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Showing posts from June, 2009

SIFF 2009, Day 21

June 11, 2009

The Conversation
(1974) Dir. Francis Ford Coppola

From BloggerMy mother is just a little movie obsessed and as soon as VCRs became widely available, we had one. It wasn't long my mother was quickly amassing a huge library of movies. And in the late 1970s, much of that collection were blackmarket copies with Arabic subtitles or atrocious quality, simply because the movies were not yet available commercially. Central to her collection was anything and everything that Harrison Ford is in. Thus The Conversation is a movie that I've seen many times, although, I had always been far too young to really appreciate the film. So I was very excited to see that SIFF included a screening of this classic, which was probably selected because this year, Coppola has another film that played at SIFF, Tetro. One of my favorite things about The Conversation is that it is one of those movies that stands up well to repeated viewings. Everytime I watch it, the ending means somethin…

SIFF 2009, Day 17

June 7, 2008

Four Boxes (2009) Dir. Wyatt McDill

From BloggerI hope there were a few fledgling filmmaker at this screening of Four Boxes, because it was very instructive on how such a disappointing movie is made. Trevor (Justin Kirk) and Rob (Sam Rosen) run a internet-sales business, Go Time Liquidators, and are at the recently deceased Bill Zill's homeSa in the suburbs, listing his belongs for sale on the web. And to pass time, they watch fourboxes.tv. Bill's fiance, Amber (Terryn Westbrook) joins them in the house, which is becoming emptier, and also becomes drawn into fourboxes.tv. Fourboxes.tv is a house that is wired with cameras and broadcast, but recently a new guy has appeared, who they call Havok, and he doesn't appear to know that he's being watched. And he's weird, and maybe a terrorist.

Four Boxes is one of those movies that sets itself up to manipulate the audience so that a trick ending is possible. By this, I don't mean to say that all films …

SIFF 2009, Day 16

June 6, 2009

Grace (2009) Dir. Paul Solet



Grace was another film from the midnight adrenaline series and first feature from writer/director, Paul Solet, who was at the screening. He talked about his interest in film being cultivated by his camp councilor. Turns out Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) was once a camp councilor and trusted to council children. But anyway, I'm guessing it was the Eli Roth connection that helped bring Jordan Ladd into the project to play the lead, Madeline Matheson, a woman who desperately wants to have a baby.

Madeline and Henry (Stephen Park) appear to have a great life. Madeline has given up work to become a full time wife and mother, but so far all of her pregnancies have ended in miscarriage. Finally she is pregnant again and the couple decides to use a homeopathic birthing clinic and midwife instead of the more common hospital birth. Close to the end of term, the couple are in a traffic accident that ends with loss of both Henry and the unborn ch…

SIFF 2009, Day 15 part 2

June 5, 2009


Black Dynamite is a tribute to 1970s blaxploitation and was born of a collaboration between director Scott Sanders and star, cowriter, fight choreographer... Michael Jai White.  And if Black Dynamite is any indication, they know exploitation cinema of the 1970s and made this homage to the genre that encapsulates all of the elements that made the movies of the era so enjoyable.  The plot is most definitely a nod to the genre as at first, Black Dynamite is looking for the man who killed his brother, but the plot spirals a bit out of control eventually leading Black Dynamite to battle the devious Dr. Wu on Kung Fu island.  Black Dynamite even takes The Man on face to face when he arrives at the white house. 

But the silliness of the plot doesn't  mean the Black Dynamite isn't completely awesome.  First of all, this movie is the blaxsploitation movie that was never made.  It is perfection.  Somehow it looks as if it was made 30 years ago.  The wardrobe is impeccable, …

SIFF2009, Day 15

June 5, 2009
Humpday (2009) Dir. Lynn Shelton

From BloggerHumpday is the little, Seattle film that everyone is talking about.  It won a special jury prize at Sundance and is opening nationally in July.  This is a bit of a shock that a small, "mumble" core movie based on local The Stanger's annual porn competition Hump has leaped into the limelight.  Although, perhaps the timing is perfect for Lynn Shelton's film as there is interest in movies about relationships between men, recently dubbed bro-mance movies (i.e. I Love You Man).  But Humpday has much more realism and characters with depth in comparison to any of the Apatow movies.

