Festival Reviewer

Bookmas Series: 4th December 2016 A review by @the-perks-of-being-a-lotus

The Humans- Matt Haig

Rating: 9/10

“It’s not the length of life that matters. It’s the depth. But while burrowing, keep the sun above you.”

This book is centred on an extraterrestrial inhabiting a mathematical genius known as Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University. Martin has just unlocked the mysteries of the universe that will guarantee a giant technological leap for mankind. The alien species known as Vonnadorians feel that this overwhelming breakthrough simply cannot be entrusted to such volatile and backwards creatures that inhabit Earth- humans. So the alien is put in his body to erase any chance of this epiphany from being released.

The book really analyses the way in which humans interact from a superior and pretentious perspective. The alien does not understand the reasoning behind emotions nor the necessity to comply to societal norms. From the start of this book to the end it will take you on a strong emotional experience as the alien learns what it means to be a human.

It is the perfect mixture of comedy and romance with an unexpected interjection of science fiction and existential questioning. It explains that sorrow and pain is simply a necessary part of human experience.

For that reason I would recommend this book it is well worth the time and it’ll certainly make you laugh but in saying that it is not a book for the light-hearted.

variety.com
SXSW Film Review: ‘The Disaster Artist’
Like such kindred spirits in quantity over quality as Tyler Perry and Joe Swanberg, James Franco has made a crapload of movies. Sooner or later, he was bound to deliver a good one.
By Peter Debruge

In a sense, “The Disaster Artist” could be the master class on how not to make a movie. But that’s a pretty elaborate in-joke on which to squander the casting of the film’s lead role, especially when any number of genuinely great actors would have leapt at the opportunity to mock their profession. That much is clear from the caliber of performer drawn to participate in the movie’s tiniest roles: Sharon Stone shows up as Sestero’s agent. Bryan Cranston plays himself. Judd Apatow (who effectively discovered Franco on “Freaks and Geeks”) appears as an easily peeved Hollywood producer. Seth Rogen depicts exasperated script supervisor Sandy Schklair. The great Jacki Weaver wrestles with an impossible line (“I got the results of the test back, I definitely have breast cancer”). An unrecognizable Zac Efron plays the over-actor responsible for playing menacing gangster Chris-R in “The Room.” And Josh Hutcherson hilariously embodies the 27-year-old whom Wiseau cast as a mentally disabled teen. (And that doesn’t even include those like Zach Braff and J.J. Abrams who endorse Wiseau’s magnum faux-pus in the film’s prologue.)

The Disaster Artist received a stranding ovation at SXSW, was trending with top tweets from the festival and is being hailed as Franco’s best film to date. 

So, I’ve had a not so great week. (Hence the silence here on @weadorejmo) I’d almost cancelled going to the movie all together, because to top off all the depression and drama, I had a reaction to my medication, leaving my body covered in a horrid rash.

Even though I looked like a leper, some awesome friends convinced me that I should go to this movie that I’ve been waiting to see. After all, I’d bought the tickets weeks ago, and I’ve been excited ever since.

(But the fact I looked so awful is why you see no pics of me from that day. I figured I already have pics with JMo, soooo I should wait until I’m pretty again before I get my next one.)

All in all, it was a decent day, even if I wasn’t feeling well. Thanks to @annytecture for not being embarrassed to be seen with me! (P.S. Jennifer Morrison, if you ever read this, I suffered greatly just GETTING to the theater. So, I support you even when I’m feeling like I’m on death’s doorstep!)

Anyway, on to the movie. I’m simply posting my reactions, and will not be spoiling anything.

Sun Dogs was brilliant. It’s not generally the type of movie I think I’d be interested in, but I’ve learned a lot about trying new things thanks to Once Upon a Time. Jennifer Morrison has always been a big inspiration to me, and I just thought, “it looks good. Why the hell not? I can see a movie and support an actor I admire.”

It’s set a few years after 9/11, and focuses on a young man trying to join the Marines, even though due to an injury from birth, he is unfit to join. He’s really hyper focused on this task, and it drives him throughout the film. It’s this passion that takes him on an adventure that is funny, sad, and interesting to see through his eyes.

So like I said, brilliant. It had this sweetness about it that just drew me to it. I don’t think I have ever felt so sympathetic towards a character… ever. Ned, for all his problems, was just this loveable, totally sweet kid that you just wanted to hug.

Even with the heavier issues, it was light, and funny. There were some incredibly sad moments that choked me up (damn you.) but the humor offset what could have easily turned into a dark and depressing film.

Honestly, I can only seriously recommend you see the film. As a director, JMo did a great job, and I can only hope to see more from her in the future.

YEARS & YEARS at Eurosonic 2015, 15 January, Simplon Groningen

Simplon was packed. I was at the peak of my vodka smoothie drunkenness. And when we finally got into the venue, Years & Years looked like they were 15 years old with an air of Justin Bieber and/or Howie from the Backstreet Boys. That would have been enough for me, personally, but on top of it they seemed to have enjoyed themselves on stage and they were also really good, despite what cynical manly men with no interest in a comeback of boybands might have said.

