Toronto Film

This Week in Film: Monsieur Lazhar, Tyrannosaur, The Grey, Moon Point, the 8 Fest, and what's new in DVD and BluRay

This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, as well as key DVD / Blu-Ray releases, festivals, and other cinema-related events happening in Toronto.


Monsieur Lazhar (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

The advertising campaign prefers to proclaim that this film is "from the team that brought you Incendies", but it'd be far more exciting to say that it's by the same filmmaker behind (the far superior) It's Not Me, I Swear! (Philippe Falardeau, who didn't direct Incendies). This is a story of a teacher who takes over an elementary school class after their previous teacher...quit. The manner in which she quit is revealed in the first scene of the movie, but it's still a much more striking event when you don't know what it is beforehand. What Monsieur Lazhar is actually about, however, is something much more touchy-feely, or not — you'll see. This is one of the more solid Canadian films from last year.

Tyrannosaur (Cumberland)

The Sundance film festival is currently winding down in Park City, just in time for the Canadian theatrical release of one of the bigger hits from last year's festival. The film details the life of a hothead with a drinking problem - with an emphasis on the anger management issues — who gets in a 'relationship' with a nice, selfless Christian woman. While protection and redemption are on the surface of where this is all going, certain unrevealed secrets throw some kinks into the wholesome stereotype of such a premise, gravitating the film into very gritty territory. Potential spoiler: there are no dinosaurs in this film.

The Grey (Scotiabank)

In what on paper sounds a bit like Con Air meets Cast Away, The Grey shows an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks, led by Liam Neeson, whose plane crashes into a remote Alaskan wilderness. Severe injuries and frigid weather make things as hard as possible for anyone to know where in the world they are and how to get help, and the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements before they physically succumb to Mother Nature...and a pack of hungry wolves. Bleak, savage, and often kind of mesmerizing, this is no ordinary January brainless action movie.

Also Opening This Week:


For recommendations on what to catch at Toronto's rep cinema's this week, check out This Week in Rep Cinema.


Moon Point (Thursday, February 2, 7PM at The Royal)

After screening at a couple of fall festivals (Cinefest Sudbury & Edmonton International Film Festivals), Moon Point makes its Toronto premiere at the Royal with the director in person for a post-screening Q&A. The film tells the story of 23 year-old Darryl Strozka (Nick McKinlay) who still lives with his mother. As his cocky cousin Lars' wedding approaches, he decides to track down his crush from way back in elementary school (now an obscure B‐movie actress shooting a horror film in Moon Point), and bring her to the wedding. Hilarity (or something) ensues (hopefully). Tickets are $10 (cash-only) and available at the door starting 30 minutes prior to the screening.

Toronto Festivals Panel Discussion (Thursday, February 2, 7PM at LIFT)
This is an information session/panel discussion about the future of independent filmmaking, tackling hot topics like funding, film stocks, and evolving distribution strategies. That last point should get an especially thorough once-over, as the talk is going to be comprised of five local festival programmers: Hot Docs' Lynne Fernie, Images Festival's Scott Miller Berry, Planet in Focus' Kathleen Mullen, TIFF Short Cuts' Magali Simard, and the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival's Angie Driscoll. This ought to be an incredibly provocative discussion, and it's certainly a must-attend event for all types of filmmakers in Toronto. The discussion is expect to last two hours, and is free and open to the public.


The 8 Fest (January 27-29)
For the fifth consecutive year, Trash Palace will be hosting The 8 Fest, Toronto's only film festival strictly devoted to showcasing 8mm, Super 8, and 9.5mm films. From DIY filmmakers to semi-professionals to artists, from screenings to installations to lectures and talks, this is a festival filled with insight, charm, and surprises, and above all, it's a much-needed celebration of thick, dancing film grain, endangered as it is these days. Tickets are $5 per event, and festival passes are $25; check their website for programming specifics and details on the screening venue.


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