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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.
TC 2000 *
(1993) Bolo Yeung, Jalal Merhi, Billy Blanks, Bobbie Phillips, Matthias Hues, Ramsay Smith, Gregory Philpott, Harry Mok, Kelly Gallant.....In the future an underground civilization struggles against surface scavengers until a cop (Blanks) suspects his bosses are up to no good. Low-budget sci-fi action pic suffers from a story that is just an excuse for fight scenes -- which might not be a problem, except the action sequences are rather tedious. Weak performances. sc./dir: T.J. Scott (story J. Stephen Maunder, Richard M. Samuels). - violence.- 95 min.
* * * setting: CDN./USA./other
(1993) Marie Gignac, Celine Bonner, Boyd Clark, Emma Davie, Richard Frechette, Robert Lepage.....Film version of the play (piece of theatre? performance art?) which tells the personal stories of various interconnected characters. Hard-to-describe, stylized drama is atmospheric and a lot more coherent and accessible than it might at first seem. Not for everyone, but worth checking out. Originally developed in conjunction with some U.K. theatre troupes and the film is in a mixture of English and French (with English sub-titles). sc: from the play by Robert Lepage and Theatre Repere. dir: Peter Mettler. - partial female nudity.- 106 min.
* * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1998) (/Romania) Kristopher Lemche (a.k.a. Kris Lemche), Caterina Scorsone, Benjamin Plener, Paul Soles, Kimberly Pullis, Marc Robinson, Claudiu Trandafir, Dan Fintescu.....American teens win a trip to the opening of an elaborate medieval theme park...but find themselves confronting real dragons and evil warlords when an ancient curse takes hold. Light-hearted, youngster-aimed low-budget fantasy-adventure suffers from uneven performances, and a clunky presentation...but benefits from Lemche's performance and a genuine superfluidity of big ideas (borrowing from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, "Westworld", and more) and, once it gets going, a sprightly tempo. To be honest, adults and teens probably won't find it very good, but kids -- younger than the "teen" audience implied by the title -- might enjoy the pluses. Followed by the unrelated, but thematically connected, Teen Sorcery. sc: Antony Anderson. dir: Phil Comeau. 91 min.
TEEN SORCERY *
* 1/2 setting: USA.
(1999) (/Romania) A.J. Cook, Craig Olejnik, Lexa Doig, Aimee Castle, Nadia Litz, Anne Anglin.....Teenage American girl (Cook), moves to a small town, only to discover the nasty, stuck up, leader-of-the-proverbial-pack girl (Doig) uses sorcery to pick on others; with a group of friends, the heroine use their own magic to even the score. Follow-up to Teen Knight is an overall better, more professional production, with decent performances (Doig inparticular is fun in an over-the-top way)...but stumbles a bit because the pacing can be a bit off, and the story kind of veers episodically from story idea to story idea, borrowing from everything from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to Sleeping Beauty, with Cook even ceasing to be the main character part way through! The sequence where the kids briefly visit parallel versions of their school is cute. Youngsters -- though not likely teens or adults -- should enjoy the flamboyant ideas. Cook would sort of make a habit of these sort of films, though darker and more "adult", starring in at least two Canadian-made horror-slasher flicks, before going Hollywood to star in...a Hollywood horror-slasher flick! sc: Alon Kaplan. dir: Victoria Muspratt. 91 min.
(1994) (/U.S.) Greg Evigan, Eugene Clark, Torri Higginson, William Shatner, Maurice Dean Wint, Barry Morse, Sonja Smits, Sheena Easton, Ray Jewers, Von Flores, Catherine N. Blythe, Lexa Doig.....Ex-cop Jake Cardigan (Evigan) is released from prison in 2044 and hired to find a missing scientist (Morse, in a bit part) connected to a futuristic drug lord (Flores)...and his own past. Lavishly produced, extremely stylish made-for-TV science fiction suspenser benefits from striking sets, costumes and f/xs and a genuine science fiction feel, though it lags in spots. And pay attention, or you'll get confused very quickly. Wint stands out as a robot cop. Excellent, and thematically appropriate, end song by Warren Zevon. First of four TV films (made as a batch) which were shown in the U.S. as part of the Action Pack -- a rotating syndicated series of made for TV action movies. TekWar was the only Canadian contribution. It was followed by a weekly series. sc: Alfonse Ruggiero Jr., Westbrook Claridge (from the novel by William Shatner). dir: William Shatner. 93 min.
