Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BIFFF 2010

I was lucky enough to attend this year's Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, and I thought I'd post a bunch of one-line reviews for all the films I saw. Some of these will be getting the full review treatment soon too!

A Serbian Film (Serbia, 2009, dir. Srdjan Spasojevic): FANTASTIC! Music, direction, acting, structure, metaphor, extremity – superb. Won’t ever see the light of day in the UK in its current form!

The Human Centipede: First Sequence
(USA, 2009 dir. Tom Six): great fun, something a little bit different, not that sick!

The Killer Inside Me
(USA, 2010, dir. Michael Winterbottom): great! Twisted, enjoyable, brutal, wonderful central performance

Valhalla Rising
(Denmark/UK, 2009, dir. Nicolas Winding Refn): awesome, but needs a second viewing; very metaphorical and arty

(UK, 2009, dir. Phillip Ridley): really enjoyable and well-made, although again incoherent in parts

(Ireland/USA, 2010, dir. Neil Jordan): lovely fairytale, cheesy, yes, but very pretty and sweet

(Belgium, 2009, dir. Vincent Lannoo): Hysterically funny and witty, a very likeable film

(Norway, 2009, dir. Severin Eskeland): utterly clich├ęd but massively entertaining slasher throwback

Zombies of Mass Destruction
(USA, 2009, dir. Kevin Hamedani): surprisingly good fun, despite crap acting and hit-and-miss jokes, great make up effects

(Thailand, 2010, dir. Kongkiat Khomsiri): an interesting, twisty thriller, but the humour/drama does not meld as well as it could

(South Korea, 2009, dir. Lee Yong Joo-I): decent creeper, but too long and too similar to Dark Water

5150 Rue des Ormes
(Canada, 2009, dir. Eric Tessier): solid thriller/horror, a little incoherent but enjoyable and a bit different

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang
(Serbia, 2009, dir. Mladen Djordjevic): explicit comedy/drama, which completely loses its way after the first 40 minutes or so, with the political rhetoric being less effective when all the humour is lost

Glenn 3948
(Belgium, 2010, dir. Marc Goldstein): cute but bizarre concept terribly executed; awful music, direction, acting, script

(USA, 2009, dir. Jordan Barker): a solid thriller let down by an uncharismatic lead and a twist that’s too twisty

Evil in the Time of Heroes
(Greece, 2009, dir. Yorgos Noussias): utter shit!

(Norway, 2009, dir. Pal Oie): boring, looked nice though

(Spain, 2009, dir. Eduard Cortes): enjoyable, if pretentious, film about arty young people

Reykjavik Whale-Watching Massacre
(Iceland, 2009, dir. Julius Kemp): boring, nothing special

(Italy, 2009, dir. Dario Argento): a cheap Argento knock off…directed by Argento sign of a career resurgance here!

Survival of the Dead
(USA, 2009, dir. George A. Romero): just…what?!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Oscar Nominations 2010

So, the Oscars. A few adequate surprises in what is mostly a rehash of nominations we’ve seen over and over again this awards season.

I’m going to come right out and tell you which nomination excites me the most: Hans Zimmer’s Sherlock Holmes for Best Original Score. Say what you will about the film (I personally love it a little more than might be considered healthy), but there’s no denying that the music is superb. I’m so pleased to see it get recognised!

The Best Picture list is a nice, if predictable, list. Very pleased to see District 9 and Up recognised in there, but The Blind Side? Really? It must be a two-horse race between Avatar and The Hurt Locker, but I’d love to see an outsider like An Education steal it! For Best Director, I’m rooting for Kathryn Bigelow. I’ve seen embarrassingly few of this years’ main nominees, but I’m rooting for the lady, hands down.

So pleased to see Colin Firth nominated, but I’m betting Jeff Bridges is almost a certainty in the Best Actor category. I’d say betting against Sandra Bullock would be fairly foolish, too, but damn, if I’m not rooting for Carey Mulligan. Christoph Waltz must surely be another safe bet, and deservedly so, and Mo’Nique must be fairly certain for Best Supporting Actress, in what seems like a decidedly week category (as much as the inclusion of Anna Kendrick makes me happy!).

For Best Original Screenplay I am hoping against hope that Up steals it, even if simply for the line “I was hiding under your porch because I love you.” Similarly, I would love to see District 9 steal away the Best Adapted Screenplay award, and I’m also pleasantly surprised to see In the Loop recognised there.

