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.
Well, it’s t-minus five days until Tommy Wiseau parachute-drops into Toronto to host a string of screenings of his infamous motion picture debut, The Room. But until then, there’s lots of other film-y stuff popping up around town.
It’s a classic story. Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy and girl move into a Gothic apartment in Manhattan. Boy falls in with demon-worshipping neighbours, girl gets raped by Satan. The kind of schmaltz they cook up Hallmark cards just to propagate. And while you may have seen this story a thousand times, Rosemary’s Baby still holds up.
The keystone of Roman Polanski’s so-called “Apartment Trilogy,” Rosemary’s Baby captured the mid-’60s Satanic panic, boiling down news headlines about Anton LaVey into a slow-burning domestic thriller. It’s also kind of funny, in that glib Roman Polanski way. And Charles Grodin is in it. And you get to find out how evil babby formed! What more do you want? Get wrapped up in one of cinema’s most macabre paternity cases at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20. It’s a perfect date movie. Especially if your date is Lucifer.
On the subject of films that still hold up—when’s the last time you saw Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express? If you watched it, like, yesterday, then you can be excused for missing it when it launches at the Lightbox on Thursday, April 21 for a limited engagement. But if you haven’t seen it super-recently, then you should probably seize the opportunity to enjoy the newly struck print of Wong’s breezy diptych of broken hearts.
For those who haven’t seen it (and should), Chungking weaves together two stories of lovelorn Hong Kong policemen struggling to get over their last relationships. But it’s not all weepy, puffy-eyed losers shambling around feeling sorry for themselves. There’s a plotline involving a woman (Brigitte Lin) stuck in a smuggling ring, and another about a coquettish cook (Faye Wong) trying to insinuate herself into the heart of Tony Leung’s oblivious copper. It’s great. And it’s got a wonderful soundtrack. You’ll be whistling “California Dreamin'” (or Faye Wong’s cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams”) coming out of the theatre, guaranteed. If you’re already a hardened fan of Wong’s film, you should check out the conversation on Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m. with the film’s cinematographer, Christopher Doyle. You can ask him about how he did all that glitchy, fuzzy, streaky-light stuff (all technical terms).
And how about this for a tidy little transition? Speaking of Hong Kong films and speaking of Tony Leung (which we just were, right above, literally two mouse scrolls ago), this Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m., the Underground is screening Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s seminal crime thriller, Infernal Affairs, which qualifies as both a Hong Kong film and a Tony Leung vehicle. How about that, eh? Is it serendipity or fate?
Remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed, an overlong excuse for Jack Nicholson’s manic face-making and Matt Damon’s blue collar Bostonian drawl, Infernal Affairs follows a cop (Leung) who infiltrates a triad, and a triad mole (Andy Lau) who goes undercover as a cop. Besides the American remake (which was incorrectly identified as a Japanese film when it received the Oscar for Best Picture), Infernal Affairs proved so popular that it spawned a prequel and a sequel, but the original remains the trilogy’s high point. So go undercover as a paying cinema-goer and check it out.
Alright, readers. This is the big one. The screening you’ve been waiting for since The Room first began screening monthly at the Royal in 2009, making it leading contender for cult movie of the decade. And now, the writer, director, producer and star of said cult movie is coming to Toronto. This weekend, and this weekend only, it’s Tommy Wiseau at the Royal!
This is obviously big news for all you Room-heads (Roomies?) longing to pick the brain of the enigmatic Wiseau. But this isn’t just a chance to grill a guy who writes cheery dialogue like, “Anything for my princess!” and “Oh Denny, Denny, Denny boy.” It’s an actual chance to gain a deeper understanding of the artistic process. (This is absolutely not sarcastic, by the way.) Because for all its faults, The Room does possess this weird clarity of intention, reflecting a filmmaker so certain of what he was doing and uncompromising in his realization (however sloppy). Many of us can only pray for the chutzpah to commit to an idea we believe in so totally, regardless of whether or not we’re actually able to bring it to life with any degree of proficiency. So come on out, see the movie for the hundredth time, and ask Tommy Wiseau some searing, insightful questions. He’ll be there for five shows between Friday, April 22 and Sunday, April 24. Click here for showtimes and tickets. (And stay tuned to Torontoist, because we have something very special and very Tommy-related planned for Friday.)