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Steve Carell is Despicable

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Despicable Me 2 is in theatres at the moment and blowing the doors off all the other summer blockbusters. I found the original, Despicable Me to be one of the funniest and most endearing movies I have seen in a long time. If you haven't yet seen it borrow it here from CPL. It's always fun in these movies to try and place the voices and Steve Carell does a wonderful job as 'Gru', the gruff, lovable anti-villain.Maxwell Smart Sit down and watch this one with the whole family.

There's no denying Carell is funny, talented and versatile. From his early days on SNL and the Daily Show, he shot to fame opposite Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty. While being offered more and more roles in films he maintained a successful career in television, starring as Michael Scott in the American remake of the British comedy, "The Office". He received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Television Comedy for this role in 2006, and earned both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations each consecutive year until he departed in 2011.

The 40 year old virginAmong my favourite of his many films are; The 40 year old virgin, which he co-wrote; Little Miss Sunshine, a movie populated with quirky characters, including Alan Arkin in a well deserved Oscar winning performance for best supporting actor; as Maxwell Smart in the 2008 remake of Get Smart; Date night with Tina Fey and Mark Wahlberg---silly light hearted fun; Seeking a friend for the end of the World---we've blogged this one more than once---for an end of the world movie it's remarkably uplifting; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone with Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey (Carrey in a role that intrigued rather than annoyed me, as he usually does).

With two movies in post-production and two more in pre- production, we can expect to see Carell's talents at play for hopefully many more years. He has a real everyday 'guy next door' appeal--you'd like to go out for a beer with him.

All things Python

by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

I had the pleasure of recently seeing FRC 's (Front Row Centre) production of Spamalot. Familiar as I am with Monty Pythons in general and The Holy Grail in particular, until now I had not seen this musical. I thought it was tremendous- cheeky, funny, just plain silly. To quote Eric Idle "it is lovingly ripped off from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Idle, a member of the original Monty Python troupe wrote the musical's book and lyrics and collaborated with John Du Prez on most of the music. If you are a MP fan you will no doubt recognize the "Always look on the bright side of Life"- one of the most hummable tunes ever.

CPL has a huge assortment of all things Python, including the original series, most all of their movies -Holy Grail- and many other productions once the original 6 disbanded, such as Fawlty Towers. We also have a collection of personal faves from all of the members: Terry Jones's Personal Best, Graham Chapman's PBest, Terry Gilliam's PBest, Michael Palin's PBest, John Cleese's PBest, Eric Idles PBEST.

I am reliably informed by FRC people that there are still some good seats left for Spamalot. If you can make it down, you won't be disappointed, but it only runs till the 26th.


Looking a lot like Christmas- but after

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We posted this a while back, but thought you might enjoy it again. Hey you've seen It's a Wonderful Life a few times, right? This post lists some films that the holiday movie lover can sneak past the co-habitants with seasonal burnout. Speaking of bah humbug, I was previewing a new gadget and the tech told me that its bonus feature is that you can text and watch a show at the same time. "What if you disagree with that in principle?" I asked. To his credit, he didnt' back away slowly. One of the great joys of the season is going out and catching the new releases. Let's leave our holiday lights on the tree and out of the theatres. Please turn off your smart devices. Okay, that's enough grinch for now. Happy Holidays Everyone!

You can't get enough of the holiday's but your family is fed up...Try these non-Christmas movies with snowy Decembers and holiday settings...

The Holiday: Two couples, a house exchange, and unrequited love. Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law star.

Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason starring Renee Zellweger ends in the wintry English countryside, especially timely since there's actually been snow there in recent Decembers.

Love, Actually a huge cast of British actors star in this charming look at relationships from multiple perspectives. Hugh Grant stars as the British Prime Minister. If you're not a fan, don't worry, this is a "vignettes" film.

Trading Places: For those who prefer a belly laugh, Dan Ackroyd and Eddy Murphy in their 1980s heyday star, and they are great together. Corporate sabotage forces Ackroyd's character out of his executive role and homeless Murphy into the big kahuna position.

Your family won't notice the holiday themes...Besides, Ukrainian Christmas is not until the 6th!

The 6th Degree

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Sometimes I go crazy playing mini games of “Kevin Bacon is the Center of the Universe” inside my head. Only I never start with Kevin Bacon, because honestly, he creeps me out a little.

(too creepy!!!)--->

Instead, I start with someone I’m totally obsessing over at that moment. For example: Emma Stone.

