Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 8 (the last one)

Cottage Country Comedy about two brothers who get in a fight about who can use their parent’s cabin at the weekend and one accidentally killing the other and then trying to cover up the story. The first third of the movie was pretty funny, the second third was boring and the last third was slightly different than I expected (but not in a bad way).

The whole movie is not bad, but nothing special either.

Come Out and Play Two tourist get to an Mexican island and find the village deserted. Only some children are left; and they killed all the adults. It tells the story rather low-paced, focusing on the empty streets and houses and creates a certain thrill by doing so. Personally, I found some scenes slightly too long, but all in all a really good watch.

This is a remake of the 1976 classic “Who can kill a child?”. I haven’t seen the original so I can’t compare it to it.

You’re Next Big mansion in the middle of nowhere and the family gathers there to celebrate their parents’ 35th anniversary. Some strangers with animal asks start killing one after the other while the family members start to fight back.

The movie is labelled as a comedy — I didn’t find this a suitable for the first half of the movie, but as it goes on, the killing gets more creative and develops a humorous drive. I think the movie could have worked a bit more on the characterization of the family members.

Unfortunately for me, many scenes in the movie were shot with a really shaky camera (in order to create an atmosphere of stress, I guess). But did I mention that I get motion sick with shaky cameras? So this made the movie really hard for me to watch.


Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 7

100 Bloody Acres Australian hillbilly horror comedy about two brothers with their outback company “Morgan‘s Organic Blood & Bone Fertilizer”. Good, funny and entertaining watch. Delivers what it promises but not more.

Odd Thomas Odd Thomas can see dead people and other creatures that show up shortly before bad things happen. With this infos he tries to safe his home town by putting pieces of the puzzle together and trying to determine what will happen.

No, this movie didn’t work for me. One “gimmick” of the movie is that Odd Thomas is constantly commenting the things happening from the off. I always get really suspicious if a movie uses comments from the off — sometimes they really work well, but too often they are just a sign of failed story telling abilities or wrong understanding of setting the mood. And Odd Thomas is definitely an example where  it completely failed. And it is really constantly throughout the whole movie.

In the end of the movie I was so annoyed but the Odd Thomas character (him always being so positive and happy and always having a fun comment); I was so annoyed by it that I just hoped he will die in the end. And (attention, spoiler alert) no, he does not die.

The Last Days Spanish post-apocalypse movie. The story is set in Barcelona and people can’t go into the open, so they have to stay in buildings and use the sewer and subway tunnels to go from one building to another. A group of two guys start a quest to find their loved ones. The one guy is a programmer and the other a HR manager who was about the fire the programmer before the “apocalypse” happened, so they are not really friends.

The movie is full of standard cliches and logic errors. And overhearing some conversations of other people at the end of the movie, the others hated the movie because of this. But for me, it didn’t matter. I don’t know why I accepted all these flaws, but the movie worked really well for me and it got me in the right mood and I was interested and emotionally captured by the movie the whole time.

It might have been that it was (partially) due to its visuals. I really think the imagery and the color composition of the movie was really great.

Tulpa An Italian Giallo crime movie about serial murders that are connected to our female protagonist. Worked really nice for me and it was a good ending of the second to last day.

Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 6

Revenge for Jolly! The dog Jolly was killed and her owner goes for revenge (together with his brother). The movie was too slow paced for my taste and the humor did not really come across that great. It wasn’t really a bad movie, but it is not a big loss if you don’t see it either.

House of Last Things Haunted house movie (not an old house, mysterious house this time). The couple living there, travel to Italy and they hire a house-sitter for the time and she, her brother and her boy-friend experience the story of the house. Nice and quietly told story.

But it was lacking completely any scary, horror or goose-bump scenes. On the one hand, I expect this from a haunted house movie, but on the other hand, the movie did not try to achieve this — it approaches the topic from a different angle, so I shouldn’t credit this as a negative point for the movie (it’s just that my expectations were wrong).

Philosophers A philosophy class makes a thought experiment: what if a nuclear apocalypse is ahead and there is a bunker that can accommodate 10 people for 1 year (the time needed to be in the bunker), but you are 21 people. How do you decide who gets in a place in the bunker? The students discuss different scenarios with slightly different perquisites.

