punch drunk love

Warning: spoilers herein.

The film is about a nice guy (Adam Sandler), who basically has a mental illness which results in various strange behaviours, one of which is random(ish) violent outbursts. He phones a sex line because he’s lonely and wants to talk to someone but it turns out to be a scam and they try to blackmail him. They threaten him, turn up at his house and beat him up and take money from him. In the meantime he meets a nice girl and falls in love.
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Yimou Zhang’s Ying xiong (Hero)

Great Chinese film about some badass assassins. Some amazing martial arts sequences but well balanced with a great story. Stunningly beautiful scene composition, impressive sound engineering and generally great direction make this film unmissable. Even better than House of Flying Daggers.

It seems you can’t buy a UK or US region disc yet because Miramax have purposefully prevented releasing it (they scared it would outsell their Kill Bill rubbish?) but you can pick it up on import.

Leeds film festival tertiary bit

Steamboy coverTwo anime films back to back. First of all, Katsuhiro �tomo’s Steamboy. Truly impressive artwork, amazing sound engineering, utterly poop story. I enjoyed the film but a second or third viewing would only be to check out the visuals. Set in Manchester and London in the steam powered 19th century, young Ray Steam has to help his father and grandfather do some crazy shit protecting their high pressure steamball invention. It’s insanely surreal to see an army of steam powered soldier-robots and flying steam powered attack kites fighting against a Japanese-speaking British army led by Robert Stephenson in the centre of 19th century London. Really, it is, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

What this film lacks in plot, is almost perfectly balanced with lovely things to look at. Almost. Apparently I’m one of very few people outside of Japan to see this film. Don’t I feel so goddam elite.


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Leeds film festival: About Baghdad

About Baghdad is a video collage of interviews and scenes from the streets of Baghdad shorted after the 2003 war (after? is it over?). Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi writer and poet who fleed to the US during Saddam’s regime, revisits his home and talks to other Iraqi people about their views. This was really interesting. What wasn’t suprising was that a majority of the views of Iraqi people are very different from how the mainstream press report them. They are of course very happy that Saddam is gone, and largely thankful to America for this but they basically feel that they need to be running things themselves now, and if this doesn’t happen soon there will be rebellion. Remember these are interviews from a year ago. Also remember all the violence going on currently and how it’s portrayed as a small number of “insurgents” who are going against the wishes of the real Iraqi people.
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Leeds film festival secondary phase

Now I’ve seen two more films. First up was Vera Drake. Vera is a “working-class” 1950s abortionist. She performs the “operations” because she genuinely believes the girls need help, and charges no money for doing it. Eventually she gets caught and prosecuted under the ‘Offences Against the Person Act of 1861’.

Directed by Mike Leigh and with Imelda Staunton as Vera the film is absolutely wonderful. It primarily tells Vera’s story, but comments on many other things, including the story of an upper-class girl who pays for a professional operation and everything goes fine and dandy. Being rich rocks eh? Also, Reg and Ethel were the cutest couple I’ve ever seen, heh.
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Leeds film festival begins

Leeds Film Festival 2004 logoMy first film of the festival was Garden State, an amusing but pretty dark film starring Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. My favourite scene was the 5 second shot of the main character modelling the shirt his auntie made from room decorating offcuts, but that’s not to say the rest of the film wasn’t great, just that I was considerably amused.

My second run was the short film panorama containing a number of short films made around the world. My favourite’s being “The Best Of Lukas M.”, “Scherubel”, “Handicap” and “Plasticat”. I’m not rating the films as requested by the organisers, as rating *anything* on an entirely arbitrary numerical scale is, well, entirely arbitrary.
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Woody Allen

Another cool nite of sarcasm and hilarity. Today started out a little Eerie tho, as things seemed to be going as planned, and very intricately planned it was too. Anyone who knows me and has ever organised anything with me will know full well planning isn’t my strong point, but today seemed to be going well which obviously meant the devil must have been involved, or something was going to explode and someone would die horribly.

I got a new film which I was going to review for Geek-Ware but I can’t write a full article as I couldn’t watch the whole film, as the second VCD was broken, but Woody Allen films, altho not predictable, aren’t the type of film you need to see all of to appreciate (if you can indeed apreciate any of it, as James couldn’t cos he hates Woody Allen).

It was quite amusing cos James was commenting how Woody Allen annoys him in the same way Hugh Grant does. I mentioned it would be unwise of anyone to put both Woody Allen AND Hugh Grant in the same film, especially in the same scene. The cross-stutter complications that would arise would probably generate some mad interference pattern of annoyance, and something would explode horribly, or Satan would make an appearance. Interestingly, to my knowledge, neither of these happened when Hugh Grant did appear.