Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Nightcap 3/11/12 Thanks to the brains behind the Korean Blogathon plus some words on reviewing The Raid and other films

First I need to say THANK YOU to cineAwesome and New Korean Cinema for their amazing job with the Korean Blogathon. Seven days, I have no idea how many reviews, and sheer madness. I had a blast writing and most of all reading all these great reviews. Thanks guys you did a great job. Also thanks to VCinemashow, Pierce Conran and everyone else retweeting every one's posts- I found so many new blogs as a result.

If you want to read all of the great pieces that cineAwesome and New Korean Cinema collected go here.

If you’ve read any amount of the reviews here at Unseen you’ll see that the style varies from film to film. Not only do each of the writers here have their own style, how I write up a film changes from film to film. For me the film determines what I say and how. The point of Unseen is to point out films you might want to try. The reviews, tend to be positive (Halloween Horrors and occasional Film Festival train wreck excepted), which kind of limits the degree to which we really will go. After that anything is game.

For me I write what the film inspires in me. Often what I start out to write is not what I end up writing, things change when I get to the computer. What I try to write is enough to let you decide whether you want to see the film or not. I am trying to talk to you as I would if you were sitting across a diner table. I’m not trying to dissect the film, though sometimes that happens, I’m just trying to say, Here you might like this.

Yes I know the reviews are uneven. Yes I know sometimes you get directors, writers, character names and detailed plot descriptions and sometimes you don’t. It’s how it all comes out when I sit down to discuss a film.

As I said the film and what I’m feeling when I sit down to write determines what I say. I’m sorry if that makes you crazy, but its how I have to do things. You write pieces on 1400 films in just over two years and you’ll see you can’t be detailed every time.

What promoted this was two reviews from this week, one you will have read, Tuesday’s film, The Showdown, and the piece I wrote for The Raid which will run March 20, which is a day before the New Directors screening and three days before it hits theaters.(Though what I have to say here will tell you a great deal about the film).

With The Showdown talking about the film was damn near impossible. It’s an ever changing story that changes as it goes on. What you feel at one minute will change the next as layers are peeled away. Beyond giving you a simple discussion of things I have to be careful what I tell you because I don’t want to give anything away. Its not so much that I think knowing what happens will ruin anything, rather I like that the film draws you in and plays with you. I liked the feeling I had the first time I saw it and I want you to feel the same thing at least the first time through. I’ve seen it a second time and it is a genuinely good film, I just think not knowing was just an added level of fun. (Like the first time you go on a rollercoaster and you don’t know where all the drops are, the second and third ride is just as much fun but a small bit of the edge is off)

When I was writing about The Raid I was torn. The film is a blast. It’s a film that cries out to be seen in room full of like minded action fans eating popcorn and sodas. It’s a nonstop thrill ride that just wants to give its audience 100 minutes of bone crushing action. It’s a desire that it fulfills and then some. It’s a film every action fan must see because its what they have been craving for years and not getting from Hollywood. It will make it clear that the already announced American remake is probably doomed to failure. How the hell can you top this?

At the same time in writing up the film I was torn about ripping it up because it has a minimal plot and has some twists that allow the fighting to continue but which are not to be thought about. Do the plot problems make it any less fun? No. Do they make it a film that I won’t recommend? Hell no, I’ve been talking it up since I literally stepped into the daylight after the screening.

In all honesty I would be hard pressed to think there is going to be a more action packed film I see all year (though I hope the crew at the NYAFF proves me wrong). This is the true definition of an action film… that’s why you should see it and why I highly recommend it. You don’t need to know my reservations, which in the review are kept to a minimum.

My job and that of the blog is to get you to try the films we review. I write with that aim in mind, what can I say to get you to see a film.

I saw the Japanese film Villain Friday at the Japan Society. Its a film that has a big reputation in some corners as one of the best films of 2010. Its a film that many felt should have won the Japanese film awards instead of Confessions. While I like the film I can't imagine the film being held as the best of anything.

The film is the story of a young man who is looking for love. Through a tragic series of events he ends up killing a young woman right before he meets the love his life. As the film spins out we see that in someways he is the least villainous of many of the people involved.

Its a low key old school style film that seems to split audiences. Some love it, others hate it. I'm in the middle I like it but I don't love it. My reservation is that in someways it takes too long to get where its going, there by draining much of the emotion. I can admire the film but I can't say I love it.

You should be aware that the Tribeca Film Festival has announced most of it's titles. I say most since the festival always seems to be adding things to the last minute. I've gone over it it there are many I want to see, a few a I could see and surprising, nothing I would go to great lengths to avoid seeing.

Packages are on sale now. Do yourself a favor and see if there is enough to consider getting one. Even if there isn't odds are there will be a couple of titles you'll want to see.

We'll be there and reporting all along the way.

To give the festival titles a look go here.

Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, died yesterday at 73. There isn't musch to say beyond it being a huge loss. Moebius changed the way we view not only comics, but films as well, with many of his designs becoming cinematic icons. As you may remember Eden began a long series of essays on Moebius' film work. This is a great loss for film, for culture, for society.

Before we get to this weeks links I just want to say I got my copy of the new Film Comment this week.

That means I’ll be sitting down to read it in about six months.

That’s not really a joke, it’s largely the truth. I skim the magazine then I put in a pile and really look at them about six months later. It’s not that Film Comment is bad, it’s just that the magazine covers so many movies, so far in advance of even a New York release that short of traveling the world to film festivals, it’s months after publication before I have any idea what they are talking about. To me the magazine is like having dinner with the worlds best psychic who is telling you about a future you haven’t had reached yet. You walk away from the table confused until the events he described come to pass.

I’ll let you know how the issue was in September.

Enough being snarky, on to the links (most thanks to Randi):

Post Apocalyptic morality

Scientists say that we may have to paint an asteroid to prevent it from striking the earth. And you thought Hollywood movies were weird.

Weird bootleg toys

In no way related to film- pictures of Japan

The model of Hogwarts

Ghibli Lego

Monty Python in Lego

Orchestra Brawl

The Movie Poster Database

(This week's main reviews are all from the Criterion Collection)

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