Monday, 22 October 2007

TADFF 07 Day 2 - October 20/07

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Here is the daily news for Toronto After Dark for Saturday October 20, 2007.

Dir: Peter Ricq
Short film

Impressions: Fabulous short film exploring alternate realities, an excellent use of colour fully punctuates this theme. A creative visual style accompanied by strong narrative made this short film a treat to watch.

Aachi and Ssipak
Dir: Jo Beom-Jin
Voices: Seung-wan Ryoo, Chang Jung Lim, Yeong Hyeon
South Korea

Impressions: Easiest thing to say would be that this does not suit my tastes. In all fairness it is described as "South Park meets the Matrix". The initial action sequence is quite good but the premise of the film was just too ridiculous for me: in response to requiring an alternate source of energy and the chosen raw material is human waste. Add to that a fair amount of gender imbalance including the following line by one of the only female characters "Why do I need to know? Isn't being pretty enough?". If your tastes fall along the lines of bathroom humour plus gangster films then it would be suited for you. It did start out with a strong audience reaction but lost quite a few folks throughout the duration of the film. In the end there was loud cheering and clapping so it was enjoyed, just not by all.

The Pit and the Pendulum
Dir: Marc Lougee

Impressions: Stylistically strong with characters that are alarmingly full of depth given the fact that there is almost no spoken language (voiceovers being and exception). The quality of the film makes it no surprize that it has played at over 100 festivals.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Dir: Uwe Boll (Bloodrayne, House of the Dead)
Cast:Jason Statham, John Rhys-Davies, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard, Leelee Sobieski, Burt Reynolds, Ron Perlman , Will Sanderson, Claire Forlani, Brian J. White, Kristanna Loken

Impressions: Highly enjoyable fantasy fare with impressive cast, effects and fight scenes. This film had the most vocal crowd so far, to the point of lines being called out from the audience to the screen. Eventually a not so polite retort quelled the tone down a little and I then realized that there were people enjoying the film in a non humorous way. Fair play to them, this film has a fair amount to offer (look at that cast!), being of the fantasy genre I was interested right away. The story begins with a simple task which becomes complicated and intertwined with numerous characters throughout the duration of the film. Strong performances include Jason Statham as a hesitant avenger, creepy factor runs high with Ray Liotta and comic relief by the bushel full with Matthew Lillard as the selfish nephew to the king. Leelee Sobieski and Kristanna Loken round out the cast and I was impressed by the presence of strong female characters. All in all I would say I enjoyed it and I believe numerous people in the crowd did as well.

Q&A Highlights:
Right off the bat Chris Alexander addressed the similarity to Lord of the Rings to which Uwe Boll replied that any fantasy film made will bear the burden of being compared to Lord of the Rings, however he said it’s a different story, there is no goal revolving around an object. In my opinion, In terms of art direction and the ‘creatures’, you can’t help but see a similarity but if in fact the film is true to the world and story that the video game created it would be the video game, not the film, to which complains should be directed to about the similarities.

I think it would be safe to say that this Q&A was one of the most highly anticipated of the festival. Not only was it led by Chris Alexander, one of the critics who took up the challenge to box Uwe Boll, but also because people have such a strong reactions to his films. What I found more riveting about the Q&A was that Uwe Boll is that he speaks his mind in such a straight up manner without hesitation to be very frank about the people his worked with and the experiences he’s had be they good or bad. I think that is remarkable.

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(Chris Alexander, Uwe Boll)

Highlight of the Day: After the screening of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale there was a preview of upcoming documentary titled The Maneuver In Vancouver when there were some technical difficulties Uwe said from inside the theatre “I am here, I can do it live”. I think that might be the best moment of the festival.

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs October 19-25/07 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Suzie Ridler said...

I clapped my hands with glee when I saw that your posts on this festival.

Glitch sounds fascinating! Oh dear, Aachi and Ssipak sounds like something I would walk out of. Bummer!

OK, In the Name of the King definitely sounds up my alley. Love strong female characters. Check!

The Q&A segment sounds absolutely fascinating Shannon.

I wonder what The Maneuver In Vancouver is going to be about?

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Hey Suzie!

It was quite an exciting day! I hope you like In the Name of the King, and I hope it is released near you! The Maneuver in Vancouver is about the boxing duel between the director and his harshest critics.

Bob Turnbull said...

Hi Shannon,

I forgot to mention "Blood Car" in my response to you on my own blog...It was the 11:30 showing Saturday night (I missed the Uwe Boll extravaganza, but came back for the late night session). It was definitely a pretty cheaply made film, but there was a real sense of fun about it. It was similar in more ways then one to Aachi & Ssipak (completely politically incorrect on every level and had an abundance of gross audience groan moments), but when it's done this way, you can't take it seriously. And that certainly was the intention.

As for Aachi, I must say I get bored with potty humour pretty quick, but there was enough other inventiveness in the film that it kept me interested (though the constant action was a bit tiring) not to mention all the pop culture references. I could've also done without some of the less than friendly caricatures of many of the characters, but a couple of things jumped to mind:

1) No one gets away scot free - there's no perfect character in the film. And, as with Poultrygeist, I think there were many attempts at satire (whether thet were successful is another story).

2) Though the female does make that comment about only needing to be pretty, she is actually quite strong - she kicked butt several times and I believe she also proved herself to be smarter than either Aachi or Ssipak. I do wish they had given her more to do in that mineshaft chase, but there was already so much happening there...

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I do have to say with Aachi, I was rooting for those 'lil blue creatures, they were like lemmings!

The female character does kick some butt which was good, but it was a tiny little baby step in comparison to the whole - she relies (or uses, I'm not sure which is worse) on Aachi & Ssipak, 2 people want her only for what she can give them (the juicybars), she gets kidnapped and dressed up in that crazy red suit and thrown around a lot. Is her character better than some real airheads? Yes. But, it would have to go a lot further for me to be impressed.

BTW, It was great to meet you last night! I can't believe we ended up in the same row during Poultrygeist!

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