Well, after what could be considered a bit of a drought, there’s enough movies to choke a horse on release in Toronto this week; and that’s a horse which had previously won speed movie-eating competitions.
First, the long awaited arrival of the new Cinematheque Ontario season. Lars Von Trier’s new comedy The Boss of It All hits tonight at 8:30pm (and the website claims there are still limited tickets available, if you’re interested) with the rest of the week just as packed with the interesting and the unusual, including a Saturday matinee of The Grapes of Wrath (at 2pm) followed by 13/Tzameti in the evening at 8:15pm, and The Go Master on Tuesday at 6:30pm. Not to forget the free screenings on Wednesday, featuring video artist Steve Reinke in person and a selection of his works (6:30pm).
All screenings are, as always, at Jackman Hall, the AGO, 317 Dundas W. And there are some review round-ups of the films at Eye Weekly and NOW, which, lovably, disagree almost completely about the quality of the films on offer.
Tonight and tomorrow is also, apparently, the Capture the Ride Film Festival, “the first competitive snowboard film festival in Canada and maybe even the world.” As any snowboarders you might know will doubtlessly have been confined in the house pining for snow (there haven’t even been any good snowboarding videogames out for ages, either) why not cheer them up by taking them out to, um, watch films of people snowboarding? Yeah! It’s at the Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor W.
Clint Eastwood follows Flags of our Fathers with Letters from Iwo Jima, attempting to show the reality for the Japanese soldiers on the ground during WWII. That famous Japanese person, Paul Haggis, wrote the story the script is based on, so allow us to put on our cynicism hat and say that it’s probably got at least one scene where an American places his hand on the shoulder of a Japanese soldier (or vice versa) and says “You know… We’re not too different, you and I. Perhaps in a different time, we… Could have been friends.”
Something crass like that, anyway. The critical response is rather positive, however, though Eye’s Jason Anderson warns “The many moments of grace, power and lucidity are again undermined by the overarching and often unsubtle intention of making a Grand Statement about warfare and humankind.”
The biggest surprise this week however is the response of Eye’s Adam Nayman to Alpha Dog. The trailers make it look like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch starring J. Timbo in full comedy hip-hop mode, but Nayman says “true-crime drama Alpha Dog is miles better than its dead-duck mid-January release date and mallrat-friendly marketing campaign indicate.” Anyone who thinks the similarly brain dead advertising for Stomp the Yard might also hide a gem is likely to be disappointed; NOW’s Deirdrie Swain at least admits “Stomp The Yard still worth seeing for the dancing.”
Let’s shake things up this week with a quote from the Toronto Star’s Geoff Pevere on Arthur and the Invisibles: “While technically polished and adequately executed Arthur … is a strangely soulless experience.” Well, yeah. The weird looking “Minimoy” characters freak us out. Unlike The Prestige, the promise of a little David Bowie is not enough to get us out to see it, no way.
Also out this week: Annabel Gurwitch’s Fired! (which we mention just down there), and the asinine looking Miss Potter, starring Renée Zellweger in yet another film in which she plays a chunky British bird who does a lot of writing and has trouble with relationships. What a stretch, eh?