TEKWAR: Tekjustice *
(1994) (/U.S.) Greg Evigan, Eugene Clark, Torri Higginson, Von Flores, Marc Marut, Sandahl Bergman, Maurice Dean Wint, Jacob Tierney, Barbara Harris, Ruth Marshall, William Shatner, Hrant Alianak, Catherine N. Blythe.....Jake is put on trial after confessing to a murder involving old enemies. 4th pic is still moderately entertaining, with some nice humour, but it's a little flat and rambling. And though the story makes sense in the end, for most of the film it seems as though it doesn't! Tierney is particularly good as a precocious teen-aged attorney. Followed by a TV series. sc: Jim Macak (story Morgan Gendel). dir: Jerry Ciccoritti. - violence.- 93 min.
* * 1/2
(1994) (/U.S.) Greg Evigan, Eugene Clark, Michael York, Joel Bissonnette, Laurie Holden, William Shatner, Richard Curnock, Maurice Dean Wint, Catherine N. Blythe, Jody Racicot, Liisa Repo-Martell, Jonathan Scarfe.....Jake and Sid go to London to find who stole the sword Excalibur, involving street kids living out a fantasy existence as if they're knights errant, and an attempt to restore the (defunct) monarchy. 3rd flick has the most flamboyant story, but doesn't live up to entirely live up to its own dramatic potential. Less character-stuff than previous entries, making this mainly plot-driven...which might be the problem. The main characters are a little blah without meaty scenes to play. It does a good job of evoking London...particular as it was filmed, like all the movies, in Toronto. sc: Chris Haddock, story Westbrook Claridge (from the novel by William Shatner). dir: Timothy Bond. 93 min.
* * 1/2
(1994) (/U.S.) Greg Evigan, Eugene Clark, Torri Higginson, Ray Jewers, Von Flores, Uni Park, William Shatner, Sonja Smits, Catherine N. Blythe, Marc Marut, Heath Lamberts, David Hemblen.....Cardigan investigates when a mysterious computer virus that can attack people puts his ex-wife (Smits) in a coma. 2nd Tek movie remains visually sumptuous and boasts solid performances (particularly Flores' kinetic crime tsar) and some memorable bits (like the pigeon-feeding scene), but lacks the style and the novelty of its predecessor. Still, entertaining (if confusing at times). sc: Morgan Gendel, Alfonse Ruggiero Jr., Westbrooke Claridge, story Ruggiero Jr. and Claridge (from the novel by William Shatner). dir: George Bloomfield. 93 min.
Disappointing TV series was based on actor-turned-novelist Shatner's books and the earlier TV movies, but it lacked the novels' satirical wit and, due to budget short-comings, much of their globe hopping scope, or the visual panache of the first movie...leaving only the bland characters; dimwitted plots; poor dialogue and an obnoxious machismo (reflected in stories more interested in beating up bad guys than exploring ideas). Even the theme of a world where nothing is what it seems, utilized so well in the first movie, was largely underplayed. Like too many SF shows (including the Canadian made RoboCop series which came out the same year), it was reluctant to be daring or fantastic (that is, real science fiction) and was just cops and robbers with gadgets. Considering Shatner, the actor's, long association with the ambitious U.S. TV series "Star Trek", it's funny he would fail to grasp the distinction...delivering a show closer in spirit to "T.J. Hooker", the low-brow cop show he once starred in. In fact, thematically TekWar wasn't even much of a private eye show (even the advertisements said it was about a "cop"). On the plus side, the show at least tried to be thoughtful, even if it usually failed, and Shatner delivered his best, most textured performance outside of "Star Trek" in years. Wint, too, added a little flash. 18 hour long episodes were made for the series, but three of the four TV movies were shown as various two part episodes, bringing the number up to 24. It ceased production after only one season, but in Canada (where it was shown on CTV) the episodes were staggered over two seasons.
TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME*
1/2 setting: USA.
(1983) (/Israel) Nick Mancuso, Belinda Montgomery, Barbara Williams, Ken Welsh, Andree Pelletier, Andrew Rubin.....Career woman (Williams) begins to outgrow her husband's (Mancuso) limiting view of her and their marriage falls apart. Seemingly well-meaning drama about changing sexual-roles seems shallow and never really answers anything (including about domestic violence). Nice looking with some O.K. performances, but uninvolving. sc: Tzipi Trope, Sandra Kolber. dir: Trizi Trope. - sexual content.-
THE TEMPEST *
(2010) Christopher Plummer, Trish Lindstrom, Dion Johnstone, Julyana Soelistyo, Gareth Potter, John Vickery, Peter Hutt, Geraint Wyn Davies, Bruce Dow.....Filmed record of a Stratford stage production of Shakespeare's play about the sorcerer Prospero (Plummer) and his daughter (Lindstrom) on an island, and his plans when he causes some of those responsible for his exile to be shipwrecked on the island. For the lay person, there are two criterea for a Shakespeare production: can you understand what's going on...and does it work simply as a story? In that sense, this satisfies the former category, the meaning of the dialogue and the scenes generally conveyed (for the most part). It's a solid cast overall, with Plummer in good form -- 80-some years old and seeming more like 50! Though demons/sprites Soelistyo (as Ariella) and Johnstone (as Caliban) are the scene stealers. Wyn Davies and Dow are also memorable as a couple of comic relief drunkards. At the same time, the production doesn't rise above being simply a staging of an oft performed "classic" play. The decision to find humour in the scenes (which may or may not have been Shakespeare's intention) can be awkward, more often just playing some bits for camp, rather than true comedy (kind of reducing Lindstrom and Potter's roles to non-entities). Still, as a perfectly sturdy presentation of the play, with acting legend Plummer at its heart, it's a worthy enough effort. sc: the play by William Shakespeare. dir: Des McAnuff.
