Fantasy Filmfest 2012 in Cologne, Day 5

Day 5
Monday, September 10th 2012
“One of the Muuundiiis”, as it was said in Office Space, is just your boring-beginning-of-the-week-day. After a strong start with awesome movies, Monday didn’t look that promising , even though there was some fun at the end…partly a disappointment, partly some surprising good stuff. As there wasn’t anything special happening on that day (except getting tired by the minute after the typical 4-5-hours-sleep), here are the reviews for another long day at the Cinedom in Cologne…

The Awakening
(UK 2011, director: Nick Murphy)

A private investigator who specializes in paranormal fakes, has to solve a mystery in a boarding school and faces real evil.
The right movie to slowly wake up. Slowly paced, rarely any suspense or horror, it’s a British (posh) ghost-story which doesn’t offer anything new or exciting. Even fans of subtle horror will be disappointed due to the long running time, constant babbling of the characters and a rather muddled solution. Even if acting and cinematography are solid, the overuse of orchestral music and the lack of memorable moments make this a borefest one can also watch while being asleep, because there’s not much to miss anyway.

Rating: 3/10 (for the acting effort)
imdb
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website

Buy the BD on
Amazon UK
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Buy the DVD on
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

A Gang Story
(France/Belgium 2011, director: Olivier Marchal, original title: Les Lyonnais)

A retired mafia employee is asked to get his long-time friend out of prison, and he is torn between obligation, friendship and trust to him and his family.
Even if acting, cinematography, music are more than solid, there’s not much here which hasn’t been done before innumerable times. Especially with French movies, there are always the same replaceable characters in criminal activities they don’t have control over or have to make moral decisions.
In between the typical mafia dialogues, there are a bit of violent outbursts and car chases, but again nothing exciting for fans of the genre (and even less for those who are tired of French cinema and its over-reliance on the same tropes).
Constant flashbacks are interesting for understanding the characters, but there are too many which make the movie more complicated thant the actual story is. Especially at the end with a quick recap of the scenes before is quite ridiculous and doesn’t do the serious matter justice.

Rating: 6/10
imdb
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany
Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK

Brake
(USA 2012, director: Gabe Torres)

A Secret Service agent finds himself locked up in a car trunk and becomes involved in a game of life and death.
Parallels to Buried are quite obvious and even the political references are more or less the same. But unlike the coffin-buried-under-the-sand situation, suspense is a bit lacking in this case. The main character is rather unlikeable in certain scenes, and it drags on a bit too long until some surprising ending which is not only baffling but also a bit lame and insulting to the audience’s intelligence. All in all a nice effort, but not nearly as good as Buried.

Rating: 6/10
imdb
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Excision
(USA 2012, director: Richard Bates Jr.)

A teenage girl with mental problems has to cope with growing up as an outsider at school and in her family.
Great dialogues, acting and weird-arthouse-with-blood-and-gore-cinematography (in her dreams) make for a unique experience.
A bit slow-paced and at the end over-the-top, it’s worth watching for the characters’ interactions and portrayal of school and home life for a troubled teenager. Humor is also top-notch as it combines certain elements of movies like Juno and American Beauty.
Difficult to categorize, but not difficult to recommend (especially as it’s the director’s first movie, which is an accomplishment as well), even if there are some pretty nasty and disgusting dream sequences and sick situations.

Rating: 9/10
imdb
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website

Buy the BD on
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Buy the DVD on
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Cockneys vs Zombies
(UK 2012, director: Matthias Hoene)

Zombies take over London…again. This time it’s up to some amateur robber punks and the residents of a retirement home to save the day.
One of those disappointing movies which try to be funny at all costs. Like Attack The Block last year, the young characters are quite unlikeable and the constant swearing and violent behavior (even if the gore effects are nice) become old, boring and repetitive very fast.
The only redeeming feature is the introduction of the elders beating up the undead with any means necessary, even if they’re a bit slow (but faster than the zombies). It’s a shame they don’t have enough screen time as there are quite a few original scenes to nearly make one forget the seen-countless-times-before youngsters-vs-zombies situations.
With overdramatic music and too many fight scenes which are repeated again and again, the movie doesn’t actually live up to its name (just look at Inbred which really uses the specific setting to feel unique) and only offers half-decent original entertainment in a crowded genre.
One of the biggest disappointments of the festival, even if it was partly doing its thing, compared to the ghetto-vs-aliens disaster. Maybe the director (who’s from Germany) should have studied a bit more about the right amount of humor in his movies than delivering too many and too samey zombie scenes.

Rating: 5/10
imdb
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website

Buy the BD on
Amazon UK
Buy the DVD on
Amazon UK

The Ghostmaker
(USA 2011, director: Mauro Borrelli)

A group of friends find an old coffin and use it to see the world as ghosts.
Being one of the many movies the After Dark Films company in Germany wants to release every week in the cinemas (using the same concept as in the US, which also had mixed results), it’s not really the best one to promote the nice idea to have more genre flicks in mainstream cinemas.
Bad acting, worse special effects are not the main problem, there’s even a certain amount of gratuitous nudity in it to please the fans. But this doesn’t help the fact that it’s simply boring as hell. I left the cinema after 60 minutes to catch my train and it didn’t seem to make any difference. The next day I asked someone who watched it til the end and I really hadn’t missed much apparently.
Maybe in a cheap DVD/BD box this could work with 10 other films, but as a stand alone product there are way better movies to waste the time and have some kind of enjoyment. A craptastic movie…but in the worst, not trash-entertainment way.

Rating: 1/10 (the creature at the end which I missed, but which looked cool in the trailer)
imdb
More info on Fantasy Filmfest website

Buy the DVD on
Amazon USA

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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