Sunday, May 11, 2014

What I saw at the SF London Film Festival

Coming soon to a festival, theatre and/or DVD shop near you...

Lost Time: Sort of like a feature-length episode of The X-Files where the entire cast and crew dropped acid before the shoot; the results unfortunately tend more towards "tedious and weird" than "mind-bending".

Suicide or Lulu and Me In A World Made For Two: A film about obsession, control and mind-bending, which was pretty good but unfortunately prevented from being brilliant by a major contradiction in the plot setup which emerges at the climax of the story, and by a slightly-too-coincidental series of connections between the characters.

Bunker 6: Now this one did actually verge into the "brilliant" category. Set in an alternate history where the bomb was indeed dropped during the Cuban Missile Crisis, it features a group of Canadians, ten years on, deciding whether or not to open the Diefenbunker and face the outside world. A The Shining-style twist at the end which retroactively changes everything.

The Creep Behind the Camera: Lynchian documentary/docudrama about the making of The Creeping Terror. Creep is a psychological horror film about its director, a monstrous psychopath who abuses his wife, cheats his collaborators and leaves as his legacy one of the worst badflicks of all time.

Time Lapse: Another brilliant one, a story about a group of twentysomethings who discover a camera which will show them a picture from the next day, but tells them nothing about how they got there. Events inevitably devolve into infidelity, organized crime, and bloodshed.

Short Films: "Cooking with Venus" was quite possibly even better than the features above despite being about 2 minutes long, and "A Stitch in Time for $9.99" (another story about events affected by a glimpse into the near-future), "Eden 2045" (a rather sad take on similar themes to The Prisoner) "The Tea Chronicles" (about a peculiarly British obsession) and "Flesh Computer" (just... weird, but it works) also worthy of mention. On the other side, "H270" was probably the single most boring thing I've seen at SFL ever.

Movie count for 2014: 28

One Of Our Films Is Too Long

One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing: Powell and Pressburger film about an air crew shot down in occupied Holland, making their way back to the UK. Gains chutzpah points for having actually been made during wartime, but through modern eyes the protagonists are a bit too reminiscent of Armstrong and Miller's chav-talking pilots. Watch out for a young Robert Beattie, uncredited, as an American volunteer.

Toy Story 3: Nice conclusion to the saga, ending it before the formula becomes too overused. I held off on watching it because TS2 always makes me cry buckets and I was afraid this would be similar, but fortunately, apart from a little poignancy at the end, it was more upbeat.

The Devil Rides Out: Beautiful British horror film, with Christopher Lee as the good guy for a change. Lovely sets and Surrey landscapes, but the cast of phlegmatic and faintly dim Edwardians did occasionally make things feel a little Bertie-Wooster-Meets-Satan. Co-starring Paul Eddington as a man far too calm about having his car stolen, his living room covered with chalk circles and his house filled with refugees from covens.

Ali: Mohammad Ali biopic, with Will Smith and directed by Michael Mann. There's a good story in there, but there's also about 90 minutes of padding.

Movie count for 2014: 23