Fantasy Film Festival – Berlin 2014

Fantasy Film Fest Berlin 2014

Fantasy Film Fest Berlin 2014

More good movies! I think this is one of my favorite film festivals because it’s fun! (Yes I do think bloody zombies are funny)

I originally planned only to see four movies, but ended up seeing twelve fourteen(!) movies. (Yes I’m a movie addict – my hobbies keep me sane!)

This year’s selection was pretty good in my opinion. There’s some fresh humor, good scares, and strange ideas. I’m trying to separate my impressions based on the type of movies I’ve seen.

First up is what stood up to me most. Can you guess? No, it’s not how scary or bloody, but…

Music

Yes, music! It’s so prominent on some of the films that it sticks in my head. There’s the obvious one, like

Metalhead, a film from Iceland about a sister who tries to cope with her brother’s tragic death. From the title, it’s quite obvious the music genre is metal. And it’s Iceland, with a little bit of church thrown into it. Not really recommending this one except for the music. The rest is just too cliched.

Wrong Cops, is simply brilliantly fun! If you love Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber (or other sort of crazy utopia), then by all means, do yourself a favor and go see this movie. I’m not a fan of electronic music, but this one made it work so well. Plus you’d want to see Marilyn Manson in this one.

Life After Beth, the closing movie in FFF. It’s a dark comedy zombie movie with a little romance thrown into it (don’t worry it’s nothing like Warm Bodies). Here the music works as a different element, just because the zombies react well to smooth jazz… !

Haunted House

Of course, right? No horror festival should be without one. There’s some good scary ones this year too, I’m actually a wimp when it comes to haunted scares.

The Babadook, sounds like a children movie based on a children book and a character called Babadook. No, surely not. So please don’t take your children to see this one. It’s in the same line as Conjuring with some nice psychological twists.

Oculus, a story about two siblings who tried to resolve their twisted past by destroying the mirror that somehow created the illusions in their head. Quite interesting premise but somehow fell a little flat in the end.

Housebound, is a smart take on the haunted house theme. Comes with a sarcastic crazy daughter who ia housebound from her criminal behaviour. It’s a New Zealand movie and now I’m starting to think if there’s a New Zealand type of humor that I really like? Totally recommended, and this movie also happens to win the Fresh Blood award (audience award) at the FFF Berlin.

Fantasy World

Give and take, all movies are fantasies anyways, but these movies just take it to a different level of fantasy.

Patema Inverted, a story of two worlds with polar gravity. What happens when these two people from these two worlds meet? Could you actually fall to the sky? It’s an anime movie that’s somehow sweet but also well made.

Get Shorty, true, it’s a compilation of shorts, but I’m just going to mention two I’m very impressed with this year… Orbit Ever After, which is a story of love in the orbiting small spaceships, with a rather rogue and apocalyptic feel to it. Sequence, what if you’re in everyone’s super scary nightmare last night?

Mockumentaries

What We Do in the Shadows. I’ve seen this at the Berlinale, and I love it!! The vampire genre is already supersaturated and I didn’t think anyone could come up with a nice take on it… until this one. It’s that good and funny!

Others

Couldn’t really find good categories for the movies here. I wanted to say Asians, but that’s just where it comes from and not really reflects what it’s about.

Go Goa Gone, zombies meet Bollywood. It’s just funny to see how different culture “react” to this. Has its fun moments for sure!

Man on High Heels, tries to deal with a deeper meaning than just an action movie. He’s a superpower cop guy who always wanted to have a gender reassignment surgery. Interesting drama, especially when set in a culture and environment where this is highly frowned upon.

13 Sins, how far would you go when you are desperate for money? It’s a remake from a Thai movie (which, from IMDB seemed to be a comedy – I really want to see it!). Anyhow, this has some good stuff going, although I don’t really like the ending. Also, Daniel Stamm, the director, was present at the screening. Didn’t know that he’s German (the movie was USA/English)

These two movies, I don’t like them at all, but I’m mentioning it just for my own reference.

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, it’s one of those overly pretentious movies in my book. There are plenty of “metaphors” going on in this movie (yes, I’m putting it on quote consciously and on purpose). It’s one of the longest movie I’ve ever seen, and it’s only 100 minutes.

