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.

POCAHONTAS: The Legend * *
(1995) Sandrine Holt, Miles O'Keefe, Tony Goldwyn, Gordon Tootoosis, Billy Merasty, David Hemblen, Billy Two-Rivers, Samaya Jardey, Bucky Hill, George Buza.....Story of how the Indian princess Pocahontas (Holt) saved the life of Englishman John Smith (the very American O'Keefe) in 1607 Virginia...spruced up with romance and political machinations among both Indians and whites. Film was made to coincide with (cash in on?) Walt Disney's animated version of the same story...and is about as accurate (the real girl was only 12 and called Matoaka: "Pocahontas" was a nickname). Excrutiatingly bad in some respects with poor directing, editing, and some of the writing, while just middling in other ways. Wildly uneven performances (American Goldwyn plays his villain part to the hilt -- unfortunately he's a homophobic cliche). Eurasian Holt is still looking for that good part in a good movie to prove whether she's as talented as she is beautiful...unfortunately, this isn't it. sc: Donald Martin, Daniele J. Suissa. dir: Daniele J. Suissa. - violence, brief female nudity.- 103 minn.

THE POET a.k.a. Hearts of War

LE POIL DE LA BETE * * 1/2 setting: P.Q.
(2010) Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge, Viviane Audet, Gilles Renaud, Patrice Robitaille, Antoine Bertrand, Mirianne Brule, Sebastien Huberdeau.....In rural 17th Century Quebec, a fugitive (Lemay-Thivierge) takes on the identity of a dead priest, unaware he was reknowned as a werewolf hunter, and arrives in a small community just as it is being plagued by monsters in the night. A nice, likeable little effort, but the movie does suffer a bit from an uncertain tone. Often seeming more like a light comedy than a horror or adventure thriller (though becomes more of that toward the end), and often as much about secondary plots (like some eligible bachelorettes in the area) as anything to do with werewolves. Because of that, the movie can be fun as it takes a few twists and turns, and you wait to see where it's all headed...but that very lack of a consistent tone means it never fully gels into a smooth whole. Plus, suffers from a few plot gaps and inconsistent characterization, notably with the lead whose actions at times seem dictated by the needs of the plot rather than his character. English title: The Hair of the Beast. sc: Stephane J. Bureau, Pierre Daudelin. dir: Philippe Gagnon. - violence.- 92 min.

THE POLACK  see Le Pollock

LE POLLOCK (TVMS)  * * 1/2  setting: CDN./other
(1999) Rafal Walentowicz, Elyse Marquis, Micheline Lanctot, Jean Besre, Patrick Labbe, Caroline Dhavernas, Kgor Ovadis, Anna Kolerov.....Story of a Polish immigrant (Walentowicz) who comes to Canada in the first half of the 20th Century for work, intending to stay only temporarily, but finds it becomes his life, and his efforts to make a living, struggles with poverty, and the prejudice he encounters, particularly when he falls in love with a French-Canadian (Marquis) much to the outrage of her bigoted mother (Lanctot). Romantic drama is very much of the slice-of-life mold, meaning there aren't many surprise revelations, flamboyant story twists, or melodramatic turns (though there is some lapsing into hokiness). And for a story that's all about the characters, it can sometimes leave you feeling as if you aren't really getting all you need from the supporting characters, even Marquis (while, at the same time, seeming to repeat other scenes over again). The leads are ingratiating enough, and it's not unappealing, particularly if you're into low-key realism, but would've been better at half the length. 6 hours (though it's choppy in spots leading one to wonder if the original, French version was even longer). Aired in English on Showcase. English title: The Polack and running 6 hours (with commercials). sc: Claire Wojas. dir: Robert Menard. - casual male nudity.-

POLTERGEIST: The Legacy * 1/2 setting: USA./other
(1996) (/U.S.) Derek de Lint, Martin Cummins, Robbi Chong, Helen Shaver, Patrick Fitzgerald, Alexandra Purvis, Jordan Bayne, William Sadler, Daniel Pilon, W. Morgan Sheppard, Sandrine Holt.....A U.S. team, working for a secret society dedicated to combating supernatural evil, sets off for Ireland to retrieve a centuries old chest, unaware the evil spirit inside has plans of its own involving an American widow (Shaver). Pilot for the TV series was slow going with expensive but ultimately ho-hum f/xs and a script that seemed kind of haphazard. All in all, not an auspicious debut. The original version, broadcast on a U.S. specialty channel, was edited before arriving on Canadian screens, though still warranting an extreme violence warning. sc: Brad Wright (story Richard B. Lewis). dir: Stuart Gillard. - extreme violence.- app. 90 min.

