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MOVIES

The Devil Wears Prada

  The Devil Wears Prada
This clever, funny big-screen adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's best-seller takes some of the snarky bite out of the chick lit book, but smoothes out the characters' boxy edges to make a more satisfying movie. There's no doubt The Devil Wears Prada belongs to Meryl Streep, who turns in an Oscar®-worthy (seriously!) strut as the monster editor-in-chief of Runway, an elite fashion magazine full of size-0, impossibly well-dressed plebes. This makes new second-assistant Andrea (Anne Hathaway), who's smart but an unacceptable size 6, stick out like a sore thumb. Streep has a ball sending her new slave on any whimsical errand, whether it's finding the seventh (unpublished) Harry Potter book or knowing what type she means when she wants "skirts." Though Andrea thumbs her nose at the shallow world of fashion (she's only doing the job to open doors to a position at The New Yorker someday), she finds herself dually disgusted yet seduced by the perks of the fast life. The film sends a basic message: Make work your priority, and you'll be rich and powerful... and lonely. Any other actress would have turned Miranda into a scenery-chewing Cruella, but Streep's underplayed, brilliant comic timing make her a fascinating, unapologetic character. Adding frills to the movie's fun are Stanley Tucci as Streep's second-in-command, Emily Blunt (My Summer of Love) as the overworked first assistant, Simon Baker as a sexy writer, and breathtaking couture designs any reader of Vogue would salivate over.
~ Ellen A. Kim
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The Experiment

  The Passion of the Christ
After all the controversy and rigorous debate has subsided, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ will remain a force to be reckoned with. In the final analysis, "Gibson's Folly" is an act of personal bravery and commitment on the part of its director, who self-financed this $25-30 million production to preserve his artistic goal of creating the Passion of Christ ("Passion" in this context meaning "suffering") as a quite literal, in-your-face interpretation of the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, scripted almost directly from the gospels (and spoken in Aramaic and Latin with a relative minimum of subtitles) and presented as a relentless, 126-minute ordeal of torture and crucifixion. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this film does not "entertain," and it's not a film that one can "like" or "dislike" in any conventional sense. (It is also emphatically not a film for children or the weak of heart.) Rather, The Passion is a cinematic experience that serves an almost singular purpose: to show the scourging and death of Jesus Christ in such horrifically graphic detail (with Gibson's own hand pounding the nails in the cross) that even non-believers may feel a twinge of sorrow and culpability in witnessing the final moments of the Son of God, played by Jim Caviezel in a performance that's not so much acting as a willful act of submission, so intense that some will weep not only for Christ, but for Caviezel's unparalleled test of endurance.
Leave it to the intelligentsia to debate the film's alleged anti-Semitic slant; if one judges what is on the screen (so gloriously served by John Debney's score and Caleb Deschanel's cinematography), there is fuel for debate but no obvious malice aforethought; the Jews under Caiaphas are just as guilty as the barbaric Romans who carry out the execution, especially after Gibson excised (from the subtitles, if not the soundtrack) the film's most controversial line of dialogue. If one accepts that Gibson's intentions are sincere, The Passion can be accepted for what it is: a grueling, straightforward (some might say unimaginative) and extremely violent depiction of the Passion, guaranteed to render devout Christians speechless while it intensifies their faith. Non-believers are likely to take a more dispassionate view, and some may resort to ridicule. But one thing remains undebatable: with The Passion of the Christ, Gibson put his money where his mouth is. You can praise or damn him all you want, but you've got to admire his chutzpah.
~ Jeff Shannon
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Mean Creek

  Mean Creek
Deliverance goes to high school in this grim, stripped-down fable of a prank gone bad. Friends decide to teach a lesson to a teenage bully by inviting him on a canoeing trip where they will humiliate him once and for all. The prank turns seriously sour, and the kids must deal with the consequences. Writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes takes a somber look at these lives, although his low-key approach makes the central tragedy seem melodramatic when it happens. The film isn't quite new enough to be truly revelatory, but Estes neatly avoids a River's Edge rehash by allowing his characters more than dead-eyed anomie. The actors hit their notes with precision, especially Rory Culkin (another of the Culkin family, with Macaulay and Kieran), Ryan Kelley, and Scott Mechlowicz. This is the kind of movie that may be slightly familiar to older audiences, but could easily be a home-video cult item with younger viewers.
~ Robert Horton
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Dogville

