Posts Tagged ‘Holy Motors


HIFF 2012: Festival Capsule for Oct 21

This capsule report is a brief look, reaction, and thoughts on some of the films we’ve seen at this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival.

Hang Loose

This strand of firecrackers definitely gave new meaning to the title ‘Hang Loose.’

I don’t blame the guys from Kinetic for having some fun after the pretty serious tone that they took with their films last year. And that’s exactly what you get in Hang Loose; a sort of National Lampoon’s Hawaiian Vacation meets The Hangover. You have the straight laced guy going out with the groom and his rowdy friends for the traditional bachelor party. And wouldn’t you know it . . . hijinks ensue.

Kevin Wu and Dante Basco were perfectly fine in their roles here, with Basco even stealing scenes a few times. Everything else in the film though just seemed to be really exaggerated or played to the extreme; from local stereotypes, to certain roles, to implausible feats (paragliding over Waikiki?) some of it was a bit too much for me. Don’t get me wrong, the movie knew it was having fun and everything in it reflected that; I guess I was just looking for things to be a bit more serious or maybe a bit more realistic. In spite of that, I myself hung loose and just went with it and had a few laughs in the process.

Rating 3/5 stars

Holy Motors

If you’re already stumped by looking at this scene from Holy Motors, you’re not the only one.

I don’t even know where to begin with my thoughts on Holy Motors. The movie is confounding to be sure, but entertaining none the less.

I’ll start with what I do know . . . it may take you a while to properly digest what you’ve seen after watching Holy Motors. At its most basic level you have the story of Mr. Oscar played beautifully by Denis Lavant. He goes from assignment to assignment throughout Paris masquerading as different people and doing different things. Sometimes this requires him to kill people, sometimes it only requires him to speak to people. Through it all he is always changing his looks, demeanor, and personality.

Expect to be challenged if you sit down to watch Holy Motors. Some of the maddening questions that were posed to me during the movie: What is he doing? Why is he going around dressed as different people? Who does he work for? Is any of the things he’s doing real? Are there supernatural elements involved? For a feeble minded viewer such as myself none of these questions were really answered–and somehow I don’t think that’s the point. What is real and what is fake definitely come up again and again throughout the film, but beyond that I’m not sure of anything else.

Beyond the confusion I was definitely entertained by what was going on on-screen. Each of Oscar’s assignments was very different from one another and it was interesting to seem him transform himself to fit each one. Mix in the transitioning scenes in the limo in between assignments and you have a picture of a company man who’s been doing his job for a long time, and though he still doesn’t mind doing it, you can tell it’s definitely taking its toll on him.

I’m still not sure what to make of Holy Motors and I might even need a second viewing to be completely sure. What I am sure of though is Denis Lavant‘s great performance and that Holy Motors will challenge any moviegoer.

Rating 4/5 stars

Room 237

Kubrick faked the moon landing . . . MIND BLOWN!

You really have to be some kind of movie fan to really dissect and break down a film. I mean, I thought I was a movie buff since I like to talk about, watch, and go over movies. The theorists in Room 237 though, they take movie fandom to a whole new level.

As I sat there watching Room 237 a majority of the time all I could think was “are these people actually making these assumptions/judgements about Kubrick’s The Shining?” From the faking of moon landing footage to the holocaust, to the genocide of American Indians and tons more in between I sat transfixed as theory after theory was conveyed to us–transfixed mainly because I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Kubrick was a pretty smart guy, but I’m not sure if any of the theories suggested hold any weight.

What’s really fun about the doc is that even though it presents these theorists in a somewhat serious light, it still treats everything sort of tongue and cheek with the way footage from Kubrick films are used to illustrate what the speakers are saying and also at times pokes fun at what they are saying by juxtaposing it with satirical imagery. Another fun aspect that adds to the film’s charm is the fact that it’s obviously subjective. There is no bias involved and it goes out of its way to make it seem as if all of these theories are real.

In the end, while it was a fun presentation of the possible undertones of the film, I never really bought into any of them. Some of the leaps that the interviewers make were really quite large and often times were only supported by coincidence rather than hard evidence. Besides, all of those things couldn’t be true at the same time could they? I leave it up to you to decide.

Rating 3.5/5 stars


HIFF 2012: Must See Preview

Well, it’s that time of year again . . . time for the Hawaii International Film Festival. While we haven’t been as active as we’ve been in the past in the days leading up to the festival, this year we will be busier than ever trying to cover it while it is going on. In fact, with the festival kicking off tonight; we’d be remiss if we didn’t throw out our own two cents on some of the stuff we’d like to see as well as make a few notes on other stuff you might want to check out. So here it is, with the festival unspooling just hours away, I give you the Red Band Project’s HIFF 32 Must See Preview!

#1 Silver Linings Playbook

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Site

Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet – and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Why I Want to See It:
Before all the hype, before it won the audience award at TIFF, and before it debuted in Toronto last month; the trailer for David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook was released early this summer. The trailer showcased Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss from The Hunger Games) and Bradley Cooper (that guy from The Hangover movies) in a dramedy of sorts and it looked to be a pretty fun film. I was definitely feeling what the trailer was selling me about the film, but absolutely sold me on it wasn’t that this film was from the dude that gave us The Fighter or the two big leads . . . it was Chris Tucker. Yes, the dude that played Smokey in Friday and made fun of Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour movies, he’s in this movie. After having a great run in the late 90s the dude just dropped off the Hollywood map–until now. I’m not sure how much of a supporting role he has in this film, but it definitely looks like he has a bit more serious role in Silver Linings; which I think could signal his comeback. The fact that this movie tore it up at Toronto and won the audience award only got me more excited to see it and I can’t wait!

