pavers

Jun. 11th, 2007 02:00 pm
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
ah, i had good intentions about writing reviews. i've been favoring sleep and C over internet time.

so here's the quick and dirty about things that have showings left that i have already seen:

do not see Expired or I Really Hate My Job. both films have the same problem - the characters' journey is nonexistent or short. no one is substantially changed by events, and the events aren't interesting enough to make up for the lack on the character front. if i hadn't seen them as previews they would have been walkouts. (and the staying to the end of the second was only due to a lack of aggressiveness on my part.)

much better than i expected - The Bubble (go!), Sons, and Little Book of Revenge.

The Banquet is more for theatre nerds than wuxia nerds. it's a sharp adaptation of Hamlet and features mask work. (i imagine my friends from Dell'Arte would be creaming over the wire-assisted movement in the theatre scenes.) relating it to Hamlet was a great deal of the pleasure of viewing for me, but it also comes with sumptuous costumes and Yuen Wo Ping choreography.

not as good as i hoped based on the SIFF writeup: The Art of Crying, Interview, Nomadak Tx, Angels In the Dust.

ETA: 51 features, 1 short, one week to go.

pavers

Jun. 11th, 2007 02:00 pm
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
ah, i had good intentions about writing reviews. i've been favoring sleep and C over internet time.

so here's the quick and dirty about things that have showings left that i have already seen:

do not see Expired or I Really Hate My Job. both films have the same problem - the characters' journey is nonexistent or short. no one is substantially changed by events, and the events aren't interesting enough to make up for the lack on the character front. if i hadn't seen them as previews they would have been walkouts. (and the staying to the end of the second was only due to a lack of aggressiveness on my part.)

much better than i expected - The Bubble (go!), Sons, and Little Book of Revenge.

The Banquet is more for theatre nerds than wuxia nerds. it's a sharp adaptation of Hamlet and features mask work. (i imagine my friends from Dell'Arte would be creaming over the wire-assisted movement in the theatre scenes.) relating it to Hamlet was a great deal of the pleasure of viewing for me, but it also comes with sumptuous costumes and Yuen Wo Ping choreography.

not as good as i hoped based on the SIFF writeup: The Art of Crying, Interview, Nomadak Tx, Angels In the Dust.

ETA: 51 features, 1 short, one week to go.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
i unintentionally did a Canadian film double-feature last night. i'm not sure the range could be more extreme - The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, followed by Fido.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen is a quiet, meditative story about the slow weight of european culture smothering Inuit culture. it was filmed on location in Nunavut. most of the film is in Inuktitut, and while i could tell faces and characters apart, it took me way too long to realize that some of the people in the scenes were actually shaman Aua's helper spirits. armed with that knowledge, it would be good to rent and rewatch. i loved reading Jack London and Farley Mowat as a kid, so seeing things like the dogsleds with the fan-shaped traces on film was more exciting for me than the storytelling. (as one of the other passholders said afterwards - i loved seeing them build an igloo, but then they cut away before they did the top, which was always the part i wanted to see...) i don't mind a slow pace, but i do mind that i had a hard time understanding key plot points until long after the moment had passed.

three out of five, a rental. (i would like to learn more about Knud Rasmussen now. he's only a minor character in the story. it's all from the Inuit POV.)

Fido is hysterical, and not-to-be missed. eastside folks can catch it this weekend at Lincoln Square. the world is a bright and cheerful 1950s. years ago, the world pulled together to fight the zombies raised by a radioactive cloud. since then, technology has tamed zombies for domestic service. so instead of a boy-and-his-dog story, we have a boy-and-his-zombie story. it's smart and hysterically funny, with a relatively low level of gore and horror used to comic effect. the child actors are top-notch, and Carrie-Anne Moss is brilliant as our boy's mother. Billy Connolly (as Fido) uses his palette of grunts and shuffling to great effect. much of the joy of the film is in the worldbuilding, but the real payoff is in the playing of '50s tropes and what a zombie threat does to gun culture. silly good times, and a great picture-postcard of British Columbia.
light and delightful, with mild flesh eating and plenty of casual shooting. five shambling revenants out of five.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
i unintentionally did a Canadian film double-feature last night. i'm not sure the range could be more extreme - The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, followed by Fido.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen is a quiet, meditative story about the slow weight of european culture smothering Inuit culture. it was filmed on location in Nunavut. most of the film is in Inuktitut, and while i could tell faces and characters apart, it took me way too long to realize that some of the people in the scenes were actually shaman Aua's helper spirits. armed with that knowledge, it would be good to rent and rewatch. i loved reading Jack London and Farley Mowat as a kid, so seeing things like the dogsleds with the fan-shaped traces on film was more exciting for me than the storytelling. (as one of the other passholders said afterwards - i loved seeing them build an igloo, but then they cut away before they did the top, which was always the part i wanted to see...) i don't mind a slow pace, but i do mind that i had a hard time understanding key plot points until long after the moment had passed.

