Tag Archives: entertainment

Sonita

  sonitahush                                                                                  Sonita

                                                                             90 Minutes

                                                                                    4/5

Sonita is an Afghan immigrant living in Tehran, Iran and just wants to be a rapper. She doesn’t want to have to work as a teenager, she doesn’t want to have to take care of her family and she definitely doesn’t want to have to get married. Her family has some very different opinions. They want to follow Afghan tradition and sell Sonita as a bride so they can get enough money to pay for Sonita’s brother’s bride. This documentary follows Sonita through her journey in becoming a rapper.

name_dateThe community sponsor for this film was the Femme Wave Festival. I think that is super awesome. The fact that an all women’s music festival sponsored a film about a seventeen-year-old girl trying to make music about meaningful subjects is great! The two couldn’t go better together. Be sure to see tonnes of local Calgary women and girls perform at this year’s Femme Wave, Nov. 17-20 (including me).

This film was never boring. Sometimes documentaries can get a little boring, but this one was very well paced and the audience was always captivated. Something was always happening and you could hear the laughter, gasps, or sniffles from the other people in the theater.

sonita-studioI thought it was really cool how much of Sonita’s life they shared. They talked about how her family wanted to use her for money and the fact her family doesn’t really care about what she wants to do. They also talked about the tradition in Afghanistan of selling daughters to be brides and about how you need permission from the government to record songs that talk about controversial subjects. It really brought awareness to how hard Sonita and people like Sonita’s lives really are.

I also really liked how humbling this film was. The longer the film went on, the more and more I was grateful for the life I have. I can say what I want. I can go to school for however long I want. I don’t have to work if I don’t want to. It really makes you think about how great our lives are here in Canada compared to Afghanistan and Iran.

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On the left is Sonita Alezadeh and on the right is Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami.

My favourite part of the film was when it was just the director, Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, and Sonita sitting in Sonita’s bedroom. As they’re talking, Sonita asks if she can use Ghaemmaghami’s camera. Sonita is pretty mystified with the camera at first, but then starts getting the hang of it and begins asking Rokhsareh some pretty meaningful questions. This is one of the first scenes you see that you can tell Sonita is not some ordinary girl and she has the potential of going places in life.

I’ll admit this movie left me pretty speechless. I came out of the theater completely dumbfounded and without words. I thought this film was amazing and I definitely recommend this movie. If you’d like to go see it, it is playing at Eau Claire On October 2nd at 7:30 pm!

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Cheer Up – CIFF 2016

cheer-up-jpg-size-custom-crop-1086x612Cheer Up

86 minutes

4.75

This documentary is about the Arctic Circle Spirit Cheerleaders, also known as the Ice Queens, and their competitive journey in Finland. At the beginning of the film we see that they have always finished in last place. Through the stories of cheerleaders Patu and Aino, and their coach Miia, we discover just how hard it is to be a cheerleader.

I have to say, I had some really low expectations for this film. First of all, it’s about cheerleading. Second of all, it’s a documentary about cheerleading. Lastly, it’s a documentary about cheerleading in Finland! It sounded so strange that I had to see it. I assumed it would be a Finnish version of Bring it On – I was wrong.

I loved how this film didn’t just focus on cheerleading, but also on the lives of the cheerleaders and how tough a sport it is to do competitively. You can tell how much they want to be the best! By the end, the whole team is  gritting their teeth because they can almost taste the championship. The one who wants it the most is the coach Miia; you feel for her because you can see that she knows her team isn’t very good, but she loves them anyways, she makes them work so hard so that they can win.

This documentary is really relateable. It shows the cheerleading team working hard (they practiced everyday for two hours) trying to get better. Their hard work is rewarded with eyelashes falling out and broken noses. Still, they never give up through all of the curveballs life throws at this team, they keep practicing. I think that is so inspirational. They love what they’re doing so they are working so incredibly hard at it, in the sheer hopes of getting better.  

