Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the TSO invites you and your partner to experience the classic romantic film Casablanca as you never have before! The Orchestra performs Max Steiner’s glorious score live to the film, enhancing every beat of the movie’s noble heart with luscious live sound.
Fri. Feb. 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM
$39 – $110
Sat. Feb. 15, 2014 at 8:00 PM
$39 – $110
7:15pm Pre-concert Chat in the Lobby on February 14 with film critic Richard Crouse.
Synopsis: Based on Joyce Maynard’s novel of the same name, the action in Labor Day begins when a wounded, escaped criminal (Josh Brolin) hides out in the home of two strangers, Adele, a depressed divorcee (Kate Winslet) and her 13-year-old son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). What begins as a hostage situation slowly changes as the stranger’s sensitive side is revealed and he becomes a surrogate father figure for Henry and companion for Adele.
• Richard: 3/5
• Steve: 3/5
Richard: Mark, it’s been said that 90 per cent of the director’s job is casting, and on that score Jason Reitman has knocked it out of the park. Labor Day is essentially a three-hander with Winslet, Brolin and Griffith responsible for the emotional weight of the movie. Griffith is convincing as a youngster abruptly placed in the position of son and surrogate spouse, but it is the leads that really carry the movie. Winslet is delicate and effective as the world-weary Adele while Brolin hands in another of his manly man performances, tempered by a hidden sensitive side. I’m curious to hear what you thought.
MB: You bet it’s the acting that makes this one work, Richard! There’s genuine chemistry between Winslet and Brolin. Brolin is so good I could actually believe his escaped convict could be innocent — no small feat. But the movie, set in 1987, feels like it could have been made in 1987. It’s so square compared with Reitman’s other work, which I adore. Only someone who’s never seen a movie before wouldn’t be able to figure out where the story was headed. But you can admire the film’s quiet, stately pace, even if the whole thing feels like it’s ripped out of a Harlequin romance novel. Don’t get me started on the pie scene.
RC: I liked the pie scene. I don’t want to give anything away for people who haven’t seen the movie, but imagine the scene from Ghost with pastry instead of pottery and you’ll get the idea. It’s just wonky enough to spice up the story, and I thought Brolin pulled it off. Of all the leading men out there right now he’s the only one I can think of to have the old school Lee Marvin grit to still look badass while folding pastry.
MB: Me, I just laughed, until I was shushed by a middle-aged woman in the back row … I think the movie would have been more interesting if you weren’t convinced from the start that Brolin was a good guy and if Winslet’s romantic despair weren’t quite so acute. Luckily, Griffith provides a good foil for both of them and distracts the viewer from these issues. One thing I really liked about the movie is its shortened time frame: the entire story takes place over one weekend and it sharpens the plot and the tension.
RC: Even though the movie takes place over one long weekend it does take its time to develop the relationship between Adele and the mysterious stranger. Because Reitman takes his time unveiling the relationship, it’s a bit more believable than the story might otherwise have been. You’re left with the question, “Is it Stockholm Syndrome or true love?”
MB: True need, Richard, and that’s close enough for me.
Based on Joyce Maynard’s novel of the same name, the action in “Labor Day” begins when a wounded, escaped criminal (Josh Brolin) hides out in the home of two strangers, Adele (Kate Winslet), a depressed divorcee and her thirteen year old son Henry (Gattlin Griffith). What begins as a hostage situation slowly changes as the stranger’s sensitive side is revealed and he becomes a surrogate father figure for Henry and companion for Adele.
It’s been said that ninety percent of the director’s job is casting, and on that score director Jason Reitman has knocked it out of the park. “Labor Day” is essentially a three hander with Winslet, Brolin and Griffith responsible for the emotional weight of the movie.
Griffith is convincing as a youngster abruptly placed in the position of son and surrogate spouse, but it is the leads who really carry the movie. Winslet is delicate and effective as the world-weary Adele while Brolin hands in another of his manly man performances, tempered by a hidden sensitive side that manifests itself in many ways.
He does chores around the house, cooks, becomes a stand-in dad to Henry and in one scene, which is sure to divide audiences, he teaches Adele to bake a peach pie.