POLTERGEIST: The Legacy (TV Series)

(1996-2000) (/U.S.) * 1/2 Derek de Lint ("Derek Rayne"), Martin Cummins ("Nick Boyle"), Robbi Chong ("Alex Moreau"), Helen Shaver ("Rachel Corrigan"), Daniel J. Travanti ("William Sloan") (2nd-), with Patrick Fitzgerald ("Philip Callaghan"), Alexandra Purvis ("Kat Corrigan").....Horror/thriller about a millennia-old association that combats supernatural evil, currently under the guise of the Luna Foundation, and focusing on the members of a San Francisco-based chapter...some of whom had vaguely defined flashes of psychic insight when dealing with the supernatural. De Lint played the leader; Shaver a psychiatrist new to the group; Cummins a brooding tough guy and ex-Navy SEAL; Chong a researcher. American actor Travanti appeared from time to time starting in the 2nd season as the head of the London branch who tended to butt heads with the others. Fitzgerald cropped up from time to time as a troubled priest and Purvis played Shaver's young daughter.

This expensive-looking TV series, which had no real connection to either the U.S. "Poltergeist" movies nor a couple of horror films called "The Legacy", suffers from painfully bland protagonists played by competent but, ultimately, rather bland actors and, for the most part, cliched, poorly developed stories. Made by the same people behind the revival of The Outer Limits, it suffered from similar problems: big production values -- special effects, a (sometimes overwhellming) score -- but little insight into the finer points of mood, characterization or storytelling. Friday The 13th: The Series was a cheaper but more successful stab at a similar theme. Ironically, a lot of critics dumped on the series as just a cheesy, schlocky horror show -- yeah, we wish! One problem was that the series steadfastly refused to be just entertainment, and instead was drearily pompous and self-important (without providing any telling insight into the Human Condition to justify such an attitude), not realizing you can be meaningful and entertaining at the same time. And wouldn't you think that a partly Canadian series set in the United States with Dutch, Irish and British characters could have made at least one of the characters Canadian??? (Most of the actors were Canadian, but the characters they played weren't).

Made for a cable station in the States but, unlike The Outer Limits or The Hitchhiker, no Canadian cable station picked it up, so of the only episodes ever aired in Canada, some were edited for content when shown on CTV. Even then, CTV dropped it after only the first year (even substituting reruns of Street Justice to fill out the '96-'97 season), so that even though it continued in production, I'm not sure the last few seasons of first run episodes were ever carried on any Canadian station (though syndicated reruns have since aired on some Canadian stations). Created by Richard B. Lewis. Two seasons of hour-long episodes were Okayed before the double-length pilot (reviewed separately) had even aired!

LE POLYGRAPHE * * 1/2 setting; P.Q./Germany
(1996) (/France/Germany) Patrick Goyette, Marie Brassard, Peter Stormare, Marie De Medeiros, Josee Deschenes, Richard Frechette, James Hyndman.....Story of a man (Goyette), still stigmatized by being a suspect a year after his girlfriend's murder, whose neighbour friend (Brassard) has landed a role in a movie based on the case, and she's dating an East German defector (Stormare) still dealing with the emotional repercussions of his past...while Goyette's character is preparing his thesis on Cold War politics and the Berlin wall. Interesting drama has some strong scenes (the opening scene involving the titular lie detector test; a mid-film scene between Goyette and De Medeiros -- the first to fully address the murder), and some stylish scenes, albeit of a style-for-the-sake-of-style variety. But it also has scenes, and motivation, that just get lost in arty pretensions. The threads are reasonably intriguing (including the film within a film, and a half hearted attempt to be a mystery, with the killer's identity eventually revealed) but like a lot of similar films, the very plurality of plot threads means few are developed fully, and the parts don't coalesce into a whole. A movie that wants us to believe it's heavy on sub-text and symbolism...but is it? (like just what is the thematic significance of the lie detector that it warrants being the title?) In French and English, with some German. a.k.a. The Polygraph. sc: Robert LePage, Marie Brassard, Michael MacKenzie, Patrick Goyette. dir: Robert LePage. - male nudity, partial female nudity.- 93 min.

