David Cronenberg

This Week in Film: All is Lost, Bad Grandpa, The Exorcist, and The Films of David Cronenberg

This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, rep cinema and avant-garde screenings, festivals, and other special cinema-related events happening in Toronto.


All is Lost (Varsity)

Were any of you, while watching a little movie that came out a few weeks ago called Gravity, thinking to yourselves, "This would be way more awesome if it were set on Earth and if everyone would just shut the hell up"? Well if so, this is your lucky weekend, because this here film is essentially that, in a very good way. All you need to know (besides absolutely nothing) is that it stars Robert Redford pretty much exclusively, and that he doesn't say more than a few words in the entire film, because he's lost at sea and has no one to speak to. Damn George Clooney and his infectious extroversion.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Carlton, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)

It's curious that the guys behind the Jackass brand - namely, director Jeff Tremaine - would take to the Sacha Baron Cohen model of non-fictional stunt comedy. Jackass front man Johnny Knoxville plays the title role (not coincidentally evoking Terry Zwigoff's Bad Santa), dressed down in make-up to appear 86 years old, traveling with his grandson to harass the supposedly unsuspecting and aloof public with their hijinks. The kid says the darnedest things, and the octogenarian is a sinisterly deviant role model. Hilarity ensues, so far as you aren't yet tired of this schtick, or can even buy into the conceit of candidness that drives its humour.

Also opening in theatres this week:

  • The Counselor (Carlton, Scotiabank)
  • Escape from Tomorrow (Varsity)
  • Griot (The Royal)
  • Ishq Garaari (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
  • The Summit (TIFF Bell Lightbox)
  • Tough as Iron (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)


The Exorcist (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

It's Halloween time, which means it time to bust out the oldies and once again gawk at just how far removed our contemporary concept of horror is from the "good ole days." The Exorcist is ostensibly fixed in the horror canon for eternity despite not actually aging very well (it actually seems funnier now than scary, as opposed to a film like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre which is as rousing and euphoric as ever). It will, alas, be getting this here token week-long run at TIFF, one screening a day at 9PM, starting this Friday. Bring your friends, and be sure to watch it with a sense of humour.

From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg (October 31 - January 19; TIFF Bell Lightbox)

It's been fun to watch all of the press releases, trade headlines, and Twitter promotions come up with so many zany puns and abject superlatives in the lead-up to 'From Within' over the last several months, but let's cut to the chase: David Cronenberg is by some margin Canada's best active filmmaker, and the achievement of this all-encompassing retrospective, which spans almost fifty years now, should not be underestimated by any means whatsoever.

From body horror to body politics, from subverting politics to subverting aesthetics, this most novelistic of horror directors has covered all the bases, sprinkling masterpieces throughout every stage of his career, yet, in the cinematic dark ages that were the 1980s, managing to produce no less than three masterpieces: The Dead Zone, The Fly, and Dead Ringers, the latter of which kicks off the retrospective this Thursday, October 31 at 6:30PM, with an introduction by Jeremy Irons and David Cronenberg themselves, live - in the flesh.

Dead Ringers, in which Irons plays the dual role of twin gynecologists who not only share a profession but also their women (and what was easily the best "twin performance" in cinema history until Nicholas Cage met Charlie Kaufman), might be Cronenberg's most Freudian and humanist tragedy, equally heady and operatic, surpassed only by The Fly in its ability to render eyes misty. This is the first of four screenings of this film; as a matter of fact, almost all the films in this series will play several times over the next three months so you won't have to worry about missing any of them; be sure, though, to check the full schedule to see which nights feature special guests.

More rep cinema this week:

Lead still from .

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