Wer, it tries to be a new take on werewolves but failed. The only thing I’d remember about this movie is that it’s set in Lyon. Other than that, it’s one of the movies who wanted to be smart about tackling werewolves but ended up doing every cliches in the book.

Recommendations

What really the stands out for me: Housebound, What We Did in the Shadows, Life After Beth, and Wrong Cops. Go see them when you have the chance!!

 

Fantasy Film Festival – Berlin 2013

Fantasy Filmfest 2013

Fantasy Filmfest 2013

It’s been exactly one year since my last year’s post on Fantasy Filmfest. Since I had a lot of fun last year, of course I went again this year! I planned only to see four movies, but ended up seeing nine. That’s just how it goes when you’re having too much fun, isn’t it?

As it was last year, they’ve put up a good selection of movie too, although I really missed something funny, sarcastic, so over the top like Cockneys vs Zombies or Grabbers. On the other hand, there’s loads of smartly constructed story, ideas, and those dark humors.

Here are my impressions of the movies.

The Congress

The Congress

The Congress

The opening movie. It was a Sci-Fi theme, the what if we were to be able to escape from our reality into an animated reality by just a sniff of a substance. In the animated world, you are free to be whoever you want (and someone chose to be Jesus)… I’m not sure I’d want to be anyone else but myself, and I hope my friends too (out-of-topic). Anyways, I was a little torn with this one. It has some great ideas but I find it lacking punch. Either the story wasn’t dramatic enough (note to self: read the book) or the interplay between the real world and the animated world wasn’t working so well. I do like the imagination of the characters so I’m going to go neutral and say it’s a good festival movie. Also I went to the talk at the Apple Store earlier that day, which is where I got my fff poster signed by the director, Ari Folman :). Continue reading

Berlinale 2013 Impressions – Part One

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This year tickets collection 😉

This year, I went to 11 movies and a lecture. Seven different venues, lots of running around (late and denied entry to one screening), and even more fun in the process. If you’re wondering how I get tickets and how I chose the movies, check my post about 5 Myths of Berlinale here.

I’m not sure I’ve said this before. What’s always great about watching a movie in Berlinale is when you get to be in the same room with the director / actors / crews. Not (just) because of bragging rights, but most importantly when you applaud in the end, you really feel like you’re showing them your appreciation. How much you love their work and really thankful for them producing such amazing movies! So, thank you!!

My impressions of the movies weren’t meant to be a critique, it was just thoughts I have after the movie and how I remembered them.

Competition Section

Yi dai zong shi (The Grandmaster) – D: Wong Kai Wai, C: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen

It’s a very beautiful piece of art, which makes up for the so so storyline. It’s a delight to see on a big screen and there are a couple of scenes that really stood out in my mind. During the fights, when instead of zooming in on the fight, the movie would zoom in on the effect of the fight on the surroundings. Like how it affects a certain water drop, etc. Very beautiful. Also I love Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi. Great choice to start the Berlinale.

Before Midnight – D: Richard Linklater, C: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

I love this series. Every 9 years they came out with a new movie following the life of the two main character, Jesse and Céline. The first one, Before Sunrise (1995), was the innocent, magical love story. Before Sunset (2004) was more of the realist, sort of sick of romance, and now comes Before Midnight. I don’t have kids, so sometimes I don’t get the jokes, but my friend who does, thinks it’s really spot on. It’s really a funny and honest movie about love and relationship and everything else going on in the world. So rare to see a good movie like this one. No action, just talking. I’m totally recommending this, even if it’s not your usual cup of tea… because it’s best of its kind.

Epizoda u zivotu beraca zeljeza (An Episode in the life of an Iron Picker) – D: Danis Tanovic, C: Senada Almanovic, Nazif Mujic

If you read my experience with pickpockets and angels in Paris, you know why I’m skeptical with Roma families. I knew I was being unfair and I wanted to have another perspective on them, and I thought the theme of this film would be good for that. I am really glad I went to see it! It such a sweet simple movie about this family who can’t afford the wife’s surgery. (spoiler: I said sweet because it has a happy ending). It’s very honest and real with all its problems and the love between all of them. Somehow it felt like you were invited into their house and experience their day to day life. You can’t help but love them too. Just because people didn’t show their love like you do, doesn’t mean they don’t love you!