The only thing that I didn’t really like was that the beginning was a little slow. Nothing really happened until 20-30 minutes into the film. During the Q & A that happened after the screening, Christy Garland (the director) talked about how the cheerleaders were very shy around her for the first bit of shooting. I can only assume that’s why things heated up only after the first bit. That is such a minor thing though, so I can barely fault the film for it.

I brought my friend Satchi to the screening because she is in competitive violin with me and we both could relate so much to the emotions they all felt. We understood how they felt when they got last place, how they felt when they practiced everyday for two hours, when they hurt their bodies from practicing so hard. We understood it all.

All in all, this movie was great. It was engaging, it was captivating and it wasn’t just any movie about cheerleading. I really recommend this film and it’s playing again on Saturday October 1st at 11:15am at Eau Claire for CIFF 2016. I highly suggest everyone go and see it.

The Adventure Club at CIFF 2016

55The Adventure Club

Director: Geoff Anderson

3/5

Ricky, the leader of the Adventure Club really just wants to go on an adventure, just like his grandfather did before he died. One night, while Ricky is going through his late grandfather’s things, he finds a mysterious key in his grandfather’s office. Ricky then summons an emergency meeting of the Adventure Club, to go and solve all the secrets this key might unlock.

I enjoyed the way this film was  shot. Each scene seemed well planned. Perhaps the cinematographers could have taken more risks, but for a family audience it was comfortable. Everyone in the audience really liked this one scene in particular which was in the museum. The Adventure Club gang had to hide from the security guard in the museum and every time the security guard walked through the scene the kids were cleverly hiding in plain sight!

This film was also comedic. There were moments in the movie where the kids in the audience laughed, and others when it was the parents chuckling. That is super important when it comes to making a family film, there should be something for everyone. The fact that the cast includes members of the cast of the TV show Corner Gas and  Billy Zane definitely helped make the adults laugh, and the Adventure Club’s adult friend (played by Canadian acting legend Kim Coates!) was so crazy that the kids couldn’t help but laugh at his ridiculousness. 

Most of the time the adult actors were big scene stealers (because most of them were comedians) and sometimes it seemed like they were trying to out funny each other! Sometimes the fact that they were trying so hard took the spotlight away from the main characters of the film; the kids!

On the down side, older kids may find this film predictable. You have your typical trio of kids (the leader boy, the smart girl and the goofball boy) who find this magical item that some bad guys are looking for. With the help of a kooky adult they must stop the evil guys from acquiring the magical item. It was nice to see the great acting job done by young lead actor Sam Ashe Arnold as Ricky. Ricky learned some valuable lessons and brought his club closer together.  

Sam Ashe Arnold who plays Ricky decided drop by for the screening and I asked him a couple questions:

Q: Do plan on becoming an actor as a full time career?

A: Ya, I’ve already done around nine other films and short films. I really love acting, it’s what I want to do for life.

Q: What is your favourite part about acting?

A: I’ve always loved storytelling, so that’s my favourite part for sure.

Q: Do you have any upcoming films?

A: Ya, I have a film called High Rise Rescue which is going to be on Super Channel!

To conclude, this film was entertaining for many of the young kids in the audience and the parents that they brought along.

Parents, take your kids to the festival on Saturday October 1st at 2:15 at Eau Claire if you’d like to go see a movie that’s actually kid friendly! 

Hello Destroyer

hellodestroyer_04

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Destroyer

Director: Kevan Funk

Tyson Burr: Jared Abrahamson

3/5

Hello Destroyer was the first movie that I saw the Calgary International Film Festival.

Tyson Burr (Abrahamson) is a rookie member of the Prince George Warriors hockey team, but one day he gets into a terrible hockey fight that escalates quickly and ends in someone getting hospitalized. Tyson’s career ends abruptly when he is found responsible for the hockey players injuries and falls into a pit of despair and depression.

