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Man buying movie ticket at Cineplex
March 14, 2016

A Theatre Near You


It’s a seriously awesome time to have the Varsity Cinema so close, and not just for the VIP experience, which is SO much better since the renovation.

Sure, there’s been the odd stinker or two (lookin’ at you, Gods of Egypt), but the perfect storm of biting comedy, brilliant drama, insightful docs and frenetic thrillers happening there this week is definitely worthy of a #BloorAndBetter.

Oscar-worthies

Varsity has three acclaimed films right now that got either a nod or a statue, and each of them packs a punch.

First there’s Spotlight, a profound, heart-wrenching look at the Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic church’s cover-up of decades of sexual abuse. It won Best Picture, and for very good reason.

Then there’s The Revenant, a true account of a trapper who sustains brutal injuries deep in uncharted wilderness. Leonardo DiCaprio’s intensely physical performance clinched him the award for Best Actor.

Brooklyn didn’t leave with hardware despite several noms, definitely a comment on how strong the field was this year. Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish immigrant finding love and a sense of belonging in 1950’s New York. This is THE perfect date-night movie.

Action and Thrillers

If superheroes are your thing, check out Deadpool. And if they aren’t, check it out anyway. Subverting the genre in every way, including with its R-rating, Deadpool breaks the fourth wall just as easily at it broke the box office. It’s a riot.

The River takes us to the murky underbelly of Laos as a volunteer doctor fights for his life and his freedom after protecting a young woman from a vicious assault.

And then there’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, a thoroughly mysterious JJ Abrams film set in a claustrophobic underground shelter. If you loved Star Wars, that won’t matter because this is a completely different kind of film — but we decided a long time ago to trust anything with JJ’s name on it. 10 Cloverfield Lane validates that.

Comedies

Slapstick and satire are both on display this week.

The Coen brothers have done it again, bringing together an amazing cast in Hail, Caesar!, a whip-smart, more-than-slightly surreal comedy set in 1950’s Hollywood. When George Clooney’s affable idiot of a movie star is kidnapped, Josh Brolin’s stoic executive must navigate all manner of Hollywood insanity to get him back. We loved it.

Then things get political with two new films from Tina Fey and Michael Moore.

In Whisky Tango Foxtrot, Fey plays a cable news producer plucked from her cushy lifestyle and dropped down into war-torn Afghanistan.

Moore is back with Where To Invade Next, in which he travels the world in search of the ideal target for America’s next foreign entanglement. It’s quintessential Moore pushing all the wrong buttons.

Dramas

Last but certainly not least, we have two very interesting films that look at aging and the way relationships mature: 45 Years and The Lady in the Van. Both are British, and feature impeccable performances by acting legends.

In 45 Years, a couple reflects on their life together. It’s a subtle character study of love, how it ebbs and flows, and how it sometimes lasts a lifetime.

The Lady in the Van is the true tale of an elderly woman who decided to park her van in famed writer Alan Bennett’s driveway  and then stayed there for 15 years. It’s a beautiful look at an unconventional friendship, and Dame Maggie Smith weaves another wonderful performance.

Post-flick at Manulife Centre

Make it an unforgettable night with dinner in the sky at The One Eighty. Alternatively, you could discuss the merits of Bear-versus-Leo combat over a delicious bite at the Bloor Street Diner, or even pick up the books that Brooklyn or The Revenant are based on (along with a coffee) at Indigo.

Enjoy the show!