Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2015 Seattle International Film Festival

SIFF 2015 starts soon, and it's time for TVOR to fire up her blog.  She's been to a couple of other film festivals and seen some press screenings too, so she already has quite a few opinions about movies playing at the festival.  Now she's ready to share them.  Happily, the ratio of good movies to duds is very high, and SIFF 2015 looks very promising.

Here's what she thinks about what she's seen so far--she will update the blog from time to time and tweet daily suggestions.  You can find her at @tvoronfilm:

TVOR highly recommends this first group of films:

Being Evel--highly entertaining Evel Knievel documentary.

Best of Enemies--Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley “debate” during the 1968 political conventions, and become the first ever to insult and attack each other on American TV in the guise of “news”.

The Look of Silence--follow-up to The Act of Killing, about the 1965-66 murders of huge numbers of Indonesians.

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine--this documentary needs no further description.

Corn Island--beautiful, almost wordless Georgian (the country, not the state) film in which a young girl and her grandfather raise a crop.  Way more engaging than the description would indicate.

Theeb--a young Bedouin boy in the Arabian desert in 1916.

Krisha--tough but very well-done film about a woman with substance abuse problems trying to re-engage with her family.

Love & Mercy--Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s struggles, with Paul Dano and John Cusack playing Wilson at various times in his life.  Excellent acting.

Frame by Frame--a documentary about Afghan photojournalists struggling in a country where taking photos used to be a crime and journalism is a dangerous profession.  The film is beautifully shot and the subjects’ work is stunning.

The films in this group are not quite as high on TVOR’s list, but she does like them and she thinks they’re worth seeing:

Ciudad Delirio--salsa and love in Colombia.  Great fun.

Tab Hunter: Confidential--engaging documentary about the most handsome man ever to hit Hollywood.

Margarita, With a Straw--this film about a young woman with cerebral palsy’s coming of age could have gone seriously sappy, but the film avoids that and is nicely done.

Villa Touma--a young Palestinian Christian woman goes to live with her aunts who are seriously living in the past.

1001 Grams--a nice little movie about weights and measures and love.

The Grump--an old man goes to live with his son and daughter-in-law, and they don’t do anything right.

Mirage--there’s a stranger, some local folks, and a high body count in this Hungarian quasi-western film.

For Grace--interesting documentary about Chicago restaurateur Curtis Duffy (you don’t need to know him or his restaurant to be entertained).

Results--Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, and Kevin Corrigan in an odd but entertaining film about a couple of personal trainers, a rich guy, and some other stuff.

7 Chinese Brothers--Jason Schwartzman and his totally awesome dog in a film in which not much happens but it doesn’t matter because the dog is so awesome.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl--a better-than-average dying teen movie.

Waterline--Polish police procedural (say that three times fast) with dead bodies, conspiracies, and secrets waiting to be revealed.

Virtuosity--behind-the-scenes documentary about pianists competing in the Cliburn Competition.

The New Girlfriend--Francois Ozon directs an adaptation of a Ruth Rendell novel, so you have some interesting sexual things going on, as well as some mystery.

I’ll See You in My Dreams--senior love (very attractive seniors, too) in a film that is well-acted and not entirely predictable.

Flowers--intriguing Basque drama which never really came together in TVOR’s brain, but it stuck there anyway.

The Golden Hill--the film-making in this Nepalese film isn't very slick, but the story of a young man with a university education returning home to visit his remote village is very engaging, and touches on some major issues in the country.  The film is beautiful to look at, too.

Frame by Frame--a documentary about Afghan photojournalists struggling in a country where taking photos used to be a crime and journalism is a dangerous profession.

This film wasn’t that great, but TVOR kind of liked it anyway:

Guidance--a former child star and current loser pretends to be a high school guidance counselor.

You can probably skip these:

Gemma Bovery--a French comic take on Madame Bovary, which is not particularly funny, unless you find a middle-aged man gawking at a young beautiful woman amusing.  And he isn’t even the most obnoxious character.

NN--this story about attempts to identify some of Peru’s “disappeared” 25 years after the fact just wasn’t as interesting as it should have been.

Red Rose--TVOR was really irritated by the idiocy of one of the main characters in this story of a young woman taking shelter in the home of a middle-aged man during Iran’s Green Revolution.  Guess which character behaves like an idiot.

Cooking Up a Tribute--a documentary about a top restaurant specializing in local foods which closes up shop for five weeks to tour the world and cook with the local foods of the places it visits.  It could have been much more interesting, especially if there had been less blather from the owners of the restaurant.