SXSW07–Skills Like This/Eagle Vs. Shark/Grimm Love
“Never leave me alone.”
SKILLS LIKE THIS
Not being good at anything seems to be a theme at this year’s festival. After The King Of Kong yesterday, now I see Skills Like This.
Max (Spencer Berger) writes some of the worst plays ever. We’re talking Vogon style, here. His latest, The Onion Dance, actually put his grandfather into a coma. After that, he decides to call it quits.
This is when things start to go his way. He finds out that he actually has a talent for something: robbery. He even meets the girl of his dreams at his first bank robbery. Lucy (Kerry Knuppe) is a very down to Earth, practical bank teller who helps keep everyone in line during the robbery. He meets her later in a bar and the two hit it off more than they probably should.
Max’s friends are just as strange as that pairing. Dave (Gabriel Tigerman) has a good job, but is totally uptight. His girlfriend, Lauren (Jennifer Batter) wants to fuck Max now that he’s robbing people. And Tommy (Brian D. Phelan)…well, Tommy’s just kind of a freak. He’s a typical jock type who is obsessed with his girly looking bike and figures that everything should be easy, including evading the cops after a bank robbery.
While not a great film by any means, Skills Like This does manage to keep the laughs coming for all of its 90 minute run time, something that a lot of the movies at the festival this year have had a problem doing. The characters are great and there are some awesome lines. Check it out if it manages to make it to a theatre/video store near you. It’s worth a few laughs.
EAGLE VS. SHARK
A friend of mine loved this movie. She saw it earlier in the festival and fell in love with the characters and said that it was MUCH better than she ever thought it would be.
The next time I see her, she’s dead to me.
Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) and Lily (Loren Horsley) are losers. Lily has lost her job at the local burger barn and Jarrod thinks that he’s amazing. He also has no social skills whatsoever. When the two meet, lint flies.
It really seems like Taika Cohen saw Napoleon Dynamite one too many times and figured that we were all ready for a New Zealand version of it. He also figured that we needed a version without any likable characters. Lily, who I guess is supposed to be the Napoleon character, is pathetic because of her complete devotion to Jarrod. And Jarrod is just an asshole. He’s such a dick that when he gets hurt towards the end, you’re kind of glad. I hated the guy and wanted him to get off the screen as soon as possible.
There were a few funny lines (“You’re a bitch and I hope you die of diabetes!”), but for the most part the movie was pretty well devoid of laughter. Not much in the way of good here.
A few years ago, a German man put an ad online for another man who would allow him to eat him. This is his story.
It’s also the story of Katie (Keri Russell), a girl who is writing a paper about the psychological ramifications of such a deal. Why did Oliver Hartwin (Thomas Kretschmann) want to eat another human being? And why did Simon Grombeck (Thomas Huber) allow him to do it? Eventually, Katie becomes completely obsessed with these mens’ stories and what led them to their horrific act. She starts to think that maybe, just maybe, she could be like either of them.
This is a very good film that shows us the inner thinking of a cannibal. The cuts between Katie’s life and the Oliver/Simon story show us just how closely related the two are. Maybe Katie ISN’T too far from them. Maybe we aren’t, either.
I loved how this film was shot. The scenes that take place in Oliver’s childhood are shot on old film stock and are very choppy. (All of this could have been done digitally, too.) It’s beautiful and creepy at the same time. Then the later story with the actual cannibalism manages to keep the gore to a minimum. Director Martin Weisz knows just how much we can take and when to string us along.
Check out this twisted fairy tale, but only if you have a strong stomach. The gore is minimal, but it’s still really intense. And there’s no comic relief to take you out of the story.
There is a more underground version of this story called Cannibal. I haven’t seen it, but from what I hear it’s a lot more gory and sensationalistic. This is supposed to be the better film. And it is very good.