This Week in Film: Griff the Invisible, Chicago, All That Jazz, The Muppet Movie, Cry-Baby, Nightmare on Elm Street, Ossessione, Jesus Christ Superstar
This week in film rounds up the most noteworthy independent screenings and cinema-related events happening in Toronto.
MONDAY AUGUST 22ND / GRIFF THE INVISIBLE / AMC YONGE & DUNDAS / 7PM & 9:15PM
You probably know Ryan Kwanten best for his role as Jason Stackhouse in the True Blood television series, the steamy sexy brother of Sookie Stackhouse who seems to attract troublesome ladies wherever he goes. In Griff the Invisible however, he plays a shy, awkward office worker who leads an exciting double life as the invisible superhero with the usual hangups about secrecy and celibacy to protect his love ones, yada yada yada. But all this comes to a head when he meets Melody, a charming young woman (also slightly weird and gorgeous) who discovers his secret. While the story is one you've heard before, Griff is a charming take on the superhero genre and was well received at TIFF last year as well. Tickets are $13.50 and can be bought at the cinema or online.
TUESDAY AUGUST 23RD / CHICAGO & ALL THAT JAZZ / YONGE & DUNDAS SQUARE / 7PM & 9PM
Dancing in the Dark, the free film screenings that turn Yonge & Dundas Square into the closest it will ever be to a Times Square-esque promenade, continues this week with a double bill of jazz inspired films. The night leads off with the 2002 smash musical-turned-film, Chicago, about a group of murderesses who use their charm and their musical talent in an attempt to evade the gallows in the 20's. The second film in this double bill of sequins and scandals is All That Jazz a thinly veiled autobiography of Bob Fosse (director and choreographer of Chicago!) and his life in retrospect as he taps, sings and dances his way through 5 stages of acceptance after having a massive heart attack. Think 8 1/2 for musicals and you've got it! This screenings are free, but first come first served for seating.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 24TH / THE MUPPET MOVIE / DAVID PECAULT SQUARE / 8PM
With the newest Muppet Movie only a few months away, I feel as if this film has made the rounds more than usual this year, but that is not something to complain about. TIFF in the Park presents the first filmic appearance of the Muppets this week in the classic film, The Muppet Movie. A meta-textual origin story of sorts, The Muppet Movie begins with the Muppets watching...The Muppet Movie. On paper, it's your classic Hollywood story about a small town kid (Kermit) making his way to the big city to make it as a star, accumulating a small group of fuzzy friends along the way, except it is all done Muppets style which means that nothing is exactly as it seems. This screening is free, but first come first served for seating.
THURSDAY AUGUST 25TH / CRY-BABY / REVUE CINEMA / 9PM
If you can't attend the John Waters panel at FanExpo this weekend or afford his one-man show at the Toronto Underground Cinema this weekend, partake in my absolute favourite of his films, the crooning rockabilly romp that is Cry-Baby. A take on teen musicals such as Grease, this Romeo & Juliet tale matches a WASPY teen Allison as she attracts the attentions of Cry-Baby, the leader of the 'Drapes' gang whose musical talent and inability to cry out of both eyes makes girls wild. (Yeah, I know.) As Allison ventures deeper into the dirty and wild life of Cry-Baby and his friends, her grandmother and ex-boyfriend plot to bring her back to the Square side of town. Catchy and corny, Cry-Baby is John Waters at his best, campy and provocative but without egregious sexual exploitation. Tickets are $10 and can be bought at the cinema.
FRIDAY AUGUST 26TH / A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: DREAM WARRIORS / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA / 8PM
The third film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, for all intents and purposes should have been the last. The only proper sequel to feature the writing of Wes Craven, this film was designed to end it all (but we know the series still lived on.) As the last of the 'children of Elm Street' continue to suffer from attacks in their sleep or lie awake in fear of Freddy night after night, they find themselves shipped off to a local mental asylum. A new drug is being studied that may allow them to sleep without dreaming, essentially blocking Freddy all together, but unfortunately this is not as easy as it seems. After the film stick by for an extra-special Q & A with Freddy himself, Robert Englund as he can answer all and any questions you may have about his grotesque career. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and can be purchased at the places listed here.
SATURDAY AUGUST 27TH / OSSESSIONE / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 1PM
Ossessione is Italian director Luchino Visconti's take on the classic American pulp novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and was a stunning start to the director's career. A handsome traveler, Gino, finds himself in all matters of trouble when he stays at an inn owned by Giovanna and her shut-in husband on the outskirts of town. An attraction between the two leads to ideas of murder and freedom, as ex-prostitute-turned-housewife Giovanna dreams of leaving her husband and Gino has dreams of wealth, perhaps with her at his side. But their mutual obsessions and ulterior motivations begin to tear the guilty couple apart at the seams as nothing turns out the way they planned. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the cinema or online.
SUNDAY AUGUST 28TH / JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 6:45PM
Yet another screening in the Norman Jewison retrospective is the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's epic rock-opera that made Jesus a little more edgy and rock and roll than he had any right ever to be. Surrealist musical interludes pepper the story of Jesus and his disciples as critical parts of his life are transformed through song into catchy riffs such as 'Herod's Song (Try It and See)' and the titular finale, 'Superstar'. The best part about this film is that the cast was almost entirely actors from Broadway productions of the show, instead of looking for big cinema names, they kept the performers who had perfected their roles onstage, which truly helped the film keep that level of theatrical integrity. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the cinema or online.
For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.
Still from Griff the Invisible
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