LE TEMPS D'UNE CHASE
* * * setting: P.Q.
(1972) Guy L'Ecuyer, Marcel Sabourin, Pierre Defresne, Olivier L'Ecuyer, Frederique Collin, Luce Guilbeault.....Three beer-guzzling, sexist men and a boy go moose hunting, only to reinforce their own inadequacies. Down-beat, well done and atmospheric drama. Strong performances. Won three Etrogs. English title: Once Upon a Hunt. sc./dir: Francis Mankiewicz (his first feature). 98 min.
The Temptations of Big Bear, the non-fiction novel by Rudy Wiebe, served as the source for the CBC mini-series, Big Bear.
* * setting: P.Q.
(1995) Gildor Roy, Patrick Labbe, Chantal Fontaine, Michel Barrette, Gilbert Sicotte, Marcel LeBoeuf, Germain Houde.....After initially ruling the death of a gay man as accidental, the police re-investigate when the crime may be linked to a series of similiar "accidents", most involving gays. If this mystery-drama seems kind of choppy and confusing in spots, with plot threads that seem to vanish, that's because it was edited together from a TV mini-series called 10-07: L'affaire Zeus. Not bad in spots, but ultimately the cutting hurts it, and the story remains too much of a procedural -- despite character stuff, the characters remain at arms length from the viewer. You can tell it's a TV movie because of the frenetic, find-the-subject camera work that's supposed to be cool and edgy, but is really just silly and annoying. And, though the filmmakers are ultimately sympathetic to homosexuals, having even the good guy characters use terms like "f*g" probably won't exactly win them any Brotherhood awards -- no doubt it's justified as being an acccurate portrayal of the police, but that doesn't mean the filmmakers have to condone it. In French. sc: Joanne Arsenau. dir: Richard Ciupka. 94 min.
* 1/2 setting: P.Q.
(1993) (/France) Gerald Thomassin, Marcel Leboeuf, Maxime Tremblay, Lisa-Marie Gervais, Jose Malette, Francis Patenaude.....Teen (Thomassin) comes to live with his emotionally unstable vietnam veteran dad (Leboeuf) after his mom dies. Youth-aimed pic, presumably set in the early '80s, is more silly than dramatic and covers already well-tilled soil (with shades of Le guerre des tuques and the U.S. film "Birdy"). English title: Sweet War. sc./dir: Daniel Morin. 81 min.
(TVMS) * * setting: CDN.
(2005) Maria Del Mar, Gil Bellows, Paul Soles, Jane McClean, Katie Boland, Adam Butcher, Nico McEown, Ross Birchall, Bill Mondy, Michael Eklund, Rob LaBelle.....Quirky, dark comedy-drama about an up-scale family whose lives are turned upside down when the wife (Del Mar) discovers she has cancer...and lands a job hosting a daytime talk show where her frank attitude, and openness about her condition (letting the cameras and the viewers follow her condition's progress), turns her into a media celebrity. Sleek, stylish serio-comic mini-series, intended in the edgy "Six Feet Under" mould, has some good bits and tries hard to be raw and quirky and audacious...but maybe tries too hard. The scenes have a deliberately mannered, stagy artifice, which sometimes is effective (and sometimes just self-conscious), and Del Mar, Bellows and, especially, Soles are very good. It wants to be a rumination on mortality, and a satire of media and celebrity, and many other things besides. But too few of the plot threads really develop into anything of weight -- both the plots with the teen children involves then wanting to/or having, sex with adults, and it's as if, satisfied with his "taboo" idea, the writer didn't bother turning them into actual stories. Or put another way, though it's got a lot of characters and ideas floating around, not too many of them gel into interesting characters or ideas. And the media satire is just heavy handed. Soles steals the show in a powerful, difficult performance playing the obnoxious, reactionary, Zionist grandfather...who knows he's losing the love of his family, but can't figure out how to regain it. He's a character you can't like...even as he breaks your heart! But ultimately, it seems like a series made by someone who wants to do an edgy, shocking, provocative mini-series...more than it actually succeeds. It also lacks a little verisimilitude at times. The TV show doesn't seem at all believable. It's set in Canada, sort of (you can occasionally see Canadian flags, and in the first episode Soles' character rants about the CBC) yet has characters act all shocked about the swearing and nudity of the TV show...when, in Canada, a lot of shows have swearing and nudity (like, well, this one). And Soles' character is supposed to be archly Jewish...yet wants his grandkids to watch the archly-Christian movie "Ben Hur"? 10 hour long episodes, originally shown on The Movie Network. sc: Anfus Fraser. dir: various.
