Saturday, August 28 2010
Piranha 3D (USA 2010)
I had hoped that this movie would make it, especially since the only 3D feature of the festival was “Hybrid 3D” which looked aweful and sounded like the newest cash-in with the 3D technology (which is funny because it was shown on the same day late at night). Not that “Piranha 3D” was a gem in film history. It was plain and simple fun with lots and lots of gore. What else do you expect? After all it was a remake of a not-so-good animal horror movie itself. Not that the original was bad, only bad in the fun-to-watch-sense. If you want to go and see some interesting characters or an original story, you go elsewhere. Only thing which mattered was how many kills the little fish fuckers would get. And they got A LOT, especially with the ending. It’s quite surprising that this movie would make it to the mainstream audience, that is being released later in the cinemas. But then again it would most probably have been heavily cut.
The only complaint I have about it is again the 3D technology. At some points I took off the glasses, and I realized the picture wasn’t really that blurry, so it couldn’t have been real 3D. The title “Piranha 3D” doesn’t deliver what it promises. Sure there is some depth to the underwater scenes, but there were just no real 3D sequences where you felt in the middle of the action, unlike “Final Destination 3D”. So animal horror is still a long way to go… but it would be great to have them in 3D with better effects.
Get Shorty (Short Movies)
This time there were simply no fillers, only good or very good short movies. What was also interesting to see was that some even dealt with serious subject matter and were a welcome change to the laugh-out funny films. “Uyuni” (Spain 2010) for example was about a man who asks his long-term friend to marry him. When she refuses, he starts raping her. I’ve never before seen the audience that quite during such an uncomfortable scene (maybe during “Martyrs” or “Waltz With Bashir”).
In “I Love Sarah Jane” (Australia 2008) you had a post-zombie-invasian-apocalyptic scenery in which you actually felt something for the undead as one was held captive as some kind of pet for a group of kids and you felt disgust by their actions. Sometimes you wondered who was less human.
“The Kinematograph” (Poland 2009) also showed a rather bleak view of how technology becomes more important than the one you love, or maybe not. The animation wasn’t up to scratch, but then again the atmosphere really fit the subject matter, so it was nice to see something like that and not the usual fun animated features.
The other short films were of course much more fun to watch, starting with “The Story of My Life” (France 2009) in which a stranger talks to a woman as if he knows her and gives her a short overview of her life. Not to take away the surprise, but the ending was also thought-provoking and actually funny if you think about it. But not everyone laughed… I guess especially not people who already planned their life and weren’t prepared for any surprises which would destroy their plans…
“He Dies At The End” (Ireland 2009) was pretty funny as well, even though you knew the end right at the start (as the title suggests). But then again having a guy sit in front of a computer which knows the situation better than him can be weird and funny in a strange kind of way, especially with no dialogues and other characters.
“Half-Hearted” (UK 2010) felt more like a longer short film, as a man wakes up and tries to reconstruct what happened last night. The famous (in a certain derogatory way) bar crawl in the UK made it a good background, even though it was more or less a simple set of more or less funny comedic situations which felt a bit stretched.
“Love Me Tender” was a welcome change to the Britishness, even though it felt more like “Jennifer’s Body” in a short version, about a girl who kills her would-be boyfriends. It was funny for some time, even though nothing to go crazy about. I guess the college atmosphere won me over, and of course the actress as well, as she did a good acting job and looked a bit better than Megan Fox (which says a lot).
“The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon” (USA 2008) was actually nothing more than an overlong trailer which made fun of all the blockbuster horror/action/whatever genre movies. It could have been a bit shorter, but then again when you have a scene in which someone is beating to death with a spoon slowly, very slowly… again and again and again and again and again and again… you get the picture.
“Shinda Gaijin” (Thailand/Japan 2010) was a nice bit of Japanese weirdness as a woman discovers a dead stranger in her bathtub every time she comes home. Of course she then tries to get rid of the corpse, and it turns up again and again and again and again… you get the picture.
“Oma rennt” (Germany 2009) was a nice example how even Germany can put out some original and funny movies, and saying anything more about it wouldn’t tell too much. The title alone “Granny runs” says it all, and of course if there is another granny looking for the same bench to sit down, and then you have a young guy with headphones already occupying, the competitive madness can begin… although it ends kind of too soon.
Rating (all): 9/10
Four Lions (UK 2010)
This was another highlight of the festival. One of the blackest humor I’ve encountered for a while, jokes and laughs and deaths at almost every scene, and of course how the subject matter was handled, was pure genius. The story and character development themselves weren’t really that great, as it was more or less an organized set of comic scenes. But they really worked. And what was also great about this movie was that it wasn’t just fun. It made fun of “established” rules of British society and the Jihad, it also showed their hypocrisy and how people can’t cope with such “serious” matters. I guess we as Germans also need some more of that sense of humor in order to have a new perspective on things.
What is also suprising to note (in retrospect) is that this movie won the Fresh Blood Award. An award given to new directors. I though this movie would split the audience opinion because there were either people who were laughing all the time or some who just didn’t find it funny because they were shocked or just didn’t understand it. It’s good to see that movies like that are appreciated more, even in Germany.
Amer (France 2009)
Sometimes it’s good to know what to expect and there is even trailer material which doesn’t try to sell you something different. And “Amer” was one of those few movies which won me over with style over substance (okay, Michael Bay also rocks, I have to confess, but it’s a different kind of beast). Most of the time I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t really care for either characters or story, something which can quickly become the death of a movie. But the sound design and cinematography alone were reasons to see it on a big screen. And of course it was interesting to watch and listen to people’s reactions. I’ve never been a big fan of Dario Argento, but I agree that he has a very special way of doing his movies. The same can be said about “Amer”. It was something special, even if “unique” might not be the right word. There were certainly scenes which were drawn out a bit too much, and nothing beat the first 20 or so minutes which had more atmosphere and thrills. An experience which might not work the second time, but definitely worth the first time around.
Teaser (even better):
The Loved Ones (Australia 2009)
There’s always a problem with Australian movies (as can also be said about any other countries): There are really good one and really bad ones. Last year or the year before was not a particularly good year when it came to triple A-ustralian cinema. And then this festival started with “The Reef”. Oh well… but it’s good to expect not much and have some really good movie waiting for you at the end of the day. And one of the most violent ones. The story and idea might not have been new (as with so many horror movies), but the acting and especially the torture scenes were very well done. This might sound a bit superficial, but if you’ve seen stuff like “Hostel” and find it entertaining, it’s quite refreshing to cringe at particular scenes, like in this one. If you think too much about it, you might find the flaws, but when I came out of the cinema, I could only say: “That was a fucking good movie, no doubt about it.” The Australian answer to the British “Mum and Dad”, but with more balls. Still the same sense of “Should I laugh or be shocked and disgusted?” came over me, which doesn’t happen to often. For that I was thankful.
All in all, the fourth day of the Fantasy Filmfest was one of the best days, and I guess the list of Must-Have (=Buy)-Blu-Rays (DVDs) got a bit longer…