This movie happens to win two Berlinale awards, the Silver Bear, as well! Nazif Mujic won best actor (Silver Bear) and the movie won Jury Grand Prix award. Recommended!

Panorama Section

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard – D: Simon Klose

It’s a documentary about the Pirate Bay founders, how they hold themselves against the court proceedings. It gives me a different perspective on their way of thinking and what was actually going on. The founders were not bad people. All they wanted to do was to make a platform where it’s easy for people to share files. This is my point of view: I don’t like to steal either, but isn’t there something wrong when those people convicted as the thief was living a modest life and the people they steal from rides in Mercedes and live in Millions of euros mansions? Does anyone really realize that the artist only get a tiny fraction of money compared to the middle man?

This documentary is also available on YouTube for free. Here it is:

If you would like to support the film makers and applaud them for their great work, please go to www.tpbafk.tv.

Something in the Way – D: Teddy Soeriaatmadja, C: Reza Rahadian, Ratu Felisha, Verdi Solaiman

I went to see this without expectations. I just wanted to support Indonesian filmmakers. I was really pleasantly surprised. The story itself isn’t that unique, it’s basically follows a guy-falls-in-love-with-a-girl-and-do-everything-to-get-her plot. The interesting thing about it is the contrasting view of the guy’s porn addiction and his daytime moral values, which happens to be a very religious one. What I like most is how it’s portraying the problem. I could feel that in Indonesia, people tends to lead a dual life somehow (at least I did). On the surface they are maintaining “good” moral values, and behind it, who knows. And it’s a constant battle between them.

The movie tends to be very candid with all the sex scenes, which is pretty cool for an Indonesian film. Also, I get to shake hands with the director and the casts. Hee… job well done guys!

(To be continued…)

5 Myths of Berlinale

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Tickets queue at Potsdamer Arkaden

Another year of Berlinale, another great time with the festival. Intense two weeks as usual. Organizing which movies I wanted to see, getting the tickets, running around town to get to the venues. It’s one of the reasons why I love living in Berlin!

This is my 5th time doing the Berlinale. (Yeah, I didn’t realize it’s been that long either… I just keep track from the bags.) I realized this year, there are some myths going around about this festival, which is kind of too bad because I think it’s a festival for all the movie goers in Berlin. So if you’ve been putting off it because of these myths, I hope you’ll rethink it next year!

1. It’s impossible to get tickets to Berlinale.

It could be hard, but it’s not impossible. Just like any other great events that needs tickets. Online tickets are almost impossible to get, that’s true (unless you’re used to this process of knowing exactly when to click buy). But luckily in Berlinale there are allocations of amounts for tickets sold on each venues. So, when one sold out, the others might still be available. Here’s how you can get them:

  • Online through www.berlinale.de. Toughest one to get, most convenient because you can just be in your pyjamas/office/warmth of a building. Extra 1.5 € charge per ticket.
  • Queuing at the pre-sale booth. Most chance to get one, depending on the day, you could queue up to 3-4 hours. It’s also a fun chance to bond with other movie goers (usually pensioners). If you really wanted a certain ticket, be there at least 1-2 hours before the booth opens (10am). There’s no extra charge per ticket, might be worth thinking if you’re getting more than 10 tickets.
  • Go to an eventim booth, usually called Konzertkasse and the likes. They have a limited allocation of tickets too. No lines, and usually still available after the other two options are sold out. They charge 2 € per ticket, and an extra 1-1.5 € for going at a person in a booth. Which is why I always avoid this option when possible.
  • At the cinema on the day of showing. If it’s a sold out movie, make sure you get there as early as possible. They do seem to have another different allocation for this, so there’s still hope.
  • Especially nearing the end of Berlinale, you could also find people selling their tickets. Most of them are actually selling it at a normal price. Usually they just realized they had conflicting time schedule or a friend of theirs cancelled out.

Continue reading

Fantasy Film Festival – Berlin 2012

FEAR GOOD MOVIES *

For some reasons, I didn’t fully realize that there is a genre where you get to actually laugh at gory movies. Seriously. I thought it’s either comedy or it’s slasher gore-horror type. Which was what I thought this festival was all about. I was wrong. Yes there were horror, slashers, zombies, fantasies, but most importantly there’s horror comedy!

Just like Zombieland (which I love).

