02 November 2010

Dispatches from the International Film Fest

I know, it's long overdue, and these movies deserve more than a brief mention, but hey, I'm busy. And I went to a lot of movies. So, in brief:

Love Translated
A fantastic and extremely entertaining documentary about men who use an internet service to find wives in the Ukraine. The service sends them on a group field trip where they get to meet women (and judge a local pageant), and the film chronicles the adventure from both sides. It's really, really interesting, and quite well done. Definitely watch it if you get the chance.

Red Hill
Meh. An Australian Western that wants to be No Country for Old Men, but kinda drags.

Cold Weather
Indie flick about a guy and his sister who find themselves involved in a mystery when the guy's girlfriend disappears. It's fairly standard Generation Q type stuff, though better than usual. It was a little on the slow side, but I liked it a lot more than most movies of this kind, because it didn't have quite the rampant self-indulgence and angst that these things tend to. The director wants it to be a Portland movie, but honestly, there wasn't much Portland in it to me, aside from a scene at the Montage. But it was cute and kind of charming.

A Brazilian martial arts myth type film, except with capoiera instead of kung fu. Not great, but I dug it. The main flaw was occasional jarringly cheesy music. Also, the politics of it were kind of... I dunno, odd.

All That I Love
A lovely Polish coming of age paean to punk rock. Not mindblowingly good, but sweet and definitely worth watching.

King's Road
Totally bizarre but lots of fun, albeit slightly on the long side. Daniel Brühl is in it. I love Daniel Brühl. I dunno if it's him or his agent, but he tends to star in great, quirky films. Anyways, yeah, loaded with dark humor, but strangely touching. Reinforces my suspicion that people from Iceland are insane.

My Joy
Oh man. People HATED this movie. I kind of loved it. Definitely for advanced art film viewers only, heh heh. Totally impressionistic, non-narrative style, basically a series of vignettes of encounters between strangers, most of which end in extremely brutal violence. The cinematography is breathtaking, and I thought it was kind of a fascinating reflection on storytelling overall. Like, there was this great moment where there's a scene in a crowded marketplace, and you're following the main character, and then suddenly the camera randomly starts following some other woman who walks off into the woods, then shifts to some random dude, then kinda seems to say "well, I guess they're not doing anything interesting", and goes back to the main character. There are also completely inexplicable jumps in time. I was tickled. The audience was enraged.

I have very little patience for movies that feature a large cast of characters and interwoven stories, because I find that the attempt to basically tell 5 stories instead of one leads to cliches as shorthand to make up for the lack of character development. This movie does exactly that. And to make it more annoying (to me) they're mostly cliches about Muslims.

Asleep in the Sun
The description said the movie was about a guy who has his wife committed so as to treat her depression, and she comes back different. Attention to the everyday, they said, was what made this movie stand out. I expected a thoughtful film about depression. What I got was a bizarre, quasi-sci-fi slow-paced thriller. But I dug it.

No comments: