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CrowdFUNding: Jamie Tiernay’s Kenny vs. Spenny: On The Road

March 12, 2014 1 comment

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By: Addison Wylie

It’s no competition that Kenny vs. Spenny – whether you like it or not – has become a staple in Canadian pop culture.

Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice’s reality television show featured the buddies going toe-to-toe with each other in various matches such as Who Can Win a Ten Mile Race and Who Can Stay in a Haunted House the Longest.  However, as the competitions became increasingly irreverent and Hotz’s strategies more torturous to his mensch sidekick, the pair’s cult following grew as stakes got riskier with episodes such as Who Can Drink More Beer and Who Can Get Further With The Other Guy’s Mom.  It was a classic case of Schadenfreude.

The show’s been off the air for over three years, and the men have spun off to do their own side projects;  leaving Kenny vs. Spenny to settle.

The high demand of a comeback may be what started the inception of an on-the-road reunion.  Hotz and Rice are teaming up to hit various parts of Canada and hold Q&As, screen segments from the show, and hand out autographs.

Jamie Tiernay, who worked on Kenny vs. Spenny as a crew member on Kenny’s side of the show, has started a Kickstarter campaign to accumulate funds to make a documentary about the tour.

Learn more below:

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The Kenny vs. Spenny On The Road Tour Documentary Kickstarter Campaign is about documenting these two cult legends on their KVS tour across Canada.

Having worked with Kenny and Spenny for over 10 years I’ve convinced them to give me unrestricted access to the tour, themselves and the final cut!  I’m going to be poking, prodding, manipulating and uncovering shit you couldn’t even imagine in your wildest wet KVS dreams.  A road trip tour friendship extravaganza with dick jokes, fart jokes, drunken nights, insane fans, hot fans, dumb fans and shit that’ll make you pee your pants. 

With this $46,000 campaign goal we’ll be able to shoot the whole west coast tour, edit and deliver a pretty kick ass film BUT there’s more tour locations and dates to come this year.  So if we PASS OUR GOAL it’ll let us shoot more tours, more insanity and give more editing time to make this the most insane Kenny vs. Spenny documentary film ever!  

Visit Jamie Tiernay’s Kickstarter page for more details.

My Two Cents:

Tiernay’s documentary sounds and looks promising, but $46,000 sounds like an inflated random number.  However, I trust Tiernay, who obviously has the best intentions for his film and clearly knows how to handle these types of projects.  After all, equipment rentals, transportation, and accommodations do add up rather quickly.

I hope the doc doesn’t take on usual road movie and concert film tropes these projects tend to helplessly accept (see: Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland and any live event featuring a member of the Jackass crew).  Tiernay’s brief video preview featured enough farting around to make me weary.

But, Tiernay also appears to be focused on the love/hate friendship between Hotz and Rice.  As a possible investor, this is a hopeful opportunity that could potentially propel the film in a surprising direction.  This could shed more of a natural light onto these two performers.

I wish Jamie Tiernay luck with his upcoming film.  It should, at the very least, act as that proper fix for Kenny vs. Spenny diehards.

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All italicized statements regarding Kenny vs. Spenny: On The Road are provided from their respected crowdfunding sources.  Wylie Writes is not responsible for funds attached to these productions and we do not hold any accountability.

This project is that of the filmmaker’s.  Use your own discretion.

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Wylie Writes’ Ten Best Movies of 2013

March 2, 2014 1 comment

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By: Addison Wylie

Now that we’ve recognized the bad movies that were slingshot at audiences last year, it’s time to move on and engulf ourselves in the cream of the crop.

2013 introduced a wide variety of great films to audiences.  I feel like I say that every year, but as I scour my selected picks, the only thing these movies share are the odd genre they’re grouped in.

Take documentaries, for example.  Audiences were shown terrific autobiographies that opened their subjects like books.  André Gregory: Before and After Dinner was one that caught my interest.  Gregory is a writer, an actor, a director, an all around theatrical wiz, yet he presents himself as such a humble human being who could easily sweep the average movie goer off their feet.  Director Cindy Kleine doesn’t have to stretch to find a comfortable groove for this pleasant doc.

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Nicky’s Family wasn’t necessarily a straightforward autobiography like André Gregory: Before and After Dinner, but it told a revolutionary story involving Nicholas Winton.  Winton, who rescued Jewish children before WWII, is shown in high regard with Matej Mináč’s film.  Nicky’s Family may look like something you’d find on PBS on a Sunday afternoon, but the doc’s importance could impact a sold-out stadium.

