This Year in Film : Hits, Misses and a Repossession Mambo

Living in Toronto and being a film fan is a pretty exciting experience most of the time. We have more festivals going on than you can shake a stick at, there are films on location everywhere, it's not uncommon to see Natalie Portman spending some time in Yorkville, and we have some fantastic rep cinemas that just won't die. Because film in Toronto is often the center of attention for news and hype, I want to highlight a few of the events that made big news this year, and one that I wish had.

While it seems like ages ago that a mysterious construction zone appeared where the parking lot used to be at King and John, this was the year we finally got a glimpse at what was going on. In April, the behemoth that is the Toronto International Film Festival Group announced that former parking lot to be the new future home of their darling Festival Centre, only later to be properly named the Bell Lightbox. Subsequently, the 2007 film festival became overwhelmed with ads, discussion, surveys and criticism of name choice and major sponsor, you couldn't turn around or watch a film without hearing the name. So whether you love it or hate it, the Lightbox made huge news in 2007 and will only continue to draw attention until completion.

On another front, the Toronto film Breakfast with Scot drew some discussion in the news and apparently some fire from right-winged NHL fans, not for being the first film with 'permission' from the Toronto Maple Leafs for their image to be used, but due to the films gay themes concerning a gay couple 'adopting' a flamboyant 11 year old. But even this controversy turned out to be bluster as the film turned out to be tame, treacly, and utterly Canadian.

And last but not least, one of my favourite things to encounter, living in Toronto, are the unpredictable film shoots that pop up in various areas around our city. This fall in particular marked two very different transformations on our roads. The Incredible Hulk movie shoot, as mentioned by Matt, turned Yonge street upside down and caused several of my friends from Ryerson a bit of confusion. But my selection for my favourite bizarre movie location shoot goes to Repossession Mambo, starring Jude Law and Forrest Whittaker as two repo-men twenty years in the future who chase down clients of artificial organ implants who have missed their payments. In late November they turned Dundas between Spadina and Beverley into a sordid, dirty, slightly Blade-Runner-like set, with everything from nurses to hookers. Could any other city be as exciting? Until next year!

Photo courtesy of Scot Pictures

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