Saturday, April 17, 2010

Actionfest Day 2 (1.5?)

I say 1.5 only because yesterday was essentially the Centurion premiere.

Today was a day stuffed full of films...6 in all... a few technical issues, and some highs and lows in my cinematic experience.

I got a late start on the day from trying to sleep in a bit this morning. I realized the sun rises right in the window opposite my bunk here at the hostel, so from about 7am on I had a little battle with consciousness going on. When I finally peeled myself up and ate more classy breakfast (actually a nice pear, granola, and more PB sandwich so not so bad), I was off to be a grown up for a few minutes and get my oil changed then off to be a big kid and watch movies for the next 13 hours or so.

I will talk a little about the movies, but I'll try my best to get formal reviews out for them as I can.

I started out with a 1970 Australian film called Wake In Fright. This is an outback movie so if you have seen those you have a general idea what to expect. I was a little disappointed to find out that it was being shown on blu ray, but it was explained to us that the film was once considered lost, and that this was a restored print. It wasn't a huge deal because it looked great. There weren't many people there at all which I guess can be attributed to it still being a workday and all, but I would have liked to have seen a bigger crowd. I thought the acting was outstanding, and moments very tense despite it not being the sort of action flick you might expect to see at a festival honoring Chuck Norris. Just sayin...

The second film I planned on watching was a Thai film from 2009 called Power Kids. It's a group of kids basically doing Tony Jaa style shit in order to help a friend in need of a heart transplant at a hospital being held by terrorists. Silly yes but sounded like fun.

It was not meant to be for this film it seems though. Originally the festival was supposed to get a 35mm print, but that fell through at the last minute for whatever reason. Well even more last minute, the new digital copy of the film decided to not have audio. So that was a big waste of 30 minutes.

It wasn't a huge deal as the only other two movies playing at the same time were Centurion again and Ong Bak 2 which I had already seen a few months ago. I just slipped in to catch the last 3/4 of Ong Bak 2, which is kinda funny because the first time I saw it I missed the first act as well.

It might be because of that that I don't understand the end at all, or it may be because the movie is just hard to follow in the first place. Regardless the stunts and fights are amazing and I still enjoy the movie.

The third feature of the day was originally going to be District 13: Ultimatum... the sequel to the first D13 from 2004. I hadn't really heard much about it except one bad opinion, and its available on dvd, so I decided instead to see Raging Phoenix with the chick from Chocolate who is supposed to be pretty insane.

Well, we were informed about 30 minutes in that the projectionist put the film together in the wrong order. Dandy. Ultimately it didn't really matter because the film was a fucking mess. I'll try to review it better later on, but it went from having potential to boring ridiculous Goonies and the Temple of Doom or some shit. Lame.

I snuck out of the theater at this point and finally found a KMart to buy some boxers so I didn't have to sleep in my jeans again. A weight lifted off my shoulders indeed... or my ass rather?

I went back to the theater for the next show, a Chilean action flick starring Marko Zaror called Mandrill. I wanted to like Mandrill a lot, and it certainly had some great ideas and sequences, but it ended just a little flat in the way the story was wrapped up. Again I will discuss it more in a little review, but Zaror was there to answer some questions after and he was a really cool guy. Somehow he kept his cool with a fat drunk loudly clapping not only through every action scene in the film but also pretty much every answer Zaror gave in the Q&A.

Next up was Johnnie To's first English language film starring French singer Johnny Halladay. I'm getting tired of typing here so I am gonna keep it short, hut this was the best film I've seen here yet. It has its faults but wow were the high points great.

And finally I decided to stick around for the midnight show... a horror comedy and genre twisting film called Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. It sort of turns the redneck slasher around and was very entertaining.

Anyway, I passed out back at the hostel and that was my day.

I will try in the next few days to review the films new to me and also come back for more festival summaries!

No comments: