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




Str - Stu

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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.

STREET FIGHTER: The Legend of Chun-Li  * *   setting: other
(2009) (/U.S./Japan/India) Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Chris Klein, Robin Shou, Moon Bloodgood, Michael Clarke Duncan.....Story of a young woman, Chun-Li (Kreuk), who sets out to find and have revenge upon the untouchable crimelord (McDonough) who kidnapped her father years before...a man also sought by the police and Interpol (Klein and Bloodgood). Not a good film...but then, as an action movie inspired by a martial arts video game called "Street Fighter", you probably weren't expecting Wuthering Heights anyway. And in that context...maybe not as terrible as it might've been, either. Modest budget and middling writing, directing and acting overall...though Kreuk grows into the part, bringing a dark intensity to her revenge-driven character (a nice change of pace from her usual girl next door roles) and with Chou effective as her martial arts mentor (the scenes between them are the best). Ironically, gamers seemed to be its most virulent critics for the way it diverged from the mythology and characters of the game -- something irrelevant to those who've never played (or even heard of) Street Fighter. Nice location filming in Thailand. There was a previous, unrelated "Street Fighter" movie...one without a sub-title. sc: Justin Marks. dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak. - violence.- 96. min.

STREET JUSTICE  * *  setting: USA.
(1991) (/U.S.) Carl Weathers, Bryan Genesse, Charlene Fernetz, Leam Blackwood, Frank Annese, Lindsey Ginter, Blu Mankuma.....While pursuing a hit man, a U.S. cop (Weathers) must also deal with the now-grown orphan (Genesse) he befriended years before in Vietnam, and for who he has been searching ever since. Double-length first episode of the TV series, subtitled "Legacy", presented in series format (with credit sequence and everything) but sometimes shown by itself as a TV movie. Though trying to be thoughtful, it suffers from too much of the usual cop-show politics and machismo, but more to the point, it's pretty slow and lethargic. On average, the hour-long series episodes were better. sc: David Levinson, Jonathan Glassner. dir: Bill Corcoran. 89 min.
 

STREET JUSTICE (TV Series)

(1991-1992) (/U.S.)  * * *  Carl Weathers ("Sgt. Adam Beaudreaux"), Bryan Genesse ("Grady Jamieson"), Charlene Fernetz ("Lenore Malloy") with Marcus Chong ("Miguel Mendez"), Leam Blackwood ("Lt. Charlie Pine"), Janne Mortil ("Kelsey").....Crime drama about a by-the-book U.S. police detective (Weathers) and his more impulsive kung fu fighting non-cop sidekick (Genesse) and their attempts at helping people who fell in the cracks between the the letter-of-the-Law and justice. Fernetz was the co-owner, with Weathers' character, of a bar; and Chong was a reformed street gang member he took under his wing. Blackwood played his c.o. and Mortil a fellow cop.

This TV series was, surprisingly, a lot better than you might think, with good performances (including imported ex-football player Weathers) and stories that tried to be earnest and character driven...kind of like Sidestreet on steroids. Filmed in Vancouver, but set in the United States, though Genesse's character was supposed to be the orphaned son of Canadian missionaries in Vietnam (a nod to Canadian content, I guess). Created by Mark Lisson, David H. Balkan. Hour long episodes (including a two-hour opener, reviewed separately) in U.S. syndication, but it didn't air in Canada (on CTV) until 1994 and 1995! 

STREET JUSTICE: Legacy see Street Justice (movie)
 

STREET LEGAL (TV Series)

(1986-1994)  * * * 1/2  Sonja Smits ("Carrie Barr") (-6th), Eric Peterson ("Leon Robinovitch"), C. David Johnson ("Chuck Tchbanion"), Cynthia Dale ("Olivia Novak") (3rd-), Anthony Sherwood ("Dillon Beck") (3rd-), Julie Khaner ("Alanna Newman") (4th-), Albert Schultz ("Rob Diamond") (5th-), Maria Del Mar ("Laura Crosby") (6th-), plus, variously: Maria Ricossa, Diane Polley, Jean Deschenes, Mark Saunders, David Elliot, Pamela Sinha, Alison Sealy-Smith, Ron Lea, Venus Terzo, Donnelly Rhodes, others.....Liberal drama about a small scale Toronto law firm started out small and earnest about level-headed criminal lawyer Smits, leftist social crusader Peterson and capitalist corporate lawyer Johnson. Each episode focused principally on one of them. Starting in the 3rd season it began, increasingly, to resemble a soap opera with an ever expanding cast and more fractured storylines...and gradually it became more popular, both with the public and critics (the latter having been critical because it wasn't the U.S. series "LA Law" -- which started around the same time --, aand then approving as it became precisely that). Added characters included: Dale as a conniving vixen of a corporate/entertainment lawyer whose on again/off again relationship with "Chuck" became one of the show's chief advertising points; Sherwood as a Crown Attorney who eventually became "Carrie's" love-interest; Khaner as a conservative lawyer who paradoxically married lefty "Leon", then became a liberal judge; Schultz as a lawyer who joined the firm as a bad guy, but quickly became a nice guy; and Del Mar as a criminal lawyer who was introduced shortly before Smits left, and became a replacement when her character was killed off (Del Mar had already appeared as a different character in an earlier episode...a Latin American rebel caught in a custody battle). Lea played a creepy, essentially psychotic Crown Attorney. Polley, who died during the show's run, was the receptionist followed by Sinha and then Sealy-Smith; Deschenes played "Carrie"'s first Crown Attorney boyfriend in the 2nd season and Elliott was a cop who had a relationship with "Carrie" for a couple of seasons after that; Riccosa played "Chuck's" wife for the first few seasons, eventually divorcing him; Saunders was an articling student for the first few seasons, Terzo for the last.