Rounding out the list of sensational documentaries was Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel, a film that snuck onto our radars when the year was winding down.  The message about the importance of safety during extreme sports follows alongside snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s inspirational story.  Walker’s doc is incredible, and you’ll never want to take your eyes off of it.

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There were a few independent films that caught my attention and impressed me with their storytelling.  The Oxbow Cure, for instance, is a film that moves deliberately slow.  However, Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas were able to chill me to the bone with their frigid settings and drawn out creeping.

Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil was a fantastic feature film debut, providing superb performances from actors who could rationalize their drastic arcs quite well.  Sean Garrity’s Blood Pressure was a worthy-enough thriller with an anchoring turn from Michelle Giroux.  The film has its flaws, but I enjoyed myself all the way through this low budget drama.

And, Tower.  I desperately wanted Tower and actor Derek Bogart to receive more recognition for their contributions to Toronto’s indie scene.  It was an uncomfortable, often amusing and unhinged jarring character study from filmmaker Kazik Radwanski.  I’ve seen a lot of fine performances from lots of actors in 2013, but Bogart’s portrayal of a disconnected wanderer stuck with me all year round.

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Of course, I had some mainstream picks.  I thought The Wolf of Wall Street was great fun.  It was a lengthly film, but it showed audiences that Martin Scorsese is still a gutsy filmmaker willing to tackle any genre at any given time.  August: Osage County was another strong contender.  It’s ensemble cast knocked the film out of the park, and frequently had me in stitches.

Blue is the Warmest ColourThe Spectacular Now, and The Way, Way Back were three coming-of-age films that were unforgettable.  All three featured moving performances from everyone involved, the creative minds behind the flicks were fearless, and nothing was sugarcoated.  Movie goers could sense the filmmakers treating the characters with earnest gratitude, which helped sustain the staying power of each flick.

But, enough lollygaging. Let’s take a look at what fleshed out the top spots of 2013.

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Underrated Movies:

Everyday is Like Sunday
It’s A Disaster!
Nicky’s Family
Texas Chainsaw 3D
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Honourable Mentions:

#15. Tatsumi
#14. Charles Bradley: Soul of America
#13. To The Wonder
#12. Nebraska
#11. Short Term 12

Wylie Writes’ Ten Best Movies of 2013

#10. Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers acts as a statement about the impatient youth of today, and about the need for constant change amongst a modern younger generation.

It’s also a stylistic blast and an interesting conversation starter.  Filmmaker Harmony Korine reassures his fans that he isn’t leaving, and he brilliantly introduces younger audiences to a new way to look at movies.

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#9. Her

Spike Jonze’s poignant work is a personal film about an impersonal society. 

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#8. Downloaded

Downloaded is a fantastic documentary on the brink of a remarkable level involving the rise and the inevitable fall of the file trading peer-to-peer service Napster.

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#7. 12 Years a Slave

An absolutely brutal, but rewarding watch that’s extremely well acted by its vast ensemble.

Filmmaker Steve McQueen shows an anthropological side to the relationship between an owner and his slave, as well as a fascinating, stomach churning outlook on how easy it was for people to consider other people “possessions”.

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#6. We Are What We Are

Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are shows a hauntingly humanistic portrayal of something that’s downright unfathomable: cannibalism.  The film is an excellent slow burn with a jaw-dropping payoff.

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#5. A Hijacking

Unfortunately overshadowed, A Hijacking is a riveting docudrama that I hope gets the respect and attention it deserves despite ingredients that some may be seasick about.

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#4. Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club is an all around exceptional piece of work with flawless lead performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. 

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#3. Mud

Like the film’s stoic bluegrass backdrop, Mud resonates quietly.  It’s an outstanding movie with phenomenal acting and careful direction.

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#2. Before Midnight

Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight is brilliantly observant with its authentic portrayal of two people who love – and will always love – each other.  The screenplay is simply one of the best.

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#1. The Place Beyond the Pines

A complete 180° for filmmaker Derek Cianfrance.  This sweeping drama about redemption, fatherhood, and “doing the right thing” is absorbing and never drops the ball.  A true classic in the making.

