Saturday, June 26, 2010

Capsule Reviews NYAFF 2010 part one

The NYAFF started last night.

I wasn't there. I was elsewhere preparing for my marathon of screenings which, assuming this posts when I wanted it to and I made it to Lincoln Center started just under over an hour ago (I added Crazy Racer to the mix at the last minute because it was picked by all the local papers as one the films to see).

If you were thinking of attending the festival I thought I'd post reviews of some of the good films I've seen already which probably won't be getting fuller reviews.

Takashi Miike's wild live action adaption of a Japanese animated show is the sort of thing that most people think of when they think of non-samurai Japanese films, big loud boisterous and totally out of control. Its the story of a boy, a girl and their robot who fight an evil woman and her henchmen. Its a kid film, of sorts, for adults. It big crazy cartoon made real. Is it the best thing in the world? Not even close, but if you click with it it can be a great deal of fun. Frankly I really didn't like it the first time I saw it, however when I saw it a second time and I took it for the mindless romp it is I had a good time. Worth a look if you're in the mood. (The last screening is July 2 at 1pm)

Six of the best known actresses in Korea are brought together for a cover shoot for Vogue. They talk and interact with the crew and each other before going off to a private dinner. Real meets fake in a film that has the women essentially playing versions of themselves. Its voyeuristic and a bit pointless at the start but at the same time its time with a bunch of really intriguing women. Actually for me the film improves in the second half and the women are left alone (what I wish was that they had just brought the women together for dinner and let them just talk ala It Might Get Loud.) Its not a perfect film, but the film has haunted me since I saw it. Its a weird guilty pleasure of a film that I really need to see again (if for no other reason than I had technical issues when I saw it). The best thing I can say is that depending upon the second viewing I may give this film a longer review. (In answer to the question do you need to know who the women are, not really, it adds to some in jokes, but it isn't necessary) (This screens July 3 and 5)

Sammo Hung stars as a master chef who is set up for disgrace by his nephew. Years later he ends up working for the family that trained his brother (who trained Sammo) to be a master chef. At the same time he is also training a young man to be a great cook. One of the most fun first half hours in any film I've seen this year gives way to a confused plot that joins some really wonderful sequences. The pieces work even if the plot doesn't and the characters manage to hold the film together enough that you really won't mind watching this as a rental (after all you know where its all going pretty much from the first so the lack of plot isn't too much of a hindrance). Trust me the fights and the cooking sequences are really really good, and worth your time. (Its only screening is tonight at 10:15)

Tomorrow in addition to the second Sabu film and perhaps a day one report I'll be doing a second set of capsule reviews of films from DVD. This time it'll be three great films that will be getting bigger reviews after the festival ends. I'm mentioing them because its still early enough that you may want to try and see them at a screening.

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