30 November 2014

The Imitation Game, 2014 - ★★★★

Some excellent performances and a (mostly) superb script are let down by lacklustre direction which resorts to far too many cliches. Still a solid and enjoyable film though.

November 30, 2014 at 11:06AM

26 November 2014

Nymphomaniac: Vol. II, 2013 - ★★

After two hours of foreplay the second volume arrives and is a messy anticlimax. It's hard to know if the problems are to do with length; four hours is just too long to maintain interest in what turns out to be a fairly straightforward story. The older Joe's story becomes unpleasant without adding anything (would the film suffer if Jamie Bell's scenes were removed - no offence to the former Billy Elliot). Joe's career path came as a surprise and is quite interesting but the film ends in a way that was predictable from the very start. Disappointing.

November 26, 2014 at 07:42PM

Nymphomaniac: Vol. I, 2013 - ★★★★

The first part of Nymphomaniac is pretty much what I've come to expect from a Lars von Trier film although surprisingly not that repulsive. It's stylish, thoughtful, provocative, gratuitous, funny, uncomfortable and only really let down by an irritating accented Shia LaBeouf.

November 26, 2014 at 07:31PM

23 November 2014

Little Fockers, 2010 - ★

Occasionally skates close to something resembling humour but on the whole there is no reason for this to exist. Hopefully it will have put an end to the series.

November 23, 2014 at 10:12PM

22 November 2014

Bangkok Dangerous, 2008 - ★

There's no such thing as a bad Cage film. There's no such thing as a bad Cage film. There's no such thing as a bad Cage film.

However when he's playing things straight in a dull action film it all ends up being incredibly boring.

November 22, 2014 at 12:31AM

Year One, 2009 - ★½

A great cast (and Vinnie Jones) are wasted in a completely unfunny script. A disappointing and therefore sad final film from Ramis.

November 22, 2014 at 12:29AM

The Gatekeepers, 2012 - ★★★

Insightful talking heads combined with some fantastic visual work recreating scenes of photos make for a compelling documentary.

November 22, 2014 at 12:21AM

21 November 2014

Birdman, 2014 - ★★★★

Everything about Birdman made me want to love it, but I didn't and I don't know why.

November 21, 2014 at 12:14AM

The Creeping Garden, 2014 - ★★★★

Always fascinating, frequently beautiful. In the middle it spends too much time on humans but their passion is also great to watch. Towards the end it looked like things were building to a satisfying climax as the more emotional side began to be explored. Unfortunately due to the film starting late I had to leave early and missed the final ten minutes.

November 21, 2014 at 12:12AM

Song of the Sea, 2014 - ★★★★

Beautifully borrowing from so many styles yet remaining completely unique. I kept hoping for something really special to happen but despite all the magic it was still lacking something for me.

November 21, 2014 at 12:07AM

What We Do in the Shadows, 2014 - ★★★★★

Even better on the second viewing, the anticipation of some of those lines confirms that they and the film will become a classic.

November 21, 2014 at 12:03AM

19 November 2014

Heaven Adores You, 2014 - ★★★★

A celebration of Elliott Smith's life and the cities where he lived throughout his life.

Q&A with the producer Marc Smolowitz

ps My bad audience tag is for the people who managed to eat the loudest packet of crisps during the first half of the film, not the enthusiastic but very drunk fan who hijacked the Q&A (and apparently was talking throughout the film but I couldn't hear this).

November 19, 2014 at 11:37PM

Shame, 1968 - ★★★½

I liked this a lot more than Persona which I saw first in a double bill at Leeds International Film Festival. It seems to take a long time before the interesting parts happen and gets quite absurd towards the end but perhaps that's the point.

November 19, 2014 at 11:18PM

Persona, 1966 - ★★★

Somehow I've not seen any of Bergman's films (I remember falling asleep during a wild Strawberries as a teenager) and this may not have been the best place to start. It's easy to see why this is regarded so highly from an academic point of view but I found it difficult to engage with in any meaningful way (which may be a result of it being my 30-something film of the festival).