In Humpday, Andrew (Joshua Leonard) shows up at Ben (Mark Duplass) and Anna's(Alycia Delmore) home looking for a place to crash.  Andrew and Ben were good friends in college, but their lives have moved in very different direction.  Ben has gone the traditional route and is married and owns a home in Seattle, while Andrew wanders the glob…

SIFF 2009, Day 14

June 4, 2009

The Escape (2009) Dir. Katherine Windfeld

From BloggerThe Escape refers to Danish journalist Rikke Lyngvig's (Iben Hjijle) escape from a group of terrorists in Afghanistan who planned to kill her is Denmark did not withdraw their troops. Her escape was made possible due to the help of her Afgan guard, Nazir (Faegh Zamani), who felt sympathy for her when he realized that she would be killed in a few days time, but he told her that she can never reveal that she did not escape on her own, because if anyone were to suspect that she escaped with his help, we would be killed. 

Once free, Rikke returns to Denmark a hero, resulting in interviews and even writing a book about her experiences. She keeps her word and never reveals that Nazir made her escape possible.  However, Nazir flees Afghanistan seeking asylum and contacts Rikke for help. But if she helps Nazir her career is at risk, since she will have to admit that she lied numerous times to the press and even in her own b…

SIFF 2009, Day 10

May 31, 2009

Kisses (2008) Dir. Lance Daly

From Blogger After being called the best Irish film of 2008 in the Irish press, I had high expectations for Kisses, and was not disappointed.  Dylan and Kylie and friends and neighbors in an impoverished North Dublin.  One day, after a particularly ugly argument at home with his alcoholic parents, Dylan flees home with Kylie.  They head into Dublin to search for Dylan's brother, who ran away two years before.  On their search, they buy roller-sneakers, steal meals, search for places to sleep and try to avoid the authorities who will send them back home.

What is most striking about Kisses is that due to the very honest portrayals of Dylan and Kylie, the film manages to be a touching adventure into the discovery of another world outside of the gray and seemingly hopeless lives at home.  Kisses is a bit of an adolescent lovestory between Dylan and Kylie as they learn to depend on each other.  Kisses additionally manages to be a sweet film ab…

SIFF2009, Day 9

The Hurt Locker (2008) Dir. Kathryn Bigelow

From Blogger Okay, I admit it. Using this image is a bit misleading. But at the beginning, when I realized that I had inadvertently picked a SIFF movie with Guy Pierce it it, I was so excited, but he's only in the movie for a few minutes. But he was in the part of the movie that I was really enjoying.

The Hurt Locker is about a unit of soldiers that disarms bombs. And I was quite enjoying this movie when they were in Iraq doing their job. There was tension, suspense, and just enough plot. It was a bit like a decent action movie set in Iraq. Sadly, Kathryn Bigelow wasn't content with making an action movie set and the movie eventually brought the soldiers back to the families in the states and futher attempts to demonstrate how illsuited the men are to live back home.

La Mission (2009) Dir. Peter Bratt

You've seen this movie before, only this time, it is set in San Fransico's Mission District.

Plot synopsis: Che (Benja…

SIFF 2009, Day 8

May 29, 2009
Deadgirl
(2009) Dir. Marcel Sarmiento & Gadi Harel

From BloggerNot many films included in the Midnight Adrenaline series sparked much interest this year when I was just glancing at the schedule, but this was the exception. The synopsis just completely intrigued me. Deadgirl asks the question of what would happen if two average teen-aged boys were to find a girl tied up that no one knew anything about. In exploring this simple set up, Deadgirl becomes an analysis of manhood in American culture.

My very brief plot summery isn't really sufficient. The two boys that find the girl are JT (Noah Segan) and Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) on a day that they cut school and end up exploring an abandoned hospital. Deep in the basement, inside a locked room, they discover the naked body of the girl under plastic and to their amazement, she is alive. Rickie wants to take the girl to the hospital and tell the police, but JT is going to take full advantage of finding a "total…

SIFF 2009, Day 7

May 28, 2009

The Merry Gentleman (2009)  Dir. Michael Keaton


From Blogger

Every year, I say to myself that I'm not going to see the movies that I can only see at a film festival and skip the stuff that will at some point open wide. Certainly the movie directed by and starring Michael Keaton will be in theaters before summer ends, right? Well, I couldn't contain myself and had to see it. It has my favorite batman in it. And Frank Logan has a bit in common with batman as they both have a really big secret.

