Saturday, July 08, 2006
Monday, August 08, 2005
So, as summary, here are the best film of the festival, voted by me (in alphabetical order), and recommended if you get the opportunity to see them.
- THE TAKE
- THE WILD BIRDS OF TELEGRAPH HILL
- DEAD MAN'S SHOES
- HAIR HIGH
- LOOK BOTH WAYS
- ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
- ABOUT LOVE
- THE AX
- DARK HORSE
- HAWAII, OSLO
Seeya next year at MIFF 2006! :-) If you'd like to get in touch, drop me a line.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Great documentary - a film about a wheelchair rugby doesn't sound like something I ought to enjoy, given my somewhat lacking excitement over sport generally, but this was really fantastic. The doco was very well put together and included a lot of personal history of the players we saw. Great editing and appropriate soundtrack kept your attention. Don't miss this if you get the chance to see it.
THE BIG SWINDLE
Well, it was a nice change to have a South Korean cop/baddie film that didn't involve the random inclusion of several non-sensical plot points in the last half that leave you wondering what the hell is going on. This was a South Korean 'Ocean's Eleven'-eqsque heist film that did pretty well. Ultimately, I felt they were chasing the hollywood look and feel a little too much and didn't quite succeed in achieving it. Watchable.
3 - IRON
Yes, another brilliant film! This was done by Kim Ki-duk, who gave us 'Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring' last year... (A film I wanted to see but which I didn't make it to). It's hard to describe this, other than to say don't miss this one if you get the chance. It reminded me a little bit of 'In the Mood For Love' in terms of pace and feel. I liked it so much, I decided not to go to my last session for the festival so that I knew I'd finish on a high. Mesmerising.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Brilliant animated feature by Bill Plympton. I think this is the first thing I've seen by him, and I really enjoyed it - it's an American High School Prom story about love, using impressive angles and distortions to represent scenes. Great way to start the second last day of MIFF
Another good 'un. Ever since seeing Laura Linney in 'You Can Count on Me', I've been hooked on her. YCCOM is one of my all-time favourite films, btw, so if you havent seen it, check it out. Topher (That 70s show guy) also put in a good performance. Anyway this story had interesting characters and while things appear to have all worked out for the main characters a little easier than they probably would in real life I found the film entertaining and definitely worth the time.
A documentary about southern folk who race stock cars on a dirt speedway. As can be expected half of them are missing teeth, one can't read, and more than a reasonable number of people have concerns with a woman driving in the competition. It's worth a watch I guess, but really, we know there's a lot of rednecks in Texas, and laughing at them only lasts so long. It was also quite similar to another MIFF film I saw last year about smash up derby racers. Wait for it on TV.
An important film that tries to give a perspective on suicide bombers. I didn't really enjoy it that much because I just can't grasp how people can have so much faith in their religions that they really believe that killing themselves and taking others with them is a way forward. This film does try to point this out as well, but all in all, it's frustrating to see how people (on both sides) are living in poverty and/or fear because of this. So, yes, this is an important film and reasonably unbiased film, which is well made and well acted, but don't expect to walk out feeling good afterwards.
A story about how an extended Argentinian family all pile into a campervan and go on a road journey to a relative's wedding. I dunno, I like Argentinian films mostly from what I've seen, but this was a little too slow-paced for me, and the characters didn't gel - I don't feel like there was enough development of who they were in order to become emotionally involved with their various highs/lows. It was quite nicely shot though. Ultimately, it felt a little like taking a long car journey - not much happened. Dan, who sat next to me claimed that this was a good film, yet he slept through half of it, so I'm unsure how he can judge...
THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX
This documentary was interesting in that it was done over a few years, and focussed on a girl in a small Texan town, who was raised by two republican christians, has taken a vow through her youth church group not to have sex until she's married, but in the meantime seems to question her religion, her parents value system, and tries to push for sex education in schools, representation of gay rights amongst youth, and is a self proclaimed democrat. I suppose 15-17 year old questioning the beliefs they were raised with is nothing particularly new, but I thought that she had a lot of guts to do what she did where she is. I also think she's a little confused (which is fair enough) and perhaps, as suggested by her competitive rival, did hunt for the limelight a bit more than issues at points. I also reckon her parents were pretty ace too - given that you could tell they had difficulties accepting that homosexuality exists, they still supported their daughter. Worth a watch if it comes on TV.