Best Animated Feature shouldn’t even be up for discussion. Up.

I would get into the technical categories, but to be honest I mostly don’t understand them and would just be picking out my favourite films from the lists. Having said that, I’m still rooting Sherlock Holmes for Best Art Direction ;)

What're your thoughts on the nominations?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love-fest '10

Wow, I've been named as a Kreativ Creative Kreativ Blogger! As a result, it's my responsibility to pass on the honour!

1: Thank the person who nominated me

A very big thank you David McGuigan, for saying lovely things about me. Anyone who calls me a 'smart lady' and says my opinions are 'well-observed' is cool in my book! But seriously - thank you. We've been chatting on Twitter and it's always great to have such in-depth conversations about film, and to end up being appreciated in return!

2: Copy the logo and place it on your blog

Ooh, swish!

3: Link to the person who nominated you for this award

Done. :)

4: Name 7 things about yourself that people may find interesting:

Oh my god, seven? Are you serious?! I'm not that interesting! Here goes anyway...

1) I've been a vegetarian since I was 9 (I'm now 23). Hard work it was too: it's because I love the lovely animals, not because I don't like the taste of meat. Of course, by now, I feel sick even at the smell of meat, so now, it's pretty damn easy :)

2) I did two years of a Celtic Studies degree before switching to Film and Television Studies. I don't regret it: had I decided to study film from the very beginning, I probably would never have ended up at Aberystwyth University. This town may be small, and in the middle of nowhere, but it's got a bloody great bunch of people teaching film, and a damn fine little horror festival, too ;)

3) I have three phobias, which I'm expanding to three points on this list because like I! Anyway, the first: needles. I cannot even watch injections etc. on screen. I can watch all sorts of gory junk and barely bat an eyelid, but even hint that an injection is about to be shown and I'll have to cover my eyes. If I have to have an injection/have blood taken, I will do it, but I will feel like utter crawling hell for every single second of the wait and the act itself.

4) Second phobia: spiders. I can literally waste HOURS of my day if there's a spider around. I once wasted a whole morning because there was a tiny, barely-visible spider in the way of my wardrobe, meaning I couldn't get dressed. I even have one of those 'friendly spider catchers', but it doesn't matter, I can stand at arms length from the creature, spider catcher in hand, and just stay like that, for minutes and minutes on end. My problem? See that thing about being a vegetarian? I can't bring myself to kill the little bastards either - it's hardly their fault I'm scared of them!

5) Third phobia: the dark. What?! I hear you cry...well, yes. This phobia is not nearly so bad as the other two, however, I am pretty scared of the dark. Switch a light off on me and I will probably freak out. While it doesn't bother me to the extent that I can't walk outside at night or whatever, it does bother me to the extent that when I get ready for bed at night, I have to make sure everything's done so that as soon as I switch the light off, I can jump into bed. If I need to do anything else - that light goes right back on again. Ditto, I won't walk into dark rooms or leave a dark room behind me if I know I'll be going to be walking back through it shortly after.

6) Bizarrely, despite all my love of promoting women in film and so forth, I cannot name you my favourite actresses (aside from Gillian Anderson), never mind my favourite female filmmakers. However, my favourite directors are Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Lindsay Anderson and Gaspar Noe; while my favourite actors are Anthony Hopkins, Malcolm McDowell, Conrad Veidt and Dirk Bogarde. Those lists come easily. Go figure.

7) I can play the piano, although not nearly as well as I used to (which wasn't that great). I love classical music, and if I had to pick one one CD to take on a desert island or whatever, it'd be Beethoven's Ninth.

Phew. Thank god that's done.

5: Nominate 5 Kreativ bloggers (I'm going to try to be a bit different...)

1) Bloofer Lady: Lady knows her stuff, and has impecable taste in actors ;)

2) Hannah Neurotica: The personal blog of a very inspirational lady, whose dedication to horror is nothing short of magnificent.

3) Jen and Sylvia Soska: These two ladies are just plain awesome: great films, great attitude, great future.

4) Lloyd Kaufman: Yes, this counts as a blog (sort of...). Lloyd's a wonderfully intelligent man, which, wrapped in such a great wit, is put to great use here.

5) Keri O'Shea: She's very new to blogging, but she's not new to damn fine film reviewing. Check her out.

6: Post links to the 5 blogs

7: Leave a comment on the blogs you have nominated.

Good god this is hard work! But fine. I have. I did. It's done.

Thus ends your unscheduled backslapping :D