  Dogville
The latest galvanizing and controversial film from Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, The Kingdom), Dogville uses ingenious theatricality to tell the Depression-era story of Grace (Nicole Kidman, The Others), a beautiful fugitive who stumbles onto a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains. Spurred on by Tom (Paul Bettany, Master and Commander), who fancies himself the town's moral guide, the citizens of Dogville first resist Grace, then embrace her, then resent and torment her--little realizing they will pay a price for their selfish brutality... Several critics have stridently attacked Dogville as anti-American, but the movie's dark, compelling view applies as easily to Rwanda, Bosnia, the Middle East, or pretty much anywhere in the world. Also featuring Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Stellan Skarsgârd, Chloe Sevigny, and many more.
~ Bret Fetzer
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Amadeus

  Murder In The First
This shocking prison drama was inspired by a true story. In 1938, Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), sentenced to Alcatraz for stealing $5, attempted to escape from prison with three other prisoners. One of the escapees was captured, and to curry favor with Warden Glenn (Gary Oldman), he informed on the others. Young was soon brought back to custody, and was to be punished by spending 19 days in solitary confinement. Nineteen days stretched into three years, in which Young was kept in a pit with no light, no toilet, no furniture, and nothing to read. Young emerged from solitary a vengeful madman, and he quickly murdered the convict who turned him in. Young was put on trial for the killing, and assigned a first-time public defender, James Stamphill (Christian Slater). Stamphill was horrified by Young's tales of the conditions at Alcatraz, and he used them as the basis of his defense for his client, believing that anyone would be driven to madness and murder if they had been treated the same way as Young. Murder in the First also features Embeth Davidtz, William H. Macy, Brad Dourif, and R. Lee Ermey.
~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
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Amadeus

  Amadeus
The satirical sensibilities of writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman (One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) were ideally matched in this Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Shaffer's hit play about the rivalry between two composers in the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II--official royal composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), and the younger but superior prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce). The conceit is absolutely delicious: Salieri secretly loathes Mozart's crude and bratty personality, but is astounded by the beauty of his music. That's the heart of Salieri's torment--although he's in a unique position to recognize and cultivate both Mozart's talent and career, he's also consumed with envy and insecurity in the face of such genius. That such magnificent music should come from such a vulgar little creature strikes Salieri as one of God's cruelest jokes, and it drives him insane... The film's eight Oscars include statuettes for Best Director Forman, Best Actor Abraham (Hulce was also nominated), Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.
~ Jim Emerson
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The Experiment

  The Experiment Special Edition
What happens when all of your human rights are taken away? How would you react if you've been handed complete control over others that have nothing? At one point, ordinary men were asked to role-play this scenario and it took only six days for things to get completely out of control. Based on the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971, where psychologists tested 20 men in a simulated prison system as inmates and guards for two weeks, director Olivier Hirschbiegel and his respected writers have taken that basis and crafted Das Experiment -- a thought-provoking thriller that's as engaging as it is entertaining.
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The Corporation

 

The Corporation Special Edition | Widescreen
Based on Joel Bakan’s book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film is a timely, critical inquiry that invites CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns and pundits on a graphic and engaging quest to reveal the corporation’s inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures. Featuring illuminating interviews with Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Howard Zinn and many others, THE CORPORATION charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

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Swimming With Sharks

 

Swimming With Sharks Special Edition | Wide/Full
A harsh, cutting, and wickedly funny look into the darker side of show business, Swimming with Sharks tells the story of a naive and eager assistant (Frank Whaley) and his slide into the cut-throat world of Hollywood power struggles. Whaley goes to work for a top movie executive (Kevin Spacey) who almost immediately begins to wear down his new assistant's exuberance with his whining, egomaniacal tantrums and relentless verbal abuse, even as he promises his young charge a chance to move up the ladder. Culminating in a violent and ultimately ironic confrontation between mentor and protégé, this brutal 1994 black comedy benefits from some razor-sharp writing and terrific comic turns from both Whaley (Hoffa) as one whose idealism is irrevocably shattered, and Spacey (Seven, L.A. Confidential), deliciously funny as a caustic, belligerent, and ultimately sad figure. A savage indictment of both the movie business and the price of ambition, Swimming with Sharks is one of the best black comedies in recent years.
~ Robert Lane

