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The Green Hornet Reviewed

Posted by film On January - 24 - 2011

The Green Hornet
Directed by Michel Gondry
Columbia Pictures, 2011

By Sean Kelly

My only real experience involving the Green Hornet, prior to this film, was the character’s crossover appearance on the old 1960s Batman TV series. Indeed it was the Green Hornet TV series, from the same producers as Batman, where most people were introduced to the character. The TV series was also notable for introducing us to Bruce Lee, who co-starred as Kato a few years before becoming a movie star. I only recently found out that the character has its origins as a 1930s radio serial, as opposed to comic books, which did not appear until the 1940s.

The film version went through many stages of development, with one of the most notable being when Kevin Smith was hired in 2004 to write and direct the film. His script was adapted into a comic after he dropped out. The film was later taken up by Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg. Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) was originally set to direct and co-star as Kato, but he eventually dropped out and the reigns were given to Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Read the rest of this entry »

Caesar’s Film Disappointments of 2010

Posted by film On January - 21 - 2011

Legion stinks like a flaming bag of something left on a doorstep.

By Caesar Martini

1. Legion
Technically not a disappointment because I saw the previews and thought, “Wow, looks like crap,” and it was indeed crap. In fact, it exceeded my estimations of crap. The whole movie was just one bad decision after another, punctuated by bad dialogue, ridiculous plot directions, and questionable acting. Horrible.

2. The Last Airbender
This was particularly disappointing because 1) I liked M Knight Shyamalan once and would like to again, and 2) the TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender is such a good cartoon and rich source of material that it’s a tragedy to see it mishandled so badly. If The Last Airbender was a child, Shyamalan dropped it on its head, accidentally stepped on it with hobnailed boots and kicked it into a pile of razor blades and then picked it up hastily and proudly showed it off to the world. “Isn’t she beautiful?” No, M Knight. No she is not. She is horrid and needs medical attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Sean’s Film Disappointments of 2010

Posted by film On January - 19 - 2011

By Sean Kelly

Every year at MONDOfilm, we revisit our most disappointing experiences and biggest gripes of the year in the film world. They can be actual films, actors and filmmakers or trends and occurences that got our backs up. Sean Kelly kicks things off. Enjoy.

Lucy looks down upon us.

1. Too Much 3D (for real)

When I wrote my article in February contemplating how studios were jumping on the 3D bandwagon, following the success of Avatar, I had no idea how truly out of hand 3D would get during 2010. It started to seem that every single major release was coming out in 3D (often with the hilarious side note “also available in 2D”). The downside to this was that the studios were cutting corners and converting the majority of these films in post-production, which resulted in greatly diminished 3D effects (and wasted premium movie prices). This resulted in an understandable backlash, highlighted by an anti-3D article written by Roger Ebert. The 3D revolution also gave electronics companies a reason to speed up technological obsolescence by telling people to buy their new fancy 3D-compatable HDTVs and Blu-Ray players so soon after consumers (myself included) started to fully embrace the technology.

On the upside, TRON: Legacy restored my faith in 3D films and the next year promises to see more major films that were actually SHOT in 3D, including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: The Dark of the Moon. Read the rest of this entry »

Paranormal Activity 2 Reviewed

Posted by film On November - 1 - 2010

Paranormal Activity 2
Directed by Todd Williams
Paramount Pictures, 2010

By Sean Kelly

I don’t think there has been a single movie sequel that I’ve been more wary of than Paranormal Activity 2.  Let’s face it; the first film came out of nowhere.  The “Demand It!” campaign was an ingenious form of movie marketing and by the time the original finally went to wide release, it not only topped the box office, but it dethroned the Saw series’ long run at the top of the Halloween box office.  Naturally, Paramount wanted lightning to strike twice and this film was born.

Calling this film a sequel is not entirely accurate.  It is established early on that the bulk of this film takes place within the two months before the events of the first film and even features appearances by Micah and Katie of the original.  In this film, the victims of the night time disturbances are the family of Katie’s sister, who recently gave birth to a son named Hunter. Most of the disturbances seem concentrated around his room. Read the rest of this entry »

Globetrotting at TIFF 2010

Posted by film On September - 22 - 2010

By Shane McNeil

Another year has come and gone for Toronto’s favourite circus of cinema and schmooze.

While it’s easy to use the 11 days to chase stars and get advance looks at the year’s Oscar contenders (or, as the case may be, a week’s head-start on seeing Easy A), some of the world’s most renowned and some undiscovered filmmakers have the chance to strut their stuff for Toronto’s cinephiles.

Here’s a round-up of just one way to have effectively killed off the last 10 days with a round-the-world trip in darkened theatres.

Mexico: Gareth Edwards created a sci-fi fantasy that pits two Americans against a host of giant monsters that threaten the sovereignty and security of the U.S. in Monsters. While not on par with some of the recent creature-feature/social-issues classics, it might garner a look when it hits multiplexes. Still baffled with why this made TIFF though, especially outside Midnight Madness. Read the rest of this entry »

Homegrown Heroes: Kick-Ass and Defendor Reviewed

Posted by film On April - 21 - 2010

Kick-Ass
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Lionsgate, 2010

Defendor

Directed by Peter Stebbings
Alliance Films, 2009

By Sean Kelly

Going In

I was going to write this review solely on Kick-Ass, but then I realized that the similarly-plotted Defendor was just released last week on DVD. This gave me a chance to spin an exciting comparison of two very different takes on what it’s like for an average joe to become a superhero.

