East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Indiefest

You read the programme guide, and a lot of entries make go sit up and say, "That's an intriguing premise", or "That sounds like fun". So you go to a screening, get there early, and watch the trailers. And the movies you thought about seeing, by all appearances, look horrible, saved from being generic by being inept. Even the comedies seem like they'd struggle to make it to the second joke.

I bet Miike Takashi's The Great Yokai War has an awesome trailer. If Miike isn't suited for family filmmaking -- which, I'm sorry, requires discipline -- his imagination here is worth being startled by, if you're prepared to accept the laziness of some of the plotting, particularly the ending. The designs of the yokai (spirits), based on the manga of Mizuki Shigeru (who has a bit part), are dynamic, from sentient fireballs to cute sock puppets, and Miike sometimes CG's hundreds of distinct monsters into the frame, or has them fight with spare-part robots. The nominal story sees city boy Kamiki Ryuunosuke lonely in a small town, until he's anointed the Kirin Rider, which apparently means that it's his responsibility to save the world. And so he has enter the goblin's cave, find the magic sword and defeat Der Bad Guy and his panty-flashing henchwoman, that sort of thing. That the story is mostly engaging despite Miike's indifference is a credit to the actors, especially Kamiki, who's defter with the blue screen than anyone north of Naomi Watts, and Abe Sadao, as the comic relief Kappa. (B PLUS)

Shorts of note: "Spin" (Jamin Winans) takes a clever premise -- DJ controls the world via turntables -- and runs with it, giving a better demonstration of the unpredictable consequences of attempts to control life (or people) than certain supposed masters have managed lately. "Space Chase" (Duncan & Pearson) shows the filmmakers could be brilliant at making ads, but since they're British, they'll probably end up making shitty gangster movies. "Whacked" (Jake West) is a shitty British gangster movie, but it's 12 minutes long and therefore doesn't stretch credibility too far. "Valley of Gwombi" (Michael Granberry) has claymated violence against children, which is barely enough.


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