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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.

Ready for Slaughter  * *  setting: CDN.
(1982) Gordon Pinsent, Diana Belshaw, Booth Savage, Layne Coleman, Pat Cull, Mavor Moore.....A stubborn beef farmer (Pinsent) finds himself pushed to action when the bank starts withdrawing its support. Hour-long drama suffers from the over-familarity of the material which is unenlivened by the competent, but unexceptional, treatment. Made for For the Record. sc: Roy MacGregor. dir: Allan Winton King.


(1993-1998)  * * 1/2  Laura Bertram ("Amanda"), Lani Billard ("Busy"), others.....Family drama about the exploits of two girls, best friends, just entering puberty.

This TV series is intelligent, very well-written, acted, directed, etc. But it's too earnest and high-minded. A show you watch more because you're supposed to, rather than because you want to. Still, it demonstrated considerable staying power...though whether due to actual ratings, or simply critical support, in Canada it's hard to say. Half-hour episodes on Global.

THE REAL HOWARD SPITZ * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1999) (/U.K.) Kelsey Grammer, Amanda Donohoe, Genevieve Tessier, Joseph Rutten, Patrick McKenna, Kay Tremblay.....Down-on-his-luck, crotchety American detective writer (American Grammer) realizes there's better money in writing children's books, and grudgingly befriends a precocious young girl (Tessier) -- she agrees to tell him what kids want in a story if he tracks down her real father. Comedy delivers some real laughs, and has genuine heart, but the story's got so many different elements (including a tentative romance with the mother, played by import Donohoe in a relatively small part, and the hiring of McKenna to pretend to be him for public appearances) that should make for a rich tapestry, but instead seems like it can't decide what it wants. Even whether it's a family film or, with Grammer's occasional cussing, aimed at an older audience. Still, sweet-tempered and boasts its share of chuckles. Grammer's good, Tessier's cute as a button, and there are some memorable supporting turns from Rutten as his agent and Tremblay as a rival children's author. One of those "Canadian" movies that adamantly pretends it's set in the States...but has Canadian flags popping up in the backgrounds! sc: Jurgen Wolff. dir: Vadim Jean. 101 min.

REAPER  * *  setting: USA.
(1998) Chris Sarandon, Catherine Mary Stewart, Vlasta Vrana, Joanna Noyes, James Bradford, Gillian Ferrabee.....After retreating to a small Maine town with writer's block, a controversial writer of lurid thrillers (American Sarandon) becomes suspected in a series of sex-murders. Stewart plays the out-of-town criminal expert and Vrana the local Sheriff. Thriller has nice performances from the principals and a clever climax, but suffers from too little inbetween and is a little dumb too often. sc: Vincent Monton, Matt Dorff. dir: John Bradshaw. - violence, brief female nudity.- 93 min.

REASONABLE DOUBT  * * 1/2   setting: USA.
(2014) (/Germany/U.S.) Dominic Cooper, Samuel L. Jackson, Gloria Reuben, Ryan Robbins, Erin Karpluk, Dylan Taylor.....An American District Attorney (British actor Cooper) flees the scene of a hit-and-run, becoming guilt ridden when another man (American actor Jackson) is charged with the crime, but he soon suspects not everything is as it seems. Theatrical thriller seems a bit like some Lifetime TV movie -- complete with some tinny dialogue, albeit with a brisker, snappier pace that keeps it from lagging. The problem is that although it has a few plot twists and turns -- most of them you can see coming, relying upon too many generic "suspense movie" cliches. Some of the plotting is thought through, and other times it feels a bit loose and ad hoc. A solid performance from Jackson, though maybe a problem is Cooper's character never really becomes engaging (despite the story working hard to make him a decent guy, despite his lapses). As I say: for a motion picture it feels like a quickie made-for-TV programmer. Though if taken on that lower level, a passable time killer. sc: Peter A. Dowling. dir: Peter P. Croudins. - violence.- 91 min.