November 19, 2014 at 11:11PM

18 November 2014

From Bedrooms to Billions, 2013 - ★★★

A comprehensive but overlong look at the British video games industry. Unfortunately it's unlikely to appeal to anybody who doesn't already have an interest in the subject matter. The opening titles are incredibly well done and outline the entire path of the film (and therefore industry) stylishly in a few minutes. The rest of the film drags on and could be edited down, especially when two talking heads are basically saying the same thing.

November 18, 2014 at 09:07PM

17 November 2014

Wild, 2014 - ★★★

A solid if somewhat unremarkable film. Seeing it so soon after Tracks probably lessened the appeal.

November 17, 2014 at 11:56PM

Catch Me Daddy, 2014 - ★★

I've had enough of this style of filming, it's been done to death over the last few years in cinema and on TV. The film wasn't badly made but it was completely heartless and boring. I couldn't and didn't care about anything that was happening. Apart from the Bovril scene, that was quite good.

Apparently the film was supposed to be subtitled but this made little difference. Apart from the final scenes the intention always seemed obvious.

Some of the cast and crew were in attendance but really wish they hadn't bothered. Three turned up on stage and said nothing, the rest talked throughout the film.

November 17, 2014 at 11:49PM

Trespassing Bergman, 2013 - ★★★

Some of my favourite filmmakers talking about a filmmaker I'm lamentably unfamiliar with. The framing device of allowing directors to explore Bergman's (seemingly) preserved home is fascinating but also under utilised - I wanted to know so much more about the writing on the furniture. Providing an overview of Bergman's whole career also means the film does drag on a little. Bonus points for Lars Von Trier basically being Lars Von Trier.

November 17, 2014 at 11:40PM

Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise, 1987 - ★★★½

Epic and ambitiously packing a lot of deep ideas into what seems like a fairly simple story.

November 17, 2014 at 11:33PM

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, 2013 - ★★★★

With so many people quite rightly having so much to say the film dashed along at a cracking pace to fit in as much as possible. An always fascinating insight into a wonderful career.

November 17, 2014 at 12:17AM

The Canal, 2014 - ★

A promising start which looks like it's going to be a high quality ghost story but quickly descends into a horrible mess of clichés. The cinematography is the only redeemable quality, everything else is bad and gets worse as the film progresses. When I thought it was pretty but was going to other nothing new I considered leaving (something I've never done before). I was trapped in my seat and couldn't easily leave so I got to stay and see things get even worse. By the time they give up on cliche and just start ripping off other films all my patience was gone.

Unforgivably awful.

November 17, 2014 at 12:15AM

Patch Town, 2014 - ★★★

One of the films I was looking forward to at #LIFF28 but a big disappointment. There were lots of ideas that failed to be pulled together in any satisfying way. Still a lot of fun though and I suspect the short film on which this was based will work a lot better.

November 17, 2014 at 12:11AM

Songs from the Second Floor, 2000 - ★★★

Once again I found myself wanting to like this more than I ever was. In theory it was my kind of thing, a nice combination of surreal sadness, but it just didn't connect. On a different day, in a different mood, I may have appreciated it a lot more.

November 17, 2014 at 12:07AM

16 November 2014

Housebound, 2014 - ★★★★

The second horror comedy from New Zealand in the #LIFF28 and nearly as fantastic as What We Do In The Shadows. This is more of a horror but it manages to perfectly mix the haunted house story with lots of humour and is just a whole lot of fun.

November 16, 2014 at 12:25AM

Szabadesés, 2014 - ★★★★

I'm still not entirely sure what this was but it was absolutely brilliant. Slightly worrying that it only appeared to me and the couple next to me laughing throughout. Perhaps could've done with one less story but I wouldn't want to drop any of them. The scariest cow in film history, a Chris Morris style trip to the doctors, the most ocd couple and a tv sitcom.

November 16, 2014 at 12:22AM

Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!, 2006 - ★★★

An interesting experiment that I was going to say didn't work. The first half was a confusing mess and I just thought was further evidence why audience members should never use cameras at gigs. By the second half it felt like a better editor had taken over and everything came together to really be quite wonderful.

I may have enjoyed the whole film more if the audience had been better behaved. Just because it's a film of a gig doesn't mean it's okay to chat throughout, use your phone or loudly interrupt three rows of people presumably looking for something you left behind in the previous screening.