The movie shows the thought experiment parts as if it really happened which makes it a very pleasurable watch. Makes the whole thought experiment a lively experience. I am not completely sure if I like the ending, though, but the rest of the movie is that good, that I don’t care 🙂

Human Race A group of random humans have to do a race (nobody knows why or who is behind it). The rules:

Only one will win. Follow the signs or you will die. Stay on the path or you will die. If you‘re lapped twice, you will die. Do not touch the grass or you will die. Race or die. The rules are easy – survival is not. Run!

This could have been a good movie, if I only would have been able to sympathize or feel antipathy with (some of) the characters. But I was so indifferent about all the characters participating in the race, that I found the race rather boring.

I really like the title of the movie, though.

Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 5

Makkhi Indian movie (Bollywood) with a cheesy love-story, an Indian mafia-boss who kills the male part of the romance, and is reincarnated as a fly and is out for revenge and tries to kill the mafia-boss.

I was really opposed watching that movie since I don’t like Bollywood movies (well, I never watched one, but each time I catch some glimpses, I don’t have the urge to watch one). But Manuel insisted on watching this one, and I am happy he did: it was great fun!

Really lots of good ideas how a fly can terrorize and plot assaults on a mafia boss. And well-done on the story telling side — although the fly tries really a lot of ways to kill him, I never found it getting boring.

Get Shorty This year’s short movie selection was really nice. Only one movie I didn’t like and the rest was really good.

Wrong An absurd movie that is really hard to describe. It really doesn’t make that much sense — it’s rather the ideas that create a certain mood and feeling that makes this movie interesting. Unfortunately the movie lost my attention in the last third or so, and I started to get bored. But before that I really enjoyed it.

Blue Exorcist: The Movie This year’s anime. I already watched some episodes of the Blue Exorcist TV series and really enjoyed it. So it was rather clear from the beginning that I wanted to watch the movie as well. It was a really well done movie, nice visuals and good storytelling.

But anime movies that are “spin-offs” to a TV series have one problem in general: their stories are rather irrelevant since people should be able to watch the TV series without having to watch the movie (and vice-versa), so the movies do generally not add any essential story elements, but rather tell a side-track self-contained story and so did this one. (The story was not bad, don’t get me wrong.)

But there was one thing I didn’t consider when deciding for this movie: Blue Exorcist is of course an anime that appeals to younger emo girls and so the cinema was filled with them. And what I didn’t know about them: they really like to talk about what they are seeing on the screen. I think I never experienced that much talking in the cinema, not even when I was watching Antz in the noon screening (with lots of smaller children present).

Devil’s Pass Found-footage movie about a couple of US film students trying to get behind the “secrets” of the happening at the Dyatlov pass in 1959 where 9 hikers died. I was already a bit tired when watching this and I have to admit that I didn’t get the plot when watching it (I’m really embarrassed about this), but luckily Manuel filled me in with the missing pieces.

But even after getting the plot now, I didn’t like the movie that much: one thing that really disturbed me was that the movie violated the found-footage part too often, i.e. there were many scenes where I really thought “no, this scene is not something that a real camera man would shoot for documentary” or “why is everybody looking for cover except for the camera man who catches a nice scene of everybody searching for cover? (And why isn’t he shot, but rather the guys that found cover?)”.

The story about the 1959 is true, btw. Although the conspiracy theories about it are rather bullshit as I learned some weeks ago in the Hoaxilla Podcast episode 130 (in German). But the movie was not really about the conspiracy theories anyway (they were just used as a segue for the real story).

Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 4

Animals Spanish coming-of-age story. Calmly told with powerful pictures; gets really dramatic at the end. Really liked it, although I wished if the movie had catched me more on an emotional level.

App A smartphone app (that spreads a bit like a virus) starts to get over the protagonists life and causes consequences in real life.

The special thing is that you can also download an app on your smartphone that acts as second screen while watching the movie. Since I don’t have a smartphone, I watched it without the app, but glanced on the phone of the guy in front of me and my impression was that it did not really add much value to the movie. I think the idea has potential, but watching the same scene that is currently running in a shake phone video from a different perspective is not the full potential of this idea.