Reasonable Force  * * *  setting: B.C.
(1982) Deepa Mehta, Doug Greenall, Michael Dyson, Lee Taylor, Abdul Merali, David Peterson.....Story of a Sikh woman (Mehta) and her family and the increasingly violent racism they face from members of the white community. Effective hour long drama. Mehta is, of course, better known as a director these days. Made for For the Record. sc: Brian Kit McLeod, Peter Lower. dir: Peter Rowe.

RECIPE FOR REVENGE  * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1999) Kim Huffman, Alex Carter, Hugh Thompson, Jocelyn Cunningham, Shannon Lawson, Corbin Bernsen.....An American caterer (Huffman), who witnessed a murder, gets a round-the-clock police bodyguard (Carter) when someone starts stalking her. Romantic-drama (semi-comedy, quasi-suspenser) is passable if you're in an undemanding mood, but like a lot of the Harlequin films, it's not really enough of anything (comedy, thriller, romance) to be anything more. Lots of plot-holes (like why can't the cops trace the phone calls?) and an offensive, cliched, stalker. sc: Peter Lauterman, Jennifer Black (from the novel by Kristen Gabriel). dir: Stacey Stewart Curtis. - sexual content.- app. 90 min.

(1984) (/U.S.) Tess Harper, Leslie Nielson, Frank Adamson, Ronnie Cox, Sean McCann, Kate Lynch.....Crusading lawyer (Harper) takes on an American TV news magazine and its chief reporter (Nielsen) which mistakenly claimed that her client, a Doctor (Adamson), was involved in the illegal selling of drugs. Uninvolving made-for-TV drama picks up slightly in the court-room, but not enough. An unexpected ending is its only real virtue. sc: Charlie Haas. dir: Harvey Hart. 95 min.

RECOMMENDATION FOR MERCY  * 1/2  setting: Ont.
(1975) Andrew Skidd, Robb Judd, Mike Upmalis, Karen Martin, Michele Fansett, Jim Millington, Jack Zimmerman, Terry Doyle.....A teen-age boy (Skidd) is accused and rail-roaded in the brutal rape-murder of a friend. Drama is obviously based on the notorious Steven Truscott-Lynn Harper case (though an opening blurb assures us this is a fictionalization) and is undoubtedly well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it's hamstrung by a low-budget clunkiness and disjointedness -- often it's hard to tell how scenes relate to each other (confusion only added to by the fact that some of the scenes are characters imagining things that didn't necessarily happen). Has some decent scenes (particularly with Millington -- better known years later as the anchorman in E.N.G. -- as the boy's dad), but too often the movie is about the events, not the people. Probably a bit confusing if you aren't already familiar with the real life case...and a little boring if you are, particularly toward the end, as you know how it will end. Some explicit nudity seems not entirely justified. Curiously, despite the plethora of "shocking true stories" that have become the bread and butter of Canadian TV, this is the only attempt at tackling the Truscott case, a story which, more than some, maybe warrants a dramatic examination. sc: Fabian Jennings, Joel Weisenfeld, Murray Markowitz. dir: Murry Markowitz. - female nudity, casual male nudity, violence.- 90 min.

(1990) Andrew Stevens, Heather Thomas, Christopher Plummer, Kim Coates, Lydie Denier.....Scientist (Stevens) goes to work for a research facility (headed by Plummer), only to discover that it's run by vampires. Question: how can you recognize a Canadian-made B-movie? Answer: it has the word "American" in the title. Weird and silly, as if it wants to be a cult-thing, but not weird enough. Not good enough to be good and not bad enough to be really bad. A narrow miss. Coates stands out. sc: Allan Moyle. dir: David Blyth. - partial female and male nudity, violence, sexual content.- 90 min.

