The one popular term to describe the picture is ‘badass’. It isn’t a very professional or literarily apt word to summarize what a film comes across as, but as a succinct bit of praise it fits the bill perfectly. One has to be especially averse to modern filmmaking techniques in order to come away disliking the directorial choices exercised in Cold Eyes. Yes, the editing is as rapid as that of so many of today’s thrillers, but the key is know why to cut to another frame and how. Judging by this film, Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo know just how to proceed. Cold Eyes is easily one of the year’s best action films.
Fantasia Film Festival
When a filmmaker perfectly aligns the technical and the artistic, we’re reminded of the transformative power of cinema. Lost amid the genre clichés and computer-generated extravaganzas lies an expansive battlefield called ‘the human condition’, where moments of great power co-mingle with insignificant monotony to shape our lives.
This latest effort is very much a hodgepodge of various ideas to shock and awe all cobbled together to make a two-hour long festival of insanity. In other words, Miike and the writers throw everything they can think of on the wall and leave it up to the audience to see what sticks and what does not. With a film that tosses in gags, both visual and verbal, at the rapid pace evidenced here, it comes as no surprise that not everything will land.
A number of Sound On Sight editors and contributors are geographically fortunate enough to make the Fantasia Film Festival an annual must-attend event. I have never been to the festival, but have followed it from afar since it landed on my radar years ago when a well-received short film I had a major acting role in called My Sweet Satan, played there.
This will be my third year attending the venerable Fantasia International Film Festival here in Montreal, and this year’s slate does not disappoint. I was asked to pick the five movies I was the most excited to see. This proved to be a difficult task, seeing as how my original list had upwards of thirty titles. But here are the five that have got me the most intrigued.
The technological advancement witnessed in the fabrication of robots of all kinds has been extraordinary over the past few decades. What appeared as far fetched and clearly ahead of its time in the 1980s and 1990s is commonplace today. Film has often tackled the issue of high-tech progression in several sci-fi related genres, from schlocky horror to high minded psychological drama. With The Machine, Writer-director Caradog W. James puts his spin on a familiar if endlessly fascinating topic of machines replicating human behaviour.
There are war films and then there are war films. The former are of the traditional variety that follow an individual or group of soldiers that form a platoon and train, learn to grow as a team and then suffer the inevitable consequences of battle. The latter follow a different battle plan, pardon the pun. Their interests lie in the more esoteric, psychological aspects of warfare, studying the toil combat takes on everyone affected by it, either directly or otherwise. Robert Morin’s latest endeavor, Les 4 soldats, initially appears to adopt the first of those two identities only to slowly calm its pace down and become a studious character piece.
The Killing of America is an impassioned and emotional showcase of violence in America from the period of the early 1960s into the early 1980s. Resting on the thesis that the society quickly devolved into increasingly acts of senseless violence, the film utilizes rare and disturbing footage of both familiar and unfamiliar events. Rift with a somewhat confused ideology, the film nonetheless packs a punch and suggests where many others haven’t that access to guns are part of the problem, an issue that continues to be debated within American society to this day. Is this little more than a parade of greatest hits for snuff fans or does it reaches deeper, revealing darker truths and realities that we are unwilling or unable to face.