Detroit Metal City

TIFF Announces Midnight Madness Screenings

The popular Midnight Madness Programme at the Toronto International Film Festival has announced their highly anticipated titles for TIFF 2008. Programmed by Colin Geddes, the selections for this year include action flicks, Japanese metal music, a cult documentary, missing people, dead people, serial killers and much more. Keep reading for a preview of the more interesting films of the bunch, which will have festival goers up until the early morning... if they can sleep at all.

The opening night for Midnight Madness brings us French director Mabrouk El Mechri's, hyper-realistic film JCVD. The acronym stands for the one and only Jean-Claude Van Damme, who stars in the film as... himself. In a world very similar to our own, Van Damme is just a regular guy, down on his luck and trying to make ends meet. He becomes caught up in bank heist and has to prove he can kick just as much ass in real life as he does in his films. With obvious meta references and intertextuality, expect something similar to Being John Malcovich - a look at what happens when celebrity and real life collide.

Japanese film Detroit Metal City promises to confuse and amuse, as the film follows mild-mannered country boy Souichi, who moves to Tokyo to achieve his dream of being a pop star. Unfortunately for him (and lucky for us), he becomes front man for hair/power metal band Detroit Metal City instead! Based on an extremely popular manga title of the same name, the film also features a cameo by Gene Simmons as Jack Il Dark, the metal icon Souichi must defeat in order to obtain ultimate metal supremacy. Rock on Tokyo!

In the mood for movies with all around ass-kicking? Chocolate is probably the film for you. By the directors of Ong-Bak, which did a round at Midnight Madness back in 2003, Chocolate follows an autistic girl whose obsession with martial arts films has made her a bit of a savant. And of course she's fighting to collect debts to pay off her mother's hospitals bills or something... did I mention there will be some badass outtakes?

As it does every year, the programme revels in the films that aim to shock and disturb, such as the all-digital film Dead Girl, about a pair of teenage boys who find a presumably dead, naked girl in an abandoned mental hospital and decide what to do with her. Also in that vein is the The Burrowers, which has been described as The Searchers-meets-horror film, about a settler who, while chasing the group of Natives who kidnapped his wife, realizes he's being hunted by something down below. Director JT Petty also brought the horror-doc-film S&MAN to TIFF in 2006, which despite popularity, still hasn't garnered a DVD release.

One interesting twist in the lineup this year is that Midnight Madness fans will be treated with a documentary this time around. Not Quite Hollywood is not your average documentary, as it explores and celebrates Australian genre cult films from the 70's and 80's. Featuring movies such as Mad Max and interviews with cult necessity Quentin Tarantino, this film will show that there is much more to Midnight Madness than horror and mayhem.

Midnight Madness packages can be purchased online, right now. Prices run from $156.51 for an adult or $100 for students and seniors. The 2008 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4th-13th.

Image: Detroit Metal City from AsianMediaWiki

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