West Olive

2 p.m.: DS: Speaking in Strings. See Wednesday, Nov. 3, Plaza Frontenac.

4:15 p.m.: Man of the Century. Adam Abraham, U.S., 1999, 95 min. Man of the Century, a charmingly bizarre little film, is the story of a newspaper reporter named Johnny Twennies (Gibson Frazier) who speaks and acts like it's the 1920s though he lives in present-day Manhattan. The film is shot in black-and-white, the soundtrack consists entirely of swing tunes from the '20s and '30s, and Johnny dispenses anachronistic observations like countless wiseacres from Hollywood's golden age. At one point, a frustrated photographer asks, "Do you spend all day watching old movies on cable?" But that's virtually the only acknowledgment by anyone that Johnny is, well, different; otherwise, his machine-gun banter is met with either impatience or bemused tolerance. This contrast between Johnny's film noir witticisms (and behavior!) and the normalcy of everyone else ranges from amusing to cloying, but you have to admire the single-mindedness of the conceit. Johnny works at the New York Sun-Telegram, but his cocky self-assurance is jeopardized when he's told that poor circulation figures may make his position obsolete. He promises the "scoop of the century" if he's given one more chance, and indeed, when approached by some lowlife thugs claiming to have the dirt on a public official, that scoop materializes. Those nostalgic for old movies should enjoy Man of the Century; for others, it'll be little more than a harmless diversion. (KR)

6:30 p.m.: Last Night. Don McKellar, Canada, 1998, 93 min. What would you do if you knew the world was going to end at midnight tonight? How would you spend your last hours? With whom and where? What record would you want to play as time ran out? These are the questions posed in the award-winning Canadian film Last Night, a touching, funny, heart-wrenching and ultimately life-affirming film set in Toronto during the last six hours of life on Earth. The reason for the planet's demise is never revealed, and it doesn't matter; instead, filmmaker McKellar, who also stars, focuses on a handful of characters and their ultimate choices. At the same time, McKellar invites us to look at our own lives. Midnight comes daily, after all, and the choices we make in the hours preceding are just as revealing and important as they would be on the last night of our lives. (BH)

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