March (Break) Madness!

All of a sudden, the city is hopping with cool screenings

If you’re reading this on Friday, March 14, the temperature should be back above freezing and you’ll be thinking of long walks in the sunshine. Unfortunately, you’re in denial. We are currently experiencing the heat death of the universe, and warmth is a collective delusion as hypothermia sets in before the world freezes solid and shatters.

(Note to editors: It is possible that I have been watching Cosmos drunk. Really, though, can you blame me? It’s freezing.)

Anyway, the thaw won’t last, so you might as well take advantage of the heated indoor screenings happening around town this week. Turns out there are quite a few of them.

Down at the Lightbox, for instance, it’s another Bell Free Weekend, with the telecom giant-slash-brand partner of TIFF’s flagship picking up the tab for all screenings Saturday (March 15) through Sunday (March 16). Tickets are going fast, but you should still be able to grab a seat for a daytime show of Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winner The Great Beauty, or Hirokazu Kore-eda’s lovely Like Father, Like Son, or Bruce McDonald’s incisive character study The Husband.

In addition to the regularly scheduled programming, the Lightbox is also offering a whack of kids’ activity programs, and a Saturday matinee of Rio at 12 pm.

Oh, and in other TIFF-related news, my good friend Adam Nayman is introducing a screening of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls tonight at 10 pm … which has already sold out. But if you’re in the neighbourhood, swing by the second-floor concession stand from 9 pm to 9:45 pm and buy a copy of his new book, It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls, because it’s very good and he’ll sign it for you on the spot.

Speaking of awful films rehabilitated into pop-cultural touchstones by obviously insane people, The Room is back in town this weekend. Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero will be present for multiple evening screenings tonight through Sunday at the Carlton Cinemas admission is $15, and advance tickets are available here.

Now, I’ve said my piece on The Room before – said it twice, in fact – and if you still want to go, I won’t try to stop you. But wouldn’t you rather support good art instead of terrible art?

I mean, maybe you could wander down to the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema tonight (still March 14) for the 9:30 pm screening of the terrific Beastie Boys concert movie Awesome! I F*ckin’ Shot That!

The latest in the theatre’s ongoing rockumentary series, it’s a fully crowdsourced production director (and Beastie) Adam Yauch distributed 50 handheld DV cameras to random audience members at a Madison Square Garden performance, told them to shoot the concert and assembled the footage into a frenetic, occasionally disorienting and thoroughly delightful feature that plays very differently on the big screen than it does on DVD. And yes, that’s Ben Stiller bopping around in the cheap seats.

Doors open at 8:15 pm, with a live DJ pre-show by Moe Berg. That’s worth catching too.

More in the mood for something scary? The Royal’s Late Night Fridays series offers the throwback alien-abduction thriller Almost Human, which premiered in the Midnight Madness program of last year’s Toronto Film Festival. Screening’s tonight (yup, March 14) at 11:30 pm.

And that’s everything weekend-wise. But there’s still one more special movie event to note: on Wednesday (March 19), the fine gentlemen at MDFF are importing Luo Li’s Emperor Visits The Hell for a free Toronto premiere screening at Double Double Land in Kensington Market.

A transposition of elements of the classic Ming Dynasty novel Journey To The West into the present day, it’s an intriguing new vision of a very old story – sort of like a modern-dress Shakespeare adaptation, with gangsters and political functionaries replacing warriors and feudal lords.

You kinda have to see it to get it, to be honest. So see it.

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