Note from the Editor: 4 Days, 4 Movies

Hello folks, how are things?  Sorry I've been tarty as of late, but I spend some time in New York City, and the effects haven't worn off... what does that mean? ... I don't know.  
Anywho, I unintentionally spent the weekend going to the movies and I thought I'd share my views of them with you, sound good?

Friday night is sacred to me, and I'll tell you why, two words, Trash Palace.  I don't talk about it a lot here on the blog, even though it's one of my favorite things to do in Toronto, and that's because I'm selfish.  I want it all to myself.  I'm worried, that too many people will start showing up and it'll ruin the effect.  But the other half of me (the good half) wants the guys at Trash Palace to succeed, cause they are awesome people doing awesome things.  Anyways, on this particular evening they were playing a swedish thriller from 1971 called The Night Visitor.  I was immediately interested in this film when I heard that it stared the great Max Von Sydow.  Anyone familiar with the works of Ingmar Bergman will recognize that name.  His other great roles include Hannah and her Sisters, Needful Things, a little horror film called The Exorcist.  So what's the film about?  Well, it's a pretty simple premise, a series of murders begin happening and at first signs point to the incarcerated Salem (Von Sydow).  But how could he be escapeing the high security Asylum every night?  and why would he go back?  As the movie progresses, the image of guilt shifts, but things aren't always what they seem.  This is a really good, and slightly flawed, film.  The mood is fantastic, and the acting (mostly Von Sydow) is engaging.  Sort of a cross between Bergman and Hitchcock.  Oh and did I mention the music was done by Henry Mancini?  damn right.
I couldn't find a trailer, so here's one for the Exorcist!

SAT AUG 23: Man On Wire

Wow.  This was the best film of the weekend, and possibly the best film I've seen all year.  Saturday night, after work, I found myself with nothing to do.  My friends were busy making other plans, and my girlfriend, Lesley, was on a date with her best friend.  I decided I should do something productive, practice for my show, or work on my blog.  After about 10 minutes of that, I called Lesley and weaseled my way into their date.  I'm so glad I did.  I met them at the Canada Square Cinema ten minutes late.  Man on Wire is a documentary about Philippe Petit, a tightrope walker from France who in 1974 illegally traversed the twin towers in New York.  The premise doesn't do the film any justice.  Petit, and his collaborators are very colorful people, who remember 74 New York like it was yesterday, and have such an emotional connection the the stunt, that you can help but be drawn in yourself.  I can't even explain it.  
This was the most inspirational (without being schmaltzy), touching, and generally good natured film I've seen all year.  One thing that I was most impressed with is the mans focus.  I, personally, will probably never have the focus that he had just practicing for the walk.  A MUST see.

SUN AUG 24: Frogs! 

Trash Palace is usually only a one night a week thing.  But in conjunction with Fear Fest here in Toronto, they put on a whole weekend of horror!  Saturday night they put on a uber-low budget Canadian film (unseen by me) called Things!  Sunday was the show I was waiting for.  Samuel Z. Arkoff is one of the big names in cheap, profitable genre films (along with Roger Corman, and Russ Meyer), and in 1972 he produced this cult classic about amphibians reclaiming their land!!  Although it's called frogs, the monsters tend to be snakes and lizards.  But the frogs are their evil overseers!  The biggest problem, of coarse, is that there is NOTHING scary about frogs.  Anyways, the victims of this Environmentalist horror film is the Crockett family.  Rich polluters headed by grandfather (and b-movie legend) Ray Milland.  I was about half-way through the film before I realized that the leading man is Sam Elliot (without the mustache, and in his prime, Elliot was a good looking dude).  It was great to see this film with an audience, and if you like this sort of thing, check out Trash Palace's website, and catch a film or two.

MON AUG 25:  Tropic Thunder

Ben Stiller is shaping up to be one of the best comedy directors of our time.  Zoolander, although flawed, was probably the most quotable film of 2001, and it's absurdity keeps bringing me back for repeat viewings. Reality Bites has become a 90's classic, and The Cable Guy is a hugely under appreciated gem.  He's back with the hilarious Tropic Thunder.  The story is about a over-budget vietnam production, where the director (Steve Coogan), at his wits end, sends the actors into the jungle for a more realistic portrayal, but things go wrong and they end up in a real battle with rebels.  But the plot isn't what you pay for.  The talent involved bring it to the next level.  Robert Downey Jr. as always, steals the show as a a method actor who changes the pigment of his skin to play a black character.  But the real show stealer is Tom Cruise.  I don't care what anyone says, Tom Cruise is a great actor.  Every scene he's in, he owns it, and he makes those around him better. 

There you have it.  I'll have This Week In Toronto up tomorrow, and we'll chat then. 


Lesley Denford said...

I fully agree, Man on Wire is easily one of the best films of the year. I can't wait to see it again.

And Frogs...well, that's a close second! (Okay...no. It's awful. But awful in the best way possible.)

Anonymous said...

The photographer who did the pictures for Philippe before he actually did the walk has a web site with some of the photographs from the film posted.
He was on camera talking about the time with Petit in the film and also the photographs he took from the helicopter of the WTC.

Shawn William Clarke said...

Thanks for the info, I'll check out his site!

Realtor in Toronto said...

I started to read your movie reviews and I was all like "hmmm, seems interesting, I guess I'll check them out..." until the last one. For Christ's sake, Ben Stiller with Jack Black in one hell of a movie making fun of Vietnam War? Now this is what I call hilarious and deadly combination (did I see Nick Noltee flashed in one or two scenes?). :D And btw, nice reviews, I'm making something similar on Toronto movies . Do you mind droping me a line there or perhaps writing an article? :) Thanks for these reviews, much appreciated. With greets,

Graham said...

Glad you liked it, you jive turkey.