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7.2 We Are Little Zombies (2019) 2h | Drama | 14 June 2019 (Japan) Director: Makoto NagahisaWriters: Makoto NagahisaStars: Masaaki Akahori, Chai, Eriko Hatsune Summary: Four Japanese orphans form a rock band. Countries: JapanLanguages: Japanese Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. Four newly orphaned kids go on to become pop music sensations in We Are Little Zombies. Hikari, Ikuko, Ishi and Takemura are four 13-year-old children, whose parents have all recently died under different circumstances, ranging from a car crash to murder. Meeting at the crematorium, the four decide to band together and go on an adventure, not unlike Hikari’s favourite video game. The journey peaks when the four decides to form a pop group called “Little Zombies!,” and end up becoming a viral sensation. We Are Little Zombies is a dramedy from first-time Japanese filmmaker Makoto Nagahisa, which tackles themes of grief using a surreal video game aesthetic and catchy sing-a-long musical numbers. The plot of the film tells the tragic backstory of each of the four protagonists, before moving forward of the narrative of them becoming an overnight pop music sensation. Through it all, these kids struggle with being “zombies” and unable to express any emotions after the death of their parents. We Are Little Zombies has a similar feel to Wes Anderson film, with the added element of an 8-bit video game aesthetic, complete with a chip-tuned score. While the video game references are enjoyable and the musical numbers are catchy, We Are Little Zombies does run a little too long, with a somewhat weird and confusing third act. However, We Are Little Zombies is still a film I would recommend checking out. The post Reel Asian 2019: We Are Little Zombies appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more
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8.6 The Irishman (2019) 3h 29min | Biography, Crime, Drama | 27 November 2019 (USA) Director: Martin ScorseseWriters: Charles Brandt, Steven ZaillianStars: Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Al Pacino Summary: A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. Countries: USALanguages: English Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. The true story of mob hitman Frank Sheeran is told in The Irishman. Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is a World War II veteran, who worked as a driver of meat delivery trucks in 1950s Pennsylvania. This leads to Frank doing odd jobs for the mob and striking up a friendship with local crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). It isn’t long before Frank becomes a trusted hitman and is introduced by Bafalino to Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the president of the Teamsters union, who gives loans to the mob from the union’s pension fund. Over the years, Frank finds his loyalties increasingly divided between Bufalino and Hoffa and one day he has to make a dire decision. The Irishman is a true-crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese adapted from the 2004 book “I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa” by Charles Brandt. The film tackles the events leading up to the still-unsolved 1975 disappearance of infamous union leader Jimmy Hoffa. The theory given in both the book and film is that Frank Sheeran had a major part to play in the disappearance, which he reportedly confessed to Charles Brandt prior to his death. With a story that spans from the 1950s to the early 2000s, The Irishman utilizes digital technology to de-age stars Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, so they look younger or older, depending on when the story is taking place. The results are actually quite impressive, with there being no real uncanny valley effects, unless you are specifically looking for them. Like many true-crime films, it is hard to go into the film without having some idea how the story is going to turn out, particularly in regards to the fate of Jimmy Hoffa. It seems that Martin Scorsese was quite aware of this and opted to make The Irishman into a de facto mob history lesson, with every new gangster in the film being introduced with a title stating when and how they died, reinforcing that violent death is a common outcome for those in this lifestyle. At 3h 29m, The Irishman is the longest film Martin Scorsese has released, however, I never really felt the length. Part of this comes on the strength of the performances, where Scorsese reunites with past collaborators such as Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel, while the film also being the first time Martin Scorsese got to work with Al Pacino. Probably the most surprising performance in the film is Joe Pesci, making a return after nine years of retirement, giving a very nuanced performance as Russell Bufalino, which is the complete opposite of his Oscar-winning turn as the psychotic Tommy DeVito in 1990’s Goodfellas. If there is a criticism I have to make in regards to the casting, it’s the decision to cast Anna Paquin as the adult version of Frank’s daughter Peggy, yet she only ends up having one line of dialogue. While part of this can be attributed to the fact that Peggy increasingly comes to despise Frank and his lifestyle, evidenced by the many scowls Paquin gives, I’m still left to wonder if she had dialogue that was left on the cutting room floor. In fact, The Irishman gives the short shift to female characters as a whole, with the only other central female characters being the leads wives and daughters. Altogether, I will say that The Irishman is a fine return to gangster films for Martin Scorsese, with the digital technology assisting greatly in telling this epic multi-decade story. The Irishman is now playing TIFF Bell Lightbox showtimes Netflix (streaming November 27) The post Review: The Irishman appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more