POMPEII  * *  setting: other
(2014) (/Germany/U.S.) Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Jessica Lucas, Currie Graham, Sasha Roiz, Joe Pingue.....Story of a Celtic gladiator (Harington), the Roman senator (Sutherland) who murdered his family, and a young noblewoman (Browning) in Pompeii in the days leading up to the infamous volcanic eruption. Two-parts Roman gladiator movie and one-part disaster flick is expensive and certainly has lavish sets, costumes and effects (particularly in the final Act conflagration) -- though strangely still looks a bit like a high end TV movie (well, a really, really high end TV movie). The filmmakers have clearly imbibed the cliches of these sorts of films (even borrowing music from the cable TV series, "Spartacus"!) but maybe too much so, because it all feels generic. Humourless, workman-like dialogue, one-dimensional characters, and despite the obligatory star-crossed romance and blood feuds, a thin plot that struggles to justify the running time. One of those movies that is well-enough put together that it's not really bad -- but you can find yourself watching to the end more out of habit than enthusiasm (and so will depend on what sort of mood you're in). Lucas, in a thankless part as the heroine's hand-maiden, might have made a more effective leading lady -- not only is she, arguably, prettier, but she also conveys a little more spunk (though that may be less Browning's fault than how she's being directed). Still, for a movie full of sword fights and apocalypse, it's largely a PG affair (perhaps surprising given director Anderson is known for the Resident Evil horror-action flicks). sc: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson. dir: Paul W.S. Anderson. - violence.- 105 min.

PONTYPOOL  * *   setting: Ont.
(2009) Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly, Hrant Alianak, voice of Rick Roberts.....The minimal staff of a tiny, snowed in radio station in the small town of Pontypool, including the slumming radio personality (McHattie), start getting reports of crazed mobs in the town and of people acting...strangely. A good -- minimalist -- cast and an intriguing -- minimalist -- scenario (much of the movie taking place in the one location), but is rendered uneven by its self-indulgent pretensions. It sort of wants to be a horror-thriller...and sort of wants to be an Arty drama, an abstract parable, and a comedy. And the various impulses, instead of enhancing the whole, sometimes trip each other up (tension undermined by the comedy and the lack of plausibility -- even by horror/zombie standards! -- without being that funny). To see how far afield the movie can wander stick around for the scene after the end credits! Some quite good scenes...but also some erratic ones, where latter half "revelations" are things we already knew, or where the characters behave inconsistently. And yet well drawn characters we can care about are the glue that could hold the disparate intentions together. It feels a bit like the filmmakers had some interesting, but vague ideas...and couldn't be bothered to develop, or integrate them. Still, there's something delightfully Canadian about it, from the winter setting, to the use of language duality (English/French) and it's nice to see McHattie in centre stage, and equally nice to see the too little seen Houle in a prominent role. Trivia note: McHattie and Houle are married in real life. A CBC Radio version was also produced. On the DVD commentary, Burgess and McDonald spend most of the time discussing the supposed sequels they're working on -- which one suspects was a protracted practical joke/spoof on the way so many modern genre films are conceived of as series; at this point, no sequel has been made and I don't think was ever seriously intended. sc: Tony Burgess (from his novel Pontypool Changes Everything). dir: Bruce McDonald. - extreme violence.- 96 min.

