Little Shop of Horrors
Looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday? Planning to catch a movie or three? Well, you're in luck. Toronto's programmers have organized all sorts of fun stuff, running through the long weekend and beyond.
Tonight, for example, you can jump back to the 50s at two different locations. The University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Student Union is holding a free screening of François Truffaut's magnificent first feature The 400 Blows at 7 pm at Innis Town Hall. It's a 35mm presentation. It will be wonderful.
Alternately, you could go down to the Lightbox, where TIFF Cinematheque is running a new 3D restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder; tonight's screening will be introduced by The Globe And Mail film critic Liam Lacey; the show starts at 7:15 pm. (And here's what I thought of it, if you're curious.)
The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is bending its reality-centric mandate just a little bit for the holiday weekend, screening a quartet of cult comedies under the banner of Revenge Of The Bloor. Frank Oz's adaptation of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's smash musical comedy Little Shop Of Horrors screens tonight at 11:15 pm; tomorrow, it's Joe Dante's delightful InnerSpace at 1 pm and Robert Zemeckis's immortality farce Death Becomes Her at 11:30 pm. And at 9 pm Sunday, Little Shop co-stars Steve Martin and John Candy reunite in John Hughes's Planes, Trains & Automobiles, the only film of the four to actually have anything to do with Thanksgiving.
Things get seriously busy after the holiday, though, with no fewer than three special presentations jockeying for your attention on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tuesday's competition starts at the Bloor at 6 pm with a free screening of two documentaries about the Alberta tar sands, Leslie Iwerks's Pipe Dreams and Ryan Vandecasteyen and Faroe Des Roches's The Pipedreams Project. The evening is presented and hosted by Olivia Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina, followed by a post-screening discussion with Chow and representatives of Greenpeace. If you're gearing up for the start of the Planet In Focus Film Festival, you'll probably want to pencil that into your calendar. (The Bloor's website lists the start time as 6:30 pm, but a flyer circulated by Chow has the event as running from 6 to 8:30 pm; you might want to figure that into your planning.)
Over at the Royal, the Images Festival is sponsoring a screening of Su Friedrich's Gut Renovation at 7 pm, in collaboration with Spacing magazine and Coach House Books. A very ground-level look at the gentrification of Friedrich's Brooklyn neighbourhood of Williamsburg between 2006 and 2012, it's a very personal work from someone's who's literally watched the cultural shift happen, and had plenty of time to think about what it means.
That said, I'm still not entirely sure what Friedrich's problem is with small dogs; perhaps someone will ask her about it at the Q&A following the screening. Tickets are $10, available here.
If you're the mood for something a little more fantastical, TIFF Bell Lightbox has you covered. Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube and Splice, will be screening and dissecting David Lynch's debut feature Eraserhead for a master class at 7 pm. Full disclosure: I've known Natali since the late 1980s. But that's also why I know he's exactly the person you want to take you through Lynch's seminal nightmare.
On Wednesday evening, Sarah Polley - who starred in Natali's Splice, as it happens - is doing a benefit screening of her new movie Stories We Tell in support of the Mount Sinai Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Perinatal Parents Association. Given that it was one of the best films I saw at TIFF last month, it's my pleasure to host the Q&A immediately afterward; you should be there, too. It all starts at 6 pm at the Varsity; tickets are $25, and available here.
Meanwhile, down at the Lightbox, the latest edition of the pop-culturally astute Packaged Goods series is devoted to The Evolution Of The Music Video in the age of the web. It's an intriguing mixture high-end material - like that South Korean "Gangnam Style" video and an epic short film built upon Sigur Ros's "Fjögur Pianó" (yes, this is the one with full frontal Shia LaBeouf) sharing space with Gotye's supercut of fan covers of "Somebody That You Used To Know" and Clement Picon's DIY video for Radiohead's "Reconker". Wednesday, 7 pm.
And later that evening, up in Kensington Market, Jeffrey Wright's Refocus series premieres The Comedy, starring Tim Heidecker (of the anti-comedy duo Tim & Eric) as a prickly young man drifting through Brooklyn. Su Friederich would want to hit him with a truck. 9 pm at Double Double Land (209 Augusta Avenue, just north of Dundas). Admission is free.
Finally, next Thursday, James McNally's Shorts That Are Not Pants screening series bounces back from the closing of the NFB Mediatheque. Now at the Carlton Cinema, this week's program includes meditations on wolves, foxes and mathematics, as well as the world premiere of Toronto critic and filmmaker Matthew Brown's Who Remembers How It Ends?, which I've been following with interest on his Tumblr for a while now. Check that out, and see if you're not interested too.