Thursday, September 13th 2012
Time to say goodbye
The last day of the festival is always a mixture of both sadness and being glad it’s over, because one finally gets some sleep and doesn’t need to take the long late-night train connections. Still this year it was even harder to go there one last time because of all the great movies on offer, and Thursday wasn’t any different, even if it was the weakest day of the festival.
So let’s hope next year will be just as good with its selection of genre movies…and maybe even with a nice cover artwork which doesn’t include a ridiculous nose (and that’s not nose-picking here, it REALLY looks terrible).
And another thing: This year’s voting system of the Fresh Blood Award was quite ridiculous, as there were either no voting pieces of paper or the winner, Beasts of the Souther Wild was presented as a centerpiece and already got more promotion than the other (more deserving titles) got. So hopefully for next year there will be a better organization, otherwise there’s no point in giving the audience the possibility to vote anyway.
Invalid codes or: Movies with an expiration date
Something the festival had to struggle with and which became a major problem I personally had to face was how the movie codes were distributed and used to and by the cinema: Activation codes were only valid for specific movies at a specific time, and if one does not work, the festival people had to send an email to the distributors, waiting for a reply…which is a rather bleak impression I got from the digital (cinema) future awaiting us.
Sushi Girl was a close call as a working code was provided only minutes before the screening, Nightfall couldn’t be shown, for Universal Soldier it was 2D instead of 3D. This time Blind Spot wasn’t available.
For regular movie goers, the tickets could be used for the other movie Columbus Circle, but of course it was a bit problematic to get good seats now after everyone was already waiting inside. Fortunately some of us festival-fast-pass-owners got a coffee mug for compensation…even if it didn’t compensate for that horrible clown-nose-cover (now I have it on the T-Shirt, bag, medkit and now for breakfast as well…).
Total Recall or Control of the industry
I also got the impression that the film industry is exaggerating a bit. Before the closing night screening of The Baytown Outlaws started, we were advised that security men were standing near the exits of the cinema, and they’d go through the rows of seats to drag you out if their electronic devices detected something like a camera (even cellphones emitted these waves).
I’m all against piracy, but I’m not for people looking grimly in your direction when you’re watching a movie, and besides, the Fantasy Filmfest audience wouldn’t be the kind of people who’d go recording an IMHO rather mediocre movie.
(UK 2012, director: Hadi Hajaig)
British Secret Service agent is in pursuit of a suicide bomber and his fellow terrorists.
When the action kicks in, it’s quite relentless and brutal, but unlike UK thriller Harry Brown or other agent thrillers there are too few.
The biggest problem: Constant shifting between the chaser and the chased doesn’t create any tension or suspense, and for understanding the characters’ motivations (actually only the terrorist, as the agent is rather flat) it doesn’t work for most of its running time. The political-message-in-your-face attitude doesn’t help the movie either when it doesn’t engage the audience on a suspense level.
(Australia 2011, director: Paul China)
A hitman is used for double-crossing purposes, but it hits back unexpected, especially for an uninvolved waitress, being held hostage at home by the killer.
Slow, slower, Crawl. That pretty much sums it up. Even though there is some suspense and atmosphere (special credit goes to the actor portraying the old hitman), the movie’s long sequences of staring game and nothing happening are exaggerated to a point when one doesn’t really care for the outcome, only to get out of the theatre.
Music, cinematography, acting, it’s all there, but why does it take so long? Story could have been better told in a short film.
(Japan 2012, director: Takashi Miike)
In a trial of three days, a defense attorney has to win his case against all odds, even if it means having quite some weird witnesses.
Based on the original videogame series (already discussed in this Future Sack blog entry) Phoenix Wright, it stays true to the wacky source material. This of course makes rating it a bit difficult:
On the one hand being a fan of the game series it’s refreshing to finally see a videogame adaptation succeeding to convey the same tone and story to a mainstream audience. On the other hand, it becomes quite obvious how ridiculous and rather simple the individual case and characters are. Like with most animes, live-action tends to feel a bit out of place. Miike at least does a few interesting things to make fun of the game (like having confetti raining down after winning a case) and he also gets rid of most of the exaggerated drama and horrible sense of humor the game is known for.
There’s clearly something new for an audience who only knows courtroom soaps like Ally McBeal or more serious movies, but in the end what remains is two hours of light-hearted nonsense which doesn’t really capture the suspense and brain power the games demand of the player (which takes quite a long time to play through and delivers a better experience than any adaptation can achieve).
The Baytown Outlaws
(USA 2012, director: Barry Battles)
Three redneck brothers kidnap a woman’s son (with her agreement) from the clutches of an abusive father and are soon on the run from more violent people than they can handle.
After a strong, rather violent beginning and some funny dialogues, the movie either tries too hard to be cool or funny, which it succeeds sometimes, but fails in the action scenes. It almost seems as if the violence is toned down just to be more suitable for a mainstream audience (Universal Soldier this is NOT).
The story itself and the characters are not that exciting as well, only the soundtrack and some action scenes are fun to watch (even if there aren’t any memorable or original scenes).
It’s a popcorn movie which could have needed some more blood, original ideas and weirder characters. Not the best closing night movie, but at least way better than the UK disaster Attack The Black, sorry, Attack The Block last year.