three out of five, a rental. (i would like to learn more about Knud Rasmussen now. he's only a minor character in the story. it's all from the Inuit POV.)

Fido is hysterical, and not-to-be missed. eastside folks can catch it this weekend at Lincoln Square. the world is a bright and cheerful 1950s. years ago, the world pulled together to fight the zombies raised by a radioactive cloud. since then, technology has tamed zombies for domestic service. so instead of a boy-and-his-dog story, we have a boy-and-his-zombie story. it's smart and hysterically funny, with a relatively low level of gore and horror used to comic effect. the child actors are top-notch, and Carrie-Anne Moss is brilliant as our boy's mother. Billy Connolly (as Fido) uses his palette of grunts and shuffling to great effect. much of the joy of the film is in the worldbuilding, but the real payoff is in the playing of '50s tropes and what a zombie threat does to gun culture. silly good times, and a great picture-postcard of British Columbia.
light and delightful, with mild flesh eating and plenty of casual shooting. five shambling revenants out of five.

Paprika

May. 29th, 2007 11:55 am
ironymaiden: (music)
will follow with more substance later, but Paprika was delightful, and the music didn't suck.

here are a couple sample tracks.

acquiring the whole album was much easier than i thought, since after getting [livejournal.com profile] sinthrex to poke around, it turns out that it's on amazon. *headdesk* should arrive in a couple days :)

Paprika

May. 29th, 2007 11:55 am
ironymaiden: (music)
will follow with more substance later, but Paprika was delightful, and the music didn't suck.

here are a couple sample tracks.

acquiring the whole album was much easier than i thought, since after getting [livejournal.com profile] sinthrex to poke around, it turns out that it's on amazon. *headdesk* should arrive in a couple days :)
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Sakuran is based on the manga of the same name, and seems to be aimed squarely at that audience. (trivia: the author is married to the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.)

our heroine is bought as a child and grows up to become an oiran (a precursor to geisha, which developed later and ultimately put oiran out of the market). the shape of the story is familiar to anyone who has read Memoirs of a Geisha. it has all the character depth one would expect of a comic book film, but the visuals are captivating and i was fond of the minor characters. Anna Tsuchiya as Kiyoha is absolutely stunning, and eerily resembles the manga drawing (it's probably the round eyes).

it's bright, it's soapy, the soundtrack is completely anachronistic, and i saw the end from miles away. it's rather sweet for a story about prostitution. you can roll your eyes at the repeating fish in a bowl meme and the nipple montage (yes, nipple montage), or you can lie back and enjoy it. i had a blast watching it.

this one is full of naked asian ladies, which may or may not add to the experience.

four floating cherry blossoms out of five.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Sakuran is based on the manga of the same name, and seems to be aimed squarely at that audience. (trivia: the author is married to the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.)

our heroine is bought as a child and grows up to become an oiran (a precursor to geisha, which developed later and ultimately put oiran out of the market). the shape of the story is familiar to anyone who has read Memoirs of a Geisha. it has all the character depth one would expect of a comic book film, but the visuals are captivating and i was fond of the minor characters. Anna Tsuchiya as Kiyoha is absolutely stunning, and eerily resembles the manga drawing (it's probably the round eyes).

it's bright, it's soapy, the soundtrack is completely anachronistic, and i saw the end from miles away. it's rather sweet for a story about prostitution. you can roll your eyes at the repeating fish in a bowl meme and the nipple montage (yes, nipple montage), or you can lie back and enjoy it. i had a blast watching it.

this one is full of naked asian ladies, which may or may not add to the experience.

