Movie Mondays: The Social Network of Movies

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Movie Mondays: The Social Network of Movies

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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So, it’s a pretty wacky week at the movies. This week, we scrape the bottom of the extreme horror chum bucket, indulge in some ani-mania, and get all dopey remembering how good busting used to make us feel. Oh, and we finally got around to seeing that Facebook movie. And you should too.

Okay, so, we’re way behind on this. But it’s because we tried to go see it on opening night and it was too packed and then we said, “Forget it!” and went to endless shrimp at Red Lobster instead. But have you guys seen The Social Network? Because it’s pretty good. In fact, in the whole storied history of Movie Mondays, we’ve never kicked off the column with a picture of the Scotiabank Cinema, because mostly the point is to focus on what local rep cinemas are playing. But you know what? The Social Network is so good that you should pony up the twelve bones and go to the multiplex and see it.
What’s special about The Social Network isn’t Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire screenplay, David Fincher’s masterfully moody lensing of the hallowed halls of Harvard or otherwise dull deposition boardrooms, or the tour-de-force performances by Jesse Eisenberg (as prickish Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg), Justin Timberlake (as playboy Napster guru Sean Parker), and especially Armie Hammer (who gobbles up twice as much scenery as scorned twin rich kids Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss), or Trent Reznor’s eerie-epic score, though these are all great things.

What’s really fantastic is the way in which the film fittingly captures the attitudes of an era. It’s easy to be snarky about Facebook: The Movie! (to nip a line from Mr. Show: “People like the website, they should like the movie, right?”), but that’s only because our culture has come to prize our ability to distance ourselves from what we see, to cultivate an attitude of dissociated nonchalance, and a movie about something so of-the-moment necessarily precludes such a remove. Instead, the film suckers you into its action, and the relentless clip of Sorkin’s script affords little room for backing away.
Watching the rise of the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, and seeing how it outwardly telescopes innumerable concerns of life in the digital age, feels like what it might have felt like to have seen Citizen Kane as the media empire of its sort-of subject, William Randolph Hearst, crumbled in the early 1940s, or to see Wall Street when insider trading and Gordon Gecko-ish avarice were front page news. And that Sorkin and Fincher ramp up their cinematic roman à clef to near-operatic heights (“MONEY! BETRAYAL! POKING!”) only strengthens the film’s sense of occasion. So yeah, in short, get off Facebook for two seconds and go see the Facebook movie. It’s playing all week at the Scotiabank Cinema (259 Richmond Street West). Then come home, go back on Facebook immediately and Facebook about how good the Facebook movie is.

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With Halloween right around the corner, the NFB has cooked up what they call a “Franken-program” of animated and fantasy shorts for this instalment of World of Shorts. Ani-Mania features eclectic shorts from across the globe, including one about the strange friendship between a bird and a shifty red-eyed squirrel (Stewart Comrie’s Battenberg), another dealing with ’70s French suburbanites plotting a fashion revolution (Jean-Christophe Lie’s Man in the Blue Gordini), and an absurdist animation about a flock of seagulls buggering up the operations of a lighthouse (Velislava Gospodinova’s Lighthouse). Check out Ani-Mania at the NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. And as an added incentive, this edition of World of Shorts is totally free.

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Alright, so we haven’t seen Srđan Spasojević’s A Serbian Film, and we’re not entirely sure that we want to, but because we’re aware of how many sick, disturbed freaks read this, we thought we’d give you the skinny.
First off, A Serbian Film is easily the most polarizing horror film of the past year. When Tim Anderson saw it at South by Southwest, he compared watching the film to having his soul raped. And Tim Anderson writes for Bloody Disgusting, so it’s not like he’s some shock-and-awe prude or something. A Serbian Film is about a pornstar looking for one last paycheque before he quits the seedy underbelly of adult entertainment. He takes a job working on an “art film,” where the director demands that he (among other things) decapitate a woman during sex, rape his own son, and do all kinds of other terrible, horrifying, sexually violent things. Oh man, we feel dirty just writing this. But if you’re into extreme horror, it sounds like you’d be hard-pressed to get more extreme than this. A Serbian Film makes The Bloor (506 Bloor Street West) feel all grimy and gross at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, presented by Rue Morgue magazine. There. We told you. Now we’re washing our hands of it.

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And if you’re idea of a perfect Thursday at the movies isn’t all incest and baby rape, then there’s always the perfectly innocent double-bill of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II at The Underground (186 Spadina Avenue) starting at 7 p.m. this Thursday. (Actually, Dan Aykroyd fantasies about getting sexually assaulted by a ghost in the first one, so maybe it’s not all marshmallow men and innocent ectoplasmic goop.)
But regardless, the Ghostbusters films, and especially the first one, remain high points of ‘80s Hollywood filmmaking. Not only are they hilarious, but they’re legitimately spooky, and bridge the whole kids movie–adult movie chasm in a way that so few PG films nowadays even bother trying. It’s also incredible to think of a time when producers bothered cooking up fantastic, high-concept films based on original ideas, and didn’t just repackage old TV shows or Hasbro action figures. So if you want some good popcorn-munching fun this week, well, you know who to call. (It’s the Ghostbusters. You know, like in the song.)

Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko/Torontoist.

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