A DIRTY SHAME
I've seen some but not vast amounts of John Waters' films, and the last I did see was Serial Mom, which I thought was great and worth a repeated viewing or two. I understand that his films are puerile, but I really wasn't sure what the point of this zombie-like film was. Was it meant to introduce me to the world of fetishes out there? Was it meant to shock and offend? I don't know - probably both. Overall it had some amusing moments, but there wasn't enough substance to pull off a full length film in my opinion...
5 X 2
Hmm. How to start. Well, this film is filled with unlikeable characters/couples who treat each other quite poorly. Really, in a story about five different phases in a relationship, you'd like to think that deceit/mistrust/insensitity/etc wasn't prevalent at every phase... Or maybe that's the point - that their relationship was doomed from the start. Anyway, call me traditional or a romantic or something, but in five phases of a relationship, I'd like there to be some pure warmth and happiness and not have it laced with bad. If seeing films that show the negative of relationships is you thing, check it out. I'd have preferred a more balanced representation personally.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
A Canadian film about how a 12 year old actor comes to term with the fact that he's growing out of his star phase (at least in children's roles). Was very well acted and enjoyable.
ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM
I'd certainly recommend seeing this if it comes on TV. As a cinema release though, I'm not rating it very highly. It was a very dry documentary about how the corporation screwed the little guy and laughed their asses off doing so. There's enough documentaries out there which paint corporations badly, and I'm not sure that this one was needed - it told the story, but didn't do so in a particularly entertaining way. I don't think this is such a bad thing for a documentary, but some more entertainment would've been appreciated for a cinema experience.
PIXAR PRESENTS... ONE MAN BAND
Yeah - a real highlight of the festival. Two Pixar people came and chatted about Pixar, what goes on there, the steps involved in the creation of a short film, and showed us the film twice (the first time being the Australain Premiere). There was a Q&A, and at the end we all got a golden coin at the end too (which will make sense once you've seen the short, which is basically about two one-man-band players who are vying to win a gold coin from a little girl with their performance). Most excellent!
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
A swedish film, which I am pretty sure starred one of the actors from 'Kopps', which was a good film from miff a couple of years ago. This film was interesting in that it showed how people can jump to conclusions and not necessarily be right as they allow personal feelings to cloud their judgement. Was a fairly straightforward and not terribly long film, but was certainly worth the time of day.
A documentary which was made by two film students in the Czech Republic. They filmed a giant prank, which was to lure the general public into believing that a new 'hypermart' was opening, when it wasn't at all. They went so far as to have image consultants dress them up, hired relevant people to design logos, brochures, tv advertisements, billboards, etc. They did have an aim to the prank though, which became obvious through the film. It was interesting to see the reaction of those at the grand opening that were fooled, seeing reactions from anger to amusement. I'd like to think that I'd be one of the amused in that situation, but in reality, I'd probably be one of the bitter ones.
ANIMATION SHORTS 1
Hard to give a proper ranking on this since some shorts were better than others. Overall, worth parking in a seat for, even if it was one of the crappy ones in Greater Union... My favourites of the lot were Pinata (cute one about a donkey pinata), Appeal (slightly gross one about how a girl loses weight, while her cat gains it), His Passionate Bride (quick and sassy), Spooky Doll Kids (freaking awesome, this should be a series), The Twelve Months (nicely animated) and The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello (mind-blowingly amazing animation). Well, that's a majority of the films, so yes, a very good selection.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I fell asleep through a lot of this, but in a good way :-). I really like bands like Sigur Ros and Mum (and Bjork too), so this documentary about Icelandic music was right down my alley. I often listen to SR and Mum when I go to sleep at night, so I suspect that this music-heavy documentary might have triggered my mind into a relaxed enough state to snooze. Anyway, the parts I did see were great, so If I had to give it a score it'd be closer to 10 than to zero. There was another band in the doco called Bang Gang which sounded really good too, so I'll be trying to get a CD by them ASAP. Luckily their latest one is available locally through shock records.
