A veteran photojournalist on the arts and entertainment scene, Julian Bynoe is a Toronto-based cartoonist, artist and arts blogger. From 1996 to 2014, he was the arts/entertainment editor for the street publication The Outreach Connection, and has had articles featured in Realms Magazine, among others.

EDITION #124 - WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 5, 2017

Post-truth thriller for the times

Get Out (Universal)

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford

Writer/Director: Jordan Peele

Producers: Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick and Jordan Peele

Film Review

Film, like any art form, reflects the times that we live in for better or for worse. For his directorial debut, Jordan Peele – the latter-half of the popular sketch comedy show Key & Peele – brings out a psychological-thriller with Get Out as a metaphor of race relations in a post-truth America under Trump with such verve and humour that it’s almost impossible not to get caught in its brilliance.

A talented African-American photographer Chris Washington (Kaluuya) is off to spend a weekend with his white girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Williams) parents’ place who apparently hasn’t told them about their interracial relationship upon arrival. And despite her reassurances of them being a totally liberalized family, things aren’t as calm and simple as it looks on the surface of things.

With the odd looks he gets from the house servants Walter (Marcus Henderson) and Georgina (Betty Gabriel); the awkward confrontations with neurosurgeon dad Dean (Whitford), psychiatrist mom Missy (Keener) and medical student brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) and not to mention the odd behaviour from the mainly white neighbours that includes a blind art gallery dealer (Stephen Root), Chris conveys all this to his best friend and airport security officer Rod (LilRel Howrey) that slowly click to a potentially dangerous situation for him.

Taking some elements of Stanley Kubrick, Tarsem Singh, M. Night Shyamalan and Wes Craven, Peele crafts a horror-comedy for the ages through all it paces with extreme close-ups and suspenseful moments in its social message of a contemporary anti-Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner in its witty, sharp and gripping script and deep visualizations, which shows a lot of promise from this filmmaker in this and other genres in the future.

Kaluuya plays a realistic protagonist who faces his greatest fears and the mental games he endures through his ordeal that feels real enough without overstating his role; Howrey provides the film’s comic relief and resident detective work in making all the connections. Williams relays a certain naïve optimism that comes across her acting and Jones conveys this good ol’ boy type with micro-aggressive behaviours. But nothing more displays the creepiness here than from Williams as the groundskeeper or the bordering insanity coming from Gabriel’s housekeeper role to Chris’ serpentine calmness that’s about to become shattered.

Get Out is a neo-Southern gothic cautionary tale on society, class and its not-so hidden lunatic fringes that brings out the ugliness in all of us up until its thorough climax and tension in reflecting our current times that is more horrifying than what could be shown on the silver screen. A real treat, even for any non-horror film fans.

Harbourfront Centre returns the festival format for World Stage

Dancer/choreographer William Yong returns with his high-tech solo production Steer for Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage

In marking their third decade, Harbourfront Centre brings back the popular theatre/dance programme to its original festival state this April

Theatre Preview

Since its introduction to Torontonian audiences in 1986, Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage programme has brought some of this country and the world’s best dancers, actors and performers for a broader appeal and exposure from Athol Fugard’s Valley Song to the original two-hour One-Man Star Wars Trilogy. For this season, not only have they brought back personal favourites from the past decade, they’ve also decided to go back to their three-week festival format for April 4th to the 22nd.

With the Canadian contingent, Shakespeare’s King Lear gets a female-centric makeover with LEAR: A Retrospective (April 5-9) in the hands of Philip McGee and Claire Coulter first premiered in 2013; back from last year’s fest, Zata Omm Dance Project’s Steer (April 6-8) uses real-time motion-capture and technology to the very questions on the societal over-reliance and overabundance of technology and Montréal’s Daniel Barrow brings his evocative 2008 production Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry (April 12-13 and 15) as a allegory on memory and nostalgia for all its witty and grotesque mannerisms.

The horrors of the Holocaust comes back for Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage in the chilling masterpiece of an adult puppet show from the Netherlander theatre troupe Hotel Modern,KAMP(CAMP).

From around the world comes the Dora-nominated Rankefod (April 4-5 and 7-8) from Denmark’s Kitt Johnson X-act delves into the balance and conflict between humans and the natural world in her critically-acclaimed solo peformance; Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion’s The Radio Show (April 11-13 and 15) harks back the dancer/choreographer’s memories of his late father and the long-gone Motown and hip-hop radio stations of his teenaged days in Pittsburgh that totally won audiences over here back in 2014; Hotel Modern’s 2013 darkly disturbing puppetry of KAMP (CAMP) (April 13-16) from the Netherlands of the Holocaust as a “day in the life” faux documentary within a Nazi German concentration camp, revisioned for the YouTube generation; Tim Crouch’s My Arm (April 18-19 and 21-22) has the British actor/playwright’s 2003 autobiographical play discuss the difficulties of having to live with the unexplained condition of one arm above his head for over thirty years and the metaphors of apartheid shown in Mies Julie (April 19-22) the South African version of Yael Farber/Baxter Theatre Centre’s Miss Julie and the damage of what racism causes in its post-traumatic wake as seen here in 2014.

An all round feel-good dance production, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion’s The Radio Show will bring audiences dancing in the ailes with classic Motown, R&B and hip-hop grooves.

And join one of the two World Stage Scholars-in-Residence for pre-show teas with two University of Toronto academics, assistant English professor VK Preston and assistant Drama professor Matt Sergi; with their structured and highly interactive discussions, custom-fit for each show to get the World Stage audiences thinking, debating and buzzing with questions as they enter the theatre. Pre-Show Teas begin at 7pm and admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to the opening performance; plus Q&A talks after every second show in the festival where the performers will field and moderate with audiences about their productions.

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Tickets now on sale. For information, call 416-973-4000 or harbourfrontcentre.com.