Tabu Film

This Week in Film: The Master, Laurence Anyways, Tabu, Free Hitchcock Double Bill, Deep State, The Black Museum lecture series, DVD & 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.


The Master (Varsity)

First things first: Hallelujah, praise be, Hosanna in the highest, etc., The Master is showing at the Varsity on 70mm. Most of the die-hards caught this at TIFF, no doubt, but that shouldn't impair its box office too much given that it almost dares you to not watch it more than once. I personally couldn't stop thinking of A Clockwork Orange while watching, even if I so hate the 'which film/director is PTA making/being this time?' tradition. The best compliment I can give it right now is that I felt the exact same way about it when it ended as I did when I first saw There Will Be Blood (As a friend said, "I knew it was a masterpiece, and I knew I was disappointed").

This is probably just attributable to my own astronomical expectations, but I had the impression while watching that Anderson was noticeably burdened by the pressure of following-up a film as instantaneously canonized as TWBB was; certain scenes, like the penultimate one between Hoffman and Phoenix, even play like direct lifts from ones between Daniel Plainview and H.W. Great as the two leads are here (particularly Phoenix), it's Laura Dern, who is now confirmed to my favourite living actress.

Laurence Anyways (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

After his first two features, the jury was still out on whether or not Dolan was the real deal or an impressionable poseur. Laurence Anyways pretty much confirms the former to be the case. I still think he's light on ideas, is far too young to hold steadfast to a fixed theme (guy loves him some 'impossible love'), and is too ostentatious in his quest to be taken seriously as a wunderkind auteur that he risks suffocating himself. But. The filmmaking is really superb for most of this new one, and for the first time, it feels more 'Dolan' than anyone else (Wong, Almodovar, Allen....). Not sure what's changed since Heartbeats, actually, but it's just more genuine and honestly exuberant in its youthfulness and naïveté. The 161 minutes fly by.

Tabu (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

This is certainly one of the films of 2012, even if it isn't entirely successful on first viewing. There's an impression that Tabu is so hip because it knows it's so hip; the narrative is bifurcated, there are the strong colonialist themes, a 4:3 aspect ratio, and luscious black & white photography; check, check, check, and check). But as dry as the first half of the film initially appears, its second half lives up to the hype I recall it having upon its premiere at the Berlinale last February, which is to say: I was floored by its bold singularity and the fact I cared so much. There are enough hints of connections between the first and second halves, too, to begin to appreciate the movie on a number of levels (just buy your second ticket when you're at the box office purchasing the first, because you'll want to go right back in an watch it again). Familiarity with Murnau's Tabu optional, though an asset.

Also in theatres this week:

  • Dredd (Carlton, Scotiabank)
  • End of Watch (Carlton, Scotiabank)
  • Head Games (The Royal)
  • Heroine (Cineplex Odeon Yonge & Dundas)
  • House at the End of the Street (Carlton, Scotiabank)
  • Legend of a Warrior (Projection Booth East & Metro)
  • Masquerade (Cineplex Odeon Yonge & Dundas)
  • Rebelle [War Witch] (TIFF Bell Lightbox)
  • Roller Town (Cineplex Odeon Yonge & Dundas)
  • Trouble with the Curve (Varsity, Cineplex Odeon Yonge & Dundas)
  • Wagner & Me (Bloor Hot Docs Cinema)


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


CINSSU Free Fridays: HITCHCOCK DOUBLE BILL: Marnie / Psycho (Friday, September 21 at 7PM; Innis Town Hall)
U of T's Cinema Studies Student Union resumed their Free Fridays series last week with a screening of Roman Polanski's Carnage, and this week they're offering this awesome Hitchcock pairing of his most famous film with a recently re-championed one. It's an especially inspired coupling, I should add, since Marnie is perhaps Hitchcock's most melodramatic film; this juxtaposition thus places Psycho within the discourse of the melodrama (as it should, since it's working with many of the tropes of that genre underneath its slasher/horror surface). Screening is free.

Pleasure Dome presents: Deep State (Tuesday, September 25 at 7PM; CineCycle)
This is the Canadian premiere of Karen Mirza & Brad Butler's 45-minute new film, the follow-up to their strong, medium-length doc, The Exception and the Rule. Scripted by sci-fi author China Miéville and commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Deep State "takes its title from the Turkish term "Derin Devlet," meaning "state within the state," and tells a story about the representation of political struggle, moments of crisis, solidarity, schisms and oppression." This screening is taking place in coordination with the duo's exhibit The House of the Unexpected, on now at Blackwood Gallery. It's unclear what the entry fee is, or if there even is one, so bring some cash just in case.

The Black Museum - The Architecture of Fear: The Use of Space in Horror Cinema (Thursday, September 27 at 8PM; Projection Booth East; $15 at the door)
"Toronto-based film directors Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Cube) and Steve Kostanski (Father's Day, Manborg) are slated to headline The Black Museum, a new horror lecture series launching this fall at The Projection Booth East. Natali is kicking off the series' limited run on September 27, 2012 with "The Architecture of Fear," a lecture that examines the use of space in horror cinema classics like The Shining and Suspiria. Kostanski, part of the breakout Astron-6 collective and an animator himself, will present "Terror Frame By Frame: Stop Motion Nightmares on Film" on October 25, to discuss why handcrafted horror effects have endured despite continued CGI advances.

Named after Scotland Yard's infamous gallery of dark crime and murder, The Black Museum is curated by established horror writers Andrea Subissati and Paul Corupe, who will also be hosting the two- to three-hour lectures. Over the course of the fall, The Black Museum will host five industry professionals who will share their experience, knowledge and love of the horror genre in a casual and interactive atmosphere.

The Black Museum will also feature two differing takes on the place of zombies in the horror genre. On October 11, Subissati will be offering a look at the social history of zombies, while Rue Morgue Magazine podcaster and personality Stuart "Feedback" Andrews will present a look at the history of zombie cinema, dating back to the 1930s. For the final lecture, Corupe will be presenting "Echoes From the Sleep Room," a look at how real-life medical tragedies have directly influenced the themes of Canadian-made horror films."


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