There Is Life Beyond Beverly Hills

…just check out what else is in cinemas this week.

If you guys want to talk about the Oscar nominations, you’re in the wrong place: I discussed them in depth yesterday, although I somehow managed to leave out Matthew McConaughey. (Given that the Academy did the same thing, at least I’m in good company.)

But even if you care not for the Oscar picks and pans, you can’t deny they have an impact. TIFF Bell Lightbox starts a 70mm run of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master today, just in time to ride a wave of renewed publicity from the Oscar announcements. (It picked up nominations for stars Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, but failed to land any technical or artistic nominations.) So let’s assume the real reason TIFF is reviving The Master is to note its triumph at Tuesday’s Toronto Film Critics Association awards gala, where Anderson was honoured with prizes for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay and Hoffman was named Best Supporting Actor. That’s a very nice reason to bring it back.

The Lightbox also starts screening Amour this week, in a release perfectly scheduled to capitalize on that film’s inevitable Best Foreign-Language Film nomination. But Michael Haneke’s devastating drama became a surprise dark horse when it picked up additional nods for Haneke’s script and direction, Emmanuelle Riva’s harrowing performance and a proper Best Picture nomination. That can’t help but spur interest in the Lightbox’s retrospective, A Man And A Woman: Jean-Louis Trintignant And Emmanuelle Riva, which mines the careers of the Amour co-stars for a terrific selection of European cinema.

Trintignant and Riva worked with everyone – though Trintignant was the far busier actor, and thus dominates the series. But hey, any excuse for TIFF to screen such stone classics as Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (which kicks off the series tonight at 6:30 pm) Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour (tomorrow at 4:45 pm) Costa-Gavras’s Z (Thursday, 6 pm) Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s (January 18, 6:15 pm) François Truffaut’s Confidentially Yours (February 3, 7:30 pm) and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue (February 1, 6:30 pm) and Three Colors: Red (February 10, 1 pm).

Canada’s Top Ten is still ongoing at the Lightbox, wrapping up this weekend with your last chances to see the films deemed the nation’s finest. Today it’s Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children at 3 pm and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis at 9:30 pm Cosmopolis repeats tomorrow (Saturday) at 12:30 pm, followed by Peter Mettler’s The End Of Time at 6:45 pm and Sean Garrity’s My Awkward Sexual Adventure at 9:45 pm. Sunday, it’s The End Of Time at 12:30 pm and My Awkward Sexual Adventure at 3:30 pm.

And check this out: in what’s clearly an example of blind luck, Cineplex has selected Aardman Animation’s CG comedy Flushed Away as this week’s Family Favourites feature, screening 11 am Saturday at various theatres around town (including the Yorkdale, Fairview Mall, Queensway and Colossus megaplexes). A delightful little comedy about a domesticated mouse dropped into the far rowdier world of the London sewer system, it’s also a curious intersection of 2012 Oscar nominees.

Best Actor candidate Hugh Jackman voices the lead role, and co-director Sam Fell and producer Peter Lord are both up for this year’s Best Animated Feature prize – Fell as co-director of ParaNorman and Lord for producing and directing Aardman’s The Pirates! Band Of Misfits. Should you find yourself playing Six Degrees Of Oscar with your friends this week, it’s a good one to have in your back pocket.

Finally, the fine folks at Shorts That Are Not Pants ring in the new year with a screening Thursday at the Carlton Cinemas at 7 pm. Tickets are only eight bucks, available here. No Oscar nominees on the program whatsoever – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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