Festivals-a-Go-Go: Feb. 3-5 + R.I.P. The Cinesphere?

February 3, 2012 | By

Before I roll off a quick tally of interesting things screening at interesting venues this weekend (bobby-pins, please), here’s a video released by NASA this week showing the dark side of the moon, proving Pink Floyd does not have a secret base in crater XB-14.

Why is this important? It’s just cool. The footage resembles Ridley Scott’s blazing Alien trailer of a giant egg scraping up from the base of the cinema screen. Add your own sound effects if needed, but it’s a great little video showing a side of the moon we never see because of its different rotation schedule. Of course, had we never been able to venture up to the moon via space probe imaging, a certain percentage of the populace would still believe there’s green cheese growing in the dank darkness, or maybe moon cows, as prophesized by H.G. Wells in his very silly pulp tale First Men in the Moon. (Happily Ray Harryhausen dumped that element from his film adaptation.)

Still ongoing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is Attack the Bloc: Cold War Science Fiction from Behind the Iron Curtain, featuring an alluring smattering of sci-fi films from the former Soviet Union, East Germany, Estonia, and other neighbouring countries. I’ll have a review of the recently screened Dead Mountaineer’s Inn (1979) shortly, with a related review of its very cool soundtrack album, and reviews of other recently screened sci-fi rarities.

There’s also Bangkok Dangerous: The Cinema of Nicholas Cage that seems to celebrate the actor’s performance excess in his bawdiest work. If you haven’t seen The Rock, do so this Saturday at 10pm, because it’s a big loud stupid Michael Bay film in all its goodness. Only question: why name the series after one of Cage’s worst films?

Lastly, Part 2 of Hollywood Classics: The Cinema is Nicholas Ray continues With Johnny Guitar, and The Way Home: The Films of Yilmaz Guney concludes Sunday.

The Projection Booth is screening Werner Herzog’s Caves of Forgotten Dreams [M] (likely not in 3D, but still worth seeing on a big screen), and while the Cinesphere is still listed with a weekend schedule, apparently the whole park is locked up, except for the Molson Amphitheatre and Atlantis event complex. This doesn’t bode well for the world’s first permanent IMAX cinema, which was previously threatened with a closure and possible redevelopment (read: destruction).

The province wants to save money, but it’ll be a tragedy if the iconic dome is gutted the way the McLaughlin Planetarium was hollowed out and relegated to a circular (and impractical) storage shed. Torontoist has a new photo spread, but 2010’s historical essay by Jamie Bradburn offers a few archival images and multimedia goodies from its opening in 1971.

Does anyone remember the excitement, waiting in line, inching closer to the dark entrance, and making that steep ascent to the seating area before the lights dimmed and the massive screen was filled with an IMAX film?

If the province wants to turn the money-losing venture into a profitable year-round business, be smart, and don’t kill off the unique architecture, nor relegate its historical components into commercial banalities like a casino. Ontario Place should be filled with unique draws, and its accessibility – by car and transit – has to be improved. No one ever liked that horrible drive home through terrible traffic after a concert, or the mega-walk just to reach a transit hub. The park was built for the car culture, but traffic made that trip less agreeable years ago.

The wait begins, and so does the fear of what level of cultural negligence the province endeavor as it mulls over the park, and wonderful chunk of Canadian cinema history (albeit with bad seating, but that can be fixed).



Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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