DEAD MAN'S SHOES
I really liked this film, though it might not really deserve an 8/10 perhaps - maybe a 7.8/10... I think what did it for me was one of the actors, Paddy Considine, who I loved as the father in 'In America' at MIFF a couple of years ago. Anyway, this film isn't overly complex or anything - it's a tale of revenge, executed (pun intended) by the brother of mentally retarded man who was regularly picked on by the local thugs in a small UK town. Think Kill Bill, but about three hours shorter maybe. Okay, not really, but definitely worth checking out. I hope this one gets a wider release here.
I had fairly high hopes for this film after seeing 'Hawaii, Oslo', and then noticing that one of the actors (who was also Johnny Vang in the film of that name a year or two at MIFF, and which I really enjoyed) wrote and directed this one. I was a little disappointed. There wasn't anything particularly bad about the film, and it was certainly watchable, but it wasn't really my style I guess. It's about a guy who works in a gym that is dealing in steroids. He tries to do the right thing by people generally, but sometimes he needs to prioritise the needs of one ove another causing conflict. A somewhat depressing film.
WHAT ALICE FOUND
This year's MIFF seems to have an unofficial theme of being the year of the promiscuous teen. This film is a cautionary tale of why you shouldn't use your middle finger on a highway. Or, something. It was an okay, but not great tale of a girl who is a little lost and what happens when she's rescued by a couple of good samaritans who happens to be pimp/whore/husband/wife. Some of the acting was pretty awful, but it was cool to hear an American accent rarely found in film - the teenage girl was from massachusetts where they pronounce 'car' like 'kah'. (reminds me of the simpsons episode where the cook is forced to 'say chowdah!'. Missable.
LOOK BOTH WAYS
An Australian film that was better than I expected - I thought it would be all about a train wreck and how the survivors found new meaning in their lives. There was a train wreck, but it didnt directly relate to any of the main characters, all of who had their own issues to deal with. It was a nice film, set in a Sydney suburb, was well paced and different enough to recommend, with short animated sequences interspersed throughout. Ultimately while I liked it, it didn't change my life enough for me to consider it a must-see film. But, it's certainly worth a look.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
A nice set of three short romantic stories set in different asian cities, done by three different directors. I really enjoyed this one - as can be expected in a movie like this, some of the stories are better than the others. I liked the first better than the second two but the 'worst' were still most enjoyable.
This would've been a great film if Heathers, Wild Things and Jawbreaker didn't exist. As it is, it's a bit of all of these three films (and probably a couple of others too). The film is good enough though, despite covering several themes and ideas that have been done before. Special mention should be made of James Woods who did a great job in his role.
CRAZY LEGS CONTI: ZEN AND THE ART OF COMPETITIVE EATING
A documentary about a guy who decides to pursue a life as a professional competitive eater. Americans, huh? This was a great bit of fluff with plenty of amusing bits. You have to hand it to the guy though - he really is passionate about his career as a 'professional sports-person', and is quite a likable guy. To think that the world champ hotdog eater can down a hotdog every 15 seconds for 12 minutes straight is stomach turning.
MADE IN SHEFFIELD
This doco was about the sheffield scene of the late 70s/early 80s, and since walking out, I've had Human League and ABC songs in my head :-). If you weren't into the bands, this probably wouldn't be too interesting, but I have my share of Human League, ABC, Cabaret Voltaire, Heaven 17, Clock DVA, etc records, all who were covered, so I liked it. It was interesting to see the various key figures being interviewed in the 2000s - from The Extras who seemed quite embarrasingly sad, to Artery who I'd never heard of but seemed to be taking their queues from Joy Division. The guy from '2.3' was great too. I'd have liked it if they had a bit at the end telling us what they were all doing nowadays.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
I've seen a couple of great French films this festival, so this one's getting a 7 because it wasn't quite as enjoyable as The Ax or Housewarming... It's a story about a middle aged couple and their two kids, and the goings on during a summer holiday in the chateau where the father spent time in his youth. Had several amusing moments and was nice enough, but I felt the ending was a little too unbelievable given the feel of the rest of the film. Anyway, my mother wasn't Dutch, so maybe I'm just a bit too uptight about it :-).
