Restaurant Review

Rating: NNNNNhas a seedy underworld (Look out! He's got a rhyming couplet!) plants this film unequivocally in the so-bad-it's-bad category..

Rating: NNNNN

has a seedy underworld (Look out! He’s got a rhyming couplet!) plants this film unequivocally in the so-bad-it’s-bad category. KL

A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSESCWC D: Bahman Ghobadi w/ Nezhad Ekhtiar-Dini, Amaneh Ekhtiar-Dini. Iran. 77 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 6:30 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Friday, September 15, 4:45 pm CUMBERLAND 1 Rating: NNNParentless kids try to keep the family together along the northern end of the Iran-Iraq border (it’s the Kurdish Party Of Five), but one brother is disabled and needs an operation. So the older brother joins a crew of smugglers, who apparently make money by taking truck tires over the Iraqi border tied to the backs of mules (not horses). At once tough-minded and broadly sentimental, Drunken Horses operates in the neo-realist mode of much contemporary Iranian cinema. Director Ghobadi, making his first feature after several shorts and an apprenticeship as assistant to Abbas Kiarostami, has a very striking compositional sense, though he can’t do much with the raw performances of his non-professional cast. JH

SEXY BEASTGALA D: Jonathan Glazer w/ Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone. UK. 84 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 9:45 pm ROY THOMSON HALL Thursday, September 14, noon VARSITY 8 Rating: NNNSexy Beast is a terrible title for a fair picture that echoes British crime dramas of the 60s and 80s, particularly The Hit (which is actually playing in the Frears retrospective). Winstone is a retired thug living on the Costa Brava who gets called back into action by an associate from his criminal days. Ben Kingsley, in a bit of odd stunt casting, spews venom with a Cockney spiv’s accent and calls everyone cunt. There’s too much Kingsley, and not nearly enough Ian MacShane, one of the few British actors with the right presence to play an old-school hard man. JH

THE PERFECT SONPC D: Leonard Farlinger w/ Colm Feore, David Cubitt. 93 mins. Wednesday, September 13, 9:45 pm CUMBERLAND 1 Friday, September 15, 11:15 am VARSITY 4 Rating: NN Do government funding agencies hand out some kind of checklist to people applying for grants? Family drama, OK. Substance abuse, OK. Reconciliation with alternative lifestyle, check. Confronting death, check. They’ve connected enough dots for a CBC Sunday-night movie — give them some money! Director Farlinger has made a beautiful film out of the tired material, with terrific performances by both principals. JH


FAST FOOD, FAST WOMENCWC D: Amos Kollek w/ Anna Thomson, Jamie Harris, Louise Lasser, Robert Modica, Victor Argo. U.S./France. 98 mins. Thursday, September 14, 6:00 pm UPTOWN 2 Saturday, September 16, 12:45 pm UPTOWN 2 Rating: NNNN NAmos Kollek once again sends his good-luck charm, Anna Thomson, into the streets of Lower Manhattan looking for love. But this time he’s left the drug-and-prostitution hell of Fiona and the doomed despair of Sue far, far behind, choosing instead to display unsuspected vibrancy and humour in filming the intersecting romantic quests of a motley mix of New Yorkers. Check your cynicism at the door and guiltlessly enjoy this quirky, warm and acutely observed modern-day fairy tale. After all, even Dante’s Divine Comedy ended in Paradise. JC

MARINE LIFEPC D: Anne Wheeler w/ Cybill Shepherd, Peter Outerbridge. 95 mins. Thursday, September 14, 7:00 pm UPTOWN 3 Friday, September 15, 12:15 pm VARSITY 1 Rating: NN Shepherd may get top billing, but Outerbridge (Kissed) is the only reason to watch this lumbering melodrama from the director of Better Than Chocolate. His journey from hotheaded young lover of a lounge singer (Shepherd) to surrogate father to her kids — a joyless 12-year-old girl and a brother-sister pair of messed-up adults — is tender and real. Unfortunately, he’s so much more appealing than this boorish family that you wish he’d run off with that sweet redhead at the docks. Bad sign. The heavy-handed whale symbolism is another. Heck, Shepherd singing is enough to pitch my head into my popcorn bag. KL