This movie caught the whole audience off guard and everyone was at the edge of their seat. We were all incredibly invested in Tyson and wanted to help him or at least give him a hug. I found it pretty hard not to yell at the screen and offer words of encouragement. This film definitely makes you feel uncomfortable that a lot of films don’t have the courage to make you feel and it’s all because of how invested you become with the characters.

I thought that it took too long for the plot to really get started. It was all about the fight that Tyson gets into, except that doesn’t happen until the middle of the film. There’s a lot of character development that is almost unnecessary for example; Tyson’s relationship with the mother of the family he’s living with? Do they need to have some love tension? She’s not a single mom.

At close to two hours, this film  goes on longer than it probably needed to, there’s quite a few unnecessary scenes or repetitive scenes, like when Tyson’s working in the slaughter house, you can show him  few times at the slaughterhouse, but how many times do you need to get your point across? Also, some scenes went on for too long, like some of the scenes where you see Tyson working out, we get it, he’s a hockey player and needs to keep in shape, do we need to see him jump rope for five minutes? Maybe not.

I don’t recommend this film for kids, it had tons of profanity and some nudity, I only looked at the synopsis of the film in the festival program and that didn’t mention any nudity or colourful language. I thought it would be about a young adult getting punishment for getting into a fight at hockey, but the kind of punishment one of my friends would get. Not getting banned from the league and getting kicked out their house.

This film was very quiet and inner-directed. I really liked the lack of dialogue. Since this was all about Tyson’s state of mind, there was a lot of close up shots no soundtrack and little dialogue. I enjoyed that. I really felt like I was feeling what Tyson was feeling and could understand what he was going through. It also got the point across that he was being alienated very well.

I brought my dad to this film because he used to play hockey and I thought he might like it. He said that this scene (below), when the coach was yelling at his players, brought back a lot of memories!

hellodestroyer_01

At the end of the film there was a Q and A with director/screenwriter Kevan Funk and actor Jared Abrahamson (who plays Tyson Burr). Here are some of the questions and answers!

 

Q: Was the film completely scripted or did you guys work on the mood and lines together?

A: J: Kevan wrote a good script, it was solid from beginning to end, but we did blend in a little improv, ad libbing within it. But mostly you have to give Kevan props, he’s a great writer and a great director he put this thing together. For four years he’s been working on this bad boy. With our improv’s, it was nothing without the blueprint.

 

Q: How did you become your character?

 

A: J: For me it was a mix between playing the hockey player and playing the man, you know, I grew up in a town where everybody played hockey so for me it was about finding the balance between being the guy on the team and the guy not on the team, and that’s what Tyson is. [For the record, Jared Abrahamson grew up in Flin Flon, Manitoba, hometown of famed, hard-nosed Philadelphia Flyer Bobby Clarke]

 

When asked about the resemblance to Fort Mcmurray, this is what Kevan Funk and Jared Abrahamson said.

 

K: I have a deep appreciation for this part of the country which I think is super under represented in the media. In the last five years of my work I’ve been interested in the shorts and the features, in actually looking in Canadian identity because I have an issue with especially English Canadian film that is almost terrified to embrace our identity and I think that leads to a lot of the problems when we talk about our inability to really articulate Canadian identity. I think it’s because we don’t spend very much time actually exploring it. So it’s a core interest in terms of the work I make.

J: This film is for Fort Mcmurray, it’s for Flin Flon, it’s for Thomson, it’s for Prince George, for Fort St. John. This is for all of rural Canada. We represent the part of Canada that doesn’t get shown on film often. Usually you see Toronto, you see Vancouver, this is for everybody that comes from places that don’t get a lot of attention. We’re trying to capture that for all you guys.

 

Q: What inspired you to make a film based on this topic?