#2 The Sessions

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Site

Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, THE SESSIONS tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined – at age 38 – to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.

Why I Want to See It:
There were two films that generated a ton of buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. One of them was Beasts of the Southern Wild (which I wasn’t all that over the moon for). The other was The Sessions. The premise itself is funny enough, but with a pretty stacked cast (John Hawkes as the lead with Helen Hunt, William H. Macey, and Moon Bloodgood) and being picked up after a heavy bidding war; I’m hoping that where there’s smoke there’s fire. More so than with Beasts. The movie has a comedic drama angle to it so I think it’ll definitely be more accessible to a wider audience. Word is that Hawkes could have another potential Oscar nominated role on his hands with the film. With all of this swirling about, it’s definitely a no brainer for me wanting to check out.

#3 Holy Motors

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Site

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man… He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part – but where are the cameras? Monsieur Oscar is alone, accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He’s like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives. But where is his true home, his family, his rest?

Why I Want to See It:
I still don’t exactly know what it is about Holy Motors that intrigues me, but there’s enough going on there that I want to see the film to find out what it is. I saw the trailer shortly after the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in May and at the time I wasn’t too impressed. As the film has played the festival circuit it has garnered somewhat mixed reviews; though more of them have been on the favorable side. What sold me on seeing the film is that it won the critic’s award at this year’s Fantastic Fest (the largest genre film festival in the world) just a week ago. With a lot of fanboy journalists/bloggers behind it how can I go wrong?

#4 Rust & Bone

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Site

Ali, a man of formidable size and strength, gets a job as a bouncer in a nightclub. He comes to the aid of Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) during a nightclub brawl. Aloof and beautiful, Stephanie seems unattainable, but in his frank manner Ali leaves her his phone number anyway. Stephanie trains orca whales at Marineland. When a performance ends in tragedy, a call in the night again brings them together. When Ali sees her next, Stephanie is confined to a wheel chair : she has lost her legs and quite a few illusions. Ali’s direct, unpitying physicality becomes Stephanie’s lifeline, but Ali, too, is transformed by Stephanie’s tough resilience. And Stephanie comes alive again. As their stories intersect and diverge, they navigate a world where strength, beauty, youth and blood are commodities— but where trust, truth, loyalty and love cannot be bought and sold, and courage comes in many forms.

Why I Want to See It:
The film original got on my radar after it got some pretty good buzz coming off of its premiere at Cannes. What got my attention though were the two leads, Marion Cotillard of course most us may know her from The Dark Knight Rises, but also Matthias Schoenaerts; who broke onto the scene in last year’s Oscar nominated film Bullhead. Together these two seem to have some strong chemistry and I’m itching to see how it all plays out. The setup for the film seems tailor made for tragedy and I think it’ll definitely showcase their acting talents.

#5 Hang Loose

Trailer // HIFF Page // Official Site

HANG LOOSE turns on the manic vs. medium cool performances of actors Dante Basco (THE DEBUT, Festival 2000) and Kevin Wu (aka KevJumba), here playing slightly dialed-up versions of themselves. Wu is newly-single Kevin who, having been dumped by his longtime girlfriend the week he graduates from high school, flies out to Hawaii to attend his big sister’s wedding. Upon his arrival into Honolulu, he meets his future brother-in-law Dante (Basco) and his crazy groomsmen Ben (Benjamin Arthur) and Dion (Dion Basco). Clearly out of his element, Kevin lets himself get talked into tagging along for Dante’s bachelor party, a soiree that quickly goes wrong in so many ways

Why I Want to See It:
Hang Loose is directed by Ryan Kawamoto and produced by James Sereno . . . two of the guys behind Kinetic Productions and who’s feature arm (Kinetic Films) made last year’s Paradise Broken (One of the best films that I saw at HIFF last year). After watching Paradise Broken and their anthology series 6B I am sold on anything these guys do and I’m definitely looking forward to their lighter comedic offering in this year’s Hang Loose.

Other Films of Note

This preview wouldn’t be complete without us tossing out a few more recommendations on cool and interesting things that you could possibly check out at this year’s festival. Here are a few things for the high and/or family minded . . .

Potential Oscar Candidates

The word “international” in Hawaii International Film Festival is there for a reason . . . the festival is showcasing some of the best films from around the world. Seven films playing at this year’s festival have been submitted by their respective countries as their entry to potentially become nominated in the Foreign Language Film category . . . aka The Oscars. Though a crowded field to be sure, you might be able to get a jump on your Oscar ballot by checking out these films:

  • A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  • Barbara (Germany)
  • Barfi! (India)
  • Caesar Must Die (Italy)
  • Bwakaw (Phillipines)
  • Beyond the Hills (Romania)
  • Sister (Switzerland)

Studio Ghibli Retrospective

Though I came late to the party on the Hayao Miyazaki bandwagon (the first film that I saw was Princess Mononoke), once I was on board . . . I was on board. The Studio Ghibli Retrospective has been touring the country for the past year and now it makes a stop right here in Hawaii for HIFF. It’s definitely a great opportunity for you to catch up on some of these classics, or if you’re like me, see them for the first time in a theater with other like-minded people. The highlight of the retrospective will definitely be this weekend when HIFF, in conjunction with Our Kaka‘ako, present Spirited Away on Saturday night under the stars at the Kaka‘ako Gateway Park. There’s going to be food trucks, cosplay contest, and should be a lot of fun for the entire family.

Are you going to be checking out HIFF this year? If you are, let us know in the comments and tell us what films you’re interested in seeing.

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