I liked the pie sequence. I don’t want to give anything away for people who haven’t seen the movie, but imagine the scene from “Ghost” with pastry instead of pottery and you’ll get the idea. It’s just wonky enough to spice up the story, and I thought Brolin pulled it off. Of all the leading men out there right now he’s the only one I can think of to have the old school Lee Marvin grit to still look badass while folding pastry.
The movie takes place over one long weekend and takes its time developing the relationship between Adele and the mysterious stranger. Because Reitman is very deliberate in his storytelling it’s a bit more believable than the story might otherwise have been. You’re left with the question, “Is it Stockholm Syndrome or true love?”
Either way, it is a compelling, if slightly far-fetched tale, of the kinds of connections people make.
Zac Efron became a teen heartthrob with the success of the “High School Musical” movies and then did everything possible to decimate and alienate the core audience that made him a star.
He rightly realized that the shelf life of a young Disney star was limited and turned his attention to making serious, but little seen films like “Parkland,” “At Any Price” and “The Paperboy,” an art house film better known for a scene utilizing an age old cure for a jellyfish sting you don’t normally see administered by Oscar winners like Nicole Kidman.
His latest film, “That Awkward Moment,” bridges the gap between the commercial fare that typified his early career and the edgier movies. It’s a rom com but it really is about how gross these twenty-something manboys can be.
Efron plays Jason, a New York graphic artist who designs covers for books with titles like “Diary of a Teenage CEO.” He is an avowed hook-up artist, a young guy who would rather hang out with his best friends Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) than have a meaningful relationship with a girl. That is until he meets Ellie (the excellently named Imogen Poots), a young writer with big eyes and big dreams.
“That Awkward Moment” takes advantage of Efron’s blue eyes and sculpted abs in time honoured rom com fashion. His hair is practically a character in the film. It certainly has more personality than most of the men in the movie.
This is the kind of movie that makes me glad I don’t have daughters in the dating pool. The three main characters—Jason, Miles and Mikey—are frat boys who speak Bro Code, using terms like “Double Gopher” and advising their divorced friend to create a roster of women rather than get tied down to one woman.
And yet before you can cue the Drunk Rom Com Xbox Montage ™, these young idiots have met and canoodled with women who are WAY more interesting than they deserve.
Daniel takes up with Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), an Upper West Side child of privilege (who also sings the blues in nightclubs) while Jason struggles with his feelings for Elie. Both women hand in charming, funny performances that feel like they’ve been beamed in from another, better movie, and are the reason to see the film.
“That Awkward Moment” works better when it drops the frat boy stuff and embraces its rom com roots. When it focuses on the real relationships between the guys and Ellie and Chelsea it plays like a regular rom com. Beyond that it might mainly be of interest as a cautionary tale for parents of twenty something women.
Set on the Red Crow M’igMaq Reservation in 1976, this self-assured debut feature from director Jeff Barnaby is the story of fifteen-year-old Aila (Devery Jacobs), an Aboriginal girl guided by spirits to exact revenge against a vicious Government Agent (Mark Antony Krupa) after she is moved into the reserve’s residential school. There is much to recommend Rhymes for Young Ghouls. Aila is an appealing heroine, played with gusto by Jacobs. There is sardonic humour and grit in the storytelling topped by a wicked soundtrack. Best of all it showcases the talent of director Barnaby, who is on the cusp of a significant, exciting career.
The name 12 O’Clock Boys refers to the daredevil dirt bikers in Baltimore known for gravity defying stunts on the city’s main streets—popping straight-up wheelies to resemble the hands of a watch set to midnight. It’s eye-catching but the thing that drives this powerful documentary. Pug, a thirteen-year-old biker obsessed boy is. This fly-on-the-wall doc follows him for three years, from curious, intelligent youngster with hopes of becoming a veterinarian to streetwise kid with few dreams for the future other than biking. This show-me, don’t-tell-me doc is an effective, poignant but slightly depressing look at one young man’s struggle to find the right path.
