Sunday, August 10, 2008

Award Ceremony 37th Wellington Film Festival

I did a summary last year and as people keep asking which was the best film I'm doing it again. While Anne and I have only seen one film each that we classified as "must see" there are many films we would recommend.

Last year I noticed a theme of family problems. This year the theme was rain. I have never been so cold and wet, I almost wore my raincoat out and probably ended up smelling of oilskins. It wasn't until half way through the second week that I started to notice a theme of bullying, particularly in: Ben X, CJ7 and Let the Right One In. Since the festival finished I have noticed another theme of illegal immigration with: Lorna's Silence, It's a Free World and The Visitor.

Best Documentary
My pick is Taxi to the Dark Side and Anne's pick is Trouble Is My Business. While Waltz with Bashir was the most innovative with its use of animation.

Best Comedy
We enjoy comedies, the best of this year's bunch are:
My pick is In Bruges, but if you prefer a non-violent comedy then Welcome to the Sticks is a nose ahead of Empties.

Best Drama
The best dramas this festival include:
Ben X was the most original film, mixing PC gaming CGI with live action and tackling a tough issue in a fresh way.

Political Dramas
The best to worst of this sub-category:

  1. I Just Didn't Do It
  2. It's a Free World
  3. The Wave
Strangest Film
Well not really, rather the best of the Incredibly Strange section:
  • Cargo 200 - The Good, the Bad and Ugly back in the USSR
  • King of the Hill - Last one standing in the Spanish countryside
  • Teeth - Sex with a bite
  • Frontier(s) - French splatter, keep away from those creepy motels
No contest here. Teeth is destined to be come cult movie.

Best Short
Nominations (all NZ films):
  • Take 3 - "Can you be a bit more Asian?"
  • Noise Control - Rooster shooting at Raumati
  • Cargo - People trafficking in Eastern Europe
Winner: Noise Control

Most Disappointing
Loser: The Duchess of Langeais

Best Actor / Actress
Winner: Greg Timmermans
Runners Up: Scott Wills and Kierston Wareing

Best Eye Candy
Unrealistic or unjustified use of a sexy actress (think of typical US sitcom slobby husband with impossibly pretty wife).

  • Like the Americans, the French like to partner up average guys with gorgeous chicks - twice in Welcome to the Sticks
  • Boys would never leave primary school if their primary school teachers looked liked the three in CJ7
  • Even Harry's best friend can't believe the perfect Kay belongs with boring Harry in Married Life
  • Beautiful women visit beauty parlours but I'm still going to classify the repeat customer in Caramel as eye candy
(Other possibilities: Vexille, Lorna's Silence, King of the Hill, It's a Free World)

Winner: Rachel McAdams as Kay in Married Life

Best Energizer Bunny
Where a woman spends the whole film running around trying to achieve something (think Run Lola Run).

Winner: Kierston Wareing playing Angie in It's a Free World

Grossest Moment
  • Eye ball eating in Jar City.
  • There are times when you don't want to let the dog into your bedroom in Teeth.
  • Meat hooks, circular saws and steam rooms and other messy ways to die in Frontier(s).
  • Sharing a bed with too many dead bodies in Cargo 200.
Winner: final bedroom scene in Teeth

Special Mentions
  • Impeccable cross gender acting - Xu Jiao playing Dicky in CJ7
  • Best Bang for Buck - the remarkably restrained and lo-tech Teeth
  • Only arty film I saw - Ashes of Time Redux
  • The R16 kids film - Let the Right One In
  • Worst seats - Paramount H22 & H23
Coming Back
Each year I try to predict which films will come back on general release. Here are my guesses for this year.

No Brainers
In Bruges, Apron Strings, The Counterfeiters

Art House
Empties, Married Life, Welcome to the Sticks, Ben X, Lorna's Silence, The Visitor, The Wave

Might come back
Teeth, Be Kind Rewind, The Band's Visit

Would come back if I had my way
Let the Right One In, Noise Control, Waltz with Bashir, Terror's Advocate, Taxi to the Dark Side

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