Fantastic Fest 2007–Finishing The Game/Retribution/There Will Be Blood/Invisible Target
“Goddamed helluva show you put on, Eli.”
THE RUN (2005)
Directed by: Shawn Costa
Written by: Shawn Costa
As one guy said right after this film was over, “The credits are longer than the film!”
A kid hears a noise behind him in his deserted high school corridor. When a man comes running at him, his first reaction is to run. Run like hell.
The music gets louder. The tension builds. And then…it doesn’t end exactly the way you (or the kid) would think.
Or, actually, it ended about the way I thought it would end. Still pretty funny, though.
FINISHING THE GAME
Directed by: Justin Lin
Written by: Josh Diamond/Justin Lin
When Bruce Lee died in 1973, he left behind 12 minutes of footage for his dream project, Game Of Death. So, of course, someone had to exploit that footage.
Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, Annapolis) decided to exploit the exploitation. Finishing The Game is a mockumentary about the audition process behind finding the “new Bruce Lee.” Would it be Breeze Loo (Roger Fan), the mega-star who doesn’t do any of his own fighting? Or Tarrick Taylor (McCaleb Burnett), the half-Asian guy who looks white, but embraces his Asian half militantly? Or maybe Troy Poon (Dustin Nguyen), the actor who has tried to find a good role ever since his cop show was canceled? Or maybe the overly gentle guy (whose character hasn’t been entered into IMDb yet, for some reason) whose girlfriend is representing him?
Maybe not the greatest movie ever, but it’s pretty funny. And DAMN, did they get the era right. It looks like it was filmed in the late 70s.
I don’t know how much of the story is true. I mean, I know all of the characters are fictionalized. But I’m not sure about the events themselves. It makes for a pretty funny movie, though. One that is especially worth checking out if you’re a Lee fan. And, of course, Justin Lin puts some Asian issues in. (Constant casting as delivery guys seems to be the big one here.)
Watch for some cameos from James Franco and MC fuckin’ Hammer!
Directed by: John Grigsby
Written by: John Grigsby
A short made on an Etch-A-Sketch. Yup. That’s right.
A guy gets on a subway (going right by Coney Island! YAY!!), falls asleep and dreams in Etch-A-Sketch. It’s not the greatest premise, BUT IT’S DONE IN FUCKING ETCH-A-SKETCH!!! THAT’S AWESOME!!!
Check it out here.
Directed by: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Written by: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
But something made me want to see this one. It certainly wasn’t the fact that it was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse). I hate to bad-mouth anyone named Kurosawa, but Pulse was crap. How it swept Japan, I’ll never know.
Luckily, Retribution was quite a bit better than Pulse. Still not a great movie, but better than fucking Pulse.
A cop is trying to solve a murder, but why does he keep seeing the victim everywhere? And why does she keep telling him that he killed her?
The movie isn’t particularly scary, but the woman is pretty creepy looking. At first, I thought she was hot. Then I realized that, with her face painted white the way it was, she looked a lot like Michael Jackson.
No longer hot in any way, shape or form.
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Based on book by: Upton Sinclair
This was our Closing Night Film and we had no idea that it would play. Not really a “Fantastic” movie, but definitely a fantastic movie.
Paul Thomas Anderson directs his own adaptation of an Upton Sinclair novel. It’s the story of an oil tycoon, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis doing an amazing Jack Palance impression), who will say anything to get his fortune. He takes over the small California town. His first conquest is the Sunday family, which is pretty much run by Eli (Paul Dano from Little Miss Sunshine). Eli is the leader of a Christian cult which basically runs the town. The more power he gains, the more Plainview tries to wrest it from him.
It’s unclear who the good guys or bad guys are in this. Your sympathies switch from Plainview to Eli constantly. And that’s part of the brilliance of the movie. I pretty much hated Eli as soon as he started spouting uber-Christian junk at Plainview. But Plainview is such an ass that it was hard to really be on his side, either.
With our reliance on oil in the modern world, it’s good to kind of get a vantage point on where it all came from. Oil is the Earth’s blood, and we’ve been sucking it out of her for far too long. And this film shows that our own blood flowed in order for us to get at it. Far too much of our blood.
A very good film that will probably not find a real audience, like most of Anderson’s films. It’s good to see him branch out, though, and do something very different from what he’s done before. Besides a few long tracking shots, it’s almost hard to tell that this is one of his films. But the quality gives it away.
The only “complaint” that I have is that it seems to end in a really strange place. I guess we basically know where it goes after that, but there are loose ends that could have been tied up.
Nitpicking. I loved the movie.
Directed by: Benny Chan
Written by: Benny Chan/Chi-man Ling (as Rams Ling)/Melody Lui
There was a short before this one (Monster Job Hunter), but I got in the movie half-way through it. No review for that. Although, I didn’t really like the “Shut up and watch the movie” short the same people did. So there’s my review.
I love Hong Kong action. It’s pretty much been great since John Woo came on the scene back in the mid-80s. It’s still good, but people have lost track of it because most of the big ones are over here now making crappy movies.
Johnny To is still in Hong Kong, though. So, that’s one great director they have left. And now it looks like Benny Chan could be on his way to being another one. (Starting now, pretty much. His earlier movies, Gen-X Cops and Who Am I? aren’t all that great.)
Chan Chun (Nicholas Tse from A Man Called Hero) lost his fiancee during a bank heist two years ago. The criminals who pulled it off got away and it has haunted him ever since. He teams up with two other cops when the gang shows up again.
That’s the WAY short version of the plot. But a) it’s hard to describe everything that happens in this movie and b) the best way to go into this movie is to not know too much about it. Just know that it’s an awesome movie. Maybe not a perfect film, but it’s so much fun and the action is non-stop. Non…fucking….stop. And it’s all kinds of action. Martial arts, gunplay, car chase…everything.
Like Hong Kong action movies of old, this one is all about loyalty amongst non-brothers. The gang are seven people who grew up together in an orphanage and the three cops become very good friends after they kick the asses of about 100 douchebags in a bar. There’s even a scene where one of the cops bonds with one of the gangsters.
And all of this makes it better than just any old shoot ‘em up, kill ‘em all movie. It’s awesome.
And it was a great way to close the Festival. It was a really fun Festival, but it’s all over now. And I already kind of can’t wait for next year.