According to Fandango, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the top advance ticket- seller of 2017, and one of the best reviewed entries in the fabled series. 96% of respondents to a poll are looking forward to seeing the late Carrie Fisher on the big screen, 94% want to know more about the relationship between Luke Skywalker & Rey, 83% say the new Porg piqued their interest and 60% identify Benicio Del Toro as the new actor that fans are most excited to see.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill are back in action with a massive A list cast including Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro. It marks Carrie Fisher’s last appearance on film but her daughter Billie Lourd joins the cast. Sweet. Plotwise, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.” No spoilers here if you haven’t see it, but I can provide some interesting facts – it’s the longest Star Wars entry at 152 minutes, British Princes, William and Harry have cameo appearances in the film as Stormtroopers, and well, drop everything and go see it!
Just two more days of the Star Wars installation at the Bell Media Center on Queen St West. The Star Wars: The Last Jedi pop-up exhibit immerses fans in the world of the new film with life-size replicas of Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, BB-8, The Praetorian Guard and the Executioner First Order Stormtrooper. There are photo opps with the X-Wing Ship. And get this; it’s the only exhibit in Canada in which fans will be able to see all of the figures. There’s also merch, behind the scenes content from the creation of the film, special guests, themed days, activities and giveaways. Go to Disney Studios Canada on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #TheLastJediTO for the latest news and details. #TheLastJediTO Its on till the 17th, open 11am – 7pm each day, at the Bell Media campus at 277 Queen Street West.
Genius counter-programming is the TIFF sensation and awards magnet Call Me By Your Name from Italian director Luca Guadagnino A breathtaking love story about an affair between a seventeen year old boy and the 20-something student who lives at the boys family’s villa on the Italian Riviera takes place one sultry summer. The boy initiates the relationship and both men are transformed by it. Chalamet, ion his mid-twenties, has won a Golden Globe nominations and a further 9 wins and 11 nominations as Best Actor. Thirty one year old Armie Hammer plays the researcher with great sensitivity and care. He’s won a Golden Globe plus 6 wins and 18 nominations as Best Supporting Actor. They explore the pains and joys of sudden, head spinning romance and sex; it’s one of the most sensual love stories in mainstream films that I’ve ever seen. Their affair carries on with his parents’ consent and Michael Stuhlbarg as his father delivers one of the most memorable speeches for acceptance and love. It takes us through first love and it’s so familiar to us, and we are exhausted by the end and in tears.
Sundance Now is streaming the British series Liar, an incredibly timely thriller about a respected surgeon accused by a woman with a history of emotional problems of drugging and sexual assault, starring Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd. They live in a quiet seaside town in England shot in Kingsdown and Deal, Kent but it doesn’t stop with them. All the players harbour hidden bad acts, betrayals, crimes and heartbreak, for instance, the woman’s sister is married but having an affair with her sisters recent ex, the surgeon’s son is the woman’s student, the female detective is casually compromised by the surgeon but it may be accidental, a stranger shows up with dirt on the teacher; you know, small town life. British police procedurals can’t be beat and Liar is brilliantly chilling and is like an unbearable roller coaster of human complexity. Add social media, an abortion and housebreaking and, that begins to describe things.
The Canadian holiday film A Christmas Story was trashed by critics when it was released in 1983 but it worked its way up our hearts over the years to become an iconic, classic film. Fans, there’s a watch party happening with Special Guest Zack Ward at Film.ca Cinemas 171 Speers Road in Oakville. Ward played Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story in 1983. A Christmas Story Live!, starring Matthew Broderick, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Ken Jeong, is inspired by the original movie and A Christmas Story: The Musical, which opened on Broadway in 2012.
Retro Festive’s Watch Party will include trivia contests and giveaways plus a Q&A with Zack Ward! in support of the Kerr Street Mission in Oakville. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned food or other items suitable for their food bank. All ticket proceeds will also be donated to the Kerr Street Mission. A Christmas Story, about a wacky American family Christmas was filmed in Toronto, Scarborough and St. Catharines, Ontario. That’s Sunday at 7 pm.
The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Theatre offers a fabulously diverse slate of films this weekend. On Saturday, Ai Wei Wei’s refugee documentary Human Flow reminds us of the millions of people forced from their homelands.
Also Saturday at Hot Docs, that ol’ chestnut White Christmas the 1954 musical Christmas classic stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, George’s aunt Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. They gather to put on a show to raise money for their much admired WWII commander who has fallen on hard times.
And then National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, a new chestnut stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo as the Griswolds and follows their attempts to put on a memorable Christmas Day for family. It’s all ruined by an errant squirrel, ham handed electrical work and the arrival of the redneck side of the family.
On Sunday, another iconic Christmas film Love Actually, featuring an all-star cast sorting out their romantic problems. You’ll weep, relate, laugh and marvel at how young they all look.
It wouldn’t be holiday time without The Simpsons Christmas Week – Monday, December 18th through Monday, December 25th on FXX. The ongoing tradition of watching Homer and family try to get through a day without incident seems universal and on tap will be all the classic Christmas and winter themed episodes.
BFCA BTJA AWFJ TFCA FIPRESCI