Freaks and film fans not too busy plowing through DVDs of Canada’s greatest-ever film on Canada Day might want to wander down to the TIFF Bell Lightbox for the debut – some 40-odd years after its creation – of warped soon-to-be-cult classic Voulez-vous coucher avec God?
This summer, Toronto is officially freaky for Fellini – as in, legendary Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini – with the opening today (June 30) of a Fellini exhibition and the screening of a series of films celebrating the master… but with a novel twist.
People of the great nation of Canada… we need your input. Canada Day is just around the corner which got us wondering: what is the all-time greatest movie set in Canada, about Canada or otherwise clearly Canadian by virtue of cast, crew or storyline? (And no, Titanic doesn’t count just because longtime U.S. resident James Cameron was born in Kapuskasing).
It was one of the earliest - and most fun - movies about computer hacking. Now it looks like the 1983 cult classic War Games - starring an impossibly youthful Matthew Broderick as the super-nerd who accidentally triggers a countdown to a global nuclear disaster - is set for a 21st century update.
Britain’s NME quotes a report by Deadline suggesting the project will be overseen by Seth Gordon, who made his name with the computer game documentary, The King of Kong, which told the story of rival gamers who went head-to-head playing competitive Donkey Kong.
War Games will be Gordon's first move into drama after comedies Four Christmases and the forthcoming Horrible Bosses. The original thriller, which also starred a young Ally Sheedy, garnered three Oscar nominations (sound, writing and cinematography).
To my mind, this actually makes a TON of sense for a remake.
Obviously, computer hacking is alive and well and more sophisticated than ever. Coupled with global security threats - not to mention the increased online and mainframe interdependence of nations round the world - and you’ve got the makings of a genuine nail-biter.
A bit of stunt casing could be fun, too, with Sheedy and Broderick playing adult roles alongside what will likely be hot young things in the leads. Can’t wait.
Torontonians recently had the great good fortune of witnessing the Hot Docs festival, which saw loads of truly amazing documentary films screening for all to see. Now Vancouver has the chance to enjoy five of the very best films plucked from the 2011 roster.
The Best of Hot Docs goes down this weekend (June 24 to 26) at the Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street. The screenings mark the left coast premieres of these movies; tickets are $40 for the lot of $11 for individual screenings via www.viff.org.
Screening times, descriptions and trailers appear below. In some cases, filmmakers or subjects may be in attendance for post-screening discussions. Note that attendance is restricted to 18+.
Go forth and enjoy.
LOVE ETC. D: Jill Andresevic | USA | 95 min Screening: Friday, June 24 at 7:00 pm
LOVE ETC. is a witty, poignant and humourous exploration of the universal stages of love, depicted through five real stories filmed over the course of one year in New York City. From teen romance to a decades-long marriage; from newlyweds to a recent divorcee, and even a bachelor so frustrated in his search that he chooses to have children without a partner, LOVE ETC. takes its audience on an intimate and vibrantly diverse journey through the heart of the city, offering an honest look at joys and frustrations that can emerge along the road to true love.
PROJECT NIM D: James Marsh | USA, UK | 93 min Screening: Saturday, June 25 at 6:30 pm
From the Oscar-winning team behind Man on Wire comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Following Nim's extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, PROJECT NIM is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. what we learn about his true nature—and indeed our own—is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling. Using extraordinary archival footage, director James Marsh constructs a seamless narrative that twists and turns, and ultimately accrues the thematic and emotional arc of an epic.
CONAN O'BRIEN CAN'T STOP D: Rodman Flender | USA | 89 min Screening: Saturday, June 25 at 9:00 pm
Conan O'Brien is angry. Unceremoniously dumped from The Tonight Show, then banned from appearing on television, radio or the internet for six months, the firebrand comic found himself without an outlet for the first time in over two decades. In the weeks before his current TBS show was even a glimmer in a TV exec's eye, O'Brien channeled his creative and vengeful energies to launch the Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour. Filmmaker Rodman Flender hit the road with Team Coco as they performed on a 32-city stand-up extravaganza. Watching O'Brien write, perform and ham it up with cronies like Andy Richter is footage that's not to be missed. But it's the quieter time in which O'Brien reflects on what performing means to his life that illuminates a talent that simply won't quit.
