BOB MARLEY TRIBUTE: As the city gets lively with celebrations of Caribbean culture, you’ll most definitely be hearing the sounds of Bob Marley this weekend. What’s more, this year has already seen many tributes to the reggae icon since 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the singer’s death.
One of two films screened as part of Irie Music Festival — which runs July 29 to Aug. 1 at Nathan Phillips Square, Yonge-Dundas Square, Queen’s Park and other venues — Africa Unite: A Celebration of Bob Marley is a documentary about an event that commemorated Marley’s 60th birthday in 2005. His wife Rita and many of their music-making progeny traveled to Ethiopia for a concert attended by more than 350,000 people.
Director Stephanie Black was also there to capture the festivities as well as the many vital, engaging discussions about Marley’s dreams of peace and unity for Africa and its people. Besides the surviving Marley clan, musical guests included Lauryn Hill and Angelique Kidjo. Africa Unite screens for free in Nathan Phillips Square on July 30 at 9:30 p.m.
On July 31 at the same time, the festival presents a free screening of another recent documentary about Jamaican music and its global impact. Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae reunites the makers of some of the smoothest songs of the ’60s, including Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Ernest Ranglin and U-Roy. Rita Marley also offers her take on Marley’s place in the history of rocksteady, the easy-going Jamaican musical style that spawned reggae.
THE BBC PROMS: One of the U.K.’s best-loved musical traditions, the BBC Proms (or the Proms for short) is a summer series of classical music concerts that has taken place in the Royal Albert Hall and other London venues since 1895.
The 117th edition of the Proms actually began on July 15 but music lovers and Anglophiles can enjoy an HD recording of the first night’s program on Cineplex screens this weekend. On July 30 at 2:30 p.m., nine theatres in the Toronto area present this year’s inaugural event, recorded live at Royal Albert Hall. The program includes selections by Brahms, Liszt and Janacek along with the Proms debut by 19-year-old British piano phenom Benjamin Grosvenor.
Cineplex screens two more live recordings from this year’s Proms on Aug. 20 and Sept. 10.
MIRANDA JULY PRESENTS THE FUTURE: An American artist, writer and filmmaker well-loved by Etsy shoppers and indie hipsters, Miranda July comes to town this week to attend the Canadian premiere of The Future.
Her follow-up to her 2005 feature debut Me and You and Everyone We Know, July’s sophomore feature is likely to be the year’s only film to be narrated by a cat. The director — who’s married to Mike Mills, maker of another of the summer’s coolest movies with Beginners — will be ready for a Q&A by CBC Radio’s Patti Schmidt after The Future screens at the Royal Cinema (608 College St.) on Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. The film begins its regular release in Toronto on Aug. 5.
SPY KIDS: The latest presentation in TIFF Bell Lightbox’s ongoing Saturday-afternoon Family Classics series, the first entry in the Spy Kids franchise plays the King St. movie mecca on July 30 at 2 p.m.
While it remains to be seen whether next month’s Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World in 4D succeeds with its scheme to reintroduce moviegoers to the wonders of “aroma-scope” (that’s right — the fourth dimension is scratch-and-sniff), Robert Rodriguez’s 2001 original remains a sprightly family-friendly adventure movie that’s best savoured on the big screen.
MORE SUMMER OUTDOOR CINEMA: The city stays bright thanks to the continued abundance of outdoor screenings. This week’s offerings include the Michael Jordan vehicle Space Jam (July 29 at Downsview Park), the ever-wistful Lost in Translation (Aug. 2 at Harbourfront Centre’s WestJet Stage), the screen version of hippie musical Hair (Aug. 2 at Yonge-Dundas Square), the Bollywood classic Jagte Raho (Aug. 3 at David Pecaut Square) and the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy (Aug. 4 at the Open Roof Festival at Amsterdam Brewery).
New to the circuit of al fresco movie nights is a special series in the Junction. Screening Aug. 4 at the train platform on Dundas St. W. just east of Pacific Ave. is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a 1939 feature starring the incomparable Basil Rathbone as the intrepid sleuth.