RED DEER  * *  setting: Alt.
(2002) Amber Rothwell, James Hutson, Ioreya Montayne, Awaovieyi Agie, Michael Shultz, Joe Procyk, Matt Smith, Archalous Vassilian.....Ensemble about various quirky characters, most seeking love or connections, in a prairie city (presumably Red Deer, though it's not actually stated as such in the film itself). Modestly budgeted serio-comic flick is deliberately paced, and a bit too distractingly self-aware of its own familiar "Art House" stylistics, with lots of long shots and pregnant pauses, where most scenes (intentionally) are longer than they need to be, and every scene is played with the same, repetitive, understatedness and where it all "builds" to a kind of non-ending. Sometimes amusing, occasionally interesting, but just not enough so to really sustain itself. Best part, the tentative, awkward relationship that develops between a local girl (Rothwell) and a tourist (Agie) -- both well played. sc./dir: Anthony Couture. 107 min.

RED EARTH, WHITE EARTH* 1/2  setting: USA.
(1988) (/U.S.) Genevieve Bujold, Timothy Daly, Ralph Waite, Alberta Watson, Bill Merasty, Richard Farnsworth.....U.S. business man (Daly) returns to his mid-western home to find his parents (Bujold and Waite) separated and farmers and Indians fighting over land. TV movie is poorly written, directed and weakly acted (though Bujold and Waite are O.K.). Boring cliches overwhelm the more intriguing plot threads and the writer doesn't seem to understand the issues (or, at least, kind of glosses over some of them). Merasty's voice was dubbed. a.k.a. Snake Treaty. sc: Michael DeGuzman (from the novel by Will Weaver). dir: David Greene. 100 min.

RED EYES  see Les yeux rouges


(1991-2006)  * * *  Steve Smith ("Red Green"), Pat McKenna ("Harold"), Rick Green ("Bill") and (variously) Gordon Pinsent, Mark Wilson, Peter Keleghan, Bruce Hunter, Ian Thomas, many others.....Episodic comedy parodying "real men" type fishing and handyman shows with Smith as the acerbic, know-it-all (so he thinks) host and McKenna as his nerdy nephew. The format is a mix of, essentially, stand up, as each episode's narrative is basically supplied by "Red" delivering monologues to the audience relating to some event or other occuring around the lodge, interspersed with little recurring sketches of him looking in on other members of the cast, or reciting silly poems around a campfire, or -- in what is surely the series' signature concept -- building bizarre items out of junk and "the handyman's secret weapon"...duct tape! The rest of the cast play the assorted characters who hang out at Possum Lodge (where the motto is, "If all us fails, play dead."), such as Pinsent as a chronic liar and Green who appears in silent, black and white sketches.

Smith, probably one of this country's most overlooked treasures, stars in his fourth, and arguably best, independently produced comedy TV series, co-writing all the episodes with Green (who directs). The Red Green character had originally appeared in sketches in Smith and Smith and The Comedy Mill. A bit of trivia: when Rick Green first started work on the series as a writer, Smith couldn't afford to pay union wages, so Green used the pseudonym Enrico Gruen...a name Green later resurrected on Prisoners of Gravity. Initially made for CHCH, then in 1993 the series went national on YTV, then in 1994 jumped to CanWest-Global under the title The New Red Green Show, but the formula was left unchanged, and starting in 1997 has been shown on the CBC. Ironically, this genuine cult hit, sold to the U.S. and abroad, with fan clubs and spin-off merchandise, books, and everything, had to buy its timeslot on Global and sell the advertising time itself...because the Global executives still weren't convinced it could bring in an audience! For a time, with reruns airing on Showcase and American PBS stations as well as first run episodes on Global and/or the CBC, this was probably the most widly distributed series ever in Canada. It even spawned a feature film Duct Tape Forever. Half-hour episodes. 


RED HOT  * *  setting: other
(1993) (/U.S.) Balthazar Getty, Carla Gugino, Jan Niklas, Hugh O'Conor, George de la Pena, Jason Kristofer, Armin Meuller-Stahl, Donald Sutherland.....In the U.S.S.R. in 1959, a teen (Getty) gets a hold of outlawed American rock and roll records and decides to secretly form a band, while romancing the daughter (Gugino) of the local K.G.B. head (Canuck Sutherland, in a small part). Strangely passionless drama, with scenes that should be interesting but are just flat, and a lead character (and actor) who remains unmemorable. Kristofer is good as the hero's rebellious best friend. A poor man's "Swing Kids" (which didn't get rave reviews to begin with), but lacking that film's teeth...and scope. Filmed in Latvia. Most of the actors aren't Canadian. sc: Paul Haggis, Michael Maurer. dir: Paul Haggis. 96 min.

