I am so very, very happy. I fully blame my very dry and weird sense of humour on the Monty Python crew and god bless them for it. Their movies were a true inspiration to me growing up. So when it was announced at the Toronto International Film Festival that A Liar’s Biography : The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman put together by the Monty Python crew in honour of their comrade, that little boy started getting giddy.
They just dropped the trailer in time for its TIFF premiere and let me tell, the grown-up side up is damn giddy as well. And so very, very happy that we are getting ourselves a modern-day Monty Python movie. So very happy.
Alright enough of me. Behold the Trailer!
About the Film “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” creators Bill Jones, Ben Timlett and Jeff Simpson are directing and producing A Liar’s Autobiography, the film which adapts a false biography following the late Graham Chapman’s progress through medical school, alcoholism, acknowledgment of his gay identity and the toils of surreal comedy. Chapman’s voice from a book recording is being used in the adaptation and John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin have all recorded their voices for segments in the film.
A Liar’s Autobiography is set to hit select US theaters in 3D and the EPIX channel simultaneously November 2nd.
Running from May 3rd to 13th at various locations around the city, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival is one of the many fantastic Film Festivals that make up the unmatched Cultural DNA that the city of Toronto possesses. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary with over 95 films representing 15 countries, the festival presents films, documentaries and shorts from around the world on themes of Jewish culture and identity.
This year’s Festival also focuses on the arts, as it presents portraits of writers Philip Roth and Howard Fast; songwriter Jerome Felder (aka Doc Pomus); comic book artist Art Spiegelman; violinist Jascha Heifetz; and movie star Tony Curtis. Cabaret-Berlin, The Wild Scene celebrates the modernity of Berlin’s artistic scene of the 1920’s and early 30’s, and the Jewish artists who contributed to it. And this year’s sidebar series, The Sound of Movies: Masters of the Film Score, celebrates the lives and work of Jewish composers who created (and continue to create) music for the movies.
And of course Xavierpop is there giving the access like no else can.
Our intrepid reviewers Louis (@louisyyz) and MovieJay (@moviejay) have watched a whole whackload of the movies in advance of the festival and these are the first of reviews on them. The Festival has a great lineup and is going all out celebrating its 20th Anniversary so make sure you check it out.
We’ll be there, hopefully we’ll see you.
This is Sodom Comedy
The Eretz Nehederet Show (A Wonderful Country) is a hugely successful satirical show that mocks and ridicules the countries leaders, politicians and current events that airs Friday nights in Israel. The troupe that writes and acts in the show recently took the next logical step and moved onto the big screen with This is Sodom as their first film. The movie proved to be a huge success in Israel, breaking box-office records becoming one of the most successful films in the last few decades.
This is Sodom is a comedy that takes a look at God, Abraham, Lot and the destruction of Sodom. God (Eyal Kitzis) appears outside of old Abraham’s (Mordechai Kirschenbaum) tent, seeking to get him to convert to monotheism. During a tough negotiation, Abraham discovers God intends to destroy Sodom, and demands his nephew Lot (Dov Navon), the only righteous man in Sodom, be spared from the destruction. Raphael (Yuval Semo) and Michael (Maor Cohen), two angels, are tasked with the destruction and are well on their way to doing so when God calls them to get Lot out first. Evil King Bera (Eli Finish) intercepts the message, and plots to replace Lot with himself and escape. Using his son, Prince Ninveh (Assi Cohen) to wed Lot’s daughter (Alma Zack). Being a farce, all sorts of doing, counter doings and trickery ensue, also being satire the Biblical story is blown up and reassembled.
The film, from the opening scene, does a fantastic job of making general silliness out of well known Biblical stories. Much like Monty Python‘s ‘Life of Brian’, it seeks to retell these stories with an eye squarely on the absurd. God being a negotiator carrying a briefcase with phone and computer built in, Raphael and Michael dressed as motor cops, complete with riding bikes through the desert, Lot’s wife and daughter only being called Lot’s Wife and Lot’s Daughter, all lead to a general silliness and lightness born from years of hearing the stories as all too serious and solemn. It shows them not as straightforward good and evil, but rather opportunists mucking about trying to make the best of it.
While most of the jokes will be obvious, the language barrier means some of the more subtle aspects of the exchanges are lost. In one scene, there is a double entendre, explained in the subtitles, is quite funny, but suggests other phrases or words might be lost on non Hebrew viewers. Although this does happen, the film only suffers marginally from it and can still be thoroughly enjoyed. An enjoyable mix of sight gags and wordplay, the film relies on at least a little knowledge of Biblical stories. They mix and match stories along the way as it suits them, always with an eye firmly fixed on humor.
