This Week in Film: Take Shelter, Margaret, Revenge of the Electric Car, Wiebo's War, ImagiNative, Taiwanese Cuisine, and new on DVD
This Week in Film rounds up the most noteworthy new releases in theatres, as well as key DVD releases, festivals, and other cinema-related events happening in Toronto.
Take Shelter (Varsity)
We raved a pretty good deal about this apocalyptic drama in our TIFF coverage last month, and it really is one of the strongest films of the year. Detailing a man (Michael Shannon) with questionable sanity who has visions and nightmares of monstrous storms that rain down showers of petroleum, Director Jeff Nichols has been blowing festival audiences away since it splashed at Sundance last January. Whether the storms are real or not is definitely one intriguing part of the puzzle, but it's the film's chilling observations regarding our current economic climate, and the impossibility of making rational decisions with our investments, that elevate it to 'essential' status.
If you see only one film this week — see Margaret, which will probably only remain in theatres until Friday. Ignore all of the bellyaching about the film's rocky road to finally arriving in cinemas (it was shot six years ago, and has come/will go with nary a hint of advertising from neglectful distributors), this is a free-wheeling, sprawling masterpiece that's getting lost in the dust of legal battles and bitter egos. A passionate Twitter following has turned the film into a battleground of taste - divided cleanly between #TeamMargaret and 'those who have not seen it' — and I challenge anyone with an open mind to not be swallowed up by its operatic heights.
Revenge of the Electric Car (AMC Yonge & Dundas)
Hopefully you haven't all grown sick and tired of the onslaught of celebrity-riddled environment-awareness docs that have been sweeping our art-houses for the last decade, because here's another one (a sequel, no less). Anyone who saw and fawned over Chris Paine's 2006 conversation-starter Who Killed the Electric Car? may be wondering what the point is in revisiting the topic only five years later. Well, it turns out that a lot has changed in how the auto industry conceives of electric technology. Paine's here to break it down for everyone.
IN REP CINEMAS
For recommendations on what to catch at Toronto's rep cinema's this week, check out This Week in Rep Cinema.
Weibo's War (The Royal)
Many may have caught this at Hot Docs last Spring, when it left quite an impression on audiences and critics alike. The Royal will kick off the film's run there with an Opening Night Q & A, with the director in person, on Friday, October 21 starting at 7PM. There will certainly be plenty to talk about after the film, which "chronicles a litany of horrors: livestock deaths, mass miscarriages of lambs and of human babies with similar deformities, severe reactions to gas flares, and desperate attempts to reach government agencies." Sounds like it's sure to be one of the year's most riveting depressumentaries, so don't miss it.
Pretty much Images Festival, but dedicated entirely to indigenous artists. Naturally, the event's films, performances, art, and even radio pieces are consistently awesome and inspiring. This is the festival's 12th year, be sure not to miss the FREE Welcome Gathering that kicks off the festival on October 19 at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (16 Spadina Road). The reception promises traditional Indigenous performances, including Ontario's own Tribal Vision, a family dance troupe from Six Nations, a welcoming song from Rosary Spence, craft vendors, and, of course, food. ImagineNative runs until the October 23.
Taiwanese Cuisine: Intimate Politics in Film
One of the more educational film events of the month comes this weekend at the Innis Town Hall, where a trio of films and accompanying lecturesfrom film scholars and professors tackle the cultural and anthropological climates of Taiwanese food and markets. Films include Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), Yi Chang's Kuei-mei, A Woman (1986), and Tien-Lun Yeh's Night Market Hero (2011). Check their website for start times, and be sure not to attend on an empty stomach.
Two other festivals opening this week, the Toronto After Dark and Ekran: Toronto Polish Film Festival, will receive more thorough previews in the coming days.
Why not wash away those after-Video Store Day blues by heading out to your local independent video store to pick up some solid new releases? On October 18, a handful of noteworthy contemporary and classic films will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray: The Criterion Collection releases Kaneto ShindÃ´'s ghost story Kuroneko, which played a small run at the Bloor Cinema last February, as well as a box set of Aki KaurasmÃ¤ki's Leningrad Cowboys films, which are deadpan at its best.
After its solid run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox earlier in the year, Austria's minimalist, meta-chase movie The Robber will arrive on both home video formats. Tim Burton's best film, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, will make its Blu-ray debut, while the always provocative and frequently tasteless Kevin Smith sees his readymade cult political/horror film Red State finally find a stable home after he spent all year personally touring the film around North America.
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