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Much Ado about Whedon
During his downtime on The Avengers, Joss Whedon knocked out Much Ado About Nothing just to keep himself busy - no big deal, just a modern-dress Shakespeare adaptation with a few of his famous friends (among them Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg and Reed Diamond). If you were shut out of its TIFF premiere, you're gonna want to catch up to it. Opens June 14.
Shot right here in Toronto, Guillermo del Toro's gargantuan action epic Pacific Rim finds our world under attack by giant extra-dimensional monsters. Our solution? Build giant battle-bots with which to punch them back to their own territory, operated by the likes of Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi. Really, though, he had us at "giant extra-dimensional monsters." Opens July 12.
It's been four years since Neill Blomkamp turned heads with the gritty sci-fi shoot-'em-up District 9. Now he's back with Elysium, another SF thriller, this time set in a dystopian future where a wealthy few live off-world and leave the Earth to the impoverished, exploited masses. Matt Damon stars as a groundling who must make his way up to the richies' space station to reverse a toxic case of exposure; Jodie Foster is a fascist politician determined to let him die. Action ensues, obviously. Opens August 9.
NXNE's film component moves into the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema for four days of music and comedy screenings. The National's Mistaken For Strangers and the recently rediscovered early Rolling Stones doc Charlie Is My Darling both play June 14, along with the new B.B. King profile The Life Of Riley; June 15 sees the world premiere of FILMAGE: The Story Of DESCENDANTS/ALL and the stand-up study Alone Up There; on June 16, A.K.A. "Doc" Pomus looks at the life of the legendary songwriter. June 13 to 16. nxne.com.
This summer, no fewer than three weekly screening series will be competing for your attention. Yonge-Dundas Square's City Cinema lays claim to Tuesdays, with a Cult Classics program that opens with Pee-wee's Big Adventure (June 25) and also includes Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (July 16) and Miller's Crossing (August 6). Wednesday nights, Harbourfront's Free Flicks series (hosted once again by yours truly) offers the director's cut of Little Shop Of Horrors (July 3), Galaxy Quest (July 10) and The Triplets Of Belleville (August 7), among others. And also on Wednesdays, TIFF In The Park counters with "A Summer Of Romance" in David Pecaut Square. Offerings include Casablanca (July 3), The Way We Were (July 31) and The Notebook (August 28). Wherever you go, bring a blanket and snacks. It's just smart thinking. Info at ydsquare.ca, harbourfrontcentre.com and tiff.net.
After Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, pop-culture mashup artists Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost settle for a gentle character study in The World's End. Five 40-something friends (Pegg, Frost, The Hobbit's Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan) set out to re-enact an epic pub crawl of their youth, only to find there's a lot more at stake than their sobriety. For a certain subset of Torontonians - or at least me - it's already the must-see film of the summer. Opens August 23.