The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

anonymous1980
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Re: The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:41 am

Ah yes. The last day of the festival, sadly. I hope there would be "extended" screenings like they did in the past (the most popular films get extended runs for the rest of the month). But I wouldn't bet on it since the second-to-last Twilight movie is opening tomorrow and they need to theaters to fill up with Twitards.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethkathul)

A dying man gather together his loved ones including the ghost of his dead wife and his son who returns to him as a large ape with glowing red eyes as he recalls his different past lives. A strange, quirky film to be sure but oddly mesmerizing just like the second half of the only other film I've seen of "Joe's", Tropical Malady. It's not for everybody but a fascinating entry into the pantheon of world cinema.

Grade: B+

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (Joann Sfar)

This is actually a biopic of French musician Serge Gainsbourg. I actually know next to nothing of him apart from the fact that he's some sort of musician and the dad of Charlotte Gainsbourg. It actually starts out very promisingly with quirky tidbits that seem to promise an unconventional, quirky and unique biopic but alas, such things don't happen often enough and it quickly falls into the conventions of a typical music biopic. But the performances are topnotch and it did hold my attention althroughout (extra points for finding an actress who really does look like a Brigitte Bardot).

Grade: B-

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Re: The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:47 am

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

A group of men including police, prosecutor, a doctor and the murderers drive through the Turkish countryside in search of a dead body. This is Turkey's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category this year and I don't think it's gonna make it in (but then again, I said that about Milk of Sorrow). Not because it's not any good but its lumbering pace may be a trial for a lot of people to sit through. It was a little trying at times for me but the film's hypnotic and GORGEOUS photography of the exotic locale and the fascinating character bits of the ensemble made the film well worth it.

Grade: B+

Nightfishing (Chan-wook Park/Chan-kyong Park)

I'm not a fan of Old Boy but Chan-wook Park is an intriguing filmmaker whose films I'd wanna see more of. This is a film shot entirely on an iPhone 4 and it looks pretty darn good. But beyond the gimmick, the film tells the story of a fisherman who catches something and there's an intriguing twist. It's only half an hour long but it's a solid piece of work.

Grade: B

This Is Not A Film (Jafar Panahi/Mojtaba Mirtahmasb)

A little background for those not in the know: Controversial Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was arrested, tried and sentenced to six years in prison and a ban on writing and directing films and travelling abroad for 20 years by the oppressive Iranian government. This documentary is sort of slyly giving the middle finger to the government as Panahi and Mirtahmasb document one day of Panahi's house arrest as he awaits for his appeal. Nothing particularly earth-shattering happens but it is an intriguing look into the private life and career of one of the world's most important filmmakers and the importance of artistic freedom.

Grade: B+

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Re: The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby anonymous1980 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:31 am

I Saw The Devil (Kim Jee-woon)

When a sadistic serial killer murders the fiance of a trained secret agent, the latter goes on a violent revenge plot. It's part-horror film, part-revenge action thriller and it works very, very well together. The film takes you for a largely unpredictable ride and shifts genres and tones with ease and without being jarring. The violence is shocking and cringe-inducing but mostly quite effective and justified. The actor from Old Boy plays the serial killer and quite effective too. I think I like this better than the other film.

Grade: B+

Red State (Kevin Smith)

There are lots of things to like about Smith's thinly veiled assault on Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. But there are also a lot of flaws. It's clear that Kevin Smith has a lot to say about the subject but none of it really deep and penetrating. One thing I do love about this film is Michael Parks' performance as the fire-and-brimstone preacher Abin Cooper. It's worth seeing the film just for his 15-minute sermon right in the middle of it.

Grade: B-

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Re: The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:47 am

Greg wrote:
anonymous1980 wrote:Few things could make my cinephile heart pitter-patter more than a great samurai flick.


Does this mean you are a fan of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?


I liked Crouching Tiger but that's a kung fu movie.

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Re: The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby Greg » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:00 pm

anonymous1980 wrote:Few things could make my cinephile heart pitter-patter more than a great samurai flick.


Does this mean you are a fan of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?
Bankers don’t like budget deficits because they compete with bank loans as a source of growth.

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anonymous1980
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Re: The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:36 am

Nanga Parbat (Joseph Vilsmaer)

This film is based on the true story Reinhold Messner and his brother Gunther's tragic ascent to the titular mountain. I didn't know much about the film going in and what follows is a fairly straightforward story about man vs. nature and trying to survive. It's not a bad film. It features some stunning cinematography and on-location work plus Gustavo Santaollala's score is superb. But I've seen it done better (Touching the Void, for example).

Grade: C+

13 Assassins (Takashi Miike)

Now THIS is a movie! Few things could make my cinephile heart pitter-patter more than a great samurai flick. And this is it. I'm not much of a fan of Takashi Miike based on just a few works I've seen of his but man, color me converted. The plot is pretty much straightforward: A group of samurai decide that they have to kill a psychotic lord aiming to bring back the age of war and does cruel, unspeakable things to his subjects. What follows is probably the best action movie of the year. Great performances by a fine ensemble. Intense action and visuals. What more could you ask for? This would've made Kurosawa proud!

Grade: A-

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The 2011 Cinemanila Film Festival

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:59 am

It opened tonight. I shall be watching a bunch of films being shown at the festival and I thought I should review them here.

Pina (Wim Wenders)

Hands down, this film is the strongest justification of the existence of 3D technology in film and this is coming from someone who really liked Avatar. This film is about the late great dancer/choreographer Pina Bausch who I was only vaguely familiar with before I've heard of this film. But you need not be a longtime Pina Bausch fan or a fan of modern dance in general in order to be enthralled and captivated by this documentary which served as a loving tribute to the woman. This is definitely a film which simply *must* be seen in 3D if not a really great high-def video screen because I can't imagine watching some sequences in this film without the 3D without losing something really significant. Wenders utilizes in such a way that it enhances the dance sequences and made you feel like you were watching an actual dance live in front of you and get every sophisticated movement and you can even sense the movements of the background dancers. This is a definitely a must-see, a stunning piece of filmmaking.

Grade: A


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