Monday, July 25, 2011

MIFF Blogathon: Day 4 (Yoko Ono Plastic Driving Morgue Attending Band)

This blogathon is an initiative of MIFF for their 60th anniversary year. I am one of six bloggers given the mission of seeing 60 films in 17 days and writing, reporting, reviewing and wrangling my way through the tiredness and hunger to bring the festival experience to your computer.

Dir. Michael Epstein
Running Time: 120mins

This documentary about John Lennon's decade-long residency in New York City proved to be a very rewarding winner. Directed by relative newcomer Michael Epstein, and with permission by Yoko Ono to use unheard audio and unseen video, LennoNYC is an expansive and exciting documentary. I adored the various vintage videos of New York City as well as the fascinating Lennon/Ono footage that never quite becomes so in love with its subject as to lose sight of his foibles. Alas, thankfully, it's a loving put together film that shows Lennon off to the be funny, gifted musician that everyone says he was.

Thankfully, best of all, was the film's stance on Ono. Usually a figure of jest or abuse, all the participants who discuss her relationship with John do so in an affirmative manner, which is a relief - I guess since she is responsible for getting the film made then it was never going to be a Yoko Ono hate piece, but representations of her in the media are never positive enough if you ask me. It also helps that I feel the exact same way about this city as they did: They felt they were "on the same page as New Yorkers. We felt like New Yorkers." Amen, John. B+

Dir. Craig Lahiff
Running Time: 87mins

This Australian thriller plays much like an ocker version of John Dahl's fabulous Red Rock West, and for a while is actually quite a rock solid affair. However, it also plays like a recent Australian film called Cactus. Unfortunately the end product is certainly better than that one, but lacks the punch of Dahl's western noir. Swerve is either not silly enough or not serious enough, but it does still have some entertaining moments.

The cast is great to look at and Lahiff's direction of a action sequences is great, but there's just not enough of them. For a movie called Swerve there are indeed a lot of cars, but not enough cars being hit my freight trains, ya know? C+

What began as a five film day very quickly became a two film day in a casualty like something out of Swerve. I unfortunately had to ditch Janus Metz Pedersen's war documentary Armadillo is favour of rest. While I, at first, felt much better today than the last few, by the end my head was pounding, my throat was rendering me unable to talk clearly and even my eyeballs hurt!

The biggest story of the day, however, was Pablo LarraĆ­n's Post Mortem. This film played in competition at Venice last year and won some effusive praise from the likes of Guy Lodge, but... yeesh! Post Mortem now counts as my first walk out of the festival. And after only about 45 minutes, too. While it's partly my fault - I dozed off and woke up during a scene of characters screaming and drooling and fucking and promptly went "right, that's that!" - but, yikes, from what I saw this was a maddeningly frustrating film. What any of it meant, I haven't the slightest clue. I went downstairs to The Forum Lounge and was quickly joined by Richard Watts and fellow blogathon-er Thomas Caldwell. Turns out, from witnesses who stayed the full length, that it was the busiest walkout film of the festival so far!

Has The Turin Horse screened yet?

Oh, and the fifth film? I feel no shame is admitting I dumped 33 Postcards for a press screening of Captain America. I chose correctly, I suspect. I continue to apologise if my writings sound awfully rushed and incoherent. I'm alive off of the smell of an oily rag!

No comments: