TIFF 2018 Review: BEFORE THE FROST (Denmark 2018) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Before the Frost Poster
As winter approaches in rural 1850s Denmark, an old farmer (Jens) and his family face starvation. With the harsh circumstances and the prospect of yet another tough winter, Jens agrees to …See full summary »

Director:

Michael Noer

Director Michael Noer’s (the recent PAPILLON remake) fifth feature, tells the heart-wrenching story of a struggling Dane farmer in 19th-century Denmark , Jens (Jesper Christensen)  who must go against his morals and make a deal with a wealthy Swede in order to secure his family’s survival over a harsh winter.  He would do anything including murder for is children. 

 The deal is to be made with the Swede which includes offering his daughter to him.  The daughter detests the fact and hates her father for it.  But things change.  People change too.  This is a meticulously crafted tale, classic Dickens hardship and lessons and a satirical Orwellian twist similar to ANIMAL FARM where the pigs transform int the human beings they overthrow.  Here, the protagonist, Jens transforms into the enemy he initially despises.  

The film also offers an eye-opening look on old farming and living practices in Denmark.

Movie Review: THE FAMILY MAN, 2000

Top Christmas Movie of All-Time

THE FAMILY MAN, 2000
Classic Movie Review

Directed by Bret Ratner
Starring Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni
Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

A successful unmarried Wall Street broker wakes one morning living the life of a family man with a wife and two kids.

REVIEW:

Very similar to It’s a Wonderful Life, The Family Man is a movie that could be forgiven for acting as a vehicle for Nicholas Cage’s talents, but is much more than that.

A fantastical tale of asking questions that everyone must ask themselves at one point in life, it is Jack Campbell’s (Cage) story we follow. Jack is a very successful and extremely rich Wall Street broker. One Christmas Eve, he finds himself on the verge of landing a deal that would make him richer beyond his wildest dreams, as well as earning major kudos with the boss. When waking on Christmas Day, a woman (Leoni) is draped across him, followed by two young children who run into the room. Freaked out to say the least, Cage overreacts. Where is the life he once had, he asks himself.

The night before, Jack had helped stop what could have been quite a horrible robbery. The person responsible for the potential robbery (Cheadle) seems to know who Jack is. What do you want Jack, he asks. I’ve got everything I need, replies Jack. But the next morning when he awakes, everything he has that made him happy such as money, a great career and top-quality suits are all gone. Due to his good deed, Jack believes he has found himself in hell. But all is not lost.

In spite of this minimalist monetary and possession existence, there are many good elements to this new life. Loving wife of thirteen years, two adorable kids and a best friend that would walk over fiery coals for him. Although his life is of a lower status than before, men want to be him and women want to have him. But to Jack, this isn’t what he wanted. Despite not possessing this in his previous affluent life, he sacrificed this exact situation for his career but, as in every situation that appears when we are presented with it, we just deal with it. Roll on. Pull your socks up. Get on with it. But, with Jack’s predicament and situation, will he actually enjoy himself or wish he was somewhere else?

For those who have not seen The Family Man, and believe me I’ve met many who know nothing of this movie, it would be too easy to class it as simply a vehicle for Cage. Although it does borrow elements from It’s a Wonderful Life, the look of the movie is a very classy one that moves along very quickly with it ending as soon as you know it. This is exactly the type of movie Cage is made for. Think of Cage’s more recent mainstream movies, and you are sure to reel in horror at their very existence. Ghost Rider was an abomination of cinema, and The Wicker Man should never have been given the green light for production. And don’t get me started on the National Treasure franchise. Cage is simply not suited for these kinds of movies, with their high-octane moments, and is more suitable to play anything but an action-hero. In The Family Man, he is an opposite character and definitely not your stereotypical leading man. As in The Weather Man, his depressive character was much more suitable for him and, as with The Family Man, harks back to the days when he started out in more independent movies as an everyday-man.

But hey, Cage wasn’t the only actor in the film. Not always a fan of Tea Leoni’s work, her performance in Deep Impact was laughable to say the least, this is by far the best role I have seen her in. Her character Kate is one of the loving wife and Leoni really pulls it off. Her girl-next-door persona fits well into the character of Kate, and is as cute as a baby seal. Cheadle is great too. Despite his talents wasted in the horrific remake of The Italian Job, which just like The Wicker Man remake should never have been made, he relishes every screen moment. At some points, his performance seems very Shakespearian in the way he recites his lines and is certainly admirable. His scenes, although minimal, is used to his full potential. Cheadle has since moved onto greater roles since The Family Man, a prime example being Hotel Rwanda, and is sure to continue being a shining example of what an actor in Hollywood should be. As long as he doesn’t take any more roles like in The Italian Job, that is.

