) but look past that...and it's an above average genre series. Created by Michelle Lovretta. Best bets: the one about the gambling den. Hour long episodes. - sexual content; violence; brief nudity-  

LOST IN THE BARRENS   * * *  setting: Man.
(1990) Nicholas Shields, Evan Adams, Lee J. Campbell, Graham Greene, Marianne Jones.....Preppie (Shields), in the '30s, is forced to live with his trapper uncle (Campbell) when his trust fund runs dry.  Once there, he finds himself befriending a native youth (Adams) when they become lost in the wilderness.  Good, youth-oriented made-for-TV drama has lots of twists and thrills, though little is expanded upon.  The two leads are good.  Followed by Curse of the Viking Grave.  sc: Keith Leckie (from the novel by Farley Mowat). dir: Michael Scott. 96 min.

Lost Innocence see Short Films

LOST SOULS   * *  setting: USA.
(1998) (/Luxombourg/U.S.) John Savage, Barbara Sukowa, Richard Lintern, Laura Harling, Nicolas Deigman.....An American family moves into a rural home where their autistic daughter begins communing with the spirits of two murdered children...leading the dad (American Savage) to suspect the killer is still out there.  Made-for-U.S. TV suspenser starts out seeming a pretty generic haunted house story, then throws in a few off beat ideas (like the autistic daughter and a mechanical device that channels ghosts) but not enough to compensate for implausible behavior and the fact that the director doesn't seem to know how to make things scarey.  sc: Scott Peters. dir: Jeff Woolnough. app. 90 min.

(2007) (/U.S.)  Michael Shanks, JR Bourne, Shannen Doherty, Heather Doerkson, Duncan Fraser, Toby Berner, Peter New, Alan C. Peterson, Byron Chief Moon.....In the 1800s, a group of American archaeologists head off into the Arizona desert in search of a lost off shoot of the Aztecs after a previous expedition vanished a few weeks earlier. Ignoring a weak title that sounds like a Disney movie, on one hand this TV movie should be a cheesily fun, Old School mix of adventure and supernatural horror. The fact that it's a period piece suggests a certain sincerity on the part of the makers (as opposed to just a being a generic quickie), and the script actually tries to give personalities to each of the ensemble, even quirkily so (Shanks, though the hero, is a slightly prissy bookworm) and Shanks, Bourne and Fraser (as Doherty's missing dad) are solid enough performers (though others are more uneven). But even the promising aspects are weighed down by a lot of scenes (particularly as it goes along) that as written and directed just seem disjointed, confused or nonsensical (a curious hallmark of these kind of films) or as if they just gave up trying! Occasional bits of brutal violence (albeit with unconvincing effects) also interfere with it just being seen as a good natured throwback. Too bad. sc: Clay Carmouche. dir: Farhad Mann. - extreme violence,- app. 90 min.

THE LOST WORLD  * * *  setting: other
(1993) (/U.K.) John Rhys-Davies, David Warner, Eric McCormack, Nathania Stanford, Darren Peter Mercer, Tamara Gorski, Geza Kovacs.....In 1912, an expedition goes to Africa in search of a lost prehistoric world.  If you can forgive cheesy-looking (and spartan) dinosaurs, and instead enjoy good dialogue, a cast that's game, and a hard-working score by Lawrence Shragge, then this lighthearted and evocative version of the famous novel (with updated sensibilities and relocated) might do the trick.  Hokey at times, but engaging fun for the young...and the young at heart.  Followed by Return to the Lost World (made simultaneously).  Filmed, in part, in Zimbabwe. The Lost World has been filmed at least twice before (once as a silent film) and also done as an audio production, and Canadians took two more stabs at it a few years later in 1998 with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World and in 1999 with the identically named Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (which was a pilot for the TV series).  sc: Peter Welbeck (from the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). dir: Timothy Bond. - violence.- 98 min.

