Repo Men

(2010) – [rate 3.5]

A typical Philip K. Dick type of story, this is not a bad science fiction movie at all. It tells of a near future where expensive cybernetic implants have become commonplace, but are very expensive to produce. People take on insane financial plans to save their lives and when they can no longer pay the bills, the repo man comes around to take back the company property.

You can pretty much see where that’s going and the movie couples it with a buddy movie of the ‘military buddies sticking together’ kind. The plot develops in a decent enough way and though it loses some of its pace halfway through, I found the ending redeeming.

But I did have many issues with it. The characters are stereotypical even though the movie offers ample opportunity to change that. Also, I was incredibly annoyed by the blatant Volkswagen ads that appear every few minutes, with no bearing on the story whatsoever. I would recommend that people who rip and torrent this movie take those scenes out, for the same reasons they take commercials out of TV series. (of course, you shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff in the first place, but you know what I’m saying…)

If you like dystopic scifi and don’t mind a bit of very graphic body horror, this is probably going to be right up your alley. It sure beats watching pointless torture porn like Saw XIV and it has some interesting themes, but don’t expect a masterpiece.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

(2009) – [rate 4]

A star-studded cast in this latest Wes Anderson movie. And not just a movie, stop-motion animated movie about animals fighting humans in a Watership Down meets Wallace and Gromit if Roald Dahl had written it sort of way. Roald Dahl did write this story and his specific brand of humour, combined with some scenes that are no less Wes Anderson than his non-animation features make this one a worthwhile watch – though it is said that mr. Anderson’s actual involvement with the movie wasn’t as extensive as the billing might lead you to believe.

The voice acting is very good, the jokes are well-paced and sharp and there are many visual gags that got a healthy laugh out of me. This movie is very funny, looks great and will appeal to all ages, or at least the ages that Roald Dahl generally appeals to.

The plot could perhaps have done with a little more interest and depth, even as a movie for all ages. Apart from a subtext about the nature of creatures, both psychological and biologicalm the story is pretty straightforward, but lacking the whimsical twists and turns a good Wallace and Gromit will offer.

Do watch the title roll at the end – you might be amazed at the amount of fame in there, especially considering the brevity of some of the roles.

Summer Wars

Summer Wars (2009) – [rate 4.5]

The festival kicks off (for me at least) with a wonderful animated feature about a boy lucking his way into spend a week of the summer with the most popular girl in school, who happens to be a young daughter of former Japanese nobility. Sound to sappy for your tastes?

Just wait until the fate of the world ends up in the hands of a gamer fighting off a rampant A.I. bent on destroying the world because of a penchant for games and no moral inhibitions. Did I mention the boy is a math genius, skillful enough to break serious encryption overnight? Wargames anyone?

The strange mix of approaches actually works very well and the attention to detail of everyday Japanese life, as well as the family situation lend a great deal of character to a movie that feels very ‘now’. There’s some serious fiction in here, but it’s set in today’s world and addresses our place in it with very lighthearted drama and even though there’s some impressive action sequences, I’d expected this movie to be rated all ages.

Recommended and very humorous, I’d say you can’t go wrong watching this.

The die has been cast!

Temperatures are climbing, the sun is showing more of itself every day, birds are laying their eggs and spring is in the air. Yes, it’s that time of year: time to lock ourselves indoors and watch the dancing shadows on the silver screen. It’s time to get creep-ed out, chilled to the bone, bewildered with enchantment and amused to tears. It’s Imagine, the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival!

After careful deliberation we’ve managed to plan a festival itinerary that will take us through 29 movies in under 9 days. Here’s what we’ll be seeing:
Continue reading The die has been cast!