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.
With Christmas just around the corner, a lot of rep houses are unspooling holiday favourites. This week sees a couple of alternative Christmas classics screening around town, along with some great recent British sci-fi, and a movie about the land of chocolate.
When it comes to science fiction films, the British have a refreshingly light touch. Many of the best British sci-fi films exhibit a restraint that one might describe as very English; privileging high concepts over space opera, laser beams, and CGI razzmatazz (though, granted, the UK did bankroll John Boorman’s Zardoz). Indebted to the dystopic legacy of Orwell that runs through everything from A Clockwork Orange to Children of Men, Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go is one of the best incidental sci-fi pictures in recent memory.
Set an alternative near-present where children are cloned for the purposes of organ donation, Never Let Me Go casts Casey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield (who is particularly excellent) as “donors” struggling with the fate that’s been foisted upon them. It’s a quiet, some might say downright placid, film, to be sure. But it’s exceptionally thoughtful and powerful. It’s also extraordinary in its use of sci-fi genre trappings to bolster emotional resonance, and not merely drive home some Orwellian allegory of a world gone cold. Never Let Me Go screens at The Fox at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 13.
If you’re like us, then this time of year you make a point to buy one of those Advent calendars at Shoppers Drug Mart just so you can eat all the chocolates in one sitting. And then buy another one. Well, if you want to gain a refined appreciation of the waxy cocoa crap you’re cramming down your food hole, then head to The Revue on Wednesday, December 15 at 6:45 p.m. for a screening of Lasse Hallström’s Chocolat.
Starring super babes Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, as well as super non-babes Judi Dench and Alfred Molina, Chocolat is Willy Wonka for grown-ups; a film that revels in the mystical power of sugary-sweet confections. Presented as part of the Epicure’s Revue program, many Roncesvalles restos will be offering chocolate-themed tasting menus, including a free sampling at The Mercantile (297 Roncesvalles Avenue).
In the pantheon of incidental Christmas movies, Die Hard sits pretty at the tippy-top of the list, edging out Gremlins, Trading Places, Eyes Wide Shut and Die Hard 2. Apart from being a literally perfect action movie—explaining why subsequent action blockbusters can have their premises reduced to “Die Hard on an x, i.e. “Die Hard on a bus” for Speed or “Die Hard on a plane” for Con Air—the film’s holiday backdrop gives you the perfect excuse to revisit it annually.
And what’s that? Is it the sound of Santa’s reindeer galloping on your roof? Better! It’s John McClane shimmying through an air duct at The Bloor, bringing bloody holiday cheer this Wednesday, December 15 at 9 p.m. And it looks like our old friend Hans Gruber will be getting a lump of coal. Or, better yet considering his German background, a visit from Christmas demon Krampus. But for all you good boys and girls, it’s just deftly plotted action and volleys of memorable one-liners. Yippie-kai-yay to all! And to all, a good night! (Seriously though, just go see the damn movie. It’s the best.)
If your idea of the perfect Christmas movie calls for less of Bruce Willis walking around on broken glass shooting German terrorists, and more heavy-breathing killers pestering co-eds around the University of Toronto campus, then you’re in luck, you twisted sicko. This Friday, December 17 at 9:30 p.m., The Underground is screening Bob Clark’s seminal Canuxploitation slasher Black Christmas.
In keeping with the stock ‘n’ chop patterning of slasher flicks, Christmas drops a deranged serial killer in the environs of a U of T sorority house packed with hotties like Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin. Then there’s a whole bunch of pervy first-person peeping tom shots and a lot of stabbing. And it’s set at Christmas! And it’s pretty awesome! This is the perfect Christmas movie to bring your girlfriend to…if you want her to break up with you. Don’t miss it!
Never Let Me Go is showing at 7 p.m. tonight, Monday December 13, at the Fox Theatre. Incorrect screening information originally appeared in this post; our apologies for any inconvenience.