Author: Sean Kelly

Cinema Revisited: Stand by Me

By 1986, film adaptations of the works of Stephen King had become common practice, with some of the most notable of these films being Brian De Palma’s Carrie, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone, and John Carpenter’s Christine. For the most part, these adaptations were of the horror stories that King was most known for. That all changed when Rob Reiner directed an adaptation of King’s 1982 novella “The Body,” under the new name of Stand By Me, after the 1960 song of the same name by Ben E. King. Unlike other films based on Stephen King’s stories, Stand By Me was a period drama, focusing on four childhood friends in late-1950s Oregon. In many ways, Stand By Me is a film about looking back on a childhood that you might have taken for granted at the time. Indeed, the film starts off with the adult version of the film’s protagonist Gordie Lachance (Richard Dreyfuss) reading a newspaper article about the murder of his childhood friend Chris Chambers (River Phoenix). This results in Lachance deciding to write the story about the time he (played as a kid by Wil Wheaton), Chris, and their friends Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) and Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell) set about on a journey to locate the body of missing boy Ray Brower, the location of which was discovered by Vern’s older brother. Also in search of the body is an older gang headed by local hoodlum “Ace”...

Read More

Indie Tuesdays: Her Friend Adam

Robert (Ben Petrie) arrives to pick up his girlfriend Liv (Grace Glowicki) for a date. However, after finding out that that Liv’s friend Adam (Andrew Chown) is coming over to pick up his camera, Robert’s sudden jealously causes the night to quickly spiral out of control. Her Friend Adam is a darkly comic short film, all taking place in a single continuous scene. There are a lot of elements at play in the 16 minute running time of this film, with the most notable being Roberts insecurity and jealousy over Liv’s friend Adam, even though the latter is gay. Robert and Liv start off seeming like a relatively loving and open couple, though the seeds of jealously are sown when Robert finds out about Adam’s unexpected arrival. When eventually confronted by these feelings by Liv, Roberts revelation of his insecurities ends up turning this situation from bad to worse. There are multiple moments in Her Friend Adam that really stand out, such as a moment of Robert snooping on Liv’s cellphone, the actions of which are synchronized to music that is playing from the record player. Then there is the eventual moment when Liv absolutely loses it against Robert, particularly after he insinuates that he only views Liv for her sexuality. Liv’s reaction can get a bit uncomfortable to watch, but it is likely equally uncomfortable for Robert and an appropriate...

Read More

Review: Ghostbusters

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) are three scientists who decide to get into the business of capturing ghosts after a recent surge of paranormal activity in New York. After renting out an office above a Chinese restaurant, the team hires absent minded receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) and brings on former subway collector Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) as the team’s street smart fourth member. Armed with an arsenal of gadgets designed by Holtzmann, the Ghostbusters set out to eliminate this increasing paranormal threat. Let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room. Ever since this all-female reboot of Ghostbusters was first announced, it has been the reception of much online vitriol and sexism, which is even addressed in the film itself. While Ghostbusters does have its issues, none of them have to do with the gender of the four lead actors. In fact, this film will likely be the star-making performance for Saturday Night Live actress Kate McKinnon, who practically steals the film as the ultra-geeky Holtzmann, who spouts off jargon at a rapid fire pace and turns out to be quite proficient at busting ghosts. Another scene-stealer in the film is Chris Hemsworth as receptionist Kevin, who has incredibly good looks and not much else. Ghostbusters is indeed a full-on reboot of the original and even seems to be following a checklist of plot points to follow. Without giving away too...

Read More

Review: Our Kind of Traitor

Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are a couple vacationing in Morocco, in an effort to improve their troubled relationship. Perry is approached by a Russian man named Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), who reveals himself as the head money launderer for the Russian mafia. Dima fears that he and his family will be killed after he signs away his accounts to the new mafia head and Dima provides Perry with information to give to MI6 when he gets back to London. After checking into this intel, Agent Hector (Damian Lewis) informs Perry and Gail that Dima will only cooperate further if the couple are used as middlemen. As such, Perry and Gail head off to help facilitate an acquisition of information, in exchange for Dima and his family’s safety. Adapted from the novel by John le Carré, Our Kind of Traitor is an espionage thriller about a London couple, who are placed in the middle of a crucial exchange of information. At the centre of this exchange is Russian money launderer Dima, who is fearing for his life after the murder of his friend. Dima wants to be granted safe passage to London for himself and his family, however he must first provide usable information to MI6. Unbeknownst to Perry, Gail, and Dima, Hector is doing this information acquisition without sanction from his superiors, since he has his own personal reasons to bring...

