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Short Thoughts on Kung Fury

A kung-fu fighting cop goes against Hitler in the 1980s homage Kung Fury.  Kung Fury (David Sandberg) is a cop in 1985 Miami, who gained mystical kung-fu powers, which allows him to fight crime all over the city.  When Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone), a.k.a. Kung F├╝hrer, travels through time to spread terror, Kung Fury decides to travel back to Nazi Germany to stop him. However, he goes a little too far back.

My Thoughts on Welcome to Me

A woman with borderline personality disorder becomes a talk show host in Welcome to Me.  Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig) is a bi-polar woman, who only has one close friend in the form of Gina (Linda Cardellini) and Alice spends most of her time watching videotaped episodes of Oprah.  Unexpectedly, Alice wins an $86 million lottery jackpot and she decides to use the winnings to fund a talk show, where the main subject is herself.

Hot Docs 15 CAST Awards Announced

For the first time ever, the Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto have announced the CAST Awards for the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.  A total of thirteen individuals, myself included, submitted ballots to determine the top films of the festival.  The film that ended up coming out on top was the Indian Jones remake story Raiders!, even though it was followed very closely by Listen to Me Marlon.  I actually saw 8 of the top ten films, with many of them being among my own favourites of the fest.
Here is the full top ten:
  1. Raiders!
  2. Listen to Me, Marlon
  3. Help Us Find Sunil Trapathi
  4. The Berkley Marathons
  5. Best of Enemies
  6. The Amina Profile
  7. The Queen of Silence
  8. The Wolfpack
  9. The Nightmare
  10. T-Rex

You may see my top ten by going to my festival wrap-up and you can also check out a PDF, which gives the full breakdown.

Blu-Ray Review: What We Do in the Shadows

 

WhatWeDoInTheShadows

What We Do in the Shadows

2015/Color

Unison/Video Services Corp.

86 Minutes

SKonMovies Review

Release Date: May 26, 2015
Purchase on Blu-Ray from Amazon
Purchase on DVD from Amazon
Rent/Purchase on iTunes

My Thoughts on Tomorrowland

TomorrowlandA teenage girl finds a pin that leads her to a futuristic city in Tomorrowland.  Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is a troublesome teen, who is arrested when she is caught trying to sabotage the deconstruction of the former Cape Canaveral NASA launch site.  When she makes bail, Casey finds a pin, which provides her with a vision of a futuristic city.  Wanting to get to the city, Casey tracks down Frank Walker (George Clooney), who as a kid was recruited to the city by Athena (Raffey Cassidy) and was acquainted with the city’s leader David Nix (Hugh Laurie).  Casey and Frank race to return to “Tomorrowland” and save the world from a cataclysmic future.

Blindspot 2015: 40 Years of TIFF: The Decline of the American Empire

declineofamericanempireThe opening film of the 1986 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival was Denys Arcand’s The Decline of the American Empire, which has the distinction of being the final film to screen at Toronto’s historical University Theatre in Yorkville.  The film went on to win that year’s People’s Choice award, as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film and winning 9 awards, including Best Picture, at the 8th annual Genie Awards.

There’s Something on Netflix – May 22, 2015

somethingonnetflix

It’s time for my semi-regular rundown of the interesting films now playing on Netflix Canada:

Indie Spotlight: Wet Bum

wetbumA teenaged girl comes of age in Wet Bum.  Sam (Julia Sarah Stone) is a fourteen year old girl, who is somewhat insecure about herself, which is amplified by the bullying she receives by her peers in her lifeguarding course.  Sam is also forced by her mother to work in a retirement home, cleaning the rooms.  It is there where Sam develops connections with the mostly silent Judith (Diana Leblanc) and the cantankerous Ed (Kenneth Welsh).

Doc Thoughts: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

GoingClearDirector Alex Gibney (The Armstrong Lie) gives an expose of the controversial religion in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.  The Church of Scientology was formed in the 1950s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.  The church has become infamous for its controversial methods and celebrity members, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta.  Eight former Scientologists, including former second-in-command Mark Rathbun, filmmaker Paul Haggis, and actor Jason Beghe, talk about their experiences with the religion and why they decided to leave. 

My Thoughts on Spring

springA man finds love with a woman with a monstrous secret in Spring.  Following the death of his mother, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) goes into a personal tailspin, which includes getting into a bar fight that costs him his job.  Looking for a change of scenery, Even travels to Italy and gets a job working on a farm, in exchange for lodging.  Even meets a beautiful young woman named Louise (Nadia Hilker) and the two begin a passionate romance with each other.  However, Louise has a dark secret, which might put a wedge into their relationship.

My Thoughts on Mad Max: Fury Road

MadMaxFuryRoadAfter thirty years, director George Miller returns to his signature franchise with Mad Max: Fury Road.  Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) scours across the post-apocalyptic wasteland haunted by visions of his tragic past.  Max finds himself captured by the War Boys, lead by the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and is designated as a living blood bag for War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult).  Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) secretly sneaks out Joe’s five wives while leaving on a gas run.  When he finds out about this betrayal, Joe and the War Boys give chase and Max and Furiosa reluctantly team together to get to their destination of the “Green Place.”

Doc Thoughts: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

kurt_cobain_montage_of_heckThe story of Nirvana-frontman Kurt Cobain is told in his old words in Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.  Utilizing Cobain’s own art, music, journals, Super 8 films and audio montages, director Brett Morgen constructs this stylized biography of the late singer’s life.  From his early days in Aberdeen, Washington to his marriage to Courtney Love, the film reveals the human being behind the Nirvana frontman.

Theatre Thoughts: Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play

MrBurnsPostElectricIt’s time again for me to diverge a bit from film blogging and write about this new play that just opened in Toronto, which is inspired by The Simpsons.  Originally an off-Broadway production written by Anne Washburn, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play was adapted for its Toronto run by the Outside the March Theatre Company.  Running at “Toronto’s Historic Aztec Theatre” (aka Big Picture Cinemas), the play focuses on a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, who are trying to cling on to their love of The Simpsons.  Designated as a “post-electric play,” Mr. Burns is performed without the use of any on-the-grid electricity.

Indie Spotlight: 88

88A woman seeks revenge while under a fugue state in 88.  Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) finds herself in a diner with no knowledge with how she got there.  It turns out that Gwen went into a fugue state after the murder of her boyfriend and she developed an alterego named Flamingo.  The action switches between Gwen’s present and fugue states as she sets out to get revenge against her former boss Cyrus (Christopher Lloyd).

My Thoughts on Ex Machina

ExMachinaA computer programmer is assigned to test an artificial intelligent being in Ex Machina.  Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is programmer working for the world’s largest search engine Bluebook.  Caleb wins a company lottery and is flown to the isolated home of Bluebook’s CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac).  Nathan has developed an artificial intelligent robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) and he assigns Caleb to perform the “Turing test” on her to see how sentient she truly is.

Hot Docs 2015: Wrap-Up

HotDocs15

My coverage of the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has come to an end.  This was actually my fifth year attending Hot Docs, my third as media, and I have now settled into the groove of providing full coverage.  I ended up seeing and reviewing 53 films as part of this year’s festival, which is actually two higher than my count from last year.  The festival itself is only eleven days, but I typically begin watching my screeners about a month in advance.  I am happy that all of this hard work has now paid off and I can say goodbye to Hot Docs for another year.