Their platonic friendship (yes, platonic!) is rendered with great humor, poignancy and dignity. Michael OSullivan (No rating) The Wizard of Oz 3D IMAX (PG) Seeing The Wizard of Oz on the big screen also offers an opportunity to consider the incredible special effects, considering the film was shot more than seven decades ago and long before computer-generated imagery. The black-and-white scenes of Dorothy battling against the wind as a twister approaches were especially transporting. Stephanie Merry 1/2 Wadjda (PG) Youre seeing a world on screen that, until now, has been largely hidden from the filmgoing world at large. Because in addition to being a terrific garden-variety coming-of-age film, Wadjda happens to be the first feature-length movie ever made in Saudi Arabia all the more notable in that its been made by a woman, about a young girl chafing against the religious and social strictures of a kingdom literally shrouded in sexual anxiety, misogyny and severe repression. Ann Hornaday 1/2 Salinger (PG-13) While much of the movie consists of variations on this same theme that Salinger was a brilliant, flawed man the film also delves into more salacious matters, including the role of Catcher in the shootings of Ronald Reagan, John Lennon and Rebecca Schaeffer (gunmen John Hinckley Jr., Mark David Chapman and Robert John Bardo were all fans of the novel). Stephanie Merry The Henchmans War (Unrated) Greene, a native Washingtonian with a handful of local directorial and co-producing credits on his resume, has an eye for urban grit and an ear for tough-guy dialogue. He makes excellent use of his shadowy locations, lending War the coveted visual grime that enhances such pulp-noir material. Sean OConnell 1/2 Battle of the Year (PG-13) Lee is attempting to keep a spotlight shining on b-boy culture, an aggressive style of street dancing that consists of body-contorting twists, flips, leaps, spins and poses set to hip-hop music. Lee showcased this next level of competitive breakdancing in his award-winning 2008 documentary Planet B-Boy , and a feature film building on that awareness makes complete sensejust not five years later, when the fad appears to have faded. Sean OConnell My Lucky Star (Unrated) Bringing Sophies comics to life, the movie interjects drawings and animated sequences. The camera spins excitedly, and the editing is brisk. Split-screen compositions evoke the 1960s, as do Sophies pop-art ensembles, which include a lilac wig with matching lipstick. This girlie romp is less about martial arts and espionage than stuffed animals and dress-up. Mark Jenkins 1/2 Good OlFreda (PG) Ryan White weaves in archival footage of girls fainting and images of old headlines. The soundtrack consists primarily of Beatles covers. While the tales of the bands spectacular rise create a genial mood, the film feels superficial. Kelly can be cagey, and when a voice offscreen asks if she ever dated any of the guys, she demurs, saying, Thats personal. Stephanie Merry 1/2 Ip Man: The Final Fight (PG-13) The showiest action sequence involves lion dancers who battle atop high wooden posts. The grittiest and final one sends Ip to save one of his former pupils, whos risked fighting for money inside the gangster-controlled Kowloon Walled City. To add to the drama, the showdown occurs during a typhoon. Mark Jenkins Generation Iron (PG-13) Generation Iron succeeds where other rote sports docs often struggle.