Read More

Review: The Daughter

Christian (Paul Schneider) returns home to New South Wales after a 15 year absence to attend his father Henry’s (Geoffrey Rush) wedding to his much younger housekeeper, Anna (Anna Torv). Christian is reunited with his friend, Oliver (Ewen Leslie), the son of Henry’s old business partner, Walter (Sam Neill), and meets Oliver’s wife, Charlotte (Miranda Otto), and teenage daughter, Hedvig (Odessa Young). As the date of the wedding approaches, a dark family secret is unearthed, which could forever change the lives of those involved. The Daughter is a contemporary adaptation of the play “The Wild Duck” by Henrik Ibsen. Henry used to run the lumber mill, which has recently closed down, resulting in mass unemployment and the townsfolk moving away. One of those now unemployed is Oliver, even though he still enjoys a relatively happy existence with his wife and daughter. This is the opposite of the relationship Henry has with Christian, who resents an affair Henry had, resulting in the suicide of Christian’s mother. In fact, Christian isn’t the most happy about Henry’s upcoming wedding to Anna, who is young enough to be his daughter. Despite having an immensely talented cast, including Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neil, The Daughter eventually gets bogged down in its familial drama. By the time a major revelation is disclosed in the third act, the film has practically turned into a full-on soap opera, complete with a checklist of who...

Read More

The TFS List: so bad, they’re good films

The term “so bad, it’s good” is often used to describe films that are plagued by poor filmmaking and bad acting, but still tend to be fascinating to watch. A lot of these films go on to generate cult followings and can be seen as the very definition of guilty pleasures. Of course, calling a film good or bad is a subjective opinion and not everyone will believe that these films belong on this list. However, here are some of the most notable “so bad, it’s good” films. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) A list of “so bad, it’s good” films wouldn’t be complete without including Edward D. Wood Jr., who is widely considered to be the “worst director of all time.” Indeed, Plan 9 from Outer Space is not at all a well-constructed film, with its obviously fake flying saucers and posthumous footage of Bela Lugosi, which is supplemented by a double who looks nothing like him. However, even though his films are far from award-winning, the films of Ed Wood have gained a cult following and the director was even the subject of a 1994 biopic by Tim Burton Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) The low budget horror film Manos: The Hands of Fate is widely regarded as one of the worst films ever produced. The film began to ascend to cult status when it was featured on the...

Read More

Female Eye Film Festival 2016 Review: He Hated Pigeons

Filled with grief following the loss of his boyfriend Sebastien (Cristobal Tapia Montt), Elias (Pedro Fontaine) decides to take the cross-country road trip across Chile the two were planning to do together. Beginning in the northern deserts of Copiapo, Elias hops into his parent’s red pick-up truck and makes the journey southwards towards Santiago. Along the way, he reflects upon his memories of Sebastien while meeting up with a number of interesting individuals. He Hated Pigeons is the latest cinematic effort by Canadian indie film pioneer Ingrid Veninger. Filmed on location in Chile with first-time actor Pedro Fontaine, the film is an escapist soul-searching odyssey of sorts, as Elias tries to make some sense of this great loss in his life. Much of the film is primarily just Elias driving in his pick-up truck, interspersed with flashbacks of him and Sebastien. Probably the most unique aspect of He Hated Pigeons is that it is a film designed to be accompanied by a live score, making He Hated Pigeons a unique once-in-a-lifetime event. The film can be seen as a travel log for Chile, with there being much beautiful scenery on display. He Hated Pigeons is probably Ingrid Veninger’s most cinematic film, with there being many moments, where there isn’t any dialogue and the viewer is just left to take in this visually beautiful escapist...

Read More

Recent Tweets

Pin It on Pinterest