Toronto Flick Picks: 70mm, holiday quote-a-longs and more


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The TIFF Bell Lightbox is showing Gremlins tonight at 9 p.m.

It’s a bit nauseating to do this year in and out, especially given that the actual turnover in the Christmas film canon is so slow that we end up talking about the same few films being dragged out again and again, but here is a run down of how you can get your Christmas mojo going. You might still be too caught up in that omnipresent Star Wars jazz to even notice how close we are to the big day.

Oh, and on the The Force Awakens front: pacing, J.J., it's all about pacing.

The Magic of 70mm

Much has been made of Quentin Tarantino’s road show presentation of his new feature Hateful Eight. It will come with an overture, an intermission and, best of all, will be shown in 70mm — Toronto will be getting an actual 70mm projection of Hateful Eight at Cineplex’s Varsity Cinema over the holiday season. With that in mind, the savvy folks at the TIFF Bell Lightbox have a programme ready to showcase some of the most gorgeous films available on the format.

70mm is really a boutique, deluxe format, beloved by cinephiles, and devised in an era where the old movie studios were struggling to differentiate the theatre experience from television. Thus we got, among other less than stellar innovations, epic-scale widescreen projection in a scope unlike anything you could see at home on the idiot box. 70mm offers almost twice the ‘resolution’ of your typical 35mm strip and gives you a much more detailed image when projected appropriately. 

As for what TIFF has to offer, so far, well, you can check out Alfred Hitchcock’s sumptuous Vertigo, Stanley Kubrick’s inimitable 2001: A Space Odyssey, Christopher Nolan’s InterstellarPattonSpartacusWest Side Story (the movie that gains the most when seen this way I think, actually…) and Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch over the holidays. Get your tickets and times here

Holiday Screening Watch

There’s a lot to note here, and many retreads and double-ups that I will ignore, but here’s some of the hi-lights of what Toronto is showing for Christmas.

TIFF Bell Lightbox has Joe Dante’s Gremlins Dec, 18 at 9:00 p.m. which is an astute programming choice and not just because I haven’t seen it in far too long.

Dec. 19 you can catch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at Rainbow Cinemas Market Square at 11:15 p.m.

Tis the season, so of course there are a number of free screenings to catch. The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema has Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story at 5:45 p.m. for free on Dec. 23. Elf is also free Dec. 19 2:45 p.m. at the same venue at Dec 20 at 3:30 p.m. at The Revue Cinema.

Jalmari Helander’s Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale gives a little Scandinavian macabre twist to the ole Santa Claus story and is showing at TIFF Bell Lightbox Dec. 23 at 9:00 p.m.

Finally, I hate quote-a-longs, but since I don’t have to attend, you’re welcome to take in the Home Alone quote-a-long Dec. 18 at 9:30 p.m. and the Die Hard quote-a-long Dec. 23 at 9:30 p.m. at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

Toronto Screengrab of the Week

Congrats to @JenniferKR for pegging last week as Jessica Alba in Honey. This week is a halfway decent little flick with a couple of actresses who would go on to be gigantic stars only a couple years later and this guy...

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Paul Hantiuk is a freelance writer and journalist who attempts to pick out some interesting film events in a weekly column for Post City Magazines. By way of introduction, he doesn't have a favourite movie, Keaton over Chaplin, mid-way back with an aisle seat, the book is not always better than the movie, and you can follow him on Twitter @PaulHantiuk.

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