We here at Torontoist thought we’d try out a new weekly feature listing the best (and worst) films to be hitting Toronto’s screens in the following week, as a city which features both multiplexes, second run theatres and blessed with several vintage single screen movie houses, there’s a lot that can be missed.
Released yesterday, Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha has received a cinema adaptation universally derided by reviewers. Golden’s novel is, much like, say, the Da Vinci Code, eminently readable, but utter pap. The film, with stilted dialogue from Chinese actresses speaking English in film set in Japan doesn’t even sound watchable. Famed silver tongued Paramount film producer Robert Evans has claimed that part of what made The Godfather a success (in comparison to legions of previous Sicilian gangster drama failures) is that it was acted, directed, and created by Italian-Americans, keeping everything as real as possible. Perhaps more people should pay attention to him, even though for the most part he’s clearly insane. This dangerous lack of sincerity studios seem to have returned to would also be damaging to the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with the intense smell of Disney utterly desperate to force it’s fingers into a pie already thoroughly diddled by both Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, if the damage wasn’t far more likely to be done by the new, leaner and meaner Peter Jackson (seriously, have you seen him on the cover of Empire?) and his forthcoming ape-ic (epic).
Yes, this week’s metaphorical 300 pound gorilla, is, uh, a literal giant ape in the form of King Kong. Released on December 14th, Jackson’s remake of the 1933 crowd pleaser allows everyone to conveniently forget Dino De Laurentis’ 1976 disaster. Due to Jackson’s traditional care, there are no reviews from local journalists as of yet (what is he worried about? Spoilers? It’s a remake) but with Michael Ancel’s video game adaption going down a storm, it bodes well for the film, trusting that the audience go easy on the soft drinks, or just get good at holding it in, during King Kong’s crazy three hour running time. (The original’s theatrical version came in at a tight 100 minutes.)
Also released this week is Ballet Russes, showing at Canada Square (2198 Yonge) particularly enjoyed by Eye’s Jason Anderson – “Even if many young people remain wary of people in purple leotards, [Dayna Goldfine’s] film may convince them that ballet was as volatile and daring as any art form that’s developed since”.
This week’s delights out with the multiplex include:
Kung Fu Friday presents Jade Fox, 9:45 tonight, at the Revue (400 Roncevalles) – A film that shares it’s name with the villain from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in this case the Jade Fox is a male robin hood-esque character, played by Lo Leigh, a veteran of the Shaw Brothers studio and widely recognized as the actor Tarantino based the Pai Mei character on in Kill Bill. The film was also directed by a female, Go Bu Shu, and features a great deal of feminine kung fu, so feminists (And/or slightly odd perverts) check it out!
Three… Extremes, Dec 9-15 at the Royal (608 College) – a pan-Asian omnibus movie featuring the directorial skills of Fruit Chan (Public Toilet), Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) and Takashi Miike (more than I could ever name, but certainly TIFF2005’s Midnight Madness hit The Great Yokai War) this features has three separate stories, each with the respective director’s cinematic style and particular, personal nasty streak. Not a date flick.