In The Merry Gentleman, Kate Frazier (Kelly Macdonald) is running away from an abusive relationship. In her new life, she looks up into the snow to see a man (Michael Keaton) about to jump from a building, but her scream startles him and he instead falls backwards to safety. When being questioned by police, they realize that the man she saw on the roof was likely the sniper responsible for a murder in the building across the street. The story that unfolds isn't a mys…

SIFF 2009, Day 5

May 26, 2009

Daytime Drinking (2008) Dir. Young-Seok Noh



This film was added to the schedule after only watching the trailer. Something about the tone of the trailer totally charmed me, so I didn't bother doing any further research on the small, South Korean film. In Daytime Drinking, after quite a few drinks Hyuk-jin is convinced by his friends to to on a trip the following day. But when he arrives, none of his friends can be found. What follows is a very understated comedic film where Hyuk-jin is constantly disappointed. He has just been dumped by his girl friend, his friends don't show up for this trip, he stays at the wrong inn, he cannot get a bus back home, and the couple of women he meets along the way just take advantage of him. From the sounds of it, Daytime Drinking should be a frustrating film to watch, but while I felt bad for the character, I did see the humor in his bad luck. He was just so trusting of his drinking buddies and hopeful that the trip had to …

SIFF 2009, Day 4

May 25, 2009

We Live in Public (2009) Dir. Ondi Timoner

From Blogger

We Live in Public began over a decade ago as a document of doc-com entrepreneur Josh Harris' experiment with filming the most intimate activities of life and putting it out on the internet. In the 1990s, during the dot-com boom when he, along with many others, had become rich and he was constantly experimenting with creating and using the internet in new and innovative ways. He created a bunker in New York city that was completely wired. There were cameras everywhere inside the bunker and he invited people to live there where everything was free, except for one thing, the video footage. He would own that.

Well, the experiment was part art project, a bit social experiment, and completely fascinating. But We Live in Public doesn't end with the police raid of Josh Harris's bunker. Instead it explores his life, his relationships and the impact of technology on the emotional lives of everyone. We Live in…

SIFF 2009, Day 3

Paper Heart (2009) dir. Nicholas Jasenovec

Post movie tweet: Paper Heart- Documentary or fiction? Regadless, sweetly charming mumble core romance exploring the nature of love that feels true.


I really wasn't sure what I was watching throughout this romantic comedy that stars comic Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera, playing themselves.  And that is exactly what was throwing me off.  Paper Heart is a totally fictional film, where the cast all play characters with their own names, but the plot of the film is that Charlyne and Nickolas embark on a journey to find out whether true love exists.  Charlyne doesn't believe in love and says she has never been in love, but while filming, she meets and begins to date Michael Cera and the decision is made to keep rolling and to capture every moment on film, to see where it goes.  Can Michael Cera change Charlene's mind about the existance of love? 

So while watching this film, interlaced with interviews about how ordinary people on the stre…

More Upcoming SIFF 2009 Films

We've done it again.  13 or so festival movies just is not enough.  So more tickets were purchased.  Even with a final looming at 8:00 AM Saturday morning, that I'm not at all prepared for, I still keep seeing movies.  I think I have a problem.

So these are in my near future.

Tonight, The Escape (Flugten), Denmark, Contemporary World Cinema
Friday, June 5 Humpday, USA, Northwest Connnections
Friday, June 5 Black Dynanite, USA, Midnight Adrenaline
Saturday, June 6, Grace, USA, Midnight Adrenaline
Sunday, June 7, Four Boxes, USA, Contemporary World Cinema
Sunday, June 7, Manhole Children, Japan, Documentary Films
Sunday, June 7, Hooked (Percuit Sportiv), Romania, Contemporary World Cinema
Thursday, June 11, The Conversation (1974), Archival Presentations
Friday, June 12, talhotblond, USA, Documentary Films
Saturday, June 13, Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Archival Presentations
Saturday, June 13, The Clone Returns Home, Japan, Contemporary World Cinema
Sunday, June 14, Poppy Shakespear