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24 August 2007 @ 12:32 pm
MIFF Review  
I went and saw 27 films at this year's MIFF (plus shorts), and I was planning to review them all, but it's too big a job, and it's doing my head in to try and think what to say about them all, so I'm just going to do my "best of". So, here are my favourites in the order in which I viewed them:

TEETH
I already covered this to some extent. A wickedly funny movie that will really make you squirm (especially if you've got a penis).

THE SIGNAL
Kind of an off-the-wall comedy version of 28 Days Later. A really great play on the the survival horror genre, particularly the mass paranoia. Lots of wacky violent fun.

VIVA
It was a little bit too long, but that's really the only criticism I have for this affectionate parody of 1970s sexploitation flicks. Funny, sexy, cool.

CONTROL
This one was voted best film of the festival by the audience poll, and with good reason. It's a biopic about Joy Division's troubled frontman Ian Curtis, based on his wife Deborah's book (she also co-produced the film). Shot in gorgeous black and white, it's a compelling story of an amazingly talented but disturbed young man. Sam Riley's performance as Ian Curtis, both dramatically and musically, is utterly sublime. It also makes a nice companion piece to the classic 24 Hour Party People.

DAY WATCH
If You were a fan of Night Watch, this is a worthy sequel. Awesome special effects, with a decent mythological storyline to hang them on. Weirdness abounds. If you haven't seen Night Watch, I'd recommend trying to hunt down the UK DVD (or a rip of said DVD), because for some reason the Australian one doesn't have the cool subtitles.

OUT OF THE BLUE
The director introduced this film by telling us that we probably wouldn't enjoy it. It really is difficult to explain the entertainment value that films like this have, but it really was a worthwhile experience. To explain, Out of the Blue is a dramatisation of the 1990 Aramoana massacre in which a man went on a shooting spree in a small New Zealand town. It's New Zealand's Hoddle Street or Port Arthur, and has been described as "the day New Zealand lost its innocence". A powerfully confronting film, but ultimately a testament to the bravery of the ordinary residents and emergency service workers caught up in the tragedy.

BOXING DAY
A tense drama about an ex-con trying to get his life straight, when Boxing Day lunch becomes a major crisis after claims are made about his ex-wife's new boyfriend. The film is in real time, and has an amazing sense of tension and claustrophobia. A great independent Australian effort.

GRACE IS GONE
Pack the tissues for this one. John Cusack is struggling to cope with looking after his two young daughters while their mother is away fighting in Iraq. When he gets the news that she has been killed, he struggles to tell them and instead takes them on a road trip to an amusement park. Powerful drama, and a beautiful performance by Cusack.

SEVERENCE
This one absolutely lived up to my hopes, and was an hilarious and bloody take on the slasher genre. The English continue to show that they can do comedy (and, perhaps, gore) better than anyone. Great to see Tim McInnerny (Captain Darling from Blackadder Goes Forth) as funny as ever.

INDIGENES
Whilst a primary purpose of the film was to highlight the way France mistreated the Arab citizens from the African colonies who fought for "the motherland" in World War II, this was also a great war movie in and of itself, that will stand with the best of the genre. The fact that it had a real message about the injustices faced by people who were never considered anything more than second-class citizens, only serves to add a further level of gravitas to an already powerful film. Even better is the fact that the film served as an agent of real change, forcing the French government to honour its responsibilities to the African veterans and their families.

EAGLE VS SHARK
Starring Jemaine Clement from the fucking awesome band and TV show Flight of the Conchords, this is a story about Lily and Jarrod, a couple of misfits trying to find love through their Napoleon Dynamite-esque awkwardness. Things really go awry when Jarrod announces that he has to go back to his hometown to seek revenge on the Samoan who bullied him back in school. An hilarious cringeworthy comedy, but with a real emotional depth. A lovely way to finish up the festival.
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goratrixgoratrixx on August 24th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Severance was a "...bloody take on the slasher genre."

How on earth do you have a bloody take on a slasher film! I think the blood is an inherent element in slasher films! But otherwise I'm in agreeance on this as a MIFF highlight.

I'm sad to have missed Control; normally I look over the music section at MIFF.

Jacobyak_boy on August 24th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
Well, if you take a quote of context, it's pretty easy to make it sound silly.

The point, specifically, is that it's "hilarious and bloody", since sometimes (although perhaps not so much these days) a comedic take on a genre can often be a lot softer-edged than the original genre.

I suppose the point is that this is a funny slasher flick, rather than a slasher flick parody.