Calgary International Film Fest day 5:
- Le Saint Festin (Saint Feast Day) *****
A very intriguing front half only set me up for disappointment in the weak back half. I wasn't particularly sold on the rough, child-like animation style, but was able to overlook that because of the strong set-up to the story. Then it all kinda fell apart somewhere in the middle. Suddenly I could see exactly where the plot was going. I hoped I was wrong, because I didn't really like what I foresaw, but sure enough it went there, straight as an arrow. So much wasted potential, sigh.
- 1977 ********
Strongest film of the day. Others were grumbling a bit about the pop-culture & video game references, but for me they totally worked. Did a great job of drawing me in and allowing me to identify with the protagonist. She played Nintento as a kid... hey, I played Nintendo as a kid! She played "Guess Who"... cool! I totally remember playing "Guess Who!" And then when the reveal comes, I realize that I somehow knew all along. Not necessarily consciously, but somehow I just knew it. My only complaint is that the ending seemed a bit sudden and arbitrary. Almost as if they just ran out of time, and so decided: "Ok, that's it. Film's done!" But the awkward end was the only thing to mar an otherwise excellent movie.
- Lapsus *******
So charming. So funny. So cute. So sympathetic. I don't have much else to say, other than that this is the way animation really should be. Way to make the best of the medium!
- Boku No Machi (My Town) **
I... found it hard to take much away from this one. It just seemed to be a lot of disjointed images and sequences, and I couldn't make any kind of narrative out of them. Was it a creation story? Was it about Hiroshima & Nagasaki? Both? Something else entirely? I just found it way too slippery. And the images themselves were none too appealing. Maybe that was the point? If so, it was a poor choice. But my biggest gripe is that I just couldn't tell. I mean, it's perfectly fine to make a disturbing and unsympathetic film, if that helps you communicate your message. But in this case, I couldn't figure out what the filmmaker was trying to communicate. In which case: what's the point?
- Operator ******
A charming little story. Sometimes, you don't have to make the next Citizen Kane. Sometimes, a charming little story is all that a movie needs to be. And such a relief after the previous tome.
- Latchkey's Lament ***
Someone, I fear, has been watching too much Guillermo del Toro. Very reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth, at least in style and characterization. And heck, in story too. I didn't much like that movie the first time, and had no need to see it again. On top of that, the animation was rather poorly done: I could clearly see the seams between the live-action and the animation, where the actor was just grasping at empty air, in anticipation of the later digital insertion of an object. Very jarring.
- Midnight Matinee ****
This one just garners a big fat Meh. It was technically very well done (a nice contrast to Latchkey's Lament), but that was about it. The story didn't compel me in the slightest. And a movie needs more than technical proficiency to be appealing. This would have been a great class project or, shortened, great demo reel. But as a film to be shown to a paying public? Not there by a long shot.
- Hot Dog *******
Oh God, I laughed and laughed and laughed. Such an empathetic little doggie. Animation was spot-on!
- Perpetuum Mobile *****
Another one that was technically great, but wanting in heart. Well no, I'm being probably a bit too hard. It actually had a lot of heart. It was very enjoyable, but rather, ultimately, forgettable. I saw it only a few hours ago, and am already having trouble remembering all that happened, and why I should care.
- Machine with Wishbone ******
A lot of fascinating machines. This one owed a lot more to style than plot (there was none) or characterization (there was some in the anthropomorphization of the machines, but that had more to do with the machines themselves than the film). But as pure style, I can't say a word against it. It kept me pretty much enthralled just watching the automata do their thing on screen.
- Hungu *
I am completely incapable of giving this one an unbiased review. I hate, hate, HATE silhouette animation. Not sure why, but it's visual fingernails-on-chalkboard for me. Wayang Kulit, that sorta stuff. Can't for the life of me stand it. It literally makes my stomach queasy to watch. I spent most of this film looking away, unable to face the screen, checking my watch and hoping it would soon be over. I'm sure it was a perfectly fine film, but... not for me.