Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sean Kelly

Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

A boy goes on a quest for his father's samurai armour in Kubo and the Two Strings. Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a boy who lives with his mother in a small village, where he tells stories to the villagers about his samurai father Hanzo, using magical origami controlled by Kubo's shamisen. One day Kubo ignores his mother's warnings about staying after dark and he comes in contact with his mother's twin sisters (Rooney Mara), who want to bring Kubo back to his grandfather the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes). Kubo's mother magically sends her son to safety before sacrificing herself and Kubo, accompanied by Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), must locate his father's samurai armour in order to stop the Moon King.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sean Kelly

TIFF16: Lamentings of a Film Blogger

We are a little over two weeks from the 41st annual Toronto International Film Festival. Like many of my contemporaries in the community of "semi-professional film writers," I have started to come to terms with the fact that I probably won't be seeing as many films this year as previous years. While I still expect to see a decent sampling of 10-15 films, it will be nowhere near the number of films I saw over the last five years or so, which often exceeded 20. Now, I'm not going to go into the specifics of why I will probably see less films at TIFF this year and instead use this segue into a more pressing issue.
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Sean Kelly

Interview: D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus on Unlocking the Cage

The documentary Unlocking the Cage, opening today at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, follows the crusade of animal rights lawyer Steven Wise and his crusade to get autonomous non-human animals, particularly chimpanzees, to be legally defined as people and the rights that designation affords. The film is directed by the veteran filmmaking team of D.A. Pennebaker and his wife Chris Hegedus. Pennebaker has been an active documentary filmmaker since the 1950s, with his first credit with Hegedus being 1977's Energy War. The duo are probably best known for their Academy Award nominated 1993 documentary The War Room and D.A. Pennebaker also received an honorary Academy Award in 2013. When Unlocking the Cage screened at this year's Hot Docs, I sat down with the duo to speak about the film and the slippery slope that is animal rights.
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Sean Kelly

Review: Unlocking the Cage

A lawyer fights for the rights of autonomous animals in Unlocking the Cage. Animal rights lawyer Steven Wise has committed his career to ensuring that animals receive the same level of rights as humans, focusing on intelligent animals, such as apes, elephants, and dolphins. Teaming with the Nonhuman Rights Project, Wise and his team file habeas corpus lawsuits in defense of Chimpanzees in captivity, with the ultimate goal to have them located to a sanctuary with more appropriate living conditions.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sean Kelly

Review: Faults

A down on his luck cult deprogrammer tries to save a young woman in Faults. Ansel Roth (Leland Orser) was once one of the top debunkers of cult mind control techniques, however his personal failures has made his life into a wreck. With his latest book a flop, Ansel finds himself greatly in debt to his manager Terry (Jon Gries), who sends the intimidating Mick (Lance Reddick) to collect. Desperate for the money, Ansel agrees to help two parents (Chris Ellis and Beth Grant), who want Ansel to deprogram their daughter Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), whose life has come under the control of a cult known as "Faults."

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Sean Kelly

Review: How Heavy This Hammer

A middle-aged man escapes the pressures of his life through videogames in How Heavy This Hammer. Erwin (Erwin Van Cotthem) is a middle-aged father of two, who is beginning to feel the effects of a midlife crisis. When he is not playing rugby with his buddies, he spends hours playing a real-time strategy video game, which results in Erwin losing sleep and progressively becoming more distant towards his family.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Sean Kelly

TIFF16: Midnight Madness Highlights

This morning saw the announcement of this year's Midnight Madness line-up and the Toronto International Film Festival. This year's line-up not only features the return of some notable alumni, but also a few films that aim to relaunch horror franchises of the past. Without further ado, I will go through some of the highlights of this year's Midnight Madness line-up.
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