GHIBLI: THE MIZAYAKI TEMPLE
With the name Mizayaki in the title, you'd think they'd actually be able to interview the guy. But, apparently he doesn't like being interviewed, or something... Without it, the whole thing seemed a little less worthwhile, especially as I didn't really feel like there was much story told by those that they did interview. Fine to watch if it comes on TV, but I wouldn't pay money to see it at a cinema.
Very good film - another film dealing with heroin, and similarly to Little Fish (see earlier comments about it), I liked the turns that it took and the story that was told. Nice to have uplifting moments in a film dealing with drugs and their relationship to a rock 'n roll death.
AMERICAN RULING CLASS
Firstly, wow, what a Q&A. I haven't been to (m)any Q&As at MIFF before but I really didn't think the poor guy standing up the front deserved the caning he got. Some of the people really didn't give him a fair go imho. There are some flaws in this film which tries to demonstrate a flaw in America's system, but really, I do think that if a film can try and make people think a little about their lives and their futures, it's worthwhile. Worth checking out. BTW, to that chick at the front who thought the ending was 'trite', I think that's meant to be the point - it's why it was referred to as an 'alternate ending'.
Friday, July 29, 2005
This was an Argentinian film about an unemployed man in his 50s and what happens when he is given a pedigree dog as thanks for a kindness he performs. I've decided that I really like Argentinian films as a general rule. There's something very special about the relationship this man has with the dog in this film. I think it's his lack of cynicism or bitterness as well as his accepting of others. In the film he partners with a man who is experienced with pedigree dogs, and I found that his immediate trust towards others was endearing, if not potentially foolish.
I really liked this film, though I'll admit it went over my head by the end. It's a sci-fi flick, but what made it very cool was that it didn't appear to be trying to dumb anything down for the audience's benefit. Entire conversations (sometimes even overlapping with more than two people) pass between characters discussing their invention with all kinds of jargon mumbo jumbo etc, and it adds a sense of credibility to the film. I imagine it's what happens when someone who knows little about computers hears a couple of sysadmins chatting about work. Anyway, I really liked the film, though I'll certainly need a second viewing to try and work out more. Basically it involves a machine with allows the main characters to live the same day twice, though it progresses past this. I'm sure there's someone who's figured it out, but I'll definititely try and catch it again some time. Apparently it was shot on a really low budget, but I didn't notice that affecting the quality of this film at all. Recommended for geeks :-).
A BLOODY SPEAR AT MOUNT FUJI
Great Japanese film, a little hard to follow at points but certainly worth the time and effort.
Very enjoyable French comedy about a lovely lawyer who decides to convert the upstairs apartment to join onto her existing one and what goes wrong from there. Amusing and interesting in that it suspends reality from time to time which was unusual... Great cameo at the end too from 'Mr. Bumblehead'. (I won't spoil it, but you'll know who I mean when you see it).
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS
So bad it was good. Best bit was watching Sydney get destroyed, at which point the audience cheered and applauded. Good on 'em! :-). One word summary: Craptacular!
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
A mostly enjoyable film about the relationship of a guy and a girl in Hong Kong and how it's affected when his ex-girlfriend appears. There seems to be a streak in HK films to make a great film and then in the last 15 minutes add so many twists and changes that it feels like they got a whole different team in to make a different film. Maybe this one isn't quite that bad, but this could have been a little better if they didn't try so hard to make the ending so full of extra stuff.
Disappointing. I didn't really understand the point of the documentary really - I kind of expected more than what was on offer. These South Africans get together every weekend and try and compete against each other to see who has the flashiest outfit. They have some pretty snazzy get-ups without a doubt, but I'm unsure that this constitutes enough material for a full length feature. I snoozed through this - so, either I was disappointed because I missed the good bits, or it wasn't entertaining enough to keep me awake...
