Plenty of heat gets generated by the movies opening in Toronto theatres this week. From pulsating flamenco to male strip tease, from a raunchy teddy bear to a comically-domineering grandmother, from sibling rivalry to forbidden romance, here’s a brief summary of what you can view:
Shot in the vaulted space of Seville’s Expo 1992 Pavilion of the Future, “Flamenco, Flamenco” (Mongrel Media) is a vibrant documentary that showcases flamenco music and dance. Featured performers include singer José Mercé (accompanied only by the tap of a hammer); guitarists Paco de Lucia and Manolo Sanlúcar; dancers Eva Yerbabuena, Rocio Molina and Farruquito; singer Miguel Poveda; and dueling pianists David Dorantes and Diego Amador facing off on grand pianos.
In “Magic Mike” (Warner Bros.) a scantily-clad Mike (Channing Tatum) headlines an all-male revue at a strip club owned by former stripper Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). As the club’s most popular performer, Mike is recruited to train the new guy, known as the Kid (Alex Pettyfer), in dancing, partying, picking up women, and making easy money – all of which get in the way of Mike winning the heart of the Kid’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn).
In “People Like Us” (DreamWorks) Chris Pine tracks down Elizabeth Banks, the sister he never knew he had, in order to settle his deceased father’s estate. As they struggle with financial problems and estrangement, their inheritance just might be the spark that brings them together as family.
Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Sarah Polley, “Take This Waltz” (Mongrel Media) is a sizzling drama about love, marriage and sexual desire. Michelle Williams stars as Margot, a young woman married to Lou (Seth Rogen) but intensely attracted to Daniel (Luke Kirby). Where her passion leads her is at the heart of the story. Toronto is featured prominently in this homegrown film that premiered at TIFF’11.
Even though the star of the show is a teddy bear, don’t be thinking “Ted” (Universal) is a movie for the kids. It’s a very raunchy comedy by Seth MacFarlane (of “The Family Guy” fame) about John (Mark Wahlberg) a grown man who still confides in Ted, his loyal teddy bear. MacFarlane voices the live action/CG-animated Ted as he pursues a very adult existence despite his co-dependent relationship with John.
Set in the Ethiopian highland town of Bekoji, “Town of Runners” (KinoSmith) is a documentary that follows three children and their progression from school track to national competitions as they strive to match the achievements of fellow townspeople who have become some of the world’s best long-distance runners.
In “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection” (Alliance Films) Perry’s most endearing and in-your-face character, grandma Madea, becomes the custodian of the Needleman family who are thrust into a witness protection program when patriarch George Needleman (Eugene Levi) is caught laundering money for the mob. While he and his family are in mortal danger, living with Madea is no comforting relief.
Click here for Toronto theatres and show times. For full reviews of some of the films listed, check in with Examiner film critic David Voigt.
See you at the movies.