Sunday, August 29 2010
The day didn’t start that well. First I had to deal with some tenant replacement matters in an apartment in Bonn, so I couldn’t watch the first movie. Maybe this wasn’t so bad as the features didn’t so much interest me so that I would have slept a bit longer anyway. But of course I couldn’t which was a bit hard on my sleep deprivation (because the day before I also had to get up earlier and take the 90 minutes train ride to be on time for the 1 pm screening).
I guess the lack of sleep and general stress pattern took its toll, because shortly after getting on the train I realized… I had the WRONG badge with me. It was the one of the Gamescom…
A good thing that the organizers of the event knew me so I didn’t have to go all the way back to my place and get the other badge. Then again there was always the kind of nagging feeling that I’d be standing in line in front of the cinema and not getting in. Fortunately I did. Maybe you can show the staff any card? Who knows.
The Last Days of Emma Blank (original title: De laatste dagen van Emma Blank) (2009)
It’s unfortunate that some rather strange ideas (like a man being treated like a dog, even though he walks on his two legs) and a generally weird situation (a family waiting for the mother to die, who orders them around) doesn’t work for a whole runtime of 90 minutes. The problem might also have been the atmosphere. At one point you had a funny scene, then you had a more bleak and depressing scene. This constant change benefited the black humor, sure, but at least you should have some characters to care about. And there weren’t really any. Of course one could argue that this was the whole point, showing how family is only a word, an institution and if it comes to money, emotions are useless and without any value. Still a moral alone doesn’t make a good movie, only a mediocre one at best if there’s not much more to go on. And sadly this was one of those missed chances.
Kaboom (USA 2010)
There are few movies during which I left the cinema, and this was one of the first I left it only 15 minutes after it started. No, that’s not correct. There was the German short film “Doppelganger” which didn’t fit to “Kaboom” at all and which was nothing more than the filmic execution of an overused idea. So nothing really interesting to watch.
It might not do “Kaboom” justice if I gave it a rating as neither the style, the actors/actresses nor the humor worked for me. It was more or less the same atmosphere as with “The Kids Are Alright” at the Berlinale where everyone was laughing about the jokes and I was just sitting there and wondering what was funny about it. Only this time I didn’t pay for every single ticket, and so I got out.
Monsters (USA 2010)
There was a pretty big crowd waiting in line in front of the cinema, which was kind of a suprise, considering “Monsters” is a low-budge production. But maybe it had to do with the marketing, like “Blair Witch Project” or, a better comparison, “District 9” which was sold out last year. I didn’t know much about the movie, only that it wasn’t really a movie with lots of monsters in it. I knew that it was more like “Cloverfield” which is a good thing.
But it was more subtle in its approach, maybe too subtle at some points, as you didn’t really get to know a lot about what happened. So there should not be much suspense and action. It looked and felt more like an amateur vacation video. For some this touch of realism worked, for others it didn’t. Strangely it did for me. I didn’t really get all the references and allusions to immigrant politics of Mexico which so many people saw and discussed afterwards, but the sense of isolation got to me in a weird way.
The characters and story were not really interesting, and considering the fact that there was a lot of dialogue and travelling going on, this should have been a bore. But it wasn’t. Sometimes it’s hard to explain how a movie moves you. This one did. Of course it can’t compete with “Cloverfield”, so it felt more like what happens after “Cloverfield”, which is not a lot, but then again maybe it was enough.
Suck (USA 2009)
Another movie I didn’t get all the references and allusions right, to all the old school rock artists (cameos by Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper for example), so I can only talk about how it worked if you didn’t know a lot about the classic rock culture.
The humor worked with some scenes (like the band sucking some groupies dry), but then there were just too many jokes which fell a bit flat. The acting wasn’t that great either. Maybe it had to do with the characters themselves. All this young-band-rising-to-fame in this alternative-music-genre has never been my kind of thing (same with the band in “Jennifer’s Body”). The songs themselves were okay, even though the cinematography looked a bit too glamorous. But I guess that was intentional. All in all, the movie was okay, but works much better if you get all the allusions and references right… and of course like the music a bit.
All in all, this was by far the weakest day of the Fantasy Film Fest, so I hoped there were still some highlights to come…