toronto movies

This Week in Film: Dial M for Murder 3D, Samsara, Detropia, Gut Renovation, Pipe Dreams, Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, 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.


Dial M for Murder 3D (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

God, I love this movie. The token response when it comes up seems be along the lines of "yeah, good movie, but not Hitch's best IMO." No, it isn't Rear Window or Vertigo, but then what is? The Lightbox is presenting the same Digital 3D print they showed at TIFF last month for this theatrical run beginning October 5, and the results are stellar. Strangely, Dial M was one of the last films from that initial wave of 3D films in the 1950's, all but ending the trend when audiences at its premiere complained that it was unnecessary and just a tiresome gimmick. Unnecessary, yes; gimmick, no. Of all of the films, classic and contemporary, to utilize the third dimension, it probably makes the most sense here because it is essentially theatre, and what is 3D if not an attempt to push cinema further toward the stage?

Detropia (Bloor Hot Docs Cinema)

The scariest thing about what's happened to Detroit is that it may be a harbinger for the rest of the Western world, and that it might happen all at once. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady - whose hearts are at least in the right place - briefly touch on this by showing a couple of artists moving in and capitalizing on the tanked market, but they're a footnote instead of a much-needed balance away from the turmoil inflicted on the residents. There is a yin and a yang to every situation (Just look at Berlin); some are suffering, and others are thriving. Detropia seems to exist to let people vent on a large platform (primarily just a bunch of not-very-thoughtful folks acting upset and blindsided, mourning the city they grew up in that will never be the same again). Sad, but so what?

Samsara (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

To be blunt, if you liked Baraka, you'll like Samsara. Or will you? That really all depends on whether you expect progress from your rehashes. The downfall for some with Ron Fricke's technical sequel is that, despite almost twenty years passing, he's gone and made the same film again. There are still time lapse shots of the night sky in the desert; still some chickens getting tossed around in a factory cyclone; still establishing shot after establishing shot of civilization as machine, et al. At least he's observed that there has been a lot of technological development in the aughts and included some robots and glowing plasma screens, but how about, for example, translating social networking into the Baraka language? Challenging, perhaps even impossible, but at least it's a risk.

Also in theatres this week:

  • English Vinglish (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
  • Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
  • Frankenweenie (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
  • Taken 2 (Varsity, Rainbow Market Sq., Scotiabank)
  • Winnie (Varsity)


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


Images Festival & Royal Cinema present Gut Renovation (Tuesday, October 9th at 7PM; The Royal)

"Gut Renovation is Su Friedrich's epic personal essay film charting the destruction of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After living in the neighbourhood for 20 years, the filmmaker was one of many who were forced out after the city passed a rezoning plan allowing developers to build luxury condos where there were once thriving industries, working-class families, and artists. Filmed over the course of many years, Gut Renovation is a scathing portrait of one neighbourhood's demolition and transformation." Su Friedrich will be in attendance, and the screening will be followed by a special "gentrification conversation" with Edward Keenan (The Grid) and developer Alan Saskin (UrbanCorp). Tickets are $10, $5 for Images members, students and seniors.

Pipe Dreams - Hosted by Olivia Chow (Tuesday, October 9th at 6:30PM; The Bloor)
"Two tar sands pipelines. Two highly acclaimed films. One common threat. Pipe Dreams (shortlisted for an Oscar last year) by Leslie Iwerks, documents the Keystone XL pipeline battle. Pipe Dreams is a film about three kayakers paddling British Columbia's pristine coast, now threatened by the Northern Gateway pipeline." This is a free event, though in order to get tickets you should RSVP with your name, phone number, address and number of tickets to 416.533.2710 or There will be a post-screening discussion with Greenpeace Canada and MP Olivia Chow.


Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival (October 10-14)
Get ready for five full days of film screenings, galas, industry series, panels, and free children's films during Canada's largest environmental film festival. Planet in Focus showcases approximately 70 Canadian and international films, and will bring in filmmakers from all over the world so that festival-goers will have a chance to get up close and personal with those that are helping to spread the word about our deteriorating environment. Check out the full slate of films here, where you can click on individual titles and learn more about them before purchasing tickets, which you can do here.


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