SIFF: Week 1

The first week of the Seattle International Film Festival is almost complete.  Here are the movies we’ve seen thus far:

The Aristocrats:   I almost shit myself from laughing so hard.  And no, this should not be confused with the Disney cartoon The Aristocats, you dumbass.  You would think that a simple joke (the essence of which really sucks, by the way) would get old after the third or fourth retelling of it.  But it’s not the joke per se that is funny, but the creativity in the storytelling of the joke that makes it gut busting — that is the genious of this.

Brothers:    This Danish film tells the story of two brothers, one is the "good" brother who is in the military and goes to Afghanistan to fight, the other is the lazy "bad" boy who has a taste for the liquor. Of course, the family finds out the good brother dies; the bad boy gets a kick in the ass and spends a lot of time helping his hottie sister in-law; in a Law in Order twist the brother comes back (no, dumbass, he’s not a zombie) and he flips out ninja style on them.  He’s craaazzzy.  Sounds like Pearl Harbor or the Notebook?  Yup.  But the Danes pull it off a lot less sappy.

Layer Cake:   More like Shit Cake.  This is one of those few times that I actually tried to read the book before seeing the movie.  The book is really good and reads with the same speed and dialogue as Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, so I had high hopes for this movie.  Perhaps I should have been high watching this movie, because sober it sucked!  Slow, boring, huge critical elements from the book completely either left out or unexplained (thank god I read the book first).  The best lines from the book were actually in the film, but almost completely inaudible.  Also one of the few times I would have *preferred* to see the damn boom mic, at least then it could pick up what the hell they were saying.

Yes:   NO!!!!!  Boring, cheesy, sappy, I still don’t understand the point of the random scene of Sam Neill dancing (a la Hugh Grant in Love Actually).  Horrible use of film speeds.  Horrible use of close-ups.  She tried to be creative and it didn’t work.  Next time, try to get more than US$1M when making a movie (I hope that was dollars and not pounds).

North Korea: A Day in the Life:   Interesting documentary following a family for one day in North Korea (hence the name).  Though a lot of reality was obviously masked, there was some neat camera work showing shots of the North Korean insanity (statues, posters, etc).  They hate Americans.  Really hate Americans.

Seoul Train:   Another interesting documentary showing the atrocities of the people in North Korea from the regime induced famine and the people involved in the Underground Railroad to help brings those refugees to freedom.  The content was quite interesting, but they shouldn’t have limited themselves to 53 minutes since there was a lot of stuff that could have been explained in more detail.  Also that was a horrible title for the film.  Though a play on words for the Underground Railroad, two major flaws.  First, they really didn’t explain South Korea’s involvement in the film for what they’re contribution is to the effort, whereas they focused on the people going to China and the challenges there.  Second, did they not realize that calling it after a 70’s dance show might undermine the film’s content??  It’s like if they called Schindler’s List, "Diff’rent Strokes" instead.  Dumb dumb dumb.

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