You know what sucks? Burning significant quantities of helicopter fuel for the purpose of towing around an ad. You know what’s cool? Seeing the Batman logo flying across the sky. Life is complicated sometimes.
So, yes, The Dark Knight comes out today. Well, actually it came out about fourteen hours ago, with midnight screenings that we assume were packed, as the movie set a new Canadian record for advance ticket sales. It’ll almost certainly break all IMAX box office records, too, so you may want to wait at least a couple weeks before trying to squeeze yourself into the Scotiamount, the only IMAX theatre in Toronto that plays narrative films. (Though you can always haul yourself out to Mississauga or Woodbridge if necessary.) You know you’re going to see the movie regardless of what any critic writes about it, but the fact that it’s currently running at 94% on the Tomatometer (with an astonishingly high average rating of 8.5/10) after 176 reviews certainly does not hurt. Roger Ebert writes, “Batman isn’t a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy.” And that’s all we intend to read about the film, because we don’t want anything spoiled, and really, what else do you need?
But there are other films opening in Toronto. Six others, in fact:
Mamma Mia!: We were unreasonably excited about this, because the casting of Meryl Streep in the lead role is a brilliant gesture that makes the movie suck-proof. That is, no matter what problems the film may have, the presence of a singing and dancing Streep means it can’t be all bad and is even probably worth seeing (when it hits the reps). The Greek island-set film earned a generous review from Star movie editor and cocktail writer Linda Barnard, who opened with, “Saganaki is a Greek dish that comes to the table accompanied by cries of ‘opa!’ and a dramatic fiery flourish. In reality, it’s just cheese – but what wonderfully salty, sinfully satisfying cheese it is.”
Space Chimps: As nothing in the movie likely tops the deranged brilliance of its title, we suggest you forgo buying a ticket and simply stare at the poster, marveling at the age we live in.
A Jihad For Love: A documentary about gay and lesbian Muslims that was a consistent sell-out at TIFF but is apparently not quite as amazing as Be Like Others, the Hot Docs hit that examines the contradiction of Iran’s condemnation of homosexuality and acceptance of transsexuality.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: Starting a run at the overpriced Cumberland, it has enough of a kickass trailer that it’s worth catching at the Bloor when it inevitably moseys westward.
As for what you can catch at the Bloor this week, as it continues its impossibly awesome July, there’s a restored print of Vivre sa vie (1962), made by Godard in that brief period after he discovered movie-making but before he discovered Marxism. And Stuck, which placed a very close second to À l’intérieur (Inside) on our list of the best Midnight Madness movies we caught at TIFF last year, in which Mena Suvari plays a nurse who accidentally hits a homeless man with her car, drives home with him stuck in the windshield, and keeps him there to die. It’s a horror movie (and black comedy) based on a true story. More than that, it’s refreshing, as unlike most horror films that eschew the supernatural, the villain isn’t a serial killer (or even pathologically evil) but rather an ordinary, albeit stupid, person making one monumentally bad and self-serving decision after another. We took it as a (presumably unintended) metaphor for the Israeli-Palestianian conflict, but then we thought the same thing about X-Men: The Last Stand.
Top photo by Mike Stich. Early poster for Stuck from Bloody Disgusting.