Tag Archives: Toronto

Monsieur Lazhar: Canadian filmmaking at its finest

Oscar nominated Monsieur Lazhar is available to own on August 14, 2012. Courtesy of eOne Media

Canada has produced some of Hollywood’s finest actors over the last half century. Canadian director Philippe Falardeau’s Oscar nominated film, Monsieur Lazhar, shows that we can produce high quality films as well.

After suffering a tragic loss at an elementary school in Montreal, Bachir Lazhar takes on the unwanted job of substitute teacher to a class dealing with uninvited grief.

It’s an absolute delight to review a film so original, thought provoking and well scripted after being bombarded with tired, unoriginal ideas for the past few months. Philippe Falardeau adapted Évelyne de la Chenelière’s one character play, Bashir Lazhar to perfection. As a writer and director, he was unafraid to look at real world issues and make valid social commentary on the state of the current education regulations.

On top of all the accolades from the production, you’ll find equal brilliance from the cast. Mohamed Fellag and Sophie Nélisse both deliver captivating performances, showcasing their ability to produce every ounce of emotional nuance demanded by their characters.

This DVD presents the film beautifully from both an audio and visual standpoint. Unfortunately, being a French film has limited the special features to only those who understand the language. When you consider the high quality of the movie, it’s tragic that only French speaking audiences will be able to dive deeper into the making of it.

Bottom Line: Even with the lack of special features, this movie is still well worth owning on DVD just for the incredible viewing experience of the film itself.

Movie Grade A
Blu Ray Grade B

Runtime: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Chatting with Amy Price-Francis about the DVD release of King – Season 1

Amy Price Francis stars as Jessica King in the hit TV show, King. Season 1 available on DVD March 6th. Entertainment One

Amy Price-Francis moved with her family from England to Canada when she was 7 years old. Growing up in our very own York Region, Amy attended Unionville high school and later was accepted at the National Theatre School of Canada.

After landing roles in many of television’s most popular shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, 24, Nip/Tuck, The Cleaner, Criminal Minds, and Californiacation, to name a few, Amy now stars in the crime drama, King. In this relatively new show, Amy plays Jessica King, a homicide detective who has a knack for finding the finer details that are often overlooked. This new witty, interesting drama takes place in our very own Toronto, Ontario showcases our beautiful city and our law enforcement.

I got a chance to sit down and ask Amy a few questions about her career and the release of King – Season 1.

You’ve appeared in so many hit shows, which is remarkable. Could you describe your experience on these blockbusters?

It was phenomenal. What struck me immediately was the amount of money going around. Those shows obviously make an insane amount of money and cost a lot to make too. With a lot more money comes more luxuries and a lot more time. In the end, I don’t think that’s necessary for me to do my job. It was definitely a pleasant experience and I got to work with some remarkable actors.

Where do you currently live?

I’m back and forth between Toronto and L.A. Currently I’m in Toronto shooting the second season of the show [King], but I do have a place in L.A. I’m very lucky to be able to work in both places.

Did you have to do any training for your role as Jessica King?

The cast has been very fortunate in both seasons of the show with the police schooling, which took us through the various procedures of assessing a crime scene or murder, and even gun training and shooting. I mean, it’s not like in the big American movies where they go to police school for 8 months, but we did receive training. We even have retired police officers that keep us informed and guide us along the way.

What is it like shooting a strong Canadian show that takes place in Toronto?

It’s wonderful. Toronto has become its own character in our show. It looks great and we get to showcase the city much more in the second season. We’re playing local people and we are shooting at recognizable locations.

A little fun question for you, and be honest now: Which of your co-stars do you love working with and which one would you love to give a left hook?

[She laughs] … Oh my god. In all honesty, there’s nobody I’d want to give a left hook to, but I would love to hear how anyone else would answer.

There’s a lot of hugging and laughing. It really is a love-fest around the set and I feel very lucky to work with such a tremendous group of people. It feels like a big family behind “the little show that could” and we’re all really proud of it.

I think you should be. There’s great production value, good humor and a solid sense of family in the show.

I’m glad you perceived that!

What kind of fun do you have the set?

Alan Van Sprang, who plays Spears, is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met and he brings out the best and worst humor from me. Sometimes it’s inappropriate, but he keeps everyone up and lively. In the end, it doesn’t get much cooler than getting to play for a living.

How do you feel about King – Season 1 being released in stores on Monday March 6th?

I think it’s FANTASTIC! It’s a sign of success, I think. I haven’t actually seen all the episodes from season 1, so maybe I can get my hands on the show and I can watch it [Laughs].

Season 1 of King hits stores on March 6th and features all eight episodes. It also includes an interesting 7 and a half minute “Behind-The-Camera Featurette” that gives insight on the making of the show and its characters from the cast and crew.

You can also catch Season 2 episodes of King Wednesdays at 9pm EST.

DVD Specificaations:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English and French Dolby Digital 5.1
Caption: English SDH
Total runtime: Approx. 360 minutes