Very enjoyable and funny French film about how a man attempts to resolve his unemployment situation after being made redundant and then unable to find work for two years. Quite dark humour given that his solution involves murdering those who he considers his competition in the industry. I'd recommed catching this if it's on again :)
Low budget but good attempt at a new spin on a zombie flick. I'm not a zombie nut, but this was watchable, despite pretty poor acting, dialogue, etc. Had a few laughs and some well executed gross-out moments, but overall, isn't a must see unless this kind of flick is really down your line.
This is a documentary about a very well to do young man who's lost all his memory. It wasn't boring but it didn't overly grab me as much as it might've. I guess it's hard to feel sorry for him because he doesn't seem to unhappy about the fact it's happened anymore, and the filmmaker kind of makes you think that he seems like a better guy for it than the one he was before - less sarcastic, cynical and more sensitive. Makes me wonder if someday people will do this by choice - I wouldn't mind losing some of my cynicism :-).
ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK
Relax! Calm Down! Is there a drinking game somewhere for watching HK action films that involves downing a shot every time the word 'relax' or 'calm down' appears in the subtitles? Does the Chinese language actually have multiple words/phrases for it and the subtitlers just can't express the nuances of the meaning in any other way? Anyway, I reckon this edgy HK thriller was just about a comedy it was so crap. I suspect it probably is a decent film and that the translation to english let it down... Anyway, lots of violence non-sensical plot twists and the usual from a second rate film. I wasn't impressed.
Might be a little higher than a 7.5 even on this interesting film from Norway. I really liked it a lot. Yeah, it's my blog, I'll make the rules, and I'm giving it a 7.9. (see what you can gain from reading the descriptions of these?). It was an interesting story of several lives being lived out in Oslo over a couple of days and how they intersect. I particularly liked the breaks in the films with the use of a kaleidoscope to give your mind a pause before continuing the story. Had a nice sense of humour amongst the drama with a couple of laugh out loud moments. A very good film to end today's festival adventures!
Monday, July 25, 2005
The hits keep on coming at this year's MIFF - this is a lovely documentary about a sweet natured man in San Francisco who for over five years studied and became friends with a flock of parrots. Aside from the fact that he admits it during the film, you can tell that he has a real love for these animals and you walk out feeling glad that you've found out about his story. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll stand up and cheer. Okay, well maybe not the last of those three, but his story sucks you in and the result is that you just feel a little better about the world. It won't be the most important documentary you ever see, but it will make you feel good.
DAYS AND HOURS
I walked out. I'll admit, I got into the cinema, had a choc top and then my eyelids started to droop 10 minutes into this film and I drifted in and out for the hour that I was there, so I can't fairly judge it, and won't - One of the hardest things about a subtitled film is that you can't rest your eyes and listen for a couple of minutes. If there was a story, I really didn't catch onto it. Would love to hear what others thought. Maybe I missed a gem, but I suspect not, given that I saw a couple of other people leave before I did.
On a separate note, I got a note from a gentleman named Tim Chuma today who is also doing a blog on his take of the festival - I've added a link to his site on the links column on the left there, so do check it out!
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The Take is another documentary about globalisation and the little guy standing up to The Man. Luckily, these can still be highly entertaining, and this one was certainly one of the better ones I've seen. This particular film is about how workers in Argentina are taking over deserted factories, and re-starting the businesses themselves as a co-operative. I found it interesting that most people think of activist/protesters as younger upstarts with dreadlocks or hippies, etc etc - in this case it was literally silver haired seamstresses, and other people of all ages who were trying to fight the system to give themselves employment, and trying to regain a sense of self-worth. Avi Lewis one of the film makers was present and gave a great little talk before the film started. Highly recommended.
This film is about a white ex-policeman in South Africa who, ten years after killing a black activistist, is still trying to overcome his guilt over the matter, and what happens when he goes to the village of the boy's family to try and work through the matter. I was a little unsure whether to see this film or not - it looked like it might have potential, but sometimes one can't tell. Often these can turn out to be the pearls of the festival, but in this case it was just a fair to okay experience. Don't you hate it when 30 mins into a film you guess how the plot will proceed, and then you turn out to be right? That happened to me on this one. I suppose the audio commentary from the guy sitting next to me didn't help make the experience any better either. I'd highly suggest checking out the podcast from the Film Buff's forecast from last week (not the latest one) as they discuss the film with the filmmaker and that's a lot more interesting than anything else I could say about it :-).
