Is anyone else disappointed that the dystopian future promised in 1980s films isn’t here? If there’s one thing we’ve learned here at Torontoist, is that en masse, humans are terrible at predicting our future. It’s always so much more mundane than we expect it to be. The perfect example being The Running Man.
Instead of audiences being unsatisfied unless they’re watching the most ridiculously violent reality TV shows possible, here people are absolutely satisfied watching reality TV shows that are more about nothing than Seinfeld ever was. People sit about doing nothing in particular in Big Brother; Gene Simmons and his family act out transparently scripted emptiness on Gene Simmon’s Family Jewels; and in The Hills, we watch a selection of privileged and attractive young people lead ever-so-slightly more-exciting-than-average lives while surrounded by about nine camera crews at all times.
Eye’s Jason Anderson has to feel the same ennui as we do—in his review of a film we’d otherwise pay absolutely no attention to (Never Back Down), he says, “Finally, a movie that backs up my contention that The Hills would be immeasurably improved if Lauren Conrad got into ultimate fighting.”
It would be better, wouldn’t it? If films are too violent, TV just isn’t really violent enough (there isn’t enough swearing, either).
Actually, Michael Haneke has waded into cinematic violence this week with Funny Games. Or rather we should say, “Michael Haneke has waded into cinematic violence ten years ago with Funny Games, but he decided to remake it shot-for-shot in America because that’s where he wanted to make it in the first place.”
The thing about Funny Games is that if you’ve read up on it, you’ll know it’s highly possible that you’re cleverer for not having watched it; such are its themes and whatnot. NOW’s Norm Wilner didn’t like the remake, calling it “artistic backsliding.” Let’s not reward Haneke for that. We suggest you check out the original (if you must.)
Speaking of violence in cinema, Dr. Seuss’s work is brutally pillaged yet again to bring us Horton Hears a Who! If you’ve already seen a Dr. Seuss feature adaptation, you know exactly what to expect: a half hour (tops) of the original content with an hour of completely ill-fitting padding.
Also on release this week: Sleepwalking, CJ7 (a Stephen Chow film, but it’s for kids rather than a martial arts comedy, so boo), and Doomsday (hilarious for a trailer which features a Scottish person yelling out “THIS… IS…” at one point, but is, you know, set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland and from Neil Marshall, so might be alright).
In festivals and rep cinema this week, there’s the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Bloor, Cinematheque continues its Edward Yang season, and notably the Fox and the Royal are both showing the excellent Persepolis across the weekend.