Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I saw at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival, by Fiona aged 38.5

Birdemic II: The Resurrection: Possibly the worst film I've seen at the festival so far (and that includes such gems as Manborg and Sharktopus), combining appalling acting and effects with terrible production, a soundtrack which makes one appreciate the role of levels and foley, and a script crammed with inappropriate references to better films. It's eitehr an accidental or deliberate work of genius, I'm not sure which.

Dark Star (with live accompaniment): Sort of like a cross between Silent Running and Red Dwarf, I'd argue this is secretly a Vietnam film, featuring as it does four young American men thrown out into space on a mission they don't particularly understand and facing perils they can't cope with, slowly going insane under the pressure. This production had live accompaniment by Sheffield-based synth duo  Animat, which was extra groovy.

War of the Worlds: Goliath: An anime take on the War of the Worlds, so naturally the human race band together to fight the Martians using giant mecha, and World War I is called off due to alien invasion. Clear and distinct themes, with a slate of two-dimensional but likeable characters and a lot of cheery homages to the various takes on the story over the years (hoping they release their techno-remix of "Forever Autumn" as a single sometime).

Channelling: Pacy thriller about a near-future world in which people broadcast their experiences live over the Internet through contact-lens cameras; a sort of cross between Neuromancer and Strange Days via Twitter results.

Piercing Brightness: Aliens living incognito in Preston, Lancashire, receive a call to come home; not a bad story but I think it could have been told in a lot less time, and with fewer arty shots of birds.

Dark by Noon: Time-travel story; well thought out and atmospheric, but again could have been told in about half the time.

 Short Films: As usual too many to review in detail. The standout film was definitely "The Golden Sparrow", a strange and beautiful rotoscoped take on superheroes, but other highlights included "Judge Minty", a Dredd fanfilm about an aging Judge who's starting to question what it's all about, shot on a much smaller budget than you'd realise; "Une Monde Meilleur" a Tatiesque surrealist comedy about a bureaucratic functionary in a totalitarian regime who is left at a loss when said regime collapses; "Nyanco", a spoof of Japanese monster movies featuring a cat, and "Fist of Jesus", reimagining the New Testament as a zombie martial arts movie.

Movie count for 2013: 29