RED MACHINE  a.k.a. Grizzly

RED SCORPION 2  * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1994) Matt McColm, John Savage, Jennifer Rubin, Paul Ben-Victor, Michael Covert, Real Andrews, Michael Ironside, Duncan Fraser, George Touliatos..... A covert U.S. government team is assembled (shades of "The Dirty Dozen") to infiltrate and bring down a white supremecist group (led by Savage) at their fortified compound. What starts out as another low-budget shoot-'em-up shifts gears and actually turns into a real movie: fast-paced and emphasizing story and suspense over mindless gunplay (well, for the most part) with decent performances. And the anti-racism angle actually seems sincere. This "sequel" has very little relationship to its American predecessor. sc: Barry Victor, Troy Bolotnick (characters Arne Olsen). dir: Michael Kennedy. - violence, partial female and male nudity, sexual content.- 93 min.
RED SERGE  (TV Series) 

(1986)  * * 1/2  Terence Kelly ("Sgt. Wilkes"), Greg Ellwand ("Cpl. Calder"), C. David Johnson ("Const. Marsh"), David Matheson ("Const. Chamberlain"), Nicola Cavendish ("Lily Chadwick"), Brenda Robins ("Emma Chadwick"), Hilary Strang ("Maisie Chadwick"), Ed McNamara ("Abe Farwell").....Comedy/light-drama about a small garrison of Mounties in a barely fledgling village in Western Canada circa the late 1800s, and a family of American immigrant sisters who run a local homestead (Robins was the tomboy, Cavendish the mother hen, etc.) and the romantic entanglements that ensued. McNamara played the women's rascally surrogate father. 

TV series was an innocuous, "Family"-aimed series (there were no children in the cast, suggesting a slightly older target audience -- though kids could certainly relate to ssome of the more colourful characters like Robins and McNamara). Benefited from a good cast, some nice atmosphere and scenery, and a particularly effective musical score. Not great, nor liable to find favour among those looking for edgy or sophisticated material, but O.K. for what it was. Half hour episodes on the CBC. 

THE RED VIOLIN * *  setting: other/P.Q.
(1998) (/U.K./U.S./Italy) Samuel L. Jackson, Jean-Luc Bideau, Greta Scacchi, Jason Flemyng, Sylvia Chang, Colm Feore, Don McKellar, Julian Richings.....Story of a violin and the various people who possessed it down through the centuries. Lavish, expensive looking, but slow moving drama has been much praised, rendering a less-than-favourable review suspect...but here goes. The problem with an anthology made up of little stories is that you can end up with a sense that the filmmakers weren't putting much effort into any one episode. Most of the stories just aren't that interesting, or developed, and suffer from a real lack of focus. What's the point of the stories? Which character is each episode meant to be about? Written and directed with an Art House aloofness, the characters, too often, seem like abstractions, or ciphers, rather than what the drama should be about. The best stories are the one about a sickly child prodigy (though still suffering from thin development of the characters) and the final, and longest, segment -- a modern day one with American actor Jackson as an auction house authenticator (which also serves as the framing sequence). Though even it is too long. If you're in a forgiving mood, the exotic locations, and grandeur of the premise -- and occasional violin music -- might be enough. But if you're in a critical mood, the whole thing might seem just a tad pretentious...and lazy. Ultimately, McKellar and Girard's conceptual follow-up to Thirty Two short Films About Glenn Gould -- a movie made up of short stories set wiithin a musical milieu -- is disappointing. Set in various locales, with characters speaking German, Chinese, etc., probably two thirds of the film is sub-titled. Received eight Genie Awards, including for Best Picture, script and direction. sc: Don McKellar with Francois Girard. dir: Francois Girard. - sexual content, female nudity.- 130 min.