Despite the increasing tawdriness and contrivances, this TV series was still entertaining if uneven, thanks to the strong cast (particularly the core of Smits, Peterson and Johnson) and its provocative, sometimes genuinely demanding, story lines, and was superior and more human than similar shows like "LA Law" and E.N.G. But no other TV series has quite as many hills and valleys -- most series either start out good and go down, or vice versa, or they maintain a consistent level made up of good and bad episodes: Street Legal would go through whole batches of good episodes and batches of weaker episodes. It remained the most adamantly, identifiably Canadian show of its time...in fact, of any time. Cancelled a little unexpectedly, it was followed by a TV movie to wrap-up the storylines (not that there were really that many dangling). It picked up a few Geminis along the way. See also the movie Shellgame. A record 124 hour long episodes, originally on the CBC and subsequently rerun on Showcase. 

STREET LEGAL  * * *  setting: Ont.
(1994) C. David Johnson, Cynthia Dale, Eric Peterson, Anthony Sherwood, Julie Khaner, Albert Schultz, Maria Del Mar, Ron Lea, Brent Carver, James Blendick.....When Olivia (Dale) is charged with helping a friend commit suicide, the firm rallies around...including estranged hubby Chuck (Johnson). Follow-up to the weekly CBC series was intended to tie up loose ends, except there weren't really any left dangling. Still, though confusing at times for those not familiar with the show, it's a good double-length episode reflecting the series' blend of highbrow relevancy and low brow soap opera and is a nice reminder of what a crackerjack cast it had. Carver is gut-wrenching as the terminally ill AIDS victim and deservedly received a Best Supporting Actor Gemini. TV journalist Ann Medina appears as a TV journalist. This movie was advertised as being called Last Rights and was even listed as such in TV guides...but that title appears nowhere in the film. sc: Maureen McKeon, David Barlow. dir: Stacey Stewart Curtis. 91 min.

STREET LEGAL: Last Rights see Street Legal (movie)

STREETHEART  see Le coeur au poing

STRICTLY SPANKING  * * 1/2
(1996) Iona Brindle, Patrick Garrow, Alastair Hesketh-Jones, Victoria Ann Sterling, Sid Zanforlin.....A young woman (Brindle), hiding a dark secret, tells her current boyfriend about her past, when she found herself being drawn into the world of sado-masochistic sex. Interesting, low-budget drama (and not the comedy the cutsy title implies) is like most of Shbib's films (though this one is filmed in Montreal, unlike his earlier, L.A.-shot films): works in fits and starts. Attractive Brindle's performance kind of epitomizes things: sometimes she's good and effective, and other times amateurish. The ending doesn't really seem to arise logically from the story, but the film overall (and the opening scene inparticular, presenting questions the viewer has to watch the film to have answered), shows an understanding of structure and story development that a lot of Canadian filmmaker's would do well to study (and gets points for that alone). Better and more provocative than the more expensive (and heralded) Crash (also about a character's initiation into a kinky sub-culture). Fourth in Shbib's "Senses" series. sc: Ann Carlier, Bashar Shbib. dir: Bashar Shbib. - sexual content, partial female nudity.- 105 min.

STRIKER'S MOUNTAIN *  setting: Alt.
(1985) August Schellenberg, Leslie Nielson, Mimi Kuzyk, Bruce Greenwood, Jessica Steen, Robin Gammell.....Story about the troubles of a struggling ski resort, both personal and financial. Ho-hum soaper with little to offer except nice scenery (and how many lengthy shots of skiers and helicopters can you take, anyway?). sc: Pete White and Wendy Wacko. dir: Alan Simmonds. 99 min.

