Chloe and Tronno

Toronto (or as locals tend to say, ‘Tranna’ or ‘Tronno’) rarely plays itself in movies, and having grown up in T.O., it’s often been fun / frustrating to see glimpses of the city in movies, teleplays, and TV shows (often just in pilots for U.S. productions) when the setting is supposed to be the U.S., or sometimes Europe: fun in the sense of spot-the-location (like the bank machine I used outside of Bayview Village, both of which were also used by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett in the 1988 TV movie Hostage); and frustrating because the city rarely appears as itself, and as a noteworthy tertiary character.

Shoot ‘em Up (2007) wasn’t set in a specific city, but the filmmakers made no effort to conceal the city, allowing even the trunk of the CN Tower to appear in shots, but perhaps the best examples of the city as itself are in works of lesser value.

Director / local boy Clark Johnson (Homicide) had the grand climax of The Sentinel (2006) take place at City Hall; a racing sequence in Sylvester Stallone’s Driven (2001) had the actor drag racing his formula car down University Avenue (Ha! Like that could happen with total impunity); there was also Bill Robertson’s awkward comedy-drama Apartment Hunting (2000), and during the tax shelter years, both The Kidnapping of the President (1980) and Circle of Two (1980) were wholly shot in and around City Hall and the Toronto Island, respectively.

(Note: I’ve never seen 1970’s The Heart Farm / The Man Who Wanted to Live Forever nor 1982's Highpoint, so I can’t vouch as to whether Toronto played itself, or was some generic American city that happened to feature Canuckle landmarks like the CN Tower. I would like to see them, but as with all tax shelter films, the damned things have vanished from circulation, except perhaps in Spain.)

That’s a select list, but you get the idea. While it’s not unusual that local boy Atom Egoyan set Chloe (2009) is set in Toronto, it is pleasantly surprisingly that he took pains to show the city’s striking architectural style (yeah, we have some, but you have to look hard beyond the banalities) and impart a sense of its cultural flavour.

Setting aside Chloe’s story, the city, as a character in the drama, actually looks like a great place to live, and in winter, which is saying a lot, because winter sucks.

I’ve uploaded a review of the Chloe Blu-ray from Sony (which is apparently another American-import-of-a-Canadian-movie home video release), and it’s also worth checking out the review of Anne Fontaine’s Nathalie (2003), the original French film upon which Chloe is based. These are two very different films in spite of them sharing the same premise of a wife who hires an escort to flirt and have an affair with her cheating husband for revenge.

One of the two is a drama that keeps side-stepping away from the trappings of a psycho-sexual thriller and focuses on the peculiar friendship between the two women, and the another film falters with familiar genre cliches.

Guess which one…

I’ve also added links to the Chloe review for online news pieces, an Atom Egoyan interview at Spacing about his use of real T.O. locations, and my recent review of Mychael Danna’s excellent score (Silva Screen)

I’ll also have an update of new scores in a few days, but the most important soundtrack news this week is the reissue of Alan Silvestri’s original 1987 Predator score, via Intrada. The album’s been remastered and apparently features a slightly longer music content. Released Aug. 2, it’s now… sold out… which means the 3,000 copy run was not enough, just like the prior Varese CD from 2003, which sold, at its peak, for $425 smackaroons on eBay for a sealed copy.

I guess this will happen again, though you have to wonder why Intrada didn’t consider coughing up the extra licensing fees for a larger 4000-5000 run to satisfy its customer base, the composer’s fan base, and fans of Predator.

Since 1997, this score has been bootlegged 3 times on CD, and there’s clearly a demand for Silvestri’s classic and muscular horror score.

Why not charge a higher retail price for a larger run that’ll still sell out, since Fox is determined to reboot the Predator franchise every few years? By releasing it as a score with a broad appeal ‘limited’ every few years, it just promotes the album’s distribution via file sharing, and one would suspect the loss of sales due to the album’s availability via torrents and P2P networks and bootlegs on auction sites is greater than any loss Intrada might have had from excess copies sitting on the shelves.

Limited releases are logical only when the run is catered to the general size of a score’s fan base. Labels spend only as much as they have to in order to get the music out there, and in general the low pressing run ensures only the people who really love the music and want to own the album will get it within a reasonable time-frame. A 48-hour sellout of a genre classic for an active franchise isn’t smart business sense; it may guarantee there will remain pent-up demand among fans who lucked out on the disc for another seven years, but I’d call this a colossal missed opportunity.


In other news related to Fox, the folks at the Digital Bits have reprinted their inside look at the Alien Quadrilogy, the mega-set that Fox put out in 2003 for the Alien franchise.

Why is this of interest? Because it’s a glimpse at the production of an exhaustive special edition set, and it relates to the upcoming Blu-ray monster set coming this fall, which will feature new content, including isolated scores.

Coming shortly: films in which the mental stability of disparate characters are affected by isolated environments.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor


Copyright © mondomark