Okay, so, this week it’s definitely the Oscars! Everyone you know is probably all excited and arranging Oscar parties because, you know, Jon Stewart is presenting! He’ll be all edgy spelt with a ‘3’ and probably insult George Bush or something! Will he mention Cheney shooting a lawyer again? OMG that dude is the funny!
Expect a muted performance from Stewart, so muted, in fact, that you’ll wonder if he’s wearing a ball gag. This is a man who creates some of the funniest political commentary you’ll see by simply telling the truth (or showing the truth) and then looking at the camera in a way that says, ‘Yes, I agree the world is broken.’ On Oscar night, prepare for a look that says, ‘Yes, I agree that I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to do this.’ (The Oscars, on CTV/ABC at 8pm March 5th)
In actual, you know, cinema news, though, the kind you’d have to leave your house to enjoy, the big releases are quieter than Jon Stewart with a sock in his mouth – Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, well received at TIFF2005, hits general release. At the time, we said ’[the film] features absolutely storming performances from the likes of Mos Def, Kanye West, Talib Kweili, but Chappelle is the heart and soul of the movie, [but] Dave Chappelle’s Block Party as little more than a concert film with some great jokes.’. TIFF2005 People’s Choice award winner Tsotsi also hits screens, and while we weren’t lucky enough to see it at the time, the film is given a kicking in both Eye and NOW in a rare agreement from the papers, that this is a ‘cynical viewer manipulation’ (Eye’s Adam Nayman), ‘Manipulative in the worst way’ (NOW’s John Harkness). Actually, I’ll give Harkness the final word on that. ‘Uplifting, sentimental horseshit.’
Wednesday, March 8th we’re lucky enough to have another Doc Soup showing at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor W.) Unknown White Male, a documentary about stockbroker Douglas Bruce, whose sudden, unexplainable amnesia in 2003 is doubtlessly soothed by his ridiculous wealth. NOW’s Janis Cole refuses to believe it’s real, and Adam Nayman starts with a paragraph about another film that is only barely contextually relevant, so… Ignore both of those reviews and think about if you’d want to see it off of the plot synopsis I guess!
Despite not being given particularly great coverage, Torontoist is gutted that tonight’s Cinematheque Ontario lecture series, a discussion Michael Gallagher followed by a showing of Omagh, is sold out. Omagh, a film about the 1998 bombing by the Real IRA in the Northern Irish town of Omagh that killed 29 people, one of them Michael Gallagher’s son, is the kind of film that the unfortunate adjective ‘explosive’ comes to mind for. An explosively powerful film, Torontoist cannot recommend enough that you check it out on general release on March 10th.
Limited tickets are still available for Occupation: Dreamland, also part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in conjunction with lCinematheque Ontario, also a genuinely excellent film, following a squad of American soldiers on watch in Fallujah directly before the intense siege of the town in late 2004. A brilliant piece of documentary, it is as funny, scary, and amazing as, say, Full Metal Jacket. The difference? It’s real. (All showings at Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas W.)
Human rights, and bloody, insane conflicts are also explored by Voices Forward, the festival of Israeli and Palestinian Film and Culture (started yesterday [oops], continues until Sunday at the Royal Cinema, 608 College) There is a wide range of films to pick and choose from, and I’d feel I’d do the festival a disservice to do so. So please visit their website.