For some reason, this year we’re already tired of the summer blockbuster schedule. It’s only mid-June and we’ve already had multiple superhero movies, CGI films, and big-budget comedies. Maybe it’s that desperate urge to not get killed by poor word-of-mouth that leads to another “must see!” movie every week until you can’t remember the last film you were told was “must see!”, but we’re exhausted.
So, at least this week’s big-budget attention-grabbers are The Love Guru and Get Smart, which we don’t have much urge to think about at all. The Love Guru gets its mention because it’s hopefully going to make a good Reel Toronto in future, no matter how dire Mike Myer’s oeuvre is past the first Austin Powers. When it comes to Get Smart, we find Steve Carrell’s shtick incredibly tiresome when he’s deprived of his Office ensemble, plus dusting off a beloved television classic to make an almost entirely unrelated film for an audience with no memory of the original seems to be a waste of the licence. If only Time Life didn’t have the exclusive rights to sell DVDs of the original series via mail order!
Let’s talk about how this is a good week for Canadian movies instead. Guy Madden’s latest, My Winnipeg, opens at the Varsity (excellent news, as we didn’t manage to catch it at TIFF or otherwise), and this week’s Cinematheque Ontario pick has to be Peter Lynch’s Project Grizzly. Playing as part of a Peter Lynch season (which includes a screening of Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend tonight at 7 p.m.), we have to state that we’d never seen the film in full until recently, although we’d seen some of the most famous clips (Troy Hurtubise throws himself down a cliff; Troy Hurtubise gets hit by a truck) on a mixtape.
It’s completely worth seeing in full—and particularly, we’re sure, on the big screen. Project Grizzly follows Troy Hurtubise’s attempt to build the ultimate bear protection suit; a quest that stemmed from a life-threatening encounter with a grizzly bear in his youth. In some ways Project Grizzly can be a frustrating film to watch—it’s far more interested in Hurtubise’s life and reasons for building the suit than it is in answering questions like “why build a bear suit that you can’t walk anywhere in?”—but it builds such a compelling narrative that it’s captivating anyway. Plus it’s got that brilliant National Film Board of Canada “feel” (if you know what we mean; you might not).
Project Grizzly plays in a double bill with Arrowhead on Tuesday at 7 p.m.—we recommend it fully. Oh, and be sure to read Hurtubise’s Wikipedia page. It’s amazing!
There are several festivals on this week, too. The ReelHeart International Film Festival ends this weekend and the Bicycle Film Festival plays the Royal today and tomorrow (as previously mentioned by Sarah Nicole Prickett), but the festival we’ve seen the most buzz for is Generation D.I.Y.—certainly because it features a range of mumblecore films, the new hotness now that we’re all done with Romanian cinema. It features another screening of Frownland, for example. We were offered a chance to preview the festival, but we turned it down (sorry, nice person who offered), as no matter how positive the buzz was, we didn’t think we could sit through anything even vaguely similar. But if you can, don’t miss the festival, which continues over the weekend.
Also on release this week: Global Metal (highly recommended in the comments of a recent Film Friday, though we despised the director’s previous film), Family Motel, and Before the Rains. The Foot Fist Way is apparently out too, though that was news to us! Thanks Adam Nayman!