It was 363 days ago that Torontoist trekked down from North York to the NFB Cinema at John and Richmond for a 9:00-on-a-Monday-morning press screening of Boy A, ahead of its world premiere at TIFF. It was worth the schlep. Surprised to learn from the credits that it was a TV movie produced for Britain’s Channel 4, we said of the drama about a young adult being assigned a new identity upon his release from prison that “nothing in the film (save perhaps its crisp digital-video aesthetic) suggests that it’s anything less than a first-rate independent feature production….Let’s hope it gets the theatrical release it deserves.” Well, on the second day of the 2007 Festival, before it had even publicly screened, worldwide rights to the film (excluding UK TV) were snapped up by The Weinstein Company. And today it comes out in Toronto—at the AMC, no less (where, apparently, is it playing in 35mm). Do not, however, watch the trailer. It gives away the whole damn movie, up to and including the final scene. As does Ebert’s review. As with most movies, the less you know going in, the better.
Late August is traditionally when the major studios release films that would have died quicker deaths had they come out earlier in the summer. By this time, expectations are lower (both for a movie’s quality and its gross), and so they jettison their remaining product, hoping something will mildly catch on with audiences: The House Bunny, The Rocker, Death Race, The Longshots. Guess which one is directed by Fred Durst. No, not that one. Pick again. Nope, again. Nope, that only leaves the one choice. Yeah, that’s it. Weird, huh?
And then, like Boy A, there are the leftover films that the mini-majors shuffle out to take advantage of one of the last windows prior to this year’s new crop of awards bait: Frozen River, winner of the (Dramatic) Grand Jury Prize at Sundance; Hamlet 2, starring Steve Coogan and written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker collaborator Pam Brady; Henry Poole Is Here, which predictably got only a single star from Adam Nayman; and Beaufort, the Israeli movie nominated for Best Foreign Language Film this past year after the by-all-accounts superior The Band’s Visit was disqualified for having more than 50% of its dialogue in English (the common language of the film’s Israeli and Egyptian characters).
The Fox leads the rep programming this week with a stellar lineup of 80s films: Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, The Last Starfighter, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Say Anything, Ghostbusters, The Dark Crystal, Sixteen Candles, Dirty Dancing, Weird Science, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. And then on Thursday the 28th they have Clue (based on the board game!) and Mystery Science Theatre 3000. But the Bloor has Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, the one with “Go ninja, go ninja, GO!” Does The 400 Blows (also at the Bloor this week) have a Vanilla Ice cameo? No, it doesn’t. (It does have a final shot recently parodied on The Simpsons, though.) On Monday, the Bloor has a free-for-members screening of the 1966 Batman movie, which is not playing on the same day as Werner Herzog’s Antarctica documentary Encounters at the End of the World, which would make an inexplicably interesting double bill.
Finally, in addition to showings of The Night of the Hunter, The Apartment, The Big Chill, and Blow Out, the Revue has a “rare original 35mm print” of Wes Craven’s groundbreaking 1972 debut, The Last House on the Left. Word is that Craven—in town for Fan Expo—will make an appearance and do a Q&A. This will be precisely 49 weeks after Max von Sydow did an onstage conversation and audience Q&A at TIFF following a screening of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, the movie of which Last House is an unofficial remake.
Screen cap from the Boy A trailer.