The ongoing adventures of Scott Weinberg, a friendly yet annoyingly opinionated guy who does nothing but watch movies and then write about them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Philly Style Flick Fest

Been a while since I posted, but last week was pretty darn hectic, work-wise, and I can prove it right here. The Philadelphia Film Festival was the first fest to invite me in as "official" press and therefore I like to give it some coverage every year. Obviously I focus mainly on the genre stuff, which is great because this year's "Danger After Dark" line-up was the best it's ever been. My Cinematical editors allowed me to write ten Philly Fest reviews, and here's what I covered:

  1. American Fork -- A fat guy learns not to trust people. Funny, though. (Review here.)
  2. Cages -- Strange but weirdly effective French drama about a woman who ties her boyfriend to the bed when he threatens to break her heart. (Review here.)
  3. Dead Daughters -- A really boring and overlong Russian thriller about ghostly dead kids. (Review here.)
  4. End of the Line -- Religious kooks go mega-psycho in a subway train. Fun. (Review here.)
  5. Exiled -- Talky gangster action from Johnny To. (Review here.)
  6. The Kovak Box -- Timothy Hutton stars in a dry-but-interesting sci-fi drama whodunnit thing. (Review here.)
  7. The Living and the Dead -- A seriously twisted and very effective piece of "mental horror." (Review here.)
  8. Taxidermia -- Hardcore Hungarian weirdness. (Review here.)
  9. Unholy Women -- A freaky anthology piece from prolific producer Takashi Shimizu. (Review here.)
  10. Wicked Flowers -- Picture Saw combined with a Japanese game show, only done very cheaply. (Review here.)

Wow, I just now realized it, but the ten movies I reviewed come from America, France, Russia, Canada, Japan, Spain, Britain, Hungary, and China. How very international of me. But back to the Danger After Dark slate again. Programmer Travis Crawford has exceedingly good taste, but some years (2006, for example) our preferences just don't seem to mesh. Not so this year! In addition to some of the titles mention above, this year's D.A.D. line-up offered some great stuff: Christopher Smith's very fun Severance, the fascinatingly bizarre Danish import Princess, JT Petty's borderline-brilliant S&Man, the brief French chiller Ils, and Ti West's slow-but-watch-worthy Trigger Man. (They also had the anthology flick Trapped Ashes, of which I am not a fan, and that remake of Sisters that I've now managed to miss at three separate film festivals.)

Other (non-genre) Philly Fest selections that I saw (and reviewed) elsewhere include Diggers, The King of Kong, Eagle vs. Shark, Rocket Science, Suffering Man's Charity, The Ten, and the stunningly sweet Waitress, which just may be the very best "chick flick" I've ever seen. Philly flicks I saw and liked elsewhere, but did not review due to busyness or laziness, include Cashback, Fay Grim, Broken English, and Who Loves the Sun, which stars Molly Parker and would therefore be worthy of an automatic visit except it's also a pretty damn good movie. (Seriously: I have a huge crush on Molly Parker.)

So yeah. With Sundance, SXSW, and Philly Fest behind me, I can settle in for a much slower pace with the Big & Flashy Summer Movie Season. There's a method to this madness, you see. January through April is festvial-centric, which works out fine because aside from a random comedy or something like 300, the first quarter of every movie year is pretty much a barren landscape filled with unbelievable garbage. But with Spidey 3 only a few weeks away, I'm all geeked up for the summer season spectacle-fest. Next festival: Toronto in September!

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