BYE BYE AFRICAPA D: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun w/ Haroun, Garba Issa, Aicha Yelena, Mahamat-Seleh Abakar. Chad/France. 86 mins. Thursday, September 14, 9:00 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Saturday, September 16, 12:30 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Rating: NNNN NImagine Makhmalbaf’s Salaam Cinema as a lament. In Paris, Haroun learns of his mother’s death. He returns to Ndjamena to sort through personal effects and memories. He takes his video camera. From there, Bye Bye Africa evolves into a film that crystallizes the dilemma of the African artist. It’s also a moving reflection on cinema itself. Haroun revists the scenes of his youth — the family home, the local cinemas — all of which are scarred by 25 years of war. His own family asks him “What’s the use of cinema?” A girl he cast in a previous film has been ruined by the shame of the role. Everywhere he turns, disillusionment. Everywhere he goes, his camera opens wounds. CB

LA VEUVE DE SAINT-PIERREGALA D: Patrice Leconte w/ Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil. France/Canada. 107 mins. Thursday, September 14, 9:30 pm ROY THOMSON HALL Friday, September 15, noon VARSITY 8 Rating: NN Don’t be fooled by the subtitles, cast and costumes. This historical weepie set on the French island near Newfoundland isn’t as smart as it looks. Binoche plays a naive captain’s wife who takes pity on a man condemned to die. Her reasons for getting interested in him are inscrutable, the motives behind his crime are flimsy and his transformation into a selfless martyr is preposterous. The scenery and cast look fabulous, and Binoche and Autueil are the hottest married couple since Angelina and Billy Bob, but these are superficial pleasures. A disappointing follow-up to Leconte’s much smarter Girl On The Bridge. KL

friday 15

THE WEDDINGCWC D: Pavel Lounguine w/ Marat Basharov, Maria Mironova, Andrei Panine. France/Russia/Germany. 114 mins. Friday, September 15, 3:00 pm VARSITY 8 Saturday, September 16, 8:45 pm VARSITY 2 & 3 Rating: NNN Lounguine (Taxi Blues, Luna Park) took a special acting mention in Cannes for the ensemble cast of this drunken, frantic and often comical assessment of Russian daily reality nearly 10 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After five years in Moscow working as a model, the beautiful Tania has come home to her small mining town outside Moscow with a fishy resolve to marry Mishka, her timid childhood sweetheart. The naive boy is on cloud nine, but his parents are mistrustful. The townsfolk are suspicious, gossipy and, above all, waiting for their paycheques. A lucid and humorous — but in the end exhausting and deafening — comedy that unfortunately does little to challenge the cliches about Russia as an inebriated zoo. JC

EUREKACWC D: Shinji Aoyama w/ Koji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Masaru Miyazaki. Japan. 217 mins. Friday, September 15, 6:00 pm VARSITY 1 Saturday, September 16, 12:45 pm VARSITY 1 Rating: NN Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes for best film in competition, Eureka is a delicate, exquisitely photographed black-and-white study of the battered survivors of a traumatic hostage situation. Years after the event, the driver of the bus sets up house with the two orphaned children who were his surviving passengers and are now mute. In Eureka’s favour are the delicately outlined relationships among the characters and Aoyama’s ability to establish mood through image. Against it is the fact that the director seems to have skipped the days when his film school taught editing. Eureka runs a numbing 217 minutes. If you have the patience, it’s worth seeing. If you’re like me and think Theo Angelopoulos and Bela Tarr would be much better directors if they cut their shots after the significant action is completed, it will make you crazy. JH

THE DISHGALA D: Rob Sitch w/ Sam Neill, Patrick Warburton. Australia. 104 mins. Friday, September 15, 6:30 pm ROY THOMSON HALL Saturday, September 16, 9:30 am UPTOWN 1 Rating: NNN If you thought all the Apollo mission stories had been covered by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, here’s one they missed. Apparently, the TV signals for the Apollo 11 moon walk were routed through a radio telescope in a sheep paddock in rural Australia, and this is its story. Fluff, but entertaining, with a

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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