Welcome to the year 2022! In theory, this is supposed to be a big year for me, since I will be turning 40 in just a few months' time. However, the year is really getting off on the wrong foot thanks to the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, which is fast approaching its third year. Despite some worries about the Delta variant, the last few months made it seem like things were starting to return to normal, particularly when it came to seeing films in the theatre. I enjoyed seeing most major tentpoles from Black Widow to Spider-Man: No Way Home, while also making a return to attending film festivals, such as TIFF and Blood in the Snow. However, as if the SARS-CoV-2 virus had a mind of its own, it reminded us all that the pandemic was far from over, as the new Omicron variant arrived towards the end of last year.
After cases of COVID-19 in Ontario ballooned to record numbers over the holidays, it was announced today that the Ontario government is reintroducing many of the strict methods to try and curb the spread of Omicron. Of course, this includes the closure of all cinemas for the third time during the pandemic. I can't say that I was surprised by this move, but I will say that I am quite disappointed that once again my movie-going habit is disrupted, which consequently affects the content for this site.
I also have to contend with the major inconvenience that is the fact that films will continue to be released in the United States, even if theatres are closed here in Ontario. The timing really couldn't be worse, since this new lockdown is beginning less than two weeks before the release of the new Scream sequel, which was without a doubt my most anticipated film to start off 2022. While it might still be possible for me to see the film via Premium VOD, the window for such releases have grown longer ever since theatrical exhibition resumed in the United States. As such, I might have to wait for a full 45-day window before Scream shows up on VOD platforms and in that might I will have to work very hard to avoid any spoilers that will undoubtedly be posted on social media.
Another example of poor timing is that this month was to be the start of TIFF's new perk for members, where they can get free tickets for cinematheque repertory screenings at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. I had acquired tickets for seven of these screenings, the first of which would've been this upcoming Friday. I have confirmed that since the tickets were free, I will not be reimbursed for any screenings cancelled due to this new lockdown. At the moment, it remains up in the air whether I will be able to attend any of the screenings I had tickets for, with the latest scheduled for March 3.
There is a saying, most famously quoted in The Dark Knight, that the night is darker before the dawn. While Omicron has proven itself to be the most contagious variant of COVID-19, there are reports stating that it is much less deadly, due partially to the vaccinations people have already received. I'm currently scheduled to get my COVID-19 booster shot on February 1 and hopefully, by the time I turn 40 in April, the pandemic will finally start feeling like nothing but a bad dream.