SENNA D: Asif Kapadia | UK | 104 min Screening: Sunday, June 26 at 6:30 pm
With a piercing, boyish beauty, the aura of a monk, and fierce racing intelligence and competitiveness, Ayrton Senna rose to the top of Formula One racing and international superstardom. Spanning his years as an F1 driver, from 1984 to his untimely death a decade later, SENNA explores the life and work of the triple world champion, his physical and spiritual achievements on the track, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he has since attained. The story unfolds as a tense thriller, one in which we know the outcome, but are swept up in the immediacy and emotion of its telling. So, while SENNA will certainly satisfy fans, those who know little about Ayrton Senna have the most to gain. Instantly one of the great sports docs of this or any year, SENNA will surely fuel a new generation of admirers for this Brazilian legend.
THE PIRATE TAPES D: Matvei Zhivov, Roger Singh, Andrew Moniz, Mohamed Ashareh, Rock Baijnauth | Canada | 72 min
Screening: Sunday, June 26 at 9:00 pm
A tale of violence, piracy and environmental disaster spirals into a life-threatening situation when Mohamed, a young Somali-Canadian, joins an armed pirate cell with a hidden camera. But when a rival clan murders the pirate boss, Mohamed ends up in a horrific jail in danger of execution. Interspersed with riveting never-before-seen footage of pirates organizing a hijacking, the film peels back the layers of civil war, history and corruption that turned once-peaceful fishermen into marauders. Massive illegal fishing by Asian and European ships decimated fish stocks, international corporations made secret deals with warlords so they could dump their nuclear wastes off the Somali coast, and politicians siphoned foreign aid into their personal accounts. But the moral justification of retaliation has morphed into a violent, complex, money-driven operation, one that both pirates and politicians expose as a multi-million-dollar business funded primarily by foreigners who reap most of the profit.
OK, so it’s not exactly a breaking movie story. But it is clever as heck, totally hilarious AND it features movie actors. It’s a Will Ferrell Funny or Die spoof on the ridiculous but weirdly viral “Dear Woman” video making waves on YouTube.
Canadian horror master, director David Cronenberg’s new film, A Dangerous Method - which charts the birth of psychoanalysis in the early 1900s and more specifically, the tumultuous relationship between neurologist Sigmund Freud, his gifted pupil Carl Jung and a beautiful young woman - has hit YouTube et al ahead of the film’s release.
Based on Christopher Hampton’s stage play The Talking Cure, the film stars Cronenberg go-to leading man Viggo Mortensen (see also A History Of Violence and Eastern Promises) as Freud opposite increasingly critically acclaimed Michael Fassbender as the youthful Jung and Keira Knightley as the woman at the centre of the tale. Vincent Cassel also stars in the Canadian-German co-production shot on location in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
As Clash Music reports, Cronenberg has also utilized the talents of his other regular contributors; Howard Shore has composed the score with cinematography overseen by the always brilliant Peter Suschitzky. IMDb has the film listed for a November release; definitely worth waiting for.
In other Cronenberg news, the director is currently shooting as adaptation of author Don DeLillio’s Cosmopolis in Toronto with Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson. As the AV Club cheekily notes, “Pattinson replaces previously named star Colin Farrell... as Eric Packer, whose Ulysses-like journey across a Manhattan traffic jam to get a haircut is beset by various disasters, encounters with oversexed women and “pastry assassins,” and gambles that could lead to his personal ruin.
“The also previously announced Paul Giamatti and Marion Cotillard (as Packer’s wife) are still expected to co-star, so there’s no explanation yet for why Cronenberg decided he liked Pattinson more than Farrell. Unless he himself is actually a teenaged girl, who maybe thinks Farrell is all icky now. But it must be said that Cronenberg will likely do marvelous things with Pattinson's natural ghostly pallor.”
Ridiculously versatile Canuck actor Graham Greene - known equally for roles in American blockbusters like The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Dances with Wolves, the Die Hard franchise and The Green Mile plus art house fare like Transamerica and nuttier homegrown stuff including The Red Green Show - turns 59 today.
File under nutty coincidence: the biggest scoop in documentary filmmaking this year chronicles something dating back to the dawn of man some 30,000 years ago. And it’s being delivered in the most current fashion available: 3D.
Mercurial director Werner Herzog’s (The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World) forthcoming Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the kind of film reviewers struggle to capture in words. And yet the story itself - and Herzog’s rare ability to tell it - is jaw-dropping even without journalistic bells and whistles.
Time is ticking down on a must-see show open now in Toronto. Mary Pickford and the Invention of the Movie Star is the first exhibition in TIFF Bell Lightbox's Canadian Film Gallery and chronicles the life and superstar career of actress Pickford, one of the first and greatest stars of the silent cinema.