Pontypool - Stephen McHattie

Good Canadian Cinema?

Good Canadian Cinema? - Toronto Underground Cinema

When was the last time you saw a good Canadian film? How many Canadian films can most people even name? Maybe that’s because unlike music and television, there are no government enforced quotas for Canadian content in our movie theatres, allowing Hollywood to dominate our screens. Consequently, the phrase ‘Good Canadian Cinema’ is difficult for some people to say without a rising inflection at the end of the sentence, making it sound more like a question than something that actually exists.

Fortunately, the city’s newest rep theatre, the Toronto Underground Cinema is taking long overdue measures to remedy this. Starting this Thursday, the Underground is dedicating all 8 of its weekend screenings to great Canadian films as voted in an online survey. Strict budgets and a continuous funneling of our talent South of the border have placed odds against these films which they have overcome with style. Despite their understated yet undeniable merit and international critical praise, the average Canadian has only seen perhaps one or two of them, and they are rarely exhibited this way. With the help and support of our city’s film lovers, the Underground hopes this will become a quarterly event that could change the way we perceive our national cinema and increase interest in its potential growth.

Thursday, December 2nd

7pm – The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan, 1997)

Ian Holm and Sarah Polley lead an all star cast in Atom Egoyan`s profoundly tragic drama focusing on a small Canadian town dealing with the emotional scarring of a school bus accident that killed 20 children. Holm plays a lawyer from out of town handling the civil suits arising from the accident, but he also brings a lot of his own emotional baggage.

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9:30pm – Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)

A snapshot of the end of the world. It never says why, or how the world is ending, all we know is in a few hours it’s over. We follow a wide assortment of different people, spending their last few hours doing what they want to. Some party, some despair, some go about their business making sure everything runs smoothly right up until the end. Touching, funny, tragic, and oddly uplifting, this is a fascinating film that asks the viewer, “what would you do?”

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Friday, December 3rd

6:45pm – Hard Core Logo (Bruce McDonald, 1996)

In this mockumentary, director Bruce McDonald follows washed-up punk band Hard Core Logo on their reunion tour of Western Canada. Featuring the talents of Hugh Dillon, Callum Keith Rennie and a slew of awesome music cameos, it’s hard to believe that Hard Core Logo isn’t a real documentary about a real band.

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9pm – Pontypool (Bruce McDonald, 2008)

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Pontypool is the story of disgraced shock jock Grant Mazzy who, on his first day on the job in the small Ontario town of Pontypool, has to contend with what appears to be a large scale viral outbreak happening directly outside the building. Director McDonald creates an intense claustrophobic experience while creating a sprawling vision of the world outside Grant’s broadcast booth using the scariest things at his disposal: simple words and sounds.

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Actors Stephen McHattie and Lisa Houle, as well as the author Tony Burgess, will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening.

Saturday, December 4th

7pm – Porky’s (Bob Clark, 1981)

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The classic Bob Clark sex comedy that all others would be forever judged against. Essentially nothing more than a really horny version of Happy Days, Porky’s focuses on the exploits of a dive bar and the young Florida teens who spend their summer just trying to get laid. Porky’s really does establish the template for this type of movie quite well.

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9pm – Cube (Vincenzo Natali, 1997)

A group of people find themselves trapped inside a maze seemingly made up of cubes with devious traps and puzzles at every turn. There is no escape unless they can all figure out where they are and why they are there. Dizzyingly brilliant, Cube is a cerebral horror film that is made so very rarely and has rarely been done better.

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Screenwriter André Bijelic will be in attendance for this screening.

Sunday, December 5th

7pm – Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991)

When you pair a text from William S. Burroughs with director David Cronenberg, you know you are in for one heck of an experience, whether you can stomach it or not. A drugged out writer (loosely based on Burroughs himself) watches his typewriter turn into a cockroach and in a fit of paranoia becomes embroiled in intrigue of an Islamic African town. Not for the squeamish, but then again, what Cronenberg is?

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9:30pm – Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (Kelly Makin, 1996)

The groundbreaking sketch comedy troupe comes to the big screen in this tale of a new pharmaceutical that makes everyone happier than they have ever been, despite a few unfortunate side effects. The line between profiting and the greater good is skewed to a hilarious degree.

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Good Canadian Cinema is sure to be an awesome weekend of film, be sure to check it out.
For more info visit the official Facebook event page.

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