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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sean Kelly

Review: Mother!

A woman's tranquil life with her husband is disrupted by the sudden arrival of strangers in Mother!. Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with Him (Javier Bardem) at a secluded farmhouse. Mother spends much of her time renovating the house, while Him tries to find inspiration for his poetry. One day, the couple is visited by a Man (Ed Harris) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), who are invited to stay at the house by Him. However, Mother steadily becomes more bothered by the couple's invasion.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Sean Kelly

Monday Editorial: Film Festival Hangover and Looking to the Future

The day after TIFF is one I often feel very low on energy. After more than a week of seeing multiple films and getting minimal hours of sleep, the film festival can really take a toll on your body. It is also a time to reflect on what exactly I am going to do next.

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Sean Kelly

TIFF17: Wrap-Up

I did that math today and discovered that this was my fifteenth year going to TIFF, with me having been going to the festival since 2003 (at the very young age of 21). A lot has changed for the festival in that time, both good and bad. In fact, this year's festival began with longtime director and CEO Piers Handling announcing his retirement at the end of 2018. As the glitz and glamour of the festival went on for the public, the inner workings of TIFF became the subject of some major criticism. One year after criticizing the festival for being too big, Variety posted an editorial this week that commented that the festival now seems smaller than ever. Then, just as the festival was wrapping up, Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper published a scathing expose about the TIFF organization's financial problem, lack of attendance at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and quiet release of most of the exhibition staff.

While I will watch how TIFF responds to this criticism with great interest, I do remain optimistic about the festival's future. I have next bought into the glitz and glam and I always put the films first. This year, I saw a whopping 28 festival selections, with only a few of those film underwhelming me. This year also featured some milestones for me, with me seeing a record 8 Canadian films, as well 8 films in the Midnight Madness programme, which marked a solid inaugural year for new programmer Peter Kuplowski. I for one look forward to what TIFF brings in the future. However, it is time for my annual festival wrap-up.

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Sean Kelly

TIFF17: Three Christs

A doctor researches a humane treatment for three schizophrenic mental patients in Three Christs. Set in 1959, Dr. Alan Stone (Richard Gere) arrives at Ypsilanti State Hospital to perform a behavioral study with Joseph Cassell (Peter Dinklage), Clyde Benson (Bradley Whitford), and Leon Gabor (Walton Goggins), three schizophrenic patients who believe they are Jesus Christ. Along with his research assistant Becky (Charlotte Hope), Alan attempts behaviour-altering methods that are met with criticism by his superiors Dr. Rogers (Stephen Root) and Dr. Orbus (Kevin Pollak). However, the research also breaks new ground in the treatment of the mentally ill.

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Sean Kelly

TIFF17: Let the Corpses Tan

A gold robbery results in an epic shootout in Let the Corpses Tan. After robbing 250kg of gold, a gang arrives at the remote ruins of a Mediterranean hamlet to hide out. However, the sudden arrival of cops results in an epic shootout to break out, with the last one left standing to get the gold.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sean Kelly

TIFF17: I, Tonya

The life and career of scandal-ridden figure skater Tonya Harding is told in I, Tonya. From childhood Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) was bred to be a figure-skating champion from her stern and often abusive mother LaVona (Allison Janney). Tonya would meet future husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) as a teenager, who initially seemed like an escape from her mother, but turned out to be just as abusive. Praised for her skating, but criticized for her unconventional appearance, Tonya is determined to prove herself leading into the 1994 Olympics. Then the incident happened.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sean Kelly

TIFF17: Downrange

A group of friends are pinned down by a sniper in Downrange. After the tire blows on their car, Jodi (Kelly Connaire), Keren (Stephanie Pearson), Todd (Rod Hernandez-Farella), Eric (Anthony Kirlew), Sara (Alexa Yeames), and Jeff (Jason Tobias) find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. It isn't long before the friends realize that the tire blowing out wasn't an accident and they are the target of a sniper hiding in the nearby trees. With only the car and some branches as cover, the friends must figure out a way to escape this situation.

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