Michael Moore’s much anticipated Sicko hits, and having seen it, we can say it’s not particularly essential for Canadian viewers to watch, unless you want to feel smug about our lovely health care system, or slightly surprised that it only takes an hour or so in London (Ontario) to be seen in an emergency room. Yes, the film is chock-a-block with anecdotal evidence, and it’s probably to the film’s fault that, as usual, Moore is selective with his anecdotes to only show free universal health care in a positively glowing light.
For example: Torontoist once had to wait four or five hours to be seen in a Toronto emergency room after a (non-life threatening) fall on our head, but by the end of the evening, we’d had x-rays, brain scans, and even a spinal tap(!) to ensure that there was nothing wrong with us. We got, you know, full health care. Would we rather have waited longer in the U.S. healthcare system while our insurance company was called, only to find all of the tests were denied as non-essential?
But Torontoist is at a disadvantage here, because we can’t even begin to imagine why free universal health care is a bad idea. Higher taxes, or something? Lame. Sicko may not be essential for Canadians to see, but it might be nice for Americans to see it. They don’t need to believe it—they can question it, as is their very right as an intelligent viewer. As long as it makes them think.
Because there are a lot of films out this week that won’t require a thought process. Transformers, of course, referred to as a “live-action rendering of the Marvel comic” by Eye Weekly. Not the Japanese toy line, then. We can only guess that someone was particularly a fan of Death’s Head, created by Simon Furman for the celebrated UK version of the Marvel Comic. Or something. Anyway, the film looks all kinds of awesome terrible.
Also requiring no thinking: Live Free or Die Hard. Shouldn’t the title be Live Easy or Die Hard? Just, like, John McClane kicking back on a beach, not murdering a surprisingly high number of people for a change. Anyway, it’s got Justin Long, the odious little twerp that plays “The Mac” in those bloody Apple commercials. You know, the one where they just lie about stuff. Have you seen the one where the PC has broken down, and one of the PCs has a “syntax error”? How on earth the otherwise respectable John Hodgson (the dude who plays the PC, often to be seen on The Daily Show) doesn’t stand up at that point and cry “Seriously? A syntax error? What the hell is that PC supposed to be? A IBM 8086 or something? You’re genuinely trying to compare an Apple Mac with a command line interpreter system? Is this genuinely what you are doing here?” And walk off.
So no matter how great all the other Die Hard films are (even the second one, it’s one of those classic icky late 80s action flicks with an excess of swearing and murder) we boycott this one.
For this kids this week, Ratatouille, a clever title, but one a bit hard for kids to spell or pronounce, so they have to spell it out in the trailers. It’s all about a cute rat who controls a chef by pulling his hair. So, pretty much, Pixar were sitting around thinking “OK, we’ve done a furry film, a watery film, a dusty film…what next? Really, really nice looking hair! Let’s go!”
We saw Red Road at TIFF 2006 and (apparently) forgot to review it, so here are our thoughts: as nice as it is to see a film set in a recognizable Glasgow (boo to you, Danny the Dog) as shocking as the climax of the movie is, the director fritters away the power by ensuring every plot strand is tidied away. Good, but not great.
Also out this week: Let’s All Hate Toronto and Evening. Have you caught the trailers for this last one? They might as well just say, “Hey, look ladies! We’ve made a film for you!” It’s that cynical.
The Toronto Portuguese Film Festival has also begun and runs through the weekend, and Cinematheque Ontario have begun their Janus Films retrospective. It’s a bit of a weak excuse to show a lot of great stuff, but it is a lot of great stuff! Including Jules et Jim and Rashomon this weekend.