THE LOST WORLD (1998)  a.k.a. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

THE LOST WORLD (1999)  a.k.a. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

THE LOST WORLD (TV Series)  a.k.a.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

THE LOTUS EATERS   * * 1/2  setting: B.C.
(1993) R.H. Thomson, Sheila McCarthy, Aloka McLean, Michele Barbara Pelletier, Frances Hyland, Paul Soles, Tara Frederick, Andrea Libman, Gabe Khouth.....Story of the various members of a family in a small B.C. town in the '60s, including the school principal father (Thomson) who has an affair with an attractive new teacher (Pelletier).  Nicely eccentric comedy-drama is amusing and off-beat, but though very well-acted, the characters never come into the audience just observes, but never becomes involved.  Still, a nice try at a British kind of quirkiness.  sc: Peggy Thompson. dir: Paul Shapiro. - brief male and female nudity.- 102 min.

LOUIS CYR: L'homme le plus fort du monde    * * 1/2   setting: CDN./USA./other
(2013) Antoine Bertrand, Guillaume Cyr, Rose-Maïté Erkoreka, Gilbert Sicotte, Eliane Gagnon, Gil Bellows, Cliff Saunders, Léa Thouin, Naomi La.....Story of Louis Cyr (Bertrand), born an impoverished French-Canadian in the late 19th Century but whose superhuman strength and endurance led him to becoming a celebrated strongman and circus performer, some of whose records remain unbeaten even today! Good-looking, handsomely mounted drama (budgeted at $8.5 million, expensive by Canadian standards). It boasts solid scenes, a dramatic score by Jorane, and good performances all around, with Bertrand an engaging lead. Yet you can maybe find yourself wondering where the story is in this chronicle of his life, dramatizing minor incidents, and frequent re-enactments of his physical prowess. That can be the problem with bio-pics and docudramas: real life doesn't necessarily provide convenient narrative hooks or plot twists (or comic relief), and without the filmmakers themselves fleshing out the supporting characters much. And, funnily, it leaves out what might have made interesting little episodes (like his apparently brief work as a police man). It's maybe a bit self-important for a drama about a guy who could lift heavier things than other people, and at just over two hours, maybe longer than the material demands. Still, a likeable, empathetic movie. English title: Louis Cyr: The Strongest Man in the World. sc: Sylvain Guy (inspired by the book Louis Cyr, une épopée légendaire by Paul Ohl). by dir: Daniel Roby. 130 min.

LOUIS 19, LE ROI DES ONDES   * *  setting: P.Q.
(1994) (/France) Martin Drainville, Agathe de la Fontaine, Dominique Michel .....An average nobody (Drainville) wins a contest to have his day-to-day life broadcast live 24 hours a day on TV, resulting in the expected perks and problems.  This comedy was a smash hit in Quebec, but it's difficult to see why.  Obvious and repetative, it puts its cliched commentary on the TV/viewer relationship ahead of story or character.  Sparodically amusing, but similar ideas have been done...better.  The biggest laughs come before the opening credits!  English title: Louis the 19th, King of the Airwaves.  It was remade by Hollywood in 1999 as "Ed TV".  sc. Emile Goudreault, Sylvie Bouchard and Michel Michaud (from an original screenplay by Goudreault, Bouchard). d. Michel Poulette. 93 min.

LOUIS THE 19th, KING OF THE AIRWAVES see Louis 19, le roi des ondes

LOUISIANA see Louisiana (TVMS)

LOUISIANA (TVMS)   * *  setting: USA./other
(1984) (/France) Margot Kidder, Ian Charleson, Len Cariou, Lloyd Bochner, Andrea Ferreol..... Woman (Kidder) returns to her plantation home in the 1800s to find herself poor, but schemes her way through trouble and two (count 'em, two) civil wars.  If you can stomach yet un autre glossy American Civil War drama, this one is better done than some...but hardly fresh or original.  Also a feature film, available on video, which, reportedly, is darn near incomprehensible.  6 hours.  sc: Charles Israel, Dominique Fabre, Etienne Perier (from two novels by Maurice Denuziere). dir: Philippe DeBroca.

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