One thing I thought I'd mention - this was my fifth day at the festival, and I must say I am pretty happy so far with the quality of the films! I'm sure I'll catch some tragic ones yet, but really, the ratings I've been giving aren't because I'm a softie. I'll be sure to let you know what I think if this year's 'Goodbye Dragon Inn' shows up somewhere along the way...
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Frightening indeed. In a nutshell, Africans starve to death while working to feed the first world. Not an 'up' film at all. I think everyone knows the world is a bit shit, and I wonder what can be done to actually fix it. I guess if the answer were that simple, it would already be done. :-(.
Quick and nice. I'm amazed how this guy creates new art out of existing billboards without being arrested. Most interesting to me was watching the scenes where the advertising company wanted to chat to him, and to see his internal ethics working as to whether he would accept working with 'the enemy'.
ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
A quirky rating for a quirky film. I actually really liked it, so it really should be an 8/10 I guess. It had some great scenes - The only thing that kind of raises a flag in the back of my mind is that eventually quirky films like this are going to be so run on the mill that they won't be quirky anymore. Don't think we're quite there yet, so I give this one ranking amongst my favourites of the festival so far. Best bit is the creation of this into the greater public consciousness: ))<>((. Oh! and big ups for using a great Spiritualized song in the soundtrack :-)
A WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES
Yeah. So, key point of the day is that my mind begins to numb and I get tired after being in the city for 12 hours, even if only 8 of it was watching films.. This was actually quite enjoyable for the most part, centring around two thieves (mostly) protecting a naive guy with truckloads of cash from a gang of other professional thieves. It was great really until the last 20 mins or so where it seemed to go off the rails a bit (pun intended, haw). They spent a reasonable time creating a relationship between Dumbo (the naive guy) and the Wangs, but all of that is virtually forgotten at the end as the story twists into a cops vs thieves story. Admittedly I began to get a bit tired towards the end so maybe my lack of satisfaction rests on missing some subtitles...
Gunner Palace was a documentary which sounded like it had a lot of potential - the filmmaker spent a couple of months over two trips to Iraq with American soldiers after major combat was finished to see what was going on over there. Unfortunately, I walked out not really feeling like I'd seen a good representation of what it actually does feel like to be there. Instead, I saw American soldiers being very American; enjoying the swimming pool, making rude/lewd comments, writing and performing rap music throughout, and talking about how much they love 'real food' like Burger King... I suppose I was hoping to see a little more about what the Iraqis thought about the war, and their interaction with the forces there. A little disappointing.
KUNG FU HUSTLE
Anyone who liked Shaolin Soccer when they saw it at MIFF a couple of years ago (or before or after it) will pretty much be happy with this film. It's heavy on the special effects and has plenty of humour and some great fight scenes. The opening scenes promised more style to the film than it actually offered, but I thought it was great fun. I particularly liked the 'capone-era chicago-esque' feel. Definitely worth seeing if you like kung fu/action films. I'm only giving it a 7/10 rather than a higher score because it didn't really feel like it broke any new ground... I suppose one can't expect too much more than what it offers. If you are a fan, the Director/Writer/Producer/Actor (phew), Stephen Chow, will actually be at the next showing and will be doing a Q&A type thing at the festival club on Sunday July 31 at 9:15pm.
