This Week in Rep Cinema: Hot Blood, The Debt, and The Breakfast Club
Welcome to the first installment of This Week in Rep Cinema. These posts will combine and feature second run and classic film selections from cinemas such as The Fox, The Revue, The Royal, Toronto Underground Cinema, Projection Booth, TIFF Bell Lightbox and other such cinemas around town.
This week, two of our usual repertory cinemas are acting as hosts for film festivals. The Toronto Underground Cinema is hosting this year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival from October 20-27 (look for a post in the coming days), and the Revue Cinema has the Ekran Polish Film Festival from October 21-23. As this fall continues to pass, there's still no word on an opening date for the Bloor Cinema. Its absence is noted and missed. While smaller theatres do what they can, and TIFF has its programming, I certainly hope the staple of the Annex is ready to open soon.
The Debt — Monday October 17th - 19th / The Fox Theatre / Various Times
While it appears a slick, suspenseful thriller upon first viewing, one of my first thoughts upon watching the trailer for The Debt many months ago, was that it was a convenient way to have some of the brightest contemporary stars play each other in a Bourne-like movie. But luckily the film exceeded expectations and offered more than simply eye candy and intrigue. In the late 1990's, three former Mossad agents (Israeli Intelligence Agency) find themselves affected by a rekindled interest in an operation they handled in the late 1960's that they had falsified information for upon completion. The film plays with flashback and the current day, creating a suspenseful drama that draws out the storyline of both eras, until the threads finally join together in a horrible knot.
A remake of a 2007 Israeli film of the same name, The Debt has become one of the summer releases that I predict will have a consistent resurgence in the second run market. It has action, thrilling suspense, Tree of Life's breakout star Jessica Chastain as well as reliable and talented actors Tom Wilkinson and Helen Mirren. A Holocaust revenge themed film is quite an interesting twist to the traditional way the story has been told, as it gives what they call 'Oscar Bait' more of a bite. The Debt isn't interested in the shiny globe man however, director John Madden (fun fact, also the director of Shakespeare in Love) has way more fun finding a way to include and highlight important historical elements with enough action to keep the plot moving, instead of focusing on the high drama of it all. If there's any other reason you need to trek to the east end, be sure it's to take a look at the newly renovated Fox Theatre, they've upgraded with digital projection to keep current, not bad for the oldest running theatre in Canada! Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the cinema.
Hot Blood — Tuesday October 18th / TIFF Bell Lightbox / 6:30PM
For the last few weeks, TIFF has featured a retrospective of the works of auteur Nicholas Ray whose magnum opus was the classic film Rebel Without a Cause. While Rebel Without a Cause captured teenage malaise and disquiet in staid, structured suburban America, Hot Blood ran all over the place. Ray researched American gypsy culture almost to a fault to create a film featuring Jane Russell as a young, brassy young woman who marries herself to rich gypsies for their money before skipping town once she has it. Considering we still obsess over the modern gypsy in the 2000s (see, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding) it's not hard to believe that Ray would find something interesting in this unconventional subset of America.
Sticking with Ray's strongest themes, jealousy, attraction and love cause all the best and worst things to happen. In Hot Blood, the trouble starts when Jane Russell's character actually falls in love with one of her gypsy husbands and causes a sibling rivalry with a major fallout. The similarities seem to end there, as it's such a departure from his previous film that it seems a tad out of place, until you realize that there is just as much work put into developing the strange bonds between the outcasts in Hot Blood and many of Ray's other works. Not one of the best films of all time, but an interesting choice to return to the cinema with. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the theatre or online.
The Breakfast Club — Friday October 21st/ TIFF Bell Lightbox / 9pm
John Hughes classic work about five misfits thrown together in an unorthodox Saturday detention, while often satirized now, was a touching reminder of the artificial boundaries that teenagers (and adults) create to hide from others. Featuring some of the brightest stars of the brat pack — standards such as Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and Emilio Estevez — The Breakfast Club continues to be a staple when one contemplates teenage cinema of the eighties. The Breakfast Club is screening as part of the Back to the 80's: Teen Edition, a series that is heavily dominated with five works by the late director, rounded out with other tie-ins such as Risky Business and St. Elmo's Fire.
It's important to remember that John Hughes, as a writer and director, was pretty successful right out of the gate. The Breakfast Club, for example, was only his second feature. Rebounding off the success of his first film Sixteen Candles, Hughes reached for the stars and received high acclaim for The Breakfast Club. Hughes even brought back Ringwald and Hall for another go with Pretty in Pink, a role he specifically wrote for Ringwald and Weird Science with Hall. He enjoyed working with teenagers and created interesting stories, even developing the nuclear family in Uncle Buck, his streak of luck would continue until the 1990's when attention to his work waned as he started writing children's films instead of the complicated teenage dramas he had success with previously.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the theatre or online.
For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.
Still from Hot Blood
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