26. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day Eight Review

Last day of BIFF ends with a bang, but not really.

Pina (3D):
An interesting exploration of the highly esteemed choreographer with the same name, but a difficult film to judge for those unbeknownst to her work. It is somewhat difficult to enjoy as well despite some mighty impressive 3D effects and choreography.


The Yellow Sea:
Hilarious, exhilarating and long are words I would use to describe this epic South-Korean mafia film.

25. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day Seven

Just one more day to go now. The best for last I guess.

Buck:
A very touching and personal documentary on dealing with the difficulties of life told through horse-training.


Tabloid:
Funniest documentary seen this year with a truly fascinating story.


Beats Rhymes and Life:
Great documentary on the very influential Jazz-Hop group A Tribe Called quest on how they started and ended.

BIFF 2011: Day Six

No one is paying me to type these reviews and so here's a sentence each and some scores. Enjoy.

A Separation:
A complex drama with some neat moral dilemmas.


Thunder Soul:
Good documentary on the story of a legendary high school funk band and its reunion.


Inni:
Fantastically shot live concert of Sigur Ros and some telling clips of the band's identity.


23. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day Five

Cinema Komunisto, (Turajlic):
A historical documentary that offers some interesting insights on the former Yugoslavian president Tito's fascination with cinema/films and how that affected the country's culture and overall policy. Tito invested billions upon billions into the Yugoslavian film industry to use it as propaganda and art (sort of). And the movies he influenced the most appear to be absolutely hilarious in hindsight.
Much like what you can see from North-Korea: praise of the leader, bashing of the 'enemy' and naive world-views are cheaply implemented into the films in a way that is just amusing and offers a ton of laughs throughout this film. For the most part it's an interesting documentary that offers a lot to those who take an interest in eastern-european culture and a little something for everyone else.


Alps, (Lanthimos):
Alps is the latest film of Dogtooth-director Giorgos Lanthimos, a fact that is very much apparent throughout the film. From the familiar face of the main character (who played the older sister in the ever so brilliant Dogtooth) to the imitative dialogue between the characters that generates some awkward laughs.
Alps features the absurd human interaction much in the same vein as Dogtooth, though it feels more as if the characters of that film grew up and became somewhat less insane. And just as with that movie this one is on a completely different planet, the plot just as absurd. Although not as instantly revealing of its genious as Dogtooth, this film is almost just as rewarding in a slow and effortless way.


Life In A Day, (Macdonald)
A most ambitious documentary starring about a hundred different people from different countries with glimpses of their daily lives all shot within one day. Life In A Day is an extremely fun documentary that plays like a continuous Youtube-video that offers some very inspirational and exceptional footage.
The footage is all very professionaly done. Even though the quality of the footage is differing at times it's mostly very watchable. Although the film tends to get overly ambitious there's a sense of consistency throughout.

22. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day Four

My fourth day at BIFF was terrible but at the same time pretty neat. The first movie of the day that I had intended to see (Womb) was just terrible. It's about these two kids that are sort of in love and have a special bond, that one day are separated. A few laters they reunite and the guy has an ugly girlfriend and he's suddenly an activist against some sort of shady biological institute that clones people or whatever (What area of the body do they pull this stuff out from?). So then they (the boy and girl) drive to one of these protests but then the woman suddenly decides she has to pee…and she gets out of the car. While she's peeing, the guy is hit by a car and dies or whatever. So then the woman decides that the only reasonable thing to do is to clone him and give birth to him so that they could be together again. You can't make this stuff up, yet they did... I'd probably do the same, which is something I thought about after I had left about 20 minutes in and went home to type bad things about the film on the internet.

I then went back later in the day to see a movie that had replaced another one (Alps replaced the shitty excuse to see Emily Browning nude (Sleeping Beauty)) which I was then informed was being replaced by yet another film (Meek's Cutoff) which looked like the most boring movie since The American, so I wasn't having none of that. So I left looking like I had come only to see Emily Browning's breasts; leaving disappointed over the fact that there was to be none of that, which I really wasn't.

I then went back for A Matter Of Taste; the only film I saw today. And it was just great. The main character of the documentary as well as the director showed up and took shitloads of questions from the audience which was awesome because the main character is a fucking cool guy and the director really knew her stuff.

A Matter of Taste, (Rowe):
This movie reminded me of why I go to this festival. Which is to see well-edited, smart, original and interesting movies. It also has the laughs, which are always good to have. A Matter of Taste is a documentary on the 3-star chef Paul Liebrandt's struggle to find an output for his artistry as a chef and how important it is to have artistic freedom.
What really sells the movie is Liebrandt's personality and passion for the food he's making, which looks and is cutting edge. So even if you don't give two shits about paying 200$ for 5 ounces of food, the documentary really is accessible, fun and interesting. It might even make you interested in the culinary arts.

21. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day Three

Confessions, (Nakashima):
Confessions is a movie about child-killing. And if anything it's proof that schoolchildren are fucking assholes. In any case, this film is scary and weird as shit and if the internet had taught us nothing about Japan I would be shocked. Confessions is about how a teacher's daughter is murdered by two of her students. It's a very intruiging concept that succeeds somewhat in mindfucking the audience.
Nummerert liste
One of the flaws is something I'd never thought I'd notice in an Asian film but I'd say the acting was a bit stiff at times (this is a joke on how asians all look the same and how asian actors are terrible. Now you ruined the joke). The narrative structure of the film could also have used some fine-tuning towards the second half when things stop making sense (or maybe I just fell a sleep for a few minutes, probably not though). Overall Confessions is a very entertaining film with lots of sick humor and shocking twists that should keep the audience interested even when the movie moves into some absurd territory.