The surprise of the film, in this reviewer’s opinion, is the role of Jack and Kate’s young daughter Annie. Played by Makenzie Vega, she was only six years of age when this film was released but acts beyond her years. In the Making of… feature on the DVD, Cage remarks how great an actress she is. Acting alongside an A-List cast might be daunting to some people, but Vega takes it in her stride and certainly matches her fellow actors in all scenes she appears in. She only had a solitary role before playing Annie, and since then has gone on to appear in such movies as Sin City and X-Men 3. This reviewer hopes for her continued success in Hollywood.

To those who have not seen The Family Man, I strongly recommend you see this. I know it may sound difficult but try to cast Cage’s recent roles out of your mind. The performances by all is of the highest quality. Tea Leoni for once gives a credible performance and the emergence of Makenzie Vega as a potentially great talent is certainly worth a watch.

 

Watch Winning Best Scene Readings:

TV CONTESTSUBMIT your TV PILOT or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
FILM CONTESTSUBMIT your SHORT Film
Get it showcased at the FEEDBACK Festival
writing CONTEST1st CHAPTER or FULL NOVEL CONTEST
Get full feedback! Winners get their novel made into a video!
SCREENPLAY CONTESTSUBMIT your FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script

Happy Birthday: Caterina Murino

caterinamurino.jpgCaterina Murino

Born: September 15, 1977 in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

I do have ambition – I can dress up for a premiere, get in a limousine, but it’s not my life. My life is wearing jeans and tennis shoes and travelling on the metro. I have to do that because otherwise my acting is going to be false.

I have a dream of re-creating the fantastic family I grew up in with my brother and my parents. I am lucky that I have such a good image of family life – my father and mother are still in love, still happy.

Modelling was not very satisfying for me. I came to London to model, and I fell in love with the theatre. I was eating yoghurt every day so that I had the money to go to the theatre. I saw everything. It’s still my dream to be on stage in London.

Happy Birthday: Richard Farnsworth (1920–2000)

richardfarnsworth.jpgRichard Farnsworth (1920–2000)

Born: September 1, 1920 in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: October 6, 2000 (age 80) in Lincoln, New Mexico, USA

Married to:
Margaret Hill (1947 – 7 August 1985) (her death) (2 children)

But I don’t really care for directors flaring up and trying to humble some actor, which they would do to try and make an example out of them so everybody else would stay on the ball–and [David Lynch] wasn’t anything like that.

Read the Twitter Short Story Winners for September 2015

FREE – TWITTER SHORT STORY FESTIVAL
Submit your 140 character story and have it performed by a professional actor
Deadline September 30th: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/140_characters.html

Read the 10 Twitter Short Story Winners. These winning stories will now be made into a YouTube Video:

Twitter Story, by Curtis Threadgold

Twitter users will be hit hardest under new Tory austerity plans with cuts of up to 50 charact

I Am the Blues, by MC

My skin brings blessings to everyone save me. I sing heaven to earth yet, remain in misery. I AM thunders, “Your being helps others to be.”

You Need Love But You Don’t Need That, My Lass!, by Linda Bates

My mother’s caustic tongue made advice sound like a curse. Now death stuck in the back of my throat as I looked up at the monster I’d married.

Final fears, by Deena Douara

She clung to life, fearing mediocre adjectives like “nice,” “friendly,” “good-natured.” She pleaded with God for a chance at better words.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat, by Bud Scott

The time machine is ready!

I’ll set it for ten seconds into the past.

Whiz, Whirl, Bam

The time machine is ready!

I’ll set it for ten seconds into the past.

Whiz, Whirl, Bam

The Alibi by Erik Wollschlager

When the cops showed up, I knew they were looking for you. I’ll never know if they caught up to you, or if you had a good enough head start.

Immaculate, by Hussain Hameed

I was quite surprised when the doctors told me I was pregnant. It wasn’t just that I was still a virgin but that I was also a boy.

The Crappy Tuesday, by Amie Ryan

“Just tell me the truth”
“All right…I cheated on you”
“I thought you’d just stolen my money?”
“Well yes, that too.”

Roses are Red, by M Sawyer MCIJ

She stood, alone, dark against the cold November sky, a red rose dangled at her side as she looked without seeing in to the grave.

The Breakup, by Victoria Sarda

The coffee grew cold, the table an ocean between them. She gazed at the cup, a napkin, not him. His hands moved, eyes, table, ear, pocket.

