Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Final NZFF Round-Up

Here's the last batch of films I saw last week...

Paper Soldier - Anyone expecting cool retro space travel stuff from this look at the Soviet's role in the '60s Space Race would've been disappointed, possibly like I was. I wanted geekier stuff, maybe training sequences or something, or at least some sense of wonder in watching astronauts prepare for a trip to the moon. But instead it left me cold (possibly intentionally so?). Plodding, dramatically uninvolving viewing, but some nice widescreen lensing of the dreary Kazakhstan locations kept me watching.

Dogtooth - Greek flick caused many to flee from the cinema with its creepy, morbidly comic story of children who've grown up completely shut away from society by their parents. Goes to places that few films would dare. Brilliantly shot, edited and acted. Utterly demented. The real surprise of the fest, the kind of movie you walk in expecting nothing and walk out totally blown away.

Spies - I wished I was more awake* through Fritz Lang's 1928 silent classic (it's often considered "the granddaddy of all spy films") because what I saw of it was thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. Neil Brand was on hand to provide the live piano soundtrack and he was amazing; as great as the film was, I found myself veering away from the screen just to watch this virtuoso play (which he did non-stop for nearly 3 hours). There was also another guy on the side of the stage doing a voice-over translation of all the intertitles, a bit of a clumsy move I think - the monotone heavily-Kiwi-accented reading made things seem hokier than it ought to be. Ideally, they should have got someone with a European (German!) accent to do it!

[*I should add that I've been nodding off through a lot of these films mainly due to exhaustion]

Love Exposure - Totally wild Japanese film was FOUR HOURS LONG, but not a dull moment. Somehow combines Catholic guilt and upskirt pornography into a funny, moving, original, just simply entertaining movie unlike any other. Hopefully Madman or someone will pick this up for a DVD release. Surprise of the fest #2. Here's the trailer:

Antichrist - Ok, this was the one I - hell, most of everyone I know - was waiting for all fest long. Lars von Trier's arthouse shocker probably equally spooked and amused a lot of people (apparently a woman ran out, visibly disturbed, from the SkyCity Theatre screening I attended, while at the Civic screening the following night, a man let out an angry rant outside the theatre lobby). I'm still not quite sure to make of it except that I admire the hell out of him for making it even though it didn't always work for me. Charlotte Gainsbourg was incredible in a psycho-batshit grieving-mother performance that forces her do some pretty heinous things - both to herself and hubbie Willem Dafoe - which I shall not divulge here. The end shot has really stayed with me.

Unmade Beds - Gahhh. Boring, undistinguished New Wavey indie navel-gazing was a bit of a snoozer to the end the fest on. Director Alexis Santos did a Q&A after, and his reedy, nervous/jittery, disheveled appearance was quite hilarious.

Anyway, that's it for another year. Click here to see some Top 5 picks!

No comments:

Post a Comment