“The idea was to make a movie about friendship without it being a buddy movie. I think that the word “buddy” isn’t appealing, while “friend” is. We find shelter in a friend’s arms…In my movie, those friends are shelter for each other. Once in a while, you hear about movies that “fire you the will to live”. I think that’s what I wanted to do. Make a movie that gives you the will to live, and that makes you want to have friends. Buddy movies have too much of a “camaraderie” scheme, I think; something doesn’t add up. Between two men, it can also be really beautiful.”

—  Louis Garrel, on why he made Les Deux Amis

5

Cannes Film Festival
Day 1
Some of my favorite looks from the red carpet were
Bella Hadid in Alexandre Vauthier for the second year running.
Araya A. Hargate snatching us still in a Ralph and Russo gown while pregnant
Elle Fanning in a modern day version of Carrie Bradshaw’s Vivienne Westwood wedding gown
And Emily Ratajkowski in this beautiful Twin Set slip dress

G-Funk: An Essential Documentary of West Coast Hip Hop and California Culture

G-Funk had its L.A. Debut during the Los Angeles Film Festival on Friday at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. The film was directed by a then 22 year old Karam Gill and produced by West Coast royalty, Warren G. Yes, I said 22 year old, talent and passion have no age limit.

🎬

A post shared by Karam Gill (@karam) on Apr 4, 2017 at 9:07pm PDT

Gill’s portfolio also includes producing music videos for A$AP Mob, Dillon Francis, Borgore and more. Gill did a phenomenal job of paralleling G-Funk with the flow of the documentary and won “Best Feature Documentary” at Calgary Underground Film Festival.

G-Funk stands for Gangster Funk.  The documentary provides an extensive and comprehensive history of how G-Funk emerged on the West Coast and has withstood the test of time. The film features exclusive interviews with Snoop Dogg, Russell Simmons, Ice Cube, Too $hort, and more.  All artists paid their respects and shout outs to the late Nate Dogg.

External image

Q&A panel, photo by Ham on Everything founder Adam Weiss.

“I wanted people to see what artists have to go through behind the scenes” -Warren G

The documentary starts with the birth of rap in the 80s and how it was an alternative form of musical expression that kids all over America could create without knowing how to play instruments, making it DIY AF.

G-Funk is the extension and evolution of P-Funk,  Psychedelic Funk, that most of the rappers grew up listening to. Too $hort said “West Coast Funkadelic was our religion growing up. We create music from our past influences from what we grew up with.”

G Funk doc 2nite was important 4 me. Reminded me why I feel in love w/ rap as a kid in the 90s & why I’m on this career path that I’m on now

— AdamGoesHam (@AdamGoesHam)

June 17, 2017

The documentary highlights how essential Dr. Dre was to rap and changed the music industry at the time. I would even argue that this DIY genre, G-Funk, helped pave the way for our current DIY EDM landscape.

“The Chronic opened up peoples eyes and NWA opened up peoples ears.” - Snoop Dogg

G-Funk made gangster rap mainstream and was instantaneously accepted by all races. The Chronic showcases political, social, and emotional struggles, with a funky bass line and threatening vocal flow. The Chronic was a commentary of the times and is still relevant to today. The film also touches on the rivalry between West Coast and East Coast rappers, Tupac and Biggie. RIP.

G-Funk highlights Warren G as a symbol of resilience. After being rejected from Death Row Records,  Warren G was crushed but remained persistent, eventually finding his way into Def Jam Records, and saved the label from going under at the time. When Warren G performed ‘Regulate’ in the film, the audience cheered, knowing that Warren G was in the crowd with them. ADAM & I cried a lil.

'Regulate’ was released in 1994 and uploaded to YouTube in 2009, reaching over 112 million views, deeming it one of the most successful songs in hip hop.

Gill said that the L.A. crowd was the most energetic and inspirational crowd they’ve encountered. This is most likely due to the fact that G-Funk legends are still being played on the radio, even in 2017, that’s California Culture for you right there and nothing can beat that.

G-Funk is an essential watch for anyone interested in hip hop, the music industry, and California culture.

Thank you L.A. Film Fest for organizing this.

 

Bookmas Series: 22nd December 2016
A review by Julia Reid my lovely cousin in Australia - @bittersweetandhomesick

All The Truth That’s In Me - Julie Berry

Rating: 9/10

‘All The Truth That’s In Me’ was an extremely magnificent and captivating read. Based upon a girl named Judith, it is a story about her ongoing struggle being permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by her friends and family.
As Judith is unable to speak, the book essentially acts as a journal for Judith, where she is able to silently pour out her thoughts to her childhood friend and the boy who has owned her heart forever - Lucas.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as the style in which Julie Berry wrote was achingly raw and intimate. The storyline was unique and original, and it’s hidden mysteries urged me to read on and on until the very last page. It was poignant and tender, consequently enthralling and fascinating me.