And here we go!

Emma Stone is starring in the new re-hash of Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield, who was in The Social Network with Jesse Eisenberg who was in Zombieland with Woody Harrelson who was in Defendor with Kat Dennings who’s Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Co-Star, Michael Cera, was in Juno with Ellen Page who has been in two movies with Rainn Wilson (Juno and Super), who was in The Rocker with Emma Stone.

I know I could have killed that twice since Emma Stone was ALSO in Zombieland with Jesse Eisenberg, AND in Superbad with Michael Cera… but I try to keep it going until I think of an obscure movie to end with. I also like to see the patterns, like the fact that three of the movies I mentioned are about superheroes (or people who THINK they're superheroes), that people FREQUENTLY confuse Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg due to their similar dead-pan and awkward delivery styles, and that Zombieland and Adventureland, both starring Eisenberg, came out in the same year.

Now Adventureland also stars Kristen Stewart, whose rumoured relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson has been fodder for rags for over three years… Pattinson was in Harry Potter with… Okay, okay. I’ll stop. But it’s totally a riot. We’d LOVE to see the 6 Degrees of Separation you guys come up with!

by guest blogger Alex-

Big Bang Theory

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I only just started watching this over Christmas and I devoured the first three seasons in record time. It is such fun---populated with highly quirky characters and sophisticated writing, and enough Star Trek, Star Wars and Marvel comic book references to satisfy everyone. We have all three (123 ) of the seasons.

Leonard and Sheldon are both brilliant physicists---colleagues, best friends and roommates. They are also friends with their Cal Tech colleagues, mechanical engineer Howard and astrophysicist Raj. They can explain the workings of the universe, but these 4 self-professed nerds know little about the real world. This is not a typical 'let's make fun of the nerd' show---the characters and the audience are treated with a great deal of respect.

While you're at it check out the non-fiction series 'Through the Wormhole'. Hosted by Morgan Freeman, this excellent 8 part series explores the deepest mysteries of existence and the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity. Who or what are we? Are we alone? How did life begin? What happened before? Are we real or a computer simulation and how would we know? The series brings together the brightest minds and best ideas from the very edges of science to reveal the extraordinary truth of our universe. I am not through it yet- I find I have to stop and digest each episode for a few days after I watch it, but I have sure enjoyed the five I have seen so far.

by Moe

Witty and insightful- Neil Simon

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A Pulitzer prize, Tony's, Emmy's, Oscars, Honorary degrees from numerous Universities, Golden Globes, a Mark Twain Prize, Kennedy Centre Honoree---Simon has a list of awards that would be the envy of anyone. And with good reason-the man tells a great story. His observations on human nature are insightful, his take on human folly is good natured and his movies are always a lot of fun to watch.

The Odd Couple---what can you say about Oscar and Felix---probably two of the funniest room mates ever. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are hilarious. At the moment we have Odd Couple 2, and the complete series which was also very good. This starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

Prisoner of Second Avenue---Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft in a wonderful story of an everyday man pushed to the edge by everyday events.

Biloxi Blues---semi autobiographical story of life in a Mississippi WWII boot camp. Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken are excellent as the protagonists.

Brighton Beach Memoirs- life in a New York community in the 1940's. This is a real charmer.

Goodbye Girl- this turns up on tv regularly, but watch it from us commercial free. Stars Richard Dreyfuss in his well-deserved best actor win, and Marsha Mason, Simon's then wife.

Murder By Death--- a send up of crime solving detectives---big cast.

Funny Ladies

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We do love our dramas here at Movie Maniacs and often go months without recommending anything on the lighter side. So let's correct that right now and have a look at some fine comediennes.

Top of any current list would have to be Tina Fey. This former head SNL writer has the very popular 30 Rock to her credit- she writes and stars in this sitcom about a head writer for a sitcom. The 5th season is currently airing and CPL has the first 4. Date Night with Fey, Steve Carell and Mark Wahlberg is an engaging 'mistaken identity' romp. Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan pre melt-down days is a pretty good bet for older teens and adults.

We have any number of television series featuring very funny ladies- I love Lucy, The Golden Girls, Carol Burnett and Barbara Feldon in the original Get Smart series.

Ever since she first appeared in Annie Hall, Diane Keaton has remained very popular. There are many of her movies to choose from but for my money I prefer her earlier stuff- like Baby Boom, Sleeper and Father of the Bride. Or watch the far superior original with Spencer Tracy.

