This Week in Film: The Big Lebowski, Amal, La Dolce Vita, Bicycle Thieves, Attack the Block, Ichi the Killer, West Side Story
This week in film rounds up the most noteworthy independent screenings and cinema-related events happening in Toronto.
MONDAY JULY 25TH / THE BIG LEBOWSKI / FOX THEATRE / 7PM
Maybe you've heard of this movie, all the rumours about how great it is, how funny and witty, weird and delightful but you've never really understood the plot? Well, here goes. Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski, aka The Dude. All The Dude wants to do with his life is to bowl, drink White Russians and smoke pot in the bathtub. But thanks to a major case of mistaken identity, he's left with a huge headache, a urine-soaked rug and a missing briefcase full of reward money, no thanks to his greedy, borderline criminal mind of his loose cannon of a bowling teammate. But before you know it, all of those things become the least of his concern, as he attracts the attention of a very peculiar woman and her less than standard friends. Tickets can be bought at the cinema.
TUESDAY JULY 26TH / AMAL / HARBOURFRONT - WEST JET STAGE / 9PM
Be prepared to laugh and to cry at this one, Amal is the touching and difficult story about an honest rickshaw driver in New Delhi whose humbleness, kindness and selflessness lands him an unexpected windfall from a wealthy patron. Unfortunately the family of this donor have absolutely no intention of letting him know about this money and go to every and any length to ensure that Amal does not get his share of the will. As the intertwined relationships unfold, some find themselves in the difficult position of being directly in the way of rewarding the most honest man in New Delhi because of their own flaws and self-interest. As the deadline to claim the money looms, the family gets more desperate to keep the will secret, at all costs. This is a free screening as part of the Longo's Free Summer Flicks so the earlier you show up, the better your seat.
WEDNESDAY JULY 27TH / LA DOLCE VITA / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 6:30PM
The centerpiece of TIFF's spectacular Fellini exhibition, La Dolce Vita finally arrives this week, one of the most important films of his career. Marcello Mastroianni stars as... Marcello Rubini, a womanizing journalist as his days slip into nights and his personal life drips all over the place. A suicidal girlfriend, an heiress for a lover and numerous other debaucheries follow Marcello through a series of partially connected days and nights. The film is Fellini's first delicious step from neo-realism to art cinema and there could be nothing more enthralling. It's a film that celebrates and judges sexual and emotional excesses, as well as the idle time of the rich and famous, yet also glamorizes them in the process. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.
THURSDAY JULY 28TH / BICYCLE THIEVES / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 6:30PM
A masterpiece work from post-war Italy is the beautiful and haunting Bicycle Thieves. The entire film is centered around the search for a missing bicycle, while in Toronto this may be a simple case of theft, in the late 1940's to our protagonist Antonio, it's the difference between having a paying job to support his family and the unemployment line. As he and his son Bruno back track through the city in search of the thief, we see snippets and cracks of the daily life in a country patching itself back together from war. Ranked as one of the most influential and best films of all time by a number of publications and critics, this time around the film has only one screening, so make it count. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.
FRIDAY JULY 29TH / ATTACK THE BLOCK / YONGE & DUNDAS AMC
How about this for a tagline, a science fiction comedy about ragtag group of urban teenage gangsters who meet their match when an alien spacecraft decides to take a cruise in the middle of their hood, the social housing units. The film turns the recent 'kids aren't all right' motif in British cinema on it's head by making said kids the heroes, and because of it, I seriously doubt those aliens will be successful. Produced by the same team that brought both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz to North America, it's being released this weekend only at the AMC Yonge & Dundas, ticket prices and information can be found closer to the date on the AMC website.
SATURDAY JULY 30TH / ICHI THE KILLER / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 11PM
Not for the faint of heart, Ichi the Killer has a reputation for being one of the most over-the-top and gruesome Yakuza movies of all time. The aforementioned Ichi is a perverted murderer who takes out a mob boss as a job and becomes ensnared in a grotesque game of cat and mouse with his opponent. Fortunately Ichi thrives off of violence and thankfully his opponent, the sadomasochist Kakihara, enjoys it as well. As these two sociopaths square off against each other, people are tortured, maimed and killed, to the point that the original offence is practically forgotten by the end. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.
SUNDAY JULY 31ST / WEST SIDE STORY / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 6:45PM
Screening as part of the Summer in 70mm program at TIFF this summer, see the amazing movie that took this hit Broadway musical from audiences of thousands to audiences of millions, becoming one of the best theatre adaptations of all time, not to mention best musical! West Side Story takes Romeo and Juliet and turns it on it's head in an amazing clash of colour, song and style. Tony and Maria are in love, the only problem is that Maria's brother is the leader of the Shark gang and Tony is a former member of the Jets. While they try to keep their romance hidden, it inevitably gets exposed and puts everybody in danger. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.
For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.
Still from The Big Lebowski
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