 

A: K: The initial inspiration was actually this Errol Morris documentary called Standard Operating Procedure that is about the prison guards who tortured prisoners and it’s a fascinating film that you start looking at these people like they’re these awful human beings for the things that they did and it holds them responsible morally for the actions that they took part in, but it also shows how much they are a victim of the systemic violence and that was what was super interesting to me. It is looking at these systemic issues of violence in our culture and looking at the cultivation of the bad guy, or the evil particularly around violence. I think that us looking at a sense of cultural culpability is really important and the only reason it really ended up being hockey is not to due with the violence in hockey per say, it was more that hockey just happens to be our largest cultural institution in this country. I mean if I made this film in the U.S. it would probably be about the military or football.

 

Q: What other films influenced you?

 

A: Formally; there’s this film by Todd Haynes which is probably my favourite film of all time called Safe which is astoundingly good and criminally under seen, I rip off Safe all the time in this movie in terms of sound design. I’m very interested in a movie like that that also has a pretty quiet introspective character and is using the formal qualities that exists in the medium to sort of shape it.

 

Q: You used a lot of close up and obstructed shots during the movie, what inspired that?

K: I mean I work with an incredibly talented cinematographer who I’ve worked with for a long time and he’s an incredible creative partner, it goes back to what I was talking about with sound design. When you have a character and I give Jared a ton of credit for such a difficult role to play, because you don’t have a lot language to use other than physical language and then as a filmmaker on top of that you then have to articulate a lot of ideas that you can’t do through dialogue so a big part of this sort claustrophobic shooting style with the way we approach looking at Jared is to kind of create this weight that there is this sort of physicality to the image that you feel is on top of him throughout a lot of the film.  If he’s not going to sit down and say “oh I’m so sad, I’m so depressed, everything’s wrong in my life” you need to be able to communicate that and that is the sort of balance that you find in making something like this where the real sort of personal tragedy of this character is his inability to communicate and he is really only able to express himself tough violence. That’s what he’s learned and so then you have a responsibility as a filmmaker to still make sure that you’re communicating the ideas even if your character is not doing anything in such a deliberate way. I think Jared’s performance tells you so much of that through a lot these smaller moments but that’s why you need to shoot it in a way that you can catch the nuance of a performance because otherwise I think a lot of that emotion and story telling is lost.

 

All in all, even if this film wasn’t made for my age group or personality, this film left me with a lot to think about, and a good film always does.

Captain America: The First Avenger

CapAmerica00104Captain America: The First Avenger                              

2 Hours 4 Minutes

4.5/5 

Steve Rogers just wants to serve his country. Never mind the fact that he has asthma, low blood pressure and many, many other health factors that make him incapable of joining the army. On his friend Bucky Barnes’ last day in Brooklyn, a Doctor working for the Scientific Strategic Reserve (S.S.R.) notices Rogers and offers him a second chance: to join the S.S.R’s unit and become a super soldier. On the day of the procedure, a secret Hydra agent sneaks into the building and kills the doctor as soon as the procedure is done. Shocked from the loss of the Doctor, the Colonel of the division tells Rogers to go to the lab for further studies. However, another man offers him a job in publicity and Steve just wants to help his country any way he can, so he puts on a costume to help sell bullets and becomes Captain America.

Tired of selling bullets, Captain America recruits the help of S.S.R. Agent, Peggy Carter and millionaire Howard Stark to try and stop the German Nazis and their science leader Johann Schmidt, otherwise known as ‘The Red Skull’. Schimdt, wants power. Before the doctor turned Steve Rogers into Captain America, he worked for Johann Schimdt,who worked for Adolf Hitler himself. Schmidt ran the German scientific division known as Hydra. Schmidt forced the doctor to give him the super soldier formula. This is when he became ‘The Red Skull’.

