Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday films

Again, I return to the LSIFF to partake in much foreign and domestic treats of cinema!

Artois the Goat was a funny if somewhat overlong comedy directed by Austinites Cliff and Kyle Bogart, starring Dan Braverman as Virgil, an unsatisfied taste test lab worker who one day decides to pursue his dream of…making the world’s best goat cheese. A comedic take on the “follow your passion” genre, the movie was still a lot of fun. Good acting and fun characters, like Virgil’s german baker friend Yens played by Stephen Taylor Fry, who is paranoid a homeless guy outside his store is actually an undercover FDA agent. The movie still has that unmistakable college student/indie feel, but in this case that adds to its earnest charm, as does its offbeat sense of humor (the inspirational talking goat vision comes to mind.) It could use a little editing to tighten it up and cut about 10 minutes off the run time, but still this was a good funny surprise.

Documentary Severe Clear was next. Directed by Kristian Fraga, the movie takes videos shot by First Lieutenant Mike Scotti during the initial invasion of Iraq, and provides and honest, warts and all view of marine and military life. There are few stoic soldiers, mostly just guys acting like guys in high school; pulling pranks, cussing like sailors, and most of all trying to kill the boredom, which seems to be the main enemy next to the Iraqis. I have a friend in the army go through two tours in Iraq, and this movie definitely helped me understand what he went through over there. Funny and brutally honest, this doc should be viewed by anyone hoping to have an idea of what American troops go through, in this or any war.

Lastly on Saturday came the German film Distance, about quiet botanical worker Daniel (Ken Duken) who falls in love a woman who also works there, the sweet Jana (Franziska Weisz). Also, Daniel is a serial killer. Though very quiet and deliberately paced, the movie is captivating, as Daniel is never given a reason for why he kills (which produer Michael Frenschkowski says was intentional) so you never know when he’ll kill next, if Jana is safe, which makes the obvious love they feel that much sadder. This movie hit me in my soft “outsider looking in” spot (though I’ve never had a problem with homicidal urges…I think), and made for a pretty captivating, but also a little too slow, character drama/thriller. Heavily recommended.

Now to just see what Sunday holds!

-Cole Williams

No comments: