Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.
Between TIFF, Hot Docs, Images, the Reel Asian fest, After Dark, and umpteen others, it seems like you can’t swing a cat around this city without hitting a film festival. Likely eager to further fortify their post-Avatar bottom line, Cineplex Entertainment is hopping on the train, capitalizing on the apparent fact that Torontonians appreciate getting their movies in festival format. Presented in association with Metro and Space, the bombastically titled Great Digital Film Festival lines up a whole bunch of films that are, well, great. And presented in digital format. And it’s a film festival!
Kicking off at the Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond Street West) on February 5, the Great Digital Film Festival offers a lineup chock-o-block with great (or at least tremendously entertaining) films, all digitally remastered to ensure maximum oohs and ahhs. From action-movie staples (Die Hard, Terminator 2), to sci-fi spectaculars (2001, Close Encounters), and classic AFI-approved fare (The Godfather Parts I and II, Amadeus), the Great Digital Film Festival offers the best movies you’ve already seen a hundred times on the big screen, and in HD.
“We looked for classic and Oscar-type films,” says Cineplex Communications Manager Georgia Sourtzis of assembling the lineup. And she’s not wrong. Remember when Wilford Brimley won the Academy Award for Best Exploding Villain for The Thing? Or when Speed got an Oscar nom for Best Movie About A Bus That Can’t Stop Going Fast? Or when the screenplay for The Matrix snagged the award for Film Most Likely to Birth A Cottage Industry of Watered-Down Philosophy Term Papers?
It’s also a handy way for Cineplex to boost profits as rocketing ticket prices and less-than-legal modes of movie-watching drive people away from their local multiplexes. (Though Sourtzis is quick to mention that Cineplex Entertainment did pretty well for themselves in 2009, you can’t help but wonder how much that can be chalked up to James Cameron’s latest eyeball-popping, record-shattering, multi-dimensional epic.) “We want to reach an audience that’s diverse and who have seen these films before in 35mm,” says Sourtzis. “And we also want to appeal to new fans who haven’t seen these films before.”
With tickets for the Great Digital Film Festival priced at a measly five dollars (nine dollars for double features), there’s little reason not to see these movies again on the big screen. You can barely rent a movie for five bucks nowadays, and even the highest-end home theatre setup is no match for that feel-good feel of munching overpriced popcorn and seeing an awesome movie on an outsized multiplex screen.
Sourtzis also stressed Cineplex’s goal to make their theatres “entertainment destinations.” And while that may sound like a bit of puffed up promo rhetoric, there’s no denying that the lineup and affordability of the Great Digital Film Festival may once again make the multiplex seem a movie lover’s home away from home.
Here’s the complete schedule:
Friday, February 5, 2010
2:00 p.m. – The Godfather
6:25 p.m. – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
9:10 p.m. – 2001: A Space Odyssey
11:59 p.m. – The Thing
Saturday, February 6, 2010
12:00 p.m. – The Princess Bride
2:30 p.m. – Amadeus
6:30 p.m. – Ghostbusters
9:20 p.m. – The Silence of the Lambs
11:59 p.m. – The Shining
Sunday, February 7, 2010
1:00 p.m. – The Wizard of Oz
4:00 p.m. – Labyrinth
6:30 p.m. – The Shawshank Redemption
9:45 p.m. – Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Monday, February 8, 2010
2:00 p.m. – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
6:00 p.m. – The Godfather
9:30 p.m. – The Godfather Part II
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
2:00 p.m. – Amadeus
6:45 p.m. – Speed
9:30 p.m. – Die Hard
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
2:00 p.m. – The Shawshank Redemption
7:00 p.m. – Dr. No
9:45 p.m. – Goldfinger
Thursday, February 11, 2010
2:00 p.m. – Ghostbusters
7:00 p.m. – Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan
9:45 p.m. – The Matrix