The troupe that made this are called ‘The Monty Python of Israel’. With this film it is very easy to see why. Silliness is their stock and trade and this film definitely brings all of the elements that made their show a hit to the big screen.
Recommended for anyone looking for some laughs.
Off-White Lies Comedy
MAY 8 – 6:15PM SHEPPARD MAY 9 – 9:00PM BLOOR buy tickets
Off -White Lies is the debut effort of writer and director Maya Kenig. It tells the story of Libi (Elya Inbar), a bright, 13 year old girl who has been living with her mother in the United States and has been sent to Israel to live with her father, Shaul (Gur Bentvich). The seemingly shy and quiet girl and her father set out to their new lives together. We soon find Shaul and Libi with friends in the north, hiding in a shelter due to war. In the shelter, Libi hears Shaul admit to his friend that he and the girl have no place to live. Upon leaving, the two venture back south to return the borrowed car, but not gaining a place to stay with the car’s owner, Shaul hits upon the idea of posing as war refugees from the north. Soon they find themselves in a home, building a relationship, but both know the deception cannot last forever.
Shaul is an inventor but has a childlike, eccentric view of himself and the world. Libi, on the other hand, finds the fact she is not still with her mother bad enough, but Shaul’s behavior even worse. It is never made clear why the mother sent the girl to her father, other than a passing mention of a new husband. As the two start to build the father-daughter relationship, Shaul also begins to use the people in the home for personal gain. The father is courted as a business partner for his latest invention, the mother as a new lover, and his own daughter as cover of their true plight.
Shaul never comes off as either a interesting man-child, or as properly roguish, but rather an odd mix of liar and opportunist. Libi comes off as rather annoyed by her father, his actions, and being in this situation, yet is willing to go along with it. Libi has all the teenage angst, coupled with the realization that she has been lied to about her father, her mother, and their relationship. Shaul knows the truth, but seeks to keep hiding behind the lies, simply accepting the situation. I know some of what is going on is lost in translation. There are cultural references that simply will not be understood by a non native speaker in a different country. The story is slow to start, and meanders along at a leisurely pace, never really wanting to rush itself, or its characters into anything.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It is different than the usual, Hollywood style, sappy film about building new relationships with family. It also avoids the cherry ending where it all works out for the best. Instead, it is more of a slice of life film. It is endearing because it is so straightforward in its depiction of this new family trying to find its way. Rather than make it larger than life, it understates its goals and it’s views on life, family, and how the small decisions we make effect one another. In the end, it is family, however dysfunctional, that we care and rely on.
TIFF has come and gone but if you think that the good folks who run the world’s most important film festival are going to rest on their laurels and chill, you are very wrong my friend.
Armed with a shiny new building, the good folks at TIFF have put together quite the heavy programme of really wonderful and quite awesome things. Right out of the gate we have an in-depth exhibition on Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. Just before that, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that there will be a Terry Gillam retrospective.
For those who don’t know the name, Gillam graduates from the extremely school of Monty Pythos and went to also direct 12 Monkeys, Time Bandits and Brazil
Try and stop me from attending.
Oh Look! A Press Release:
Late Night: Python in Excelsis
October 8 to December 10
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto
On the occasion of the restoration of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian to their original murky glory, this season’s Late Night series surveys the Python boys’ ventures into the cinema, as well as the solo directorial outings of their mad animation genius Terry Gilliam. Films in the series include Gilliam’s most ambitious and visionary film Brazil (1985), a darkly funny vision of a dystopian future starring Jonathan Pryce and Robert De Niro; a restored print of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), the Pythons’ rain-soaked, mud-covered and insultingly low-budget first original feature funded by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd; and a restored print of Python’s biggest box-office hit Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), which was picketed in the US by fundamentalist Christian groups who condemned it as blasphemous.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Dirs. Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones | UK 1975 | 91 min |14A Horselessly galloping across the land to the thundering sound of coconut shells, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table traverse Dark Age England in their quest to find the Holy Grail, encountering fearsome warriors, eccentric enchanters, insulting Frenchmen, anarcho-syndicalist peasants, killer rabbits, itinerant shrubbers, the fair horny maidens of Castle Anthrax, vexed questions about avian migratory habits and, of course, the Knights Who Say “Ni.” Funded by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (and reportedly the favourite film of Elvis Presley), the Pythons’ rain-soaked, mud-covered and insultingly low-budget first original feature “makes Ben-Hur look like an epic,” as its ads proudly proclaimed. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table gallop horselessly across the land to the thundering sound of coconut shells in the Pythons’ majestically murky send-up of the Grail legend. Saturday, October 8 at 11pm and Saturday, December 3 at 11pm
Monty Python’s Life of Brian Dir. Terry Jones | UK 1979 | 94 min | R
Born a bastard in the manger next door to Jesus, young firebrand Brian Cohen joins a Jewish terrorist organization to drive the Romans from Judea, unwittingly finds himself hailed as the Messiah – though his harridan mother insists that he’s just a very naughty boy – and is shuffled off to Calvary by a lisping Pontius Pilate prior to a merry sing-a-long to “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” with his fellow crucifixees. Python’s biggest box-office hit was picketed in the US by fundamentalist Christian groups who condemned it as blasphemous.