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‘Ten Best Movies of 2013’ Artwork by: Sonya Padovani

Solo Speaks: A One-On-One with Annie Clark

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By: Addison Wylie

After being featured at Toronto After Dark, the indie Canadian thriller named Solo is making a more public appearance with a theatrical run at Toronto’s Carlton Cinema.

Carlton Cinema is a very appropriate venue seeing as the theatre and the film both share a level of independence.  Carlton Cinema is a quaint theatre that feels as if you step into another world of movie watching, and Solo’s lead is left in her own world to try surviving camp initiation.

Solo serves as a debut for writer/director Isaac Cravit, marking the flick as his first feature length film.  The spooky movie is also actress Annie Clark’s first foray into theatrical films.  It’s a big move for Clark who is often on screen by herself and having to support the eeriness Cravit has materialized.

I wasn’t too hot on Solo as a whole.  It started off strong, and progressively meandered its way into a final product that lacks punch or chills.  However, Clark does a commendable job at holding her own.  She turns in a promising performance that makes the audience eager to see what else she’ll do with her budding career.

Wylie Writes correspondant Sky Wylie sat down one-on-one with Clark to talk shop about Solo.  The two also discuss Clark’s departure from Degrassi: The Next Generation, how a real life camp experience inspired her hopes of becoming an actress, and whether she sees a future for Isaac Cravit directing tense fare.

Listen to the free-form interview here:

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Solo is now playing at Toronto’s Carlton Cinema. Click here for showtimes!

Read my review here!

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Solo: @SoloTheMovie
Annie Clark:
@AnnieJClark
Sky Wylie: @SkyBaby5
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

Solo

March 1, 2014 1 comment

By: Addison Wyliesoloposter

Solo starts out on an “A” game, but ends up finishing with a generous “C” grade.

Isaac Cravit’s independent thriller is a straight-up campfire story – and, the filmmaker knows it.  Gillian (played by former Degrassi: The Next Generation co-star Annie Clark) needs to prove herself to be a capable camp counsellor in order to obtain a summer job.  The newbie needs to pull a “solo”, a two-night experience on a secluded island that will test her survival skills.

Cravit, directing and writing his first feature film, is having a lot of fun playing with the conventions of a campfire horror.  The filmmaker even has fellow councillors telling Gillian rumours of haunted activity that took place on the island before she embarks on her trip.

These moments don’t feel like Cravit is pushing too hard for the audience to recognize what the film is trying to be and he sticks his landing well with these scenes of eerie dialogue.

When Gillian arrives at the island and is forced to investigate mysteries in the woods at night, Cravit nails the creepiness.  As the camera slowly moves around a freaked out Clark, we can’t help but get sweaty palms as we feel ourselves growing more anxious.  What’s better is that there aren’t too many of these moments, making these quiet pressure cookers enunciate strongly when they happen.

Cravit is also having a ball throwing red herrings at his audience, including possible antagonists that may have more to do with the island’s history than we realize.

Solo reveals more, including what’s overlooking Gillian.  The routes the film travels on is all a matter of subjectivity.  I watched Solo with my wife, who enjoyed where Cravit took his scary movie.  I, on the other hand, thought these decisions made the film less effectively stimulating and increasingly mundane.

Without spoiling the main course, Cravit’s screenplay makes the right choice to make delirium the main evil in Solo.  The problem is – for me, at least – he chooses the wrong type of crazy.  Solo would’ve been better off as something more psychological than being so literal.

Solo is typical enough to get by.  Some gory effects towards the end are appreciated and certainly help matters tonal wise.  But, part of the joy of watching these smaller scale horrors/thrillers is finding steady specialties that make movie goers gush to others about the film – resulting in consecutive views.  I just didn’t get that with Solo.

Sex After Kids

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

By: Addison WylieSAKposter

Every so often, a movie comes along and upsets me heavily with how it wastes prime opportunities.  February has slung that film at me and it’s called Sex After Kids, a Canadian independent comedy helped out with a successful IndieGoGo campaign.

The only thing that stops me from getting really angry at Sex After Kids is that there is not a mean bone in its body.  Filmmaker Jeremy Lalonde has truly tried to make a relatable movie about relationships (six of them, to be exact. All tied to each other in a Garry Marshall fashion) and the intimacy set backs that occur when kids are brought into the picture.  He’d also love to make his audience keel over with unbarred hilarity.

