Friday, June 13, 2008

SIFF draws to a close


There are three days to go at SIFF, and TVOR is happy and bleary-eyed after spending many hours staring at movie screens. Here are a few films she has seen and liked, all of which are showing in the next three days. Readers in the Seattle area can still check some of these out, and maybe even have a chance to talk to the directors.

American Son--a young marine returns home for a four day leave.
Cherry Blossoms - Hanami--love, loss, family, and Butoh dancing.
Trouble the Water--an amazing Katrina documentary, one of the best films in the festival.
Frozen River--an American independent film with two very strong central performances.
Leroy--a very entertaining German coming-of-age film about an African-German boy whose girlfriend comes from a family of neo-Nazis. Amazingly, it's sweet and funny, too.
Days and Clouds--upper middle-class Italian man loses his job, driving his wife just about nuts.
Head-On--an excellent earlier film by The Edge of Heaven director Fatih Akin.

For readers not in Seattle--go check out The Edge of Heaven. TVOR has already gone on at great lengths about the this film, so she won't do so again. Or take a look at Bigger, Stronger, Faster, the entertaining documentary about steroids, or Mongol, the Russian-made Genghis Khan biopic (he's apparently a great guy), or When Did You Last See Your Father?, a father-son drama with Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent. They're all well worth a trip to a theater. If you can't find these newer releases, you may still be able to find The Visitor, Young At Heart, or Smart People, films TVOR has already recommended.

Video Notes:

And now, for the video-dependent among you: get your hands on The Golden Door, Lady Chatterley (both blogged about on 7/31/07), The Bubble (2/29/08), or Moliere (8/1/07), film festival picks from the past now available on video.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

SIFF, steroids, and blood


TVOR has spent a lot of time at the movies lately, but not much time blogging about them. She does have her priorities. It's past the midway point of the 25-day Seattle International Film Festival, and she's been pretty pleased overall with what she's seen. Here are a few movies that stand out from the rest:

Song Sung Blue--a Neil Diamond impersonator meets, falls in love with, and does an act with a Patsy Cline impersonator. This is a documentary, and proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Bad Habits--a nicely done Mexican film about a family with an assortment of "food issues".

Captain Ahab--a Moby Dick prequel--and it's a French film. Strange but interesting.

TBS (Nothing to Lose)--a Dutch prison escape film, very nicely done, and rather nerve-wracking.

Captain Abu Raed--this Jordanian film (the first made in the country in 50 years) is a nice little slice of life, taking place in contemporary Amman.

Days and Clouds--a very good Italian film about a middle-aged couple living the good life until an unanticipated job loss brings things to a grinding halt. By the director of Bread and Tulips.

Cherry Blossoms - Hanami--German director Doris Doerrie's new film about love, loss, family, and Butoh dancing.

And for those who have been living in the real world and not at a film festival, the documentary film Bigger, Stronger, Faster has hit the big screen in a few cities, with more to follow. You may not think you're interested in a film about steroid use in the U.S., but TVOR thinks you could very well be wrong about that. It's informative and entertaining, and worth the price of admission.

Video notes:

If you're determined to stay home and watch DVDs, There Will Be Blood is now out on video. It's beautiful to look at, wonderfully acted and directed, and yes, there is blood. Take a look at TVOR's entry on 1/20/08 for more information.