Sunday, September 17, 2006

TIFF Day Ten

Saturday Sep 16

White Palms (Szabolcs Hajdu) 64

Flanders (Bruno Dumont) 67

Invisible Waves (Pen-ek Ratanaruang) ZZZ

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (Takashi Miike) 38

Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismaki) 62

The Black Dahlia (Brian de Palma) 61

Friday, September 15, 2006

TIFF Day Nine

Friday Sep 15

Day Night Day Night (Julia Loktev) 63

August Days (Marc Recha) 51

Summer Palace (Lou Ye) 45

Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) 65

Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliverira) 41

Fantasma (Lisandro Alonso) W/O

TIFF Day Eight

Thursday Sep 14

Black Book (Paul Verhoeven) 66

The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky) 34

Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa) 53

Exiled (Johnnie To) 63

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

TIFF Day Seven

Wednesday Sep 13

Mon Meilleur Ami (Patrice Leconte) 41

Bliss (Sheng Zhimin) 40

Golden Door (Emanuele Crialese) 66

Nue Propriété (Joachim Lafosse) 76

S&MAN (JT Petty) 56

TIFF Day Six

Tuesday Sep 12

Summer ’04 (Stefan Krohmer) 71

Indigènes (Rachid Bouchareb) ZZZ

Coeurs (Alain Resnais) 83

Hamaca Paraguaya (Paz Encina) W/O
I needed to stand in the rush line for Still Life and I think I had gotten a good feel for what the film was trying to accomplish.

Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke) 50

Monday, September 11, 2006

TIFF Day Five

Monday Sep 11

Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-Soo) 72

Chacun Sa Nuit (jean-Marc Barr and Pascal Arnold) 33

Fay Grim (Hal Hartley) 57

I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang) 24

Sunday, September 10, 2006

TIFF Day Four

Sunday Sep 10

Palimpsest (Konrad Niewolski) 31

L’Homme de sa vie (Zabou Breitman) 73

Offside (Jafar Panahi) 78

Cashback (Sean Ellis) 51

Saturday, September 09, 2006

TIFF Days Two and Three

Friday Sep 8

12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu) 67
This film is about the divide between history in a broad sense and the person narratives of those that inhabited and took place in that history. The first half of the film establishes the characters with incidental details of their lives leading up to (SPOILER!) a television broadcast that comprises the entire second half, structurally resembling the revolution that it is main focal point of the broadcast. The unique structure allows the broadcast to be both very funny and moving because it builds upon the characters and their relationships that comprised the previous reels.

Taxidermia (György Pálfi) 62
This film has a bold and uncompromising vision, somewhat reminiscent of Lynch or Barney or even Francis Bacon but always totally owned by Pálfi (a filmmaker that is previously unknown to me even though Hukkle has a following – I plan to catch it after the fest). However, even while I admired its vision and was certainly affected by it on a visceral level I never came to terms with it on an emotional or intellectual level.

Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) 38
Ceylan’s style stopped me from caring about this film or the characters within it; the compositions are either flashy or remote static shots that are not particularly motivated by the scenes, themes, or characters.

Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako) 34
This critically acclaimed Cannes film felt more like an intellectual exercise than an approachable film and I just completely disengaged from the endless courtroom essays. The very occasional musical performances were a welcomed reprieve and make me think I should perhaps not write off Sissako at this point.

Chronicle of an Escape (Israel Adrián Caetano) 40
No surprises in this political thriller from this year’s Cannes Competition. It is even done in the de-saturated, handheld style that is currently in fashion for this type of film.

The Host (Bong Joon-ho) 66
This is not quite up to the deafening buzz from Cannes and it runs about twenty minutes too long but it is still a very enjoyable monster movie with some fresh ideas on how to approach a genre that is in dire need of fresh ideas. It’s just too bad that most of the film’s surprises and subversive genre twists are contained in the first 40 minutes of the film.

Saturday Sep 9

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach) 68
Very lean for the first hour or so, with a few exaggerated instances of abuse from the British troops standing in as shorthand for what was probably a lifetime of more subtle abuse and then we are quickly thrown in with the rebel troops. It does get a bit too bogged down in the last act with some heavy-handed (though still dramatically compelling) debate scenes but this is still very strong material, a worthwhile choice for the Palme D’or at Cannes.

The Fall (Tarsem) 32
Tarsem created some arresting images as a music video director but he has still not managed to come up with narrative ideas to support his visual sense or allow his creativity to really blossom. This is even less successful than the fairly worthless The Cell because the material is so trite that Tarsem just spins his wheels visually; style without substance made worse because the style isn’t even compelling on a scene-by-scene basis and diminished more as overall storytelling. Also, the little girl we are stuck with is the worst child actor in recent memory.

v-r (Kyle Canterbury) NR
18 Videos: #8 (Kyle Canterbury) NR
These were both alright.

PSA. 9 body count (Cynthia Madansky) NR
PSA. 10 occupation (Cynthia Madansky) NR
PSA. 14 target (Cynthia Madansky) NR
These were dumb. The style was far from relevant to the content.

Hysteria (Christina Battle) NR
I barely remember this one.

Kristall (Christoph Girardet and Matthias Muller) NR
This one was actively annoying because of the abrasive sound design and overall lack of focus to the clips chosen. I am not a fan of these found footage montage bits anyways.

Nackstuck (Peter Tscherkassky) R
Afraid So (Jay Rosenblatt) R
These were the two best and also the two funniest (well, intentionally funny).

Memo to Pic Desk (Chris Kennedy and Anna van der Meulen) NR
This one had its moments.

Roads to Kiarostami (Abbas Kiarostami) NR
Unintentionally hilarious and a document that will surely be used against Kiarostami after he is submitted to the mental hospital.

Tsuioko (Yuiko Matsuyama) NR
I think I was still laughing about the exploding dog at the end of the Kiarostami while this short was playing.

Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog) 42
Herzog is still an interesting and compelling documentary filmmaker but his narrative features just seem off; more polished than his peak 70’s period but polished in a rather style-less manner, like a TV movie with the camera placed in the most obvious position. I haven’t seen his documentary about the same subject matter but I’m fairly sure that its existence makes this film superfluous. I don’t usually care for Jeremy Davies but he was especially wretched here and the usually reliable Christian Bale seemed to go too big for the character he was playing and the situations he was in (though he sure is fearless as far as leading men go).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

TIFF Day One

Thursday Sep 7

The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck) 52
Unremarkable spy drama finds a strange middle ground between forceful crowd pleasing and boring historical recreation, without enough style or energy to support the two-hour plus running time. Some fine performances and nice subtle character touches make this somewhat worthwhile but hardly explain the overwhelmingly positive buzz.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Films That Got Away

The lottery results are in and I missed a few:

The Page Turner - Thu Sep 7, 8:30 PM (I might try to see the theatrical run of Idiocracy or just get some all-important sleep.)

Brand Upon the Brain! - Fri Sep 8, 6:00 PM (Got my Back-up Bamako so no huge loss here)

HANA - Sat Sep 9, 9:00 AM (This one stings, I will try to rush it)

STRIKE - Wed Sep 13, 9:15 AM (This was a dead slot and will now allow me to sleep in a little.)