Well, we’ve already mentioned the Australian Film Festival today, but, of course, there’s still space for our little round up of cinema’s new releases and indie and rep film for the week.
Not only are our friends with the babies that have been eaten by dingos holding their own festival, but the University of Toronto Film Festival starts this Valentine’s Day (Tuesday, for all you bad husbands out there) at Innes Town Hall, 2 Sussex.
The big news this week however is Cinematheque Ontario showing Alexander Sokurov’s Men of Power Trilogy across the weekend at Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas W. The latest and last in the trilogy, The Sun, given it’s North American premier at TIFF, returns for this and then a short engagement at the Varsity VIP (55 Bloor W) from Feb 15th. Sokurov’s exploration of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito at the end of the Second World War, is rated highly by Eye’s Jason Anderson (“It amply rewards any viewer willing to engage with it’s intellectual provocations and not-so-simple plea for understanding”) and, surprisingly, NOW’s Josh Harkness, whose previous trouncing of Moloch (“or, as I like to call it, Springtime for Hitler”) makes this a remarkable turn around, though the review is curiously light in praise – “an almost droll study of a man who’s less a godlike embodiment of power … than an empty signifier.” He also sees fit to complain about Sokurov’s lighting – “There’s something plain depressing about sitting through a two- hour film that seems to have been lit entirely with 40-watt bulbs.”
Torontoist got a ticket for Sokurov’s study of Lenin, Taurus, instead. Sadly, that’s already sold out. If you can’t be bothered to venture out, we do recommend Sokurov’s sumptious one shot Russian Ark. It’s very well lit.
Also hitting our screens this week is The Pink Panther, featuring Steve Martin in his quite surprising post-Shopgirl burst of productivity, filling Seller’s shoes as Inspector Clouseau. Anyone who’s been bothered to sit through the original knows it’s a bunch of completely boring twaddle and it wasn’t till the sequels that the series took wings (Torontoist loves you, Burt Kwouk). “A stale smelling series of set pieces” Jason Anderson states confirming our fears, if we could be bothered to fear anything about this film. NOW’s Deardrie Swann states it most aptly – “ultimately this movie’s very existence is pretty sad.”
As is, Torontoist surmises, the existence of Final Destination 3. Creators of the series (which we’re hoping stays capped at a trilogy) James Wong and Glen Morgan return to the fold for this third iteration, in which a bunch of stupid hateful idiots die in increasingly protracted stupid ways. People who go to the cinema to be ironic might want to go and check out Curious George instead, as it features beloved hipster icon David Cross versus beloved hipster icon Will Ferrell (okay, possibly that’s overrating Ferrell) with a monkey, who, I’m fairly certain is now also a beloved hipster icon.
Right, having run that joke into the ground, this actually looks like quite a lovely little film and particularly pleasing for sticking to traditional 2d animation. A cross promotion with Dole bananas does nothing to sully it’s reputation – after all, the utterly bananas Super Monkey Ball video game series had the exact same promotion, and that’s still one of the best party games available (Torontoist will kick your baboon ass in Monkey Bowling any time.)
Thinking of Will Ferrell though, don’t you think he’d be perfect as the next Indiana Jones? Torontoist does. If he works out a bit, plays it straight, oh man! Indiana Jones 4 would be awesome! Sadly, creaky old granddad Harrison Ford is actually still penciled in to play the whipcracker, which means Indiana Jones 4 will have to be set in about… Ooh, 1972 or something. Indiana Jones and the Progressive Rock? Forget about it! Perhaps also forget about Firewall, his new, Ransom-esque thriller in which he kicks the asses of a bunch of guys who kidnap his family. And then he takes his pills and has an afternoon nap.
Also opening are Icelandic drama Salt (“[the ending is] Genuinely magical.” – Jason Anderson) and King of the Corner, not to be confused with a big screen remake of delightful comedy King of Queens* – “[Riegert] aims for dry comedy but achieves wet flatness” – Adam Nayman.
*Mainly delightful for the appearance of beloved hipster icon Patton Oswalt.
And finally, Toronto born Neil Percival Kenneth Robert Ragland Young isn’t so young any more, but featured in concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold. It’s a concert film that absolutely fails to be set on the space ship from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but if you love either Prairie Wind or his seminal Harvest Moon, which make up the majority of the songs featured, you might want to check it out. Torontoist actually likes After the Gold Rush better.