A Toronto cinema in 1975
What's that? The 11 movies opening on Toronto's screens today - one of them being the spectacular Chronicle - aren't enough for you? You demand more?
Well, aren't you lucky that we live in a city that can accommodate such cinematic devotion. There's plenty of other film programming to be found in Toronto's theatres this week, and I'm happy to walk you through it.
Let's start with the Projection Booth. The little Leslieville cinema is launching a new series, Projection Booth Discoveries. The first program - screening at 9 pm tonight, 1 pm Saturday and at 9 pm Monday through Thursday - assembles a trio of shortish documentaries.
In The Ponzi Scheme, filmmaker Billie Mintz documents his quest for vindication after he loses his life savings to a swindler.
Colm Hogan's Matatu Express - screened at NXNE last year - is an empathic look at young people living in a Nairobi slum. And Gavin Shaw's Cinemall is an appealingly sideways look at the Monroeville Mall, where George A. Romero shot his iconic zombie movie Dawn Of The Dead, and its obsessive fans. (Yes, the mall has fans. The mall. Let that sink in for a second.)
Over at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a variety of goodness abounds. Ti West's The Innkeepers opens today, and Terrence Malick's magnificent The Tree Of Life is still enjoying its Oscar-nominated victory lap. But if you want something crazier, check out this week's entry in TIFF's gloriously gonzo Nicolas Cage series: Michael Bay's supercharged action epic The Rock.
You know, it's the one where a rogue military unit takes over Alcatraz, and the only people who can stop them from unleashing chemical hell on San Francisco are Cage and Sean Connery. The last movie Bay made before he went completely insane with Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, it's undeniably entertaining even as it's utterly preposterous. Saturday, 10 pm.
Oh, and it's Doc Soup time again, too. This month's feature is Calvet, Dominic Allan's portrait of the French-born, Nicaraguan-based painter Jean Marc Calvet, who escaped a horrific spiral of drug and alcohol abuse by literally locking himself in a small space and forcing himself to become an artist - even if he didn't know that's what he was doing at the time.
Allan balances Calvet's stranger-than-fiction success story with the artist's attempts to make amends with his family back home in Nice. It's a moving and powerful look at a man who's fought his way out of his own darkness - and, as we see, he'll still be fighting, one way or another, for the rest of his life.
Calvet screens Wednesday at 6:30 pm and 9:15 pm, with director Allan in attendance; tickets for both shows can be purchased here.
You still want more? (Seriously, what's wrong with you? Should you maybe consider a nap?) Well, there's The Great Digital Film Festival, which Cineplex is running tonight through Thursday all across Canada. Toronto's chosen cinema is the Scotiabank; the same discount-priced program is also running at the Colossus Vaughan, if you're out that way.
Offerings include such reliable crowd-pleasers as The Big Lebowski (tonight, 6:30 pm and Thursday, 4:10 pm); Scarface (tonight at midnight and Monday, 1 pm), Jurassic Park (Saturday, 7 pm and Tuesday, 2 pm) and all three Back To The Future movies (Sunday, starting at 2 pm). Joss Whedon's Serenity shows Saturday at 9:35 pm and Tuesday at 4:45 pm; Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction plays tonight at 9 pm and Monday at 4:30 pm. Check the link for the full schedule.
I mean, sure, you'll essentially be paying $5.99 to watch an HD projection of a movie that's readily available on Blu-ray. But six bucks to see my beloved Shaun Of The Dead at midnight on Saturday? With a crowd? That's totally worth it.