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.
Sometimes weeks come along where there’s a tidy theme that seems to unify a bunch of movie-related stuff happening across town. This, faithful readers, is one of those weeks: as if designed by the whims of fate herself, this week sees a bunch of rock ‘n’ roll movies and one classic hip-hop flick. Oh, and the Lightbox is giving away stuff for free.
Oh, Family Day. Just another Hallmark holiday cooked up so TIFF could sell movie tickets. Well, give away movie tickets. Which makes it less aggressively commercial, in a way. In any event, the Lightbox is celebrating Family Day with all kinds of free activities.
On Monday, February 21, come on down to the Lightbox at Reitman Square (named after the First Family of Canadian cinema, wouldn’t you know). They’re hosting free screenings of all kinds of movies, like James and the Giant Peach, The Red Shoes, Alice in Wonderland, and a new documentary about cameraman Jack Cardiff. And what’s more, you can even check out the Tim Burton and Mary Pickford exhibits for free. You can’t see Incendies for free though. No, sir. You’ll have to pay for that one. Pay… dearly.
There are good concert films: The Last Waltz, Baby Snakes, Live at Pompeii, stuff like that. And then there’s Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads concert film so goshdarn good it transcends everything about the medium.
Shot over the course of three nights in 1983, Stop Making Sense doesn’t just capture all the mythic energy and weirdness and panic that Talking Heads live shows were purported to be all about—it recreates all these things. Stop Making Sense doesn’t just present a concert to a theatrical audience, it creates the concert. All of frontman David Byrne’s goofiness—from walking on stage with a boombox playing the sparse backbeat of “Psycho Killer” to his graceful lamp dancing during “Naïve Melody”—is being put on for the cameras. And it’s amazing. It’s inherently cinematic in a way that makes Stop Making Sense not just a “concert film” but a real-deal movie. And oh hey, guess what? It’s playing Wednesday, February 23 at 9:10 p.m. at the Bloor. So dust off your oversized suit and get in on the party.
On the subject of rock movies, it’d be pretty great if someone made a documentary about Motörhead frontman Lemmy. After all, the guy’s known for being basically totally crazy: speed-riddled, drunk, claiming to have slept with over two thousand women. Plus, he’s got one of those faces that just looks good on film, all craggly and pockmarked and thoroughly badass. Yep. Someone should really make a movie about ol’ Lemmy.
Wait a sec. Somebody did! It’s called, appropriately enough, Lemmy and it’s screening all week at The Royal. Featuring interviews with the likes of Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Johnny Knoxville, and other disreputable sources (including Lemmy himself), this 2010 doc portrays the volatile trash rocker with all the pounding efficiency the subject deserves. Even if you’re not into Motörhead—and really, if you’re not, then what’s your problem anyways?—the film gives enough insight into Lemmy to make his gruesome mug appeal to folks sitting squarely outside the headbanger ranks.
Before Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (the best title for any sequel ever in the history of cinema), there was Breakin’, the 1984 film that brought the secret rituals of breakdance culture into the mainstream. Like a hundred similar movies to come after it (Save the Last Dance, Step Up, etc.), Breakin’ follows a disillusioned dancer who becomes enamoured with the romance and topsy-turvy choreography of the urban boogie. Lo, how they pop and lock! Twisting and twirling like inner-city whirling dervishes!
Nowadays Breakin’, with its super-romantic, crayon-coloured representation of urban life, is mostly an incidental comedy. Which probably explains why the Underground, who loves their incidental comedies, is screening it at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 26. So downrock over there and join all the other secret b-boys. And is that Jean-Claude Van Damme wearing a leotard in the background of one of the dance scenes? Our research suggests that it is.