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The King’s Speech Reviewed

Posted by film On December - 14 - 2010

The King’s Speech
Directed by Tom Hooper
The Weinstein Company, 2010

By Sean Kelly

The King’s Speech was this year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award at TIFF and seems a very likely frontrunner for Best Picture in the Oscar race. The film tells the story of King George VI (Colin Firth), who is plagued with a stuttering problem, which is certainly less than ideal for someone expected to make regular speeches. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) locates an unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to cure his affliction.

Historically, the film takes place primarily in the years prior to King George, then known as Prince Albert, taking the throne. It was expected that Albert’s older brother Edward (Guy Pearce) would take the crown after the death of King George V (Michael Gambon). However, when circumstances force Edward to relinquish the crown to Albert, his sessions with Logue become all the more important. 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 »

TIFF 2010 – The Rest Reviewed

Posted by film On September - 21 - 2010

Director Richard Ayoade's "Submarine."By Sean Kelly

I saw a whopping 14 films during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which is actually quite small when you consider the fact that the most hardcore festival-goers tend to see up to 50 films. Still, I saw an average of three films a day, with screening days starting at noon and ending around 11:30. As such, while I would have loved to write full reviews for all the films I’ve seen, it was pretty much impossible. Now with the festival over, I’d like to touch on the remaining films I saw this year.

Submarine
Directed by Richard Ayoade
UK
Part of the Special Presentations Programme.

As the film begins with the main character imagining the increasingly extravagant ways he would like to be remembered if he died, I knew this film was going to be special. This is one smart and funny British comedy about a 15 year old boy, who sees the world in his own ironic way. I definitely consider this to be one of the highlights of this year’s festival and if you love the films of the UK, you are sure to love Submarine. Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF 2010: Monsters Reviewed

Posted by film On September - 17 - 2010

Monsters
Directed by Gareth Edwards
UK
Part of the Vanguard Programme

By Sean Kelly

When I first heard of the independent sci-fi film Monsters, it almost sounded like District 9 meets Cloverfield. After seeing the film, I also found myself recalling the sense of isolation felt in 28 Days Later.

The set-up is quite simple, six years ago a space probe carrying alien samples crashed in Mexico. The area of the crash site was quarantined, and in the present day of the film, attacks from giant squid-like alien monsters have become a part of life. Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF 2010: Buried Reviewed

Posted by film On September - 16 - 2010

Screenwriter Chris Sparling, director Rodrigo Cortes and star Ryan Reynolds attended the screening and fielded a Q&A session.

Buried
Directed by Rodrigo Cortés
USA/Spain
Part of the Special Presentations Programme

By Sean Kelly

Buried was probably the film I was most anticipating to see at TIFF this year. I always thought the premise of a one-actor show was quite intriguing. In addition, the film was getting good buzz since its first showing at Sundance. After seeing the film, I’m happy to say that it most definitely met my expectations.

As you may know, the entire film consists of Ryan Reynolds trapped within a coffin that is buried underground. One would wonder how you can make a good film with this seemingly limited premise, however, it truly is quite suspenseful. Read the rest of this entry »

From "Let Me In"

By Sean Kelly

In an interesting case of scheduling synchronization, I opened my film viewing at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival with a pair of horror films showing back-to-back at the Ryerson Theatre. The line up of the night consisted of the vampire remake Let Me In, followed by the Midnight Madness presentation of John Carpenter’s The Ward. Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF 2010: Early Picks

Posted by film On September - 9 - 2010

Ryan Reynolds in Buried

By Sean Kelly

I can’t believe I am already experiencing my eighth Toronto International Film Festival. It seems like yesterday in 2003 I went to the festival box office in College Park, on the second day of the festival, only to be disappointed that the measly three films I had earmarked to see were no longer available. I’ve learned a lot since then. I still ended up getting tickets that year for School of Rock (which screened at the now-demolished Uptown theatre) and The TriggerStreet.com Project and I have been enjoying the festival ever since.