The story itself was way over the top and although I like the idea to see the consequences of over-use of technology, it has to stay realistic in certain boundaries — and resetting a smartphone to the factory setting causing a whole shop to blow up is certainly stretching the boundaries too far. And why did had to end with unbelievable, unnecessary Hollywood-style mega-action-scene? If the movie hadn’t lost me before, this was the final step.

Guess this was the first really bad movie at this year’s festival. (Personal opinion — I heard from others who liked the movie.)

Love Eternal A psychological approach to telling a story about necrophilia. Sexual aspects didn’t play any role in this movie (or gross scenes or anything like that) — it was really a psychological view. Calmly told story, with strong emotions. Nice and slightly disturbing.

In the Name of the Son Belgian black comedy about a mother taking revenge on priests abusing children — at least that might be a one sentence description of the main plot of the movie, but it does not properly describe it. I feel I can’t find a suitable description that of it. It really contains lots of church critics and critics of overly religious people. The humor in its absurdity and its sarcastic, cynical tone is really nice. Its somewhat different from what I know in other places.

It was certainly a great watch.

The only thing that annoyed me was that the subtitles (if they spanned over two lines) were switched. So you had the read the last line and then the first line to get it in right order — I was really surprised that it took me quite some mental effort to remember this all the time. But this was the first technical problem at the Filmfest this year (and that on the 4th day). So I’m pretty happy compared to the other years where I experienced more problems and especially more annoying ones (like the sound being out-of-sync with the picture or movies having to be cancelled because of wrong keys for the digital copies of the movies).

Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 3

The Battery A zombie movie, but one of a different kind (neither the typical zombie comedy nor the zombie action flick). The movie is rather a nice character development of the two protagonists in an extreme situation, spiced with lots of subtle comedy. Somebody described it as “Clerks” with zombies which I think is rather suitable.

This would be an excellent movie if the last ten minutes were different. Didn’t like them and leave me rather unsatisfied.

Pawn Shop Chronicles Episode movie around a pawn shop in some southern state. Three episodes that all start in the pawn shop and that are otherwise also connected at some points. Violent, sometimes funny; the stories are really nicely told with the (stereo)typical southern hillbilly characters.

Overall really good, but there is something about this movie that I don’t like — I just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it is the torture violence of the second episode (I don’t like that stuff), maybe it is that all three episodes are told with in the same style (as opposed to episode movies with different directors), but the episodes are nonetheless so different that this confuses me. I’m not really sure.

Lords of Salem Rob Zombie movie about witches and satanists. I liked the visuals of the movie, but it did not manage to really get me interested in the story or the characters.

Frankenstein’s Army Found-footage movie from Russian soldiers in WWII who find a German laboratory where Frankenstein experiments with cyborg-and-dead-body-part soldiers. Guess a nice trash ending of the day.

Fantasy Filmfest 2013 — Day 2

The Complex Japanese horror movie about an apartment complex with ghost story rumors and a lonely child. The story was good, but nothing special either. The thing I love about J-horror movies is the way they build suspension. And unfortunately this one failed at it most of the time: it had too many scenes where it started suspension building and continued for too long (to the point where it almost got boring). And the suspension building was lacking too often the climax. In one scene I had a full-body goose bumps, though, so the movie did not fail completely at it.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the movie, but it did not fully deliver what I expect from a J-horror movie.

Europa Report Mockumentary/found-footage movie about the first manned mission to the Jupiter moon Europa with the mission to search for life on Europa. The good thing is that most cameras on a space craft are mounted, so no shaking hand-cameras and I didn’t get motion sick as I usual do when watching mockumentaries.

If you start to look at the details about the astronauts, of the space ship, etc., you will find lots of things that are not “realistic” (which contradicts the concept of a mockumentary). But I’m rather good at extending my suspension of disbelieve, so that is what I did and the result: I watched a thrilling movie that caught me from beginning to end.

My personal highlight of the day.

Dirty Weekend British black comedy about people thinking people are dead and trying to get rid of the bodies and trying to kill each other (all because of some gold coins). Funny and entertaining, but nothing special either (and there are funnier black comedies).

Hatchet III The third installment of the slasher movie. Oh, what is there to say? It’s what you expect from such a movie: people get slashed in (more or less) creative ways, embedded in a some kind of story. Was fun to watch, but not more.