Well it’s a lazy, dog-dangling Monday, as they say. No lines at Tim Hortons or cars honking outside our windows, as Torontonians are packing their picnic baskets en masse for a holiday Monday in the park or on the Toronto Islands. (Speaking of picnic baskets, if you missed it when it premiered last week, check out the trailer to the forthcoming Yogi Bear, which has one of Canada’s preeminent comic talents embarrassing what’s left of himself.) But a great way to beat the lines at the ferry docks today, or trump your post–long weekend malaise is, of course, watching a movie. And as usual, you can read about all the best films playing this week, right after the jump.
The Revue (400 Roncesvalles Avenue)When Harry Brown premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, it was met with mixed reviews. Some liked its unique take on urban revenge films like Death Wish and Point Blank, while others saw it as a largely humourless, albeit thrillingly violent, attempt to cash in on the reinvigorated interest in urban revenge thrillers in the wake of successes like Taken and Gran Torino. But both sides seemed to agree on one thing: Michael Caine is fantastic in it. Harry Brown has Caine playing a retired Royal Marine who silently suffers while his tenement neighbourhood is assailed by chav violence. When his best friend Leonard (David Bradley) is killed by gang members, Caine’s character takes the law into—what else?—his own hands, hatching a plot to exact revenge. Like Gran Torino, Harry Brown uses a well-loved veteran actor to explore the generation gap and pose more general questions re: kids these days. But again, Caine offers a stellar performance, which is saying something considering how prone he is to offering stellar performances. The Revue screens Harry Brown at 9:15 p.m. on Monday.
TIFF Cinematheque (317 Dundas Street West)In horror cinema, shock is so common these days it’s hard find anything genuinely shocking. Granted, films like Martyrs are genuinely terrifying, and the team behind Human Centipede unlocked something truly icky with their villain’s monstrous ass-to-mouth triptych. But for the most part, we just see a lot of crap like Saw 3D or other dull torture films. If you want to see something truly terrifying this week, check out Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom at the TIFF Cinematheque. Casting the Marquis de Sade’s controversial sado-sexual novel in Second World War–era Italy, Pasolini’s films centres on a group of wealthy, libertine fascists who abduct eighteen teenagers, take them to a secluded castle, and grind them through a gauntlet of sexual perversions. A barbed and controversial critique of Italian fascism lodged by one of the nation’s most prominent filmmakers and intellectuals, Salò disturbs well beyond its more superficial shocks. (But don’t worry, there’s also enough poop-eating to satisfy all you Human Centipede fans.) The TIFF Cinematheque unspools Salò Tuesday at 7 p.m. as part of the Pasolini retrospective. It probably doesn’t make a great date movie.
NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street)If your love of animation is constantly rubbing against your love of environmentalism (and free workshops), then the NFB has crafted a program just for you. Wednesday night at 7 p.m., the NFB Mediatheque is hosting Remixing Our World as part of their Green Screens workshop series. Ideal for all you green-friendly arts and crafts lovers (and there have to be more than a few of you), Remixing Our World gives participants a chance to address environmental issues via collage, by cutting images of out magazines and super-imposing them on an otherwise untouched environmental landscape. It’s a nifty way to address environmental issues, and even better, it’s hands-on! And best: it’s free!
Toronto Underground Cinema (186 Spadina Avenue)Last winter when he was in town preparing to shoot a little film you have probably never ever heard of called Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, director Edgar Wright hosted a series of well-attended screenings at the Bloor Cinema, showcasing many of his favourite films, including under-appreciated cult classics like Head and Phantom of the Paradise. Now Wright is back in town, on more Pilgrim-related business (the movie opens later this month), and he’s hosting another stint of screenings, this time at The Underground (signifying that Toronto’s rep cinema balance of power may have shifted). Starting Friday, Wright hosts three nights of screenings, including a double-bill of his own Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz kicking off at 7 p.m. on Friday. The final program is still TBA, but stay tuned to The Underground’s website for details as they become available. (You should also consider getting tickets in advance, as these are bound to sell out.)
Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko/Torontoist.