Saturday, 8 November 2014

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: OUR HEROES DIED TONIGHT (NOS HEROS SONT MORTS CE SOIR)



5/5

Victor is an ex soldier. Freshly returned from serving at French Legion he is low on money and down with luck. When his pal Simon proposes him a job as a wrestler Victor reluctantly agrees. It is not because he is not good at wrestling, its because on the ring he has to play the role of a villain and being a big softie at heart Victor finds it damaging for his mind and soul. Working in tandem Victor and Simon are successful, but one night they make a decision to switch the masks. This is a fatal mistake that changes everything.
 
OUR HEROES DIED TONIGHT is a first full feature film debut by David Perrault and a love letter to the French noir of the 60s. Crossing the eccentricity of David Lynch with Tarantino’s bravado he manages to keep the balance of both all the way through the film, just like the balance of black and white of the movie’s colours.
 
It is also the fading borders between good and evil, darkness and light , that are at the centre of this little gem, which has dreamlike quality to it, but on the surface is easy to understand.
 
The film is also about friendship, Simon and Victor are like two sides of the same coin, but just like any coin, when you flip it, it is not easy to predict which side turns up. As the movie progresses it becomes obvious that their personalities, just like the masks they are wearing, are interchangeable.
 
In its short run of ninety seven minutes David Perrault manages to say a lot. He touches upon the natures of love, camaraderie and a true calling in man’s life. The dialogue is swift and to the point, but with a few lengthy monologues Tarantino style. The story is unpredictable, with a few twists and a unique atmosphere that builds up its creepiness for the adrenalin fuelled finale.
 
OUR HEROES is one of these films that would not benefit from a bigger budget, nor from world star actors. It puts its aim high and reaches it effortlessly leaving both critics and audience satisfied. I would watch it again and again and introduce to as many people as possible. A true little masterpiece of a movie.








Friday, 7 November 2014

MGFF MOVIE REVIEW: A PACT (ZUM GEBURTSTAG)



2/5

Many years ago two teenagers, Paul and Georg, make a pact - Greg will give Paul his girlfriend Anna, but reserves the right to take her back whenever he pleases. Many years later Greg shows up again as Paul’s boss.  Paul and Anna now have two grown up children, their life is well set up and with the arrival of Greg an unwelcome tension enters their lives. Is Greg here to collect his due? Or is there a more sinister plan at hand.

THE PACT is a little slow burning thriller with an original premise, with the twisted ending being its biggest problem - you will see miles away. Paul’s family dynamic is a little artificial. These are not the people you will care about and at times there is a feeling that they deserve exactly what’s coming to them.

The tension overall is rather week and the row of missed opportunities will be obvious to every movie lover. The best quality acting comes from the younger cast. As for the grown ups - none of them is particularly good. The baddies try to be too infernal, particularly Sylvester Groth in the role of Georg, and at times overdoing it. The most ridiculous and over the top performance comes from the Austrian actor Sophie Rois, balancing between the act of a faithful housewife and a “femme fatal” and faking it big time.


The film would have benefit from a tighter script and a more menacing cinematography. As it is A PACT is a curious but forgettable thriller that does not stand out for any reason.

Monday, 3 November 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: INTO THE STORM




21/2/5

The graduation day is approaching in the little town of Silverton, so is the giant twister which is destroying everything in its wake. INTO THE STORM is a harrowing account of one day when simple people find themselves in terrible peril and fight for their lives the best they can.

There's something mesmerising about watching a twister gradually destroying a town, swallowing airports and hunting down its victims one by one as it was a serial killer. Into the storm has more in common with Friday the 13th than with its classic predecessor Twister - a flawed but a great adventure film. The storm here is an evil entity that is hunting down its prey and it would be more fun to give it an evil mind instead of an innuendo of approaching global warming.
 
INTO THE STORM is a very weak production. Stumbling over its own identity, the film cannot decide whether it wants to be a found footage flick or a B grade sci-fi the likes of Sharknado. 

On a positive note - the destruction scenes are fabulously staged and never before we found ourselves literally getting inside a twister. The grand and menacing score by Bryan Taylor never really lets us forget that we are watching multi million dollar production and not a quirky documentary the film pretends to be.

The acting is atrocious, so is the character development. By numbers script never surprises and the final showdown with a monster twister is an anticlimax. 

But with all its flaws INTO THE STORM has more sense of adventure than many recent disaster movie productions and it is a reason to check it out. This, and the giant fire twister, probably the only truly original moment of the film.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

KOFFIA MOVIE REVIEW: THE DINNER (MAN-CHAN)



4/5

Some people never have it right. THE DINNER introduces you to a middle class Korean family and a short period of their life, full of hardship. In Cheol is a middle aged older brother of a big family who is struggling to keep it together. Things seem to start falling apart when his sister gets divorced and decides to raise her child alone. That is until the estranged father suddenly shows up to claim the child the family loves so much. Things get worse when the younger brother, In Ho gets involved in an accident and has his client killed. Trying to cover it up he gets tangled in a web of lies and drugs in the whole family with him.

When In Cheol loses his job everyone starts to struggle financially because the elderly parents depend on the money he is giving them. The family only feels happy and at ease with each other when they share a meal - a ray of happiness in a dark world. And it seems the dark days are only just beginning…

The DINNER may deceive you with a lively poster of a light hearted family drama. But there is nothing light hearted about this dark and depressing movie. Shot on a shoestring budget of 100K THE DINNER boasts fantastic performances, solid writing and beautiful almost poetic cinematography, but is also a “bitter pill” which is heard to swallow. While there’s not much happening on screen the movie requires your full attention.  In one of the film’s happier moments we are watching a single streetlight waking up, little by little, as if being a messenger of some good news.  THE DINNER has many of such hidden gems and you need to watch carefully not to miss them.

There’s a lot to admire in THE DINNER, but do we have to put ourselves through the experience of someone’s suffering without a single ray of hope? Providing us  with a slice of life type of storytelling the movie conveys the message that life is a hard road with no choice, but to endure until the bitter end.