    * * * * *

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Read the August 2015 TWITTER Short Story Winners – 10 Stories!

Read the TWITTER Short Story Winners for August 2015. 10 Winners in total.

The best of 140 character short stories! All 10 Winners will now have their story made into a short voice over film.

1

FOOTSTEPS by Arthur Zopellaro

I hate the sound of people walking
I thought moving to a remote cabin would help me
I’m here, all by myself, but the footsteps won’t go away

2

Drinking Game by Helen Freeman

While they sat drinking margaritas, Liz and Ann began their list. This was an important list. Pen in hand, Helen wrote the title. “People We Want to Punch in the Face”.

3

SAND by Jemma Pollari

She is as sand: he yearns for her beneath him, but the trace he leaves is dusted over by her next lover’s breath. She burns the souls that touch her.

4

One Man’s Junk by Jesse Heikkila

Rifling through the dumpster seeing sunlight reflect off of polished titanium, I used my good hand to pull at the wires and retrieve my arm.

5

Hero by Justin Boyd

A year after saving them, the acclaim had died down, the attention dried up, and Juan’s life was once again painfully mundane.

6

Not A Victim by Kelley Portwood

She sat in the dark.
A thin line of light flared to split the seam between door and floor
Shadows flowed back and forth
Door opened.
She fired.

7

The Retreat by Kymm O’Malley

Her heels echoed sharply on the tile as she walked away.
It was better this way. No goodbye. No broken promise.
A single tear fell anyway.

8

Prank Call by Lucas Ruderman

He answered the phone to what he thought was another prank call only to realize after several profane minutes, it was his mother.

9

Improvising by Mark Farley

Tossing “50 Shades of Grey” aside, I nibbled on my wife’s thigh. It was lonely being the only survivor of the plane crash.

10

The Big One by René Claveau

The line hums as it speeds out. Locking it, the rod is ripped from my grasp and is gone. The sea rises, rises. No one will believe this.

    * * * * *

FREE – TWITTER SHORT STORY FESTIVAL
Submit your 140 character story and have it performed by a professional actor
Deadline June 20th

http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/140_characters.html

July 2015 Twitter Short Story Contest – Read the 10 winners.

Read the 10 winning Twitter Short Stories for July 2015. They will now have their stories turned into a video movie. Stay tuned for future posts when these 10 stories get turned into a film!

SOUL MATE by Silent Assasin

He knows how to stimulate my mind. When he speaks I smile, blushing when glancing into his eyes. I knew true love had been found from the moment our souls intertwined.

RED ALERT by Cameron Donnelly

Two people can be perfect for each other, but meet at imperfect times. Eve was a Doctor, Adam her patient. They met at a herpes clinic.

A RITE OF PASSAGE by Ethan Greenwood

Sara was psyched about graduating. She wished Mom and Dad were there. Finally after seventy years she’d be getting a biology degree denied to her by the Third Reich.

DAYDREAMS by Fitzjimi

I spied Dita in the park
Instant love what a lark
I sidled over and just said
Hello lovely are you wed
She smiled her smile and replied
Now that is something I’ve never tried

THE DANCE by Ashley Gamrat

Taking my hand, wrapping us into one. Gliding across the dance floor. Smiles surround us. The first dance is timeless, never outdated.

LITERALLY? by Alex Dzialo

Because others advised it, Peter pinched pennies. His fingers threatened to bleed, but he kept at it. He never handled metaphors very well.

DISAPPEARING INTO LOVE by Annie Avery

There was a knock at the door. She peeked through the window and saw him there. She opened the door, jumped into his arms and they vanished.

TWO WIVES by Joni Norby

The party knew the end was near as Belle turned to stare at my new, shiny wedding band, babe in arms, and her red-faced husband by my side.

DAWN TWITTER by George G A Wensley

Dawn the bird waited for the sun to arise,
to see who could tweet the loudest.
The rose coloured sun arose
and she was a great dawn twitter!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? by Myriam Hammami

Aly was fond of practical jokes. One day he jokingly pushed a woman into a river. She drowned. He’s been in prison since then.

* * * * *

FREE – TWITTER SHORT STORY FESTIVAL
Submit your 140 character story and have it performed by a professional actor
Deadline July 20th

http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/140_characters.html

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

FREE Twitter Short Story Festival DEADLINE TODAY. Submit your 140 character story

FREE – TWITTER SHORT STORY FESTIVAL
Submit your 140 character story and have it performed by a professional actor
Deadline June 30th

http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/140_characters.html

Watch the Previous 50 Winning Stories turned into a MOVIE:

    * * * * *

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines TODAY to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com