Adás (Transmission) (2009) – [rate 3]

Every festival seems to have at least one: a feature film that would have been better as a lengthy short. Transmission does need some time to get atmosphere across, but in the end I felt that too little had happened and too many scenes in the movie serve no real purpose or show something that was expressed in some other scene.

I did like the way the movie is set up: ‘something’ has happened, some change that apparently resulted in all screens (computers, TV’s, what have you) no longer working. Instead of showing how that happened or giving some elaborate explanation as to the why, it only shows us what it means to normal people and how they deal with it.

If you can take one message home from Transmission, it’s that TV is a very, very bad thing for society. Apparently, the idiot box has us enslaved and has stripped us of our ability to live together normally and without TV (or the net for that matter). At other times, the movie seems to hint that the TV’s not working may well be a metaphor for many other things not working, parts of human social life included.

Transmission is bleak and only humorous if you can dive down into the dark outlook this movie offers on today’s society. It’s worth seeing, but a bit long and talking about the movie during the movie to pass time isn’t really an option either, because it’s the silence and the oppressive feeling of waiting that lend the movie it’s eerie sense of importance.

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.

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.

I am Legend

I am Legend (2007) [rate 2.5]

I like how movies are picking up more and more on the wealth of visual storytelling that comics have to offer. With recent successes like Sin City (2005) and 300 (2006) and perhaps slightly less successful offerings like V for Vendetta (2005) (which was not all bad in my opinion), the genre is building a nice position for itself. I am Legend adds a nice piece to that line, though I think it could have been a lot better. Continue reading I am Legend