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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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SIFF 2014: Third Weekend

Posted by gck Sunday, June 8, 2014

One more week of SIFF, but for me, it feels like it has finally gotten started! I’m also woefully behind on my blogging because I’ve been too busy seeing films and trying to stay afloat in the rest of my life. Film Count: 10. Volunteer Vouchers: 9.

USA, 2014
Genre: Drama
Watched: SIFF 2014, Uptown
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)
The description of this film had me really interested, and from the sold out status of the screening, it seems like other people agreed. This film was a world premiere and part of SIFF's Catalyst program, a program I'll want to check out more in the future to discover small, unique films that might be less likely to appear on Netflix. It wasn't a perfect film by any means, but it was still easy to immerse myself in nighttime Los Angeles. The close up shaky shots were distracting and a little nausea-inducing, but things got better as the film progressed. The director, producer, and two actors showed up for Q&A and shared that the film was shot for about $6,000 on a prosumer DSLR. They're also planning two other films to complete an "LAX trilogy."
UK, 2014
Genre: Drama
Watched: SIFF 2014, Egyptian
Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5) 
Both screenings of Lilting and Layover were at the same time, and I had planned to only see Layover. I'm glad I caught the second screening of Lilting, and I still got out in time to get a good spot in line for Boyhood. I skimmed the information for this one and I had expected it to be in Cambodian and English, but I was pleased to find that it was actually in Chinese and English, and they spoke the sort of Chinese that I could understand easily. Many parts of this film had conversations in both languages with a translator in between, and so there would be a little laughter after the Chinese line followed by the rest of the audience’s laughter when the translator translated it. The cinematography was beautiful and the story was a quiet, gentle story of love and grief. Main actors were very good, bringing depth to their characters’ struggles.
USA, 2014
Genre: Drama
Watched: SIFF 2014, Egyptian
Rating: ***** (out of 5)
I guess people aren’t supposed to post reviews about this until it releases for real. I know I’ll be too lazy to revisit this, so I’ll just say that this is an amazing accomplishment and everyone should watch it. It’s 165 minutes long, but I wasn’t bored at all, and I’m eager to see it again. Q&A with Richard Linklater was great. He talked about how he decided to choose music that represented each year instead of going with a score and how sometimes he was surprised by musicians who were willing to have their songs in the film and who weren’t. For example, he could get Coldplay and Paul McCartney, but Weezer either refused or asked for too much money. This (Centerpiece) was the first time I attended one of the SIFF special events as a ticketholder, and I enjoyed it!
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
(or: Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann)
Sweden, 2013
Genre: Black Comedy
Watched: SIFF 2014, Egyptian
Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5)
I made a bad seat choice at the Egyptian and sat behind someone who was too tall, so anytime he was sitting up straight, I had to do some wiggling around in my seat to see the subtitles. Oh well. The film was hilarious. They compare it to Forrest Gump, except the main character really likes to blow stuff up, and the explosions happen in ways that are very satisfying for the audience. I don’t always get Scandinavian humor, but this one really made me laugh.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
USA/Japan, 2014
Genre: Drama
Watched: SIFF 2014, Egyptian
Rating: *** (out of 5)
I saw this one as a volunteer and I missed the first 15 or so minutes of it because I was busy counting the 500+ ballots from The 100-Year-Old Man, but it was slow paced enough that I still got the general idea of the movie. Japanese lady who’s unhappy in her lonely life gets obsessed with finding the treasure from Fargo and flies to the US to find it. Not really a funny journey, and not much to relate to. Also, the sound was turned up so high (apparently by the director’s request) that it would be painfully loud at times and people had to cover their ears. Other than the sound, it was still somewhat watchable and had one redeeming quality: Kumiko’s adorable bunny, Bunzo.
Not My Type
(also: Pas Son Genre)
Genre: Romance, Drama
Watched: SIFF 2014, Egyptian
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)

I thought this was going to be a formulaic romantic comedy with a French cultural twist on it, but it ended up being more of a romantic drama. It definitely makes the film less fun to watch, but it’s more interesting because the whole “opposites attract” thing is done in a more realistic way rather than playing off of exaggerated stereotypes to get laughs. In fact, the more I thought about this film afterwards, the darker it felt to me. The ending seemed unpopular – I heard a lot of comments like “I liked it until the end” or “typical French ending” as people left – but I thought it fit well.


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