POOR BOY'S GAME  * * 1/2  setting: N.S.
(2008) Rossif Sutherland, Danny Glover, Flex Alexander, Greg Bryk, Laura Regan, Tonya Lee Williams, Stephen McHattie.....Released from prison after ten years for beating a fellow (black) teen to the point of brain damage, a white man (Sutherland, son of Donald) tries to readjust to his dysfunctional family, and is challenged to a boxing match by a friend of the crippled guy -- a boxing match everyone assumes will be a cover for revenge murder. But the ex-con finds an unlikely ally when the crippled guy's father (Glover), reluctantly offers to coach him. Drama is kind of hard to synopsize even as, paradoxically, it's a fairly simple plot. A movie rife with poweful, profound themes about the nature of redemption, forgiveness, family, race. But it needs to be a subtle, nuanced, sure footed exploration of those ideas...and sometimes is, but often isn't, resulting in a movie that you want to like a lot more than you can. (Even the boxing match concept is a bit iffy -- since it's refereed, how can everyone be sure it can be used for murder?) A nice performance from Glover, but too many of the characters aren't given enough shading -- and in a movie like this, the characters are what it's about. sc: Chaz Thorne, Clement Virgo. dir: Clement Virgo. - sexual content; violence.- 105 min.

Poor Super Man, the play by Brad Fraser, became the movie, Leaving Metropolis.

POOR TOM IS COLD  * * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(2004) (/U.K.) Peter Outerbridge, Kelley Harms, Flora Montgomery, Colm Meaney, Sean Sullivan, Deborah Pollitt, John Gilbert, Matthew MacFadzean, Chang Tseng, Kathleen Munroe, Jessica Greco, Albert Chung.....When a friend and fellow police officer is found dead, an apparent suicide, a prim but dogged Victorian Toronto detective (Outerbridge) suspects it was murder. Second Detective Murdoch Mystery, is professionally put together and an O.K. watch...without really being, perhaps, inspired. A nice use of period detail -- the hero, and his female medical examiner friend/romantic interest, are into employing the latest forensic sciences (while their superiors scoff at the notion of such things as "fingerprints") -- while being strangely vague about when, precisely, it's set. The hero is sympathetic without being that fascinating, and the mystery, though not without a clever twist or two, is likewise fairly prosaic, where the obligatory red herrings the character pursues for most of the story are less interesting than the real solution. And the filmmaker's basically give away the killer's identity by showing him too clearly during one scene! More expensive, but less fun, than The Great Detective. Like a number of the recent mystery TV movies that Canadians have made (from Joanne Kilbourn to Jinnah to others) it fails to entirely succeed as a movie, seeming more like just an episode of a series. sc: Cal Coons, Jean Greig, Janet MacLean (story Coons and Greig from the novel by Maureen Jennings). dir: Michael DeCarlo. - violence.- app. 90 min.

(2004).....Documentary chronicling almost a century of Canadian film. The topic has already been covered before in the documentaries Has Anyone Here Seen Canada? and Dreamland. but this is a fun addition. Instead of presenting its information in a dry, linear fashion, it hops around from period to period, from personality profile to looking at a film era, presenting its info in bite size instalments by doing a cheeky alphabet presentation ("A is for ..."). Doesn't maybe give you a full overview of the industry, but does offer some interesting little episodes, biographical sketches, and more. dir: Peter Rowe.

POPULATION / 436 * * setting: USA.
(2006) (/U.S.) Jeremy Sisto, Fred Durst, Charlotte Sullivan, Peter Outerbridge, RH Thomson, David Fox, Monica Parker, Frank Adamson.....An American census taker (Sisto) arrives in seeming idyllic (but sinister) mid-western town to investigate a statistical peculiarity -- the town has recorded the exact same population number (436) for generations. A decent enough cast in this suspense flick, with American actors Sisto and Durst (as an affable local deputy) pleasant enough, backed up by a solid, if largely under-utilized, Canadian cast (given people like Thomson used to actually star in movies!). But this kind of horror flick is all about the mood, the creeping sense something And it's a style that can too easily tip too far one way or the other...and this can be a bit heavy handed, in the writing and direction. But the real problem is the basic concept is pretty cliched -- and not enough is done to freshen the cliches (though will doubtless play better for those unfamiliar with similar tales). The hero is pretty generic, the town pretty familiar, its secret pretty straightforward. and the ending pretty much what you could guess. It's not that it's a bad movie, just not good enough in any one area to completely over come the flaws. Still, on a slow night... sc: Michael Kingston. dir: Michelle MacLaren. - sexual content.- 89 min.