Story/Characters

Kick-Ass
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an average high school student that fantasizes about what life would be like if there really were superheroes. He orders a wetsuit from the internet and decides to live his fantasy. After one of his fights ends up being a hit on YouTube, he attracts the attention of both mobster Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and the vigilante father/daughter duo of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz). Christopher Mintz-Plasse (aka McLovin) rounds out the cast as fellow “hero” Red Mist.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Oscars: Wasting Time in Fresh New Ways

Posted by film On March - 9 - 2010

Neil Patrick Harris steals the show.

By Sean Kelly

It is no secret that the biggest problem with the Oscars has always been its length. It is by far the longest of the award shows and I remember a time, not so long ago, that the ceremony would end at nearly 1am (or 10pm if you are going by the local time of Oscar’s LA location). The Academy has tried many methods in the past to cut down on the show’s length, one of the most infamous being the year they either had all the nominees on stage or presented awards in the crowd.

This year, the Academy had the added trouble of having to show highlights from ten nominated films. As such, there were some stricter time-saving rules. After being compressed last year into a single performance, the best song performances were axed altogether. In addition, the Academy vowed to be more strict on the 45 second acceptance speech limit – though based on what I saw, the major winners seemed exempt.

After watching this year’s show, I have to say that some of those time-saving choices seemed questionable when one takes into consideration what actually turned up in the program. So let me go through some of the Oscars’ filler segments that may or may not have been a waste of time – dependingly mainly on whether or not you enjoyed them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crazy Heart Reviewed

Posted by film On February - 14 - 2010

Crazy Heart
Directed by Scott Cooper
Fox Searchlight, 2009

By Jaclyn L. Katz

Gritty country music and phenomenal acting together build the foundation of Crazy Heart. The film has a cleverly written narrative and is beautifully filmed. What really grabs you though, what emotionally tangles the spectator in the story, is the performance given by Crazy Heart’s star, Jeff Bridges, who plays washed-up country crooner Bad Blake. With a perpetually lit cigarette and a whisky in hand, “Bad” is a grating character; Byronic in his self-destructive ways, he leaves the audience rooting for him to succeed. He is a brilliant songwriter and a romantic, kind soul but has a pathetic addiction to alcohol and self-pity.

Maggie Gyllenhal, nominated for best supporting actress at the upcoming Oscar ceremony, gives a relaxed and absolutely graceful performance as Jean Craddock, the saviour of Bad’s spirit.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Highest Grossing Film of All Time… This Year

Posted by film On February - 9 - 2010

By Sean Kelly

Did you read it in the newspapers? Avatar has overtaken Titanic as the top grossing film of all time. James Cameron truly is the king of the world!

Not so fast.

As much as I agree that Avatar is a very good movie and all, the constant reporting of box office grosses (and the records they “break”) has always been a pet peeve of mine. Ask yourself how much you paid to see Avatar. My answer is $17.50. Now ask yourself how much you paid a dozen years ago to see Titanic. Chances are that you paid half the price of that ticket, or less, to see Titanic than you did to see Avatar.

The truth is, inflation has degraded box office records to little more than worthless bragging rights. Yes, the studio needed the money to pay for the movie (especially an expensive one like Avatar); however, with the prices films cost these days to see, studios can make a lot more money with fewer people actually seeing the film.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Films of the Decade – Sean Kelly’s List

Posted by film On February - 3 - 2010

By Sean Kelly

10. Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)
I can argue that this film began the “Jukebox Musical” trend long before Mamma Mia or We Will Rock You hit the stage (I still get glee when a group of aristocrats begin singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). Arguably Luhrmann’s best, and a perfect example of the style of his films, which start off very comedic and turn more dramatic as the film progresses.

9. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Notable for adding the phrase “I drank your milkshake” to the pop-culture landscape, but it’s much more than that. One of film’s most intriguing character studies about the corruption caused by greed.

8. The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)
I’m a fan of professional wrestling, so it was natural that I would like this film. But it’s also a great, tragic story of a past-his-prime wrestler’s inability to adapt to life outside of the ring.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Films of the Decade – Shane McNeil’s List

Posted by film On February - 1 - 2010

By Shane McNeil

10. Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
In a banner decade for animation it’d be foolish not to represent the most honest and personal of the lot. For an Israeli filmmaker to plumb the depths like this and come up with so much pain and beauty, it’s a well-earned mention.

9. Good Night and Good Luck (George Clooney, 2005)
I didn’t think Clooney had it in him, but this attack on the detriment of having to watch your mouth struck just in time to see the Bush regime start to tumble. It likely wasn’t the cause, but probably the last timely protest.

8. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodovar, 2002)
For a man who writes women so well to hit at the core of male suffering is one thing. To nail it in such a lyrical, beautiful, playful, hopeful, and painful a way is an entirely different accomplishment. Unfortunately he hasn’t come close to this level since.

Read the rest of this entry »

Film’s Greatest Disappointments of 2009

Posted by film On January - 19 - 2010

By Sean Kelly, Caesar Martini, and Shane McNeil

Caesar’s Disappointments

1. Halloween 2
I wasn’t expecting excellence going into this movie. I was expecting decent-ness, but what I got was an hour and a half of poorly directed gore scenes in between extreme close ups of talking heads, punctuated by a girl screeching directly into my ear like a Banshee taking a bath in acid.

2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This movie had so much potential. Wolverine, arguably one of the coolest and most badass characters ever in comics, played by Hugh Jackman, who somehow manages to be an amazing embodiment of the character despite being Australian and starring in way too many musicals.

How do you cock it up? Read the rest of this entry »

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