The following is a list of my initial picks at this year’s festival. While there are many more films that I would have liked to see, my commitments as a volunteer, as well as ticket availability, has limited what films I can see. That said, some of these films are definitely must-see, in my opinion. 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 »

Paranormal Activity Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 14 - 2009

paranormalactivityParanormal Activity
Directed by Oren Peli
Paramount Pictures, 2009

By Sean Kelly

I first found out about Paranormal Activity in mid-September when I was busy with the Toronto Film Festival and not paying too much attention to the movie news sites I usually frequent.  However, I was intrigued when I read about this supposedly terrifying independent horror film that people were calling the next Blair Witch Project.  I even read a story about Steven Spielberg watching a screener of the film and then, after an incident where his bedroom door apparently locked on its own, returning the film in a garbage bag for fear it was haunted.

The film was initially given a very limited release, but movie fans had the chance to demand online to have the film expanded to their city.  Toronto won an expansion and I decided to risk being stranded downtown to check out the limited midnight screening of the film. Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 2 - 2009

badlieutenantBad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Directed by Werner Herzog
Edward R. Pressman Film / Millenium Films

By Rachel West

I love Nicolas Cage. If you’ve read my review of Knowing, you’ll remember that I am the one person who enjoyed Bangkok Dangerous, paid money to see Next, and will line up to see Kick-Ass in 2010. My love for Nicolas Cage doesn’t stem from his resume of work, because, let’s face it, he hasn’t been in a good movie since 2002’s Adaptation. I love Nicolas Cage because you never know what you’re going to get from him. He’s often over-the-top and crazy with his dead-eye gaze, spouting one liners in a halting manner, frequently while wielding a gun. Cage seems to perfect this persona in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans since it has all of that and more.

A remake in name only, Bad Lieutenant is a wild ride through the seedy underbelly of post-Katrina New Orleans, and Cage is our tour guide, steering us through crime, guns, drugs, and bad cops. Promoted to lieutenant for acts of bravery during Hurricane Katrina, Terrence (Cage) is seemingly a rather bad cop — he snorts cocaine on the job, steals from the seized inventory locker at the police station, takes sexual bribes, dates a prostitute, and deals drugs with thugs. All of this and yet you can’t help but like the guy and even empathize with him. As he and partner Stevie (Val Kilmer) investigate the drug related murders of a family of fresh immigrants, Terrence begins to spiral more deeply into his drug addiction. At a roadblock with suspects, Terrence begins to befriend them for financial gain to pay off his crippling gambling debts. Through a series of plot turns, Terrence has the chance to redeem himself and become one of the good guys, and the crux of the film hangs on his decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer’s Body Reviewed

Posted by film On October - 1 - 2009

jennifersbodyJennifer’s Body
Directed by Karyn Kusama
20th Century Fox, 2009

By Sean Kelly

Jennifer’s Body is the follow-up film written by Diablo Cody after she won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Juno. Some debate may rage about whether or not this is an original film, but I’ll get to that later.

First, I’ll write the part of the review where I rant about how much I do not like Megan Fox. I am saying this because this fact may well have affected my overall enjoyment of the film. I want to reiterate my belief that Megan Fox is an over-sexualized piece of eye candy, who will probably never be treated seriously as an actress. However, that works to her favour in this film, since she plays… an over-sexualized piece of eye candy — who happens to eat those who are attracted to her.

Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF 2009: The Rest Reviewed

Posted by film On September - 27 - 2009

leslie_my_name_is_evilBy Sean Kelly

It was busy time for me at the Toronto Film Festival as I saw about ten or so films over the course of the week-long festival. I wrote reviews for films throughout the week; however, now that the festival is over I’ve decided to write some brief thoughts on films that I saw, but never had a time to write a full review for. And what a fine batch it was, for the most part.

Leslie, My Name is Evil
Directed by Reginald Harkema
Canada
Part of the Vanguard Programme

Reginald Harkema follows up his 2006 film Monkey Warfare with a dark comedy about a young man dealing with his  infatuation for a member of the Manson Family while serving on the jury for their trial. Read the rest of this entry »

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