four floating cherry blossoms out of five.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
my last preview of last week was Severance. it's not The Office meets Deliverance - it's The Office meets Friday the 13th. the meeting is uneven and lumpen. the defense-contractor ensemble are a charming group and neatly sketched. the plot is slasher-movie stupid, and there's plenty of gore. the use of music for misdirection is strong, and there are some nice surprises.

it's too much of a horror film to share with C, even though the severed limb humor is excellent.

i laughed a great deal, but it's no Shaun of the Dead. 3.5 out of five, good for a midnight movie.

i'm waiting for Black Sheep.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
my last preview of last week was Severance. it's not The Office meets Deliverance - it's The Office meets Friday the 13th. the meeting is uneven and lumpen. the defense-contractor ensemble are a charming group and neatly sketched. the plot is slasher-movie stupid, and there's plenty of gore. the use of music for misdirection is strong, and there are some nice surprises.

it's too much of a horror film to share with C, even though the severed limb humor is excellent.

i laughed a great deal, but it's no Shaun of the Dead. 3.5 out of five, good for a midnight movie.

i'm waiting for Black Sheep.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Sanctuary: Lisa Gerrard

it's called "a portrait", not a documentary. um, yeah.

it's no biopic. i enjoy Dead Can Dance and the soundtracks, but i didn't know much about Gerrard herself when i went into the film. afterward, i still know very little. okay, she lives in the woods somewhere (i'm not sure what country) and has two children (i do not know how she acquired them or when). i found out she had a sibling when they mentioned that his death upset her (i do not know how he died). she might have been dating the DCD guy? um, she has a studio in her house and i think she uses ProTools. the only coherent storytelling is from the people who hired her to do soundtracks. (i especially liked the Whale Rider director.)

for a movie about a musician, the sound is terrible. one-man studio Clive Collier can't ever let us just listen to Gerrard or any of the other interviewees without layering in some kind of background noise (like gunfire or city sounds). interviews without layered sound feature wind or other ambient noise. he also can't record a clean live performance. (this preview was held at the JBL theater at EMP, so i can't blame the sound system.) the best experience of the music was with clips from films she had scored...which i had already seen.

there are candle-flame images. and smoke tendril images. and water droplet images. and rustling trees. and dudes fighting in the middle east. and busy streets. and quotes from the Babel bible story. it's self-consciously arty.

maybe hardcore fans will get something more out of the film than i did. i learned about ten minutes' worth of information about the artist, saw little quality performance, and the ninety minutes felt like a good three hours. if watching someone sing (with intermittent audibility) under an overpass while traffic whizzes by intermingled with a discussion about how the cars are participants sounds interesting, then this is for you.

good luck to everyone attending An Evening With Lisa Gerrard.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Sanctuary: Lisa Gerrard

it's called "a portrait", not a documentary. um, yeah.

it's no biopic. i enjoy Dead Can Dance and the soundtracks, but i didn't know much about Gerrard herself when i went into the film. afterward, i still know very little. okay, she lives in the woods somewhere (i'm not sure what country) and has two children (i do not know how she acquired them or when). i found out she had a sibling when they mentioned that his death upset her (i do not know how he died). she might have been dating the DCD guy? um, she has a studio in her house and i think she uses ProTools. the only coherent storytelling is from the people who hired her to do soundtracks. (i especially liked the Whale Rider director.)

for a movie about a musician, the sound is terrible. one-man studio Clive Collier can't ever let us just listen to Gerrard or any of the other interviewees without layering in some kind of background noise (like gunfire or city sounds). interviews without layered sound feature wind or other ambient noise. he also can't record a clean live performance. (this preview was held at the JBL theater at EMP, so i can't blame the sound system.) the best experience of the music was with clips from films she had scored...which i had already seen.

there are candle-flame images. and smoke tendril images. and water droplet images. and rustling trees. and dudes fighting in the middle east. and busy streets. and quotes from the Babel bible story. it's self-consciously arty.

maybe hardcore fans will get something more out of the film than i did. i learned about ten minutes' worth of information about the artist, saw little quality performance, and the ninety minutes felt like a good three hours. if watching someone sing (with intermittent audibility) under an overpass while traffic whizzes by intermingled with a discussion about how the cars are participants sounds interesting, then this is for you.

good luck to everyone attending An Evening With Lisa Gerrard.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Crazy Love

no transcription; i settled into my seat, pulled out a sandwich, and [livejournal.com profile] varina8 hailed me. we caught up until the movie started, and hopefully we will cross paths again.

