Tag Archives: off plus camera 2011

You Can Count On Me by Kenneth Lonergan

One more title in the “Catching Up” section.

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick and Laura Linney.

A small town bank clerk (Linney), whose parents died in a car crash some 20 years back, with younger irresponsible brother (Ruffalo) dropping in to visit. A few elements could be left out. All in all a funny story of how an assertive woman can deal with 4  (!) men in her life: her boss, her son, her brother and her on-and-off boyfriend.

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Lovers of Hate by Bryan Poyser

Set mainly in Park City. The place needs no introduction for all those film lovers out there.

The story behind goes along the lines of a frustrated writer who experiences this known by all blockage. Creative blockage.

There is more. There is a rejecting wife, there’s a successful brother, there’s a romance between those two. A stalker played by Chris Doubek, who only becomes a stalker by accident. It’s a sad character and a sad story of what it means to be a) talentless and b) unable to cope with a).

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Zach Clark’s Vacation!

Thelma & Louise times two i.e. four female friends setting on a holiday. Here the comparison stops.

Clark plays with form, introduces local elements to spice up the story. What is planned to be an innocent week at the seaside of four college mates, through days spent at the beach, drunken evenings and boring neighbourhood, suddenly changes its course by 180 degrees after an episode of one night party with LSD. Nothing is the same the next morning.

It’s a beach party film, the opening credits bring to mind the 1980’s Miami Vice TV series. Pink, glossy, light. The girls are pretty, the blonde wigs enable to blend them all into one messy character.

Don’t expect the expected. It’s an interesting project, especially the LSD trip, which, for those who have experienced it, looks very realistic.


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The Christening by Marcin Wrona

The winner of the Polish Feature Competition at Off Plus Camera 2011.

Usually phenomenal Natalia Rybicka did not have a lot to show with her performance here. The remaining two main roles are relatively fresh faces, which results in an atypical cast opening more through the previously unseen visages.

Wrona pictures a crude brutal world where values such as love, friendship and loyalty, although known to be virtues, are hazy due to surrounding environment filling all with lies and deadly sabotage.

On the surface, there is no ray of hope for either of the two main characters Michal and Janek. The twisted ending rather than bringing a golden hopeful resolution seemingly making things better for Magda, definitely does not solve the moral dilemmas of Janek.

Very gloomy and difficult story set in a world where help does not come from anywhere. Does not and will not. One may only hope that this kind of an underworld is an exaggerated artist’s vision with no counterpart in the real world. Wrona takes away all hope in humanity the moment the most humane act (not objectively; in this case) is performed.

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Erratum by Marek Lechki

Somebody said (was it Soderbergh?) that one may assume a film by a glimpse at its director. Probably this is not always the case, but the definition fits Marek Lechki’s case. The main protagonist, played by Tomasz Kot, very much brings to mind the calm and restrained director.

The films tells the story of a fairly young man, who, which is more and more visible in the process of following his steps, had renounced his dreams and aspirations to become a pawn in average sized accounting company. As a youth, he set up a jazz band, played the trumpet, now is a boring uninspiring citizen. His path leads through the steps of his younger self when due to an accident he is stuck in his hometown for longer than originally planned.

It is a very calm and minimalistic film showing way more on the edges than centrally onscreen. A fascinating tale, universal at that. The film screened at Toronto and other important places. Won the 1-2 competition at Warsaw Film Fest in 2010. For a reason. This is one of those important voices of our times.

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Small Town Murder Songs by Ed Gass-Donnelly

Scored by Bruce Peninsula, starring moustached Peter Stormare, the tale is well paced, the murdered girl’s face pretty beyond local standards. Walter’s (local police officer) life partner seems to be on a different page than him and despite the fact that the film tells the story of solving a murder case, their misunderstandings at dinner add some taste of life.

The main connotations are Fargo, Twin Peaks. This one nicely fits in the genre despite being set in Canada.

One more to your list. Watch it!

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Our Day Will Come by Romain Gavras

Vincent Cassel as a redhead.

Ideologically, there might be a point of making a film on redheaded people. They have no special rights, are not treated as a minority, the film suggests they should be.

Technically, the film is interesting, has great pace, a certain amount of provocative scenes, where one wonders how far will the two main characters go in pushing things to their limits. They cross the borders with no hesitation. For that reason, the film is fascinating to watch, that and the amazing Vincent Cassel as the bitter crazy elderly gentleman who seemingly has nothing to lose and may want to enjoy life for the last time thanks to accidentally met teenage redhead portrayed by Olivier Barthelemy.

Other than that, the film seems to be an attempt at touching upon the subject and despite being pleasant and at times disgusting to watch, does not bring anything fresh. Some points are certainly valid, the film is worth a watch, but there is something lacking in it. The closure does not give satisfaction, maybe only by giving the spectators a relief that there’s an end to all madness at some point.

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Tom Hall’s Sensation

The idea came to its author after having heard the news on the radio. Apparently there was a farmer accused of running a brothel on his farm. He claimed his gf made him and invited her friends over. He couldn’t do anything to stop them. He needed female company.

This is not a story for the fainthearted. There is a dangerous portion of laughter and inconvenient truths. The lead role by Domhnall Gleeson delivers a credible creation. Tom Hall’s direction is effortless and the setting looks familiar, which helps following the story. There are a few surprising dialogue lines which may seem obvious when uttered by a cityboy, less likely by a farmer in such kind of narrative. All in all, the story is told craftily and lightly touches upon an important subject matter which probably should not be trivialised. Tom Hall offers the opposite point of view, a classic tool for enabling the audiences looking at things from a different perspective.

Recommend. New Irish Cinema at its best!

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Gun Hill Road by Rashaad Ernesto Green

The film tells the story of a boy, who feels he’s a girl. Crossdressing, a teenager accepted by his mother, when the father freshly out of gaoul cannot deal with the realisation that his son is exceptional.

The whole story is crafted skillfully with no false tones. The leading role played by a boy undergoing similar transformation to the character in the plot blurs the border between what’s real and what’s acted. The result is a stunning performance and a very true story set in a Latino family undergoing a crisis. Green shows a difficult and painful process for all the parties involved and yet the finish is a beautiful hopeful completion.

Good and important cinema.

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Charlie Casanova by Terry McMahon

This is an amazing story. Throughout. The back end as well as the front end.

Terry McMahon did an amazing job of gathering cast, crew, equipment and all he needed to make a film via Facebook.

There is no lighting, except for two 5 Euro lamps, the film is shot with two video cameras.

The story is tough, as life in today’s Ireland is, apparently. Charlie Casanova is an everyman, but a coward at that. He’s one of a kind and yet, there are probably thousands like him. It is a guy nobody would want to meet at a cul-de-sac. The story is as dark as human nature’s darkness can get. There is no hope, no love, no ray of light. The world is cruel, hopeless and the spectators are helpless, hypnotised by the vision pictured, where an obvious mad man rules their attention and the world on the screen. Charlie Casanova is the puppet master, a clown and a cruel character, whose intensity paralyses everyone around him including the audience.

The experience keeps everyone in their seats until the last long scene which proves Terry McMahon’s point.

A must see.

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