THE BIG BOUNCE (George Armitage) adapts Elmore Leonard's book about a man (Owen Wilson) who has to choose between the woman, the money and the honourable path. See review online at www.nowtoronto.com. 110 min. Opens Jan 30 at 401 & Morningside, Coliseum Mississauga, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Elgin Mills, First Markham Place, Kennedy Commons, Paramount, Queensway, Rainbow Fairview, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Mississauga, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity North York, SilverCity Richmond Hill, SilverCity Yorkdale.
THE COMPANY (Robert Altman) is one of Altman's environment films, in which the thin storyline - will Neve Campbell get her big break? - is less interesting than the hothouse environment of a working dance company. Decisions are made, performances given, romances started and ended, all within a narrow time frame. No one else makes these films better than Altman. Actually, almost no one else makes them. Aside from a handful of principals - Campbell, James Franco and Malcolm McDowell - there are hardly any actors in the film, the rest of the roles being played by Joffrey dancers, and it's a token of Altman's skill that he makes them convincing as characters. Recommended to fans of dance and those interested in just how close digital video is getting to film. Most people at the Toronto film fest, myself included, didn't realize that The Company wasn't shot on film until Altman told us. See interview, page 69. 112 min. NNN (JH)
Opens Jan 30 at Cumberland.
GINGER SNAPS II: UNLEASHED (Brett Sullivan) is two movies in one. The first could be called Werewolf, Interrupted. It's a bloody and gritty but unfocused sequel to John Fawcett's deliriously clever 2000 werewolf flick of the same name. Brigitte (Emily Perkins), the nerdy younger sister of Ginger the werewolf, gets caught shooting wolfbane and winds up in rehab. The second movie, which sneaks up and takes over the latter half of the film, is an ingeniously twisted take on the Little Red Riding Hood legend, cross-pollinated with The Bad Seed. Unfortunately, this second, better movie keeps getting bogged down in back story, and you can almost smell the filmmakers' frustration at having to tie into the original franchise. The performances are fine, the art direction's tastefully grim, and the story has moments of pure fantasy-driven glee - but you wonder what might have been, given a rewrite or two. See interview, page 67. 94 min. NNN (Wendy Banks)
Opens Jan 30 at 401 & Morningside, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Elgin Mills, Paramount, Queensway, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity North York, SilverCity Richmond Hill, Winston Churchill.
HOLLYWOOD NORTH (Peter O'Brian) is a comedy about the Canadian film industry circa 1979, with Matthew Modine as a first-time producer trying to adapt a classic Canadian novel for the screen. His backers want a big American star, so he gets Michael Baytes (the late Alan Bates), a paranoid, gun-toting, commie-hating cokehead who insists on completely rewriting the script. The film lacks comic momentum and the satire is heavy-handed, but individual gags are cute, and the whole thing has a clumsy, nerdy likeability, like a joke told by your favourite uncle - it's not really very funny, but it's sweet that he's trying, so you find yourself laughing anyway. 90 min. NNN (WB)
Opens Jan 30 at Carlton, Interchange 30.
THE PERFECT SCORE (Brian Robbins) tracks seven high school seniors who decide to break into the Princeton Testing Center so they can steal SAT tests and get perfect scores. See review online at www.nowtoronto.com. 99 min.
Opens Jan 30 at 401 & Morningside, Coliseum Mississauga, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Elgin Mills, First Markham Place, Grande - Steeles, Kennedy Commons, Paramount, Queensway, SilverCity Mississauga, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity North York, SilverCity Richmond Hill, SilverCity Yorkdale, Silvercity Yonge.
YOU GOT SERVED (Chris Stokes) pits two friends wanting to open a recording studio against a group of tough street dancers in their city's dance contest. See review online at www.nowtoronto. com. 108 min. Opens Jan 30 at 401 & Morningside, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Paramount, Queensway, Rainbow Fairview, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity Richmond Hill, SilverCity Yorkdale, Winston Churchill.