Sing Your Song, (Rostock):
This is another one of those inspire-to-change documentaries. And there's nothing wrong with that because this movie actually plays on some interesting historical aspects of african american history. There's also a bunch of famous people talking about saving Darfur or some shit.
Anyways, this movie is quite decent and probably has a lot of unknown facts to people living outside the US. Even if you know all that shit, it doesn't hurt to jog your memory as it's still pretty relevant. There are maybe too many history lessons and not enough cinematic shit to make this a really great film, but it's an interesting documentary probably worth a watch. I mean if you have HBO or something you could or should probably watch it if it's on. I'd watch it.


Don't Be Afraid/No Tengas Miedo, (Armendáriz)
Probably the most uncomfortable movie I've seen since I saw Hannah Montana surrounded by 12-year-olds. Technically, that didnt actually happen but I imagine it would be pretty uncomfortable for everyone involved.
The reason why this film is so uncomfortable to watch might have something to do with that this movie is about child-molestation, which is a serious subject no doubt. And this movie does an admirable job of dealing with that subject, because it gives you a shocking look of how victims are affected long after the abuse has ended. Don't Be Afraid is all fictional of course, but it feels very close to reality.


A Declaration of War:
A pretty decent film on parenting and such.

20. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day two

Beginners, (Mills):
Nearly perfect from beginning to end, Beginners is simply one of the best films released this year. Ewan McGregor is flawless in his role as the son who's trying to deal with his father's looming death, homosexuality and relationship with his deceased mother.
He also finds a love of his own that gives us some of the best on-screen chemistry seen in a while with Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds). Beginners is a complex drama with lots of heartfelt humor and emotion that manages to completely draw you into a different world for 105 minutes. It's really the dog that sells the movie though.


How To Die In Oregon, (Richardson):
This film takes on the difficult subject of doctor-assisted suicide with varied results. Like Armadillo on the Iraq war (or some other country filled with brown people) this movie feels more like a study of its subject made to provoke debates, rather than something that makes a real impact and sticks with you. There's really just too much of "this is how it is" filmmaking.
It's an important film no doubt, but not for reasons other than the theme it brings up. It is a touching documentary at times and it does feature some very interesting people, making it worth a watch.


The Interrupters, (James):
The Interrupters is a very good documentary on dealing with street-violence featuring some fascinating characters and stories. Although it might not be life-altering or something like that, it carries some neat life lessons.
It's certainly a very interesting and not to mention important documentary that shows us that street crime is a lot more complex and really a lot easier to deal with than it appears on the surface. It takes a little while to build up but it ultimately ends up being a very rewarding film.

19. okt. 2011

BIFF 2011: Day One

Festivals are neato. You get to watch some good movies and a lot of shitty ones.
Here I'll write about what movies fall into those two categories of which I have been seeing at this years festival in what I call "mini-reviews" © (original material do not steal).


Neds, (Mullan):
This film was a major disappointment. Mostly because of its awful directing. Half the time I didn't know wether to laugh or cringe. Without the dramatic music this could easily have worked as a hilarious satire on 'chavs', or the nicer term 'neds', but it seems the director tried (can't emphasize that enough) to make a serious drama.
Neds does have some nice moments but they are lost in this directionless, shallow mess. If I had to rank this movie of how much I enjoyed it I'd put it two steps behind the rainshower of hale and pure shit that came when I left the theater. The main characters face as a child is also so punchable that I doubt you will find a more punchable face since that smug kid from Love Actually.



Carnage, (Polanski):
Roman Polanski's sudden foray into the dramedy genre is a mostly successful one due to its talented cast and some great dialogue. Carnage is a frequently hilarious film absolutely worth checking out thanks to solid direction and Christoph Waltz' interation with John C. Reilly. However the drama isn't rewarding enough to put this among Polanski's more notable films (like last years Ghost Writer). Carnage only clocks in at 80 minutes so here's hoping for another Polanski film next year too.
The movie is also shot almost entirely in an apartment. Although I have no source on this it was probably filmed in Roman Polanski's apartment due to him being a pedophile (true story) on house arrest. There were no children in this movie.



Drive, (Refn):
Without a doubt the best movie I saw today. Even the couple of trolls who were murdering their popcorn with their hideous fangs couldn't tear me away from the screen as Ryan Gosling went further and further into the realm of good-guy badassery.
If Crazy, Stupid, Love wasn't proof enough, Drive will certainly convince people that Ryan Gosling is the coolest motherfucker to grace the screen since George Clooney. And we certainly needed that after Clooney's choice to star in The American: a film so awful that even M. Night Shyamalan cringed. In the end though, despite some shittily executed romance plot at the start of the movie (interestingly enough the same shit that ruined Wall Street 2 involving the same actress), Drive is breathtaking.


PS: The author of this post may tend to overuse the word "shit" including variations of said word such as"shitty", "shittily", "shit-tastic", "shitfuckery" and "tits".