PORKY'S * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1981) Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Tony Ganios, Kaki Hunter, Mark Herrier, Kim Cattrall.....Hijinks of a group of Florida high school buddies in the '50s, revolving around their frustrated pursuit of sex. Usual -- though slightly raunchier -- "humour" of a teen sex comedy mixes with a more thoughtful storyline involving racism. Not as badly acted as most of its type, but so what? This was one of the highest grossing Canadian films ever. Followed by one Canadian sequel and one American one. sc./dir: Bob Clark. - male and female nudity, violence, sexual content.- 94 min.

PORKY'S II: The Next Day * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1983) Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Mark Herrier, Roger Wilson, Cyril O'Reilly, Tony Ganios, Kaki Hunter, Scott Colomby.....Sequel follows the same formula (minus full frontal female nudity this time) with rambling scenes of pranks and a serious subplot: this time about racism and censorship. Film won't win any new fans, but might appeal to those who liked the first one. sc: Roger E. Swaybill, Alan Ormsby, Bob Clark. dir: Bob Clark. - male nudity and partial female nudity, sexual content.- 95 min.

LES PORTES TOURNANTES * * 1/2 setting: P.Q.
(1988) (/France) Monique Spaziani, Gabriel Arcand, Miou Miou, Francois Methe, Remy Girard, Jean-Louis Roux.....A woman (Spaziani) sends her diary -- detailing something of her early life -- to the introverted son (Arcand) she never knew and it has a healing effect on both him and his cool relationship with his own son. Inoffensive and warmly filmed drama (especially the flashbacks) but the story is missing a lot of meat. Won two Genies including Best Supporting Actor (Girard) and Costume Design. English title: The Revolving Doors. sc: Jacques Savoie, Francis Mankiewicz (from Savoie's novel). dir: Francis Mankiewicz. 100 min.

PORTION D'ETERNITE * 1/2 setting: P.Q.
(1990) Danielle Proulx, Marc Messier, Patricia Nolen, Paul Savoie, Gilles Pelletier.....After a young couple dies, ethical questions arise over what to do with their still frozen embryos, particularly when the lab involved is doing questionable research. Earnest, valid film faulters because it's really two movies, two stories, and because it fails to function as an interesting drama. English title: Longing for Eternity. sc./dir: Robert Favreau. - partial female nudity, sexual content.- 101 min.

(1992) Alan Scarfe, Barbara March, Gwynyth Walsh, Gabrielle Rose, Serge Houde.....Rougish painter (Scarfe), needing money to pay off debts to his ex-wife (Rose) and mistress (Walsh), considers agreeing to do a banal portrait for a wealthy woman (March). Dull drama suffers from murky, unconvincing characters and performances that never bring out the heart of the roles (though Walsh, inparticular, tries hard). And for a film all about artistic integrity, truth, relationships, etc., there's no fire here. Best part is the art lectures. sc./dir: Jack Darcus. - partial female nudity, sexual content.-- 90 min.

PORTRAIT FOR MURDER  a.k.a. The Rendering

POSERS  * 1/2  setting: CDN.
(2003) Jessica Pare, Sarain Boylan, Stefanie von Pfetten, Emily Hampshire, Adam Beach.....Three sociopathic, nihilistic, club hopping girlfriends (plus Jessica Paré as the fourth, slightly less nihilistic one) are responsible for a death -- and when one of their pack subsequently goes missing, possibly murdered, they suspect someone is after them...and maybe even is one of their number. Style-heavy flick seems to be trying to be so many things: a suspense film, a dark comedy, a social drama about lost, nihilistic young people, and even a romance (with Beach as the cop investigating). It lurches about from one idea to the next, missing almost all the targets it's set for itself. The almost non-stop voice-over seems like it could've been a post-production band-aid, to try and provide context and depth to scenes that, otherwise, have none. sc./dir: Katie Tallo. - violence.- 80 min.