There are concepts in Sex After Kids that are honest and could’ve genuinely led to organic emotions and laughs.  Not all of them take off because Lalonde hasn’t spent enough time fleshing some of these out (a married bartender who’s tempted at work by a younger, flirty waitress who hands him risqué pictures, a desperate single mom who looks towards perversions to find love), but there are a few sub-stories within the film that have lots of potential.

Take the situation involving an older married couple who have said “goodbye” to their daughter as she tackles life by herself.  Horton (played by Jay Brazeau) wants to invite sex back into the aging relationship, but Dolores (played by Mimi Kuzyk) wants to welcome it in with an adventurous bang (mind the pun) which freaks out Horton.

There’s also a story involving a successful husband (played by Peter Keleghan) and his wife, a former model turned housewife (played by Amanda Brugel).  While she shows commitment to the relationship, he realizes that his affection was merely based on looks.  He’s falling out of love because she dresses down and is frequently in shambles.

Lalonde takes these premises and dulls them down using the broadest of comedy while directing the scenes as if they were community theatre sketches.  Poorly rehearsed ones at that.

The side story about the older parents is reduced to a load of jokes that result in punchlines that are only supposed to be funny because the characters are old.  Instead of wittiness involving another generation trying to figure out modern day kink, Lalonde would rather have obtuse reacting and Brazeau’s bare backside generate the funnies.

The pluckiness among these troubled parents is too strong and pushed beyond comedic comprehension, while being accompanied with the “quirkiest” background music you’ll ever hear.

The title children are all used as props to get our characters from point A to B within their personal flimsy arcs.  Whenever the children are acknowledged, it’s to point out how much of an inconvenience they are.  You see a lot of kids being nurtured, but the audience never gets the impression that anyone really loves their children.

This also opens scenes up for chances to use baby sound effects.  So, the audience has to struggle to hear the impersonal dialogue over the sound of a whaling toddler.  It’s funny ’cause it’s true?

Gordon Pinsent shows up every so often to convince you to stay in your seat.  Pinsent isn’t flexing his acting muscles too much, but I’ll take it.  He’s always a pleasure to watch on screen.  His persona is what generates minor snickers during a private therapy session with sexless couple Jules and Ben (played by Shannon Beckner and Ennis Esmer).

Otherwise, Sex After Kids is virtually charmless, lending minimal insight into what it takes to muster through the terrible twos and find time to be private with your loved one.  With Sex After Kids finding its way into Toronto’s Carlton Cinema around Valentine’s Day, this night out at the movies will provide as much romance as a musty motel with stained sheets and thin walls.

More importantly though, Sex After Kids is the ultimate birth control.  Forget condoms and the morning after pill.  After you watch this staggering flick, you won’t want to have children or even start a relationship.  You’ll want to grow a beard and live in the mountains.

Random Acts of Romance

November 8, 2013 Leave a comment

By: Addison WylieRAORposter

Some movies can be summed up in one word.  Katrin Bowen’s Random Acts of Romance can be summed up with a let down sigh.

It’s tough to see a movie worth rooting for bite off more than it can chew.  Or, in this case, expand its focus so far that the target the film is aiming for becomes more difficult to hit.

Random Acts of Romance gets our attention with its overlapping screenplay structure.  The film’s informal narrative starts telling the story of newlyweds (played by Robert Moloney and Ready or Not’s Laura Bertram), then follows an adoring but more aggressive couple (played by Zak Santiago and Amanda Tapping), and then latches onto a loudmouth living the single life (played by Ted Whittall).

Bowen along with her co-writers Jillian Mannion and Kevin McComiskie are surprisingly able to juggle all of these stories, making each of them interesting in their own ways.  Save for a few moments where coincidences begin too much like too-perfect happenstances, these characters weave into other stories with ease and the audience can gel with the film’s “it’s a small world” mentality.

Bowen, Mannion, and McComiskie also prove they have strong voices when it comes to observant exchanges and humour between opposite sexes and their relationships.  In the same way the crowd pleasing Canadian indie Young People F*cking did, the screenplay captures honest – occasionally crass – talks about intimacy and spontaneity.

Like that aforementioned film though, sometimes the back-and-forths get too wordy for an off-the-cuff conversation and the slight exaggerated delivery from one of the actors sneaks in.  For the most part, however, the discussions have us laughing with how sincerely frank they are – which are then complimented by terrific comedic timing.

