Ghost Rider’s head is a flaming skull. Can’t get much cooler than that, eh? And yet, from trailers you’d barely know that Ghost Rider is a cinematic version of a Marvel comic book (with, as per usual, a ridiculously complex history) that stars a biker whose head is flaming skull.
Having seen the film, we have to argue that the film itself almost doesn’t want you to remember Ghost Rider’s awesome fiery visage, concentrating almost to the exclusion of everything else on a (weak) love story between a gurning, affected Nic Cage and a perfectly alright Eva Mendes. The three or four times you see the Ghost Rider are really cool, though. His head is flaming skull!
As much as we hunger for more hot flaming skull action, there are no more to be found this week, though intriguingly the very hyped Bridge to Terabithia is an even more overt “bait and switch”; the advertising campaign is the equivalent of a man standing in your living room on a small step ladder screaming “IT’S THIS YEAR’S CHRONICLES OF NARNIA!” at you through a megaphone, but both Jim Slotek of the Sun and Norm Wilner of Metro argue this is a massive lie. “Based on these images of giants, mutant terror-birds and body-armour-wearing giant squirrels, children — and particularly young boys, who are awkward at handling feelings at the best of times — might end up emotionally sucker-punched by a movie about joyous pre-teen frendship and aching loss”, says Slotek.
Breach is only slightly better received; NOW’s John Harkness argues, “I am getting really, really tired of movies that start at the end. The device basically kills all narrative drive.” The film is based on fact, though, so anyone interested probably already knows the end (It’s a sled!), which might take the steam out of his argument a bit? Maybe. Eye’s Jason Anderson calls it an “intelligently rendered docudrama”.
Also released this week are Amu, a (narrative) exploration of the 1984 riots in New Delhi from the eyes of an Indian-American returning to India (“The film explores a little-represented period in recent history with sincerity and commitment”, according to NOW’s Glenn Sumi) and Daddy’s Little Girls by the horrible Tyler Perry, so that’s enough of that.
Our only festival this week is tonight’s Mpenzi Black Women’s International Film and Video Festival; one night only, at the Medical Sciences Building Auditorium at the University of Toronto (1 King’s College Circle) tonight at 6:30pm. Cinematheque Ontario also continues screenings this week.