Friday, 3 February 2017

Another Reason Why The Royal in Toronto is the BEST Indie Cinema, not just in Toronto, but Canada (and one of the best in the world). Anna Biller's THE LOVE WITCH - on the big screen, where it's meant to be seen! The Royal has the best sound and picture in the city (by day, it's Theatre D Digital, a sound mixing studio for the movies) and the sumptuous colours of Anna Biller's ode to 70s Euro-Trash are going to look more gorgeous than ever. The seats are super-comfy too.!!! Review By Greg Klymkiw

The Love Witch is precisely the sort of movie I'd have seen during the 70s and 80s in one of my favourite (and long-gone) grind houses in Winnipeg that dotted Portage Avenue and Main Street in my old winter city like neon beacons of all that was truly sacred in life. Now you can see this ode to magnificent Euro-Trash in the very best cinema in Canada.

It will be glorious, but be warned, The Royal Cinema is sadly bereft of sticky floors, the aroma of urine/cum and toothless hookers giving gum jobs to malcontent veterans (of both Great Wars).

Well, we can't have everything.

The Love Witch (2016)
Dir. Anna Biller
Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys,
Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Robert Seeley

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Babes, witches, devil worship, black magic and sex, sex and more sex were the mainstay of a lovely sub-genre of 70s Euro-Horror that nobody in their right mind could outright dismiss.

American counterparts amongst these garishly-coloured bonbons never quite lived up to the titillation quotient of Euro sleaze masters like Jean Rollin, Jesus Franco, et al, but no matter, director Anna Biller more than makes up for Uncle Sam's lack of quality output with her very own contemporary masterwork of delectably naughty feculence.

Mega-babe Elaine (Samantha Robinson) has left San Francisco and a mysteriously malevolent past behind her. Resettling in a small town in Redwood country at the behest of some "white" witches, Elaine soon unleashes her genuine powers of "black" magic upon a variety of studs. Plenty of carnal gymnastics, nudity and murder follow.

We should all be lucky enough to have someone like Elaine to love us to death.

Biller creates a sumptuous, sex-drenched tale that parades ritual and rapture in equal measure. Cinematographer M. David Mullen shoots the gloriously garish colours (courtesy of Biller's costume/production design) with deliciously rock-hard lighting (in 35mm no less).

The film proudly wears the clever screenplay's feminist undertones on its sleeve, which smartly contributes to Biller's deft satirical edge. The dialogue she generates for her pitch-perfect cast allows for laughs-aplenty, but where the movie excels (far beyond most other post-modernist endeavours of this kind) is that the actors deliver their lines with the appropriate thud-to-the-floor woodenness, or when necessary, jaw-agape histrionics and they do so with very straight faces and sans tongues-in-cheeks. This is one of the most difficult things for even the most seasoned thespians to pull off and there is not a single cast member who lets Biller, the film and by extension, the audience, down.

Though the movie runs a whopping 120 minutes, audiences will never feel like the proceedings are overstaying their welcome. Biller edits with the skill of a master cutter - not a single cut feels anything less than one which moves the story ever-forward and the pace is happily hypnotic. Those acquainted with the cinematic world The Love Witch recreates (with many fresh frissons) will have nothing to complain about. Those who aren't quite as abreast of it, will still derive pleasure from this diverting carnal romp.

The rest can go to church.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½ 3-and-a-Half Stars

The Love Witch is an Oscilloscope Release enjoying its Canadian Theatrical Premiere at The Royal Cinema, 608 College St. Toronto:
2017-02-04 9:30 PM
2017-02-07 8:00 PM
2017-02-12 8:00 PM
2017-02-19 4:30 PM
2017-02-25 3:30 PM
2017-03-04 9:30 PM.