(i went to this one because i decided to save Paprika to watch with C during the festival. i'm guessing that the story will be incomprehensible, but i want to see that animation on a big screen.)

the film follows the true story of Burt Pugach and Linda Riss, from the 1950s to the present. being too young and not a resident of the NY metro area for any of the significant dates in the story, it was all news to me and sometimes had me on the edge of my seat. the film cuts talking heads with photos, home movies, and news archives. there is no narrator, and we are often allowed to read the newspaper clippings for ourselves.

i delighted in the sounds of voices from the Bronx. i reveled in the glorious trashiness of elderly women with salon tans, frosted makeup, rhinestones, and looooong cigarettes. (much like my college friends' grandmothers. or my aunts.) all the black and white snapshots reminded me of hours spent sitting with my grandparents telling stories as we went through the "photo drawer". it's a window into a time and place. (even today, with the unironic clown figurine in an apartment and a trip to a real East Coast diner *snif*.)

the documentary documents, and rarely makes obvious judgments. we listen to people tell their story, and we make our own decisions. it's slow to get rolling, but the front-loading of information lets the second half clip along without having to backfill details. it's compelling watching- at turns sad, repulsive, and funny.

4 out of 5, recommended as long as you enjoy a little schadenfreude.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Crazy Love

no transcription; i settled into my seat, pulled out a sandwich, and [livejournal.com profile] varina8 hailed me. we caught up until the movie started, and hopefully we will cross paths again.

(i went to this one because i decided to save Paprika to watch with C during the festival. i'm guessing that the story will be incomprehensible, but i want to see that animation on a big screen.)

the film follows the true story of Burt Pugach and Linda Riss, from the 1950s to the present. being too young and not a resident of the NY metro area for any of the significant dates in the story, it was all news to me and sometimes had me on the edge of my seat. the film cuts talking heads with photos, home movies, and news archives. there is no narrator, and we are often allowed to read the newspaper clippings for ourselves.

i delighted in the sounds of voices from the Bronx. i reveled in the glorious trashiness of elderly women with salon tans, frosted makeup, rhinestones, and looooong cigarettes. (much like my college friends' grandmothers. or my aunts.) all the black and white snapshots reminded me of hours spent sitting with my grandparents telling stories as we went through the "photo drawer". it's a window into a time and place. (even today, with the unironic clown figurine in an apartment and a trip to a real East Coast diner *snif*.)

the documentary documents, and rarely makes obvious judgments. we listen to people tell their story, and we make our own decisions. it's slow to get rolling, but the front-loading of information lets the second half clip along without having to backfill details. it's compelling watching- at turns sad, repulsive, and funny.

4 out of 5, recommended as long as you enjoy a little schadenfreude.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
(transcribed)Eagle vs Shark, New Zealand, romantic comedy. we'll see.

this week of previews is in the JBL at EMP, a shorter walk from work.

overheard today: complaints about too many siff films with drugs and violence. (which then digressed into how much they did like the Pusher trilogy???) they can bite me.

* * *

the description interested me, but i got very little pleasure out of this film. i kept anticipating really great moments that never paid off. our heroine Lily is a misfit but quickly endearing. it's as sweet as it is painful to watch her pushing ahead. to the end, i have no idea what she sees in Jerrod.

there is so much potential available in the script. we wander through an arsenal of Chekhov's guns, but few shots are fired. either it's a brilliant structural conceit that is way beyond me, or it's stupid. even a scene that is pure Comedy Gold spoiler ) falls flat. the director and writer are the same person, so it's hard to untangle where the fault lies.

perhaps my difficulty was in the depiction of social misfits with no redeeming qualities. i'm a nerd. i know about being socially crippled. every "loser" has something that they do well. most all are genuinely happy in their chosen environment. i didn't see that joy here.

the best part for me was the matter-of-fact depiction of life in a small town in New Zealand. unlike Whale Rider, we are not being given a cultural lesson, just seeing the landscape and the shape of faces and the sound of voices.

there are several charming stop-motion animated interludes.

