Published On: Fri, Jul 14th, 2017

Projections: Angels in America, hard rockers, and flicks under the stars

Angels in America: Having escaped from Spider-Man’s tights, Andrew Garfield has a much more prestigious reason to be on movie screens this week than any Marvel movie. As the lead performer in the National Theatre’s current production of part one of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Garfield has been garnering the best reviews of his career. He has also attracted some criticism for being a straight actor in the classic gay role of Prior Walter, the young man whose battle with AIDS takes on mythic proportions in Kushner’s visionary epic on the AIDS epidemic and the wider cultural and historical shifts in America during the Reagan years.

Audiences have been apparently more accepting of Garfield in the role, seeing as the National Theatre’s run sold out shortly after tickets went on sale, with a lottery to determine who gets whatever’s left available. Indeed, it may be much easier for Toronto viewers than Londoners to see the production — which also stars Nathan Lane and James McArdle — when the National Theatre Live broadcasts a performance in five Cineplex theatres in the GTA. The Yonge-Dundas, Yonge-Eglinton, Queensway, Empress Walk and Richmond Hill movie-houses present Part One: Millennium Approaches on July 20 at 7 p.m. Part Two: Perestroika plays cinemas on July 27, with an encore for both parts following on Aug. 4.

Blind: Speaking of controversial casting choices, the complaints about Garfield are nothing compared to the criticism directed toward Blind and Alec Baldwin. The former 30 Rock favourite and part-time Trump impersonator stars as a visually impaired writer who gets his mojo back when he begins an affair with a businessman’s wife played by Demi Moore. The Ruderman Family Foundation and other advocates for disabled people have assailed the film as the latest example of Hollywood “treating disability as a costume,” in the words of the foundation’s president Jay Ruderman. Local viewers can judge for themselves when Blind opens here on July 14.

Outdoor screenings: It’s another busy week for your blanket, picnic basket, flask and whatever else you consider essential equipment for a night outside watching movies. The lineup begins on July 14 with Moana at Downsview Park’s Movies in the Meadow. Then on July 16, Speed Sisters — a doc about the Middle East’s first all-women racing team — plays the Christie Pits Film Festival. On July 18, your options are The Naked Gun at Yonge-Dundas Square or Get Out (and a musical performance by Park Eddy) at the Open Roof Festival at 99 Sudbury. In another doubleheader on July 19, the Regent Park Film Festival’s Under the Stars in Regent Park goes for more Moana while Harbourfront Centre’s Free Flicks serves upMeatballs on the Concert Stage. Corktown Commons caps off the week with Clint Eastwood’s sports drama Invictuson July 20.

Heavy Metal Double Bill at the Royal: No night at the movies this week could possibly rock as hard as the special double feature by the Royal’s Royal Stompbox program on July 14. The festivities begin with Heavy Metal Parking Lot, an unforgettable slice of headbanger vérité shot outside a Judas Priest concert in suburban Maryland in 1986. It’s followed by The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, director Penelope Spheeris’ sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragic look at the well-coiffed if barely standing men of metal’s mid-’80s imperial phase. The scene of a shaky Ozzy Osbourne somehow making breakfast remains one of the most memorable moments in any rock doc. The evening also includes a pre-show of ’80s metal videos so there’s even more to savour.

The Death of Louis XIV: There are many reasons that cinephiles were quick to praise Spanish filmmaker Albert Serra’s bold 2016 film about the last days of one of France’s most famous monarchs. But even more impressive than the title performance by legendary French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud is the series of truly enormous wigs required for the role. No wonder the poor king seems so feeble — the weight must be punishing. In any case, Léaud and his wigs make a welcome appearance to Toronto when TIFF Cinematheque presents The Death of Louis XIV at the Lightbox on July 16.

In Brief:

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TORONTO STAR | ENTERTAINMENT | MOVIES

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- Blue-collar guy interested in politics, business, and internet - Fan of sports and leisure - Movie buff

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Projections: Angels in America, hard rockers, and flicks under the stars