Bifff 2009

Day 6 (14/04)

(click images to enlarge)

KANDIDATEN

Bifff 2009   Kan poster01CR 87x120 uncategorized Director: Kasper Barfoed
Writer: Stefan Jaworski
Release year: 2008
English aka: The Candidate

Jonas is a successful young lawyer. After a night of excessive drinking, he wakes up with a dead girl in his hotel room. Now he’s the prime suspect and finds himself more and more entangled in a conspiracy that goes all the way back to the mysterious death of his father. What promises to be a tense thriller of the “trust no-one” type, develops in a movie so cold the viewer will find himself emotionally detached with any of of the on-screen goins-on. To make it worse, the mystery of the plot ends up to be too clever for its own good. The denouement is just too simple for a film that promises this much. While still a well-made film with good performances, you’ll be left with the feeling that this could have been so much better.

Rating: Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   blankstar uncategorized Bifff 2009   blankstar uncategorized

Bifff 2009   Kan pic02CR 150x100 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Kan pic03CR 150x100 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Kan pic01CR 150x106 uncategorized

 

THE STRANGER

Bifff 2009   Muuk posterCR1 84x120 uncategorized Director: Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
Writer: Jan Forsström and Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
Release year: 2008
Finnish title: Muukalainen
English aka: The Visitor

Muukalainen is a viewing experience out of the ordinary. A narrative structure is hard to pinpoint and a clearly defined storyline including some form of resolution is lacking too. Don’t think for a second we have an experimental film here, but much more an essential piece of cinema with a classic aura surrounding it. It’s about a silent boy and his crippled mother living their secluded lives on a small farmhouse in a forest. The main key-event in the film is when a wounded stranger arrives at their home and is granted a place to recover from his injuries. Muukalainen feels a lot like watching (and admiring) a collection of paintings by one and the same artist. The beautiful cinematography sets a raw mood and an enchanting atmosphere that prevails over plot and dialogues (both severely lacking throughout the film). It’s clear that director Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää chose to work rather with themes (like love, trust, betrayal, abusiveness, solitude, harmony (disrupted), etc.) than to rely on a conventional plot with character development and relationship analysis. We are merely presented events (the boy and his horse), settings (the mysterious well out in the forest) and characters (the violent father in jail) that are difficult, if not impossible to connect. For the right kind of audience, this could make up for an intriguing, maybe even slightly religious viewing experience. The kind of audience for which this type of suggestive cinema doesn’t go down well, might find themselves watching a tedious film.

Rating: Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   halfstar uncategorized Bifff 2009   blankstar uncategorized

Bifff 2009   Muuk pic01 150x99 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Muuk pic02 150x99 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Muuk pic03 150x99 uncategorized

 

OUTLANDER

Bifff 2009   Outlander poster01CR 88x120 uncategorized Director: Howard McCain
Writer: Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain
Release year: 2008

Here we have a film about two Viking tribes going berserk in an ongoing clan-vendetta on the one hand. Secondly, the plot throws in a huge alien monster, crashlanding on earth, followed by a human hunter (not from this earth) – in the form of James Caviezel – determined to kill off the giant booger. Call me whatever you want, but a film bonkers enough to mix these two elements, is bound to raise my interest. And I’m sure there’s other people thinking exactly like me. As a bonus, we also get to see John Hurt and Ron Pearlman in this epic monster picture. Sure, Outlander is much closer to mindless popcorn entertainment than anything else, but as far as monster movies go, it delivers. What matters most in a film like this, are the special effects, and these are outstanding. Naturally, the monster is made mostly out of CGI, however, you can clearly see (especially near the end) the CGI regarding the creature was based on very detailed sculptures of the beast. It looks great, even changes color and above all, has some form of intelligence. Kainan (James Caviezel) his background story was even decent too. Him and the creature are here on earth for a reason, and the Vikings are merely along for the ride. And their odds are not looking good. Further more, Outlander plays it straight-faced. No stupid attempts at humor were made, and this helps things a lot. In my humble opinion, Outlander easily surpasses other recent “alien creatures running amok on earth” films like for example the two Alien Vs. Predator installments. When going into Outlander, just switch off your brain, and have fun or allow yourself to be impressed.

Rating: Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   halfstar uncategorized Bifff 2009   blankstar uncategorized

Bifff 2009   Out pic01CR 150x82 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Out pic04CR 150x84 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Out pic03 150x100 uncategorized

 

RED

Bifff 2009   Red poster01CR 80x120 uncategorized Director: Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee
Writer: Stephen Susco based on a novel by Jack Ketchum
Release year: 2008

Red truly is a great little film that near the end does a thing or two it probably shouldn’t have. Otherwise, this tale about a lonely man on a personal quest for simple justice would have been perfect. Brian Cox does a terrific job portraying Avery Ludlow. Him and his old scruffy dog, red, are inseparable. One day, while fishing, he gets harrassed by three teenagers. Rich kid Danny suddenly shoots (and kills) his dog in cold blood, just for fun. After tracking down the kid’s father (Tom Sizemore), Avery wants the truth to be confessed by the teenagers, but he gets laughed at and shushed away everywhere he goes. Things go from bad to worse, and the mild-hearted Avery gets more persistant with every step he takes. All performances are great in this film. Genre fans will even be pleased, as they can spot Robert Englund and Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser) in small roles. Red is proof that it doesn’t take a million dollar budget to make a great film. And it’s by far not a revenge film nor an “out for justice” kind of deal. It’s much more of a (mildly psychological) drama with a sharp edge to it. The only thing that keeps me from calling it perfect – like I mentioned before – is the way Tom Sizemore‘s character starts to behave near the end. He takes some very irrational actions during the final act, which doesn’t suit the subtle nature of the rest of the script. I’m not familar with how things go down in Jack Ketchum‘s novel, but Stephen Scusco sure could have finetuned Sizemore‘s character a bit. Either way, Red comes recommended.

Rating: Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   star uncategorized Bifff 2009   blankstar uncategorized

Bifff 2009   Red pic01CR 150x70 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Red pic02 150x84 uncategorized Bifff 2009   Red pic03 150x84 uncategorized


Onward to Day 7 (15/04).

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Mini-reviews by Vomitron.


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