Hor­ror thrill-fest Toronto Af­ter Dark shares lo­cal screens with In­dige­nous and eco-con­scious of­fer­ings

Toronto Star - - ENTERTAINMENT - JA­SON AN­DER­SON SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR jan­der­son­esque@gmail.com

Toronto Af­ter Dark: Even con­nois­seurs of movie may­hem can still be awed by films that go to in­ge­nious new ex­tremes. Back for its 12th edi­tion, Toronto Af­ter Dark will in­tro­duce lo­cal thrill-seek­ers to sev­eral such jaw-drop­pers, in­clud­ing a Korean hit that may be this year’s bench­mark for hy­per­ki­netic ac­tion cin­ema. Screen­ing Satur­day at the Sco­tia­bank The­atre, The Vil­lai­ness is a bru­tal and thrilling wo­man-cen­tric re­venge thriller whose set-pieces range from a first-per­son-POV open­ing fight that out­does Hardcore Henry to a sword­fight con­ducted on speed­ing mo­tor­cy­cles. It’s all so bold, stylish and ex­hil­a­rat­ing that it hardly mat­ters that the sto­ry­line is an over­com­pli­cated re­hash of La Femme Nikita.

An­other of the fes­ti­val’s must-sees thanks to its ra­zor-sharp sense of hu­mour, Tragedy Girls puts an acer­bic spin on its teen-slasher-movie sources, trump­ing count­less Scream wan

nabes in the process. A Cal­gary-bred di­rec­tor and grad of Ry­er­son’s film school, Tyler MacIn­tyre de­liv­ers the goods with his tale of two high school BFFs who as­pire to celebrity-se­ri­alkiller sta­tus — it plays Oct. 20.

Other note­wor­thy ti­tles among the fes­ti­val’s Cana­dian se­lec­tions are

De­fec­tive (Tues­day), a gritty re­minder about the per­ils fac­ing so­ci­eties fool­ish enough to em­ploy cy­borgs as po­lice of­fi­cers, and Poor Agnes (Wed­nes­day), a Thun­der Bay-shot thriller about the twisted re­la­tion­ship between a small-town se­rial killer and her next vic­tim. As for the many in­ter­na­tional genre-fest faves mak­ing Toronto pre­mieres, the Aus­tralian twin-themed mind-ben­der Rab­bit (Sun­day) and The End­less, a para­nor­mal mys­tery by the Amer­i­can team be­hind Res­o­lu­tion and Spring, of­fer less grisly but equally en­tic­ing brands of weird­ness. Toronto Af­ter Dark runs to Oct. 20 at the Sco­tia­bank The­atre.

imag­ineNATIVE: The world’s largest pre­sen­ter of In­dige­nous screen con­tent, the imag­ineNATIVE Film and Me­dia Arts Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates its 18th year with an­other busy pro­gram of screen­ings, pan­els and other events. The strong ar­ray of new fea­tures and docs be­gins with Maru, a re­cent TIFF se­lec­tion com­prised of eight in­ter­re­lated seg­ments, each di­rected by a dif­fer­ent Maori wo­man film­maker — it screens as imag­ineNATIVE’s open­ing night gala at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cin­ema on Wed­nes­day. The fes­ti­val runs to Oct. 22 — more high­lights in next week’s Pro­jec­tions.

Planet in Fo­cus: The third of this week’s ma­jor fall film fests, Planet in Fo­cus be­gins its 18th-an­nual edi­tion on Tues­day at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cin­ema with a spe­cial trib­ute to Dr. Roberta Bon­dar, the doc­tor, pho­tog­ra­pher, as­tro­naut and au­thor who has also been named the fes­ti­val’s Cana­dian Eco Hero this year. An­other very ad­mirable wo­man is the sub­ject of Planet in Fo­cus’ open­ing-night gala film se­lec­tion. Screen­ing Oct. 19 at the Royal, Un

frac­tured is a por­trait of Dr. San­dra Ste­in­graber, a sci­en­tist and ecoac­tivist in New York state who fights a fierce bat­tle against frack­ing while con­tend­ing with health crises in her own fam­ily. Planet in Fo­cus con­tin­ues to Oct. 22. See next week’s Pro­jec­tions for more picks. Golden Ex­its with Alex Ross Perry: Smart, witty and very caus­tic, the films of Alex Ross Perry have won the young Amer­i­can di­rec­tor a fer­vent cult of devo­tees but less of the wider at­ten­tion he de­serves. That said, he’s been earn­ing more lately with Golden

Ex­its, a typ­i­cally talk-filled re­la­tion­ship com­edy that de­buted at Sun­dance. It stars for­mer Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz and Chloë Se­vi­gny as a bored cou­ple whose mar­riage is com­pli­cated by the ar­rival of po­ten­tial paramours played by Emily Brown­ing and Ja­son Schwartz­man. Mary-Louise Parker also stars in the film, which makes its Toronto pre­miere with Perry in the house in the MDFF Selects se­ries at the Light­box on Tues­day.

Side­men: Long Road to Glory: A new mu­sic doc with a lim­ited run at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cin­ema this week, Side­men: Long Road to Glory cel­e­brates the achieve­ments and lega­cies of Pine­top Perkins, Wil­lie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hu­bert Sum­lin, three un­der-her­alded mu­si­cians who backed up Muddy Wa­ters and Howlin’ Wolf on some of their most fa­mous record­ings. Marc Maron nar­rates this film por­trait by di­rec­tor Scott D. Rosen­baum, which com­bines in­ter­views with and per­for­mances by the trio of blues­men, with tes­ti­mo­ni­als by the likes of Keith Richards and Bon­nie Raitt. It plays Oct. 16-19.

In Brief:

You still shouldn’t say his name three times but Beetle­juice plays all week at the Carl­ton.

Cine­plex lo­ca­tions city­wide host free screen­ings for Com­mu­nity Day on Oct. 14 — se­lec­tions range from Trolls to Mike & Dave Need Wed­ding Dates and $2 sug­gested do­na­tions go to WE Char­ity.

Emerg­ing women di­rec­tors are the fo­cus for a Share Her Jour­ney edi­tion of Short Cuts at TIFF Bell Light­box on Oct. 14 — ac­tor-film­maker Katie Boland and pro­ducer Lau­ren Collins at­tend to present their new short, Lolz-ita.

On Oct. 18 at the Royal, mem­bers of the leg­endary Ital­ian band Goblin do a post-screen­ing Q&A for a new 4K restora­tion of Sus­piria, the group’s most revered col­lab­o­ra­tion with di­rec­tor Dario Ar­gento.

The Toronto South African Film Fes­ti­val re­turns for its fourth year with a pro­gram of six re­cent fea­tures and docs screen­ing Oct. 14 and 15 at TIFF Bell Light­box — all pro­ceeds go to­ward sup­port­ing Ed­u­ca­tion With­out Bor­ders.

Tyler MacIn­tyre de­liv­ers the goods in teen slasher Tragedy Girls, a tale of two high school BFFs who as­pire to celebrity-se­rial-killer rank — it plays Oct. 20.

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