It’s a strong week for festivals, as while the ReelWorld Film Festival closes this Sunday with closing night gala Aloo Chaat (6:30 p.m., Scotiabank Theatre), both the Sprockets Film Festival and Toronto Jewish Film Festival open this Saturday.
Starting with an opening night gala for the North American premiere of Camera Obscura (9:15 p.m. at the Bloor) the TJFF includes some particularly inspired matinee choices as part of their special programs, including The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (Sunday, 11 a.m. at the Bloor) and Gold Diggers of 1933, starring Ginger Rogers, on Monday at 1 p.m., again at the Bloor. Full details at the TJFF website.
Just as exciting is this weekend’s Sprockets programming—a festival we’ve previously described as “one of the most amazing opportunities for children from ages as young as three to connect with the visual language of other cultures,” and a claim we stand by. This year’s highlight screenings include the self-explanatory Kung Fu Kid from Japan (Saturday, 11:20 a.m. and Sunday, 9:45 a.m.); European computer-generated animation Dragon Hunters (Saturday, 4:45 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30 a.m.); Sri Lankan drama King Siri (Saturday, 11:45 a.m. and Sunday, 10:10 a.m.); and not to forget the shorts programs such as Loot Bag (Satuday, 12:10 p.m. and Sunday, 9:50 a.m.), which includes sweet and silly shorts like The Bunjies (pictured above). All screenings we’ve mentioned are at Canada Square, and age recommendations and further details can all be found at the Sprockets website.
Not such a strong week for film otherwise, with new releases ranging from a film—17 Again—that’s only notable by anyone because Zac Efron is in it absurdly playing a young Matthew Perry (we rather liked this quip from Eye‘s Adam Nayman concerning that fact: “There aren’t enough gamma rays in the whole Marvel Universe to make me believe that Zac Efron could share genetic material with Matthew Perry.”) and Fred Durst’s directorial debut, The Education of Charlie Banks.
There are few kind words for State of Play, despite its basis in a critically acclaimed BBC drama and direction from Kevin MacDonald, with the Star‘s Peter Howell going as far as calling it a “a capable if convoluted ‘B’ movie about government corruption.”
Most critically praised this week is Sugar, from the directorial team behind Half Nelson, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. NOW‘s Norm Wilner praises it as a “subtly observed drama,” noting that Boden and Fleck turn “a fairly conventional baseball story into something much more interesting and relevant.”