Right, Torontoist isn’t going to mess about with today’s Film Friday, because there are more important things to be talking about than what’s on at the multiplex.
First! Tristan and Isolde is the cinematic version of the Celtic folklore/Wagner opera, which the trailers have made a big deal about predating Romeo and Juliet, as if that actually meant anything. Eye’s Adam Nayman brings up the interesting note that this was, for years, the dream project of the film’s producer, Ridley Scott, and “Scott’s familiar signatures are all over the film … It’s long, humourless, and turgid.” Torontoist always forgets how Ridley Scott’s been nothing but downhill since Blade Runner.
Also opening are Hoodwinked, a likable sounding indie CGI animated feature, with it’s strange Rashomon take on Little Red Riding Hood, The White Countess, which is a Merchant Ivory production and that probably tells you all you need to know. Glory Road, is about the first all-black basketball team (sounds absurd now, doesn’t it?) and which, if it was about the first all-gay basketball team, would be being named ‘Glory Hole’ by all totally hilarious pundits, and Last Holiday, in which Queen Latifa finds out she has weeks to live, so goes skiing with Gerard Depardieu. Or something. Based on the Alec Guinness classic by concept alone, Torontoist imagines.
But what’s actually exciting in cinema, this week, daddio?
It is, as we mentioned last week, Cinematheque Ontario’s new season opening with a bang with the first showing of a fully restored The Passenger in Canada. Torontoist hates the misuse of the word ‘literally’ as much as anyone, but reading Jason Anderson’s piece in this week’s Eye, it’s not hard to imagine that he may have literally shot a load in his pants over the release of this film. “A totemic piece of ‘70’s cinema”, and “The Passenger remains unfathomably, indisputably, and ineffably cool” are just some of the statements he makes in an entirely positive review. To be fair, nothing else Torontoist has read was anything less but glowing. Starring Jack Nicholson from a period of time when we’d all rather have sex with him than, say, Meg Ryan, in an arty 70’s flick about faking your own death, what’s not to like? As Anderson states, who knows if it will disappear again? It’s playing Jan 13th to 18th at Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas West.
That’s not all Cinematheque are up to this week, with daily showings of the work of Mikio Naruse. Too varied to discuss competently here, Torontoist particularly recommends checking out Repast, aka A Married Life if you’re quick enough (tonight at 6:30pm), or Older Brother, Younger Sister, aka Brother and Sister, on Sunday.
On Thursday the 19th, the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor West) is showing Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond as part of the monthly Rue Morgue Cinemacabre Movie Nights (which seems like a bit of a mouthful, to be honest). Low budget Italian horror! Worth a punt, but if you don’t think you can stomach it, the National Film Board is showing A World of Shorts “Conflict Resolutions”, a program of shorts interspersed with the finalists of 2004’s “Bush in 30 seconds” political advertising contest. With bad political ads nothing but in the news right now, what better to get you ramped up
for getting so disgusted with the state of the world you either don’t bother or spoil your ballot? (Get out and vote, folks! The NFB showings are at NFB Mediatheque, 150 John).
And finally, Torontoist Film Friday feels pretty bad about not mentioning dear old lunatic Reg Hartt’s Cineforum (pictured) until now. Yep, he’s still going strong, and if you fancy a bit of a wild night with (most likely) an illuminating (lengthy) lecture from Reg and then perhaps the Wizard of Oz with the soundtrack of The Darkside of the Moon playing over the top (Saturday 14th, at the Cineforum, 436 Bathurst. We’ve seen it… It doesn’t really work. Nice try, though, stoners!)
A friend of ours told Torontoist once that for certain films you get in for half price – if you turn up naked. He said that was a pretty weird night.