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Falling Down

 

Falling Down Wide/Full
Joel Schumacher's social commentary features an exceptional performance from Michael Douglas as D-Fens, a man who unravels under the weight of the nerve-wracking oppression of the Establishment. Balancing precariously on the edge of convention, D-Fens' sense of the "American way" is increasingly undermined as one frustration after another materializes during his mission through the urban jungle of Los Angeles. In the course of his plunge into a profound, sociopathic disillusionment, D-Fens strips away society's constructs to reveal internally flawed social and economic mechanisms. The host of caricatures he encounters, from a stingy Korean store owner to uncompromising fast-food employees, turf-conscious gangbangers and a neo-Nazi army-surplus store owner (played with gleeful ickiness by Frederic Forrest), are products of a dehumanizing social and economic system, and are used to symbolize capitalism's darker side ...
~ Mike DiBella, All Movie Guide

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Disclosure

 

Disclosure Wide/Full
Michael Crichton's bestselling novel was both a high-tech thriller and source of controversy with its hot-button plot about a man's charge of sexual harassment against a female colleague and former lover. The movie, directed by Barry Levinson, turned these issues into a prurient thriller gussied up in glossy production values, virtual reality computer graphics, and steamy sex between Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. Having cornered the market on roles for men whose brains are located south of their waistline, Douglas is well cast as the computer-industry guy who loses a plush promotion to the opportunistic Moore, and he's perfected the expression of paranoid panic. If you don't think about it too much, this is one of those films that can draw you into its manipulative web and really grab your attention. Disclosure is more entertaining than thought provoking (because the filmmakers basically danced around the story's potential controversy), but there's enough star power and visual glitz to make this an enjoyable ride.
~ Jeff Shannon

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Office Space

 

Office Space Special Edition | Wide | Full
Ever spend eight hours in a "Productivity Bin"? Ever had worries about layoffs?... Ever had to endure a smarmy, condescending boss? Then Office Space should hit pretty close to home for you. Peter (Ron Livingston) spends the day doing stupefyingly dull computer work in a cubicle. ... His coworkers in the cube farm are an annoying lot, his boss is a snide, patronizing jerk, and his days are consumed with tedium. ... Layoffs are in the air at his corporation, and with two coworkers (both of whom are slated for the chute) he devises a scheme to skim funds from company accounts. The scheme soon snowballs, however, throwing the three into a panic until the unexpected happens and saves the day. Director Mike Judge has come up with a spot-on look at work in corporate America circa 1999.
(excerpts) ~ Jerry Renshaw

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The world is a dangerous place,
not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~ Albert Einstein

 
 

Long is the way And hard, that out of hell leads up to light.

~ John Milton, Paradise Lost. Book ii. Line 432.

 
 
 
Video Library
The Corporation
 
Support Group

Calgary, AB

For more information about joining our workplace bullying support group in Calgary please
click here to
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Interview with a Target of
Workplace Bullying

by John Peel
on Home Truths,
BBC Radio 4
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Courtesy BullyEQ
 
 

WEBQuotes


Calgary Herald
"...grossly unacceptable employer behaviour."
> AFL
"There was a lot of bullying in the newsroom and it was a gift to be able to stand up and say we are prepared to do something about it."
> UNB

Canwest Global
"The CanWest corporation is showing the ugly and intolerant face of modern media," ... "While openly interfering in editorial content it cravenly punishes those journalists who have the courage to protest."
> IFJ
"Many journalists left CanWest, deciding to quit or take disability leave after the frigid mood of their newsrooms made them ill."
> Canwest Watch

Imperial Parking
"Timothy Lloyd decided he had had enough of "going in to war every day." ... I was very unhappy in my work -- burned out, stressed out ... There were constant threats of dismissal, constant invading of my personal space, and use of profanity that was personally directed at me."
> HealthSmith

Annuity Research & Marketing Service Ltd.
"Every employer, said Justice Dambrot, owes a contractual duty to its employees to “treat them fairly, with civility, decency, respect, and dignity.” By failing to protect Ms. Stamos from Mr. Hammami’s harassment, the court concluded that the employer had breached this contractual duty."
> Labor Relations Consultants


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