STRIKING POSES  * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1999) Shannen Doherty, Joseph Griffin, Tamara Gorski, Aidan Devine, Diane D'Aquila, Colm Feore, Sean Hewitt.....American tabloid photographer (American actress Doherty) finds the tables reversed when she becomes the object of a stalker; she hires protection (Griffin), has security measures added to her house...then the story takes an abrupt turn. Low-key suspenser is almost two movies. There's the first half which, in a sense, is just your standard woman-being-menaced-by-stalker (the video shelves are full of 'em) but given enough of a unique spin that it's classier and more off-beat than that. Then it turns into a series of surprise twists and turns that, though kind of fun, also get a bit silly. Unfortunately, for a movie that wants to be smart and clever, it kind of cheats, and suffers from competent but lacklustre performances. Flawed, but an intriguing, reasonably entertaining film. Atypical winter-tme setting also lends it its own, unique look. sc: Michael Stokes. dir: Gail Harvey. 93 min.

STRIP SEARCH  * 1/2
(1997)  Michael Pare, Caroline Neron, Pam Grier, Lucie Laurier, Mackenzie  Gray, Heidi von Palleske, Maury Chaykin, Tom Rack, Carl Alacchi, Jean-Guy  Bouchard......Troubled vice cop (Pare) -- troubled meaning he has a tendency to gun down mobsters on behalf of his always-getting-into-trouble brother (Gray) -- agrees to a work-for-hire gig to help a young widow (Neron) track down her stepdaughter, a stripper. In its metaphysical dialogue and unusual direction, this suspenser is obviously trying to be more than your usual straight-to-video action picture. But the movie lacks any sincere characterization, or understanding of its own themes, making the dialogue silly and frequently incoherent. The plot is meant to be a spiral into the dark side of human nature, but seems more like just an endless parade of kinky strip clubs (providing the film's nudity -- the speaking parts keep their clothes on), without any sense we're actually progressing anywhere...in story, theme, or characterization. Frankly, it comes across as though the filmmakers were trying to emulate some movie they'd seen...but didn't understand. sc: Tom Parkinson. dir: Rod Hewitt. - partial female nudity, extreme violence.- 93 min.

STRIPPED NAKED  * * *   setting: USA.
(2009) Sarah Allen, Jon Cor, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Linden Ashby, Mark Slacke, Cinthia Burke, Jennilee Murray.....A somewhat sociopathic American stripper (Allen) accidentally comes into possession of some mob money and drugs, and figures it's her way out of her dead end life -- but complications ensue when her ill-gotten gains change hands, and a mob enforcer comes hunting. Low-budget film noirish crime-drama is more entertaining than it probably has any right to be! But a snappy tempo and various twists and turns keep it lively, as does a wry humour bordering on tongue-in-cheek, with quirky dialogue and eccentric characters. So much so, in fact, that it can kind of be too bad when it does end in a typical film noir sort of way. Allen and Pirie (as her lesbian best friend with a crush on her) are appealing -- Pirie's supposed to be (as a kind of guileless innocent) and Allen makes her anti-heroine role watchable. American actor Ashby is excellent as the dissipated but not unlikeable owner of the strip club. It's not a movie that transcends its B-movie, modestly budgeted origins...but is a fun, better-than-average example of its kind. Despite the lurid title and strip club milieu, nudity is only occasional (and mostly in long shots) and doesn't involve either Allen or Pirie (though Pirie does gyrate in lingerie a couple of times). Likewise, the violence is intermittent (though there's lots of profanity). sc: Christine Conradt, Ian Driscoll. dir: Lee Demarbre. - partial female nudity; violence. - 85 min.

Stronghold, a novel, became the CBC TV movie The July Group

STRYKER  *  setting: Man.
(2004) Kyle Henry, Deena Fontaine, Ryan Black, Dominique Remy-Root, Joseph Mesiano.....A troubled, enigmatic Native boy runs away to Winnipeg's rough east end becomes embroiled in a conflict between two Indian street gangs. Odd movie seems to want to be a gritty expose of life on the streets, but ends up more over-the-top than insightful, seeming more just a catalogue of every vice and iniquity the filmmakers can think of rather than a logical narrative, veering sometimes into comedy...and not always intentionally. It suffers also from its low-budget origins, resulting in a sometimes choppily put together flick with uneven performances. There's a hint of mysticism in that we're presumably meant to wonder if the boy is a Trickster figure or something. Black, more commonly cast as nice guys, gets a change of pace role as a gang leader. sc: Noam Gonick, David McIntosh. dir: Noam Gonick. 92 min.

STUDENT SEDUCTION * * *  setting: USA.
(2003) Elizabeth Berkley, Corey Sevier, Rick Roberts, Sarah Allen, Sarah Smyth, Karen Robinson, Alan Fawcett, Michele Scarabelli, Mark Comacho.....Attractive, semi-radical high school teacher (American actress Berkley) takes an unstable student (Sevier) under her wing, who becomes increasingly infatuated with her. But when he attempts to sexually assault her...she finds she's the one being persecuted when he claims she came on to him. Absorbing made-for-TV drama could almost be one of those "true story dramatizations" (though isn't). Well put together and unpretentious, with good core performances and a general lack of sensationalism. sc: Edithe Swensen. dir: Peter Svatek. - sexual content.- 89 min.

Stung, a book by Gary Ross, served as the inspiration for the movie Owning Mahowny.

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