This Week in Film: Paranormal Activity 4, The Paperboy, Signe Baumane, Jordan Belson, Toronto After Dark, Pomegranate Film Festival, DVD & BluRay
This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, as well as key DVD / Blu-Ray releases, festivals, and other cinema-related events happening in Toronto.
Paranormal Activity 4 (Carlton, Rainbow Market Sq., Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
I never had much of an appetite for this franchise - by all signs just another dose of faux-found footage horror hackery stealing from The Blair Witch Project's innovations - until Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman signed on for Paranormal Activity 3. A pretty big fan of their out-of-nowhere debut 'doc' Catifsh, I checked out the third entry without seeing the first two, and was surprised to find it a pretty effective and - yep - innovative horror film, recalling the likes of Rosemary's Baby just as much is was Blair Witch. So you can imagine the reserved optimism I have going into this one, which the same duo will also helm. I'll be sure to bring a change of pants this time, just in case they bring back the fan cam.
The Paperboy (Varsity)
Here's a film that - not too surprising coming from Lee Daniels - is often mindblowingly trashy, yet it is a step up from Precious, if only because so much of it works as camp that it's easy to have a lot of fun with it. The well-documented highlight is absolutely the scene in which a ferocious Nicole Kidman pisses on Zac Efron's face after he's stung by jelly fish; but there are other wonderful segments, too - such as the rousing, tactile-less orgasms shared between Kidman and John Cusack in a prison visiting room - that fill you with such joy you forget that the overall filmmaking and narrative are totally inept.
Also in theatres this week:
- Alex Cross (Carlton, Rainbow Market Sq., Scotiabank)
- Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (TIFF Bell Lightbox)
- Student of the Year (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
- Tai Chi Zero (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
- The Thieves (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
IN REP CINEMA
For recommendations on what to catch at Toronto's rep cinemas this week, check out This Week in Rep Cinema.
The Better Sex of Animation: Videos by Signe Baumane (Saturday, October 20 at 7PM; Cinecycle)
"Born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, Signe Baumane lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her 14 short films have been screened and received numerous awards at prestigious international film festivals including the Annecy, Tribeca, Sundance, Berlin, Ottawa, and Venice Film Festivals. Her films explore life's challenges, sexuality, myths and phobias." This screening, organized by the Toronto Animated Image Society, will feature Baumane's most celebrated shorts, including Birth, Teat Beat of Sex, Dentist, Love Story, as well as an early look at excerpts from her upcoming feature film Rocks In My Pockets. Signe will be present to present her films, and will answers questions after they've been shown.
The Free Screen - Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane (Wednesday, October 24 at 7PM; TIFF Bell Lightbox)
"Influenced by the abstract films of Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren and Hans Richter that he encountered at San Francisco's Art in Cinema series, [Jordan] Belson turned his attention from painting to film in the late 1940s...In the 1960s, [he] began making the films for which he is now best known. Re-Entry, inspired by John Glenn's space flight and Belson's readings about the Bardo Plane, introduced his signature brand of visual music.
With a home studio set-up that allowed him to capture the ethereal movement of light and smoke in real time, Belson created gaseous light sculptures, with mandalas and cascading lights evoking both solar and spiritual activity. This programme features a travelling retrospective of many rarely screened films, including Belson's last film, Epilogue, funded by the NASA Art Program and commissioned by the Hirshhorn Museum." Per usual, The Free Screen won't cost you a penny.
360 Screening (Wednesday, October 24 at 7PM; Venue to be announced 24 hours before event takes place)
Toronto After Dark Film Festival (October 18-26 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema)
Promised to be bigger, better, and bloodier than ever, one of Toronto's most popular film festivals is back for its seventh year (that all?). My personal pick goes to Quentin Dupieux's Wrong, which is a whole lot better than his previous cutesy and self-reflexive hit, Rubber. Check out our list of five recommendations for Toronto After Dark here. Buy tickets online here.
Pomegranate Film Festival (October 18-21 at the Armenian Youth Centre's Hamazkayin Theatre)
It's nice to be reminded of the many virtues of living in Toronto by the very fact that we have an entire film festival dedicated to Armenian cinema. That's precisely what the Pomegranate Film Festival is, which is now six years old and just as strong as ever. Among the big headlining presentations is their screening of Brave, the inclusion of which seems perplexing until you realize that it was produced by Armenian producer Katherine Sarafian. Check out our list of five recommendations for Pomegranate here, and purchase your tickets through their awkward online ordering process here.
DVD & BLU-RAY
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [BLU-RAY]
- Escape from Women's Prison [DVD]
- The Invisible War [DVD]
- Magic Mike [BLU-RAY]
- Midnight FM [DVD]
- The Naked Peacock [DVD]
- The Penalty [BLU-RAY]
- Savages [BLU-RAY]
- Seeking a Friend at the End for the World [BLU-RAY]
- Slice [DVD]
- The Slut [DVD]
- Sunday Bloody Sunday [BLU-RAY]
- That Obscure Object of Desire [BLU-RAY]
- Tokyo Playboy Club [DVD]
- When Pigs Have Wings [DVD]
- Women Ordered to Love [AKA Ordered to Love] [DVD]