Toronto Rep Cinema

This Week in Rep Cinema: Under Fire, Repulsion, Love Actually, 2001, His Girl Friday

This Week in Rep Cinema features second run and classic film selections from cinemas such as The Fox, The Revue, The Royal, Toronto Underground Cinema, the Projection Booth, TIFF Bell Lightbox and more.

The holiday season brings about Christmas classics at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Toronto Underground Cinema and The Projection Booth, as well as some not-so-classic flicks as well (I'm looking at you, Santa Claus vs the Martians!). In non-holiday fare, there are also some great selections from the Grace Kelly and Roman Polanski retrospectives at the Lightbox this week such as High Society, The Country Girl and Repulsion, while Dragonslayer, Take Shelter and some other best-of-2011 films screen at the Royal Cinema. Aside from this programming, most rep cinemas are taking a break this weekend. That being said, there is nobody playing Gremlins this year, so I'm throwing an "occupy-my-living-room" if anybody is interested.


A serious documentary to start the week, Under Fire: Journalists in Combat is a talking head doc featuring journalists who've been in warzones, crosscut with graphic footage from the places they've been and the things they've seen. While many interviewees have opposing viewpoints concerning their motivations, their fears and their worries, all of those interviewed agree on a few key elements. Firmly put by John Steele from ITN London, "You never feel as alive as when you're staring death in the face." But what about afterwards? The psychological and emotional tolls are heavy and the danger quite real. In less than 100 years, the media have become as important a storyteller about injustice in the world as soldiers to fight it, and now work alongside some of the more dangerous clashes and missions. But as their inclusion increases, so do the casualties, emotionally, physically and fatally. The film will also screen Wednesday December 21st at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the cinema.

Screening as part of a small retrospective leading up to the release of Carnage, TIFF is featuring works from controversial director Roman Polanski's career almost every night this week. Repulsion is an interesting choice in retrospective, a film that stars doe-eyed Catherine Deneuve as a gorgeous and terrified young woman with a strong, paralyzing phobia to sex. The film includes scenes that allude to a rape fantasy in the mind of a woman going mad, with imagery that is meant to horrify as well as titillate, while Polanski once again ties female sexuality into themes of fear, madness and non-consent. A gross parallel to his personal life, Polanski was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a minor about a decade after this work, and fled the country to avoid sentencing. His fascination with themes of sexual coercion and fear have abated since then, but it's a shadow that looms with any conversation about his work. Does his art suffer for his personal sins? Should his works be viewed and valued despite his crime, or only his works before his crime? I leave these questions to you, but one cannot watch a Polanski film without feeling somewhat affected or changed. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.

Colour me surprised when I saw a festive double-bill at the Toronto Underground this week with the sentimental guilty pleasure that is Love Actually. While it's shlocky and a little bit sexist, there are some bits in this film that I can memorize by heart. It's probably one of the only contemporary holiday ensemble films of the last decade that had any merit or charm, offering a delightful array of your favourite British stars. My favourites? Bill Nighy (truly one of the funniest British men of all time) as Billy Mack, an aging rock star forced to record a Christmas album he's completely disinterested in, and Emma Thompson a woman trying to juggle her work, her children, her family and friends, while keeping her crumbling marriage a secret from everybody, even her husband. And the second film this evening? Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at 9:30pm. No summaries, enjoy! Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the cinema.

New Year's Eve is a night for Blade Runner in my household, an old family tradition going back to when Citytv used to air the dystopic sci-fi feature annually after their live New Year's feed. (Happy New Years, here's a terrible vision of the future?) And for the second year in a row, TIFF Bell Lightbox has featured 2001: A Space Odyssey during Christmas time. I smell another anti-holiday tradition coming right up. But what could be more grandiose than spending the one day a year where almost everything is closed, at the movies? So instead of sitting home and watching reruns of terrible television, watch a film about four moments in time that concern an ominous black monolith as it infiltrates humanity at varying steps in our technological development. But really, come for the 70mm screening, it looks ridiculously cool. 2001: A Space Odyssey screens every night at 8pm from Dec 25th - Jan 3rd. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.


Screw Boxing Day and settle in at the Projection Booth with one of the great screwball comedies of yore. From the man who brought you (one of my favourite films) Bringing up Baby, the late, great Howard Hawks also sprung the devastatingly charming His Girl Friday, yet another version of 'the marriage plot', but a highly satisfying one and quippy one at that. Featuring Rosalind Russell as the fast-talking reporter Hildy Johnson and Cary Grant as her scheming ex-husband, who is trying every last trick in the book to ensure she doesn't get remarried to her newest tool of a fiance. The Projection Booth will also be screening other Cary Grant classics such as Charade and Penny Serenade daily until December 29th. Tickets can be purchased at the cinema.


For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.

Still from Repulsion

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