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7.6 Doctor Sleep (2019) 2h 31min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 8 November 2019 (USA) Director: Mike FlanaganWriters: Stephen King, Mike FlanaganStars: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran Summary: Years following the events of "The Shining," a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as he tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal. Countries: USA, UKLanguages: English Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. The Shining receives a follow-up four decades later in Doctor Sleep. Traumatized by his childhood experience at the Overlook Hotel, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has become an alcoholic drifter still haunted by the ghosts of his past. However, Dan begins to rebuild his life when he settles into a small town and joins AA with his new friend Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) as his sponsor. Despite suppressing his “shining” ability, Dan begins a psychic penpal friendship with Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), who sports extremely powerful shining abilities. Abra’s powers attract the attention of a supernatural cult called True Knot lead by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who feeds on children gifted with The Shining. Mike Flanagan (Oculus, The Haunting of Hill House) writes and directs this adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 sequel novel to The Shining. Flanagan made the creative decision of making this film adaptation of Doctor Sleep a direct follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining, even though Stephen King has long expressed his dislike for Kubrick’s interpretation of the story. The story kicks off shortly after the events of the original, where a young Danny (Roger Dale Floyd) is still haunted by the ghosts of the Overlook and his guided by the spirit of Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly) to lock away these spirits in his mind. Many years later an adult Dan begins to rebuild his life and gets an orderly position at a hospice run by Dr. John (Bruce Greenwood), where Dan learns to lose his shining abilities to calm the dying, gaining the nickname “Doctor Sleep.” Apparently Stephen King was inspired to write the original novel for Doctor Sleep when he kept getting questions about what happened to Danny and the traumatic effects he experienced as a child. However, it’s also clear that Stephen King didn’t want to do a simple rehash either, with the story of Doctor Sleep introducing other people with “shining” abilities, who are preyed upon by the True Knot, in order to gain long life. When Dan’s new friend Abra finds herself made the next target of the True Knot, he has to confront the literal ghosts of his past to save her. While a decent enough film in its own right, Doctor Sleep finds itself heavily weighed down by the fact that it is a follow-up to The Shining, being released nearly four decades after Stanley Kubrick’s original. Mike Flanagan definitely wanted to pay homage to Kubrick’s film, painstakingly recreating The Overlook for the film’s climax. However, these sequences come off as little more than fan services, marred by the decision to cast Henry Thomas and Alex Essoe as Jack and Wendy Torrence in flashbacks, rather than using footage from Kubrick’s film. That said, Carl Lumbly does an excellent job at mimicking Scatman Crothers for his brief appearance in the film as Dan’s mentor Dick Hallorann. I would argue that Doctor Sleep would have worked better if the story wasn’t a follow-up to The Shining. Probably the best element of the film is Rebecca Ferguson’s scenery-chewing performance as the antagonist Rose the Hat, which includes her partaking in one of the more horrifying moments in recent Stephen King adaptations, even beating out some of the sequences in IT. Altogether, I would say that I would give Doctor Sleep a minor recommendation, even if we never really needed to return to the world of The Shining in the first place. Doctor Sleep is now playing Cineplex ShowtimesThe post Review: Doctor Sleep appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more
