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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sean Kelly

Blindspot: Canada 150: Double Happiness

This month, I watched the 1994 dramedy Double Happiness, by Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Mina Shum. 
Jade Li (Sandra Oh) is a young Hong Kong born woman living in Vancouver with her strict Chinese family. Jade's parents (Stephen Chang and Alannah Ong) frown at her ambitions to be an actress and they would rather that she find a nice Chinese man to settle down with, such as possible suitor Andrew Chau (Johnny Mah). However, Jade continues to pursue her acting dreams and secretly begins dating nerdy white grad student Mark (Callum Keith Rennie).

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sean Kelly

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman teams up with their American cousins to bring down a psychopathic drug lord in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. A year has passed since Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) became of a full agent of the Kingsman spy organization, even though he deeply misses his fallen mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth). However, a terrorist organization known as the Golden Circle, run by ditsy drug lord Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), hacks into Kingsman and destroys all of its headquarters as agents. With Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) being the only surviving agents, they travel to Kentucky to seek the assistance of Kingsman's American counterpart Statesman, headed by Champagne (Jeff Bridges). It is there that they a fully alive Harry Hart, who was saved by Statesman, yet suffers from some amnesia and brain damage from his bullet wound.

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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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