(1990) (/U.K.) Viggo Mortensen, Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Cooper, Sheila Moore, Duncan Fraser, David Longworth, Robert Koons.....On the U.S. prairies in the '50s, a psychotic kid (Cooper) thinks a local lady is a vampire while children are being killed by a molester. Creepy, David Lynchesque serio-comic drama has some good performances but revels in unpleasantness and plumbing the depths of tastelessness for over 90 minutes. Canada put money into this British-driven film (despite the blatantly American setting) so the British would help us make Perfectly Normal -- so who screwed who the most, eh? sc./dir: Philip Ridley. - extreme violence, casual male nudity.- 997 min.

(1987) John Anderson, Marek Cieszewski, Suzanne Ristic, Dermot Hennelly, Dennis Shooter.....Eccentric scientist (Anderson) resurrects a man in the body of a machine and complications arise. Some good ideas in this low-budget S-F comedy, but slow and only occasionally amusing. Rocker Art Bergmann has a bit part as a cemetery worker. sc./dir: Russell Stephens. 84 min.

REGENERATION * * 1/2  setting: other
(1997) (/U.K./Scotland) Jonathan Pryce, James Wilby, Jonny Lee Miller, Stuart Bunce, Tanya Allen, David Hayman, Dougray Scott, John Neville..... Story of various soldiers at a British military mental hospital during World War I, and the gentle doctor (Pryce) treating them. O.K., good-looking drama, though it's kind of episodic and doesn't really go anywhere, or say much in the last half that it didn't say in the first. Well-intentioned. Largely a British/Scottish film with minor Canadian participation (on screen, just Allen and Neville). Inspired by actual fact, with Wilby and Bunce as soldier poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, respectively. But it might've helped for the film to state that since, if you aren't familiar with poetry, you aren't going to realize that! sc: Allan Scott (from the novel by Pat Barker). dir: Gillies MacKinnon. 95 min. - violence, partial female nudity.-

(2004-2008)  * * 1/2  Peter Outerbridge ("Dr. David Sandstrom"), Maxim Roy ("Caroline Morrison") (-2nd), Conrad Pla ("Carlos Serrano"), Mayko Nguyen ("Mayko Tran"), Dmitry Chepovetsky ("Bob Melnikov"), Sarah Strange ("Jill Langston") (-2nd), Greg Bryk ("Winston Field"), Wendy Crewson ("Rachel Woods") (3rd-4th), with Geraint Wyn Davies ("Carleton Riddlemeyer") (3rd-4th), Karen LeBlanc ("Enuka Okimba") (4th) and with (variously in different seasons) Ellen Page ("Lilith Sandstrom") (1st), Mishu Vellani, Vincent Walsh, Rosemary Dunsmore, Marc Strange, Victor Garber.....Drama about the fictional NORBAC (North American Biological Advisory Committee), a Toronto-based, tri-national organization that investigates bio-hazards, outbreaks, terrorist threats, and radical medical research gone awry throughout Canada, The United States, and Mexico. Outerbridge plays the misanthropic-but-brilliant Canadian team leader and French-Canadian Roy their American bureaucratic overseer. Pla (as a gay Mexican), Nguyen, Chepovetsky (as a genius with Asperger's Syndrome) and S. Strange play various scientists. And Bryk their paperwork guy. A surprisingly dangerous profession, characters came and went...and were killed off! Later cast members added to the lab were Crewson and then LeBlanc. Wyn Davies played a U.S. government overseer possibly pursuing his own uncertain agendas (and was the ex-husband to Crewson's character). Supporting characters also came and went over the seasons, playing government bureaucrats, freelance scientists, or characters with rare conditions whose plot lines would be carried over multiple episodes. Page played "David"'s teen daughter...shortly before achieving Hollywood celebrity. Although the characters are multinational, being Americans, Canadians and Mexicans, all the actors are really Canadian. 

