With TIFF ‘08 kicking off next Thursday, most of Toronto’s reviewers are turning their attention towards the 300-plus films that will be taking over the city’s theatres over the following two weeks. Predictably, there’s not much else worth talking about opening this week.
The non-festival film generating the most buzz is Traitor, starring Don Cheadle as a former US Special Operations officer who may or may not have begun working on behalf of one of the many terrorist organizations with which he has built up connections. Eye’s Kieran Grant gives it three stars, saying that “right from the get-go, the movie dares to blur the line between good and bad in its treatment of jihadists vs anti-terror agents…it’s refreshing to feel a twinge of sympathy for a potential mass-murderer and simultaneously cheer on government agents for whom ‘acceptable loss’ is a playbook go-to.” The Star‘s Linda Barnard isn’t won over by Traitor though, saying that, “unsure if it’s a thriller or a political drama, it doesn’t do a very good job of being either.” But NOW’s Norman Wilner praises the film for its nuance and originality, lamenting its absence from the TIFF line-up. Wilner suggests you steer clear of the trailer, though, which gives away a major plot twist.
Also opening today is College, about three high school guys who spend a weekend visiting a college campus and have, like, the best time ever! There were no advance press screenings for this movie (“presumably so we couldn’t warn you in advance not to see it,” says The Star), but the trailer checks all the identikit boys-have-a-crazy-time-at-college-movie boxes: frat parties; almost getting laid; getting, like, really drunk. And check it out, on the movie’s website you can create your own fake ID! Bitchin’.
If you’re looking for something less throwaway, we recommend Outsourced, which Glenn Sumi at NOW calls “fresh and lively…part culture-clash comedy, part critique of global exploitation and (sounds cheesy but it’s not) part romantic comedy.”
This week you can also catch Young People Fucking, which we saw at last year’s TIFF and were pleasantly surprised by; Goal 2: Living the Dream, which gets a a decidedly lukewarm review from Eye; Babylon A.D., and Disaster Movie, yet another flick from the people who brought you the Scary Movie franchise.
The rep theaters next week are mostly going with Kung Fu Panda, which Torontoist didn’t think much of when it first came out, but which everyone else thought was awesome. And Bloor Cinema is showing the only movie where it’s publicly acceptable to shout things at the screen all the way through, tonight at 11:30 p.m.—The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Bring your sense of whimsy.
The Ashkenaz Festival, a celebration of Yiddish and Jewish culture that includes several free film screenings at the Harbourfront Centre, also continues into next week. It runs until September 1.