Saturday, September 8th 2012
First day with only 5 hours of sleep and longest one with 6 movies to watch.
There was also the chance to meet Alex Chandon, the director of Inbred after the screening. Not only was it nice to chat to this down-to-earth guy, but I also received an autograph on a high-quality(paper)-poster:
The QA with Alex was quite refreshing as well. He answered the audience’s questions with a great sense of humor, but never used a condescending tone or made fun of the people who asked him.
One of the most interesting questions was how and when the movie would be released in Germany. After all, it was well received by the Fantasy Filmfest and genre fans, but that’s not really what the mainstream audience is like. Of course that’s not surprising, considering the country’s sad handling of the media film (and games among others) by exploiting censorship and arbitrary rating systems, and it’s even less surprising that distributors are afraid to release a movie which has strong connections to the banned-for-over-25-years-original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, even if the presentation is quite funny. So the only way to get it seems to be (again) importing from the UK (see the end of the review).
(USA 2012, director: Blake Freeman)
A road trip for a group of Gears of War 3 gamers to win a championship tests both their friendships, relationships and skills as beginners/professionals.
Partly clichéed, exaggerated representation of gamers and partly a love letter to Gears of War 3 and (online) gaming in general, it doesn’t always work for the main protagonists. But compared to other movies (except for Reign Over Me‘s implementation of Shadow of the Colossus), it treats gaming culture as something more valuable, especially when it comes to each character’s personal problems and lives.
Maybe not so realistic in some ways, it’s still an entertaining movie with (typical for the road trip genre) weird and often very funny situations. It also has Jon Gries (Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite in it as an 80ies (Frogger) pro gamer who delivers some great performances.
Clearly made for gamers of all ages, it is also recommended to non-gamers who want to learn a bit about this (sometimes) pop-cultural phenomenon.
The King of Pigs
(South Korea 2011, director: Sang-ho Yeon, original title: Dwae-ji-ui wang)
It’s a hard-knock life at Korean highschools with daily beatings, humiliation amongst pupils and suicide…
Or this is what the director wants you to believe. Not that this hasn’t been shown and done before in other social dramas, this movie doesn’t offer anything new.
Unlikeable characters and boring settings drawn with weak animations. Fits perfectly to a movie which only offers one violent and disgusting (cat friends, beware) scene after another. Like I Saw The Devil, another forgettable drama which doesn’t move you the way the director wants you. Or maybe it moves you out of the cinema, especially with one of the worst subtitles I’ve read in a while (not only grammar, but also context errors), additionally some weak voice acting (female ones substituting male ones). But even with better subtitles, this is storytelling at its lowest and a poor example of a director who just wants to shock the audience and hammer his opinion down everyone’s throat.
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website
Violet & Daisy
(USA 2011, director: Geoffrey Fletcher)
Two upstarting hit(wo)men have to kill a man who is more relaxed about his fate than they are experienced with their work.
A strange mixture of crime, thriller, drama and comedy, which comes to life by its believable characters and acting (not only of James Gandolfini as the guy who wants to die). Brutal in some scenes, at the next minute very funny, but touching and moving all the same (even if a bit slow at the beginning and in some scenes), it’s not just a reiteration of the typical Pulp Fiction inspired killer duo situations, but unique in its storytelling and setting. Highly recommended if you want to see something different from bloody crime thrillers and mafia stories.
It’s really a shame that there’s not even a trailer available at the moment, and like Noobz, a home cinema release doesn’t seem likely in the near future. So if you get a chance to see it at a festival or in your local cinema, do yourself and the filmmaker the favor and support it.
When The Lights Went Out
(UK 2012, director: Pat Holden)
A haunted house in the 70ies becomes a family’s biggest nightmare.
Nothing really new, except maybe for its 70ies setting (even if Ti West did it much better in House of the Devil), it’s another ghost movie which is maybe not as scary as other recent examples (Paranormal Activity among others), but there are definitely worse ones (like Insidious). What sets it apart is the British sense of humor in some parts, even though the main characters (father and mother especially) are quite unlikeable and it moves at a very slow pace. Still special effects and shocking moments are nicely done, so who wants to have an old-school atmospheric chiller with light humoristic elements can’t go wrong with this one.
(Germany, UK 2012, director: Alex Chandon)
A group of young offenders and their workers’ weekend of labor close to a Yorkshire village turns out to be a hell of pain and torture.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets the particularities of the Yorkshire people. Sick and twisted, gruesome with graphic violence and torture scenes, it offers some of the best gore and special effects in the splatter genre (which are hand-made and quite realistic). It might move a bit slow at the beginning (just like the original genre-defining terror flick), but when it comes to the action, it delivers more than one punch. Definitely not for the squeamish (one guy next to me had to close his eyes and was quite offended by some scenes, but then again what did he expect when he bought the ticket?) and only original how Yorkshire accent and customs are mixed with stereotypical horror situations and character actions, it’s a movie from a genre fan for genre fans with some pretty inventive death scenes.
(USA 2012, director: John Gulager)
Piranhas attack a water park. Is the Hoff too old and Ving Rhames’ character too fragile to save the day?
Not really much of a plot or character development, but that’s not the important part. Maybe the biggest selling point is David Hasselhoff’s appearance, the Hoff as himself, who has some of the funniest lines and scenes and is worth the admission price. Then there’s enough gore, blood and a lot of gratuitous nudity (maybe a bit too much for its own sake). What else does one want? Maybe a quicker progression to the good, bloody parts as the carnage takes some time to really get going, but when it does (like Inbred), there’s no stopping the laughing and applause when sitting in a cinema with the right audience (read: no arthouse, self-appointed cinema critics who want some suspense, story, character development). This IS maybe the most over-the-top creature-feature-trash movie which gets a mainstream theatrical release I know of. 3D is not really impressive, the other Ds maybe more.