John Woo's The Killer

This Week in Film: August 28th 2008

It has become increasingly difficult to concentrate on films lately, that is, films that aren't a part of the Toronto International Film Festival which opens exactly a week today. During that time period, This Week in Film will take a hiatus, but there will be more than enough coverage to keep cinephiles informed and aware of everything taking place at the festival. For this week however? We get to sift through the cast-offs in terms of summer releases, mixed with some excellent long weekend programming by our hard working alternative cinemas.

The Labour Day weekend is traditionally the slowest box-office weekend of the entire year. If you need any proof of this, take a gander at the latest from Hollywood. We have Disaster Movie, which has officially forced me to call a hit upon writers Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg. These men must be stopped. This weekend we are also 'treated' to the release of Babylon AD, which as far as I can tell, is some sort of action movie with Vin Diesal as a mercenary protecting...Michelle Yeoh? The only release this week that may have any sort of interesting spark would be Don Cheadle's turn in Traitor. Cheadle plays a former US Special Ops officer, (who just so happens to be Muslim) who is under suspicion of running with the big boys in an international terrorist plot. Of course it's up to some green FBI boys to figure it out and save the day. While the familiar plot has been called Syriana for dummies, that may not be a bad comparison.

The Italian Cultural Institute hosted one of my favourite video installations during Nuit Blanche last year, and this August they have been screening films of classic Italian operas for free in their own backyard as part of 'Opera in the Garden'. Tomorrow evening they will be screening the 1998 performance of Turandot which was recorded live in Florence, directed by filmmaker (and Olympic Opening Ceremony director) Zhang Yimou. The gates to the Italian Cultural Institute are at the corner of Beverly and Dundas, 136 Beverley Street and they open at 8pm with Turandot beginning at 9.

The Bloor Cinema is suiting up for another Rocky Horror Picture Show tomorrow night, so get your garters, wigs, corsets and glitter ready. But also showing tomorrow and this weekend are Canadian director Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg and Werner Herzog's charming (in a Herzog way) documentary, Encounters at the End of the World. On Sunday and Monday however, the Bloor surprises with screenings of John Woo's The Killer. I have a soft spot in my heart for this film, as it was the sensational forerunner to the Triad-film trend which brought us films such as Infernal Affairs and Johnny To's Election. So do yourself a favour and see the film that started it all.

And last but not least, the elusive Trash Palace has a fantastic double bill tomorrow night of Spaghetti Westerns. The first film of the evening is The Hellbenders, a late 60's romp wherein ex-Confederate soldiers decide to steal some Union money so they can start up their own army. When this goes awry, they find themselves fighting not only the Union, but bandits and, of course, each other! The second film, Adios Sabata, stars Yul Brenner who goes south of the border to steal some gold, looking very cool doing it. Co-presented by The Eclectic Screening Room, the double bill costs only $5 and can be purchased at the Tequila Bookroom, which will then give you the address to the Palace.

Image: Chow Yun Fat in The Killer from HKmdb

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