I liked this film, which showed the various ways that drugs have affected a family living in Sydney - the relationships between the different members was also interesting. And, of course, it starred Dustin Nguyen who I last saw in 21 Jump Street :-). I think I liked this film because it didn't push edges too hard - it wasn't depicting utter human waste stages of addiction, it wasn't overly soppy/emotional and didn't have particularly sensationalised over-dramatisations, which would probably be easy in a film like this. Of particular note though, was the description of Vancouver by Jonny, which I found a little ironic - in the film, he describes Vancouver as a city where people work or sleep, and that they don't get much sleep. (or something along those lines). Having lived in Vancouver, Melbourne and Sydney, I don't believe this to be true - Vancouver's the closest city to Melbourne that I've been to. Sydney on the other hand *is* a city where careers seem to be the 'guiding light' and quality of life outside one's career is generally more lacking. Again, my opinion, which I'd say is worth about this much in the greater scheme of things; --> <--
On another note, the Film Buff's Forecast folks plugged this blog on their weekly mail out, so cheers to them! They'll be doing their radio show live from the festival club on Sat 23 July from noon till 2pm.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I was really looking forward to this one - unfortunately it started about 15 minutes late, and I ended up having to leave before it finished, so I don't feel that it's fair to give it a score. I've been told that the last 20 mins or so of the film does tie up a lot of what's been going on which is good to hear ;-). The first chunk was very nicely shot and I did enjoy its lazy pace, but after over an hour of watching a woman who was obviously very much still in mourning for her missing (presumed dead?) sister wander somewhat aimlessly through her existence, I did begin to yawn a bit. Given I didn't see it all, I can't suggest whether it's worth going to the cinema for if it gets a local release, but I'd certainly recommend it as a DVD rental.
I really liked this one and I suspect it will eventuate into one of my faves of the festival. Shot in Black and White, it has a great sense of humour with some laugh out loud moments during the first 'chapters' of the film (of which there are 12). It did tend to drag towards the end, but redeemed itself by the closing credits. Highly recommended!
A french film starring Juliette Binoche is difficult for me to pass up. This was a soft thriller/stalker/drama, and I doubt that you'll see a 'No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of this Picture' line in the credits... Was certainly watchable, and had a cryptic enough ending that had everyone looking at each other when it was over to see if they missed something or not. (Well at least our group did that anyway). Would be interested to hear what others thought though. I never claimed to be a brainiac when it comes to cinema, so subtleties go over my head on many an occasion :-). It certainly wasn't an awful film by any stretch, but it didn't really give me enough satisfaction to say it was anything better than okay to good.
If you've seen any of the above films, please feel free to add your thoughts or comments. Or, if you've seen something else or have other comments, that you'd like to contribute to me, please feel free to get in touch by emailing me.
I liked this film - it had some humour to it, but also had some quite dark tones and violent scenes that I didn't really expect. It's an interesting Danish film about two brothers who lead very different lives, and how after a particular event, they begin to switch roles. Makes you question how much a 'good' or 'evil' person is decided on the circumstances you're dealt.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Some other random musings/tips I've thought about as I picked films this year, which others may find handy (or not) - these are my opinions based on what I like in a film. So, keep in mind that other people's tastes may very easily be different to mine;
- If it's showing at ACMI, the 'film' quality is quite possibly not going to be great - last year they showed a lot of movies shot with video rather than film. I tend to treat anything at ACMI with a bit of apprehension.
- If you can see something at the Capitol Theatre, choose it over any other. Even if the film sucks you can still check out the ceiling which is absolutely amazing. My brain begins to melt every time I look at it and try and imagine how anyone sat down to design it in a pre-computer era...
- If the film is from South Korea, it's likely to be amazingly good, or incredibly bad. How to tell a bad one? Well, if the description of the plot doesn't seem to make sense, it's possible that it's actually and accurate description of a film that doesn't make sense... Be warned!
- If the film is scandanavian and sounds like it might be humourous, (even if it's with a dark edge) it will probably be good.
- If the words "experimental" "dreamlike" "surreal" etc are used, be warned you may be watching a super 8 film that is less interesting than the part of the credits of Lord of the Rings - extended edition where they thank all the members of the Lord of the Rings fan club.... One film this year is described as having an "evocative, dreamlike visual code"... and that it "traces the physical and metaphysical journeys that Louis must undertake in his existential quest". I'm sure this stuff is great to a fan, but I'm going to be running in the opposite direction.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I've decided to start this blog as a temporary site during the Melbourne International Film Festival (2005). I've been going to the film festival for a few years now, and this will be the fourth year in a row that I've taken time off work and bought a 'festival passport', which grants me access to every session over the 2.5 weeks... This is also the first time I've done a blog. I'm not sure I get why most people blog, but I am doing this one as I know a lot of people will ask me what I'm seeing, what I thought of the films, etc etc. We'll see how it goes from here I guess :-).