Well, we’ve listed the films that are showing at this week’s NXNE festival, but we haven’t particularly shown any opinion about which you should go and see. Until now! Our pick, above all, is Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year in the Life of Andre Williams, which plays the NFB Cinema at 1:15 p.m. this Saturday. Tim Perlich at NOW complains, “[directors] Matthies and Todd are unable to put [Williams’s] sad current state in proper historical perspective,” but we’re still interested to see a film about Williams’s current life. For a quick introduction to his work (and for some historical perspective), you couldn’t do much better than checking out his song “Jail Bait.” Pretty amazing—or amazingly offensive, depending on your point of view!
This week’s big summer blockbusters are The Incredible Hulk and The Happening. We have a lot of interest in The Incredible Hulk, simply because it was impossible to traverse downtown last year and not walk into at least one area that “looked like New York” (how to make Toronto look like NY, Hulk style: stick American flags everywhere) and even from the trailer, its “Torontoeyness” is very obvious. It’s been quite poorly reviewed, but M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening has received a much (much) worse response—almost universally reviled by reviewers. Like most of his films, reviews might matter less than how much you want to find out the twist, but we’re pretty bored by that gimmick by now, so we’ll probably just read the summary on Wikipedia, or something. Eye‘s Adam Nayman calls it “essential viewing,” though, as “its badness exerts a hypnotic fascination.”
Also on release this week, Irina Palm and Young People Fucking (which we covered at last year’s TIFF).
In festivals, the Worldwide Short Film Festival continues, and several films we’ve previewed have a second screening on the way (check it out, if you didn’t already). There’s also the Toronto Italian Film Festival, and the ReelHeart International Film Festival, which begins on Monday. Cinematheque Ontario begins tonight with an Italian theme too—Fellini’s La Dolce Vida opens the summer season at 7:00 p.m.
A couple more things worth noting—the Bloor is showing a double bill of Alien: The Director’s Cut and Aliens on Wednesday, and that sounds like a good evening to us. But perhaps an even better evening could be had by staying in after purchasing a copy of Heavy Metal in Baghdad, which has just been released on DVD after a short theatrical run in the US (boo to Vice for not running it here). We loved it when we saw it at TIFF, and it’s one of the best things we’ve seen on the Iraq War—other than possibly Black Watch, but that’s theatre, so out of this column’s remit!