IVORY TOWER (Adam Traynor, Canada). 75 minutes. Friday (June 17), 2 pm, Toronto Underground. Rating: NNNN
It's hard to get your hopes up about a feature-length comedy co-written and produced by an oddball musician (Chilly Gonzales) who cast himself and other musicians in the main roles. How could this be anything but an embarrassing vanity project?
Well, the result might just be the funniest movie about chess ever made. Gonzales is terrific as a disillusioned chess master who's invented a non-competitive artistic version of the game called "jazz chess," and Montreal DJ/producer Tiga is hilarious as his ultra-competitive capitalist brother. Peaches sends up her own image by portraying a frustrated performance-artist-turned-housewife.
The low budget and the director's inexperience do occasionally show in the pacing and camera work. But Ivory Tower sets a new bar for musician-helmed feature films.