Movie Mondays: Grave-spitting, Genesis Lasers, Zombies, and Suicidal Englishmen
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Movie Mondays: Grave-spitting, Genesis Lasers, Zombies, and Suicidal Englishmen

As a means of rounding up Toronto’s various cinematic goings-on each week, Movie Mondays compiles the best rep cinema and art house screenings, special presentations, lectures, and limited engagements.
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Last week, we mentioned how excited we were for the new Sly Stallone testosterone epic (testosterpic?) The Expendables. Well, we can faithfully report to you now that it’s truly testosterrific: a return to meat-and-potatoes action movies, where ripped flesh-and-blood dudes (instead of CGI robots or whatever) duly clobber the piss out of each other. The return of the classic ‘80s action hero trumped the rise of the nerdy everyman hero, as The Expendables squashed local underdog Scott Pilgrim at the box office. Scott may be able to tackle some svelte exes, but the collected forces of Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Crews, and Couture aren’t routed quite so swiftly. So see The Expendables this week, if you’re into that kind of thing. Or root for the home team and check out Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which is also really very good. Or, hey, there’s all this other stuff you can see.

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The Revue (400 Roncesvalles Avenue)

The Revue continues another of its pun-based programs on Tuesday at 7 p.m., when the Roncesvalles rep house screens Tom Ford’s A Single Man as part of its Book Revue series. Based on the 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood, Ford’s film casts Colin Firth as a university professor planning his suicide after the death of his lover. Carried by a strong performance by Firth (who received a Best Actor nod at the Oscars for his efforts) and stylish mid-‘60s production design (courtesy of the folks responsible for piecing together Mad Men‘s mise en scène), A Single Man is a sophisticated portrait of melancholy and grief. So read the book, then see the movie at The Revue. And there will be a test, or at least a discussion, following the screening. So don’t just skim the Coles Notes or Wikipedia entry.

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The Fox (2236 Queen Street East)

So last year when J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot/remake/remodel/reimagining/re-whatever-the-hell hit theatres, people were generally pleased. Even notoriously hard-to-please Trekkies, who were offered a laboured alternative timeline as a courtesy for their niggling adherence to canon continuity, seemed pleased. But despite the positive response, the general consensus was that Abrams’ Trek was no Wrath of Khan.

This Wednesday at 7 p.m., The Fox treats us to a screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, that 1982 space opera that’s widely regarded as the finest of the eleven Star Trek films. A sequel to the original series episode “Space Seed,” Khan again pits Captain Kirk and the Enterprise gang against genetically perfected superhuman dickhead Khan Noonien Singh (the late Ricardo Montalbán). Basically a swashbucklers-in-space Moby Dick–tinged revenge epic, which Star Trek loves (cf: Star Trek: First Contact), Khan’s a gripping bit of science fiction, possessing resonant themes that may appeal to people who aren’t hardened Trekkies. It also has some amazing lines, like Khan’s “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee” speech. Plus, you get to see William Shatner yelling “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!”

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The Bloor (506 Bloor Street West)

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival rolls on this week, taking over The Bloor for a week’s worth of horror, sci-fi, and potential cult films. One of the banner presentations (apart from Friday’s screening of The Human Centipede) is the debut of Steve R. Munroe’s remake of Meir Zarchi’s controversial rape/revenge flick I Spit on Your Grave. The original 1978 was much-maligned for its lengthy and graphic depiction of a wayward female reporter being gang-raped and tortured (only to survive and revisit the violence on the Podunk hicks who assaulted her), but has since gained a kind of spurious traction as a pro-feminist film. Obviously capitalizing on the popularity of remakes, and the whole “torture porn” trend in horror filmmaking, Munroe’s remake promises to be plenty gory and disturbing. (The ads and posters prominently feature the film’s heroine brandishing a pair of rusty garden shears, which given the original film’s famous bathtub penectomy scene will likely be used for all kinds of on-the-fly castrations). I Spit on Your Grave screens Thursday at 9:45 p.m. at The Bloor.

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The Underground (186 Spadina Avenue)

Toronto loves zombies. So it’s pretty appropriate that George A. Romero, the godfather of the zombie genre, decided to move here a few years back. Famous for marrying heavy-handed allegory with scenes of zombies gnawing people’s throats out, Romero’s films have served as torchbearers of the genre, for better or for worse. Romero’s latest, Survival of the Dead, premiered at TIFF last year, and had a bit of trouble getting a wide release. It played in a handful of theatres across North America, before being dumped to DVD and video-on-demand. But now, you can see Survival of the Dead at The Underground, where it begins a limited engagement at 7 p.m. on Friday. This one is about two rival clans in a post-apocalyptic zombieland arguing about zombie civil rights. Actually. Also: Strombo is in it.
Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko/Torontoist.

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