Things are a couple of days away from getting nuts here at Unseen.
You'll probably not notice the insanity since it will all be behind the scenes- but the fall film season is about to go into overdrive when press screenings for the New York Film Festival start tomorrow. Couple that with a bunch of regular new releases being preped for review, The Hamptons Film Festival, The Gold Coast Film Festival, Scary Movies, The South Asian Film Festival, The New York City Horror Film Festival, The Korean American Film Festival New York and the last of my personal favorite film festivals of the year DOC NYC things are going be crazy.
We're going to be hip deep in the insanity and probably twitching on the floor screaming for mercy by Thanksgiving when it all ends.
Before the insanity of the fall starts one last look back at some recent summer films
PLANES was intended as a direct to home video sequel to Cars but with planes instead of autos this is a dull film about a plane that’s afraid of heights who wants to compete in an around the world race. Hitting all of the expected clichés the film is nothing you haven’t seen before. Visually dead most sequences have the characters before cartoon equivalents of flat painted backgrounds. I think the best way to describe how bland the film is to say I have yet to meet anyone, especially under ten, who actually likes the film. Everyone I know would rather see Turbo again.
THE ICEMAN which just hit DVD is the story of Richard Kuklinski, aka the Iceman, a loving family man from New Jersey who was actually a stone cold killer. Kuklinski grew to fame thanks to a couple of HBO documentaries on his life and crimes. Michael Shannon is scary and scary good as the man himself. The film is a nice portrait of family man as killer. If you like true crime dramas its a must
I saw A SINGLE SHOT back at Tribeca and I liked it but I didn’t love it. I recently had the chance to see it again away from the hype and away from a crush of 40 plus films in 9 days and I realized that it’s a much better film than I thought it was. A solid modern noir that is much more complex than I first thought. I’m going to watch the film again and give it the proper write up it deserves.
ELYSIUM is a huge big budgeted science fiction polemic about the rich one percent literally above the poor on space station and a poor slob who is just trying to get by when an accident makes it so he has to get to Elysium (the space station) to be healed. Not sure if it’s a film of ideas or action the film instead is a crashing bore with no connection to the audience.. A well-made well-acted film that is a real stinker.
The problem with KICKASS 2 is it has way too much going on and it can’t figure out what it wants to be, send up? Straight action film? Satire? Homage? The film isn’t sure but it throws everything into the mix with the result that more is less. Yes the violence is overdone. Yes its tasteless. Yes it crosses the line with an unnecessary rape joke which will offend many. And it would have gotten away with it had the cleverness for much of the movie not been stuck on the level of a backward brain dead seven year old trying to impress his friends with things he doesn’t understand. There are some really nice things in the film, the relationship between Hit Girl and Kickass is well written but the rest is awful.
I owe many of you an apology.
In trying to get things ready so that when the fall madness starts this week I went back through some of my posts from the last six or eight months and found myself a bit horrified. It’s clear that what is frequently a one man operation has been sputtering, some pieces have been poorly edited and in cases like my Insidious 2 post I left a few things out. There have been some gems in there, but I've been floundering more than I’d care to admit.
The trouble it seems to be largely with the pieces with the short turnaround times. Several of the nightcaps are creaky and needed smoothing out. Things like Insidious 2 where I had two or three days to post are also not as they should be or could be. I’m better with longer turnaround times. (Though weirdly my festival coverage isn’t as bad, I’m guessing because I am very focused on that and hyper aware).
I’m hoping that what follows from now to years end won’t be as clunky. As of right now I’m a single post short having 2013's movie a day largely sewn up. I’m going to have to go over a bunch of the pieces (primarily the December Criterion Collection posts) to tighten them but I have the time to make them what they should be. From there the plan is to continue the film a day until February 20th when we have our fourth birthday and move away from the film a day and instead make things more manageable for me. As I’ve been saying changes are coming and we’ll get that underway soon or as soon as we hit the end of the fall film season.
Keep reading since we’ll keep posting- hopefully less clunkily.
And now some links half from me and half from Randi who has been off with Bully, John and Eden at SPX. (And if you didn't know Eden is a bigwig at SPX and only slums with us at Unseen because Bully plies her with cupcakes and chocolate milk)
The complete Camp 14 Total Control Zone on You Tube
Wickerman The Final Cut Trailer
The BBC is reporting that although its the official language many people can't speak Mandarin in China
Mike Daisey on his 28 monologues in 28 days project
And all of the monologues
2001 and Howard Johnsons
A really cool Akira poster
A cool pen and ink drawing of A Clockwork Orange
This week is the last week of largely re-purposed reviews for a while before we start our NYFF coverage.