Toronto Stories Sook-Yin Lee, Sudz Sutherland, David Weaver, Aaron Woodley

Toronto Stories Sook-Yin Lee, Sudz Sutherland, David Weaver, Aaron Woodley
The cover art for Toronto Stories suggests that the film passionately embraces the city, which may be true, if that warm embrace involved crack addicts, abused children, pubic hair and ex-convicts. In fact, the only way this film could be less flattering from a Toronto Tourism perspective would be if a family visit to High Park ended in the discovery of two gay men fornicating on a picnic table. Offensive or not, this latter discovery probably would have been far more interesting than the series of four short films within this little anthology. They're harmless, reasonably performed and competently made, but not even remotely memorable, aside from Sook-Yin Lee's use of her bush, or lack thereof, as representation of emotional honesty. The first story tackles the wonder and magic of young love, suicide, child abuse and Cabbagetown monsters, as seen through the eyes of young Jacob (Ricardo Hoyos) and Cayle (Samantha Weinstein). It's well shot and makes good use of community as an incidental character but is about as exciting as flossing teeth. The second story is by far the strongest, examining wilful delusion and gender distinctions in a budding relationship between Willia (Sook-Yin Lee) and Boris (Tygh Runyan). Next up is a story about an ex-con on the straight and narrow (K.C. Collins) who gets wrapped up in some drama between a recently escaped convict (Joris Jarsky) and his rich girlfriend (Carly Pope). There's a message about class distinction in there somewhere but it's unlikely anyone will care. The final story examines the inner-workings of a chess playing, homeless crack addict (Gil Bellows) that's determined to rescue the missing boy (Toka Murphy) who ties these stories together. The film, on the whole, is strictly for fans of the individual filmmakers and actors within, as it's a pretty milquetoast ordeal. The DVD includes no supplements or features to contemplate. (E1)