All of that dwindles, unfortunately.  As a movie goer who was avidly engaged in Random Acts of Romance, watching the film try and up its own game was disheartening.  It’s almost as if Katrin Bowen was worried her film was going to be just another brick in the romantic comedy wall and in order to make her work stand out, she had to insert a bizarre brand of quirk.

The direct stories about trying to figure out the crazy world of relationships slowly have a thick murky sheen applied to them.  We’re supposed to embrace the tonal shift gradually, but we can’t help but reject this new approach that simply doesn’t work.  More of that glaze is applied and our resisting just gets worse.

The central stories enter a ridiculous realm.  A realm where stalking and kidnapping are considered endearing and thoughtful.  And, yes, you read that correctly.

Of course, a lot of what Bowen throws at her audience is supposed to be darkly comedic in a weird way.  We’ve seen filmmakers attempt similar mischievous play and some are actually able to pull it off because they know the distinction between what’s bad, what’s good, and where the voice of reason resides.

Bowen, on the other hand, is confused as to how she wants the proposed events to play out.  But, what she is sure of is that everything must follow a path heading towards a happy ending.  It’s impossible to have a happy ending when matters are this messed up and straining for giggles.

These characters who were once normal are now involved in a romantic comedy that goes for the broadest of tasteless laughs in the ickiest of situations.  In all seriousness, this was one of those movies where things got so out of hand, I asked the movie out loud, “what are you doing!?”

Let’s say Random Acts of Romance is a gambler on a hot streak.  Multiple rounds go by and the skilled film has been consistently dealt good hands.  But, when it comes to keeping onlookers interested in the game, the gambler feels the need to chance everything and go for bigger pots.

The leaps-of-faith end up not faring well, people start to sputter off, and all you have is a scrambling discombobulate pulling all the stops to get back on their feet – only to lose all their winnings.

I’m only being hard on Katrin Bowen and her film because I saw so much potential in that first act.  That risk taking attitude will benefit her career in the future, but she has to pick her moments to be gutsy.  And, Random Acts of Romance was certainly not one of those times.

The Disappeared

November 2, 2013 Leave a comment

By: Addison WylieTheDisappeared

I didn’t like The Disappeared, but I can at least compliment its opening shots.  Director Shandi Mitchell quickly establishes the nothingness that exists around a crew of lost men at sea.  Mitchell generates an instantaneous sense of fear and hopelessness as the vagueness in their whereabouts and time of day effects the audience greatly.

Then, someone speaks.  And, more people speak.  It’s not so much speaking as it is projecting and emphasizing that these six men are rugged and have spent a long time out on the water.

This is the type of movie where the would-be chemistry feels too forced.  The frightening naturalistic elements are belittled against performances that often remind us that these are actors laying on a shore man’s mentality and vernacular incredibly thick.  Relationships try to establish themselves in Mitchell’s direction and her self-written screenplay, but the fake rollicking and squaring off drowns out any authenticity that could survive on this sea bound quest for survival.

From there, The Disappeared goes through the tiresome motions of a movie featuring a group of buddies and co-workers who eventually begin buckling under the gruelling conditions – all of which include mirages, a worsening injury, and short tempers.  Even the film’s title is a bit of a shrug, asking the audience,”did you expect anything else?”

A couple of months ago, I reviewed an independent drama called La Pirogue which was based on a true story about a similar stranded situation.  While in the same vein but not based on a direct true story, The Disappeared swings the pendulum the other way.  La Pirogue was underacted, The Disappeared is overacted.

With these independent films, it seems the productions seem to be dropping the ball with the casting.  I wouldn’t go as far to say the actors in The Disappeared are bad.  I’m sure the Canadian on-screen talent would impress in a theatrical production in Stratford, Ontario.  But here, the cast are incapable of delivering the authenticity of a life-and-death situation such as the one represented in the film – despite plopping these men in the middle of the water.

I write this review having not seen more mainstream fare that take place at sea – like, Captain Phillips and All Is Lost.  Even though the leads are recognizable, perhaps it takes someone with a wide range like Tom Hanks or Robert Redford to tackle such material.  Because, as it stands now with A Hijacking being the lone exception, smaller movies like La Pirogue and The Disappeared seem to be striking out.

I’ll keep on waiting for that next little-film-that-could to come around from out of the sea and wow me.  For now, I have no choice but to throw The Disappeared back with the fishes.