November 16, 2014 at 12:13AM

Kebab i horoskop - ★★★½

Oh how I wish The Apprentice was like this. Odd in all the right ways.

November 16, 2014 at 12:08AM

15 November 2014

A Hard Day, 2014 - ★★★½

Far funnier than expected making this a black comedy action thriller. Films like this should be a wake up call to Hollywood on how they should be making mainstream entertainment.

November 15, 2014 at 12:20AM

Show Pieces, 2014 - ★★★★

Alan Moore moves from The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman to The League Of Gentleman as there's a hint of Royston Vasey (or Psychoville) in all three of these disturbing dark stories. Better than the collection of horror shorts shown last week at the festival, this is an impressive collection from a new creative team.

Q&A with Alan Moore, Mitch Jenkins, Siobhan Hewlett, Darrell D'Silva and Andrew Buckley

November 15, 2014 at 12:13AM

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, 2013 - ★★★½

A wonderful insight into Studio Ghibli and especially Miyasaki . As a film it doesn't do anything special and suffers from being too long, but if you have any interest in the subject you're likely to be as delighted as I was throughout.

As the film goes into some detail about the making of The Wind Rises you may want to see that film first.

Also were the cat and Miyasaki ever shown on the screen at the same time?

November 15, 2014 at 12:05AM

Grave of the Fireflies, 1988 - ★★★★½

Not as devastating as I remembered (although still incredibly sad) but a lot more beautiful.

November 15, 2014 at 12:02AM

14 November 2014

The Possibilities Are Endless, 2014 - ★★★

Better than I was expecting after hearing bad things. It felt like a good idea for a short film stretched out to (short) feature length.

Q&A and performance made it worthwhile though.

November 14, 2014 at 12:02AM

Interstellar, 2014 - ★★★★★

It completely blew me away. Some time after I left, I let out a breath of air and genuinely thought I hadn't been breathing for the last five minutes.

I can't help but think my wonder was a result of

1) Avoiding reading, seeing or listening to anything about the film. I knew it was set in space and I'd seen pictures of the farm.

2) Seeing it in Imax

To continue point 1, I feel like I should say no more. It's a new Christopher Nolan film, why wouldn't you see it?

November 13, 2014 at 11:58PM

13 November 2014

Love Steaks, 2013 - ★★★

On a different day I think I would have liked Love Streaks more. It had all the ingredients for a film I should like but at the end of a long day I just failed to connect.

November 12, 2014 at 11:42PM

12 November 2014

Bird People, 2014 - ★★★★½

Right from the start I liked Bird People a lot but thought it would be lacking that certain something to make it really special. I needn't have worried because what eventually happens is so remarkable and completely unexpected it takes everything to a different level.

If I'm completely honest it doesn't always work and some of those later scenes drag on a little too long. When it is working though it's magical and I applaud the intention over the execution.

The performance in those scenes is amazing and deserves a new award category to be fully recognised.

Interestingly enough earlier in the day I had two minor encounters with birds which I can't help but wonder if they influenced my take on the film. The first was a single pigeon sat atop an out of order vending machine inside the train station, he looked so pleased with himself as he watch the tail of commuters pass by. I wanted to take a photo but didn't. The second was a small flock of birds chirping away and flying from tree to tree around Millenium Square right before I went to The Light to watch the film.

Best discovery of #LIFF28 so far, I already had high expectations for What We Do In The Shadows and Tusk.

November 12, 2014 at 11:37PM

11 November 2014

The Drop, 2014 - ★★★★

The Drop doesn't do anything special but is well made and has enough tension to keep my interest throughout.

November 11, 2014 at 11:46PM

Tokyo Tribe, 2014 - ★★★½

When the first song kicks in and the film starts to reveal it's wonderful visual stylings I thought this is fantastic but is it really going to be able to keep it up for two hours? The answer is no, not really but not necessarily for the reasons I thought. Knowing nothing about the film and the language barrier meant I found it hard to tell if the film was supposed to be serious or not, although by the end I guessed "not". Whatever the tonal intention there are moments that just stand out as being wrong, perhaps trying to play up to the japanese and hip-hop obsession with sexualising everything but coming across as awfully misjudged (or just plain awful). It's a shame because when it stays clear of the exploitive stuff it's wonderfully bizarre, stylish and fun.

