Monday, July 11, 2011

Winterbottom, Spacey, Kelly, and a rat

I’m dying to see The Trip (at Landmark’s Main), Michael Winterbottom’s new project with some of his favourite actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, both of Winterbottom’s 2002 24 Hour Party People. That film was about the making of Manchester England’s Factory Records in the late 1970s and the famed post-punk group Joy Division (which became New Order) and its timeless single Love Will Tear Us Apart. Winterbottom’s new film The Trip looks for all the world like a British version of Sideways, Alexander Payne’s 2004 delightful but tart road movie with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church. Only this time the back roads of the U. K. are pursued by these two lost lads on their gastronomic journey. Winterbottom himself is a highly versatile director, with a catalogue of films ranging from A Mighty Heart – about the death of American journalist Daniel Pearl at the hands of Al-Qaeda - to In This World, about Pakistani refugees escaping to England.  When you consider these films – and numerous others - they are often of vastly different themes and story lines – from the sober and poignant to the uproariously funny.

Meanwhile, is Kevin Spacey starting to look like Jack Lemmon? Publicity stills for his new flic Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon) could almost fool you into thinking you are looking at the great Lemmon, who died in 2001. And, by the way, I’m waiting for the sequel to this film, Horrible Employees, though it will never get made, if you get my drift.

I know it’s Toronto and all. But whenever I see an article about someone trying to rescue an old repertory cinema it makes me hope that this once highly popular way of seeing independent and classic movies will still be around for some time to come. Of course Windsor had the venerable and lamented Windsor Film Theatre, which lasted about a decade during the 1990s, on Wynadotte St. West. But in Toronto the Bloor Cinema in the Annex has recently been given new life. It will be managed by the group that puts on the city’s annual Hot Docs festival. The theatre will continue to host the Jewish Film Festival and the After Dark Film Festival. But most of its screenings will now be documentaries.

If you are truly in love with Grace Kelly, as I am, then you will want to go to Toronto this fall for another reason. The city’s fabulous TIFF Bell Lightbox will present an exclusive look at Kelly the star Nov. 4 – 22. ( Kelly was probably best known for her films with Alfred Hitchcock, which will also be shown in a new series there called Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde.

The Windsor International Film Festival has put its monthly screenings on hiatus of late. But come back in August when three movies will be shown at the Capitol Theatre, a triple-header, if you will, on Saturday August 6. The first at 2 pm is Ratatouille (Brad Bird & Jan Pinkava, 2007) an animation about a rat with culinary ambitions. Next at 5 pm is Grown in Detroit (Manfred & Mascha Poppenk, 2009) about teen moms in Detroit becoming urban farmers. And then at 7 pm the documentary Kings of Pastry (D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, 2009), which I caught last year at the Montreal International Documentary Festival, will be screened. It’s about an extraordinarily tense three-day competition to win recognition as France’s top pastry chef. Engrossing and heart-rending when you see the chances these chefs – at the top of their games – take with their amazingly intricate creations.

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