The American TV series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators", with its science n' methodology approach to a detective series, was so successful it could be argued it encouraged other producers to try more medical (as opposed to crime-based) versions of the formula, with the similarly titled "Medical Investigations", as well as "House" and, in Canada, ReGenesis. Though ReGenesis mixes up the formula, both in the storytelling (some stand alone plots...but many multi-issue arcs with sub-plots carrying over) and bordering on being a "science fiction" series, the incidents the characters investigate as much science speculation as science fact (plots involving cloning and gene splicing). ReGenesis is slick and stylish -- often using a trick wherein we follow a character through a scene...then the scene rewinds and we follow a separate character through a concurrent scene (though it does feel a bit, well, opposed to really enhancing the storytelling). It has a decent cast, what sounds like an exciting premise and, wonders of wonders, tackles its multi-national concept with an unapologetic Canadianness (NORBAC's political masters may seem largely based in Washington, but the characters are based in Toronto and many, including lead Outerbridge, are supposed to be Canadian). 

The results, though, are a tad uneven with characters who, at first, aren't all that interesting, or ingratiating (Pla comes across as the most likeable) -- writing flawed human beings is often a mark of good drama, but writing characters who you really don't care to spend much time with is a problem (a line, sneered by a character in an early episode, "what are you -- a retard?", perhaps illustrates this problem). This becomes doubly problematic given the series' strong soap opera content, exploring the characters' personal lives. As well, since most of the stories are solved by lab work, rather than leg work, it can make them a bit dry and academic, not necessarily delivering dramatic "climaxes" to plots or where we, the viewer, necessarily even understand the solution (particularly as the technobabble is often confusingly explained -- despite Roy and Byrk acting as the audiience's surrogate, requiring the science explained to them). The episodes are often not self-contained, with plots bleeding over more than one episode -- the whole first season is meant to form a mini-series-like arc. The first episode beginning with a dramatic scene...then flashing back six months when the series really "begins" and we don't get back to that opening scene until the season's penultimate episode! All of which can make it a bit hard to just drop in on and "sample" an episode or two to see if you like it. But it seems to get better if you stick with it, and the characters become a little more interesting and sympathetic as you get used to them. Put bluntly, after seeing a few episodes, I was prepared to give a negative review, but after committing myself to watching a number of episodes, in order, I've softened -- but still find it a mildly interesting series rather than a truly riveting, emotionally compelling one. Still, worth giving a try, both for its ambitious premise, and for -- as noted -- its unapologetic willingness to be Canadian, even within a multinational context.

Indeed, the series becomes an interesting example of putting a "Canadian" spin on an otherwise Hollywood-style drama. Its willingness to tweak the nose of American conservatism (this being during the George W. Bush era) led some to criticize the series as "anti-American". But since many of the sympathetic heroes were Americans, how can it be "anti"-American? (When you conflate criticism of a government with racism toward a people...democracy and free speech are truly in jeopardy). It was just willing to be blithely cynical of American government actions in a way that most American series wouldn't be -- in that sense, it wasn't "anti" merely had the characters (even the American characters) express views that a lot of people express in real life, but you would never know existed if all you ever watched was American TV shows. Which, as much as the science, is what makes the series unusually refreshing! Created by Christina Jennings, but developed by Avrum Jacobson and Jason Sherman. Originally aired on cable stations like The Movie Network and Movie Central, it was made with an R-rated sensibility, featuring profanity and occasional nudity (though the latter may have been dropped in subsequent seasons). Four seasons of hour long episodes. 

REIGN (TV Series)