TERMINAL CITY RICOCHET*
(1989) Peter Breck, Germain Houde, Jello Biafra, Marc Bennett, Lisa Brown.....Newspaper carrier inadvertently hooks up with disorganized rebels in a fascist future. Some good ideas in this science fiction comedy-thriller, too bad it's so poorly put together. Surely with all those writers the script could have been a little wittier, a little more coherent. Performances very from not-bad (Breck, Houde) to awful. Sound track includes music by D.O.A., Art Bergmann and others. sc: Bill Mullan, Al Thurgood, John Conti, Phil Savath, Ken Lester. dir: Zale Dalen. - extreme violence, brief male nudity.- 1100 min.
TERMINI STATION *
* 1/2 setting: Ont.
(1989) Colleen Dewhurst, Megan Follows, Gordon Clapp, Debra McGrath, Leon Pownall.....Story of the troubled small-town relationship between an alcoholic mother (Dewhurst), her hooker daughter (Follows) and her corporate-climber son (Clapp). Adequate but uninspired drama does have humour, but almost to the point of camp. Don't expect this gritty tale to be Anne of Green Gables revisited, despite the presence of Follows and Dewhurst. Gordon Pinsent has a cameo. sc: Colleen Murphy (from her play). dir: Allan King. 107 min.
THE TERROR BENEATH a.k.a. SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION.
TERROR STALKS THE CLASS REUNION a.k.a. For Better and for Worse
TERROR TRAIN *
* 1/2 setting: USA.
(1980) Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, David Copperfield, Hart Bochner, D.D. Winters, Tim Webber.....A college costume party aboard a moving train is threatened by a psychotic killer out for revenge. A not-too-bad slasher flick thanks to atmosphere and a few plot surprises. sc: T.Y. Drake. dir: Roger Spottiswoode. - extreme violence.- 97 min.
* 1/2 setting: CDN.
(2005) Shawn Ashmore, Ryan MacDonald, Noah Reid, Matt Gordon, David Keeley, Catherine Disher.....Story of one-legged Terry Fox's (Ashmore) Marathon of Hope, in which he attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Made-for-CTV bio-pic is the second stab at Fox's life (almost 20 years after The Terry Fox Story). This one eschews the "warts and all" approach for a slightly more beatific portrait, and it's well acted, particularly by Ashmore, MacDonald, and Gordon (as the publicist), with some decent scenes, and nicely evoking the regions Fox runs through as well as the time period. But the plot itself is a bit thin. By focusing on the Marathon of Hope itself (periodically filling in the backstory with brief flashbacks) the filmmakers were presumably hoping to distinguish this from the earlier movie. But the result is still problematic (and glosses over what is surely the heart of the story...how and when Fox decided to undertake this massive project). Fox is an icon to Canadians (having made the top three of a national poll of "Greatest Canadians" who ever lived), and what he did was heroic, and his impact palpable...but that still doesn't necessarily mean it makes a great movie. The result is liable to strike a chord in most viewers, but is more a decent watch than a truly compelling one. Ashmore has both his legs, but plays the role thanks to a mix of body doubles and computer graphic special effects. sc. Dennis Foon. dir: Don McBrearty. app. 90 min.
THE TERRY FOX STORY *
* 1/2 setting: B.C./CDN.
(1983) Eric Fryer, Robert Duvall, Rosalind Chao, Michael Zelniker, Chris Makepeace, Frank Adamson.....Biography of Terry Fox (Fryer), who lost his leg to Cancer and then undertook the cross-Canada "Marathon of Hope" to raise money for research. So-so handling and a "feet of clay" Fox can't completely underscore the film's effectiveness. Duvall (an American import along with Chao) is excellent. Look for cameos by R.H. Thomson, Saul Rubinek and TV personality Patrick Watson. Won Best Picture Genie and Best Actor (Fryer). Fox's life was dramatized again, years later, in the TV movie Terry. sc: Ed Hume (story John and Rose Kastner). dir: Ralph L. Thomas. 97 min.
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