My Philadelphia Film Festival 20 Page

Schedule | Reviews | Official PFF20 Site

Thursday, 3 November

  • Where Soldiers Come From 17:30 Ritz East A
  • Connected 19:45 Ritz East A
  • Perfect Sense 21:45 Ritz 5

Fell Between The Cracks

  • Amador – Dropped for a movie-free weekend.
  • A Dangerous Method – Decided on Anonymous instead because of other films being at the Prince today.
  • The Descendants – Dropped for a movie-free weekend and didn’t feel like dealing with cramped conditions at Zellerback.
  • Hanaan – My day started too slow to trek down to Old City for this film then back home for Melancholia. Upside is a cleaner apartment.
  • Streets – Didn’t feel like SEPTA’ing to Old City for a single movie.
  • Turin Horse – Dropped for a movie-free weekend.
  • Tyrannosaur  – Dropped for a movie-free weekend.

Reviews: Features | Shorts | Ratings Guide

Rating Features
Excellent (5/5) 1
Very Good (4/5) 3
Good (3/5) 5
Fair (2/5) 5
Poor (1/5)

Feature Film Reviews

Excellent (5/5)

  • Collaborator – Classically indie; tight and packed; the inevitable happens, fueling a perfect ending. Morse performs 110%. — I planned to skip this film originally, and I’m glad I didn’t. I must agree with the presenter: This is a hard film to classify, and that may prevent it from larger releasing. That would be a shame.

Very Good (4/5)

  • Anonymous – Period what-if has interesting plot twists without bogging itself down. More DangerousLiaisons than ShakespeareInLove. — I can’t pinpoint why this movie didn’t connect with me on a deeper level. I had that problem with Milk a few years ago, and I have to wonder if sometimes the history or the legacy is just so overpowering that the details of the real humans enmeshed within them seem trivial.
  • An Ordinary Family – Token gay film turns out to be well written, performed. Too sweet for my liking normally, but effectively so. — A sum more than its parts, there are plenty of things I’d normally nit-pick about a film like this. Fact is, I liked all the characters and empathized with them–and I felt good as the credits rolled. Definitely a film more of the heart than the mind, and sometimes that’s just fine.
  • On The Ice – A solid things-fall-apart film even before considering its interesting setting and talented amateur cast. — I really wish somebody from the film had been there to talk about pulling such strong performances from non-actors. The feature film shares little with the short (made entirely in the Inupiaq language) Sikumi.

Good (3/5)

  • Coriolanus – Stellar cast, great performances, gritty updating end up hamstrung by its source, a windy B-side Bard play. — It was just too long from being too long-winded in areas. The first act plays out almost more like an action film (like Fiennes and Anonymous’s Emmerich traded places) then really slows down. I love hearing Shakespeare in a real-world setting like Private Romeo from QFest 2011 (OK, there were other things I really liked about that), but you do become bound by the text. Aside from cutting, is anybody really going to try rewriting swaths of Shakespeare to fix up plot and pacing?
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi – Good doc about food, perfectionism, inheritance. Felt long for the content; heavy Glass score didn’t help. — I wasn’t the only one to wonder why details like other family members–his wife even–are completely absent from the film while we get a train-ride to reminisce with old school chums. Perhaps I’m just a little angry that my new diet is carb-free during the week, and I saw this too late to enjoy sushi in the afterglow.
  • Like Crazy – Good story, strong (improv) performance suffer from a slow middle, low empathy. River Song: Pavel Chekov’s mom-in-law? — Impressive technical details include being shot on a massively hacked still digital camera and improved from a 50-page “scriptment”. The director came off as a little rude during the Q&A by working too hard at being the comedian but was otherwise engaging and interesting.
  • Melancholia – Dunst’s only happy when it rains (planets): Well-crafted but slow, over-Kubricky at times. Last scene drew laughs. — It’s not as loopy as 2011’s other rouge planet flick, Another Earth and is definitely too serious for itself on occasion. Another complaint: we see Dunst naked but not Tru Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard. A borderline 4 that lost a point because of the unintentional laughter during the very last scene.  Still, amazingly shot and almost worth the deafness from the Prince having the volume up too high.
  • Sacrifice – Slow boat to revenge with atypical hero is less action, color saturation than predecessors but still nice to look at.

Fair (2/5)

  • The Artist – The silent treatment worked for the first 30 minutes, but the next 90 were tedious and snooze-worthy. — I switched out The Turin Horse since a friend really like this, although she did hedge on if *I* would like it. Saturday we’ll see if it was worth postponing The Turin Horse, but I have a feeling a film about beating a horse, dead or otherwise, would have been preferable.
  • Europa – Half the rating for the half of a brilliant innovative film that I could understand without the missing subtitles.
  • The Good Doctor — American Psycho, MD. Not bad until contrived end that tested believability and elicited laughs.
  • Hospitalite – A few quirky comedic high points punctuate long monotone spans. Honestly, I snoozed a little in the middle.
  • Policeman – Good elements but oddly unsatisfying. Too simply structured lacking interweaving stories, explored consequences.  — Not exploring the impact of killing Israelis as terrorists on the protagonist was a huge missed opportunity for this film.

Poor (1/5)


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