Halloween may be behind us, but if you're not ready to put away your costume just yet, the helpful ghouls at TIFF Cinematheque have you covered. This Saturday, as part of its ongoing George A. Romero retrospective, the Lightbox is screening the first three chapters of Romero's signature zombie series - Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead - with the filmmaker on hand to introduce the first film in person.
Made in 1968, Night is a terse, claustrophobic nightmare that clarified the zombie genre for generations; a decade later, Dawn added black comedy and a none-too-subtle consumerist satire to the mix, though it was even less hopeful about the possibility of humanity surviving the zombie plague. And in 1985, Day Of The Dead gave us a world overrun by the reanimated, with a handful of the living squirreled away in a Florida bunker, trying to figure out what to do now.
Romero's Living Dead films have slid painfully downwards in quality in recent years, but these three are rock-solid, containing the seeds of virtually every subsequent zombie project within them. And this is a rare opportunity to see them in the presence of their creator, and maybe thank him for creating one of the great cultural metaphors of the modern age. I'd be there myself, but I'm on the other side of the continent; give him a hug for me, would you?
If the whole flesh-eating thing doesn't work for you, and you'd rather spend your Saturday night watching something a little less intense, you could wander over to the Royal, where the 2012 edition of the Moving Image Film Festival is underway.
Screening in the 10:30 pm Best Feature Film showcase includes Saturnia, a documentary by Ferdinando Dell'Omo and Lilia Topouzova about the cruise ship that brought a quarter of a million Italians to Canada after the Second World War - though not all of them travelled in high style. Running just under an hour, it's a gentle, intelligent little study of culture shock, with its aging interview subjects bemusedly recounting their arrival at Halifax, Nova Scotia and their eventual acclimation to Canada.
Sunday night, things get weird again with a screening of Takashi Miike's Ace Attorney at 6 pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Based on the videogame Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - or, so I am informed, on a couple of the cases the player argues within that game - it is an extremely silly movie, set in a hyper-accelerated future in which the eponymous defense lawyer (Hiroki Narimiya) has but three days to save his client from a murder charge. And then there's a complication involving his rival, prosecutor Miles Edgeworth (Takumi Saito). And then something else happens, because Ace Attorney runs two and a quarter hours. Hey, people who like this sort of thing will like this sort of thing, you know?
Tickets - available here - are $11, or $8 with a Gamercamp badge, because those people are this Ace Attorney's ideal audience and why not pack the room with them?
Eventually, though, we have to put away the silly stuff and look to more serious cinema. Fortunately, there's Lise Birk Pedersen's Putin's Kiss, which is this month's Doc Soup selection, playing at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Wednesday at 6:30 pm and 9:15 pm and repeating Thursday at 6:45 pm.
Putin's Kiss is the story of Masha Drokova, whom we meet as a 19-year-old true believer in Russia's NASHI movement - which ostensibly is a grassroots organization of young people trying to save their nation from corruption within. In practice, though, they're squads of agitators who can be deployed by Vladimir Putin's operation to shout down opposition groups. And the more time Masha spends interacting with regular people - and the more she sees of NASHI's questionable behaviour - the more she comes to question her political stance.
Tickets are available here. Pedersen will be present for Q&As after each show, so be prepared to engage with the material on an even deeper level than the film does. It'll be worth it.