Saturday, 6 August 2011

MIFF 2011 Day Eleven

Another day where everything was enjoyable.

Best film of the day - Polisse. A look into the lives of a Parisian Child Protection Unit of the police. While a fictional movie, it's based on real cases. The focus is more on the police themselves as opposed to the cases. How they deal with the stress and emotions that often come up in such a role.

I was concerned that due to subject matter, the film would be quite depressing. While some of the situations/scenes were potentially upsetting, overall the film handled the subject matter quite well, with the occasional funny moment (humour being one of the ways the police used in dealing with the stress). I certainly did not leave the film feeling uplifted, but on the other hand I was not feeling sown/overwhelmed by it.

Worth mentioning - an interesting Documentary I also watched this day, PressPausePlay, that looked into the impact (both good and bad) technology is having on media (be it music/film/written word). Focus was more on music and film. Could have gone into written word a bit more.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

MIFF 2011 Day ten

(this was Sunday 31st July. At the end of the day I'd attended 40 sessions)

Due to a sore back (Greater Union has seating from the 70's) and having two films I'd picked just to fill the spots of which I was not particularly interested in, I ended up only going to one film today, resting for the rest of the day.

I also had a craving for a decent meal. Alas The rare Steak House is closed on Sundays, so I settled for a seafood & steak resturant on King St. The food was ok, but it was no Rare Steak House.

The only film I watched today was Hobo with a Shotgun. This was a fun film, not taking itself too seriously, with lots of (I beleive) intentially corny lines. While supposedly a Grindhouse film, it reminded me more of the Troma films of the eighties and similar films (such as Class of 1984/1999 - which Troma did a take on with their Class of Nuke'em High). The music reminded me at times of the music from Escape from New York. Recommend watching this film with others as it's one of those fun group films. Some of the scenes were over the top gore as often occurs with these types of films. I'd like to think Rutger Hauer had fun making this.

Monday, 1 August 2011

MIFF 2011 Day Nine

Today was a day of average sessions. Nothing fantastic, nothing horrible. Two of the sessions were taken up with shorts – Australian Shorts and Animation Shorts.

The best short that screened during the Australian Shorts session was actually an animation – The Missing Key. A very inventive short, story wise, with some nice animation.

The best short from the Animation Shorts session was Miss Remarkable and Her Career. Partly because I could associate with it as the main character reminded me of a friend and some of the issues she has been going through and partly because it was a well written subject with a bit of humour.

The worst session of the day – Play. While the main story was good and interesting both in plot and as a comment on society/human behaviour, the side stories to me seemed pointless and not particularly interesting. eg two scenes involving South American Indians. One of the scenes with them in semi traditional dress playing/busking and selling CDs. The other scene showing them, still in traditional dress sitting in MacDonald's, eating. While likely there as a social commentary, did not see the relevance/link to the main story. Each scene involving the main story would often have something involving other characters that lasted for sometimes 5-10 mins before the main chars appeared. Again felt these were pointless and detracted from the main story.

MIFF 2011 Day Eight

Overall the films today were all enjoyable so it was hard to determine a best/worst.

Worst film of the day – Kill List. Part of the nightshift section. This screened at 11:30pm. As mentioned previously this film was not bad. Thinking about the four films I saw today, I think I enjoyed the other three a bit more. As to why, I’m struggling to put my finger on it. Some parts of this film reminded me (in a good way) of dim memories of B grade British horror films relating to evil cults.

Best film of the day – Route Irish is a Ken Loach film. A conspiracy/political thriller about an ex-soldier/private contractor who finds the death of his best friend (that occurred while working as a private contractor in Iraq) suspicious and starts looking into it. The film does not shy away from touching on subjects such as “acceptable losses”, civilian casualties and the impact on those both fighting and the civilians living there. It is also not a good triumphing over evil film. The story has more of a ring of truth about it.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

MIFF 2011 Day Seven

Last night I had gone to bed at 10:30pm, the earliest night in a long time, to try and catch up on some sleep for the film festival. I’d just gotten hold of a copy of Jim Butcher’s latest Dresden Files novel – Ghost Story & thought being how tired I felt, I’d read for 10 or so mins and likely start nodding off. It got to 1:30am in the morning and I forced myself to put the book down & get some sleep.

Worst film of the day – Oki’s Movie. A group of short stories featuring the same set of characters – students and teachers studying film making. Did not find the characters or stories particularly interesting

Best film of the day – Submarine. The coming of age comedy story of a neurotic teenager set during the 80’s. While not as laugh out loud funny as The Guard I did have a smile on my face for the majority of the film.

Directed and written by Richard Ayoade, who some may recognise as the actor who plays Maurice Moss (he with the boofy hair and black rimmed glasses) in the very funny The IT Crowd.

MIFF 2011 Day Six–Tragedy Strikes!

A mostly full bottle of Red Eye has emptied itself into my bag. I noticed this while walking to get some dinner and noticed a wet patch developing on my back where my backpack was resting against it. It had soaked through the bag, my overcoat, jacket & two layers of clothing.

Inside the bag my Kindle, an out of print RPG book as well as several other items were showing off their absorptive powers. Luckily my netbook was not in my bag..

I am currently back at the apartment attempting to dry things off as I write this (in my notebook before transcribing into my blog). Have just under two hours before next screening. Will see how things dry out.

Update: did not make the screening sue to items still being damp. Eventually got things dried out. Thankfully the Kindle still works & the other items don’t appear to be too much worse for wear. The inside of my bag (after 4 days) still has the slightly sweet odour of Red Eye about it. Not sure how I’m going to go about washing it.

Only managed two films on day six – The Third Man, the British film noir considered by some (not I) to be the greatest movie thriller and Into Eternity a so-so documentary about the way Norway intends to dispose of it’s Nuclear waste & the challenges due to it being dangerous for 100,000 years.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

MIFF 2011 Day Five

At the end of day five I’d attended 21 sessions
Worst film of the day – The Stoker. I found this film slow. There were also scenes that to me there was no point to them. For example early in the film the first encounter we have to the stoker’s daughter is a scene of her naked walking around her room taking on the phone to her mother. There was no point to her being naked. There were lots of scenes of people travelling from place to place, be it by tram or walking through the snow. Once or twice would have been fine, but every time a char went somewhere several minutes of the film was of them walking. Perhaps they needed to pad out the film.
One piece of music seemed to be repeated continually, especially during the travel bits. It played quite loud & you could not hear any background noise (which could have been the point of it). There was one scene in the film which purpose seemed purely to promote the group. One character visits another, playing on a tv in the background is the band playing the same annoying piece of music. One of the characters mentions liking the band, mentioning it by name & saying they were thinking of going to their concert. The other character says they’d like to as well. There were even close up shots of the TV. This scene could also have been used to establish the friendship between the two chars, but there were enough scenes elsewhere in the film to do that & it could have been handled much better.
MIFF has several people blogging about the film festival (all people that write reviews for a living) and while most of the people that have seen The Stoker appear not to have liked it either there was one or two people that enjoyed it. That is one of the things I like about the festival. It caters to a wide and varied taste.
Best film of the day – King of Comedy. I’d never seen this film before. Jerry Lewis, Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhardt all do very good performances. De Niro and Bernhardt play the obsessed celebrity stalking fans extremely well. Being used to seeing Jerry Lewis play a goof ball, seeing him play virtually the straight man in this film shows him to be very talented.
Honourable mention to Viva Riva!, a Congolese crime thriller film. A enjoyable and interesting story interweaving the social structure and way of life into this crime story.