Friday, June 17, 2016

Best of SIFF 2016

TVOR must fess up to the obvious: she has totally dropped the ball on this whole writing about movies thing.  She can’t correct this failure, but does offer this take on the Best of SIFF 2016 films which will be shown from June 17th through 23rd.

TVOR has seen several of these offerings:

Burn Burn Burn--a very entertaining road movie about a couple of female friends tasked with distributing the ashes of their recently deceased buddy in various spots around the U.K.  This movie has the added appeal of dialogue that actually sounds like it could come out of the mouths of human females, an all-too-rare thing in movies.  Laura Carmichael, Lady Edith of Downton Abbey, is one of the leads.  She does not have a bitchy sister in this film.

Kedi--a documentary about street cats in Istanbul.  Pretty city, pretty cats.  You can tell by this description if this movie is your cup of tea.  It was TVOR’s.

Truman--in this Spanish film, a couple of old friends spend a few days together for the last time.  Not nearly as depressing as it sounds, the movie is very entertaining and well done, and won a bunch of Goya awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars.  Truman is the dog.

Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale--this movie is exactly what the title says.  It’s a documentary about a baby elephant.  Again, you can tell from this description if the movie is for you.  There’s very cool footage of the birth of Naledi, and also of her trying to crawl into a human’s lap.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople--in this very entertaining film from New Zealand, Sam Neil plays a misanthropic old guy on the run with a young foster kid.  Taika Waititi directed.

Girl Asleep--this Australian film won not only the Grand Jury award at SIFF, it also won a Youth Jury award.  It’s a tale of a 15 year old girl and her birthday party from hell.  TVOR liked a lot of the film, but a fantasy/dreamworld sequence didn’t work so well for her.  Obviously, the jurors did not agree.

A Man Called Ove--in this Swedish movie, a cranky old widower who has basically given up on life is dragged into the lives of his neighbors.  TVOR was prepared to dislike this crowd-pleasing film, but couldn’t help enjoying it.  Lead actor Rolf Lassgard won the Golden Space Needle audience award for his performance.

TVOR hasn’t seen the following films, but they made the cut for this Best of SIFF week of programming.

Spy Time--Javier Ruiz Caldera won the Golden Space Needle for directing this spy spoof, so TVOR is guessing that it’s pretty entertaining.

The Queen of Ireland--a documentary about Panti Bliss, an Irish drag queen who helped push a gay marriage referendum to success in that country.

Best of SIFF Shorts--there were 150+ short films in this year’s festival, so there are sure to be some winners in this selection.

Sand Storm--this Israeli film won the Grand Jury Prize in the New Directors competition.

Oddball--the Youth Jury Award winner for best Films4Families feature is an Australian film with a lot of animal action.

Middle Man--the Grand Jury prize winner for New American Cinema involves carnage and comedy and sounds intriguing.

Descriptions and scheduling information for Best of SIFF 2016 films is available at:

And finally, also playing at the SIFF Cinema Uptown starting this week, are two more films that played during this year’s festival.

The Last King--this Norwegian adventure film set in the 11th century tells the story of an infant king being rescued and continually protected from bad guys.  There are lots of action scenes, which seem to happen mostly on skis, involving bows and arrows, swords, and all sorts of serious weapons.  It’s very entertaining.

Sunset Song--Terence Davies’ latest film follows a young woman in rural Scotland before and during World War I.  It’s a beautiful film to look at, the performances are good, and the mood is somber.  (It is World War I, after all.)  

So go to the movies!  And know that in addition to the summer studio fare filling up theaters, there are some smaller, satisfying films that may just tickle your fancy.  Oh, and speaking of tickling, there’s a film called Tickled that is opening in a few theaters, with more to follow.  You may not think you’re interested in a documentary about competitive tickling (in fact, you might find the idea distasteful), but rest assured, you are interested.  It’s about way more than it appears to be.

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