Overall the film is just frustrating, jumping back and forth between the good (all the songs and visual design), the bad (overlong fight sequences and cock jokes) and the ugly (rape culture)

November 11, 2014 at 11:36PM

10 November 2014

Kick-Heart, 2013 - ★★½

Watched on Monday November 10, 2014.

November 10, 2014 at 10:26PM

Cat Soup, 2001 - ★★★

I described <<a href="http://ift.tt/145Ptto" rel="nofollow">http://ift.tt/145Pttq Girl, the previous film I saw at #LIFF28, as "weird in a charming way", this was just plain weird. Great and varied animation but confusing and disturbing. If Suda51 ever made an Animal Crossing game it might turn out like this.

November 10, 2014 at 10:22PM

The Satellite Girl And Milk Cow, 2014 - ★★★½

This is the best film I've ever seen about a satellite who transforms into a girl and befriends a boy who's turned into a cow featuring a talking toilet roll. Ever.

Obviously it's all kinds of weird in a charming way but unfortunately there's not really enough story to sustain the running time.

I wonder what Noam Chomsky would make of this.

November 10, 2014 at 10:13PM

Wolf Daddy, 2005 - ★★★★

Quirky and charming but also surprisingly touching.

November 10, 2014 at 09:56PM

Pérák a SS, 1946 - ★★★

Watched on Monday November 10, 2014.

November 10, 2014 at 12:02AM

Momotaro, the Sea Eagle, 1943 - ★★½

Watched on Monday November 10, 2014.

November 10, 2014 at 12:01AM

Der Fuehrer's Face, 1943 - ★★★★

Watched on Sunday November 9, 2014.

November 10, 2014 at 12:00AM

Spies, 1943 - ★★★★

Watched on Sunday November 9, 2014.

November 09, 2014 at 11:59PM

Rumors, 1943 - ★★★★

Watched on Sunday November 9, 2014.

November 09, 2014 at 11:58PM

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?, 2013 - ★★★★

Fascinating stuff let down by too much repetition by both Gondry and Chomsky.

November 09, 2014 at 11:56PM

09 November 2014

Dead Man's Letters, 1986 - ★★★½

Sunday evening is often the hardest part of the festival as the tiredness kicks in and the sheer number of films start blurring (I'd seen 26 in 10 days at this point). I struggled with Dead Man's Letters which is hopefully understandable given my state and the subject matter. Despite not fully engaging with the film I could still see how powerful it could be and was still struck by the number of ideas it was exploring. It all looks so great; echoing silent era films with coloured tints but feeling contemporary and futuristic despite being made in the eighties. Full of scenarios often experienced in video games but rarely seen effectively done on screen, I wish I'd been in a more alert state of mind too fully appreciate what others see as a masterpiece.

November 09, 2014 at 11:49PM

The Last Laugh, 1924 - ★★★

With live accompaniment by the Leeds based jazz pianist, Matthew Bourne.

The film was good and the music was good but I'm not sure how well they worked together. Not as bad as the time KTL ruined Murnau's Sunrise though.

Seeing this as well as the rescored Drive and live score for Suspiria has made me think a lot about scores lately. If I wasn't watching so many films I'd try and write more about it.

November 09, 2014 at 11:41PM

Tusk, 2014 - ★★★★½

Having been along for the entire #WalrusYes journey my expectations were quite high but I was never really expecting the film to be that good. And perhaps the film isn't really that great but it is hugely entertaining, wonderfully bizarre, unlike anything else and I just love the fact that it exists at all.

The Q&A with Kevin Smith over Skype was even more entertaining despite already hearing most of the stories before.

November 09, 2014 at 12:21PM

What We Do in the Shadows, 2014 - ★★★★★

#LIFF28 The funniest film of the year. The concept probably shouldn't work beyond 30 minutes of TV but it absolutely does. It also contains some of the best effects work (apart from the werewolves but even those are better than the absurd CGI of Twilight). Destined become a favourite.

Annoyingly I got my times mixed up and missed the opening scenes, hope I didn't miss much before the title card. At least it gives me an excuse to go and watch again - not that I need one.

November 09, 2014 at 12:08PM