Richard hosted a Q&A with Don McKellar, star, director and writer of the 1998 CanCon classic “Last Night” in celebration of National Canadian Film day at the Revue Cinema in Toronto.
Synopsis from IMDB: “It’s 18:00 in a somewhat deserted Toronto on the last day before the scheduled end of the world at midnight, the end which has been known now for months. Most people are treating midnight as a matter-of-fact event with little sense of panic. In fact, many are celebrating this last day. Most have very specific wants for this last day and will do whatever they need to to make those wants happen. And some, such as Duncan and Donna with the gas company, are working, ensuring that the masses are served and comfortable during the final hours. The Wheeler family are marking the last day by having a Christmas party, although sullen adult son Patrick, his thoughts in part stemming from being recently widowed, has made it clear he wants to be alone in his own home at the end. Patrick’s wants may be in jeopardy when a woman named Sandra – Duncan’s wife – lands on his doorstep. Sandra is stranded, trying to make it across town to her own home so that she and Duncan can carry out their own last …”
The Revue Cinema (400 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) and Reel Canada celebrate National Canadian Film Day 150!
Don McKellar’s LAST NIGHT (1998) – 35mm print!
Director Don McKellar will be in attendance and participate in a Q&A with Richard Crouse after the film.
CAN 1998 95min.
Directed by Don McKellar
Starring Don McKellar, Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley, David Cronenberg, Callum Keith Rennie
What to do in Toronto as armageddon looms? A group of very different individuals with different ideas of how to face the end come together as the world is expected to end in six hours at the turn of the century. Don McKellar’s directorial debut is a standout classic of Canadian cinema.
The feature will be preceded by 40 000 000 Miles A Year (1948), a short film sponsored by the TTC, which features rare colour footage of various Toronto landmarks and makes a case for a proper transit and subway system in Toronto.
Recently scanned in 2K.
Doors open at 6:00PM.
Please note that since this Revue Film Society event is free, it is our policy to overbook to ensure capacity. We will begin releasing unclaimed seats to the rush line 10 minutes before the start of the event. In case of a full house, your reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend you arrive early! 🙂
Don McKellar is best known as a movie director, writer and actor but says, “I’ve always found the feature film format slightly restrictive.”
The director of big screen gems like Childstar, Last Night and The Grand Seduction is behind the camera once again, this time for Michael: Every Day, a CBC television comedy debuting Sunday, Jan. 15.
“I’ve always been interested in television and whether it is attention deficit disorder or something, I’ve always liked short formats,” he says. “My first films were short and then I did 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. I like the road movie format because it is episodic, so fracturing narratives is always something I have always been interested in.
“Television is a natural home for me. I like breaking up stories. In a way I think it throws off the viewer’s expectations. If it is done well in some ways it can have more surprises than a feature film which you know, one way or another, is going to wrap up after a couple of hours. We don’t know anymore with television how long the narrative is going to be. It could go on forever or just a few episodes.”
The new show is a revival of sorts. Michael: Every Day is the continuing story of the relationship between title character, played by Matt Watts, and his psychiatrist, played by long-time McKellar collaborator Bob Martin. In 2011 the first season, then titled Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays, was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award before being cancelled.
“I can’t pretend it was our idea [to bring the show back],” says McKellar. “There was a regime change at the CBC and as I understand it when the new people came in they said, ‘OK, let’s look and see how the CBC has been doing over the last while.’ They looked at our show and said, ‘That’s the kind of show we should be doing.’ They reordered it and we said yes. It was not our intention but it was very exciting once we had the option. The five-year gap, once we thought about it, was an interesting hook. What happened to these characters in five years?”
It’s an unusual trajectory for a show and McKellar thinks it is a brash move.
“As has been discussed widely, TV is having a moment and I think Canada is catching up,” he says. “I think there was a feeling for a long time that the American cable shows were doing something interesting and now, finally, it has tilted down to network television. In Canada the CBC has realized they have this licence to do more ambitious stuff. I give them credit for going for it. They have made some bold choices and this is one of them. I hope the audience responds because these things don’t last forever.”
The new climate in television offers more interesting shows for the viewer and, according to McKellar, a new freedom for the creative side.
“For me as a director, I think that people are just now staring to realize that directors can actually do things in television. It’s not just mechanical.
“It gives me a bit of space to get in there and try some more filmic stuff. I think that is happening in television in general.”
The only thing worse than hearing the words, “We need to talk about our relationship,” is hearing other people actually talking endlessly about their relationships. Such is the tedium of “Last Night,” a talky new drama starring Keira Knightley and “Avatar’s” Sam Worthington.
Keira and Sam are a married couple living in a cool downtown NYC loft. She a freelance writer, he sells commercial real estate. She has the dreaded ex-Parisian boyfriend (Guillaume Canet), he has a flirty co-worker (Eva Mendes). When he leaves town for one night on business their commitment to one another will be challenged.
Usually I don’t mind talking head movies, especially when the heads doing the talking are as attractive as Knightley, Mendes, Worthington and Canet, but my patience was tested by this bunch of chatty, introspective, insecure basket-cases. There’s garrulous and then there’s the script for “Last Night.” It appears to simply be made up of a series of monologues about love, life and relationships, most of which begin with a line like, “Remind me why it didn’t work out between us.” Even worse are the clumsy attempts at metaphor. In one scene Knightley and Worthington are having a tense cell phone conversation. “This isn’t a very good connection,” she says as her phone and relationship go on the fritz. Deep. Not.
The occasional effective moment—the way Knightley guiltily presses ignore on an incoming call from her husband—are overshadowed by the endless inane chatter. In one scene there’s a cut-a-way to the dog and even he looks bored. You can imagine how the audience feels.