Canadian movies take pride of place on TIFF’s international stage
aCanada is an incredibly multicultural place and filmmakers have deep roots in or strong connections to different parts of the world,a she says. aWe also have filmmakers who see a clear need for an important foreign or global story to be told and they have the means and skills to do so and provide a new and valuable perspective.a Whatas happening in Canada is part of a larger trend worldwide. Technological change has paved the way for simultaneous release dates across several continents, and the rise of China as a potential market has forced filmmakers to think in more international terms. Look at your local multiplex. The landscape has changed: Martial arts stars play opposite Yankee action heroes, French ingenues star in Middle Eastern family dramas and directors such as Ang Lee shoot Life of Pi and other Canadian bestsellers on location in Taiwan. The push toward a more global marketplace is constant and palpable, but veteran Canadian filmmakers such as Bruce McDonald and Bruce Sweeney say the quirky Canadian tradition that features flawed men, potent women and a curious lack of special effects is still possible. aIf youare asking for $8 million, the financial people in the industry are going to want a famous person to drive the financing,a says McDonald, who returns to TIFF with The Husband, 25 years after making his festival debut with Roadkill. aIf you want the big toys … you have to be ready for that,a he says. aThatas whatas great about this movie. Itas a mix of veterans and new faces. And it could be done in-pocket and in-town.a McDonald says he has complete faith in his Canadian cast, and heas never felt the need to look outside Canada to find the right players. aItas a confidence thing,a he says. aWe have a lot of rising stars in this country, but they arenat going to get you the big budget.a At least not until they make it in the U.S a which generally makes them inaccessible. Witness the rise of Ryan Reynolds, Ellen Page and Ryan Gosling, Canadian actors who are now prohibitively pricey, and take on Canadian projects only as labours of love, if they agree to participate at all.
The movies are the animated “Planes” and “Turbo” on Screen One, and the apocalyptic comedy “This is the End” and the horror movie “You’re Next” on Screen Two. The movies start at sunset, of course. A party and classic-car rally is planned for Oct. 5. By next year, the Hollywood studios will stop sending canisters of film to theaters, so without expensive digital projectors to show movies on hard drives, many independent exhibitors will go out of business. The digital transition has been especially hard on North America’s 400 drive-ins. Projecting an image onto a large drive-in screen requires a high-powered machine that could cost $80,000–a big investment for a seasonal business. This summer, Honda sponsored Project Drive-In as a promotional tie-in with the upcoming movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” It awarded digital projectors to the top five drive-ins in a national poll. Although the humble Starlite did not make the cut in the initial voting, Honda extended the offer to four more facilities, and today the Starlite got the joyous news. The other recipients include first-round winners in Saco, Maine.; Honor, Mich.; Graham, Tex.; McHenry, Ill. and Newburg, Ore.; and second-round winners in Elizabethtown, Tenn., Monetta, S.C.
(April 25) IRON MAN 3: hree stars out of five a Shane Black, the man who penned the infamous super-flop called Last Action Hero, writes and directs this third instalment in the Iron Man franchise starring Robert Downey Jr. as playboy billionaire Tony Stark. While Downey is always fun to watch thanks to his sly mix of cynicism and sexuality, this story of a new weapon and a bearded terrorist feels dAjA vu. Not even the interpersonal, dramatic content has any novelty. Nor does the lame attempt at a last-minute plot twist involving a whole bunch of Iron Man suits. The emotional side of the equation never takes off because the character-driven side of the story is encased in hard, mechanical set pieces with all the poetry of a robot. Nonetheless, thanks to a few great moments of scene work and a hint of cultural criticism, Iron Man survives to see a new day, and sell more product. Special DVD/Blu-ray features include Deconstructing the Scene, Marvel One Shot, Iron Man Unmasked, deleted scenes, gag reel and more. UNFINISHED SONG: Three stars out of five a Heas a quiet curmudgeon and sheas a saint who likes to sing. With such a reliable formula, all you need is a few tears to moisten the mix, and youave got a neat little ramekin of genre pudding. Unfinished Song is easy to swallow and void of awkward lumps. It even nourishes the soul at some base level thanks to the superlative performances from the highly laurelled cast that features Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave as the aging couple, and Gemma Arterton and Christopher Eccleston as the youngsters trying to help in their own way. Though it feels like a cross between The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the 2007 documentary about a seniorsa choir, Young@Heart, the filmas undeniable sincerity is bound to win you over. Special features include outtakes and deleted scenes. AMONG FRIENDS: One and a half stars out of five a Low-budget horror movies crawl around the DVD release list like so many cockroaches angling for a Twinkie crumb, and Among Friends is a great example of the average slasher looking for your attention: a cheesy mix of fake blood and amputated limbs punctuated by a lot of screaming and close-ups of pretty girls with runny mascara.