(2013-)  (/U.S.) * * *   Adelaide Kane ("Mary"), Megan Follows ("Queen Catherine"), Torrance Coombs ("Sebastian 'Bash'"), Toby Regbo ("Francis II"), Jenessa Grant ("Aylee") (1st), Celina Sinden ("Greer"), Caitlin Stasey ("Kenna"), Anna Popplewell ("Lola"), Alan Van Sprang ("King Henry II"), with Rossif Sutherland ("Nostradamus"), Katie Boland ("Clarissa"), others.....Historical drama/soap/suspense about a young Mary, Queen of Scots (Kane), focusing -- at least initially -- upon her time in France, caught up in the machinations and subterfuge of the French court, hoping an alliance with France will help strengthen Scotland against the English. Regbo plays the French prince, to whom she has been engaged since childhood...provided the French king decides to honour the old agreement; Coombs the prince's -- fictional -- swashbuckling bastard brother (um, bastard in the technical sense). Van Sprang plays the French king -- of a pragmatic mindset -- and Follows his Queen, more ruthless and decidedly hostile to "Mary" (to the point of arranging murders! -- in part because a prophecy warned her "Francis" will die if he marries "Mary"). Grant, Sinden, Stasey and Popplewell play "Mary"'s posse of confidantes and ladies-in-waiting (with their own affairs and sub-plots, such as "Kenna" embarking on an affair with "King Henry"). Sutherland plays Nostradamus, the mystic and fortune teller, who acts as "Queen Catherine"'s agent (though more prone to conscience). Boland cropped up periodically as a mysterious, and hooded, girl who lives in the secret corridors beneath the castle. Though made primarily for American TV, the cast is comprised primarily of Australian, Canadian and U.K. actors.

This TV series basically takes the recent popular trend of historical made-for-cable dramas (including everything from The Tudors to Vikings) except made for American network TV so the sex and violence is of a more PG variety (though even then, the occasional sex and violence put off some viewers expecting the series to be more family friendly) and it skews a bit younger, with many of the characters young adults. Detractors were quick to sneer at the many historical inaccuracies and fabrications and you wouldn't want to cram for a term paper from this. But that's true of even many of the more "respected" historical series -- and arguably Reign is at least up-front that it should be regarded as fictionalized (from the sometimes contemporary way the characters behave, to the pop soundtrack, to the elements of gothic mystery and even mysticism, with pagan blood cults, a mysterious Phantom of the Opera-like presence and Nostradamus' psychic visions). Other criticism could seem like nitpicking, such as complaining Kane doesn't use a Scottish accent. But given Mary was raised largely in France, and of royalty, it's doubtful anyone today can be entirely sure how she sounded, and almost all the characters sport some sort of generic British accent -- including the French characters! -- so it's probably less a "mistake" than a creative decision. And the series overall -- is an enjoyable romp. An engaging ensemble of actors playing interesting enough characters (most avoiding being too one note in their motives or attitudes), mixing romantic soap opera with court machinations, and just enough murder, swordplay and gothic horror to give it some action and spookiness. No, it ain't High Art -- but it's not really any more pulpy nor less intellectual than the R-rated cable series to which it might be compared. It's also an intriguing debunking of the truism that American audiences won't watch non-American programs. Because though primarily American in genesis, on screen all the characters are European sporting (as mentioned) British accents and none of the actors are American, the cast comprised instead of Australians, Canadians, British and others, many with little previous American exposure (interestingly Canadians Van Sprang and Coombs both were regulars in The Tudors) -- yet the series was made for American mainstream TV. (Trivia note: Van Sprang and Sutherland earlier co-starred in the cop drama, King). Created by Laura McCarthy, Stephanie Sengupta. Hour long episodes sown in Canada on CTV.

(1972) Jack Creley, Hugh Webster.....Dying man (Creley) trys to persuade a sculpter to be the host for his soul in this supernatural thriller. Intriguing notion on immortality but no real plot. Well written and directed to no avail. Good Creley performance (in a rare lead role). Creley had just come off the supernatural-flavoured soap opera Strange Paradise. sc: Seeleg Lester. dir: Donald Haldane. - sexual content, casual female nudity.- 89 min...120 min.

REJEANNE PADOVANI  * * 1/2  setting: P.Q.
(1973) Jean Lajeunesse, Pierre Theriault, Frederique Collin, Roger LeBel, Margot MacKinnon, Helene Loiselle.....Business man/gangster has some political associates over for dinner, but then he finds out his ex-wife is in town. Slow-moving drama about corruption and brutality in high places is earnest and well done, but since there are no really sympathetic characters it ends up being too clinical. Look fast for director Arcand as a thug guarding a door. sc: Denys Arcand, Jacques Benoit. dir: Denys Arcand. 94 min.

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