Archive for the ‘Film Festivals’ Category

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LFF 2015: Live from New York! (Bao Nguyen, 2015)

October 13, 2015

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Anyone looking for a really meaty documentary on a still on-the-air television show may be put off when hearing of extensive involvement of the head honchos behind said property. Even more worrying is also finding out that the 40-year portrait of the series only runs 78 minutes (despite what IMDb may tell you), which doesn’t exactly sound like the most ideal length considering that the documentary is about Saturday Night Live, a television show riddled with myriad controversies, success stories and career implosions over those 40 years. If you have a hunch that Live from New York! might play like little more than a hagiographic, superficial skip through self-serving sound-bites, then… well, you’re absolutely right…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages

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LFF 2015: In the Room (Eric Khoo, 2015)

October 10, 2015

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Love and lust across a century form the backbone of In the Room, the latest film from director Eric Khoo (Tatsumi, Be with Me). An anthology feature with five main vignettes (titled “Rubber,” Listen,” “Change,” “Search,” and “First Time” in the end credits) and a few recurring revisits to the exploits of characters who have come and gone, the entire film is set within the confines of one Singapore hotel room, bar the occasional meet-cute or tearful lament in the corridor right outside…

Click for the full review for The Film Stage

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LFF 2015: The Corpse of Anna Fritz (Hèctor Hernández Vicens, 2015)

October 6, 2015

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World famous Spanish actress Anna Fritz (Alba Ribas) has suddenly died. On the night of the death, young mortician Pau (Albert Carbó) takes a photo of the dead celebrity and sends it to his friends, Ivan (Cristian Valencia) and Javi (Bernat Saumell), who promptly turn up at Pau’s hospital while on their way to a party. After doing some coke by the hospital’s bins, Pau and Ivan think it a good idea to have a look at the body up close in the morgue; the comparatively mature Javi is disturbed by the idea but tags along anyway. Down in the morgue, Ivan feels an apparent need to touch the beautiful starlet, and also observe her fully nude form. Ivan then also feels an apparent need to defile her body. And then so does Pau. And then, ignoring Javi’s disgusted protests, they proceed to do so.

If you’re still reading this review after that initial plot dump, let it be known that the remainder of this piece will not shy away from spoilers, as The Corpse of Anna Fritz, the feature debut of director Hèctor Hernández Vicens, is difficult to discuss without divulging information beyond, say, the 20-minute mark of the film. It is vital to discuss where this film gets at least a little interesting, as the opening 20 minutes which encompass those cited plot points are, frankly, hideous without the context of what follows (and are still a rough enough ride even with the next developments). Ready? Okay…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages

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FrightFest 2015: Awaiting (Mark Murphy, 2015)

August 31, 2015

Awaiting

There are a number of character actors whose mere presence in a prominent part can at least partially redeem even the direst material for the briefest of moments, or, preferably, elevate a bad movie to a status of passable entertainment. With Awaiting, the second feature by director Mark Murphy, Scottish actor Tony Curran’s swerve into hamming it up provides the briefest moments of redemption, but it’s sadly not enough to salvage a horror film where the only tension is in awaiting it ever getting good…

Click for the full review for VODzilla.co

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FrightFest 2015: Demonic (Will Canon, 2015)

August 30, 2015

Demonic

Demonic, the second feature from director Will Canon, bears a resemblance to many of the horror movies from director James Wan, whose producing credit for this film is slathered all over its marketing. In the vein of Wan’s first two Insidious films and The Conjuring, Demonic is a slick-looking ghost story involving characters who deliberately investigate the paranormal, with recognisable DNA from ghost movies past and a couple of respected actors in prominent parts (here Mario Bello and burgeoning genre favourite Frank Grillo, of The Purge: Anarchy and the Captain America sequels).

The presence of the likes of Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor in the Wan films does wonders to help forgive some of their many shortcomings, and Grillo, in particular, acts as that same sort of anchor in Demonic. The trouble is that there’s even more shortcomings. Demonic doesn’t so much raise hell as it does flatline on the fright front…

Click for the full review for VODzilla.co

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EIFF 2015: Scottish Mussel (Talulah Riley, 2015)

June 26, 2015

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Sometimes the worst kind of bad film isn’t the one that’s outright offensive and hateful, it’s the one that is full of good intentions but lacks any grasp of tone or gripping storytelling; made with a message in mind, but completely vacuous in execution. Scottish Mussel is sadly one of those misfires, with the sort of scattershot script where most of the film’s cameo stars also get a romantic interest at the end…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2015: Liza, the Fox-Fairy (Károly Ujj Mészáros, 2015)

June 26, 2015

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The directorial debut of Károly Ujj Mészáros, Liza, the Fox-Fairy, plays like a Hungarian cocktail of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Roy Andersson and Takashi Miike…

Click for the full review for The Skinny