Saturday, October 15 at 11pm and Saturday, December 10 at 11pm
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life Dir. Terry Jones | UK 1983 | 107 min | PG Returning to the team’s sketch origins, The Meaning of Life offers a haphazard meditation on the Big Question through a series of episodes involving birth, death, war, religion, live organ transplants, epic musical numbers about sperm, a jolly game of “Find the Fish,” hardcore classroom sex-ed, and a literally stomach-churning survey of the gastronomic habits of one Mr. Creosote. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.
Saturday, October 22 at 11pm
Dir. Terry Gilliam | UK 1977 | 105 min | PG
Terry Gilliam’s first solo directorial effort after sharing credit on Monty Python and the Holy Grail returned him to that film’s picturesque vision of medieval mud, blood, gloom and fog. In the reign of good King Bruno the Questionable, bright-eyed proto-capitalist Dennis Cooper (Michael Palin) journeys from his home village to the capital city, which is being terrorized by a fearsome beast. Much ribaldry, fornication and defecation ensues, along with a cameo by Python alum Terry Jones as an unlucky poacher and some gleefully disgusting dismemberments that rival the fate of Holy Grail‘s stubborn Black Knight.
Saturday, October 29 at 11pm
Dir. Terry Gilliam | UK 1995 | 127 min | PG
In a post-apocalyptic future, prisoner James Cole (Bruce Willis) is recruited for a time-travelling experiment to discover the source of the virus that has killed off most of the world’s population. Landing in a psycho ward in 1990 Baltimore, Cole encounters a fellow patient (Brad Pitt) who might have something to do with the future outbreak. Along with his skeptical doctor (Madeleine Stowe), Cole sets out to prevent the future he left behind from ever happening – and in the process discovers the secret of a childhood memory that has haunted him his entire life. Terry Gilliam’s mind-bending, critically lauded remake/extrapolation of Chris Marker’s classic La Jetée seamlessly combines Hollywood thrills with Gilliam’s eccentric and grotesque vision, while Pitt’s antic, fidgety performance brought him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Saturday, November 5 at 11pm
Dir. Terry Gilliam | UK 1985 | 132 min | 14A
Terry Gilliam’s darkly funny vision of a dystopian future focuses on Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a meek clerk in a collapsing, retro-fitted and stiflingly bureaucratic Orwellian state who is only free in his dreams, where he becomes a winged warrior saving a maiden in distress. When he attempts to correct an administrative error that resulted in the arrest and execution of an innocent man, he gets drawn into an underground resistance movement involving a rebel repairman (Robert De Niro) and a young woman who is the very image of his dream girl. Hilarious and horrifying in equal measure, Brazil remains Gilliam’s most ambitious and visionary film. Saturday, November 12 at 11pm
And Now for Something Completely Different Dir. Ian MacNaughton | UK 1971 | 88 min | PG The first Python film belies its title by featuring the team re-enacting some of the best sketches from their groundbreaking TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Highlights include the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook, the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Lumberjack Song, Hell’s Grannies, Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit, the Townswomen’s Guild Recreation of Pearl Harbor, the Upper-Class Twit of the Year competition, and the immortal Dead Parrot sketch. (Sadly missing is the Fish-Slapping Dance.) A flop in North America on its original release, the film was re-released in 1974 to strong business after Flying Circus began showing on PBS and gave Americans their first Pythonian education. Saturday, November 19 at 11pm
Time Bandits Dir. Terry Gilliam | USA 1981 | 116 min | PG
Terry Gilliam’s time-tripping fantasy follows a young boy as he travels through a space-time rift located in his closet and joins forces with a renegade band of dwarves for an adventure that spans centuries and continents, meeting such figures as Robin Hood (John Cleese), Napoleon (Ian Holm) and King Agamemnon (Sean Connery) as he and his new companions try to keep their precious time-travelling map out of the hands of Evil (David Warner). Saturday, November 26 at 11pm
And this is some news.
Terry Jones, the member that directed The Life of Brian is returning to the director‘s chair for Absolutely Anything. The film will star the Daily’s Show’s John Oliver, (which is all kinds of awesome to begin with) and will include an appearance of some kind from Robin Williams.
A Monty Python sorta reunion?
source - /Film