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6.6 Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) 2h 8min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 1 November 2019 (USA) Director: Tim MillerWriters: James Cameron, Charles H. EgleeStars: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis Summary: Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future. Countries: USA, Spain, HungaryLanguages: English, Spanish Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. Sarah Connor returns in Terminator: Dark Fate. Even though she helped stop Judgement Day and the rise of Skynet, the life of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is struck by tragedy when one many T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Terminators sent back finds and kills her son John. More than two decades later, a new threat emerges in the form of the advanced Terminator Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), which has the power to separate itself from its Endoskeleton to become two distinct Terminators. The Rev-9 targets Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), who plays an important role in the new dark future. A cybernetically enhanced super-soldier named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is sent back to protect Dani and the two join up with Sarah Connor to try and stop the Rev-9. While technically the sixth film in the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate is a soft reboot that sees original director James Cameron return to produce a new sequel directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool) that ignores all the films that came out in the 28 years since Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The film brings back original star Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, who is now a Terminator hunting vigilante. She is joined by Grace, a soldier from the future with robotic implants, and Dani, who is the target of the latest Terminator. The group is eventually joined by an aged T-800, who has named himself Carl, to try and defeat the hard to kill Rev-9. After the somewhat failed attempt at a reboot that was 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, James Cameron returns to the franchise he created in order to try and develop the definitive follow-up to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, completely ignoring the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator: Salvation. In this rebooted timeline, the rise of Skynet was indeed stopped, however, humanity still finds itself destined to a dark future ruled by a killer A.I. known as Legion, which also happens to have constructed Terminators to eliminate humanity. It can be argued that most of the antagonists since Terminator 2 have been some sort of remix of the liquid metal shape-shifting of the T-1000. Gabriel Luna’s character of the Terminator Rev-9 is no exception to this, even though this Terminator has the added ability to be able to separate itself from its Endoskeleton, essentially becoming two foes at once. While it can probably be said that Terminator: Dark Fate is the best film in the franchise since Terminator 2, it is also a sequel that is completely unnecessary. While it’s cool to see Arnold Schwarzenegger play The Terminator one last time, he really isn’t a factor in the plot until the third act, despite the fact that Schwarzenegger gets top billing in the film along with Linda Hamilton. Even though, Terminator: Dark Fate is an enjoyable ride, perhaps it is time to finally put this 35-year-old franchise to rest. Terminator: Dark Fate is now playing Cineplex ShowtimesThe post Review: Terminator: Dark Fate appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more
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Sean Kelly on Movies by Sean Kelly - 2w ago
My eleventh year of attending the Toronto After Dark Film Festival has come to a close. This turned out to be a bit more of a hectic year ..read more
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Here are my thoughts on the films that played as part of the Canadian Shorts After Dark showcase. Alaska (Chris Wilson, Brianna ..read more
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Here are my thoughts on the films that played as part of the International Shorts After Dark showcase. Bar Fight (Benjamin R. Moody, 4: ..read more
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7.1 The Wretched (2019) 1h 35min | Horror | 19 July 2019 (Canada) Director: Brett Pierce, Drew T. PierceWriters: Brett Pierce, Drew T. PierceStars: John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Jamison Jones Summary: A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parent's imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door. Countries: USALanguages: English Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. This review was originally published as part of my coverage of Fantasia 2019 A teenage boy begins to suspect that his neighbour has been replaced by a forest-dwelling witch in The Wretched. 