I gave this book a rating of 9/10 as, although it was extremely well written, I felt as if it lacked stimulation at times.

I would highly recommend this book - most predominantly to teenagers - and to anyone who enjoys a mysterious and moving read.

4

On August, 2004 The Killers played V Festival for the first time at the NME Stage. Today 10 years later they’re headlining the festival for 4th time (And it’s their 5th time attending to the festival if we count this 2004 performance) Setlist at their first appearance: Smile Like You Mean It, Somebody Told MeGlamorous Indie Rock & RollJenny Was a Friend of MineMr. Brightside and All These Things That I’ve Done.

THE KILLERS wowed fans at V FESTIVAL this afternoon (August 21) – drawing massive crowds to both their mid-afternoon set and their appearance at the NME SIGNING TENT.  During their set, the band showcased songs from their hit album ’Hot Fuss’, including ’Smile Like You Mean It’, ’Somebody Told Me’ and ’Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’. Some fans brought with them a giant banner bearing the band’s name made out of CDs. Speaking to NME.COM backstage, singer Brandon Flowers said the show had been one of their best festival experiences so far. He said: “It was the sunniest show we’ve ever played! I heard there was a massive banner, I liked it! The best song was ’All These Things That I’ve Done’. Leaving with ’All These Things That I’ve Done’.” The singer said that he was looking forward to the band’s opportunity to meet their fans at the NME signing tent, but hoped there would be no repeat of the earlier scenes at Weston Park when BRMC stormed off after a fan asked for an inflatable penis to be signed. He laughed: “There’s always some skin and hats and wallets! I don’t think I would sign (an inflatable penis). I’m with them on that!(NME, August 2004)

La Region Salvaje (The Untamed)

Written 5/20/17

The Overlook got stranger and stranger as, on my second day on Mt. Hood, I sat down to watch some South American tentacle porn. Who knew that not only would I be enjoying my first food gore film, but that the Overlook would also show me what it feels like to ship a beaten housewife and an intergalactic octopus.

Joking aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The more I think about it the more glad I am that I saw it. I was definitely dazed when walking out of that theater, trying to process, but now that I’ve had time to mull, I found The Untamed incredibly impressive.

For starters, this film was in Spanish (as the title may suggest). Now, I have absolutely nothing against foreign language films, but I do often find it more difficult to connect with the characters. Not because of the subtitles, but because if I don’t know the language being spoken, it’s harder to understand various inflections and phrases which in most cases are key to fully understanding a character. The Untamed broke through the language barrier to deliver completely fleshed out, deep, complex, and heartbreaking characters, even to us lowly English speakers. I fell in love with each and every one of them (except of course the asshole husband, but I was still in love with his development!).

On the surface we’re watching a slow-burning sci-fi, alongside the drama of a broken home. Explored under the surface is a fascinating question: how far can we go in the search for pleasure? Humanity is always evolving, especially in regards to social issues and moral decisions. 2017 is a year ripe with sexual empowerment; we MAY feel pleasure, we MAY seek it out, we DON’T have to hide it; but at what cost does pleasure again become dangerous? Is it possible to get so wrapped up in our own sexual growth that we become numb to pain and death? It seems ludicrous to even ask. Of course there are other things more important in life than an orgasm! But for people like Alejandra, who have been sexually repressed for so long, maybe it isn’t such an insane question. For people like Veronica, perpetually alone, so desperate for connection, finding something that gives intense pleasure but maintains its mystery, everything else in life fades to the background, including murder.

Tied to these queries is a wonderfully full plot, complete with closeted homosexuality, domestic abuse, murder trials, and depression. If I were to summarize it (which I will try to do because the trailer is unhelpful): Alejandra is an average mother of two in an unsatisfying marriage to a giant prick. Veronica is on the outs with her alien boyfriend and needs to find him a new bae. In the middle there’s some gay sex and a lot of shouting, but all in all Veronica and Alejandra team up to satisfy the ever changing needs of a lust-driven extraterrestrial (tone intended ironically; this was a very quiet and serious film).

I was a little disappointed at first that they did indeed show the creature. I have much appreciation for monster movies that never show the monster. I think, however, it worked out well in the end. An argument can be made that we didn’t actually need to see the tentacle sex to get the gist, but something about the overwhelming way in which the creature envelops its “victims”, and how it moves across their skin, helps us understand why these people go as far as they do to hold on to that experience. And, I apologize, but it is pretty hot. Also impressive CGI for such a small film.

The message was subtle enough that I’m not entirely positive I’m in the right with my interpretation (and I would absolutely love for someone to argue against my view!), but regardless of what exactly it was trying to say, The Untamed is a film like nothing I’ve ever seen, and I enjoyed every minute.