A busy day for Torontoist yesterday, though no parties; though the Star! TV Shmooze was taking place. We didn’t hear any gossip about it, but it did rain. So we imagine the gossip would be something like… Famous celebrities got a bit wet.
Torontoist instead felt the hot tickets of the night were the screening of Guy Maddin’s Brand Upon the Brain, which featured members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, foley artists, a narrator and a singer, all performing live. As it was a live event things didn’t start off as smoothly as possible (the wait in the queue was slightly prolonged, let’s say) but it was still a real event, and people were in high spirits. Yet again Torontoist spotted Reg Harkema, this time just slightly in front of him in the queue, and he was joined by his Monkey Warfare actors Don McKellar and Tracy Wright. For the second time in two days we were gutted at our stupidity in believing in honest reviews; we should have pretended we liked Monkey Warfare, then we could have went and said hello to them, quickly becoming their best friends forever. Oh well.
After Brand Upon the Brain Torontoist left and rejoined the queue for An Evening with Michael Moore. Larry Charles returned to discuss Moore’s career with the man himself after Thursday night’s Borat event. Initially you could have felt they wished they stayed at home, as their magic worked twice, with the short clips of The Great ’04 Slacker Uprising failing to show correctly on the Elgin’s big screen. Though frustrated, Moore told some very amusing anecdotes to fill in the time (he actually made us rethink getting a pedicure – is it really that good?) and no one was disappointed when they chose to show clips from Moore’s upcoming documentary Sicko, all of which worked perfectly. Despite minor technical difficulties, a remarkable evening.
So, we saw:
Reprise– We like this one so much we’re going to separate the review – you must see this film.
Brand Upon the Brain – A supposedly autobiographical silent drama, if Guy Maddin’s childhood was anything like the willfully insane, near-randomly twisting plot of Brand Upon the Brain then the world is a very strange place indeed. Beautifully shot and edited and with live accompaniment astonishingly well arranged, this is an unusual but darkly comic and surprisingly erotic for anyone who wants to see something truly different. 4/5
The Host – Korea’s biggest box office smash, this is very much in the style of a Korean blockbuster; it’s well shot, violent and features blackest of black humour. Sadly it also suffers a typical flaw; a scrappy plot with characters acting in absurd ways. Torontoist has wondered about how oddly characters tend to act in Korean films, and might have to admit perhaps Korean people are just really different, or something. This is one of the better Korean blockbusters, though – it’s exciting, featuring some nice action scenes and good ‘jump’ scares, and is an all round fun time at the movies. 3.5/5