SIFF 2011 : Checkpoint! (Part 2)

Here’s a smattering of reviews that are up way too late for you to take advantage of, but nonetheless you should know about (for better or for worse). All these films were screened at the most excellent so far 2011 Seattle International Film Festival.

Vallanzasca – Angels of Evil (2010)
Italy, Directed by Michele Placido

Biopic of Italian mobster Renato Vallanzasca has plenty of flair, but is possibly a little too fast paced. Kim Rossi Stewart makes the slick-talking Regato easy to fall in love with. Unfortunately, it’s hard to care about anyone else. Renato is wry, everything else just kind of happens. Also, the music almost never fits. The suits they wear are very nice, though.

Terri (2011)
USA, Directed by Azazel Jacobs

Funny without resorting to goofy. Sad without resorting to pathetic. Excellent performance by Jacob Wysocki a misunderstood teenage kid with too much on his plate (literally). It’s nice to see John C Reilly not playing a complete idiot. Surprise guest appearance by Tim Heidecker.

Tilt (2010)
Bulgaria, Directed by Viktor Chouchkov Jr.

Bulgarian movie draws strong comparisons to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, and for good reason. Kinetic drama that’s not overly jumpy. Sprawling plot tied together with a strong cast of characters and centered around a convincing love story. A Bulgarian friend of mine says that growing up there was “exactly like that.”

Late Autumn (2010)
Korea, Directed by Kim Tae-Yong

First half is thinly scripted Seattle tourist porn. Let’s go to Pike Place Market! Let’s Ride the Ducks! Let’s go to the Fun Forest (whoops)! The second half is actually a compelling movie, and the film ends on a pitch perfect note, which allows you to forget how boring the first 40 minutes were. Leads are good but have no chemistry with each other.

The Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams (2010)
Germany, Directed by Jesper Mollem, Sinem Sakagolu

Sandman tries too hard to be so, so precious. Ends up making no sense to adults and boring children to tears. Even without the atrocious dub this movie wouldn’t work right. Makes you really value what Pixar and Miyazaki have done to ensure that children’s films aren’t just brainless puppet shows.

Win/Win (2010)
Netherlands, Directed by Jaap van Heusden

This is not the Paul Giamatti movie, which I have not seen. Ivan leans slightly to the right on the autism scale. But he is also a stock market superhero, faster than a dropping economy and able to leap entire probability tables in a single bound. He also really likes this girl’s feet. He doesn’t like feeling real world responsibility about his long-shot gambles. And of course, that’s what happens.

Kirkland Performance Center – June 10th 7:00 PM

The Destiny of Lesser Animals (2011)
Ghana, Directed by Deron Albright

This is a film about Ghana, shot in Ghana. It feels like two movies at once. The first is one of a man, chasing his dreams and a pickpocket who has stolen them. The second is about Ghana and it’s redemption. Both are interesting stories on their own, don’t necessarily mesh together all that well.

Harvard Exit – June 11th 7:00 PM
Admiral Theater – June 12th 3:30 PM

Written by
Allen Huang

Allen is a writer/organizer/manager based in Taipei, Taiwan. You can read his work on Redefine and Asian Junkie. You can follow him on twitter at @therealhojo.

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