Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SIFF Musings - Final week

Some final thoughts regarding my experience at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival.

·         It amazes me after all these years that there are people who have lived in Seattle for a while and have still never attended even one film at the festival. I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many folks I meet each year that are attending their first festival. And you can ALWAYS TELL the newbies – they’re the ones that are surprised at the long lines and perturbed that they have to sit in the front row because they didn’t arrive at the venue until 10 minutes before the movie was scheduled to start.

·         My friend Ross and I kept are “Spain streak” alive! For probably the ninth or tenth year in a row I’ve seen at least one film from Spain at the festival. That country almost never disappoints, and this year was no exception; Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed was one of my favorites from this festival’s offerings.

·         I really lucked out this festival or perhaps have developed a more discerning eye because, I ranked almost all of the films I caught this festival with at least a “4”.

·         I didn’t see nearly as many documentaries as I usually do each SIFF [only two]. This doesn’t bode well for me for next year’s Oscar Death Race™.

·         This was also one of the first SIFFs in some time where there were at least 5 movies that I really wanted to see, but was unable to, due to schedule conflicts etc. I’ve been lucky in the past to catch almost everything I wanted. I really hope I’ll get my chance in the coming weeks/months at SIFF Cinema. (I’m looking at you – “Shake The Dust”, Not My Type, Boyhood, Yves Saint Laurent, Family United, and To Fool A Thief)

And the last of my reviews for the year:

A fantastical tale, done in what I call “Forrest Gump” style, where the protagonist unwittingly gets involved with and/or influences various famous events and people in history. This was a fun comedy involving a wily centenarian who through circumstances, accidentally makes off with 50 million in drug money. A hilarious road trip movie featuring a cast of characters like no other. I wasn’t expecting the movie to be narrated in English, but that was a nice touch. 

Boys – Netherlands

This is a very sweet coming-of-age story about first-time summer love. It tells the story of 15 yr old Sieger, who with his best friend Stef is training for the National Relay Track and Field Championships. Their coach sets up Sieger and Stef with his two other best runners, and Sieger struggles with his feelings and emotions once he realizes that he is falling for teammate Marc, a free-spirited outgoing teen who doesn’t hide the fact that he has the same feelings for Sieger. It makes me smile to think that young gay teens have movies like this available to them.

Final Recipe – South Korea, Thailand, Singapore

A story about a Chinese teen who hopes to save his grandfather’s struggling restaurant in Singapore by competing on a popular “Iron Chef-style” televised cooking competition. Starring Korean pop idol Henry Lau in his acting debut. This movie was cheeseball corny and predictable; but so enjoyable that you just didn’t care. I can imagine this coming to Netflix within the next few months, and would recommend it if you want something that cute and great for the whole family.

Creep – USA

I ended this year’s festival with an unnerving but fairly well-done film from multi-hyphenate indie darling Mark Duplass. In it he plays a terminally ill man who puts an ad online looking for someone to film a last testament that he wants to leave for his unborn child. Struggling videographer Aaron answers the ad and heads to the dying man’s remote Northern California cabin where bizarre and nasty surprises await him. Eh, I think I was too tired to actually appreciate this movie fully. And although I did get a chance to make eye contact and smile at Mark Duplass, who was in attendance, I did not stick around for the Q&A afterwards because I was falling asleep and new episodes of Orange Is The New Black were waiting for me at home.




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