Writing in the Toronto International Film Festival program book Steve Gravestock said Rhymes with Young Ghouls plays, “as if an S.E. Hinton novel were re-imagined as a righteously furious, surreal thriller.”
The self-assured debut feature from director Jeff Barnaby is the story of Aila (Devery Jacobs), an Aboriginal teenager who is guided by the spirits of her departed mother and brother to exact revenge against a vicious Indian Agent named Popper.
“I think the idea behind what we were doing was to show the enormity of that went on,” says Barnaby. “You do want to shock people but not with the content of the film but with the idea that the content of the film actually happened. Most of the reviews have been astoundingly positive but the couple of bad ones that we’ve gotten have complained about the Popper role, and how over the top it is and how he is like this moustache twisting villain, but if you know the history, these guys had to have existed.
“I suppose you could be polite about saying, ‘You can’t leave the reserve and you can’t go find work and you have to live in this poverty, and by the way, you have to give us your kids.’ I’m sure there was an Indian Agent or truant officer somewhere who was really cool about it but at the end of the day these are the acts of evil men.”
It’s a pop culture savvy movie; a work Barnaby calls “a cinephile’s film.” A pop culture sponge himself, he says years of influences came together in the making of Rhymes with Young Ghouls.
“I grew up being saturated in everything, comic books, books,” he says. “My stepmom was going to university at the time so she was bringing home all these great books, like English poetry, T.S. Elliot and Robert Frost, so I began to appreciate art at a very early age.”
Near the top of the influence list are Batman and Conan the Barbarian.
“They are both anti-heroes but they share this idea of not being above physical violence in order to rectify a situation,” he says. “They both lost their parents, they’re both vigilantes particularly with Conan we follow the storyline of the first Schwarzenegger movie—a religious cult comes along and destroys his family and he goes searching for them and destroys the cult. That is more or less the model we used for Rhymes although very loosely, in the way Scorsese says he used The Searchers for Taxi Driver.”
He also cites Scott Hampton’s The Upturned Stone, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club but adds the influences go “through all these filters and by the time it hits the screen what you are trying to emulate has turned into something completely different.”
In my review for the recent remake of Oldboy I wrote, “There is no more manly-man actor in the mold of Lee Marvin or Lee Van Cleef working today.”
I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise given that he was named after the rough-and-tumble character Josh Randall played by Steve McQueen in TV’s Wanted: Dead or Alive.
In Oldboy he’s so tough he’s a practically indestructible force of nature; able to withstand physical punishment that would make Grigori Rasputin look like a wimp.
The tough guy angle is one Brolin plays in a number of films, including his latest Labor Day. He plays an escaped convict who hides out in the home of a depressed, widowed agoraphobic, played by Kate Winslet. Over the course of one long holiday weekend she learns of his dangerous past and before you can say the words Stockholm Syndrome has fallen for the ruggedly handsome stranger.
It’s the kind of role that Brolin has mastered; the multi-layered tough guy but according to him, he doesn’t seek out those roles.
He says he wracks his “brain like crazy trying to figure out which films I wanted to be in.”
Some of those films include No Country for Old Men and Jonah Hex.
In the Oscar nominated No Country he plays down-on-his-luck Llewelyn Moss, who stumbles across the site of a drug deal gone wrong. Bullet-ridden dead men litter the landscape along with several kilos of heroin and a suitcase stuffed with two million dollars in cash. When he makes off with the money his life and the lives of those around him are changed forever.
Jonah Hex didn’t earn any Oscar nods, but did get some Razzie attention in the form of nominations for Worst Screen Couple for Brolin and co-star Megan Fox. The story of a supernatural bounty hunter set on revenge against the man who killed his family is as disfigured as its main character’s face but Brolin brings his real-life swagger to the role and has fun with some of the tongue-in-what’s-left-of-his-cheek lines.
One tough guy role got away from him however. On-line speculation had it that he would be cast as the Caped Crusader in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman. Although he would have been perfect for the part he lost out to Ben Affleck. Contrary to his bruiser persona he was gracious in defeat. “I’m happy for Ben,” he said.