TIFF 2013 :: Day 3 :: What To See at TIFF Today

by Shannonn Kelly
01:18AM, EST, September 07, 2013

Jason Bateman as a 40 year-old Spelling Bee contestant in his directorial debut "Bad Words"
Jason Bateman as a 40 year-old Spelling Bee contestant in his directorial debut “Bad Words”


Unexpectedly, my final film tonight was “Triptyque” (Triptych), by co-directors Robert LePage and Pedro Pires – Not originally on my Top 100 but I’ve heard so much about the play, that I decided to go see it since it was in close proximity to my previous film. The cinematography by co-director Pedro Pires was gorgeous. The story simple. The cast perfect. The overall feeling was very organic from storytelling to editing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have never seen a bad film from Quebec. I could go watch ‘Triptyque’ again right now. It was what I would call “poetically artful”.

I also saw “12 Years a Slave” – – Stunning, beautifully acted narrative of appalling historical fact… Chiwetel Ejiofor is ready for his Oscar! A **Must See**

My Picks for Day 3 at TIFF 2013 are as follows. Happy TIFF-Ing 🙂 Continue reading “TIFF 2013 :: Day 3 :: What To See at TIFF Today”

Chicago Cop Turned Actor – Dennis Farina – Dead at 69…

by Shannonn Kelly
04:45PM, EST July 22, 2013

Today I’m sad to report we have lost another wonderful character actor.

Chicago Cop turned Actor Dennis Farina... (Photo by Frederick M. Brown)
Chicago Cop turned Actor Dennis Farina… (Photo by Frederick M. Brown)

Best known for playing tough guy roles in films such as Midnight Run, Snatch, Get Shorty and as TV’s Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order, Chicago cop turned actor, Dennis Farina is dead at the age of 69.

It’s reported that Farina died in a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

I first saw Dennis Farina in a short-lived TV series I personally believe was ahead of its time called “Crime Story” (1986-1988).

Director Michael Mann, who actually left the hot Miami Vice to helm Crime Story, produced it. The premise was a young made mobster from Chicago was sent to Las Vegas to expand the Chicago mob’s casino interests.

Dennis Farina played Lieutenant Mike Torello. His antagonist in the series was Ray Luca, a mobster played by Anthony Denison. They both were obsessed with bringing each other down on the mean and dirty mobbed up streets of early 1960’s Las Vegas.

The series also brought to the front more character actors such as complexly talented yet, under-rated Hollywood work-horse Bill Smitrovich who played Torello’s right-hand Detective Danny Krychek. Stephen Lang, now every movie’s bad guy or power-mad megalomaniac, played the sensitive, nerd-hot ginger haired bespectacled attorney David Abrams. Continue reading “Chicago Cop Turned Actor – Dennis Farina – Dead at 69…”

Golden Globe® Winning – Multitalented Actor – Charles Durning – Dead at 89…

by Shannonn Kelly
10:20AM, EST December 26, 2012

Actor Charles Durning – Dead at 89…

Christmas eve angels were on double duty as another terrific character actor, Charles Durning died. He was 89 years-old.

In 2003, I worked on the set of a fairly forgettable MOW called “A Very Married Christmas” that starred Joe Mantegna, Jean Smart and Charles Durning who played a “a volunteer Santa”that helped the two lead characters get together.

I remember at one of the first evening meals, I kept watching Mr. Durning hoping he would be the wonderful person I thought he was. He did not disappoint. Warm. Genuine. Accessible. Continue reading “Golden Globe® Winning – Multitalented Actor – Charles Durning – Dead at 89…”

Review :: Indie Stage :: A Clockwork Orange :: Takes a Licking and Keeps On Ticking

by Shannonn Kelly
11:54AM EST, December 07, 2012

It’s been a strong year for independent stage productions with Fringe faves “Tinfoil Dinosaur” by Sam S. Mullins and “Gay Nerds” by JP Larocque placed firmly at the top of my list. Last night I went to the opening night performance of “A Clockwork Orange” from director Victoria Fuller, a Newfoundland lass and recent graduate of The Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland at Glasgow with MA in musical theater.

My understanding is this play was set in motion to honor the 50th Anniversary of the book, “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess novel and not the Stanley Kubrick film.

Adrian Yearwood as “Alex” screams for the “bliss and heaven” of Beethoven…

On many levels this mount of “A Clockwork Orange” worked and I would place in my Top 6 of all the plays I’ve seen this year. Staying true to the storyline, compressing it but going through all 21 chapters the way Burgess had intended.

The play opens at the Korova Milkbar, an establishment that serves milk laced with drugs in which fifteen-year-old Alex (played with physical litheness and postmodern angst by Adrian Yearwood) who talks in a teenage slang called Nadsat (part Russian, part Cockney English) and revs up his trio of teenage criminals: Pete, Georgie and Dim to roam the streets of London, robbing and beating men and raping women. The last of these crimes is particularly brutal.

Alex and his band of misguided brothers happen upon an author also named “Alex” as in F. Alexander, played with natural warmth by Jake Fisher, who is out for a stroll with his lovely supportive wife. The bad Alex takes an immediate dislike to the good Alex. The fact that the author’s name matches the team leader and that he’s written a manuscript with the metafictional title “A Clockwork Orange” somehow enrages teen-thug Alex beyond comprehension so they beat up the author and gang-rape his wife while making him watch.
Continue reading “Review :: Indie Stage :: A Clockwork Orange :: Takes a Licking and Keeps On Ticking”

Toronto FRINGE Review :: Tinfoil Dinosaur :: Funny and Wonderfully Gratifying

by Shannonn Kelly
11:43PM, EST, July 15, 2012

I want to pat myself on the back tonight for choosing to close out my Fringe Toronto 2012 experience

Sam S. Mullins and his “Tinfoil Dinosaur” – Toronto 2012 Fringe

with “Tinfoil Dinosaur” by Sam S. Mullins. I actually bought my tickets before I knew it was a Patron’s Pick. So I prefer to think of myself as the shepherd and not the one of the sheep.

Tinfoil Dinosaur is one of the sweetest, organically funny plays I’ve ever seen. It’s just a guy – a piece of tinfoil – and you, the audience.

Sam begins the play by never showing us how he does it, but with awkward wallflower body language and his back to the audience, he fashions an actual tinfoil dinosaur.

He then proceeds through a very genuine monologue about how his social anxiety and day-to-day failures made him the person he is today.

Poking fun at the foibles of modern life, Sam begins his story with a hilarious anecdote about his drama studies at the University of Victoria and a horrendous casting choice his professor bestowed upon him. Sam takes you through over a year of his new life through the eyes of a somewhat naïve young man musing about his heartbreaking yet side splitting attempts at finding a job and an apartment in a big new city. Continue reading “Toronto FRINGE Review :: Tinfoil Dinosaur :: Funny and Wonderfully Gratifying”