Nin X Nin - the Ninja Star Hattori (Masayuki Suzuki, Japan). 102 min. Subtitled (read aloud by professional reader). Sunday (May 1), 1:15 pm, Canada Square; May 7, 3:15 pm, Isabel Bader. Rating: NNN
SPROCKETS TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN opens Friday (April 29) and runs to May 8, various locations. $11.25, child $7.25, passes available. 416-968-3456, www.bell.ca/sprockets. For complete Sprockets schedule, see Indie & Rep Film, page 117.
Somewhere there's a handbook for children's filmmakers containing the following formula: "Lonely child plus magical x plus sidekicks s and/or s(1) minus enemy e equals self-esteem. For x, read dragon, flying dog, Bill Murray, etc." Here, for x, read a gleefully mugging ninja played by Japanese pop star Katori Shingo . For s and s(1), read cute, blind landscape artist (you heard me) and ex-ninja grade 3 teacher with incredible hide-and-seek powers; and for e, read evil renegade ninja.
Add clueless cops, indifferent parents and bizarre running gag about ubiquitous advertising campaign for fictitious cola and - voila - kid-flick with charmingly off-kilter sensibility.