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

Toronto Stories is really four short films that have next to nothing to do with each other, written and directed by four different Toronto filmmakers in vastly varying styles.

"Shoelaces,” Aaron Woodley’s opening piece, is a sweet coming-of-age tale of a geeky boy (Ricardo Hoyos) and his tomboy friend (Samantha Weinstein) embarking on what may be the final adventure of their waning childhood: a midnight trip into the Don Valley to seek out a fabled monster.

Woodley bathes his young leads in an exaggerated, eerie blue light, creating a magical, dreamy realm that perfectly complements the characters’ journey into adolescence.

Sook-Yin Lee directs herself in "The Brazilian,” playing one half of a couple meandering through a strange, amorphous relationship. The other half is a spacey boy (Tygh Runyan) who is as disinterested as he is self-involved. The film shows the pair at various stages in their non-relationship, with her getting increasingly obsessive, while he changes little save his facial hair.

"Windows” is Sudz Sutherland’s gritty portrayal of ex-con Alton (K.C. Collins), whose newly stabilized life as a window cleaner and expecting father is upset when his old partner-in-crime (Joris Jarsky) escapes from prison and tries to re-establish old ties by any means necessary.

"Lost Boys” is David Weaver’s somewhat melodramatic look at a homeless man (Gil Bellows) trying to find redemption from his past by saving a young boy in peril. The film begins with a silent child (Toka Murphy) appearing at Pearson International Airport, confounding authorities before escaping onto the streets of Toronto, where he wanders through each of the film’s segments.

His character, while integral to the film’s final piece, seems tacked onto the rest of the film in an attempt to establish a cohesion that is clearly lacking. There seems to be no reason for these four disparate works to be one movie. A shared cityscape is just not enough to go on. (Seville)