I liked this movie very much. I enjoyed the fast paced action and the humour. I especially enjoyed when Bucky and his group come back from being taken hostage in a secret Hydra base and they go to a bar. Then Peggy Carter shows up and wants to dance the Rogers instead of Barnes. This is not a shock for the audience, but an incredible shock for Bucky.

hayley-atwell-peggy-carterMy favourite character is Agent Peggy Carter. I love her because she does a lot of the physical things as well, if not better, than a lot of the men. She knows it too, so when she’s doing physical training with Captain America’s division she saying things like “Come on, ladies” or “My grandmother could do better than that, God rest her soul”.

The one thing I didn’t really like was the part at the beginning when they use Captain America as publicity. I’m not sure if that was in the comics, but I don’t think they needed to have it in the film. Sure, it feeds Steve’s need to want to fight, but we already knew that he wanted to serve his country. I think he should have maybe been put into more training sequences or gone straight to fighting in the war or something. But not into publicity.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film and thought the amount of great parts outweighed the not so good parts.

Ruby Skye P.I. Season 3: Ep. 11: A new Mystery

rubyskyepiep2

 

NOOO!!!!! This was the last episode of Ruby Skye P.I. Season Three: The Maltese Puppy. I’m so sad.

Everything is back to normal. Well, not quite, Ruby made up with everyone! She and Diana are friends now. I know it’s weird but it’s for the best. It was time they made up and became best buds. Ruby also gave Detective Von Schlagen new socks (because throughout the season whenever Pixel was around him the puppy would pee on him.) Even though Hailey was sad for a little while because Ruby made Hailey give Pixel – I mean Nicki, back to her rightful owner Kat,  but being the wonderful sister Ruby is, she got Hailey a new dog from the animal shelter named Mystery. By the end of the episode I think it’s safe to say that the world has been improved.

One of my favorite characters this season is Mr. Pendergas. I think he’s so funny because he calls other people hooligans and when Diana and Reeny Mussolini give him a candy bomb he yells out; “Thank you, you hooligans, wherever you are!” That part of the season was so funny!

Some things, never change though. We can’t forget about Edmund. Let’s just say Ruby didn’t just make up with Edmund – they made out. Yes, they kissed. Again. Is it now a thing where all season finales of Ruby Skye P.I. end with Ruby and Edmund kissing? Dear people at Ruby Skye P.I., is this going to become a tradition? I’m not going to argue with it being a tradition because it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I just think if they’re going to keep on kissing they should sort out they’re relationship first. I mean, I’m not even 12 yet so I can’t say anything about relationships or anything, but they need to clarify if they’re friends or beyond friends, maybe avoid pretending like the other one of you doesn’t exist and try not to call each other a pain in the butt. Just a little advice.

Every Saturday I looked forward to waiting for the new episode to come out so I could watch it and then write about it. Ruby Skye P.I. is definitely one of my favorite TV series/Web series. I didn’t want this season to ever end. Please let the series never end but let’s not cry because season three is over on TV; you can always watch it all over again and you can re watch season one and season two at rubyskyepi.com, I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

Ruby Skye PI Interview with Scott Beaudin (Edmund O’Fyne)

Edmund rocks itI recently had the privilege to talk to Ruby Skye P.I.’s Scott Beaudin who plays Edmund, Ruby’s mischievous and somewhat crazy friend. Thanks Scott Beaudin for squeezing me in to your no doubt busy schedule.

Calgary Kid Critic: What is it like kissing someone while being filmed?

Scott Beaudin: It’s actually not a very big deal at all. It’s choreography, just like a dance move or like any other movement that you do, you just try be professional about the whole thing and it’s totally fine. Madison Cheeatow (Ruby Skye) was also really professional about the whole thing and we’re able to to do it, and it’s not that it was gross or anything it’s just we try to treat it as if it’s no big deal.

CKC: How did you learn about Ruby Skye P.I.?

SB: I got a call telling me about auditions for it and and this was back in 2012 so I went and auditioned for Kelly Harms, the director, and they liked me and I had long hair at the time and they liked my long hair and I did a good enough job at the audition that they asked me to play Edmund.

CKC: How did you get started as an actor?