(1995) (/U.S.) Stephen Lang, Sheila McCarthy, Michael Riley, Roger Rees, Phylicia Rashad, Ron Lea, Don Francks, Tracey Cook.....Strange fires and mood swings worry an American family (Lang and McCarthy) that he may be possessed, so they turn to a parapsychologist (Riley). So-so made-for-TV flick might play better if you've never seen similar supernatural suspensers before, otherwise it just covers well-tilled ground without adding much freshness in terms of story, characters or mood, while falling into the usual pittfalls. Rees and Rashad (imported with Lang from Hollywood) have just one scene each. Supposedly based on a true story. sc: Ronald Parker. dir: Michael Kennedy. 89 min.

(2000) Tilda Swinton, Tom McCamus, Sean McCann, Gabriel Gascon, Rick Miller.....A man (McCamus) is found murdered, and while police investigate, he seems to be living out parallel existences with different variations of the same woman (Swinton). Fantasy drama seems like something that might've made an intriguing half-hour "Twilight Zone" episode, expanded to movie length. But it's thin for a movie and the pretentious Art House presentation means it's uninvolving; slow moving, and with undefined characters who often don't really behave in a way that seems plausible. And by the end, even literal questions raised by the investigation go unanswered! Received Genies for Editing and Art Direction. sc: John Mighton (from his play). dir: Robert Lepage. 92 min.

POST MORTEM  * * *  setting: P.Q.
(1999) Gabriel Arcand, Sylvie Moreau, Helene Loiselle, Sarah Lecompte- Bergeron, Vittorio Rossi.....Story of a single mom (Moreau) who makes her living illicitly, and a strange introvert (Arcand) who becomes embroiled in her situation. O.K., I'm being intentionally vague, but this is the kind of movie where the less you know going in, the more effective it is. Off-beat flick admittedly can lag periodically, but it's directed with confidence and has a script that consistently zigs left when you expect it to zag right. Mayhap, not for those easily put off by, um, unorthodox concepts, but the surprise turns make it worth a watch. In French. sc./dir: Louis Belanger. - female nudity, male nudity, sexual content.- 92 min.

LA POSTIERE  * * 1/2 setting: P.Q.
(1992) Chloe Sainte-Marie, Nicolas-Francois Rives, Steve Gendron, Michele Richard, Michele Barrette, Jerome Lemay, Roger Giguere, Louise Forestier, Marzia Bartolucci, Alain Olivier Lapointe.....Story of the eccentric inhabitants of a small town in the '30s, their various pursuits of love, and their attempts to prevent a Hydro-Electric project. Quirky, well-acted comedy is entertaining and at times delightfully off-the-wall, but it's not substantial enough to really make it riveting. English title: The Postmistress. sc: Gilles Carle with Jean-Marie Esteve. dir: Gilles Carle. - partial female nudity, sexual content.- 93 min.


POUVOIR INTIME * * setting: P.Q.
(1986) Jacques Godin, Marie Tifo, Pierre Curzi, Jean-Louis Millette, Robert Gravel, Eric Brisebois, Yvan Ponton.....Thieves (headed by Godin) try to rob an armoured truck for a mysterious government official, but disaster results when a guard becomes locked inside. Handsome but unremarkable and uninvolving thriller suffers from a seemingly morally ambivalent point of view. English title: Blind Trust. sc: Yves Simoneau, Pierre Curzi. dir: Yves Simoneau. - violence.- 86 min.

POWER GAMES * setting: USA.
(1990) Macha Grenon, Richard Zeman, Lana Higgins, Marc Ruel, Sam Stone, Kenneth W. Roberts, Griffith Brewer.....Group of U.S. teen survivalists and their instructors start getting killed off by an unknown assailant during a war games excercise. Some decent performances and some not so decent performances in this good-looking but pretty awful thriller. sc: Jean-Marc Felio (adapted from the original work "Aunt Sally's Camp" by Bruno Philip, Pierre Bastien, Michel Bougie, Harry Standjfoski). dir: Mychel Arsenault. - violence.- 84 min.

