Film Friday: And the Award for Best New Release of the Week goes to...
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Film Friday: And the Award for Best New Release of the Week goes to…

2006_02_24_dylan.jpgThe Oscars are next weekend! And much like the fact that most people will skim over, or simply ignore the categories that don’t interest them, Torontoist is going to have to admit defeat to mentioning every single film out each week, particularly on a week like this one, with something like 12 new releases in the city this week. We mean, honestly. Some of it just isn’t worth reporting. Does anyone need to be told that Meda’s Family Reunion is clearly a pile of old ladies’ pants? That Spymate stars a monkey and is unlikely to interest anyone with an IQ higher than that of it’s star? That Doogal is an astoundingly inappropriate localisation of a beloved British children’s television classic, The Magic Roundabout, and should be ignored by everyone in the name of good taste? (Even if Jon Stewart is in it?)
Actually that last one is fair enough.
Of films right-minded people might want to see (or definitely not see), we have Thomas Vinterberg’s Dear Wendy, the story of a gun obsessed group of weirdo teenagers in a nameless US town and the consequence of, uh, being that. This gives us the perfect chance for us to crib from our TIFF notes again. “A well directed, interesting film, choked by awful dialogue and poor plotting.” According to us at one point, and we continue “a dreadfully unsatisfying near miss that lacks any strong satirical point.” I guess we didn’t like it, but with almost universally positive reviews elsewhere, we can but say one thing – it’s written by Lars Von Trier. This may give you an idea if you will like it, or hate it.
Indeed, our luck in seeing A State of Mind at a DocSoup showing recently allows us to crib from our notes on that, too! What a lucky day. A film covering the progress of two young gymnasts in preparation for the mass games, North Korea’s yearly gymnastic spectacle, we were pretty taken with this, observing that taken without context, “The Mass Games are a truly beautiful, amazing thing.”, but do note that “All worries that this is nothing but a meaningless fluff piece can be cast aside. While it’s easy to be seduced by the visuals and talk about nothing but that, this is a strong piece of documentary film making.” (A State of Mind is being shown at the Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor W., from today.)
2006_02_24_metal.jpgOne thing we didn’t manage to check out that is released this week is Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, which was very well received when shown as part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness programme. Eye’s Jason Anderson remarks “Though Dunn and the other filmmakers struggle to pack three decades worth of history, controversy and contradiction into 90-odd minutes [the film] succeeds as both an insightful exercise in cultural studies and an exhilarating tribute to rock’s dark side.”
Jason also has some quite nice things to say about Nightwatch, Russia’s take on the (frankly crowded) supernatural action flick, you know the sort – Underworld: Whatever, Blade: Something-or-other, Hellboy: No-sequel-yet-so-this-joke-falls-flat. Though cribbing mightily from the other members of the genre, “Night Watch’s bravura and ambition make many of its Hollywood sources seem puny”.
Cinematheque Ontario picks this week include Spirit of the Beehive, part of its lecture series on Tuesday, at 6:30pm but with showings throughout. There are continued showings from their Mikio Naruse and Hong Sang-Soo series , and a showing of Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon this Saturday at 2pm. All showings are at Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas W.
The Prisoner’s Justice Film Festival also started last night at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex, and runs until Sunday. You can out more about the festival at their website, because we honestly wouldn’t do as good a job.