When I was 8 years old I did a theatre program and at the end of that the director of that suggested to my parents that I get started in the business. They were a little tentative at first but my parents have been really, really, really supportive of me and and they drove me from Hamilton to Toronto all the time for auditions and I slowly fell in love with it as I got older and now it’s really the only thing I’m good at anymore.

CKC: What is it like being a part of the whole Ruby Skye P.I. project?

SB: It’s a blast! Kelly Harms the director and Jill Golick and Julie the writers and creators are just terrific. The cast is great. Madison Cheeatow and Marlee Maslove (Hailey Skye) are amazing and really just feels like a family especially when we came back to do season three. It was really just a really warm set and everyone’s so nice and it was also a lot of fun to spend a lot of time with all the puppies, getting to film and play with all the puppies between takes was a lot of fun.

CKC: Is there any particular character on Ruby Skye P.I. that you would like to play other than Edmund?

SB: I would love to play Colin Cumberbund but I know that there is no way that I would be as funny as Sean Cullen, because he is brilliant. He is so funny he made us laugh all the time; in between takes and at lunch and any time we weren’t filming and even when we were. It just took us  several tries to do [a scene] without laughing because Sean can just make things up on the spot very easily and he was making us laugh all the time.Ch3EdmundStare

CKC: Did I by any chance see you on a McDonalds commercial?

SB: Good eye! I was! For the Dollar Drinks.

CKC: What are the differences between being a part of a commercial as opposed to a web series/TV series?

SB: I guess a commercial is very quick, you don’t get to know people as well, whereas on a web series you get more of a character that you get to play with and you get to grow in that character and find interesting moments that way and you get to work with a cast and a crew over an extended  period of time which is really enjoyable. Commercials tend to be a little impersonal at times, but I think they can still be very fun as well.

CKC: Now that Ruby Skye P.I. is on TV, what are the differences between filming for an audience on the internet as opposed to filming for an audience on TV?

SB: When we were just shooting for Ruby Skye P.I.com we really only had to answer to ourselves  and when you’re filming for TV you’re working with a whole bunch of new people. So now we’re working with all the folks over at CBC and we’re very fortunate that they’re amazing and we get along great and they share ideas with us and we share ideas with them.  We come together and you  add more people to the mix when you’re shooting for TV and so you get much more people on the project that want to make it great.

CKC: Edmund is a pretty normal character as opposed to Reeny Mussolini or Mrs. Googe, how can you relate to Edmund?

SB: Edmund is mischievous, he likes to have fun. I think I’m the same way. Edmund cares a lot about his friends, he really cares about Zoffi, and obviously Ruby. I am really close with all my friends and I think that’s where we’re alike. But I think Edmund’s very clever, I think he’s more clever than I am in real life.

CKC: Do you plan on continuing acting as a professional career?

Oh I do! I hope to do it for many more years!

CKC: Why?

SB: I really love to do theatre and I really love the energy that you get from fellow actors and from an audience that way and I love watching movies and it’s a lot of fun making them as well.Ch 1 Edmund Bye

CKC: Do you have any role models or heroes?

SB: I guess my parents are really big role models for me. I look up to them a lot growing up. In terms of my acting heroes, I really like Philip Seymour Hoffman and I really like Sean Penn. I also really like Heath Ledger as well  and those are just some professional actors that I look up to.

CKC: Are you going to be in anything new in the near future?

SB: I’m going to be in an episode of Murdoch Mysteries which is on CBC, I’ll be playing Thomas Edison Jr. on that, and I’ll be on an episode of Saving Hope as well.

CKC: Do you know if their is going to be a season four of Ruby Skye P.I.?

SB: I don’t know! I actually can’t tell you. I hope that CBC is optimistic enough to give us another season because I think it would be a lot of fun and I think Ruby has a lot of fans that want another season.

Thanks so much Scott Beaudin for  answering my questions and I hope I get to talk to you again in the future.