Monday, June 05, 2006
Welcome to Tessa's movie reviews! Here's a picture to show why there are so many more pics of Ted on this page than Tess. Because when I'm waving the camera around, he's always right there in front of me and Tessa is...well, here. She's a burrower.
More SIFF excitement this weekend...starting with Whole New Thing. It was an amusing coming-of-age story, fairly standard for the genre, except that it threw Canadians and homosexuality into the mix. It was set in a small Canadian town, where 13-year-old Emerson has been home-schooled by his environment-saving hand-knit wearing parents. When his parents decide to send him to the local middle school, his experience there is as painful and funny as one might expect. Then Emerson falls for his teacher, Mr. Grant, and goes through the agony of a first unrequited love. The middle was a bit drawn out and the movie was overall pretty predictable, but the interesting characters and the performances and the slight twist on age-old themes makes it worth watching. 3 out of 5 stars.
Next I hopped across town to my favorite theater, the Neptune, for Wristcutters: A Love Story. I have to admit, I was wary about this movie, as all I knew about was the synopsis, that it was a movie about a heartsick young man who, after committing suicide, searches for his girlfriend in the next world. BUT....this movie was awesome. When people kills themselves, they end up in an alternate world, which is "a lot like life, except just a little bit worse." I have to give the writers a lot of credit for never taking the easy laugh with the expected New Jersey reference, because it was so right there. People in this world work menial jobs, hang out in smoky dive bars, where the juke box only plays songs about death. Like songs by Joy Division. Heh. Anyway, the three main characters, Zia, Mikal, and Eugene, set off on a roadtrip to find things. Zia is looking for his girlfriend who he heard also killed herself, Mikal is looking for the people in charge (the PIC), and Eugene just didn't have anything better to do. Along the way they meet Tom Waits, who is looking for his dog and runs a holiday camp of sorts for people in this wasteland. His character and performance alone make the movie. Anyway, I can't even begin to do it justice, but I'll just say that it was hilarious and well-written and moving at the same time. 5 out of 5 stars.
Today I saw the West Wittering Affair. It's an English movie about three people who go away for a weekend in the country and get up to a bit of snogging, and the repercussions that follow. It's filmed almost in a documentary style. Pretty interesting exploration of sex and adult relationships, although a bit heavy-handed at times with overbearing music. But overall I ended up liking and sympathizing with the main characters even though they were generally unlikeable people who did not-very-smart things when it came to love and sex....so I consider it a successful film. 4 out of 5 stars. Oh, I also enjoyed this one because unlike all the other SIFF movies I've been to, I was not stuck behind THAT couple. You know, the very "Seattle" couple who are just trendy and androgynous enough to not realize they're wearing each other's clothes and are bonded together through a mutual disdain for shampoo.