Monday, August 8, 2011

International Film fest 2011 - the best.

Well the International film festival wrapped up a few weeks ago now, some may remember last year when I pointed out a couple of films pre-festival. Instead this time I thought I would point out the ones I enjoyed after seeing them.

For those of you keeping track I saw 25 films this year, up from 17 last year. Unfortunately this year there wasn't really any films which I have been telling everyone to go and see. But that doesn't mean there weren't some gems you shouldn't see if you get the chance.

So here are some films I think you should watch and may even enjoy.

Let the bullets fly: Set in china, its a movie about a bandit who pretends to be the new governor for a province and bumps heads with the local "evil mobster/lord" Hidden behind the comedy is a truly epic Machiavellian power struggle between the bandit leader and the lord. Not ashamed of what it is its a fun movie with a good solid story.

Cold Fish: A story about a man from a family who runs a fish shop who has no say or control over his life just drifting on the currents. He meets another fish shop owner who imposes too much control over his life. The ensuing chaos as these two characters collide is epic. This film is a little dark at times so don't say I didn't warn you.

13 Assassins: Easily one of my stand outs, think a big budget western, but with principled samurai who again seek to take down an evil corrupt lord set to become the next Shogun of Japan. This film is 2 hours and the last 50 minutes is just a single full on battle... how full on? A village gets turned into a trap and 2000 soldiers fight 13 Samurai in what is the best battle ever.

The Last circus: A dark comedy about a circus and a love triangle. How dark? Think black hole dark. Shot with a muted colour palette this was the most visually stunning film this year. My favorite part? A clown in a dress leading a charge of militia with a Machete!

Hobo with a shotgun: B grade cinema at its finest, if you liked. Planet terror/Death proof then this film is for you. They have somehow managed to make a B grade film that actually has a story worth following.

I saw the Devil: A revenge film out of Korea, about a police officer who leaves the right side of the law to get a serial killer who kills his wife and unborn child. Truly gruesome at times but at the end is perhaps a cautionary tail about exactly what revenge gets you when you trade everything for it.

The Yellow Sea: Another twisted gangster film out of China, about a young man who takes a contract kill to get himself out of the slums he currently lives in and into a whole heap of trouble when things go sideways. The underdog for most of the movie, he has to figure out who set him up and exactly what went wrong so that the appropriate people can pay.

Troll hunter: The funnest film this year, about a bunch of students who stumble upon a secret government department in Norway that covers up and controls the Troll population. If a scene where a 200 foot troll chases a land rover over a frozen tundra sounds like something that you would like to see then this is for you.

Most of these are "art house films" however I think that all of the above are distributed by Madman who has a really strong presence in NZ so you should be able to find them.

One final disclaimer here, some of the above films could be gruesome depending on your definition, always read the back of the box and remember the decision to watch or not is always yours and yours alone!

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