Friday, July 8, 2011

NYAFF: DB on Foxy Festival... well half of it...and a couple of quick notes

A very mixed night tonight.

It was my return to the NYAFF after three days off. I was itching to get get back in the swing of things, unfortunately sometimes things swing back.

The night began with a casual dinner with Unseen Films silent contributor and resident reference librarian Randi. It was a good dinner with an long discussions on a variety of subjects. We parted, Me to head up to the Walter Reade and Randi to head home to help Bully plot his take over of the vast Wonka Empire.

Arriving about 15 minutes earlier than I wanted I hung out and started talking to various people on line. Everyone seemed to be having a blast at the festival with no one really disliking many films, though Haunters seems not be be getting much love. There was also a great deal of talk of years past before the barbarians had crashed the Upper West side and take over Lincoln Center.

I watched as the second screening of Jet Li's Ocean Heaven get out. There was much applauding and many people, guys included were wiping away a tear. Once they were all out we were let in.

The crowd wasn't nearly a sell out, but it was respectable. It was an odd mix with few familiar faces.

I do have to report that I won a prize during the drawing, drinks and a zero cover charge at the Kitano Hotel for one of their evening Jazz programs. I'll have to figure something out since I don't drink and the Kitano is ritzier than I am accustomed.

The movie tonight was Foxy Festival, which seems to be called just Festival in the (very mixed)reviews I read from Korea.

The plot of the film concerns various people in a neighborhood and their sexual kinks. One high school girl has the hots for a food vendor, who likes women's clothes. There is a cop with a large "package" who doesn't know how to treat his girlfriend who prefers vibrators. An older woman is on a voyage of discovery with a handyman who runs a hardware store. There is a van that travels around selling sex aides, vacuumed sealed soiled panties and many other kinks which are trotted out for our amusement. Add to all of this a police effort to keep the neighborhood safe and to stamp out indecency and you have the potential makings of a funny comedy.

Sadly, I sat there stone faced and unamused. I stayed for half the film and never laughed once. I only chuckled at the pre-film statement that it was based on a true story which had a funny addition to it.

People were laughing around me, here and there, but to me it wasn't all that funny...with many of the jokes having obvious punch lines... at least to someone who has spent way too much time watching better sex comedies from around the world (Oh what I wouldn't do for even a mediocre Italian sex farce right now). These are the films that managed be both sexy and raunchy or if not sexy, at least raunchy and funny in the way that you are with your best buds.

Call me jaded but the film is simply too polite to be funny. The film is trying to poke fun at the repressive government and societal stance on sex in Korea but frankly it doesn't work. The problem is because it has to work with in the system it's making fun of it never can really soar. (Either that or the filmmakers just aren't funny) It's like a listening to a little kid who is trying to be hip and cool by cursing. It can be shocking but it ultimately is the wrong sort of quaint and you want to send the kid off to play with his stuffed animals.

I desperately wanted the film to be something other than quaint...

No, that's not right I wanted the film to be funny. I wanted the film to be more than predictable (I was writing the jokes they were using in my head then tossing them for better ones)

After half the film I got up and went home. Life is too short to waste it with what for me was an unfunny comedy. (In fairness I have to say again that some people were laughing, I just wasn't one of them.)

Foxy Festival has had it's two screenings, which is good because I would have told you to skip it.


Two quick notes.

With the NYAFF at the Japan Society for the next few days, before that location is wholly all Japan Cuts I need to direct you to Mondocurry's new food blog where he talks about places to eat near the Japan Society. If you love Asian film odds are you'll be there either for the co-presentations or for Japan Cuts so you'll need to know where to get some good food. The blog can be found here.

Lastly the DVD and Blu-rays are out for 13 Assassins. It's the international cut with all of the trimmed material, about 18 minutes, in one block as a Special Feature. Some of it is seconds long and some is several minutes. Seeing it out of context is terrible since you can't see how much it improves the film. Surprisingly there is some trims from the final fight, which caught me off guard since I had been told that that the final fight was intact. Truth be told the full version is the way to go, but until then the International version is fine.

Okay bed for me- tomorrow it's the Gantz double feature and Yakuza Weapon.

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