There it was on the Toronto International Film Festival schedule of screenings. A little, unknown film from a director whose only previous effort was the little known “Simpatico” with Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone. The story revolved around a group of U.K. Gay and Lesbian activists who take up the cause of striking British mine workers in the Thatcher 80’s. Doesn’t exactly scream must-see, does it.
But alas, something happened on the way to the land of Rob Ford and chubby Phil Kessel. The film became one of the true delights of the festival. The seamless mix of comedy, drama and history proved irresistible for festgoers and the performances of the entire cast, especially Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Bill Nighy and Paddy Considine, were all top notch. Oh and then there’s the soundtrack. Much the same way that “Guardians of the Galaxy” was propelled by its 70’s soundtrack, “Pride” does the same a decade later. Unless you’re a faithful follower of Sirius/XM’s First Wave channel, I ask you when was the last time you heard Bronski Beat, Joy Division, The Style Council and the immortal Bananarama? Look for “Pride” to appeal to a wide swatch of sophisticated moviegoers right off the bat in this week’s limited runs and it has the potential to be an out-of-nowhere fall surprise.
Also opening this week is the XLerate/Open Road debut of “Jimi: All Is By My Side”, the biopic of guitarist extraordinaire Jimi Hendrix. Outkast lead singer Andre Benjamin plays Hendrix and the physical resemblance is striking. Imogen Poots and Hayley Atwell co-star. In addition, Magnolia finally releases “The Two Faces of January” in theatres after almost two months on VOD. The Hellenic mystery/drama stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. IFC offers up the Katie Holmes/Ben Whishaw family dramedy, “Days and Nights”. The film is loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” so all you Russian literature fans, and you know who you are, get your shapkas and babushkas ready and head out this weekend.
Lastly, “The Skeleton Twins” has hummed along nicely in its initial limited runs and this week expands to 375 runs in the top 75 markets. Roadside/Lionsgate has spent some money on TV ads so this has a chance this weekend.