POWER OF ATTORNEY  * * setting: USA.
(1995) Danny Aiello, Elias Koteas, Rae Dawn Chong, Roger Wilson, Nina Siemaszko.....A former U.S. prosecutor (Koteas) goes into private practice for a ritzy firm and finds himself wooed into defending a suspected mob boss (imported Aiello). Middling crime melodrama has some O.K. ideas, but they remain largely unfleshed-out and the direction is sluggish. Once more, Chong has just a thankless part -- she's there basically to crop up in a couple of scenes, have sex, and then fade into the background. sc: George Erschbamer, Jeff Barmash (story Howard Himelstein, Roger Wilson). dir: Howard Himelstein. - partial female nudity, sexual content, violence.- 97 min.

POWER PLAY * * setting: other/USA.
(1978) (/U.K.) Peter O'Toole, David Hemmings, Donald Pleasence, Barry Morse, Jon Granik, George Touliatous.....An idealistic soldier (Hemmings) of an unnamed European country is persuaded to help plan a coup d'etat against the corrupt government. Great premise, but there's little suspense in this political suspenser and characterization (which is crucial) is minimal. a.k.a. State of Shock and Operation Overthrow. sc./dir: Martyn Burke (from the novel Coup d'Etat by Edward N. Luttwa). - violence, brief female nudity.- 102 minn.

(1998-2000) * * Michael Riley ("Brett Parker"), Kari Matchett ("Colleen Blessed"), Dean McDermott ("Mark Simpson"), Caterina Scorsone ("Michelle Parker"), Gordon Pinsent ("Duff McArdle"), with Lori Anne Alter ("Renata D'Alessandro"), Krista Bridges ("Rose Thorton"), others..... Serio-comic drama, with a dash of magic realism, about a high-powered New York sports agent (Riley) who inadvertently finds himself managing a Hamilton hockey team -- Hamilton, as it turns out, being his hometown. Ostensibly, he wants to purposefully mis-manage it, then sell, but finds himself conflicted as his long-buried "love of the game" resurfaces. Pinsent plays the eccentric team owner, who loved the game and the team, even as it cost him money. Matchett plays his business manager whose affection for "Duff" often led her to plan strategies against his wishes, but she felt were in his interest -- like also trying to sell the team. Thee relationship between Riley and Matchett provided the obligatory love-hate romantic tension. McDermott played the team captain. Scorsone, Riley's teen-aged daughter. Alter played Riley's secretary; Bridges a sports reporter for the local paper who, in the 2nd season, developed a romantic infatuation with Riley's character; real life sports commentator Cherry cropped up occasionally as the coach of a rival team.

Yet another series from the team of Glenn Laurin and William Davis (Once a Thief) reflecting their genuine talent for producing slick, oddly middle-of-the-road efforts. Cute (without being funny), serious (without being dramatic), character driven (without the characters being particularly ingratiating) it's a series that isn't really bad...but isn't really good, either. Perhaps the most appealing thing about it is its unabashed Canadianess (unusual for Laurin and Davis) and in-jokes, from Pinsent watching reruns of Quentin Durgens, M.P. (a series Pinsent starred in...and if it actually had ever been rerun in the last ten years, I might've seen it, and been able to include a review on this site) to using Stompin' Tom Connors "The Good Ol' Hockey Game" as the theme song. Like previous hockey series (He Shoots, He Scores) and movies (Net Worth) this attempt at wooing hockey fans with sports-themed fiction failed to draw the expected crossover viewers. Good cast, particularly Riley and Pinsent and the much underappreciated Bridges. This series had the dubious distinction of being picked up as a mid-season try-out series by a fledgling U.S. network, UPN, where it, supposedly, garnered the lowest ratings in U.S. history! Two seasons of hour-long episodes on CTV.

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