Restaurant Review

Rating: NNNNNmalaise and delight. A couple on the verge of crisis, with two exasperating kids in the back seat, go.

Rating: NNNNN

malaise and delight. A couple on the verge of crisis, with two exasperating kids in the back seat, go on a hot drive to the summer house. Out of the blue (or, more specifically, in the washroom of a gas station) comes the outstretched hand, the caring smile, of old forgotten friend Harry. For sure, he is a little weird, but the prospect of relief quickly outweighs the unease, so they invite him and his plump girlfriend into their little life. Moll is a wonderful manipulator of emotions, dexterously leading us from laughter to uncomfortable smile, from underlying anxiety to outright fear. Dangerously pleasurable. JC

WHAT ABOUT ME: THE RISE OF THE NIHILIST SPASM BANDPC D: Zev Asher. Documentary. 79 mins. Tuesday, September 12, 9:15 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Thursday, September 14, 6:15 pm VARSITY 7 Rating: NNN Back in 1965 when these fellows started banging their instruments every Monday night in London, Ontario, being called a “noise band” was an accusation, not a label. They now show no signs of either slowing down or playing in tune. One looks like Alec Guinness in a fedora, which doesn’t prepare you for the sight of his roach and snake collections. This cheerful documentary spends too much time on the group’s Japanese tour and not enough on what their families think, but it wisely keeps the concert footage to a minimum. The band is delightful as a concept just don’t make me actually listen to them. KL

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVEGALA D: Wong Kar-wai w/ Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung. Hong Kong/China. 98 mins. Tuesday, September 12, 9:30 pm ROY THOMSON HALL Wednesday, September 13, 1:30 pm VARSITY 8 Rating: NNNNNWong Kar-wai’s sublime and enigmatic companion piece to Days Of Being Wild is a gorgeous and elliptical look at the consequences of an affair in 60s Hong Kong. Leung (best actor at Cannes) and the sizzlingly coiffed Maggie Cheung both play double roles — the cheater and the cheated upon. Even though they appear to be backing away one moment, they may be indulging the next. Dazzling stylistic effects. PE

EISENSTEINCWC D: Renny Bartlett Simon McBurney. Germany/Canada. 98 minutes Tuesday, September 12, 9:30 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Friday, September 15, 4:45 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Rating: NNN Serendipitously, this pointillist biopic about the iconic Russian master is showing within days of the Alexander Nevsky screening at RT Hall, with Prokofiev’s score played live by the TSO. McBurney embodies Eisenstein as an antic creative zealot who masters theatre, picks up a camera and produces Strike! as if in a whirlwind. The more one knows about Eisenstein’s films, the more they are appreciated. Bartlett makes intelligent choices about which Eisenstein bauble to display, setting it all within the fabric of repressed sexuality and the killing weight of Stalinist bureaucracy. PE

POSSIBLE WORLDSSPEC D: Robert Lepage w/ Tom McCamus, Tilda Swinton. Canada. 95 mins. Tuesday, September 12, 9:45 pm VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Thursday, September 14, 3:00 pm VARSITY 8 Rating: NN A missing brain, a mad scientist, alternate realities, star-crossed lovers — with such hot ingredients, why is this film half-baked? Can’t blame the actors. McCamus (the incestuous dad in The Sweet Hereafter) is appropriately hangdog as a murder victim who shifts through other realities, each time seeking out the same woman (Swinton, whose only flaw is her strained American accent). Instead, blame Lepage. His painstakingly composed scenes are pretty to look at, but all his philosophical mumbo-jumbo ends with the not-so-jaw-dropping revelation that “everything simply is.” And he has no idea how to create suspense.