17-year-old Ben (John-Paul Howard) travels to stay with his father Liam (Jamison Jones) for the summer, during which he takes a job at the local marina, where he meets Mallory (Piper Curda). Meanwhile, Liam’s neighbour Abbie (Zarah Mahler) and her son Dillon (Blane Crockarell) get lost in the woods near their house and attract the attention of The Wretch (Madelynn Stuenkel), a cannibalistic witch born from the roots of trees. Later on, Ben begins to notice Abbie acting strangely and begins to suspect that something’s not right at his neighbour’s house. The Wretched is a supernatural horror film from writer-director Brett & Drew Pierce (Deadheads). The film begins with Ben travelling to the community of Porter Bay to visit his father, who is separated from Ben’s mother and now dating a woman named Sara (Azie Tesfai). Ben begins to get concerned when he sees his neighbour’s son Dillon acting very frightened and his mother Abbie acting all strangely. When Dillon suddenly disappears without a trace, Ben begins to suspect that Abbie may have been taken over by a witch. The Wretched is a film that I would describe as a “witchy Fright Night,” with a little Rear Window thrown in. While there is a clear effort made by the Pierce Brothers to create an atmospheric and scary horror film, the film does suffer in the early going by featuring “teen movie hijinks” that ultimately have no bearing on the plot as a whole. That said, the film does have some impressive make-up effects and isn’t afraid to show that this is a witch that likes to eat children. Overall, I have The Wretched a mild recommendation. The post TADFF19: The Wretched appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more
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7.1 Come to Daddy (2019) 1h 33min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller | 25 April 2019 (USA) Director: Ant TimpsonWriters: Toby Harvard, Ant TimpsonStars: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan Summary: A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father. Countries: Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, USALanguages: English Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. This review was originally published as part of my coverage of Fantasia 2019 A young man has an awkward reunion with his estranged father in Come to Daddy. Norval (Elijah Wood) travels to the middle of nowhere to reunite with his long-estranged father (Stephen McHattie), from whom he has received a letter asking for help. However, things quickly fall off the rails between Norval and his father, the latter of whom is a somewhat crazed alcoholic. However, this reunion between Norval and his father is about to get weirder. Come to Daddy is the directorial debut for longtime genre film producer Ant Timpson (Housebound, Turbo Kid, Deathgasm). Dedicated to the memory of Timpson’s father, Come to Daddy begins a dark comedy about a young man trying to reconnect with his father. However, things take a progressively darker turn in the second half of the film, though any exact details would be a major spoiler. I will say that Come to Daddy amps up the violence to a level that may be a turn off for those digging the more subtle nature of the first half of the film. Also, the less said about Elijah Wood’s horrible haircut in this film, the better. Altogether, Come to Daddy is a solid directorial debut for Ant Timpson, even if the sudden tonal shift is a bit too much. The post TADFF19: Come to Daddy appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more
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Sean Kelly on Movies by Sean Kelly - 2w ago
?.? Enhanced  Action Director: James MarkWriters: James Mark, Matthew NaymanStars: George Tchortov, Alanna Bale, Adrian Holmes Summary: New sci-fi in the vein if X-men. Enhanced mutants go on the run from the government after being declared illegal. Countries: CanadaLanguages: English Source: imdb.comDisclaimer: This plugin has been coded to automatically quote data from imdb.com. Not available for any other purpose. All showing data have a link to imdb.com. The user is responsible for any other use or change codes. A group of humans with superhuman abilities are hunted down by the Government organization that created them in Enhanced. Captain George Sheppard (George Tchortov) is the leader of a team tasked with apprehending a group of bioengineered killers, who have escaped from the facility where they were created. One of these individuals is Anna (Alanna Bale), a mechanic who goes on the run after she uses her powers to kill a group of gangsters. However, George isn’t the only one pursuing Anna, as she is also targeted by David (Chris Mark), the lone “Alpha” subject of the group. Enhanced is a sci-fi/action film from director James Mark, which is a very loose follow-up to his 2017 debut Kill Order, aka Mezza. The film takes place in a universe, where a group of superhuman beings have been created by a company called SciSay, who are conditioned to kill and deceive. However, when George Sheppard encounters Anna, he begins to realize that not all these subjects are mindless killers. In addition, both George and Anna learn that the powers are sourced from David, who wants to reabsorb them into his body at all costs. I would describe the story of Enhanced as a mash-up of X-Men and The Terminator, with a dash of “there can only be one” plotline of Highlander and the glowing blue eyes of Dune. While Enhanced takes place in the same universe as Kill Order, which also features the character of David, this is ultimately a standalone story that actually ends up being a quite solid action film. It helps that nearly everyone involved, including director James Mark, has a background in stunt work, which results in making Enhanced a film worth checking out. The post TADFF19: Enhanced appeared first on Sean Kelly on Movies. ..read more

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