Suddenly I wanted to see more movies like that. Also this year I seemed to play a lot of fun bloody games (Mini Gore, anyone?) and actually my favorite part of Assassin’s Creed was when I could kill all of the guards.

The Festival itself was really nice and well organized (the Germans are really awesome for these kind of things!). You can get a festival pass (which was sold out in a blink – my friend said), the slightly discounted pre-sales tickets some weeks before, or you can get the normal ones starting from a week before the showings.

I only went to five movies. Which is quite a lot in a week’s time but I tell you nothing compared to the real fans (yeah, you know who you are ;)).

Alright, here’s my short impressions of the movies I saw!

Grabbers Poster

Grabbers

Grabbers

It’s a fun crazy movie about bloodsucking aliens. The catch? Toxic blood is toxic for them. The solution: drink a lot of booze! They should’ve known not to land in Ireland ;).

The movie is just loads of fun without being too silly. There’s some cliches in the story line, but enough surprises and jokes to make up for it. All in all, it’s a very good start to the festival! Totally recommended if you like crazy alien bloodsucking movies. Or Irish people smashing stuff.

Thale Poster

Thale

Thale

A Norwegian movie, about this folklore called Thale. It was not what I expected from the poster and the trailer. It was actually more of a drama – thriller, so it’s a little bit on the boring side for me. The cliched story didn’t really help here either. It’s an okay movie, but I guess I wouldn’t remember much of it except that Thale was mostly naked throughout the movie. I wouldn’t really recommend this, but I wouldn’t say you shouldn’t watch it either.

The Suicide Shop

The Suicide Shop

The Suicide Shop

The main characters are a family who owns a suicide shop. This movie actually is what I like about this festival. You get to see movies where the stories were not typical. A somewhat dysfunctional family whose goal is to sell items for a suicide, ranging from poison to katanas. It has the promise of being a great dark animation movie, but it fell short on the ending – thanks to the cheery youngest addition to the family. The singing is also a bit much. However I do like the visualization.. and it’s in 3D, I like animated 3D sometimes. Still very interesting and recommended especially if you like the drawing style.

Btw, this movie actually reminds me of School of Evil (A book by Danny Gregory). If you’re into this kind of story, read this e-book. It’s a totally dark and twisted book of a (good) kid going to School of Evil.

Get Shorty

It’s a collection of short films. Always recommended if you go to a film festival. I expected to see something very gory in this mix, but actually it was really a good unexpected mix. It’s even not as depressing as the Berlinale ones!

The Black Lake is too twisted. It follows the French pattern of they met, fall in love, they fuck, in the end one of them died. The ending was just too disturbing, even though I actually understand why she did it… Tune for Two is a sarcastic Nordic humor… Luminaris is a very beautiful piece about this two young people who worked at a light bulb factory and has a big dream… The Trap is an interesting idea. Curiosity always kills the cat… Danny Boy is quite interesting because I see it as a sarcastic metaphor. If you are different but better than everyone else, would you sacrifice it just for the sake of being ‘normal’?… The Little Mermaid I know nothing about, I fell completely asleep… Abiogenesis has some interesting robotic bio movements… The Furred Man and Sugar are really depressingly funny, you’re not supposed to laugh at someone’s misfortunes ;)… Believe the Dance is just weird dancing sequence. Unforgettably weird.

My favorite ones from the Get Shorty are Luminaris and Sugar.

Cockneys vs Zombies

Cockneys vs Zombies

Cockneys vs Zombies

The last movie I saw in this festival, and what a way to end it too. It’s a glorious zombie killing movie, full of crazy banters and cockney humors. What to do when a group of elders had to fight against a bunch of zombies?  Run, yeah, with a help of the walking aid. Luckily the zombies can’t walk fast either!

I laughed a lot during this one. Totally the best movie I saw in this festival. Bloody funny gory fun. More, please!!! And yes, totally recommended! I think it would be much funnier if you know London too :D.

* PS: I hate being fussy about grammars, but I found the tagline is a little confusing… fear good movies. What does it mean? Fear – good movies? Should I be afraid of good movies? So the movies in this festival are all bad? Fear good – movies? Movies where having fear is good? But it’s missing an ‘is’? Although I guess this one makes more sense… but still, I hope they would come up with a better tagline next year, less confusing at least ;).