Wrapping Up in Style

Funny, he doesn't look BondishLet’s see — celebrity deaths in Los Angeles, a plane making a water landing in the Hudson River, and now a power outage paralyzing half of Toronto.

Intellectually, I know I can’t blame George W. Bush for any of those things, and yet, after his farewell address last night … well, I really want to.

Aaaanyway. Bush may be on his way out, but it’s Friday, so plenty of movies are on their way in! (I love segues, don’t you?) And here they are:

“Chandni Chowk to China”: The first Bollywood film co-produced by Warner is, as far as I can tell, an Indian spin on Stephen Chow’s “Kung Fu Hustle”. But hey, Chow’s film made boatloads of money, so maybe that’s exactly what they were going for.

The Class“: Laurent Cantet’s terrific fly-on-the-wall drama about a dedicated high-school teacher (Francois Begaudeau, whose performance gets even better when you learn more about him) and his pupils won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; now, finally, Toronto audiences get to see what all the fuss is about.

“Defiance”: Ed Zwick finds a way to put a happy face on the Holocaust with the true(ish) story of the Bielski partisans, brothers who saved more than a thousand Jews from Nazi collaborators by taking them to safe refuge in the forests of Belarus. It’s well-intentioned, and Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber are as solid as always, but this is an Ed Zwick film, which means it can’t stop reminding you of its own importance. Jason and Susan have my back on this.

“Hotel for Dogs”: Starring Oscar nominee Don Cheadle! Oh, and some dogs.

“Last Chance Harvey”: Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, who found such lovely chemistry in “Stranger Than Fiction”, find it again in Joel Hopkins’ pleasant little trifle about a pair of sad sacks striking sparks over a weekend in London. It’s not great cinema or anything, but on its own modest terms, it works just fine. Barrett was slightly less enthralled, though.

“My Bloody Valentine 3D”: Hey, it’s another remake of a vaguely remembered ’80s horror property! And this one’s in 3D! So, it’ll be like totally scary and awesome and like a ride and everything and if you see the movie your date might jump into your lap! And they, um, didn’t screen it for the press.

“Notorious”: Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka the Notorious B.I.G., gets his biopic moment thanks to “Soul Food” director George Tillman, Jr. and newcomer Jamal Woolard. Rad is unimpressed.

“Paul Blart, Mall Cop”: Kevin James is in your mall, guarding your food court. Don’t. Just … just don’t.

Rumba“: The latest exercise in chipper, rubber-limbed pantomime from the Belgium-based trio of Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy — who made the little-seen, very clever “L’Iceberg” a couple of years back — finds room for elaborate dance numbers, amputee pratfalls, an incompetent suicide and a house on fire. It’s a comedy.

Right, that’s plenty. Oh, and “Synecdoche, New York” is playing at the Bloor all weekend, so if you missed it in first run you should really catch up to it. Assuming they get their power back, of course.

6 thoughts on “Wrapping Up in Style”

  1. At this point, though, I don’t see how they could come up with something truly shocking — and I’m keen to see how this new level of mythology knits itself together in the remaining episodes, particularly since it seems to offer even more opportunities to torment the characters involved.

    I thought it would be Starbuck’s Viper, myself …

  2. Thanks so much for the “Synechdoche” tip, I missed the one week they had it at the Varsity and was thrilled to see it was on at the Bloor Cinema.

    What a fantastic little gem that theatre is, I had to come back the next day for Wall-E. Imagine… quiet audiences fully engaged in the movies they are watching. I’ve found a new home!

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