TWO THOUSAND AND NONEPC D: Arto Paragamian w/ John Turturro, Katherine Borowitz. 90 mins. Tuesday, September 12, 10:00 pm UPTOWN 3 Thursday, September 14, 10:00 am UPTOWN 3 Rating: NNN Tuturro plays an ornery paleontologist who, learning he has five weeks to live, decides to tie up some loose ends. While an ornery dying man is always more fun to watch than one who sobs into his pillow, this film is at times almost pathologically unsentimental. One brief, wrenching moment between Turturro’s character and his elderly aunt underscores how aloof everyone else seems. That said, the dialogue is sharp and the acting exceptional. Borowitz, Turturro’s wife and an accomplished stage actress, plays his bewildered ex. Many thoughts are provoked, just not enough emotions. KL


THE YARDSSPEC D: James Gray w/ Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, James Caan, Ellen Burstyn. U.S. 115 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 6:30 pm UPTOWN 1 Friday, September 15, 9:15 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Rating: NNN This drama about urban politics and corruption, from the director of Little Odessa, starts out strong and then gets tangled up in its own plot developments. It was booed at the Cannes press screening, but it’s not really bad. Wahlberg is an ex-con who goes to work with his uncle’s political fixer. Tucked away in this film is a superb performance by Phoenix (Gladiator) as an ambitious sharpie afloat in a river of ethical slime. If the film were better, people would be talking Oscar nomination. JH

THE HOUSE OF MIRTH GALA D: Terence Davies w/ Gillian Anderson, Eric Stoltz. UK. 145 mins. Wednesday, September 13 6:30 pm ROY THOMSON HALL Thursday, September 14, 9:30 am UPTOWN 1 Rating: NNNNNCovering similar territory as Scorsese’s The Age Of Innocence, but with far darker consequences, this tragedy of love hamstrung by strict societal conventions and blatant hypocrisy is beautifully filmed, with some exquisite, magical transitions that are pure Davies. Anderson (a Davies fan and his choice from the beginning), as the socialite torn between maintaining her station and following her heart, performs with surprising emotional depth. PE

A ONE AND A TWO (YI YI) MAST D: Edward Yang w/ Ninzhen Wu, Kelly Lee, Jonathan Chang, Issey Ogata. Taiwan/Japan. 173 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 12:30 pm UPTOWN 3 Saturday September 16, 8:30 PM CUMBERLAND 3 Rating: NNNNNNWinner of the directing prize at Cannes, YI-YI is the fascinating portrait of a Taiwanese middle-class family on the verge of a nervous breakdown. An existential crisis suddenly hits N.J. Jian — 40-something, successful, husband and father — and then slowly, and very absorbingly, reverberates through the entire family. Filmed austerely by an often still camera, YI-YI is nearly three hours long but wastes no time at all. A work of rare intelligence and microscopic precision, subtly laced with moments of magical abstraction and odd humour. Possibly a masterpiece. JC

THE SEASON OF MEN PA D: Moufida Tlatli, w/ Rabiaa Ben Abdallah. Tunisia/France. 124 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 9 pm UPTOWN 2 Saturday, September 16, 3:45 pm, VARSITY 2 & 3 Rating: NNNTeeming with atmosphere, Tlatli’s new film (like the wonderful Silences Of The Palace) transports us to the jewel-like Tunisian island of Djerba, where women are second-class citizens. But whereas Silences drew on memories of the Old World, the less appealing Season is rooted in contemporary society. The husbands live and work in Tunis, returning to their wives and families for a few weeks each year only to produce more offspring (preferably male, of course). The film focuses on one enterprising woman whose husband forbids her to join him in the big city even though she’s earned enough money to do so. PE

THE MONKEY’S MASKCWC D: Samantha Lang w/ Susie Porter, Kelly McGillis. Australia. 91 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 6:00 pm UPTOWN 2 Friday, September 15, noon UPTOWN 2 Rating: N This is definitely not the film that’s going to resurrect McGillis’s fading career. She plays the poetry prof of a murdered girl and the lover of the dyke P.I. (Porter) who’s assigned to the case. Though I can live without seeing McGillis naked, she’s not as bad as Porter, whose idea of acting is to look at everyone like they want to sleep with her. Crappy lighting, a droning voice-over and the ridiculous notion that poetry

CRITICS’ CHOICE: indicates 4- and 5-N reviews

Festival series are abbreviated as follows:

CWC — Contemporary World Cinema

GALA — Gala

MM — Midnight Madness

DIAL — Dialogues

DISC — Discovery

RBS — Robert Beavers Spotlight

MAST — Masters

BOF — Beckett On Film

PA — Planet Africa

PC — Perspective Canada

RTR — Real To Reel

SPEC — Special Presentations

Y1 — Year 1

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