Film Friday: Steely Dan, Black Squirrels, Awesome
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Film Friday: Steely Dan, Black Squirrels, Awesome

2006_07_28_steely.jpgA quick update to an old story before we get onto all the new releases that are going to make us as depressed as ever – Remember You, Me and Dupree? We hypothesised that movie-execs came up with the title while explaining what was going to happen during some sick, cocaine fuelled orgy. Turns out we were right, as long as during the sick, cocaine fuelled orgy was to the tune of Steely Dan’s Cousin Dupree! Steely Dan have written an incredibly amusing letter to Luke Wilson to tell him to sort his little/bigger brother out. It reads like exactly the kind of rambling nonsense old rocker burnouts would write when annoyed/amused about possibly being ripped off, and is almost completely unquotable, so you should just read it all.
Anyway, that was our favourite rock related news story of the week, not including Bruce Dickinson flying into Beirut to save some refugees. Run to the Hills, indeed. As long as you’re not going to fire rockets off of them, or set up a UN observation tower, or something.
Anyway! Films! This week! Miami Vice! Who cares! You might consider it a bit harsh to dismiss Michael Mann’s re-visitation of his 1980’s TV show out of hand, but haven’t we, you know, had enough of Mann’s crime dramas? Torontoist thinks they were done with Manhunter, honestly. He has nice cinematography thanks to Dion Beebe, but what we’ve seen so far the film seems to lack even the cool of the original show, and the reviews back this train of thought up. “They’ve chosen to do without the malevolent glitter of the original’s night scenes.” Now’s John Harkness laments, in a nice turn of phrase.
Reviewers are far more pleased to see a return for Familia, the Quebecois debut of Louise Archambault, winner of awards at TIFF, the Genies and Canada’s Top Ten. With only the festival showings and a showing at Cinematheque Ontario, it finally gets its Toronto theatrical release, Eye’s Jason Anderson noting “Though not without its flaws, Archambault’s film tackles difficult ideas about sex, class and blood ties with impressive acuity, dry humour and strong performances.”
There are other TIFF award winners on offer this week too, including Look Both Ways, winner of the Discovery Award, and is given solid, if not sterling reviews by the weeklies – Eye’s Adam Nayman observes “the film is nicely shaped: it’s pleasing to the eye and gives an impression, however fleeting or skewed, of depth.”
2006_07_28_squirrel.jpgWe were amazed to see the difference in opinion between them on The Ant Bully, though. Eye’s Liz Clayton asks “did the world really need another animated ant movie?” NOW’s Barry Hertz responds “Writer-director John A. Davis thought the world needed another morality tale told through insects, and he was right.”
Sorry, but we’re as cynical as the Eye reviewer. Ants are SO OVER. Tell your lame morality tale with black squirrels! We love black squirrels. Anyway, Bruce Campbell is in it, sob. Also released this week is Woody Allen’s second attempt to use Scarlett Johansson as his muse in Scoop (apparently it doesn’t work) and Shooting Dogs, director of Basic Instinct 2 Michael Caton-Jones’ take on the Rwandan Genocide.
Our picks for Cinematheque Ontario this week are the works of Kenji Mizoguchi, which include from a strong selection The 47 Ronin, Parts I and II, a celebrated retelling of the famous story of the samurai who committed suicide rather than apologize (we’ve all felt like that, I’m sure), Monday, 6:30pm, and The Life of Oharu, Tuesday, 8:00pm. Toshiro Mifune is in that one. All showings at Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas W.