Cutie-pie Meg Ryan has a nice comedic touch in two of Nora Ephron's big hits- You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. Also worth a really good laugh is the oldie but goodie When Harry Met Sally.

In the 1930's there was nobody more popular than Myrna Loy. She was a huge box office draw and in 1936 was named Queen of the Movies (and Clark Gable the king), in a nationwide poll of movie goers. Cast in the role as the witty and urbane Nora Charles to William Powell's Nick in the Thin Man series (six in all), these movies still hold a lot of appeal. She is charming in the Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer with funny man Cary Grant.

One of my all time fave funny ladies is Madeline Kahn and we have two of her best- Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Saddles is Mel Brooks at his most crass, but if Lili von Schtupp doesn't break you up

Leslie Nielsen

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Canadian funny man Leslie Nielsen has just died at the age of 84. His career spanned nearly 60 years and although he started as a serious actor and leading man he will forever be known for his lighter comedic rolls and his dead-pan serious delivery of absurd one liners. He appeared in many movies and during the 60's, 70's, and 80's there was hardly a television series that he did not guest on, including but not limited to: Wild Wild West, Hawaii Five-o (1970's), The Love Boat, Murder She wrote, Highway to Heaven and Due South ( all television series which CPL carries, although you will have to spend some time searching for the Leslie episode!). Interestingly, he started his career as an announcer at a Calgary radio station--- hired on the spot for his mellifluous voice.

Check out Forbidden Planet for a look at the serious actor; also Men with Brooms; The Naked Gun, The Naked Gun 33 1/3; Airplane. We have no circulating copies of Naked Gun 2 1/2.

Christopher Guest

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Actor, director, writer, musician and composer, Guest is the full-meal deal. Best known for his "mocumentaries" which poke fun at everything from heavy metal music, to small town theater, to dog shows. In my opinion he has two of the funniest characters ever created to his credit---Corky St Clair and Nigel Tufnel---all the more hilarious because they take themselves so seriously. He draws from a regular cadre of gifted comedic performers including among others Eugene Levy, Catherine O' Hara, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Michael McKean and Jennifer Coolidge. He turns up in the most unexpected places and is remarkably chameleon-like in his own performances/appearances. For some seriously great laughs try any of the following:

This is Spinal Tap from 1984---the cult classic that introduces us to Nigel Tufnel.

A Mighty Wind---send up of the folk music of the 60's

Best In Show---this time he lampoons the pompous and bizarre world of dog shows

Waiting for Guffman---small town community theatre in his crosshairs. This features Corky St. Clair and the funniest 45 second dance you will ever see.

For Your Consideration---in this movie three actors learn their performances are generating award season 'buzz'. In a case of life imitating art, this movie generated a lot of buzz for Catherine O'Hara's performances as the actress generating buzz--- you get the picture.

He plays the evil and cunning Count Rugen in the perennial favourite The Princess Bride.

Eco Movies III:

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We now have the 1975 British comedy hit The Good life, known as Good Neighbors in Canada. It is catalogued under Good Neighbors (no "u") in CPL's system.

Good Neighbors stars Richard Briers (Monarch of the Glen) as Tom Goode, Felicity Kendall (Rosemary and Thyme) as Barbara Goode, Penelope Keith as their neighbour Margo "Well, thank you very much!" Ledbetter and Paul Eddington as Margo's husband Jerry (Yes Prime Minister).

Unsatisfied with his graphic design position at a plastics firm, Tom Goode decides that the cure for his malaise is a life of self-sufficiency. Tom and Barbara agree to embark on a back to the land project, but on their existing property in Surbiton in the suburbs of London. Providing all their own food and living without an income provide a host of challenges, not the least of which is the disapproval of Margo, home counties hostess extraordinaire and tory member of the local music society. Chickens, a goat, pigs, a car built from a rotary cultivator, marital strife, and laughs ensue. A few of the jokes are past their prime but most of the charm and relevance remains.

The bonus features disc with Season 1-3 includes celebrity fan interviews and one with a man inspired by the show to live self-sufficiently. Should you feel the call, CPL has plenty of back to the land books to checkout, such as The Backyard Homestead, and Barnyard in your Backyard. Try searching under "homestead" or "self- sufficient" or "raising goats." Don't come to me if you haven't checked the city bylaws first (under city living at

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