2 out of five, for New Zealand and an apple core sailing on a flip-flop. skip it.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
(transcribed)Eagle vs Shark, New Zealand, romantic comedy. we'll see.

this week of previews is in the JBL at EMP, a shorter walk from work.

overheard today: complaints about too many siff films with drugs and violence. (which then digressed into how much they did like the Pusher trilogy???) they can bite me.

* * *

the description interested me, but i got very little pleasure out of this film. i kept anticipating really great moments that never paid off. our heroine Lily is a misfit but quickly endearing. it's as sweet as it is painful to watch her pushing ahead. to the end, i have no idea what she sees in Jerrod.

there is so much potential available in the script. we wander through an arsenal of Chekhov's guns, but few shots are fired. either it's a brilliant structural conceit that is way beyond me, or it's stupid. even a scene that is pure Comedy Gold spoiler ) falls flat. the director and writer are the same person, so it's hard to untangle where the fault lies.

perhaps my difficulty was in the depiction of social misfits with no redeeming qualities. i'm a nerd. i know about being socially crippled. every "loser" has something that they do well. most all are genuinely happy in their chosen environment. i didn't see that joy here.

the best part for me was the matter-of-fact depiction of life in a small town in New Zealand. unlike Whale Rider, we are not being given a cultural lesson, just seeing the landscape and the shape of faces and the sound of voices.

there are several charming stop-motion animated interludes.

2 out of five, for New Zealand and an apple core sailing on a flip-flop. skip it.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
been consumed with chorus stuff the past few days. transcribing while i can...

Battle of Wits
i have cheezits and a coke. i'm wondering if it's safe to open the coke afer carrying it over here from the office. the checkin guy now knows both my name and my viewing habits. he's good. sometimes i want to cultivate such skills, the rest of the time i'm kind of glad to not have them.

the forecast said 60s today. they were dead wrong.

* * *
it was much warmer, probably high 70s.

the film is set in warring-states era China. it's about a great strategist who helps a small city in a siege. Ge Li (Andy Lau, the *spoiler redacted* in House of Flying Daggers) is a follower of Mohism and his command of the little city's forces is aimed at reducing suffering for all, which goes about as well as can be expected in a monarchy. rather than featuring showy wirework and swordfighting, the battle sequences are mostly infantry actions featuring shields and polearms. (i only detected one Massive-type scene; there really did seem to be a cast of hundreds if not thousands, and the credits thank the Chinese military.)
the dialogue is a bit stilted, but i can't tell if that's translation, being a manga adaptation, or genuine lameness.
i really enjoyed this one once it got rolling, especially because (with one late exception) the battles felt plausible and the underdogs held their own by being clever. i'm looking forward to taking C to this one during the festival and talking about the fighting afterward.

4 out of 5, not for people who are bored by battle sequences.

i can't believe eljay spellchecker doesn't know manga.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
been consumed with chorus stuff the past few days. transcribing while i can...

Battle of Wits
i have cheezits and a coke. i'm wondering if it's safe to open the coke afer carrying it over here from the office. the checkin guy now knows both my name and my viewing habits. he's good. sometimes i want to cultivate such skills, the rest of the time i'm kind of glad to not have them.

the forecast said 60s today. they were dead wrong.

* * *
it was much warmer, probably high 70s.

the film is set in warring-states era China. it's about a great strategist who helps a small city in a siege. Ge Li (Andy Lau, the *spoiler redacted* in House of Flying Daggers) is a follower of Mohism and his command of the little city's forces is aimed at reducing suffering for all, which goes about as well as can be expected in a monarchy. rather than featuring showy wirework and swordfighting, the battle sequences are mostly infantry actions featuring shields and polearms. (i only detected one Massive-type scene; there really did seem to be a cast of hundreds if not thousands, and the credits thank the Chinese military.)
the dialogue is a bit stilted, but i can't tell if that's translation, being a manga adaptation, or genuine lameness.
i really enjoyed this one once it got rolling, especially because (with one late exception) the battles felt plausible and the underdogs held their own by being clever. i'm looking forward to taking C to this one during the festival and talking about the fighting afterward.

4 out of 5, not for people who are bored by battle sequences.

i can't believe eljay spellchecker doesn't know manga.

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