Toronto's best movies al fresco

The great outdoors. In Toronto that means the Don Valley, High Park and movies al fresco. Yes, you read that right. Outdoor movie nights have exploded in the city and, with so many to choose from, has narrowed in on this summer’s best flicks. So grab a lawn chair, pop some kernels and get ready for a starry-skied trip down Hollywood lane.

Ocean’s Eleven (1960 and 2001)

Some things go hand in hand. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. "Ocean’s Eleven" a la the Rat Pack and "Ocean’s Eleven" a la George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. The story skeleton for both is the same: Danny Ocean and his entourage have a rip-roaring time pulling off a massive heist to steal profits from a series of Las Vegas casinos. And if you have a hard time choosing between Ol’ Blue Eyes or the better half of Brangelina, there’s no need to fear. Yonge-Dundas Square is projecting a double-header of both the original and the Steven Soderbergh adaptation.

When: August 3, 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Where: Yonge-Dundas Square

Star Trek

The 2009 film, which won an Oscar for best makeup, is a time-warp trip down memory lane, where viewers get to revisit Spock, Captain Kirk and all the other beloved characters of the late 1960s series. The adaptation is a tall order, considering the drones of devotees director JJ Abrams knew he would be meeting as his harshest critics. However, a strong story-line, breathtaking visuals and a bit of humour to boot will leave most viewers — Trekkies and non-Trekkies a-like — giving Abrams the blessing to "live long and prosper."

When: Friday, August 6, 9:00 p.m. Where: Downsview Park

Chocolat or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1971 or 2005)

There’s just something so indulgent about chocolate, it’s hard not to recommend anything with the treat in the title. While Harbourfront is still putting out a vote on which cocoa movie to show, each choice delights. The options: "Chocolat", along with either the original version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or the more recent take on the Roald Dahl classic, shot through the endearingly nightmarish lens belonging to Tim Burton.’s vote? The 1971 version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Sometimes original is better. Just like you can try to replicate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, you can try to recreate Willy Wonka. But it just doesn’t go down the same — even with Johnny Depp in the picture.

When: August 11, 9:00 p.m. Where: Harbourfront Centre

Some Like it Hot

While Ms. Marilyn Monroe was hesitant to take on "Some Like it Hot", the screwball cross-dressing comedy turned out to be the biggest hit of her career, earning the blonde icon a best actress Golden Globe and defining her as a comic starlet. In the movie, Tony Curtis plays Joe, a struggling saxophone player who — along with his bass-violin-playing friend Jerry (Jack Lemmon) — witnesses a mob-related massacre. To avoid the mobsters who now have a hit on their lives, the pair put on dresses and join an all-girls band. Eventually they run into sultry singer Sugar Kane Kowalcyzk (Monroe), who becomes Joe’s instant object-of-affection. Only problem, Joe now goes by the name Josephine. Hijinks ensue as passion turns to action.

When: August 22, 8:30 p.m. Where: Riverdale Park East


"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." One line, one ending and the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the quotable Moroccan tale of love lost-then-found-then-lost-again and just about every Hollywood ‘Best Of’ list. Starring Golden Era powerhouses Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the World War Two epic is the story of a man’s conflict between love and duty amidst the backdrop of his life as an American expatriate running a nightclub and gambling den. A popular choice for al fresco movie nights, has just one thing to say: "Play it again, Sam."

When: September 1, 9:00 p.m. Where: Metro Square, Entertainment District